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Title: A Short History of Italy - (476-1900)
Author: Sedgwick, Henry Dwight
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Short History of Italy - (476-1900)" ***

                        By Henry D. Sedgwick

      A SHORT HISTORY OF ITALY. With Maps. Crown 8vo, _$2.00 net_.
      Postage 17 cents.

      FRANCIS PARKMAN. 16mo, _$1.10 net_. Postage 10 cents. _In
      American Men of Letters Series._

      ESSAYS ON GREAT WRITERS. Crown 8vo, gilt top, _$1.50 net_.
      Postage, 13 cents.

      SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN. Small 16mo, 65 cents _net_. Postage, 6
      cents. _In Riverside Biographical Series._



[Illustration: Map of Italy]




 The Riverside Press, Cambridge


 _Published November 1905_


 H. D. S., C. D. S., R. M. S., W. E. S.,
 A. C. S., F. M. S., and T. S.

 _O passi graviora ...
       ... forsan et hæc olim meminisse juvabit._


This volume is a mere sketch in outline; it makes no pretence to
original investigation, or even to an extended examination of the
voluminous literature which deals with every part of its subject. It is
an attempt to give a correct impression of Italian history as a whole,
and employs details only here and there, and then merely for the sake of
giving greater clearness to the general outline. So brief a narrative is
mainly a work of selection; and perhaps no two persons would agree upon
what to put in and what to leave out. I have laid emphasis upon the
matters of greatest general interest, the Papacy, the Renaissance, and
the Risorgimento; and my special object has been to put in high relief
those achievements which make Italy so charming and so interesting to
the world, and to give what space was possible to the great men to whom
these achievements are due.

 H. D. S.
 NEW YORK, October 1, 1905.


 CHAPTER                                                   PAGE

            (476 A. D.)                                       1

      II. THE OSTROGOTHS (489-553)                           12

     III. THE LOMBARD INVASION (568)                         23

      IV. THE CHURCH (568-700)                               31

       V. THE COMING OF THE FRANKS (726-768)                 40

      VI. CHARLEMAGNE (768-814)                              49

     VII. FROM CHARLEMAGNE TO NICHOLAS I (814-867)           57

    VIII. THE DEGRADATION OF ITALY (867-962)                 67

      IX. THE REVIVAL OF THE PAPACY (962-1056)               79

       X. THE STRUGGLE OVER INVESTITURES (1059-1123)         89

      XI. TRADE AGAINST FEUDALISM (1152-1190)               102

     XII. TRIUMPH OF THE PAPACY (1198-1216)                 114

    XIII. ST. FRANCIS (1182-1226)                           125

     XIV. THE FALL OF THE EMPIRE (1216-1250)                133

      XV. THE FALL OF THE MEDIÆVAL PAPACY (1303)            145

     XVI. LAST FLICKER OF THE EMPIRE (1309-1313)            152

    XVII. A REVIEW OF THE STATES OF ITALY (about 1300)      161

            RENAISSANCE                                     175

            AGES (1260-1336)                                182

      XX. THE DESPOTISMS (1250-1350)                        192

     XXI. THE CLASSICAL REVIVAL (1350)                      201


   XXIII. A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW (1350-1450)                     218

    XXIV. THE EARLY RENAISSANCE (1400-1450)                 231

     XXV. THE RENAISSANCE (1450-1492)                       242

    XXVI. THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS (1494-1537)               253

   XXVII. THE PAPAL MONARCHY (1471-1527)                    267

  XXVIII. THE HIGH RENAISSANCE (1499-1521)                  281

    XXIX. ITALY AND THE CATHOLIC REVIVAL (1527-1563)        293

     XXX. THE CINQUECENTO (16th Century)                    304

    XXXI. A SURVEY OF ITALY (1580-1581)                     319

   XXXII. THE AGE OF STAGNATION, POLITICS (1580-1789)       335

  XXXIII. THE AGE OF STAGNATION, THE ARTS (1580-1789)       348

   XXXIV. THE NAPOLEONIC ERA (1789-1820)                    361

    XXXV. THE REAWAKENING (1820-1821)                       369

   XXXVI. PERTURBED INACTIVITY (1821-1847)                  377

  XXXVII. TUMULTUOUS YEARS (1848-1849)                      386

 XXXVIII. THE UNITY OF ITALY (1849-1871)                    395

   XXXIX. CONCLUSION (1872-1900)                            409



      II. GENEALOGY OF THE MEDICI                           428


      IV. LIST OF BOOKS FOR GENERAL READING                 430

      INDEX                                                 433





In the year 476 an unfortunate young man, mocked with the great names of
the founders of the City and of the Empire, Romulus Augustus, nicknamed
Augustulus, was deposed from the throne of the Cæsars by a Barbarian
general in the Imperial service, and the Roman Empire in Italy came to
its end. This act was but the outward sign that the power of Italy was
utterly gone, and that in the West at least the Barbarians were
indisputably conquerors in the long struggle which they had carried on
for centuries with the Roman Empire.

That Empire, at the period of its greatness, embraced all the countries
around the Mediterranean Sea; it was the political embodiment of the
Mediterranean civilization. In Europe, to the northeast, it reached as
far as the Rhine and the Danube; it included England. Beyond the Rhine
and the Danube dwelt the Barbarians. Europe was thus divided into two
parts, the civilized and the Barbarian: one, a great Latin empire which
rested upon slavery, and was governed by a highly centralized
bureaucracy; the other, a collection of tribes of Teutonic blood, bound
together in a very simple form of society, and essentially democratic in

The Empire, composed of many races, Etruscan, Ligurian, Iberian, Celtic,
Basque, Greek, Egyptian, and divers others, had been created and
maintained by the military and administrative genius of Rome. Over all
these people Roman law and Roman order prevailed. All enjoyed the _Pax
Romana_. From Cadiz to Milan, from Milan to Byzantium, from Byzantium to
Palmyra, stretched the great Roman roads. Coins, weights, and measures
were everywhere the same. The inhabitants of Africa, Asia, and Europe,
enfranchised by an Imperial edict, were thankful to be Roman citizens.
To this day Roman law, the Romance languages, and the Roman Catholic
Church testify to the vigour and solidity of Roman dominion. The city of
Rome was, and had been for centuries, the head of the world. From east
and west, from north and south, booty, spoils, taxes, tribute had flowed
into Rome. Even after the seat of government had been removed to
Constantinople (A. D. 330), visitors from the new capital were
astounded to behold the Roman temples, baths, amphitheatres, forums,
circuses, and palaces, all glittering with marble and bronze. But the
riches acquired by conquest and tribute had brought seeds of evil with
them. Society was divided into the very rich and the very poor; the
simple laborious life of the freemen of ancient Rome was gone; the
regular occupations of production had been abandoned to serfs and
slaves; moderate incomes and plain living had disappeared. The middle
class had been thrust down to the level of the plebs. In the country the
small proprietors had been reduced to a position little better than
that of the serfs, while the great landlords had got vast tracts of land
into their hands. Nearly half the population were slaves. Taxes had
become heavier and heavier as the exigencies of the Empire grew; great
numbers of officials were maintained, and great mercenary armies. The
rich controlled the government, and shifted almost the whole burden of
taxation from their own shoulders to those of the poor. In the cities,
each imitating Rome so far as it could, had grown up a vicious
unemployed class, living on the distribution of bread which was paid for
out of the public revenues.

On the farther side of the Rhine and the Danube, in marked contrast with
this society, the Teutonic Barbarians tilled their lands and herded
their flocks. They dwelt in little communities which were banded
together into tribes; and these in turn were united in a sort of loose
confederation, which assumed the semblance of a nation only when under
the necessity of military action, and then the adult male population
constituted the army. Their buildings were of the humblest character,
their clothes rude, their arts primitive; they could neither read nor
write, and their men cared for little besides hunting and fighting. They
were, however, a free, self-respecting, self-governing people, electing
their king, and meeting in one great assembly to enact their laws. On
the Roman borders the Barbarians had become Christians, unfortunately
not Trinitarians, but mere Arians, heretics in the eyes of the orthodox
Catholics; so their Christianity hardly served to smooth their relations
with the Romans.

The differences between these two divisions of Europe were about as
great as between ourselves and the Don Cossacks. A Roman gentleman
living in Gaul, for example, would have a villa in Auvergne, built high
upon the hills in order to get the breezes and the view. Here was a
bath-house, a fish-pond, separate apartments for the women, a pillared
portico that overlooked a lake, a winter drawing-room, a summer parlour,
etc. In this agreeable place, in his times of leisure, the owner would
stroll about his grounds, play tennis, cultivate his garden, read Virgil
and Claudian, compose epigrams, write letters to his friends in the vein
of Horace's Satires, gossip about the doings at the Imperial court or
talk philosophy. The pleasant, luxurious life of Roman gentlemen was not
very different from luxurious life in America to-day.

The Barbarians in their native forests were hardly aware of Roman
civilization; and those on the border made a marked contrast with the
Romans. The young kings were superb athletes, sparing at table, and
attentive to their kingly duties. The Barbarian elders admired Roman
civilization, but were "stiff and lumpish in body and mind." The young
men, six feet or more in height, with long, yellow hair, were great
eaters of garlic and indelicate viands; they went about bare-legged,
booted with rough ox-leather, and wore short-sleeved garments of divers
colours, belted tight, with swords dangling at their backs, shields at
side, and battle-axes in their hands.

It would be a mistake, however, to draw a very sharp line between these
two opposing divisions of Europe. The Teutons were called Barbarians
because they were not Romans, but many of them had been trained in the
Roman armies and had lived in Constantinople, Trier, or Milan, and were
well accustomed to Roman military arts and discipline; in fact, the
Roman army was recruited mainly from among the Barbarians. Roman traders
dealt with them regularly. In one way and another the Barbarians,
especially their leaders, had come under the educating influence of
Roman civilization, and they regarded that civilization with an
amazement and a respect that at times deepened into awe.

But though a sharp line cannot be drawn, yet at bottom Romans and
Barbarians were far apart. It was impossible that two societies of such
divergent civilization should exist side by side in peace; one must
conquer the other. The struggle between the Empire and its enemies had
been almost continuous since the days of Julius Cæsar, and for several
centuries the Empire had prevailed; but social disintegration within had
proceeded rapidly, and by the beginning of the fifth century the
Empire's doom had come. Rome herself, the original home of empire, lay
"nerveless, dead, unsceptred," open to any takers; and takers came. The
Visigoths, under Alaric, captured the city in 410 and were merciful; the
Vandals, under Genseric, captured it in 455 and were cruel.

The fall of Rome, which we now see to have been inevitable, came,
however, with a terrible shock to the civilized world. St. Jerome, who
had gone to the wilderness near Bethlehem in order to meditate upon the
prophets, wrote: "My voice is choked and my sobs interrupt the words
which I write; the city is subdued which subdued the world.... Who could
believe that Rome, which was built of the spoils of the whole earth,
would fall, that the city could, at the same time, be the cradle and
grave of her people; that all the coasts of Asia, Egypt, and Africa
should be filled with the slaves and maidens of Rome? That holy
Bethlehem should daily receive, as beggars, men and women who formerly
were conspicuous for their wealth and luxury?"[1]

The city of Rome had been deemed immortal; it had become almost sacred
from long veneration; and when Rome fell, the Empire in the West had not
a prop to rest upon. Spain was taken by the Suevi and the Visigoths,
Gaul by the Franks, Burgundians, and Alemanni, England by Angles and
Saxons, Africa by the Vandals; and, with the deposition of Romulus
Augustulus, Italy, too, became the prize of a Barbarian general.

The succeeding period of European history, in Gaul, Spain, Africa, and
Italy, is the mingling or attempted mingling of the old populations of
the Empire with the Barbarian conquerors. The process had, indeed, as I
have intimated, begun before the fall of the Empire. For several
generations Barbarians had not only been received as colonists and taken
as soldiers, but even whole tribes had been admitted within the Roman
boundaries. Imperial statesmen had realized that the Empire could only
be upheld by an infusion of Barbarian virility, and they had favoured
the process. But assimilation had not taken place, and now that the
Empire had passed into the hands of the Barbarians there were two social
strata,--the rude martial conquerors on top, and the civilized, feeble,
subject race, ten times as numerous, underneath. It was obvious to the
wiser Barbarian chiefs, trained as they were in Roman ways, that if they
were to get stable dominion and civilized government, they must adopt
the complicated Imperial machinery. They saw that unless the Barbarians
learned Roman civilization, they would need hundreds of years to create
any such civilization of their own. This was especially true in Italy.
Odoacer, the general who deposed Romulus Augustulus, well knew that a
state which had its military service all Barbarian and its civil service
all Roman could not stand firm. Barbarian sovereignty needed support,
especially legal support, in the eyes of the subject population. Such
legitimacy could only come from the Empire. Odoacer and other
intelligent Barbarians turned instinctively to Constantinople for
recognition. They did not think that they had overturned or suppressed
the Empire. Nobody thought that there were two Empires, one Eastern and
one Western, one enduring and one destroyed in 476. To the Roman world
the Empire had always been single, had always been a unit. The division
into eastern and western parts had been made for convenience of
administration; the Empire itself had never been divided. Even after the
western countries of Europe had been overrun by the Barbarians, the
Emperor at Constantinople remained the supreme and sole source of
authority and law. The very Barbarians could not free themselves from
this theory, however little heed they paid to it in practice. Odoacer
acknowledged the sovereignty of the Empire without question. He merely
wished to control the civil and military administration in Italy.

Before beginning a sketch of the attempts to found a permanent Barbarian
government in Italy and to combine Barbarians and Romans in one people,
it is necessary to speak of a rising power which already constituted the
most important element in the situation. The Church was not only the one
vigorous body in Italy, but it had already begun to foreshadow its
future greatness. In the time of Constantine (323-337) and his immediate
successors, the bishops of Rome had no primacy over other bishops, but
they had claims to precedence, which they soon put to good use. Their
city was the cradle and home of Roman dominion. St. Paul had lived and
died there. Above all, as was universally acknowledged, the apostle
Peter had founded their bishopric. Theirs, in an especial sense, was the
Church to which Christ referred when He said to the apostle, "Thou art
Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell
shall not prevail against it." The bishops of Rome also derived immense
advantage from the absence of a temporal prince; whereas their chief
rivals, the patriarchs of Constantinople, were wholly eclipsed by the
presence of the Emperor. The removal of the great offices of government
to Constantinople and the absence of any real civil life, had left Rome
even then a mere ecclesiastical city, and the head of the Church became
the most important personage there. It was so generally acknowledged
that Roman bishops were entitled to that precedence in rank over other
bishops, which Rome enjoyed over other cities, that in 344 an Ecumenical
Council submitted a most important question to the decision of the Roman
See. One hundred years later the great pope, Leo I, merely gave
utterance to the general opinion when he said: "St. Peter and St. Paul
are the Romulus and Remus of the new Rome, as much superior to the old
as truth is to error. If ancient Rome was at the head of the pagan
world, St. Peter, prince of the Apostles, came to teach in the new Rome,
so that from her the light of Christianity should be shed over the

The Roman Church gathered to herself whatever remained of the
administrative ability of ancient Rome. With acute practical sense she
condemned those subtle doctrines that kept springing up in the East,
late flashes of Greek metaphysics; and though she may have cut herself
off from certain spiritual Neoplatonic thought, and have set her heart
too much upon domination, yet by her very adherence to dogma, by her
very insistence upon uniform law and obedience, by steadfastly
maintaining the purity and the unity of the Faith, she became the great
cohesive force in Europe, and by creating Christendom contributed
immensely to the cause of European civilization. Partly by good fortune,
partly by her success in making her cause prevail, Rome was always
orthodox. She remained staunchly Trinitarian. She fought the Arians, who
believed that the Son, created by the Father, could not be identical
with Him and could not have existed from the beginning. She fought the
Nestorians, who alleged that the Virgin was the mother of Christ only in
so far as He was man. She fought the Monophysites, who denied that
Christ had two distinct natures, human and divine. She fought always
gallantly, and always, or almost always, in the end triumphantly. In
those days ecclesiastical affairs were inseparable from political
affairs; no man dreamed of severing them either in fact or in theory;
the State and the Church were one fabric under a double aspect. The idea
of the State apart from the Church, or the Church apart from the State,
was no more imagined than the Darwinian theory.

If we now go back to Odoacer, and to his Barbarian successors, we shall
find that in their endeavours to establish an Italian kingdom they were
confronted by a threefold task,--to blend the Barbarian conquerors and
the subject Latins, to establish friendly relations with the Empire, and
to win the confidence and support of the Orthodox Church. In all the
long period of Barbarian dominion, each Barbarian chief in turn had to
face the imminent danger that these three political powers, the subject
people, the Church, and the Empire, should make common cause against
him. The Barbarians, in fact, were always unsuccessful. They never were
able to make Italy into one kingdom. These three enemies were too strong
for them. The inherent difficulties of the situation appear at once on
the deposition of Romulus Augustulus, and give whatever interest there
is to Odoacer's brief career. Over that career, which bridges the years
476 to 489, we need not pause, for Odoacer's attempt to establish a
permanent government over all Italy was so ephemeral, and also so
similar in all essential features to that of the Ostrogoths, his
successors, that an account of their attempt may serve for his as well.


[1] _Rome in the Middle Ages_, Gregorovius, vol. i, pp. 167, 168.



The Ostrogoths were a fine people; and historians have speculated sadly
on the immense advantage, the vast saving of ills, that would have
accrued to Italy had they succeeded in their attempt to establish a
kingdom. Such a union of strength and vigour with the gifted Italian
nature might well have produced a happy result. But my business is
merely to indicate why and how the attempt failed.

The Ostrogoths (East Goths), one branch of the great Gothic nation, of
which the Visigoths (West Goths) were the other, immediately prior to
their invasion of Italy inhabited Pannonia (now Austria) on the south
side of the Danube. They were a warlike people, and had given much
trouble to the Eastern Emperors, who had been obliged not only to bestow
upon them territory, but also to pay tribute. The reigning Emperor
eagerly seized the first opportunity to rid himself of them. He
suggested to their king, Theodoric,--hunter, soldier, statesman, a
big-limbed, heroic man, passionate but just,--that he should lead his
people into Italy, conquer Odoacer, and rule as Imperial lieutenant. As
Italy was far pleasanter than Pannonia, Theodoric gladly accepted the

The Goths, not more than two or three hundred thousand persons all
told, effected their tedious emigration in 488-489. It was an easy
matter to defeat the unstable Odoacer, and the Latins made no
resistance. Theodoric, now master of Italy, both by right of conquest
and by Imperial commission, set himself, in his turn, to the task of
uniting Barbarians and Romans throughout the peninsula under one stable
government. His difficulties were great. In the first place the
immigrating people whom he led, though mainly Goths, were a medley of
various tribes, and constituted an alien army of occupation in the midst
of an unfriendly population, perhaps ten times their number. This Roman
population, which had completely given up the use of arms, and never
took part in any fight more formidable than a riot, was largely urban
and lived in the cities which were scattered over Italy, almost the same
that exist to this day. In the north were Turin, Pavia, Ferrara, Milan,
Bergamo, Verona, Aquileia; on the east coast, Ravenna, Rimini, Ancona;
on the west coast and in the centre, Genoa, Pisa, Lucca, Perugia,
Spoleto, Rome, Benevento, Naples, Salerno, Amalfi; and in the south, the
old Greek cities. All the ordinary business of life was in Roman hands;
lawyers, physicians, weavers, spinners, carpenters, masons, cobblers,
were Roman. Many of the workmen on great estates were also Roman. The
Goths were primarily men-at-arms, and only exercised such rude crafts as
were required in village communities. The leaders became military
landowners. Naturally each race looked upon the other with suspicion,
dislike, and contempt. It is obvious that there was need of both time
and statesmanship before the two races would understand each other,
share occupations, inter-marry, and feel themselves countrymen.

Theodoric's policy falls under three heads,--relations with the subject
population, with the Emperor, and with the Church. With the Romans
Theodoric was just and considerate; he limited the division of lands
among his followers, so far as he could, to those lands which Odoacer's
followers had had; he left civil administration chiefly in Roman hands;
he let Romans live under Roman law and Goths under Gothic law. He
employed as his chief counsellor Cassiodorus, a great Roman noble of
wealth and learning; he issued a code compiled from the Imperial codes;
he reduced the taxation. Following the custom of the late Western
Emperors, he dwelt in Ravenna, where _S. Apollinare Nuovo_, _S.
Spirito_, a baptistery, and a mausoleum still testify to his presence.
When the State had been put in order, Theodoric made a royal progress to
Rome (500), where he was welcomed with Imperial honours. He promised to
uphold all the institutions established by Roman Emperors, and showed
himself as much interested in the city as if he had been a Roman. He
provided carefully for the preservation of all the monuments of
antiquity, repaired the walls, the aqueducts, the _cloacae_, and drained
the Pontine Marshes. He spoke of Rome as "the city which is indifferent
to none, since she is foreign to none; the fruitful mother of eloquence,
the spacious temple of every virtue, comprising within herself all the
cherished marvels of the universe, so that it may in truth be said, Rome
is herself one great marvel."[2] He renewed the distribution of bread,
celebrated games in the circus, and treated the Senate with great
distinction. In fact, until his breach with the Church, which turned all
the orthodox population against him, he walked closely in the Imperial
footsteps and was very successful in his relations with the Latin

Dealings with the Emperor were more difficult. Immediately after his
victory over Odoacer, Theodoric had asked the Emperor for the regalia
(the crown jewels and Imperial vestments) of the West, which had been
sent to Constantinople upon the deposition of Romulus Augustulus. This
embassy had been at first fobbed off, but finally the regalia were sent
him in token of full recognition of his authority. In the mean time
Theodoric's army without waiting for permission from the Emperor had
proclaimed him king; and in practice Theodoric always acted as an
independent king. In theory, however, he accepted the inclusion of Italy
in the Empire as a fundamental principle, and acknowledged that his
position was merely that of ruler of one of the Imperial provinces. The
Emperors, compelled by impotence to acquiesce in Theodoric's lieutenancy
of Italy, wished him in their hearts all possible bad luck, and bided
their time to make trouble for him. But this ill will was concealed
beneath the surface, and for about thirty years his relations with the
Empire, with some interruptions, were amicable enough.

Before speaking of Theodoric's relations with the Church, which were a
matter of politics, and had to be considered by him on general grounds
of policy, it is necessary to speak of the relations between the Church
and the Emperor, for the latter affected the former. There were always
difficulties, active or latent, between the Roman Church and the Empire.
There was jealousy between old Rome and new Constantinople. There was
misunderstanding between the Latin and Greek mind. There was friction
between Papal and Imperial authority. These troubles will appear more
clearly as we proceed. At this time it is only necessary to say that
during the first thirty years of Theodoric's reign, his period of
success and prosperity, there was discord between Pope and Emperor, a
kind of schism. The Byzantine Emperors, often men of cultivation, living
in the most civilized city of the world, interested themselves in
theology, and liked nothing better than to tinker with the Faith. To
this, also, they were pushed by political needs. Their subjects were
divided into the orthodox and the heterodox; and this diversity of
belief was always a menace to political unity. To heal the breach, the
reigning Emperor devised a scheme of compromise, a _via media_, on which
he hoped all would unite. The Papacy, incensed by this trifling with
orthodoxy, and by the assumption of an Imperial right to interfere in
matters of faith, denounced the compromise. A schism was the
consequence, which lasted until the reign of the Emperor Justin
(518-527), when the crafty statesman who guided Justin's policy, his
nephew, the famous Justinian, effected a reconciliation. For Justinian
already cherished an ambition to win back Italy for the Empire; and he
knew that that could not be done without the support of the Papacy. In
519 a papal embassy bearing the olive branch was warmly welcomed at
Constantinople; both Emperor and nephew condemned the compromise and
accepted the orthodox Catholic faith. Thus the breach was healed.

During the period of this breach between Empire and Papacy, the Gothic
king had managed his relations with the Church very prudently. Although
an Arian (like all Barbarians except the Franks), he was exceedingly
just to the Catholics. He carefully refrained from taking part in the
domestic affairs of the Church, until he was compelled to do so in the
interest of order. While in Rome he maintained a most correct attitude.
But though he acted with great moderation and only followed Imperial
precedents, the Church resented his interference. Do what Theodoric
would, the Papacy was his natural enemy. It felt instinctively that a
king of Italy must always overshadow the Pope, just as at Constantinople
the Emperor eclipsed the Patriarch, and that only upon condition of
keeping Italy without a strong government within its borders could the
Church attain its full stature. The ecclesiastical power was already
inimical to civil authority. The attitude of the Church toward Theodoric
presaged the history of the Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages,
and the kingdom of Italy in our day. Nevertheless, until the
reconciliation of Emperor and Pope, Theodoric had no serious trouble.

About the year 524 the crafty Justinian, strong in his complete
reconciliation with the Papacy, felt the time ripe to set about the
recovery of the lost provinces of the West, and made the first hostile
move. Perhaps, however, it is unjust to assign a purely political motive
to Justinian's action, for in his active Byzantine brain, policy,
theology, law, art, and ambition were curiously blended. An Imperial
edict was issued, persecuting Arians in various ways, and in particular
commanding that all Arian churches throughout the Empire should be
handed over to Catholics. This action of course received the approval of
the Pope, and was most effective in alienating the Arian Goths from the
Catholic Latins. Theodoric, who had been consistently tolerant to
Catholics, was very angry and threatened to retaliate by suppressing the
Catholic ritual throughout Italy. This threat threw the Papacy into
closer alliance with the Emperor, and aggrieved the Latin people. A new
generation had grown up in peace and comparative prosperity under
Theodoric's rule, and, forgetful that for these blessings it was
indebted to the Goths, began to give free play to its Latin prejudices.
Thus the three natural enemies of Gothic rule gradually drew together:
the Empire, from desire to recover Italy; the Papacy, to be rid of a
ruler; and the Latins, out of national prejudice.

Intrigues were started between Constantinople and some leading men in
Rome. How far the conspiracy went nobody knew. The king was in no mood
to act judicially. Several senators were arrested on the charge of high
treason, tried before partial or irregular tribunals, and put to death.
Of these senators the most famous was Boethius, who stands at the end
of Roman civilization, as Dante stands at the beginning of modern
civilization. The long centuries between the two constitute the Middle
Ages. It is interesting to note that Dante in his desolation after the
death of Beatrice took to console him the book which Boethius wrote in
prison, the "Consolations of Philosophy."

Boethius came of the most distinguished family in Rome. He and both his
sons had been consuls. He was a student of Plato, Aristotle, and of the
Neoplatonists; he had translated treatises on mathematics from the
Greek, and had written on philosophy and theology. He was an
encyclopedia of knowledge; when a hydraulic watch was wanted, or an
especially magnificent sundial, or a test to detect counterfeit money,
or a musician to be sent to a foreign potentate, he was the man to be
consulted. His "Consolations of Philosophy," which had immense vogue all
through the Middle Ages in every language, furnishes his apology, his
case against Theodoric, and gives the Latin view of the Barbarians. He
says: "The hatred against me was incurred while I was in office, because
I opposed the acts of oppression to which the Romans were subjected. The
greed of the Barbarians for the lands of the Romans, always unpunished,
grew greater day by day; they sought men's lives in order to get their
goods. How often have I protected and defended wretches from the
innumerable calumnies of the Barbarians who wished to devour them."[3]
To this Roman defence must be opposed the statement of a contemporary
historian: "Everything about the Barbarians, even the very smell of
them, was hateful to the Romans; nevertheless it often happened that
they, especially the poor, preferred the oppression of the Barbarians to
that of the Imperial officials. The rich Romans impose taxes but they do
not pay them; they make the poor pay them. And when peradventure the
taxes are diminished the relief goes not to the poor but to the rich; so
that, when it is a matter of paying it concerns the people, and when it
comes to the matter of reducing taxes it is as if the rich were the only
persons taxed at all. Not Franks, Huns, Vandals, nor Goths behave so

In spite of trials and executions Theodoric's anger and suspicion
increased; he compelled the Pope to go to Constantinople to ask that the
Arians be treated fairly and the Arian churches restored. The Pope
returned having obtained some favours for the Catholics, but nothing for
the Arians; whereupon Theodoric threw him into prison, and kept him
there till he died (526). He then nominated a successor, who was
promptly elected by the frightened Romans. This high-handed action
stimulated discontent so much that it seemed as if the time for a
Byzantine invasion had come, but Justinian, not having fully spun his
web, delayed. Perhaps he feared Theodoric and wished to wait for his
death. He did not have to wait long. That summer Theodoric died, and
with him Italy's best hopes died too.

With Theodoric's death ended the possibility of a Gothic monarchy. Even
in his reign a process of deterioration had set in among the young
generation. The decadent civilization of Italy wrought with fatal effect
upon the simple Goths; the luxurious ways, the idle habits, even the
refinements of the Latins, robbed them of their vigour and independence
of character. The conquerors became divided among themselves; some
inclined to the old Gothic traditions, some to the Latin ways. The royal
house affords a conspicuous instance of this deterioration; the boy king
succumbed to debauchery, his mother fell a victim to her Latin
sympathies, and his cousin, last of the royal line, a student of
literature and philosophy, showed himself perfectly incapable of action
and was deposed by his soldiers. Justinian, the spider, had been biding
his opportunity; now it had surely come. The Goths were disintegrated;
the Papacy and Latin people were with him; and his great general,
Belisarius, fresh from the brilliant conquest of the Vandal kingdom in
Africa, was ready for the task. In 535 the war for the reconquest of
Italy began.

The Goths were confused, divided, and without a leader, whereas
Belisarius was a man of military genius, and his army was composed of
veterans. The issue could not remain long in doubt. Naples, Rome, and
finally Ravenna, fell, and the reconquest would have been complete, but
that Justinian, jealous of a too successful general, recalled
Belisarius. The Goths improved their respite, and their king, Totila, a
very valiant soldier, for a time retrieved their falling fortunes.
Justinian, however, who had a remarkable knowledge of men, appointed
general-in-chief an extraordinary little old man, Narses, who, devoid of
all military experience, had passed his life in the Imperial civil
service. Narses handled his men as if he had been born and bred in a
camp, and, after a comparatively brief campaign in which Totila was
killed, compelled the last remnant of the Gothic army to surrender

Thus ended the first attempt to erect a Barbarian kingdom in Italy. Its
failure proved that without the support of the Catholic Church it was
impossible to establish a kingdom of Italy, for the Church controlled
the Latin people, and though these never fought, they had an hundred
ways of helping friends and hindering foes.


[2] _Rome in the Middle Ages_, Gregorovius, vol. i, p. 296.

[3] _Le invasioni barbariche_, Villari, pp. 167, 168, translated.



The Imperial dominion over all Italy had lasted scarce a dozen years
before another Barbarian nation, the Lombards, came and repeated the
experiment in which the Goths had failed. The period of Lombard dominion
lasted two hundred years (568-774). It is rather an uninteresting time;
nevertheless, like most history, it has a dramatic side. It makes a play
for four characters. The Lombards occupy the larger part of the stage,
but the protagonist is the Papacy. The Empire is the third character.
Finally, the Franks come in and dispossess the Lombards. The plot,
though it must spread over several chapters, is simple.

The scene of the play was pitiful. For nearly twenty years (535-553)
Italy had been one perpetual battlefield; whichever side won, the
unfortunate natives had to lodge and feed a foreign army, and endure all
the insolence of a brutal soldiery. Plague, pestilence, and famine
followed. The ordinary business of life came to a stop. Houses,
churches, aqueducts went to ruin; roads were left unmended, rivers
undiked. Great tracts of fertile land were abandoned. Cattle roamed
without herdsmen, harvests withered up, grapes shrivelled on the vines.
From lack of food came the pest. Mothers abandoned sick babies, sons
left their fathers' bodies unburied. The inhabitants of the cities fared
no better. Rome, for instance, had been captured five times. Before the
war her population had been 250,000; at its close not one tenth was
left. It is said that in one period every living thing deserted the
city, and for forty days the ancient mistress of the world lay like a
city of the dead. With peace came some respite; but the frightful
squeeze of Byzantine taxation was as bad as Barbarian conquest. Italy
sank into ignorance and misery. The Latin inhabitants hardly cared who
their masters were. They never had spirit enough to take arms and fight,
but meekly bowed their heads. Such was the scene on which these three
great actors, the Lombards, the Papacy, and the Empire, played their
parts. It is now time to describe the actors. We give precedence to the
Empire, as is its due.

This remnant of the Roman Empire, with its capital on the confines of
Europe and Asia, was an anomalous thing. It is a wonder that it
continued to exist at all. In fact, there is no better evidence of the
immense solidity of Roman political organization than the prolonged life
of the Eastern Empire. The countries under its sway, Thrace, Illyria,
Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, had no bond to hold them
together, except common submission to one central authority. By the end
of the sixth century, the Roman Empire was really Greek. The Greek
language was spoken almost exclusively in Constantinople, Latin having
dropped even from official use. Yet the Empire was still regarded as
the Roman Empire, and was looked up to by the young Barbarian kingdoms
of Europe with the respect which they deemed due to the Empire of
Augustus and Trajan. For instance, a king of the Franks addresses the
Emperor thus: "Glorious, pious, perpetual, renowned, triumphant Lord,
ever Augustus, my father Maurice, Imperator," and is content to be
called in return, "Childipert, glorious man, king of the Franks." Yet it
must be remembered that Constantinople at this time was the chief city
of Europe. Greek thought and Greek art lingered there. Justinian had
just built St. Sophia. In fact, Constantinople continued for centuries
to be the most civilized city in the world.

The Imperial government was an autocracy; all the reins, civil,
military, ecclesiastical, were gathered into the hands of the Emperor.
Its foreign policy was to repel its enemies, Persians to the east, Avars
to the north, Arabs to the south; its domestic policy was to hold its
provinces together and to extort money. The Emperors, many of whom were
able men, usually spent such time as could be spared from questions of
national defence and of finance in the study of theology, for at
Constantinople the problems of government were in great measure
religious. Next to the actual physical needs of life, the main interest
of the people was religion. A statesman who sought to preserve the
Empire whole, of necessity endeavoured to hold together its incohesive
parts by means of religious unity. This political need of religious
unity is the explanation, in the main, of the frequent theological
edicts and enactments.

The Emperors governed Italy, after the reconquest, by an Imperial
lieutenant, the Exarch, who resided at Ravenna, under a system of
administration preserved in mutilated form from times prior to the fall
of Romulus Augustulus. An attempt was made to keep civil and military
affairs separate, but the pressure of constant war threw all the power
into military hands. The peninsula, or such part of it as remained
Imperial after the Lombard invasion, was divided for administrative and
military purposes into dukedoms and counties, which were governed by
dukes and generals. The Byzantine officials were usually Greeks, bred in
Constantinople and trained in the Imperial system; they regarded
themselves as foreigners, and had neither the will nor the skill to be
of use to Italy. Their public business was to raise money for the
Empire, their private business to raise money for themselves.

In spite of these oppressions the Latin people preferred the Greeks to
the Lombards, partly because of their common Greco-Roman civilization,
partly because the Empire was still the Roman Empire; and this popular
support stood the Empire in good stead in the long war which it waged
with the Lombards. The Latin people did not fight, but they gave food
and information. The Empire, however, was ill prepared for a contest.
The recall of Narses removed from Italy the last bulwark against
Barbarian invasion. The Imperial army was weak, cities were poorly
garrisoned, fortifications badly constructed; and, but for the control
of the sea which enabled the Empire to hold the towns on the sea-coast,
the whole of Italy would have fallen, like a ripe apple, into the hands
of the invaders. The Empire, in fact, was exhausted by the effort of
reconquest and had neither moral nor material strength to spare from its
home needs.

The Lombards, if inferior in dignity to the Empire, played a far more
active part in this historic drama. They came originally from the
mysterious North, and after wandering about eastern Europe had at last
settled near the Danube, where part of them were converted to Arian
Christianity. Discontented with their habitation, and pressed by wilder
Barbarians behind them, they were glad to take advantage of the
defenceless condition of Italy. They knew how pleasant a land it was,
for many of them had served as mercenaries under Narses. The whole
nation, with a motley following from various tribes, amounted to about
two or three hundred thousand persons. They crossed the Alps in 568.

There were many points of difference between these invaders and the
Goths. The Lombards had had little intercourse with the Empire, and were
far less civilized than their predecessors, and far inferior in both
military and administrative capacity. Their leader, Alboin, cannot be
compared in any respect with Theodoric. Moreover, Theodoric came,
nominally at least, as lieutenant of the Emperor, and affected to deem
his sovereignty the continuation of Imperial rule; whereas the Lombards
regarded only the title of the sword and invariably fought the Empire as
an enemy.

The invaders met little active resistance; if they had had control of
the sea, they would readily have conquered the whole peninsula. They
overran the North and strips of territory down the centre within a few
years, and afterwards gradually spread little by little; but they never
conquered the South, the duchy of Rome, or the Adriatic coast. For the
greater part of the two hundred years during which the Lombard dominion
existed, the map of Italy bore the following aspect: the Empire retained
the little peninsula of Istria; the long strip of coast from the
lowlands of Venetia to Ancona, protected by its maritime cities,
Ravenna, Rimini, Pesaro, Sinigaglia; and the duchy of Rome, which spread
along the Tyrrhene shore from Civita Vecchia to Gaeta; Naples and
Amalfi; the territories of the heel and toe; and also Sicily and
Sardinia. The boundaries were never fixed. Of the Lombard kingdom all
one need remember is that it was a loose confederation of three dozen
duchies; and that of these duchies, Spoleto, a little north of Rome, and
Benevento, a little northeast of Naples, were the most important, as
well as the most detached from the kingdom. In fact, these two were
independent duchies, and rarely if ever took commands from Pavia, the
king's capital, except upon compulsion.

At the time of the invasion the Lombards were barbarians; and they did
not make rapid progress in civilization. Fond of their native ways, of
hunting and brawling, they were loath to adopt the arts of peace, and
left most forms of craft and industry to the conquered Latins.
Nevertheless, it was impossible to avoid the consequences of daily
contact with a far more developed people, and their manners became more
civilized with each generation. The royal house affords an indication of
the change which was wrought during the two hundred years. Alboin, the
original invader (died 573), killed another Barbarian king, married his
daughter, and forced her to drink from a cup made of her father's skull.
The last Lombard king, Desiderius (died about 780), cultivated the
society of scholars, and his daughter learned by heart "the golden
maxims of philosophy and the gems of poetry." Each advance of the
Lombards in civilization was a gain to the Latins, who, especially in
the country where they worked on farms, were little better than serfs.
The two races drew together slowly. The conversion of the Lombards from
Arian to Catholic Christianity (600-700) diminished the distance between
them. Intermarriage must soon have begun; but not until the conquest by
the Franks does there seem to have been any real blending of the races.

The most conspicuous trait in the Lombard character was political
incompetence. It would have required but a little steadiness of purpose,
a little political foresight, a little spurt of energy, to conquer
Ravenna, Rome, Naples and the other cities held by the Byzantines, and
make Italy into one kingdom. Failure was due to the weakness of the
central government, which was unable to weld the petty dukedoms
together. This cutting up of Italy into many divisions left deep scars.
Each city, with the territory immediately around it, began to regard
itself as a separate state, with no sense of duty towards a common
country; each cultivated individuality and jealousy of its neighbours,
until these qualities, gradually growing during two hundred years,
presented insuperable difficulties to the formation of an Italian
national kingdom.

In spite of their political incompetence the Lombards left their mark on
Italy, especially on Lombardy and the regions occupied by the strong
duchies of Spoleto and Benevento. For centuries Lombard blood appears in
men of vigorous character; and Lombard names, softened to suit Italian
ears, linger on among the nobility. In fact, the aristocracy of Italy
from Milan to Naples was mainly Teutonic, and the principal element of
the Teutonic strain was Lombard.


THE CHURCH (568-700)

One great political effect of the Lombard conquest was the opportunity
which it gave the Papacy, while Lombard and Byzantine were buffeting
each other, to grow strong and independent. Had Italy remained a Greek
province the Pope would have been a mere provincial bishop, barely
taking ceremonial precedence of the metropolitans of Ravenna, Aquileia,
and Milan; had Italy become a Lombard kingdom, the Pope would have been
a royal appointee; but with the Lombard kings fighting the Byzantine
Exarchs, each side needing papal aid and sometimes bidding for it, the
Pope was enabled to become master of the city and of the duchy of Rome,
and the real head of the Latin people as well as of the Latin clergy. In
fact, the growth of the Roman Catholic Church is the most interesting
development in this period. The Lombards gave it the opportunity to grow
strong and independent, but the power to take advantage of the
opportunity came from within. This power was compact of many elements,
secular and spiritual. From the ills of the world men betook themselves
with southern impulsiveness to things religious; they sought refuge,
order, security in the Church. In the greater interests of life among
the Latins the rising ecclesiastical fabric had no competitor. Paganism
had vanished before Christianity, philosophy before theology.
Literature, art, science had perished. Italy had ceased to be a country.
The ancient Empire of Rome had faded into a far-away memory. The wreck
of the old nobility left the ecclesiastical hierarchy without a rival.
In the midst of the general ruin of Roman civilization the Church stood
stable, offering peace to the timid, comfort to the afflicted,
refinement to the gentle, a home to the homeless, a career to the
ambitious, power to the strong. By a hundred strings the Church drew men
to her; in a hundred modes she sowed the prolific seeds of
ecclesiastical patriotism. She was essentially Roman, and gathered to
herself whatever was left of life and vigour in the Roman people. With a
structure and organization framed on the Imperial pattern, she slowly
assumed in men's minds an Imperial image; and Rome, a provincial town
whose civil magistrates busied themselves with sewers and aqueducts,
again began to inspire men with a strange confidence in a new Imperial

In addition to the strength derived from her immense moral and spiritual
services, the Church had the support of two potent forces, ignorance and
superstition. The general break-up of the old order had lowered the
common level of knowledge. Everybody was ignorant, everybody was
superstitious. The laws of nature were wholly unknown. Every ill that
happened, whether a man tripped over his threshold, or a thunderbolt hit
his roof, was ascribed to diabolic agencies. The old pagan
personification of natural forces, without its poetry, was revived. The
only help lay in the priest, a kind of magical protector, who with
beads, relics, bones, incense, and incantation defended poor humanity
from the assaults of devils. Thus, while all civil society suffered from
ignorance, while every individual suffered from the awful daily, hourly,
presence of fear, the Church profited by both.

Beside these intangible resources, the Church, or to speak more
precisely the Papacy, had others of a material kind. For centuries pious
men, especially when death drew near, had made great gifts of land to
the bishops of Rome, until these bishops had become the greatest landed
proprietors in Italy. Most of their estates were in Sicily, but others
were scattered all over Italy, and even in Gaul, Illyria, Sardinia, and
Corsica. In extent they covered as much as eighteen hundred square
miles, and yielded an enormous income. This income enabled the Popes to
maintain churches and monasteries, schools and missionaries, to buy off
raiding armies of Lombards, and also to equip soldiers of their own.
These estates the Church owned as a mere private landlord. During the
Gothic dominion and the restoration of Imperial rule, she had no rights
of sovereignty. But later on, during the disturbed period of border war
between Lombards and Greeks, we find the Popes actually ruling the duchy
of Rome.

The corner-stone of the great papal power, however, was laid by the
genius of one man, who organized the monastic sentiment of the sixth
century and put it to the support of the Papacy. There had been monks in
Italy long before St. Benedict (480-544), but as civil society
disintegrated, men in ever greater numbers fled from the world, and
sought peace in solitude and in monastic communities. St. Benedict
perceived that the monastic rules and customs derived from the East were
ill suited to the West; so he devised a monastic system, and formulated
his celebrated Rule, which became the pattern for all other monastic
rules in Europe. He founded a monastery at Subiaco, a little village
near Rome, and afterwards the famous abbey on Monte Cassino, a high hill
midway between Rome and Naples, which became the mother of all
Benedictine monasteries and shone like a light in the Dark Ages.
Benedict's ideal was to help men shut themselves off from the
temptations of life and realize, as far as they could, the prayer "Thy
kingdom come ... on earth as it is in Heaven." He ordained community of
property, and required a novitiate. Most strictly he forbade idleness,
and with special insistence exhorted his brethren to till the ground
with their own hands. Intellectual interests followed; and Benedictine
monks became the teachers not only of agriculture, but of handicraft, of
art and learning. His Order spread fast over Italy and Gaul, and in time
over Spain, England, and Germany. Its communities, like the old _castra
romana_, upheld the authority of Rome and enforced her dominion.

The attractions of the monastic life at Monte Cassino are well set out
in a letter written (after St. Benedict's day) to one of the abbots, by
a man of the world who had once lived there: "Though great spaces
separate me from your company, I am bound to you by a clinging
affection that can never be loosed, nor are these short pages enough to
tell you of the love that torments me all the time for you, for the
superiors and for the brethren. So much so that when I think about those
leisure days spent in holy duties, the pleasant rest in my cell, your
sweet religious affection, and the blessed company of those soldiers of
Christ, bent on holy worship, each brother setting a shining example of
a different virtue, and the gracious talks on the perfections of our
heavenly home, I am overcome, all my strength goes, and I cannot keep
tears from mingling with the sighs that burst from me. Here I go about
among Catholics, men devoted to Christian worship; everybody receives me
well, everybody is kind to me from love of our father Benedict, and for
the sake of your merits; but compared with your monastery the palace is
a prison; compared with the quiet there this life is a tempest."[4]

What Benedict did for the monastic orders, another great man, St.
Gregory (540-604), did for the Papacy itself. Gregory the Great, the
most commanding figure in the history of Europe between Theodoric and
Charlemagne, was a Roman, made of the same stuff as Scipio and Cato, and
presented the interesting character of a Christian and an antique Roman
combined. Born of a noble Roman family, Gregory was educated in Rome,
and entered the service of the state, in which he rose to the high
office of prefect of the city; but, dissatisfied with civil life, he
abandoned it and became a monk. He wanted to give himself up wholly to
a monastic life, but deemed it his duty to accept office in the papal
service, and filled the distinguished position of papal ambassador (to
use a modern term) at the Imperial court at Constantinople. In 590 he
was elected Pope, half against his will, for he desired to be either a
monk or a missionary; but he felt that the hopes of civilization and the
future of religion lay in the Papacy, and he applied himself with energy
to his new task. This task was as complex and multifarious as possible.
It concerned all Europe, from Sicily to England. Rome itself was in a
deplorable condition, left undefended by the Exarch, and threatened by
the Lombards of Spoleto, who harried the country to the very gates,
murdering some Romans and carrying others off as slaves. Gregory had to
take complete control of the city, military and civil. He wrote: "I do
not know any more whether I now fill the office of priest or of temporal
prince; I must look to our defence and everything else. I am paymaster
of the soldiers." He kept up the courage of the Romans, and tried to
draw spiritual good out of their plight. It was impossible for a
contemporary eye to see that under present wretchedness lay germinating
the seeds of empire; yet Gregory acted as if he beheld them. In spite of
apprehensions of the end of the world he organized the Church to endure
for centuries. Both at home and abroad he displayed a tireless activity.

Among the foreign events of his pontificate are the conversion of
England by Augustine (597) and the ministry of St. Columbanus (543-615)
among the Franks, Alemanni, and Lombards. It was Gregory who saw the
handsome fairhaired boys from England standing in the market-place and
said, "Non Angli sed angeli." He had the true imperial instinct, and
always encouraged the clergy in distant parts of Europe to visit Rome
and to apply to Rome for counsel and aid. The respect in which he was
held may be inferred from the titles given him by Columbanus: "To the
holy lord and father in Christ, the most comely ornament of the Roman
Church, the most august flower, so to speak, of all this languishing
Europe, the illustrious overseer, to him who is skilled to inquire into
the theory of the Divine causality, I, a mean dove (Columbanus), send
Greeting in Christ." Gregory also maintained close relations with the
clergy in Africa, and received homage from the Spanish bishops, for
Spain had recently been converted from Arianism to Catholicism. He was
by no means content to confine his dealings to the clergy, but was in
frequent correspondence with kings and queens of western Europe, as well
as with the Emperor and Empress in Constantinople. His immense energy
made itself felt everywhere. He made rules for the liturgy; and mass is
still celebrated partly according to his directions. He reformed church
music and founded schools for the Gregorian chant. He administered the
papal revenues, superintending the management of farms, stables, and
orchards. He founded monasteries, he supported hospitals and asylums.

Benedict and Gregory are the two great figures of this period, and,
though no worthy successor followed for several generations, they did
their work so well that the Papacy, like a great growing oak, continued
to spread its power conspicuously in the eyes of the world, and also,
out of sight, in the hearts and habits of men.

The relations between the Papacy and the Empire were difficult. The
Popes were subjects of the Emperor. The whole ecclesiastical
organization throughout the Empire was subject to the Imperial will,
just as the civil or military service was. The Papacy did not like this
position of subordination and resented any interference in papal
affairs. Though Odoacer, Theodoric, and Justinian had always asserted
their right to exercise a supervision over papal elections, the Popes
had never acquiesced willingly, and even in those early days showed a
marked disposition to take exclusive control of what they deemed their
own affairs. It might be supposed that the Papacy, mindful of the great
danger of a Lombard conquest of Rome, would have clung to the Empire;
but after the Lombards had become Catholics the gap between the Romans
and the Greco-Oriental Empire was nearly as wide as that between them
and the Lombards. There was a fundamental difference between the Greek
mind, floating over metaphysics and speculative theology, and the Roman
mind, bound to political conceptions and practical ends. A theology
which would satisfy a congregation in St. Sophia would not suit the
worshippers in St. Peter's. The Empire, obliged to adapt theological
niceties to political necessities, favoured any creed of compromise,
which should promote political concord and unity. Rome, with its
despotic, imperial instincts, felt that orthodoxy was its strength, and
maintained an inflexible creed. The two were an ill-yoked pair, and
quarrels were inevitable.

The relations between the Papacy and the Lombards were more simple. They
varied between war, and friendship real or feigned. In the beginning,
and even, as we have seen, in Gregory's time, there was war; but then
began the conversion of the Lombards to Christianity, and intervals of
peace followed, during which the Lombard king saluted the Pope as "Most
Holy Father," and the Pope replied "My well-beloved Son."


[4] _Le cronache italiane del medio evo descritte_, Ugo Balzani



We now come to the separation of the Latin world from the Greek world in
both political and ecclesiastical affairs, and to the reconstruction of
Europe by the alliance of the Franks and the Papacy. The plot continues
to be very simple. The Empire, pressed by dangerous enemies, tried once
more to gain political strength by ecclesiastical legislation; the
effect of this legislation on the Imperial provinces in Italy was to
cause rebellion. The Papacy broke the ties that bound it to the Empire;
then, finding itself defenceless before the Lombards, made an alliance
with the Franks, who invaded Italy and overthrew the Lombards.

In order to elaborate this plot, we must begin with the great Asiatic
movement of the seventh century; for this movement acted as a cause of
causes to split the Latins from the Greeks, to exalt the Papacy, and to
form the Holy Roman Empire. In one of the tribes of Arabia, without
heralding, appeared a man, who at the age of forty became a religious
prophet, and by the force of genius constructed one of the great
religions of the world. Mohammed's religion worked on the ardent Arabian
temperament like magic, and engendered a fierce passion for conquest and
proselytizing. Tribes cohered, became both a sect and a nation, and
swept like wildfire over the west of Asia and the north of Africa.
Mohammed died in 632, but his successors, the Caliphs, carried on his
work; under the inspiration of the slogan, "Before you is Paradise,
behind you the devil and the fire of hell," they advanced from conquest
to conquest. Cities and provinces were torn from the Empire. Damascus,
Syria, Jerusalem, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Egypt, Rhodes fell in rapid
succession; next Africa, bit by bit. Persia was beaten to her knees.
Sicily was raided. Twice Constantinople had to fight for life.

Naturally Byzantine statesmen felt that some radical step must be taken,
or all the remnants of the Empire would be reduced to slavery. A
vigorous Emperor, Leo the Isaurian (717-741), took the radical step. It
was necessarily religious, for, in Constantinople, political action
always took a religious complexion. Leo issued a decree forbidding the
use of images in churches and in Christian worship (726). Those in place
he ordered broken. He acted no doubt from high motives, thinking to
ennoble religion and to arouse patriotism; but his people disagreed with
him. In the East riots and civil war broke out. These were suppressed,
but discontent and persistent opposition remained. In Italy also the
excitement was intense. The country had already been irritated by severe
taxation, and when the decree of iconoclasm was published, the
image-loving Italians rose in a body. The Pope, as most hurt in
conscience by the decree, and in pocket by the taxation, was the natural
head of resistance. The Exarch attempted to arrest him, but both Latins
and Lombards rallied to his defence. In some places open revolt broke
out, and a plot was started to set up another Emperor in place of the
wicked iconoclast who polluted the Imperial throne. But the Pope,
Gregory II (715-731), was a prudent man, and was not ready to take a
step which would deprive Rome of its single defence from the Lombards.
He opposed the rebellious plan, but in the matter of maintaining the
images he stood like a rock. His successor, Gregory III (731-741), went
farther, and took decisive action. He convoked a synod, which expelled
every image-breaker from the Church (731). This was tantamount to a
direct excommunication of the Emperor, and a declaration of papal
independence. The Emperor was powerless to compel obedience. Thus began
the great split between the Papacy and the Byzantine Empire, between
western and eastern Europe, between the Latin Church and the Greek. Some
of the western provinces, Calabria, Sicily, and Illyria, which were
practically Greek, remained faithful to the Empire and shared its
fortunes for several hundred years more. Ecclesiastically they were
removed from the jurisdiction of the Popes to that of the Patriarchs of

This breach between the Papacy and the Empire led inevitably to an
alliance between the Papacy and the Franks, which is of such great
historical consequence that it must be recounted in some detail. While
the Empire and the Papacy were quarrelling over ecclesiastical matters,
western Europe had been changing. The Frankish kingdom had been
established in what is now Belgium, Holland, and large parts of France
and Germany, and was the one great Christian power in Europe. Therefore,
when the Papacy had cut loose from the Empire and saw itself defenceless
against the Lombards, it had no alternative but to seek help from the
Franks. There were also two special reasons for friendship between the
Franks and the Papacy. First, the Franks, alone of Barbarians, had been
converted to Catholic Christianity. Secondly, in their endeavours to
enlarge their eastern borders, the Franks had been greatly assisted by
the missionaries, who--in the normal course, missionaries, merchants,
soldiers--had prepared the way for Frankish conquest, and had
strengthened the Frankish power when established. These missionaries
were absolutely devoted to the Roman See; they spread papal loyalty
wherever they went, and wrought a strong bond of union between the
Frankish kingdom and the Papacy. This union of sympathy and interest was
an excellent basis for a political union; and the time soon came for
such a development.

When the iconoclastic revolts occurred in Italy, and the Popes broke
with the Empire, the Lombard kings thought that their opportunity to
conquer all Italy had come. But instead of making one bold campaign
against Rome and the South, they merely laid hands on a few border
cities. The Popes turned with frantic appeals for help to the only power
that could help them, the Franks. Every time the Lombard king made a
hostile move, the Pope cried aloud for aid. For some time the Franks
deemed that the balance of political considerations was against
intervention and refused to take part in Italian affairs. Charles
Martel, mayor of the palace and ruler of the Franks in all but name,
stood firm on the policy of non-interference; but his son and successor,
Pippin the Short, took a different view. Pippin judged that the time had
come to depose the royal Merovingian family and to exalt his own, the
Carlovingian, in its stead. As the Merovingians had reigned for two
hundred and fifty years, the step was revolutionary, and Pippin wished
to strengthen his position by the support of the Papacy. He sent
messengers to the Pope, Zacharias, to ask advice; and the Pope,
according to the chronicler, "in the exercise of his apostolical
authority replied to their question, that it seemed to him better and
more expedient that the man who held power in the kingdom should be
called king and be king, rather than he who falsely bore that name.
Therefore the Pope commanded the king and the people of the Franks, that
Pippin, who was using royal power, should be called king and should be
settled on the throne." The last Merovingian, therefore, was tonsured
and stowed away in a monastery, and Pippin became king of the Franks
(751). Without accepting the monkish chronicler's statement, that the
Pope commanded Pippin to be king, there can be little doubt that the
papal sanction was of very real value to Pippin, and that Pippin let it
appear that he was acting rather in conformity with the Pope's will than
with his own.

Thus the Pope laid Pippin under a great obligation; it now remained for
Pippin to discharge that obligation. It was not long before the time

The Lombard king felt that his opportunity was slipping by, and acted
with some vigour. He captured Ravenna and threatened Rome. The Pope
hurried across the Alps. He anointed and crowned Pippin; he likewise
anointed and blessed his son Charles (Charlemagne), and forbade the
Franks under pain of excommunication ever to choose their king from any
other family. These three great favours, the transfer of the royal
title, the coronation rite, and the perpetual confirmation of the
Carlovingian sovereignty, called for a great return. Pippin promised
that the Adriatic provinces, taken by the Lombards from the Byzantines,
should be ceded by the Lombards to the Pope. This promise Pippin
fulfilled. He crossed the Alps, defeated the Lombard king, and forced
him to cede the Exarchate of Ravenna and the five cities below it on the
coast, to the Pope, who thereby became an actual sovereign. Thus Pippin
discharged his obligation to the Papacy.

This beginning of the Papal monarchy is so important that the theoretic
origin may as well be mentioned here. There was a legend, universally
believed, that an early Pope, Silvester (314-335) healed the Emperor
Constantine of leprosy, and that the Emperor, in gratitude, made a great
grant of territory to the Pope. The fact appears to have been that
Constantine, although not cured of the leprosy, did give to Silvester
the Lateran palace and a plot of ground around it. This little donation
grew in legend like a grain of mustard seed, and served the purpose of
the Roman clergy. No good Roman would have been content with a title
derived from the Lombards or the Franks. In Roman eyes these Barbarians
never had any title to Italian territory; they could give none. The only
possible source of legal title was the Empire. In the gift by
Constantine to Silvester papal adherents had a foundation of fact. That
was enough. It is quite unnecessary to imagine false dealing. People in
those days believed that what they wished true was true. This legend was
accepted and embodied in concrete form in a document known as the
_Donation of Constantine_, which is so important in explaining the
attitude of the Papacy throughout the Middle Ages, that it may be

"In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost, the Emperor Cæsar Flavius Constantine ... to the most holy and
blessed Father of Fathers, Silvester, bishop of Rome and Pope, and to
all his successors in the seat of St. Peter to the end of the world...."
Here comes, interspersed with snatches of Christian dogma, a rambling
narrative of his leprosy, of the advice of his physicians to bathe in a
font on the Capitol filled with the warm blood of babies; how he
refused, how Peter and Paul appeared in a dream and sent him to
Silvester, how he then abjured paganism, accepted the creed, was
baptized and healed, and how he then recognized that heathen gods were
demons and that Peter and his successors had all power on earth and in
heaven. After this long preamble comes the grant:

"We, together with all our Satraps and the whole Senate, Nobles and
People ... have thought it desirable that even as St. Peter is on earth
the appointed Vicar of God, so also the Pontiffs his viceregents should
receive from us and from our Empire, power and principality greater than
belongs to us ... and to the extent of our earthly Imperial power we
decree that the Sacrosanct Church of Rome shall be honoured and
venerated, and that higher than our terrestrial throne shall the most
sacred seat of St. Peter be gloriously exalted.

"Let him who for the time shall be pontiff over the holy Church of Rome
... be sovereign of all the priests in the whole world; and by his
judgment let all things which pertain to the worship of God or the faith
of Christians be regulated.... _We hand over and relinquish our palace,
the city of Rome, and all the provinces, places, and cities of Italy and
the western regions, to the most blessed Pontiff and universal Pope,
Silvester_; and we ordain by our pragmatic constitution that they shall
be governed by him and his successors, and we grant that they shall
remain under the authority of the holy Roman Church."[5]

The date of this document and many statements in it are anachronisms and
errors. It was composed about the time of Pippin's _Donation_, probably
by somebody connected with the papal chancery, and may be considered to
be a pious forgery representing the facts as the writer deemed they were
or else should be. It was officially referred to for the first time in
777, but did not receive its full celebrity until the eleventh century,
when the relations of the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire became the
centre of European history.


[5] _Italy and her Invaders_, T. Hodgkin, vol. vii, pp. 149-151; _Select
Historical Documents of the Middle Ages_, Ernest F. Henderson, pp.



The papal theory embodied in the _Donation of Constantine_ was obviously
crammed with seeds of future strife; for the present, however, the
fortunes of the House of Pippin and of the Papacy were bound together in
amity. The constant accession of strength to the former and of prestige
to the latter made them the central figures of European politics. The
new political form to which their union gave birth slowly shaped itself.
In Italy the first step was to get rid of the Lombards. On the death of
the Lombard King, Aistulf, there were two claimants for the throne. One
of the two, Desiderius, secured the Pope's help by the promise of ceding
more cities, and became king. The Pope, writing to Pippin, says: "Now
that Aistulf, that disciple of the devil, that devourer of Christian
blood is dead; and that by your aid and that of the Franks [a
complimentary phrase, for Pippin seems to have done nothing] he is
succeeded by Desiderius, a most gentle and good man, we pray you to urge
him to continue in the right way." But the "most gentle and good"
Desiderius strayed from the right way, and did not cede the promised
cities. So the Pope besought Pippin to use force; but Pippin thought
that he had done enough, and the Pope was obliged to rest content.
Pippin died in 768. One can imagine the consternation at Rome on
Pippin's death to learn that the dowager queen of the Franks was
arranging a marriage between her son Charlemagne and a daughter of
Desiderius, and another marriage between her daughter and a son of
Desiderius. The Pope wrote in terror that the plan was of the devil, and
forbade it under the pains of everlasting damnation; nevertheless,
Charlemagne married the daughter of Desiderius (770).

The Pope's anticipations, however, were not justified; the horrible
union of the House of Pippin with the "unspeakable" Lombards came to an
abrupt end. Charlemagne, probably from personal dislike, put away his
wife, and sent her ignominiously back to her father. Desiderius, angry
at the insult, rushed upon his fate; he not only intrigued in Frankish
affairs against Charlemagne, but he also seized many of the cities given
to the Pope by the _Donation of Pippin_. He invaded the duchy of Rome,
and advanced within fifty miles of the city. This time Charlemagne acted
in conformity with the papal entreaties. He crossed the Alps, routed the
Lombard army, captured Pavia, took Desiderius prisoner and assumed the
title of King of the Lombards (773-774). He went on to Rome, and
solemnly confirmed the _Donation of Pippin_, and also made a further
_Donation_. This latter _Donation_, which led to disputes between the
Papacy and Charlemagne's successors, is a matter of great uncertainty.
Subsequent papal advocates claimed that it embraced two thirds of Italy.
Probably Charlemagne only intended to restore to the Papacy its private
property scattered throughout northern and central Italy, which had been
seized by the Lombards.

Charlemagne, having disposed of the Lombards, continued his conquests;
across the Pyrenees he annexed the Spanish March, in North Germany he
subdued the Saxons and pushed his frontier to the Elbe, to the southeast
he subjugated the country as far as the upper Danube. His monarchy now
included Franks, Celts, Visigoths, Burgundians, Saxons, Lombards,
Romans. How were such widespread territories and such diverse peoples to
be united in permanent union? The far-seeing Papacy, in answer to this
question, propounded the revival of the Roman Empire of the Cæsars.
Reasons were numerous. The Frankish monarchy, with its conquests, in
bulk at least was not unworthy to succeed to Imperial Rome. Throughout
this wide territory there was a great network of ligaments; from Gascony
to Bavaria, from Lombardy to Frisia, divine service was celebrated in
the Latin tongue and with the Roman ritual; bishops, priests, monks, and
missionaries acknowledged their dependence upon the Pope and looked to
Rome, with its holy basilicas and apostolic tradition, as the centre of
Christendom. This Christian unity was a constant argument for political
unity. A second argument was the still vigorous Roman tradition. The
idea of nationality was as yet undeveloped; Europe had known no other
political system than common subjection to the Roman Empire, and all
notions of civilization were of a civilization on the Roman pattern.
When the Roman Empire in the West had decayed, the Church had adopted
the Imperial organization and kept remembrance of the old system fresh
in men's minds. The old Empire, moreover, had early lost the notion of
dependence on the city of Rome, for the seat of government had been set
at Constantinople, at Milan, and at Ravenna; and since the days of the
early Cæsars, it had not been necessary for an Emperor to be a native
Roman. There was no theoretical difficulty to bar a Frank from the
Imperial throne or forbid the seat of government to a Frankish city. In
fact, nobody could conceive of the Empire as other than Roman, and the
Frankish kingdom could only become an empire by becoming the Roman

The Papacy had special reasons for these views. Under the Empire
Christianity had grown up; under the Empire it had obtained power and
dominion, and had become the state religion. The Church might quarrel
with Emperors, but it regarded the Empire--the source of secular law and
order--as its joint tenant in the world. The one represented religious
unity, the other represented civil unity. In addition to these large
arguments, local reasons affected the Papacy. Shortly before the
expulsion of the Lombards from Italy, the lack of a strong government
had been wofully felt. One usurper and then another had been put in St.
Peter's chair in riot and bloodshed. It had become plain as day that the
Papacy of itself, without the support of a potent secular power, was not
able to maintain its dignity, nor even to enforce order in the very city
of Rome. The Papacy could not endure without the Empire. The very
titles which the Frankish kings had gradually received led up to the
Imperial title. Gregory II had called Charles Martel "Patrician," a
vague title of honour held by the Exarchs; Gregory III had offered to
him the titles both of Patrician and of Consul; Stephen II bestowed upon
Pippin the title of Patrician of the Romans; Charlemagne's own titles
were King of the Franks, King of the Lombards, Patrician of the Romans;
and his son had been crowned by the Pope, King of Italy (781). The title
next in order was undoubtedly Emperor of the Romans. Charlemagne himself
was a man of gigantic stature and great strength, indefatigable in
action, and delighting in hunting, swimming, and martial exercise. His
mind also was mighty, restlessly pondering questions of state, of
church, of war, of social improvement. He was the greatest of
Barbarians, cast by Nature in an imperial mould.

On the other hand there was one conspicuous difficulty in the way of
reviving the Roman Empire; this difficulty was that the Roman Empire
still existed, and that there was a living Emperor, the legitimate
successor of Cæsar Augustus. But that Empire was virtually Greek, and
the Emperor no more like Cæsar Augustus than like Hercules. The city by
the Tiber had as good title to be the Imperial city as her younger rival
by the Bosphorus; the _Roman Republic_ (whatever that ill-defined title
may mean), represented by the Pope, had as fair a claim to elect the
Emperor, as the army and office-holders at Constantinople. In fact, to
Papal and Roman eyes, the rights of Rome were much greater than those of

To us, as we look back, nothing seems more natural than that the great
Frankish king, after the conquest of Italy, should have brushed aside
the theoretical difficulty of an existing Roman Empire and assumed the
Imperial title, Emperor of the Romans. History moves more slowly.
Charlemagne was a Frank, accustomed to Frankish usages and ideas; he
hesitated to adopt formally a wholly different conception of sovereignty
and society. His nobles probably agreed with the advice given by Pope
Zacharias to Pippin, that the man who held the power should receive the
corresponding title, but being Franks they thought the dignity of
Frankish king sufficient. So matters stood with nothing between
Charlemagne and the Imperial crown but a theoretic difficulty, and a
certain reluctance. Unexpectedly and in quick succession, events in
Constantinople swept away the theoretic difficulty, and events in Rome
gave the Pope sufficient energy to overcome the reluctance.

At Constantinople, the dowager Empress blinded and deposed her son the
Emperor (797), and assumed to rule as sole _Augusta_. This wickedness,
and the ancient doctrine that, though a woman might lawfully share the
Imperial throne, she might not reign alone, combined to render plausible
a theory readily adopted in the West, that the Imperial throne had
become vacant. The event in Rome was this. A savage gang of nobles and
ecclesiasts attacked Pope Leo III in the street, beat him, half-blinded
him, cut his tongue, and imprisoned him in a monastery (799). He escaped
and fled to Charlemagne in Germany. His enemies followed and charged him
with various crimes. Charlemagne sent him back to Rome in the company
of some great nobles, who were commissioned to investigate the charges,
and went himself also. There, in St. Peter's basilica, in the presence
of Frankish nobles and Roman ecclesiasts, with Charlemagne presiding,
the Pope took a solemn oath of innocence (December 4, 800). Such an oath
according to the jurisprudence of the time was necessarily followed by
acquittal; and the Pope's innocence necessarily proved the guilt of his
accusers, who were punished.

Such crimes, east and west, were insufferable. Something had to be done.
Everybody looked to Charlemagne. His position as head of Christendom was
acknowledged even beyond the bounds of western Europe. The Patriarch of
Jerusalem, a subject of the Caliph Haroun al Raschid, sent to
Charlemagne the keys of Calvary and of the Holy Sepulchre and the banner
of the Holy City. Obviously it was time for the Imperial dignity to be
added to Imperial power.

On Christmas day in the year 800, Charlemagne and a great procession of
Frankish nobles and Roman citizens made their way through the streets of
Rome towards the basilica of St. Peter's, whose gilt bronze roof, taken
from a pagan temple, shone conspicuous on the Vatican hill. They walked
through the Aurelian gate and across the bridge over the Tiber, then
turning to the left, followed the colonnade which extended all the way
from Hadrian's Mausoleum to the atrium of the basilica. There they
mounted the broad flight of marble steps, at the top of which the Pope
and his court awaited the king. Then Pope and king, followed by the
procession, crossed the great atrium paved with white marble, past the
fir-cone fountain and papal tombs, to the central door of the basilica,
which swung its thousand-weight of silver open wide; then, up the long
nave, screened by rows of antique columns from double aisles on either
side, all rich with tapestries of purple and gold, they proceeded with
slow and solemn steps to the tomb of the apostle. Thirteen hundred and
seventy candles in the great candelabrum glowed on the silver floor of
the shrine, and glittered on the gold and silver statues around it. In
the great apse behind the high altar sat the clergy, row upon row,
beneath the Pontiff's throne; above, the Byzantine mosaics looked down
in sad severity. Here Charlemagne knelt at the tomb, and prayed. As he
rose from his knees, the Pope lifted an Imperial crown of gold and
placed it on his head, while all the congregation shouted, "Life and
Victory to Charles, Augustus, crowned by God, the great and peaceful

Thus was accomplished that restoration of the Roman Empire, which by its
attempt to combine Teuton and Roman in political union so powerfully
affected the history of mediæval Europe. Charlemagne is reported to have
said that the Imperial coronation took him by surprise. However that may
be, this great enterprise of a Christian Empire must be regarded, in its
final completion, as the joint work of Frankish king and Roman Pope.



The period from the death of Charlemagne (814) to the coronation of Otto
the Great (962) is a long dismal stretch, tenanted by discord and
ignorance. At the beginning stands the commanding figure of Charlemagne,

    With Atlantean shoulders, fit to bear
    The weight of mightiest monarchies.

But his descendants were unequal to their inheritance, and under them
his Empire crumbled away and resolved itself into incipient nations.
That Empire, in theory the restored Roman Empire, was in fact strictly
Teutonic, though buttressed by the Roman Church. Charlemagne deemed
himself head of both Empire and Church. In his eyes the Pope was his
subject, and he legislated, as a matter of course, upon ecclesiastical
affairs. In secular matters he endeavoured to maintain local
administration without detriment to a strong central government. For
this purpose he divided the Empire into three divisions, of which he
made his three sons nominally kings, really his lieutenants. Under these
sons he appointed counts and bishops, as local governors. He maintained
his central authority by means of deputies (_missi dominici_), who
traversed the whole Empire, two by two, a bishop and a count together.
The maintenance of such a political unity, however, required either the
organic strength and momentum of the old Roman Empire, or a breed of
Charlemagnes. On the great Emperor's death the forces of disruption made
themselves felt at once. His son, Louis the Pious, indeed succeeded to
the whole sovereignty of the Empire; but Louis's sons demanded division.
They rebelled; and civil war lasted most of Louis's life. After his
death the sons fought one another, and finally agreed on a division of
the territory, though the Imperial title was kept. One brother took the
territory to the east, destined to become Germany; another, that to the
west, destined to become France; and Lothair, the eldest, who also
received the Imperial title, took Italy and a long, heterogeneous strip
between the territories of his brothers. This division was fatal to the
Empire. On Lothair's death the Imperial crown descended to his son Louis
II (855-875), and afterwards to two other degenerate members of a
degenerate family. The last made himself unendurable and was deposed
(887). With him ended Charlemagne's legitimate male line, and also the
first revival of the Roman Empire.

This Empire had been a civilizing power. It had supported the Papacy, as
an oak supports the creeper that clings to it; and in its decline and
fall it pulled the Papacy down with it. Without such support the Papacy
could maintain neither dignity abroad nor order at home. This lesson the
Church learned once through the outrages inflicted upon Pope Leo, but
forgot it; and required the experience of a hundred and fifty years to
learn it a second time. In theory Papacy and Empire were co-equal
powers, religious and secular, together carrying on the noble task of
God's government on earth. In practice, as their respective rights and
powers had not been definitely set off, they could not agree; each
wished to be master. The relations between the two constitute the great
axis on which mediæval politics revolve, and for a long time must serve
as the main motive of our story. The contest between them for mastery
resembles a fencing match, in which the Pope thrusts at the Emperor's
crown, the Emperor parries, and lunges back at the papal tiara. For
convenience we divide the match into two bouts, and first take the
Pope's attack.

