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Title: Memoirs of the Dukes of Urbino, Volume I (of 3) - Illustrating the Arms, Arts, and Literature of Italy, from 1440 To 1630.
Author: Dennistoun, James
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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VOLUME I (OF 3)***

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      Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries. See

Transcriber's note:

      This work was originally published in 1851. As noted below,
      footnotes marked by an asterisk were added by the editor
      of the 1909 edition, from which this e-book was prepared.

      Obvious printer errors have been corrected without note.
      Other errors are indicated by a [Transcriber's Note].

      Certain spelling inconsistencies have been made consistent;
      for example, Pietro della Francesca has been changed to
      Piero della Francesca; Rafaelle to Raffaele; and Pintoricchio
      to Pinturicchio.

      Full-page illustrations have been moved so as not to break
      up the flow of the text.


Illustrating the Arms, Arts & Literature of Italy, 1440-1630



A New Edition with Notes by Edward Hutton
& Over a Hundred Illustrations

In Three Volumes. VOLUME ONE


London John Lane The Bodley Head
New York John Lane Company MCMIX

William Brendon and Son, Ltd., Printers, Plymouth


_From a medallion in the possession of his Nephew, James N. Dennistoun
of Dennistoun_]








It is surely unnecessary to make any apology for this second edition
of the _Memoirs of the Dukes of Urbino_. Notwithstanding all that has
been done in the last fifty years by historians on the one hand, and
by imaginative writers on the other, with the object of elucidating
the history of that part of Central Italy which lies within the
ancient confines of Umbria, or of appreciating the humanism of that
Court which was once a pattern for the world, this book of James
Dennistoun's remains the standard authority to which every writer
within or without Italy must go in dealing in any way with these
subjects. This very honourable achievement has been won for the book
by the eager and methodical research of the author, who made himself
acquainted with all available original sources, and in the years of
his sojourn in Italy must have read and turned over a vast number of
MSS., of which some have since been printed in various _Bollettini_,
but a great number still remain in those Italian libraries which,
always without an efficient catalogue and often without an excuse for
one, are at once the delight and the despair of the curious student.
For this reason, if for no other, such a work as this was not easy to
supersede, and so, though a later writer always has an advantage, it
was not outmoded by the careful and loving work of Ugolini in his
_Storia de' Conti e Duchi d'Urbino_, which was written, I think, in

But Dennistoun's _Dukes of Urbino_ is not merely a history of the
houses of Montefeltro and Della Rovere, of their famous and most
brilliant Court, and of that part of Italy over which they held
dominion, but really a work in belles-lettres too, discursive and
amusing, as well as instructive. It deals not merely with history, as
it seems we have come to understand the word, a thing of politics--in
this case the futile and childish politics of the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries in Italy--but illustrates "the arms, arts, and
literature of Italy from 1440 to 1630." And indeed this programme was
carried out as well as it could be carried out at the time these
volumes were written. The book, which has long been almost
unprocurable, is full, as it were, of a great leisure, crammed with
all sorts of out-of-the-way learning and curious tales and adventures.
Sometimes failing in art, and often we may think in judgment,
Dennistoun never fails in this, that he is always interested in the
people he writes of, interested in their quarrels and love affairs,
their hair-breadth escapes and good fortunes. How eagerly he sides
with Duke Guidobaldo, chased out of his city of Urbino by Cesare
Borgia! It is as though he were assisting at that sudden flight at
midnight, and, whole-heartedly the Duke's man as he was, almost fails
to understand what Cesare was aiming at, and quite fails to see what
Cesare saw too well--the helplessness of Italy, at the mercy, really,
of the unconscious nations of the modern world. Such failures as this
make his work, indispensable as it is, less valuable than it might
have been, but they by no means detract from the general interest of
the story. That is a quarry from which much has been hewn, and a good
many of those enduring blocks which go to make up so popular and
charming a work as _John Inglesant_ came in the first instance from
Dennistoun's volumes.

A second edition then, of such a work, as it seems to me, needs no
excuse. What must, perhaps, be excused is my part in it, the intrusion
of another personality into what was so completely the author's own.
Yet I can truly say that I have intruded myself as little as
possible, and, indeed, so far as the text goes, it stands almost as
Dennistoun left it, with the correction of such errata as were due
partly to the printers and partly to the oversight of the author. The
notes which have been my business, my only part in the work, have
filled the leisure of three years. They are far from being complete,
and are imperfect in a thousand ways, as I know perhaps better than
any one else, but they are as good and as useful as I could make them,
and represent in some sort the work not of three years, but of ten. As
for my intention in republishing Dennistoun's book with notes from my
hand, I can frankly say that I undertook it from a love of all that
concerns Italy, and especially Umbria, and therefore I have worked at
it with joy through the long winter evenings, and in summer I have
often raised my eyes from my manuscript to watch the dawn rise over
Urbino and the beautiful great hills among which she is throned. And
you, too, had you watched her thus, would have been sure that no
labour of love could be too great for her. And then Dennistoun's book
is so fine a monument of the love England has always borne to Italy.
And I would be concerned in that too. Yet sometimes I have thought
that, in spite of all my labour--and, though I loved it, labour it
was--rather than sitting down to annotate another man's work, I should
have done better to write my own. Friends, such as one must hear, were
neither slow nor without persistence in impressing this upon me. I
heard them and shook my head. I am not an historian, but a man of
letters. This book is, after all, the work of one who thought well of
facts, while I cannot abide them. For one idea, as I know well, I
would give all the facts in the world. So the writing of history is
not for me; for history is become a sort of science, and is no longer
an art. And therefore I gladly leave her to the friend to whom I
humbly dedicate my edition of this book, and to the virile embraces
of Mr. William Heywood, who first led me into this nightmare of facts
from which I am but just escaped. Let them settle it between them. For
me there remains all the uncertainties that, God be thanked, can never
be decided or be proved merely to have happened.

Thinking thus, I soon gave up any thought of writing the history of
the Counts and Dukes of Urbino myself, and turned a deaf ear to those
who would tempt me to it. I went on with my notes, however, partly
from the joy one feels in playing with fire and all such mysterious
and dangerous things, and partly from a hope that one day they might
serve in some sort as finger-posts to an Englishman who should take up
this subject and study it over again, from the beginning, more simply
than Dennistoun was able to do.

As for Dennistoun's book, it always had my love, and day by day as I
have worked through and through it, it has won my respect. Full of
digressions, a little long-drawn-out, sometimes short-sighted,
sometimes pedantic, it is written with a whole-hearted devotion to the
truth and to the country which he loved. The facts are wonderfully
sound, and if that part of the book for which it was most highly
praised when it was first published--the chapters that deal with the
history of Art--is become that which we can praise least, we must
remember that in art, in painting more than anything else, fashion is
king, and that the thrones from which we have driven Guido Reni, and
perhaps Raphael, setting up in their stead other masters, are as
likely as not to be in the possession of usurpers to-morrow, and we in
as bad a case as our fathers.

Perhaps I may say a word about the illustrations. The book was one
which lent itself very easily to illustration, and the great
generosity of the publisher in this matter has been of the greatest
satisfaction to me. I have sought in selecting my pictures to reflect
the spirit of the book, which concerns itself with many a hundred
things besides the Counts and Dukes of Urbino. As well as trying to
give the reader all the portraits, or nearly all, that I could find,
of the Montefeltro and Della Rovere Dukes, their Duchesses and
courtiers, the men of letters, and the painters with whom they
surrounded themselves, and the pictures of their gallery, I have made
an attempt to illustrate the dress of the time--at a wedding, for
instance, or in time of mourning; and seeing that this is for the most
part a feminine business, I have chosen very many portraits of ladies,
not only because they were beautiful, though there was that too, but
also because they illustrated the manners of dressing the hair, or the
wearing of jewels, and so forth; and I think this may be cause for
entertainment as well as knowledge.

With regard certainly to two of the portraits I reproduce, I should
like to suggest that they are of more than a superficial importance. I
refer to the portraits of "Giulia Diva" and "Cesare Borgia,"
reproduced on page 330 of Vol. I. from contemporary medals now in the
British Museum, by the courtesy of Mr. G.F. Hill, who had casts made
for me.

The first, that of "Giulia Diva," I suggest is a portrait of Giulia
Bella, Giulia Farnese, that is, mistress of Alexander VI. If it be so
it is very precious, for no portrait of her is known to exist, and
though in this medal, struck about 1482, she seems already
middle-aged, we most probably see there the portrait of her whom the
Pope would scarcely let out of his sight. Of the two reputed
portraits, the nude figure, lying on the tomb in the apse of St.
Peter's, was carved some thirty years after her death, and since the
monument it adorns commemorates a Farnese Pope, it is little likely to
be the beautiful Giulia who was in some sort the shame and not the
boast of her house. Ruined now by the Puritanism that suddenly
overwhelmed the Papacy after the Council of Trent, the body is almost
completely hidden by the horrid chemise Canova made for her to
reassure his master. The portrait of Giulia Farnese, which Vasari
tells us is painted in the Borgia apartments, has never been

As to the medal of Cesare Borgia, we are, I think, on surer ground. It
bears his name, and was struck, Mr. G.F. Hill tells me, about 1500. In
the Borgia apartments, as we know, he was certainly represented, and
though his portrait has never been surely identified, this medal
agrees so perfectly with Pinturicchio's portrait of the Emperor there,
before whom S. Catherine of Alexandria (always supposed to be a
portrait of Lucrezia Borgia) pleads, that we may well believe we have
in that figure a contemporary portrait of one of the greatest and most
romantic personalities then living.

My thanks are due to Mr. J.W. Dennistoun of Dennistoun for his
courtesy in allowing me to reproduce the portrait of James Dennistoun,
which forms the frontispiece to this work, and for his kindness in
lending me the book from which I have drawn a good part of the Memoir
which follows this preface. I have also to express my gratitude to
Professor Zdekauer, Professor Anselmi, Mr. Edmund G. Gardner, Mr.
William Heywood, Mr. G.F. Hill, Mr. William Boulting, and Mrs. Ross,
for various assistance and kindness freely given whenever I sought it.
I desire also to thank Mr. H.G. Jenkins for the infinite pains he has
taken with the illustrations and the production generally of so large
a book.


LONDON, _September_, 1908.



James Dennistoun of Dennistoun and Colgrain was descended from the
ancient and noble Scots family of the Lords de Danzielstoun. The first
of his house of which authentic records can be traced is Sir Hugh de
Danzielstoun, witness to a charter from Malcolm Earl of Lennox, who
lived during the reign of Alexander III of Scotland, who died in 1286.
His son, Sir John de Danzielstoun, was the associate-in-arms of his
patriotic brother-in-law, the Earl of Wigton, and of Sir Robert
Erskine in the reigns of Bruce and David II. His son, Sir Robert, was
one of the young men chosen from among the "magnates Scotiæ" in 1357
as hostages for the payment to Edward III of 100,000 marks of ransom
for the release of David II. He seems to have been a prisoner in
England for a long time. With him the direct line of the house of
Danzielstoun failed, and the representation devolved upon his brother
Sir William de Danzielstoun, the first of Colgrain. So we find that in
1828 James Dennistoun of Dennistoun, the father of the author of this
work, having succeeded to his father 1816 in the estates of Colgrain,
Camis-Eskan, and Kirkmichael, proved his descent as heir male of Sir
John de Danzielstoun Lord of Danzielstoun, and obtained the authority
of the Lord Lyon to bear the arms proper to the chief of his house[1]
and thereupon assumed as his designation, Dennistoun of Dennistoun. He
married in 1801 Mary Ramsay, fifth daughter of George Oswald of
Auchencruive, in the county of Ayr, and of Scotston, in the county of
Renfrew. By her he had thirteen children, and died on June 1st, 1834.

[Footnote 1: The armorial bearings are: Argent, a bend sable. _Crest_,
a dexter arm in pale proper clothed gules holding an antique shield
sable charged with a mullet or. _Supporters_, dexter, a lion gules
armed and langued azure; sinister, an antelope argent, unguled and
horned or. _Motto: Adversa virtute repello._]

James Dennistoun of Dennistoun, the author of this work, was born on
the 17th March, 1803, in Dumbartonshire, and spent the greater part of
his youth with his grandfather, George Oswald of Scotston, to whom he
owed, as he said, his first impulse towards letters. About the year
1814 he and his brother George were placed under the care of a tutor,
the Rev. Alexander Lochore, later minister of Drymen parish. He then
proceeded to Glasgow College, and later read for the Bar, though with
no intention of practising. He passed advocate in 1824, but seems by
then and for long after to have been gathering information regarding
the old families of Dumbartonshire, which he placed at the disposal of
Mr. Irving, who acknowledges his indebtedness to him. It was in 1825
that he went to Italy, spending Christmas in Rome with a few friends,
and meeting there Isabella Katherina, eldest daughter of James Wolfe
Murray, Lord Cringletie, whom he married in 1835. In 1836 he sold the
family estates, including Colgrain and Camis-Eskan, and purchased
Dennistoun Mains in Renfrewshire, the property which gave name to his
house. His visits to Italy then became frequent, their most important
result being the _Memoirs of the Dukes of Urbino_, which he published
in 1851. He died some four years later, on February 13th, 1855, and
was buried at his own desire in the Greyfriars churchyard, Edinburgh,
not in the family vault at Cardross.[2]

[Footnote 2: The account given above of the life of James Dennistoun
has been drawn from _Some Account of the Family of Dennistoun of
Dennistoun and Colgrain_ (Glasgow: printed for private circulation by
James MacLehose and Sons, 1906), kindly lent to the Editor by J.W.
Dennistoun of Dennistoun, Esq.]

The best contemporary account of his life appeared in the _Gentleman's
Magazine_ for June, 1855, which he was so fond of quoting.

"Mr. Dennistoun," we read there, "was born in Dumbartonshire in 1803,
and was the representative of the knightly house of Danzielstoun in
Renfrewshire, one of the oldest Scottish families. He was educated at
the College of Glasgow and qualified himself for the Bar in Edinburgh;
but his taste took a different direction, and being possessed of
sufficient fortune, he turned aside from the legal profession and
devoted his whole attention to literature, in connection chiefly with
the Fine Arts. He was an amateur of Art according to the true and
proper meaning of that designation--he loved and admired Art, and
studied to appreciate the best examples that the world possesses.
Though in following out these studies he devoted much of his time to
the Italian school, as there painting first arose in strength, yet he
was no bigoted admirer, and could appreciate the qualities of all
kinds of Art, whether Italian or German, ancient or modern. He then
aimed at giving to the public the ideas he had formed regarding its
principles, and the facts he had collected as to its history. He could
not unfold before all his friends and visitors portfolios filled with
sketches, done by himself, of passes in the Alps, or of scenery in the
Tyrol, or of views of the Temple of the Sibyl at Tivoli, of Mount
Vesuvius, etc.; but to all who wished to learn, he could impart in a
manner the most simple and unpretending, but with a clearness and
elegance that impressed and charmed all who were privileged to hear
him (and these were many), information and instruction on almost
everything relating to Art: while he often explained and illustrated
what he stated by reference to examples he had himself collected--many
of them of great rarity and value.

"He was a member of most of those societies formed for collecting
materials for, and adding to and illustrating the literature of
Scotland, and besides editing several important publications by the
Bannatyne and Maitland Clubs, contributed many interesting papers on
subjects connected with Art to most of the leading periodicals,
particularly to the _Edinburgh_ and _Quarterly Reviews_.

"His first work, we believe, was the edition of Moysie's _Memoirs of
the Affairs of Scotland from 1577 to 1603_, which he contributed to
the Bannatyne and Maitland Clubs in 1830. This was followed by the
_Cartularium Comitatus de Levenax, ab initio seculi decimi tertii
usque ad annum MCCCXCVIII_, edited by Mr. Dennistoun, and printed for
the Maitland Club by Mr. Campbell of Barnhill. In 1834 another
illustration of Lennox history proceeded from Mr. Dennistoun's pen, in
a reprint of _The Lochlomond Expedition, with some Short Reflections
on the Perth Manifesto, 1715_. He also edited the volume of _The
Coltness Collections, 1608-1840_, for the Maitland Club, in 1842. _The
Ranking of the Nobility, 1606_, was printed, along with some other
papers, in _The Miscellany of the Maitland Club_.

"A residence in Italy gave a new bent to his pursuits. One of the
first-fruits of these Transalpine studies was a deeply interesting
paper on _The Stuarts in Italy_, published in the _Quarterly Review_
for December, 1846. But by far the most considerable result of Mr.
Dennistoun's Italian sojourn was his _Memoirs of the Dukes of Urbino_,
published in three volumes in 1852. This work is of great value, as
illustrating the state of Italy during the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries, the portion devoted to the Arts of the period being
particularly interesting; and it is to be regretted that from a
delicacy carried perhaps too far, he has curtailed this important
section--the one he could best handle--from fear, as he states in the
preface, of trenching on ground entered on by his friend, Lord

"Mr. Dennistoun was the writer of the article on Mr. Barton's 'History
of Scotland' in the _Edinburgh Review_ for October, 1854; and also of
the analysis lately given in the same periodical of the Report by the
Commission on the National Gallery, which is very masterly, and,
indeed, the only successful attempt yet made to grapple with that huge
accumulation of facts and opinions of all kinds.

"He had just lived to complete another very interesting work,
consisting of the _Memoirs of Sir Robert Strange_, the excellent
engraver, and of his brother-in-law, Andrew Lumisden, secretary to the
Stuart princes, and author of the _Antiquities of Rome_. Sir Robert
Strange was the maternal grandfather of Mrs. Dennistoun. To that lady,
Isabella-Katharina, eldest daughter of the Hon. James Wolfe Murray,
Lord Cringletie, a Lord of Session, Mr. Dennistoun was married in

In the Report from the Select Committee on the National Gallery,
published by order of the House of Commons in December, 1853, we find
Dennistoun as one of the witnesses. His evidence appears to have been
of some value, and the articles which he wrote for the _Edinburgh
Review_, both before and after the Report was published, are excellent
both in tone and substance.

"You are the possessor," he was asked, "of a small and, I may say,
very choice collection of Italian pictures, are you not?"

"A collection of early Italian pictures," he answered. And, indeed, in
his day such a collection must have been very rare in England, or, in
fact, anywhere else. These pictures were sold with other works of art
that had been in his possession, on Thursday, June 14, 1855, and by
the courtesy of Messrs. Christie, Manson & Woods, of King Street, St.
James's, I am able to print the catalogue they prepared for the sale,
and the prices the pictures fetched.









Of that distinguished Amateur,


The PICTURES comprise choice Examples of the Italian School,
commencing with the Works of some of the earliest Masters; also of the
Spanish, German, Flemish, French, and English Schools.

The other WORKS OF ART include three very interesting early Paces, of
Niello Work; Tryptics, of Ivory and Bone; a few Bronzes; Majolica
Plates; Illuminated Miniatures; a Crucifix, in Boxwood, etc.


Will be Sold by Auction, by




On THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 1855,


May be viewed Three days preceding, and Catalogues had, at Messrs.
CHRISTIE and MANSON'S Offices, 8, King Street, St. James's Square.

NOTE: The figures in brackets are the prices at which the works they
refer to were bought in.




  Early Florentine            1  The Virgin, suckling the Infant £1 5s.

  Fra Angelico da Fiesole     2  The Madonna, and St. John £6 6s.

  Fra Angelico da Fiesole     3  The Resurrection, two soldiers
                                 sleeping beneath--very
                                 small. Pronounced by Dr.
                                 Waagen "a genuine picture." £44 2s.

  Fra Angelico da Fiesole     4  The Virgin enthroned, with two saints at
                                 her side. A very interesting small work.
                                 From the Gerini Gallery; on which
                                 Dr. Waagen says, "In this little picture
                                 all that earnestness and spirituality
                                 peculiar to that master is expressed"
                                 £56 14s.

  Berna di Siena              5  The Stoning of St. Stephen--painted on
                                 gold ground £2 10s.

  Giottino                    6  The Crucifixion, on gold ground--small,
                                 with pointed top £5 10s.

  Giottino                    7  The Crucifixion, with the Maries and the
                                 centurion and soldiers beneath--on gold
                                 ground, with pointed top £5 15s.

  Giottino                    8  The Crucifixion, with the Virgin and St.
                                 John; the Magdalen kneeling at the
                                 foot of the cross--small square. £4 4s.

  Taddeo Gaddi                9  The Epiphany, and Visitation--parts of a
                                 predella £19 8s. 6d.

  Gentile da Fabriano        10  The Holy Family, seated before a building,
                                 the Magi in adoration, in the
                                 singular landscape background £21

  School of Memmi            11  The Virgin and Child--a fragment £3 10s.

  S. Memmi                   12  The Virgin and Child, with saints on
                                 gold ground--a fragment. From the
                                 collection of M. Lauriani of the
                                 Vatican--unframed £2 5s.

  Cos. Roselli               13  The Miracle of St. Augustine. An
                                 interesting composition of nine figures
                                 £15 15s.

  Don Lorenzo Monaco         14  The Nativity: the Virgin kneeling, St.
                                 Joseph seated on the ground, the
                                 Infant in a manger, the shepherds and
                                 angels above. From the collection of
                                 M. Lauriani, Librarian of the
                                 Vatican £9 19s. 6d.

  Giovanni Sanzi             15  The Madonna and Child £12 12s.

  Sano di Pietro di Siena    16  The death of Santa Monaca, who is being
                                 laid in the tomb by the Saviour and a
                                 bishop. An interesting specimen £9 9s.

  DUCCIO DI SIENA            17  A beautiful small tryptic, in five parts:
                                 in the centre the Virgin and Child
                                 enthroned; on the wings St. Nicholas, St.
                                 Peter, St. Paul, and St. Jerome, on gold
                                 ground; the Emperor Constantius and
                                 Empress Helena, and the Entombment on the
                                 outside of the wings. This interesting
                                 work is most perfectly preserved
                                 £22 11s. 6d.

  Greek School               18  St. Nicolas: a Byzantine painting--on
                                 gold ground [Transcriber's Note: price
                                 missing in original]

  Lorenzetti di Siena        19  A large tryptic: the Virgin and Child,
                                 with two angels in the centre; two
                                 saints presenting devotes on each
                                 wing--painted on gold ground, with
                                 pointed tops £30 9s.

  G. Schiavone               20  An altar-piece, on gold ground, described
                                 by Dr. Waagen as "an altar-piece by
                                 Gregorio Schiavone, in different
                                 compartments: in the centre the Virgin
                                 and Child; at the sides a sainted monk
                                 and John the Baptist; above, in the
                                 centre, the dead Christ, supported by two
                                 angels; at the sides, St. Anthony of Padua
                                 and St. Peter Martyr; below, on a predella
                                 of unusual height, two male and two female
                                 saints, inscribed 'Opus Sclavoni
                                 discipulus Squarcione S.' This is the best
                                 specimen known to me of this scholar of
                                 Squarcione; some of the heads are of good
                                 expression, the colouring of the flesh is
                                 less cold, the outlines of the forms less
                                 hard and cutting than usual" £46 4s.

  Giovanni Sanzi             21  Portrait of Raffaele, when a boy. The
                                 head is small, the neck long, the slight
                                 figure is clothed in a tunic tight to the
                                 throat, from which it hangs straight
                                 and loose, after the Italian fashion of
                                 the fifteenth century, and though ill
                                 adapted for elegance of drapery, its
                                 deep crimson colour and gold embroideries
                                 give a certain richness to
                                 the meagrely designed costume; on a
                                 white ledge under the figure is written
                                 in a hand much resembling that of
                                 Raffaele, "Raffaele Sanzi d'anni sei
                                 nato il di 6 Ap., 1483. Sanzi padre
                                 dipinse"; the back of the panel bears
                                 these words, also in old characters,
                                 "Rittratto del Piccolo Raffaele Sazi
                                 [Transcriber's Note: should be 'Sanzi']
                                 d'anni sei nato in Urbino il di sei di
                                 Aprile 1483, Sanzi dipinse." A pamphlet
                                 addressed by Mr. Dennistoun to the Editor
                                 of the Art Union, proving the correctness
                                 of the day of Raffaele's birth as stated
                                 in the picture, accompanies it £55 13s.

  Bronzino                   22  Portrait of Luigo Allemanno [Transcriber's
                                 Note: should be 'Luigi Alamanni'], the
                                 Florentine poet, in a black dress £5 5s.

  Baroccio                   23  Portrait of the last Duke of Urbino, in
                                 a black dress, with a gold chain and
                                 badge of the Golden Fleece, his hand
                                 resting on a book £6 2s. 6d.

  Raffaellino del Colle      24  La Madonna del Garofalo--on copper.
                                 A beautiful copy from Raffaele--in
                                 frame carved with figures £13 2s. 6d.

  Al. Allori                 25  Portrait of Torquato Tasso, in a black
                                 and crimson dress, holding a manuscript.
                                 Animated and delicate in conception,
                                 and carefully treated £26 5s.

  Titian                     26  Portrait of Ariosto, in a blue dress. The
                                 very rare engraving by Persin accompanies
                                 it £85 1s.

  Paris Bordone              27  A Venetian Nobleman £5 5s.

  School of Fiesole          28  The Nativity, with landscape background
                                 £9 10s.