At the famous coronation on Christmas day, 800, Charlemagne and Leo
stood side by side, co-labourers in the great task of reconstructing
Europe. But once the coronation over, the two undefined authorities
jostled each other. Charlemagne, to whom government was as much a
religious as a secular matter, though he had accepted his Imperial crown
at the hands of the Pope, did not regard papal participation necessary
for the continuance of the Imperial dignity. At Aachen, 813, he crowned
his son Louis the Pious co-Emperor, without the help of Pope or priest.
This thrust must have carried discomfiture to the banks of the Tiber.
But with Charlemagne's weak successors the astute Papacy scored hit
after hit. Louis the Pious submitted to be recrowned by the Pope, so did
his son, Lothair, and his grandson Louis II; and their two successors
were also crowned by the Pope. This sequence of palpable hits won this
bout and secured for the Papacy beyond dispute the prerogative of
crowning the Emperors.

If we now turn to that part of the game where Emperor lunged and Pope
parried, we find a more complicated situation. A third player takes a
hand, to the confusion of the game and to the great detriment of the
papal defence. This third player is the Roman people, who believed that
the _Senatus Populusque Romanus_ still possessed their ancient
prerogatives, and had the right to appoint both Emperor and Pope. Their
claim to elect the Emperor was flimsy enough, being merely the memory of
an empty form, and is not of enough consequence to stop for; but their
claim to interfere in the papal election was of the highest importance.
It arose from the anomalous nature of the Papacy. The Pope was bishop of
Rome, and as such his election lay in the hands of the clergy and people
of Rome; he was also the ruler of central Italy, and as such the barons
there were interested in his election; and, in addition, he was head of
all the Christian Churches in the West, and so all western Christendom,
and the Emperor as its temporal lord, was likewise concerned. The fact
was that no definite method of papal election and confirmation had been
settled upon during these disturbed centuries. The original practice had
been for the Roman churches, priests, and laymen together assembled, to
make the election; subsequently the senate, or the army, or the nobles,
had represented the lay body of electors; but whoever represented the
laymen, they and the clergy made the election; which was then submitted
to the Emperor, or his representative, for scrutiny and confirmation.
The submission of the Roman election to the examination of a Byzantine
Emperor had never been acceptable in Rome, and after the breach over
iconoclasm, the practice ceased. Naturally, on the revival of the Roman
Empire in the West, the new Emperors claimed the old Imperial right of
supervision; naturally, also, the papal party resisted the fresh
exercise of the old prerogative. Here was a situation for a scrimmage,
but any clear account of the papal elections in Rome, supposing such
were possible, would be too minute; this narrative must confine itself
to the main passes between the papal party and the Emperors.

After the death of Charlemagne (no papal election occurred during his
lifetime) several Popes were elected and consecrated without previously
consulting the Emperor. On the other hand, in the next reign the
Imperial deputy made the Romans take oath that no Pope should be
consecrated without the approval of the Emperor. What was done at the
following election is not known, but at the second the Pope was not
consecrated until the Emperor had ratified the proceedings. Thereafter
the Imperial right was acknowledged in theory, though in practice the
elected Pontiffs did not always wait for Imperial confirmation.

With the fall of the Carlovingian Empire the fencing match ceased for
lack of an Imperial contestant. The score stood thus: each had succeeded
in the attack, the Papacy had won its right to bestow the Imperial
crown, and the Empire had won, though not so definitely, its right to
supervise the election of a Pope. We must now pass to this Imperial
interregnum knowing that when the Empire shall be revived, the match
will begin anew and the combatants, with foils unbated and envenomed,
will fight to a finish.

The Imperial interregnum, nominally interrupted by one German and
several Italian make-believe Emperors, lasted for three generations; no
Imperial power was exercised from 875 to 962. It is a murky period in
which shadows wander about; but before taking our candle and descending
into the gloom, we will turn to the one bright spot, the career of a
great Pope, Nicholas I (858-867).

This Pope, in spite of the decadence of the Papacy, won immense prestige
for it by two successful assertions of cosmopolitan authority. The King
of Lorraine, brother to Louis II, the Emperor, wished to put away his
wife and marry another woman. The innocent queen, with the sanction of
the clergy of the kingdom, was divorced and forced to enter a convent;
and, with the consent of his clergy, the king married the other woman.
The wronged queen appealed to the Pope, who sent his legates to
investigate the affair; but the king bribed the legates and succeeded in
getting a decision from the local synod in his favour, although, in
fact, the whole matter had been a shocking scandal. Thereupon the king
sent the archbishops of Cologne and of Trier, the two great
ecclesiastical dignitaries of the kingdom, to announce this verdict of
acquittal. The Pope, "professing," as his enemies said, "to be
imperator of the whole world," seized his opportunity; he espoused the
cause of the innocent queen, annulled the fraudulent proceedings, and
excommunicated and deposed the two archbishops. The king applied to the
Emperor for help, and the Emperor went to Rome, but could obtain no
concession. The Pope stood like a rock. He allied himself with France
and Germany, and threatened to excommunicate the sinning husband and all
his bishops. The king was obliged to submit. The usurping wife was
excommunicated and banished, and the papal legate conducted the divorced
queen back to the royal palace. Thus the Papacy not only established a
great precedent for the supremacy of the spiritual over the temporal
power, but also stood conspicuous before the world as the champion of
the weak and oppressed and the defender of morality and justice.

It would be difficult to overrate the effect of this papal achievement.
It may be that the Papacy stood forth as champion of innocence when
policy coincided with righteousness; but it was the righteousness and
not the policy which gave the Papacy strength. One can imagine, in days
when brutal barons, scattered in strongholds all over the country, were
the normal forms of power and authority, what effect such news had upon
the people. A pilgrim from across the Alps, a peddler, or some poor
vagrant, enters a village huddled at the foot of a hill, on which stands
a great castle where a drunken lord revels with his mistresses, and
recounts to the assembled peasants, serfs, and slaves, how the Holy
Father, in the name of God, had commanded a greater lord, in a greater
castle, to put away his mistress and bring back his wife, and how that
lord had got down on his knees and had done the Holy Father's bidding.

The second case was the victory of papal authority over the spirit of
nationality in the Church. When the incipient nations of France and
Germany, having separated from the Empire, had begun to be
self-conscious, the spirit of nationality naturally showed itself in
ecclesiastical matters as well as in political matters. There was
obvious likelihood that the nations would govern themselves
ecclesiastically as well as politically. Should they do so, the papal
supremacy would fall just as the Imperial supremacy had fallen, and the
unity of the Church would be shattered just as the Empire had been. Here
was certainly a great danger to the Papacy, and probably a great danger
to Christianity and civilization; at least so Nicholas thought. He
resolved to meet it boldly. His opportunity came when a French (West
Frankish) bishop appealed to Rome against the action of his
metropolitan. The metropolitan objected that there was no precedent for
papal action in such a case; he did not deny that the Pope had certain
appellate functions, but said that if the Pope interfered directly in
the discipline of bishops, the power of the metropolitan would be
impaired. It is needless to say that this argument did not produce the
result that the metropolitan desired. There was nothing the Papacy
wanted more than that its central government should act directly
everywhere, and that all bishops should be dependent upon Rome; that
was the very principle of papal supremacy. The issue would determine
whether the Papacy was to be an autocratic power, or a limited court of
appeal. Nicholas was able to take advantage of the troubled political
situation to enforce direct papal authority, and so added an immense
prerogative to the papal power.

Apart from this imperial ecclesiastical principle the latter episode is
especially interesting on account of the character of the evidence
produced by the Pope to maintain his position. This evidence consisted
of a new compilation of Church law which appeared somewhat mysteriously
about this time. Theretofore Church law had consisted of a collection of
precepts taken from the Bible, from the early Fathers, from decrees of
Councils, and also of letters, called decretals, written by the bishops
of Rome, but none of these decretals was earlier than the time of
Constantine. The fact, that there were no papal decretals prior to
Constantine, seemed to imply, at least to the sceptically minded, that
papal authority had really begun at the time of Constantine and not at
the time of St. Peter. To the ardent papist such an idea was incredible.
Nicholas now produced a new batch of documents. Among these was the
_Donation of Constantine_, of which I have spoken. Others were papal
decretals, which purported to come from Popes of the third and second
centuries, and to prove that papal jurisdiction over other bishoprics
had been exercised almost as far back as the time of St. Peter. These
new appearing documents placed the Pope not only above kings, but above
metropolitans and provincial synods, and justified Nicholas in acting
directly in the case of the West Frankish bishop, in the King of
Lorraine's matrimonial affairs, and also in assuming to act as
"imperator of the whole world." These documents, known as the _Isidorian
Decretals_, were probably composed by some priest in France, not long
before their use by Nicholas. For six hundred years they were believed
to be genuine, and during that time rendered the Papacy great service by
ranging the sentiment of law throughout Europe (at least until the
revival of Roman law) on the side of the Papacy in its struggle with the



These triumphs were due to the brilliant vigour of Pope Nicholas; but
that triumphant position could not last, it was fictitious. The Papacy
needed the support of a strong secular power, and when the Carlovingian
Empire dissolved, it had nothing to rest on, neither genius nor military
force, and fell into deep degradation.

To illustrate that degradation one episode will suffice; but there must
first be a word of prologue. The Papacy, as has been said, occupied an
anomalous position. From this sprang many troubles. As soon as the
pressure of Imperial authority was removed, the Papacy tended to become
the prize of municipal politics, and different parties in Rome (if the
turbulent mobs may be called so) struggled to get possession of it. One
party, with interests centred on local matters, indifferent to the
greatness of the Papacy and its European character, and willing to have
the Pope a mere local ruler, directed its efforts to getting rid of all
Imperial and foreign control. The opposite party, with conflicting
interests, wished for Imperial control, and constituted a kind of
Imperial party, less from any large views, than in the hope of deriving
advantages from Imperial support. Strife between the two parties was the
normal condition, and often ended in riot and civil war. In this state
of affairs, a certain Pope Formosus (891-896), who belonged to the
Imperial faction, went so far as to invite the German king to come down
to Rome and be crowned Emperor. The king actually came and was crowned,
but accomplished little or nothing, except to arouse bitter hostility in
his enemies. When Formosus died, his successor was elected from the
opposite faction. The new Pope held a synod of cardinals and bishops,
and before them, the highest Christian tribunal in the world, he
summoned, upon the charge of violating the canons of the Church, the
dead Formosus, whose body had lain in its grave, for months. The body
was dug up, dressed in pontifical robes, and propped upon a throne.
Counsel was assigned to it. The accusation was formally read, and the
Pope himself cross-questioned the accused, who was convicted and
deposed. His pontifical acts were pronounced invalid. His robes were
torn from him, the three fingers of the right hand, which in life had
bestowed the episcopal blessing, were hacked off, and the body was
dragged through the streets and flung into the Tiber.

This incident sheds light on mediæval Rome, and on the character of the
people with whom the Popes had to live. All the Popes, good, bad, and
indifferent, whether they were struggling with the Empire on great
cosmopolitan questions, or were trying to unite Christendom against
Islam, always had to keep watch on the brutal, ignorant, bloody Roman
people, who took no interest in great questions, and were always ready
to rob, burn, and murder with or without a pretext.

Now that we have brought the Frankish Empire to its dissolution, and the
Papacy to its degradation, we must leave the two wrecks for the moment,
and stop in these dark years at the end of the ninth century to see how
Italy herself has fared. The Italian world was out of joint,
intellectually, morally, politically. There can hardly be said to have
been a government. For a generation the poor, shrunken Empire had been
but a shadow, and when the last Carlovingian died, its parts tumbled
asunder. Local barons ruled everywhere. The Imperial title, which
represented nothing, and conveyed no power, seemed, however, to have
some vital principle of its own, some ghostly virtue; at least sundry
kings and dukes thought so and fought for it; but until the coming of
Otto the Great it remained a shadow. North of the Alps duchies and
provinces united into kingdoms; but the peninsula remained split up into
discordant parts. The valley of the Po was divided into various duchies,
peopled by a mixed race of Latins and Lombards, whom the pressure of the
conquering Franks had welded together. South of the Po lay the Imperial
marquisate of Tuscany. Across the middle of the peninsula stretched the
awkward strip of domain from Ravenna to Rome, inhabited by a race of
comparatively pure Latin blood. This domain, included in the _Donations_
of Pippin and of Charlemagne, nominally subject to the Papacy under the
suzerainty of the Empire, was really in the possession of petty nobles,
who knew no law except force and craft. South of this so-called papal
domain lay the duchy of Spoleto and the Lombard duchy of Benevento, and
farther south a few principalities, such as Naples, Amalfi, and Salerno,
and finally in the heel and toe of Italy were the last remains of the
Greek Empire. To the northeast, on its islands, lay the little fishing
and trading city, Venice.

The Italians, as we had better call them now that Barbarian and Latin
blood has well commingled, were in a most unenviable condition. Most of
those who tilled the soil were serfs, and went with the land when it was
sold; some were scarce better than slaves, others were only bound to
render service of certain kinds or on certain days, either with their
own hands or with beasts. Their lot depended on the humours of the
overseers of great estates. Slaves were worse off because they had no
personal rights, but they were always decreasing in number despite a
slave trade, for there was a strong religious sentiment against slavery,
and it was common for dying men to liberate their slaves. In the cities
people were better off, for the artisans were free men, and by banding
together in guilds (which had existed ever since the old Roman days)
secured for themselves a more prosperous condition. But the only
thriving places were the cities of the coast, Venice, Genoa, Pisa,
Amalfi, where trade was already beginning to lay the foundations of
future greatness.

These glimmerings of commerce were the only lights along the whole
horizon. Everything else seemed to share the blight that had fallen on
the Empire and the Papacy. The clergy, whose duty it was to maintain
learning, failed utterly. Even in the happiest days of the Carlovingian
Empire, Charlemagne had found it necessary to enact blunt rules for
their guidance. "Let the priests, according to the Apostles' advice,
withdraw themselves from revellings and drunkenness; for some of them
are wont to sit up till midnight or later, boozing with their
neighbours; and then these men, who ought to be of a religious and holy
deportment, return to their churches drunken and gorged with food, and
unable to perform the daily and nightly office of praise to God, while
others sink down in a drunken sleep in the place of their revels.... Let
no priest presume to store provisions or hay in the church."[6]
Learning, supposed to be committed to their charge, went out like a
spent candle. Books were almost forgotten, except perhaps here and
there, in Pavia or Verona, where a grammarian still invoked Virgil to
prosper his muse; or where in an episcopal city, like Ravenna, some
chronicler wrote a history of the bishopric. The theory of historic
truth on which these chroniclers acted gives an inkling of the mediæval
attitude towards facts. Father Agnello, a priest of Ravenna, one of
these chroniclers, says himself: "If you, who read this History of our
Bishopric, shall come to a passage and say, 'Why didn't he narrate the
facts about this bishop as he did about his predecessors,' listen to the
reason. I, Andrea Agnello, a humble priest of this holy church of
Ravenna, have written the history of this Bishopric from the time of St.
Apollinaris for eight hundred years and more, because my brethren here
have begged me and compelled me. I have put down whatever I found the
Bishops had undoubtedly done, and whatever I heard from the oldest men
living, but where I could not find any historical account, nor anything
about their lives in any way, then, in order to leave no blanks in the
holy succession of bishops, I have made up the missing lives by the help
of God, through your prayers, and I believe I have said nothing untrue,
because those bishops were pious and pure and charitable and winners of
souls for God."[7]

The monks were no better than the secular clergy. The monasteries had
grown large, for many men had joined in order to escape military
service, or to obtain personal security, or an easier life, or greater
social consideration; they had also grown rich, for many sinners on
their deathbeds had given large sums, in hope to compound for their
sins. Naturally monastic vows were often broken. Moreover, the little
good that monks and priests did they undid by their encouragement of
superstition. They first frightened the poor peasants out of their wits
by portraying the horrors of hell, and then preached the magical
properties of the sacraments and of saints' bones, until the ordinary
man, feeling himself the sport of superhuman agencies, abandoned all
self-confidence and surrendered himself to priestly control as his sole
hope of safety in this world or the next.

Oppressed by anarchy, by division, by a degenerate church, by a gross
clergy, and by waxing ignorance, Italy might seem to have had its cup
of evil full. There was but one further ill that could be added, a new
Barbarian invasion. It came. The triumphant Saracens, having overrun
Spain and raided France in the west, having cooped up the Byzantine
Empire in the east, now threatened to plant their victorious banners in
the very heart of Christendom. As early as Charlemagne's last years they
sacked a coast town scarce forty miles from Rome. In 827 they invaded
Sicily, invited by a partisan traitor. Within ten years they had made
themselves masters of almost all the island, except a few strongholds
which managed to hold out for half a century. The beaten Byzantines
retired to the mainland; but they did not get beyond the reach of the
victorious Saracens, who raided all the Italian coast as far as the
Tiber. Troops of marauders hovered round Rome and harried the
country-side, robbing and pillaging at will. One band advanced to the
very gates of the city, and sacked St. Peter's and St. Paul's, both
outside the walls and undefended (846). All the southern provinces were
overrun, half of their towns became Saracen fortresses. It seemed as if
Italy were to undergo the fate of Spain and become a Mohammedan Emirate.

The danger to Rome roused the country. A Christian league was effected
between the Imperial forces in Italy, the Pope, and the coast cities of
the south,--Naples, Gaeta, and Amalfi. Pope Leo himself blessed the
fleet, and the Christians beat the infidels in a great sea-fight not far
from the Tiber's mouth (849). Some of the prisoners were brought to Rome
and set to work on the walls which Pope Leo was building round the
Vatican hill to protect St. Peter's; and Rome, imitating the days of
Scipio Africanus, celebrated another triumph over Africa. The fighting
was kept up all over the south. The Greek Emperor made common cause with
his fellow Christians, and the immediate danger of conquest was
arrested; but throughout this dismal ninth century, and all the tenth,
southern Italy continued to suffer from Saracen marauders. The tales
told of their cruelty are fearful, and match our tales of Indian raids
in the old French-English war. Separate villages and lonely monasteries
suffered most. Some good came out of the evil, however, for the
chroniclers relate how the abbots and their terrified brethren spent
days and nights fasting and in prayer.

Such was the condition of Italy when the Imperial Carlovingian line came
to an end. The omnipresence of anarchy was a permanent argument for the
need of an Imperial restoration. But the country did not know how to go
to work to restore the Empire. At first various claimants asserted
various titles, and Italian dukes and neighbouring kings fought one
another like bulls, but none were able to establish any stable power. In
the midst of these ineffectual struggles one real effort was made.
Arnulf, king of the Germans, who regarded himself as the true successor
of the great Frankish house and of right Imperial heir, marched down
into Italy at the invitation of Pope Formosus, as we have seen, and
assumed the Imperial crown (896). The expedition was barren of
consequences, but it gives us another glimpse of the anomalous nature of
the Papacy, and the different views entertained of it on the two sides
of the Alps. The German king wished to be Emperor, and felt that an
Imperial coronation at Rome by the Pope was essential. To him and to his
German subjects the papal invitation was of high authority. When he
reached Rome, however, the seat of the Papacy, he found the gates barred
and the walls manned by rebellious citizens, who had locked the Pope in
the Castle of Sant' Angelo, and had seized the government of the city.
Arnulf easily carried the defences by storm and liberated the Pope. The
incident illustrates the contrast between Teutonic respect and Roman
disobedience, and describes the papal situation as it was half the time
throughout the Middle Ages. Honoured and reverenced by the pious
ultramontanes, the Popes were insulted, robbed, imprisoned, and deposed
by their immediate subjects. This local disobedience, or, as it should
be called, Roman republicanism, was often the insignificant cause of
papal actions of far-reaching effect. The Popes were never strong enough
of themselves to suppress these republican sentiments and ambitions;
they needed support from some power, Italian or foreign. As they would
not endure the idea of an Italian kingdom, they adopted the alternative
of calling in a foreign power. This was the constant papal policy.

Another instance of Roman republicanism, or disobedience (as one
chooses), throws further light on the nature of this thorn in the papal
side. Not long after Arnulf's expedition, two women, Theodora and
Marozia, mother and daughter, played a great part not only in Roman but
also in Italian politics. These two women ruled the city and appointed
the Popes. They were bold, comely, much-marrying women, choosing
eligible husbands almost by force; both were wholly Roman in the
fierceness, vigour, and sensuality of their characters. They were very
capable, and, in part directly, in part through their husbands and
others, exercised control for some thirty years; and when the daughter
disappeared from history, her son, Alberic, took the title, Prince and
Senator of all the Romans, and ruled in her stead.

Thus the last hope of Italians helping themselves perished; for if the
Papacy was powerless, there was no help elsewhere in Italy. The
usurpation of these viragoes and of Alberic differs in details from the
usurpation of the later republicans, and of the Colonna, Orsini, and
other barons, who shall appear hereafter in papal history, but for
general effect on papal affairs and through them on European affairs,
all these usurpations were very similar. The usurpers, in diverse
characters, represent that third player in the fencing match, who,
though by no means an ally of the Empire, frequently rushed in and
struck up the Pope's guard, and continued to interfere for hundreds of
years, until the Popes of the Renaissance finally established their
temporal power in the city of Rome.

By the middle of the tenth century the disintegration of Italy had
become so bad that it caused its own cure. It was obvious that something
must be done. The Saracens, strongly established in Sicily, were a
standing menace towards the south. From the north wild bands of
Hungarians burst across the Alps and harried the land in barbaric raids
as far as Rome. Feudal anarchy prevailed everywhere. Monks and clergy
were, to say the least, no help. Even the Papacy, the only stable power,
had become the appanage of a Roman family. There was but one way out of
this chaos. The Roman Empire must be restored. The Latin people never
believed that it was extinct but merely lying latent, requiring some
happy application of might and right to set it going again on its
majestic course. Charlemagne, in his day, had supplied the might. That
might had faded away. Where was its substitute to be found? Pope
Formosus and King Arnulf had already suggested the only possible
answer,--in the eastern portion of the Frankish Empire, the kingdom of
Germany. That kingdom, composed of the great duchies of Bavaria, Swabia,
Franconia, Saxony, and Lorraine, had become tolerably compact; it was
strong at home, and was eager for glory and power abroad. Its ambitious
king, Otto, of the Saxon line, was the man to undertake to follow
Charlemagne's example. It was too late to hope to restore the
Carlovingian Empire in its former boundaries, but with Germany to give
strength and Rome to contribute title, there would be the two necessary
elements for a renewal of the Roman Empire.

The immediate pretext of Otto's coming down into Italy was highly
romantic. A lovely lady, the widow of one Italian pretender to the
throne of Italy, was pestered with offers of marriage from another
pretender. She refused, and was locked up in a tower by the Lake of
Garda, where memories of Catullus and Lesbia still faintly lingered. She
contrived to escape, and sent piteous messages for help to the great
Otto, then a widower. Discontented factions in the north, and others
suffering from oppression, including the Pope who had been rudely roused
to the need of Imperial support, also sent messengers asking him to
come. Otto came, took Pavia, and acted as King of Italy. He married the
lovely widow, and wished to go to Rome to receive the Imperial crown;
but Alberic, lord of Rome, would not give permission. Otto went back to
Germany and bided his time. In ten years Alberic died leaving a young
son, who, although only seventeen years old, inherited enough of his
father's power to get himself elected Pope, John XII. Pope John,
however, found himself encompassed by powerful enemies both in Rome and
out. He too was obliged to recognize the absolute necessity of Imperial
restoration, and called upon Otto for aid. The German king came, and was
crowned by the Pope, Emperor of the Romans, in St. Peter's basilica, on
the second day of February, 962. This coronation was the beginning of a
new phase in the Roman Empire. In this phase that Empire is known as the
Holy Roman Empire, although it was merely a union of Germany, Italy, and


[6] _Italy and her Invaders_, Hodgkin, vol. viii, p. 289.

[7] _Le cronache italiane del medio evo descritte_, Balzani



This Roman Empire (it did not receive its full title of Holy Roman
Empire until later) deserved the name Roman because it rested on the
Roman tradition of the political unity of the civilized world. This
tradition, by means of the ecclesiastical unity of Europe, had survived
the Barbarian invasions, had gained strength through Charlemagne's
Empire, and now joined together two nations so fundamentally different
as Germany and Italy. The Germans were big blond men, beer-drinkers,
huge eaters, rough, ill-mannered, arrogant, phlegmatic and brave; the
Italians were little, dark-skinned men, wine-drinkers, lettuce-eaters,
with pleasant manners, gesticulating, excitable, and unwarlike. Their
union affords the strongest testimony to the strength of the Roman
tradition. This ill-assorted pair, married in obedience to the will of
dead generations, could not live together in peace. The theory of a
world conjointly ruled by a supreme secular sovereign and a supreme
ecclesiastical sovereign could not be put into successful practice. The
Empire was German, the Papacy Italian, and by their very natures they
were antagonistic.

Otto's empire was by no means universal, but its suzerainty was
acknowledged by Bohemia, Moravia, Poland, Denmark, perhaps by Hungary,
and sometimes by France; and therefore, as eastern Europe was either
Greek or barbarian, Britain an island, and Spain practically Mohammedan,
it sustained fairly well the idea of a universal (_i. e._, European)
empire. The essential parts were Germany to give strength, and Italy to
give title and tradition. In theory the process of royal and Imperial
election and coronation was as follows. The German electors (the greater
nobles), whose number was not limited to seven for two centuries and
more, elected a king, who was crowned with a silver crown at Aachen,
and, by virtue of his coronation, received the title, King of the
Romans. This king then took the iron crown of Lombardy at Pavia, and
became King of Italy; and, when he received the gold Imperial crown from
the Pope at Rome, became Emperor. The election of the son of the late
Emperor to succeed was the custom, but was not obligatory. Germany was
not a strongly centralized state, but was composed of several dukedoms,
which often fell out among themselves. Italy was still less a political
unit. It had no marks of nationality, except its geographical position,
its ancient tradition, and a tardily forming language; but even this
_lingua volgare_, which in Otto's time began to have an Italian sound,
and to touch the degenerate written Latin with an Italian look, did not
prevail throughout the peninsula. In the south Greek was still spoken,
and the Holy Roman Empire never had more than the shadow of a title
south of Benevento till after Barbarossa's time. The Emperor's authority
rested at bottom on the German military power; and as this depended on
the obedience of wayward and jealous dukedoms, it was uncertain and

The Papacy was far more stable, for fundamentally it was a moral power,
and got its energy from men's consciences. It was far better organized
than the Empire. The ecclesiastical system spread all over Europe, into
every city, village, hamlet, and monastery; countries which reluctantly
acknowledged the suzerainty of the Empire, bowed unquestioningly to
papal rule. Moreover, the power of the Papacy did not merely consist in
spiritual weapons, terrible as the ban of excommunication was in those
days, but also in its ability to raise up enemies against its enemy, and
to put the cloak of piety over war and rebellion.

The ironical element in the situation was that the Empire itself lifted
the Papacy to the position in which it was able to turn and defy the
Empire, fight it, and finally destroy it. The Emperors, who entertained
no doubts that the Papacy was subject to them, that they were
responsible for its conduct and must secure the election of worthy
Popes, took the Papacy out of the hands of the Roman faction, purified
it, and appointed honest, capable, upright Popes.

A contemporary account of Otto's dealings with that young scamp, Pope
John XII, who in morals resembled his grandmother, Marozia, gives a good
picture of the nature of the benefits which the Empire conferred on the
Papacy: "While these things were taking place, the constellation of
Cancer, hot from the enkindling rays of Phoebus, kept the Emperor
away from the hills around Rome, but when the constellation of Virgo
returning brought back the pleasant season he went to Rome upon a secret
invitation from the Romans. But why should I say _secret_ when the
greater part of the nobility burst into the Castle of St. Paul and
invited the holy Emperor, and even gave hostages? The citizens received
the holy Emperor and all his men within the city, promised allegiance,
and took an oath that they would never elect a Pope, nor consecrate him,
without the consent and the sanction of the Lord Emperor Otto, Cæsar,
Augustus, and of his son, King Otto.

"Three days later, at the request of the Roman bishops and people, there
was a great meeting in St. Peter's Church, and with the Emperor sat the
archbishops of Aquileia, Milan, and Ravenna, the archbishop of Saxony
[and many other Italian and German prelates]. When they were seated, and
silence made, the holy Emperor got up and said: 'How fit it would be
that in this distinguished and holy council our lord Pope John should be
present! But since he has refused to be of your company, we ask your
counsel, holy fathers, for you have the same interest as he.' Then the
Roman prelates, cardinals, priests, and deacons, and all the people
cried out: 'We are surprised that your reverend prudence should wish to
make us investigate that which is not hidden from the Iberians, the
Babylonians, nor the Indians. He [the Pope] is no longer one of that
kind, which come in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravening wolves;
he rages so openly, does his diabolical misdeeds so manifestly, that we
need not beat about the bush.' The Emperor answered: 'We deem it just
that the accusations should be stated one by one, and after that we will
take counsel together of what we ought to do.'

"Then Cardinal-priest Peter got up, and testified that he had seen the
Pope celebrate mass without communion. John, bishop of Narni, and John,
cardinal-deacon, declared that they had seen him ordain a deacon in a
stable, and not at the proper hour. Cardinal-deacon Benedict, with other
priests and deacons, said that they knew that he ordained bishops for
money, and that in the city of Todi he had ordained as bishop a boy ten
years old. They said it was not necessary to go into his sacrileges
because they had seen more such than could be reckoned. They said in
regard to his adulteries.... They said that he had publicly gone
a-hunting; that he had put out the eyes of his spiritual father,
Benedict, who died soon after in consequence; that he had mutilated and
killed John, cardinal-subdeacon; and they testified that he had set
buildings on fire, armed with helmet and breastplate, and girt with a
sword. All, priests and laymen, cried out that he had drunk a toast to
the devil. They said that while playing dice he had invoked the aid of
Jupiter, Venus, and other demons. They declared that he had not
celebrated matins, nor observed the canonical hours, and that he did not
cross himself.

"When the Emperor had heard all this, he bade me, Liutprand, bishop of
Cremona, interpret to the Romans, because they could not understand his
Saxon. Then he got up and said: 'It often happens, and we believe it
from our experience, that men in great place are slandered by the
envious, for a good man is disliked by bad men just as a bad man is
disliked by good men. And for this reason we entertain some doubts
concerning this accusation against the Pope, which Cardinal-deacon
Benedict has just read and made before you, uncertain whether it springs
from zeal for justice or from envy and impiety. Therefore with the
authority of the dignity granted to me, though unworthy, I beseech you
by that God, whom no man can deceive howsoever he may wish, and by His
holy mother, the Virgin Mary, and by the most precious body of the
prince of the Apostles, in whose Church we now are, that no accusation
be cast at our lord the Pope of faults which he has not committed and
which have not been seen by the most trustworthy men.'" The accusers
affirmed their charges on oath. Then the holy Synod said: "If it please
the holy Emperor let letters be sent to our lord the Pope, bidding him
come and clear himself of these charges." The wary John did not come,
but wrote: "I, Bishop John, servant of the servants of God, to all the
bishops. We have heard that you propose to elect another Pope. If you do
that, I excommunicate you in the name of Almighty God so that you shall
not have the right to ordain anybody, nor to celebrate mass."[8]
Nevertheless, John was deposed and a good Pope put in his stead.

Otto's successors, one after the other, followed his example, and
treated the Papacy as if it had been a German bishopric. The Emperors,
however, had work to do north of the Alps, and did not spend much time
in Rome, except Otto III, a romantic dreamer, who wished to live there;
and during their absence the turbulent Roman anti-imperial faction used
to seize the Papacy, just as Alberic had done, and put up worthless
Popes. In spite of them the Emperors' Popes raised the Papacy so high
that, as a matter of course, it became the head of the great
ecclesiastical reform movement which swept over Europe in the eleventh
century, and from that movement drew in so much force and energy that it
became the greatest power in Europe, and was enabled finally to
overthrow the Empire.

This tide of reform arose at Cluny, a little place in Burgundy, and
began as a monastic reform. All over Christendom monasteries had grown
rich and prosperous; many monks had forsaken Benedict's rule, had broken
their vows and lived with wives and children upon revenues intended for
other purposes. Other monks hated this evil conduct, and burning with a
passionate desire to stop it, started a great movement of monastic
reform. The reform was ascetic in character, as a moral emotion in those
days was bound to be. The first reformers gathered at Cluny, about the
beginning of the tenth century. From there disciples went far and wide,
purging old monasteries and founding new. After a time the reformers
passed beyond the early stage of mere moral revolt against godless
living, formed a party, and put forward a creed. The party represented
antagonism to the world, pitted saints against sinners, the Church
against the State. The creed had three tenets. No ecclesiasts should
marry, and married men upon ordination should live apart from their
wives. No bribery, no corrupt bargain, should taint the appointment and
installation of clergy, high or low. No layman should meddle with the
entry of bishops upon their episcopal office. These three tenets roused
bitter opposition. Celibacy of the clergy had been a rule of Church
discipline since early days, and from time to time efforts had been made
to enforce the practice, but it had fallen into general disregard. A
celibate clergy, with no affections or interests nearer or dearer than
the Church, would be a tremendous ecclesiastical force, and far-sighted
Popes always sought to enforce the rule. Necessarily the married clergy
and many clerical bachelors were violent in opposition. The article
against simony nobody openly gainsaid; but many bishops and abbots had
obtained their offices by corrupt practices, and many nobles looked
forward to rich livings and high ecclesiastical places; both classes
opposed a change. The third article, against lay investiture of bishops,
which was to be the cause of deadly war between Empire and Papacy, was a
logical conclusion from the article against simony; for it was hard to
suppose that in the appointment of bishops, kings and princes would
disregard all worldly motives and appoint men solely for the good of
souls. On the other hand, the great bishoprics and abbeys were among the
most important fiefs in a king's gift, and carried with them feudal
privileges of sovereignty, such as rights of coinage, toll, holding
courts, etc.; in short, they were mere secular fiefs with ecclesiastical
prerogatives added. It was natural that the German Emperors should claim
the right to appoint and invest these spiritual barons, and insist that
their episcopal territories should be subject to the same feudal
obligations and the same civic duties as the territories granted to lay
barons. This third article was a direct attack on the civil power. If
all Imperial participation were to be stricken out, and bishops put into
possession of their fiefs solely by the Pope, then vast territories,
estimated to be nearly half the Empire, would be withdrawn from civic
obligations, even from military service, and the Pope, ousting the
Emperor, would become monarch of half the Imperial domains. According to
the canons of the Church, the clergy and the people of the diocese
elected the bishop, and the Church bestowed on him ring and staff, the
signs of episcopal office. The trouble arose over the fief. In feudal
times the kings had enfeoffed bishops with great fiefs in order to
counterbalance the insubordinate secular lords, and because, in
episcopal hands, these fiefs did not become hereditary. When the
reformers took the matter up, they found that in practice the kings did
not wait for a canonical election of episcopal candidates, but invested
their henchmen in return for money or some service which had no savour
of sanctity. The episcopal office, as St. Peter Damian complained, was
got "by flattering the king, studying his inclination, obeying his beck,
applauding every word that fell from his mouth, by acting the parasite
and playing the buffoon." The real difficulty lay in the double nature
of the episcopal office, half ecclesiastical and half feudal; and, like
other great political difficulties, would not yield to a peaceful
solution, until there had been a trial of strength between the
discordant interests.

The first consequence, however, of the reforming spirit was to ennoble
the whole Church, to purify her members, and animate them with a common
zeal, and to uplift her head, the Papacy. It carried on, in a larger way
and with a greater sweep, the work of ecclesiastical reformation begun
by the intervention of the Emperors in the election of Popes, and gave a
loftier tone to European politics.


[8] _Le cronache italiane del medio evo descritte_, Balzani, p. 123.



The struggle over the lay investiture of bishops did not arise at first.
The Papacy was still a dependent bishopric in the gift of the Emperors,
who continued to depose bad Roman Popes and appoint upright Germans.
Popes and Emperors worked together to enforce celibacy among the clergy
and to put down simony. The Emperors could not see, what is evident in
retrospect, that when the spirit of reform should have taken full
possession of the Papacy, then the Papacy would not rest content to be a
German bishopric, but, in obedience to the law which links political
ambition to political vigour, would even aim so high as to try to reduce
the Empire itself to the condition of a papal fief. The spirit of
reform, embodied in a man of genius, did take possession of the Papacy
and the great struggle began.

Among the crowd that thronged to Cluny eager for a higher life, was a
young Tuscan from Orvieto, Hildebrand by name, of plebeian birth. Small
of stature, vehement in spirit, passionate in feeling and action, he was
confident in himself and yet sensitive to sympathy. This lad became an
eager scholar, but in spite of erudition and fondness for study, he was
essentially a man of action, a born leader of men. "What he taught by
word he proved by example." He believed absolutely in the tenets of the
reformers. He believed with his whole being that the Church was a divine
institution to save men's souls, and he could not endure the idea of
secular powers and worldly influences intermeddling with God's fabric.
His career exhibits the power of a man of genius, who devotes his whole
life to what for him is the highest end, and is able to use human
enthusiasm for good as his implement.

Hildebrand has been called the Julius Cæsar of the Papacy. He went to
Rome about 1048. From that time papal policy became definite, vigorous,
stamped with an antique Roman stamp; and open conflict with the Empire
was the inevitable result. Hildebrand's first care was to protect the
Papacy from the petty-minded Roman faction; he supported papal
candidates of high character and even secured the appointment of a
German, sagaciously foreseeing that ecclesiastical patriotism would be
stronger than national patriotism. These Popes put Hildebrand's views
into execution.

Now that the Papacy had been rescued from the Roman faction, the next
step was to free it from the Egyptian bondage of subjection to the
Empire. Hildebrand was ready to strike whenever a fair opportunity
should come. It soon came. The Emperor died, leaving his son Henry IV, a
little boy, his successor on the German throne and heir to the Empire. A
long minority seemed to reveal the hand of Providence. Hildebrand acted.
It had long been obvious that one cause of papal subjection to Roman
faction and Imperial tyrant had been the uncertainty of the electoral
body. Emperors, Roman nobles, and Roman rabble, all had certain historic
electoral rights. Hildebrand resolved to dispossess them all. A synod
was held, which declared that the election of the Pope lay in the hands
of the cardinals (1059). Some right of approval was left to the Roman
people, some right of sanction to the Emperor, but the right of original
election was vested in the cardinals, and this gradually developed into
an absolute and exclusive right of election. This act was an act of
rebellion towards the Empire, a declaration of independence. Hildebrand
said that he strove to make the Church "free, pure, and catholic." This
action made it free.

It was not to be expected that the Empire would acquiesce tamely in this
rebellion. Imperialists and Romans made common cause against the
clerical rebels. But the height of the conflict was not reached till
Hildebrand himself was elevated to the Papacy (1073), becoming Gregory
VII. He immediately took the offensive. Burning with conviction himself,
he appealed to the general enthusiasm both in the Church and throughout
the Empire for the cause of God; he ruthlessly denounced simony and
proclaimed principles of papal sovereignty absolute and universal. "The
Roman Church was founded by God alone; she never has erred and never
will err, and no man is a Catholic who is not at peace with her. The
Roman bishop alone is universal. He may depose bishops and reinstate
them, he may transfer them from one see to another, he may depose
emperors, and may absolve the subjects of the unjust from their
allegiance. No synod without his consent is general; no episcopal
chapter, no book, canonical without his authority. No man may sit in
judgment on his decrees, but he may judge the decrees of all." Here
certainly was a second Julius Cæsar in ambition. Gregory claimed feudal
supremacy over Bohemia, Russia, Hungary, Spain, Corsica, Sardinia,
Dalmatia, Croatia, Poland, Scandinavia, and England. Such claims were
vague and shadowy; but the claims to interfere between the German king
and the German episcopate and clergy were definite and direct. The
Papacy declared its own supremacy, and the Imperial duty of obedience.

Gregory had immense moral support at his back, yet moral support would
not have sufficed to protect him from the king's anger. Nor would
Gregory have ventured on so haughty a course, had he not had allies of
another character. These allies were four in number, and require some
description. First in importance come the Normans. For years bands of
Norman warriors, pious folk, had passed through Southern Italy on their
way to the Holy Land. Once a handful had helped a prince of Salerno to
repel a Saracen attack. The prince, so the story goes, delighted with
their valour, begged them to invite their compatriots to come. The
invitation was readily accepted. Bands of gentlemen adventurers came,
fought against Saracens, or Greeks, or the independent dukes and princes
of Southern Italy, first as mercenaries in anybody's pay, and afterwards
on their own account. They soon conquered a domain, and reached out in
all directions. Some drove out the last Byzantines and acquired Southern
Italy; some crossed to Sicily, performed prodigies of valour against the
Saracens, and finally conquered the whole island (1060-90). In their
raids northward they trespassed upon papal territory and came into
collision with the Church. St. Peter's sword was drawn and brandished,
but ineffectually. The Popes then concluded that martial deeds did not
become them; and the Normans, on their part, were pious folk; so
together they formed a happy solution. The Normans had possession of
Southern Italy and Sicily, but merely by right of conquest; they were in
the midst of an alien and far more numerous subject people, and wished
for a legal title. The Popes, unable to acquire actual possession, did
have, thanks to the _Donation of Constantine_, a legal title, derived,
so they claimed, from the original source of legal titles, the Roman
Empire. The mode of agreement was obvious; the Popes conferred Southern
Italy and Sicily as feuds upon their liegemen the Norman chiefs, and
they in return acknowledged the Popes as their lords suzerain. In this
manner, "by the grace of God and St. Peter," the Normans founded the
kingdom of the Two Sicilies, which for centuries after the Norman line
died out continued to acknowledge the overlordship of the Papacy. The
Normans were often disobedient vassals, but they knew that the Empire
regarded them as robbers, and in the wars between Empire and Papacy
remained loyal to their lords the Popes.

The second papal ally was Countess Matilda (1046-1115), mistress of the
Marquisate of Tuscany and other domains, which stretched from the papal
boundaries up across the Po to Lombardy, and like her mother, her
predecessor in title, a brave, capable, devout woman. As the Normans
were a defence to the Papacy on the south, so these ladies constituted a
bulwark on the north, and often rendered incalculable service to the
Popes of this period. Matilda's devotion to Gregory was boundless. "Like
a second Martha, she ministered unto him, and as Mary hearkened unto
Christ, so did she, attentive and assiduous, hearken to all the words of
the Holy Father." She and her mother make clear one source of papal
strength. They show us the attitude of the women, who, from sentiments
of morality, piety, and superstition, took the religious side of the
quarrel, and did not rest till fathers, brothers, husbands, and lovers
had also espoused it. One act of feminine devotion fixes Matilda in the
memory. Her domains consisted of marquisates, counties, baronies, and
various feudal estates, held as feuds of the Empire, over which on her
death she had no power of disposition, and also of large private
estates, which she was free to give or devise. All these, Imperial feuds
and private estates, she gave or rather attempted to give to the Church.
This _Donation_, the most important since that of Charlemagne, gave
fresh causes of quarrel between Papacy and Empire. The Papacy attempted
to make good its claim to the Imperial feuds; and the Empire, finding it
impossible to discover the boundaries between the two species of
territories, also claimed the whole.

The third papal ally is to be found in the cities of Lombardy, which had
now become rich and important. In these cities, especially in Milan,
which was easily first commercially and politically, trade had created a
burgher class which already gave evidence of a desire for political
power. In Milan itself there was extreme political instability;
archbishop, nobles, gentry, artisans, and populace were all ready for a
general scrimmage on the slightest provocation. The clergy were numerous
and very rich; sons of noblemen held the fat benefices, and almost all
led irreligious lives and held celibacy in the meanest esteem. Simony
was the rule. In Hildebrand's time the passion for religious reform
swept over the lower classes of the city. A new sect arose, the Patarini
(ragamuffins), a species of Puritans, who took up the cry against
clerical laxity and immorality, and denounced married priests. Religious
excitement set fire to social and economic discontent; populace and
nobles flew to arms; there were riots and civil war. Several eminent
men, close friends of Hildebrand, became popular leaders; and the
contest of people and Patarini against nobles and married clergy became
an episode in the general strife between Papal and Imperial parties.
Similar tumults, caused half by class enmity, half by the passion for
religious reform, took place in other northern cities, Cremona,
Piacenza, Pavia, Padua; on one side was the party of aristocratic
privilege, looking to the Emperor for support; on the other, the party
of the people, looking to the Pope.

Gregory's fourth ally was the rebellious nobility of Germany. Had
Germany been united and loyal, the German king would easily have been
able to assert his power in Italy; but Germany was disloyal and divided.
Archbishops of the great archbishoprics, dukes of the great duchies,
bishops, counts, and lords, in fact, all the component parts of the
feudal structure of Germany, were jealous of one another; each grudged
the other his possessions, and were in accord only in jealousy of the
royal power. There were always some barons or bishops thankful to have
the Pope's name and the Pope's aid in a rebellious design. These
animosities the Papacy through its thousand hands diligently fomented.

Ranged against Gregory and his allies were the loyal parts of Germany,
the Imperial adherents in Italy, the married clergy everywhere, and all
whom Gregory's reforms had angered and estranged. At their head was a
dissipated young king, of high spirit, headstrong, ignorant, and
superstitious, who entertained lofty notions of his royal and Imperial
prerogatives. The characters of these two men would have brought them
into collision, even if the irreconcilable natures of Empire and Papacy
had not rendered a clash inevitable.

Gregory, almost immediately after his elevation to the pontificate, held
a council and denounced simony, marriage of the clergy, and lay
investiture. The king, who believed in the existing system, continued to
exercise what he deemed his royal rights with a view to improving his
political position. Gregory held a second council and utterly forbade
lay investiture. Henry continued to disobey. Then Gregory wrote to him
that he must renounce the claim of investiture, and humbly present
himself in person before the papal presence and beg absolution for his
sins; or, if he should fail to obey, Gregory would excommunicate him.
Henry and his party, now very angry, retorted by holding a German synod,
which charged Gregory with all sorts of offences, moral, ecclesiastical,
and political, absolved both king and bishops from their papal
allegiance, and, finally, deposed the Pope. Henry himself wrote Gregory
this letter:--

"Henry, not by usurpation, but by God's holy will. King, to Hildebrand,
no longer Pope, but false monk:--

"This greeting you have deserved from the confusion you have caused, for
in every rank of the Church you have brought confusion instead of
honour, a curse instead of a blessing. Out of much I shall say but a
little; you have not only not feared to touch the rulers of the Holy
Church, archbishops, bishops, priests, God's anointed, but as if they
were slaves, you have trampled them down under your feet. By trampling
them down you have got favour from the vulgar mouth. You have decided
that they know nothing, and that you alone know everything, and you have
studied to use your knowledge not to build up but to destroy.... We have
borne all this and have striven to maintain the honour of the Apostolic
See. But you have construed our humility as fear, and for that reason
you have not feared to rise up against our royal power, and have even
dared to threaten that you would take it from us; as if we had received
our kingdom from you, as if kingdom and empire were in your hands and
not in God's. Our Lord Jesus Christ has called us to the kingdom, but
not you to the priesthood. You have mounted by these steps; by
craft--abominable in a monk--you have come into money, by money to
favour, by favour to the sword, by the sword to the seat of peace; and
from the seat of peace you have confounded peace. You have armed
subjects against those over them; you, the unelect, have held our
bishops, elect of God, up to contempt.... Me, even, who though unworthy
am the anointed king, you have touched, and although the holy fathers
have taught that a king may be judged by God only, and for no offence
except deviation from the faith--which God forbid--you have asserted
that I should be deposed; when even Julian the Apostate was left by the
wisdom of the holy fathers to be judged and deposed by God only. That
true Pope, blessed Peter, says: 'Fear God, honour the king.' But you do
not fear God and you dishonour me appointed by Him. And blessed Paul,
who did not spare an angel from heaven who should preach other doctrine,
did not except you, here on earth, who now teach other doctrine. For he
says, 'But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel
unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be
accursed.' You therefore by Paul anathematized, by the judgment of all
our bishops and by mine condemned, come down, leave the apostolic seat
which you have usurped; let another mount the throne of blessed Peter,
who shall not cloak violence with religion, but shall teach the sound
doctrine of blessed Peter. I, Henry, King by God's grace, and all our
bishops, say to you, Down, down, you damned forever."[9]

To the action of the German synod and to this letter there could be but
one answer. Gregory held a synod, excommunicated the king, and released
his subjects from their allegiance. The Germans rose in rebellion,
taking the excommunication as a ground or perhaps as a pretext; they
held a great council in presence of a papal legate, and decided that
they would renounce their allegiance unless the king obtained
absolution. The king, too weak to cope with the rebels, submitted. He
crossed the Alps with his wife and one or two servants, in midwinter,
and came to the fortress of Canossa, near Parma, a stronghold belonging
to the Countess Matilda, whither Gregory had gone. For three days the
king stood outside the gates, dressed as a penitent, and begged for
leave to present himself before the Pope. At last, owing to the
entreaties of Matilda, the king was admitted. He cast himself upon the
ground before Gregory, who lifted him up and bade him submit to the
ordeal of the eucharist. Gregory took the consecrated wafer and said,
"If I am guilty of the crimes charged against me, may God strike me." He
broke and ate; then turning to Henry, said, "Do thou, my son, as I have
done." The king did not dare to invoke the judgment of God; he humbled
himself, resigned his crown into Gregory's hands, and swore to remain a
private person until he should be judged by a council. He was then
absolved (1077).

Various events followed this terrible humiliation. The German rebels set
up an anti-king, and the king's men set up an anti-pope, and there was
war and hatred everywhere. The king's energy triumphed for a time; he
even captured Rome, and had it not been for a Norman army, which came to
the Pope's rescue, he would have captured Gregory, too. But, despite
royal triumphs the scene at Canossa had struck the majesty of the Empire
an irretrievable blow; the king of the Germans, Emperor except for a
coronation, had admitted in a most dramatic way, before all Europe, the
inferiority of the temporal to the spiritual power.

Gregory died in exile at Salerno, Henry died deposed by his rebellious
son; and the question of lay investiture still remained unsettled. More
deeds of violence were done, more oaths broken, more lives taken; at
last an agreement was reached and the long contest closed. Papacy and
Empire made a treaty of peace, known as the Concordat of Worms (1122).
The Emperor renounced all claim to invest bishops with ring and staff,
and recognized the freedom of election and of ordination of the clergy,
thus giving up all claim to appoint bishops and other ecclesiastical
dignitaries. The Pope agreed that the election of bishops should take
place in presence of the Emperor or his representative, and that bishops
should receive their fiefs in a separate ceremony, by touch of the royal
sceptre, in token of holding them from the Empire. This compromise,
which seems absurdly simple, as settled questions often do, was a final
adjustment of the immediate quarrel between Empire and Papacy, but left
the larger matter of mastery still to be fought out.


[9] _Select Mediæval Documents_, Shailer Mathews, translated.



The last chapter dealt with the struggle between the two great mediæval
institutions, the Empire and the Papacy. This deals with the contest
between the Empire, representing the feudal system, and a new social
force, the spirit of trade, represented by the Lombard cities. Naturally
the Papacy joined in the fray and sided with the Lombard cities; and,
before the end, all Italy was divided into two great parties designated
by terms derived from Germany: Guelfs, which indicated those opposed to
the Empire, and Ghibellines, which indicated friends to the Empire. But
the particular issue here fought out was that between feudalism and
trade, and the triumph of trade indicates the close of the Middle Ages.

The Emperor Frederick I (1152-90) of the great house of Hohenstaufen is
the hero of this period. He was a noble specimen of the knight of the
Middle Ages, such as Sir Walter Scott conceived a knight to be. He had a
bright, open countenance, fair hair, that curled a little on his
forehead, and a red beard (Barbarossa) which impressed the Italian
imagination. Valiant, resolute, energetic, bountiful in almsgiving,
attentive to religious duties, he was a kind friend and a stern enemy.
To his misfortune he was born too late; he belonged to a chivalric
generation out of place in a world which had begun to deem buying and
selling matters of greater consequence than chivalry and crusades. He
thought himself entitled to all the Imperial rights that had been
exercised by the Ottos; and, measuring his own prerogatives by their
standard, resolved to make good the deficiencies of his immediate
predecessors, who for one reason or another had neglected to assert
those prerogatives in their plenitude. Barbarossa's situation may be
compared to that of Charles I of England, who believed himself lawful
heir to all the prerogatives of the Tudors.

Opposed to these old-fashioned views was the hard-headed spirit of
commercial Italy. Barbarossa's particular enemies were the Lombard
cities, but that was because they were nearest to him. The same
mercantile spirit animated all the cities of the peninsula; in fact, it
pervaded the maritime cities before it pervaded the Lombard cities, and
can best be described by means of a description of them.

The southern cities bloomed earlier than their northern sisters. Amalfi,
now a little fishing village which clings to the steep slopes of the
Gulf of Salerno, in the eleventh century was an independent republic of
50,000 inhabitants. She traded with Sicily, Egypt, Syria, and Arabia;
she decked her women with the ornaments of the East; she built
monasteries at Jerusalem, also a hospital from which the Knights
Hospitallers of St. John took their name; she gave a maritime code to
the Mediterranean and Ionian seas, and circulated coin of her own
minting throughout the Levant. Salerno, her near neighbour, had already
become famous for her knowledge of medicine, acquired from the Arabs.
The speculations of her physicians upon the medicinal properties of
herbs went all over Europe. She abounded in attractions. Vineyards,
apple orchards, nut trees, flourished round about the city; within there
were handsome palaces; "the women did not lack beauty, nor the men
honesty." The Normans must have found themselves very comfortable.
Naples, Gaeta, and the Greek cities of the heel and toe were also
important and prosperous. But these southern cities were soon outdone by
their sturdier northern rivals, Pisa, Genoa, Venice.

Pisa, which now lies at the mouth of the Arno like a forsaken mermaid on
the shore, is said to have been a free commune before the year 900. She
traded east and west; she waged wars with the Saracens, drove them from
Sardinia, captured the Balearic Islands (1114), and carried the war into
Africa. Rich with booty and commercial gains, she erected (according to
a traveller's estimate) ten thousand towers within the city walls,
completed her dome-crowned, many-columned, queenly cathedral, and built
the attendant baptistery, within whose marble walls musical notes rise
and fall, circle and swell, as if angels were singing in mid-air. She
received many privileges from the Emperors; her maritime usages were to
be respected; she was to enact her own laws, and to judge her citizens.
No Imperial Marquess was to enter Tuscany until he had received approval
from twelve men of Pisa, to be elected at a public meeting, called
together by the city's bells (1085). She spread her power in the Levant.
Jaffa, Acre, Tripoli, Antioch were in great part under her dominion, and
her factories were scattered along the coasts of Syria and Asia Minor.

Further to the north, mounting hillward from her curving bay, lay Genoa
the Proud, who for a time was Pisa's ally against the Saracens, and then
became her rival and enemy. Genoa, too, was devoted to commerce and
established settlements in Constantinople, in the Crimea, in Cyprus and
Syria, in Majorca and Tunis. She, too, had obtained from the Empire a
charter of municipal privileges and was a republic, free in all but

Venice, their greater sister, first rivalled and then surpassed both
Pisa and Genoa. She traces her origin to the men who fled from the
mainland in fear of Attila and sought refuge on the marshy islands of
the coast (452). In later days others fled before the Lombards, and
joined the descendants of the earlier refugees. Here, under the nominal
government of the Eastern Empire, the Venetians gradually developed
strength and independence, and took into their own hands the election of
their Doge (697). The city of the _Rivo Alto_, the Venice of to-day, was
begun about 800. Thirty years later the body of St. Mark the Evangelist
was brought from Alexandria, and the foundations of St. Mark's basilica
were laid over his bones. Politically Venice maintained her allegiance,
shifting and time-serving though it was, true to Constantinople, not
from sentiment, but because Constantinople was the first city in the
world, the centre of art, of luxury, of commerce. Indeed, Venice was
like a daughter or younger sister to Constantinople; all her old
monuments, her mosaics, her sculpture, her marble columns, show her
Byzantine inclinations. She took an active part in the Crusades,
furnished transports and supplies, and mixed religion, war, and commerce
in one profitable whole.

These maritime cities constantly fought one another; Pisa destroyed
Amalfi, Genoa ruined Pisa, and Venice finally crippled Genoa. The glory
they won was by individual effort; whereas the glory of the Lombard
cities is that they effected a union, tardy indeed and imperfect, but
successful at last in its purpose of enforcing their liberties against
the Imperial claims. These Lombard cities included in their respective
dominions the country round about, and were, in fact, except for a
negligent Imperial control, little independent republics. It has been a
matter of long dispute whether these communes were survivals from old
Roman times, or sprung from the love of independence brought in by the
Teutonic invaders; whatever their origin they virtually began with
trade, rested upon trade, and flourished with trade. This trade, which,
beginning between neighbouring cities, extended northward over the Alps,
was greatly aided by the maritime cities. Ships called for cargoes. The
stimulus imparted by the energy of Venetian, Genoese, and Pisan seamen
to manufactures and transalpine trade was felt in every Lombard city.
For instance, the Venetians, eager to carry a wider range of merchandise
over sea to Alexandria or Jaffa, held fairs in the inland cities,
exposed the wares they had fetched home, and stirred mercantile
industry. A burgher class of traders and artisans grew up. Men met in
the market-place, talked business, considered ways and means, discussed
the conditions of production and exchange, and became a shrewd, capable
class. The moment business expanded beyond the city walls, it bumped
into feudal rights at every corner; at every crossroad it found itself
enmeshed in feudal prerogatives and privileges. Trade could not endure a
system fitted only for a farming community. Trade took men into
politics; and in those days politics meant war. The citizens of Milan,
Pavia, and neighbouring cities were not wholly unused to civic rights,
for they had long had a voice in the election of bishops, and they had
their trade guilds. These rights they enlarged whenever they got a
chance; and chances came frequently in the quarrels between Emperor and
archbishop, or between the greater and lesser nobility. Both sides
wanted their support; and they sold it in exchange for privileges, here
a little, there a little, and obtained many concessions. Finally, after
the burghers had advanced in wealth and social consideration, the petty
nobles made common cause with them; and the two combined succeeded in
forcing the great lords to join also, and make one general civic union.
These great lords, who had been little tyrants in the country
roundabout, were compelled to live within the city walls for part of the
year and be hostages for their own good behaviour, and were thus
converted from enemies into leading citizens. The consequence of these
changes was that the former government by a bishop, which in course of
time had supplanted the old Carlovingian system of government by a
count, was superseded in its turn by a much more popular form of
government. The bishop's authority was narrowly limited, the executive
power was lodged in consuls, two or more, who were elected annually, and
the legislative power was placed in a general council of the burghers
(in Milan not more than fifteen hundred men), and in a small inner
council, which represented the aristocratic element. By Barbarossa's
time the government of the cities had ceased to be feudal, and had
become communal. There was inevitable antagonism between Lombardy and
the Holy Roman Empire. The league of Lombard cities embodied the revolt
of trade against the feudal system, of merchants against uncertain and
excessive taxes, of burghers against foreign princes, in short, general
discontent with an outgrown political system.

Barbarossa's war with the Lombard cities lasted for twenty-five years,
and for convenience may be divided into two periods,--the period before
the cities had learnt the lesson of union and the period after. So long
as they were divided by mutual distrust and jealousy, Barbarossa was
victorious; when they were united they conquered him.

Barbarossa made his first expedition across the Alps in answer to
appeals that had been made to him from various parts of Italy. Como and
Lodi complained of Milan; the Popes complained of the insubordinate
Romans, who had set up a republic and were going crazy over an heretical
republican priest, one Arnold of Brescia; the lord of the little city
of Capua complained of the Norman king. Barbarossa, with his lofty
notions of Imperial authority and Imperial duty, gathered together an
army and descended into Italy to settle all troubles. He began by
issuing orders to Milan with regard to her conduct towards Como and
Lodi. Milan shut her gates. The proud city and the proud Emperor were at
swords' points in a moment. A letter from Barbarossa from his camp near
Milan, written to his uncle, Otto of Freysing, briefly narrates the
circumstances: "The Milanese, tricky and proud, came to meet us with a
thousand disloyal excuses and reasons, and offered us great sums of
money if we would grant them sovereignty over Como and Lodi; and
because, without letting ourselves be swayed one jot by their prayers or
by their offers, we marched into their territory, they kept us away from
their rich lands and made us pass three whole days in the midst of a
desert; until at last, against their wish, we pitched our camp one mile
from Milan. Here, after they had refused provisions for which we had
offered to pay, we took possession of one of their finest castles,
defended by five hundred horsemen, and reduced it to ashes; and our
cavalry advanced to the gates of Milan and killed many Milanese and took
many prisoners. Then open war broke out between us. When we crossed the
river Ticino in order to go to Novara, we captured two bridges which
they had fortified with castles, and after the army had crossed,
destroyed them. Then we dismantled three of their fortresses ... and
after we had celebrated Christmas with great merriment, we marched by
way of Vercelli and Turin to the Po; we crossed the river and destroyed
the strong city of Chieri, and burned Asti. This done, we laid siege to
Tortona, most strongly fortified both by art and nature; and on the
third day, having captured the suburbs, we should easily have carried
the citadel, if night and stormy weather had not prevented us. At last,
after many assaults, many killed, and a piteous slaughter of citizens,
we forced the citadel to surrender, not without losing a number of our

Such vigour as this reduced Milan and her sister cities to obedience.
But Frederick was not content with raids into Italy and spasmodic
punishment administered to this rebellious city or to that; he wished to
have the Imperial rights and authority definitely settled on a permanent
basis; so he convoked a diet on the plain of Roncaglia, not far from
Piacenza, to which he summoned bishops, dukes, marquesses, counts, and
other nobles of the realm, four famous jurists from Bologna, and two
representatives from each of fourteen Lombard cities. Frederick was a
just man; he merely wished his legal rights, and proposed to ascertain
what those rights were. The determination was left to the lawyers.

By this time lawyers had already begun to play a part in public affairs.
Roman law had never been lost. For centuries it had remained side by
side with the customs of the conquering Barbarians, less as a code of
laws than as the tradition of the subject Latin people; and, when the
needs of quickening civilization required a more elaborate system of law
than custom could supply, there was the Roman law ready for use. It
suddenly leaped into general interest, and rivalled the Church as a
career for young men. St. Bernard complained that the law of Justinian
was ousting the law of God. In 1088 the great law school of Bologna had
been founded. Thither students crowded by thousands; and the opinions of
its jurists were received with the deepest respect.

At Roncaglia the body of lawyers appointed to determine Imperial rights,
decided, doubtless in accordance with Barbarossa's expectation, in
favour of the Imperial side. The feudal nobles were delighted. The
archbishop of Milan, the recognized head of the Lombard nobility, said
to the Emperor: "Know that every right in the people to make laws has
been granted to you; your will is law, as it is said, _Quod Principi
placuit legis habet vigorem_ [The Emperor's will has the force of law],
since the people have granted to you all authority and sovereignty." In
accordance with the spirit of this principle, the _regalia_, tolls,
taxes, forfeits, and exactions of various kinds, were defined, and the
right to appoint the executive magistrates in the communes adjudged to
the Emperor. In substance the decision of the jurists was the
restoration of the Imperial rights as they had been under the Ottos,
when the communes were in their infancy.

Frederick's legal triumph was complete, but such a decision could only
be sustained by force. The cities would not accept it; they preferred
war. In the course of one campaign Milan was razed to the ground (1162),
so literally, that Frederick dated his letters _post destructionem
Mediolani_, "after the destruction of Milan." But the cities at last
learned the necessity of union and stood shoulder to shoulder. The
Papacy, too, which had been friendly to the Emperor during the
insurrections in Rome, turned round and joined the cities against him,
and Frederick, in retaliation, set up an anti-pope. Nevertheless, the
glory of defeating the Emperor belongs to the cities, and not to the
Papacy. The decisive battle was fought near Milan on the field of
Legnano (1176).

The arbitrament of the sword reversed the decision of the lawyers at
Roncaglia. Frederick frankly accepted defeat. A ceremonious conference
was held at Venice. At the portal of St. Mark's, Pope Alexander III, no
unworthy successor to Hildebrand, raised up the kneeling Emperor and
gave him the kiss of peace. Temporary terms were agreed on, and a few
years later the Peace of Constance (1183) definitely closed the war. The
Emperor relinquished all but nominal rights of sovereignty over the
confederate cities. They were to elect their municipal officers, and,
with comparatively unimportant exceptions, to administer justice and
manage their own affairs. Trade had conquered feudalism. The Middle Ages
were near their setting.

No more of Barbarossa's doings need here be chronicled, except what he
deemed a brilliant stroke of diplomacy, by which he hoped to unite the
crown of the Two Sicilies with the Imperial crown on the head of his
son, Henry, and through him on the heads of a long line of
Hohenstaufens. The Empire had always asserted a claim to Southern Italy,
but its claim had never been made good except during the temporary
occupation of an Imperial army; and since the Normans had established
their kingdom, Southern Italy had not only been lost to the Empire, but
had become the chief prop of the Empire's enemy, the Papacy. If the
Empire could acquire Southern Italy, it would hem in the Papacy both
south and north, and crush it to obedience. Frederick's son Henry was
married to the heiress of the Norman kingdom (1186); and the good
Emperor, happy in the prospect before his Imperial line, but happier in
that he could not foresee truly, took the cross and led his army towards
the Holy Land. He died on the way (1190), leaving behind him a
reputation for honour and chivalry, inferior to none left by the German


[10] _Storia d'Italia_, Cappelletti, pp. 99, 100.



Gregory VII was well named the Julius Cæsar of the Papacy. His great
conception of a sovereign ecclesiastical power, supreme over Europe, was
destined to be realized. For in the fulness of time came Innocent III,
the Augustus Cæsar of the Papacy, who ruled the civilized world of
Europe more after the fashion of the old Roman Emperors than any one,
except Charlemagne, had done. But in the interval between these two
famous Popes, there was a period of reaction in which it looked for a
time as if the Empire would plant the Ghibelline flag on the papal
citadel. The Popes of this period were men of no marked ability, whereas
the young king, Henry VI, had inherited the forceful temper of
Barbarossa as well as his theories of Imperial rights, and displayed
great vigour, energy, and resolution. Despite the opposition of the
Popes, who as feudal suzerains of Sicily were most averse to the
alliance, he had married the heiress of the Norman line, and despite the
fierce opposition of the Sicilians,--part Arabs, part Greeks, with
Italians and Normans mingling in,--he established his authority in the
island. Henry was horribly cruel, but he was efficient. He was King of
Germany, King of Italy, and King of the Two Sicilies, and had compelled
a reluctant Pope to crown him Emperor. He determined to be Emperor in
Italy in fact, and to accomplish what his father had failed to do. He
undertook to check and suppress the communes by reviving the old feudal
system. He reinstated old duchies and counties, and enfeoffed his loyal
Germans. Matters looked black for the Guelfs, when, to their great good
luck, the fiery young Emperor died, leaving an incompetent widow and a
helpless baby (1197). By one of those occurrences, in which Catholics
see more than the hand of chance, in the very year after the Emperor's
death, a man of political talents of the highest order was elected to
the pontifical chair.

In the days of Pope Alexander III, the great antagonist of Frederick
Barbarossa, a young nobleman, who took holy orders almost in boyhood,
had given early promise of an extraordinary career. This handsome,
eloquent, imperious boy, named Lothair, inherited through his father,
Thrasmund of the Counts of Segni in Latium, the fierce impetuosity of
the Lombards, and through his mother, a Roman lady of high birth (from
whom he took his master traits), the tenacity, the adroitness, the
political genius of the Romans. He was educated at the universities of
Bologna and Paris, where he studied law, theology, and scholastic
philosophy. The stormy period of the struggle between Alexander and
Barbarossa brought character and talents quickly to the front. Before he
was twenty he had distinguished himself, before he was thirty he had
been made a cardinal, and at thirty-seven he was elected Pope. According
to the practice instituted by the deposed scamp, John XII, of taking a
new name, Lothair assumed the title of Innocent III.

Under the guidance of Innocent III (1198-1216), the Papacy attained the
full meridian of its glory. When this great Pope, lawyer, theologian,
statesman, came to the throne, it was demoralized and weak; before he
died, it had set its yoke on the neck of Europe. For the second time in
history, orders were issued from Rome to the whole civilized world. A
review of his pontificate brings up a panorama of Europe. His task began
in Rome. This little city of churches, monasteries, towers, and ruins,
which took no pride in great papal affairs, had plunged into one of its
fits of republican independence, and, supported by the Emperor, had
ousted the Popes from all control. In the course of a few years, by
intrigue, tact, and civil war, Innocent got into his own hands the
appointment of the senate and of the city governor, and thereby control
of the city. He next turned his attention to the Patrimony of St. Peter,
that central strip from Rome to Ravenna, given or supposed to have been
given by Pippin and Charlemagne to the successors of St. Peter. Here the
impetuous Emperor, Henry VI, had seated his German barons, setting up
fiefs for them, and reëstablishing the feudal system under the Imperial
suzerainty. These German barons were hated by the people. Innocent put
himself at the head of the popular discontent, organized a Guelf, almost
a national, party, and either drove the Germans out, or forced them to
swear allegiance to the Holy See.

In Tuscany also the Guelfs were successful in breaking up the feudal
restoration. In fact, since the days of Countess Matilda feudalism had
been doomed. The cities had taken advantage of the wars between Papacy
and Empire to secure virtual independence; and on Henry's death, with
the exception of Ghibelline Pisa, they banded together and agreed never
to admit an Imperial governor within their territories. Innocent tried
to bring these cities under papal dominion, but they were too
independent, and he was obliged to rest content with snapping up
scattered portions of Matilda's domains.

Meantime in the kingdom of the Two Sicilies the Emperor's widow had
died, and left to Innocent's guardianship her little son, Frederick.
Innocent, guardian and suzerain lord, immediately began a struggle with
the feudal nobility, just as in Italy, and, after a long and difficult
contest, asserted the authority of his royal ward. On the termination of
the minority, he handed over the kingdom to Frederick, who, on his part
as King of the Two Sicilies, swore fealty to the Pope. Had it not been
for his honourable and powerful guardian, Frederick probably would have
had no kingdom, and in his oath of fealty he acknowledged his
indebtedness: "Among all the wishes which we carry in the front rank of
our desires, this is the chief, to discharge a grateful obedience, to
show an honourable devotion, and never to be found ungrateful for your
benefits--God forbid--since, next to Divine Grace, to your protection we
are indebted not only for land but also for life."

In this way Innocent established the Papacy in Italy; sovereign,
suzerain, protector or ally, he was the head of the Italian Guelfs and
practically of Italy. Let us now look abroad. In Constantinople, the
capital of the Greek Empire, Innocent's legate bestowed the Imperial
purple upon an Emperor. An odd whirl of Fortune's wheel brought this to
pass. Innocent had preached a crusade in the hope of recovering the Holy
Land from the infidels, who had succeeded in expelling the Christians.
An army of Frenchmen and Flemings answered his summons. They determined
to avoid the deadly route overland and go by sea, and applied to Venice
for transportation. When they came to pay the bill they did not have the
money, and the Venetians insisted that they should help them recapture
the city of Zara, on the Dalmatian coast, which had once belonged to
Venice but had been lost again. Zara was attacked and taken (1202). One
deflection from the straight path of duty led to another. To Zara came
the son of the Greek Emperor to say that his father had been deposed,
and to beg for help. The Venetians, wishing to wound two commercial
rivals at once, Constantinople and Pisa (for the usurping Emperor
favoured Pisa), used the suppliant as a stalking-horse, and persuaded
the Crusaders once again to divert their immediate purpose and to
restore the deposed Emperor to his throne. Again the Crusaders listened
to temptation, for the Venetians baited their hook with golden promises;
they sailed to Constantinople and restored the wronged Emperor. Matters
did not go smoothly, however. Misunderstanding with the Greeks led to
disagreements, disagreements to quarrels, and quarrels to war. The Latin
Crusaders assaulted Constantinople, carried it by storm, and plundered
houses, palaces, churches, shrines, everything; then, with appetites
whetted by petty spoils, seized the frail Empire itself (1204). They
divided Thrace, Macedonia, Greece, the islands of the Ægean Sea, and all
the remnants of the Roman Empire of the East that they could lay hands
on. Pious Venice came out best; she took coast and island, town and
country, all along from recaptured Zara round by the shores of Dalmatia,
Albania, Peloponnesus, and Thessaly, ending with half of Constantinople
itself. The Marquess of Monferrat became King of Thessalonica, and his
vassal, a Burgundian count, was invested with the lordship of Athens and
Thebes. The Count of Flanders was elected Emperor of a Latin Empire.
Innocent had been very angry with the deflections to Zara and
Constantinople, and had thundered against the polite but inflexible
Venetians. When the evil had been done, however, he made the best of it,
and behaved with dignity and astuteness. He rebuked the Crusaders for
having preferred the things of earth to those of Heaven, and bade them
ask God's pardon for the profanation of holy places; but he admitted the
advantage that would arise from reconciling the Greeks, schismatics
since the days of Leo the Iconoclast, with the Roman See. So his legate
bestowed the purple on a suppliant Emperor in the city of

In Germany Innocent also appears as the giver and withholder of crowns.
On the death of Henry VI there was a disputed election. The Hohenstaufen
party, dreading a long minority, passed over the baby Frederick, and
nominated Philip, Henry's brother; the rival party, the German Guelfs,
nominated Otto of Brunswick, a nephew of Richard Coeur-de-lion. Civil
war followed, and both parties appealed to Innocent who, after
deliberation, supported Otto, but exacted a high price. Otto was obliged
to guarantee to the Pope the strip of territory from Rome to Ravenna,
and those portions of Matilda's domains which were not fiefs of the
Empire, also to acknowledge papal suzerainty over the Two Sicilies, and
to promise to conform to the papal will with regard to the leagues of
the Lombard and Tuscan cities. This guarantee of Otto laid the first
real foundation of the Papal States. Hitherto, vague _Donations_ had
given pretexts for claims; but Otto's deed was a definite Imperial
grant, and conveyed an unquestionable title. In spite of Innocent's
support matters went ill for Otto in Germany. Philip's star rose, and
Innocent, to whom the cause of the Papacy was the cause of God and
justified diplomatic conduct, was on the point of shifting to Philip's
side, when in the nick of time Philip was murdered (1208). Otto's claim
was now undisputed. No sooner, however, did he feel the crown secure on
his head than he shifted his ground. Guelf by birth though he was, he
found that he could not be both obedient to the Pope and loyal to his
Imperial duties. He turned into a complete Ghibelline, broke his grant
to the Pope, attempted to restore the feudal system in the papal
territories, and assumed to treat the Two Sicilies as a fief of the
Empire. Innocent, outraged and indignant at this breach of faith,
excommunicated him (1210). Thereupon, as at the time when Gregory VII
excommunicated Henry IV, the German barons rose, deposed Otto, and
summoned young Frederick from Sicily to take the German crown. Innocent
supported Frederick's cause, but exacted the price which he had formerly
exacted from the perjured Otto. Frederick, pressed by present need, and
forgetful of Otto's evil precedent, pledged himself as follows: "We,
Frederick the Second, by Divine favour and mercy, King of the Romans,
ever Augustus, and King of Sicily ... recognizing the grace given to us
by God, we have also before our eyes the immense and innumerable
benefits rendered by you, most dear lord and reverend father, our
protector and benefactor, lord Innocent, by God's grace most venerable
Pontiff; through your benefaction, labour, and guardianship, we have
been brought up, cherished, and advanced, ever since our mother, the
Empress Constance of happy memory, threw us upon your care, almost from
birth. To you, most blessed father, and to all your Catholic successors,
and to the Holy Roman Church, our special mother, we shall discharge all
obedience, honour, and reverence, always with an humble heart and a
devout spirit, as our Catholic predecessors, kings and Emperors, are
known to have done to your predecessors; not a whit from these shall we
take away, rather add, that our devotion may shine the more."[11]
Frederick promised that he would not interfere in the election of
bishops, and that the candidate canonically elected should be installed.
He confirmed the papal title to the Papal States. "I vow, promise,
swear, and take my oath to protect and preserve all the possessions,
honours, and rights of the Roman Church, in good faith, to the best of
my power" (1213).

From this time forward Frederick advanced from success to success. Otto
was driven into private life, and the Pope's legate put the German crown
on Frederick's head at Aachen (1215). Where Innocent blessed, success
and prosperity followed; where he cursed, death and destruction came.

Elsewhere the Pope was equally triumphant. All Europe bent under his
imperial decrees. The kings of Portugal, Leon, Castile, and Navarre were
scolded or punished. The King of Aragon went to Rome and swore
allegiance. The Duke of Bohemia was rebuked, the King of Denmark
comforted, the nobles of Iceland warned, the King of Hungary admonished.
Servia, Bulgaria, even remote Armenia, received papal supervision and
paternal care. Philip Augustus of France, at Innocent's command, took
back the wife whom he had repudiated. John of England grovelled on the
ground before him, and yielded up "to our lord the Pope Innocent and his
successors, all our kingdom of England and all our kingdom of Ireland to
be held as a fief of the Holy See"(1213).

Another triumph of darker hue added to the brilliance of Innocent's
career. In the south of France, in the pleasant places of Provence and
Languedoc, where troubadours praised love and war, and lords and ladies
wandered down primrose paths, the humbler folk got hold of certain
dangerous ideas. They believed that there was a power of evil as well as
a power of good, that Christ was but an emanation from God, that the God
of the Jews was not the real God of Goodness, and, worse than all, that
the Roman Church, with its sacerdotalism, forms, sacraments, and ritual,
was, to say the least, not what it should be. Innocent entertained no
doubts that the Roman Church had been founded by God to maintain His
truth on earth; as a statesman he regarded heresy as we regard treason
and anarchy; as a priest he deemed it sin. He called Simon of Montfort
and other dogs of war from the north and urged them at the quarry. The
heresy was put down in blood. Here appears the black figure of St.
Dominic, encouraging the faithful, rallying the hesitant, and by the
fervour of his belief, by his devotion, by his genius for organization,
more destructive to heresy than the sword of Montfort.

Thus Innocent sat supreme. He had created a papal kingdom where his
predecessors had asserted impotent claims; he had confirmed the Two
Sicilies in their dependency upon the Holy See; he had put the Papacy at
the head of the Guelf party in Italy, and had made that party almost
national; he had enforced the power of the Church throughout Europe, had
given crowns to the Kings of Aragon and of England, to the Emperors of
Germany and of Constantinople. No such spectacle had been seen since the
reign of Charlemagne; none such was to be seen again till the coming of
Napoleon. The conception of Europe as an ecclesiastical organization had
reached its fullest expression.


[11] _Select Mediæval Documents_, Mathews, p. 115, translated.


ST. FRANCIS (1182-1226)

In spite of the dazzling success achieved by Innocent, matters were not
well with the Church in Italy. Corruption threatened it from within,
heresy from without. Simony was rampant; livings were almost put up at
auction. Innocent asserted that there was no cure but fire and steel.
The prelates of the Roman Curia were "tricky as foxes, proud as bulls,
greedy and insatiable as the Minotaur." The priests were often
shameless; some became usurers to get money for their bastards, others
kept taverns and sold wine. Worship had become a vain repetition of
formulas. The monks were superstitious, many of them disreputable. The
inevitable consequence of this decay in the Church was heresy. Italy was
nearly, if not quite, as badly honeycombed with heretics as Languedoc
had been. The Patarini, whom we remember in Hildebrand's time, now
become a species of heretics, abounded in Milan; other sects sprang up
in towns near by. In Ferrara, Verona, Rimini, Faenza, Treviso, Florence,
Prato, anti-sacerdotal sentiment was very strong. In Viterbo the
heretics were numerous enough to elect their consul. At Piacenza priests
had been driven out, and the city left unshepherded for three years. In
Orvieto there had been grave disorders. In Assisi a heretic had been
elected _podestà_ (governor).

The great Innocent knitted his brows; he knew well that his noisy
triumphs, which echoed over the Tagus, the Thames, the Rhine, and the
Golden Horn, were of no avail, if heretics sapped and mined the Church
within. It seemed as if the great ecclesiastical fabric, to which he had
given the devotion of a life, was tottering from corner-stone to apex;
when, one day, a cardinal came to him and said, "I have found a most
perfect man, who wishes to live according to the Holy Gospel, and to
observe evangelical perfection in all things. I believe that through him
the Lord intends to reform His Holy Church in all the world." Innocent
was interested, and bade the man be brought before him. This man was
Francis Bernadone, known to us as St. Francis, the leader of a small
band of Umbrian pilgrims from Assisi, who asked permission to follow
literally the example of Jesus Christ. The Pope hesitated. To the
cardinals, men of the world, this young man and his pilgrims were fools
and their faith nonsense. "But," argued a believer, "if you assert that
it is novel, irrational, impossible to observe the perfection of the
Gospel, and to take a vow to do so, are you not guilty of blasphemy
against Christ, the author of the Gospel?" Thinking the matter over, the
Pope dreamed a dream. He beheld the Church of St. John Lateran, the
episcopal church of the bishops of Rome, leaning in ruin and about to
fall, when a monk, poor and mean in appearance, bent under it and
propped it with his back. Innocent awoke and said to himself, "This
Francis is the holy monk by whose help the Church of God shall be lifted
up and stand again." So he said to Francis and his followers, "Go
brethren, God be with you. Preach repentance to all as He shall give you
inspiration. And when Almighty God shall have made you multiply in
numbers and in grace, come back to us, and we will entrust you with
greater things."

So St. Francis, "true servant of God and faithful follower of Jesus
Christ," went about his ministry with the blessing of the Church. To the
people of Assisi, of Umbria, and afterwards of all Central Italy, his
life was a revelation of Christianity. He imparted the gospel anew, as
fresh as when it had first been given under the Syrian stars. He
embodied peace, gentleness, courtesy, and self-sacrifice. It is not too
much to say that he saved the Catholic Church, and put off the
Protestant Reformation for three hundred years. His example and
influence raised the standard of conduct within the Church; and his
love, his devotion, his insistence on the essential parts of Christ's
teaching, and his dislike of worldly pomps, deprived heresy of all its
weapons. He satisfied the widespread religious hunger better than heresy
did. He was so characteristically Italian, and his ministry throws so
much light on the state of Italy at the opening of the thirteenth
century, that it is worth while to dwell for a few pages on his doings.

Assisi, built for safety on a hill and protected by great walls and
gates, was a good example of a little mediæval town. In the centre was
the _piazza_, on which fronted a Roman temple to Minerva, haughtily
scornful of its mediæval surroundings. Hard by was the cathedral, where
every baby was taken for baptism. On the tiptop of the hill stood a huge
castle, where the feudal baron dwelt with his ruffianly soldiers and
received his feudal lord, the Emperor, when he stopped at Assisi on his
way to Rome. In Francis's boyhood, the people, aided by Pope Innocent,
had driven out the German count, and had formed themselves into a free
commune, save for their allegiance to the Holy See; but the change was
not all gain. The town was divided into discordant classes; the
nobility, maintained in idleness by the produce of their estates, the
bourgeoisie, engaged in trade (Francis's father was a merchant), the
artisans grouped in guilds, and the serfs, who tilled the fields and
tended the vineyards and olive orchards. Once rid of the German count,
the bourgeoisie endeavoured to rid themselves of the arrogant and idle
nobility. Street war broke out. The nobles fled to Perugia, another
little town perched on a hill some dozen miles across the plain, and
asked for help. Perugia rejoiced in the opportunity. The miseries of a
petty war between two little neighbours need no description. Fields and
vineyards were devastated, olive orchards destroyed, farm-houses burned.
Even in peace the peasants around Assisi lived in constant disquiet,
ready to fling down their mattocks and flee to the protection of the
city walls.

Within the city the streets were narrow, the houses small. Dirt
abounded. War brought poverty, dirt brought the pest, Crusaders brought
leprosy. At the gates of the town stood lazar-houses, and in remote
spots lepers in the earlier stages of disease gathered together. Yet,
despite war, pest, and leprosy, life in Umbria could never have been
wholly sad. Certainly the sons of the well-to-do enjoyed themselves and
whiled away the time carelessly. Sometimes a great personage stopped on
his Romeward way; sometimes strolling players exhibited their shows on
the _piazza_ before the Temple of Minerva; sometimes a troubadour,
escaped from the persecution in Provence, passed by on his way to
Sicily, and sang his songs to repay hospitality. Many an afternoon and
night the clubs of young gentlemen gave _fêtes champêtres_ and dances.
Francis, as a boy, was gayest of the gay, dancing and piping in the
market-place, fighting in the front rank against the nobles of Perugia,
but when he grew to manhood he could not bear the contrast between mirth
and misery. He sought for some universal joy and found it in the love of
Christ. He gathered about him a scanty band of holy and humble men of
heart, who took the vow of poverty, and devoted themselves to praising
God, comforting the wretched, and tending lepers. The abbot of the
neighbouring Benedictine monastery gave them a little chapel, where St.
Benedict himself had once said mass, which lay in the plain a mile below
the town. This little chapel, named the _Portiuncula_ (the little
portion), which is now covered by the great church of _Santa Maria degli
Angeli_ (St. Mary of the Angels), so called because the songs of angels
were heard there, was the cradle of the Franciscan Order. It was a tiny
building, twenty feet wide and thirty long, with a steep pitched roof,
plain walls, and big, round-arched door, and was sadly dilapidated. St.
Francis and his friends built it up, and it became their church. Round
it they built their huts, and encompassed all with a hedge. Here it was
that St. Clare, the daughter of a nobleman of Assisi, donned the nun's
dress. Here Francis passed the happy years of his life, while as yet his
disciples were few and all were animated by his passionate longing for
self-abnegation. He followed the New Testament literally,
superstitiously one would say were it not that this literal obedience
was accompanied by ineffable peace of heart and joy. He specially
enjoined poverty. A smock, a cord, and sandals were enough for a true
brother. Once a novice begged for permission to own a psalter, and
teased him, but Francis answered: "After you have the psalter you will
covet and long for a breviary; and when you possess a breviary you will
sit on a chair like a great prelate, and say to thy brother, fetch me my
breviary." Nor would he suffer the brethren to take heed for the morrow.
They were only allowed to ask for provisions sufficient for the day. For
he, in the rapture of his love, found infinite pleasure in the literal
fulfillment of every word that had fallen from Christ's lips. Francis
was an orator; he possessed passion, the great source of eloquence, and
stirred prelates and Crusaders as well as peasants and lepers. The world
wished for sympathy and he gave it. He seemed to be sick with the sick,
afflicted with those in affliction, holy with the good; and even sinners
felt him one of themselves. To his disciples he was Jesus come again.
Joy and happiness radiated from him. All the world felt the charm and
beauty of his love of God, and poetry followed him as wild violets
attend the spring.

Thus Francis, by rubbing off the incrustations of twelve hundred
unchristian years, revealed the poetry of the gospel to an eager world.
One charming trait of his character was his love of animals, especially
of birds. He wished the ox and the ass, companions of the manger, to
share in the Christmas good cheer; and hoped that the Emperor would make
a law that nobody should kill larks or do them any hurt. He was always
very fond of larks and said that their plumage was like a religious
dress. "Wherefore,--according to his disciple, Brother Leo,--it pleased
God that these lowly little birds should give a sign of affection for
him at the hour of his death. On the eve of the Sabbath day after
vespers, just before the night in which he went up to God, a great
multitude of larks flew down over the roof of the house where he lay,
and all flying together wheeled in circles round the roof and singing
sweetly seemed to be praising God."

His disciples went forth from their headquarters, the _Portiuncula_,
like the Apostles, to preach the gospel, first to the people of Umbria
and Tuscany, then on to Bologna and Verona, and soon over the Alps and
across the seas. The Order had three branches: the begging friars
themselves, tonsured and clad in undyed cloth, with cords about their
waists and sandals on their feet; the sister Clares, shut up in
nunneries, and dressed most simply; and the third order, people who
continued to live in the world, but wished to follow the example of
Christ and his blessed imitator and servant, Francis. The first rule of
the begging friars had been very strict. For Francis the strait gate
that led to eternal life was poverty. Even in his lifetime after his
Order had become popular, there was grumbling and opposition; and after
his death, the literal observance of his wishes was promptly given up.
He would never allow his brethren to own a house or have a church; and
yet within two years after his death the great basilica in Assisi was
begun, dedicated to him, and hurried to magnificent completion. The
Church, which held the doctrine of evangelical poverty fit only for mad
men of genius, laid her heavy hand on the Order, and guided and governed
it as best suited her purposes. But it would be grossly unfair to the
Church to blame her for violating Francis's chief dogma. The total
rejection of property, the total disregard of the morrow, seemed to her,
as they seem to us to-day, doctrines wholly inapplicable to this world
in which we find ourselves.



The Church seized the Franciscan Order as a man in danger grasps at a
means of safety, and shaped it to her needs; for, in spite of her
brilliant triumphs under Innocent, her needs were great. The Papacy and
the Empire approached their final struggle; both felt instinctively that
the issue must be decisive. Their fundamental incompatibility had been
aggravated by the union of the crowns of Sicily and Germany. Innocent
had been pushed by circumstances into supporting Frederick's claim to
Germany, and though he had striven to prevent the natural consequences
by extorting oaths from Frederick, yet as time went on the danger became
clearer. Under Innocent's successor, Pope Honorius, the Papacy lay like
a cherry between an upper and lower jaw, which watered to close and
crunch it; and this extreme peril is the excuse for the bitterness of
the Popes in the contest which followed. The Papacy fought for its life.

The contest affected all Italy. Milan and many cities of the valley of
the Po were Guelf; but Pavia and some others were Ghibelline, not that
they loved the Emperor, but hated Milan; Florence and the other Tuscan
cities, except Ghibelline Pisa and Siena, which hated Florence, were
Guelf; Rome was split in two; the Colonna, the Frangipani, and other
great families were generally Ghibelline, though permanent allegiance
was unfashionable, while the Orsini and others were Guelf. The Gray
Friars, who swarmed from the Alps to the Strait of Messina, were
steadfast Guelfs, and even carried their loyalty so far, their enemies
said, as to subordinate religion to political ends. On the other hand,
the aristocracy, which was chiefly of Teutonic descent, held for the

Frederick himself is the central figure of the period. In his lifetime
he excited love and hate to extravagance, and he still excites the
enthusiasm of scholars. His is the most interesting Italian personality
between St. Francis and Dante. I say Italian, for though Frederick
inherited the Hohenstaufen vigour and energy, he got his chief traits
from his Sicilian mother. Poet, lawgiver, soldier, statesman, he was the
wonder of the world, _stupor mundi_, as an English chronicler called
him. Impetuous, terrible, voluptuous, refined, he was a kind of Cæsarian
Byron. In most ways he outstripped contemporary thought; in many ways he
outstripped contemporary sympathy. He was sceptical of the Athanasian
Creed, of communal freedom, and of other things which his Italian
countrymen believed devoutly; while they were sceptical of the divine
right of the Empire, of the blessing of a strong central government, and
of other matters which he believed devoutly.

Between a stubborn Emperor, a stiff-necked Papacy, and obstinate
communes, relations strained taut. The first break occurred between
Emperor and Papacy. The Popes honestly desired to reconquer Jerusalem,
which had fallen back into infidel hands, and incessantly urged a
crusade; but perhaps at this juncture their zeal was heightened by a
notion that the most effective defensive measure against the Emperor
would be to keep him busy in Palestine. Frederick had solemnly promised
to go. He had also solemnly promised to keep the crowns of Germany and
of the Two Sicilies separate, by putting the latter on his son's head;
but instead of this separation he kept both crowns on his own head, and
secured both for his son as his successor. In spite of this violated
promise, Pope Honorius, a gentle soul, devoutly eager for the crusade,
crowned Frederick Emperor (1220), upon Frederick's renewed promise that
he would start on the crusade within a year. The year passed, then
another and another, and Frederick, with his crowns safe on his head,
did not move a foot towards Jerusalem. The gentle Honorius remonstrated;
Frederick made vows, excuses, protestations, but did not go. Finally the
mild Pope died, and was succeeded by the venerable Cardinal Ugolino,
Gregory IX, (1227-1241). Ugolino was a member of the _Conti_ family of
Latium (so preëminently counts that they took their name from their
title), and a near relation to Innocent III. His indomitable character
proved his kinship. Blameless in private life, a warm friend to St.
Francis, deeply versed in ecclesiastical affairs, he had a benign face
and noble presence; in fact, to quote the gentle Pope Honorius, he was
"a Cedar of Lebanon in the Park of the Church." But, in spite of his
virtue, his training, and his fourscore years, he was a very Hotspur,
fiery, impatient, and headstrong. It was he who had put the crusader's
cross into Frederick's hands and had received his crusader's vow; and
now, having bottled up his wrath during the pontificate of Honorius, he
could brook no further delay. Frederick made ready to go. Ships and men
were gathered at Brindisi, and, in spite of a pestilence which killed
many soldiers, the fleet set sail. A few days later word was brought
that Frederick had put about and disembarked in Italy.

Gregory was furiously angry, and despatched an encyclical letter to
certain bishops in Frederick's kingdom, which sets forth the papal side
of the matter: "Out in the spacious amplitude of the sea, the little
bark of Peter, placed or rather displaced by whirlwinds and tempests, is
so continuously tossed about by storms and waves, that its pilot and
rowers under the stress of inundating rains can hardly breathe. Four
special tempests shake our ship: the perfidy of infidels, the madness of
tyrants, the insanity of heretics, the perverse fraud of false sons.
There are wars without and fears within, and it frequently happens that
the distressed Church of Christ, while she thinks she cherishes
children, nourishes at her breast fires, serpents, and vipers, who by
poisonous breath, by bite and conflagration, strive to ruin all. Now, in
this time when there is need to destroy monsters of this sort, to rout
hostile armies, to still disturbing tempests, the Apostolic See with
great diligence has cherished a certain child, to wit, the Emperor
Frederick, whom from his mother's womb she received upon her knees,
nursed him at her breasts, carried him on her back, rescued him often
from the hands of them that sought his life, with great pains and cost
studied to educate him until she had brought him to manhood, and led him
to a kingly crown and even to the height of the Imperial dignity,
believing that he would be a rod of defence, and a staff for her old

The encyclical then proceeds to recount Frederick's promises, his
delays, evasions, excuses, and the false start from Brindisi, and adds,
"Hearken and see if there be any sorrow like the sorrow of your mother
the Apostolic See, so cruelly, so totally deceived by a son whom she had
nursed, in whom she had placed the trust of her hope in this matter. But
we put our hope in the compassion of God that He will show to us a way
by which we shall advance prosperously in this affair, and that He will
point out men, who in purity of heart and with cleanness of hand shall
lead the Christian army. Yet lest, like dumb dogs who cannot bark, we
should seem to defer to man against God, and take no vengeance upon him,
the Emperor Frederick, who has wrought such ruin on God's people. We,
though unwilling, do publicly pronounce him excommunicated, and command
that he be by all completely shunned, and that you and other prelates
who shall hear of this, publicly publish his excommunication. And, if
his contumacy shall demand, more grave proceeding shall be taken."

This ban of excommunication was published over the world; bishops gave
it out in their dioceses, priests in their parishes; Gray Friars told of
it from Sicily to Scotland. Frederick in answer wrote letters to the
kings of Europe, saying that the Roman Church was so consumed with
avarice and greed, that, not satisfied with her own Church property, she
was not ashamed to disinherit emperors, kings, and princes, and make
them tributary. To the King of England he wrote:--

"Of these premises the King of England has an example, for the Church
excommunicated his father, King John, and kept him excommunicated till
he and his kingdom became tributary to her. Likewise all have the
example of many other princes, whose lands and persons she squeezed
under an interdict till she had reduced them to similar servitude. We
pass over her simony, her unheard-of exactions, her open usury, and her
new-fangled tricks, which infect the whole world. We pass over her
speeches, sweeter than honey, smoother than oil,--insatiable
bloodsuckers! They say that the Roman Curia is the Church, our mother
and nurse, when that Curia is the root and origin of all evils. She does
not act like a mother, but like a stepmother. By her fruits which we
know she gives sure proof.

"Let the famous barons of England think of this. Pope Innocent
instigated them to rise in revolt against King John as a stubborn enemy
of the Church, but after that abnormally celebrated King made obeisance
and, like a woman, delivered up himself and his kingdom to the Roman
Church, that Pope, putting behind him his respect for man and fear of
God, trampled down the nobles, whom he had first supported and pricked
on, and left them exposed to death and disinheritance, so that he,
after the Roman fashion, should gulp down his impudent throat the fatter
morsels. In this way, under the incitement of Roman avarice, England,
fairest of countries, was made a tributary. Behold the ways of the
Romans; behold how they seek to snare all and each, how they get money
by fraud, how they subjugate the free and disturb the peaceable, clad in
sheep's clothing but inwardly ravening wolves. They send legates hither
and thither, to excommunicate, to reprimand, to punish,--not to save the
fruitful seed of God's word, but to extort money, to bind and reap where
they have never sown.

"Against us also, as He who sees all things knows, they have raged like
bacchantes, wrongfully, saying that we would not cross the sea according
to terms fixed, when much unavoidable and arduous business about the
going, and about the Church and about the Empire, detained us, not
counting sickness. First there were the insolent Sicilian rebels: and it
did not seem to us a good plan nor expedient for Christianity to go to
the Holy Land," etc. And he ended, so the chronicler says, with an
exhortation to all the princes of the world to beware against such
avarice and wickedness, because "_you are concerned when your
neighbour's house is on fire_."

These letters show the temper on both sides. Outwardly, however, peace
was observed, and Frederick really went on the promised crusade; and,
though in Syria he found Patriarch, Templars, Hospitallers, and
Franciscans all turned against him, he succeeded in making a treaty by
which Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem were ceded to him, and he
crowned himself king in Jerusalem. In the mean time hostilities had
broken out in Italy. Frederick incited the Roman barons to drive the
Pope from Rome, and the Pope preached a crusade against Frederick. But
both sides, having many cares within their respective jurisdictions, at
length made peace, and Frederick was enabled to go back to his
_consuetas delicias_, his wonted delights.

This phrase, which was used by the Pope, probably contained an innuendo,
for gossip busied itself with Frederick's christianity and morals. He
tolerated Saracens in his kingdom, lived on friendly terms with them,
and preferred them in his army, for they were indifferent to
excommunication; and gossip added that he liked Saracen ladies, hinted
at a harem, and alleged that in Syria he had accepted the present of a
troop of Moslem dancers. Gossip, spread by the glib tongues of mendicant
friars, charged him with saying, "If God had seen my beautiful Sicily,
he would not have chosen that beggarly Palestine for His Kingdom,"
"There have been three great impostors who invented religions, and one
of them was crucified." Frederick's real offence in ecclesiastical eyes
was that he wished to subordinate the spiritual to the secular power. It
was natural, however, that pious folk should look askance at a prince
who, while Christendom was fighting Islam, hobnobbed with Mohammedans
and seemed to find them more sympathetic than Christians.

Frederick's real _consuetæ deliciæ_ were of another kind. In his
Sicilian court we catch the first streaks of the dawn that was destined
to brighten into the day of the Renaissance. He himself was a highly
accomplished man, spoke Italian, German, Arabic, and Greek, and took an
interest in mathematics, philosophy, and in general learning. But poetry
was his favourite pleasure. The Italian language, recently emerged from
dog Latin, had just begun to serve literary uses, and Frederick's court
had the honour of producing the first school of Italian poetry. He, his
sons Manfred and Enzio, his chief counsellor Pier della Vigna, and many
poets and troubadours drawn thither by his fame, so far outstripped the
rest of Italy that all Italian poetry, wherever written, was called

Sicily was the most civilized place in Europe, now that Southern France
had been crushed by the Albigensian persecution. The old Greek stock
kept some trace of their inheritance; the Arabs had brought their
culture; the Normans had added chivalric ideas; the Crusades and
commerce had enlarged the intellectual boundaries; and Frederick himself
had extraordinary versatility. Mathematicians from Granada, philosophers
from Alexandria, were as welcome as the troubadours from Provence.
Frederick looked after his own royal estates, managed his stud farm in
Apulia, decided when brood mares should be fed on barley and when kept
to grass. He was a great sportsman, too, and wrote a book on falconry.
He enacted a famous code of laws, far superior in many respects to
existing legislation, which was conceived with the definite plan of
exalting royal authority over feudal prerogatives and communal customs.
He deprived the barons of criminal jurisdiction; forbade private war,
carrying weapons, etc; he limited trial by ordeal so far as he could,
calling it "a species of divination;" he made minute regulations in
matters of business and behaviour, and maintained a paternal authority.

In fact, Sicily, with its culture, poetry, Moslems, and its unorthodox
king, succeeded to the heretical position of Southern France. The Papacy
felt instinctively that a civilization so happy in the good things of
this world, so lax on many points of morality, so careless of the Roman
ecclesiastical system, was a perpetual menace to it. In the nature of
things, the peace that had been made with Frederick could not last long.

The breach happened in the North. The Lombard cities revolted. Frederick
marched against them and won a victory (1237). Then was the zenith of
his power; his very triumph was the cause of his undoing. All the Guelfs
of Italy roused themselves for the struggle. The Pope took part, and a
second time excommunicated Frederick, enumerating a score of sins. A
later Pope held a council at Lyons (a place of safety), excommunicated
Frederick again, and deposed him from his Imperial throne (1245). Then
an anti-emperor was set up. Blow on blow fell upon Frederick. He was
terribly routed at Parma, through carelessness. His gallant son Enzio,
the poet, was captured by the Bolognese, who would not release him,
though Frederick offered to put a rim of gold round the walls of their
city. Enzio spent twenty-three years in prison and there died. Pier
della Vigna, who "kept both the keys of Frederick's heart," was
suspected of high treason and condemned to death. Frederick himself died
in 1250, and the Pope shouted for joy at the news, "Be glad ye Heavens,
and let the Earth rejoice!" He had good reason, for the Church had lost
its most dangerous enemy.

With the death of Frederick the Empire came to its end. The name of Holy
Roman Empire continued till 1806, and from time to time for several
hundred years German kings came down across the Alps to receive the
Imperial crown, but on Frederick's death the old mediæval Empire
practically ceased; and Italy, instead of being an Imperial province,
became a series of independent states.

The end of the Hohenstaufens themselves reads like the last act of a
bloody Elizabethan tragedy. Within a few years the only survivors among
Frederick's descendants were his lawful heir, a baby, Conradin, and an
illegitimate son, Manfred. Manfred, who had inherited the charm, the
address, the energy and brilliance of his father, succeeded in
establishing himself in the Two Sicilies, at first as regent for his
nephew, and afterwards, for in those troubled times a regency was
precarious, as king in his own right. But the Popes were resolved not to
undergo a repetition of the danger they had experienced from Frederick,
and laid their plans to destroy the last of the "viper's brood," as they
called Frederick's family. They followed the old precedent, set in the
days when the Papacy had been in danger from the Lombards, and invited a
French prince, Charles of Anjou, brother to St. Louis, to come and
depose Manfred, and offered him the crown of the Two Sicilies. The
crafty, capable, deep-scheming Charles accepted, and came amid great
rejoicing among the Guelfs. Rome made him Senator. Florence made him
_podestà_; in fact, all Guelf Italy was at his feet. The Pope proclaimed
a crusade against Manfred, collected tithes and taxes for the holy
purpose, and provided Charles with an army. Manfred was defeated and
killed (1266), and two years later, the valiant Conradin, a lad of
sixteen, who came down in the mad hope of regaining his kingdom, was
also defeated, taken prisoner, and, after a mock trial for treason, put
to death. Thus the Papacy prevented the union of the Two Sicilies with
the Empire, and thus the House of Anjou supplanted the last of the
Hohenstaufens at Palermo and Naples.



We are now coming out of the Middle Ages, and the dawn of a new era
grows more and more apparent. The Empire, embodiment of an old outworn
theory, has already fallen, and its victorious rival, the Papacy, in so
far as it embodies the mediæval idea of a theocratic supremacy, is
tottering, and it, too, will soon fall before the unsympathetic forces
of a new age. So long as the Papacy stood untouched, it looked as potent
and sovereign, and spoke with as lofty a tone, as in the days of
Innocent; but a hundred years had wrought great changes, and at a push
it tumbled and fell.

Hints had already been dropped that the dread thunderbolt, the curse of
Rome, which had helped win the proud position of lordship over Europe,
had become mere _brutum fulmen_. Excommunication had been so prodigally
used for political purposes that educated men no longer believed that it
was really the curse of heaven. Moreover, Europe had not been standing
still. The vigorous, compact kingdom of France had come into being, and
flushed with a sense of power and importance, determined to take that
part in European politics which it regarded as its due. In angry
self-confidence the young kingdom confronted the overweening Papacy,
savagely tore off its giant's robe, and laid bare its real weakness.

Boniface VIII (1294-1303) was the pontiff under whom the papal empire
came to its end. He was a vigorous, energetic, arrogant, eloquent,
handsome man, with a wide knowledge of law, diplomacy, and politics. In
the cathedral at Florence there is a large statue of him, calm and
dignified, almost heroic. He sits with his rochet and tiara on, his
right hand raised with two fingers extended as if blessing,--an unusual
occupation,--and looks far more of this world than of the other. His
contemporary, the Florentine historian, Villani, a Guelf, says: "He was
great-minded and lordly, and coveted much honour, ... and was much
respected and feared for his learning and power. He was very grasping
for money in order to aggrandize the Church and his own relations,
making no shame of gain, for he said that he might do anything with what
belonged to the Church.... He was very learned in books, very wary and
capable, and had great common sense; he had wide knowledge and a good
memory, but was extremely cruel and haughty with his enemies and
adversaries, ... more worldly than befitted his exalted station, and he
did many things displeasing to God." Dante, passionately Ghibelline,
calls Boniface "prince of the new Pharisees" and sends him to hell.

Boniface's chief enemies, as was usual in the case of a Pope who had
enemies, were Romans. If the Papacy had been able to reduce Rome to real
obedience, its history would have been different. The rebellious
commune and the rebellious barons were constantly on the watch for
favourable opportunities to revolt, or, as they regarded it, to assert
their rights and liberties, and Boniface's first struggle came with the
great House of Colonna. The Colonnas were haughty; he was imperious.
They hinted that he was not legally Pope; he excommunicated them,
proclaimed a crusade, captured and destroyed their fortresses in the
Campagna, and made them deadly enemies. This victory was achieved at a
price thereafter to be paid in full. But for the time Boniface was
triumphant, and seemed, to himself at least, to sit as high as the great
Innocent a hundred years before.

In the year 1300 he originated the custom, ever since observed, of a
papal jubilee to celebrate the centennial year. For centuries Palestine
had been the destination of pilgrims, and the holy character of Rome had
been passed by, but, now that Palestine was completely lost, Rome
reasserted herself as the pilgrims' city, and crowds again visited the
Roman basilicas. Eager to encourage a practice which he saw would
increase the prestige and the income of the Holy See, Boniface issued
his Bull of Jubilee which promised remission of sins to all pilgrims who
should visit the basilicas of St. Peter and St. Paul during the year.

Pious folk came from everywhere; on an average there were two hundred
thousand at a time. They gave their offerings so generously that, as an
eyewitness says, "Day and night two priests stood beside the altar in
St. Paul's, holding rakes in their hands, raking in the money." It was
noticed, however, that there were no kings or princes in the throng.
That year was the summit of Boniface's prosperity.

In the mean time the quarrel with France had already begun. The French
king, Philip the Fair, who was the personification of the new lay
spirit, enacted a series of laws against the clergy, and, going counter
to the accepted doctrine of clerical immunity from secular taxation,
levied taxes upon them. This step was portentous. Boniface answered by
absolutely forbidding both taxation and payment of taxes. The King of
France not only persisted in taxation, but also forbade the exportation
of any money from his kingdom, and so deprived the Pope of all his
French revenues. Other angry words and acts followed, and a papal bull
was publicly burnt in Paris.

Boniface, who had a marked predilection for vehement language, issued a
bull, which deserves to be quoted as it sums up the extreme papal
doctrine and also incidentally reveals how completely he misunderstood
the drift of public opinion. "We are compelled, our faith urging us, to
believe and hold--we do firmly believe and simply confess--that there is
one holy and Apostolic Church, outside of which there is neither
salvation nor remission of sins.... In this Church there is one Lord,
one faith, one baptism.... Of this one and only Church there is one body
and one head,--not two heads as if it were a monster,--Christ, namely,
and the Vicar of Christ, St. Peter, and the successor of St. Peter....
We are told by the word of the gospel that in this His fold there are
two swords,--namely, a spiritual and a temporal.... Both swords ... are
in the power of the Church; the one, indeed, to be wielded for the
Church, the other by the Church; the one by the hand of the priest, the
other by the hand of kings and knights, but at the will and sufferance
of the priest. One sword, moreover, ought to be under the other, and the
temporal authority to be subjected to the spiritual.... That the
spiritual exceeds any earthly power in dignity and nobility we ought the
more plainly to confess the more spiritual things excel temporal
ones.... A spiritual man judges all things, but he himself is judged by
no one. This authority, moreover, even though it is given to man, and
exercised through man, is not human but rather divine, being given by
divine lips to Peter and founded on a rock for him and his successors
through Christ Himself; the Lord Himself saying to Peter: 'Whatsoever
thou shalt bind,' etc. Whoever, therefore, resists this power thus
ordained by God, resists the ordination of God. Indeed, we declare,
announce, and define, that it is altogether necessary to salvation for
every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff."

In retort the king, knowing that the country was behind him, convoked
the States-General of the kingdom; which upheld him, charged Boniface
with all sorts of misbehaviour, and called for a general council of the
Church to judge the matters in dispute.

The crafty king, however, had determined on other means of revenge than
decrees, accusations, and burning bulls; he devised a plot to kidnap
Boniface and fetch him prisoner to France. One William Nogaret, once a
professor of law in a French university, now deep in the king's
counsels, went to Italy, met a vindictive member of the Colonna family,
Sciarra Colonna, and the two arranged the details of the plot. There
were many conspirators, for not only the Colonnas were eager to revenge
themselves, but numerous nobles, dispossessed to make room for the
Pope's relations, were ready to lend a hand. The unsuspecting Boniface,
now an old man of eighty-six years, was at Anagni (a little fortified
town not far from Rome), his native place, but nevertheless honeycombed
with treason; here, from the pulpit of the cathedral where Emperors had
been excommunicated, he proposed to excommunicate the King of France.
Two days before the day set for the excommunication, Nogaret and Sciarra
Colonna, with a troop of soldiers, entered the city which had been
opened by traitors; many of the townsmen ranged themselves under the
French banner. The conspirators broke into the episcopal palace, where
they found the valiant old man seated on a throne, in his pontifical
garments, with the tiara on his head, and a cross in his hand. Sciarra
Colonna dragged him down and would have stabbed him with his dagger but
that Nogaret withheld him by main force. The Pope was made prisoner and
the palace sacked; but in a few days sympathy turned, papal partisans
stormed the palace, rescued Boniface, and carried him to Rome. Here the
Orsini, pretending to befriend him, kept him shut up in the Vatican,
half crazed by fright and fury, till death happily released him (October
11, 1303). Then men remembered an old prophecy uttered concerning him:
"He shall enter like a fox, reign like a lion, and die like a dog." Thus
dramatically the hollowness of papal power was revealed.

France did not rest content with this insolent act. A year or two later,
a Frenchman of Gascony, the archbishop of Bordeaux, was made Pope by the
French king's influence. This Pope, Clement V (1305-14), never went to
Rome, but took up his abode at Avignon, a little city on the Rhone, not
very far from its mouth. The place was under the overlordship of the
Angevin kings of Naples, but really under the influence of the kings of
France. Here the Papacy stayed for nearly seventy years, practically a
dependency of France. A series of French Popes succeeded one another.
They built on the bank of the Rhone a gigantic fortress, regarded Rome,
the source of their greatness, as a dismal and dangerous out-of-the-way
place, and believed that they had transferred the seat of the Papacy
permanently. This period of exile was regarded by the Italians as a
Babylonish captivity.

Political degradation was not all. The Roman Curia became a collection
of men of pleasure. The ambitious Popes, even Boniface, had had a touch
of the heroic in them, and erred through pride, arrogance, and hate; but
these Avignonese Popes, though some of them were good men, suffered the
papal court to become a place of amusement, banqueting, and



After the Papacy had been dragged in servitude to France, the Empire,
like a dying soldier who gets on his feet to shout one shout of triumph
over his enemy's fall, made a last gallant effort to recover life and
strength. The effort was very gallant but very ineffectual, and owes its
chief celebrity to its connection with the great man, who summed up and
reiterated the Imperial creed, somewhat in the same way that Pope
Boniface had summed up and reiterated the papal creed. Both creeds were
dead, but each man believed his fervently, and as Boniface's bulls set
forth the doctrines of Hildebrand and Innocent III, so Dante's treatises
and letters set forth the beliefs of Barbarossa and Frederick II.

The year of Boniface's jubilee is the year to which Dante assigns his
journey to the abodes of departed spirits, and as the jubilee marked the
close of the mediæval Papacy, so the "Divine Comedy" marks the close of
mediæval theology, and Dante himself stands as the greatest mark at the
boundary between the old world passing away and the modern world coming
in. Giovanni Villani, who was about fifteen years younger, described him
in this way: "He was deeply versed in almost all learning, although he
was a layman; he was a very great poet, a philosopher, and a complete
master of rhetoric in prose and verse as well as in public speech; a
most noble writer, very great in rhyme, with the most beautiful style
that ever was in our language up to his time and since. In his youth he
wrote the book on 'The New Life of Love,' and then when he was in exile
he composed twenty ethical poems and many admirable poems on love; and
he wrote among others three noble epistles; one he sent to the
government of Florence, complaining of his banishment from no fault of
his; another he sent to the Emperor Henry, when he was at the siege of
Brescia, blaming him for his delay, in the tone of a prophet; the third
to the Italian cardinals, during the vacancy after the death of Pope
Clement (V), that they should come to an accord and elect an Italian
Pope; all in Latin, in lofty style, with excellent reasonings and
appeals to authority, which were much praised by men of judgment. This
Dante by reason of his knowledge was somewhat arrogant, haughty, and
disdainful, and, like an ungracious philosopher, he could not talk
easily with unlearned men; but because of his other merits, the learning
and the worth of this great citizen, it seems fitting to give him
perpetual remembrance in this chronicle of mine, notwithstanding that
his noble works left to us in writing bear true testimony to what he was
and confer honourable fame upon our city."[12]

Dante, by passages in his "Divine Comedy," but more particularly by his
treatise "De Monarchia" (On Universal Empire), enables us to understand
how the Empire could raise its head in Italy sixty years after
Frederick II had died. In Germany after an interregnum, the House of
Hapsburg had mounted the throne, but no one had ventured to cross the
Alps for the Imperial crown. Nevertheless, Dante and the Ghibellines
could not bring themselves to believe that the old familiar institution
had fulfilled its function and was to be cast aside. The conception of
Europe as a group of equal nations had not yet arisen, and Ghibellines
still believed that a Roman Emperor could put down confusion, anarchy,
political chaos, and cure all the ills of Italy. The Ghibellines
believed in the Emperor as Mohammedans believed in Mohammed; if he
should return, exiles (like Dante) would be restored, peace would bloom,
and Rome again become the head of a just and universal empire. Dante, in
the "De Monarchia," first contends that universal empire is necessary to
the well-being of the world; having established that proposition, he
argues that this universal empire rightly belongs to the Roman people,
and proves his point by appeals to Virgil and the New Testament; then he
proceeds to show that the authority of the Empire is derived directly
from God. "Some say," he says, "that Constantine when he was cleansed of
the leprosy by the prayers of Silvester, then Pope, gave the seat of the
Empire, to wit Rome, to the Church, together with many other dignities
appertaining to the Empire. Therefore, they argue, since then no one can
receive those dignities, except he shall receive them from the Church,
to whom they belong.... This proposition I deny; and when they put
forth their proof, I say it proves nothing, because Constantine could
not alienate the dignities of the Empire, nor the Church receive
them.... No man has a right to do things by means of an office entrusted
to him, which go directly counter to that office.... Therefore an
Emperor has no right to divide the Empire ... and the Church in no wise
is able to receive temporal things because the precept expressly forbids
it, as we have it in Matthew 'Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor
brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey,' etc."

This Ghibelline theory was in flat contradiction to Boniface's theory,
just as the Imperial creed had always contradicted the papal creed. In
Dante's time the two conflicting theories seemed to have become mere
ghosts; when of a sudden the Imperial theory started up in reality. A
new king of the Romans, Henry VII, announced that he was coming into
Italy to take his Imperial crown. The Ghibellines welcomed him with
boundless enthusiasm. Dante, in undeserved exile from Florence, flushed
with the hope of return to his dearly beloved city, wrote a circular
letter to all the princes of Italy:--

"Behold now is the acceptable time, in which arise signs of consolation
and peace. For a new day begins to shine, showing the dawn that shall
dissipate the darkness of long calamity. Now the breezes of the East
begin to blow, the lips of heaven redden, and with serenity comfort the
hopes of the peoples. And we who have passed a long night in the desert
shall see the expected joy.

"Rejoice, O Italy, pitied even by the heathen, now shalt thou be the
envy of the earth, because thy bridegroom, the comfort of the world and
the glory of the people, the most merciful Henry, Divus, Augustus,
Cæsar, hastens to thy espousals. Dry thine eyes, put off the trappings
of woe, O thou Fairest; for he is at hand who shall free thee from the
prison of the ungodly, who shall smite the malignant, and destroy them
with the edge of the sword, and shall give his vineyard to other
husbandmen, who will render the fruits of justice in the time of

The hope that Henry would restore peace and establish order warmed even
the Guelfs; and almost all the Italian cities, excepting stubborn
Florence, sent envoys to greet him as he came to take the Imperial
crown. The French Pope was greatly perplexed as to what to do. On the
one hand, he had begun to wish for an Emperor to subdue the Roman barons
and to be a counterweight to the French king, whom he found too
masterful a protector; on the other hand, he was afraid to displease the
French king, and to do anything that might set the Ghibellines on their
feet again. So he played a double game: he encouraged Henry in the
North, and in the South he strengthened the Angevin King of Naples, the
leader of the Guelfs. Henry VII crossed the Alps in October, 1310. He
was brave, honest, and just; he believed devoutly in his Imperial
mission, desired peace, and wished to be Emperor of Guelf and Ghibelline
alike. At first all went well; many cities opened their gates and
received Imperial vicars; Milan lowered her flags as Henry entered, and
her Guelf archbishop put the iron crown of Lombardy upon his head. But
this happy calm could not last long. Henry was poor, he asked Milan for
a great deal of money, and then demanded, ostensibly as a guard of
honour for his journey to Rome but really as hostages, fifty noblemen
from each of the two parties. The Ghibellines assented: but the Guelfs
suspected treachery and refused; their leaders fled and their houses
were sacked and burned. This was the end of peace. Henry attempted to
enforce obedience. He sacked Cremona, razed her walls to the ground, and
laid siege to Brescia. The horrors of the siege were fearful; the
citizens fought with desperation, but yielded at last to famine and
pestilence. The unfortunate Henry had now been forced into the old
position of German tyrant and Ghibelline party chief; and, instead of
marching directly on Rome, or on rich Florence which was the head and
front of the Guelf cause in the North, he had wasted valuable time in
taking unimportant cities. The Ghibellines were in a fever of
impatience. Dante wrote:--

"To the most holy Conqueror, and only lord, our lord Henry, by divine
providence King of the Romans, ever Augustus, your Dante Alighieri, a
Florentine and undeserving exile, and all Tuscans everywhere, who wish
for peace on earth, kiss your feet.

"For a long time have we wept by the rivers of confusion, and have
incessantly prayed for the protection of a just king, who should ... put
us back in our just rights. When you, successor of Cæsar and Augustus,
crossing the ridges of the Apennines, brought back the venerable
insignia of Rome ... like the sun suddenly uprising, new hope of better
time for Italy shone out. But now men think you delay, or surmise that
you are going back ... and we are constrained by doubt to stand
uncertain and to cry, like John the Baptist, Art thou he that should
come, or do we look for another?... Do you not know, most excellent of
Princes, do you not see from the watch-tower of your exalted height,
where the stinking little fox lurks, safe from the hunters? In truth,
the evil beast does not drink of the headlong Po, nor of your Tiber,
but its wickedness pollutes the rushing waters of the Arno, and the name
of this dire, pernicious creature (do you not know?) is Florence. She is
the viper turned against the breast of its mother; she is the sick sheep
that contaminates the whole herd of her master. Indeed with the
fierceness of a viper she strives to tear her mother; she sharpens the
horns of rebellion against Rome, who made her in her own image and

"Up, then, break this delay, take confidence from the eyes of the Lord
God of Hosts, in whose sight you act, and lay low this Goliath with the
sling of your wisdom and the stone of your strength; for with his death
the dark night of fear shall cover the camp of the Philistines, and they
shall flee, and Israel shall be set free. And just as now, exiles in
Babylon, we mourn remembering holy Jerusalem, so, then, citizens and at
home, we shall breathe in peace and turn the miseries of confusion into

"Written in Tuscany ... fourteen days before the kalends of May, 1311,
in the first year of the coming into Italy of the divine and most happy

Henry did go south, but there were greater obstacles in his way than
Dante imagined. The spirit of the age was against him. It was vain to
try to bring back the past. Florence shut her gates, manned her walls,
sent more money to his enemies, and headed a league of the Guelf cities
in Tuscany and Umbria. Even Rome was half against him. The Ghibelline
nobles received him and took him to their part of the town; but the
Guelfs held St. Peter's, and though there was fierce fighting in the
streets, the Guelfs stood their ground, and Henry was forced to receive
the Imperial crown from the papal legate (the Pope was too prudent to
leave Avignon) in the basilica of St. John Lateran. Here the luckless
Emperor stayed for a time in the midst of ruin, material, political, and
moral. Then he attempted to crush Florence, the ringleader of
disobedience, but her walls were too strong; the impotent Emperor could
do no more than harry the country-side. He fell back upon Ghibelline
Pisa, and set patiently to work to gather together a new army. The
Ghibellines gallantly responded to his call, and Henry actually set
forth on his way to Naples, to punish the House of Anjou and avenge the
Hohenstaufens, but death cut short his lofty plans. He died in a little
town near Siena (1313), and the hopes of Dante and the Ghibellines were
ruined forever. The last flicker of the Empire had gone out.

Other Emperors, it is true, crossed the Alps, but not as masters. The
connection of Italy with the Holy Roman Empire ends with the death of
the gallant Henry. The mediæval Papacy and the mediæval Empire had
passed away, for the Middle Ages themselves had come to an end.


[12] _Storia di Firenze_, lib. ix, cap. cxxxv.



Now that the two great actors, whose long-drawn quarrel has been the
main thread of Italian history, have made their exits, and left us, as
it were, with a sense of emptiness, it becomes necessary to call the
roll and make a better acquaintance with the lesser _dramatis personæ_,
who step to the front of the stage and carry on the plot of history. The
programme reads as follows:--


 The Papacy              An absentee.
 The Empire              A shadow.
 The Kingdom of Naples   House of Anjou reigning.
 The Kingdom of Sicily   House of Aragon reigning.
 Florence                A Guelf democracy.
 Siena                   Ghibelline city.
 Pisa                    Ghibelline city.
 Genoa                   A maritime aristocracy.
 Venice                  A maritime oligarchy.
 Milan                   A Lombard commune.
 Savoy                   A feudal county.

 Guelf cities of Tuscany, communes of Lombardy,
 petty marquisates of the northwest,

In the South, the kingdom of the Two Sicilies has already been torn in
two. Charles of Anjou, the conqueror of the Hohenstaufens, clever,
shrewd, and capable as he was, had overreached himself. He entertained
great ambitions, and was dreaming of Constantinople and its imperial
crown, when a rebellion known as the Sicilian Vespers broke out in
Sicily. The country had been overrun with French office-holders and
French soldiers, and the Sicilians, who regretted the Hohenstaufens, had
reached the utmost limit of endurance. The whole island had become a
powder-box; it was a mere matter of accident where and how the powder
would ignite. A French soldier insulted a woman on her way to church. In
a moment he was killed and his fellow soldiers massacred to a man.
"Death to the French!" resounded over the island, and the infuriated
Sicilians put all to the sword. The revolutionists needed a leader, and,
as the old Norman blood royal still survived in Manfred's daughter, they
invited her husband, King Pedro of Aragon, to be their king. Pedro
accepted, and he and his descendants, the House of Aragon, made good
their claim to the throne of Sicily against all the attempts of the
House of Anjou and of the lords suzerain, the Popes, to oust them. By
this revolution, Sicily was separated from the Kingdom of Naples for
more than a hundred years.

In the centre of Italy there was great disorder. The lords of the Papal
States remained at Avignon, and attempted to govern their dominions by
legates; but though their sovereignty nominally extended from the
Tyrrhene Sea to the Adriatic, they were impotent to enforce it. There
was no unity; each town was governed separately by a papal legate, by a
powerful baron, or by a communal government. Rome itself, which in the
absence of the Popes had dwindled to a little city of ruins, towers,
churches, vineyards, and vegetable gardens, was in constant disorder.
The towns near by were often faithful to their allegiance, but across
the Apennines the obstinate little cities between the mountains and the
sea were almost always independent. At present there is nothing of
sufficient interest to prevent us from treating Rome as carelessly as
the Popes did, and passing hurriedly through to Florence and the
independent communes of Northern Italy where we must pause.

Prior to the wars between the Empire and the Papacy feudal institutions
had prevailed there, though with less vigour in Northern Italy than
elsewhere in Europe, and all the land had been divided up into various
fiefs, in which counts and marquesses held sway. During those wars the
cities shook off Imperial dominion and got rid of Imperial rulers, and
began their careers as independent Italian communes. Most of these
cities were of old Roman foundation, but the time of Hildebrand and
Henry IV may be deemed their nativity, as then they first appear in
Italian history as individuals. All these towns were little republics,
each with its own character, but all conforming more or less to a
general type. Within massive walls the city clustered round two main
points, the cathedral, which was flanked by belfry and baptistery, and
the _piazza_ (public square), on which fronted the _Palazzo Pubblico_,
the city hall, where the magistrates had their offices. Round about and
radiating off, houses and palaces, grim and heavy, stood high above the
narrow streets. Scattered here and there scores of private fortresses
raised their great towers thirty yards and more into the air. Street,
palace, tower, all were obviously ready for street warfare, waiting on
tiptoe for the bells to ring.

The citizens were divided into three classes. The upper class included
the old nobility, the high clergy, the large merchants, the rich
bankers; the middle class included the petty merchants, the tradesfolk,
the master artisans; and below them came the miscellaneous many. In some
cities the nobility, allying itself with the proletariat, held the
political power. But in the more democratic cities, like Florence, the
trades and crafts controlled the government. In Florence there were
seven greater guilds,--judges and notaries, wool-merchants, refiners and
dyers of foreign wool, silk-dealers, money-changers, physicians and
apothecaries, furriers; and fourteen lesser guilds,--butchers,
shoemakers, masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, and so on. Every freeman
was obliged to belong to one of the guilds; Dante was enrolled in the
guild of physicians and apothecaries. Trades and crafts descended from
father to son, and each guild was divided into masters, journeymen, and

In the government, executive, legislative, and judicial powers were
distinguished, but not strictly separated. The executive power was
vested in one man, or in several men, who were assisted by a kind of
privy council. This council superintended various matters of public
concern, such as weights, measures, highways, and fines. There was also
a larger council, to which, as well as to public office generally, only
the enfranchised citizens were eligible. These privileged persons were
never more than a small fraction of the population; in Florence, for
instance, barely three thousand, even in her populous days. Finally,
there was a _parliament_ or assembly of all the free citizens, which met
on the _piazza_, and shouted approval or disapproval to such questions
as were submitted to it.

In the earlier days the joint executives were called _consuls_. Their
places were not easy. If they were fair to all, they displeased their
own party; if unfair to the opposite party, they were liable to
retaliation. The difficulties of partisanship led to the appointment of
a new officer, the _podestà_. The name and idea came from the governors
put in the Imperial cities by Barbarossa. The _podestà_, who was elected
by the citizens, supplanted the consuls in all their more important
functions; he became the head of both the civil and the military
service, a kind of governor. He was a nobleman, chosen, in the hope of
avoiding local partisanship, from some other Italian city. The citizens,
if Guelf, of course chose a Guelf; if Ghibelline, a Ghibelline. When the
_podestà's_ term of office, which was usually six months or a year,
began, he came to the city bringing two knights, several judges,
councillors, and notaries, a seneschal and attendants, and in the
_piazza_ took his oath of office,--to observe the laws, to do justice,
and to wrong no man. His duties, and often his movements, were
carefully prescribed; sometimes he was not allowed to enter any house in
the city other than the palace prepared for him. At the end of his term
he was obliged to linger for a time, in order to give anybody who might
be aggrieved an opportunity to lodge a complaint against him and obtain
redress. Such was the ordinary form of communal government; but the
constitutions varied in different cities, and in each city shifted every
few years, as class feeling, partisan enmity, or new men suggested

The prosperity and power of these communes came from trade, and show how
trade prospered and riches accumulated. Some merchant guilds carried on
a very extensive business. Take the wool guild of Florence. Tuscany
yielded a poor quality of wool, and as it was impossible to weave good
cloth from poor wool, these Florentine merchants imported raw wool from
Tunis, Barbary, Spain, Flanders, and England, wove it into cloth so
deftly that foreigners could not compete with them, and exported it to
the principal markets of Europe. Trade with the North, however, was less
important than trade with the East. Merchandise was carried over the
seas more easily than over the Alps, and in many respects the products
of the East were better and more varied than those of northern Europe.
The Italians loaded the galleys of Venice, Genoa, and Pisa with silken
and woollen stuffs, oil, wine, pitch, tar, and common metals, and
brought back from Alexandria, Constantinople, and the ports of Asia
Minor and Syria, pearls, gold, spices, sugar, Eastern silk, wool and
cotton, goatskins and dyes, and sometimes Eastern slaves. Such a wide
commerce outstripped the capacity of barter and cash, and gave rise to a
system of banking, with its attendant credits and bills of exchange. The
quick-witted Florentines excelled at this business, and great banking
houses, like the Bardi and the Peruzzi, had branches or correspondents
in all the chief cities.

This large commerce in face of the obstacles that barred its way seems
extraordinary. A city like Florence, for instance, especially in the
earlier days, was greatly hampered by the conditions about her. Outside
her walls, within the radius of a dozen or twenty miles, were castles
manned by arrogant nobles, who made traffic unsafe. They would not
conform to the new economic condition of society except upon compulsion.
Rival cities refused to let Florentine wares pass through their
territories without payment of ruinous tolls. Wars were waged to
moderate these exactions. Or, again, war was necessary to enforce the
rights of Florentine citizens in other cities. Moreover, each city had
its own system of weights and measures, its own coinage; each imposed
customs on all wares entering its gates, in earlier days so much a
cart-load, afterwards a percentage of the value. On all highways, at all
bridges and fords, there were tolls to be paid. From city to city a
merchant had to change his money, until in later times certain coins,
like the Florentine florin, passed current everywhere; and sometimes, on
entering the gates, he was obliged to adopt a distinguishing badge, as,
for instance, according to the usage at Bologna, putting a piece of red
wax on his thumb-nail. These were the fetters placed on trade in time of
peace; but peace itself was transitory and uncertain. Apart from the
wars with the Emperor, the cities periodically fought the feudal
nobility, or one another. Venice made war on Ravenna, Pisa on Lucca,
Vicenza on Treviso, Fano on Pesaro, Verona on Padua, Modena on Bologna,
and the greater cities, like Milan and Florence, on any or all of their
respective neighbours. When a city had no absorbing war abroad, factions
fought at home. Burghers and nobles barricaded the streets, manned the
towers, rang the bells, shot and hacked one another with spasmodic fury.
The burghers generally won. They then banished hundreds of their
adversaries, and made laws against them. In some cities a register was
kept to record the names of the nobles whose democracy was suspected; in
others, as in Lucca, nobles were excluded from all share in the
government, and were not allowed to testify against burghers. In Pisa,
if there was disquiet in the streets, the nobles were obliged to stay

These factions called themselves Guelfs and Ghibellines. At first Guelfs
were the burghers of the communes and partisans of the Papacy, and
Ghibellines partisans of the Empire and the feudal system; but
subsequently the terms merely served to distinguish political parties,
whose platforms, as we should say, shifted with questions of the hour.
Even when these two factions were at peace, they distinguished
themselves by different badges and fashions. The merlons of the Guelf
battlements were square, those of the Ghibelline swallow-tailed. Good
party men wore caps of diverse pattern, did their hair differently, cut
their bread and folded their napkins in different ways. It was enough
that one side should bow, take an oath, harness a horse, in one mode,
for the other side to start a contrary fashion.

The growth of population, of property, of commerce, however, shows that
history may easily dwell too much upon fighting and war. In these petty
wars and street frays, the numbers engaged were few, and but little
blood was shed. Most of the fighting was a consequence of economic
difficulties. It was the mediæval equivalent of strikes, lock-outs,
boycotts, undersellings, rivalries, riots, and other phenomena of modern

The maritime cities were in a very different position from the inland
cities, and had a different history. They enjoyed great advantages for
trade. No feudal barons could bar the sea, and pirates and infidels were
not serious impediments. Greater commercial prosperity, however, begot
more bitter commercial jealousy. Genoa hated Pisa; no Genoese sailor
could endure the cut of a Pisan sail. Both cities had a large trade in
the Levant, and being so near each other became deadly rivals. They
fought spasmodically for years, from the Gulf of Genoa to the Black Sea,
and at last came to the death grapple. The time was unfortunate for
Ghibelline Pisa, as a Guelf league had been attacking her on land. The
decisive battle was fought off the island of Meloria, a few miles from
the mouth of the Arno. The Genoese, who outnumbered the Pisans, won a
great victory, destroyed or captured many galleys, and took ten
thousand prisoners (1284). Pisa never recovered from this blow. Florence
and Lucca took immediate advantage of it to unite with Genoa, and force
Pisa to submit to a Guelf government; and from this time on greedy
Florence, like a hawk, kept her eyes fixed on poor Pisa, impatient for
the time when she should seize her prey.

Genoa remained a republic, active, eager, impetuous, torn by factions
and subject to many vicissitudes, but lack of space compels us to leave
her and pass on to where "Venice sits in state, throned on her hundred
isles." She, queen of the sea, had even a more lavish portion of
individuality than her sister cities, individual as they all were, and
hardly belonged to Italy, so completely did she hold herself aloof from
the two great interests of mediæval Italy, the Empire and the Papacy. No
cries of Pope's men and king's men, of Guelf and Ghibelline, disturbed
the Grand Canal or the Piazza of St. Mark's; no feudal incumbrances
hampered her mercantile spirit, nor did papal anathemas cause a single
Venetian ship to shift her course. Venice had long remained loyal to
Constantinople, and even after all political dependence had ceased, was,
in character and aspect, more a Constantinople of the West than an
Italian city, a grown-up daughter, more beautiful than her beautiful
mother, who, living her own triumphant and unfilial life, still retained
many of her mother's traits. Untroubled by sentiment, even in the
Crusades, Venice always kept steadily in view her fixed purpose of
increasing her commerce and of securing foreign markets; and this
purpose shaped her political actions, and also, indirectly, the form of
her government.

Originally the citizens, assembled in public meeting, elected the Doge,
and exercised a right to vote on important political matters; but the
great families soon acquired control, and little by little turned the
government into an oligarchy. The first great step was taken in
Barbarossa's time, just when the Lombard cities were struggling to free
themselves from Imperial dominion. A Great Council of four hundred and
eighty members was established, to which were given the powers of
legislation, appointment, electing the Doge, and filling vacancies in
itself. The franchises of the people were all taken away and the
oligarchy left supreme. This oligarchy of merchant princes, in whom
patriotism, pride of place, and love of gain harmoniously accorded, was
an exceedingly competent body of men. The greatness of Venice was their
greatness, and they pursued it devotedly. Beginning early in life these
patricians were trained for their duties by service in the navy and in
the merchant marine, or by employment in the government of the various
cities, islands, and territories included in the long stretch of
coastwise empire. Knowing that Venice lived by commerce they made every
effort by war, diplomacy, and private enterprise, to extend that
commerce. After the conquest and division of the Eastern Empire (1204)
they became more eager than ever for a monopoly of trade with the
Levant, and inevitably came into deadly rivalry with Genoa, also
passionately eager to hold the gorgeous East in fee.

The wars with Genoa, destructive though they were for the time being,
were of service to the aristocracy, for they made the Venetians
appreciate the value of a compact governing body; and the aristocracy
took advantage of that appreciation to tighten its hold on the

Throughout the thirteenth century the Great Council, though it consisted
entirely, or almost entirely, of patricians and elected its own members,
had been open to all classes. Any citizen, however unlikely to be
elected, was eligible. At the close of the century the patricians
secured the enactment of a series of measures, which in substance
divided the citizens into two classes, those whose ancestors had sat in
the Great Council, and those whose ancestors had not, and decreed that
only members of the first class should be eligible. This legislation is
known as the closing of the Great Council. As all those who were
eligible naturally wished to become members, the Council gradually
increased until it finally numbered over fifteen hundred. The patricians
also further curtailed the powers of the Doge, divided the various
functions of government among the main subdivisions of the Council,--the
Senate, the Council of Forty, the Doge's cabinet, and the Council of
Ten,--and gave to the State the definite form of government which it
maintained to its end.

From Venice we must pass by Milan and the cities of the Po, to where in
the extreme Northwest the Counts of Savoy, perched on the Alps,
maintained a precarious sovereignty over both slopes, with no resources
except the muscles of their mountaineers and the possession of Alpine
passes. Little did the proud maritime cities, Genoa and Venice, the
great inland cities, Milan and Florence, and Rome least of all, suspect
that these poor counts would one day consolidate all the territory from
the foot of the mountains to the Riviera in a compact little kingdom
(Piedmont), and from that as a pedestal, step to still higher honours.
The House of Savoy runs aristocratically back into legend; but about the
year 1000, a certain Humbert of the White Hand, emerging from historic
obscurity, obtained the city of Turin and part of Piedmont, as a
marriage portion for his son, and thereby secured to his house a footing
in Italy (1045). In the course of another century or so these Savoyards
in a succession of Humberts and Amedeos, brave, shrewd, and usually
successful men, extended their dominions by war, by marriage, and by
bargains. They made the most of their position as door-keepers to Italy,
and exacted various privileges from needy Emperors, as the price of
passing the Alps. They fought rival counts, waged innumerable petty
wars, and rightly or wrongly acquired territories which are now parts of
France, Switzerland, and Italy. The succession of counts reads like any
other mediæval genealogy; and their exploits, raids, and sieges viewed
from this cold distance have a somewhat monotonous similarity; but
survival proves the worth and valour of the stock, and when after long
centuries the people of Italy had need of princes, the House of Savoy
was the only noble house that had retained power and respect. It is a
brilliant example of the truth of the saying that those who have been
faithful over a few things shall be masters over many.

Such were the political divisions of Italy in this transition period
which intervenes between the departing Middle Ages and the incoming
Modern World.



This intervening period--the twilight between the Middle Ages and the
dawn of the Modern World--needs a little further emphasis, from the very
fact that it is a period of transition and sheds light both on the time
before and the time after. On its emotional side it belonged to the
Middle Ages, on its intellectual side it belonged to the Modern World.

Its religion was essentially mediæval. For instance, a religious wave
arose in Perugia, spread through Italy, and crossed the Alps. Hosts of
penitents, hundreds and thousands, lamenting, praying, scourging
themselves, went from city to city. Men, women, and children, barefoot,
walked by night over the winter's snow, carrying tapers, to find relief
for their emotional frenzy. These Flagellants were like a primitive
Salvation Army, and gave unconscious expression to the profound and
widespread discontent with the Church. Their actions, however, so
clearly exhibited religious mania that governments took alarm; the
hard-headed rulers of Milan erected six hundred gallows on their borders
and threatened to hang every Flagellant who came that way.

Other forms of religious sentiment were more rational, and expressed
themselves in passionate calls for peace between neighbours and
countrymen. Priests adjured the fighting cities to be friends: "Oh, when
will the day come that Pavia shall say to Milan, Thy people are my
people, and Crema to Cremona, Thy city is my city?" In Genoa, one
morning before daybreak, the church bells rang, and the astonished
citizens, huddling on their clothes, beheld their archbishop, surrounded
by his clergy with lighted candles, making the factional leaders swear
on the bones of St. John Baptist to lay aside their mutual hate. Gregory
X (1271-76) pleaded with the Florentine Guelfs to take back the banished
Ghibellines. "A Ghibelline is a Christian, a citizen, a neighbour; then,
shall these great names, all joined, yield to that one word, Ghibelline?
And shall that single word--an idle term for none know what it
means--have greater power for hate than all those three, which are so
clear and strong, for love and charity? And since you say that you have
taken up this factional strife for the sake of the Popes of Rome, now,
I, Pope of Rome, have taken back to my bosom these prodigal citizens of
yours, however far they may have offended, and putting behind me all
past wrongs, hold them to be my sons."[13] In consequence of Gregory's
passionate entreaty, one hundred and fifty leaders of each party met and
embraced on the sandy flats of the Arno.

The most famous of these emotional peace-makings was the work of a
Dominican monk of Vicenza. On a great plain just outside Verona, a vast
congregation assembled (a contemporary said 400,000 people), from all
the warring cities far and near, bishops, barons, burghers, artisans,
serfs, women, and children. The monk preached upon the text, "My peace I
give unto you." The great company beat their breasts, wept for
repentance and joy, and embraced one another. Then the friar raised the
crucifix and cried, "Blessed be he who shall keep this peace, and cursed
be he who shall violate it;" and the audience answered "Amen." It is
hardly necessary to say that these emotional peace-makings were soon
followed by martial emotions; freed prisoners were hurried back to
prison, the recalled were banished again, and sword and halberd were
picked up with appetites whetted by abstinence.

The intellectual side of this period is best represented by the
universities, which had sprung up in many of the North Italian cities in
the preceding century. The term university signified a guild of
students, and possessed many of the characteristics of our colleges. The
university was composed of students and professors, and governed itself.
It owned neither lands nor buildings, and in case of need could shift
its abode with little trouble. The students, at least in a great
university like that of Bologna whither young men flocked by thousands
from all Europe, were divided into two bodies, those from beyond the
Alps and Italians. These two bodies were subdivided into groups
according to their state or city. Each group elected representatives,
and these, together with special electors, elected the rector. This
representative body made a formal treaty with the town authorities, and
secured good terms, because the presence of a university, bringing
money and fame, was of great consequence to the town. The professors
were appointed by the students. At Bologna Roman law was the chief
study, and very famous jurists lectured there. We may remember that
Barbarossa had recourse to Bologna when he was in need of lawyers to
determine his Imperial rights. It was Roman law that attracted the great
concourse of students, for the growing needs of civilization made a
constant demand for men learned in the law; but other branches of
knowledge were also taught, theology, canon law, medicine, and
astrology, as well as the so-called _quadrivium_, music, arithmetic,
geometry, and astronomy.

The universities, although theology and canon law were taught in them,
distinctly represented the secular side of intellectual life. The
religious, at least the theological side, was represented by the Church,
and more particularly by those philosophers who devoted themselves to
that mixture of theology and philosophy known as scholasticism. The
greatest of them was Thomas Aquinas (1227-74), whose surname is derived
from a little village, Aquino, once existing near Monte Cassino in
Neapolitan territory. Aquinas lectured at various universities. His
great work, "Summa Theologiæ," was a justification of the Roman Catholic
faith by an appeal to the reason and to science as then accepted. He
started on premises laid down by the Church, and justified all the
derivative doctrines by close logic and clear reasoning, as well as by
appeals to the Bible, to Aristotle, then deemed the possessor of all
knowledge, and to the Church fathers. His work is a complete exposition
of God, nature, and man, as conceived by mediæval theology, and is still
taught by the Catholic Church as the true exposition of its doctrines.
The grateful Church canonized him, his treatise being the miracles he
had performed, and named him the Angelic Doctor. Those of us whose minds
have no natural aptitude for scholasticism, find his views on purely
earthly matters much easier to understand, and not uninteresting, as
they throw light on the democratic character of the Church. Speaking of
positive law, Aquinas says that it should consist of "reasonable
commands for the common good, promulgated by him who has charge of the
public weal;" and of kings, that "a prince who makes personal
gratification instead of the general happiness his aim, ceases to be
legitimate, and it is not rebellion to depose him, provided the attempt
shall not cause greater ills than his tyranny;" and, of the nobility,
that "many men make a mistake and deem themselves noble, because they
come of a noble house.... This inherited nobility deserves no envy,
except that noblemen are bound to virtue for shame of being unworthy of
their stocks; true nobility is only of the soul." St. Thomas Aquinas is
also interesting because his theology inspires Dante throughout the
"Divine Comedy."

These diverse traits, emotional and intellectual, were natural to a
period of transition, when society was passing from an age in which the
chief interests were emotional to one in which the chief interests were
intellectual; and it is interesting to notice that at the same time
social life was passing from a stage of extreme simplicity to one of
comparative luxury. The accumulation of wealth had its effect in every
department of life; it gave people time and opportunity for intellectual
interests, and also for luxury and more delicate needs. The advance in
wealth was very rapid. By the year 1300 men had already begun to blame
the luxurious habits of their time, and to look back to the simplicity
of their grandfathers as to an age of primitive innocence. Dante gives
full expression to these sentiments through the mouth of his ancestor,
Cacciaguida, in the "Paradiso." Others speak in the same way. One of
them, referring to the time of Frederick II, says: "In those times the
manners of the Italians were rude. A man and his wife ate off the same
plate. There were no wooden-handled knives, nor more than one or two
drinking-cups in a house. Candles of wax or tallow were unknown; a
servant held a torch during supper. The clothes of men were of leather
unlined; scarcely any gold or silver was seen on their dress. The common
people ate flesh but three times a week, and kept their cold meat for
supper. Many did not drink wine in summer. A small stock of corn seemed
riches. The portions of women were small; their dress, even after
marriage, was simple. The pride of men was to be well provided with arms
and horses; that of the nobility to have lofty towers, of which all the
cities in Italy were full. But now frugality has been changed for
sumptuousness; everything exquisite is sought after in dress,--gold,
silver, pearls, silks, and rich furs. Foreign wines and rich meats are
required. Hence usury, rapine, fraud, tyranny," etc.[14]

To us to-day this period of transition, with its mediæval mixture of
commerce, religion, and war, of emotion and logic, of admiration for St.
Augustine and belief in the infallibility of Aristotle, looks extremely
odd. We forget that our generation may be in danger of similar
criticism. Odd or not, this was the state of Italy in the period
preceding that great burst of the arts and intellectual life known as
the Renaissance.


[13] _Storia degli Italiani_, Cesare Cantù, vol. ii, p. 851 (19).

[14] _Europe in the Middle Ages_, Hallam, p. 630.