  Timoteo della Vite         29  The Magdalen, holding the vase and a
                                 book, in a landscape. Purchased from
                                 M. Lauriani, librarian of the Vatican £6

  School of Perugino         30  The Epiphany: the Holy Family, seated
                                 before a building, the Magi presenting
                                 their offerings, their attendants in the
                                 background £29 8s.

  M. Albertinelli            31  The Virgin and Child, seated, in a
                                 landscape £7 7s.

  Gaudenzio Ferrari          32  The Nativity: The Virgin and St. Joseph
                                 kneeling over the Infant, who lies on
                                 the ground, three angels in adoration
                                 beyond, the angel appearing to the
                                 shepherds in the distance £18 7s.

  Cima di Conegliano         33  The Virgin, in a blue dress, her hands
                                 clasped, with the Infant seated before
                                 her on a window-ledge; a crimson
                                 drapery behind. Signed "Joannes Bta.
                                 Cone lanensis" £24 3s.

  Correggio                  34  The Virgin, kneeling in adoration over
                                 the Infant, with architecture in the
                                 background--on copper £3 15s.

  Andrea d'Assisi            35  The Virgin and Child, on gold
                                 ground--panel--in architectural frame
                                 of the period £5 15s. 6d.

  Garofalo                   36  The Nativity: The Virgin, St. Joseph,
                                 and a Shepherd, kneeling in adoration
                                 over the Infant, near a cavern; with
                                 beautiful landscape background £23 2s.

  Michele, of Florence       37  The Virgin and Child, with an Angel,
                                 surrounded by a border of bone carved
                                 with figures--circular £5 5s.

  P. Tibaldi                 38  The Annunciation, with a choir of angels
                                 above £8 18s. 6d.

  Baroccio                   39  Head of an Angel £9

  L. da Vinci                40  The Virgin and Child, holding a pear.
                                 Purchased at Urbino, of the Vecciarelli
                                 Family £3 13s. 6d.

  Scarsellino di Ferrara     41  Christ in the garden £3

  School of Perugino         42  St. Roch--a small figure £6 10s.

  Paduanino                  43  Head of a duchess of Medicis--a fragment
                                 £1 15s.

  School of Giotto           44  Saints invoking Christ--two illuminated
                                 miniatures £4 10s.

  School of Titian           45  The Virgin and Child, on a grassy bank,
                                 gathering flowers £3 15s.

  School of Giotto           46  The Pentecost. A beautiful miniature, on
                                 vellum, with rich border £8 15s.

  School of Giotto           47  The Crucifixion, with Saints. A beautiful
                                 miniature, on vellum, with rich arabesque
                                 border £4 14s. 6d.

  School of Titian           48  Portrait of a Lady of the Medicis Family:
                                 Pellegrina, daughter of Bianca Capello,
                                 in a richly ornamented dress £4 14s. 6d.

  A. del Sarto               49  The Resurrection. An interesting small
                                 work in the Master's first manner.
                                 From the de Angelis Gallery, at Siena
                                 £4 14s.

  C. Maratti                 50  The Holy Family £3 3s.

  Bronzino                   51  The Virgin and Child, with St. Joseph
                                 and St. John. A very grand and
                                 beautiful design--circular, on panel
                                 [£21 0s. 0d.]

  G. da Carpi                52  The Virgin, in a crimson and blue dress,
                                 seated, with the Infant in her lap, before
                                 a sculptured portico; a green drapery
                                 suspended above--circle on panel. The
                                 Orsini Arms on the frame £141 15s.

  Luigi Agresti              53  The Last Supper. Very richly coloured,
                                 with the engraving £6

  School of Brescia          54  The Virgin and Child, enthroned, with
                                 saints and angels in adoration £4

  F. Vanni                   55  The repose of the Holy Family--small £2

  Schedone                   56  The Virgin and Child £1 13s.

  School of Parma            57  A female saint, holding a salver of
                                 fruit--very elegant £4 4s.

  School of Ferrara          58  The Holy Family, with St. Francis and
                                 St. Jerome £9 9s.

  Guardi                     59  A view on a canal, at Venice, with
                                 figures £11 0s. 6d.

  Guardi                     60  A view on the grand canal--the companion
                                 £11 0s. 6d.

  Scorza, of Genoa           61  A pastoral landscape £1 6s.

  S. Rosa                    62  A romantic bay scene, with
                                 figures--evening £4 10s.

  Serani                     63  St. Cecilia, playing on the viol da gamba
                                 £5 7s. 6d.

  Testaferrata               64  A Roman piper £1 1s.

  Antonilez di Serabia       65  St. Raymond of Penaforte. From the
                                 Standish Gallery £3 13s. 6d.

  Montelinez di Serabia      66  St. Anthony, seated reading, near a
                                 chapel, with mountainous background.
                                 From the Standish Gallery £2 2s.

  Zurbaran                   67  The Madonna of Mercy--four figures
                                 kneeling round her. From the Standish
                                 Gallery [£2 15s.]

  Murillo                    68  The vision of St. Augustine of Canterbury:
                                 the saint is washing the feet of
                                 the Saviour, who appears in the likeness
                                 of a pilgrim; from his mouth proceed
                                 the words "Magne Pater Augustine
                                 tibi commendo Ecclesiam meam." This
                                 fine gallery picture was purchased from
                                 Don Julian Williams, by Mr. Standish,
                                 for £600, at Seville, in 1825; it was
                                 originally painted for the nuns of San
                                 Leandro Order of St. Austen, and sold
                                 by them during the troubles caused by
                                 the army of Soult, in 1810, to Dr.
                                 Manuel Real, from whom it passed to
                                 Don J. Williams. The picture is mentioned
                                 in the work of Herrera and d'Aviles
                                 Guia de Seville, 1832 £199 10s.

  Velazquez                  69  Portrait of a Cardinal, seated, holding
                                 a book, the chair surmounted by shields
                                 of arms. Full of dignified character.
                                 From Cardinal Fesch's gallery £4 4s.

  School of Cologne          70  La Madonna Addolorata, in a crimson
                                 dress, a light-coloured robe. A very
                                 dignified figure. A fragment [£1 10s.]

  Wilhelm, of Cologne        71  The Marriage of St. Catherine with St.
                                 Agnes. They are in the foreground of a
                                 landscape, with buildings in the distance.
                                 From M. Wyer, of Cologne £14 3s. 6d.

  Van der Maire              72  St. Catherine, presenting a devotee. An
                                 interesting fragment £5 15s. 6d.

  Van Eyck                   73  A fine dyptic, with the Annunciation:
                                 the Virgin kneeling, the Angel in a rich
                                 dress, holding a sceptre:--the portrait
                                 of the donor outside. From the Collection
                                 of M. Wyer, of Cologne £39 18s.

  Henri Blaes La Civetta     74  A tryptic, with the Virgin and Child in
                                 the centre, seated, in a landscape; St.
                                 Christopher and St. Anthony on the
                                 wings; an owl, the emblem of the
                                 Master. From the Collection of M.
                                 Wyer, of Cologne £17 6s. 6d.

  Dionysius Calcar           75  The Crucifixion: The Virgin and St. John
                                 weeping, with landscape background £8 8s.

  School of Hemmelinck       76  St. Natalitia, seated, holding a book,
                                 on which is a hand, cut off; with
                                 architectural background. From the same
                                 collection £12 1s. 6d.

  Matth. Guinendenwald       77  Portrait of Philip le Bel, in a crimson
                                 dress and black hat, wearing the collar
                                 of the Golden Fleece £6.

  Van der Goes               78  The Virgin and Child, enthroned; a
                                 damask drapery behind; landscape
                                 background seen on each side £22 1s.

  Lucas van Leyden           79  A very small female head--a fragment 18s.

  Martin Schoen              80  A tryptic: the Crucifixion, with the
                                 figures carved in wood, and painted
                                 background in the centre; the wings
                                 painted with the six stations; carved
                                 canopy work over the centre; the
                                 descent from the Cross painted on the
                                 outside £12 1s. 6d.

  Sustermans                 81  Portrait of Galileo £4 10s.

  Sustermans                 82  Portrait of a Florentine lady £2 4s.

  Van Dyck                   83  The Adoration of the Magi--a sketch in
                                 grisaille £2 8s.

  Van Dyck                   84  Portrait of the Earl of Strafford, in a
                                 black dress. Purchased from the Earl of
                                 Mar's collection, in 1805 £5 5s.

  Teniers                    85  A landscape, with peasants and poultry
                                 near a cottage--upright--on copper
                                 £3 7s. 6d.

  Camphuyzen                 86  A farm, with cattle, and a man milking a
                                 cow near a well. Very richly coloured
                                 £6 10s.

  Jan Steen                  87  Portrait of a Burgomaster £5 15s.

  Poelemberg                 88  The Riposo of the Holy Family, under a
                                 ruined building £2 10s.

  Wouvermans                 89  Travellers, reposing under a sunny bank,
                                 near a pool of water £33 12s.

  Van Falens                 90  Camp suttlers, with horsemen and
                                 numerous figures. From the Collection
                                 of Sir James Stuart £5 10s.

  Swaneveldt                 91  A study of ruins--on paper £1 2s.

  Watteau                    92  A fête champêtre £1 10s.

  Rigaud                     93  Portrait of a French lady, holding a row
                                 of pearls £3 10s.

  Venetian                   94  Portrait of the admirable Crichton, in
                                 black dress, seated holding a sword and
                                 a book; with long inscription. Dated
                                 1581, with the engraving £13 2s. 6d.

  Roman School               95  Portrait of the Cardinal of York, in his
                                 robes. Purchased at his villa, at Frascati
                                 £1 10s.

  Sir P. Lely                96  Portrait of the Countess of Southesk,
                                 (la belle Hamilton) in a white satin
                                 dress, seated, holding a viol da gamba,
                                 in a landscape, from the collection of
                                 C.R. Sharpe, Esq. [£7 17s. 6d.]

  Sir Joshua Reynolds        97  A very small head of a lady 15s.

  Anthony                    98  Henselope Burn 14s.

  Andrew Wilson              99  The Cascatelle, at Tivoli, with shepherds
                                 and goats in the foreground, admirably
                                 painted £33 12s.

  J.M.W. Turner, R.A.       100  A farm in the Highlands £2 8s.

  Rev. J. Thompson          101  The Trosacks. A beautiful finished study,
                                 given by the artist to Mr. Dennistoun
                                 in 1829 £3

  J.M.W. Turner, R.A.       102  Fishing boats caught in a squall £8 15s.

  Millais, A.R.A.           103  A cottage barn, in Essex: a sketch of
                                 figures on the back £4 10s.


  104  Eleven silver touch-pieces, for the King's Evil, of the
       Stuarts; and three bronze Papal coins £5

  105  A pair of red silk stockings, worked with gold. Belonged
       to the last Duke of Urbino £6

  106  A curious ivory die, representing a man seated; and four
       silver dice, in the form of men and women seated £1

  107  A pair of brass church candlesticks £1 15s.

  108  The Virgin and Child--a relief, in bronze £1 15s.

  109  The Flagellation--a relief, in bronze £1 15s.

  110  A miniature portrait of Queen Mary, mounted in silver,
       with slab of agate on the back £4 6s.

  111  Raffaele School--Lo Spasimo di Sicilia--a drawing, in
       Indian ink and pen 6s.

  112  A chalice, of silver, and copper gilt, with three busts
       of Niello work on the base £3 15s.

  113  A female saint, in embroidery 5s.

  114  Head of St. Peter, in tapestry. From the Cardinal of York's
       Villa £3 6s.

  115  The Crucifixion, worked in ancient lace for an altar cloth £2 2s.

  116  A very rare caterpillar's web, of unusual size [£2]

  117  St. Mary, of Egypt, of pietra-dura, on lapis-lazuli ground £12 10s.

  118  A Majolica plate, with St. Jerome, in a landscape: signed
       by Maestro Giorgio, 1521--imperfect £3 15s.

  119  A fragment of a Majolica plate, with Mercury, with the
       initials of Maestro Giorgio, 1534 15s.

  120  The agony in Gethsemane--a Limosine enamel £1

  121  St. Dietburgha--painted on a caterpillar's web £1 6s.

  122  A half dyptic, with two saints in relief in ivory, and
       Byzantine inscription £1 11s.

  123  A crucifix, elaborately carved in boxwood, containing a
       rosary of silver thread £1

  124  A large bronze Papal seal, with the Holy Family, and 8
       smaller bronze seals--one of them, Johann Russell £2 5s.

  125  Venus on a dolphin--a Venetian bronze, on oriental alabaster
       plinth £3 10s.

  126  A bronze inkstand, supported on eagles, and surmounted by
       a figure £3 10s.

  127  The Entombment--a relief, in bronze £10 10s.

  128  A small ivory dyptic, with the Crucifixion, and the Virgin
       and Child, with two saints, in high relief, on gothic arches
       £10 10s.

  129  A very interesting Pax, of Niello work, with Christ bearing
       his Cross, and appearing to Mary, inscribed above "Jacobus
       Suannes Cole"; the dead Christ, and emblems of the
       Crucifixion, in the lunette above £10 10s.

  130  Another Pax, of niello, with the dead Christ and angels,
       inscribed beneath, "Pax tibi Pilastus," and frieze of
       arabesque; the Creation above--mounted in ivory £9

  131  A curious bone tryptic, with the Crucifixion, attended
       by saints; St. Peter and St. Paul on the wings £8 18s. 6d.

  132  A very interesting early Pax, of Niello, with the Virgin
       and Child enthroned, the latter holding a rosary; two
       saints kneeling on each side; a die on the ground in
       the centre [£2 15s.]

The total amount realised at the sale was £1398 15s. 6d.



During nearly one hundred and ninety years, five Dukes of Urbino well
and ably discharged the duties of their station, comparatively exempt
from the personal immoralities of their age. The rugged frontier of
their highland fief had, in that time, been extended far into the
fertile March of Ancona, until it embraced a compact and influential
state. Saving their subjects, by a gentle and judicious sway, from the
wild ferments that distracted democratic communities, and from the yet
more dire revolutions which from time to time convulsed adjoining
principalities, they so cultivated the arts of war, and so encouraged
the pursuits of peace, that their mountain-land gained a European
reputation as the best nursery of arms, their capital as the favoured
asylum of letters. That glory has now become faint; for the writers by
whom it has been chiefly transmitted belong not to the existing
generation, and command few sympathies in our times. But the echoes of
its fame still linger around the mist-clad peaks of Umbria, and in the
dilapidated palace-halls of the olden race. To gather its evanescent
substance in a form not uninteresting to English readers, is the
object of the present attempt. Should it be so far successful as to
attract some of his countrymen to the history, literature, and arts of
Italy, they will not, perhaps, be ungrateful to the humble pioneer who
has indicated a path to literary treasures hitherto inadequately known
to them. For such an undertaking he possesses no qualification,
beyond a sincere interest in the past ages of that sunny land, and a
warm admiration for her arts during their epoch of brilliancy. But a
residence there of six years has afforded him considerable
opportunities of collecting materials for this work, which he has been
anxious not to neglect.

A great portion of the duchy of Urbino, including its principal towns,
has been thrice visited, and nearly every accessible library of
Central Italy has been examined for unedited matter. To these
researches, time and labour have been freely given; and in the few
instances when his attempts were foiled by jealousy or accident, the
author has generally had the satisfaction of believing that success
would have been comparatively unproductive. To this, two exceptions
should be mentioned. He was prevented by illness from recently
visiting the libraries or archives at Venice; and the Barberini
Library at Rome has been entirely closed for some years, in
consequence of a disgraceful pillage of its treasures. Should the
latter be again made accessible, the MSS. amassed by the Pontiff under
whom Urbino devolved to the Church, and by his nephews, its two first
Legates, can hardly fail to throw much light upon the duchy. The
invaluable treasures of the Vatican archives have been to him, as to
others, a sealed book; but the Urbino MSS. in the Vatican Library,
those of the Oliveriana at Pesaro, and of the Magliabechiana at
Florence, have afforded copious sources of original information, and
have supplied means for rectifying omissions and errors of previous
writers. Some of these materials had been freely drawn upon by Muzio,
Leoni, and Baldi, biographers of the early dukes of Urbino, who have
not, however, by any means exhausted the soil; the amount that
remained for after inquirers may be estimated from the single instance
of Sanzi's almost unnoticed rhyming Chronicle of Duke Federigo, in
about 26,000 lines.

The reigns of Dukes Federigo, Guidobaldo I., and Francesco Maria I.,
from 1443 to 1538, formed the brightest era of Urbino, and included
the most stirring period of Italian history, the golden age of Italian
art; but our regnal series would be incomplete without Dukes
Guidobaldo II. and Francesco Maria II., who prolonged the independence
of the duchy until 1631, when it lapsed to the Holy See. Its history
thus naturally divides itself into five books, representing as many
reigns; yet, as these sovereigns were of two different dynasties, it
will be convenient to consider separately the origin of each, and the
influence which they respectively exercised on literature and the fine
arts, thus giving matter for four additional books. In Book First of
these we shall briefly sketch the early condition of the duchy, with
the establishment of the family of Montefeltro as Counts, and
eventually as Dukes, of Urbino; but, regarding Duke Federigo as the
earliest of them worthy of detailed illustration, we shall, in Book
Second, with his succession, enter upon the immediate scope of our

       *       *       *       *       *

Among many interesting publications upon Italy which have recently
issued from the English press, is that of Signor Mariotti.[3] With a
command of our language rarely attained by foreigners, he has clothed
a vast mass of information in an exuberant style, savouring of the
sweet South. As an episode to his sketch of Tasso, he dedicates to the
two dynasties who ruled in Urbino a single page, in which there occur
seven misstatements. John or Giovanni della Rovere was never sovereign
of Camerino; his cousin, Girolamo Riario, held no ecclesiastical
dignity; the "unrivalled splendour" of the Montefeltrian reign at
Urbino did not extend over even one century; the wife of Giovanni
della Rovere was neither daughter nor heiress of Guidobaldo I. of
Urbino, nor had she any "just claim to his throne"; Duke Francesco
Maria did not remove either his library or treasures of art to Mantua.
These slips, by a writer generally painstaking and correct, surely
indicate some deficiency in the accessible sources of information
regarding a principality which has for centuries been proverbial, in
the words of Tasso, as "the stay and refuge of gifted men."

[Footnote 3: I speak of the first edition of his _Italy_; the reprint
of 1848 is enlarged but not improved.]

The truth is, that although the Dukes of Urbino figure everywhere as
friends of learning and patrons of art, no work has yet appeared
establishing their especial claim to such distinction, in a land where
courts abounded and dilettanteship was a fashion. That of Riposati has
indeed given us the series of these sovereigns, but his biographical
sketches are meagre, and chiefly illustrative of their coinage. The
lives of Dukes Federigo and Francesco Maria I., by Muzio and Leoni,
are excessively rare; Baldi's crude biographies are either recently
and obscurely published, or remain in manuscript. Out of Italy these
authors are scarcely known. This paucity of illustration is not,
however, the only cause why these princes have continued in unmerited
obscurity. Whilst endeavouring to guard himself against undue
hero-worship, and to subject the policy and character of those
sovereigns to the tests within his reach, the author has been obliged
in some instances to assume the functions of an advocate, and to
defend them from charges unjustly or inadvisedly brought. This will be
especially found in the life of Duke Francesco Maria I., who, as the
victim of Leo X., and the opponent of Florence, has met with scanty
justice from the three standard historians of that age in Italy,
France, and England. The patriotism of Guicciardini, as a Florentine,
was inherently provincial; as a partisan of the Medici, he had no
sympathies with a prince whom they hated with the loathing of
ingratitude; as an annalist he never forgot the day when he had
cowered before the lofty spirit at the council-board. All that he has
written of Francesco Maria is therefore tinged with gall, and his
authority has been too implicitly followed by Sismondi, who, uniformly
biassed against princes by his democratic prejudices, and seeing in
Guicciardini an eminent denizen of a nominal republic, and in the Duke
a petty autocrat, decided their respective merits accordingly. Again,
Roscoe could save the consistency and justice of Leo only by
misrepresenting the character of his early friend and eventual victim,
and has not shrunk from the sacrifice. It has thus happened that,
whilst ordinary readers have scanty access to details regarding Urbino
and its dynasties, these names have been unduly excluded from many a
page in Italian annals which they were well qualified to adorn.[4]

[Footnote 4: Better evidence of the deficient information hitherto
accessible could hardly be desired than the fact that ROSCOE, in his
_Life of Lorenzo de' Medici_, ch. viii., entirely mistakes the family
name of the first dynasty of Urbino.]

To separate from the tangled web of Italian story threads of local and
individual interest would be fatal to unity of texture and subject. It
will, therefore, be necessary to treat Urbino and its Dukes as
integral portions of the Ausonian community, and, while distinguishing
every characteristic detail, to view them as subsidiary to the general
current of events. But, since this course offers at every moment
temptations to launch our tiny bark on a stream perilous to its pilot,
prudence will keep us mostly among those eddies which, unheeded by
more skilful mariners, may afford leisure for minute observation. If
it be thought that the martial renown of Federigo and Francesco Maria
I. merited more ample accounts of their campaigns, we may plead that
arms are but a portion of our object. To mankind battle-fields are
instructive chiefly from their results; while foreign and domestic
policy, the progress of civilisation and manners, of letters and art,
are in every respect themes of profitable inquiry.

In a work undertaken with the hope of attracting general readers to
the history and arts of Italy, controversial disquisitions would be
misplaced. The student may detect occasional attempts to reconcile
contradictory narratives and jarring conclusions; but religious
discussion is excluded from these pages. The author is a Protestant by
birth and by conviction, but it has been his endeavour to judge with
candour, and speak with respect, of a Church which is the "parent of
our religion," and which, during a great portion of his narrative, was
catholic in the strict sense of that often misapplied term. He has
mentioned without flattery, extenuation, or malice, such private
virtues and vices of the various pontiffs as fell within the scope of
his inquiry, leaving it to others to fix the delicate line which is
supposed to divide personal errors from papal infallibility.

       *       *       *       *       *

A considerable portion of these volumes was written in Italy, before
the close of Pope Gregory's reign, and under impressions formed upon
the existing state of the country. It has been their author's good
fortune to know much of that attractive land during the last twenty
years of the long peace, and to admire her substantial prosperity and
steady progress. Between 1825 and 1846 he has seen in her cities new
streets and squares rising, thoroughfares opened, gas-lights generally
introduced, ruinous houses substantially rebuilt, crumbling churches
and palaces renovated, shops enlarged and beautified, cafés, hotels,
and baths multiplied and decorated, public drives and gardens created,
equipages rivalling those of northern capitals, museums formed,
galleries enriched, the dress and comforts of the population greatly
improved, the street nuisances of Rome removed, the lazzaroni of
Naples clothed.

In the rural districts he has observed cultivation spreading, waste
lands reclaimed, irrigation and drainage carried on, the great
highways rendered excellent, whole provinces opened up by new roads,
railways rapidly extending, rivers and torrents bridged, palatial
villas springing up round the towns and watering-places, banditti
suppressed, the peasantry ameliorated in aspect. He has learnt, from
crowded ports and spreading factories, that capital was increasing and
industry being developed.

He has also noticed that, without organic changes, the political
condition of the people was being modified; that Tuscany enjoyed the
mildest of paternal governments; that in Lombardy, Piedmont, and
Naples, many repressive statutes were in abeyance; that in Turin and
Florence restraints upon the press were tacitly being relaxed; that
scientific congresses were generally permitted, and political economy
freely discussed; whilst, in regard to Rome, he ascertained the
practical truth of a popular sarcasm, that prohibitory laws were
usually binding but for three days.

While conscious of all this progress, the author felt that much
remained to be done. He knew that the advance of the country was only
comparative, and rendered more apparent by her long previous
stagnation. He daily had before him solecisms in policy, errors of
administration, official indolence or corruption; above all, ample
proofs that priests were no longer adapted for ministers of state. He
believed that intellect was needlessly or unwisely shackled, and that,
to ardent or speculative minds, the full blaze of knowledge might be
less deceptive than a compulsory twilight.

But, on the other hand, he was deeply convinced that, in material
welfare, the Italian people were already far above the average; that
any sudden change was more likely to endanger than to augment it;
that, to a nation so listless yet so impressionable, so credulous but
so suspicious, self-government was a questionable boon; at all events,
that the mass of its present generation was infinitely too ignorant
and unpractised, possibly too conceited and self-seeking, to
comprehend the theory of a constitution, or to perform the duties it
would necessarily impose. He knew further, that those who vaguely
longed for change were usually blind to the benefits which their
country already enjoyed, and had no definite or plausible plan for the
removal of its grievances without perilling its advantages. He felt
satisfied that, should an occasion ever present itself for testing
their Utopian theories, native leaders, united in aims and worthy of
their reliance, would be wanting. The movement party in Italy then
scarcely numbered a man who had a considerable property to stake, a
social position to lend him influence, or tried business habits to
gain the confidence of his fellow-citizens. Those who stood prepared
to pilot the vessel through revolutionary storms were, for the most
part, persons whose detected intrigues, or rash outbreaks, had already
driven them, with little credit, into exile, where, cut off from
intercourse with home, and associating chiefly with kindred spirits
expelled from other lands, they forgot much which it was important to
keep in view, and learned little of that candour and moderation which
are the true leaven of politics. Neglecting there those practical
reforms of which Italy stood really in need, they devoted themselves
to one idea. They set up the phantom of political unity as a new
faith; they decreed that its worship should be the condition of their
country's resurrection, and that all who demurred to it should be
hunted down. Had they read Dante, or remembered what they hourly had
seen, heard, and said in their native land, they would have known that
their idol, like the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream,[5] was of
incongruous and incompatible materials; that their unitarian scheme
was antipathic to every passion and prejudice of those upon whom they
would thrust it.