Though the beginning of the Modern World manifested itself in every
department of life, political, social, and intellectual, it is best
known to us through the arts, because in them it embodied itself in
permanent forms. Italy suddenly leaped forward, as if she had drained a
beaker of champagne. To explain and illustrate this burst of passion,
the books generally use such phrases as emphasis upon individuality,
imitation of the classic, observation of nature, wider range of
interest, the awakening of spiritual energy, etc. No doubt the phrases
are just, but one must remember that underneath these manifestations of
an eager interest in life, there actually was a larger, happier life,
due in great measure to security, ease, and the accumulation of
property, which set men free from the bondage of continuous daily labour
to satisfy corporal needs. Of that happier life, with its gayety and
luxury, Villani, the historian of Florence, has given us a description.
He himself was a boy at the time. "In the year of Our Lord 1283 the city
of Florence, chiefly on account of the Guelfs who were in power, was
prosperous and at peace, and in a state of great tranquillity, which was
very advantageous to the merchants and artisans. In June, at the Feast
of St. John, in the quarter across the Arno, where the Rossi and their
neighbours were the principal people, the nobility and the rich
organized themselves into a company, and adopted a dress all white, and
chose a master called the Lord of Love. The object of the company was to
have feasts, games, and dances for the ladies and gentlemen of the city,
and other persons of quality. They used to parade the town with trumpets
and other musical instruments, and had great dinners and suppers and all
kinds of jollity. The festivities lasted nearly two months, and were the
finest and most celebrated that were ever held in Florence or all
Tuscany. Gentlemen and troubadours came from far and near, and all were
received and entertained with distinction. And it is worth remembering
that the city and its citizens were better off then than they had ever
been, and this prosperity continued till the division into Burghers and
_Grandi_. There were then in Florence three hundred knights, and there
were many companies of gentlemen and ladies, who morning and evening
kept open table richly spread, and had buffoons in attendance, so that
from Lombardy and all Italy jesters, players, and jugglers came to
Florence, and all were welcome; and whenever a stranger of distinction
passed through the city there was rivalry between the companies to get
him as their guest, and then he was accompanied, on foot or on
horseback, all through the city and the country round, most politely."

This was the light and careless side of the general awakening of
interest in life, which showed itself in so many nobler forms.

In literature Dante (1265-1321) is the first great figure. But, owing to
his disproportional importance, we are liable to forget that he has his
orderly place in the revival of poetry and literature which began in the
brilliant court of Frederick II in Sicily. On the destruction of the
Hohenstaufens, the poetic primacy passed to Bologna, where Guido
Guinicelli and others composed poetry in a somewhat learned fashion, as
befitted a university town, and then passed on to Tuscany, and in
particular to Florence, where Dante was preceded by his friend Guido
Cavalcanti. Dante, although distinctly mediæval by his theology, his
appeals to the authority of Virgil and Aristotle, and by his political
views, has the characteristics of the new spiritual energy. He lays
immense stress on individuality, and delineates real life with wonderful
vividness. These traits mark him as belonging to the new world coming in
rather than to the old world going out.

From the point of view of history, Dante's most marked achievement,
perhaps, was to raise the Tuscan (or more strictly speaking the
Florentine) idiom, from among many competitors, to the dignity of being
the Italian language. This was the consequence of writing the "Divine
Comedy" in Tuscan, instead of in Latin. Dante's Tuscan verses were
recited in the tavern and on the _piazza_, and were greeted with loud
applause by apprentices and artisans, shopmen and tavern-keepers. He
excited the enthusiasm of both educated and ignorant. At that time the
spoken dialects were very numerous. A friend remonstrating with Dante
for writing in an Italian dialect instead of in Latin, said that there
were a thousand. Dante himself in his treatise "On the Vernacular
Speech" enumerates Sicilian, Calabrian, Apulian, Roman, Tuscan, Genoese,
Sardinian, Romagnol, Lombard, Venetian, and others. These dialects of
the provinces were further subdivided among themselves. In Tuscany the
people of Siena spoke one idiom, those of Arezzo another. In Lombardy
the citizens of Ferrara spoke in one way, the citizens of Piacenza in
another. Even in one city, as in Bologna, the dwellers in St. Felix
Street and those in Greater Street did not speak alike. Besides the
difficulties of many dialects, besides the immense prestige of Latin as
the language of learning, of law, of the Church, French appeared as a
possible literary language for Italy. Authors in Florence, Venice,
Siena, and Pisa wrote books in French, "because the French language goes
over the world, and is more delectable to read and to hear than any
other." But Dante made the Florentine tongue immortal, and not only
wrote the "Divine Comedy" in Florentine, but also "The New Life" and
"The Banquet." Prior to his time the divers idioms had stood on an
equality; after his time Tuscan became the language of polite speech and
of literature, the real Italian language, and the others were degraded
to the position of mere dialects. Petrarch and Boccaccio, both
Florentines, also deserve their share of praise. Petrarch's sonnets and
Boccaccio's stories firmly established the primacy to which Dante had
raised the Tuscan idiom.

The revival of sculpture also began before the middle of the thirteenth
century. Here the great leader is Niccolò Pisano (1206-78?). There has
been a dispute as to his birthplace. Some say he came from Southern
Italy and learned his art there. If this theory is true, Frederick's
kingdom has the honour of having revived sculpture as well as
literature; but it is more likely that Niccolò came from some village in
Tuscany, and early went to Pisa, where he got his designation _Pisano_.
The first certain record of his work is an inscription on the pulpit in
the Baptistery at Pisa, which states that he completed the pulpit in
1260. Pisa was then at the height of her glory, in the happy years
before her fatal conflict with Genoa; she had built the Cathedral, the
Leaning Tower, and the Baptistery, and now wished to beautify them
within. Niccolò's pulpit shows both imitation of the classic and
observation of nature. He had before him bits of ancient sarcophagi,
which had been built into the wall of the Cathedral: his Madonna bears
traces of the Phædra of the sarcophagus, one of his three Wise Men
resembles a young Greek, and his modelling in general has a touch of
classic freedom, dignity, and repose. In his conception of the scenes
Niccolò adhered to ecclesiastical tradition, just as Dante did to
ecclesiastical theology, but in his figures, in the drapery and various
details, his faithfulness to reality is striking, at least when compared
with the Byzantine style theretofore prevailing. The success of this
pulpit was so great that a few years later he was asked to carve another
for the cathedral in Siena. An envoy came on purpose, and in the
Baptistery of Pisa a contract was drawn up in which it was agreed that
Niccolò should go to Siena and stay till the work was done, taking three
assistants, and also his young son Giovanni, at half pay, if he wished.
This contract was made in 1265, the year of Dante's birth. Niccolò also
worked at Bologna, Perugia, Pistoia, probably at Lucca and almost
certainly in many other places. This was the period of the free
development of the communes after the death of Frederick II, and
Niccolò's popularity is proof of widespread prosperity and interest in
art. Niccolò's son Giovanni (1250-1328?) inherited his father's genius;
and his work, especially his masterpiece, a pulpit at Pistoia, shows how
fast art was developing. Giovanni, in his eagerness to express the
animation and passion of life, neglected the classic and went directly
to nature, at least in desire if not in execution. This passionate
interest in life is the very quality that gives Dante's "Inferno" its
intense vividness. These two Pisani founded the great Tuscan school of
sculpture, and influenced both painting and architecture as well.

Italian architecture at this time does not show one great figure like
Niccolò Pisano, nor does it show a definite beginning of a new period.
On the contrary, throughout the Middle Ages building held its own
surprisingly well in comparison with the other arts. In the days of
Theodoric the Ostrogoth, it carried on the Byzantine tradition at
Ravenna, and for centuries the churches in Rome were built on the old
basilican principle. Over a hundred years before Dante was born, and
before Niccolò carved his pulpit, the Lombard style flourished in
Lombardy, Tuscan Romanesque in Tuscany, and Norman Sicilian in Sicily.
Before the Empire had received its _coup de grâce_ the Gothic style came
down from the North, and its struggle with the Romanesque seemed to
typify the conflict between the German Empire and the Italian people.
Nevertheless, if we confine ourselves to Tuscany, as perhaps is fair in
view of the very great influence of Tuscany on all the arts, there is
one man who stands out conspicuous. Arnolfo di Cambio (1232-1300?) began
life as one of Niccolò's assistants at Pisa, and did so well that he was
included by name in the contract for the pulpit at Siena. In Florence he
built the church of Santa Croce for the Franciscans, designed the
Palazzo Vecchio, and made the first plans for the Duomo; and so left a
deep impress on Florence and through Florence on the world.

In painting, more than in any other art or department of life, perhaps,
authority had reigned supreme throughout the Middle Ages. The decadent
Greek painters of Constantinople had made a series of rules, which were
as autocratic as the edicts of the Emperors. Every Madonna was painted
in one attitude, with her eyes opening wide in the same way, arms, legs,
and body in the same constrained position, with the same wooden child in
her wooden lap, and the same wooden saints about her. But gradually,
side by side with the art of authority, another style, at first very
simple and primitive, developed. The older style dominated mosaic work,
and as mosaics were most intimately associated with the symbolic
representation of sacred things, it was strongly intrenched behind all
the beliefs and prejudices of the Middle Ages. Nevertheless, the
revolutionary spirit in Tuscany, for the leaders of the revolution which
threw off the authority of the Middle Ages came from among the free men
of Tuscany, prevailed in painting as well as elsewhere. The last of the
masters who employed the Byzantine manner was Cimabue (1240-1302); yet
Cimabue had a sense of the coming change, and showed a desire to break
through the enveloping shell of Byzantine authority and portray the
grace and beauty of living human beings. However mediæval his manner
seems to us, his contemporaries, eager as the Athenians for new things,
perceived the novelty in it. When he was painting a Madonna for the
Dominican monks in Florence, Charles of Anjou, fresh from his triumph
over Manfred, visited his studio for the honour of a first view, and
crowds pressed about hoping to get a glimpse of the picture. When the
picture was carried through the streets to its destination in the church
of Santa Maria Novella, a great procession followed, as if it were a
hero returned from the wars. Poor Cimabue, however, is seldom mentioned
except as a dull background against which the conquering Giotto stands
in brilliant relief.

Giotto (1267?-1336) is the master revolutionist of painting. He was a
contemporary of Dante, a few years younger, born at the time when
Niccolò and Giovanni were working at the pulpit in Siena, and Charles
of Anjou was posing as an admirer of the fine arts in Cimabue's studio.
He painted Dante in a fresco on the wall of the Bargello (a palace in
Florence), at least so tradition says; and Dante in the "Divine Comedy"
speaks of him as outstripping the once renowned Cimabue. Giotto was an
ugly little man, of great character and quick wit. Various stories are
told of his repartees. Once, when he was painting for the King of Naples
and working with great diligence, the king, who used to watch him, said,
"Giotto, if I were you, I should not work so hard." "I shouldn't,--if I
were you," retorted Giotto. He studied under Giovanni Pisano, and
learned so much that it has been said that "Giotto is the greatest work
of the Pisani." Giotto was also the successor to Arnolfo as the leading
architect in Florence, and built the Campanile of the Duomo, and, being
likewise a sculptor, modelled some of the bas-reliefs that ornament the
panels of the base. His great art was painting, and especially the
painting of figures. Giotto was in demand to paint frescoes on the walls
of churches and chapels at Florence, Arezzo, Assisi, Padua, Ravenna,
Rome, and Naples; and other painters came from far and near to study
under him. He dominated Italian painting, and his school was the only
school for a hundred years. After the world had adopted Raphael's
frescoes as the type of excellence his fame was dimmed for a time, but
since Mr. Ruskin's enthusiastic admiration it has regained its ancient

These instances of revolution in the arts show that a new intellectual
life had begun, that the Middle Ages had really ended. In fact, the
passing away of the Holy Roman Empire and of the European suzerainty of
the Papacy was merely an episode in the general intellectual


THE DESPOTISMS (1250-1350)

Perhaps the quality which strikes us most in this dawn of our Modern
World is its suddenness; Niccolò Pisano gets up, as it were, out of the
ground, Giotto follows Cimabue, Dante is born while Guido Guinicelli is
still a young man. We are amazed and bewildered, and it is not in the
arts alone that the change is so startling. The political structure
shifts with equal quickness, and while we are trying to connect and
coördinate this outburst of art with the democratic triumph of the
communes, the democratic communes disappear under our eyes. At first as
we look we are a little puzzled, for the outward form of the commune
remains unchanged; the _podestà_ is still there, the Great Council and
the inner council are still there, the committees and the sub-committees
superintending and directing the affairs of the commonwealth; but
further observation discloses a lack of spontaneity. The motive power
does not seem the resultant of the debate and argument of numerous
discordant wills, but to proceed from some one definite inner source.
More careful observation shows that these outward committees are but
registering boards that record an inner will, that their members go to
one particular palace to have their minds made up, at first privily, but
soon openly, and at last confessedly and ostentatiously. This is the
regular course. The commune is, as it were, a political chrysalis out of
which a full-blown tyrant bursts. The tyrants were men of capacity, who
gathered the various functions of the government into their own hands,
and by a course of adroitness and fraud, or by a _coup d'état_, reduced
the city to obedience, and then, after having exercised sovereign rights
during their lives, bequeathed the principality to their heirs. The
reason of their success is plain. It was impossible for trade to
flourish, for property to collect its income, for luxury to enjoy
itself, under the political confusion that attended the democratic
endeavours for self-government. The uncertainty in government, law, and
trade, was too high a price to pay for liberty. Men of property, men of
business, men of pleasure, preferred the comparative stability of a

Before we look at this process in individual states we must eliminate
the exceptions. The kingdom of Sicily under the House of Aragon, and
that of Naples under the House of Anjou, had become, in great measure,
absolute monarchies, for the gifted Emperor Frederick, who was no lover
of democracy, had crushed or circumvented the communal spirit in his
kingdom. The suppression of popular liberties did not result in the
strict enforcement of order in either kingdom, particularly not in
Sicily where feudal anarchy was rampant; but we must leave those
Southerners to their oranges and lemons, to their flowers and azure
skies, to their churches and cloisters, where Romanesque, Byzantine, and
Arab influences met and combined in arch and dome and sculptured
trimming, and go northward to find the main historical current of the

Florence, too, we must except from the tyrannic system, for a democratic
government prevailed there for many years to come, and also Rome, where
the Papacy prevented Colonna and Orsini from establishing a despotism.

Verona shall serve as the paradigm for the despotic form of government.
In this ancient city on the banks of the Adige, where the amphitheatre
of Augustus still stood though the churches built by Theodoric the
Ostrogoth had crumbled away, the spirit of material and intellectual
activity had been busily at work. The stately church of San Zeno
(eleventh century), most beautiful of Romanesque churches, coloured with
the hues of early dawn and rich with bronze doors and sculptured front,
stood proudly apart outside the walls; but within, the cathedral had
been begun, and the great Ghibelline tower already lifted its
crenellated top high over the market-place. Rushing through the city the
headlong Adige turned innumerable mill-wheels, and Veronese girls washed
the clothes of the Capulets and Montagues in its waters. Altogether the
city was a very desirable signory. This fact had been discovered in
Frederick's time, and Ezzelino da Romano, one of the Ghibelline nobles
of the North, had made good his power there and distinguished himself by
his cruelty, for which he is still remembered. On his most satisfactory
death, not long after Frederick's, the Scaligers succeeded to the
dominion of the city (1259). These Scaligers were of the best type of
tyrant, especially Can Grande (1311-1329), the fifth in possession of
the signory, who presents the type in its noblest and most attractive
form. Nevertheless, despite his brilliance, his success and
magnificence, his chief renown is as host to the exiled Dante, who in
gratitude for "my first refuge and first hostelry" dedicated the
"Paradiso" to him, and celebrated his carelessness of hardship and of
gold, and his doughty deeds from which even enemies could not withhold
their praise.

Can Grande, like other despots, had two objects,--to make his signory
secure, and to enlarge it. As he was secure of Verona, he cast his
covetous glances abroad and fixed them on Vicenza, a little town some
thirty miles to the northeast. Vicenza was, so to speak, no longer in
the market, as she had been snapped up by her neighbour, Padua, which
had had the advantage of being less than twenty miles away. But Can
Grande played his cards well, and by help of the Emperor Henry VII, who
appointed him Imperial vicar, got possession of the prize. Padua, a rich
and prosperous Guelf city, with subject towns round about, and a famous
university within, refused to acquiesce in a surrender of Vicenza to a
Ghibelline lord. A long war ensued. The fair fields in the forty miles
between Verona and Padua were laid waste, the poor peasants were dragged
to one city or the other and held for ransom, and the Guelfs in Verona
and the Ghibellines in Padua were persecuted, imprisoned, and tortured.
At last Padua, her signory over, her neighbours lost, her population
fallen away, her citizens fighting among themselves, her nobles
destroying one another in the hope of becoming lords of the city, gave
way and surrendered to Can Grande. Other cities shared Padua's fate, and
Can Grande, by virtue of his conquests as well as of his character,
became one of the chief powers in Italy. Can Grande was brave even to
recklessness, covetous of dominion, steadfast in his political aims,
true to his promises, generous to his enemies. On his death he
bequeathed his signory to his nephew; and his body was buried in the
churchyard of a little Gothic chapel, where stone effigies of armoured
Scaligers on caparisoned steeds surmount Gothic tombs, and the pride of
life and conquest strives to overcrow death.

The story of the Scaligers must be continued somewhat further, for they
exhibit the phenomenon, so frequent in Northern Italy at this time, of a
despotism that begins in vigour, continues in energy and success, and
then dies down under degenerate heirs to go out at last like a candle.
Can Grande's nephew, Mastino (1329-51),--the family had a fondness for
canine appellations. Great Dog and Mastiff,--began his career with
ability and courage; he conquered Brescia to the west, halfway to Milan,
and Parma, which lies beyond Mantua. These particular acts of aggression
helped his ruin, for Milan and Mantua took alarm and joined a league
against him. But that was not till later. In the days of his prosperity
Mastino was very magnificent. Soldiers, horse and foot, attended him;
his palace was thronged with lords, gentlemen, and buffoons; his stables
were full of chargers and palfreys, his bird-sheds of falcons. At his
court there were innumerable fashionable devices for driving care away,
dancing, singing, jousting; everything was luxurious; men and furniture
were decked with embroidery, cloth of gold, cloth from France, and cloth
from Tartary. When Mastino rode forth all Verona rushed to the windows;
when he was angry all Verona trembled. He was a dark-skinned, bearded
man, with heavy features and a great belly; in later life he ate
grossly, and sank into dissipation. Seldom on a Friday or Saturday, or
even in Lent, would he refrain from meat; and he did not care a rap for
excommunication. He became arrogant and vainglorious. His dissipation
and lack of piety, however, were less direct causes of his fall than his
ambition; he coveted, rumour said, a kingdom of Lombardy or even of all
Italy. But at last he overreached himself in dealing with the
Florentines. They wished to get possession of Lucca, and he undertook to
buy it for them,--it was a fourteenth-century custom to sell a
city,--but when he got possession of Lucca he kept it for himself. The
Florentines declared war, and induced all his rival despots, the
Visconti of Milan, the Gonzaga of Mantua, the Estensi of Ferrara, to
join a league against him. Venice also joined, being indignant with the
Scaligers for levying tolls upon merchandise that went up the Po, and
for interference with the Venetian monopoly of salt. The league was
victorious and forced the Scaligers to hard terms. Venice took the towns
near her, thus acquiring her first territory on the Italian mainland;
the great Paduan family, the Carrara, took back Padua; the Visconti of
Milan took Brescia (1338). The Scaligers were shorn of their power, and
from this time on the house dwindled; assassinations of brother by
brother darkened its close, and at the end of the century it lost Verona
and all.

What the Scaligers did at Verona other great families were doing
elsewhere. The Gonzaga established themselves in Mantua, the Estensi in
Ferrara, the Bentivogli in Bologna, the da Polenta in Ravenna, the
Malatesta in Rimini, the Montefeltri in Urbino, the Baglioni in Perugia,
and greatest of all the Visconti in Milan. The city of Milan has so
important a place in the history of Italy, that we must pause over the
Visconti. This family succeeded in dispossessing its rivals and in
becoming masters of the city in 1295, about the time that the oligarchy
was clinching its hold on Venice, and the democracy becoming all
powerful in Florence. In fact, one may accept this date as the point at
which Florence, Venice, and Milan start on their upward careers towards
becoming three of the six chief divisions of Italy. Convenience has its
rights, and it is eminently convenient to start the Renaissance,
politically as well as intellectually, in this eager, passionate last
quarter of the thirteenth century.

The Visconti, however, were not firm in their seats till the gallant
Henry VII, Dante's hope, came down into Italy to revive the Empire. We
have seen that Henry did not revive the Empire, but he did strengthen
Can Grande, his loyal lieutenant in Verona, and also the Visconti, his
loyal friends in Milan. It is pathetic, even now, to think of that
high-aspiring Henry, with his noble, old-fashioned ideas concerning the
Roman Empire and universal brotherhood under the shelter of the Roman
eagle, and of the great Dante fastening all his hopes on those same
old-fashioned ideas, while the crafty lords of Milan and Verona,
laughing in their sleeves, professed the most devout Imperial creed and
feathered their own nests. On the Emperor's death (1313) the Visconti
were firmly seated. The signory descended from one generation to the
next. Their sway was extended over the cities round about, until it
included most of Lombardy. Ambition, growing by what it fed on, aimed at
the cities of Pisa, Bologna, and Genoa. Such plans aroused both jealousy
and fear. The ambition of the Visconti to take Pisa alarmed Florence,
who had marked Pisa as her own; that to take Bologna stirred the
absentee Popes, who went through the old forms of excommunication,
interdict, and crusade; but Genoa, crippled by her wars with Venice,
rent asunder by internal factions, wearily gave herself to Milan, in the
vain hope of winning peace and security. In spite of checks here and
there, the state of Milan became more and more powerful, and the signory
of the Visconti by far the greatest of the tyrannies in Italy.

There were, of course, many men who attempted to become despots and
failed; and others who succeeded for their lifetimes, but were not able
to make their signories so strong as to become family possessions to be
enjoyed by their heirs after them. Of the latter kind one must be
mentioned. In Lucca Castruccio Castracane (died 1328), a very brilliant
politician and soldier, became so powerful that he reduced to subjection
much of the country round and nearly succeeded in conquering Florence,
with whom he was long at war. Like other successful tyrants he called
himself a Ghibelline, and drew what advantage he could from his
profession of faith, but really only aimed to acquire a principality for
himself. He died in the prime of life (to the great relief of the
Florentines), and left so brilliant a reputation for the qualities which
achieve success by fair means or foul, that two centuries later
Machiavelli held him up as an example for princes to follow.



We are now well started on the fourteenth century, and it will be well
to glance at the chief Italian states in order to get our bearings.

Sicily was in a state of hopeless despondency. The island was nominally
subject to the House of Aragon, but its kings were not men of sufficient
character to impose their authority, and the unfortunate kingdom was
beginning to go down hill. The Kingdom of Naples was, for the time
being, much better off, for its king, Robert, grandson of Charles of
Anjou, was a man of unusual gifts and capacity, but he was succeeded by
a foolish, frivolous, light-minded, light-mannered granddaughter, Joan
(1343-81), who brought forty years of trouble to her kingdom, and under
her Naples started rolling down that same incline on which Sicily was
rolling somewhat ahead of her. The failure of Sicily and Naples to take
part in the great career in matters intellectual now opening before
Northern Italy is partly due to the race that populated them, a
miscellaneous mixture of bloods (at least it is customary to explain
unknown causes of success and failure by saying good blood and bad
blood), and partly to the autocratic will of the brilliant Frederick II,
who crushed out independence in his kingdom, and so deprived it of that
communal life which is the only obvious factor, except "good blood," in
the intellectual success of Northern Italy.

The whole pontifical state, from the fortresses of the Colonna on the
Tiber to the strongholds of the Malatesta in Rimini, was in the vortex
of confusion.

Florence was well off, for though the foreigners whom she had invited to
be protectors against Castruccio Castracane and others were rather
detrimental than useful, and though there were signs of a new struggle
between the _Grandi_ and the Burghers, her commerce prospered, her
dominion spread over the towns round about, and her luxury grew so fast
that the troubled elders passed all sorts of sumptuary laws to prescribe
what should be worn and what not, by both fashionable and simple.

In the northwest, now Piedmont, there were, besides the Counts of Savoy,
several struggling claimants who severally asserted titles to their own
and other strips of territory. In the northeast, Venice, which had
acquired a footing on the mainland destined to grow into the province of
Venetia, was prosperous. And between Piedmont and Venice the successful
Visconti of Milan, soon to receive the keys of Genoa, were likewise well
satisfied. The political situation may now be dismissed, and we may turn
to the distinguishing mark of the century, the classical revival.

The distinction which Italy enjoys as the most famous country in Europe
is due to three ages,--first, the ancient epoch of Augustus Cæsar and
Trajan, when the Roman Empire imposed the _pax romana_ on a grateful
world; second, the mediæval epoch of Hildebrand and Innocent III, when
the Papacy, following its great prototype with unequal steps, imposed
its _pax romana_ on both troubled souls and angry hands; and third, the
epoch of the Renaissance, when Italy took the lead in the intellectual
development of modern Europe. It would be as absurd to subordinate
intellectual life to politics in the period of the Renaissance as it
would be to subordinate the religion of the era of Hildebrand to its
art, or the politics of the Augustan age to its religion. The highest
life of Italy, the life which gives importance to the history of this
coming period, is its intellectual life, and, though we must not forget
politics entirely, we should lay the chief stress on intellectual rather
than on political matters.

Since the date of the Pisan pulpit, prosperity had increased fast, and
curiosity, the desire to investigate, the wish to know, had grown
lustily. There were still the same two stores of knowledge,--nature and
the classics,--but the first, for many reasons, seemed vague,
intangible, when compared to the second, in which the demi-gods (so they
appeared then) of the ancient world had garnered the rich harvest of
their thoughts. The classical heritage, the record of a higher
civilization, seemed a lay Bible, the revelation of truth, the means of
salvation; and the young generation emerging in the dawn of intellectual
light turned thirstily to this newly found inheritance. The leader of
this pilgrimage to the land flowing with intellectual milk and honey was
Francis Petrarch (1304-74).

Petrarch was a Florentine, but he lived in exile. His father had been
banished at the same time with Dante, and after a few wandering years
had settled at Avignon. Petrarch studied law at the University of
Bologna and became a confirmed Ghibelline. This item of biography is
important, because it reminds us that Petrarch's passion for the classic
world, though it had its roots in the traditional admiration for Rome,
received strength and justification not only from Latin literature, but
also from the Civil law. Men who grasped the complexity and richness of
the Roman law necessarily admired Roman civilization, and inferred that
all other manifestations of that civilization must be as admirable as
the law, and perhaps less dry. Petrarch found the law dry, but he left
Bologna with a passion for the classic world; and when he went back to
Avignon he met all the most cultivated men of Europe. Learning still
attended the papal court, and Avignon served to make this charming young
scholar of genius known to the world. He flung up the law and devoted
himself to literature. Cicero was his hero. Petrarch was the first of
the humanists, the herald of the Renaissance, and, if we look farther
forward still, the harbinger of the Reformation. Petrarch's importance
was very great because he was not too far ahead of his generation. He
shouted aloud the glory of Rome, of Roman literature and Roman thought,
and the echo resounded throughout Europe. In the year 1341, in Rome,
upon the Capitoline Hill, Petrarch received the crown of laurel, as
scholar and poet, from the Senate and People of Rome. The King of
Naples was his sponsor, and the tyrants of the North applauded. This
ceremony was the conspicuous recognition that a new period was opening
before Italy; and Petrarch's laurel crown may be put beside the Imperial
wreath of Augustus and the tiara of Hildebrand, as the starting-point of
Italy's third great period of triumph.

After his coronation, Petrarch went about Italy spreading the seeds of
the new enthusiasm. He lived or made visits at Parma, Bologna, Verona,
Florence, Arezzo, Naples, Rome, Milan, Padua, and Venice. He became
tremendously fashionable. The Pope invited him to be papal secretary,
the King of France extended the hospitality of Paris to him, the Emperor
bade him to Prague, the Visconti wanted him at Milan, the Scaligers at
Verona, the Cararresi at Padua, the lord high Seneschal at Naples; the
Florentines asked him to accept a chair in their new university, the
Venetians offered him a house. All this honour ostensibly shown to
Petrarch was really the salutation to the new dawn.

The strength of this classic revival, though most effective in
literature and the arts, is perhaps still more noticeable in the
political career of another young man of genius who had as passionate a
love of classic Rome as Petrarch himself. Cola di Rienzo (1314-54) was
an imaginative, poetical dreamer, who fed his youth on Livy, Cicero,
Seneca, and delighted to muse on the glories of Julius Cæsar and to
study the antique monuments of Rome. His public career began as envoy on
one of the unsuccessful embassies which used to entreat the Popes to
return to the deserted city. Cola was handsome, eloquent, ardent, a sort
of Don Quixote, and roused the Roman populace to share his dreams and to
believe in the possible restoration of the Senate and People of Rome to
their ancient grandeur. He led the people against the nobility, forced
the riotous barons to submit to his rule as tribune of the people, and
established a government of law in the city; but his ambition flew far
beyond the city walls. He dreamed of the confederation of all Italy
under the lead of Rome. He would have smiled at limiting imitation of
the great days of old to the arts or to literature; he intended to
restore the Roman Republic as it had been in its high and palmy days.
His wild aspirations throw a backward light over the history of the city
of Rome throughout the Middle Ages, and over that republicanism which
played so important a part in the struggle between Empire and Papacy,
and light up the old theories under which the Roman people claimed the
right to elect both Emperor and Pope; just as Boniface's bulls portray
the outworn papal theories, and Dante's "De Monarchia" the dead Imperial

Cola's first step was to invite all the princes and communes of Italy to
attend a general meeting in Rome; and as all Italy had responded to
Petrarch's appeal in behalf of the classic past, so did she, for the
moment, respond to Cola's appeal. Milan, Genoa, Lucca, Florence, Siena,
and the smaller cities nearer by, answered with apparent sympathy.
Petrarch was mad with delight, and hailed Cola as Camillus, Brutus,
Romulus. For the moment, such was the strength of classical illusion,
the dream seemed to be real. Cola wrote to the Florentines (September,
1347), "We have made all citizens of the states of Holy Italy Roman
citizens, and we admit them to the right of election. The affairs of
Empire have naturally devolved upon the Holy Roman People. We desire to
renew and strengthen the old union with all the principalities and
states of Holy Italy, and to deliver Holy Italy itself from its
condition of abject subjection and to restore it to its old state and to
its ancient glory. We mean to exalt to the position of Emperor some
Italian whom zeal for the union of his race shall stir to high efforts
for Italy."[15]

Cola's great idea was destined to wait five hundred years for
fulfilment. The time was not ripe, and he himself not a suitable
instrument. His career was brief. He became not only vainglorious but
also very cruel. He grew fat, and lost the charm of youth and novelty.
The nobles and the upper classes of Rome hated him; and when, in need of
money, he increased the taxes, the Roman populace turned upon him,
stormed the Capitol, captured him as he tried to slink away in disguise,
and murdered him on the steps leading down from the palace. His head was
cut off, his body was dragged through the streets and burned, and the
ashes scattered to the winds.

The mad dream had been, in its nature, evanescent. The classical
heritage was too purely intellectual, too remote from existing needs, to
be able to shape politics. But that fourteen hundred years after the
death of Julius Cæsar, Cola should have been able to establish himself
as Roman tribune on the Capitoline Hill, and to act as if the Republic
of the days of the Gracchi had been but temporarily superseded, shows
the immense influence of Rome over the mediæval imagination, and helps
us to understand the autocratic power of the classical heritage in
shaping and directing the intellectual revolution in Italy.


[15] _Rome in the Middle Ages_, Gregorovius, vol. vi, p. 295, note 1



The fourteenth century undoubtedly felt itself emancipated from the
limitations of the Middle Ages, and with justice, so far as the
classical revival was concerned, but it did little or nothing to free
itself from ills that were distinctly of a mediæval character,--plague,
lawlessness, and tyranny. In that respect, the transition from the
Middle Ages to the Modern World was slow and made a striking contrast
with the rapid evolution of art.

The chief of these ills was the plague. Only in remote places of the
East, if at all, does the scourge of disease now fall as it then did in
the most civilized cities of the world, and it was from the East that
these plagues came, brought by sailors. One blasted Tuscany in 1340, one
Lombardy in 1361; but the worst was the awful Black Death of 1348, which
wrought havoc in various parts of Italy and then swept northward across
the Alps on its destructive path. It was this plague which Boccaccio
describes in the beginning of the "Decameron." It spread like fire among
dry wood which has been sprinkled with oil. At first swellings appeared
the size of an egg or an apple, then black and hard spots; on the third
day came death. Even animals caught the disease. Boccaccio saw two pigs
which had chewed the garment of a plague-stricken man die in
convulsions. Medicine was useless. Some thought the wisest course was to
live on the daintiest food and drink, and never speak of the plague;
others believed in carousing and jollity, and went about from tavern to
tavern seeking diversion, but always keeping sober enough to avoid the
sick. Private houses were deserted and lay open to anybody. Loyalty
disappeared. All who could fled into the country. Thousands fell sick
daily. In place of decent burial, dead bodies were tossed huggermugger
into trenches. Between March and July, Boccaccio says, more than 100,000
people died within the walls of Florence.

Florence was not singular. In Siena 80,000 people, three quarters of the
population, died; in Genoa, 40,000; in Pisa, seven out of ten, and so on
in Venice, Rome, Naples, and Sicily. These figures seem incredible; but
Petrarch says: "Posterity will not believe that there ever was a period
in which the world remained almost entirely depopulated, houses empty of
families, cities of inhabitants, the country of peasants. How will the
future believe it, when we ourselves can hardly credit our eyes? We go
outdoors, walk through street after street, and find them full of dead
and dying; when we get home again we find no live thing within the
house, all having perished within the brief interval of absence. Happy
posterity, to whom such calamities will seem imaginings and dreams."
Poor Petrarch! The lovely Laura, of whom he wrote so many perfect
sonnets, died of the Black Death in Avignon. Giovanni Villani, the
historian, died in Florence. This terrible calamity throws into high
relief the great classical impulse, to which the last chapter was
devoted. In earlier times men would have turned to religion and the
Church; but now Petrarch, a most devout Christian, and his disciples
continued to worship Cicero and the heroes of the Augustan age, and to
talk of Cæsar and Pompey, Scylla and Charybdis, as the most important
and interesting of things.

Another great evil which rivalled the plague as a curse, was the host of
mercenary soldiers who swarmed over Italy like locusts. In the days of
Barbarossa, battles like that of Legnano had been fought between the
train-bands of the communes on one side and the feudal chivalry and
men-at-arms on the other. But since then a great change had come over
the methods of raising soldiers. Under the feudal system the term of
service in the field for the liegemen of the Emperor had been forty
days; but that time was too short for an effective campaign. When the
Emperor wished to cross the Alps and go to Rome in order to receive the
Imperial crown, he was obliged to hire soldiers; and, as years went on
and these Imperial descents became mere adventurous expeditions, the
character of the soldiers degenerated, until in Petrarch's time the
Imperial armies were made up of ruffians recruited anywhere. There were
also other reasons for establishing mercenaries in place of militia. The
despots of Northern Italy did not wish their subjects trained to arms.
The burghers of mercantile cities did not wish to leave their
counting-rooms, nor to have their employees mustered out, so they too
preferred hired soldiers to a native militia. Moreover, warfare had
changed; cavalry needed frequent manoeuvres, bowmen and pikemen
required drill and continuous discipline. Thus the old train-band system
of the communes, under which the militia hurried to their appointed
posts on the ringing of the bells, gave way to the system of mercenary
troops led by soldiers of fortune, _condottieri_, as the Italians call

These soldiers, who had come down from the North to serve Emperors, or
despots like the Visconti, or perhaps had sailed from Spain to fight
under the House of Aragon in Sicily, as soon as the immediate war was
ended, having been left unpaid or having taken a liking to a trade in
which the labor was congenial, the risk small and booty enormous,
decided not to disband, but to continue to try their luck together. They
sold their services to whatever city or despot would pay them most, or
wandered about in a nomadic fashion, capturing a city if they could, if
not, living on the country-side. One can imagine these rogues among
unwarlike peasants, or in a pleasant little city like Lucca or Cremona.
They were very fickle, fought one another only upon compulsion, and then
most reluctantly and gently, and were very nearly as terrible to their
employers as to their adversaries. They were organized, sometimes very
well, in bands under a general or a council of officers, and had such
names as The Company of St. George, or The Great Company. Some of their
leaders became very famous, like Duke Werner, who proclaimed himself
"Lord of the Great Company, enemy to God, to Pity, and to Mercy." The
most interesting of these leaders, at least for us, is John Hawkwood, an
English adventurer, who began life as a London tailor, but dropped
scissors and needle to enlist for Edward III's French campaign, and
then, seeing fortune smile most sweetly from distraught Italy, crossed
the Alps and led his company all over the peninsula. There is a full
length fresco of him on horseback in the _Duomo_ at Florence, painted in
gratitude for his deeds in life or merely for his death.

For a hundred years and more these ruffians swaggered about Italy.
Petrarch finds in them one cause the more to hold out his arms toward
the mighty past. He writes in a letter: "Oh, would that you were alive,
Brutus, Great-heart, that I might turn to you. O Manlius--O Great
Pompey--O Julius Cæsar [etc., etc., etc.], O Jesus, Lord of the world,
what has happened? Why do I moan and groan for grief? Oh! a vile handful
of robbers, spewed out of their nasty dens, walks and rides over the
ancient queen of the world, Italy. Christ Jesus, in tears and
supplication I turn to Thee. Oh, if we have abused Thy goodness more
than was right, if we have shown ourselves too proud in Thy aid and
favour, if we have borne ourselves ill towards Thee, well mayst Thou not
permit us to be free; but let not this slaughter, these sacrileges,
these robberies, these deeds of violence, these ravishings of wives and
maidens, find mercy in Thine eyes. Put an end to this evil. To the
wicked who have said in their hearts 'There is no God,' show that Thou
art; and to us however unworthy, show that we are Thy children. O
Almighty Father, help us; in Thee alone we put our hope, and in
supplication we invoke Thy name, weeping and confessing that there is
none who shall fight for us, unless Thou, our Lord, be he."

This strange mixture of classic enthusiasm and Christian piety, this odd
idea that the triumphant cause of the Roman Republic was due to the
favour of Christ, shows us that Petrarch had not yet got wholly clear of
mediæval beliefs. But, as with Cola di Rienzo, everything Petrarch says
testifies to the power of the Roman tradition.

A third evil, yet not to be compared with the plague and the
_condottieri_, was the tyranny of the despots. The founders of
despotisms were men of vigour and political capacity, and gave to their
subjects in lieu of liberty greater security and order than they had
enjoyed before. Their descendants, like proverbial heirs, finding hard
work both distasteful and unnecessary, gave themselves up to dissipation
and cruelty; they dropped their ancestors' attitude of leading citizens
and treated the principalities as private property, intended for their
amusement. The Visconti, though they retained their family ability and
force of character longer than most princely houses, shall serve to
illustrate the general dynastic development, more especially as the
history of Milan, which had become the chief power in Italy, will be the
best thread to carry us to the end of the century.

Towards the middle of the century Archbishop Giovanni Visconti had
become the lord of Milan (1349-54). He was a clever, cultivated man,
interested in letters. He employed scholars to prepare a commentary on
the "Divine Comedy," and by urgent persuasion induced Petrarch to take
up his abode at Milan. On the archbishop's death his three nephews
succeeded jointly to the signory. As one of these three nephews, Bernabò
(1354-85), illustrates the moral degeneracy of the tyrant we will glance
at his habits. Bernabò was addicted to the chase. Nobody else was
allowed to keep a dog, but he kept five thousand. These he billeted on
the citizens of Milan. Every fortnight the masters of his kennels made
their rounds; if the dogs were too thin, a fine was imposed; if dead, a
general confiscation. If a man killed a wild boar or a hare, he was
maimed or hanged, or sometimes, in mercy, merely obliged to eat the
quarry raw. Bernabò was afraid of conspiracies and rebellion. No man
might go out into the street after dark for any cause whatever, under
pain of having a foot cut off. No man might utter the words "Guelf" or
"Ghibelline," under penalty of having his tongue cut out. Once Bernabò
shut up his two secretaries in a cage with a wild boar. On another
occasion a young man who had pulled a policeman's beard was condemned to
pay a small fine, but Bernabò ordered his right hand cut off. The
_podestà_ delayed execution of the sentence, so that the lad's parents
might have time to ask mercy. For this Bernabò caused the lad's two
hands to be cut off and also the _podestà's_ right hand. A sexton who
demanded too much for digging a grave was buried alive side by side
with the dead body. Two monks who came to remonstrate with Bernabò for
his cruelty were burnt alive. Nevertheless, Bernabò protested himself
devout; he fasted, built churches and monasteries. This amiable man had
thirty-two children. His brother, joint heir of the principality,
Galeazzo II, was of the same stuff, except that in place of piety he
substituted an interest in letters; he founded the University of Pavia,
and exchanged figs, flowers, and flattery with Petrarch. Galeazzo's son,
Gian Galeazzo (1378-1402), rose still higher in the world; he gave
300,000 sequins to the King of France, and in return received the king's
daughter in marriage. For a second wife he married his cousin, daughter
of his amiable uncle Bernabò, who thought that this marriage would bind
his nephew to him by bonds of filial affection. Gian Galeazzo however,
by means of a trick, got his father-in-law within his reach, arrested
him, accused him of witchcraft, put him in prison and poisoned him, and
so became sole lord of Milan. This worthy lord converted his
principality into a dukedom and became duke (1395); but as we have
followed the family to the end of the century, and long enough to make
ourselves acquainted with the habits of tyrants, we must leave them.

Poor Italy suffering from these three evils, plagues, _condottieri_, and
tyrants, naturally sought for a cure, and, with what seems to us a
singular lack of imagination, turned to the old remedies, Emperor and
Pope. From time to time Emperors came into Italy, but the Hapsburgs were
very different from the Hohenstaufens, and their trips to Rome were
mere money-getting excursions. They sold privileges and honours, imposed
what taxes they could collect, and sneaked back to Germany. Obviously
there was no hope from Emperors. Then rose the cry for the return of the
Papacy. Every Italian, however he might hate or despise the Popes, felt
proud that the Papacy was an Italian institution, and believed that
every Pope, good or bad, should live in Rome and sit on his throne at
St. Peter's. Sentiment grew strong, especially among the women; Petrarch
thundered, St. Catherine of Siena pleaded. Moreover, the sharper
argument was urged with great practical effect, that the Papal State
might shake off the papal dominion if the Pontiffs did not look after it
themselves. The Popes began to stir uneasily. The cardinals indeed,
accustomed to the safe city of Avignon, did not care to go to turbulent
Rome, or perhaps, as Petrarch said, they could not bear to leave their
Burgundian wines. But finally Gregory XI (1370-78) raised his courage to
the sticking point. He returned to Rome in 1377, and the Babylonish
Captivity of seventy years ended.


A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW (1350-1450)

The return of the Papacy to Rome was an event of importance both for
Italy and the Catholic Church. Had it remained in France, it must have
dwindled and shrunk, like Antæus, kept away from its source of strength.
Nevertheless, the Papacy was no longer what it once had been; it cannot
serve us now as a central channel for the course of Italian history, and
will rank no higher than the first of half-a-dozen little channels,
which we must pursue separately.

The returning Pope found his territory in greater obedience than he
deserved; for a brilliant Spanish cardinal, Albornoz who had been sent
some time before had reduced almost all the cities to subjection
(1353-67); even Bologna, successfully disputed with the Visconti,
acknowledged papal dominion. But there was neither peace nor
tranquillity. Everywhere turbulence and murmurous threatenings rumbled;
and worse was to come. The very year after the return from the
Babylonish Captivity the _Great Schism_ rent the Church asunder for
forty years. There were two parties in the College of Cardinals, the
French and the Italian, with little love lost between them. The Italians
were in control and elected Urban VI (1378-89), a domineering, cruel,
most unpastoral person, who insulted the foreign cardinals, and so
angered them that they left Rome, declared his election illegal, and
elected one of themselves as Pope in his stead. This anti-pope, attended
by his troop of cardinals, returned to Avignon. Christian Europe divided
in two: some countries recognized Urban, others recognized the
anti-pope. Thus the schism began, and prepared the way for the next
great split of Christian Europe into Catholics and Protestants. There
were now two sources of apostolic succession, two supreme rulers, and
two systems of taxation. Misbehaviour and confusion at the top lowered
the moral tone of the whole Church. The Curia in Rome was scandalously
venal. Indulgences were sold; offices were bestowed for money. Nobody in
Rome respected the Pope, hardly anybody respected the clergy.

All Christendom felt that reformation was necessary, and that, first of
all, the schism must be closed. Thereupon some outward deference was
paid to public opinion; the Roman Pope went so far as to make ostensible
overtures to his rival at Avignon, and he of Avignon bowed and smiled
most politely in return. Friendly greetings went to and fro, and a
meeting was talked of. It became obvious, however, after a time, that
neither Pope had the slightest intention of abdicating in the other's
favour. Christendom remained insistent, and the two batches of cardinals
took the matter into their own hands. They held a Council at Pisa, which
deposed both Popes, and elected a third (1409), but, as the other two
Popes refused to acknowledge their deposition, matters were worse than
before. The situation recalled the old days when a German Emperor had
come down to Rome and had deposed three rival Popes together. The need
seemed to revive the past. The Emperor Sigismund (1410-37) assumed to
speak as the head of Christendom. He summoned an Ecumenical Council to
meet at the city of Constance, on the Lake of Constance, to judge the
schismatic quarrel and to consider the general state of the Church.
Other troubles besides schism had begun to appear. The failure of Rome
to satisfy the conscience of Europe had borne fruit. Heresy had
appeared. In England, Wyclif (1327-84) had denounced the higher clergy
for greed and arrogance; he had disavowed allegiance to the divided
Papacy, and had opposed the doctrine of transubstantiation. In Bohemia,
Jerome of Prague rejected the temporal jurisdiction of priests, and John
Huss asserted that Constantine had done great wrong when he endowed Pope
Silvester with lands and temporal power.

Christendom responded to the Emperor's call. Prelates and scholars of
the highest character and standing assembled at Constance (1414). It was
a great occasion, and belongs to the history of Europe. This Council,
the seventeenth Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church (1414-18),
deposed all three Popes, and elected a Roman, of the House of Colonna,
Martin V (1417-31), and so closed the schism and restored unity to the
Church. The more difficult matter of crushing heresy was not so readily
dealt with. The two reformers, Jerome of Prague and John Huss, refused
to recant or modify their views. They were condemned and handed over to
the secular arm for punishment; and the Emperor, heedless of the
safe-conduct he had given, burnt them at the stake (1415-16).

To follow the proceedings of this interesting Council more fully would
take us too far into papal affairs. It must suffice to say that the
Reformation can be sniffed in the air. Rome had not done its elementary
duties as head of Christendom, and Christendom insisted on a change and
on reform; but Rome was powerful and would not submit. Two parties
appear, the reformers and the papists. The former wished to purify the
Roman Curia and the whole Church, and to give the Papacy a republican
character,--to make the Pope a president, as it were, and the College of
Cardinals a senate. The latter liked the old easy ways and wished the
Pope to be absolute monarch. The papal party by dexterous politics
foiled the plans of the reformers and prevented change of any kind,
although no doubt it acted less from desire to obstruct reform than to
prevent the anti-monarchical party from getting control of the Church
and using the prestige of reform to attack the papal autocracy. From
this time on the papal party consistently pursued this course, and
therefore reformation came not from Rome, but from Germany, and instead
of being a reform from within, came practically as an attack from
without, and caused the permanent schism of the Reformation. We must now
leave the Papacy, which follows its wilful course--via Babylonish
Absenteeism, Schism, and refusal to reform--and steers directly towards
the rocks of the Reformation, and betake ourselves to the other parts of

The Kingdom of Naples would have been badly off at best under its
light-mannered queen, Joan I (1343-81), but it became involved in the
papal schism, and got into a wretched plight. The queen rashly took
sides with the Avignon Pope, and the irascible Roman Pope vowed
vengeance. He set her cousin, Charles, who belonged to the Durazzo
branch of the House of Anjou, on the throne in her stead. The story is a
miserable mixture of treasons, battles, and vulgar crimes. Charles got
possession of the unfortunate queen and strangled her, and he and his
heirs fought her adopted heirs for years. Each side hired mercenaries.
John Hawkwood was there, and other notable leaders. Poor Naples, taxed,
robbed, and ravaged by rival kings, their favourites, and mistresses,
rolled rapidly from bad to worse. Exception must be made in favour of
Charles's son Ladislaus (1390-1414), a bold, enterprising soldier, who
played a part in the affairs of Italy like that of his ancestor, Charles
of Anjou. But he failed in not leaving a son to inherit the crown, and
was succeeded by his sister, another Queen Joan (1414-35), likewise
light-mannered. There is nothing memorable to grace her career, except
the presence of a soldier of fortune, once a Romagnol peasant, Muzio
Attendolo, better known as Attendolo Sforza (strength). His son was
Francesco Sforza, destined to a brilliant career in Milan. The queen did
one thing, however, for which we, who clutch at any unification of
Italian history, must thank her. She adopted, not wholly of her free
will, Alfonso of Aragon, King of Sicily, and so brought about, though
for a few years only, the reunion of the Two Sicilies.

With regard to Sicily we need say nothing except that the royal House,
which still had a strain of Hohenstaufen-Norman blood, died out, and
that Sicily passed as a marriage portion to the crown of Aragon, and
became a mere appanage of that kingdom (1409). Finally, as I have said,
King Alfonso was adopted as heir to the second Queen Joan, and took part
in the civil wars that devastated Naples. Then began the long struggle
of Spaniard against Frenchman (the Neapolitan House of Anjou was still
French), which was destined to be so disastrous to Italy. Alfonso
conquered and was acknowledged King of the Two Sicilies by his suzerain
the Pope (1443). Thus for a time the Southern Kingdom was united and at
peace. It is a happy moment to leave it and go northward, in the hope of
finding greater moral and intellectual activity, if not greater
tranquillity and order.

To the northeast, Venice had been growing in power; but with the growth
of her power the number of her enemies and their bitterness towards her
had grown. Her possessions on the mainland, wrested from Verona, brought
her into hostility with Padua; her Adriatic possessions, Istria and
Dalmatia, made her an enemy of Hungary; her coastwise empire and trade
in the Levant made Genoa her deadly rival; and her imperial expansion
entangled her in war after war. Both the war with Padua and that with
Hungary told upon her, but the struggle with Genoa was far worse. During
the last grapple, known as the war of Chioggia (1378-81), Venice was
reduced to narrow straits, and but for her great admirals, Vettor Pisani
and Carlo Zeno, would have been defeated. Genoa never recovered from the
losses she sustained; but Venice regained her strength, and renewed her
conquests on the mainland. She conquered Padua (1404) and strangled the
last heirs of the House of Carrara, though they were prisoners of war;
she seized Verona, and set a price on the heads of the last of the
Scaligers, though they had been her allies. Her chief expansion on the
mainland of Italy was under the Doge Francesco Foscari (1423-57), when
she annexed Bergamo and Brescia, and carried her western boundary to the
river Adda. For the sake of convenience we may divide the life of Venice
into four stages: first, her lusty youth, which closed with the
profligate capture of Constantinople and the piratical dismemberment of
the Byzantine Empire (1204); second, her vigorous prime, which lasted
till she annexed Italian territory, threw in her lot with Italy, and
from being almost an Oriental outsider became an Italian state (1338);
third, her glorious maturity, which continued till the League of
Cambrai, when almost all Europe united to destroy her (1508); and
fourth, her long period of ebbing fortune, during which she slipped
slowly into decrepitude. In the present chapter we deal with the earlier
part of her maturity, when Venice was contesting with Milan for primacy
in power and importance.

During all this period the oligarchy had been tightening its hold on the
government, and was now absolute and secure. One last attempt had been
made to overthrow it, but had easily been put down. No one knows exactly
what led to the conspiracy, or what was the exact purpose of the
conspirators. The ringleader was the Doge himself, Marino Faliero, one
of the old nobility. The story is that he wished to revenge himself for
a gross insult from a young nobleman, and it seems likely that a
personal quarrel had some connection with a general plot which aimed to
overthrow the oligarchy, and substitute a government of the old nobility
supported by the people. The plot was betrayed. Nine of the conspirators
were hanged from the windows of the Ducal Palace. Faliero's head was cut
off, his portrait in the hall of the Ducal Palace was painted out, and
in the blank space was written: "This is the place of Marino Faliero,
beheaded for his crimes."

The oligarchy did not fail in its duty to itself, but neither did it
fail in its duty to the state. Commerce was the life of Venice; and the
oligarchy tended it with the utmost care. The famous Venetian arsenal
was the foster-mother of that commerce. There the money-getting ships
were built and equipped: caracks with three decks and great depth of
hold, galleasses with high forecastle and poop, galleys with long rows
of oars and lateen sails, all of different builds to suit the rough
Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, or the safer Adriatic.

Riches, a firm rule, and the security of an island home, showed visibly
in Venice. Instead of fortresses with massive walls and solid towers,
light, elegant palaces, decked with gay balconies and incrusting
marbles, lined the canals. All revealed tranquillity and prosperity; and
the adoption of Gothic architecture in place of Byzantine, and in
especial the long Gothic arcades of the Ducal Palace (1300-40),
testified how Venice had turned her face from the East to the West. In
contrast with Sicily and Naples, rolling down hill separately or
together, and with the troubled Papal States, Venice appears altogether
happy and successful as she passes from the fourteenth into the
fifteenth century.

Milan we have brought to the dignity of a dukedom, for which Gian
Galeazzo Visconti (1378-1402), the amiable nephew of the too-confiding
Bernabò, paid the price of 100,000 sequins to the fount of honour, the
ultramontane Emperor. This nephew, despite a moral inadequacy in his
family relations, was in many respects an excellent ruler. He reduced
the more burdensome taxes (in one city, it is said, he cut them down
from 12,000 florins to 400), and abolished others altogether. He
corrected abuses, reorganized the administration of justice, and enacted
wise laws. He understood the pride of the Milanese in their city, and
laid the foundations of the great Gothic cathedral on a scale to gratify
that pride; he began the beautiful church of the Cistercian monks, the
_Certosa_, at Pavia; he completed the palace at Pavia, whither he
transported his famous collection of books and an equally famous
collection of holy bones. He had the family ambition, and annexed
Vicenza, Verona, Padua, Siena, Assisi, Perugia, Pisa, and Bologna.
Rumour said that he aspired to a kingdom of Lombardy, and even of all
Italy. But Venice and Florence were too powerful for the success of his
plans. Venice, perhaps, might have regarded herself as still too much
detached from Italy to care to oppose him single-handed; but the doughty
burghers of Florence were zealously democratic and would not endure any
suggestion of foreign dominion. They had fought the Pope, when they
suspected him of designs on their city, and now they organized a league
against Gian Galeazzo. Perhaps it would have been a most fortunate thing
for Italy if the Duke of Milan had been able to consolidate all Italy,
or even all the North, in one kingdom. Centuries of suffering, of
ignominy, of foreign domination might have been avoided; but then,
perhaps, the great intellectual harvest, that gave Italy for the third
time primacy over Europe, would not have attained its full growth. These
are idle speculations, for Gian Galeazzo died in his prime (1402), and
the universal dominion of Milan became an academic question.
Nevertheless, one cannot withhold a sensation of regret. There was
undoubted brilliance in Gian Galeazzo; whatever he did was done royally.
His ambitions were high, planned always on a large scale. His purchases
of the French king's daughter and of the ducal title were splendidly
prodigal. The design of the cathedral was noble and bold. It was an
endeavour to give the Gothic style an Italian character. In this it is
easy to find symbolism. The Gothic style represented the Ghibelline
cause, as well as Teutonic blood and influence, whereas the Italian
represented the Guelf cause and also Latin blood. The high-aspiring Gian
Galeazzo wished to use both Teutonic and Italian elements as the
materials for his kingdom. In view of his intellectual gifts, one
readily slurs over his moral inadequacy, if that term may be applied to
traits which would have done honour to Iago; in fact, prior to Cæsar
Borgia, he was the most distinguished example of the type of
intellectual, murderous Italian, which exercised so powerful an
attraction over the wild fancy of the Elizabethan dramatists.

Gian Galeazzo's death left his dukedom in a chaotic condition. A widow,
a regent committee, and three boys were left to see the state, built up
with so much care and astuteness, fall away piecemeal into the hands of
the petty despots, who had been dispossessed during the process of
integration. Venice took Verona, Padua, and other cities near by; the
Papacy got back Bologna, Florence managed to secure Pisa. Thus the
dukedom was carved up. The eldest son died soon, leaving behind him a
memory of the pleasure he took in watching mastiffs tear his prisoners
to pieces; but the second son, Filippo Maria (1412-47), inherited his
father's craft and much of his ability. By means of two famous
_condottieri_, Carmagnola, best remembered as the victim of Venetian
anger, and Francesco Sforza, of whom we have heard in the Neapolitan
service, he gradually restored the dukedom very nearly to its boundaries
under his father. Filippo Maria was the last of his race, and we will
leave him, engaged in speculation as to the best political use of his
marriageable daughter Bianca Maria.

We must pass over the Counts of Savoy, now become dukes (1416), the
marquesses of Monferrat and Saluzzo, and the lords of other petty
territories, and turn our attention to Florence. Florence was always in
a state of struggle, always engaged in exiling, deposing, or in some way
suppressing aristocrats. Forced, in days of peril, to receive foreign
lords as military leaders, she had managed to expel the last of them,
one Walter of Brienne, a clever knave, who bore the odd title of Duke of
Athens, which he had inherited from his grandfather, one of the
gentlemen adventurers who had gone to the East. His father had been
expelled from Athens, and the son was happily driven out of Florence.
The burghers followed up their victory (1343) with new laws against the
aristocrats, and held the government for a generation. Then first
appears the name of Medici. One Salvestro dei Medici, as _Gonfaloniere_
of Justice, the supreme officer in Florence under the existing
constitution, proposed further laws in favour of the people. The lower
classes, with whetted appetites, wanted more. The mechanics and artisans
of the lower guilds, and more particularly the wool carders and combers
(the _Ciompi_) of the great wool guilds, rose in riot, overturned the
government, and put a wool-carder, Michele di Lando, at the head of the
city (1378). Florence was democratic, but not so democratic as to submit
to the rule of a wool-carder. The rich burghers would not stomach a
plebeian any more than they would a king. A reaction set in, and the
government passed into the very competent hands of an oligarchy of
distinguished citizens. This oligarchy governed well. Its leaders, Maso
degli Albizzi, and Niccolò da Uzzano, acted patriotically and wisely.
They resisted the aggressions of Milan from the north, and of Naples
(under that exceptional king Ladislaus) from the south, and made it
their policy to maintain the balance of power in Italy. Under this
oligarchy began the great development of art, known as the Renaissance,
or, to be more exact in quoting the textbooks, the First or Early
Renaissance. To that subject, which shall give us for a time at least a
centre, and save us from these puzzling political subdivisions, we
joyfully proceed; only remembering that at this period Italy has these
main political divisions,--the Kingdom of Sicily, the Kingdom of Naples
(the two temporarily reunited), the Papal States, the city of Florence,
the duchy of Milan, and the city of Venice.



By Renaissance, new birth, we mean the rapid, many-sided, intellectual
development which started forward in Italy at this time. It was really a
stage in the movement which began a hundred years earlier, but the
textbooks confine the term Renaissance to the period which began at the
opening of the fifteenth century; and just as the first beginning took
place in Florence, so this fresh start, like a stream of energy issuing
at a divine touch, also burst out of the city of Florence. The simplest
way to get an idea of this period, known as the Early Renaissance, will
be to notice a few of the men, leaders in their several spheres, in whom
that energy became incarnate.

We must not let ourselves think that the Renaissance was a merely
artistic movement. A few men are known to us, and we think of them as
wandering about in artistic isolation, as if they were hermits in a
Thebaid. But, in reality, only a slight fraction of even the deeper
feelings and interests take artistic or literary form; the great
majority are put into life. The celebrated Florentine artists of those
days were merely representative of their fellows; they were surrounded
by crowds of neighbours, all crammed full with ardour for living, for
expression, for discussion, for money-making, for glorifying their
city. In recognition of this fact, and of the great service rendered to
the arts throughout the Renaissance by men who were not artists, but
potent signors of wealth and cultivation, whether merchants, dukes, or
cardinals, I take Cosimo dei Medici (1389-1464) as the first figure in
this brief account of the Early Renaissance.

Cosimo's father, the richest banker in Italy, and one of the chief
citizens of Florence, had been active in politics, and chief of the
party which was opposed to the ruling oligarchy. Cosimo succeeded to his
father's position, and when the oligarchy fell became the actual head of
the city, though he always affected the rôle of private citizen. His
quick intelligence and his broad cultivation gave him keen sympathy with
the fermenting intellectual life about him, and his great wealth enabled
him to express that sympathy in most substantial ways. He got his first
schooling from a Florentine humanist, and then went abroad, travelled in
Germany and France, and visited the Council of Constance then in
session. After that his attention was devoted to business and to
political affairs. His position in Florence during early manhood was
always precarious, for the sharp-witted Florentines were not easily
hoodwinked and saw whither Cosimo's masterfulness was tending. For a
time he was in exile, but after a tussle he won his place and banished
his enemies. Wealth was his great instrument. He lent and gave lavishly.
In later life he used to say that his chief error had been that he had
not begun to spend money ten years sooner than he did. He was a serious
man, given to intellectual matters, and averse to buffoons and strolling
players, so popular then; by virtue of wide experience in the conduct of
large affairs, of extensive reading, of a retentive memory, and a
natural gift for language, he was both an interesting talker and good
company. He talked literature with men of letters, but he was equally
ready to talk divinity, in which he was well read, or philosophy, or
astrology in which he believed although some men did not. He liked
gardening, and enjoyed going out of town to his country-place; there he
would prune the vines for two hours in the morning, and then go indoors
to read. His connection with the arts of the Renaissance, however, is
our chief concern. He employed the famous architect Michelozzo to build
his palace, now known as Palazzo Riccardi, his villa, and also the
Dominican convent of San Marco. He employed the still more famous
Brunelleschi to rebuild the abbey of Fiesole. He was fond of sculptors,
especially of Donatello, and had statues by the best masters of the day
in his palace. He employed Fra Angelico to paint in the convent of San
Marco, and Benozzo Gozzoli in his private chapel. Benozzo painted a
procession of the Three Wise Men, with Cosimo, his son, and his
grandson, young Lorenzo the Magnificent, riding in their train. Cosimo's
greatest interest, however, was in the humanities. He built several
buildings for libraries in Florence, and one in Venice, and interested
himself greatly in the preservation and increase of the libraries
themselves. For the library in the abbey at Fiesole he employed a man
of letters (Vespasiano da Bisticci, his biographer), who hired
forty-five copyists, and in twenty-two months finished the two hundred
volumes deemed necessary for a good library. His list included the Bible
and concordances and commentaries, beginning with that by Origen; the
works of St. Ignatius, St. Basil, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. John
Chrysostom, and all the works of the Greek fathers which had been
translated into Latin; St. Cyprian, Tertullian, and the four doctors of
the Latin Church; the mediæval masters St. Bernard, Hugo of St. Victor,
St. Anselm, St. Isidore of Spain; the scholastic philosophers, Albertus
Magnus, Alexander of Hales, Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventura; Aristotle, and
commentaries; books of canon law; the Latin prose classics, Livy, Cæsar,
Suetonius, Plutarch, Sallust, Quintus Curtius, Valerius Maximus, Cicero,
Seneca; the Latin poets, Virgil, Terence, Ovid, Lucan, Statius, Plautus;
and "all the other books necessary to a library." One wonders if this
clause includes Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, or whether the humanists
did not regard them as necessary or appropriate to culture.

Taken altogether Cosimo may stand as an heroic model of the Florentine
burgher, such as one sees in the frescoes of the time, shrewd, prudent,
thoughtful, cautious in plan and prompt in action, interested in the
best things of this world, and in a measure generous, but wholly without
romance, chivalry, or idealism. At the close of his life he used to stay
hours at a time, wrapt in thought, without speaking a word. One of the
women of the house asked him the reason of this. He answered: "When you
have to go out of town, you spend a fortnight all agog to prepare for
going; and now that I have to go from this life to another, doesn't it
seem to you that I have something to think about?" The last book he is
reported by his biographer to have read was the "Ethics" of Aristotle.

Cosimo was named _Pater Patriæ_, though his real work was the foundation
of the House of the Medici, which ruled in Tuscany for centuries and
mingled its blood with the royalties of Europe; but for us he is the
patron of the arts, the friend of artists, and serves as the central
figure round which to group the men of artistic genius.

In architecture the greatest name is that of Brunelleschi (1377-1446).
His biography by Vasari opens with these words: "Many men are created by
nature little in person and features, who have their souls so full of
greatness and their hearts so full of the inordinate fury of genius,
that, unless they are at work on things difficult to impossibility, and
unless they finish them to the astonishment of the spectator, they never
give themselves any rest all their lives; and whatever things chance
puts into their hands, no matter how mean and cheap, they bring to worth
and dignity.... Such was Brunelleschi, no less insignificant in person
than Giotto, but of so lofty genius, that it may be said he was endowed
by heaven to give new form to architecture, which for hundreds of years
had gone astray [such was the Renaissance view of the Gothic and
Romanesque]. Moreover, Brunelleschi was adorned with the greatest
virtues; among which was friendship to such a degree, that there never
was a man more kind or more loving than he. His judgment was wholly free
from passion; wherever he saw the worth of another man's merits, he
totally disregarded any advantage to himself or to his friends. He knew
himself; he inspired others with his own noble qualities, and he always
succoured his neighbour in time of need. He declared himself a deadly
enemy of the vices, and a lover of those who practised virtue. He never
wasted time, for he was always busy with his own affairs or with the
affairs of others when they had need of him, and when out walking he
used to stop and see his friends and always lent them a hand."
Brunelleschi was no scholar, but, being a Florentine, he was very fond
of talking, and did not hesitate to take part in conversation with
learned men, especially when the talk ran on Holy Writ, and then, as a
friend said, he talked like a second St. Paul.

He began life, as most architects did, as a member of the guild of
goldsmiths, and learned to model, but he had a bent towards physics and
mechanics, and developed naturally into an architect. A great event in
his life was a trip to Rome with Donatello; there the two examined all
the classical remains in the city and in the country round about, taking
measurements and learning all they could.

In Florence besides the abbey of Fiesole, built for Cosimo, Brunelleschi
built the church of San Lorenzo for Cosimo's father, and he designed and
began the lordly Pitti palace across the Arno, but his great
achievement was the dome of the cathedral. The cathedral, first begun by
Arnolfo di Cambio, had been in charge of a succession of famous
architects, and was nearing completion; but the gap at the intersection
of the nave and transepts presented a most difficult architectural
problem. The diameter of this gap was about one hundred and thirty-five
feet, and the height above the ground was about one hundred and
forty-five feet. No such span had been vaulted since the building of the
Pantheon. A public competition for a dome was held in which Brunelleschi
took part. After long discussion, for Florence was "a city where every
one speaks his mind," and after much consideration, Brunelleschi was
chosen architect. His great dome, though no copy of Roman forms, was
thoroughly classic in its simplicity and its spirit, and is the great
achievement of the Early Renaissance in architecture.

Brunelleschi and his fellow architects, no doubt, wished to revive the
old Roman art, and did so as far as they could, but their problems were
new and their models few, so they were forced, in the main, to follow
their own principles of construction and limit their use of Roman forms
to ornament and detail. Other famous men seconded Brunelleschi; and
Florentine, or at least Tuscan, architects spread the ideas of the new
art. To them is really due the foundation of the various schools of
Renaissance architecture which sprang up in Milan, Venice, Pavia,
Bologna, Rimini, Brescia, Siena, Lucca, Perugia, and in almost every
city of Northern Italy.

In sculpture, the puissant Donatello (1386-1466) is the greatest
figure. It has been said, that Michelangelo's soul first worked in
Donatello's body or that Donatello's soul lived again in Michelangelo.
Donatello was a realist; he shows classic influence at times, in
technique and in sundry bits of detail, but his instinct was to imitate
what he could see and touch. His vigour, his energy and variety produced
a profound effect on sculpture and also on painting. His earlier works
were statues for the outside of the Campanile and of the church of
Orsanmichele, of which the most famous are that known as _Zuccone_,
Baldhead, and the splendid St. George. Afterwards he modelled a young
David, the first nude bronze since the Romans, and the statue of
Gattamelata at Padua, the first equestrian statue since that of Marcus
Aurelius in Rome. The spectator who examines the collection of
Donatello's works in the Bargello is chiefly struck by his intellectual
power, and by the immense variety of his style, from the simple outline
of the lovely St. Cecilia in low relief, to the passionate dramas carved
in altars and pulpits.

Donatello was a great friend of Brunelleschi, and Vasari tells this
anecdote about them. Donatello modelled a Crucifix for Santa Croce, and
thinking he had done something unusually good, asked Brunelleschi what
he thought of it. Brunelleschi, with his unswerving artistic rectitude,
answered that Donatello had put a peasant on the cross, and not Jesus
Christ. Donatello, piqued more than he had anticipated, said: "If it
were as easy to model as it is to criticise, my Christ would seem to you
a Christ and not a peasant; but let's see you take a piece of wood and
go and make one." Brunelleschi did so secretly, and when he had at last
finished his Crucifix, asked Donatello to come home and dine with him.
They walked to Brunelleschi's house together, stopping at the market to
buy eggs, cheese, and other things for the dinner. Then Brunelleschi
said, "Donatello, you take these things and go to my house, and I will
come after in a minute or two." So Donatello caught them up in his
apron, went to Brunelleschi's, opened the door, and saw the Crucifix. He
was so dumbfounded that he dropped the dinner on the floor, and when
Brunelleschi, coming in, said, "Why, Donatello, what shall we have for
dinner?" Donatello answered, "For my part I have had my share to-day. If
you want yours, pick it up. No more of that. It is my lot to model
peasants, and yours to model Christs."

Donatello was also a great friend of Cosimo's, modelled many things for
him, and inspired Cosimo with a taste for collecting antiques. He loved
Cosimo so much that he did whatever he wanted, except when it interfered
with his personal idiosyncrasies. One day Cosimo gave Donatello, who
used to go about in his workman's blouse, a cloak and a fine suit of
clothes, the costume of a gentleman. Donatello wore them for a day or
two, and then said he could not wear them, they were too fashionable. He
was buried, at his own request, near Cosimo, in the church of San
Lorenzo, which Brunelleschi had designed, and he had adorned with his

Donatello worked in Venice, Mantua, Modena, Ferrara, and Prato, spent
several years in Siena, and nine in Padua, and introduced the
Renaissance into the sculpture of Northern Italy. He was a man of strong
character and poetic spirit, striving in his statues to be true to
nature and to the beautiful, to mingle pagan and Christian notions,
tradition, and freedom. He and his pupils affected the whole plastic art
of Italy.

In painting, Masaccio (1401-28) stands conspicuous, even among many
painters of rare gifts. Modern critics call him Giotto reincarnate.
Masaccio is an unflattering nickname for Tommaso, and recalls the only
personal trait we know of him. Vasari says: "He was a most absent-minded
person and very casual, like a man who has fixed his will and his whole
mind on art only, and cares little about himself and less about others.
He never wanted to think in any way about the things or the cares of
this world, even of his own clothes, and he never went to get the money
due him from his debtors except when he was in extreme need. Instead of
Thomas, everybody called him Masaccio; not because he was bad, being
good nature itself, but because of his great absent-mindedness.
Nevertheless, he was as affectionate in doing useful and amiable acts
for other people as could possibly be wished." This "marvellous boy"
died at the age of twenty-seven, but left an ineffaceable mark on
Italian painting. Across the Arno, in the ugly church of Santa Maria del
Carmine, is a chapel on the right, in which, mingled with the work of
contemporaries and continuers, are Masaccio's frescoes, figures of St.
Peter and St. John, of a shivering boy, and a few others. Leonardo da
Vinci said: "After Giotto, the art of painting declined again, because
every one imitated the pictures that were already done; thus it went on
till Tommaso of Florence, nicknamed Masaccio, showed by his perfect
works how those who take for their standard any one but Nature--the
mistress of all masters--weary themselves in vain."[16] In that little
chapel, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and scores of the greatest
painters of Italy have admired, studied, and copied.

Brunelleschi, Donatello, Masaccio are but the greater names in the fine
arts. Well might Leon Battista Alberti, himself a great architect and
humanist, on return from exile to his native city, say to Brunelleschi:
"I have been accustomed both to wonder and to grieve that so many divine
arts and sciences which we see to have abounded in those most highly
endowed ancients were now lacking and utterly lost ... but since I have
been restored to this our native land that surpasseth all others in her
adornment, I have recognized in many but chiefly in thee, Philip
[Brunelleschi], and in our near friend Donato [Donatello] the sculptor,
and in those others, Nencio [Ghiberti], and Luca [della Robbia], and
Masaccio, genius capable for every praiseworthy work, not inferior to
that of any ancient and famous master in the arts."[17]


[16] _Leonardo da Vinci_, Richter.

[17] _Church Building in the Middle Ages_, C. E. Norton, p. 280.



The last chapter confined itself to the fine arts and omitted the main
element, humanism, which gave volume and impetus to the stream, and,
though not memorable for conspicuous achievements as the fine arts were,
flowed more directly from the classic impulse and produced the greatest
immediate effect. The humanists played a part analogous to that which
men of science play in our own time; they devoted themselves heart and
soul to the classics, as men of science do to Nature. For some time they
had had access to the Latin past through Italy, and now they also found
their way to the far greater classic world of Greece. The one
uninterrupted communication with that world was through Constantinople,
which, like a long, ill-lighted and ill-repaired corridor, led back to
the great pleasure domes of Plato and Homer, and all the wonderland of
Greek literature and thought. Aristotle, indeed, had come by way of the
Arabs, and had long been a lay Bible, but for the other Greek classics
the rising humanism of Italy was indebted to Constantinople. The glowing
young city of Florence lit its torch at the expiring embers of the
imperial city. A few Italians went to Constantinople and learned Greek,
then stray Byzantines came to Italy. The doom which hung over
Constantinople frightened scholars and drove them westward, and the fall
itself (1453) dispersed the last of them. These Greeks brought
invaluable manuscripts and firmly established Hellenic culture in the
kindred soil of Tuscany. In the list of books in Cosimo's library, there
was no mention of any Greek classic except Aristotle; but after the
immigration of Greek scholars all intellectual Florence went mad over
Plato, and Cosimo founded a Platonic Academy. The study of Greek brought
with it examination, comparison, criticism; it brought new knowledge; it
gave new ideas to all the arts, new impulses to the creative
imagination, and general intellectual freedom. Interest in the
humanities became so widespread throughout the peninsula that we get a
feeling of Italian unity stronger than any we have experienced since the
days of Theodoric.

The importance of the humanists, however, was merely as an intellectual
leaven. They need not be spoken of apart from the general intellectual
movement which expressed itself so much more fully and freely in art
than in any other way. That movement kindled enthusiasm from Lombardy to
Calabria; and Florence still maintained her primacy. All the other
cities of Italy lagged far behind her. We must therefore keep Florence
as our paradigm, only remembering that at her heels a score of cities
toil and pant in artistic eagerness to make themselves as beautiful and
famous as Florence.

There Cosimo, _Pater Patriæ_, had died in fulness of years and was
succeeded by his grandson, Lorenzo the Magnificent, though not
immediately, for there was a short-lived Piero in between. Lorenzo took
his grandfather's place, became lord of Florence in all but name, and
stood the centre of a brilliant group of artists, sculptors, poets, and
scholars. His reign, for it must be so called, lasted from 1469 to 1492,
a most notable span of time. The mere names of the famous Florentines
would fill pages. A few must be mentioned: Benedetto da Maiano, sculptor
and architect, who carved the beautiful pulpit in Santa Croce, and drew
the designs for the palace-fortress of the Strozzi; Giuliano da San
Gallo, sculptor and architect, who made the plans for Lorenzo's villa at
Poggio a Caiano; Andrea della Robbia, nephew to Luca, and almost his
equal in the tender charm of his blue and white Madonnas; Mino da
Fiesole, who made a bust of Lorenzo's father, and carved in marble the
sweetness of young mothers; Antonio Rossellino, who wrought the famous
tomb for a great Portuguese prelate in the church of San Miniato; Andrea
Verrocchio, who painted the Uffizi Annunciation, so beautiful that it
was long attributed to Leonardo, modelled the lady _dalle belle mani_ in
the Bargello, and the Colleoni at Venice, greatest of equestrian
statues; Benozzo Gozzoli, who painted the three generations of Medici in
the Riccardi palace, and in the Campo Santo at Pisa the enchanting
frescoes which turn the Old Testament into a kind of Arabian Nights;
Antonio Pollaiuolo, sculptor and painter, a leader in the new school of
realism, and notable for the feeling of movement which he conveys;
Filippino Lippi, Lippo Lippi's son, who completed the frescoes in the
chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine left unfinished by Masaccio;
Botticelli, the greatest of all the Florentine painters, except Leonardo
and Michelangelo; Domenico Ghirlandaio, whose frescoes in Santa Maria
Novella tell us more about those shrewd, capable, quick-witted
Florentines than any historian; Pulci, the poet, who wrote "Morgante
Maggiore," a gay epic, which Savonarola thought ought to be burned;
Poliziano, great embodiment of culture, who wrote the first lyrical
tragedy, and led the way towards the opera; Marsilio Ficino, the
philosopher who helped Cosimo found the Platonic Academy; Pico della
Mirandola, the charming scholar, whom Machiavelli called "a man almost

Perhaps none of these men were equal to the leaders in the group which
surrounded Cosimo, but they are more interesting to us, and touch our
sympathy more readily. They are nearer to us. The earlier problems in
architecture, sculpture, and painting were more difficult, but they had
been successfully solved; and the fresh problems, which confronted the
younger generation, though less adventurous, were more refined. The sons
have entered into a hard-earned inheritance, and live more freely. They
have more spiritual alertness than their fathers though less vigour,
more sensitiveness to passing moods though less robustness, greater
mastery of technique though less genius for principles. Less great
themselves, they have created greater works. Benedetto's Palazzo Strozzi
is more majestic and splendid than Michelozzo's Palazzo Riccardi;
Verrocchio's statue of Colleoni surpasses Donatello's Gattamelata;
Botticelli's poetry is more interesting, at least to the unlearned, than
Masaccio's puissant drawing. Nevertheless, the greater intimacy of
sympathy and interest which we feel for the later men is not accounted
for by their greater command of their crafts. There is some new element
less readily discovered. We perceive a change of attitude toward life, a
new conception of human existence. The readiest explanation and perhaps
the best, if we do not treat it as completely adequate, lies in the new
Greek thought (or rather Greek thought as the Florentines understood
it), which the humanists contributed to Italian culture; and indeed not
so much in Greek thought itself, as in the impulse it gave to a subtler
and more complicated conception of life.

Direct Greek influence is most conspicuous in Botticelli. This rare
spirit wandered about half in the world of reality which he ill
understood and depicted badly, and half in a world of fantasy which he
knew better than any other painter. The secret of this world of fantasy,
as he discovered, was motion. If a vision tarries, it becomes touched by
the blight of familiarity, soiled by the comradeship of life. The fairy
spirit of imagination must be ever on the wing. No artist ever let Sweet
Fancy loose as Botticelli did in his two great pictures, The Primavera
(Spring) and The Birth of Venus. In them this Greek influence finds its
fullest direct expression. The glory of dawn, the first unveiled fresh
beauty of the world, which the Greeks saw, Botticelli saw also. But
besides the childlike joy in pure beauty is another, more complicated,
element. Into the rapturous Greek world, beautiful with sensuous charm,
the bewildering idea of a moral order presents itself. On the
countenance of Venus and in the figure of Primavera there is a
wistfulness, as if they had a presentiment that they must leave the
rose-strewn ocean and the magic wood in which they found themselves. The
consequence is a sadness as of beholding an antagonism between two
beautiful things.

The subtler and more complicated conception of life is best expressed by
Verrocchio, the other master spirit of this generation, who displays in
his paintings and statues the joy he takes in pure beauty, but always
adds some other element. The little boy who hugs a dolphin in the court
of the Palazzo Vecchio is the incarnation of the grace and happiness of
childhood, but he has an impish, Puck-like expression. The young bronze
David, who has just conquered Goliath, has an odd, mischievous
sprightliness. Both statues intimate a sceptical attitude towards the
fine seriousness of life which had marked Puritan Florence of the older
days. His painting of the Annunciation shows a magic background,
beautiful and mystical, with enchanted cities, rivers, mountains, like
the part of Xanadu where Kubla Khan decreed his pleasure dome, or the
strange land where La belle Dame sans Merci left her knight-at-arms
alone and palely loitering. Subtle thoughts play over his statues and
paintings, and he taught his pupil Leonardo that strange and beautiful
fascination of face which expresses one knows not what. The earlier
simplicity of the _quattrocento_ has passed, the artist's attitude to
life has become complicated, although the love of beauty for beauty's
sake remains abundantly.

The lord of Florence, Lorenzo the Magnificent, the centre and patron of
this glittering ring, is the best exponent of the late _quattrocento_
taken as a whole. He touched life on every side, public and private,
intellectual and frivolous, religious and cynical, artistic, literary,
philosophical. Lorenzo had a striking, indeed a fascinating,
personality. His figure was strong and lithe, and his face among a
thousand caught the eye. His big jaws, under his lean, furrowed cheeks,
were square and grim. His long irregular nose and curving lips gave him
a somewhat sardonic expression, but his broad forehead was grave and
thoughtful, and "princely counsel" shone in his face. His whole aspect
was full of character and dignity. Every one felt his fascination. He
was a poet and wrote poems of many kinds, grave and gay, some of which
are of acknowledged merit:

    Quant'è bella giovinezza
    Che si fugge tuttavia,
    Chi vuol essere lieto, sia,
    Di doman non v'è certezza.[18]

He was a scholar, and full of the fashionable admiration for Plato,
though he probably shared the current confusion between Plato's own
thoughts and those of the Alexandrian Neoplatonists. He was a statesman
of foresight and shrewdness, and contributed more than any one else to
preserve the peace of Italy, by maintaining the balance of power among
the greater states. He was also a very charming person, and endeavoured
to make life in Florence a happy mixture of mirth and intellectual
pleasure; and it must be remembered in appreciation of the general
sobriety of his life, that a gifted company of men did all they could to
spoil him.

Lorenzo was the most remarkable prince of the _quattrocento_, but there
were many others who patronized scholars and artists as generously as
he. Alfonso of Aragon, the king who temporarily united the Two Sicilies,
was devoted to the humanities. He was wont to hear Terence and Virgil
read aloud at dinner, and took Livy with him on his campaigns. But
Naples and Sicily had almost no share in the achievements and glory of
the Italian Renaissance. Lawless, ignorant, poor, unsuccessful, they
responded feebly to the efforts of individuals, who, here and there,
strove to emulate the great Florentines. But in the North all the world
was mad for art, and its princes led the fashion. Federigo da
Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino (1422-1482), was the foremost scholar among
soldiers and the foremost soldier among scholars; he gathered together a
noble library, now lodged in the Vatican; he built a palace, unmatched
in Italy; and collected about him artists of all kinds. Yet Federigo was
a soldier by nature as well as by profession, as one may see from the
great portrait of him in the Uffizi, painted by Piero della Francesca.
His strong profile, with firm mouth and big, broken, aquiline nose,
testifies far more forcibly to his character as a warrior than as a
virtuoso. His near neighbour, the tyrant of Pesaro (a little city by the
Adriatic coast), Alessandro Sforza, passed the intervals between his
battles in buying books. Duke Ercole of Ferrara was likewise a patron of
art, and adorned his capital as well as his palaces and villas with all
sorts of beautiful things. The dukes of Milan were somewhat eclipsed,
but only for a time, by their less powerful rivals of Ferrara and
Urbino. The old ducal line of the Visconti had died out with Filippo
Maria, and Francesco Sforza (husband of Filippo's daughter), who
succeeded to the duchy (1450), was busy making good his very defective
title, and had little time to attend to art or letters. Even he kept
humanists in his pay, and continued work on the glorious Certosa of

Not only princes but private citizens were lovers and patrons of art. In
almost every city of the North--excepting Piedmont--there was some
artist of whom the whole city was proud. Nevertheless, throughout the
reign of Lorenzo the Magnificent Florence continued to be the most
intellectual of Italian cities, as she had been for many generations;
but on Lorenzo's death the primacy in the arts and in matters of the
mind passed from Florence to Rome. By a flattering chance that primacy
seemed to follow the fortunes of a single family. Under Cosimo, Piero,
and Lorenzo dei Medici, the Renaissance may be said to have made
Florence its home; in the later period it found its fullest expression
in Rome, and even there took its name, the Age of Leo, from another
Medici, Lorenzo's son. It was not to Pope Leo, however, but to his
predecessors, that Rome was indebted for preëminence. At the summons of
the Papacy men of genius went to Rome from all Italy, but chiefly from
Florence; and a distinguished Tuscan, almost a Florentine, who went from
Florence to Rome at the culmination of a brilliant career, fairly serves
as the personification of this intellectual migration. Tommaso
Parentucelli, who was born in a little town near Lucca, was educated in
Florence and Bologna. He took holy orders early, and, going back to
Florence, quickly became intimate with the clever set of humanists who
surrounded Cosimo. He was a great student, and won so high a reputation
for learning that it was to him Cosimo applied for advice, when he
wanted the right books for the library at Fiesole. This collection
became famous and was copied both at Rimini and Urbino. Parentucelli was
a very capable and attractive man, and embodied in its best form the
essence of Florentine humanistic culture. His character, talents, and
accomplishments were recognized in the Church; he became bishop,
cardinal, and finally Pope, as Nicholas V (1447-55).

At Rome Nicholas showed the well-marked characteristics of the
Renaissance. He fostered learning, art, and general culture, not only
because of his interest in them, but because he thought that by their
means he could overcome that rumbling spirit of reform, which was making
trouble in Bohemia and Germany, and that by giving the reformers
intellectual interests he could occupy their minds and quell their
discontent. He entertained lofty imaginings of a Papacy, resting on
learning and culture, housed in a nonpareil city, which should be the
acknowledged and admired head of Christendom. He gathered together
scholars of all kinds, collected a library of five thousand volumes, and
founded the Vatican library. He rebuilt or restored numerous churches
and other buildings in Rome, he began the new Vatican palace, and
planned a new cathedral in place of the old basilica of St. Peter's, to
be the greatest church in Christendom. He brought to Rome architects,
painters, goldsmiths, artists, and artisans of all sorts. With him began
the brilliant period of the Papacy as a secular power devoted to art and
culture, which culminated in what is known as the Age of Leo X.



 Oh, how beautiful is youth
 Ever hurrying away,
 Come, let him who will be gay,
 In to-morrow there's no truth.



We must now leave the great intellectual progress of the Renaissance on
its way from its home in Florence to its culmination in Rome, and look
over the political condition of the principal divisions of Italy. A
complete change comes during this period, that can only be likened to
the change wrought by the invasions of the Barbarians in ancient times.
In fact, it is a period of fresh invasions by Barbarians, as the
Italians, and not without some justice, still called foreigners. The
year 1494 was the fatal date of the first invasion of the French. From
that year onward there was a series of invasions of French, Austrians,
and Spaniards, until Italy was finally parcelled out according to the
pleasure of the invaders. Before that time Italy was in a peaceful and
prosperous condition. The famous Florentine historian Guicciardini
(1483-1540) thus records the time of his boyhood: "Since the fall of the
Roman Empire Italy had never known such great prosperity, nor had
experienced so desirable a condition as in the year 1490 and the years
just before and after. The country had been brought to profound peace
and tranquillity, agriculture spread over the roughest and most sterile
hills no less than over the most fertile plains, and Italy, subject to
no dominion but her own, abounded in men, merchandise, and wealth. She
was embellished to the utmost by the magnificence of many princes, by
the splendour of many most noble and beautiful cities, by the seat and
majesty of Religion; she was rich in men most apt in public affairs, and
in minds most noble for all sorts of knowledge. She was industrious and
excellent in every art, and, according to the standard of those days,
not without military glory."

In these happy years, and in the decades that preceded them, Italian
politics was a domestic game between the five principal powers, Papacy,
Naples, Florence, Venice, and Milan, who treated one another's border
cities as stakes. They made leagues and counter-leagues, waged
innumerable little wars, fought bloodless skirmishes, flourished their
swords, blew their trumpets, and made a good deal of commotion; but they
were all Italians, they all knew the rules of the game, however
irregular and complicated those rules might appear to an outsider, and
if there were bloody heads, they were all in the family. With 1494 came
the change. History seemed to turn back a thousand years; the French
poured over the Alps from the northwest, the Imperial soldiers of the
House of Hapsburg from the northeast, and the Spaniards from their
province of Sicily to the south.

_Milan, 1466-1535_

Our chronicle had better begin with the duchy of Milan. There, on the
death of Francesco Sforza (1466), his son, Galeazzo Maria, succeeded to
the throne. This duke was a typical Italian ruler, brilliant in
display, liberal in giving, harsh in taxing, interested in art and
scholarship, crafty and cruel in politics, and shamelessly dissolute in
private life. Fearful stories of his brutality are told. He was
literally insufferable, and was assassinated (1476). It is interesting
to see the great classical influence, which stimulated the arts and the
humanities, quickening the spirits of young men and giving an antique
lustre to murder. The story goes that a schoolmaster of Milan, who had
drilled his boys in Plutarch, till Plutarch's world seemed to live
again, burst out in his lecture, "Will none among my pupils rise up like
Brutus and Cassius to free his country from this vile yoke and merit
eternal renown?" Three of his pupils, stimulated by private wrongs to
emulate the classical example, murdered the duke in a church. All three
were put to death. The last to die was skewered on iron hooks and cut to
pieces alive. "I know," he said, "that for my wrongdoings I have
deserved these tortures and more besides, could my poor flesh endure
them; but as for the noble act for which I die, that comforts my soul.
Instead of repenting it, were I to live my life ten times again, ten
times again to perish in these tortures, none the less would I
consecrate all my life's blood, and all my might, to that noble

The results of the murder were unimportant. In politics, even more than
in the arts, the classic impulse only affected details. Lodovico Sforza,
nicknamed Il Moro, the late duke's brother, seized the government and
supplanted the lawful heir, his young nephew, in every ducal
prerogative except the title. Lodovico was a brilliant, intellectual
man, devoid of moral sense; and for a time flourished in the full
sunshine of the opening High Renaissance. He patronized Bramante, he
employed familiarly Leonardo da Vinci. But his political talents were
suited to the earlier period of domestic Italian politics. Had he lived
then, his abilities, inherited from both the Sforzas and Visconti, would
have kept him secure on his ducal throne; but he did not understand the
larger forces of European politics.

Milan being at odds with Naples, and the other Italian powers as usual
either taking part, or biding a more favourable time, Lodovico Sforza
thought it would be a brilliant play, in the little Italian game, to use
a foreign piece to checkmate Naples. He invited the French king, Charles
VIII, who represented the claims of the House of Anjou to the Neapolitan
crown, to come into Italy and take possession of his own. Other Italian
politicians, with no more knowledge of European politics than Lodovico,
joined in the petition. Charles VIII, an ugly little man, of scant
intelligence, strong in a compact and vigorous kingdom, believing that
he could play the part of a Charlemagne, accepted the suggestion with
alacrity, got together an admirable army, and crossed the Alps, in the
memorable year 1494. He received the respects of Lodovico and swept
triumphantly down through Italy. No resistance to speak of was
attempted. Florence made a treaty with him, the Pope was delighted to be
able to do the like, and Naples watched her king run away and the
French march in, with blended indifference and pleasure. This brilliant
success, however, was a mere blaze of straw. The powers of Europe took
alarm, and while the puny Charles was rioting in Naples, made a league,
in which Venice, the Pope, and the double-dealing Sforza joined. Charles
hurried north as fast as he could, and barely escaped across the Alps.
But the episode was full of portent for Italy. The Barbarians had once
again broken through the barrier which nature had set up to protect
Italy; they had rediscovered what a delightful place Italy was; and the
second period of Barbarian invasion had begun. We cannot dally over
Milan. Sforza's treachery overreached itself. The succeeding King of
France, Louis XII, a prince of Orleans, was a grandson of Gian Galeazzo
Visconti's eldest daughter, and had as good a legal title to the
inheritance of the Visconti as his second cousin Lodovico; though in
strictness neither title had any legal value. Revenge lent strength to
Louis's claim. In a few years (1499), the French again descended into
the pleasant plains of Lombardy, captured Milan, took Sforza prisoner,
and locked him up in a French prison for the rest of his life.

It is useless to follow the shifting ownership of Milan, tossed about in
the great struggle between Francis I of France and the Emperor Charles
V. The Empire espoused the cause of the Sforza heirs and put them back
on the throne. Then France gained the battle of Marignano (1515) and
recovered Milan, but the Empire conquered at Pavia (1525), and finally
won. The male line of the Sforzas became extinct in 1535; and the
dukedom of Milan, though it continued to be a nominal fief of the
Empire, was annexed to the Spanish crown by Charles V (who was King of
Spain as well as Emperor), and passed as a part of the Spanish
inheritance to a line of Spanish kings. The Barbarian occupation of
Milan was destined to last for three hundred years.

_Florence, 1492-1537_

Now that we have followed Milan into the service of Spanish masters, we
must do a somewhat similar office for Florence. But Florence's liberty
was put out in glory. The politic statesman, Lorenzo dei Medici, whose
sagacity had contributed so much to the pleasant state of Italy prior to
the French invasion, died in 1492. The great period of Florentine
intellectual primacy ended with him, for, though Florence continued to
pour forth genius, that genius no longer was gathered together at home
but emigrated to honour other places. Nevertheless, she again challenges
our admiration; the ancient republican city once more asserted its
preëminence by a burst of moral enthusiasm. Nowhere else in Italy
throughout the Renaissance was such a spectacle seen, and though the
leader, Girolamo Savonarola (1452-98), was a native of Ferrara, yet it
was in Florence, and among Florentines, that he kindled enthusiasm and
ran his brilliant career. Savonarola was the reincarnation of a Hebrew
prophet, a Florentine Habakkuk, passionately sure of the moral
government of God, passionately convinced that the wickedness of Italy
must bring its own punishment and purification. Shortly before
Lorenzo's death he became a distinguished preacher, spoke in the
cathedral, and won the ear of the people. He preached righteousness and
judgment to come. He proclaimed spiritual evils and political
punishments, and foretold that God would stretch forth His hand and send
His avenger to punish Italy. The prophecies were so definite, and fitted
the invasion of Charles VIII so accurately, that Savonarola was hailed
as a prophet. In the excitement over the French invasion Lorenzo's sons
were driven out, the former republican constitution reëstablished, and
Savonarola raised by a burst of popular enthusiasm practically to the
position of guiding and governing the city. The best way to understand
Savonarola's influence is to read a few extracts from the diary of Luca
Landucci, a Florentine apothecary:--

"December 14, 1494. On this day Fra Girolamo greatly laboured in the
pulpit that Florence should adopt a good form of government; he has been
preaching in Santa Maria del Fiore [the Duomo] every day, and this day,
Sunday, he preached, and he did not want women but men, and he wanted
the officers of the city, and nobody stayed in the Palace [Palazzo
Vecchio, the City Hall] except the Gonfaloniere and one other; all the
officials in Florence were there, and he preached about matters of
state, that we ought to love and fear God and love the common weal, and
that no man henceforth should wish to hold his head high or wish himself
great. He always inclined to the people's side, and insisted that no
blood should be shed, but that punishment should be made in some other
way; and he preached like this every day....

"April, 1495. Fra Girolamo preached and said that the Virgin Mary had
revealed to him how the city of Florence would become richer, more
glorious, and more powerful than she had ever been, but not till after
many troubles; and he spoke all this as if he were a prophet, and most
of the people believed him, especially the better sort who had no
political or partisan passions....

"June 17, 1495. The Frate nowadays is held in such esteem and devotion
in Florence that there are many men and women who would obey him
implicitly, if he should say 'walk into the fire.' Many believe him to
be a prophet, and he said so himself....

"February 16 [1496], the Carnival. Fra Girolamo preached a few days ago
that the children, instead of foolish pranks, throwing stones, etc.,
should collect alms and distribute them to the worthy poor; and, thanks
to divine grace, such a change was wrought, that in place of tomfoolery
the children collected alms for days beforehand, [and to-day six
thousand of them or more, carrying olive branches and singing hymns,
marched to the Duomo where they offered up their alms] so that good
sensible men wept from tenderness and said, 'Truly this new change is
the work of God.' ... I have written this because it is the fact and I
saw it, and I felt the greatest happiness to have my children among
those blessed innocent bands....

"August 15, 1496. Fra Girolamo preached in Santa Maria del Fiore [the
Duomo, where great scaffolds had been erected which were filled with
children singing], and there was so much holiness in the church, and it
was so sweet to hear the children sing, above, below, and on every side,
singing so simply and so modestly, that they did not seem like children.
I write this because I was there and saw it and felt so much spiritual
sweetness. In truth the Church was full of angels."

The friar's political enemies were strong, and the Pope, the very
notable Borgia, Alexander VI, in anger and in fear, excommunicated him,
and bade the Signory of Florence forbid him to preach. There was great
disturbance over this action, and feeling ran to a passionate height.
One of Savonarola's disciples, a foolish Dominican, challenged an
adversary to the ordeal by fire; the challenge was accepted, and on the
appointed day all Florence, in great excitement, flocked to the
_piazza_. The Dominican and his adversary were there, and their
respective partisans, but nothing was done. One delay followed another;
there was nothing but hesitancy, disagreement as to conditions, backing
and filling. The disappointed populace turned on Savonarola. They had
believed him a prophet and expected to see a judgment of God. The Pope
took advantage of this resentment, and demanded his trial. Savonarola
was tried, and tortured. During the torture a confession was extorted
from him, which was undoubtedly pieced out by forgery. Our apothecary

"April 19, 1498. The confession of Fra Girolamo was read before the
Council in the Great Hall, which he had written with his own hand,--he
whom we held to be a prophet,--and he confessed that he was not a
prophet, and had not received from God the things he preached, and he
confessed to many things in the course of his preaching which were the
opposite of what he had given us to understand. I was there to hear the
confession read, and was bewildered and stood astonished and stupefied.
My soul was in pain to see such an edifice tumble to earth because it
all rested on a lie. I expected Florence to be a new Jerusalem from
which should proceed laws, glory, and the example of a good life and to
behold the restoration of the Church, the conversion of the infidels,
and the comfort of good men, and now I behold the opposite,--and I took
the medicine. In Thy will, O God, stand all things."

Savonarola was condemned to death for heresy; he was hanged, his body
burned, and his ashes flung into the Arno. So ended the one moral effort
of the Italian Renaissance.

After his death the Republican government endured for a time; but the
Medicean faction was powerful and forced its way back in 1512. Then
Lorenzo's second son, Giovanni (1475-1521), following the steps of
Florentine art and humanism, went to Rome and became Pope Leo X. As
Pope, he was able to strengthen his family in Florence and to extend its
dominion. But Republicanism, quickened by the events then happening in
Rome, flared up once more in 1527; but it was helpless before the
hostile spirit of the time. Another Medici had become Pope, Clement VII,
and the requirements of policy induced the calculating Emperor, Charles
V, to suppress what he deemed a rebellion. Florence made a gallant
defence; Michelangelo strengthened her walls, and the courage of the
defenders threw a dying glory over the city. A great grandson of
Lorenzo, Alessandro dei Medici, was put into power, and married to a
daughter of Charles V. He was succeeded by a distant cousin, Cosimo
(1537), who was honoured by His Holiness the Pope with the title of
Grand Duke of Tuscany. Thus Florentine liberty was extinguished, and the
Medici were established as dukes in name as well as in fact.

_The Two Sicilies, 1494-1516_

In the south, it will be remembered, Alfonso the Magnanimous, as the
grateful humanists dubbed him, had united Sicily and the mainland; but
on his death (1458) the kingdom fell asunder. Sicily, as a part of the
Kingdom of Aragon, devolved on a legitimate brother, whereas Naples,
claimed as a conquest, was bequeathed to a bastard son, Ferdinand the
Cruel. The two kingdoms followed their respective dynasties for nearly
fifty years, when Sicily came by inheritance to Ferdinand of Aragon.
That crafty and eminently successful monarch, not satisfied with
Castile, Granada, Sicily, and a transatlantic realm, but coveting the
Kingdom of Naples, conspired with Louis XII of France, who now
represented the traditional Angevin claim; the two invaded the coveted
kingdom, and divided it between them (1500-1). Naturally, the rogues
disagreed over the division of the spoils, and fell foul of each other.
The Spaniards were triumphant, and the Kingdom of Naples was annexed to
the crown of Spain. Thus the Two Sicilies were reunited under the
Spanish crown, and on Ferdinand's death (1516) descended to his
grandson, the Emperor Charles V. The unfortunate kingdom remained an
appanage of Spain for two hundred years.

_Venice, 1453-1508_

In the northeast Venice still led a brilliant career, like a charming
woman who has received some fatal hurt and does not know it, but
instinctively lives more brilliantly than ever. Her fatal hurt was the
conquest of Constantinople by the Turks (1453). At first the only
obvious ill consequence was war. Venice, willy-nilly, stepped into the
place of Constantinople, and became "the bulwark of the West." She waged
war after war with the Turks and maintained her reputation for valour
and resolution, but Turkey was too strong for her, and little by little
stripped her of her long-drawn-out empire of coast and island. A far
worse blow than direct war was the cutting of the great trade routes
with the East, which damaged all the maritime cities of Italy, but
Venice most. Turkey stopped the supplies of Venetian greatness, and
slowly but surely sapped Venetian strength. On the stoppage of the
straight road to Asia, the blocked current of commerce poked about for a
new way, and discovered that it could reach the East by doubling the
Cape of Good Hope. Commerce thus avoided Turkey, but it also abandoned
the Mediterranean, great centre and source of ancient civilization, and
left the maritime cities of Italy stranded, as it were, on the shores
of a forsaken sea.

This doom, however, was still hidden in the obscurity of the future, and
Venice appeared to be at the height of prosperity. The French
ambassador, Philippe de Commines, called her "the most triumphant city I
have ever seen." The Venetians were a people apart from other Italians;
they never suffered from foreign invasion, or domestic revolt; they
lived in isolation, maintained their own customs and usages, and enjoyed
a sumptuous, opulent life, in proud security. Venice was the richest,
the most comfortable, the best governed city in the world. In military
strength she was commonly reckoned the first power in Italy, with the
Papacy, the Kingdom of Naples, and the Duchy of Milan about equal in
second rank. Venice entertained no suspicion of any seeds of decadence,
and continued her greedy career of annexation on the mainland, with a
haughtiness worthy of ancient Rome. She laid hands on part of Romagna,
and angered the Popes who had a title thereto, which, however imperfect,
was much better than the Venetian title. She provoked the Emperor
Maximilian, of the House of Hapsburg, who claimed Verona as an Imperial
city; and to the west she came into dangerous competition with the
French invaders. These enemies, taking their cue from the piratical
seizure of Naples by the French and Spanish, agreed together to
partition the Venetian territory on the mainland, and invited all the
powers of Europe to join them and take a share of the booty. The
coalition planned a kind of joint-stock piracy. This was the League of
Cambrai (1508), which stripped Venice of all her Italian territory, and
threatened the city herself. The allies, however, fell out among
themselves; and Venice, by biding her opportunity, in the course of time
managed to recover most of her lost territory. Thus, though for a season
the Barbarians brought the haughty city to her knees, she weathered the
storms better than the rest of Italy, and continued to maintain her
independence for three centuries to come.

The Papacy deserves a chapter to itself.



The Papacy found itself in an exceedingly difficult situation. It had to
adapt an ecclesiastical system, matured in the Middle Ages, to new
political systems, to new knowledge, to new thought, in short, to a new
world. During its struggle with the Empire, the course before it,
however arduous, had been plain, namely, to abase the Emperors; during
its captivity at Avignon, its duty to return to Rome (though individual
Popes were blind or indifferent) likewise had been plain; during the
schism, the one end to be aimed at was union. But now everything was
new, and a new policy had to be devised. There were three matters which
required particular consideration: the demand for reform which came from
across the Alps; the great intellectual awakening of the Renaissance;
and the ambitions of the other Italian powers. For these problems the
solution which the Papacy tried was twofold: to establish a firm
pontifical principality, and to use the new intellectual forces as a
motive power to keep itself at the head of Christendom. By a strong
pontifical principality the Papacy hoped to secure itself against the
covetousness of the other Italian states. By using the new intellectual
forces it hoped to range them on its side, and so to choke, or at least
to overcrow, the ultramontane cry for reform. One need not suppose that
such a plan was consciously thought out in detail from the beginning;
rather it was the course which the Papacy gradually took, partly from
theory, partly under the stress of passing circumstances.

We remember that the Council of Constance closed the Great Schism, and
sent Martin V (1417-31) back to Rome as sole Pope. His pontificate marks
the end of the old Republican commune, which had made so much trouble
for Popes and Emperors in days past, and therefore marks the first
definite stage in the transformation of the Papacy into a local secular
power. Rome, although she did not deny herself an occasional outbreak in
memory, as it were, of good old days, settled down into a papal city.

The most interesting part of the papal story is the process that went on
within the Church. The intolerable burden of ecclesiastical taxation,
the growth of heresy, and the degeneration of the clergy, as well as the
Great Schism, had roused Europe to a sense that something must be done,
and Europe attempted the old remedy of Ecumenical Councils. At Constance
the question of general reform had come up, but the papal party had
managed to prevent action. At the next Council, held at Basel, internal
difficulties appeared still more plainly. Party lines were sharply
drawn; the ultramontanes, as before, wished to subject the Popes to the
supremacy of Councils, to substitute an ecclesiastical aristocracy of
bishops in place of a papal monarchy, and, as it were, transfer the
centre of ecclesiastical gravity from Rome across the Alps. Feeling ran
so high that the Council split in two. Part followed the Pope to Italy,
and part stayed in Basel and elected an anti-pope (1439). It looked as
if schism had come again, but the danger passed. The anti-pope resigned;
unity was restored and lasted for seventy years.

Nicholas V, as we have seen, hoped to maintain the Papacy at the head of
Christendom by means of the new intellectual forces. Such a conception
was purely Italian, and showed plainly enough that the Papacy had ceased
to represent Christendom, had ceased to be the real head of a Universal
Church, and had become a purely Italian institution. While Nicholas and
his successors were thinking of culture and of becoming Italian princes,
the pious ultramontanes, comparatively indifferent to the intellectual
excitement of the Renaissance, were thinking of sin and of the remedy
for sin. The papal Curia was clever, but did not foresee that to
subordinate the old conception of the Papacy as the head of the
religious and ecclesiastical organization of Europe to the new
conception of it as an Italian principality would surely alienate the
Teutonic peoples; it did not foresee that the Renaissance, with its
spirit of examination, investigation, criticism, with its encouragement
of the free play of the human mind, was necessarily preparing the way
for the Reformation. But the Curia perceived the opposite difficulties,
to which we are generally blind, that unless the Papacy did establish
itself as a temporal power, it might well be reduced to another
Babylonish Captivity by a king of Naples, a duke of Milan, or even by
some _condottiere_. And it perceived that other difficulty as well,
that if the Papacy turned against the intellectual movement, the
intellectual movement would, in self-defence, turn against the Papacy.

The Popes did indeed seek to revive the old rôle of the Papacy in one
respect. They tried to arouse the sentiment of Christendom against the
invading Turks, and to lead a crusade themselves. But the time for such
a course had passed. The kings and princes of Europe were busy with
their own kingdoms and principalities and would not budge; and the
Papacy was obliged to give up the plan. Discouraged by this failure it
naturally turned to the new theory of a little papal kingdom and
vigorously put the theory into practice. The three Popes who
accomplished this task were Francesco della Rovere, Sixtus IV (1471-84),
Rodrigo Borgia, Alexander VI (1493-1503), and Giuliano della Rovere,
Julius II (1503-13). Their careers must be looked at more closely.

Sixtus IV was the son of a peasant. Educated by the Franciscans, he
became distinguished as a scholar in theology, philosophy, and
ecclesiastical affairs, and was chosen general of the order. When Pope,
after a last futile attempt to start a crusade, Sixtus openly abandoned
the rôle of Pontiff of Christendom and became an Italian prince.
Energetic and masterful, he set to work to consolidate the loose and
insubordinate papal territories into a compact state. The task was not
easy, and one of the obstacles in his way was lack of men whom he could
trust. It was of little advantage to gather together an army, or to
capture a city, if the papal general or governor found his own
interests opposed to papal interests. Loyalty was held in scant esteem
by Italians of the Renaissance. Sixtus met the difficulty by employing
his nephews. This policy was by no means the beginning of papal
nepotism, but these nephews happened to be young men with marked tastes
for greed, ferocity, and dissipation, and brought the system into
especial notoriety. To one nephew the Pope gave a cardinal's hat, four
bishoprics, an abbey, a patriarchate, as well as free access to the
papal treasury. When this young man had died of dissipation, the post of
chief favourite descended to his brother. For him the Pope procured a
wife from the ducal house of Sforza, and began to carve a dukedom in
Romagna, with the intention of adding slices cut from the neighbouring
states. This young man was arrogant, ignorant, and brutal, with no
interests except ambition and the chase. In due course he was murdered.
Whatever effect nepotism of this character produced across the Alps, it
served certain purposes in Italy. Sixtus made himself feared, and
advanced the project of a papal kingdom to a point where his successors
were able to take it up and complete it.

Sixtus also pursued Nicholas's plan of making Rome the first city of the
world in art and magnificence. He brought together architects and
artists, and patronized art and literature. But this aspect of the plan
to maintain the Papacy at the head of Christian Europe belongs rather to
the story of the high Renaissance, and must be postponed to the next

We may pass over the next Pope, who was not distinguished except for a
frank recognition of his illegitimate children, and for what then
appeared a whimsical desire to maintain peace, and proceed to the
notorious Rodrigo Borgia, Alexander VI. It was in Borgia's pontificate
that the French invasion of 1494 took place. This introduction of a new
and terrible element into Italian politics frightened him as well as
other Italian rulers, for he knew that the Papal State would never be
strong enough to resist single-handed such an army as that of Charles
VIII, and he tried to form a union of the Italian powers for common
defence. His policy met little success, especially as he himself, seeing
advantages to be gained from a French alliance, whirled about, granted
to the French king a dispensation for divorce, to the French favourite a
cardinal's hat, and made a separate treaty for himself (1499). Borgia
did no more than any other Italian prince would have done, but he must
bear his share of the responsibility. It was a deliberate sacrifice of
Italian for papal interests. Whether that was justifiable or not is
another matter. The Pope wished to establish a Pontifical State, and
acted in the manner which he thought would be most likely to achieve

Borgia also followed the example set by Sixtus, and raised his family to
power and rank, partly, of course, from affection, but partly in order
to strengthen the Papacy. His task was to reduce the papal vassals in
the Pontifical States to obedience and so to create a strong central
government. The instrument he employed was his son Cæsar Borgia. This
brilliant young man has won a great reputation, owing in large measure
to Machiavelli's admiration. He was an athletic, handsome, taciturn man,
quick, cunning, and cruel. He began his career in the Church, but at the
time of his father's reconciliation with France, gave up his cardinal's
hat, and was created duke by the French king. Cæsar made an excellent
instrument for rooting out the disobedient vassals of the Papal State.
They were crafty, greedy, and false; he was craftier, greedier, and
falser than they. He dispossessed them with ruthless vigour, and
established himself in their stead. His energy and success were
extraordinary, and frightened other Italian rulers. None knew how far
his ambition might stretch, or how far the Papacy might be able to push
him. The direct military power of the Pontifical State was not very
great and could readily be measured, but the indirect power of the
Papacy as head of the Christian Church was vague and alarming.
Nevertheless, Cæsar's principality, which rested wholly on the Papacy,
fell to pieces when his father died.

Borgia's attitude towards the arts belongs to the next chapter; but in
respect to them as well as to the Pontifical State, he followed what I
have called the twofold policy of the Popes of the Renaissance. That
policy undoubtedly had its advantages; but it also had its
disadvantages, and these appear more conspicuous in Borgia's pontificate
than in any other. The establishment of papal dominion, as we have seen,
encouraged, if it did not necessitate, nepotism; and nepotism involved
prodigality and dissipation. The Popes used their families to
strengthen their position; and the upstart families, giddy with sudden
wealth and power, misbehaved. The nephews of Sixtus rendered some
service to the Papacy, but they caused scandal. Cæsar Borgia rendered
greater services, and caused still greater scandal. The other branch of
the twofold policy, by a different path, led to the same result.
Patronage of arts and letters involved great expense and encouraged
luxurious tastes; luxury led to idleness, and idleness to vice. The
Roman atmosphere had never been favourable to spiritual life, and now,
surcharged with the classical spirit of the Renaissance, practically
extinguished religion.

For centuries the Roman Curia had been a butt for the arrows of satire.
The minnesingers of Germany, the troubadours of Provence, had paused in
their amorous ditties to compose bitter gibes against the greed and
luxurious life of the great Roman prelates. Taunts such as this became
household phrases: Curia Romana non quaerit ovem sine lana.[19] Dante
had put priest, prelate, and Pope into hell. Petrarch had written
scathing verses:--

    Nest of treachery, wherein is hatched
    All evil that besets the world to-day,
    Slaves to wine, debauch, and gluttony,

           *       *       *       *       *

    Well-head of woe, and baiting place of wrath,
    School of false thought, temple of heresy, etc.

One of the best tales in the "Decameron" turns on the conversion of a
Jew, who goes to Rome, sees the conduct of Pope and cardinals, and
becomes convinced that only a Divine Church can support so staggering a
burden. In Borgia's time the Curia outdid itself, and Borgia led the
way. He acknowledged his children, and lavished papal revenues upon
them; he bestowed a cardinal's hat on Alexander Farnese, founder of the
Farnese family, for the sake of Giulia Farnese, his frail sister; he
sanctioned ballets and theatricals of a scandalous nature in the Vatican
palace, and encouraged his sons and his cardinals in a dissolute life.
Vice was not all; the odour of crime infected the air. The Pope's son,
the Duke of Gandia, was murdered, so was his son-in-law, husband of his
daughter Lucrezia. Cardinals died mysteriously. The common voice,
whispering low in Rome and loud elsewhere, ascribed these murders to
Cæsar Borgia. It appeared as if the Pope believed the charges himself.
"Cæsar," he said, "is a good-natured man, but he cannot tolerate
affronts." Lucrezia, too, became the object of the grossest slanders. No
doubt common gossip then, as always, raised a tree of falsehood from a
mustard grain of truth; but credulity accepted every accusation as true.
North of the Alps the simple-minded Germans shuddered and crossed
themselves. Even the Romans were shocked. When the Pope died, no man
would touch his body; it was dragged by a rope fastened to its foot from
the bed to the grave, and there tumbled in. No one doubted that his soul
had gone to hell.

Alexander VI violated every rule of domestic morality; nevertheless,
Pope Julius II (1503-13) violated the sacred character of priest as
fundamentally, though in a much less repulsive way. Julius, a nephew of
Sixtus IV, was a fiery soldier, a high-aspiring prince, a man of great
qualities, impatient and magnificent. Had he been duke of Milan or King
of Naples, he would have presented a noble figure; but a Pope armed
cap-à-pie, entering a conquered city through the breach battered by his
cannon, was as clear a defiance of the evangelical spirit of the
reformers as the private profligacy of Pope Borgia.

Julius pursued the twofold policy of the Papacy with greater zeal and
greater success than any of his predecessors. His furious energy
completed the work of making the incohesive states of the Church into a
compact principality; and he is the real founder of the absolute Papal
State, the first real Pope-king. He achieved equal success in the other
branch of the policy, and revelled in the kindred spirit of the High
Renaissance. Julius exalted Rome to the place of first city in the
world; and if the world had asked for art from the Papacy instead of
asking for religion, it would have been abundantly satisfied. But
Germany was thinking of sin, of vice, of simony, of taxation, and was
becoming conscious of an extreme national antipathy to Italian rule; and
when a young German monk, like Martin Luther, went to Rome, instead of
taking pleasure in the architecture, painting, and sculpture that
adorned the city, he was horrified at the lack of religion.

Julius, however, was entitled to a sense of accomplishment at his death.
He left to his successors a little kingdom in the middle of Italy, and
he had made Rome the centre of the arts. Not till the days of his
successors did the failure of that policy appear. By a kind of poetic
justice the utter failure of art to satisfy the demand for reform, for
purity, for religion, was proved during the pontificates of the two
Medici, Leo X and Clement VII. The Medici had patronized the arts, both
in Florence and in Rome, and the arts repaid the Medici with enjoyment
and renown. But the Medici had done nothing for the spirit of reform; on
the contrary, they had helped crush Savonarola, and the spirit of reform
turned upon them. Germany hoisted the standard of secession during the
pontificate of Leo, and an army of the unfaithful sacked Rome during
that of Clement.

Leo X was a fat, clever, cultivated man, with no great virtues and no
real vices. "Let us enjoy the Papacy since God has given it to us," is
the sentiment put into his mouth, and serves to characterize his reign.
Bred in his father's intellectual circle, and a member of the luxurious
Roman society, Leo shared the tastes of both. He was a connoisseur of
works of art, and derived genuine æsthetic pleasure from them; he was
also fond of agreeable company, good cookery, the chase, and most forms
of social amusement. His political conduct was not of much real
consequence, as matters had gone too far. In the interminable struggle
between Charles V and Francis I, the Papacy tried to hold a balance of
power, and bargained with both sides; but, as the Spaniards, in
possession of both Milan and Naples, were the stronger, the Papacy
generally found its advantage on that side. As to the larger matter of
the ecclesiastical unity of Christendom there was practically nothing
to be done. The causes which split the Teutonic world from the Latin
were already matured. It was too late to stop the Reformation. Luther
might have been dealt with more shrewdly, but the forces behind him
could not have been kept in check. Leo excommunicated Luther (1520), and
the Imperial Diet at Worms condemned him and his doctrine, but the unity
of the Church was doomed.

To Leo succeeded his cousin Clement VII, after a brief pontificate by
the last foreign Pope. Clement was incompetent, and failed to realize
the gravity of his situation; neither he nor Rome understood the crisis
they had reached. The prevailing state of mind may be inferred from this
extract from the diary of a young Roman burgher: "I saw this Pope the
first day of May, 1525, come in the morning of the Feast of SS. Philip
and James to the Church of the Holy Apostles, and after celebrating high
mass, remain all day and night in the palace of the Colonna.... That day
it was an old and foolish custom in the Colonna palace (which connects
with the church and has windows looking in it), to throw various kinds
of fowls and animals into the church to the people who were there, all
of the lowest sort. They also put a pig in the middle of the church up
high, and whoever was able to climb up and take it, won it; and on top
of the roof were kegs and pots of water, which they poured on the
persons who climbed up. The amusement of those gentlemen, and of the
rest who looked on, was to see the crowd in a mess, battling,
shrieking, pushing, shoving, like beasts,--a merrymaking not becoming in
a church or any sacred edifice." The diary adds: "Now let people learn
to know the souls of the great and especially of priests, how wicked,
deceitful, and false they are, how full of fraud and knavery."[20] There
were plenty of other facts to prove this conclusion. The merrymaking was
doomed to cease.

The incompetent Pope was totally at a loss what policy to follow, not
knowing whether it was better to incline towards the Empire or to
France. He shifted at the wrong time, joined a league against the
Empire, then wriggled and shuffled, and so drew upon himself and the
devoted city the punishment due to a long course of wickedness. The
Imperial army, a ruffian host of Germans (many of them Lutherans),
Spaniards, and Italians, under the command of the traitor Bourbon, was
encamped in the north; the unpaid soldiers clamoured for plunder, and
Bourbon led them to Rome, carried the neglected walls by assault, and
put the city to sack. Rome was a little city, with perhaps 90,000
inhabitants, but rich in the oblations and tribute money of Christendom;
the churches were decked with gold and silver, the palaces stuffed with
precious paintings, tapestries, and ornaments of every kind. Popes,
cardinals, and princes had rivalled one another in accumulations of
works of art and articles of luxury. Though license, profligacy, and
crime had then shut out Rome from the sympathy of the world, it is
impossible to read to-day of the horrors of the sack--men murdered,
mothers, daughters, nuns outraged, old men and priests brutally
insulted, churches and sacred relics defiled--without the sharpest pity.
For eight days the devilish work went on, and but 30,000 inhabitants
were left, so many had fled, or been killed, or made prisoners (1527).

Terrible was the punishment that Clement witnessed,--Rome sacked, the
liberty of Italy taken away, the Roman Catholic Church rent in two.


[19] The Roman Curia is not looking for a sheep without wool.

[20] _The Papacy during the Reformation_, vol. v, Appendix (translated).
M. Creighton.



We are now at liberty to return to the great intellectual and artistic
movement that lifted Italy to the primacy in Europe, and reached its
zenith in the period of time to which the last two chapters have been
devoted. This is the culminating period, in which the greatest masters
did their work, and separates the earlier and more experimental stage
that preceded it from the later stage of exaggeration and decadence
which followed. The movement swept all the arts along with it. It
produced the greatest men in literature since Petrarch, the greatest
architects since the Gothic masters of the Ile de France, the greatest
sculptors since Praxiteles, the greatest painters that ever were.

Italian literature cannot compare with English literature or French in
compass, variety, richness, or delicacy. Indeed, except for Dante, it
would have rather a thin and tinkling sound. Nevertheless, in the High
Renaissance it roused itself brilliantly. Niccolò Machiavelli was the
ablest writer on the policy of government between Aristotle and Burke.
Guicciardini was the first modern historian. Count Baldassare
Castiglione's "Book of the Courtier" is as singularly excellent in its
way as Boswell's "Life of Johnson." Of this book, which portrays
fashionable society at the elegant court of Urbino, Tasso says: "So
long as there shall be princes and courts, so long as ladies and
gentlemen shall meet in society, so long as virtue and courtesy shall
abide in our hearts, the name of Castiglione will be held in honour."
The book purports to be a series of conversations between the duchess
and her guests concerning the proper qualities of a perfect gentleman.
This society, no doubt, is a little affected, stilted, and conceited,
but it is dignified, well-behaved, and high-minded. These people discuss
deportment, athletics, propriety of speech, whether one must keep within
the Tuscan vocabulary of Petrarch and Boccaccio or may make use of the
vernacular spoken elsewhere, whether painting or sculpture is the nobler
art, what a gentleman's dress should be, and so on. The discussion
proceeds to the proper behaviour of a lady, and by natural steps to
love. Bembo, a famous littérateur, here takes the floor, plunges into
Platonic ideas, and argues that the higher love, governed by reason, is
better than lower love, and will lead to contemplation of universal
beauty; but that even this stage of love is imperfect, and the lover
must mount higher still, until his soul, purified by philosophy and
spiritual life, sees the light of angelic beauty and, ravished by the
splendour of that light, becomes intoxicated and beside itself from
passion to lose itself in the light. "Let us, then, direct all the
thoughts and forces of our soul to this most sacred light, which shows
us the way that leads to heaven; and following after it, let us lay
aside the passions wherewith we were clothed at our fall, and by the
stairway that bears the shadow of sensual beauty on its lowest step,
let us mount to the lofty mansion where dwells the heavenly, lovely, and
true beauty, which lies hidden in the inmost secret recesses of God, so
that profane eyes cannot behold it,"[21] etc. This may savour somewhat
too much of Platonic rhetoric, but such feelings were genuine,
emotionally genuine, even if they proved evanescent in practice; they
were familiar to Lorenzo dei Medici and his friends, and to the nobler
spirits throughout Italy, and are as characteristic of the period as its
cruelty, treachery, or sensuality. The effect of such cultivated circles
upon art must have been great; they gave artists encouragement,
sympathy, employment, and by the union of fashion and intelligence
helped educate the taste of a larger public. It must be remembered that
both Bramante and Raphael came from Urbino.

Poetry, with the delightful spontaneity and capriciousness of Italian
genius, chose Ferrara, the home of the House of Este, to hang its
laurels in. There Matteo Boiardo wrote the "Orlando Innamorato" (Roland
in Love). This poem is an epic of chivalry concerning Charlemagne's
court, and deals seriously, and yet at times ironically, with the
subject of Roland's love for the beautiful Angelica. It was left
unfinished, and Lodovico Ariosto (1474-1533) picked up the thread and
carried it on, far more brilliantly and far more ironically, under the
title "Orlando Furioso" (Roland Crazed). Ariosto's poem, which was
immensely popular, was intended to entertain, and it succeeded; its
variety, wit, irony, sarcasm, and levity make it entertaining even now.
Inferior in moral and sensuous beauty to Spenser's "Faerie Queene," it
is far easier to read. Its interest for us lies in the light it sheds on
the intellectual state of educated Italians of the Renaissance,
especially in regard to religion. Biblical allusions, sacred north of
the Alps, are lugged in to give a touch of humour, as, for instance,
where one of the knights, Astolfo, goes on a search for Roland's lost
wits and meets St. John the Evangelist, who drives him to the moon in
Elijah's chariot; or where, in another passage, St. Michael finds that
the goddess of Discord has not obeyed his commands, "the angel seized
her by the hair, kicked and pounded her incessantly, broke a cross over
her head, till Discord embraced the knees of the divine envoy and howled
for mercy." Ariosto, himself, conformed to the rites of the Church. Like
most educated Italians he accepted them as conventional forms, tinged
possibly with supernatural power, and kept ecclesiastical ideas wholly
separate from moral ideas. His sceptical, ironical, Epicurean attitude
towards non-material things is characteristic of the decadence of this
period in which mental activity had outgrown morality.

Ariosto was a gentleman of birth and position. He spent most of his life
in the service of his princes, the House of Este. In later life he
withdrew from their employment, and lived in his own house, _parva sed
apta_ (small but suitable), to which the literary pious still make
pilgrimages. He wrote the "Orlando Furioso" between 1505 and 1515, and
thereafter devoted most of his leisure to improving and polishing it.
Basking in the sunshine of fashionable admiration, he little suspected
that another man, who had spent his life in mighty feats of
architecture, painting, and sculpture, would in his old age write
sonnets that should be read and reread like a breviary by serious men
and women who passed his own luxurious rhetoric unheeded. Michelangelo's
sonnets (some of which were written to Vittoria Colonna) are the noblest
embodiment of those high ideas of love which came down from Plato to the
philosophers of the Palazzo Medici in Florence and the courtiers at the
ducal palace in Urbino. They are crammed to bursting with passionate
intensity, and in that respect have no equals, even in English.

In the fine arts the High Renaissance has a score of famous men. Among
them three or four stand head and shoulders above their fellows. Each is
marked by extraordinary individuality of talents, character, and
disposition: Michelangelo by passionate fury--_terribilità_; Raphael by
sweet serenity; Bramante by his even commingling of poise and ardour;
Leonardo by his noble curiosity.

Of Leonardo, Vasari says: "Sometimes according to the course of nature,
sometimes beyond and above it, the greatest gifts rain down from
heavenly influences upon the bodies of men, and crowd into one
individual beauty, grace, and excellence in such superabundance that to
whatever that man shall turn, his very act is so divine, that,
surpassing the work of all other men, it makes manifest that it is by
the special gift of God, and not by human art. This was true of
Leonardo da Vinci; who, beside a physical beauty beyond all praise, put
an infinite grace into whatever he did, and such was his excellence,
that to whatever difficult things his mind turned he easily solved
them." Leonardo (1452-1519) was a Florentine. He was trained by the
subtle Verrocchio, from whom he learned the smile, if it be a smile, on
the faces of his portraits of women. After leaving Verrocchio's workshop
he went to Lombardy, where he spent sixteen years at the court of Milan.
There he did a hundred different things: he modelled a great equestrian
statue of Francesco Sforza (since destroyed), painted portraits, drew
architectural designs,--for a cupola, a staircase, a bathroom, a
triumphal arch, etc.,--executed hydraulic works, studied the cultivation
of the grape, and played on his silver lyre. In the refectory of a
Dominican monastery he painted his fresco of The Last Supper. One of the
novices, who watched this handsome young painter at work, says that
sometimes he would dash up the scaffold, brush in hand, put a few
touches and hurry down; sometimes he would paint from sunrise to sunset
without stopping even to eat; sometimes he would stand for hours
contemplating the different figures. After Sforza's fall, Leonardo left
Milan, and for a time took service with Cæsar Borgia as military
engineer and architect. He subsequently returned to Florence, and
finally went to France, where he died.

Little remains of all that Leonardo planned. A half-destroyed fresco, a
few easel pictures, some incomparable drawings, some treatises on his
arts, some apothegms, are enough, however, to justify his fame. One of
his apothegms, _Tu, o Iddio, tutto ci vendi a prezzo di fatica_ (Thou, O
God, sellest us everything at the price of hard work), is but poorly
borne out by his own prodigal portion of genius, which rather supports
Vasari's view that God makes special gifts. Very rarely has any man
received the native endowment of Leonardo da Vinci.

The greatest architect of the High Renaissance was Bramante of Urbino.
He, like Leonardo, worked in Milan during the resplendent reign of
Lodovico Sforza. There he did much charming work and imposed his
personality on Lombard architecture; but his great reputation was made
in Rome, whither he went, drawn by the great Romeward flow of art, when
the French invasion drove the fine arts from Milan. In Rome, Bramante
became the papal architect. He shares with Raphael and Michelangelo the
honour of making St. Peter's basilica and the Vatican palace what they
are. He also built a little building, whose historical importance is
ludicrously out of proportion to its size, it being as little as St.
Peter's is big. It is a tiny circular temple in the court of a church on
the Janiculum hill across the Tiber. On the ground floor a Doric
colonnade encircles the temple, on the second story a balustrade. A
dome, capped by a lantern, covers the whole. It is the first building
which fully reproduced the style and spirit of antiquity. It set the
fashion for the architecture of the sixteenth century, and determined,
among other indirect and not altogether happy results, the plan of St.
Paul's Cathedral in London and the Capitol in Washington.

It was not chance which took Bramante, Raphael, and Michelangelo to
Rome. They went because the papal court, pursuing its policy of
maintaining the Papacy at the head of Christendom by means of culture,
summoned them to come. Rome never produced great artists. She never was
artistic, any more than she had been spiritual. But just as in earlier
times she had drawn spiritual forces to herself and used them, so now
she attracted to herself and used the artistic forces of Italy. She had
been making ready for years; step by step as she had become more
secular, she had also become more artistic, more intellectual. For
seventy years every Pope contributed to this end. Eugenius IV employed
distinguished humanists as his secretaries, and invited the most notable
painters and sculptors to Rome. Nicholas V conceived the splendid scheme
of making Rome the mistress of the world's culture. Pius II, Æneas
Sylvius Piccolomini, was the most eminent man of letters of his age.
Paul II was a virtuoso in objects of art and increased the grandeur of
the papal court. Sixtus IV improved the city, built the Sistine Chapel,
and employed Botticelli, Perugino, Signorelli, Ghirlandaio, and Rosselli
to decorate it. Innocent VIII brought Mantegna from Padua and
Pinturicchio from Perugia to embellish the Vatican palace. Pope Borgia
made Pinturicchio his court painter; and that charming master decorated
the papal apartments in the Vatican with the great bull of the Borgia
crest, and with portraits of the Pope's children and (so Vasari says) of
the lovely Giulia Farnese as the Virgin with the Pope worshipping her.

Popes and cardinals felt the great movement and many strove to lead it,
but the master figure of the Renaissance at Rome was the fiery Julius
II, whose plans in the arts were even more grandiose than in politics.
He was the centre of this period, as Cosimo and Lorenzo had been in
their generations. Less astute than Cosimo, far less subtle and
accomplished than Lorenzo, he was a much more heroic leader than either.
His hardy, weather-beaten face in Raphael's portrait, with its strong,
well-shaped features, shows his imperious, arrogant, irascible, and yet
noble, nature. This Pontiff brought to Rome the greatest genius of the
Renaissance, Michelangelo, bade him build for him a monumental tomb,
more splendid than any tomb ever built, twelve yards high and
proportionately wide and deep, and decked with two or three score
statues. Such a gigantic monument could not have found room in the old
basilica of St. Peter's, and therefore, as St. Peter's was the proper
place for it, it became necessary to proceed with the larger plans of
Nicholas V. Piecing and patching did not suit Julius. He discussed plans
with his architects Bramante and Giuliano da San Gallo, and then
resolved to pull down the old basilica, founded by Constantine and
Silvester, despite its thousand years of sacred associations, and build
a new church in its place. Bramante's fiery enthusiasm for great designs
matched the Pope's. Satire suggested that in heaven he would say to St.
Peter, "I'll pull down this Paradise of yours and build another, a much
finer and pleasanter place for the blessed saints to live in." He
designed the new church in the form of a Greek cross with a cupola,
proposing, as it were, to lift the dome of the Pantheon on the basilica
of Constantine, an enormous ruin in the Roman Forum. This gigantic plan
befitted the new papal scheme of making Rome the head of Europe and the
Papacy the head of culture. The corner-stone was laid on April 18, 1506,
and the old building was demolished piecemeal, the choir first, the nave
last; and in its place, as demolition proceeded bit by bit, the
cathedral now standing rose, slowly lifting its great bulk in the air,
and finally reached completion and consecration in 1626. The greatest
architects of Italy succeeded one another as masters of the works,
Bramante, Giuliano da San Gallo from Florence, Fra Giocondo from Verona,
Raphael, Antonio da San Gallo the younger, Baldassare Peruzzi from
Siena, and Michelangelo, who, when an old man, took charge and designed
the dome.

The Vatican was altered according to Bramante's plans in order to make
it a fit abode for the head of cultured Christendom: Michelangelo
painted his frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-12); and
Raphael began to paint the _stanza della segnatura_. Raphael, the most
charming figure in the world of art, was equally charming in life.
Vasari says: "Among his exceptional gifts I take notice of one of such
rare excellence that I marvel within myself. Heaven gave him power in
our art to produce an effect most contrary to the humours of us
painters, and it is this: the artists and artisans (I do not refer only
to those of meaner sort, but to those who are ambitious to be
great--and art produces many of this complexion) who worked in his
atelier were so united and had such mutual good-will, that all jealousy
and crossness were extinguished on seeing him, and every mean and
spiteful thought vanished from their minds. Such unity was never seen
before. And this was because they were overcome both by his courtesy and
his art, but more by the genius of his good nature, which was so full of
kindness and overflowing with charity, that not only men, but even the
beasts almost worshipped him."

At this time, too, classic art, owing to the discovery of antique
statues, had its fullest effect. The Nile, now in the Vatican, had been
found in a Roman garden, the Apollo Belvedere in a vineyard near the
city, and the Laocoön and many others here and there. Of the discovery
of the Laocoön a record remains. "I was at the time a boy in Rome,"
wrote Francesco, son of Giuliano da San Gallo, the architect, "when one
day it was announced to the Pope that some excellent statues had been
dug up out of the ground in a grape-patch near the church of Santa Maria
Maggiore. The Pope immediately sent a groom to Giuliano da San Gallo to
tell him to go directly and see what it was. Michelangelo Buonarroti was
often at our house, and at the moment chanced to be there; accordingly
my father invited him to accompany us. I rode behind my father on his
horse, and thus we went over to the place designated. We had scarcely
dismounted and glanced at the figures, when my father cried out, 'It is
the Laocoön of which Pliny speaks!' The labourers immediately began
digging to get the statue out; after having looked at them very
carefully, we went home to supper, talking all the way of

Thus these various forces--the discovery of antique statues, the passion
for art, the eager Italian intellect, the conception of Rome as the
mistress of culture, the character of Julius II and the genius of
Bramante, Michelangelo, and Raphael--worked together to cover the Papacy
with a pagan glory in its time of religious need. On the other hand, as
these monumental works required vast sums of money, the sale of
indulgences and the exaction of tribute buzzed on more rapidly than

Leo X (1513-21) has given his name to this age of papal culture, but he
was not entitled to the honour; he had the inborn Medicean interest and
enjoyment in intellectual matters, a nice taste, and some delicacy of
perception, but it needs no more than a look at his fat jowl in
Raphael's portrait to see that he could not have been a motive force in
a great period. He stands on an historic eminence as the last Pope to
wield the Italian sceptre over all Europe, the last to send his
tax-collectors from Sicily to England, from Spain to Norway, the last to
enjoy the full heritage of Imperial Rome.


[21] _Book of the Courtier_, p. 305, translated by L. E. Opdycke.

[22] _Rome and the Renaissance_, from the French of Julian Klaczko, p.



We have now come to the beginning of long centuries of national
degradation, and one has a general sense of passing from a glorious
garden into a series of gas-lit drawing-rooms, somewhat over-decorated,
where naughty princes amuse themselves with bagatelles. We must glance
at the political degradation first.

The struggle between the Barbarians of France and Spain for mastery in
Italy, of which we spoke in the last political chapter, was practically
decided by the battle of Pavia (1525), in which the French king lost all
but life and honour. France was most reluctant to acquiesce in defeat,
and from time to time marched her troops across the Alps into
unfortunate Piedmont, sometimes of her own notion, and sometimes at the
invitation of an Italian state; but the Spanish grip was too strong to
be shaken off. From this time on Italian politics were determined by the
pleasure of foreign kings. Two treaties between France and Spain, that
of Cambrai (1529) and that of Cateau-Cambrésis (1559), embodied the
results of their bargains and their wars. The sum and substance of them
was a practical abandonment by France of her Italian claims, and the map
of Italy was drawn to suit Spain.

Milan was governed by Spanish governors, Naples and Sicily by Spanish
viceroys. The business of a Spanish viceroy, then as always, was to
raise money. Taxes were oppressive. It was said that in Sicily the royal
officials nibbled, in Naples they ate, and in Milan they devoured. In
addition to regular taxes, special imposts were laid on various
occasions,--when a new king succeeded to the throne, when a royal heir
was born, when war was waged against the Lutherans in Germany or the
pirates in Africa. In the south, where the people were less intelligent
and laborious, oppressive taxation and unwise government caused a
gradual increase of ignorance and poverty, and left as a legacy to the
present day the conditions from which spring the _Mafia_ of Sicily and
the _Camorra_ of Naples.

In Florence the sagacious Cosimo I (1537-74) ruled with prudence and
severity. He understood that his position depended on his fidelity to
Spain and the Papacy, and acted accordingly. He married a Spanish lady,
Eleanora of Toledo, daughter to the viceroy of Naples, took up his ducal
residence first in the Palazzo Vecchio, where there are many
remembrances of his duchess, and afterwards in the great palace, begun
by Luca Pitti, across the Arno. He reduced Siena, once Florence's
dangerous rival, to subjection, and crushed out the last traces of
republican sentiment in his duchy. He employed Vasari to design the
Uffizi, completed the edifice that holds the Laurentian library, and led
as magnificent a life as a due regard for his purse would allow. In
short, he was what one would expect an unrefined member of the _Casa
Medici_ to be; and when one recollects that his grandmother was a Sforza
of Milan, all expectations based on heredity are amply satisfied. Cosimo
I left a long line of descendants to sit upon his grand-ducal throne.
Their marble effigies at the head of the stairway in the Uffizi tell
their story. The brutal Sforza vigour and the elegant Medicean
astuteness could not save them from sharing in the general degeneracy
that spread like a blight over all Italy. However, one must remember
that they did collect the finest picture gallery in the world and housed
it in the Uffizi and Pitti palaces.

North of Tuscany the petty duchies of Ferrara, Urbino, Modena, Parma,
and Mantua formed a little ducal coterie, very characteristic of the
next two centuries. The Papacy indeed swallowed up Ferrara (1598) and
Urbino (1631), but the House of Este of Ferrara moved on to Modena, and
remained there till Napoleon's time. In Parma, Pope Paul III (1534-50),
our old acquaintance Alexander Farnese, a careful father as well as a
lucky brother, established his son as duke. This son was bad, and
believed to be worse, so the nobles of Parma murdered him; but his
descendants made good their title, and the little duchy of Parma, with
its palace, its custom-house, its barracks, and its pictures, stepped
forth as one of the petty states of the peninsula, and endured till the
Union of Italy. Genoa and Lucca were permitted to remain republics.

Up in the northwest we get our first definite notions of Savoy. This
duchy, built up piecemeal, was a composite state, which included a good
deal of Piedmont, and portions of what are now France and Switzerland,
and, unfortunately, lay directly in the way of the French armies on
their marches into Italy. During the wars of Francis I and Charles V,
the Duke of Savoy hopefully attempted to maintain neutrality, and, in
consequence, lost all. France deemed it more convenient to own her line
of march, and annexed Savoy; and for twenty years Piedmont was both
camping-ground and battleground for the contending nations. It looked as
if Savoy would be blotted from the map of Europe; but Duke Emanuele
Filiberto (1553-80), _Iron Head_, an accomplished soldier, had the sense
to take the winning side. He served in the Spanish army, and, in the
Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis, as his share secured the restoration of his
duchy. That portion of this duke's policy which concerns us especially
is that he gave Piedmont precedence over his French and Swiss provinces,
established the seat of government at Turin, put the university there
and brought men of letters and science, substituted Italian for Latin in
public documents, and proclaimed himself an Italian prince and Savoy an
Italian state. He gave Savoy the general character which it has always
retained. He checked the priests, built up the army, reformed the law,
converted the old feudal dominion into an absolute autocracy, and
started his dukedom on the course which ultimately enabled it to play
its great part in the liberation of Italy in the nineteenth century.
Emanuele Filiberto is reputed one of Italy's national heroes.

Venice had already recovered most of the territories on the mainland of
Italy wrenched from her by the League of Cambrai, but in the East the
Turks steadily took away city, island, and province. After a long period
of war, one gallant exploit gilded the fortunes of the losing side. A
league against the Turks was effected between Spain, the Papacy, and
Venice, and the united fleets, under the supreme command of Don John of
Austria, won the renowned sea-fight off Lepanto (1571); but except for
chopping off a goodly number of infidel heads and limbs, little was
accomplished. In this battle a young Spanish soldier, Miguel de
Cervantes, lost an arm. Soon afterwards peace was made on terms hard for
the Venetians, but beneficent in that it was destined to last for
seventy years.

We now come to the Papacy, and there, in extraordinary contrast to the
degeneration and decay all around, we find militant vigour and energy.
This phenomenon is so remarkable that we must glance back at the perils
through which the Papacy had passed. Ever since the fall of the Empire
(when the political union of Italy and Germany broke in two) disruptive
forces had been at work to break the ecclesiastical union, until at
last, in the pontificate of Leo X, Martin Luther affixed his theses
concerning indulgences to the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg,
burnt the papal bull, and threw off his allegiance. The North of Europe
followed him. The record of the Papacy had been utter failure and worse.
It had smeared itself from head to foot with simony, nepotism, and vice;
it had cast religion to the winds. No expression of indignation would
have been adequate without the sack of Rome. A statesman might well
have predicted that all Europe would dismember and suppress the Papacy
and adopt a system of national churches. Nevertheless, at the end of the
century the Papacy stood erect and vigorous, shorn indeed of universal
empire, but reëstablished, the Order of Jesus at its right, the Holy
Inquisition at its left, draped in piety by the Council of Trent, and
hobnobbing on even terms with kings. The process which effected this
change is called the Counter-reformation, or the Catholic Reaction. That
process was a happy blending of virtue, bigotry, and policy. Borne
upward and onward by the forces of reform and conservatism, the Modern
Papacy rose triumphant on the ruins of the Papacy of the Renaissance.

The same spirit that caused the Reformation in the North started the
Catholic Revival in the South. A wave, comparable to the old movement
for Church reform in Hildebrand's time, swept over the Catholic Church,
and lifted the reformers within the Church into power. The South
emulated the North. Catholic zeal rivalled Protestant ardour. Bigotry
followed zeal. Moreover, a reformed Papacy found ready allies. The
logical consequence of Protestantism was personal independence in
religion, and the next logical step was personal independence in
politics. Protestant subjects, more especially where their rulers were
Catholics, tended to become disobedient; and monarchs, who stood for
absolutism and conservatism, found themselves drawn close to an absolute
and conservative Pope. The kings of Spain and the Popes of Rome became
friends and allies.

Within three years after the sack of Rome, Clement crowned Charles V
with the Imperial crown in Bologna, where, for the last time in Italy,
proclamation was made of a "Romanorum Imperator semper Augustus, Mundi
totius Dominus;" and the Papacy, strengthened at once by its league with
Spain, lifted its head. Further strength came from other sources. The
brilliant young Spaniard, Ignatius Loyola, founded the Order of Jesus,
which vowed itself to poverty, chastity, and obedience to the Papacy
(1534). Spain, too, by the moral effect of example, procured the
Inquisition for Italy. From the time of Innocent III, the Dominican
monks had had charge of preserving the purity of the faith and of
punishing heretics, and they had performed this function with what might
appear to a sceptic sufficient zeal, but during the great racial and
religious struggle in Spain which ended in the capture of Granada, more
zeal was deemed necessary and the Spanish Inquisition was established.
Its fame spread far and wide. The Spanish viceroys introduced it in a
modified form in Naples, and Cardinal Caraffa, a zealous reformer, urged
the need of such an institution in Rome. The Holy Office of Rome was
established, and Caraffa put at its head (1542). Heretics were
frightened into conformity or punished; some were driven out of the
country, a few were burned to death. Freedom of thought was vigorously
attacked; and the _Index Librorum Prohibitorum_ was decreed. The great
and growing power of the reformers may be measured by the fact that the
Pope who sanctioned these great bulwarks of the papal system was the
once gay Alexander Farnese, Paul III, whom we otherwise know as a
brother and a father. The culminating exhibition of the power of the
reformers, however, was in the Council of Trent (1545-63).