[Footnote 5: Daniel ii. 32.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Under such impressions were written the very few allusions to the
actual state of Italy which this work contains. The aspirations of her
regenerators after nationality and constitutional freedom have since
been fostered by her spiritual ruler, and prematurely fired by an
explosion of French democracy. Subsequent events, under altered
circumstances, may accordingly seem to have invalidated opinions
therein expressed; but the end is not yet. The present continues
overshadowed by gloom, and the torch of hope glimmers but dimly in the
distance. A sincere interest in the country and its people dictates
our prayer that the God of nations may grant an issue realising the
fondest anticipations of genuine patriotism, and eventually crown
these struggles with results compensating their recent evils.

Yet when we recollect the condition of Italy as we left her shores
four short years ago,--when we contrast the calm then around her
institutions, the stillness of her every-day life, the careless ease
of her nobles, the physical enjoyment of her middle classes, the
simple well-being of the peasantry under their own vines and
fig-trees,--we must sigh to see so much positive happiness perilled
for contingent ameliorations which, if ever attained, may, like most
political experiments, fail to realise the promised benefits.

     "Let him who sees mad war like deluge sweep
       Surrounding regions, learn his peace to prize;
       Let the poor bark with sides unripped, which tries
       In vain by helm and sail its course to keep,
     Make for the port. He lives perchance to weep,
       Who quits the genial air and smiling skies
       For depths unknown. O blind desire unwise
       Of mortals, spurning thus on earth to creep!
     O when, in this his mouldering garment frail,
       Did man, whose thread soon breaks and joins no more,
       Clear his own path, or by his power prevail?"[6]

[Footnote 6: _Giovanni della Casa_, translated by JAMES GLASSFORD.]

In a work of history, party politics ought to have no place; and when
the nations are moved there is little inducement to assume a prophet's
mantle. We, therefore, gladly leave a topic on which perhaps too much
has been said. Possibly some Italians, to whom we have formerly
represented that it were

     "Better to bear the ills we know,
     Than rush on others that we wot not of,"

may yet admit the truth of this suggestion. May they never personally
realise the adage, that those who originate revolutions reap all their
evils, without living to share their fruits!

       *       *       *       *       *

A few words regarding the method adopted in these volumes. Of the
names most conspicuous in Italian literature and art, a considerable
proportion will there find a place; but readers who expect to see
their productions enumerated, and their merits submitted to exhaustive
criticism, will be disappointed. All that our limits permit, after
rapidly sketching the revival of knowledge and the progress of that
sacred painting which emanated from Umbria, is to mention those who
have contributed to shed lustre over the duchy of Urbino, or who
shared the patronage of its princes. The amount of notice allotted to
each is therefore proportioned rather to its local importance than its
absolute excellence; but, satisfied from experience how seldom a
wide-spread interest attaches to individual details, our aim has ever
been to generalise even those points demanding a more specific notice
in connection with our immediate subject.

As the recurrence of foot-notes in a popular narrative unpleasantly
distracts the reader from its continuous course, these have been
avoided, unless when especially called for; and the necessity for them
in citing references has been in a great degree anticipated, by
prefixing a list of the leading authorities consulted, which it is
hoped will generally bear out views that have been honestly formed,
after examining what seemed the best sources of information. Extracts
have been introduced, where it appeared desirable to preserve the
style or words of an author; but they are in most cases rendered
(literally rather than with elegance) into English, except such
specimens of poetry as could not be fairly estimated from a
translation. Documents and episodical details, which would have
encumbered the text, are appended to the respective volumes.[7]

[Footnote 7: The most recent, and among the most interesting
authorities for Urbino, is Passavant's _Life of Raffaele_, an
admirable article upon which by Sir C.L. Eastlake, in vol. LXVI. of
the _Quarterly Review_, suggested the present work. Had that biography
been accessible to me at an earlier period, it might have assisted my
labours, and perhaps modified some of my views; but I had no
opportunity of consulting it until my own pages were nearly ready for
press. It is the fruit of successful German industry, sweetened by
candid and intelligent criticism, and its remaining still untranslated
into any language is among the remarkable anomalies of literary
history. I may be allowed here to mention that the accuracy and
success with which Lord Lindsay and Mrs. Jameson have cultivated the
field of Christian and legendary art, enable me to dispense with much
regarding a subject which would otherwise have been more prominent in
these volumes.]

The majority of proper names being Italian, are written in that
language, excepting such as, like those of places, and titles of popes
and sovereigns, have long been familiar to English ears in a different
orthography. In such matters uniformity of practice is the main object
to be attended to, and having to choose between names as they were
actually used and their English synonyms, we have preferred Giacomo
Piccinino, Giulio Romano, and Lorenzo de' Medici, to James the Little
Fellow, Julius the Roman, and Lawrence of the Medici.[8] There will
often be mentioned districts and divisions of Italy which are defined
by no exact political or geographical limits; it may therefore be well
here to explain in what sense these somewhat convertible terms are
employed. CENTRAL ITALY may be considered to contain the papal
territory and the three Tuscan duchies; UPPER and LOWER ITALY include
all the Peninsula, respectively to the north and the south of these
states. Again, LOMBARDY is used as a generic term for the whole basin
of the PO, the POLESINE being that portion of its delta, north of the
river, which belonged to the Dukes of Ferrara. ROMAGNA stretches from
the Po to the Metauro, from the Apennines to the Adriatic; LA MARCA,
or the March of Ancona, continues the same sea-board to the Tronto:
these two districts were long the cradle of Italian prowess, the
allotment-land of petty princes; both were partially comprehended
within the more ancient landmarks of UMBRIA, a mountain province lying
east of the Tiber. The lower basin of this classic stream contained
SABINA on the east, and the PATRIMONY of St. Peter on the west; the
COMARCA lying south of the Teverone stream, and the whole wide plain
around Rome being called the CAMPAGNA. TUSCANY, including the Sienese,
ran northwards from the Patrimony, beginning below Orbetello; and
Naples is familiarly called by Italians THE KINGDOM, having, until a
recent date, been the only royal state in their fatherland.

[Footnote 8: The case is stated by ROSCOE in his Preface to _Leo X._,
and we approve of his decision, notwithstanding the objections taken
to it in vol. VII., p. 356, of the _Edinburgh Review_.]

Our chronology also requires the use of certain conventional terms,
which ought to be defined. Assuming the close of the fifteenth century
as the zenith of Italy's glory in letters and arts, in politics and
arms, the only word specifically indicating that period is
_cinque-cento_; but seeing that its lustre was attained under military
and civil institutions, and was rendered permanent by studies and
artistic creations, derived from the middle ages and breathing their
spirit, the phrase _mediæval_ is extended to include that period.

       *       *       *       *       *

Few things are more baffling to students of history than the true
worth of money in different states and ages, and its relative value in
reference to our own standards. It is impossible to over-estimate the
convenience which tables, showing the fluctuations of currency and
prices among different nations, would afford; but the difficulties of
completing them may perhaps be insuperable. In order to supply this
desideratum, however imperfectly, a few observations are here

In considering the value of money at different periods, a variety of
circumstances must be kept in view. There are, however, four elements
to be embraced by all calculations for such a purpose: (1) the
comparative weight of the coinage; (2) the respective amounts of alloy
introduced into the standard of precious metals; (3) the effect
produced on gold and silver value by the discovery of America; (4) the
fluctuations in prices of commodities. The last of these elements
includes and depends upon the others, so that a tariff of prices at
various times might be practically sufficient for the object
contemplated. The impediments, however, to obtaining such a tariff are
apparently insurmountable. Statistical facts, incidentally mentioned
by historians, or gleaned from original documents, must be received
with large allowance. Articles of costly luxury in one age became
abundant in another, and are at all times affected by local or
temporary causes. Quality was also variable; horses, oxen, sheep, and
poultry, reared or fed in rude times or uncultivated districts, cannot
fairly be compared with those perfected by care and expense; the same
may be said of wines, fruits, clothing; even land is saleable
according to its condition, fertility, or situation. The test usually
resorted to in such inquiries is corn; but weights and measures,
seldom uniform, are with difficulty ascertained at remote periods,
while exceptional prices are more frequently noted than average ones,
by observers prone to record striking events rather than every-day
facts. There are, however, some apparently admitted data not
altogether unavailable for our immediate purpose.

During the period embraced by our memoirs of Urbino, the standard of
value prevalent in most parts of Italy was the golden florin or ducat.
Of these probably equivalent terms, the former was generally employed
in Central Italy, the latter in Lombardy. According to Villani, the
florin of Florence, in 1340, weighed 72 grains of pure gold, 24 carats
fine. Sismondi, in referring to a period about a century later,
estimates its weight at 1/8 of an ounce, or 60 grains. Orsini reckons
it, in 1533, at 70 grains, 22 carats fine. On the whole, it appears,
from Cibrario and other authorities, that this coin, and its successor
the zecchino, have maintained an almost uniform weight down to the
present time. Assuming that gold in Italy had then the same
_coinage-value_ as in England, it appears from calculations, founded
upon Fleetwood's data, that the florin was, at these various periods,
equivalent in contemporary English coin to 3_s._ 6_d._, 4_s._ 8_d._,
and 5_s._ 10_d._ Again, the ducat of Venice is estimated by Daru at 4
franks in 1465, at 4-1/3 in 1490, and by Sanuto at 4_s._ English in
1500. Riposati, in a careful analysis of the coinage of Gubbio, proves
that the conventional Urbino florin of 1450 should have contained
634-34/59 grains of silver, besides alloy, which would at that time
have yielded 3_s._ 9_d._ English, or at our present pure silver value
(5_s._ 6_d._ to the ounce) 7_s._ 3-1/4_d._

It would follow, from these several opinions, that the florin or ducat
of Italy, in the fifteenth century, was equal to from 3_s._ 6_d._ to
4_s._ 6_d._ in _contemporary_ English circulation, which disposes of
two elements for our calculation. The remaining two must have been
inadequately kept in view by Cibrario, Ricotta, and Audin, who
respectively value the florin of 1400 as _now_ worth 16-2/3 francs,
that of 1490 at 14 francs, and that of 1500 at 12 francs; while in the
_Library of Entertaining Knowledge_ it is set down at 10_s._ English
in 1480. But if we assume the analogy of English prices as collected
by Fleetwood, the result will be very different. From these it appears
that an average cost of wheat and oats per quarter, in the fifteenth
century, was about 5_s._ 2_d._ and 2_s._ 6_d._, while the wages of
labourers and artisans were respectively 3-1/2_d._ and 4-1/2_d._ a
day. Accordingly, if corn be taken as the test, money was then _ten
times_ beyond its modern value; while, if we include labour and
luxuries, the actual depreciation must appear much greater. We are
greatly encouraged to find such an inference not very different from
that adopted by three recent and important authorities. Prescott
values the Spanish ducat of 1490 at 39_s._ 4_d._, and Macaulay states
that of Florence in 1340 at 40_s._ sterling, while Sismondi calculates
it at about 48 francs. On the whole, then, we venture to assume that
the Italian ducat or florin of the fifteenth century was nearly equal
to the present Spanish dollar, and that it would have purchased about
twelve times the amount of necessaries and luxuries which that coin
now represents in England--a discrepancy of course lessened in the
next and each succeeding age, especially as the precious metals
continued to flow in from the new hemisphere. This estimate is,
however, offered with great deference, and only as a general
approximation to the truth, by no means applicable to numerous
exceptional cases.[9]

[Footnote 9: By an elaborate process, founded upon very complex facts,
Cibrario concludes that, with reference to the value of wheat in
Piedmont, the florin is now worth only about double what it was in the
fourteenth century; but this does not seem a fair test to the relative
power of money even in Italy; and in a work intended for English
readers, it appears necessary to bring out an estimate applicable to
present prices in this country, not in Southern Europe, where money
still goes much further than with us.]

       *       *       *       *       *

In closing these preliminary observations, it is a pleasing duty to
acknowledge the facilities obligingly placed at the author's disposal
by kind friends in Italy and at home. The urbanity with which
Monsignore Laureani afforded every assistance compatible with the
stringent regulations of the Vatican Library, demands a tribute
tempered by regret that death should have prematurely removed him from
a trust which he usefully and gracefully discharged. To Don Pietro
Raffaele, of the Oliveriana Library at Pesaro, and to the Abbé
Francesco Raffaele Valenti, of the Albani Library at Urbino; to Signor
Luigi Bonfatti, of Gubbio; to the archivists of many towns, and to the
directors of not a few galleries in Italy, a large debt of gratitude
has been incurred. The intimate acquaintance with the treasures of
Italian art possessed by the Commendatore Kestner, minister from the
Court of Hanover at the Holy See, was, with his wonted kindness and
courtesy, freely rendered available. Mr. Rawdon Brown, whose profound
knowledge of Venetian history and antiquities will, it is hoped, be
ere long appreciated in England, as it already is in the Lagoons, has
communicated most important documents, which the author was unable
personally to inspect. Mr. F.C. Brooke, of Ufford Place, Suffolk, has
likewise supplied some valuable notices. The embellishments of these
volumes owe much to the friendly assistance of Mr. Lewis Gruner, an
artist whose generous character and happy exemption from professional
jealousies are not less remarkable than the success of his burin and
the excellence of his taste. With a liberality unusual among English
collectors, Dr. Wellesley, Principal of New College Hall, Oxford,
threw open his stores of Italian historic art, and allowed the use of
several rare medallions. To these, and to many whose good wishes have
cheered him on, the author's thanks are thus heartily, though
inadequately, offered.



  INTRODUCTION                                                     vii

  MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR                                            xiii


  AUTHOR'S PREFACE                                                xxix

  LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS OF VOLUME I.                              xlix





  Topography of the Duchy of Urbino--Origin of the Italian
  communities--Their civil institutions and military
  system--Their principle of liberty--Political divisions of
  Romagna; opposed to modern speculations regarding centralization   3


  Origin of the Counts of Montefeltro, and of their sovereignty
  in Urbino and the surrounding country--Their early
  genealogy--Guido Count of Urbino--Antonio Count of Urbino         22


  Guidantonio Count of Urbino--The Ubaldini--Oddantonio Count of
  Urbino--Is made Duke--His dissolute habits and speedy
  assassination                                                     42




  The birth of Count Federigo--Condition of Italy--His marriage
  and early military service--The Malatesta his inveterate
  foes--He takes S. Leo--Is invested with Mercatello                61


  Count Federigo succeeds to Urbino and acquires
  Fossombrone--His connection with the Sforza family, whereby he
  incurs excommunication--His campaign in the Maremma--Loses his
  eye in a tournament                                               85


  Count Federigo enters the Neapolitan service--His two campaigns
  in Tuscany--Fall of Constantinople--Peace of Lodi--Nicholas
  V.--The Count's fruitless attempt at reconciliation with
  Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, followed by new feuds with
  him--Death of his Countess Gentile                               102


  Count Federigo's domestic life--His second marriage--New war
  for the Angevine succession to Naples--Battle of San
  Fabbiano--Conclusion of the war--Humiliation of the Malatesta    120


  Count Federigo's home administration and court--Description
  of his palace and library at Urbino--His other palaces--The
  resources of his state                                           147


  Count Federigo's varied engagements--Battle of La
  Molinella--Death and character of his enemy Malatesta--Affairs
  of Rimini                                                        177


  Birth of Prince Guidobaldo--Count Federigo captures
  Volterra--Is again widowed--Receives the Garter and the
  Ermine--Is made Duke of Urbino--His patronage of learned men     207


  The Duke of Milan assassinated--Count Girolamo Riario--The
  Pazzi conspiracy--Duke Federigo's campaigns in
  Tuscany--Progress of the Turks                                   233


  The war of Ferrara, and the death of Duke Federigo--His
  character and portraits                                          258




  The early promise of Duke Guidobaldo I.--Count Girolamo Riario
  assassinated--The Duke's marriage--Comparative quiet of Italy    295


  State of the papacy at the election of Alexander VI.--His
  election, character, and children--The aspect of Italy at the
  close of her golden age--The disputed succession of Naples
  reopened--Character and views of Charles VIII.--Proposed league
  to oppose him frustrated--State of the Roman Campagna--The old
  and new military systems in Italy                                315


  Italy ill prepared for the French invasion--Duke Guidobaldo
  sent against the Orsini--Lucrezia Borgia's second
  marriage--Descent of Charles VIII.--He reaches Naples and
  retreats--Battle of the Taro--The Duke engaged in the Pisan
  war--Is taken prisoner by the Orsini and ransomed                341


  The crimes and ambition of the Borgia--Murder of the Duke
  of Gandia--Duke Guidobaldo's expeditions against Perugia and
  Tuscany--He adopts Francesco Maria della Rovere as his
  heir--Louis XII. succeeds to Charles VIII., and to his views
  upon Italy--Cesare Borgia created Duke Valentino--Duke
  Guidobaldo at Venice                                             363


  The condition of Romagna--Cesare Borgia overruns and seizes
  upon it--The spirit of his government--Naples invaded by Louis,
  and handed over to Spain--Lucrezia Borgia's fourth marriage      379


  Duke Guidobaldo's retired life--Cesare Borgia surprises and
  seizes Urbino--The Duke's flight--The diet of La
  Magione--Rising in the Duchy, and his return--He again retires   399


  I.    Poetry of the family of Montefeltro                        427

  II.   Inventory of articles taken by Brigida Sueva di
        Montefeltro, _alias_ Sister Serafina, into the Convent
        of Corpus Domini                                           433

  III.  Poetry of Ottaviano degli Ubaldini                         436

  IV.   Instrument containing the concessions demanded by the
        citizens and acceded to by Count Federigo, on being
        chosen as their Seigneur                                   438

  V.    Devices and mottoes of the Dukes of Urbino                 443

  VI.   The illuminated MSS. in the Urbino Library                 446

  VII.  Duke Federigo of Urbino a Knight of the Garter             450

  VIII. The army of Charles VIII., in 1493                         460

  IX.   The battle of the Taro, in 1495                            463

  X.    The arrival of Duke Valentino at the French Court          468

  XI.   Ludovico Sforza's entry into Lyons, in 1500                470

  XII.  Sonnet to Italy by Marcello Filosseno                      472

  XIII. Marriage festivities of Lucrezia Borgia at Ferrara,
        in 1502                                                    473

        GENEALOGICAL TABLES                           _At end of book_


  James Dennistoun of Dennistoun. From a medallion
  in the possession of his nephew James W. Dennistoun
  of Dennistoun                                         _Frontispiece_

                                                          TO FACE PAGE

  View of Urbino. (Photo Alinari)                                   22

  The Battle of S. Egidio. After the picture by Paolo Uccello in
  the National Gallery. Portraits of Carlo Malatesta and his
  nephew Galeotto "il Beato"                                        44

  Leonello d'Este. After the picture by Pisanello in the Morelli
  Gallery, Bergamo. (Photo Alinari)                                 54

  Nicolò Piccinino. From a bronze medal by Pisanello. By the
  courtesy of G.F. Hill, Esq.                                       70

  Vittorino da Feltre. From a medal by Pisanello in the British
  Museum. By the courtesy of G.F. Hill, Esq.                        70

  San Leo and Maiuolo. From a drawing by Agostino Nini              78

  Federigo of Urbino. From the XV. Century relief in the Bargello,
  Florence. (Photo Alinari)                                         86

  Francesco Sforza. From the XV. Century relief in the Bargello,
  Florence. (Photo Alinari)                                         98

  Federigo, Duke of Urbino, and Battista, his wife. From the
  picture by Piero della Francesca in the Uffizi Gallery,
  Florence. (Photo Alinari)                                        120

  Allegory. After the picture by Piero della Francesca in the
  Uffizi Gallery, Florence. (Photo Alinari)                        122

  Allegory. After the picture by Piero della Francesca in the
  Uffizi Gallery, Florence. (Photo Alinari)                        124

  Sigismondo Malatesta. Detail from the fresco by Piero della
  Francesca in the Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini. (Photo Alinari)  132

  Urbino. From an original drawing by Agostino Nini of Bologna     148

  The Flagellation. After the picture by Piero della Francesca
  in the Sacristy of the Duomo, Urbino. Supposed portraits of
  Duke Federigo and Caterino Zeno. (Photo Alinari)                 152

  Fifteenth-century Court of the Palazzo Ducale, Urbino.
  (Photo Alinari)                                                  162

  Pio II. at Ancona. After the fresco by Pinturicchio in the
  Cathedral Library, Siena. (Photo Brogi)                          178

  Portrait of Leon Battista Alberti. From the relief by Pisanello
  in the Dreyfus Collection                                        194

  Pope Sixtus IV. From a miniature prefixed to the dedication
  copy of Platina's Lives of the Popes in the Vatican Library      202

  Battista Sforza, Duchess of Urbino, second wife of Duke
  Federigo. From the bust by Francesco Laurana in the Bargello,
  Florence. (Photo Alinari)                                        214

  Federigo of Urbino and his Family. Detail from the picture by
  Justus of Ghent, in the Palazzo Ducale, Urbino. (From the
  Ducal Collection.) (Photo Alinari)                               216

  Lorenzo de' Medici. From the fresco by Ghirlandaio in S.
  Trinità, Florence. (Photo Alinari)                               238

  Giuliano de' Medici. (Photo Alinari)                             240

  The Birth of Venus. Supposed portrait of Simonetta
  Cattaneo--mistress of Giuliano de' Medici. Detail from the
  picture by Sandro Botticelli in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
  (Photo Alinari)                                                  242

  Astorgio III. de' Manfredi. From the picture by Scaletti in
  the Pinacoteca of Faenza                                         258

  Federigo di Montefeltro. After the picture by Justus of Ghent,
  once in the Ducal Collection at Urbino, now in the Palazzo
  Barberini in Rome. (Photo Anderson)                              266

  The Contessa Palma of Urbino. After the portrait by Piero
  della Francesca in the National Gallery                          280

  Guidobaldo I. From a picture in the Colonna Gallery in Rome      296

  Caterina Sforza. After the picture by Marco Palmezzani in the
  Pinacoteca of Forlì. (Photo Alinari)                             306

  Isabella of Aragon. After the drawing by Beltraffio in the
  Biblioteca Ambrogiana, Milan. (Photo Anderson)                   310

  Pope Alexander VI. Detail from a fresco by Pinturicchio in the
  Borgia apartments of the Vatican, Rome                           320

  "Diva Julia." From a bronze medal _ca._ 1482 by L'Antico in
  the British Museum. By the courtesy of G.F. Hill, Esq.           330

  Cesare Borgia. From a medal _ca._ 1500 in the British Museum.
  By the courtesy of G.F. Hill, Esq.                               330

  Julius II as Cardinal. From a medal in the British Museum. By
  the courtesy of G.F. Hill, Esq.                                  330

  St. Catherine of Alexandria. Supposed portrait of Lucrezia
  Borgia by Pinturicchio. Detail from a fresco in the Borgia
  apartments of the Vatican, Rome. (Photo Anderson)                344

  Bianca, daughter of Ludovico Sforza. After the picture by
  Ambrogio de' Predis in the Biblioteca Ambrogiana, Milan.
  (Photo Anderson)                                                 352

  Cesare Borgia as the Emperor. Detail from the fresco of the
  Disputa of S. Catherine in the Borgia apartments of the
  Vatican. (Photo Anderson)                                        364



  A.D.                                                              PAGE

              The duchy of Urbino, how composed                        3

              Its characteristic features, and traditional topography  4

              Origin of Italian communities                            4

              Rise of the Guelph and Ghibelline factions               5

              Counts of the empire                                     6

              Republics established in Italy                           7

              Opinions regarding their spirit                          8

              The seigneurs attain to sovereignty                     10

              Practical distinction of Guelph and Ghibelline          11

              Early military system                                   12

              Origin and influence of free companies                  14

              The term Republic misapplied                            15

              Their principle of liberty examined                     16

              Political divisions of Romagna and La Marca in the
              fifteenth century                                       18

              Opposed to modern speculations and the aims of Young
              Italy                                                   19

              Mariotti's admissions regarding freedom                 20


              Examples of these ideas in the dynasties of Urbino      22

  1160.       The early Counts of Montefeltro are invested with
              Urbino                                                  22

  1371.       Invited to Cagli                                        22

  1384.       Received at Gubbio                                      22

  1433.       Acquired Casteldurante                                  23

  1445.       Purchased Fossombrone                                   23

  1474.       Sinigaglia given to the della Rovere                    23

  1513.       They obtained Pesaro and Gradara                        23

              Statistics of the state so composed                     23

  1160-1631.  Its dynastic changes                                    24

              Early genealogy of the Montefeltri                      24

  1160-1815.  The Counts of Carpegna                                  25

  1154.       Antonio, first Count of Montefeltro                     25

  1216.       Buonconte, first Count of Urbino                        25

  1268.       Count Guido the Elder, his prowess                      26

  1282.       Takes Forlì by stratagem                                27

  1289.       Excommunicated as a Ghibelline                          27

  1296.       Abdicates and becomes a friar                           28

  1294.       Abdication of Celestine V.                              28

   "          Succeeded by Boniface VIII.                             28

  1296.       His feuds with the Colonna                              29

   "          He recalls Count Guido to the world                     30

   "          Dante's confession of the Count                         30

   "          How far consistent with fact                            32

   "          The Count's piety attested by Boniface                  33

  Sept. 27.   His death at Assisi                                     34

  1300.       The struggles of his successors                         35

  1377.       Antonio Count of Urbino                                 36

  1384.       Extends his sway over Gubbio, Cagli, and Cantiano       37

  1390.       His mild government and literary tastes                 37

  1404.       His death announced to the authorities of Siena by
  May 9.      his son                                                 38

   "          His children                                            39

   "          His daughter Battista, wife of Galeazzo Malatesta,
              Lord of Pesaro                                          39

   "          Her literary acquirements                               40

   "          Battista takes the veil                                 40

   "          Misfortunes of her daughter Elisabetta                  41


  1404.       Guidantonio Count of Urbino                             42

  1408.       Made Lord of Assisi                                     42

  1413.       And Vice-general of Romagna                             43

   "          Braccio di Montone                                      43

  Nov. 11.    Election of Pope Martin V.                              44

  Dec.        Count Guidantonio made Duke of Spoleto                  44

  1420.       Braccio reconciled to the Pope                          45

  March 4.    The Count marries Caterina Colonna                      45

   "          His disputes with the Brancaleoni                       45

  Sept. 3.    Made Captain-general of Florence                        46

  March 3.    Election of Pope Eugenius IV.                           46

  Oct. 9.     Death of Countess Caterina                              47

  Feb. 20.    Death of Count Guidantonio                              47

   "          His children                                            47

   "          His daughter Brigida Sueva's singular history           48

   "          His natural children                                    49

   "          Origin of the Ubaldini della Carda                      49

   "          Notice of Ottaviano Ubaldino                            50

  1424.       Birth of Count Oddantonio of Urbino                     51

  April 26.   Made Duke of Urbino                                     51

   "          His vicious career                                      52

  July 22.    His assassination                                       53

   "          His intended marriage                                   55

  1439-1443.  Two original letters from him to the magistrates of
              Siena                                                   56

              The dukedom lapsed on his death                         58


              Federigo Count of Urbino                                61

  June 7.     The mystery and misstatements regarding his birth       61

  Dec. 22.    Set at rest by his legitimation                         62

   "          The Brancaleoni of Mercatello                           63

  1430.       Their heiress Gentile betrothed to Count Federigo       64

   "          The state of Italy at this time                         64

   "          Rome and the Papacy                                     65

   "          Florence and Central Italy                              66

   "          Lombardy and Venice                                     67

  1433.       Federigo sent to Venice as a hostage                    68

  1434.       Made a companion of the Hose                            68

   "          Becomes a pupil of Vittorino da Feltre at Mantua        69

   "          Character and system of Vittorino                       70

  1433.       Federigo knighted by the Emperor                        71

  Dec. 2.     His marriage                                            72

   "          Nicolò Piccinino successor of Braccio di Montone        72

  1438.       Federigo serves under him in Lombardy                   74

  1439.       Next, under his brother-in-law Guidaccio Manfredi,
              Lord of Faenza                                          74

   "          A midnight alarm                                        74

   "          The Malatesta hereditary rivals of the Montefeltri      75

   "          Sigismondo Pandolfo Lord of Rimini opposed by Federigo  75

  June 29.    The battle of Anghiari                                  77

  1442.       Federigo recovers Montelocco                            77

  1441.       Description of S. Leo                                   78

   "          Federigo takes it                                       80

   "          Position of Francesco Sforza                            80

   "          Pedigree of the Sforza family                           80

  1443.       Federigo after his father's death rejoins Piccinino     81

   "          Visits Naples with him                                  81

  Nov. 8.     Sforza defeats Piccinino at Monteluro                   82

   "          Sanzi's description of that battle                      82

   "          Federigo invested with Mercatello                       83

  1444.       He protects Galeazzo Malatesta's seigneury of Pesaro    83

  Feb. 21.    Is challenged by Sigismondo Malatesta of Rimini         83


  1444.       Federigo accepted as successor of Duke Oddantonio
  July 22.    in Urbino                                               85

   "          Conditions imposed by the people                        86

   "          The state of Central Italy                              87

   "          Contemporary sketch of Federigo                         88

   "          Spite of Sigismondo Pandolfo                            89

   "          Sale of Pesaro and Fossombrone                          90

  1445.       Marriage of Alessandro Sforza, who becomes Lord
  March 16.   of Pesaro                                               91

   "          Mistakes of Sismondi                                    91

   "          Francesco Sforza's breach with Filippo Maria Visconti
              and Sigismondo Malatesta                                91

  June 22.    He is supported by Federigo, and visits Urbino          92

  1446.       His position at La Marca, which he loses                92

   "          Federigo excommunicated by Eugenius for adhering
  April.      to Sforza                                               93

   "          The fortune of war changes                              93

  1447.       Sforza is reconciled with the Duke of Milan             94

  Sept. 3.    Sigismondo attacks Fossombrone                          95

  Feb. 23.    Death and character of Eugenius IV.                     95

   "          Death of the Duke of Milan                              96

  1450.       Succeeded by Francesco Sforza                           97

  1447.       Designs of Alfonso of Naples upon Tuscany               97

  March.      Opposed by Federigo for the Florentines                 98

   "          Sigismondo tricks Alfonso, and attacks Fossombrone      98

  Sept.       Alfonso and Federigo return home                        99

  1449.       Sigismondo attempts to dupe Federigo, but is foiled     99

  1450.       Federigo made Captain-general by the Duke of Milan     100

  June 29.    Peace between Naples and Florence                      100

   "          Loses his eye in a tournament                          101


  1450.       The peace of Italy threatened by new combinations      102

   "          Federigo quits the service of Milan for that of
              Naples                                                 103

   "          The King employs him without exacting sureties         103

  1451.       The Emperor Frederick III. comes to Italy, and is
              crowned at Rome                                        103

  1452.       The Neapolitan campaign in Tuscany under Federigo
              and the Duke of Calabria                               103

  1452-1453.  Federigo goes to Naples, and returns in the spring     104

  1453.       Attacked by malaria fever                              104

  July 26.    His letter to the Priors of Siena                      104

   "          Uninteresting conclusion of the war                    105

   "          Fall of the Greek empire, and taking of
  May 29.     Constantinople                                         106

  1454.       Efforts of Nicholas V. for a general league against
              the Turks                                              107

  April 9.    The peace of Lodi                                      107

  Mar. 24.    The death and character of Nicholas V.                 107

  1454.       Federigo's friendly visit to the King of Naples        108

  1455.       The King ratifies the league with an unfortunate
  Jan. 26.    reservation                                            109

  1457.       Federigo takes measures for humbling Sigismondo        109

  April.      Visits Florence, Bologna, Milan, and Mantua            109

   "          His fruitless interview with Sigismondo at Modena      110

   "          He goes to Naples for assistance; many intrigues
  June.       there                                                  110

   "          Death of his Countess Gentile                          111

  Nov. 7.     Asks a mortar-founder from Siena                       111

   "          He attacks Sigismondo                                  112

  May 2.      His despatch to the Priors of Siena                    112

  July 1.     Death of Alfonso of Naples                             113

  Aug. 6.     Death of Calixtus III.                                 113

   "          Ambitious intrigues of Giacomo Piccinino, who
              seizes on part of the ecclesiastical territory         114

   "          Federigo continued as Captain-general by Ferdinand
              of Naples                                              115

   "          New disputes for the crown of Naples                   115

  May 27.     Pius II. summons a European congress at Mantua         116

   "          His mediation between Malatesta and the Count of
              Urbino                                                 116

  June 21.    His letter to Federigo                                 117

   "          His award in favour of Federigo                        119


              Federigo's domestic life                               120

  1454.       His sons Buonconte and Antonio legitimated             120

  Oct.        Buonconte dies at Naples of plague                     120

   "          Death of another son, Bernardino                       120

  1459.       Count Federigo's marriage to Battista Sforza proposed  121

   "          Errors of Sismondi regarding her (note)                121

   "          Her education and accomplishments                      121

  Nov.        Her betrothal at Pesaro                                122

  Feb. 10.    Her marriage celebrated at Urbino                      122

   "          Giovanni Sanzi's description of her                    122

  1459.       New wars in Italy interrupt the long-proposed Turkish
              crusade                                                123

   "          Unpopularity of Ferdinand of Naples                    123

   "          State of the Angevine claimants to that crown          123

  May 11.     Jean Duke of Calabria made Seigneur of Genoa           123

  1459.       Supported in his designs upon Naples by France,
              Genoa, and Florence                                    124

   "          Opposed by Pius II. and the Duke of Milan, who
              adhere to the Italian league                           124

   "          The Duke of Calabria sails from Genoa to invade
  Oct. 4.     Naples                                                 124

  1460.       Venice and Florence become neutral                     124

   "          Giacopo Piccinino deserts to the Angevines             125

  Mar. 30.    Evades Federigo and reaches the Abruzzi                125

  April.      The confederates follow him thither                    125

  July 7.     Ferdinand is beaten at Sarno                           125

   "          Armies of the League and of Piccinino meet at San
              Fabbiano                                               126

   "          Tournament before the battle                           126

   "          Accident to the Count of Urbino                        126

  July 22.    Battle of San Fabbiano                                 127

   "   "      Mistakes as to the date of it (note)                   127

  Aug. 2.     The confederates retreat                               128

   "          Anecdote of Count Federigo                             129

   "          Ferdinand saved by his Queen's intercession            130

   "          Count Federigo re-engaged by Pius II.                  130

  Oct.        Rome threatened by Piccinino                           130

  Dec.        Count Federigo goes to Rome for Christmas              131

  1461.       Sigismondo Malatesta put on trial                      131

  Apr. 14.    Burned and excommunicated                              132

  June.       Count Federigo crosses the Apennines                   132

  July.       His conversation with Pius II. on ancient history      133

  Oct.        He reduces Aquila and Sora                             133

   "          Is complimented by Pius II.                            134

  1461-1462.  Visits Rome and Naples                                 134

  1461.       Angevine prepossessions of the Genoese changed by
  Mar.        a revolution                                           135

  July 17.    Total defeat of King René there                        135

   "          George Scanderbeg supports Ferdinand                   135

  1462.       Sigismondo Malatesta's force augmented                 135

  Aug.        Count Federigo hurries into La Marca to meet him       136

   "   12.    Overthrows him at the Cesano, near Sinigaglia          137

   "   "      Rejects his offers of friendship                       137

  Oct. 6.     His conduct approved by Pius II.                       138

  Nov. 3.     Made lieutenant-general of the ecclesiastical forces   139

  Sept. 20.   Mondavio capitulates to him; the miseries of war       139

   "          Giovanni Malatesta taken prisoner at Montefiori, and
  Oct. 22.    liberated by him                                       140

   "          He obtains Verucchio by a dishonourable trick, and
   "   31.    winters there                                          140

  Aug. 18.    Piccinino defeated at Troia                            141

  Sept. 13.   The Prince of Tarento deserts the Angevines            141

  Aug.        Piccinino follows his example                          141

  1464.       The Duke of Calabria finally quits Italy               141

  July.       Fano besieged by Count Federigo                        142

  Sept. 28.   It is surrendered by Roberto Malatesta                 143

   "    "     His generosity to Sigismondo's family                  143

   "    "     The satisfaction of Pius                               143

  Oct. 5-25.  Sinigaglia and Gradara surrender to Federigo           144

   "          Venice mediates in behalf of Sigismondo                144

   "          He humbles himself to the Pope, and is absolved        145

   "          Peace with the Malatesta, giving the Count an
  Nov. 1.     accession of territory                                 146


  1463-1464.  The home administration of Federigo                    147

   "    "     Scantily illustrated by his biographers                147

   "    "     His court and establishment                            150

   "    "     Its hospitalities                                      152

  1454.       A new palace begun at Urbino                           154

  1463-1464.  Its appearance                                         154

   "    "     Designed by Luziano Lauranna                           155

   "    "     Federigo's patent in his favour                        156

   "    "     And continued by Baccio Pontelli                       157

   "    "     Who makes a plan of it for Lorenzo de' Medici          157

   "    "     Fallacy regarding Francesco di Giorgio                 158

   "    "     His frieze of trophies and pompous inscription         158

   "    "     Description of the palace, and view from it            159

   "    "     Its decorations in stone and _intarsia_                160

   "    "     Fallacy as to its museum of art                        161

   "    "     The saloons for books and manuscripts                  162

   "    "     State of bibliography at this period                   163

   "    "     Federigo a collector of manuscripts                    164

   "    "     Attested by Sanzi and Vespasiano                       164

   "    "     Regulations of his library                             167

   "    "     Notice of its librarians                               168

   "    "     Its extent and cost                                    168

   "    "     The stable-range built by Francesco di Giorgio         169

   "    "     Cost of the palace                                     170

   "    "     Anecdote of its foundation                             170

   "    "     Churches founded by Federigo                           171

   "    "     Description of his palace at Gubbio                    171

   "    "     His other residences                                   174

   "    "     The extent and resources of his state                  175


  Aug.        The projected crusade abandoned                        177

   "   14.    Death of Pius II.; succeeded by Paul II.               177

   "          Sanzi's lines on his death                             178

  Sept. 28.   Count Federigo made Gonfaloniere of the Church         179

   "          Explanation of that title (note)                       179

  Oct. 24.    Returns to Urbino after visiting Naples                179

  July.       His expedition against Anguillera                      179

  Nov. 20.    Death of Malatesta Novello of Cesena                   180

  Jan.        His state annexed to the Church by Count Federigo      180

  Mar. 8.     Death of Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan               180

   "          Count Federigo goes to Milan                           181

   "          Is reappointed captain-general by Duke Galeazzo
  June 6.     Maria Sforza                                           181

   "          Returns home                                           181

   "          The protracted tranquillity and glory of Italy         182

  July 12.    Murder of Giacomo Piccinino at Naples                  183

  Aug. 1.     Death of Cosimo de' Medici, _Pater patriæ_             184

  1464-1466.  State of parties in Florence                           184

  1466-1467.  The exiles engage Colleoni to invade Tuscany           185

  May 15.     Federigo's honourable condotta by the League           185

   "          Battle of La Molinella in the Bolognese, where field
  July 25.    artillery was first used                               187

   "          Giovanni della Rovere distinguishes himself            187

  1468.       Federigo visits the Duke of Milan                      190

  June.       Sent by him to meet his bride at Genoa                 190

  July.       Returns home                                           190

  Sept.       Recalled to Milan                                      190

  Oct.        Presented by him with a palace in that city            190

  Nov.        Reduces Brisella                                       190

  Jan.        Commissioned by him to wait upon the Emperor           190

  March 1.    Returns home                                           190

  Oct. 9.     Death of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta                 191

   "          His character and tastes                               191

   "          His service in the Morea                               194

   "          Pretensions of his son Roberto on Rimini               195

   "          The Pontiff outwitted by him                           195

  1469.       Rimini besieged by Alessandro Sforza                   196

  Aug. 30.    Great victory of Federigo near Rimini                  199

   "          His generosity                                         200

  Nov.        Roberto regains his father's state                     201

  1470.       Federigo in high favour with Galeazzo Maria            200

   "          Rupture of the League from foolish jealousies          200

  Dec. 3.     Death of Pietro de' Medici                             201

  Dec. 22.    The League renewed                                     201

  July 7.     Federigo's letters to the Signory of Siena             201

   "   28.    Death of Paul II.                                      202

   "          Roberto Malatesta invested with Rimini                 203

  Mar. 28.    Marries Princess Elisabetta of Urbino                  203

  April.      Note as to his title of Magnificent                    203

  1471.       Federigo attends the coronation of Sixtus IV.          203

   "          Entertains the Persian envoys at Urbino                204

  1472.       Entertains Cardinal Pietro Riario at Gubbio            205


  Jan. 24.    His son Guidobaldo born at Gubbio                      207

  June 18.    Captures Volterra; its sack                            211

   "          Misstatements regarding his great MS. Hebrew Bible     212

   "          His triumphant welcome at Florence                     212

   "          His fortunate position                                 213

  July 6.     The death of his Countess Battista                     214

   "          His letters on that event                              214

   "          Notice of her life and character                       216

   "          Her portrait                                           218

  Aug. 17.    Her obsequies                                          219

  1472-1474.  Federigo at home                                       219

  Aug. 20.    He goes to Rome                                        220

   "   21.    Is invested with the ducal dignity                     220

   "   "      And is made Gonfaloniere of the Church                 221

   "          Obtains the Golden Rose                                221

   "          The marriage of his daughters Giovanna and Agnesina    222

  Sept. 11.   Is invested with the order of the Ermine at Naples     223

   "          And with that of the Garter at Grottoferrata           224

   "          Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere sent against Città
              di Castello                                            225

  Nov. 2.     A new league                                           225

   "          Federigo's patronage of learned men                    225

  1475.       Books dedicated to him                                 227

   "          Curious letter to him from the Priors of Arezzo        228

   "          Testimony of Vespasiano                                231

   "          And of Giovanni Sanzi                                  231


  Dec. 26.    Assassination of Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza            234

   "          His character by Sanzi                                 235

  1477.       Federigo prepares to march upon Milan, but attacks
  Jan.        Montone                                                236

  1473.       Count Girolamo Riario invested with Forlì and Imola    236

   "          He is betrothed to Caterina Sforza                     236

   "          Her education and character                            237

  1477.       Their marriage                                         237

   "          The friendship of Sixtus for Lorenzo de' Medici soon
              interrupted                                            237

   "          Revolutions in Florence usually sprang from family
              feuds                                                  239

   "          Origin of the Pazzi conspiracy                         239

  April 26.   It explodes; Giuliano assassinated                     240

   "          Italian conspiracies and politics                      241

   "          The Pope is compromised                                242

   "          Lorenzo appeals to his fellow citizens                 243

   "          The parties to a new war in Tuscany                    243

   "          The Duke's letter to an astrologer                     244

   "          The campaign narrated by Federigo                      245

   "          He breaks his leg                                      247

  Dec. 23.    He goes to the baths of Petriolo                       247

  May 23.     He leaves Petriolo                                     247

   "          Defection of Roberto Malatesta                         247

   "          The Florentines successful at Thrasimene, but
              worsted in the Val d'Elsa                              247

  Nov. 12.    Colle surrenders                                       248

   "          Its siege painted on a _bicherna_ (note)               248

   "          State of the Italian artillery                         248

   "          Notices of it by Duke Federigo                         249

  Nov. 20.    He goes to Siena and receives a donative               251

   "   27.    A truce for three months                               251

   "          The unfortunate position of Florence, and
              disorganisation of its army                            251

   "          Lorenzo de' Medici goes to Naples to negotiate a
  Dec. 6.     treaty                                                 252

  Mar. 25.    Peace proclaimed                                       252

  Dec.        Humiliation of the Florentines before Sixtus           253

  1479-1480.  Intrigues of the Duke of Calabria at Siena             253

   "    "     Federigo winters at the baths of Viterbo               253

   "    "     He receives the Sword and Hat                          253

  May 19.     His letter to the magistrates at Siena                 254

   "          He returns home                                        254

   "          Count Girolamo takes possession of Forlì               254

   "          Description of his Countess                            255

  1474-1479.  Progress of the Turks in Europe                        256

  Aug. 11.    They take Otranto by concert with the Venetians        257

   "          Consequent panic in Italy, and new combinations of
              its powers                                             257

   "          Federigo summoned by Ferdinand, but detained by
              Sixtus                                                 257

  May 3.      Death of Sultan Mahomet                                257

  Aug. 10.    Otranto recovered from the Turks                       257


  1481.       Sixtus combines with the Venetians against Ferrara     258

   "          Federigo declines their offers, and vainly inculcates
              peace                                                  259

  1482.       He is engaged to command the League in defence of
  April 17.   Ferrara                                                259

   "    23.   His departure for the campaign                         260

   "          Description of the seat of war                         261

  May 3.      War declared by Venice                                 262

   " 11.      The Venetians besiege Ficheruolo                       262

   "  4.      Federigo's letter to Lorenzo de' Medici                262

   "          He goes to Milan and Mantua for reinforcements         264

   "  20.     Returns to La Stellata                                 264

  June.       Fatal effects of malaria                               264

   "    29.   Ficheruolo taken                                       265

   "          Ferrara hard pressed, but obstinately defended by
  July.       Federigo                                               265

   "          His appeal to the Pontiff, who perseveres in his
   "          schemes of nepotism                                    265

   "          Lawless condition of Rome                              266

   "          Federigo attacked by fever, and relapses               266

   "          He resigns his command, and retires to Ferrara         267

  Sept. 10.   Prepares for death and expires                         267

   "          Simultaneous death of Roberto Malatesta                269

   "          Character of Duke Federigo, by Poggio Bracciolino      270

   "          By Francesco di Giorgio                                270

   "          By Pirro Pirotti and Cyrneo                            271

   "          By Vespasiano                                          272

   "          Anecdotes preserved by him                             273

   "          His military commands                                  282

   "          His funeral                                            283

   "          His body subsequently exposed                          283

  1482.       Notice of his portrait, by Piero della Francesca,
              with his Countess                                      284

   "          By Mantegna, with his son                              285

   "          By an unknown artist                                   286

   "          By Fra Carnevale                                       287

   "          By Justus of Ghent                                     288

   "          By an unknown artist                                   288

   "          His children and their marriages                       289


  1482.       Retrospect for Duke Federigo's reign                   295

  1472.       Birth of his son Guidobaldo, who is confirmed by
  Jan. 24.    Cardinal Bessarion                                     296

  July 6.     Death of Guidobaldo's mother                           296

   "          His precocious genius and sweet temper                 296

   "          Attested by his tutor Odasio                           297

  Sept. 17.   His father's death                                     299

   "          Position of the duchy                                  299

  Sept. 17.   Investiture of Duke Guidobaldo I.                      300

   "          He is continued in his father's command                301

  Jan. 6.     Sixtus deserts the Venetians, and joins the League     301

   "          Guidobaldo in the service of Naples                    303

  July 19.    Death of Costanzo Sforza of Pesaro                     303

  Aug. 13.    Death of Sixtus IV.                                    304

   "   29.    And election of Innocent VIII.                         304

   "   11.    Treaty of Bagnuolo                                     305

  1485.       The Pontiff attacks Naples.                            305

   "          Guidobaldo retained by him                             305

  Aug. 11.    Peace restored                                         305

  1486.       Guidobaldo serves under Trivulzio                      306

   "          The regency of Ottaviano Ubaldini terminates           306

  1488.       The assassination of Count Girolamo Riario, and
  April 14.   revolution at Forlì                                    307

   "          Energetic measures of his widow                        307

   "          The regulations and manners of the court of Urbino     309

   "          Duke Guidobaldo betrothed to Elisabetta Gonzaga
              of Mantua                                              311

  Oct.        Their marriage and disappointment of children          312

  1490.       Comparative repose of Italy                            313

  April 7.    Death of Lorenzo de' Medici                            314

  July 25,
  29.         And of the Pope                                        314

  Aug. 11.    Succeeded by Alexander VI.                             314


  1492.       Condition of the papacy on the accession of
              Alexander VI.                                          315

   "          His family descent and debauched life                  316

   "          Circumstances of his election                          317

   "          His children and their scandalous conduct              318

   "          Pedigree of the Borgia                                 320

   "          The aspect of Italy at the close of her golden age     321

   "          Described by Guicciardini                              322

   "          Sketch of the disputed succession of Naples, and its
              results                                                322

   "          The condition of Milan and Venice                      325

   "          And of Florence                                        326

   "          Character of Charles VIII. of France, and his views
              upon Italy                                             327

   "          Negotiations for an Italian League frustrated by
              Pietro de' Medici                                      328

   "          State of the Roman Campagna and its rival barons       329

   "          Their feuds fire the train                             331

   "          Ludovico il Moro invites Charles into Italy            331

  1493.       Military circumstances of Italy                        332

   "          The condottiere system gradually abandoned             333

   "          Condemned by Machiavelli                               334

   "          A new system introduced                                335

   "          Lances, stradiotes, and infantry                       335

   "          The Swiss infantry                                     337

   "          The lansquenets and Spaniards                          338

   "          Introduction of fire-arms and artillery                338


  Jan.        Alfonso II. succeeds to the crown of Naples            341

   "          Position of the Italian powers at the invasion of
              Charles VIII.                                          341

   "          Alfonso's efforts to conciliate the Pontiff and his
              children                                               342

   "          His son Cesare made Cardinal Valentino                 343

   "          The Pope employs Guidobaldo against the Orsini         344

   "          His first attack of gout                               344

   "          The marriage of Lucrezia Borgia to Giovanni Sforza
              of Pesaro                                              344

   "          Its scandalous orgies                                  345

  June.       Her visit to Urbino                                    345

   "          Double-dealing of Alexander with Alfonso               345

   "          The calamities of the French invasion                  346

   "          Description of Charles VIII. by Guicciardini           346

   "          And by Mantegna                                        347

   "          And by Ludovico il Moro                                347

   "          The campaign opened by Sir Bernard Stuart of
              Aubigny                                                348