Europe had been too long accustomed to the idea of ecclesiastical unity
to sit still without some attempt at reconciliation between the
Catholics and Protestants. It was hoped that a Council would heal all
wounds, smooth all difficulties, and bring back the irrevocable past.
The Popes, however, had come to regard Councils as inimical bodies with
dangerous tendencies towards investigation and with hostile canons, and
were inclined to take the risk of losing the tainted parts of
Christendom altogether, rather than make use of so perilous an
instrument to recover them. But the Emperor, Charles V, was insistent;
his Empire, as well as the Church, was cracked, and in great danger of
breaking in two. The Council was convoked, and met at Trent. The primary
object was reconciliation; but everybody knew that no reconciliation was
possible without radical reforms in the Church, so the papal party
played its cards with exceeding wariness. The Lutherans did not attend,
and the papal party, in order to forestall practical reforms, plunged
into the comparatively safe matter of defining dogma, and defined it in
such a way as to fence out all the Lutheran schismatics. The reformers,
nevertheless, managed to sandwich in between the definitions of dogma
various decrees for the reform of Church discipline. In Catholic theory
an Ecumenical Council acts under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; but
looking at this Council from a purely secular point of view, it is hard
to find other guidance than the quarrelling interests of Pope, bishops,
Emperor, Spaniards, French, and Italians. In fact, the Council was twice
broken up. The first time the Pope, having taken alarm, declared the
Council adjourned to Bologna. The second time the Lutherans, then at war
with the Emperor, swooped down near Trent and frightened the Council
away. It met again, for the third time. All hope of reconciliation with
the Protestants had then passed away, and the Council set to work as a
purely Roman Catholic partisan body. A striking change of attitude
within the Council showed that since the early sessions the reforming
party had won complete control. Paul IV (1555-59), a man of high
character, formerly Cardinal Caraffa, head of the Roman Inquisition, had
promulgated many edicts concerning reforms; and his successor Pius IV,
Giovanni Angelo Medici of Milan (not of the Florentine family)
(1559-66), who was Pope during the final sessions of the Council,
followed his lead. Pius, a clever man who had received a legal training,
instead of wasting efforts in persuading disputatious bishops, first
made diplomatic arrangements with the Catholic sovereigns of Spain,
France, and Austria, and then secured the embodiment of those
arrangements in decrees by the Council. Nothing, however, could have
been accomplished without the reforming spirit within the Church; Pius
removed obstacles in its way and let it have full play. Stern rules were
made against the corrupt practices, which had given Luther his
strength. Canons regulated the conduct of the clergy, the duties of
bishops, the affairs of monasteries and nunneries, and all matters
connected with the great organization of the Roman Church. These reforms
came too late to affect Protestant opinion, but they rallied the
doubting, confirmed the faithful, and gave the Papacy wide-reaching
moral support. The dogmas of the Church were cast in adamant, and
secured the immense advantage of definiteness and fixity. The Council of
Trent remains the principal monument of the Catholic Revival, and that
Revival is certainly the most important event for Italy in the period
immediately following the Renaissance. Pius IV, the clever lawyer, had a
great share in the work of the Council, but his most skilful achievement
was to maintain and confirm the doctrine of the subordination of
Councils to the Papacy. This great stroke, as well as his share in the
reforms, has won for him the title of founder of the Modern Papacy.

In this manner the Papacy prospered during the very generations in which
the greatness of Italy dwindled away. The fortunes of the two had wholly
parted company. The Papacy, indeed, had made itself an Italian
institution,--never again would it seat a foreigner on the chair of St.
Peter,--but in all other ways it had ceased to have any national
affections. Italy, her genius faded, her vigour faint, not only deprived
of what might have been a great support, but even pushed down and held
under by the help of her own greatest creation, the Church, ceased to be
a country. She had become, in Metternich's famous phrase, a mere
geographical expression, an aggregate of little states, with no tie
between them except that of juxtaposition and of common subservience to
foreigners. If we look at a map drawn at the close of the sixteenth
century, we shall find the following political divisions:--

  The Duchy of Savoy,
  The Spanish province of Lombardy,
  The Republic of Venice,
  The little Duchy of Parma, under the Farnesi,
  The little Duchy of Mantua, under the Gonzaga,
  The little Duchy of Modena, under the Este family,
  The little Duchy of Urbino, under the della Rovere who had succeeded
    to the Montefeltri,
  The Republic of Genoa,
  The Republic of Lucca,
  The Grand Duchy of Tuscany, under the Medici,
  The Papal States,
  The Spanish province of Naples,
  The Spanish province of Sicily.

Over them all, Spanish provinces, independent republics, Italian
duchies, and Papal States, falls the shadow cast by the royal standard
of Spain. Next to our consciousness of that dreaded banner, the most
vivid impression which we take away is the contrast between the vigour
of the Papacy and the weakness of Italy, and we draw the necessary
inference that the fortunes of the two not only have wholly parted
company, but also are wholly irreconcilable.



The _Cinquecento_, as the Italians call the sixteenth century, exhibits
in the arts the same disintegration and decay that we have found in the
political life of Italy. Honesty, independence, genuineness fade away,
and in their stead we find cleverness and effort. The high tide of the
Renaissance was in the pontificate of Julius II, but the flood lingered
on at the full till 1540, and then the ebb began. This is the date which
the famous German scholar and critic, Jakob Burckhardt, assigns as the
limit of the Golden Age; and it is interesting to find how closely it
corresponds with the political dates which marked the establishment of
the new political order in Italy. In 1530 Florence was definitely handed
over to the Medici; in 1535 the duchy of Milan was annexed to Spain; in
1540 the Pope sanctioned the Order of Jesus; in 1542 he established the
Holy Office in Rome; in 1543 he accepted the scheme of an _Index
Librorum Prohibitorum_; and in 1545 the Council of Trent was opened.

The change from maturity to decay was all-pervasive; yet it was slow,
and a period of excellence and good taste intervened between the High
Renaissance and the Baroque. This process is most clearly marked in
architecture. During the High Renaissance dignity was law, the grand
manner dominated, and charm determined subordinate parts. Domes were
noble, loggias elegant, pilasters decorative, cornices well
proportioned, ceilings splendid. After 1540 indications of decline
appeared; but this fading brilliance was a kind of _götterdämmerung_,
and, though it heralded the Baroque, displayed at times a purity of
detail and a noble restraint worthy of the earlier period.

Of the architects of this intervening stage the greatest was Giacomo
Barozzi, surnamed Vignola after the little town where he was born in the
province of Modena. He was a man of theories, had great knowledge of
classical architecture, and wrote a manual on the architectural orders
which enjoyed great authority for two centuries and more. He built
various buildings at Bologna, and designed a gigantic palace at Piacenza
for the Farnesi, the ducal children of Alexander Farnese, Paul III, and
nephews of the beautiful Giulia. The art of making gardens, of using
cypress trees, greensward, pools, terraces, and clumps of ilex as joint
partners with stone, brick, and stucco, in one artistic whole, had come
into being in the sixteenth century; and Vignola was one of the masters
of this new art. He designed the Farnese gardens on the Palatine Hill,
since destroyed by time, neglect, subsequent owners, and eager
archæologists. He was an artist of great ideas, and sometimes caught the
grand manner. On the other hand, he also helped to bring on the Baroque.
His famous church at Rome, the Gesù, despite its vast, high-arching
nave, lent itself with fatal facility to a gorgeous hideousness of
decoration, and set the fashion for many imitative Jesuit churches,
which caught the hideous gorgeousness but missed the grandeur of their
exemplar. He had an important part in building the _Villa di Papa
Giulio_ (Pope Julius III), a little outside the city walls, charming in
its grace, its variety, and its succession of arcades, courts, loggias,
balustrades, grotto, terrace, and garden.

The next in rank, Bartolommeo Ammanati of Florence, may be called the
court architect of Duke Cosimo I. He built two bridges across the Arno,
the Ponte alia Carraia and the Ponte Santa Trinità, finished the main
body of the Pitti Palace, originally designed by Brunelleschi, and
completed the elaborate Boboli garden, the pleasure grounds behind the
palace. He also was drawn to Rome at the behest of villa-building Popes,
and had a share in elaborating the plans of the Villa of Papa Giulio.
Giorgio Vasari, architect, painter, biographer, designed the Uffizi at
Florence, painted many indifferent pictures, and wrote "Lives of the
Painters," a garrulous, discursive, inaccurate, and delightful book.
Galeazzo Alessi of Perugia built the stately, tourist-haunted palaces of
Genoa, once occupied by opulent merchants, and also the gigantic church
of S. Maria degli Angeli, which covers the Portiuncula of St. Francis,
like a bowl turned over a forget-me-not. Jacopo Tatti Sansovino of
Florence was the architect of many noble buildings in Venice. Andrea
Palladio of Vicenza embodied his passionate love of classical
architecture in palaces and churches in his native town and in Venice.
During the revival of classic enthusiasm in the eighteenth century
Palladio became a demi-god. The captivated Goethe, as soon as he arrived
at Vicenza, hurried to see the Palladian palaces. "When we stand face to
face with these buildings, then we first realize their great excellence;
their bulk and massiveness fill the eye, while the lovely harmony of
their proportions, admirable in the advance and retreat of perspective,
brings peace to the spirit." In Venice, he says, "Before all things I
hastened to the Carità.... Alas! scarcely a tenth part of the edifice is
finished. However, even this part is worthy of that heavenly genius....
One ought to pass whole years in the contemplation of such a work."

These men and their rivals kept alive the traditions of the great
period; nevertheless, in course of time stiltedness and exaggeration
usurped the place of elegance and force. A servile imitation of Roman
models, an absolute acceptance of classical correctness, prevailed; the
classic orders, especially the Corinthian, spread themselves everywhere;
in one place barren and formal simplicity obtruded itself, in another
pretentious magnificence. After 1580 the transition is complete; the
baroque triumphs; sham tyrannizes, wood and plaster mimic stone, columns
twist themselves awry; monstrous scrolls, heavy mouldings, crazy
statues, gilt deformities, and all the contortions to which stucco and
other cohesive substances will submit, hang and cling everywhere, inside
and out. But this is to anticipate, for the full revel of the Baroque
takes place in the seventeenth century.

The same degeneration prevailed in sculpture. Michelangelo, in his
statues in the Medicean chapel at Florence, "Night" and "Day," "Evening"
and "Dawn" (1529-34), had achieved the utmost which thought and emotion
could express in marble. They stand, pillars set up by Hercules, at the
end of the noble sculpture of the Renaissance. His successors tried to
imitate him, in vain; they produced bulk, or writhing or distortion. Yet
some men of this period did excellent work: Benvenuto Cellini, delicate
goldsmith, and sculptor of the Florentine Perseus; John of Bologna, who
modelled the Flying Mercury; Taddeo Landini of Florence, who designed
the charming fountain in Rome, in which several boys are boosting
turtles into a basin above; Bandinelli, whose big statues are familiar
in Florence, "a man strangely composed," as Burckhardt says, "of natural
talent, of reminiscence of the old school, and of a false originality
which carried him beyond a disregard of nicety even to grossness." After
these men and a few others, sculpture followed architecture in its
facile descent into the Baroque, and expressed itself in prophets,
saints, and Popes, who stand in swaying and vacillating postures in nave
and aisle, on roof and balustrade. These decadent sculptors strictly
belong to the next century; they are but heralded by the last works of
the Cinquecento.

In painting, too, the same story is repeated all over Italy. In Florence
after the close of the High Renaissance twilight darkened rapidly. There
are few artists of note except two fashionable portrait painters,
Pontormo and Bronzino, who display the characteristics of the period.
Bronzino's picture of the Descent of Christ into Hades almost justifies
Ruskin's comment, a "heap of cumbrous nothingness and sickening
offensiveness;" on the other hand, Pontormo's decorations in the great
hall of the Medicean Villa at Poggio a Caiano are as graceful, gay, and
charming as can well be imagined. After them in dreary succession come
the decadent painters, who painted figures bigger and bigger in would-be
Michelangelesque attitudes, as may be seen in one of the rooms of the
_Belle Arti_ in Florence. Elsewhere, also, the generation bred under the
great masters faded away,--the sweet Luini of Milan, Leonardo's
follower; the facile Giulio Romano, Raphael's pupil; the beauty-loving
Sodoma of Siena; the romantic Dosso Dossi of Ferrara. These names show
how loath the genius of painting was to leave Italy, but she obeyed
fate; and, at the end of the century, we have the Caracci beginning to
paint in Bologna, and Caravaggio (1569-1609) in Naples. It needs but a
glance at these later pictures to see what a change had come over the
spirit of beauty during the hundred years since Botticelli painted Venus
fresh from the salt sea foam.

In literature, also, at the opening of the sixteenth century, we had the
historian, Guicciardini; the political writer, Machiavelli; the poet,
Ariosto; the cultivated Castiglione: at the end we have the pathetic
figure of Torquato Tasso (1544-95), who stands drooping, like a symbol
of Italy. Tasso is always inscribed in textbooks as one of the four
greatest Italian poets, and it would be useless and impertinent to
dispute the concordant testimony of many witnesses. Byron apostrophizes
him, "O victor unsurpassed in modern song;" yet one with difficulty
avoids thinking that his sad story has added to the beauty of his poetry
and heightened his reputation.

Torquato Tasso was the last great genius of the Italian Renaissance, and
stands there facing the oncoming decadence in gifted helplessness; he
had many talents, a noble nature, a melancholy temperament, and a weak
character. In boyhood his religious emotions and his intellectual
faculties were both over-stimulated. His story is a medley of court
favour, success, rivalry, suspicion. His home was Ferrara, but he
wandered about, as a sick person seeks to ease his body by changing
posture. Early forcing and some natural weakness combined to bring too
great a strain upon his mind, which gave way, and the unfortunate man
was put in a madhouse by his patron, the Duke of Ferrara. He was
confined for seven years, but not ill treated. He died in the monastery
of Sant' Onofrio on the Janiculum at Rome, where tourists stop to gaze at
the poor remnant of an oak tree, under whose shade he used to sit.
Carducci, the great poet, says: "Italy's great literature, the living,
national, and at the same time, human literature, with which she
reconciled Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and, in a Roman way,
represented a renewed Europe, ended with Tasso." His sad story is a
fitting epilogue to the Italian Renaissance.

This general course of ascent, culmination, and decline holds true even
of Venice, except in chronology; for Venice preserved her independence
from the normal Italian experience almost as resolutely in the arts as
in politics. She produced no literature, piqued perhaps because Italy
had taken the Tuscan dialect rather than hers for the national language;
but in the arts, after decay had elsewhere set in, she bloomed in the
fulness of perfection, as late roses blossom when other bushes show
nothing but hips. Of her individual career a few words must be said.

In architecture and sculpture, the Lombardi, a Venetian family probably
from Lombardy, flourished for nearly a hundred years (1452-1537), and
left their mark on Venice, in tombs and statues, in churches and
palaces. Contemporary with the last generation of Lombardi came the more
gifted Alessandro Leopardi, who completed the great statue of Colleoni
designed by Verrocchio, and gave a new impulse to Venetian sculpture.
While the Tuscan sculptors had been studying Roman remains, the Isles of
Greece had been giving Greek models to their Venetian conquerors, and
Leopardi in particular profited greatly by them. In the sister art the
first famous architect after the Lombardi was the Florentine, Jacopo
Sansovino, who spent most of a long life in Venice, where he built the
Zecca, the Loggetta, the Libreria Vecchia (the Old Library), and also
the Scala d'Oro (the Golden Stairway) of the ducal palace. Sanmicheli, a
military engineer, as well as a builder of palaces, came from Verona to
work in Venice. Palladio (1508-80), of whom we have spoken, came from
Vicenza, and bequeathed his name to the neo-classic style, known as

In painting first came the famous Bellini family, Jacopo (1400-64?) and
his two sons, Gentile and the more gifted Giovanni, painter of tenderest
Madonnas; after them came Carpaccio, painter of St. Jerome and his lion,
and of St. George and his dragon. Then followed in rapid succession the
most gifted group of painters that ever lived together, all born within
twenty years of one another, as if to prove how prodigally Nature could
endow a petty province that had the luck to please her: Giorgione, from
Castelfranco on the Venetian mainland, of highest fame and disputed
pictures; Titian, of Cadore, noblest of portrait painters; Palma
Vecchio, of Bergamo, creator of the most glorious of animals, the superb
Venetian women; Sebastiano del Piombo, who painted the Fornarina of the
Uffizi Gallery long attributed to Raphael, and deserved his fortune of
being pupil to Giorgione and friend to Michelangelo; Lorenzo Lotto, of
Bergamo, another painter of exquisite women, high-bred men, noble
saints, and poetical angels; Giovanni Antonio da Pordenone, inferior
only to Titian; Bonifazio from Verona, painter of patrician luxury;
Paris Bordone, of Treviso, so uncertain in merit, yet at his best so
rich in hue, so tender in sentiment, so admirable in his pictures of
Venetian ceremonial; and at the close, the giant Tintoretto (1512-94)
and Paolo Veronese (1528-88) the glorious: all, though in different
degrees, splendid in colour, voluptuous ministers to the sensuous eye.
This cluster of names serves to show that while elsewhere in Italy art
was dwindling into mannerism and exaggeration, Venice put forth an
extraordinary burst of pictorial magnificence; yet even in Venice at
the end of the century none of the great men were left.

The reason for this decadence of the arts from their splendour in the
early decades of the century is not easy to assign; no one can say why
genius spurts up in one spot or in one individual, why the brilliant
Italian race should have achieved so many masterpieces and then have
become ineffectual. One can merely notice, whether as a cause or an
accompanying phenomenon, that, with individual exceptions,--no man could
be nobler than Michelangelo,--Italy of the High Renaissance was a great
moral failure. In intellectual achievement the Italians eclipsed the
world; in morality they stumbled about like blind men. This lack of
morality finds its fullest expression, at least its most conspicuous
expression, at the very time of the culmination of the arts. Let me

The night that the Duke of Gandia, son of Pope Borgia, was murdered in
Rome (1497), a wood-seller, living beside the Tiber, saw several men
come cautiously to the river. They peered about and made a sign to some
one behind. Up came a horseman, with a dead body lying across his
horse's back, head and heels dangling down; the horse was turned rump to
the river, and two men on foot seized the body and flung it into the
water. The wood-seller was asked why he had not reported the fact. He
answered that he had seen some hundred bodies thrown into the river at
that spot, and had never heard any inquiries made. The duke's brother,
Cæsar, was at the time believed to have done the deed, but evidence

The same Cæsar Borgia, bearing the somewhat ambitious motto _Aut Cæsar
aut nihil_, energetic, ruthless, vigorous, ingenious, and plausible,
embodied the Italian conception of what a political leader should be; so
much so, that Machiavelli, the greatest of Italian political writers,
cites him as a model. Machiavelli was a patriot, animated by real love
of his country, but he was free from our conceptions of morality, or
perhaps sceptical of Italian virtue, and believed that the achievement
of liberating Italy from foreign tyranny could only be accomplished by
the qualities of an Iago. In the chapter in "The Prince" entitled "In
what manner Princes should keep faith," he says: "How praiseworthy it is
for a Prince to keep faith, to practise integrity and eschew trickery,
everybody knows; nevertheless, within our own lifetime and our own
experience, we know that those Princes have done great things who have
made small account of good faith and have known how to turn men's heads
by means of trickery, and in the end have surpassed those who planted
themselves on loyalty.... Therefore a prudent lord ought not to keep
faith, when keeping faith would make against him, and the reasons which
made him promise are no more. If men were all good this precept would
not be good; but as they are bad and would not keep faith with you, you,
too, ought not to keep faith with them; and a Prince will never lack
legitimate reasons to colour the breach.... I shall even make bold to
say this, that to have certain moral qualities and always observe them
is bad, but to seem to have them is good; as to seem to be pious,
faithful, kind, religious, honest, or even to be so, provided your mind
be so adjusted that, in case of need, you will know how to be the
opposite. For you must know that a Prince, and especially a newly
crowned Prince, cannot do all the things for which men are esteemed
good, for, in order to maintain the state, they are often obliged to act
contrary to humanity, contrary to charity, contrary to religion;
therefore, he must have a mind prompt to veer with the wind and the
fluctuations of fortune; and, as I have said, not to forsake the good,
if may be, but to know how to cleave to evil, if he must."

Another illustration shall be the life of Pietro Aretino (1492-1557),
born the child of an artist's model in a hospital at Arezzo, who, by wit
and infinite impudence, by toadying, bullying, and blackmail, worked his
way to such a position that he could say, "Without serving courts I have
compelled the great world, dukes, princes, kings, to pay tribute to my
genius." Once a pious lady, the Marchesa di Pesaro, remonstrated with
him upon his life, and bade him mend his ways. He wrote back: "I must
say that I am not less useful to the world, or less pleasing to Jesus,
spending my vigils upon trifles than if I had employed them on works of
piety. But why do I do this? If princes were as devout as I am needy, my
pen would write nothing but _misereres_.... Let us see. I have a friend
named Brucioli, who dedicated his translation of the Bible to the Most
Christian King [of France]. Four years passed and he got no answer. On
the other hand, my comedy, 'The Courtesan,' won a rich necklace from
this same king; so that my Courtesan would have felt tempted to make fun
of the Old Testament, if that were not a trifle unbecoming. Forgive me
lady for the jests I have written, not from malice, but for a
livelihood. All the world does not possess the inspiration of divine
grace. Music and comedy are to us what prayer and preaching are to you.
May Jesus grant you His grace to get for me from Sebastiano di Pesaro
[her husband?] the rest of the money of which I have only received
thirty scudi; for this I am in anticipation your debtor." Of Pietro
Aretino a recent Italian critic says: "His memory is infamous; no
gentleman would mention his name before a lady." Yet, perhaps, we may
doubt if he was peculiarly bad; he possessed the cynical views of
morality current at the time. Aretino made a fortune, received
knighthood from the Pope, nearly obtained a cardinal's hat, and was
painted by Titian.

The following anecdote is taken from the autobiography of the famous
goldsmith and sculptor, Benvenuto Cellini (1500-71). He was travelling
on a sort of canal boat on his way from Venice to Florence. "We went to
lodge for the night in an inn on this side of Chioggia, on the left as
we were approaching Ferrara. Our host wished to be paid, according to
his custom, before we went to bed. I told him that in other places it
was the custom to pay in the morning, but he said, 'I wish to be paid,
according to my way, in the evening.' I replied that men who wanted
their own special way would have to make a world to suit their special
way, because in this world that was not the way things were done. The
host answered that I need not vex my wits, for he wished to do according
to his way. My companion was trembling for fear, and poked me to be
quiet lest the host do worse; so we paid him, according to his way, and
went to bed. We had excellent new beds, everything new, spick and span;
in spite of this I did not sleep a wink, thinking all night long what I
could do to revenge myself; first I thought of setting fire to the
house, next of cutting the throats of the four good horses that he had
in his stable; I could see that this would be easy to do, but not how it
would be easy for me and my companion to escape afterwards. At last I
hit on a plan. In the morning I put my companion and all the things into
the canal boat. When the horses were hitched to the rope that pulled the
boat, I said that they must not start the boat till I got back, as I had
left a pair of slippers in my room.... When I got in the room I took my
knife, which was sharp as a razor, and I cut the mattresses on the four
beds to little bits, so that I knew I had done more than fifty scudi
worth of damage." Throughout a delightful autobiography, which we need
not accept too literally, Cellini exhibits a perfectly unmoral
disposition, a mind with no sense of social law and no respect for
anything except Michelangelo and art.

These four men, Cæsar Borgia, Machiavelli, Aretino, and Cellini,
possessed fortitude, energy, subtlety, and courage, but they showed no
appreciation of the fundamental social virtues, loyalty, trust,
subordination of self to the general good; and for this reason they
enable us to understand why Italy fell like a ripe apple, without
resistance, into the lap of foreigners and lay helpless under Jesuit,
inquisitor, petty duke, and Spanish viceroy, and why freedom to think
and freedom to act faded from art and intellectual life as well as from
political life.


A SURVEY OF ITALY (1580-1581)

At the end of the sixteenth century Italy is well under way on a new
stretch of history, which lasted until the nineteenth century. Except
Venice, always individual, and the Papacy, freshly revivified, Italy has
lost all moral force, and become wholly effeminate. In twenty-five years
three hundred and twenty-six volumes of sonnets were published. Her
political life has become what one may call grand-ducal; her religion
formal, superstitious; her literature affected, stilted; her
architecture Baroque; her painting and sculpture steeped in mannerism
and exaggeration. Nevertheless, Italy is Italy, and has her own charm,
her own individuality, her own coquetry. As formerly she lured Barbarian
nations, so now she lures individual Barbarians, and becomes the
roaming-ground of travellers. She seems less a real country than a
theatre, where rococo dukes, cavaliers, and ladies curl their hair and
powder their cheeks.

For two centuries this artificial existence continued. Its history is
not to be found in the solemn volumes of Cesare Cantù, Carlo Botta, or
other Italian historians, but in the journals of German, French, and
English travellers: for during these centuries Italy was not a country
in either a political or a sentimental sense; it was a place of
recreation for gentlemen on the grand tour, pious folk bound Romeward,
virtuosi seeking classical remains, and elderly statesmen hoping to cure
the gout. The several petty states were so many artificial gardens,
where the peasants wore pretty costumes, the dukes sang prize songs, the
duchesses trilled _tra la la_ in rival endeavour, and the ecclesiastics
trolled out the chorus. It was the Italian opera bouffe on the most
charming stage in the world. The best summary of the history of the
coming century will be a series of extracts from the diary of a
keen-witted French gentleman, travelling for pleasure, Michel de
Montaigne, who, in the company of some friends, spent several months in
Italy (1580-81). They crossed the Alps over the Brenner Pass and went by
way of Trent. Montaigne's diary is sometimes written in the second and
sometimes in the third person. He describes many of the principal

VERONA (within the territory of the Republic of Venice).
"Without health certificates which they had got at Trent they could not
have entered the city, although there was no rumour of any danger of
pest; but it is the custom (in order to cheat us of the few pennies they
cost). We went to see the cathedral, where Montaigne deemed the
behaviour of the men at High Mass very peculiar; they chatted even in
the choir of the church, standing up, with their hats on and their backs
turned to the altar, and did not seem to pay any attention to the
service except on the elevation of the Host. There were organs and
violins to accompany the mass.... We went to see the castle and were
shown all over by the lieutenant in charge. The [Venetian] government
keeps sixty soldiers there, rather, according to what they said to
Montaigne, against the people of the city than against foreigners. We
also saw a congregation of monks called the Gesuati of St. Jerome [not
Jesuits]. They are not priests; they neither say mass nor preach; most
of them are ignorant, but they carry on a business of distilling
lemon-flower water, both in Verona and elsewhere. They are dressed in
white, with little white caps, and a dark brown gown over it;
good-looking young men." They visited the Ghetto (Jews' quarter), and
the Roman amphitheatre, which Montaigne thought the noblest building he
had ever seen.

VICENZA. "It is a big city, a little smaller than Verona, all
full of palaces of the nobility." The fair, which was held twice a year,
was going on upon the parade-ground; booths had been built on purpose,
and no shops in the city were allowed to keep open. In the town there
was another establishment of the Gesuati, selling their perfumes and
also medicines for every ailment. "These monks tell us that they whip
themselves every day; each one has his switch at his post in the
oratory, where they meet at certain hours of the day and pray, but they
have no singing.... The old wine has given out, which vexed me, as it is
not good for me, on account of my colic, to drink the new wines, though
they are very good in their way." From Vicenza they journeyed by a broad
straight road, ditched on either side and raised a little, which ran
through a fertile champaign with mountains in the distance, to
PADUA. The inns here could not be compared with German inns
except that they were cheaper by a third. "The streets narrow and ugly,
not many people, few handsome houses. We went about all the next day and
saw the schools of fencing, dancing, and riding, where there were more
than a hundred French gentlemen together." In fact, young men went in
great numbers, young Frenchmen in particular, to the schools of Padua,
less to acquire a knowledge of books than to acquire the accomplishments
which were then the mode. One of Montaigne's party stopped here and
found good lodging for seven crowns a month, and "he might have lodged a
valet for five crowns more; ordinarily, however, they do not have
valets, only a general servant for the house, or else maids; every one
has a nice bedroom, but fire and lights in the bedroom are extra. The
accommodation was very good, and you can live there very reasonably, and
that, I think, is the reason why many strangers go there to live, even
those who are not students."

VENICE. Here he dined with the French ambassador "very well;"
among other things "that the ambassador told him this seemed odd, that
he had no social relations whatever with anybody in the city, because
the people were so suspicious that a [Venetian] gentleman who should
speak to him twice would fall under distrust." One is inclined, however,
considering the fate of Milan, to regard a certain distrust of
foreigners as not unnatural. Montaigne thought that the four most
remarkable things about Venice were the situation, the police, the
Piazza of St. Mark's, and the crowds of foreigners. He received as a
gift a little book of "Letters" from a Venetian lady, one of that
celebrated class of Venetian women who were outside the matrimonial pale
yet lived in ostentatious luxury, recognized by the government and by
masculine society. This lady at mid-life had changed her ways and
devoted herself to literature, and hearing of the famous French author,
sent him her book.

Returning by way of Padua, Montaigne passed the sulphur springs,
frequented in May and August by the fashionable sick, who took mud or
vapour baths and drank the waters. He noted the canals; the system of
irrigation in the plains, where rows of vine-laden trees intersected
fields of wheat; the big, strong, gray oxen; the broad mud flats, once
swamps, which the government was struggling to reclaim.

ROVIGO, a little town in Venetian territory near the Adige.
"There is as great abundance of meat here as in France, whatever it may
be the custom to say, and though they use no lard for the roast, they do
not take away the savour. The bedrooms, because there is no glass and
they don't shut the windows, are not so clean as in France; the beds are
better made, smoother, and well supplied with mattresses, but they have
nothing but coarse coverings, and they are very sparing of white sheets;
if a man travels alone, or with little style, he won't get any. It is
about as dear as in France, or a little dearer."

He crossed the Po, as he had crossed the Adige, upon some kind of
pontoon bridge, and went on to

FERRARA (duchy of Ferrara), where he was delayed on account of
his health certificate. The ducal regulations on this point were very
particular. On the door of every room in the inn was written up,
"Remember the health certificate;" immediately on arrival, names of
travellers were reported to the magistrates. Montaigne found most of the
streets broad and straight, all paved with bricks; there were many
palaces, but few people, and he missed the porticos of Padua, so
convenient against the rain. He _did_ the town, paid his respects to the
duke, saw Tasso in the madhouse, and found the lemon-flower distilling
Gesuates again.

At BOLOGNA (in the Papal States), a large, fine city, bigger
than Ferrara, and with many more people; he also found young Frenchmen
come to learn riding and fencing. He admired the fine porticos, that
covered almost every sidewalk, the handsome palaces, the buildings of
the _School of Sciences_, the bronze statue of Neptune designed by John
of Bologna, and enjoyed a company of players. "The cost of living was
about the same as at Padua, very reasonable; but the city is less
peaceful in the older quarters, which make debatable land between the
partisans of different nations, on one side always the French, and on
the other the Spaniards, who are there in great numbers."

This unpeaceful and factional condition was not confined to Bologna, but
spread throughout the Papal States. Even fifty years later a perplexed
visitor to Ravenna wrote: "The city is divided, as you know, into
Guelfs and Ghibellines, so much so that one man won't go to another's
church, and each side has its place in the public square; a tailor who
works for one need not look for employment from the other, and so with
all the trades; they distinguish one faction from the other by the way
they wear their hair, their caps," etc. But these pale shadows of the
great old parties were slight inconveniences compared with the banditti,
who also decked themselves with old names, and, under pretence of
fighting one another, robbed, burnt, pillaged, and murdered with perfect
impartiality. The soldiers and the common people united against these
rascals, but they were too strong to be utterly extirpated. In the Papal
States, one Piccolomini, a member of a famous Sienese family, raided
where he chose, and once led a band of two hundred men within a mile or
two of the walls of Rome. Terms were made with him, for he was under the
protection of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and although he confessed to
three hundred and seventy murders within twenty-five years, he was
pardoned and absolved.

Leaving Bologna, Montaigne hesitated in his choice of roads on account
of brigands, and chose wisely for he was not molested. He crossed the
Apennines by a road, which he says is the first that could be called
bad, and entered the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. One village on the way,
still in papal territory, was famous for the knavery of the innkeepers,
who made wonderful promises till the traveller was safely housed, and
then rendered the scantest performance. At the next village, which was
in Tuscany, rival hosts rode out to meet the traveller, and struggled to
secure him, promising everything. One offered to serve a rabbit for
dinner free, if Montaigne would lodge with him. The party prudently rode
about to all the inns on a tour of inspection, examining food and wine,
and making their bargain before dismounting; the host, however, managed
to put extras on the bill, it being impossible to remember beforehand
every item, wood, candles, linen, hay, etc.

Next day Montaigne rode out of his way to see Pratolino, the Grand
Duke's famous country place, with its gardens, alleys, wonderful
grottos, all decked with Nereids and Tritons, and fountains of
extravagant baroque designs. From there he went on to

FLORENCE, which appeared to him smaller than Ferrara. He went
to see the ducal stables, the ducal menagerie, Michelangelo's statues,
Giotto's campanile; and remarked that he had never seen a country with
so few handsome women as Italy. Lodgings were inferior in comfort to
those in France, and the food was far less generous and less well served
than in Germany, where, also, sauces and seasonings were far superior;
the windows were big and always open, for there was no glass, and if the
shutters were shut they excluded light and air as well as wind; the beds
were uncomfortable, the wines too sweet; moreover, Florence was esteemed
the most expensive city in Italy.

Montaigne dined with the duke, Francesco I (son of Cosimo I), and his
second wife, Bianca Cappello, the famous Venetian, who sat at the head
of the table. She had a pleasant face, was reputed handsome, and seemed
to have been able to keep her husband devoted to her for a long time.
The duke mixed water freely with his wine; she scarcely at all. After a
brief stay, during which he visited gardens and the environs of the
city, which he admired greatly, Montaigne rode southward to

SIENA. The country was cultivated everywhere and tolerably
fertile, but the road was rough and stony. At Siena he notes the Duomo,
the palaces, the _piazza_, the fountains, and, important point, that
"there are good cellars and fresh;" also, that in Tuscany the city walls
are let go to ruin, while the citadels are carefully fortified and no
one is permitted to go near, showing that the duke feared domestic
insurrection more than foreign attack. He observes "the French are kept
in such affectionate remembrance here by the people of the country, that
at any mention of them tears well up in their eyes, for war itself, with
freedom in some form, seems to them sweeter than the peace which they
enjoy under this tyranny." The French had aided Siena in its brave
struggle for liberty, and a valiant remnant of French and Sienese had
held out till the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis (1559), when France
abandoned them to Cosimo dei Medici.

From Siena he rode southward past Bolsena, Viterbo, and a pleasant
valley surrounded by hills covered with wood, "a commodity somewhat rare
in this country." Incidentally he commends the customs: in good houses
dinner was served at two o'clock and supper at nine; and if there was a
play, it began at six and was over by supper time. "It is a good country
for a lazy fellow for they get up late."

At ROME he put up for a day at the _Bear_, and then took
lodgings, three good bedrooms, parlour, dining-room, kitchen, and
stable, for twenty crowns a month, the host providing the cook and fire
for the kitchen. "Apartments are ordinarily somewhat better furnished
than in Paris, especially as they have a great deal of gilt leather,
with which the walls of apartments of a certain grade are hung." He
might have hired another apartment for the same price, furnished in silk
and cloth of gold, but he did not think this luxury suitable, and the
rooms were not so convenient. Ancient Rome impressed him immensely, and
the modern city, too; he was astonished by the papal court, the number
of prelates, the crowd of ecclesiasts, by the streets, so full of richly
dressed men, of horses and coaches.

Making a comparison between freedom in Venice and in Rome, he argued for
Venice, and adduced these reasons: "Item, that in Rome houses were so
insecure, that those who had considerable sums of money were advised to
leave their purses at their bankers, so as not to find their chest
broken open; item, that it was not very safe to go out at night; item,
that, in the very first month of his visit, the General of the
Cordeliers was abruptly dismissed from his post and put in prison,
because in a sermon, which he preached before the Pope [Gregory XIII]
and the cardinals, he had accused prelates of laziness and luxury, but
without going into details, and using (with some asperity of voice) only
perfectly common and current phrases on the subject; item, that his
luggage had been examined on entering the city for the customs, and had
been ransacked down to the smallest article of clothing, whereas in most
of the other cities in Italy the officials had been satisfied with the
mere offer to submit to examination; besides that, they had taken all
the books they found in order to examine them, and took so long about
it, that a man who had something to do might put them down as lost; add
to that, that their rules were so extraordinary that the 'Book of Hours
of Our Lady' fell under their suspicion, because it came from Paris and
not from Rome, and they also kept books, written by some German doctors
against heretics, because in combating them they made mention of their

On Christmas day at St. Peter's during mass, Montaigne "was surprised to
see Pope, cardinals, and other prelates, seated almost all through the
mass, talking and conversing together. The ceremony seemed more
magnificent than devotional." He obtained an interview with the Pope,
very ceremonious; and dined with a French cardinal, where the
_benedicite_ and repetitions of grace, very long, were recited
antiphonally by two chaplains. During dinner the Bible was read, and
after the table was cleared, service was held; everything was
exceedingly formal, but the _chef_ does not appear to have equalled
Cardinal Caraffa's _chef_, a culinary enthusiast, with whom Montaigne
had a long talk on sauces, soups, and serving. Montaigne attended the
Carnival sports on the Corso, a festival already at that time more than
a hundred years old, where boys, Jews, old men, horses, asses, and
buffalo ran races; fair ladies, without masks, looked on, and young
cavaliers congregated where the ladies could see them; the ladies were
richly clad, the gentlemen simply; and (Montaigne adds) the appearance
of the dukes, counts, and marquesses was not equal to their titles.

Montaigne's "Essays" had been submitted to the Master of the Palace, who
examined them with the aid of a French friar, for the Master knew no
French. After a delay they were returned, and the Master left it to
Montaigne's conscience to alter what might seem to be in bad taste,
especially in those points to which the French friar objected; item,
that Montaigne had used the word _Fortune_; item, that he had named
poets who were heretics; item, that he had made an apology for Julian
the Apostate; item, that he had suggested that when a man was saying his
prayers he ought at that moment to be free from any unworthy
inclination; item, that he judged any punishment in excess of death,
cruelty; item, that a child should be educated to do all sorts of
things, etc. Another book belonging to Montaigne, a history of the
Swiss, was confiscated, because the translator was a heretic.

On Maundy Thursday he saw the Pope come forth on the balcony of St.
Peter's attended by his cardinals. On one side a canon, speaking Latin;
on the other, a cardinal read, in Italian, a long bull which
excommunicated an everlasting list of people, including the Huguenots
and all princes who withheld any portion of the territory of the Church.
At this last article Cardinals Medici and Caraffa laughed heartily. At
night there was a great procession of religious guilds, with twelve
thousand torches, including files of Penitents, who scourged their bare
backs till the blood ran. Montaigne, however, was of opinion that these
Penitents were hired for this purpose. He agreed with the French
ambassador, that the poor people were incomparably more devout in France
than here, but that in Rome the rich, and especially the courtiers, were
more devout than in France.

From Rome Montaigne made his way northward by SPOLETO, where
there was great alarm caused by a noted brigand. On the way he notes his
food,--salt fish, beans uncooked, artichokes also uncooked, peas, green
almonds, eggs, cheese, wine, and, in little places, olive oil instead of
butter. "You meet monks every now and then who give holy water to
travellers and expect alms in return, and a lot of children who beg and
hold out their beads, promising to say a string of paternosters for the
person who will give them something."

The Umbrian plain was beautiful and fertile, with grains and fruits in
abundance, the whole country rich beyond description. So, too, had been
the Roman Campagna, but that was not tenanted, for its owners, the Roman
barons, had let it to merchant farmers, who did not maintain peasants
there, but in harvest time hired husbandmen from all over Italy, to the
number of forty thousand, to gather in the crops. From FOLIGNO he turned
to the right and crossed the Apennines just below Assisi, and travelled
toward the Adriatic coast, making a pilgrimage to LORETO, a place like
Lourdes, celebrated for its miracles, and for the "very same little
house in which Jesus Christ was born in Nazareth." Here he found the
people much more religious than elsewhere; even the attendants in the
Church were ready to do anything, and would accept no tips. Thence he
went to ANCONA, SINIGAGLIA, URBINO, where he inspected the famous palace
begun by Federigo da Montefeltro; then back to FLORENCE, once more to
admire the beautiful villas which decked the hills round about, and on
to PRATO and PISTOIA, stagnating little towns, whose civic life had been
crushed out by the Medici. So he rode on through lovely country, where
long lines of little trees, trellised with vines, divided the rich
fields of grain, skirting the hills covered with olive, mulberry, and
chestnut, till he reached LUCCA, which had saved itself from the clutch
of the Medici by clinging to the skirts of Austria.

Lucca, girdled by fortifications worthy of a most martial ardour,
maintained a comfortable prosperity by the manufacture of silk; but
here, as elsewhere, it was becoming unfashionable to engage in trade,
partly on account of decreasing returns and the general waning of
energy, and partly from Spanish influences. Gentlemen retired from
business, invested their money in landed estates, and were rapidly
tending to become the characters which we find in Goldoni's comedies.

From Lucca Montaigne went to the BATHS OF LUCCA and took the cure for
near two months. He found the country lovely, but society a little slow;
most of the men were apothecaries. After the cure he made another tour
southward, then back to Lucca for more baths, from there northward, on
the road to Milan, stopping at PONTREMOLI. At the inn in this place, the
dinner began with cheese _alla milanese_, included a dish of olives,
their pits taken out, dressed with oil and vinegar _alla genovese_; on a
bench stood one basin in which all the guests washed their hands in the
same water, _alla pontremolese_. From there he crossed the Apennines,
where the mountaineers, horrid people, charged them most cruel prices,
and went on into the duchy of Parma, where Alessandro Farnese, the great
general, was the reigning duke. At PIACENZA, the King of Spain, out of
his abundant caution, still maintained a Spanish garrison in the castle,
"badly paid as they told me." Thence they proceeded into the duchy of

At PAVIA Montaigne remarks, that from Rome northward the best
inn he had lodged at was the _Post_ at Piacenza, and the worst the
_Falcon_ at Pavia: "You pay extra for wood, and there are no mattresses
on the beds." MILAN was the largest city in Italy, not unlike
Paris, full of merchandise and craftsmen; it lacked the palaces of other
cities, but in size excelled them all, and in throng of people rivalled

From Milan he rode westward, and entered the domains of the Duke of
Savoy, crossing the Sesia near Vercelli, where the duke was building a
fort in such haste, that he aroused the suspicion of his Spanish
neighbours. Thence he went to TURIN. Here the people imitated
French ways, looked up to Paris, usually spoke French, or rather French
words with Italian pronunciation, and altogether seemed very devoted to
France. Montaigne liked Piedmont, finding the inns there better than
elsewhere in Italy. The bread was bad but the wine good, there was
plenty to eat, and the innkeepers were polite. He crossed the Alps over
the Mt. Cenis Pass, half the time on horseback, half the time in a
chaise borne by four porters, and then entered Savoy proper, passing its
capital, Chambéri, crossing the Rhone to the north and then the little
river Ain to the westward, and came to MONTLUEL, the last town
of Savoy, and so on to the Saône, Lyons, and French soil (November,

Such was the Italy of the long period from 1580 to 1789, the land of
olives, mulberries, and chestnuts, of fertile fields crossed by
vine-laden trees, of irrigated plains and treeless mountains, of
innkeepers, good, bad, and indifferent, of Spanish garrisons, ducal
citadels, and dare-devil banditti, of begging urchins, perfuming friars,
of gentlemen too genteel to work, of prelates in coaches, of antique
ruins and Renaissance glory, of blue sky and vivacious manners, in
short, almost the Italy that our fathers knew before the perturbations
of 1848.



We have now reached a period of comparative stability in which dukes,
viceroys, oligarchs, and Popes sit settled in their respective dominions
with a security that appears a little tame after the whir and uproar of
Barbarian invasion. To be sure, the wars between Spain, France, and
Austria, waged first to abate the over-greatness of the House of
Hapsburg and afterwards that of the House of Bourbon, were often fought
out in the north of Italy; nevertheless, the period of confusion has
passed, and each principality has a consecutive political history, which
runs along for two hundred years. Our best course will be to glance at
the careers of the several states, one by one, until they reach the
tumultuous influences of the French Revolution. Venice, the noblest as
well as the most powerful, deserves to come first.


Venice still ranked as one of the great powers of Europe; she was sought
as an ally, she took part in European counsels, and bore herself with
resolute dignity and pride. The change that was going on went on so
slowly, and her statesmen were so well trained and so far-sighted, that
her reputation remained intact after the power which had created it had
shrunk and dwindled. In spite of the battle of Lepanto she lost the
island of Cyprus to the Turks, but secured a peace which lasted for two
generations, a surprisingly long time, considering that the two states
were destined to fight each other till both were exhausted. She was less
successful in keeping at peace with her Christian neighbours, and became
embroiled in a celebrated quarrel with the Holy See.

There was an irritating papal bull which was issued and reissued under
the stimulus of the reinvigorating Counter-Reformation, entitled _In
Coena Domini_ (for the Lord's Supper), usually read on Maundy Thursday.
It was probably the very bull that Montaigne heard read from the balcony
of St. Peter's. This bull asserted papal claims of extreme character,
not unworthy of Boniface VIII, and, in fact, revealed complete
consciousness of renewed youth and vitality. Other states in Italy bowed
and accepted, or pretended to accept, this declaration of papal
authority; but Venice refused to publish the bull. In fact, though
Venice had always professed great respect for the Holy See, she had been
consistently self-willed and opposed to papal pretensions, and likewise
somewhat free-thinking. Moreover, there had been festering disagreements
concerning territory and politics. Venice insisted upon the right to tax
Church property within the state, and to try priests charged with crime
before her lay tribunals. Acting upon the latter right she arrested and
tried two priests guilty of crime. This action traversed the doctrine
laid down in the papal bull. The Pope put Venice under an interdict
(1606). In retaliation the Signory issued a decree of banishment against
all priests and monks who should obey the interdict. Various Orders
quitted the city. The Pope stood firm in his position that "there could
be no true piety without entire submission to the spiritual power." All
Europe looked on, the Protestants backing Venice, the Catholics
supporting the Pope. War was in the air; but the danger of a European
_mêlée_ was too great. The French King, Henry IV, enacted the
peacemaker; and the forces in favour of compromise succeeded in
reëstablishing peace.

Out of the quarrel one man issued with a noble historic reputation. Fra
Paolo Sarpi (1552-1623) was the last of the great Venetians. In boyhood
he was so precocious a scholar that at eighteen he was made professor of
Positive Theology, and, a little later, of Philosophy and of
Mathematics. Grown up, he became a man of science, the foremost of his
time excepting Francis Bacon. He discovered the valves of the veins, and
also, independently of Harvey, the circulation of the blood. He made
discoveries in optics. He studied heat, light, sound, colour,
pneumatics, the magnetic needle. In astronomy Galileo called him, "_il
mio padre e maestro_--my father and my master." Sir Henry Wotton, the
English ambassador to Venice, said, Fra Paolo is "as expert in the
history of plants as if he had never perused any book but Nature." In
addition to these achievements, he wrote a very celebrated history of
the Council of Trent. At the time of the breach with the Papacy, this
brilliant savant was appointed Theological Counsellor to the Republic,
and was abruptly flung into the confusion and passion of violent
political strife. Deeply patriotic,--his last thought was for Venice,
"_Esto perpetua_, may she live forever,"--he held a brief, as it were,
for his country, and as her advocate argued her cause before all Europe
with brilliant success.

At this period the Venetian Signory belonged, in spirit at least, to an
international political party which was opposed to Spain and to the
Papacy, and for that reason was favoured by the French, especially when
Henry of Navarre was on the throne. In fact, this quarrel between Venice
and the Papacy may be considered an episode in the great struggle
between the party of European freedom and the tyrannical House of
Hapsburg, seated on the thrones of Spain and Austria, and supported by
the Papacy.

But Venice was not able to concentrate her attention upon European
affairs. Later in the century war with the Turks was renewed; she was
too weak to resist them single-handed, and, after a struggle which
lasted for twenty-five years, she lost Crete (1669). Not many years
later, having obtained allies, she renewed the war, fought with great
gallantry, and actually conquered the Morea, which, on the conclusion of
hostilities, was ceded to her (1699). This conquest, now best remembered
from the fact that in the attack on Athens a Venetian bomb blew up the
Parthenon, was the last great military exploit of the Venetians, and
within twenty years the Morea was lost again.

Martial vigour ebbed slowly but surely. During the war of the Spanish
Succession, when, the course of fortune having shifted, Europe combined
to resist the overbearing power of Louis XIV and the House of Bourbon,
Venice remained neutral. Like an old dog which has fought many good
fights in its youth and prime, and now, lame and scarred, maintains a
dignified abstention from canine frays, Venice lay back. In 1718, after
the war with Turkey in which she lost the Morea, she took part in the
treaty between Austria and Turkey. This was her last active diplomatic
intervention in the affairs of Europe. She had lost Cyprus, Crete, the
Morea; and now her province in Italy, bits of Illyria, and some of the
Ionian Islands, alone remained from her old empire. She shut her eyes to
the past, and concentrated her attention on making her beautiful city
"the revel of the earth, the masque of Italy." On the eve of the mighty
upheaval of the French Revolution, her old sea glory flashed up under
her last great admiral, Angelo Emo (1731-92), who cleared the seas of
the Algerine pirates; but it was too late, Venice had run her course,
and the end was at hand.

_Spanish Provinces_

West of Venetian territory, the unfortunate duchy of Milan fulfilled its
melancholy lot of being the prize possessed by Spain, yet coveted and
fought for by France. Its history takes no special hold upon the memory.
Against a constant background of French ambition (Richelieu, Mazarin,
Louis XIV), the Spanish governors step forward upon the Milanese stage,
levy taxes, scheme how to circumvent the French, and how to extend
Spanish dominion, and then go home, a little richer but without leaving
any definite impression on the page of history except as they have
served to create the scenes depicted in the romantic novel "I Promessi
Sposi." One has a vague idea of ceremony, bows, obeisances, ignorance,
rapacity, and cruelty, but the idea is nebulous, and we need not stop.

Leaving local affairs aside, we will proceed at once to see how the
titles to Milan and other Spanish provinces in Italy passed from Spain
into other hands. History here acts as an attorney and coldly records
the transfer from one monarch to another. Like lots of land the
provinces of Italy were bartered and granted in consideration of war,
dynastic love, and affection, or for the sake of the political
equilibrium of Europe. The great Powers fell to blows over the
succession to the crown of Spain (1700-14), to the crown of Poland
(1733-35), and other matters in which Italy had no voluntary concern;
and, after years of war, made treaties to reëstablish European
equilibrium by an elaborate system of weights and counterweights. Where
the balances hung unevenly, a province of Italy was thrown in to restore
them to a level. In this way Milan, Parma, Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia
were disposed of. All we need do is to remember that in place of
conveyances there were treaties, and in place of offer, counter-offer,
haggling, and bargaining, there were battles, sieges, devastation, and

The records of conveyances in the office of history read as follows:--

 LOT        GRANTOR           GRANTEE             DATE

 Milan      Spain             Austria             1713

 Naples     Spain             Austria             1713
   "        Austria           Spanish Bourbons    1738

 Sicily     Spain             Savoy               1713
   "        Savoy             Austria             1720
   "        Austria           Spanish Bourbons    1738

 Parma      Spanish Bourbons  Austria             1738
   "        Austria           Spanish Bourbons    1748

 Sardinia   Spain             Austria             1713
    "       Austria           Savoy               1720

Milan was subject to only one transfer, from Spain to Austria, by the
treaties of Utrecht and Rastadt (1713-14), which closed the war of the
Spanish Succession. Those same treaties took Naples and the island of
Sardinia from Spain and gave them to Austria, and also took Sicily from
Spain and gave it to Savoy. Spain, however, was dissatisfied, and
attempted to recover what she had lost; but a new European coalition
forced her to renounce her claim. In the general pacification after the
war, for the purpose of making a more satisfactory arrangement, Sardinia
was exchanged for Sicily, giving Sardinia to Savoy and Sicily to Austria
(1720). Finally, after the war of the Polish Succession by the Peace of
Vienna (1738), Austria ceded Naples and Sicily to younger sons of the
royal family of Spain, the Spanish Bourbons, on condition that those
provinces should never be united with the crown of Spain, and received
in exchange the little duchy of Parma, which had fallen to a Spanish
Bourbon on the extinction of the Farnesi. But ten years later, at the
close of the war of the Austrian Succession, Austria ceded Parma back
again to other members of the Spanish Bourbon family.


Another paragraph is necessary to complete the Austrification and the
Spanification of Italy. The Medici of Tuscany died out. After the first
Grand Duke, Cosimo, six successors had followed, dwindling away in
incapacity, luxury, and bigotry. The last died in 1737. Then, by virtue
of that general reapportionment after the war of the Polish Succession,
the Grand Duchy was handed over to the Duke of Lorraine, husband of
Maria Theresa, of the House of Hapsburg, Empress of Austria, and became
an appanage of the Austrian Empire, under the rule of the younger sons
of the Imperial house. It is a relief to turn from these Austrian and
Spanish provinces to the two living powers, Savoy and the Papacy.


It would be impossible to chronicle here the history of the Savoyard
dukes, who were advanced to the title of Kings of Sardinia after the
acquisition of that island. Savoy lay in the way of the three fighting
nations, France, Spain, and Austria. The plain of Piedmont was an
admirable fighting-ground, and the combatants chose it on all possible
occasions, but it would not be fair to charge the whole blame upon those
three nations. The Dukes of Savoy were ambitious men, full of all sorts
of schemes for increasing their dominions and their personal glory.
Whenever any one of them thought he perceived an opportunity to seize
some neighbouring territory, he caught at it, reckless of collision with
his powerful neighbours. The general upshot was that Savoy lost its old
Swiss provinces and its old French provinces, and that Piedmont became
the head and front of the new Kingdom of Sardinia. Equally important to
Italy was the fact that, while the people of the other Italian provinces
became more and more incapable of bearing arms or of making any real
martial effort, the people of Piedmont gradually became a nation of
soldiers. In devastation, war, and apparent ruin, Piedmontese valour and
Piedmontese character were trained and developed, and Piedmont little by
little came to feel, and likewise to impress upon the other Italian
States, that she, and she alone, was the refuge and hope of whatever
Italian patriotism might still exist.

_The Papacy_

The Papacy we left at the end of the sixteenth century in the full flood
of revival. The Popes were swept on by the tide. The bold and successful
front opposed to the enemy was supplemented by discipline within. Heresy
was traced and tracked. Inquisitors roamed about, spying what they
might; they frightened the learned from publishing, printers from
printing, and almost all from freedom of talk and thought. Thus traitors
were rooted out. And at the same time faithful soldiers of the Church
were trained and educated. Seminaries for priests of divers nations were
founded in Rome; Jesuit schools were helped everywhere. Sixtus V (Felice
Peretti), 1585-90, was a Pope worthy of the great period. He entertained
a plan to reconquer Egypt, and make the Mediterranean and Red Seas a
high-road for armies and navies that should break up the Ottoman power.
He attacked the banditti of the Papal State, as his predecessors had
attacked the barons, and, for a time at least, suppressed them. He was a
great builder; he completed the dome of St. Peter's, set up the Egyptian
obelisk in the _piazza_ before the cathedral, substituted statues of St.
Peter and St. Paul in place of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius on the tops of
the two great bronze columns that adorn the Foro Trajano and the Piazza
Colonna. He brought fresh water, named after him Acqua Felice, into the
city from over twenty miles away, and gave Rome an aspect worthy of the
capital of the Latin world. He fixed seventy for the number of
cardinals; he revised the Vulgate; and pondered many great designs, for
which, as he said, his strength would have been inadequate, even had he

But these Popes of the Revival, who carried into effect the papal
principles of the Council of Trent, vigorous, and in many respects
admirable, as they were, need not detain us, for the history of the
Papacy in this period scarcely belongs to Italy. It has a far wider
reach, and is intimately bound up with the great Catholic, one might say
the great Latin, effort to restore or extend Catholicism and Latin
supremacy throughout the world. In the British Isles, in Scandinavia, in
Poland, in Russia, in Germany, Austria, France, and Switzerland, the
Church fought with the old Roman spirit of conquest. Everywhere the
Jesuit fathers went, busy, devoted, heroic. The ardour of St. Francis
Xavier, the self-abnegation of St. Francis de Sales, the passionate
mysticism of St. Theresa, infected and controlled thousands of
disciples. Everywhere were great manifestations of activity. In South
America there were bishops and archbishops, hundreds of monasteries and
innumerable priests. In Mexico there were schools of theology. In India,
thousands and thousands of converts clustered around the city of Goa. In
China and Japan the Jesuits built churches, and converted to
Christianity disciples of Confucius and Buddha. The Church had founded
an empire on which the sun never set. But our business is not with this
great Latin conquest, this great Catholic revival. We must pass on to
the next series of Popes, less memorable for their imitation of Scipio
and Cæsar, than of Lucullus and Crassus. Here we find the names of the
founders of great papal families, so familiar in Rome, not as
missionaries, teachers, or martyrs, but as owners of palaces, villas,
pictures and statues: Borghese (Paul V, 1605-21), the Pope who
quarrelled with the Venetian Republic; Ludovisi (Gregory XV, 1621-23),
in whose pontificate the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (College for
Propagating the Faith) was established; Barberini (Urban VIII, 1623-44),
whose family, famous from the squib "Quod non fecerunt Barbari fecerunt
Barberini," built its palaces out of Roman ruins. During the pontificate
of Barberini, Galileo was brought before the Holy Office, and his
opinion that the earth moved condemned as "absurd, false in philosophy,
and essentially heretical."

Under his successor Panfili (Innocent X, 1644-55), Catholic Europe
stopped fighting Protestant Europe, and the Thirty Years' War was closed
by the Peace of Westphalia (1648). The Catholic Powers gave over the
attempt to reduce the Protestant States, and acknowledged their
independence. Panfili launched his bull against the treaty, but the
weary world disregarded the old man's curses. After him came Chigi
(Alexander VII, 1655-67), Rospigliosi (Clement IX, 1667-69), Odescalchi
(Innocent XI, 1676-89), whose names mean little to us.

Long before this time the forces of revivification which had borne
onward and upward the Catholic counter-charge on the Protestant ranks,
had begun to fall away. The great Catholic monarchs of Europe turned
their minds to personal ambitions; the Popes squandered papal revenues
on their own families; the Jesuits loosened their rigid hold on their
once high principles. The period of reform had passed, and the Papacy
settled down into a policy of maintaining the ecclesiastical empire left
to it and of enjoying its little Italian monarchy. In politics it
pursued a shifting course towards Austria, Spain, and France, dictated
rather by passing fears than by wisdom or lofty ambition. At the time of
the close of the war of the Spanish Succession the Papacy was hardly
regarded as a European power. The proof of decline was most visible in
the concessions made by the Papacy to the Catholic sovereigns, by its
forced acquiescence in the repeated attacks on the Jesuits, and finally,
by its bull suppressing, or rather attempting to suppress, the Order

Throughout the eighteenth century the papal part in European affairs was
insignificant; and in Italy the general effects of papal rule were
steadily increasing poverty, superstition, and incompetence. It is a
relief to turn away, knowing that the French Revolution is blowing its
refreshing blasts ahead of us.



We should do wrong to leave these centuries to stand solely on their
political record. Even this dreary period has contributed not a little
to the sum of Italy's attractions. After the moral vigour of republican
Florence, after the freshness of the Renaissance and its later grandeur,
after the elegance of the courts of Urbino, Ferrara, and Milan, it
requires time to adjust ourselves to a different standard and to acquire
a relish for this period of dissipated little kings and dukes. But once
familiar with the altered standard of excellence, these centuries, with
their arts, their habits, their idleness, become exceedingly
sympathetic, and lure with peculiar dexterity the idler who seeks
entertainment and the picturesque. Not that there is no serious element
in them, for there is. Italy, though known to us through her lovers as a
woman land, has always happily commingled feminine charm and masculine
strength. Like the Apennines which stretch their grim strength from the
Alps to the toe of the peninsula, virility runs throughout the length of
Italian history, though at times it avoids notice. In this period it is
best represented by science; and we must not omit to mention a few of
the most distinguished scientific thinkers.

Giordano Bruno (1550-1600) and Campanella (1568-1639) were philosophers
rather than men of science; their philosophy ran counter to the
scholastic philosophy sanctioned by the Church, and they came into
collision with the stern spirit of the Catholic Reaction. Campanella was
persecuted and punished; Bruno was condemned as a heretic and burnt to
death in the city of Rome. Greater than either was Galileo (1564-1642),
whose name is one of the most illustrious in astronomy. He was born at
Pisa, where he was educated in the university. He devoted himself to
study, especially to mathematics, and became a professor. In 1609 he
heard that a Dutchman had made an instrument which in some way by means
of a lens magnified objects. Acting on this hint he constructed a
telescope; and, if not strictly the inventor, he was the first to use
the telescope in astronomy. The next year he made various eventful
discoveries: that there are mountains in the moon, and spots on the sun;
that Venus has phases; that Saturn has an appendage, which later was
proved to be rings; that Jupiter has four satellites, a discovery which
increased the number of heavenly bodies from the mystically sacred seven
(sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) to the
uninspiring eleven. These discoveries persuaded Galileo to adopt the
Copernican theory, and brought him into collision with the Church. Much
has been said about his cruel persecution, but he appears to have
received gentle treatment and to have undergone a merely nominal
imprisonment. Another philosopher, Vico (1668-1744), a Neapolitan,
enjoys a very high reputation in Italy as a thinker. He wrote a
philosophy of history, in which he investigated the laws that govern
human progress, showed that philosophical theories must treat mankind
collectively, and anticipated Comte's theory of the three stages of
social development.

Science is not the characteristic trait of this period; for that is to
be found in the arts or in the pleasant enervating lassitude of life. In
the grand-ducal atmosphere there is a sense of having browsed on
lotus-flowers. As we glance back on the great centuries, their efforts
look splendid, their high purposes noble, their infinite curiosity
commendable, but we are content to sit in a ducal garden, to listen to
the Tritons spout into the fountains, to sip chocolate, to meditate
sonnets to a partner for the minuet, to gossip about "His Highness and
Contessa B----, who, so that young _milord_, Horry Walpole, says, was
once a ballerina," and to confess our sins to fat, amiable priests. We
enjoy the badinage of the abbés, the ingenious vacuity of the
littérateurs, the cheerful buzz of the café, the daily saunter on the
fashionable promenade, the drive in the park, and all the details of
theatrical make-believe existence.

As one becomes used to this lotos-laden atmosphere, one gets lenient
impressions of the arts, of their peculiar and characteristic
agreeableness, and rapidly loses one's previous too scornfully classical
attitude. In an earlier chapter we indulged in some high-flown
denunciation of the Baroque in architecture. That was because we were
fresh from the Renaissance. Now that we have eaten of the lotos, we
refrain from comparison and enjoy the arts in their new phases, in and
for themselves. There is hardly an Italian city that would not be poorer
for the absence of the Baroque. Rome, for instance, owes most of its
charm to these decadent generations, to the Villa Medici, the Villa
Borghese, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Piazza Navona.

A Neapolitan, Bernini (1598-1680), was the master spirit of the best
Baroque, both in architecture and in sculpture. His greatest achievement
is the splendid colonnade which reaches out like two arms from St.
Peter's Church and clasps the sunny _piazza_ in its embrace (1667).
Bernini's statues, his fountains, his decorations and ornaments, make a
good history of the time. They undoubtedly reveal decadence, yet they
are respectfully imitative of the great achievements of the Renaissance,
whereas the works of his numerous disciples are surcharged with
contortion, obvious effort, and strain for effect. There is a maximum of
visible exertion with a minimum of real accomplishment. Details are
multiplied, and ornaments bear little or no relation to the organic
structure of the buildings which they adorn; yet that practice is an
Italian trait, and even in excess has a picturesque merit. The baser
work of this style, exhibited in the vainglorious churches of the
Jesuits, is sometimes called the Jesuit style. After this period of
stormy ornament came a calm in the eighteenth century, façades became
rectilinear, and there was a general subsidence of obvious effort.

In painting the school of Bologna, led by Lodovico Caracci (1555-1619)
and his nephews, Agostino and the more noted and gifted Annibale, set
the fashion. They endeavoured to combine faithfulness to nature with all
the merits of all their predecessors, and are therefore called the
eclectic school. They remained the cynosure of touring eyes until the
middle of the nineteenth century. Sir Joshua Reynolds admired and
praised them. Some of their disciples were for a long time almost as
famous as Raphael. Domenichino's Last Communion of St. Jerome held a
place of honour in the Vatican Gallery equal to Raphael's
Transfiguration. Guido Reni's Aurora, painted on the ceiling of the
casino in the Rospigliosi palace in Rome, had a tremendous vogue, and
even now tourists, escaped from the critics, admire it privily.
Guercino, Sassoferrato, and also the lachrymose Carlo Dolci are other
celebrated members of the school. Another school, almost equally famous,
was devoted to Naturalism,--imitation of starving old beggars and a
general depiction of want, misery, and squalor. Of these painters the
principal were Caravaggio (1569-1609), a Neapolitan, and his pupil
Ribera, known as _Lo Spagnoletto_, because he was born in Spain. A later
group, the Venetians of the eighteenth century, consisted of Canaletto,
Bellotto, Guardi, and others who painted again and again the idle canals
and pleasure-loving palaces of Venice. The greatest of this group was
Tiepolo (1693-1770), who attained in a measure the grand manner of the
great masters of the sixteenth century.

In literature, though that also had flashes of seriousness, as in
Filicaia's celebrated sonnet to Italy adapted by Lord Byron,--

    Italia! O Italia! thou who hast
    The fatal gift of beauty--

the spirit of the Baroque, in its lightest and pleasantest manner,
expressed itself to the full by means of the Academy of Arcadia. The
unreality of the whole Italian world was concentrated in this Academy,
which soon had branches, imitations, colonies all over the peninsula. It
was founded in Rome (1692) by Gravina, a jurist, Crescimbeni, a priest,
and other dilettanti, for the ennoblement of literature, the
purification of taste, and other meritorious purposes. The members
called themselves Arcadian shepherds and shepherdesses, took pastoral
names, composed sonnets by the bushel, wrote one another's biographies,
and were altogether delightfully silly. Goldoni, the playwright, gives a
glimpse of these littérateurs in the eighteenth century as he observed
them in Pisa.

One day he passed a garden gate and saw within the garden a crowd of
ladies and gentlemen grouped by an arbour. He was told, "The assembly
which you see is a colony of the Arcadia of Rome, called the Colony of
Alpheus, named after a very celebrated river in Greece, which flowed
through the ancient Pisa in Elis." Goldoni went up to the circle and
listened to a number of gentlemen who recited poems, canzoni, ballads,
sonnets, etc. He observed that the company looked at him as if desirous
to know who he was. Eager to satisfy their curiosity, he asked the
president if a stranger might be permitted to express in poetry the
satisfaction which he experienced in being present on so interesting an
occasion. Goldoni had a sonnet in his head, composed by him in his youth
for some similar festival; he hastily changed a few words to adapt it to
the present occasion, and recited the fourteen lines with the tone and
inflection of voice which set off sentiment and rhyme to the best
advantage. The sonnet had all the appearance of being extemporaneous,
and was very much applauded. Whether the meeting had come to its
appointed end or not he did not know, but everybody got up and crowded
about him. Thereupon he was introduced to a whole troop of Arcadian
shepherds, who welcomed him most heartily. At another meeting the
president, whose proper title was Guardian of the Shepherds, drew a
large packet from his pocket, and presented Goldoni with two documents,
a certificate of his membership in the Arcadia of Rome under the name of
Polisseno (Polixenes), and a legal deed which bestowed upon him the
Fegean Fields in Greece; whereupon the whole assembly saluted him under
the name of Polixenes Fegeus, and embraced him as a fellow shepherd.
Goldoni says that, in spite of the formality of the conveyance, the
Turks never acknowledged his title.

Mention of the Arcadia and of Goldoni leads to another art, most
characteristic of these two centuries, the player's art. The drama had
never been a success in Italy; Machiavelli and Ariosto wrote comedies,
but they were no better from a dramatic than from an ethical point of
view. After the acknowledged failure of serious comedy, another species
took the field, the "Commedia dell'Arte," and definitely established
itself at about the time of the beginning of the Baroque. In this
species of comedy the dramatis personæ were masked and always
impersonated certain definite characters, and the dialogue was
improvised. These masks were _Pantalone_, our Pantaloon, a Venetian
merchant, who always wore a black robe and scarlet stockings, and spoke
the Venetian dialect; _Il Dottore_, the doctor, a pompous ass from
Bologna; _Arlecchino_, Harlequin, a silly and credulous servant in tight
hose and motley jerkin, and _Brighella_, a quick-witted and knavish
servant, both speaking the patois of Bergamo; _Colombina_, the
soubrette, a pretty maid-servant from Tuscany; _Capitano Spavento_,
Captain Terrible, a fire-eater from Naples, etc. This comedy,
necessarily kept within narrow limits by these characters, was strictly
improvisation, except that the playwright provided a _scenario_, a
skeleton plot. It had great success, and troops of Italian comedians
went all over Europe; but by the eighteenth century it had run its
course and become mere vulgar horseplay, and Goldoni (1707-93), the only
brilliant comic playwright that Italy has produced, gave it a

Goldoni was a Venetian, and a perfect embodiment of the happy, careless,
amiable, entertaining society of the time. He led a roaming life, going
to Tuscany to learn good Italian, and finally ending his career with
twenty years in Paris. Some of his plays are in the Venetian dialect;
two were written in French. There are more than a hundred, counting
tragedies, interludes, and all. Their virtue is their lightness. They
are made of foam, a delicious dramatic _soufflé_, and in the hands of
accomplished Italian actors, like Eleonora Duse or Ermete Novelli,
retain their charm to this day. They are essential for the history of
the period, with their counts, barons, marquesses, their ladies, their
waiting-maids, their innkeepers, _camerieri_, cobblers, adventurers, and
all their gay mockery of the idle habits of the time.

It will throw a little more light upon the customs of that day to
mention _cicisbeismo_, an unwritten rule of an artificial and idle
society, which prescribed that a lady should have a _cavaliere
servente_, a gentleman dangling in attendance upon her. Every lady had a
husband, as maidens were not allowed in society, and widows had to
choose between a convent and a second marriage; but the husband could
not wait upon her, for his own duty as _cavaliere servente_ required him
to be in attendance upon somebody else's wife. The duties of the
_cavaliere servente_ were to devote himself solely to his lady, to write
_billets-doux_, compose sonnets to her lapdog, to hand her chocolate at
_conversazioni_, to give her his arm on all occasions, to ride beside
her coach when she was out driving, and so on. In fact, he was required
to do all those little offices, _petits soins_, which a young gentleman
is accustomed to render to the lady whom he is engaged to marry. It was
a state of active flirtation, not only sanctioned but required by
society. It is said that in some cases the _cavaliere servente_ was
agreed upon before marriage, and his name inserted in the marriage

Besides Goldoni's comic drama and the "Commedia dell'Arte" this Baroque
Italy gave the world another and far more important gift, the Opera.
Italian genius flared up once more and led the world in music. As far
back as the days of the Council of Trent the reforming spirit of the
Church found its noblest expression in Palestrina's (1524?-94) masses,
but after his death, after the Catholic Revival had lost its deeply
serious feeling, music took another step. Florence, the old home of
genius, was the spot. A group of music lovers, who were full of classic
theories about art, wished to revive antique Greek drama, with its
combination of poetry, music, and dance. They decided that the words
were the chief element, that the music must be subservient to the full
emotional expression of the poetry, must intensify the dramatic
significance of the story. To give effect to their opinion they devised
a method of setting music to declamation, the earliest form of
recitative. They meant to revive the Greek drama, but they produced the
opera. After a few years of work over the new ideas, in 1600, at the
Pitti Palace, an opera was publicly performed in honor of the espousals
of Maria dei Medici and Henry IV of France. This was the first public
performance of a secular opera. Soon afterwards Monteverdi (1567-1643),
a revolutionary genius in the history of music, produced his operas at
Mantua. In 1637 the first public opera house was opened in Venice;
others quickly followed; the opera became a favourite diversion, and
Italian singers carried it to France, Germany, Austria, and England. In
the same year as the performance in the Pitti Palace, a dramatic
oratorio, "The Soul and the Body," was publicly performed in Rome. The
oratorio was greatly developed by Carissimi (1604-74) of the Roman
school, and with him and his successors acquired much stateliness and
beauty. Its influence on the opera, however, was not good, at least if
we adopt the opinion of those Florentine Hellenes and of Wagner, for it
developed music as an independent element, and did not subordinate it to
dramatic action.

With the exception of this misdevelopment of the opera, all music
evolved brilliantly and well in Italy, and especially in Naples, which
eclipsed all other cities, and showed that she, too, had her individual
genius. Alessandro Scarlatti (1659-1725) wrote a great number of operas
and oratorios, and composed a vast quantity of ecclesiastical music. He
was followed by his son Domenico Scarlatti, by Durante, Leo, and
Jommelli, by Pergolesi, Piccinni, Cimarosa, and Paisiello, who followed
one another, like a flight of singing birds, through the eighteenth
century. The Italian opera, even then, had the characteristics of
subordinating dramatic propriety and all semblance of reality to
_arias_, trills, and vocal exaggeration, but it was not till the
beginning of the nineteenth century--with Rossini, Bellini,
Donizetti--that the Italian opera (if I may venture to adapt a famous
phrase) became melted Baroque. There were other schools of music at
Rome, Bologna, and Venice. It was in Venice that the four famous asylums
for girls, _conservatori_, were turned into music schools, and gave
their name to training schools for musicians all over the world.

Besides the opera one must note, in mentioning Italian musical genius,
the violin-makers, the Amati of Cremona, the greater Stradivarius
(1644-1737), and other famous makers of Cremona, Brescia, and Venice;
also the organ-builders, the Antignati of Brescia; the great Italian
singers, then as now favourites of the world; as well as the greatest of
libretto-writers, Metastasio.

Metastasio (1698-1782) had a career that can only be compared to that of
a successful _prima donna_. As a boy he was adopted by the Arcadian
lawyer, Gravina, and brought early to drink of the Pierian spring. After
Gravina's death he spent his money, got into the company of singers and
musicians at Naples, and composed the words of an opera "Dido," while
still a youth of five-and-twenty. "Dido" had immense success, and from
this time on Metastasio poured out play after play in words that went
halfway and more to meet the accompanying music. His renown was
triumphant throughout Europe; he became the pet of lords, ladies, kings,
and Popes. He flitted from court to court, and sipped the honey of
facile success; he serves as the embodiment of the Italian opera, or
rather as a poetical spirit, a kind of baroque nightingale, to chant the
charm, the sentiment, the sweetness, the unreality, of these two
make-believe centuries.