  Aug. 20.    Charles leaves Vienne and reaches Milan                348

   "          Alfonso alone prepares to oppose him                   348

   "          Sends the Duke of Calabria into Romagna                348

   "          He is supported by the Duke of Urbino, but without
              avail                                                  348

  Nov. 9.     Tuscany welcomes Charles, and expels the Medici        349

   "          This revolution graphically described                  350

   "          Financial expedient proposed at Florence               351

  Dec. 31.    Charles enters Rome                                    351

  Jan. 28.    Leaves it for Naples                                   351

   "   23.    Alfonso abdicates the crown, and dies soon after       351

   "          Succeeded by his son Ferdinand II., who retires to
   "          Ischia                                                 352

   "   22.    Charles takes possession of Naples                     352

  Mar. 31.    A new League formed against the French                 352

  Oct.        Ludovico il Moro becomes Duke of Milan                 353

  1495.       The demoralisation of the French army                  353

  May 20.     It leaves Naples                                       353

  July 6.     Battle of the Taro, at Fornovo                         354

  Oct.        It re-enters France                                    354

  July.       Ferdinand II. restored at Naples                       354

  1496.       Whose French garrison surrenders                       355

   "          Results to Italy of this invasion                      355

  1495.       The Pisan war, in which Guidobaldo was engaged
              by the Florentines                                     356

   "          Their conduct leads to fresh discord                   356

   "          And to an invasion by Maximilian                       357

   "          Guidobaldo recalled by the Pope to aid in restoring
              Ferdinand II.                                          357

  Oct.        Who dies soon after                                    358

   "          Peace again troubled by Alexander, who attacks the
   "          Orsini                                                 358

   "          Aided by Guidobaldo                                    358

   "          His petty campaign against Bracciano                   359

  Jan. 23.    Is beaten, and taken prisoner                          360

   "          The Venetian Signory interfere in his behalf           361

   "          A heavy ransom extorted from him with the Pope's
              connivance                                             361


  1497.       Ambitious nepotism of Alexander VI.                    363

   "          Divorce of Lucrezia                                    363

  June 15.    Murder of the Duke of Gandia                           364

   "    "     Its mystery and scandals                               364

   "    "     Its effect upon the public                             366

   "    "     And on the Pope                                        366

   "   19.    His oration, repentance, and relapse                   366

   "          Followed by new favours to Cesare Borgia               369

   "          Who returns from his Neapolitan embassy a rejected
  Sept. 5.    suitor                                                 369

  Aug.        Marriage of Lucrezia to the Duke of Bisceglia          369

   "          Guidobaldo's expedition against the Baglioni of
              Perugia                                                369

   "          He is engaged by the Medici to arm for their
              restoration to Florence                                370

   "          Failure of the expedition                              370

   "          His illness at Bibbiena                                370

  1499.       He adopts his nephew Francesco Maria della Rovere,
              as heir of the dukedom                                 371

  April 7.    Death of Charles VIII.                                 372

   "          Succeeded by Louis XII.                                372

   "          His views upon Italy                                   372

   "          State of parties there                                 372

   "          Ambition of Alexander to secure to Cesare a
              sovereignty                                            373

   "          His ecclesiastical orders annulled, and his embassy
   Sept. 17.  to Paris with the King's divorce                       373

   "    28.   Letter of the Pope to Louis                            374

   "          By whom Cesare is created Duke Valentino               375

   "          He aspires to the crown of Naples                      375

   "          His magnificence                                       375

  1499.       Again rejected by a Neapolitan princess                375

   "          His intrigues as to Louis' divorce                     375

   "          A new league against the French proposed               376

   "          The marriage of Duke Valentino                         376

  Oct. 6.     The French conquer Lombardy and enter Milan            377

   "          Guidobaldo's visit to Venice, and condotta by the
  June.       Signory                                                377


  1499.       Valentino's schemes upon Romagna                       379

   "          Its condition, as detailed by Sismondi                 379

   "          Strictures upon his views                              383

   "          Valentino marches upon Imola                           384

   "          Our last notice of Caterina Riario Sforza              384

  Dec. 31.    He takes that town, and goes to Rome                   385

  1500.       Ludovico il Moro carried captive to France             385

   "          The prodigality of the Borgia                          386

   "          Supplied by sacrilege and simony                       387

  Oct. 27.    Cesare, supported by the French, seizes Pesaro         388

  April 22.   And Faenza; murder of its princes                      389

   "          He is made Duke of Romagna                             389

   "          Sismondi's eulogy on his administration                389

   "          Imitating Machiavelli and Filosseno                    390

   "          But contradicted by Sanuto                             391

   "          The true spirit of his government                      392

   "          Arrested in his designs upon Bologna and Florence      392

  Sept. 3.    Seizes upon Piombino                                   393

   "          Louis invades Naples                                   393

   "          Its partition betwixt France and Spain                 394

   "          Abdication of Federigo of Naples; he retires to
              France, where he died in 1504                          394

  1503.       His kingdom passes to Spain                            394

  1501.       New crimes and intrigues of the Borgia                 395

   "          Lucrezia's fourth marriage to the Prince of Ferraro    396

  Jan. 18.    She visits Urbino on her way home                      397

   "          Her reformed life                                      397

  June.       Letter of condolence on her death                      397


  1502.       Guidobaldo's retired life                              399

  1500.       Visits Rome for the Jubilee                            399

  Nov. 6.     Death of his brother-in-law the Prefect                399

  April 24.   Succeeded by his son Francesco Maria                   399

   "          The Duchess of Urbino at Venice                        400

   "          New schemes of Valentino                               400

  June 20.    He surprises Urbino                                    401

   "   28.    The Duke narrates his flight to Mantua                 401

   "          Further details                                        407

   "          He finds refuge in Venice                              409

   "          Improbable rumour regarding him                        409

  June 21.    Cesare enters Urbino                                   410

   "          And seizes Camerino                                    411

  1502.       His brutal character                                   411

   "          He goes to Milan, and justifies himself with
              Louis XII                                              412

   "          His lust of further sway                               412

  Sept.       Diet at La Magione of the menaced princes              412

  1502.       Character of Liverotto da Fermo                        412

  Oct. 5.     S. Leo lost to Valentino and retaken                   413

   "   8.     Letter from him (note)                                 414

   "          A general rising throughout Urbino                     414

   "          Cruelly checked by Don Michelotto                      415

   "          But supported by the confederates of Magione           415

   "          Valentino retrieves himself, and recruits his forces   415

   "   18.    Guidobaldo returns and is welcomed                     416

   "   28.    Valentino wins back the confederates                   418

   "          Finding resistance vain, the Duke retires in broken
  Dec. 8.     health                                                 419

  Jan. 27.    His despatch to the Doge of Venice                     422

   "   31.    And narrative of his escape to that city               423


  Authors in the family of Montefeltro                               427

  Specimens of their compositions                                    428

  Wardrobe inventory of Sister Serafina                              433

  Poetry of Ottaviano Ubaldini                                       436

  Concessions of Duke Federigo to the citizens on his
  election in 1444                                                   438

  Devices and mottoes of the Dukes of Urbino                         443

  Illuminated MSS. in the Urbino Library                             446

  The MS. Hebrew Bible                                               446

  The MS. Latin Bible                                                447

  The MS. Dante                                                      448

  The MS. Lives of the Dukes of Urbino                               449

  Duke Federigo made a Knight of the Garter                          450

  His letters to Edward IV. and the English courtiers                450

  Anstis' account of it                                              456

  Sanzi's account of it                                              457

  Porcellio's account of it                                          459

  Army of Charles VIII. in 1493                                      460

  Battle of the Taro in 1495                                         463

  Duke Valentino's arrival at the French court in 1498               468

  Ludovico il Moro's entry into Lyons in 1500                        470

  Marcello Filosseno's sonnet on Italy                               472

  Lucrezia d'Este's marriage festivities at Ferrara, 1502            473

NOTE.--The Editor's notes are marked with an asterisk.





     Topography of the Duchy of Urbino--Origin of the Italian
     communities--Their civil institutions and military
     system--Their principle of liberty--Political divisions of
     Romagna; opposed to modern speculations regarding

The country which composed the DUCHY OF URBINO, and which nearly
corresponds with the modern Legation of Urbino and Pesaro, is situated
upon the eastern fall of Central Italy, between the 43rd and 44th
parallels of north latitude. It stretches along the Adriatic, and
extends about forty miles in length, and as many in breadth. From the
Apennine ridge to the coast, it includes modifications of surface,
climate, and soil, suited to a variety of natural productions, and
admirably calculated for the development of the human frame. On the
summit grew those magnificent pines which gave to the district of
Massa the epithet of _Trabaria_, from the beams which were carried
thence for the palaces of Rome, and which are noticed by Dante as

     "The living rafters on the back
     Of Italy."

Below these stretched forests of chestnut and oak, succeeded by hardy
orchard trees, and in the lower grounds by the olive and vine, to
which its ever broken and undulating surface is peculiarly favourable.
Through numberless ravines are conveyed copious streams, supplying
abundant water-power for grinding rich harvests, grown in the alluvial
valleys, and in the plains which open upon the sea. From its shores
are drawn ample supplies of fish. Its mountains and manors abounded in
game, so long as that was protected by resident princes. In its rugged
Apennines, which around Cagli tower to the height of 5000 feet, no
valuable minerals have been discovered; nor do its mountain torrents
admit of navigation, but with two coast-harbours this was scarcely
felt as a privation.

For the topography of the duchy our chief authority is Cimarelli, who
wrote about two centuries ago, and who begins it about forty years
after the flood! It was an absurd whim of Italian mediæval authors,
which has prevailed almost till the present day, to wander among the
traditional or imaginary cycles of remote ages, extolling the
antiquity of their theme at a sacrifice of truth and credibility. Into
such extravagances we shall not be tempted. It is enough to say that
this district formed part of ancient Umbria, and is in some degree
identical with that known to Roman history as Gallia Senonia. When the
Western Empire crumbled to pieces, it was broken up into many petty
communities, some of which adopted for themselves republican
institutions, while others fell into the hands of military
adventurers, who transmitted their sway to their descendants in
hereditary right, founded upon personal enterprise or the consent of
their subjects. After the nominal regimen of the occidental empire had
been transferred across the Alps, these new communities and counts
often sought from its titular emperor a confirmation of their
self-constituted rights. This demand, recognising in name a
sovereignty already substantially theirs, was willingly accorded as
the basis of a transaction flattering to one party, momentous to the
other. But the gradually opening ambition of the Church, and the
extension of her temporal rule into Romagna and La Marca by the
donations of Pepin, Charlemagne, and the Countess Matilda, introduced
another competitor for dominion in these provinces. Her claim was made
good, in some cases by a voluntary surrender on the part of men whose
piety prevailed over their love of power, in others by force of arms;
but by most of the mountain chiefs, and by a few of the free towns,
loyalty to the emperor's shadowy authority was used as a pretext for
resisting a new element which threatened their own sway. The two rival
parties which sprang out of these circumstances came to be
distinguished as Guelph and Ghibelline, although their watchwords were
often adopted by local or temporary factions.

Many circumstances tended to an extensive establishment of political
independence among the small states thus formed in Italy during the
Middle Ages. Distance and the unsettled state of the Peninsula having
reduced to little more than a name the direct imperial sovereignty of

                       "That imperious bird,
     Whose double beak a double prey devours,"[10]

the emperors endeavoured to render it still available to their
political importance, through the intervention of military
vicegerents. To each of these a certain territory was conveyed,
generally with the title of count, which they were understood to
govern for behoof of the empire. Practically, however, they were
nearly secure against any strict accounting for their stewardship,
and, provided they attended the imperial banner in the field with a
befitting following, paid with tolerable regularity the annual
_cense_, or contribution exigible under their tenure, and did homage
as vassals at the imperial coronations, they were allowed to enjoy or
abuse unquestioned what rights of sovereignty they thought fit to
assume. Nor was there any effective check upon the marauding spirit of
conquest, which in that age formed the natural outlet of personal
ambition; and these feudatories were left to fight with their
neighbours whenever their swords were not called into requisition by
their common over-lord: still more were they allowed to deal
undisturbed with the people submitted to their jurisdiction, who were
of course presumed to endure and obey.

[Footnote 10:

                 "L'aquila grifagna
     Che per più divorar due becchi porta."


At a period nearly coeval with the formation of these independent
fiefs, and much antecedent to the aggregation of civic communities in
other parts of Europe, we find the peninsular towns advancing into
importance. Their establishment was favoured by the absence of a
perfect feudal organisation,[*11] for men exempt from such fetters
associated together more readily than those in transalpine lands. The
fertility of the soil, and consequent density of population, admitted
of cultivators congregating in homes of their own choice; and the
malaria generated in that luxurious climate often rendered isolated
dwellings insalubrious.[*12] The peasant-hamlets thus formed were
quickly augmented by the influx of all who sought protection from
external foes or tyrannical masters. The increase of population
brought strength; strength gave security; security attracted wealth
and numbers; and these united elements created intelligence and public
spirit, the only sure basis of liberty. Their first necessity being
self-defence, their dwellings were placed in sites of natural
strength, and soon girt by walls. The enemies they most dreaded were
the adjoining lords, to whose jurisdiction they nominally belonged,
but whose claims they were not unfrequently able to meet, either by
formidable resistance, or by a charter of privileges, which the
emperors, ever willing to curb their barons, were seldom loath to
accord. The independence thus wrung from the counts was cemented by
the spirit of civic liberty, while the development of municipal
strength and privileges gave to citizens a social and political
pre-eminence over the rural population, beyond what they attained in
countries where feudalism served to link the agricultural class with
the central authority. Among men united for a common object, and
thrown upon their own resources, the popular element early developed
itself. Such communities finding themselves without a master, a
position which, when real freedom was unknown, only exposed them to
attacks from stronger neighbours, their instinct of self-preservation,
ere long, induced attempts at self-government. Townships consequently
multiplied, developed themselves into cities, and became republics.

[Footnote *11: This may be, and indeed is so; but see LANZANI, _St. d.
Comuni Italiani dal. Orig. al_ 1313 (Milano, 1882), lib. I., _passim_.
Nevertheless, the relation of all the Dukes and Signori to the Empire
or to the Church was absolutely feudal as I understand the term, as in
essence was, in turn, the relation of a city to its contado. Cf. D.
WINSPEARE, _St. d. Abusi Feudali_ (ed. 1883), to which is added as
appendix an article by F. de Coulanges on the feudal régime. See also
C. CANTÙ, _St. d. Italiani_ (Torino, 1854), tom. III., cap. LXXIV.,
pp. 224-39. C. CALISSE, _St. d. Diretto Italiano_ (Firenze, 1891),
vol. II., parte II. e III.]

[Footnote *12: For the malaria in Italy in the Middle Age, see
AQUARONE, _Dante in Siena_ (Siena, 1889), p. 47-9.]

Thus rose the Italian republics, not as is often superficially
supposed, in the mercantile cities alone, but in almost every township
of Upper Italy. Their constitutional forms not only varied from each
other, but were constantly fluctuating, under a desire for novelty,
the contests of rival factions, and the influence of external events.
Republics they were, in so far as they owned no hereditary head. They
believed themselves self-governed, because their ever-recurring
revolutions were their own act, or at least were effected by their own
instrumentality. But the democratic element seldom long existed in
purity.[*13] After the _émeute_ was over, a self-constituted
oligarchy, a rich and designing citizen, or an ambitious prelate,
often stepped in, to enjoy that power for which the people had fought,
until these, roused by some too undisguised tyranny, or by some new
caprice, rushed to the piazza, and threw off their masters, leaving it
to chance or intrigue to give them new ones.

[Footnote *13: I doubt a true democratic element anywhere; perhaps for
a few decades in Perugia.]

Lamartine, the eloquent advocate and partially successful hero of
popular rights, has admitted that there can be no progress unless
"many interests are injured," and that "such transformations are not
operated without great resistance, without an infinity of anguish and
private misfortune." This, however, is no place to raise the question,
how far the benefit of so much political liberty was balanced by the
inadequate guarantee of person and property, inherent in such a state
of things, or whether the security of domestic peace would have been
too dearly purchased by a partial sacrifice of popular power. Yet few
who argue these points will deny that whatever influence the
republican constitutions of Italy may have had upon the individual
happiness of their own citizens, they sowed the seeds of that
intelligence, that freedom of thought, that ardent aspiration for the
amelioration of mankind, which have ever since so beneficially acted
upon European civilisation.

The liberty of Italian republics has been frequently misapprehended,
and will disappoint those who seek in it such safeguards of life and
property as freedom in its modern sense is understood to afford. Under
no form of civilised government were those guarantees more feeble or
ineffective than where tyranny of the wayward and irresponsible many
was substituted for domination by one. The philosophic Guizot has even
condemned these republics as "utterly irreconcilable with security for
life (that first ingredient in social existence) and with progress;"
as "incapable of developing freedom or extending the scope of
institutions;" as tending to "limit their range and concentrate
authority in a few individuals." To these conclusions we must demur,
and they appear inconsistent with the just tribute he gracefully pays
to the intelligence, wealth, and brilliancy of Italian democracies; to
the courage, activity, genius, and general prosperity of their
denizens. But the argument and inferences of this French historian are
easily reconcilable with a political creed largely prevailing among
his countrymen, who find in centralisation the triumph of our age, the
panacea for social anomalies. To that end has doubtless tended the
progress of Europe during the last four centuries, and more especially
the present rapid career of events, whether for ultimate weal or woe
must be hereafter seen. Yet whilst we hesitate to paint the Ausonian
republics in the utopian colours of Sismondi, we cannot adopt the
narrow proportions ascribed to them by his less enthusiastic
countryman. They filled the Peninsula with separate aims and paltry
interests at a time when union was its sole security, yet they trained
men to self-government, the first step towards that constitutional
freedom without which nationality itself is a questionable boon.

The growth of communities opposed by every interest to the domination
of the imperial counts was viewed by these with natural jealousy. But
in many instances their alarm proved groundless, as eventually some of
them came to swell the very power which they were originally
established to limit. Those towns which, from the fault of their site
or other incidental circumstances, did not increase in population and
wealth, found themselves defenceless in a land where might made right.
They therefore often passed, after a more or less feeble resistance,
under the sway of some powerful feudatory, or, by voluntary surrender
of their unsubstantial independence, sought from his strong arm
protection against the grasp of more dreaded neighbours, or redress
from the ravages of rival factions which lacerated their internal
repose. The title usually assumed with the authority thus acquired
was that of _Signore_, which in the following pages is generally
rendered by Lord or Seigneur, there being no term in our idiom adapted
to express exactly a jurisdiction at no time known to our
constitution, but resembling the "tyranny" of the old Greek
commonwealths. The same word is used to designate those citizens or
military adventurers who, by force or popular consent, acquired a
temporary or enduring mastery in the free towns of the Peninsula.
Widely different in its exercise as in its origin from feudal
jurisdiction, the power which had thus been more or less derived from
the people was for the most part temperately wielded. The territorial
baron dwelt among his citizen subjects, conforming to their usages and
encouraging their progressive civilisation. His authority was
originally personal, but in many instances it was skilfully used as a
foundation for family claims, which talent or influence enabled a
series of persons of the same race to make good. But, as in Celtic
chieftainship, rules of hereditary succession were less attended to
than individual fitness for the change. Younger branches often
excluded the elder ones, and in some cases, such as the Malatesta,

     "The bastard slips of old Romagna's line,"

illegitimacy seems to have been practically a recommendation.[*14] To
those at all conversant with Italian history, it may be superfluous to
add that, while some of these petty sovereigns

     "Did fret and strut their hour upon the stage,
     And then were heard no more,"

others, more able or more fortunate, founded dynasties to which, as
promoters of commerce, literature, and the fine arts, modern
civilisation is largely indebted, and from whom are descended several
reigning families of Europe.

[Footnote *14: So far as the Malatesti are concerned this is
absolutely untrue. Carlo Malatesta went to infinite trouble to
legitimise Galeotto and Sigismondo, his brother's illegitimate
children. See EDWARD HUTTON, _Sigismondo Malatesta_ (Dent, 1906), p.

No circumstance more generally affected all governments in Italy, or
is of more importance to a comprehension of their history, than the
contests of the Guelphs and Ghibellines. Upon this wide and
complicated topic it is unnecessary now to enter, further than to
state, as a general rule, that the feudatories adhered to the emperor,
whilst the self-governed communities were more partial to the Guelphic
or papal faction. This was natural, as the Ghibelline or imperial
party was essentially opposed to democratic tendencies, while the
Church had, from various causes, become almost identified with popular
principles. But the distinction was often inapplicable; for these
words underwent the usual fate of party epithets, changing and
counterchanging their signification with time and place, until the
original meaning was lost, though their fatal influence on human
passions remained unmodified. For alas! in all ages,

     "Some watchword for the fight
     Must vindicate the wrong, and warp the right;
     Religion, freedom, vengeance, what you will,
     A word's enough to rouse mankind to kill."

Thus, free cities which, like Florence, were regarded as strongholds
of the Guelphs, were occasionally by a sudden revolution thrown into
the hands of the opposite faction; even the Ghibelline nobles were
sometimes induced, by ambition or pique, to make their peace with the
Church; whilst more unprincipled holders of power sought to extend it
by alternately selling their services to either party, and in turn
betraying both. It also happened that counts of the empire, on
obtaining the seigneury of towns, found these so much the most
valuable portion of their dignities, that they were glad to strengthen
their title to them by accepting papal investitures, instead of
holding them by the sword, or by popular will. The pontiffs readily
promoted a device, which converted into ostensible supremacy the vague
and undefined claims they asserted to temporal domination, whether
arising out of Countess Matilda's donation, or from other disputed
titles; and they hesitated not to include even imperial countships in
their charters. They thus transferred to the Holy See feudal
presentations of money and military service which were legitimately
due to the emperors, whose waning influence in Italy rendered such
usurpations little hazardous; whilst the vassals, suiting themselves
to the change of times, were content to hold their sovereignty as
vicars of the Church, instead of as counts of the empire. Little did
they deem that the rising sun, which they were thus prompt to worship,
would eventually consume them, root and branch!

Yet the tenures and investitures of these seigneuries constituted but
a pseudo-feudalism, resting upon a basis entirely different from that
of the barons of northern nations. Among the latter, land, as the only
known element of political power, was monopolised by the sovereign,
who doled it out, under such conditions as he deemed fit, to those
whose good swords were best able to defend it and the donor. The
principle thus diffused from the centre radiated through the mass. The
nobles parcelled out their great estates in various portions among
friends and dependents, military service being the consideration
chiefly exacted, in times when a circulating medium was scanty, and
the pecuniary wants much restricted. This system established two main
results. The hardy and patriotic soldiery who peopled the rural
territory were the nerve of the nation, whilst the landless
population, being destitute of individual importance, gradually drew
together for mutual support, and settled in communities under the
protection of some powerful lord or influential monastery. But in the
Ausonian peninsula natural causes induced gregarious habits and
social influences, whereby the peaceful pursuits of trade and
money-making were promoted. An efficient soldiery was, however,
rendered requisite for the small states by the very circumstances
which most contributed to their general prosperity,--their numbers and
near neighbourhood, the competition of commercial communities, the
struggles of political or family factions. Yet in proportion to the
development of that prosperity, and the increase of wealth and
refinement, the reluctance of substantial and sedentary citizens
became more decided to the inconveniences and hardships of the field.
For them the art of war was scarcely less a calamity than its
miseries; the more they had to lose, the less willing or able were
they to defend it. There are few evils in life which money may not
remedy or alleviate, and when it was found that substitutes could be
hired to relieve them from military service, the problem was
satisfactorily solved. Fighting became a separate profession, and its
duties no longer distracted those who had other occupations. Thus
arose the _condottiere_ system, by which any bold baron or experienced
captain, having formed round his banner a corps of tried and daring
spirits, leased their services and his own for a stipulated term and
price. Their whole arrangements being avowedly mercenary, they had no
patriotism, no preference for standards or watchwords. The highest
offer secured them, and when their engagement expired, or their pay
fell into arrear, they were free to pass over to the enemy, or seek
any other master. But besides their fixed stipend, they had
perquisites from the hazards of war: the ransom of rich prisoners
accrued to the leaders, while the soldiery were glutted by the
occasional booty of a sacked city.