As we take leave of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (a
somewhat ignoble pair), their architecture, painting, literature, and
music, we must, as in other matters, remember the good and forget the
bad. We must keep in mind the Spanish Steps, which offer at their base
ample room for all the flowers of all the flower-sellers of Rome, then
rise in easy flight, pause, rest, and mount again, tier upon tier, till
the top step stretches out into a terrace, where the pedestrian, glad to
pause, turns and looks back over Rome towards the majestic dome of St.
Peter's. We must remember the Trevi Fountain where gods and nymphs and
waters splash and frolic together, or Guido's Aurora, where Apollo
looses the rein to his heavenly horses as they gallop after Lucifer,
while the straight-backed hours dance divinely alongside. We must recall
the sweet sentiment in Metastasio, the light nothingness of Goldoni, the
merriment of Harlequin and Columbine, the violins of Stradivarius, the
singing of Farinello and Pacchierotti, the melodies of Pergolesi, and
the general pleasantness of an idle, amiable society. Then we want to
join the eighteenth-century travellers,--Addison, Walpole, President de
Brosses, or Goethe,--and we look back with vain regret to that happy
lotos-eating time, and wish it would return again.



Now come those great events, most important to Italy, the French
Revolution and the invasion by Napoleon. The storm burst upon a scene of
quiet. Italy was still like a comedy of Goldoni, dukes enjoying taxes
and mistresses, priests accepting oblations and snuff, nobles sipping
chocolate and pocketing rent, while the poor peasants, kept behind the
scenes, sweated and toiled for a bare subsistence.

Before the Revolution came the premonitory breezes of philosophical
philanthropy wafted across the Alps from the Encyclopedists. As they
affected the various rulers differently, it is necessary to descend to
some particulars. In Piedmont no philosophical philanthropy warmed the
king; he wrapped his cloak tighter about him, and deemed the old ways
good enough. He maintained his court in imitation of Versailles, and
drilled his soldiers in imitation of Frederick the Great. Nobles alone
were employed in the higher ranks of the civil service, nobles alone
were made officers in the army; in return, they were treated like
schoolboys, not allowed to leave a prescribed path without permission.
The clergy had the privileges of the old régime; their tribunals had
sole jurisdiction over priests, and tried to maintain jurisdiction over
the laity for all offences that had a smack of sin. King, nobility, and
clergy clung to the autocracy, and were resolved to maintain it in full
vigour. A rash admirer of Montesquieu wrote a treatise upon
"Constitutional Monarchy," and was put in prison.

In Lombardy the House of Austria really plunged into reform; it
reorganized the administration, reapportioned taxes, curtailed clerical
privileges, abolished the Inquisition, improved roads, favoured
agriculture, stimulated trade, and encouraged manufacture. New ideas
were broached. Beccaria published his famous book "On Crimes and
Punishments," which began the attack on the atrocious, old penal
cruelties. French philosophy was discussed. The physicist Volta, famous
for his electrical discoveries, occupied a chair in the university at
Pavia. Austrian garrisons indeed were on duty, but Lombardy prospered as
it had not done since the days of the Sforzas.

In Venice the new ideas did not affect the government. The old system
continued. The Great Council of Patricians sat in conservative
indolence; the ornamental Doge shuffled about, the Senate talked, and
the Council of Ten maintained its petty despotism. Venice was moribund.
Her voice was no more heard in European affairs. Her army had dwindled
to a few undisciplined and inefficient regiments; her arsenal was little
employed. Gayety, luxury, vice, reigned triumphant; all the young blades
of Europe went thither to carouse.

In Parma the flood of philanthropic reform had flowed strong; the
minister of state, a Frenchman, full of Parisian ideas, had introduced
many beneficial changes, but a new duke, dissipated and devout, slipped
back into the old ways; and its little neighbour, Modena, concentrated
its attention on avoidance of all possible offence to its neighbours.

In Tuscany, an appanage of Austria, reform bounded along. The Grand
Duke, Leopold I, proposed to destroy every remnant of the Middle Ages;
he attacked the power of the ubiquitous priests, granted free trade in
grain, and equalized taxes,--without discrimination even in favour of
his own estates. He improved the universities of Pisa and Siena, drained
the marshes of the Maremma, and led the way in abolishing torture and
capital punishment; he rendered a public account of the state's
revenues; and, in short, put in practice the advanced philanthropic
ideas on government.

In the Papal States, on the other hand, mediævalism lay heavy. There was
no commerce, no manufacture, little agriculture. Priests were
everywhere, greedy relations of the Pope almost everywhere. No laymen
were given office. Ancona, a seaport, and Bologna, with its university,
were the only exceptions to general wretchedness. The finances were in
extreme confusion; the offerings of the faithful, the sale of offices,
the multiplication of taxes, did little more than pay interest on the
bonded debts. Rome was a little, unimportant, ecclesiastical city.

In Naples, however, even the Bourbons felt the fresh breath of
reformation. A reforming minister expelled the Jesuits and tried to
reduce the number of superfluous priests, monks, and nuns, and to root
out the old feudal privileges. In the city itself a goodly company of
men gathered together, cultivated ideas, and followed the lead of the
French philosophers. Poor Sicily, overridden by barons and priests,
lagged behind, a prey to the feudal system, and so unsusceptible to new
ideas that the reforming prime minister could not budge the dead weight
of custom. The people preferred to help one another in their own way,
and resorted to that mysterious society, the _Mafia_.

Thus was Italy, half philanthropically inclined, half despotically, with
few outward indications of the great awakening of the nineteenth
century. One such indication might have been found in the life and
character of a gentleman of Turin. Vittorio Alfieri (1749-1803) was a
kind of antique Roman, a new Brutus, of passionate and lofty nature. He
embodied his ideas of liberty in classic tragedies, which stirred
Italian manhood in those days, but now are extremely tedious to read. He
boldly gave vent to his hatred of foreign oppression, preached freedom,
and appealed to the "future Italian people." His autobiography, somewhat
condensed and expurgated, might be put into Plutarch. He stands in
history, not as a great tragedian, but as the first example of the
rebirth of that antique virility which was to display itself so
brilliantly in the nineteenth century.

Down into this little world of periwigs and lavender came the French
Revolution. All who had applauded Alfieri's tragedies were delighted,
except Alfieri himself, who hated the French. But the Italian princes
took fright at the democratic volcano, and talked of a general union
against France. Piedmont alone was vigorous enough to take action; she
made a league with Austria (1792). Nothing important happened until
young Napoleon took command of the French army of invasion (1796), and
began to tear "the heart out of Glory." It would be useless to relate in
detail his wonderful career in Italy. He arranged the peninsula as a
housekeeper shifts the furniture in an unsatisfactory room. He took Nice
and Savoy from Piedmont, Lombardy from Austria, formed the little states
south of the Po into a republic, took the temporal power from the Pope,
and set up a Roman Republic. He turned the Kingdom of Naples into a
republic and then back again into a kingdom, first for his brother
Joseph, and then for his general, Murat (1808). He converted Genoa into
the Republic of Liguria. Venice, like old Priam before bloody Pyrrhus,
fell at the whiff and wind of the victor's sword; the Great Council
resigned without a struggle, and the Republic of St. Mark after an
existence of a thousand years came to its end. It was then handed over
to Austria, but after Austerlitz taken back again. In 1805, having
become Emperor, Napoleon turned the northern part of the peninsula into
the Kingdom of Italy, and put the iron crown of Lombardy on his own
head, saying, "God has given it to me, woe to him that touches it." In
1806 he put an end to the Holy Roman Empire, and forced the Emperor,
Francis II, to resign the Imperial crown.

The old laws of political gravitation ceased to act, and Italy was
moulded and broken and moulded anew, as if creation had begun again. The
revolutionary ideas on which Napoleon's power at first rested had spread
everywhere; liberty, equality, democracy were a part of every man's
stock of familiar thoughts, and the conception of an Italian kingdom,
vaguely associated with the poetic dreams of Dante, Petrarch,
Machiavelli, had become a political fact. Italy was changed forever, the
old Goldoni comedy was gone; Napoleon had given the _coup de grâce_ to
the old régime.

There was another side to the Napoleonic domination. A multitude of men
had been forcibly enlisted in Napoleon's armies; twenty-six thousand, it
is said, perished in the terrible retreat from Moscow. The French were
arrogant and they were foreigners. Changes had been made too quickly and
with too reckless a disregard for Italian wishes. Nobles and clergy had
been despoiled of privileges, peasants had been confused and bewildered,
the pious had been scandalized by Napoleon's treatment of the Pope; all
these longed for the restoration of the old political divisions and of
the old easy ways.

After Napoleon's overthrow the Napoleonic states in Italy fell almost
immediately. The viceroy of the Italian kingdom, Napoleon's stepson
Eugène Beauharnais, slunk away; and in the south, after some
vicissitudes, Murat was caught and shot (1815). Kings, dukes, and Pope
came tripping back to their thrones. The Congress of Vienna decided that
the doctrines of the French Revolution were quite wrong, that law,
order, and the principle of legitimacy were bound up together, that
states belonged to their royal families in tail male, and reparcelled
Italy among its petty sovereigns, acting quite as despotically as
Napoleon had done. It gave Venice to Austria, Genoa to Piedmont, and
Parma to Marie Louise, the Austrian wife of Napoleon, for her life, as
she had to be decently provided for. The Dukes of Parma received Lucca
until her death, when they were to return to Parma, and then Lucca was
to be annexed to Tuscany. Metternich, Hardenberg, Castlereagh,
Talleyrand, and their associates complimented one another on the happy
completion of their task, and the Congress broke up.

In Piedmont the king, loyally welcomed home, put back everything to the
position in which it was before the disturbances; the old dispossessed
nobles were restored to their places in the civil and military service,
and the _carrière ouverte aux talents_ was closed. In Lombardy and
Venice Austrian officials held a tight rein, and a watchful secret
service (_sbirri_) prowled about ready to pounce on plotting youth like
owls upon field mice. In Parma and Modena the eye of the Austrian
government was always peering and peeping. In Tuscany Austrian influence
also was dominant; but the Grand Duke was a gentle, kindly, paternal
person, and his subjects were placidly content, for the old Tuscan fire
had died out, and no Tuscan was so crazy as to dream of revolution or of
a united Italy. In the Papal States the reaction was complete; the
Inquisition was restored, the Jesuits recalled, the civil service
limited to priests. But in Naples the reaction was worst. The
despicable Ferdinand, who dropped his number IV of Naples to become
Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, restored the old régime, and swept away
the autonomy of Sicily, which had had a separate parliament for hundreds
of years, and since 1812 a constitution also. Ferdinand humbly followed
every hint from Austria. The will of Austria was supreme from Venice to
Naples, and behind Austria was the conservative judgment of the ruling
classes of all Europe, still frightened by the Revolution. European
nobles and landowners agreed that the riotous desires of the middle
class and proletariat for political privileges must be crushed down.



Outwardly despotism had been triumphantly reëstablished, and Popes,
princes, and privileged persons in general made a gallant attempt to
pretend that the French Revolution and the Napoleonic upheaval had never
taken place. Nevertheless, the quiet on the surface did not extend
underneath. Inwardly the new ideas and aspirations were fermenting from
Piedmont to Calabria. The _Carbonari_ (Charcoal-burners), a secret
society organized against despotism, plotted for freedom and for
constitutions. Their members were thickest in the Kingdom of Naples, but
spread throughout Italy. The spark necessary to set ablaze this hidden
discontent came from Spain. There a successful rebellion obtained a
constitution. The thrill stirred Naples. A company of soldiers under two
young lieutenants rebelled (1820), many joined them, a general put
himself at their head. The army would not fight them. The insurgents
demanded a constitution, with a parliament, a free press, trials
according to law, etc. The dastardly king was frightened into promises,
but as the insurgents were not content with promises, he granted a
constitution, and solemnly swore to maintain it. These revolutionary
tumults, however, had alarmed the comfortable, conservative ruling
classes and their leaders, the Emperors of Austria, Prussia, and Russia.
An Imperial conference was held at Laybach (1821), and Ferdinand
attended. The new constitution, indeed, forbade him to leave the kingdom
without permission from parliament, but he had obtained leave by
promising to argue in favour of the new régime. Whatever his arguments
were the Holy Alliance disregarded them, and charged Austria with the
duty of restoring despotism in Naples. Austria obeyed. An overpowering
army easily scattered the Neapolitan constitutionalists and put
Ferdinand back. The constitution, parliament, free press, and all the
other obnoxious revolutionary institutions were brushed away, and
Ferdinand, having hung up in church a lamp of gold and silver as an
offset to his perjury, inflicted punishment on the late rebels as fast
as he could.

Meanwhile the North had felt the thrill. In Lombardy the hawk-eyed
government pounced down on possible conspirators. Silvio Pellico, the
pathetic author of "Le Mie Prigioni" (My Prisons), and his friend
Maroncelli, were arrested and put into prison (1820), there to stay for
ten years. A little later Confalonieri, head of the Milanese nobility,
and a group of gentlemen were seized and sent to prison. They were set
free only in 1836, on the accession of a new Emperor. Some of them,
Castillia, Foresti, and Albinola, then sought refuge in the United
States. I quote from the unpublished diary of an American to show what
kind of men these conspirators were: "Castillia is an Italian, of an
honourable Milanese family. At the age of twenty-three he, with other
noble and brave Italians, lovers of their country, was thrown into the
dungeons of Spielberg (Moravia) by Austrian despots, and there chained
and confined, sometimes in total solitude, enduring the sharpest
privations and basest ignominies for seventeen years. Then on the
accession of a new Emperor they were released and exiled to
America--they were men of superior intelligence and education,
honourable gentlemen, true-hearted, loving men--Castillia possessed all
the virtues that one can name and in their most attractive forms."

What these gentlemen suffered for love of their country may be read in
"Le Mie Prigioni." Pellico himself was a Christian saint. After years of
solitary confinement he and Maroncelli were put together. Maroncelli had
a tumour on his leg, which grew so painful that whenever it was
necessary to move Pellico helped him. "Sometimes to make the slightest
shift from one position to another cost a quarter of an hour of agony."
The wound was frightful and disgusting. I quote from Pellico: "In that
deplorable condition Maroncelli composed poetry, he sang and talked, and
did everything to deceive me and hide from me a part of his pain. He
could not digest, or sleep; he grew alarmingly thin, and often went out
of his head; and yet, in a few minutes gathered himself together and
cheered me up. What he suffered for nine months is indescribable.
Amputation was necessary; but first the surgeon had to get permission
from Vienna. Maroncelli uttered no cry at the operation, and when he saw
the leg carried off said to the surgeon, 'You have liberated me from an
enemy, and I have no way to thank you.' By the window stood a tumbler
with a rose in it. 'Please give me that rose,' he said to me. I handed
it to him, and he gave it to the old surgeon, saying, 'I have nothing
else to give you in testimony of my gratitude.' The surgeon took the
rose and burst into tears." Such was the character of the men who
plotted for the freedom of Italy.

The Papal States likewise had been quivering. Lord Byron was in Ravenna
at the time. He enrolled in the _Carbonari_, and sent a thousand louis
to the Neapolitan Constitutional Government with an offer to serve
wherever and in whatever capacity they should desire. His letters and
diary help us to understand the situation.


 November 23, 1820.

      Of the state of things here it would be difficult and not
      very prudent to speak at large, the Huns [Austrians] opening
      all letters. I wonder if they can read them when they have
      opened them; if so they may see in my most legible hand that
      I think them damned scoundrels and barbarians, and their
      Emperor a fool, and themselves more fools than he; all which
      they may send to Vienna for anything I care. They have got
      themselves masters of the papal police and are bullying
      away, but some day or other they will pay for all; it may
      not be very soon because these unhappy Italians have no
      consistency among themselves; but I suppose that Providence
      will get tired of them at last.


 December 9.

      I open my letter to tell you a fact which will show the
      state of this country better than I can. The commandant of
      the troops is now lying dead in my house. He was shot about
      two hundred paces from my door.... As nobody could or would
      do anything but howl and pray, and as no one would stir a
      finger to move him for fear of consequences, I had the
      commandant carried upstairs to my own quarters.... Poor
      fellow, he was a brave officer but much disliked by the


 January 6, 1821.

      To-night at the theatre, there being a prince on his throne
      in the last scene of the comedy, the audience laughed and
      asked him for a constitution. This shows the state of the
      public mind here as well as the assassinations. It won't do.
      There must be a universal republic, and there ought to be.

 January 7.

      The Count Pietro Gamba took me aside to say that the
      Patriots had had notice from Forlì [twenty miles away] that
      to-night the government and its party mean to strike a
      stroke, that the Cardinal here has had orders to make
      several arrests immediately, and that in consequence the
      Liberals are arriving and have posted patrols in the
      streets, to sound the alarm and give notice to fight. He
      asked me "what should be done." I answered, "Fight for it,
      rather than be taken in detail;" and offered if any of them
      are in immediate apprehension of arrest to receive them in
      my house (which is defensible), and to defend them with my
      servants and themselves (we have arms and ammunition) as
      long as we can, or to try to get them away under cloud of
      night. On going home I offered him the pistols which I had
      about me.

 January 8.

      Rose and found Count Pietro Gamba in my apartments. Sent
      away the servant. He told me that according to the best
      information, the government had not issued orders for the
      arrests apprehended; and that as yet they are still only in
      apprehension. He asked me for some arms of a better sort,
      which I gave him. Settled that in case of a row the Liberals
      were to assemble here (with me) and that he had given the
      word to the others for that purpose. Concerted operations. I
      advised them to attack in detail and in different parties,
      in different places, though at the same time, so as to
      divide the attention of the troops, who though few yet being
      disciplined would beat any body of people (not trained) in a
      regular fight, unless dispersed in small parties and
      distracted with different assaults. Offered to let them
      assemble here if they chose. It is a strongish post--narrow
      street, commanded from within--and tenable walls....

      I wonder what figure these Italians will make in a regular
      row. I sometimes think that like the Irishman's crooked gun
      they will do only for shooting round a corner; at least this
      sort of shooting has been the late tenour of their exploits.
      And yet there are materials in this people and a noble
      energy if well directed. But who is to direct them? No
      matter. Out of such times heroes spring. Difficulties are
      the hotbed of high spirits and Freedom the mother of the few
      virtues incident to human nature.

 January 9.

      They say the King of Naples has declared, by couriers from
      Florence, to the Powers (as they call now those wretches
      with crowns) that his constitution was compulsive, and that
      the Austrian barbarians are placed again on war pay and will
      march. Let them,--"they come like sacrifices in their
      trim,"--the hounds of hell! Let it be a hope to see their
      bones piled like those of the human dogs at Morat, in

 January 29.

      Met a company of the sect (a kind of Liberal Club) called
      the Americani in the forest, and singing with all their
      might in Romagnuol "Sem tutti soldat' per la libertà"--(We
      are all soldiers for liberty). They cheered me as I passed;
      I returned their salute and rode on. This may show the
      spirit of Italy at present.

      They say that the Piedmontese have at length risen--ça ira!

The news from Piedmont was true. Some officers in the army proposed to
demand a constitution from the king and then force him into war with
Austria. They believed that Prince Carlo Alberto, who stood next but one
in succession to the throne, though only a distant cousin of the sonless
king, was in sympathy with them and would act with them. How far they
were justified in this belief is uncertain. The leading conspirators had
an interview with him, and thought they received satisfactory
assurances. In subsequent explanations he denied any such assurances.
Thus encouraged, the garrisons of Alexandria and Turin hoisted the
tricolour of the _Carbonari_, and made their demands. The old king,
Vittorio Emanuele, not knowing what to do, resigned in favour of his
younger brother, Carlo Felice, who was then absent, and appointed Carlo
Alberto regent during the new king's absence. Carlo Alberto, always
infirm of purpose, with doubt and hesitation took the opportunity and
proclaimed a constitution (March, 1821). But the new king, apprised of
this wild act, at once annulled it, and bade Carlo Alberto leave the
country. Poor Carlo Alberto was in a sad dilemma: should he obey his
king and abandon his liberal friends, or cleave to them and be disloyal
to the king? He obeyed and went to Tuscany. An Austrian army aided the
king to suppress the revolt. The liberals escaped as best they could.
Some fled to Spain by way of Genoa, where they were seen by Giuseppe
Mazzini, a lad of sixteen, who thereupon resolved "that one could, and
therefore one must, struggle for the liberty of Italy."

Thus the revolutionary storms swept by; the _sbirri_ resumed their old
methods of prying and spying, and dukes and kings deemed themselves
secure of their own again.



After 1821 followed ten years of outward repose. Times were hard for
lovers of independence, but hope and purpose had been let loose, and in
dark corners, cloaking themselves as best they could, the friends of
freedom groped their way. Openly little was done except by exiles, but
indirect aid came from literature, which followed the romantic movement,
and loudly asserted the revolutionary ideas. There was Ugo Foscolo, the
poet, half Venetian, half Greek, who after the return of the Austrians
refused to take the oath of allegiance and fled to England, giving, as
was said, "to New Italy a new institution, Exile;" Giovanni Berchet, of
Milan, poet and man of letters; Gabriele Rossetti, of the Abruzzi,
father of Dante Rossetti, a poet himself; and many others. By far the
most distinguished was Alessandro Manzoni, a quiet, dignified Milanese
gentleman, who wrote patriotic plays, and the famous romance, "I
Promessi Sposi" (The Plighted Lovers). He cheered and comforted his
compatriots with the thought that in him they possessed a man of letters
whom Europe recognized as the peer of Scott, Byron, and Goethe. Scott
praised "I Promessi Sposi" most generously, and Goethe said, "It
satisfies us like perfectly ripe fruit."

Greater than Manzoni, though at the time less widely known, was the sad
poet, Giacomo Leopardi, indisputably the greatest Italian poet since
Tasso, and in the judgment of some men to-day, owing perhaps to greater
sympathy with his sentiments, superior to Tasso. Leopardi raised Italian
self-respect, as Manzoni did, by proof that the genius of the race still
lived. He wrote the most patriotic odes since Petrarch. Of these the
poem "To Italy" is perhaps most famous. It begins:--

    O my country, I see the walls, the arches,
    The columns, the statues, the defenceless towers
    Of our forefathers,
    But the glory I do not see.

Leopardi's wretchedness, in great measure purely personal, was matched
by that of his country. Austrian soldiers, ducal _sbirri_, and Jesuits
did their best to destroy all vigour, life, and freedom. The press was
stifled; no allusion to freedom was allowed. In a chorus of Bellini's
opera "I Puritani" the word _liberty_ was stricken out by the censor and
_loyalty_ substituted; and a singer who forgot the change was sent to
prison for three days. Things were best in Tuscany and worst in Naples,
where Francis I, a rake, bigot, and coward, practised the utmost
cruelty. After an insurrection in a village, twenty-six heads were cut
off at his command, and exhibited in cages; and once, when a grandmother
besought mercy for her two grandsons who were condemned to death, he
bade her choose one. She chose one; the other was shot, and she went

The ten long years of inaction at last passed away, and another wave of
exasperated independence and patriotism swept over the peninsula. The
French Revolution of 1830 was the proximate cause. This time, while
Piedmont and Naples remained quiet, for most of their leaders were in
exile or in prison, Parma, Modena, and the Romagna burst into
insurrection; but the Austrian soldiers marched in, suppressed the
revolt, and reseated duke, duchess, and Pope. The attention of the
world, however, had been called to priestly government in the Romagna,
and the five great Powers,--England, France, Austria, Prussia, and
Russia,--not wishing a hotbed of justifiable revolt on the same
Continent with comfortable and privileged ruling classes, wrote a
collective note to the Pope in which they insisted on certain reforms as
indispensable. The papal Curia made promises, but did nothing, and all
Italy relapsed outwardly into the condition in which she had been during
the ten years of inaction.

Nevertheless, the forces underneath, plotting and conspiring for
freedom, were stronger than before, and here and there indications of
this growing sentiment cropped out. In 1831, after the ill-fated,
melancholy, distrusting, and distrusted Carlo Alberto had succeeded to
the Kingdom of Sardinia, an anonymous letter addressed to him was spread
broadcast over Italy. This letter bade him choose between two
courses,--either to lead the national movement, or to be basely servile
to Austria. "Bend your back under the German (Austrian) whip and be a
tyrant--But, if as you read these words your mind runs back to that time
when you dared look higher than the lordship of a German fief, and if
you hear within a voice that cries 'You were born for something great,'
oh, obey that voice; it is the voice of genius, of opportunity, that
offers you its hand to mount from century to century as far as
immortality; it is the voice of all Italy, who awaits but one word, one
single word, to make herself all your own. Give her that word. Put
yourself at the head of the nation, and on your banner write Union,
Freedom, Independence. Sire, according to your answer, be sure that
posterity will pronounce you either the first of Italian Men, or the
last of Italian Tyrants. Choose."

Carlo Alberto, melancholy as Hamlet, for the burden put upon him was
greater than his strength, continued inactive, distrusted, and
distrusting. His only answer was to give sharper orders against
conspirators. The writer of the letter was a young Genoese of grave
countenance, with a sweet mouth and sad, handsome eyes, Giuseppe
Mazzini, aged twenty-six, who had already abandoned law for literature,
and literature for his country. Suspected of being a _Carbonaro_, he had
been arrested and put in prison. His father, having asked the reason,
was told that "his son was a young man of talents, very fond of solitary
walks at night, and habitually silent as to the subject of his
meditations, and that the Sardinian government was not fond of young men
of talents the subject of whose meditations it did not know." In prison
Mazzini became convinced that the true aim of patriots was the unity of
all Italy, and that the means should be the people, not the princes.
After a few months of imprisonment he was banished. It was then that he
wrote the letter.

In exile he began the task of rousing the Italian people throughout the
peninsula to the need of common effort for a common end. He organized a
secret society, and named it Young Italy. Its purpose was to make Italy
free, united, and republican. The first article of its constitution
read: "This society is instituted for the destruction, now become
indispensable, of all the governments of the peninsula, and for the
union of all Italy in a single state under republican government." The
new society spread rapidly, and was, perhaps, the greatest individual
cause of final success.

Mazzini was a master conspirator, a very St. Paul of the Risorgimento.
His whole life was a passionate renunciation of all the pleasures and
comforts for which most men live, and a passionate dedication of himself
to his ideals. He is a striking illustration of the saying, The man
whose heart is lifted up within him shall not find the path smooth
before him, but the just shall live by his faith. His ideals soared
higher and higher; not content with hope for Italy, he made plans for
helping all Europe. He became an object of suspicion all over the
Continent, and was driven from country to country, till he finally went
to England, but he never ceased to preach and teach, to urge and
encourage, to plot and counterplot. He believed in sacrifice, both of
himself and of others, and instigated desperate uprisings. One of these,
a wild invasion of Piedmont which came to nothing, is memorable because
among the list of those who were subsequently proscribed for
participation in it was a young seaman, a native of Nice, then a part of
Savoy, Giuseppe Garibaldi. Mazzini himself stayed in England, where the
cruelest accusations were made against him. He endured slander, malice,
poverty, outward failure, still steadfast at his task. He says, "I have
not for an instant thought that unhappiness may influence our actions."
He knew Carlyle, who bore witness in his favour: "I have had the honour
to know Mr. Mazzini for a series of years, and whatever I may think of
his practical insight and skill in worldly affairs, I can with great
freedom testify that he, if I have ever seen one such, is a man of
genius and virtue, one of those rare men, numerable unfortunately but as
units in this world, who are worthy to be called martyr souls; who, in
silence, piously in their daily life understand and practise what is
meant by that."

While Young Italy and the _Carbonari_ worked in secret, literature
continued to carry on the task of arousing enthusiasm for national
achievements and national ideals. The patient piety of Silvio Pellico's
"Le Mie Prigioni" was a most effective denunciation of Austrian tyranny;
the plays of Giovan Battista Niccolini, of Florence, on subjects famous
for Italian patriotism, were stirring appeals against despotism, civil
and ecclesiastical; the romantic novels of Massimo d'Azeglio, of
Piedmont, the patriot painter and statesman, reminded youth of the great
days of old; other novels, passionate and patriotic, by Tommaso Grossi,
of Belluno, and by Francesco Domenico Guerrazzi, of Leghorn, did
likewise. These romances so pitifully uninteresting to-day did much;
but a book of a different character had in its way a still more
brilliant career. Vincenzo Gioberti, of Turin, began life by taking
orders; he became patriotic, was suspected, imprisoned, exiled; in exile
he studied, taught, and thought. In 1843 he published in Brussels "Il
primato morale e civile degli Italiani" (The Moral and Civil Primacy of
the Italians), a book that rehearsed the old glory of Italy and pointed
out new ways by which that ancient glory might be renewed. Gioberti
advocated a confederation of the Italian States (excluding the Austrian
provinces) with the Pope at its head. The book had tremendous success;
its ideas were accepted and became a party creed; and Gioberti is
entitled to rank as one of the factors in the Risorgimento. Oddly
enough, as it seems to us now, his plan was on the verge of execution.

At this time Gregory XVI was Pope, a reactionary man, devoted to
ecclesiastical history, and, according to his detractors, to Orvietan
wine. He showed the extreme of papal incapacity for civil
administration; in the papal cities was squalor, in the country
brigandage, in both dense ignorance. But on Gregory's death Cardinal
Mastai-Ferretti, an amiable, smiling, charming, handsome, liberal-minded
cardinal, who had applauded Gioberti, became Pius IX (July, 1846).
Within a month or two Pius granted amnesty to political prisoners,
appointed a commission to study the necessary reforms in his states;
permitted, tacitly at least, liberty of the press; announced a Council
of State to consist of lay members; and authorized the organization of
a civic guard. He was hailed with enthusiasm throughout the peninsula.
Here was Gioberti's ideal Pope. Here was the man to lead the Italian
Guelfs and drive the Barbarians from Italy.

That the ecclesiastical head of organized conservatism, the great
bulwark of authority, the maintainer of ancient things, should be hailed
as a saviour by men desiring independence, freedom, and war, needs a
word of further explanation. In this period of decadence and servitude,
while Austrian officers played the peacock on every _piazza_ from Milan
to Naples, Italians could remember that an Italian Pope was head of the
greatest corporate body in the world, that tribute was paid into his
treasury from every country in Europe, that kings treated him with
deference, and that from East and West hundreds of servant bishops came
to the foot of his throne. These thoughts, coupled with inapplicable
memories and desperate hopes, led men to regard Pius IX as the
predestined leader of the liberal movement; and shouts of "Hurrah for
Italy, the Pope, and the Constitution!" were heard throughout the

Hope, too, arose in Piedmont. King Carlo Alberto received Massimo
d'Azeglio in audience (1845), and bade his astonished subject tell his
friends that when the occasion should present itself, his own life, his
sons' lives, his treasure, and his army would all be spent for the
Italian cause. A year later the king withstood Austria in a dispute over
customs; and a little later still, at an agrarian congress a member
rose and read a letter from the king which ended, "If ever God shall
give us grace to be able to undertake a war of independence, no one but
me shall command the army. Oh, what a glorious day will that be when we
shall be able to utter the cry of national independence!"

Thus encouraged by king and Pope, patriots, from Piedmont to Sicily,
waited in tremulous expectation for the coming of great events.



The period of waiting for coming events was short. The whole Continent
of Europe was straining like a greyhound in its leash; Italy, from end
to end, was on tiptoe with excitement; and the year 1848 came rushing in
with swashbuckler fury.

In Italy the revolutionary movement began in Palermo. The people
attacked the Bourbon soldiers and drove them out. Their example was
followed throughout the island. Across the channel Naples arose and
demanded a constitution. The frightened king granted it (January 29). In
Piedmont at an assemblage of journalists, the director of a newspaper,
"The Risorgimento," declared that the time appropriate to petitions for
the banishment of the Jesuits and for the institution of a national
guard had passed, and that a constitution should be demanded. The
speaker was a stoutish man of thirty-eight, with a square face under a
high forehead. He wore spectacles, and under his chin a fringe of beard
ran round from ear to ear like a ravelled bonnet string; he looked like
a distinguished and amiable professor, except that there was a pinch to
his nostrils and a compression to his lips which suggested an arrogant
lineage and inherited notions of "Let those take that have the power,
and let them keep that can." In fact, Count Camillo Cavour belonged to
the old Piedmontese aristocracy. As a lad he served in the engineer
corps of the army, then travelled in England (which he admired greatly)
and in France, studying all kinds of social matters, from machinery to
constitutions. On his estates he was a practical farmer, and he took
keen interest in public life. It was at this time that he first became a
man of note.

The city of Turin took up Cavour's cry, and the king acceded. The Grand
Duke of Tuscany granted a constitution. The Pope was slow to bestir
himself, but the news of revolutionary success in Paris quickened his
gait, and he too granted a constitution. In the Austrian provinces,
Lombardy and Venetia, there were tumults, arrests, cavalry charges, and
martial law; then came news of the revolt in Vienna itself and word that
the scared Emperor promised a constitution. Venice accepted the promise;
but Milan, where a citizen had been killed by the soldiers, broke into
rebellion. Carts, carriages, tables, chairs, pianos, bedsteads, were
heaped up to defend the streets; sixteen hundred and fifty barricades
were erected; men snatched knives, hammers, arquebuses, axes; all took
part,--boys, lads, old men, priests. These were the famous _Five Days_
of Milan. Every street, every house was a battleground, and Field
Marshal Radetzky, with fourteen thousand men, was driven from the city.
Revolt spread through Lombardy. When the news reached Venice the
citizens rose, forced the Austrian governors to surrender, and
proclaimed anew the Republic of Venice. Daniele Manin was made

This glorious news, Venice republican, Milan victorious over Radetzky,
flew to Turin. Every liberal went mad with excitement. The centuries of
national humiliation seemed past. Now had come the hour for which
Piedmont had trained and disciplined itself, for which it had hoped and
longed; now should Piedmont uplift Italy and fight its country's battle.
Cavour cried that there was but one possible course,--immediate war with
Austria. A great crowd in tremulous anxiety thronged before the royal
palace. At midnight on March 23, Carlo Alberto stepped out on his
balcony and waved a tricolour scarf. Next day a royal proclamation
stated that the Piedmontese army would march to the aid of Lombardy and
Venice. A shout of joy went up throughout Italy. Modena and Parma cast
out their dukes and sent recruits to help. The Grand Duke of Tuscany,
the Pope, even the King of Naples, compelled by necessity, each sent an
army. The war was a national crusade.

At first the campaign went well. The Italian allies numbered more than
ninety thousand men; and Carlo Alberto, leading the main body, forced
the Austrians under Radetzky within the quadrilateral made by the strong
fortresses, Verona, Peschiera, Mantua, and Legnano. But the King of
Sardinia was no general; he lacked energy, decision, character. While he
dawdled, not knowing what to do, Radetzky received reinforcements. This
hesitation and delay cooled the first glorious burst of union and
freedom. Pius IX felt doubts; what right had the Vicar of Christ to take
part in war? Were not Austrians and Italians alike in the sight of God?
What had the Universal Church to do with national divisions? And might
not Austria become heretic and secede from the papal rule? He said he
would not fight. So great, however, were the tumults in Rome that he was
forced to face about once again, but his tergiversation gave a fatal
blow to the cause. In Naples the watchful Ferdinand, eager for a
pretext, took advantage of some street riots to dissolve parliament, and
bade his army come home. One general with a few hundred men disobeyed,
but the rest turned back.

In the north the old jealousies between the Italian States wedged
themselves in and broke the new-made union. Venice, instead of uniting
with Piedmont in a joint political confederation, insisted upon
remaining an independent republic, and Milan hesitated out of jealousy
of Turin. Of these discords and hesitations the octogenarian Radetzky
took advantage. Within thirty days the Tuscan army had been destroyed,
the papal army made prisoners, and Piedmont was left alone to maintain
the Italian cause in the field. In a three days' battle at Custoza (July
23-25) the issue was decided. The beaten Piedmontese were forced to
surrender Milan, and to retreat across the river Ticino into their own
land, and Austria returned triumphant into full possession of her
provinces, except the city of Venice. The little Dukes of Parma and
Modena returned also.

Elsewhere the current of events ran equally fast. In Sicily Ferdinand
bombarded the revolted city of Messina (hence his nickname Bomba), and
forced it to surrender; and in Naples he made a mock of the
constitution. Rome was in horrid confusion. Pius IX appointed Pellegrino
Rossi prime minister, in hope that his energy and vigour might restore
peace and quiet; but Rossi was murdered on the steps of the
_Cancelleria_. Rioters wandered at will about the city. Shots were fired
near the papal palace on the Quirinal. The Pope, terribly frightened,
fled from the city, and took refuge across the Neapolitan border at
Gaeta. He was besought to return, but would not. The revolutionary
leaders convoked an assembly of Roman citizens to decide what form of
government to adopt, and, though the Pope hurled excommunications at all
who should take part, the radicals met (February 5, 1849), declared the
Temporal Power at an end, and established the Roman Republic. In Tuscany
the republican fire likewise blazed up; the Grand Duke ran after the
Pope to Gaeta, and a provisional government was appointed with a
triumvirate at its head.

In the north, Piedmont and Austria renewed the war. On March 23, at
Novara, a little town on the Piedmontese side of the Ticino, the
deciding battle was fought. The Austrians were completely victorious.
King Carlo Alberto asked for a truce. Radetzky's terms were so severe
that the king, feeling himself the chief cause of this severity,
resolved to be of no further detriment to his country. He abdicated in
favour of his son, Vittorio Emanuele II, and went into exile, where he
soon died. The young king made peace on harsh terms.

All rational hope for the Italian cause was at an end, but the
dismembered parts struggled on. The men of Brescia defended themselves
gloriously for days, barricading every alley and making a fort of every
house, but they were overpowered; the Austrian general Haynau inflicted
atrocities that made his name a byword throughout Europe. His own report
says, "I ordered that no prisoner should be taken, but that every person
seized with arms in his hands should be immediately put to death, and
that the houses from which shots came should be burned."[23] In Sicily
the revolutionists resisted in vain, and the king's authority was
reëstablished throughout the island. In Naples all liberals were
shamefully and most cruelly persecuted. In Tuscany the mild-mannered
Tuscans, dismayed at their own radical government, invited the Grand
Duke to return; so he came, bringing Austrian soldiers with him.

In Rome still more notable events happened. Mazzini, as member of the
revolutionary triumvirate, was at the head of the government. His task
was hard, for the Pope had asked the Catholic Powers to restore him, and
Spain, Naples, Austria, and France, hastened to obey. France interfered
because Louis Napoleon, president of the new republic, wished the
support of the French clerical party; nevertheless, he had to proceed
cautiously in order not to vex the liberals, and pursued a wavering
course. He said he would send an army to defend real liberty, and would
let the Romans decide for themselves what they wanted. The French
soldiers advanced to the walls of Rome (April 29, 1849); the Roman
republicans were naturally suspicious and treated them as enemies.
Skirmishes were fought, and the French constrained to retire. Meanwhile,
an Austrian army came from the north, the Neapolitans from the south,
and the Spaniards landed at the mouth of the Tiber. The French intimated
to the Austrians that this was their affair; the Romans, reinforced by
Garibaldi and his Legion, drove back the Neapolitans; and the Spaniards
retired quietly, thus leaving France to deal with the situation as she
deemed best. French reinforcements arrived, and fighting was begun

The Italians defended themselves for three weeks; their soldiers, though
brave, were raw, many of them mere volunteers, and ineffectual against
regular troops. As Mazzini was the hero in council, so Garibaldi was the
hero on the field of battle. The last of knight-errants, he was the very
incarnation of Romance and Revolution. Bred to the sea, this Savoyard
from Nice always retained the jaunty, gallant bearing of a mariner. His
countenance (childlike and lionlike),--with its broad, tranquil brow,
benign eye, and resolute mouth,--in youth all sparkling, gradually
changed with care and disillusion, but he still kept the seaman's mien
and the seaman's lightsome eye. He was the beau ideal of a romantic
hero. After his unsuccessful raid into Piedmont he had gone to South
America, where he lived a wild life of guerilla warfare, fighting like a
Paladin on behalf of republican revolutionaries who were struggling for
their freedom. All the time he was training a band of Italian
adventurers, his Legion, so that they should be ready when their country
had need of them. These men rushed to the defence of Rome. Their entry
into the city was most picturesque. The gaunt soldiers, wearing red
shirts and pointed hats topped with plumes, their legs bare, their
beards full-grown, their faces tanned to copper colour, with their long
black hair dangling unkempt, looked like so many Fra Diavolos. At their
head Garibaldi, in his red shirt, with loose kerchief knotted round his
throat, the regular beauty of his noble, leonine face set off by his
waving hair, mounted on a milk-white horse, rode like a demi-god.

Besides this Legion, troops of volunteers came from all over Italy. The
character of these patriots may be learned from Mazzini's account of the
young Genoese poet Goffredo Mameli, who was killed there. "For me, for
us exiles of twenty years who have grown old in illusions, he was like a
melody of youth, a presentiment of times that we shall not see, in which
the instinct of goodness and sacrifice will dwell unconscious in the
human soul, and will not be, as virtue is in us, the fruit of long and
hard struggles. Of a disposition lovingly yielding, he was only happy
when he could abandon himself to those he loved, as a child in his
mother's caress; and yet Mameli was unshakably firm in what touched the
faith he had embraced. He was handsome, but careless of his appearance,
and sensitive as a woman to the charm of flowers and sweet scents. Such
was he when I knew him first at Milan in 1848, and we loved each other
at once. It was impossible to see him and not love him. Only twenty-two,
he joined the extremes rarely found united, a childlike gentleness and
the energy of a lion, to be revealed, and which was revealed, in supreme

The defence of Rome was vain. Mazzini escaped by means of an English
passport, and Garibaldi led a handful of men eastward hoping to reach
Venice. The French soldiers marched into the city, and reestablished the
Temporal Power of the Pope. Venice alone remained. Daniele Manin, the
valiant dictator, maintained a stout defence for four months, but
cholera and hunger came to the enemy's aid. On August 24 the city
capitulated, and on the 30th Marshal Radetzky heard the _Te Deum_ of
Austrian gratitude played in St. Mark's. In all Italy, except Piedmont,
the reaction had triumphed; Piedmont alone was left to become the centre
of whatever hopes of independence and unity still existed.


[23] _The Liberation of Italy_, Evelyn M. Cesaresco, p. 144.


THE UNITY OF ITALY (1849-1871)

After the uprisings of 1848-49, the old tyrannical system prevailed for
eight years and seemed heavier than ever. Liberalism meant suspicion,
disfavour, danger. The liberals were not very numerous and did not agree
among themselves. Some looked for hope to Piedmont, some to England,
some to France. Some were for a republic, some for a confederation, some
for unity; some wished insurrection, others lawful agitation.

In Naples the king busied himself with putting the liberals in dungeons.
According to the general belief the number of prisoners for political
offences in the Two Sicilies was between fifteen and thirty thousand.
Among them was Baron Carlo Poerio, "a refined and accomplished
gentleman, a respected and blameless character," at one time one of the
ministers of the Crown. It happened that Mr. Gladstone, travelling for
the benefit of a daughter's health, passed several months in Naples at
this time (1850-51). He attended trials of the liberal prisoners,
listened to a "long tissue of palpable lies told by witnesses suborned
by the government," and visited the horrible and filthy prisons. After
his return to England he published his "Letters to the Earl of
Aberdeen." He set forth before the English people "the horrors--amidst
which the government of that country (Naples) is now carried on." He
said that "the present practices of the Government of Naples in
reference to real or supposed political offenders are an outrage upon
religion, upon civilization, upon humanity, and upon decency." He
described the "incessant, systematic, deliberate violation of the law by
the Power appointed to watch over and maintain it." "It is the wholesale
persecution of virtue,--it is the awful profanation of public
religion,--it is the perfect prostitution of the judicial office,--this
is 'The negation of God erected into a system of government.'" He
recounted Poerio's trial at length, and told how Poerio and fifteen
others were confined in a room about thirteen feet long and eight feet
high, in which they slept, always chained two by two. These chains were
never taken off, day or night. He ended by saying, "It is time that
either the veil should be lifted from scenes fitter for hell than earth,
or some considerable mitigation should be voluntarily adopted. I have
undertaken this wearisome and painful task, in the hope of doing
something to diminish a mass of human suffering as huge, I believe, as
acute, to say the least, as any that the eye of Heaven beholds."

These letters were sent by Lord Palmerston to every government in
Europe, and helped to awaken general European sympathy for the oppressed
liberals of Italy.

In the Papal States Pius IX put himself wholly in the hands of the
reactionaries and the Jesuits. His government was practically imbecile.
Brigands came and went at will. In Forlimpopoli, for instance, a city of
the Romagna, a famous highwayman and his band appeared on the stage of a
theatre, and made the spectators empty their pockets of their money and
of their front-door keys. In Modena, Parma, and Tuscany the governments
did whatever they deemed would be pleasing to Austria; and in Lombardy
and Venice the Austrians repressed the slightest signs of patriotism.

In Piedmont alone was there light ahead. The young king was the
embodiment of the best qualities of his race. The statues of him, carved
in the first fury of patriotism, which disfigure many a _piazza_, reveal
only his corpulence, his monstrous mustachios, and the forceful ugliness
of his shrewd face. Victor Emmanuel was a soldier born, of careless
manners, imperious and brusque, yet with a charm of obvious honesty that
won men's hearts and gained for him the title of _il re galantuomo_. He
reminds one of Henry of Navarre, in his dash, his impetuous energy, his
shrewdness, his deserved popularity, and his eternally youthful
readiness to fall in love. After the defeat at Novara (1849) pressure
was put upon him to return to the autocratic system, and, it is said,
Austria offered him easier terms if he would. He had been brought up
with the old ideas of the royal position, but he was statesman enough to
perceive that if Piedmont and the House of Savoy were to lead in the
movement of Italian independence, they must win the confidence of the
liberals; and he had sworn to maintain the constitution. He was always
a man of his word, whatever policy might advise, and answered that he
should be loyal to the constitution.

Piedmont's history for the next few years is a record of liberal
legislation, as it was then understood. This legislation was especially
directed against antiquated ecclesiastical privileges, with the purpose
of realizing Cavour's principle, "A free Church in a free State." A
little later Cavour was called to the head of the government, and for
ten years, with certain brief exceptions, he remained the chief figure
on the Italian stage. There are diverse judgments on the very diverse
merits of the master-builders of the Italian kingdom; some admire most
Mazzini, the indefatigable conspirator, the dreamy idealist, the nobly
fanatical republican; others, Garibaldi, the man after Petrarch's heart,
the rival of Roland or the Cid; others, Victor Emmanuel, the honourable,
bold, shrewd, resolute king; but all agree that Cavour's brilliant
diplomacy entitles him to rank as one of the world's great statesmen,
and that his work was indispensable to the establishment of the Italian

This period prior to the war with Austria is Cavour's. He set the
finances of Piedmont on a better basis; he began a series of measures
for the development of her resources; he secured various internal
reforms, but his brilliant achievement was in his foreign policy. He
knew that the Austrians could not be dispossessed without a war, that
Piedmont was not strong enough of herself, and that in order to gain
allies she must get a hearing before Europe. The Crimean War gave
Cavour an opportunity. England and France would have preferred Austria
as an ally, and there was much cautious proceeding; but Austria
hesitated, and Piedmont offered herself. Many Italians deemed the plan
of taking part in a war with which Piedmont had no visible concern a
piece of folly; but Cavour carried his point. The Piedmontese army went,
behaved with credit, and effaced the unfavourable impression left by the
disastrous campaigns of 1848-49. The fruits of the Crimean expedition
were gathered at the Congress of Paris (1856), where Cavour, supported
by England and France, was able to call the attention of the Congress to
the condition of Italy. He pointed to the tyranny of Austria in Lombardy
and Venetia, to the abominable condition of the Papal States, to the
horrible misgovernment in the Two Sicilies; and he pointed to Piedmont
as the bulwark against Austrian preponderance on the one hand, and
against the revolutionary spirit on the other. Nothing definite was
done, but the Italian question had been broached, and Cavour's
participation in the Congress was recognized as a great achievement.

Piedmont's leadership was helped by rash revolts elsewhere, easily put
down and cruelly punished; and it became plainer and plainer that
through the steady, orderly monarchy of Sardinia deliverance was to
come, if at all, and not through the visionary schemes of Mazzini. The
dark, mysterious plans of Napoleon III now loomed on the horizon.
Relations between him and Cavour became closer. Cavour, no doubt, would
have liked to gain his ends without French aid, but that could not be
done. The only other possible ally, England, would not interfere. In the
summer of 1858 an understanding was reached between him and Napoleon
that in case of Austrian aggression France would aid Piedmont. On
January 1, 1859, Napoleon hinted to the world what had happened; on
January 10, Victor Emmanuel at the opening of the Piedmontese parliament
said that the political situation was not free from perils ahead, "for
while we respect treaties, we cannot disregard the cry of pain which
comes to us from so many parts of Italy." Count Cavour asked for a loan
of 50,000,000 lire. Affairs moved fast. Relations between Piedmont and
Austria were strained taut; but it was essential that Austria should be
the aggressor. Russia and England, in order to prevent war, suggested a
European Congress to consider matters. Napoleon consented; and Cavour,
who knew that freedom for Italy could only be obtained by war, feared
that his chance had gone. There was talk of disarmament, but no
agreement had been reached, when Austria, impatient and arrogant, sent
an ultimatum to Piedmont that she must disarm prior to the Congress.
Victor Emmanuel refused and war was declared.

The French Emperor crossed the Alps, and in June the allies won the
battles of Magenta and Solferino. The Italians believed that Austria
would now be driven from every foot of Italian soil: when, suddenly,
without consulting Piedmont, Napoleon, for reasons of French policy,
made peace with Austria. The Emperor of Austria ceded Lombardy to
Napoleon, and Napoleon transferred it to Piedmont; and, as a sop to the
spirit of Italian unity, both Emperors agreed to favour the scheme of a
confederation of the Italian States with the Pope at its head, but the
latter plan was left in the air. This was the end of the high hopes of
Italian freedom and unity. Italy had received a slap in the face. Cavour
was furious; he had a stormy interview with his king, and passionately
urged him not to consent, but the king had the good sense to see that he
must. Cavour immediately resigned.

Meanwhile the war had caused the recall of the Austrian troops south of
the Po, and the patriots had risen in joy. The Grand Duke of Tuscany,
the Duke of Modena, the Duchess Regent of Parma, the papal legates of
the Romagna, ran away, and provisional governments were established; but
a permanent political disposition was attended with difficulties. The
states themselves wished to join Piedmont, but the wish was not
unanimous, for many people wanted to preserve local autonomy and their
old historic boundaries. Napoleon favoured his vague confederacy, and a
European Congress supported his view. Indecision reigned, but the cause
of national union triumphed through the vigour of Count Bettino
Ricasoli, a man of iron character, head of the provisional government in
Tuscany. "We must," he wrote, "no longer speak of Piedmont, nor of
Florence, nor of Tuscany; we must speak neither of fusion nor
annexation, but of the union of the Italian people under the
constitutional government of Victor Emmanuel."[24] Certainly the
fugitive dukes could only return by force, and though Continental Europe
approved their return, there was nobody to supply the force. The little
states voted to join Piedmont. Piedmont, however, hesitated, in fear of
European contradiction. Nobody but Cavour could manage the matter, and
he was recalled to office (1860). Cavour appealed to the doctrine of the
popular will to be expressed by a _plebiscite_. France, however, would
only consent upon cession of Savoy and Nice, a measure already talked of
as the price of the French alliance; and in spite of the reluctance of
the king to surrender Savoy, the cradle of his race, the price had to be
paid. The cession was made, and Parma, Modena, Tuscany, and the Romagna
were united with the Kingdom of Sardinia under the name of the Kingdom
of Italy (April 15, 1860).

In the mean time Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies, had died, hated
and despised by everybody, and his son Francis II, a weak, ignorant,
bigoted lad, had mounted the throne. He refused a suggestion of Victor
Emmanuel to join in the war against Austria, threw himself into the arms
of the reactionary party, and made an alliance with the Pope. The
discontented liberals took courage at the news from the north. In April,
1860, the revolt began in Palermo, and, though suppressed there, spread.
Two young patriots, Francesco Crispi and Rosalino Pilo, went about
stirring the people to action. Garibaldi was begged to put himself at
the head of the proposed revolution. On the night of May 6, two ships,
the Lombardy and the Piedmont, secretly left Genoa, and took Garibaldi
and a thousand volunteers aboard. This band, known as _i Mille_, is
nearly as famous and as legendary as King Arthur and his Round Table. On
May 11, the ships landed at Marsala. Two Neapolitan cruisers came up,
but two English men-of-war happened to be there also; and the English
captains, under guise of friendly notification to the Neapolitans, took
some action which delayed the latter long enough to let the last
Garibaldians disembark. Once on shore, Garibaldi's volunteers ran to
secure the telegraph office. They arrived just after the operator had
telegraphed that two Piedmontese ships, filled with troops, had come
into the harbour; a Garibaldian was able to add to the message, "I have
made a mistake; they are two merchantmen." The answer came back,
"Idiot." The volunteers marched inland. A provisional government was
organized; Garibaldi was made dictator, and Crispi secretary of state.
The cry was "Italy and Victor Emmanuel!" Garibaldi was joined by
insurgent Sicilians, and, with numbers considerably increased, fought
and defeated the Bourbon army. The story reads like the exploits of
Hector before the Greek trenches. Victory followed victory. Palermo
fell, Milazzo and Messina; then he crossed the straits and invaded
Calabria (August). This marvellous triumph, for there had been thirty
thousand regular troops to oppose Garibaldi, frightened King Francis; he
proclaimed a constitution, appealed to Napoleon, and even to Victor
Emmanuel, for help. It was too late. Garibaldi swept on victorious, and
the king fled from Naples (September 6); the next day Garibaldi marched
in and assumed dictatorship of the kingdom.

England approved, but Continental Europe looked askance at this
irregular proceeding, and Victor Emmanuel and Cavour began to feel
uneasy, apprehensive lest the Great Powers should intervene in Italian
affairs. It was a difficult situation. Garibaldi was moving on
northward, and proclaimed his intention of going to Rome, regardless of
the French army stationed there, and then to Venice, regardless of the
European treaties that gave Venice to Austria. Besides, the Pope had
collected an army (largely of foreign recruits) to suppress the liberal
movements in Umbria and the Marches, and to give aid to the Neapolitan
king. Here were further opportunities for foreign intervention.
Evidently Cavour must act promptly if he wished Piedmont to continue to
control the national movement. He requested the Pope to dismiss his new
army. The Pope refused. The Piedmontese army crossed the pontifical
border, scattered the papal army, and took possession of all the papal
territory, except the city of Rome and the country immediately about it,
and then marched on across the Neapolitan boundary. Here the Bourbon
army was holding Garibaldi at bay. The arrival of the Piedmontese
determined the issue. A less noble man might have shown resentment at
having another come at the eleventh hour and seize the fruits of
victory, but Garibaldi hailed Victor Emmanuel as King of Italy, refused
the proffered honours and rewards, and went home, a poor man, to the
little island of Caprera. The Two Sicilies and the liberated parts of
the Papal States voted to join the Kingdom of Italy. In February, 1861,
the first Italian parliament was held, and Victor Emmanuel formally
received the title King of Italy. Excepting Rome and Venice, Italy was
free and independent.

Rome was the more pressing question of the two. A history of twenty-five
hundred years, a profound sentiment, a patriotic, poetic, romantic love,
had inevitably determined that Rome must be the capital of United Italy.
On the other hand, opposed to the Italian national sentiment was the
historic Catholic sentiment, diffused throughout Europe and strongest in
France. The Pope naturally deemed his Italian birth inferior in
obligation to his Catholic position. Moreover, the Temporal Power of the
Popes had endured for more than a thousand years, and since the time of
Julius II the pontifical title had been as good as the title to public
or private property anywhere. Catholics honestly believed that this
political kingdom was necessary to the independence of the Church. How
could the world, they said, believe in papal impartiality if the Papacy
were under the thumb of the Italian government? The difference in point
of view inevitably brought the ardent Papist and the patriotic
Nationalist to mutual injustice. The Italians looked on Pius IX as their
worst enemy; the Roman Curia deemed the Italians robbers. French
sympathy with the Papists, and especially the presence of a French army
in Rome, made the question exceedingly difficult. A special
circumstance aggravated the difficulty. The King of Naples, having taken
refuge in Rome, armed and subsidized gangs of brigands, who raided the
Neapolitan provinces and committed unspeakable outrages. These rascals,
when pursued by the Piedmontese army, crossed the pontifical border and
were safe. This condition was intolerable.

At this juncture the great statesman who had steadfastly pursued his
policy,--a free Church in a free State,--and never lost hope of a
peaceful solution of the Roman difficulty, died (June 6, 1861). The
priest who shrived him was summoned to Rome, deprived of his parish,
suspended from his office, and sent to finish his days in a remote
monastery; so strongly did the Roman Court feel that Cavour and his
abettors were wicked men.

Cavour's successors, Ricasoli and Rattazzi, with feebler gait, followed
his policy as best they could; but uncertainty and hesitation prevailed.
The two great questions, Rome and Venice, pressed for solution. The
radicals clamored to have the Italian army march on Rome. Garibaldi's
impatience would not brook further inaction. He left his island home at
Caprera, and betook himself to Sicily, crying, "Rome or Death!" With a
little army of hot-tempered radicals he crossed into Calabria. The
Italian government had no choice. Regular troops met Garibaldi at
Aspromonte, near Reggio, and bade him withdraw; he refused; shots were
fired. Which side fired first is uncertain. Garibaldi was wounded and
made prisoner (August 29, 1862). This indignity to the national hero
roused much hard feeling, but reasonable men perceived that the solution
of the Roman question had to be found in some other way than by a
filibustering expedition against a city held by the troops of a power
with whom the nation was at peace.

The liberation of Venice came first. Prussia occupied a position in
Germany somewhat similar to that of Piedmont in Italy. Both had somewhat
similar problems. Both felt antagonism to Austria, and also a suspicion
of France. In April, 1866, the two states made an alliance against
Austria, who, fearing the combination, tried to break it by offering to
cede Venetia to Italy if she would abandon the Prussian alliance. Victor
Emmanuel refused, and war began in June. The Italians were beaten both
on land and sea, to their great mortification and chagrin. The crushing
Prussian victory at Sadowa, however, forced Austria to accept the
victor's terms, including the cession of Venice. On November 7 Victor
Emmanuel entered the city. Rome alone was left.

Garibaldi made another desperate attempt, but was defeated by the French
at Mentana (1867). Not by Italian victories, but in consequence of
Prussian victories, the conquest of Rome was finally effected. The
French were obliged to withdraw their garrison during the
Franco-Prussian War, and then the Italian government, which, to the
shame of ardent patriots, had so long forborne out of obedience to the
will of the French, gave notice to the world that it would annex Rome.
After a useless call upon the Pope for peaceful surrender, Victor
Emmanuel directed his army to march on the city. Real resistance was out
of the question, but Pius IX had decided to yield only to force. On the
20th of September, 1870, a breach was made in the wall near _Porta Pia_,
a few shots were fired, a few score soldiers killed and wounded, and the
Italian army marched in and took possession of the city. A _plebiscite_
was held, and by a vote of 133,681 to 1507 the city voted to become a
part of Italy. In June, 1871, the seat of government was formally
removed from Florence, and Rome once again, after fifteen hundred years,
became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy.


[24] _The Union of Italy_, W. J. Stillman, p. 300.


CONCLUSION (1872-1900)

The union of Italy was so triumphant, the efforts which accomplished it
so heroic, and the whole tone of Italian history throughout the
Risorgimento so romantic and noble, that the period since of necessity
looks flat and dull. The Italians themselves had imagined that the union
of Italy would be followed by some career, political, moral, or
intellectual, that would be comparable to the career of ancient Rome. A
reaction was inevitable. No nation could continue at so enthusiastic a
pitch. Moreover, the difficulties before it were great.

Chief of these difficulties was the persistent hostility of the Papacy.
Pius IX, a kind, lovable, timid man, wholly inadequate to cope with a
revolutionary situation, had passed from his early sympathy with the
liberal movement to the opposite extreme, and hated it with the hatred
of fear. His hatred of liberal ideas may be seen in his conduct with
regard to ecclesiastical matters. He insisted upon the extremest
conservative dogma, as if it were a shield to protect the Papacy, the
papal city, the Papal States, and the whole Catholic world, from all
assaults of Satan and his liberal crew. First he proclaimed the dogma of
the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, next he published the
"Syllabus," which is a condemnation of all those doctrines commonly
embodied in Bills of Rights. Finally, he convoked the Vatican Council
(1869-70), and procured a decree that the Pope is infallible in matters
of faith and morals. This decree gave the death-blow to whatever remains
of republicanism there were in the Church, and established the Pope as
absolute monarch. An Ecumenical Council, representing the Church, had
previously been the infallible head of the Church; now the Pope was
substituted for the Council.

In this way the Church more and more assumed an attitude of
irreconcilable hostility to the ideas that prevailed among the educated
classes in Italy. After the occupation of Rome by the Italian
government, Pius shut himself up in the Vatican palace and proclaimed
himself a prisoner. He first advised and then commanded Catholics to
stay away from the polls at national elections, and directed his foreign
policy to the end of reëstablishing his Temporal Power. This policy,
judged by the popular belief in the divine right of nationality and of
majorities, is of course wrong; judged by one who regards the interests
of the Church as paramount, it may be defended as an attempt to adhere
to the old ways under which the Catholic Church had played its
extraordinary part in European history. After the occupation of Rome the
Italian government passed the Law of Guarantees (May 10, 1871), which
guaranteed to the Pope an annual subsidy of somewhat more than 3,000,000
lire a year, and also the personal and diplomatic rights of a sovereign,
such as to maintain his court, to receive ambassadors, to have separate
postal and telegraph service, to keep the Vatican and Lateran palaces,
etc. Pius IX refused to accept the subsidy.

Another difficulty, which has confronted the government since the union,
has been the discord between the North and South. The northern
provinces, especially Lombardy and Piedmont, have been making progress
in manufactures and in commerce; whereas, on the contrary, the South,
very ignorant and very poor, and devoted to agriculture, wine, grain,
lemons, oranges, etc., without facilities for manufacture and without
capacity for commerce, has made doubtful advance. Special causes have
hindered it. In Sicily, in consequence of long-continued poverty,
ignorance, and misgovernment, the secret societies, known as the
_Mafia_, have overrun great parts of the island. The original cause of
the _Mafia_ was probably self-protection, the lower classes banding
together to save themselves from the oppressions of the upper classes
who clung to the remains of the feudal system. The landowners, for
example, had used their control of the courts to maintain privileges and
injustice. As a natural consequence, members of the _Mafia_ deemed it
ignoble to revenge wrongs by judicial process, and still more ignoble to
give any information to any officers of the government. They settled
their own disputes and righted their own wrongs. With the grant of
suffrage the _Mafia_ became a political power, and only permitted the
election of such candidates as it approved.

In Naples there was also a power behind the scenes which resembled the
_Mafia_, but in reality was totally distinct and individual. This
Neapolitan power, a legacy from Bourbon times, was the _Camorra_, a
society of criminals or ruffians on the edge of crime, organized for the
purpose of levying tribute by blackmail; it was not unlike the worst
municipal rings in this country, and gained its livelihood from the
vicious, and from politicians who benefited by its support. Both
_Camorra_ and _Mafia_ have been very great obstacles to social progress,
and still exist.

The North, conscious of a higher standard of civilization, has wished to
educate and reform the South, and also, perhaps, has not been unwilling
to let taxation fall more heavily in proportion upon the agricultural
produce of the South than on the manufactured products of the North.
Resenting this assumption of superiority, and suspicious of unfair
treatment, especially with regard to indirect taxation, the South has
felt itself aggrieved; and so there have been continual misunderstanding
and friction between it and the North.

In its foreign relations the country has also had hard problems. France
and Italy ceased to be friends. Italy could not forget that the French
had upheld the papal power in Rome, and had defeated Garibaldi at
Mentana; and France was indignant that Italy had not come to her rescue
in 1870. France also was jealous of a rival in the Mediterranean; while
the Italians believed that France favoured a revival of the Temporal
Power. This unfriendliness, fostered by the Italian clericals,
constituted a most disturbing factor in Italy's foreign relations. The
breach was increased by other causes, and Italy in alarm turned to find
friends elsewhere. Austria and Germany, who had already made an
alliance, were glad to have Italy join, as further security for the
peace of Europe against any action by France or Russia. So the three
joined and made the Triple Alliance (1882), which was renewed from time
to time and still exists. This alliance has given Italy ample security
against any attack by France, but has imposed upon her very heavy
military burdens in order to keep her army at a certain standard of

As time went on the actors of the great age dropped off one by one;
Mazzini in 1872, Victor Emmanuel in 1878, Garibaldi in 1882. It is after
their departure, their noble desires fulfilled, their noble tasks
accomplished, that Italy looks little and inadequate. The parliamentary
struggles have certainly been neither noble nor romantic. After the
occupation of Rome, the Right, the conservative party, under Marco
Minghetti, Quintino Sella, and others, was in power for half a dozen
years, and by means of a burdensome taxation succeeded in making
receipts equal expenses. But taxes and refusal to extend the suffrage
led to its fall from power, and the Left, the progressive party, under
Agostino Depretis, assumed the government. Depretis abolished an
unpopular tax on grinding corn, made primary education compulsory, and
extended the suffrage from 600,000 voters to 2,000,000. After these
reforms the dominant party ceased to have a definite programme. There
was general confusion, known as Transformism. The deputies split up into
little groups under petty leaders and fell to log-rolling. The story is
dreary and unimportant.

Depretis, who died in 1887, was succeeded by Francesco Crispi, the most
striking political figure since Cavour. Crispi began life as an advocate
at Palermo, and took part as a very young man in the early agitations
for constitutional reforms. He was successful at the bar, and had moved
to Naples to practise before the appellate tribunals there, when the
events that led to the uprisings of '48 began to effervesce. Crispi took
a leading part. After the uprisings had been suppressed, he lived in
exile till the time was ripe to begin again. Then he returned to Sicily
and plotted for the revolution which terminated in Garibaldi's
expedition. He acquired great influence, took his seat in the Italian
parliament, and soon became leader of the radical Left. In spite of
vicissitudes and a not unattacked reputation, he was the chief
parliamentary figure on the death of Depretis, and dominated Italian
politics till 1896. In his youth Crispi had been a follower of Mazzini's
republican theories; later, though still a republican in sympathy, he
announced the opinion that "the Republic would divide us, the Monarchy
unites us," and abandoned his old republican associates. For this reason
among others he incurred the animosity of old friends and allies.

During the period of his ascendency the subdivision of the deputies into
little groups made government difficult, and for a couple of years he
was out of office. In that interval hard times, adding weight to
republican and socialist propaganda, caused strikes, riots, and
insurrections; and accompanying these disturbances came the "Bank
Scandals." Sundry banks, conspicuously the important Banca Romana, had
been violating the laws which regulated the government of banks, and had
been engaged in most improper dealings with politicians, as, for
instance, lending money to deputies on little or no security. These
scandals, together with the strikes, wrecked the ministry, and the
country called on Crispi, as the one strong man able to take control. He
assumed office in December, 1893, and remained till 1896, when he fell
with equal suddenness. The cause of his fall requires a separate

About 1870 an Italian steamship company established a coaling station on
the west coast of the Red Sea, and acquired a certain strip of land
which it afterwards ceded to the government (1882). From this beginning
the Italian government advanced, upon one pretext or another, to the
establishment of a colonial dependency. It occupied Massawa, established
the "Colonia Erithrea," and proclaimed a zone of influence along the
east coast of Africa. Various battles were fought with the natives; and
at last the government sent fifteen thousand men to perform some
brilliant exploit for its own political benefit. The Italian troops were
badly handled; they walked into a trap set by the Abyssinians, and
suffered a terrible rout, losing half their numbers (1896). Crispi fell
at once, and the new ministry under Di Rudinì, in spite of cries for
revenge, prudently abandoned the colonial policy, and made peace as best
it could. Italy renounced her protectorate, and contented herself with a
strip of coast by Massawa. Thus ended the scheme of colonial
aggrandizement begun in ignorance and folly.

The fall of Crispi removed the last interesting figure of the
Risorgimento, and left Italian politics in a confused medley. Since
then, various leaders of no marked ability or individuality have
struggled with the permanent difficulties of Church and State, North and
South, capitalism and socialism, and the shifting difficulties of
foreign relations. All this time is too near to present any definite
pattern to the casual eye. The century closed sadly with the
assassination of King Humbert (1878-1900) by an ignorant workman who
called himself a nihilist. Humbert was not a good ruler, but he had a
kind heart and many pleasant qualities, which endeared him to the
Italian people. He was succeeded by his son Victor Emmanuel III, the
present king.

The greatest Italian figure of the last decades of the nineteenth
century was not to be found in the service of the State, but of the
Church. In 1810 Gioacchino Pecci was born in Carpineto, a dead little
village perched on a hillside near Anagni, the town where Boniface VIII
was nearly murdered by Sciarra Colonna five hundred years before. His
father, Count Lodovico Pecci, had served in Napoleon's army; his mother
was said to be descended from Cola di Rienzo. The count was the
seigneur of the place, and lived in a somewhat shabby palace which had
seen better days. Gioacchino was educated at a Jesuit school in Rome. He
soon gave evidence of marked ability, and was taken into the papal
service and sent as apostolic delegate to Benevento. Banditti infested
the neighbourhood, and the nobility of the town were little better than
the banditti. Pecci displayed character. He was promoted, and at the age
of thirty-three was sent as papal nuncio to Belgium, with the title of
Archbishop of Damietta, an archbishopric that had been _in partibus
infidelium_ since the days of St. Louis. In Belgium, where liberal ideas
were jostling the old ecclesiastical system, Pecci distinguished himself
for tact and address. From Belgium he went to Perugia as bishop, and
governed the city for thirty-two years, during the trying time in which
(largely at the expense of the Church) Italy was forcing her way to
freedom. In 1860 his authority was overthrown by the Piedmontese
soldiers, and many tales of brutality and wantonness charged upon the
nationalists were brought to his troubled ears, and he unfortunately
received a most unfavourable impression of liberals and liberalism. His
reputation for ability, character, and diplomacy became so well
established, that in the conclave on the death of Pius IX he had no
serious competitor. Leo XIII (1878-1903) was already an old man when he
was elected Pope, and had had the misfortune to receive his education
and training in the narrow school of the old papal régime. Preceded by
an incompetent Pope, he found himself confronted by the wreck of the
Temporal Power, and by a liberalism which was not only triumphant in
Italy, but in nearly all western Europe. He had not far to go to find
thoughtful men who expected to see the Papacy collapse and die. Most
difficult matters in Germany, in Ireland, in France, in the United
States, required delicate and skilful management. It is not too much to
say that Leo raised the Papacy higher in the world's regard than it had
stood for two hundred years. Had he been a younger man, and trained in a
more liberal school, he might, perhaps, have attempted the task of
adjusting ecclesiastical conservatism and tradition to the needs of a
fast changing world. But he was too old. With a few brilliant exceptions
he accepted the conservative policy. He affected to deem himself a
prisoner in the Vatican, and claimed the restoration of the Temporal
Power; he declared Thomas Aquinas the best teacher for the priesthood,
and stood firm on the dogmas of the Council of Trent. Nevertheless, his
was a most impressive personality, and he stands in the long list of
Popes in a rank inferior only to the highest.

In his old age, as he strolled in the Vatican gardens, meditating Latin
verses, or thinking over his encyclical letters, "On the Condition of
the Working Classes," "On Christian Democracy," "On the Holy Eucharist,"
or turning his emaciated, sweet, Voltairean face to the great dome of
St. Peter's, he may well have let his mind wander in peace over the
outside world, for never since Luther cast off his papal allegiance had
the whole Christian world been so united in admiration for a Pope of
Rome. All Christians could say amen to the prayer in his last poem,
"Suprema Leonis Vota:"--

    Expleat o clemens anxia vota Deus,

    Scilicet ut tandem superis de civibus unus
    Divino aeternum lumine et ore fruar.[25]

We have now reached our goal, the end of the nineteenth century, and if
we look back and contemplate the vicissitudes of Italy, such as no other
nation ever experienced, twice on the throne of Europe, three times
crowned with its crown,--Imperial, Ecclesiastical, Intellectual,--and
resurvey the three centuries during which foreign tyrant and native
priest joined hands to smother and quench the Italian fire, and then
read in detail the heroic acts of the men who sacrificed themselves for
Italian freedom, we shall feel sure that the dull colours of the present
generation are but signs of a time of rest, and that the genius of Italy
lives within and will again enrich the world with deeds of men sprung
from the "gentle Latin blood."



 Fulfil, O gracious God, my anxious prayer,

 That, at the last, one among the citizens of Heaven
 I may enjoy Thy Light, Thy Face, forever.