The changes occasioned by this system influenced Italy in its
military, political, and social relations. Formerly, a truce disarmed
the combatants, and sent them to forget their discipline in their
domestic duties. Now, one campaign followed another, teaching the same
free companies new evolutions and more perfect lessons in martial
science; or if a piping time of general peace ever arrived, their
leaders scrupled not to keep them in practice by a private adventure
of pillage against some feeble victim, until they should be required
for the fresh contests which a few months were sure to develop. Their
armour, accoutrement, and drill thus became more complicated;
men-at-arms and lances were considered the only effective troops. But
their efficiency was counteracted by another result of stipendiary
warfare. Exempt from enthusiasm in any cause, their tactics became a
money question. To close a campaign by a series of brilliant successes
was to kill the goose that gave them the golden eggs: to carry havoc
into the adverse ranks was damaging to those who might be their next
paymasters or comrades. Sanguinary conflicts brought them danger
without advantage, whilst the capture of an opponent or a camp ensured
for them a rich prize. War was, in fact, a game which they were paid
to play, with no interest in the stakes beyond their individual
opportunities of plunder. Equally indifferent to past victories or
future fame, they cared little for beating the enemy, could they but
reach his baggage-waggons, or temporise until he could buy them off.
Battles, thus deprived of their dangers and stirring incidents, became
great prize-fights, in which the victors deserved no sympathy, and the
conquered required no commiseration. Gain was substituted for glory,
languor for gallantry, calculation for courage. Patriotism slumbered;
honesty of purpose and energy of action fell into disuse; the parties
in the match, careless of victory, manoeuvred only for stalemate.
Hence the political results of Italian campaigns were inconsiderable,
compared with the forces in the field, the time consumed, and the
resources expended. Impoverished states were generally left without
defenders and even wealthy belligerents were liable to a sudden and
immediate desertion by their hireling bands. Still more fatal were the
moral effects upon the people. The feudal system rendered every
occupier of the soil a soldier, ready to stand by his king and
country; and it transmitted to more peaceful times "a bold peasantry,
their country's pride" and best defenders. But it was otherwise with
the brave spirits of the Ausonian commonwealths; they were bound to
the banner of some privileged bandit, who served the best bidder,
whilst the mass of the community became indifferent to a native land
for which they were never called upon to hazard life or limb. The
stipendiaries fought for or against freedom, faith, country, and
comrades; the citizens endured their outrage or purchased their mercy.
In the end, the military were brutalised, whilst the civilians became
enervated. The former were made venal, the latter cowardly. The
master-mind of Machiavelli, after the French invasions of 1492-9, saw
these mischiefs, and would have remedied them by his plan for a civic
militia; but it was too late, and the degeneracy engrafted upon the
national character of Italy by the condottiere system still cankers it
to the core.

       *       *       *       *       *

Although the states which grew up under these varying circumstances
are universally known as the Italian Republics, this phrase is
scarcely correct in our idiom. The leading peculiarity of mediæval
Italy was the separate sovereignty of its petty principalities, and
towns of minor rank, in which democratic constitutions were but
incidental and transient distinctions, progressively disappearing as
the dark ages were succeeded by a cycle of golden radiance. The
Italian Republics might, therefore, be more aptly named the Italian
Communes or Commonwealths. This misnomer has also given rise to
somewhat confused views regarding the amount of liberty enjoyed in
these states, especially since their history has become known to us
from the pen of one whose democratic prepossessions, though clothed in
eloquence, are so tempered by benevolent philosophy as those of

Liberty is a word of vague signification, both as to quality and
degree. In a political sense, it has at least three meanings: personal
freedom, self-government, national independence. Let us test the
application of each of these qualities to the Italian commonwealths.
Neither in them nor in any contemporary state, was freedom of person
known in name or in fact. Individuals had no guarantee against
oppression by their rulers, nor security from their powerful
neighbours; no great charter constituted for them a claim of right to
personal protection. In this respect there was little difference
between the subjects of a petty autocrat and those of a democratic
faction,--between the tyranny of one or of many: but in Venice, that
most prosperous and permanent of all the commonwealths, which Roscoe,
by a happy antithesis, has described as a "republic of nobles with a
populace of slaves," and which especially arrogated _the_ republic as
its title, individual safety was at the lowest grade.

In most of the communities, self-government, or the sovereignty of the
people, had scarcely a reality as regarded the masses. Under the
seigneurs, when the hereditary principle was weak, it was oftener
supplemented or infringed by the sword than by the popular will. In
the few commonwealths which, during the fifteenth century, preserved
their democratic institutions, such as Florence and Siena, the guilds
and companies constituted indeed a quasi-representative system; but
these had generally fallen into the hands of privileged classes, and
even the shadow of power which clung to them was constantly torn away
by some ambitious burgher, or misused for the extermination of a rival
faction. Indeed, the most liberal of their constitutions corresponded
in the main to our own municipal machinery, limiting the privileges of
self-government to certain classes in the cities, and entirely
excluding from them the rural population. The value at which these
privileges were held may be estimated by the indifference of
immediately adjacent despotic states, whether languishing under the
savage tyranny of a Malatesta,[*15] or enjoying the beneficent sway of
a Montefeltro. Even when, outraged beyond endurance, they rose against
their oppressors, it was much more frequently to set up a new
autocrat, than to seize for themselves power which the example of
their democratic neighbours appears to have invested with no charm. We
may therefore fairly conclude that the self-governed citizens of
Ancona, Assisi, and San Marino, enjoyed no envied advantages over
those of the surrounding principalities, which unquestionably outshone
them in historical and literary illustration.

[Footnote *15: The Malatesti were, without doubt, just as great and
beloved as the Montefeltri. Sigismondo was as great and enthusiastic a
patron of the arts, and in contemporary opinion a greater soldier than
Federigo di Montefeltro. See EDWARD HUTTON, _op. cit._, p. 86 note 1.]

Since, then, the peculiar quality which infused extraordinary mental
vigour into the Italian commonwealths, and imparted to them a social
influence beyond their real importance, consisted neither in personal
security nor in self-sovereignty, it must have chiefly depended upon
the only remaining description of freedom, their nationality. By this
phrase we mean not that mere independence of foreign and barbarian
sway, which it was long the papal policy to vindicate by oceans of
blood and treasure, but the maintenance in each community of a
separate and supreme political status, frequently co-existent with
municipal franchises and local administration, but always
irresponsible to neighbours or to nominal over-lords, whether emperor
or pope. The elevation of sentiment which such a position infused,
both into communities and individuals, forms the noblest feature in
Italian mediæval history. The honours, the privileges, and the
responsibilities of citizenship were thus maintained in more immediate
contact with those of the commonwealth, whereof the humblest might
boast himself a participator. Besides this, there ensued many
advantages of a more material description. By giving each small state
its own capital, the wealth and patronage belonging to a seat of
government, and in most instances to a court, were secured for it. The
residence of its sovereign and officials retained in home circulation
not only the revenues of the principality, but the income drawn by him
from foreign fiefs and from military adventures. It kept up a
permanent aristocracy of talent and genius as well as of rank and
wealth, such as it was the pride of most of these courts to encourage
and protect. The practical operation of these causes may be
illustrated from the condition of Romagna and La Marca during the
fifteenth century. About one half of the present papal territory there
was then divided among the following independent states:--

  Ferrara,          held as a   Marquisate   by the   d'Este.
  Bologna               "       Seigneury      "      Bentivoglii.
  Ravenna               "           "          "      Polenta.
  Imola                 "           "          "      Alidosii and Sforza.
  Faenza                "           "          "      Manfredi.
  Forlì                 "           "          "      Ordelaffi and Riarii.
  Cesena                "           "          "      Malatesta.
  Rimini                "           "          "      Malatesta.
  Pesaro                "           "          "      Malatesta and Sforza.
  Fano                  "           "          "      Malatesta.
  Urbino                "       Dukedom        "      Montefeltro.
  S. Angelo, &c.        "       Seigneury      "      Brancaleoni.
  Città di Castello     "           "          "      Vitelli.
  Perugia               "           "          "      Baglioni.
  Assisi                "       Republic.
  Foligno               "       Republic.
  Spoleto               "       Dukedom,              not hereditary.
  Camerino              "       Seigneury    by the   Varana.
  Fermo                 "           "          "      Fogliani.
  Ancona                "       Republic.
  Sinigaglia            "       Seigneury    by the   della Rovere.
  Mercatello            "       Countship      "      Brancaleoni.

It may seem strange that a territorial arrangement which, unless
cemented by a confederacy, is condemned by the publicist as fatal to
national strength, should have formerly ensured to Italy, as it had
done to ancient Greece, no ordinary measure of those benefits which
national independence is supposed to secure. But it is still more
remarkable that the nationality prescribed by political empiricists
nowadays as a remedy for all her woes should be directly opposed to
the system under which she became the harbinger of European
improvement and civilisation. This subject, if followed out, would
lead to disquisitions, for which these pages are no place. Enough to
observe, that the centralisation which united these twenty-two
commonwealths under the papal sway, is still, after two centuries,
their standing grievance. A spirit of discontent now broods over that
district, although government is mildly administered, and taxation is
moderate for a land so productive. But twenty-two capitals have been
absorbed, and consequently humbled and empoverished. _Hinc illæ
lacrymæ!_ Yet theorists, sweeping away ancient landmarks, and
overstepping natural boundaries, would begin their speculative
ameliorations of the Ausonian peninsula by provincialising nine of her
ten remaining capitals; they would diffuse desolation, propagate
discontent, and call them nationality. The projects of union and
strength that tinge such day-dreams are met by a perhaps
insurmountable barrier, in the abundant local jealousies which have
survived the independence of multitudinous petty states, and which, as
in Spain, often amusingly startle strangers in that country.[16] When
an Italian talks with ardour of his _patria_, or devotes his energies
to illustrate its history or its heroes, he means not Dante's land,

     "Circled by sea and Alps, parted by Apennine,"

but the village which gave him birth, or, at most, the province in
which he dwells. Such is the boasted and burning patriotism of Young
Italy, however her advocates may gloss over the fact.

[Footnote 16: This was written under Gregory XVI. Time will show how
far the more enlarged and generous policy essayed by his successor can
abate long and deeply rooted prejudices on the one hand, without
fostering undue expectations on the other. As yet (1850) the
experiment has signally failed.[*A]]

[Footnote *A: As we know, it succeeded ten years later.]

These are, however, matters belonging rather to speculation than to
history, and from which it is time to return. That we have not
unreasonably questioned the tendency of the old Italian democracies to
promote individual felicity, and the safety of personal rights, may be
presumed from the dictum of one whose prepossessions are all in their
favour. The views stated in the following passage in the main bear out
those observations we have hazarded, and illustrate the tendency of
republicanism, in its sternest forms, to pass under oligarchy or

"Our ancient republicans loved their institutions, not so much in
proportion to the amount of happiness and security which they afforded
to the mass, as to the share that each individual was allowed to take
in the sovereignty of the state. Liberty was for them rather an
essential element of life than a source of enjoyment. Public spirit
was the mainspring which determined all private exertion. Freedom they
understood to be the identification of every citizen with the state.
Hence patriotism gradually prevailed over liberty. Every one was
vitally interested in the advancement of his country's greatness and
power, endangered his life and property, sacrificed his domestic
comforts, and even submitted to vexatious and arbitrary laws, whenever
the safety of the republic seemed to require it. In their eagerness to
assert the supremacy of their native state, they acceded to the
concentration of power into one or a few hands, and gave rise to the
establishment of oligarchy and despotism. But those patricians and
tyrants still constituted the state, and although the sovereignty with
which they had been provisionally invested became, in their hands,
oppressive and permanent, yet those national governments were looked
upon with devotion and pride, as the emanation of popular will and the
depositaries of popular power."[17]

[Footnote 17: MARIOTTI'S _Italy_, II., p. 298, first edition.]


     Origin of the Counts of Montefeltro, and of their
     sovereignty in Urbino and the surrounding country--Their
     early genealogy--Guido, Count of Urbino--Antonio, Count of

The first princely dynasty of Urbino affords examples of most of the
phases of mediæval jurisdiction on which we have briefly touched in
our introductory remarks.

[Illustration: _Alinari_


From the mists of the dark ages which brooded over the mountains of
Central Italy, there emerged a race who gradually spread their paltry
highland holding over a broad and fair duchy. In the territories
earned by their good swords, and their faithful services to the
Church, it was their pride to foster the lessons of peace, until their
state became the cradle of science, of letters, and of art. The Counts
of Montefeltro, a fief long held by imperial grant, gradually
established the seigneury over the neighbouring town of Urbino, which
thenceforth gave them their title, and in the thirteenth century they
received investiture of it from the popes. Invited in 1371 by the
people of Cagli to supplant the usurping Ceccardi, and in 1384, by
those of Gubbio,[*18] to expel the tyrannical race of the
Gabrielli, they were soon recognised as Church-vassals in both.
Casteldurante, partially conquered from the Brancaleoni by Count
Guidantonio, was erected into a countship in his person by Martin V.
in 1433; and his son Federigo obtained by marriage the remaining fiefs
of that family, including S. Angelo in Vado, Mercatello, and Massa
Trabaria. Fossombrone was bought by the same Federigo in 1445, from
Malatesta of Pesaro. Mondaino, Tavoleta, Sassocorbaro, La Pergola, S.
Leo, Sant'Agata, and other townships, were wrested at intervals by the
Counts of Urbino from their hereditary foes the Malatesta. The ducal
house della Rovere owed to papal nepotism the rich endowments of
Sinigaglia and Mondavio in 1474, and those of Pesaro, Gradara, and
Novilara in 1513.

[Footnote *18: The story of the Counts and Dukes of Urbino in Gubbio,
which begins in this year, is a long one, lasting to 1632. Some of the
sources of information may perhaps here be given.

_Croniche di Gubbio_ di Ser Guerriero, di Fra Gir. Maria da Venezia e
di Don Francesco (per cura del Prof. Giuseppe Mazzatinti), _R.I.S._,
tom. XXI., parte IV. (Città di Castello, 1902).

V. ARMANNI, _Stor. della famiglia de' conti Bentivoglio da Gubbio_
(Bologna, 1682).

B. TONDI, _I Fasti della Gloria_ (Venezia, 1684).

M. SARTI, _De Episcopis Eugubinis_ (Pisauri, 1755).

R. REPOSATI, _Della Zecca di Gubbio ecc._ (Bologna, 1772).

SIMON PAOLO, _Diario detto di Marcello Cervino_ (Gubbio, 1848).

G. MAZZATINTI, _Cronaca di ser Guerriero di Ser Silvestro Berni_, in
_Arch. Stor. per le Marche e per l'Umbria_ (Foligno), vol. I., pp. 195
e 385.

G. MAZZATINTI, _Di alcune leggi suntuarie eugubine_, in _Bollettino
per l'Umbria_ (Perugia), vol. III., pp. 287-301.

F. BALLERINI, _Le feste di Gubbio per la nascita di Federico Ubaldo,
dei duchi d'Urbino_, in _Il Muratori_, vol. I., fasc. II. e segg.
(1892, Roma).

O. SCALVANTI, _Il Mons Pietatis di Perugia con qualche notizia di
quello di Gubbio_ (Perugia, 1892).

F. RANGHIASCI, _De' palazzi municipali ecc. di Gubbio_, in _Arch. St.
It._, ser. VI., vol. VI., p. ii.

A. PELLEGRINI, _Gubbio sotto i conti e Duchi d'Urbino_, in _Bollettino
per l'Umbria_, vol. XI., pp. 135-246 e 483-535, e vol. XII., pp.

The state which had thus been by degrees extended over much of Romagna
and La Marca constituted the Duchy of Urbino, and received no further
increment of territory. It contained seven episcopal cities, a number
of smaller towns, and some three or four hundred "castles," by which
must be understood fortified villages, for in that land of
interminable contests, every hamlet became a stronghold. Penna da
Billi was the original capital of Montefeltro. S. Leo, in the same
wild and rugged district, was by nature one of the most impregnable
fortresses in Italy; yet we shall have to detail its capture by
surprise or treachery on three several occasions. Fano, with its
small circumjacent territory, though nearly in the middle of the
duchy, continued to hold directly of the Church.

The early lords of Montefeltro were raised to the rank of counts of
that fief by the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa about 1160, a favour
which seems to have long borne fruits in their Ghibelline principles.
Their first investiture as Church-vassals was from Honorius III., in
1216, but it was not till towards the close of that century, that we
find them designated Counts of Urbino, a title which they used in
common with Montefeltro, until the dukedom of Urbino was conferred
upon Federigo in 1474.[19] On the death of his son, Duke Guidobaldo,
in 1508, the ecclesiastical investitures fell by failure of heirs
male; but the dynasty was revived in the person of Francesco Maria
della Rovere, who happened to be nephew of Pope Julius II. as well as
of the Duke, and who thus founded the second ducal line. With his
grandson, Duke Francesco Maria II., the male investiture again ended
in 1631; and the days of gross nepotism being past, Urban VIII., who
then filled the chair of St. Peter, instead of presenting the lapsed
sovereignty to his nephew Cardinal Barberini, incorporated it with the
states of the Church, and discharged the claims of consanguinity in
modified measure by appointing him the first legate of Urbino and

[Footnote 19: It was first given to Oddantonio, in 1443, but lapsed a
few months later by his death.]

       *       *       *       *       *

It would be quite foreign to the object of this work were we to pause
on a preliminary research into the remote antiquities of the house of
MONTEFELTRO. Like many other distinguished Italian genealogical stems,
it had attained vigour ere modern history dawned. Nor shall we follow
tradition in its mazy attempts to trace the hardy plant from the
feeble seedling, which, whether of indigenous growth, or transalpine
origin, took root upon the Apennine cliffs of Carpegna. In the twelfth
century it put forth three leading branches, distinguished as those
of Carpegna, Pietra Robbia, and Monte Copiolo. Whilst the last of
these gradually acquired an important sovereignty, and earned undying
distinction in Italian history, the eldest, less favoured by energy,
talent, or opportunity, forcibly recals the unprofitable servant in
the parable. The Counts of Carpegna continued to hold their tiny
mountain fief, with its sovereign jurisdiction, in such utter
insignificance, that their names gained no note during the centuries
of turmoil which passed over them. Their eagle nest sent forth no
eagle spirits. After the peace of 1815, the Camera apostolica, anxious
to abolish privileges no longer consonant to the altered policy of
Europe, bribed the Count with 300,000 scudi (65,000_l._) to surrender
the entire fief, with all its jurisdictions and immunities, and on the
following day disposed of the allodial estates for one-fifteenth of
that sum.[20]

[Footnote 20: The Carpegna arms were azure, three bends argent. The
Montefeltri of Urbino had their bends or, impaled with the eagle as
feudatories of the empire.]

It seems admitted that ANTONIO, the first Lord of Monte Copiolo, or
his son MONTEFELTRANO, performed some important services[*21] to the
Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, when he visited Italy for his coronation
in 1154, and in return for these obtained, among other investitures,
the countship of Montefeltro. From thence arose the distinctions, and
the Ghibelline principles, which have preserved not a few names of
this race in the picturesque pages of mediæval history; but we shall
not attempt from these tattered leaves to disentangle their
affiliation, or to distinguish their respective deeds of glory. Their
extending influence took the direction usual in these days, and
Urbino, the nearest township, tempting the ambition of Buonconte, he
had the address to procure a double investiture of its sovereignty,
from the Emperor Frederick II., and again, in 1216, from Pope
Honorius III., by virtue whereof he became both count and vicar of
that city. But parchments and bulls were then but imperfect
title-deeds, and it was by the sword that they in general fell to be
completed. The citizens of Urbino had hearts of oak and frames of iron
wherewith to maintain their privilege of self-government, nor was it
until after a struggle of nearly twenty years that they submitted to
the seigneury of Buonconte. The succeeding century and a half found
the Counts of Urbino occupied in ever-recurring struggles with the
Church, originating from their Ghibelline policy, and occasionally
complicated by the republican aspirations of their citizens. Upon
these scenes of petty strife we need not dwell; but one of the race
was far too striking a personage to be passed over in silence.

[Footnote *21: This was the detection of a plot against Frederick. Cf.
UGOLINI, _Storia dei Conti e Duchi d'Urbino_ (Firenze, 1859), vol. I.,
p. 12.]

The earliest notice we have of COUNT GUIDO, the elder, is in 1268,
when the youthful Corradino came into Italy to dispute the crown of
Naples with Charles of Anjou. At Pisa he was met by the Ghibellines of
Romagna and Tuscany: among them was the Count of Urbino, who obtained
some laurels in the subsequent brief campaign, although spared from
the crushing reverse at Tagliacozzo, having been left to maintain the
imperial interests in Rome, with the title of Senator. In after years
he acted as captain-general of the Ghibellines with such energy and
judgment, that in 1281 all Romagna was subject to his sway, and he
established Forlì as the capital of his new conquests. Martin IV. met
the crisis by sending thither Giovanni di Appia, called in the old
chronicles Gianni di Pa, one of the most esteemed condottieri of
France, to sustain his interests as rector of the Church. The siege of
Forlì ensued, where Guido had recourse to one of those stratagems
which, to borrow the language of Villani, established his reputation
as "a sagacious man, more cunning than any Italian of his time,
masterly alike in war and in diplomacy." Gianni having carried Faenza
by the treachery of Tribaldello,

     "Who op'ed Faenza when the people slept,"

he made similar overtures for the betrayal of Forlì, which were
accepted by order of the Count. On a stipulated day, in May, 1282, one
of the gates was abandoned to the besiegers, the garrison withdrawing
by another port as these entered. Delighted with their bloodless
conquest, and deceived by the apparent cordiality of the citizens, the
advanced guard threw aside their arms, and committing their horses to
the charge of the inhabitants, prepared to enjoy the spoil. Meanwhile
Guido, whom they supposed in full retreat, fell upon and dispersed
their reserve who were posted in the plain; he then formed his
infantry in the position which the enemy had occupied, and reentering
the town with a division of cavalry, surprised the captors, who,
unprepared for resistance, fled to their rendezvous, where they fell
an easy prey to the Ghibellines at the moment they looked for support
from their friends. The success of this stratagem equalled its
dexterity, and long was the fatal day remembered, which

     "Piled in bloody heap the host of France."

The Guelphic party were roused to fresh efforts, though rather of gold
than of steel: within a year, Forlì and Meldola had been surrendered
to Gianni by their inhabitants, and in 1286, Guido, having made his
peace with the Pope, was absolved from excommunication.

But this reconciliation was short-lived. Within three years he merited
new censures, by accepting from the Pisans the command of their troops
against the Guelphs of Florence and Lucca, along with the seigneury of
their republic. Whilst he held that authority, the fearful tragedy of
Count Ugolino was perpetrated in the _Torre della fame_, but we may
presume him guiltless of its horrors, since neither the naive
narrative of Villani, nor the magnificent episode of Dante, alludes
to his name, whilst impugning that cold-blooded murder. Meanwhile the
people of Urbino had taken advantage of his absence and embarrassments
to rally for their freedom round the papal banner. Wearied of these
struggles, and fretting under their penal consequences, he once more
humbled himself before his ecclesiastical superior, and obtained
absolution in May, 1295.[*22] It was probably the cordial reception
which his overtures met from Celestine V., that obtained for that
pontiff, after his canonisation, a high degree of devotional repute
among the people of Urbino. The romance of most men's lives goes by in
youth; that of Count Guido was reserved for his declining years.
Embued with the devotional enthusiasm which St. Francis evoked from
the mountains of Umbria, he deemed the Pontiff's pardon an inadequate
expiation of his accumulated rebellions. Casting aside the gauds of
sovereignty, sheathing the sword which he had never drawn but to
conquer, he assumed the cord and cowl of the new order, and in the
holy cells of Assisi, sought that peace which it had been the aim of
his previous life to trouble.

[Footnote *22: He had been excommunicated for the third time in 1288
for defending the Pisani. He was finally reconciled to the Church,
October 1, 1294. Cf. Ugolini, _op. cit._, vol. I., p. 81 _et seq._
MURATORI (_Annali_ ad ann. 1295) says: "Guido conte di Montefeltro
rimesso in grazia del papa, venne in quest'anno a Forlì...."]

This monastic seclusion, upon which he entered about the close of
1296, was, however, ere long, broken in upon by one of the most
remarkable pontiffs that has occupied the chair of St. Peter, whom we
must briefly introduce to the reader. Boniface VIII., of the ancient
Roman house of Gaetani, was elected in the end of 1294, to supply the
vacancy occasioned by the abdication of Celestine V., a visionary
anchorite, whom six months' experience had convinced that the triple
tiara was a load ill-suited to his brows. His resignation was chiefly
brought about by the intrigues of Cardinal Gaetani, of whom Celestine
is said to have predicted that he would attain to the papacy by the
arts of a fox, rule it with the fury of a lion, and die the death of a
dog. Chosen at an age already much exceeding the ordinary span of
human life, Boniface wielded his sovereignty with a boldness of will
and an energy of purpose rarely found even in the prime of manhood;
and dying at eighty-six, he had in nine years shaken the thrones of
many monarchs, by pretensions and intrigues untried by his
predecessors. It would be foreign to our purpose to trace his career,
and to reconcile the various and contradictory estimates of his
character: those who wish to glance at the state of this controversy
may consult the pages of two recent periodicals, in which the
respective views of ultra Romanist and Protestant writers are ably

[Footnote 23: _Dublin Review_, vol. XI., 1841, p. 505. _Brit. and
Foreign Review_, vol. XIII., 1842, p. 415.]