  Year of   |                          |                          |Year of
  Accession.|        Popes.            |        Emperors.         |Accession.
    A. D.   |                          |                          |  A. D.
     468    |Simplicius                |Romulus Augustulus        |   475
     483    |Felix III                 |Anastasius I[1]           |   491
     492    |Gelasius I                |                          |
     496    |Anastasius II             |                          |
     498    |Symmachus                 |                          |
     498    |Laurentius (Anti-pope)    |                          |
     514    |Hormisdas                 |                          |
            |                          |Justin I                  |   518
     523    |John I                    |                          |
     526    |Felix IV                  |                          |
            |                          |JUSTINIAN[2]              |   527
     530    |Boniface II               |                          |
     530    |Dioscorus (Anti-pope)     |                          |
     532    |John II                   |                          |
     535    |Agapetus I                |                          |
     536    |Silverius                 |                          |
     537    |Vigilius                  |                          |
     555    |Pelagius I                |                          |
     560    |John III                  |                          |
            |                          |Justin II                 |   565
     574    |Benedict I                |                          |
     578    |Pelagius II               |Tiberius II               |   578
            |                          |Maurice                   |   582
     590    |GREGORY I (THE GREAT)[2]  |                          |
            |                          |Phocas                    |   602
     604    |Sabinianus                |                          |
     607    |Boniface III              |                          |
     607    |Boniface IV               |                          |
            |                          |HERACLIUS                 |   610
     615    |Deusdedit                 |                          |
     618    |Boniface V                |                          |
     625    |Honorius I                |                          |
     638    |Severinus                 |                          |
     640    |John IV                   |                          |
            |                          |Constantine III     }     |
            |                          |Heracleonas,        }     |   641
            |                          |Constans II         }     |
     642    |Theodorus I               |                          |
     649    |Martin I                  |                          |
     654    |Eugenius I                |                          |
     657    |Vitalianus                |                          |
            |                          |Constantine IV (Pogonatus)|   668
     672    |Adeodatus                 |                          |
     676    |Domnus I                  |                          |
     678    |Agatho                    |                          |
     682    |Leo II                    |                          |
     683?   |Benedict II               |                          |
     685    |John V                    |Justinian II              |   685
     685?   |Conon                     |                          |
     687    |Sergius I                 |                          |
     687    |Paschal (Anti-pope)       |                          |
     687    |Theodorus (Anti-pope)     |                          |
            |                          |Leontius                  |   694
            |                          |Tiberius Apsimar          |   697
     701    |John VI                   |                          |
     705    |John VII                  |Justinian II restored     |   705
     708    |Sisinnius                 |                          |
     708    |Constantine               |                          |
            |                          |Philippicus Bardanes      |   711
            |                          |Anastasius II             |   713
     715    |Gregory II                |                          |
            |                          |Theodosius III            |   716
            |                          |LEO III (THE ISAURIAN)    |   718
     731    |Gregory III               |                          |
     741    |Zacharias                 |Constantine V (Copronymus)|   741
     752    |Stephen II                |                          |
     752    |Stephen III               |                          |
     757    |Paul I                    |                          |
     768    |Stephen IV                |                          |
     772    |Hadrian I                 |                          |
            |                          |Leo IV                    |   775
            |                          |Constantine VI            |   780
     795    |LEO III                   |Deposition of             |
            |                          |  Constantine VI by Irene |   797
            |                          |CHARLEMAGNE  }Carlovingian|   800
            |                          |             }Line.       |
            |                          |Lewis I      }            |
            |                          |  (the Pious)}            |   814
     816    |Stephen IV                |             }            |
     817    |Paschal I                 |             }            |
     824    |Eugenius                  |             }            |
     827    |Valentinus                |             }            |
     827    |Gregory IV                |             }            |
            |                          |Lothair I    }            |   840
     844    |Sergius II                |             }            |
     847    |Leo IV                    |             }            |
     855    |Benedict III              |Lewis II     }            | 855
     855    |Anastasius (Anti-pope)    |             }            |
     858    |NICHOLAS I                |             }            |
     867    |Hadrian II                |             }            |
     872    |John VIII                 |             }            |
            |                          |Charles II   }            |
            |                          |  (the Bald) }            |   875
            |                          |Charles III  }            |
            |                          |  (the Fat)  }            |   881
     882    |Martin II                 |                          |
     884    |Hadrian III               |                          |
     885    |Stephen V                 |                          |
     891    |Formosus                  |Guido        }[3] Italians|   891
            |                          |Lambert      }            |   894
     896    |Boniface VI               |Arnulf, German            |   896
     896    |Steven VI                 |                          |
     897    |Romanus                   |                          |
     897    |Theodore II               |                          |
     898    |John IX                   |                          |
     900    |Benedict IV               |                          |
            |                          |Lewis III (of Provence)   |   901
     903    |Leo V                     |                          |
     903    |Christopher               |                          |
     904    |Sergius III               |                          |
     911    |Anastasius III            |                          |
     913    |Lando                     |                          |
     914    |John X                    |                          |
            |                          |Berengar, Italian         |   915
     928    |Leo VI                    |                          |
     929    |Stephen VII               |                          |
     931    |John XI                   |                          |
     936    |Leo VII                   |                          |
     939    |Stephen VIII              |                          |
     941    |Martin III                |                          |
     946    |Agapetus II               |                          |
     955    |John XII                  |                          |
            |                          |OTTO THE GREAT   }Saxon   |   962
     963    |Leo VIII                  |                 }Line.   |
     964    |Benedict V (Anti-pope?)   |                 }        |
     965    |John XIII                 |                 }        |
     972    |Benedict VI               |                 }        |
            |                          |Otto II          }        |   973
     974    |Boniface VII (Anti-pope?) |                 }        |
     974    |Domnus II                 |                 }        |
     974    |Benedict VII              |                 }        |
     983    |John XIV                  | Otto III        }        |   983
     985    |John XV                   |                          |
     996    |Gregory V                 |                          |
     996    |John XVI (Anti-pope)      |                          |
     999    |SILVESTER II              |                          |
            |                          |Henry II (of Bavaria)     |  1002
    1003    |John XVII                 |                          |
    1003    |John XVIII                |                          |
    1009    |Sergius IV                |                          |
    1012    |Benedict VIII             |                          |
    1024    |John XIX                  |Conrad II     }Franconian |  1024
    1033    |Benedict IX               |              }Line.      |
            |                          |HENRY III     }           |  1039
    1044    |Silvester (Anti-pope)     |              }           |
    1045?   |Gregory VI                |              }           |
    1046    |Clement II                |              }           |
    1048    |Damasus II                |              }           |
    1048    |Leo IX                    |              }           |
    1054    |Victor II                 |              }           |
            |                          |HENRY IV      }           |  1056
    1057    |Stephen IX                |              }           |
    1058    |Benedict X                |              }           |
    1059    |Nicholas II               |              }           |
    1061    |Alexander II              |              }           |
    1073    |GREGORY VII (Hildebrand)  |              }           |
    1080    |Clement (Anti-pope)       |              }           |
    1086    |Victor III                |              }           |
    1087    |Urban II                  |              }           |
    1099    |Paschal II                |              }           |
            |                          |Henry V       }           |  1106
    1118    |Gelasius II               |                          |
    1118    |Gregory (Anti-pope)       |                          |
    1119    |Calixtus II               |                          |
    1121    |Celestine (Anti-pope)     |                          |
    1124    |Honorius II               |                          |
            |                          |Lothair II (the Saxon)    |  1125
    1130    |Innocent II               |                          |
            |(Anacletus, Anti-pope)    |                          |
            |                          |              Hohenstaufen|
    1138    |Victor (Anti-pope)        |[Conrad III][4]     }Line.|  1138
    1143    |Celestine II              |                    }     |
    1144    |Lucius II                 |                    }     |
    1145    |Eugenius III              |                    }     |
            |                          |FREDERICK I         }     |  1152
            |                          |  (BARBAROSSA)      }     |
    1153    |Anastasius IV             |                    }     |
    1154    |Hadrian IV                |                    }     |
    1159    |ALEXANDER III             |                    }     |
    1159    |Victor (Anti-pope)        |                    }     |
    1164    |Paschal (Anti-pope)       |                    }     |
    1168    |Calixtus (Anti-pope)      |                    }     |
    1181    |Lucius III                |                    }     |
    1185    |Urban III                 |                    }     |
    1187    |Gregory VIII              |                    }     |
    1187    |Clement III               |                    }     |
            |                          |HENRY VI            }     |  1190
    1191    |Celestine III             |  {[Philip]         }     |  1198
    1198    |INNOCENT III              |  {Otto IV of Brunswick   |
            |                          |Otto IV                   |  1208
            |                          |FREDERICK II }Hohenstaufen|  1212
    1216    |Honorius III              |             }       Line.|
    1227    |GREGORY IX                |             }            |
    1241    |Celestine IV              |             }            |
    1241    |Vacancy                   |             }            |
    1243    |Innocent IV               |             }            |
            |                          |[Conrad IV]} }            |  1250
            |                          |[William]  }              |
    1254    |Alexander IV              |Interregnum               |  1254
            |                          |[Richard, Earl of    }    |
            |                          |  Cornwall]          }    |
            |                          |[Alfonso, King of    }    |
            |                          |  Castile]           }    |  1257
    1261    |Urban IV                  |                          |
    1265    |Clement IV                |                          |
    1269    |Vacancy                   |                          |
    1271    |Gregory X                 |                          |
            |                          |[Rudolf I (of Hapsburg)]  |  1272
    1276    |Innocent V                |                          |
    1276    |Hadrian V                 |                          |
    1276    |John XXI[5]               |                          |
    1277    |Nicholas III              |                          |
    1281    |Martin IV                 |                          |
    1285    |Honorius IV               |                          |
    1289    |Nicholas IV               |                          |
    1292    |Vacancy                   |[Adolf (of Nassau)]       |  1292
    1294    |Celestine V               |                          |
    1294    |BONIFACE VIII             |                          |
            |                          |[Albert I (of Hapsburg)]  |  1298
    1303    |Benedict XI               |                          |
    1305    |Clement V        }Avignon,|                          |
            |                 }seat of |HENRY VII (of Luxemburg)  |  1308
    1314    |Vacancy          }Papacy. |Lewis IV (of Bavaria)     |  1314
    1316    |John XXII        }        |                          |
    1334    |Benedict XII     }        |                          |
    1342    |Clement VI       }        |                          |
    1352    |Innocent VI      }        |Charles IV (House of      |  1347
    1362    |Urban V          }        |  Luxemburg)              |
    1370    |Gregory XI       }        |                          |
    1378    |Urban VI, Clement }Great  |[Wenzel (House of         |  1378
            |  VII (Anti-pope) }Schism.|  Luxemburg)]             |
    1389    |Boniface IX       }       |                          |
    1394    |Benedict          }       |                          |
            |  (Anti-pope)     }       |[Rupert (Count Palatine)] |  1400
    1404    |Innocent VII      }       |                          |
    1406    |Gregory XII   }   }       |                          |
    1409    |Alexander V   }   }       |                          |
    1410    |John XXIII    }   }       |Sigismund (House of       |
            |                          |  Luxemburg)              |  1410
    1417    |Martin V                  |                          |
    1431    |Eugene IV                 |                          |
            |                          |[Albert II (of Hapsburg)][6] 1438
    1439    |Felix V (Anti-pope)       |                          |
            |                          |Frederick III             |  1440
            |Popes of the Renaissance.}|                          |
    1447    |NICHOLAS V               }|                          |
    1455    |Calixtus III             }|                          |
    1458    |Pius II                  }|                          |
    1464    |Paul II                  }|                          |
    1471    |SIXTUS IV                }|                          |
    1484    |Innocent VIII            }|                          |
    1493    |Alexander VI             }|[Maximilian I]            |  1493
    1503    |Pius III                 }|                          |
    1503    |JULIUS II                }|                          |
    1513    |LEO X                    }|                          |
            |                          |CHARLES V                 |  1519
    1522    |Hadrian VI                |                          |
    1523    |Clement VII               |                          |
    1534    |Paul III      }  Council  |                          |
    1550    |Julius III    }  of Trent.|                          |
    1555    |Marcellus II  }           |                          |
    1555    |Paul IV       }           |                          |
            |              }           |[Ferdinand I][7]          |  1558
    1559    |PIUS IV       }           |                          |
            |                          |[Maximilian II]           |  1564
    1566    |Pius V                    |                          |
    1572    |Gregory XIII              |                          |
            |                          |[Rudolph II]              |  1576
    1585    |SIXTUS V                  |                          |
    1590    |Urban VII                 |                          |
    1590    |Gregory XIV               |                          |
    1591    |Innocent IX               |                          |
    1592    |Clement VIII              |                          |
    1605    |Leo XI                    |                          |
    1605    |Paul V                    |                          |
            |                          |[Matthias]                |  1612
            |                          |[Ferdinand II]            |  1619
    1621    |Gregory XV                |                          |
    1623    |Urban VIII                |                          |
            |                          |[Ferdinand III]           |  1637
    1644    |Innocent X                |                          |
    1655    |Alexander VII             |                          |
            |                          |[Leopold I]               |  1658
    1667    |Clement IX                |                          |
    1670    |Clement X                 |                          |
    1676    |Innocent XI               |                          |
    1689    |Alexander VIII            |                          |
    1691    |Innocent XII              |                          |
    1700    |Clement XI                |                          |
            |                          |[Joseph I]                |  1705
            |                          |[Charles VI]              |  1711
    1720    |Innocent XIII             |                          |
    1724    |Benedict XIII             |                          |
    1740    |Benedict XIV              |                          |
            |                          |[Charles VII]             |  1742
            |                          |[Francis I, husband of    |
            |                          |  Maria Theresa]          |  1745
    1758    |Clement XII               |                          |
            |                          |[Joseph II]     }House of |  1765
    1769    |Clement XIII              |                }Hapsburg |
    1775    |Pius VI                   |                }through  |
            |                          |[Leopold II]    }Maria    |  1790
            |                          |[Francis II]    }Theresa. |  1792
    1800    |Pius VII                  |                          |
            |                          |Abdication of Francis II  |  1806
    1823    |Leo XII                   |                          |
    1829    |Pius VIII                 |                          |
    1831    |Gregory XVI               |                          |
    1846    |PIUS IX                   |                          |
    1878    |LEO XIII                  |                          |
    1903    |Pius X                    |                          |

1 All the Emperors between Romulus Augustulus and Charlemagne reigned at

2 Capitals distinguish the most eminent Popes and Emperors.

3 Two names bracketed together indicate rival claimants.

4 Those in brackets never received the Imperial crown.

5 This Pope skipped No. XX.

6 From 1438 to 1806, with the exception of Francis I of Lorraine, the
House of Hapsburg was on the Imperial throne.

7 Ferdinand and his successors took the title Emperor Elect.



                             Giovanni Bicci, d. 1429.
      |                                                       |
  Cosimo, Pater Patriæ,                               Lorenzo, d. 1440.
  d. 1464.                                                    |
      |                                           Piero Francesco, 1467.
  Piero, d. 1469.                                             |
      |------------------------------+                        |
      |                              |                        |
  Lorenzo the Magnificent,       Giuliano,          Giovanni, m. Caterina
    d. 1492.                      d. 1478.             Sforza, d. 1498.
      |                              |                        |
      +------------------+           |                        |
      |                  |           |                        |
  Piero, d. 1503.  Giovanni, Pope   Giulio, Pope Clement      |
      |             Leo X, d. 1521.     VII, d. 1534.         |
      |                                                       |
  Lorenzo, Duke                                           Giovanni, "delle
  of Urbino,                                                bande nere,"
  d. 1519.                                                   d. 1526.
      |                                                       |
      +-----------------+                                     |
      |                 |                                     |
  Alessandro,       Caterina, m. Henri II               Cosimo I, Grand
  d. 1537.          of France, d. 1589.                  Duke, d. 1574.
                                    |                         |
                              Francesco I, d. 1587.       Ferdinand I,
                              m. Joanna of Austria, also    d. 1609.
                                    |  Bianca Cappello.       |
                                    |                         |
                              Maria, m. Henri IV         Cosimo II, d. 1621.
                              of France.                      |
                                                      Ferdinand II, d. 1670.
                                                        Cosimo III, d. 1723.
                                                  Giovanni Gastone, d. 1737.




                  NORMAN CONQUEST,

            last half of eleventh century.

                   Roger, d. 1154.
         |                                   |
 William the Bad, d. 1166.          Constance, d. 1198,
         |                              married
 William the Good, d. 1189.         Henry VI, Emperor, d. 1197.}
                                            |                  }
         +----------------------------------+                  }
         |                                                     }
 Frederick II, Emperor, d. 1250.                               }
         |                                                     }Hohenstaufen
         +----------------------+                              }Line.
         |                      |                              }
 Conrad IV, d. 1254.        Manfred, d. 1266.                  }
         |                                                     }
 Conradin, d. 1268.                                            }

               FRENCH CONQUEST, 1266.

             Charles of Anjou, 1266-1282.

                                 SICILIAN VESPERS, 1282.
 House of Anjou, 1266-1442.      House of Aragon, 1282-1442.

               Alfonso of Aragon,
      |                                |
 House of Aragon,                House of Aragon,
 illegitimate,                   legitimate, which, on
 1448-1504.                      marriage of Ferdinand
                                 of Aragon with Isabella
                                 of Castile, became
                                 House of Spain.


                     Ferdinand the Catholic, 1504-1516.
                     Charles V, Emperor, 1516-1556.
                     Spanish Crown, 1556-1713.

                TREATY OF UTRECHT, 1713.

 Austria, 1713-1720.               Savoy, 1713-1720.

             WILL OF QUADRUPLE ALLIANCE, 1720.

             Austria, 1720-1738.

             PEACE OF VIENNA, 1738.

             Spanish Bourbons, 1738-1798.
             [French invasion, 1798-1802.]
             Spanish Bourbons, 1802-1805.
             Joseph Bonaparte, 1806-1808.
             Joachim Murat, 1808-1815.
             Spanish Bourbons:
                Ferdinand I,1815-1825.
                Francis I, 1825-1830.
                Ferdinand II, 1830-1859.
                Francis II, 1859-1860.


[26] When the two kingdoms are united the names of the kings are put in
the middle column, when separate in the side columns respectively.



_For the Middle Ages_

 Italy and her Invaders                       Thomas Hodgkin.

 Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire         Edward Gibbon.

 History of Latin Christianity                Dean Milman.

 Rome in the Middle Ages (translated
 from the German by Mrs. G. W. Hamilon)       F. Gregorovius.

 Mediæval Europe                              Ephraim Emerton.

 Italian Chronicles of the Middle Ages        Ugo Balzani.

 Story of the Byzantine Empire                C. W. C. Oman.

 History of the Later Roman Empire            J. Bury.

 The Holy Roman Empire                        James Bryce.

 Historical Documents of the Middle Ages      Ernest F. Henderson.

 The Papal Monarchy                           William Barry.

 A History of the Inquisition in the
 Middle Ages                                  H. C. Lea.

 An Historical Sketch of Sacerdotal
 Celibacy in the Christian Church             H. C. Lea.

 History of Auricular Confession and
 Indulgences in the Latin Church              H. C. Lea.

 History of Western Europe                    J. H. Robinson.

 First Two Centuries of Florence
 (translated from the Italian by Linda
 Villari)                                     Pasquale Villari.

 Florence, Mediæval Towns Series              E. C. Gardner.

 The History of Venice                        W. Carew Hazlitt.

 A Short History of Venice                    W. R. Thayer.

 Church Building in the Middle Ages           Charles Eliot Norton.

 The Monks of the West from St. Benedict
 to St. Bernard (translated from
 the French)                                  Montalembert.

 The Classical Heritage of the Middle
 Ages                                         H. O. Taylor.

 Life of St. Francis of Assisi (translated
 from the French by L. S. Houghton)           Paul Sabatier.

_For the Renaissance_

 The Civilization of the Renaissance in
 Italy (translated from the German
 by S. G. C. Middlemore)                      Jakob Burckhardt.

 The Cicerone                                 Jakob Burckhardt.

 Renaissance in Italy (The Age of the
 Despots, Revival of Learning, Fine
 Arts, Literature, Catholic Reaction)         John Addington Symonds.

 History of the Italian Republics in the
 Middle Ages (translated from the French)     S. de Sismondi.

 History of the Popes of Rome (translated
 from the German by Sarah Austin)             Leopold Ranke.

 The Papacy during the Reformation            M. Creighton.

 The Renaissance                              Cambridge Mod. History.

 History of the Popes from the Close of
 the Middle Ages (translated from the
 German)                                      L. Pastor.

 The Council of Trent                         J. A. Froude.

 Petrarch, the First Modern Scholar and
 Man of Letters                               Robinson & Rolfe.

 Lives of the Most Eminent Painters,
 Sculptors, and Architects (translated
 from the Italian by Mrs. Foster)             Giorgio Vasari.

 Journal of Montaigne's Travels in Italy.

_For the Eighteenth Century_

 Studies of the Eighteenth Century in
 Italy                                        Vernon Lee.

 Goldoni's Memoirs, translated by             W. D. Howells.

 Memoirs of Carlo Gozzi                       J. A. Symonds.

_For the Risorgimento_

 The Liberation of Italy                      Evelyn M. Cesaresco.

 Italian Characters of the Epoch of
 Unification                                  Evelyn M. Cesaresco.

 The Union of Italy (1815-1895)               W. J. Stillman.

 Life of Victor Emmanuel II                   G. S. Godkin.

 The Dawn of Italian Independence             W. R. Thayer.

 Modern Italy, 1748-1898 (translated
 from the Italian by Alice Vialls)            Pietro Orsi.


 Aachen, 59.

 Abyssinians defeat Italians, 415.

 Agnello, Father, 71, 72.

 Aistulf, 49.

 Alaric, 5.

 Alberic, 76, 78.

 Alberti, Leon Battista, 241.

 Albinola, 370.

 Albizzi, Maso degli, 230.

 Alboin, 27, 29.

 Albornoz, Cardinal, 218.

 Alessi, Galeazzo, 306.

 Alexander VI, Pope (Rodrigo Borgia), and Savonarola, 261;
   political course, 272, 273;
   private life, 275;
   death, 275;
   his apartments in Vatican, 288.

 Alexander VII, Pope, 346.

 Alfieri, Vittorio, 364.

 Alfonso, of Aragon, King of Two Sicilies, 223;
   interest in humanism, 249;
   his death, 262.

 Amalfi, 70, 73, 103.

 Amati, 359.

 Ammanati, 306.

 Angelico, Fra, 233.

 Antignati, 359.

 Apollo Belvedere, 289.

 Aragon, King of, swears allegiance to Innocent III, 122.

 Arcadia, the, 353, 354.

 Arians, 3;
   persecuted by Justinian, 18.

 Ariosto, 283-285, 354.

 Aristotle, 19, 178, 235, 242.

 Arnold of Brescia, 109.

 Arnolfo di Cambio, 188.

 Arnulf, Emperor, 74;
   enters Rome, 75.

 Arsenal, at Venice, 225.

 Aspromonte, 406.

 Assisi, heretics in, 125;
   description of, 127, 128;
   basilica of St. Francis, 132;
   taken by Milan temporarily, 227.

 Athens, made a Latin fief, 119;
   captured by Venice, 338.

 Athens, Duke of, see Walter of Brienne.

 Attendolo, Muzio, see Sforza Attendolo.

 Augustine, in England, 36.

 Augustulus, see Romulus Augustulus.

 Austria, supreme in Italy, 368;
   in Holy Alliance, 370;
   triumphant in 1848-49, 389, 390;
   war with France and Piedmont, 400, 401;
   war with Prussia and Italy, 407.

 Avignon, 151;
   Petrarch at, 204;
   return of Popes to Rome from, 217;
   anti-popes of Great Schism at, 219.

 Babylonish Captivity, 151;
   end of, 217, 218.

 Baglioni, in Perugia, 198.

 Bandinelli, 308.

 Banditti, 325.

 Bank scandals, 415.

 Barbarians, their character, 1;
   their society, 3;
   habits, 4;
   intercourse with Rome, 5, 6;
   dismember Empire, 6;
   their problems in Italy, 10;
   described by Boethius, 19;
   so-called (foreigners), 253, 257.

 Barbarossa, see Frederick I, Emperor.

 Barberini, see Urban VIII, Pope.

 Baroque, the, 307, 308, 350, 351.

 Barozzi, Giacomo, see Vignola.

 Basel, Council of, 268, 269.

 Beccaria, 362.

 Belisarius, 21.

 Bellini, composer, 358, 378.

 Bellini, Gentile, 312.

 Bellini, Giovanni, 312.

 Bellini, Jacopo, 312.

 Bellotto, 352.

 Bembo, 282, 283.

 Benedetto da Maiano, 244.

 Benedict, see St. Benedict.

 Benevento, 28.

 Bentivoglio, in Bologna, 198.

 Berchet, 377.

 Bergamo, annexed to Venice, 224.

 Bernini, 351.

 Bisticci, Vespasiano da, 234.

 Black Death, see Plague of 1348.

 Boboli garden, 306.

 Boccaccio, 185;
   his account of Black Death, 209, 210.

 Boethius, 19.

 Boiardo, Matteo, 283.

 Bologna, jurists of, 110;
   university of, 177, 178;
   poetry in, 184;
   Bentivogli in, 198;
   subject to Papacy, 218;
   seized by Visconti, 227;
   recovered by Papacy, 228;
   visited by Montaigne, 324;
   school of (painting), 351, 352.

 Boniface VIII, Pope, 146;
   his character, 146;
   quarrel with the Colonna, 147;
   with Philip the Fair, 148;
   his papal theories, 148, 149;
   outraged, 150;
   death, 151.

 Bonifazio, 312.

 Bordone, Paris, 312.

 Borghese, Camillo, see Paul V, Pope.

 Borgia, Cæsar, 272-275;
   employs Leonardo, 286;
   believed to have murdered his brother, 314;
   admired by Machiavelli, 314.

 Borgia, Lucrezia, 275.

 Borgia, Rodrigo, see Alexander VI, Pope.

 Borgia, son to Rodrigo, see Duke of Gandia.

 Botticelli, 245-247, 288.

 Bourbon, High Constable, 279.

 Bourbon, House of, 335, 339.

 Bramante, 256, 283, 285;
   in Rome, 287;
   designs St. Peter's, 289, 290.

 Brescia, captured by Henry VII, 157;
   annexed by Venice, 224;
   gallant defence of, 391.

 Brienne, Walter of, Duke of Athens, 229.

 Bronzino, 308, 309.

 Brunelleschi, 233, 235-237;
   and Donatello, anecdote of, 238, 239.

 Bruno, Giordano, 349.

 Burckhardt, 304;
   on Bandinelli, 308.

 Burgundy, 78.

 Byron, Lord, 372-375.

 Byzantine art, 188, 189.

 Cacciaguida, 180.

 Cambrai, League of, 224, 265, 266.

 Cambrai, treaty of, 293.

 Camorra, 294, 412.

 Campanella, 349.

 Canaletto, 352.

 Can Grande, see under Scala della.

 Canon law, see Church law.

 Canossa, 99.

 Cappello, Bianca, 327.

 Caracci, the, 309, 352.

 Caraffa, Cardinal, see Paul IV, Pope.

 Caravaggio, 309, 352.

 Carbonari, 369, 382.

 Cardinals, made papal electors, 91.

 Carducci, on Tasso, 310.

 Carissimi, 358.

 Carlo Alberto, 375, 376, 379, 380, 384, 385;
   war with Austria, 388;
   resigns his crown, 390.

 Carlo Dolci, 352.

 Carlo Felice, 375.

 Carlovingians, the, 44, 57, 58.

 Carlyle, on Mazzini, 382.

 Carmagnola, 228.

 Carnival, Roman, 330.

 Carpaccio, 312.

 Cassiodorus, 14.

 Castiglione, 281-283.

 Castillia, 370.

 Castracane, Castruccio, 200.

 Cateau-Cambrésis, treaty of, 293, 296, 327.

 Catholic Reaction, see Catholic Revival.

 Catholic Revival, 297-302.

 Cavalcanti, 184.

 Cavaliere servente, 356.

 Cavour, 386, 387;
   policy of Church and State, 398;
   policy in Piedmont, 398;
   as to Crimean War, 398, 399;
   and Napoleon III, 399, 400;
   resigns, 401;
   recalled, 402;
   interference in Naples, 404;
   death, 406.

 Celibacy of clergy, 86.

 Cellini, 308, 316, 317.

 Certosa, at Pavia, 226, 227, 250.

 Cervantes, 297.

 Charlemagne, blessed by Pope, 45;
   marriage, 50;
   Donation of, 50;
   European conquests, 51;
   titles, 53;
   person and character, 53;
   judges Pope, 55;
   receives gifts from Caliph, 55;
   coronation, 56;
   his Empire, 57;
   crowns his son, 59.

 Charles of Anjou, 144, 161, 162;
   visits Cimabue's studio, 189.

 Charles of Durazzo, 222.

 Charles V, Emperor, struggle with Francis I, 257;
   policy in Florence, 262, 263;
   marries daughter to Alessandro dei Medici, 263;
   inherits Two Sicilies, 264;
   crowned Emperor, 299;
   and Council of Trent, 300.

 Charles VIII, King of France, 256, 257, 259.

 Charles Martel, 44, 53.

 Chigi, see Alexander VII, Pope.

 Church, the (see also Papacy), causes of its rise, 8;
   orthodoxy, 10;
   relations with Empire, 16;
   during Lombard dominion, 31;
   imperial character, 32;
   sources of power, 32, 33.

 Church law, 65.

 Cicisbeismo, 356.

 Cimabue, 189.

 Cimarosa, 358.

 Cinquecento, the, 304-318.

 Ciompi, 229.

 Clare, St., see St. Clare.

 Classical revival, 201-208.

 Clement V, Pope, 151;
   dealings with Henry VII, 156.

 Clement VII, Pope, 262, 277, 278-280;
   crowns Charles V, 299.

 Clement IX, Pope, 346.

 Clergy, in Carlovingian times, 71.

 Cluny, monastic reform of, 85;
   its creed, 86;
   its effect, 88.

 Cola, di Rienzo, 206-208;
   dreams for Rome, 206;
   letter to Florentines, 207;
   his fall and death, 207.

 Colleoni, statue of, 247, 311.

 Colonia Erithrea, see Colony in Africa.

 Colonna, the, 76;
   quarrel with Boniface VIII, 146;
   Pope Martin V, 220;
   custom in their palace, 277, 278.

 Colonna, Sciarra, 150.

 Colony in Africa, 415.

 Columbanus, St., see St. Columbanus.

 Commedia dell'Arte, 355.

 Commines, Philippe de, on Venice, 265.

 Communes, government of, 163-165;
   prosperity of, 166 (see also Lombardy).

 Company, the Great, 212, 213.

 Concordat of Worms, 100.

 Condottieri, 212.

 Confalonieri, 370.

 Conradin, 143, 144.

 Consolations of Philosophy, 19.

 [Constance], wife of Henry VI, 113, 114, 117.

 Constance, Council of, 220, 221, 268.

 Constance, Peace of, 112.

 Constantine, 45; legend of Donation, 46, 47.

 Constantinople, 2, 25;
   captured by Crusaders, 118, 119;
   by Turks, 242, 243, 264.

 Consuls, 165.

 Conti, family, 135.

 Coronation of Emperors, 80;
   last in Italy, 299.

 Cosimo dei Medici, see under Medici.

 Cosimo I, Grand Duke, see under Medici.

 Counter-Reformation, see Catholic Revival.

 Courtier, Book of the, 284, 285.

 Cremona, 95;
   sacked by Henry VII, 157.

 Crescimbeni, 353.

 Crete, lost by Venice, 338.

 Crispi, as a young patriot, 402;
   with Garibaldi in Sicily, 403;
   his career, 414;
   in parliament, 414, 415.

 Crown of Lombardy, 80;
   assumed by Napoleon I, 365.

 Custoza, battle of, 389.

 Damian, see St. Peter Damian.

 Dante, 19;
   on Boniface VIII, 146;
   Divine Comedy, 152;
   character, 152, 153;
   De Monarchia, 153, 154;
   views, 154;
   hails Henry VII, 155, 156;
   letter to Henry VII, 157-159;
   follows Thomas Aquinas, 179;
   importance in literature, 184;
   effect on Tuscan speech, 184;
   on the vernacular, 185;
   painted by Giotto, 190;
   celebrates Can Grande, 195;
   invectives against Roman Curia, 274.

 D'Azeglio, Massimo, 382, 384.

 Decameron, 274.

 Decretals, Isidorian, 66.

 Depretis, 413, 414.

 Desiderius, 29, 49, 50.

 Despotisms, 192-200;
   evils of, 214.

 Despots, see Despotisms.

 Di Rudinì, 416.

 Divine Comedy, 184.

 Domenichino, 352.

 Donatello, 237-240.

 Donation of Charlemagne, 50.

 Donation of Constantine, 46-48, 49, 65.

 Donation of Pippin, 45, 47, 50.

 Donizetti, 358.

 Dossi, Dosso, 309.

 Ducal palace, Venice, 226.

 Duomo, Florence, 237.

 Durante, 358.

 Election of Emperors, 80.

 Election of Popes, 91.

 Emanuele Filiberto, 296.

 Emo, Angelo, 339.

 Empire, the, see the Roman Empire.

 Empire, Eastern, 24;
   its policy, 25.

 England, 36.

 Enzio, 141;
   capture, 142;
   death, 143.

 Este, D', Ercole, duke, 250.

 Este, House of, 198, 282;
   move to Modena, 295.

 Estensi, see House of Este.

 Eugenius IV, Pope, 288.

 Exarchs, 26, 36.

 Ezzelino da Romano, 194.

 Faliero, Marino, 225.

 Farnese, Alessandro, see Paul III, Pope.

 Farnese, Giulia, 275, 288.

 Farnesi, in Parma, 295;
   in Piacenza, 305.

 Ferdinand the Catholic, 263;
   conquers Naples, 263, 264.

 Ferdinand I, of Two Sicilies, 368, 370.

 Ferdinand II, of Two Sicilies (Bomba), 389, 390;
   death, 402.

 Ferrara, 246;
   in High Renaissance, 283;
   taken by Papacy, 295;
   Tasso at, 310;
   visited by Montaigne, 324.

 Feudalism, 102.

 Ficino, Marsilio, 245.

 Fiesole, library at, 233, 234, 251.

 Fiesole, Mino da, 244.

 Filicaia, 353.

 Flagellants, 175.

 Flemish painters, 243.

 Florence, Guelf, 133;
   denounced by Dante, 158;
   shuts out Henry VII, 159;
   her guilds, 164;
   wool trade, 166;
   bankers, 167;
   impediments to trade, 167;
   receives back Ghibellines, 176;
   in 1283, 182, 183;
   democratic, 194;
   about 1300, 202;
   in Black Death, 210;
   takes Pisa, 227;
   under Duke of Athens, 229;
   revolt of Ciompi, 229;
   Salvestro dei Medici, 229;
   Michele di Lando, 229;
   the oligarchy, 230;
   in Early Renaissance, 231-241;
   interest in Plato, 243;
   under Lorenzo, 250;
   1492-1537, 258-263;
   under Grand Dukes, 294, 295;
   close of Renaissance, 308, 309;
   visited by Montaigne, 326, 327.

 Foligno, 332.

 Foresti, 370.

 Formosus, Pope, 68.

 Foscari, Francesco, Doge, 224

 Foscolo, Ugo, 377.

 France, 58;
   bows to Innocent III, 122;
   vigorous monarchy, 145;
   invades Italy, 253, 254, 255;
   claims on Italy, 293;
   defeated by Spain, 293;
   sends army to Rome, 391, 392, 394;
   withdraws garrison from Rome, 407;
   relations with Italy, 412, 413.

 Francesca, Piero della, 249.

 Francesco I, Grand Duke of Tuscany, 326, 327.

 Francis I, King of France, 257.

 Francis I, King of Two Sicilies, 378.

 Francis II, King of Two Sicilies, 402, 404.

 Francis, St., see St. Francis.

 Franciscan Order, 129, 131-133;
   Gray Friars, 134.

 Franks, 40;
   Kingdom of, 43;
   Catholicism of, 43.

 Frederick I, Emperor (Barbarossa), 102;
   character, 102;
   theory of imperial rights, 103;
   wars with Lombard cities, 108;
   called to Italy, 108, 109;
   war with Milan, 109;
   diet at Roncaglia, 111;
   defeat at Legnano, 112;
   his son's marriage, 113;
   death, 113.

 Frederick II, Emperor, 117;
   gratitude to Innocent III, 117;
   summons to Germany, 121;
   pledge to Innocent III, 121, 122;
   King of Germany, 122;
   character, 134;
   promises, 135;
   crowned emperor, 135;
   at Brindisi, 136;
   denounced by Gregory IX, 136, 137;
   excommunicated, 137;
   letter to King of England, 138, 139;
   recovers Jerusalem, 139;
   King of Jerusalem, 140;
   his habits, 140, 141;
   poetry, 141;
   war with Lombard cities, 142;
   excommunicated again, 142;
   defeat, 142;
   death, 143;
   times of, 180.

 Galileo, 346, 349.

 Gamba, Pietro, 373, 374.

 Gandia, Duke of (a Borgia), murdered, 312.

 Garibaldi, 382;
   in Rome, 392, 393;
   escapes, 394, 398;
   expedition to Two Sicilies, 402-405;
   attempt on Rome, 406;
   second attempt, Mentana, 407;
   death, 413.

 Genoa, 70;
   prosperity, 105;
   war with Pisa, 169, 170;
   submits temporarily to Milan, 199;
   loss in Black Death, 210;
   war with Venice, 224;
   still a republic, 295;
   palaces in, 306;
   becomes Republic of Liguria, 365;
   given to Kingdom of Sardinia, 367.

 Genseric, 5.

 Germany, 58;
   its duchies, 77;
   part of Holy Roman Empire, 78;
   attitude towards its king, 96;
   in time of Innocent III, 120, 121.

 Gesù, church, 305, 306.

 Gesuati, 321.

 Ghibellines, 155;
   trouble in Milan, 157;
   cause lost, 159;
   description of, 168, 169;
   described by Gregory X, 176;
   fictitious revival of, 325.

 Ghiberti, 241.

 Ghirlandaio, Domenico, 245, 288.

 Gioberti, 383, 384.

 Giocondo, Fra, 290.

 Giorgione, 312.

 Giotto, 189, 190.

 Giulio Romano, 309.

 Gladstone, on conditions in Naples, 395, 396.

 Goethe, admires Palladio, 306, 307;
   admires I Promessi Sposi, 377.

 Goldoni, 353-356.

 Gonzaga, the, in Mantua, 198.

 Goths, see Ostrogoths.

 Gozzoli, Benozzo, 233, 244.

 Gravina, 353, 359.

 Great Council of Venice, 171, 172.

 Greek, study of, 242, 243.

 Greek Empire, overthrown by Crusaders, 119.

 Gregory I (the Great), Pope, 35-37.

 Gregory II, Pope, 42, 53.

 Gregory III, Pope, 42, 53.

 Gregory VII, Pope (Hildebrand), 89;
   character, 90;
   aims, 91;
   becomes Pope, 91;
   creed, 91, 92;
   claims, 92;
   allies, 92-96;
   denunciation of simony and lay investiture, 96;
   attempted deposition by Henry IV, 97;
   excommunicates Henry IV, 99;
   at Canossa, 99;
   his death, 100.

 Gregory IX, Pope (Ugolino), 135;
   anger at Frederick II, 136;
   letter on Frederick, 135-137;
   excommunicates Frederick, 137.

 Gregory X, Pope, describes Ghibellines, 176.

 Gregory XI, Pope, ends Babylonish Captivity, 217.

 Gregory XIII, Pope, 328, 329.

 Gregory XV, Pope, 345.

 Gregory XVI, Pope, 383.

 Grossi, Tommaso, 382.

 Guardi, 352.

 Guelfs, accept Henry VII, 156;
   trouble in Milan, 157;
   description of, 168, 169;
   fictitious revival of, 325.

 Guercino, 352.

 Guerrazzi, F. D., 382.

 Guicciardini, on condition of Italy, 253, 254;
   modern historian, 281.

 Guido Reni, 352, 360.

 Guilds, 164.

 Guinicelli, 184.

 Hapsburg, House of, 335, 338.

 Hawkwood, John, 213, 222.

 Haynau, 391.

 Henry IV, Emperor, 90;
   attempts to depose Gregory VII, 97;
   his letter to Gregory, 97-99;
   at Canossa, 99;
   death, 100.

 Henry VI, Emperor, his Sicilian marriage, 113;
   character, 114;
   his acts, 115.

 Henry VII, Emperor, 150;
   welcomed by Dante, 155, 156;
   enters Italy, 156;
   becomes Ghibelline chief, 157;
   receives letter from Dante, 157-159;
   death, 159;
   effect of, on fortunes of Can Grande and the Visconti, 198.

 Henry IV, King of France (Henry of Navarre), 337, 338, 357.

 Heresy, in Southern France, 123;
   in Italy, 125;
   in England and Bohemia, 220.

 Hildebrand, see Gregory VII, Pope.

 Hohenstaufens, 102, 113;
   their end, 143, 144.

 Holy Alliance, 370.

 Holy Roman Empire, beginning, 78;
   its extent, 79, 80;
   its power, 81;
   attitude toward Papacy, 84, 85, 89;
   concordat with Papacy, 100;
   death struggle with Papacy, 133;
   real end, 143;
   last flicker, 152-160;
   a shadow, 161;
   its petty bargainings, 217;
   extinguished by Napoleon, 365.

 Honorius, Pope, 133;
   crowns Frederick II, 135;
   death, 135.

 Humanists, 242, 244, 245.

 Humbert of the White Hand, 173.

 Humbert, King, 416.

 Hungarians, raids of, 77.

 Huss, John, 220, 221.

 Iconoclasm, 41, 42.

 Index Librorum Prohibitorum, 299.

 Innocent III, Pope, his education, 115;
   doings in Italy, 116;
   in Tuscany and Two Sicilies, 117;
   at Constantinople, 119;
   in Germany, 120;
   excommunicates Otto IV, 121;
   his doings in Europe, 122;
   in England, 122;
   Albigensian crusade, 123;
   triumph, 123, 124;
   recognizes St. Francis, 126, 127;
   referred to by Frederick II, 138;
   and Dominicans, 299.

 Innocent VIII, Pope, 286.

 Innocent X, Pope, 346.

 Innocent XI, Pope, 346.

 Inquisition, 298, 299.

 Investiture, lay, 86, 87, 89;
   settled between Empire and Papacy, 100.

 Italian language, 80;
   influenced by Dante, 184;
   its dialects, 185.

 Italy, condition of, middle of 6th century, 23, 24;
   under Byzantine rule, 26;
   on fall of Carlovingian Empire, 69;
   its divisions, 69;
   condition of people, 70;
   degradation, 67-78;
   condition under mercenary soldiers, 213, 214;
   condition prior to 1494, 252;
   during Catholic Revival, 302, 303;
   divisions of, at close of 16th century, 304;
   place for travellers, 319;
   as seen by Montaigne, 320-334;
   under Napoleon I, 365, 366;
   on Napoleon's fall, 366-368;
   unity of, 395-408;
   difficulties after unity, 411-413;
   relations with France, 412, 413;
   Triple Alliance, 413.

 Isidorian Decretals, see Decretals.

 Jerome, St., see St. Jerome.

 Jerome of Prague, 220, 221.

 Jerusalem, plan for reconquest of, 134;
   recovered by Frederick II, 139.

 Jesuit style, 351.

 Jesus, Order of, 299;
   suppressed, 347;
   restored in Papal States, 367.

 Joan I, Queen of Naples, 222.

 Joan II, Queen of Naples, 222.

 John of Bologna, 308, 324.

 John, Don, of Austria, 295.

 John, King of England, 122, 138.

 John XII, Pope, 78, 81;
   his trial, 82-84;
   deposition, 84.

 Jommelli, 358.

 Jubilee, first, 147.

 Julius II, Pope, 270, 275-277, 288.

 Justin, Emperor, 16.

 Justinian, Emperor, 16-18.

 Ladislaus, King of Naples, 222, 230.

 Landini, 308.

 Lando, Michele di, 229.

 Landucci, Luca, diary of, 259-262.

 Laocoön, the, discovery of, 291, 292.

 Lateran palace, 45.

 Legion, Garibaldi's, 393.

 Legnano, battle of, 112.

 Leo (composer), 358.

 Leo, Emperor, the Isaurian, 41.

 Leo I, Pope, the Great, 9.

 Leo III, Pope, 54, 56.

 Leo IV, Pope, 73, 74.

 Leo X, Pope (Medici), 250, 251, 262, 276, 277;
   excommunicates Luther, 278;
   last of papal overlords of Europe, 292.

 Leo XIII, Pope, 416-419.

 Leonardo, see Vinci, Leonardo da.

 Leopardi, Alessandro (sculptor), 311.

 Leopardi, Giacomo (poet), 378.

 Leopold I, Grand Duke of Tuscany, 363.

 Lippi, Filippino, 244.

 Lombard cities, see Lombardy and Milan.

 Lombardi (architects and sculptors), 311.

 Lombards, the, 23;
   character, 27;
   conquests, 28;
   civilization, 28, 29;
   conversion to Catholicism, 29;
   political incompetence, 29;
   influence, 30;
   attempt to conquer all Italy, 43;
   defeated by Pippin, 45;
   by Charlemagne, 50.

 Lombardy, espouses Hildebrand's side, 95;
   trade, 106;
   represented at diet of Roncaglia, 110;
   peace with Barbarossa, 112;
   condition prior to 1789, 362;
   crown of, assumed by Napoleon, 365;
   restored to Austria, 367;
   condition in 1820-21, 370, 371;
   in 1848, 387;
   united to Piedmont, 401.

 Lorenzo the Magnificent, see under Medici.

 Loreto, 332.

 Lorraine, King of, 62.

 Lothair, Emperor, 58, 59.

 Lotto, Lorenzo, 312.

 Louis I, Emperor, the Pious, 58, 59.

 Louis II, Emperor, 58, 59, 62, 63.

 Louis XII, King of France, 257;
   unites with Spain against Naples, 263.

 Louis Napoleon, see Napoleon III.

 Loyola, Ignatius, 299.

 Lucca, 168;
   under Castruccio Castracane, 200;
   still a republic, 295;
   visited by Montaigne, 332;
   on Napoleon's fall, 367.

 Lucca, Bagni di, 333.

 Ludovisi, see Gregory XV, Pope.

 Luini, 309.

 Luther, Martin, 276, 278, 297.

 Lutherans, do not attend Council of Trent, 298.

 Lyons, Council of, 142.

 Machiavelli, admires Castruccio Castracane, 200;
   also Cæsar Borgia, 273;
   writes, 281;
   description of successful Prince, 314, 315;
   comedies, 354.

 Mafia, 294, 364, 411, 412.

 Magenta, battle of, 400.

 Malatesta, in Rimini, 198.

 Mameli, Goffredo, 393, 394.

 Manfred, 141, 143;
   defeat and death, 144;
   his daughter, 162.

 Manin, Daniele, 388, 394.

 Mantegna, 288.

 Mantua, the Gonzaga in, 198;
   duchy, 293;
   opera in, 357.

 Manzoni, 377.

 Marignano, 257.

 Maroncelli, 370-372.

 Marozia, 75, 76.

 Martin V, Pope, 220, 268.

 Masaccio, 240, 241.

 Mastai-Ferretti, Cardinal, see Pius IX, Pope.

 Matilda, Countess, 94;
   Donation to Papacy, 94.

 Maximilian, Emperor, 265.

 Mazzini, 376;
   letter to Carlo Alberto, 379-382;
   triumvir in Rome, 391-394, 398;
   death, 413.

 Medici, dei, Alessandro, 263.

 Medici, dei, Cosimo, Pater Patriæ, 232;
   cultivation, 233;
   his tastes, 233;
   libraries, 233, 234;
   death, 235;
   anecdote of, with Donatello, 239;
   founds Platonic Academy, 243;
   and Nicholas V, 251.

 Medici, dei, Cosimo I, Grand Duke, 263;
   marriage, 291;
   rule, 294, 295;
   descendants, 295;
   his architect, 306.

 Medici, dei, Francesco I, Grand Duke, 326, 327.

 Medici, dei, Giovanni, see Leo X, Pope.

 Medici, dei, Giovanni, Angelo (not of Florentine family), see Pius IV,

 Medici, dei, Giuliano, see Clement VII, Pope.

 Medici, dei, Lorenzo, the Magnificent, 248-250, 286.

 Medici, dei, Maria, 357.

 Medici, dei, Piero, 244, 249.

 Medici, dei, Salvestro, 229.

 Mentana, battle of, 407.

 Mercenary soldiers, 211-214.

 Merovingians, 44.

 Metastasio, 359, 360.

 Metternich, 367.

 Michelangelo, 263;
   sonnets, 285;
   goes to Rome, 289;
   plans dome of St. Peter's, 290;
   at discovery of Laocoön, 299;
   statues in Florence, 308.

 Michelozzo, 233.

 Milan, 107;
   classes in, 107, 108;
   war with Barbarossa, 109;
   receives Henry VII, 156;
   Visconti in, 198, 199;
   acquires Genoa temporarily, 199;
   under Gian Galeazzo Visconti, 226;
   becomes a dukedom, 226;
   cathedral, 226, 227;
   loss of dominion on Gian Galeazzo's death, 228;
   end of Visconti, 250;
   founding of Sforza line, 250;
   condition, 1466-1535, 254-258;
   captured by French, 257;
   by Spanish, 257;
   annexed to Spanish crown, 258;
   Leonardo there, 286;
   Bramante there, 287;
   under Spanish governors, 294;
   visited by Montaigne, 333;
   under Spanish rule, 339, 340;
   conveyed to Austria, 341;
   Five Days of, 387;
   jealous of Turin, 389.

 Mille, i, 403.

 Minghetti, 413.

 Mino, da Fiesole, 244.

 Modena, duchy, 293;
   seat of House of Este, 293;
   transfers, 341;
   reform in, 362;
   restoration of old order on Napoleon's fall, 367;
   in 1848, 388, 389, 397;
   united with Piedmont in Kingdom of Italy, 402.

 Mohammed, 40, 41.

 Monasteries, 34, 72.

 Montaigne, diary of his travels in Italy, 320-334.

 Monte Cassino, 34.

 Montefeltri, in Urbino, 198.

 Montefeltro, Federigo da, 249, 250.

 Monteverdi, 357.

 Montfort, 123.

 Murat, 365, 366.

 Naples, 21, 70, 73;
   House of Aragon reigning, 161;
   condition, about 1350, 201;
   loss in Black Death, 210;
   condition, 1350-1450, 222;
   conquered by Alfonso of Aragon, 223;
   no share in Renaissance, 249;
   passes to illegitimate branch of House of Aragon, 263;
   conquered by Spaniards, 263;
   annexed to Spanish crown, 264;
   under Spanish viceroys, 294;
   inquisition in, 299;
   conveyed to Austria and then to Spanish Bourbons, 341;
   condition, prior to 1789, 363;
   given to Joseph Bonaparte and Murat, 365;
   revolution of 1820, 369, 370;
   cruelty of Francis I, 378;
   in 1848, 386;
   takes part in war against Austria, 388;
   persecution of liberals, 391;
   persecution described by Gladstone, 395, 396;
   united with Kingdom of Italy, 404, 405.

 Napoleon I, 365, 366.

 Napoleon III (Louis Napoleon), interferes in Rome, 391;
   plans of, 399;
   agreement with Cavour, 400;
   war with Austria, 400;
   peace, 400, 401.

 Narses, 22, 26.

 Niccolini, 382.

 Nicholas I, Pope, 62-64.

 Nicholas V, Pope, 251, 252, 269, 288.

 Nogaret, 150.

 Normans, in Southern Italy, 92;
   in Sicily, 93;
   become liegemen to the Popes, 93.

 Novara, battle of, 390.

 Odescalchi, see Innocent XI, Pope.

 Odoacer, 7, 10, 11, 13.

 Opera, the, 357, 358.

 Oratorio, the, 358.

 Order of St. Francis, see Franciscan Order.

 Order of Jesus, see Jesus, Order of.

 Orlando Furioso, 283, 284.

 Orlando Innamorato, 283.

 Orsini, the, 76, 150.

 Ostrogoths, 12-22.

 Otto I, Emperor, the Great, 77;
   marriage, 78;
   crowned Emperor, 78;
   his empire, 79, 80;
   tries and deposes Pope John XII, 82-84.

 Otto IV, Emperor, 120;
   becomes Ghibelline, 120, 121;
   excommunicated by Innocent III, 121;
   deposition, 122.

 Padua, 95;
   conquered by Venice, 224;
   visited by Montaigne, 322.

 Paisiello, 358.

 Palazzo Vecchio, 188;
   fountain in, 247;
   occupied by Grand Duke, 294.

 Palermo, rising in, 402.

 Palestrina, 357.

 Palladio, 306, 307, 311.

 Palma Vecchio, 312.

 Palmerston, Lord, sends Gladstone's letter to European governments, 396.

 Panfili, see Innocent X, Pope.

 Paolo Veronese, 312.

 Papacy, strengthened by monasticism, 33, 34;
   relations with Empire, 38;
   with Lombards, 39;
   with Franks, 40;
   split with Eastern Empire, 42;
   Donation of Pippin, 45;
   further relations with Franks, 49;
   Donation of Charlemagne, 50;
   attitude towards Charlemagne, 51;
   towards Roman Empire, 52;
   local weakness, 52;
   supported by Empire, 58;
   duel with Empire, 59;
   right to crown Emperors, 59, 60;
   anomalous nature of, 60;
   subjection to Empire, 61;
   struggle with Empire, 61, 62;
   added prestige, 62;
   cosmopolitan ambition, 64;
   degradation, 67, 68;
   revival of, 79;
   character of, in 10th century, 81;
   becomes suzerain to Southern Italy, 93;
   struggle with Empire over investitures, 89-101;
   its triumph, 114-124;
   its death grapple with Empire, 133-144;
   its decay and fall, 145-151;
   Babylonish Captivity, 151;
   an absentee, 161;
   return to Rome, 217;
   and Renaissance, 251;
   as head of culture, 252;
   its monarchy, 267-280;
   in High Renaissance, 288-292;
   its revival, 297-302;
   a purely Italian institution, 302;
   quarrel with Venice, 336, 337;
   in 17th and 18th centuries, 343-345;
   under Napoleon, 365;
   loss of Temporal Power, 407, 408;
   attitude towards Italian government, 410, 411;
   under Leo XIII, 418.

 Papal Curia, see Roman Curia.

 Papal States, 69;
   really founded by Innocent III, 120;
   confusion in, during Babylonish Captivity, 162;
   about 1350, 202;
   reduced to order, 218;
   firmly established, 267, 268;
   the Papal monarchy, 267-280;
   prior to 1789, 363;
   in Napoleon's time, 365;
   after Napoleon's fall, 367;
   in 1848, 390;
   in 1849, 391-394;
   invaded by Piedmontese army, 404;
   votes to join Kingdom of Italy, 405.

 Parentucelli, see Nicholas V, Pope.

 Paris, Congress of, 399.

 Parma, a duchy, 295;
   taken by Farnesi, 295;
   conveyed to Spanish Bourbons, 341, 342;
   prior to 1789, 362, 363;
   on Napoleon's overthrow, 367;
   insurrection in, 379;
   in 1848, 388, 389, 397, 401;
   united with Piedmont in Kingdom of Italy, 402.

 Parthenon, blown up, 338.

 Patarini, 95; heretics, 125.

 Paul II, Pope, 288.

 Paul III, Pope (Alessandro Farnese), 275;
   in Parma, 295;
   a reformer, 300.

 Paul IV, Pope (Caraffa), 299, 301.

 Paul V, Pope, 345.

 Pavia, 28, 50, 95, 107;
   Ghibelline, 133.

 Pavia, battle of, 257, 293.

 Peace of Westphalia, 346.

 Pecci, see Leo XIII, Pope.

 Pedro, of Aragon, King of Sicily, 162.

 Pellico Silvio, 370-372.

 Peretti, Felice, see Sixtus V, Pope.

 Pergolesi, 358.

 Perugia, 128;
   war with Assisi, 128;
   its flagellants, 175;
   Baglioni in, 198.

 Perugino, 288.

 Peruzzi, Baldassare, 290.

 Pesaro, 245.

 Pesaro, Marchesa di, and Pietro Aretino, 315, 316.

 Petrarch, 185;
   leader of Classical Revival, 203, 204;
   coronation of, 204;
   great reputation, 205;
   enthusiasm for Cola di Rienzo, 206, 207;
   on the Black Death, 210;
   on mercenary soldiers, 213, 214;
   goes to Milan, 215;
   invectives against Roman Curia, 274.

 Philip, Imperial claimant, 120.

 Philip, the Fair, King of France, quarrel with Boniface VIII, 148-150.

 Piacenza, 95;
   heretics in, 125;
   buildings in, 305;
   visited by Montaigne, 333.

 Piazza Navona, 351.

 Piccinni, 358.

 Piccolomini, Æneas Sylvius, see Pius II, Pope.

 Pico, della Mirandola, 245.

 Piedmont, becomes important part of duchy of Savoy, 296;
   visited by Montaigne, 334;
   becomes chief part of duchy of Savoy, 343;
   prior to 1789, 361;
   takes action against France, 365;
   on restoration of king, 367;
   uprising in, 375, 376;
   in 1848, 386;
   war with Austria, 388;
   defeated, 389;
   also at Novara, 390;
   left alone to maintain Italian cause, 394;
   the hope of Italy, 397;
   in Crimean War, 399;
   war with Austria, 400.

 Pier della Vigna, 141, 143.

 Pietro Aretino, 315, 316.

 Pilo, Rosalino, 402.

 Pinturicchio, 288.

 Pippin, King, deposes Merovingians, 44;
   crowned by Pope Zacharias, 45;
   and the Papacy, 49;
   death, 50.

 Pippin, Donation of, 45, 50.

 Pisa, 70;
   prosperity of, 104;
   Ghibelline, 133;
   loyal to Henry VII, 159;
   regulations concerning nobles, 168;
   war with Genoa, 169;
   crushing defeat by Genoa, 170;
   baptistery, 186;
   loss in Black Death, 210;
   seized by Milan, 227;
   by Florence, 228;
   Campo Santo, 244.

 Pisa, Council of, 219.

 Pisani, Vettor (Venetian admiral), 224.

 Pisano, Giovanni, 187.

 Pisano, Niccolò, 186;
   at Siena, 187.

 Pitti Palace, designed by Brunelleschi, 236;
   occupied by Cosimo I, 294;
   picture gallery in, 295;
   opera in, 357.

 Pius II, Pope, Æneas Sylvius Piccolomini, 288.

 Pius IV, Pope (Giovanni Angelo Medici), founder of Modern Papacy, 301,

 Pius IX, Pope, 383, 384;
   takes part in war against Austria, 388;
   his scruples, 389;
   army captured, 389;
   flees from Rome, 390;
   reactionary, 396;
   bad government of, 397;
   and Temporal Power, 405;
   extreme conservatism, 409, 410;
   prisoner in Vatican, 410;
   refuses subsidy, 411.

 Plague of 1348 (Black Death), 209-211.

 Plato, 242, 243, 248.

 Platonic Academy, 243.

 Platonic ideas, 282, 283, 285.

 Plutarch, 255.

 Podestà, 165.

 Poerio, Carlo, 395, 396.

 Poetry, in Sicily, 141;
   in Bologna and Tuscany, 184.

 Poggio a Caiano, 244, 309.

 Polenta, da, the, in Ravenna, 198.

 Poliziano, 245.

 Pollaiuolo, Antonio, 244.

 Pontormo, 308, 309.

 Pontremoli, 333.

 Popes, see Papacy, Papal States, and individual Popes.

 Pordenone, Giov. Ant. da, 312.

 Portiuncula, 129-131, 306.

 Pratolino, 326.

 Prigioni, Le Mie (of Silvio Pellico), 370-372, 382.

 Prince, The, by Machiavelli, 314, 315.

 Promessi, Sposi, I, by Manzoni, 377.

 Provence, Albigensian crusade, 123.

 Prussia, war with Austria, 407;
   with France, 407.

 Pulci, 245.

 Quadrilateral, the, 388.

 Radetzky, Field Marshal, 387-390, 394.

 Raphael, 283, 285, 289;
   character, 290, 291;
   portrait of Julius II, 289;
   of Leo X, 292.

 Rattazzi, 406.

 Ravenna, 14, 21, 45, 71;
   Byzantine architecture in, 187;
   Malatesta in, 198;
   Lord Byron in, 372-375.

 Reformation, the, premonitions of, 219-222;
   coming of, 297.

 Reformation within the Church, see Catholic Revival.

 Renaissance, 231-251, 281-292.

 Renaissance, Early, 231-241.

 Renaissance, High, 281-292; its close, 304.

 Revolution, French (of 1789), 361, 364.

 Revolution, French (of 1830), 379.

 Ribera, 352.

 Ricasoli, Bettino, 401, 406.

 Riccardi palace, 233, 244.

 Rienzi, see Cola di Rienzo.

 Robbia, della, Andrea, 244.

 Robbia, della, Luca, 241.

 Romagna, the, 379.

 Roman Curia (papal Curia), denounced by Frederick II, 138, 139;
   its venality, 219;
   policy, 221;
   difficulties and cleverness, 269-270;
   object of satire and invective, 274, 275;
   and art, 288.

 Roman Empire (see also Holy Roman Empire, and Eastern Empire), its
     extent, 1;
   character, 2;
   luxurious life, 4;
   unity, 7;
   its condition while at Constantinople, 25;
   in popular imagination, 51, 52;
   relations with Papacy, 59;
   its revival by Pope Leo and Charlemagne, 56;
   end of Carlovingian revival, 58;
   revival by Otto the Great as the Holy Roman Empire, 77, 78.

 Roman gentleman, life of, 4.

 Roman people, antagonism to Papacy, 60;
   local politics of, 67;
   savageness, 68.

 Rome, its splendour, 2;
   fall, 5;
   Christian, 9;
   Theodoric's visit, 14;
   relation to the Empire, 53;
   parties in, 133, 134;
   no despotism in, 194;
   reduced to papal obedience, 268;
   sack by Bourbon's army, 279, 280;
   in High Renaissance, 288;
   visited by Montaigne, 328-331;
   compared with Venice as to freedom, 328, 329;
   riots in, 390;
   Republic declared, 390;
   defends itself against French, 391-394;
   Roman question, 405;
   occupied by Italian troops, 407;
   becomes seat of national government, 408.

 Romulus Augustulus, 1.

 Roncaglia, diet of, 110, 111.

 Rospigliosi, see Clement IX, Pope.

 Rosselli, 288.

 Rossellino, Antonio, 244.

 Rossetti, 377.

 Rossi, Pellegrino, murdered, 390.

 Rossini, 358.

 Rovere, della, Francesco, see Sixtus IV, Pope.

 Rovere, della, Giuliano, see Julius II, Pope.

 Rovere, della, family, dukes of Urbino, 303.

 Rovigo, visited by Montaigne, 323.

 Rule of St. Benedict, 34.

 Rule of St. Francis, 132.

 Ruskin on Bronzino, 309.

 St. Benedict, 33, 34.

 St. Clare, 130.

 St. Columbanus, 36, 37.

 Sta. Croce, church of, 188.

 St. Francis, 125-132.

 St. Francis de Sales, 345.

 St. Francis Xavier, 345.

 St. Jerome on destruction of Rome, 5.

 St. John Lateran, church of, in Innocent's dream, 126;
   Henry VII crowned in, 159.

 Sta. Maria degli Angeli, 129, 306.

 Sta. Maria del Carmine, 240, 248.

 St. Paul, basilica of, sacked by Saracens, 73;
   in Jubilee of 1300, 147, 148.

 St. Peter, basilica of, described, 55, 56;
   sacked by Saracens, 73;
   enclosed in walls, 74;
   in Jubilee, 147;
   held by the Guelfs, 159;
   plan to rebuild, 252;
   rebuilt, 289, 290;
   dome completed, 344;
   colonnade, 351.

 St. Peter Damian on lay investiture, 87.

 St. Sophia, church of, 38.

 St. Theresa, 345.

 St. Thomas Aquinas, 178, 179.

 St. Zeno, church of, in Verona, 194.

 Salerno, 70, 92, 104.

 San Gallo, da, Antonio, the younger, 290.

 San Gallo, da, Francesco, account of discovery of Laocoön, 291.

 San Gallo, da, Giuliano, 244, 289, 290, 291.

 Sansovino, Jacopo Tatti, 306, 311.

 Saracens, 40;
   conquests of, 41;
   in Sicily, 73;
   in Italy, 73.

 Sardinia, conveyed to Savoy, 341;
   dukes of Savoy become kings of Sardinia, Kingdom of, see Piedmont.

 Sarpi, Paolo, Fra, 337, 338.

 Sassoferrato, 352.

 Savonarola, 248, 258-262.

 Savoy, 172 (see also Piedmont);
   its situation and princes, 173;
   becomes duchy, 229;
   during wars between Francis I and Charles V, 296;
   becomes an Italian state, 296;
   in 17th and 18th centuries, 343.

 Savoy, House of, 173.

 Scala, della, House of (the Scaligers), 194-198;
   burial place of, 196.

 Scala, della, Can Grande, 195, 196;
   aided by Henry VII, 198.

 Scala, della, Mastino, 196, 197;
   his defeat, 197, 198.

 Scaligers, see Scala della, House of.

 Scarlatti, Alessandro, 358.

 Scarlatti, Domenico, 358.

 Schism, the Great, 218-220.

 Sebastiano del Piombo, 312.

 Segnatura, Stanza della, 290.

 Sella, Quintino, 413.

 Sforza, House of, becomes extinct, 257, 258.

 Sforza, Alessandro, lord of Pesaro, 250.

 Sforza, Attendolo (Muzio Attendolo), 222.

 Sforza, Francesco, 222;
   becomes Duke of Milan, 250;
   dealings with humanists, 250;
   death, 253.

 Sforza, Galeazzo Maria, 254, 255.

 Sforza, Lodovico, il Moro, 255-257, 281.

 Sicilian Vespers, 162.

 Sicily (see also Two Sicilies), practically Greek, 42;
   Norman conquest, 93;
   under Henry VI, 114;
   under Frederick II, 141, 142;
   under Charles of Anjou, 161, 162;
   Sicilian Vespers, 162;
   under House of Aragon, 162;
   about 1350, 201;
   appanage of Aragon, 223;
   no share in Renaissance, 249;
   under legitimate branch of House of Aragon, 263;
   under Spanish viceroys, 294;
   conveyed to Savoy, to Austria, to Spanish Bourbons, 341;
   prior to 1789, 364;
   loses its autonomy, 368;
   in 1848, 386, 390;
   revolution put down, 391;
   expedition of Garibaldi and Mille, 403.

 Siena, conquered by Florence, 294;
   visited by Montaigne, 327.

 Sigismund, Emperor, 220.

 Signorelli, 288.

 Silvester, Pope, legend of, 45-47.

 Simony, movement against, 86.

 Sistine Chapel, 288;
   Michelangelo's frescoes, 290.

 Sixtus IV, Pope, 270, 271, 286.

 Sixtus V, Pope, 344.

 Sodoma, 309.

 Solferino, 400.

 Spain, 37;
   invasions by, 253, 254;
   acquires Milan, 257;
   Naples, 263, 264;
   predominant in Italy, 276;
   secure hold, 293;
   government in Milan, 294;
   in Naples and Sicily, 294.

 Spanish Steps, the, in Rome, 351, 360.

 Spielberg prison, 371.

 Spoleto, a Lombard duchy, 28, 69;
   visited by Montaigne, 331.

 Stradivarius, 359.

 Strozzi palace, in Florence, 244, 245.

 Summa Theologiæ, of Thomas Aquinas, 178.

 Tasso, Torquato, on the Book of the Courtier, 284;
   life, 309, 310;
   seen by Montaigne, 324.

 Theodora, 75, 76.

 Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, 12;
   victory over Odoacer, 13;
   difficulties, 13;
   policy, 14;
   visit to Rome, 14;
   dealings with Empire, 15;
   with Church, 17;
   breach with Church, 20;
   death, 20.

 Thomas Aquinas, see St. Thomas Aquinas.

 Tiepolo, 352.

 Tintoretto, 312.

 Titian, 312.

 Totila, 21, 22.

 Trade, spirit of, 103;
   with North and East, 166, 167;
   impediments to, 167, 168.

 Trent, Council of, 300-302.

 Trevi, fountain of, 351, 360.

 Turin, 334, 375.

 Turks, capture Constantinople, 264;
   conquer parts of Venetian Empire, 297;
   wars with Venice, 338, 339.

 Tuscany, 69;
   a marquisate, 94;
   a Grand Duchy, 303;
   visited by Montaigne, 325-327;
   passes to Austrian dukes on failure of Medicean line, 342;
   prior to 1739, 363;
   restoration in, after Napoleon's fall, 367;
   takes part in war against Austria, 388;
   defeated, 389;
   Grand Duke runs away, 390;
   returns, 391;
   subservient to Austria, 397;
   runs away again, 401;
   united with Piedmont in Kingdom of Italy, 401, 402.

 Two Sicilies, Kingdom of (see also Sicily and Naples), 93;
   under Manfred, 143;
   conquered by Charles of Anjou, 144;
   absolute monarchy, 193, 194;
   united under Alfonso of Aragon, 223;
   fall apart on his death, 263;
   pass to Charles V, 264;
   1494-1516, 263, 264;
   unites with Kingdom of Italy, 405.

 Uffizi palace, in Florence, 294;
   picture gallery, 295.

 Ugolino, see Gregory IX, Pope.

 Universities, 177;
   of Bologna, 177, 178.

 Urban VI, Pope, 218.

 Urban VIII, Pope, 346.

 Urbino, 249;
   library at, 251;
   society in, 282, 283;
   absorbed by Papacy, 295;
   visited by Montaigne, 332.

 Utrecht, treaty of, 341.

 Uzzano, Niccolò da, 230.

 Vandals, 5, 21.

 Vasari, on Brunelleschi, 235, 236;
   on Donatello, 238, 239;
   on Masaccio, 240;
   on Leonardo, 285, 286;
   on Raphael, 290, 291;
   himself, 306.

 Vatican Council, 410.

 Vatican library, 252.

 Vatican palace, 252, 287, 288, 290.

 Venice, 70;
   origin, 105;
   character, 105, 106;
   trade, 106, 107;
   Barbarossa and Alexander III at, 112;
   Fourth Crusade, 118, 119;
   isolation, 170;
   government, 171;
   patricians, 171;
   wars with Genoa, 172;
   Great Council, 172;
   oligarchy, 172;
   about 1350, 202;
   growth, 223;
   wars with Genoa, 224;
   four stages, 224;
   oligarchy in control, 225;
   tranquillity, 226;
   1453-1508, 264-266;
   League of Cambrai, 265, 266;
   wars with Turks, 297;
   Lepanto, 297;
   the Carità, 307;
   fine arts, 310-313;
   visited by Montaigne, 322, 323;
   freedom compared with that in Rome, 328, 329;
   1580-1789, 335-339;
   quarrel with Papacy, 336, 337;
   wars with Turks, 338, 339;
   conquers the Morea, 338;
   opera in, 357;
   music in, 359;
   prior to 1789, 362;
   extinction of Republic, 365;
   given to Austria, 367;
   in 1848, a Republic again, 387, 388;
   jealous of Piedmont, 389;
   surrenders to Austria, 394;
   united to Italy, 407.

 Verona, emotional peace of, 176, 177;
   description of, 194;
   under Scaligers, 195-198;
   seized by Venice, 224;
   temporarily under Milan, 227;
   taken by Venice, 228;
   claimed by empire, 265;
   visited by Montaigne, 320.

 Veronese, Paolo, 312.

 Verrocchio, 244, 247;
   Leonardo's master, 286.

 Vicenza, conquered by Can Grande, 195, 196;
   buildings in, 306, 307;
   visited by Goethe, 307;
   by Montaigne, 321.

 Vico, 349, 350.

 Victor Emmanuel, see Vittorio Emanuele II.

 Vienna, Congress of, 366, 367.

 Vienna, Peace of, 341.

 Vignola, Giacomo Barozzi da, 305, 306.

 Villa Borghese, 351.

 Villa di Papa Giulio, 306.

 Villa Medici, 351.

 Villani, Giovanni, on Boniface VIII, 146;
   on Dante, 152, 153;
   on Florence, 182, 183;
   death, 211.

 Vinci, Leonardo da, 256, 285-287.

 Visconti, House of, despots of Milan, 198, 199;
   aided by Henry VII, 198;
   their ambitions, 199;
   about 1350, 202;
   their despotism, 215, 216;
   end of, 250.

 Visconti, Bernabò, 215, 216.

 Visconti, Bianca Maria, 229.

 Visconti, Filippo Maria, 228; death, 250.

 Visconti, Galeazzo II, 216.

 Visconti, Gian Galeazzo, 216;
   career, 226;
   buildings, 226;
   death, 227.

 Visconti, Giovanni (Archbishop), 215.

 Visigoths, 5.

 Vittorio Emanuele I, 375.

 Vittorio Emanuele II, 390;
   character, 397, 398;
   French alliance and Austrian War, 400, 401;
   hailed King of Italy by Garibaldi, 404;
   alliance with Prussia, 407;
   war with Austria, 407;
   enters Venice, 407;
   takes possession of Rome, 407, 408;
   death, 413.

 Vittorio Emanuele III, 416.

 Volta, 362.

 War of Polish Succession, 340, 341.

 War of Spanish Succession, 340, 341.

 Werner, duke, 213.

 Worms, diet of, 278.

 Wyclif, 220.

 Young Italy, 381.

 Zacharias, Pope, 44.

 Zara, captured by Crusaders, 118.

 Zeno, Carlo, 224.

    |             Transcriber's Note:               |
    |                                               |
    | Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the  |
    | original document have been preserved.        |
    |                                               |
    | Typographical errors corrected in the text:   |
    |                                               |
    | Page 290  Baldassarre changed to Baldassare   |
    | Page 296  Baldassarre changed to Baldassare   |
    | Page 332  Montefeltre changed to Montefeltro  |
    | Page 350  lotos changed to lotus              |
    | Page 439  Baldassarre changed to Baldassare   |
    | Page 441  Pelegrino changed to Pellegrino     |

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