But to the point which more especially regards our subject, the feuds
between Boniface and the house of Colonna. The validity of his
election had been early questioned, and was long disputed, on the
ground that the rights of his predecessor, as a legally chosen pope,
were indefeasible by abdication. Such doubts, it may be well
conceived, the fiery spirit of Boniface could ill brook, and upon a
rumour that two cardinals, sons of Giovanni Colonna, had been heard to
express them, he at once summoned them to his presence to state their
opinion upon that delicate point. This was in 1296, after the
Pontiff's fierce character had been amply developed by a reign of two
years; and these cardinals instantly withdrew from Rome to the
strongholds of their family, from whence they issued an answer,
respectfully avowing their misgivings as to the matter in question,
and offering to submit them to the decision of a general council. But
their flight, and the delay of a few days, had been construed by the
haughty Vicar of Christ as acts of contumacy; and even before their
offensive manifesto reached him, he had directed the thunders of the
Church against the two Colonna, visiting on their devoted heads the
accumulated offences of all their line, without allowing them an
opportunity of explanation or defence. The bull of excommunication
proceeds, with more than wonted elaboration of abusive epithets, to
designate the obnoxious race, as "detested by their dependants,
troublesome to their neighbours, enemies to the community, rebels
against the Church, turbulent in the city, fractious to their allies,
thankless to their benefactors, unwilling to obey, incapable of
command, devoid of humility, agitated by passion, fearless of God,
regardless of man." A general proscription of their whole family and
adherents, and a sequestration of their vast property, was followed up
by the siege of Palestrina, their principal fief. Finding his
exertions unequal to the reduction of that fortress, Boniface
bethought him of the military experience of the old Ghibelline monk of
Montefeltro, and demanded of him counsel, silencing his religious
scruples by a preliminary absolution for the sin of reverting to
worldly schemes. Thus pressed, Count Guido advised recourse to
deceitful promises as the surest means of conquest; and "the bard of
hell," who is an authority for this passage in his life, hence
consigns him to the doom of an impenitent sinner. But let us hear the
poet, through the version of Carey:--

     "A man of arms at first; I clothed me then
     In good Saint Francis' girdle, hoping so
     To have made amends. And certainly my hope
     Had failed not, but that he whom curses light on,
     The high priest, again seduced me into sin;
     And how and wherefore listen while I tell.
     Long as the spirit moved the bones and pulp
     My mother gave me, less my deeds bespake
     The nature of the lion than the fox:
     All ways of winding subtlety I knew,
     And with such art conducted that the sound
     Reached the world's limit. Soon as to that part
     Of life I found me come, when each behoves
     To lower sails and gather in the lines,
     That which before had pleased me then I rued,
     And to repentance and confession turned;
     Wretch that I was, and well it had bested me!
     The chief of the new Pharisees meantime,
     Waging his warfare near the Lateran,
     Not with the Saracens or Jews (his foes
     All Christians were, nor against Acre one
     Had fought, nor trafficked in the Soldan's land),
     He his great charge nor sacred ministry
     In himself reverenced, nor in me that cord
     Which used to mark with leanness whom it girded.
     As in Soracte Constantine besought,
     To cure his leprosy, Silvester's aid;
     So me to cure the fever of his pride
     This man besought. My counsel to that end
     He asked, and I was silent, for his words
     Seemed drunken: but forthwith he thus resumed:
     'From thy heart banish fear; of all offence
     I hitherto absolve thee. In return,
     Teach me my purpose so to execute,
     That Palestrina cumber earth no more.
     Heaven, as thou knowest, I have the power to shut
     And open, and the keys are therefore twain,
     The which my predecessor meanly prized.'
     Then yielding to these forceful arguments,
     And deeming silence yet more perilous,
     I answered, 'Father, since thou washest me
     Clear of that guilt wherein I now must fall,--
     Large promise with performance scant right sure
     Shall make thee triumph in thy lofty seat.'
     When I was numbered with the dead, then came
     Saint Francis for me; but a cherub dark
     He met, who cried, 'Wrong me not! he is mine,
     And must below to join the wretched crew,
     For the deceitful counsel which he gave:'
     E'er since I've watched him, hovering at his hair.
     No power can the impenitent absolve,
     For to repent and will can ne'er consist,
     By contradiction absolute forbid.
     Oh misery! how I shook myself when he
     Seized me and cried, 'Thou haply thoughtst me not
     A disputant in logic so exact!'
     To Minos down he bore me, and the judge
     Twined eight times round his callous back the tail,
     Which, biting with excess of rage, he spake,
     'This is a guilty soul that in the fire
     Must vanish!' Hence, perdition doomed, I rove,
     A prey to rankling sorrow in this garb."

     CAREY'S _Inferno_, xxvii.

Such is the passage that has given a celebrity to Count Guido, which
neither his prowess nor his alleged treachery could have
conferred.[*24] Yet there are not wanting doubts as to the fidelity of
this picture of his latter days; indeed, the whole charge against him
in the affair of the Colonnas has been considered apocryphal by the
apologists of Boniface VIII., and is rejected by Franciscan writers.
Villani, whilst confirming the fact that the chiefs of that lawless
race were cajoled by the Pontiff into a surrender of "their noble
fortress" upon terms which were shamefully violated, drops no hint
that Guido was a party to the fraud. Nor is there any reason to
suppose his Holiness in want of a prompter, such faithlessness being
then in usual practice for political ends, and the old chronicler
expressly tells us that the conscience of Boniface was very readily
stretched for gain to the Church, under cover of the axiom that the
end justified the means. Against these authorities the vision can
scarcely be deemed of historic weight, especially as such breach of
good faith was, probably, in the eyes of Dante, a less heinous offence
than his reconciliation with the Guelphs.[25] Indeed the poet in the
Convito ranks him with those noble spirits, "who, when approaching the
last haven, lowered the sails of their earthly career, and, laying
aside worldly pleasures and wishes, devoted themselves to religion in
their old age."[*26] Of the merit or efficacy of such sacrifices at
the dread tribunal, it belongs not to erring man dogmatically to
judge: for our purpose it is more appropriate to notice the following
brief of Boniface to the Franciscan superintendent of La Marca, as
remarkable evidence of the devotional zeal which actuated the Count in
assuming the monastic vows, and which

     "When joy of war and pride of chivalry
     Languished beneath accumulated years,
     Had power to draw him from the world."

[Footnote *24: The authorities for the life of Count Guido il Vecchio
of Montefeltro are the _Cronaca Riminese_ and the _Cronaca Estense_,
in MURATORI, _R.I.S._ Cf. also VILLANI, _Cronaca_, especially lib.
VII., caps. 81, 128, and RODOLFO HONIG, _Conte Guido di Montefeltro_
(Bologna, 1901). Cf. also RIZZOLI, _I Sigilli nel Museo Bottacin di
Padova_ (Padova, 1903), p. 51, tav. 6, where a seal of Guido is
described and illustrated.]

[Footnote 25: Yet the denial of this imputation by Muzio and Baldi may
be ascribed rather to sycophancy than to historic research, especially
as the latter, in his _Encomio della Patria_, has gravely maintained
that Guido was placed in the Inferno, not for his misdeeds, but as the
only modern warrior worthy to be the associate of Ulysses!]

[Footnote *26: Convito, IV., 28, 61 _seq._ "Il nobilissimo nostro
Latino Guido Montefeltro."]

"Our beloved son, the noble Count Guido of Montefeltro, has repeatedly
conveyed to us personally, and through credible informants, his wish,
desire, and intention, after communing with his own heart, to end his
days in God's service, under the monastic habit, as a means of
effacing his sins against Him, and the mother Church of Rome; and this
with the full assent of his wife, who is said to be willing to take
upon herself the vows of perpetual chastity. We, therefore, commending
in the Lord his devotional aspirations, which seemed disposed in all
prudence to admit the spirit of counsel, and in order to the more free
fulfilment of his vow,--will that his household be paid out of what
movables he possesses, and that he assign to his wife from his real
estate as much beyond the amount of her dowry as may give her a
hundred pounds in Ravenna currency yearly, during her life, a divorce
having been first duly pronounced between them, in the form customary
and becoming when a vow of chastity has been undertaken. And we
further desire that all such personal effects as may remain, after
remunerating his attendants, shall be securely deposited, and lie in
the hands of responsible persons in the meantime, until we shall come
to further resolutions regarding the real and movable property which
he now has. And further, as the advanced age of his consort places her
beyond suspicion, it is our will that she have leave to remain in her
present position, if she cannot be persuaded to a monastic
retirement." After conferring on the Superintendent the authority
requisite for carrying these resolutions into effect, the Pope
concludes by desiring that it be left to the Count's unbiassed
decision, whether he will enter one of the military orders, or adopt
the more rigid rule of the friars minor of St. Francis. This letter is
dated from Anagni the 23rd of August, 1296.[27] The option thus given
him in no way shook his intention of conforming to the ascetic rule of
"poverty and Francis:" and although his Countess Costanza did not
follow his example by assuming the monastic vows, she passed the eight
remaining years of her worldly pilgrimage in the not less strict
seclusion of Santa Chiara at Urbino, a convent especially favoured by
her posterity, and of such rigid discipline that the nuns went
barefoot and wore no linen, rising habitually at midnight, and but
once a year permitted to approach the grating in order to see their
nearest relatives. Her lord's remaining life was of shorter span, as
he died at Assisi on the 27th of September, 1298, and is said to have
been interred in the church there. That his courage was not unmingled
with cunning seems established rather by some incidents in his life
than by the bitter lines of the Ghibelline bard; that his piety was
shadowed by superstition is a conclusion suggested by the closing
scenes of his life, and still more by his most stirring years having
bent to the slavish control of astrological quackery to a degree
exceeding even the darkness of his age. His zeal founded the family
chapel, which may yet be seen in the lower church at Assisi,--its
frescoes cruelly defaced; and the devotion of his family was long
after specially directed to the service of St. Francis and Santa

[Footnote 27: RIPOSATI, _Zecca di Gubbio_, I., p. 408.]

[Footnote *28: There was never a Montefeltro chapel in the Lower
Church of S. Francesco at Assisi. Guido died in 1298, and the first
two chapels were only founded about 1310 by "due prelati di Casa
Orsina, cioè Gian Giordano e Napoleone ambedue cardinali. Fece il
primo far la cappela di S. Giovanni Battista in capo al braccio
meridionale, e il secondo quella di S. Niccolò rimpetto alla
menzionata, cioè in testa al baccio settentrionale della croce del
sotterraneo." P. GIUSEPPE FRATINI: _Storia della Basilica di S.
Francesco in Assisi_ (Prato, 1882), p. 94. What Dennistoun possibly
means, is that Guidantonio in the first half of the fifteenth century
commissioned the painting of the Cappella dei Pellegrini in Via
Principe di Napoli in Assisi from Mezzastris and Matteo da Gualdo.
CRISTOFANI: _Storia d'Assisi_ (Assisi Tip. Metastasio), p. 198.
Dennistoun errs again when he suggests that Guido was buried in S.
Francesco. Cristofani (_op. cit._, p. 124) tells us he was buried "nel
luogo degli Angeli. D'onde il figlio Federigo fe' poi trasportarne le
ossa nella chiesa di S. Bernardino a picciola distanza dalla città
d'Urbino." Cf. also UGOLINI, _op. cit._, vol. I., pp. 88-90.]

During the next century, the pedigree of the Montefeltri, and their
feats of arms against rival seigneurs, such as the Brancaleoni, the
Malatesti, and the Ceccardi, are involved in confusion which we need
not stay to extricate. Heroes they were, but in fields which the wide
glance of history has overlooked: they found no Thucydides to depict
their gallant deeds, no Froissart to chronicle their fame. Fighting
under Ghibelline colours, their victories were followed by papal
vengeance, affording a pretext for new risings of their urban
subjects, in one of which Count Federigo and his son were torn to
pieces about 1322. But though Guelph was then the ordinary watchword
of freedom, and though all who desired self-government were wont to
rally round the Church, they often found, like the frogs in the fable,
that they had gained a worse master. As a specimen of the papal
legates of his day, we may mention Guglielmo Durante,[*29] a predicant
friar, who presided over the ecclesiastical territories in Romagna,
about the beginning of that century, giving his name to a town in the
duchy of Urbino which he rebuilt, and which long afterwards became
Urbania. His tomb is in the church of the Minerva at Rome, one of
those fine monuments where architecture and sculpture unite to
perpetuate the dead, and over which mosaic throws the magic of rich
colouring. The inscription, after enumerating his legal and liturgical
works, thus celebrates the energetic qualities of this mitred warrior:
"Savage as a lion against his foes, he tamed indomitable communities,
he put church rebels to the sword, and reduced the vanquished to
servitude." No wonder that the citizens of Urbino preferred to such
pastors a return under their hereditary lords. Nor was Umbria the only
theatre of Feltrian prowess. Among the republics, Pisa was as
devotedly Ghibelline, as were these counts among the great
feudatories. Intimate political relations were the natural result, and
the Pisans were seldom without one of that race as their seigneur to
maintain the common cause against their Guelphic rivals of Florence
and Lucca.

[Footnote *29: For Guglielmo Durante, see MAZZATINTI, _Il Card.
Albornoz nell'Umbria ecc._, in _Arch. St. per le Marche e per
l'Umbria_, vol. IV., p. 466 _et seq._, and FILIPPINI, _La riconquista
dello Stato della Chiesa per opera di Egidio Albornoz_ 1353-57, in
_Studi Storici_ (Pisa e Torino, 1897), vol. VI., fasc. I., _et seq._]

from Antonio first Lord of Monte Copiolo. His family having for some
years been expatriated, and their state a prey to intestine broils,
the harassed citizens recalled him in 1377 as representative of their
ancient chiefs; and from that time we can follow with tolerable
certainty the generations and history of the Montefeltri. The imperial
party in Italy was now reduced to a mere name, fitted rather for a cry
of faction than to be the rallying point of international feud. The
authority lost by the emperors in Central Italy had passed to the
pontiffs, and Count Antonio, emancipating himself from the spell that
had bound his race to a falling cause, gave to his posterity an
example of loyalty to his over-lord the Pope. He is mentioned in a
chronicle of 1384 as introducing certain reforms in the administration
of justice, which before publication were submitted for approval by
the municipal council of Urbino, and eight years thereafter he put
forth various amended statutes and constitutions. His good sense was
rewarded by peace at home and acquisitions abroad. Cagli and Gubbio
drove out their domestic tyrants the Ceccardi and the Gabrielli, in
order to welcome his sway,[*30] and he conquered Cantiano from the
latter after a nine years' struggle. Benedict IX. welcomed him as an
obedient son of the Church, and established him by new investitures in
these towns, as well as in the former holdings of his family.[*31] His
bitter strife with the Malatesti was with difficulty appeased by
mediation of that Pontiff and of the Venetians. Allied with Florence,
Siena, and Milan,[*32] he gained the fame of a gallant captain, whilst
his exertions to govern his people with humanity and justice
established his reputation as a mild, generous, and benignant prince.
His prudence, high counsel, and lofty spirit are lauded in an old
chronicle of Forlì;[*33] and a sonnet, inspired by religion rather
than poetry, and ascribed to his pen, will be found in the Appendix I.

[Footnote *30: According to GUERRIERO, _op. cit._ (see _supra_, note
*1, p. 22), Antonio arrived on March 31, 1384, with 2000 foot and
400 horse--to the cry of "Viva el Conte Antonio"--"con più suoi
gentiluomini e provisionati, e con ottocento some di vittuaglia e fece
molto onore alli consoli. Ebbe le guardie della rocca della città, le
chiavi delle porte.... Mandò alli nostri gentiluomini, e molti
tornarono, e incominciò ad invilire il prezzo del grano a 20 ancone la
mina." Cf. SIMON PAOLO, _op. cit._ (see _supra_, note *1, p. 22).]

[Footnote *31: He went to Perugia in the latter part of 1392 while the
Pope was there. Ghinolfo Conti, a Roman baron, administered justice in
Perugia (without respect to the factions and with little satisfaction
to the nobles greedy of privileges) in the name of the Pope "cui
consigliava a trovar modo di rimettere i fuorusciti nella città. Allo
stesso pietoso officio intendeva il conte Antonio da Urbino venuto a
Perugia con 200 cavalli." _Arch. St. It._, ser. I., vol. XVI., part
I., p. 254 and note 3.]

[Footnote *32: The treaty was signed February 1, 1375. Cf. SOMMI
PICENARDI, _Trattato fra Bernabò Visconti, ecc. ecc._, in _Miscellanea
di Storia Italiana_, vol. XXIII. (Torino, 1885).]

[Footnote *33: _Annal. Foroliviens_, in MURATORI, _R.I.S._, tom. XXII.
See also _Sozomenus Chron._, in _R.I.S._, tom. XVI.]

The death of Count Antonio was announced to the government of Siena by
his son, in terms which, exceeding the formal expression of
ceremonious regret, afford a pleasing specimen of official
intercourse in early times. The original, in rude Latin, is preserved
in the Archivio Diplomatico at Siena.

     "To the mighty and potent Lords and special Fathers, the
     Lords Priors, and Governors of the people and city of Siena.

     "Mighty and potent Lords, special Fathers; I should gladly
     communicate news more pleasant both to your magnificences,
     whose true and unwavering son I am, and to myself; but
     whatever they may be, they ought to be freely reciprocated
     where there exists true strength of affection, and intact
     purity of friendship, in order that such guileless amity may
     rejoice with a friend in prosperity, and may sustain,
     support, sympathise with, or even defend him in misfortune.
     And being made aware by information from others, as well as
     by personal experience, of the sincere affection and mutual
     interchange of favours continued between your progenitors
     and my own, I have decided, with tearful words, bitter
     sighs, and sad wailings, to inform your magnificences, to
     whom I faithfully commend myself and state, how, on the 29th
     of last April, the potent Lord my father, of unfading
     memory, yielded his noble spirit to the Almighty Creator of
     all, paying the timely but, alas, unavoidable debt, and
     separated from the flesh by force of fever, after disposing
     of his worldly affairs, and receiving the holy eucharist and
     other sacramental rites of our religion, with a mind
     distinct to his last hour. Ah me! wretched and afflicted,
     doomed to such distress! Dearest fathers, the loss of such
     and so great a parent torments and agitates me; what and how
     eminent a son have you and your community lost in him. It is
     indeed beyond the power of nature herself to replace to your
     magnificences one of greater or even equal affection, or to
     supply such a father to me who fain would imitate him. For
     he curtailed my cares, relieved my sighs, appeased my
     fears, cleared my entanglements. One only consideration
     soothes and mitigates my mental affliction, and the grief
     that envenoms my heart, that since fate has bereaved me of
     such a parent, it may find for me another in you,
     magnificent fathers, whom I heartily beseech to assume a
     paternal care of me your child, and of my state, and to
     counsel me in my affairs as a steady son, who will in no way
     abandon these recollections, and my paternal associations.
     Prepared for all compliance with your wishes, your
     magnificences' son,


     "Urbino, 9th May, 1404."

Count Antonio died in April, 1404, and by his wife, a daughter of
Ugolino Gonzaga, left,

  1. COUNT GUIDANTONIO, his successor.
  2. ANNA, who died unmarried in 1434.[*34]

[Footnote *34: Anna married Francesco Brancaleoni. Cf. UGOLINI, _op.
cit._, I., 191. Later she is said to have married a Malatesta.]

Upon the last of these sisters we must dwell in some detail, for she
was conspicuous among the ladies of high birth, whose acquirements
gave illustration to her age. By contemporary authors, her talents and
endowments are spoken of in most flattering terms, whilst her
character is celebrated for piety and justice, benignity and clemency.
She corresponded with many of these writers, and employed her pen in
theology and poetry. Among other moral treatises, she is said to have
written upon human frailty, and on the true faith. In such exercises
she found a resource amid the large share of public and domestic
calamities which shadowed her lot. Her marriage was celebrated in
1404, when about twenty-one years of age, with Galeazzo Malatesta,
heir of the seigneury of Pesaro, a spiritless creature entirely devoid
of the martial qualities of his race, and whose incapacity so
disgusted his subjects that, after two years, he was driven out. He
subsequently sold his birthright by a transaction which we shall
describe in our fifth chapter, and, forsaking his wife, consoled
himself in old age with another mate. Battista, with her only child,
fled from her rebellious subjects to Urbino, and at the court of her
brother found a ready welcome. When the Emperor Sigismund arrived
there, on returning from his coronation at Rome in 1433, she was
selected to pronounce, in his honour, a Latin harangue, which is
published, but now possesses little interest. Her poetic vein had been
encouraged by her father-in-law, who, anticipating the literary tastes
which prevailed among the Italian princes later in this century,
gained the surname of _Malatesta degli Sonetti_, from his success in
that class of compositions. Several of the Italian sonnets and canzoni
which passed between them are preserved in manuscript, as well as some
of her letters in Latin.[35] Specimens of both are printed in the
Appendix No. I., including a letter of Battista written for an
interesting purpose. Cleofe, her husband's youngest sister, had
married Teodoro, eldest son of an emperor of Constantinople, and
despot of the Morea, but this splendid alliance was embittered by
persecutions on account of her faith, which at length induced her thus
to state the case to Martin V. The result of this appeal does not
appear, but the subject of it is believed to have outlived his
Holiness about two years.[36]

[Footnote 35: Bibl. Oliveriana, MSS. No. 454. Vat. Urb. Lib., No.
3212, f. 128. Also a MS. in the Chigi Library. See, as to the writings
both of Malatesta and his daughter-in-law, TIRABOSCHI, VI., part II.,
p. 164, and CRESCIMBENI, III., pp. 214, 265.]

[Footnote 36: A very curious contract, preserved in Archivio
Diplomatico at Florence, and dated 29th May, 1419, secures to her the
exercise of her own religion and native usages during the marriage,
and in case of widowhood, permits her return to Italy.]

The ill-starred and virtually widowed lady of Pesaro eventually took
the veil, by the name of Sister Gerolima, in the Franciscan convent of
Santa Lucia at Foligno, where she died in 1450. Another monastery of
the rigorous order of Sta. Chiara, dedicated by her at Pesaro to the
Corpus Domini, had in 1443 received her daughter Elisabetta, whose lot
was scarcely less unfortunate. Her husband, Pietro Gentile Lord of
Camerino, fell a victim in 1433 to fraternal jealousy, leaving an only
child Costanza, whom we shall subsequently notice as first wife of
Alessandro Sforza, the supplanter of her grandfather in the seigneury
of Pesaro, and as mother of Battista Countess of Urbino.


     Guidantonio Count of Urbino--The Ubaldini--Oddantonio Count
     of Urbino--Is made Duke--His dissolute habits and speedy

Count Guidantonio found himself, on his succession, hampered by debts
incurred in purchasing another ample investiture in vicariate from
Boniface IX., which cost him 12,000 golden florins. But prudence
quickly retrieved these embarrassments, and not only enabled him to
add materially to his territories and influence, but to raise his
house to unprecedented distinction. In 1408, the mountain republic of
Assisi sought protection from his sway; and this was approved by
Gregory XII., to whom he adhered in opposition to the antipope
Benedict XIII.[*37] The disgraceful schisms which at this time
agitated Europe, and convulsed the Church, had their influence upon
the Count of Urbino, who refused to desert Gregory when he and his
rival Benedict were simultaneously deposed by the general council of
Pisa, as a means of restoring union and peace to Christendom.
Ladislaus of Naples, adopting the same policy, appointed the Count his
grand constable, and leader of the war he was carrying on against
John XXII., the _de facto_ pope, by whom he was consequently
excommunicated. Guidantonio, however, made his peace with the Church
in 1413, and was created its gonfaloniere, and vice-general of
Romagna; thereafter he was for some time occupied against Braccio di
Montone, who carried fire and sword into his territories, on his
failing to make good part of the ransom of Carlo Malatesta, for which
he had become security.[*38] This Braccio was a fair specimen of
Italian captains of adventure. His ancestors were among the magnates
of Perugia, which, under the guidance of an oligarchy, had stretched
its sway over much of Umbria, extending almost from sea to sea. "But
man's estate being ever unstable, when its citizens, indolent by
inclination, had thus greatly augmented their dominion and wealth,
their pride swelled with their means. They who had vanquished their
neighbours, waxing savage in their very vitals, set to conquer each
other; hence there arose fierce discords and cruel feuds. Verily the
city of Perugia was in those days most liable to changes, for it was
alternately governed by the nobles, or seized by the mob; in either
case supremacy having been obtained by arms and violence, rather than
by equity and moderation, the victors cruelly massacred or exiled
their opponents." This quaint description, borrowed from Campano, the
biographer of Braccio, was then applicable to almost every city and
township of the Peninsula. It was his hero's fate to be expatriated in
early life by some such convulsion, and nothing was left him but his
good sword, to cut his way therewith as a condottiere, until he
established a despotic authority in his birthplace, and won a high
place in the martial annals of Italy. Even after his death at the Lake
of Celano, his name was during half a century cherished by his
followers as the prestige of victory, and we shall often find the
Braccian bands, under Nicolò Piccinino, opposed to those of his
constant rivals the Sforza.

[Footnote *37: The Chronicle of Gubbio tells us that Cardinal
Maramaldo, legate of the Pope in Umbria, had been promised the
lordship of Assisi for his services, and that at this time he was in
secret treaty with the Perugians to deliver Assisi to them. "Di che
accortisi," says CRISTOFANI (_op. cit._, p. 213), "i cittadini di
Gubbio poco mancò, che non lapidassero il legato. Certo poi egli ebbe
in seguito Assisi e la resse con titolo di vicario della Chiesa.
Difatti in una sentenza registrata in forma pubblica a dì 18 di agosto
1413 in favor del monastero di S. Apollinare contro l'altro di S.
Paolo si legge: _nobilis ac potens comes Riccardus de ... gubernator
Assisii pro illustri ac potenti domino Guidantonio comite montis
feretri Assisii et Umbriæ pro S.R.E. Vicario_" (Archivio di S.
Apollinare in Assisi). The domination of Guidantonio in Assisi is much
better confirmed by a series of letters at various times directed by
him to the public officials of Assisi that are given in the
_Riformagioni_, lib. H, VII. One of these is given dated, 29 July,
1415, from Gubbio, by CRISTOFANI (_op. cit._, p. 214, note 1).]

[Footnote *38: About 1416 the power of Braccio was very great. The
Perugians had lost to him nearly all their fortified places; for this
cause they hired Carlo Malatesta of Rimini, who was at the head of
some 2000 horse and 800 infantry in Assisi; others, too, flocked to
him. Towards the middle of July Carlo and his nephew Galeotto,
half-brother to the famous Sigismondo, fell into the hands of Braccio,
as some say, after the battle of S. Egidio, near Bastia, between
Perugia and Assisi. The ransom was 120,000 ducats. See CRISTOFANI,
_op. cit._, p. 215, and EDWARD HUTTON, _op. cit._, pp. 17-18.]

[Illustration: THE BATTLE OF S. EGIDIO

_After the picture by Paolo Uccello in the National Gallery. Portraits
of Carlo Malatesta and his nephew Galeotto "il Beato"_]

Cardinal Ottone Colonna, formerly bishop of Urbino, having been raised
to the papacy in 1417, by the title of Martin V., Guidantonio lost no
time in rendering him homage by an envoy, whom he next year followed
in person, meeting the Pontiff at Mantua. His well-timed adhesion was
repaid by a life-grant of the dukedom of Spoleto, after which he
returned to defend his frontiers from his turbulent neighbour of
Montone. On his arrival in Italy in 1419, Martin found his states
greatly disorganised, and the temporal sway of the papacy deeply
infringed by many seigneurs and communities, who had made themselves
independent during the secession to Avignon, and in the prolonged
schisms which had succeeded the return of Urban VI. to Rome. None of
these had so much reason to dread the reckoning likely to follow the
re-establishment of Christ's vicars in their ancient capital as the
tyrant of Perugia, who was now at the height of his power. Unable to
frustrate the impediments which Braccio threw in the way of his
progress southward, the Pontiff paused at Florence, which he entered
on the 26th of February; but even there he found a populace in the
interest of his rebellious feudatory, and ever ready to outrage him
with such taunts as "Martin Pope, not worth a plack."[39] Aware of the
hazard of delay, and of the importance of gaining over a spirit so
powerful for good or evil, Martin invited Montone to an interview, and
found means to conciliate him by a compromise, recognising him as
vicar of Perugia, Assisi, Todi, and Jesi, on his surrendering Orvieto,
Terni, Narni, and Orte.[*40] He at the same time engaged his military
services to reduce Bologna, then standing out for the deposed Pope
John XXIII., who, on the fall of that his last stronghold, repaired to
Florence to make submission to the reigning Pontiff, and died there in
the end of that year.[*41] Martin's difficulties being thus overcome,
he was enabled during the autumn to proceed in peace to Rome, and
there to re-establish the metropolis of Christendom.

[Footnote 39:

     "Papa Martino
     Non val' un quatrino!"]

[Footnote *40: But see L. FUMI, _Guidantonio e la Città di Castello_,
in _Bollettino per l'Umbria_, vol. VI., pp. 377-401.]

[Footnote *41: Cf. L. BONAZZI, _St. di Perugia_ (Perugia, 1875), vol.
II., p. 641.]

The Pope had availed himself of Braccio's visit to Florence to call
thither the Count of Urbino, in order to effect a reconciliation
between these rivals. Guidantonio, on this occasion, had from the
magistracy of that city, as well as from his own over-lord, a highly
honourable welcome, and in March, 1420, received, at the hands of his
Holiness, the Golden Rose, a compliment usually conferred upon
royalty.[*42] Three years later, he found himself widowed by the death
of Rengarda, daughter of Galeotto Malatesta, Lord of Rimini, whom he
had married in 1397, and who left him childless. After an interval, he
strengthened his intimate relations with the Pontiff, by marrying
Caterina, daughter of his brother Lorenzo Colonna, an alliance which
secured him a series of further favours, in addition to a dowry of
5200 florins of gold. The nuptials were celebrated at Rome with great
rejoicings, in the spring of 1424.[*43]

[Footnote *42: The Golden Rose was conferred not infrequently on
others besides royalty. Sigismondo Malatesta had it later.]

[Footnote *43: It was in January.]

The house of Urbino had hereditary feuds of long standing with the
Brancaleoni, a race of Guelphic principles, whose fiefs lay along the
Apennines from Gubbio to Montefeltro, including all Massa Trabaria
and the upper valley of the Metauro. Their recurring contests ended in
a victory, or were compromised by a marriage, from which the former
were usually the gainers. Upon pretences which it is needless amid
conflicting statements to investigate, and assured of the Pontiff's
support, Guidantonio had seized upon Castle Durante and other
fortresses in 1424, and on the death of Bartolomeo Brancaleoni,
leaving only a daughter,[*44] he arranged her marriage with his
natural son Federico, whose fortunes we shall hereafter have to
follow. The large territory thus absolutely or virtually placed under
the Count continued with his posterity so long as the independence of
Urbino was preserved.

[Footnote *44: Her name was Elisabetta.]

To the impression which Guidantonio had made on his visit to Florence
some ten years before he probably owed the baton of captain-general,
sent him in the autumn of 1430 by that republic in their campaign
against Lucca. But there he reaped no laurels. In an engagement fought
in the face of his protestations, he suffered from Nicolò Piccinino a
total discomfiture, and, throwing up the command in disgust, he
returned home early next year. About the same time his prosperity
received a further check in the demise of his steady friend the
Pontiff, who lived to see the schism that had perplexed the Church
during half a century finally healed by the death of all his
competitors for the chair of St. Peter. The triple tiara passed to the
brows of Eugene IV., who visited Martin's undue partiality for his own
family the Colonna, by escheats which they flew to arms to avenge. The
Lord of Urbino, naturally leaning to the party of his wife's
relations, lost the Pontiff's favour; but he gained a well-wisher in
the Emperor Sigismund, who, while returning to Germany from his
coronation at Rome, was magnificently entertained at that court, and
conferred the honour of knighthood upon his host and the young Count

The death of Countess Caterina, on the 9th of October, 1438, seems to
have in a great degree broken the fine spirit of her husband, who
immediately retired to pass ten days in devotional exercises at
Loretto, and thenceforward devolved all his military cares upon his
natural son Federigo. His few remaining years were given to pious
works, to which the cathedral of Urbino and the church of San Donato,
both founded in 1439, bear witness; and he is said to have then
habitually worn, under his ordinary dress, the habit of St. Francis,
in which he was interred. His death took place on the 20th of
February, 1442,[*45] and he was buried in San Donato, where his cowled
effigy is still seen on the pavement, his spurs of knighthood hanging
from his sheathed sword-hilt, with a barbarous inscription, which will
be found in the Appendix to our third volume.

[Footnote *45: Guidantonio died on February 21, 1443, according to the
inscription on his tomb; but the Chronicle of Gubbio (BERNI, in
MURATORI, _R.I.S._, tom. XXI., p. 981) gives the date as in the text.
The library at Urbino was begun by him.]

On the demise of this prince, who has been sometimes confused with
Count Guido the elder, "the city of Urbino was," in the simple words
of an old chronicle, "left widowed and desolate." Of his character and
merits, whatever has reached us is favourable. The doggerel verses of
his epitaph celebrate his clemency and justice; his religion was
manifested by the tenor of his latter years, the general respect of
his contemporaries honoured him through life, and he left behind him
an extended frontier and a condensed state. His surviving children

     1. ODDANTONIO, his successor, born in 1426.

     2. BIANCA, married to Guidantonio or Guidaccio Manfredi,
     Lord of Faenza and Imola, who had been brought up at her
     father's court.

     3. VIOLANTE, who was born in 1430, and at twelve years of
     age, married Domenico Malatesta Novello, Lord of Cesena. She
     was remarkable alike for talent and beauty; and her husband,
     who died childless in 1465, left a fine monument of his
     literary tastes, in the public library which remains in that

     4. AGNESINA, born in 1431, who in 1445 married Alessandro
     Gonzaga, Lord of Castiglione, a younger son of the first
     Marquis of Mantua.

     5. BRIGIDA SUEVA.[46]

[Footnote 46: Regarding this daughter, who was born in 1428, we have
some curious particulars to offer. After her father's death, she was
carried to Rome, to be educated by her uncles the Colonna. There she
married Alessandro Sforza, Lord of Pesaro, in 1448, an alliance rather
of policy than of affection, and was received in his capital with all
demonstrations of joy by her new subjects. Her husband, fully occupied
with war and business, soon after set off for Lombardy: and in sooth
her charms are described, even by her enthusiastic eulogists, as very
homely, and little adapted to fix the roving tastes of her lord, whose
dissolute and brutal conduct exceeded even the licence of that age.
After patient endurance of his outrages during twelve years, she fled
to the convent of Corpus Domini, of the Franciscan order of Sta.
Chiara, at Pesaro, which she enriched with 7500 ducats out of her
dower. That she did not leave behind all mundane tastes may be
concluded from a curious inventory of paraphernalia which she took
into the cloister, printed by the Abbé Olivieri from the original in
her own hand, and contained in II. of our Appendix.[*B]

But even the sacred precincts of her cloister afforded to the unhappy
Sueva no adequate sanctuary from her cruel husband, who, abandoning
himself to a profligate connection with Pacifica, a fair damsel of
Pesaro, sought by renewed persecutions to extort from his wife an
entire release from his matrimonial tie. Her just complaints procured
the interposition of the Colonna; but these were answered by false
charges against her connubial fidelity, which, overawed by the menaces
of Alessandro, that he would consign the monastery and its inmates to
the flames, she tacitly admitted. Thus cut off from human succour, the
afflicted lady had recourse to the support of religion, and whilst
prostrated before a crucifix, her faith was reassured by the
conviction that the figure upon it had turned towards her with
compassionate words. For such woes the world had no asylum. The
outraged wife became the spouse of Christ, by taking the final vows as
Sister Serafina, and sent back to her oppressor the ring that had been
the token of their ill-starred union. His restored liberty was
immediately used to marry Pacifica, whom his cruelties within two
years consigned to a premature tomb. Finally, repenting of his long
criminal career, he sought forgiveness of Serafina, and richly endowed
the convent, of which she had become abbess. After an age of peace,
such as youth, and the world with its gauds, had failed to afford her,
her body was deposited in the cathedral of Pesaro, where it is revered
as a sacred relic, its spirit having, in 1754, received the honours of
beatification, and been associated with Sta. Michelina and S.
Terenzio, as a protectress of that city. I had the good fortune, in
1843, to discover in the Oliveriana Library there, and to rescue from
neglect, a curious piece of furniture that had belonged to the Corpus
Domini, on which were portraits of the Beata Felice who founded that
monastery, and of the Abbess Serafina. They were executed in
distemper, with much of the feeling of Pinturicchio, and the latter of
them has been rudely but faithfully engraved for Olivieri's _Life of
Alessandro Sforza_.]

[Footnote *B: Cf. FELICIANGELI, _Sulla monacazione di Sueva
Montefeltro-Sforza_ (Pistoia, 1903).]

Count Guidantonio also left two natural children:

     1. FEDERIGO, afterwards Duke of Urbino;

     2. ANNA, AURA, or LAURA, married in 1420 to Bernardino
     Ubaldino della Carda, although by some authorities his wife
     is incorrectly called _sister_ of Count Guidantonio.[47]

[Footnote 47: The remote origin of the Ubaldini is curiously
illustrated by an inscription, which is among the earliest known
records of armorial bearings. It was inscribed in Gothic characters
upon a stone, originally placed on one of their Apennine castles, but
brought to Florence by a branch of their race, where it was long
regarded as an heirloom. It has been published in Borghini's _Discorsi
Toscani_, II., p. 25, and the following literal translation from its
barbarous Latino-Italian rhymes may be acceptable to our readers. It
was intended to commemorate the erection of the castle, and exhibits,
in rude carving, the Ubaldini arms, a stag's head antlered.

     "For this boon
     Thanks I render to Christ,
     Completed on the fête of the gentle
     St. Mary Magdalene;
     Ah! do Thou specially pray
     To God for me a sinner.
     In this my chant,
     From the most veritable narration
     I in nothing deviate.
     In the year one thousand
     Of Christ's salvation, and a hundred
     Chased by hounds
     Furiously, I, hard by the
     Coppices in Mugello, a stag
     By the horns stopped,--
     Of old the genius of the Ubaldini,
     Subjects of the holy Empire;
     Where, rushing on at speed,
     I grappled with my hands
     At his horns all the while.
     The mighty Sir Frederick,
     Who observed him thus cumbered,
     Having come up, slew him outright.
     Thereupon he gifted me with
     The forehead, beautifully horned,
     And honourably branched;
     And desired that it should be
     Of my race
     The accepted cognisance.
     My father was Ugicio,
     And my grand-sire Guarento,
     Son of Ugicio, son of Azo,
     Son of Ubaldino,
     Son of Gotichino,
     Son of Luconazo.

[_Thus read_]

"Who shall sway the Apennines? The favoured house of Ubaldini."

After many a conflict with their neighbours of Florence, the Ubaldini
of Val di Mugello paid the penalty of their Ghibelline principles, by
expulsion from their native fiefs, and were scattered throughout
Central Italy. A branch of them retired to the more distant fortresses
of Umbria, and after lording it for a time over Città di Castello,
found an eventual home on the mountains north of Gubbio, which they
are supposed to have had in dowry with a daughter of the Brancaleoni,
about 1280. Her descendant,

     BERNARDINO UBALDINI DELLA CARDA, a gallant condottiere in
     the wars of Count Guidantonio, died in 1437, having married
     that Count's natural daughter Aura. Their son,

     OTTAVIANO UBALDINI DELLA CARDA, will figure in these pages,
     as the companion and counsellor of his uncle Count Federigo.

In a lengthened sketch of his character, Giovanni Sanzi, the metrical
chronicler of Federigo's reign, tells us that his native excellences
were amply developed at the court of Filippo Visconti, where he was
brought up under that Duke's immediate eye. During many years he was
chief minister and treasurer of his uncle, to whose interests he
devoted himself with unwearied zeal, discharging his duties with
singular dignity and discretion. Nor did he, amid the cares of state,
forget the improvement of his intellectual gifts. Francesco Filelfo
dedicates a work to him, as a man of great weight and learning.
Porcellio, who had probably shared his bounty, calls him an
indefatigable reader of the poets; and Sanzi thus extends the
catalogue of his acquirements:--

     "Well versed he was in classic literature,
     And mastered readily theology,
     Whilst music's gentle art his pastimes shared:
     The secrets of astrology to him
     Seemed nature's lesson. Never man than he
     A heart more trusty or more leal could boast;
     A shrine of truth his bosom. Friend of peace
     And justice, merit's steady patron still,
     Painters and sculptors solace found in him,
     Their almost father."

Berni, the chronicler of Gubbio, applies to Ottaviano and to his
father the epithet Magnificent, a not unfrequent euphuism in Italy,
although with us applied exclusively to Lorenzo de' Medici. In 1473 he
had from Sixtus IV. in special guerdon the privilege of using at his
devotions a portable altar, and authority to legitimise bastards. When
Federigo set forth with sad forebodings on his last fatal campaign of
Ferrara, he confided to Ottaviano the guardianship of his boyish heir
Guidobaldo, and the government of his state, trusts which appear to
have been faithfully and judiciously fulfilled. Yet Bembo has
perpetuated what was probably a vile slander, or at best the
suggestion of ignorant drivelling, that the alleged impotence of Duke
Guidobaldo was occasioned by magical arts resorted to by his guardian,
who had been named next heir of his state. Ottaviano breathed his last
at Cagli in 1498, leaving by his wife Angela Orsini, an only son
Bernardino, on whose early death the estates and townships of La
Carda, Mercatello, Sassocorbaro, S. Marco, Rampugnano, Sta. Croce, La
Merola, Lamola, Cargine, and Pecchio devolved upon Duke Guidobaldo.
Two contemporaries of his name are mentioned, but I have not traced
their relationship; Guidantonio Ubaldini, who in 1464 married
Altadonna, daughter of Bartolomeo Contarini; and Pietro, whom Duke
Federigo sent to England in 1475, as proxy at his installation as
Knight of the Garter, and who was killed at La Stellata in 1482. In
1648 there remained to this ancient house but a wreck of their great
estates, including Massa Vaccareccia, but in compliment to their
descent and connection with the Montefeltri, they retained precedence
over the nobles of Urbino. The Counts of Pecorari and Montefiori were
branches of the same stock.]

COUNT ODDANTONIO from infancy gave promise of a character combining
the virtues of his immediate predecessors with talents rare in any
rank. But prematurely

     "Lord of himself, that heritage of woe,"

the good seed was choked by tares springing from the too fertile soil;
and a prince on whom nature and fortune, imperial and papal favour,
concentrated their bounties, perished miserably and disgracefully ere
he had attained to manhood. His birth occurred in 1424 or 1426,[*48]
his youth being distinguished by remarkable progress in liberal
studies, and by rapidly mastering those accomplishments befitting the
spurs of knighthood, with which he had been decorated in childhood by
the Emperor Sigismund. Soon after his father's death, he repaired to
Siena, to obtain from Eugene IV. a confirmation of his hereditary
states, and to supplicate a renewed investiture of the dukedom of
Spoleto. But the pontifical jurisdiction over the long-abandoned
Italian provinces was as yet imperfectly consolidated, and Braccio di
Montone had but recently shown to what peril it might be exposed by
the restlessness of an overgrown feudatory. Profiting by this
experience, his Holiness evaded compliance with Oddantonio's second
request, but softened the refusal by conferring upon him the title of
Duke, along with his patrimonial territories.

[Footnote *48: See page 47. The latter is correct.]

We have from the pen of Pius II. a narrative of this ceremonial, which
took place on the 26th of April, 1443. "He who was to be created duke
by the Pope repaired to his residence, suitably dressed, and arrayed
in a mantle of gold, open on the right side from the shoulder to the
ground. Thence he followed the Pontiff, holding the lower extremity of
his cope, as he descended to the [cathedral] church to hear mass, and
when his Holiness took his seat, he placed himself on the first step
at his feet. Next he was made a knight of St. Peter, by girding him
with a sword (which after three lunges in the air he resheathed) and
by receiving three strokes with it on the shoulders, whilst his spurs
were buckled on. The Duke-elect then kneeling, swore and promised
reverence and obedience in time to come to the holy Church and to the
Pope, serving him in all its behests, and defending his jurisdiction,
rights, and territories, and bound himself to pay yearly on St.
Peter's day, for his new dignity, a white hackney suitably accoutred.
The Pontiff then placed the ducal cap on his head, and the sceptre in
his hand, and the new Duke, having therewith kissed his Holiness's
foot, was led by the two youngest cardinal-deacons to his place
between them. Finally, having taken off his cap, he returned to the
Pope's feet, and presented him with an offering of gold coin at his
discretion, and, on conclusion of the mass, departed between the two
cardinals, decorated with the ducal dignity: this was the ceremony
performed by Eugene IV. for Oddantonio."

This Duke's brief life is shrouded in mystery; for contemporary
authorities do not enable us to pronounce with certainty on the
enormous vices wherewith tradition and innuendo have vaguely blackened
his memory, whilst the narratives of Galli and Baldi, composed for his
successors in a spirit of adulation rather than of truth, clearly
overplead his defence. The testimony of Pius II. is so direct as to
one atrocity, barbarous almost beyond belief, that it would be
equally difficult to reject it, or crediting the tale, to limit the
probable enormities of a wretch so inhuman. The accusations against
him are that, intoxicated by good fortune, he cast off his early
discipline, forgot the lessons of philosophy, and placing himself
unreservedly in the guidance of dissolute favourites, dismayed his
subjects by outrages the most licentious, and by cruelties the most
revolting. The instance mentioned by Pius II. is that he had one of
his pages, who had neglected to provide lights at the proper hour,
enveloped in sear-cloth coated with combustibles, and then setting
fire to his head, left him to the horrors of a lingering agony.

The account transmitted to us by his apologists mingles pity with our
blame. They say that, desirous of suitably regulating his government,
he listened to the silver-toned suggestions of his crafty and covetous
neighbour, the Lord of Rimini, by whose advice he employed, as
confidential ministers, Manfredi Pio da Carpi, and Tomaso Agnello da
Rimini, men selected by Sigismondo as fitting instruments for his
ruin. That, acting upon the instructions of their principal, these
agents by precept and example debased the mind and corrupted the
morals of the young prince, with the view of rendering his person and
rule odious, and of accelerating a popular revolution, which might
peril his life, or, at least, place his territories within the grasp
of Malatesta. That in prosecution of this diabolical plot, they
promoted loathsome orgies and shameless debaucheries, until the
leading citizens, indignant at the dishonour which daily violated
their domestic circles, rose at the instigation of Serafius, a
physician whose handsome wife had been seduced by Manfredi. In the
riot which followed, the two favourites and their master met a
tragical end, and their bodies were exposed to nameless atrocities;
but whether the popular vengeance was equally merited by, and
inflicted upon the three, or whether the Duke was accidentally slain
without being involved in these disgraceful malpractices, is a point
likely to remain at issue. It would seem probable, however, from this
passage of an old chronicle transcribed in the Oliveriana Library,
that political discontent had a part in the rising: "On the 22nd of
July, 1444, at lauds [three o'clock a.m.], Oddantonio was slain in his
own hall, and along with him his familiar servants Manfredo de' Pii
and Tomaso da Rimini; and forthwith the people of Urbino in one voice
called for Signor Federigo, who at once took possession of the state.
On the 1st of August, public proclamation was made of the abolition of
imposts and of the assize of salt, and all penalties were
remitted."[*49] The same writer speaks vaguely of previous intestine
broils, slaughters, and alarms, with other symptoms of feeble
government, all indicating considerable disorganisation in the duchy,
of which the Malatesta and Bartolomeo Colleone availed themselves to
harass its frontiers.[50]

[Footnote *49: The chronicle of Gubbio (MURATORI, _R.I.S._, XXI., 982)
speaks of Oddantonio's death happening on 22 July, "ob violatum
pudicitiam feminarum," as the author of the _Annali di Forlì_,
_R.I.S._, XXII., 222, writes. It is recorded that he left debts of
many thousands of ducats to the Count, his brother, "per soperchierie
e trascurate spese, fatte in quel poco di tempo che egli aveva
governato." GRAZIANI, however, the supposed author of the Perugian
chronicle published under his name, who, as Prof. OSCAR SCALVANTI has
demonstrated (_Boll. per l'Umbria_, vol. IV., p. 57 _et seq._), is not
the author, but rather Antonio dei Guarneglie, followed by Pietro
Angelo di Giovanni, says in his _Cronaca della Città di Perugia_ that
Oddantonio was murdered on 21 July, on Tuesday evening, at the sixth
hour of the night, which I take to be about two o'clock on the morning
of 22 July. He gives a long and circumstantial account of his murder.
The _Chronicle of Rimini_, _R.I.S._, XV., 948, names the protonotary
and one of the three other friends whom "Graziani" says fell with him.
They were Manfredo da Carpi and Tomasso di Ser Guidicino da Arimino.
"Graziani," who doubtless wrote from hearsay, says he was killed
because "non aveva rispetto a persona e che quando glie piaceva una
giovane, o zitola o maritata che fusse, se ne voleva cavare la voglia.
Et el conte Guido suo padre fo tutto el contrario." The usual cries
rang through the city: "Morto è il signore! Viva la Chiesa e viva el
populo!" See _Arch. St. Ital._, ser. I., tom. XVI., parte I., p. 552
_et seq._ While fully admitting Sigismondo Malatesta to be capable of
any cunning, I do not think we have any evidence against him here. The
Malatesti were the enemies of the Montefeltri, and the latter, with
their subjects, were afraid of Sigismondo, already a very brilliant
soldier. Cf. MARCOLINI, _St. d. Prov. di Pesaro e Urbino_ (Pesaro,

[Footnote 50: In another chronicle, the immediate provocation to this
fell outrage is thus tersely stated: "The Duke was slain by the
citizens because he had little respect for their wives by night or by
day." Sanzi has deleted a portion of his poem, and the substituted
passage gives the version we have adopted, passing lightly over the
manner in which the victims met their death.]

[Illustration: _Alinari_


_After the picture by Pisanello in the Morelli Gallery, Bergamo_]

There were tinges of peculiar sadness in the gloomy fate which thus
overtook this unhappy youth. In the preceding summer he had been
betrothed to Isotta, daughter of Nicolò Marquis of Ferrara, and but
three months before his death, had attended the nuptials of her
brother Leonello. On that occasion he spent fifteen days in joyous
excitement, preluding, as he hoped, similar festivities in his own
honour. After the piazza of Ferrara had glittered with a gallant show
of chivalrous exercises, and had witnessed the semi-religious pageant
of St. George's triumph over the dragon, it was, as if by magic,
converted into a forest-scene, studded with goodly oaks amid a thick
jungle of underwood, the haunt of numerous wild animals. Upon these
the sportsmen wrought their pleasure, until the place was strewed with
bodies of bullocks, steers, wild boars, and goats. As a test of the
attendant good cheer, we have a return of provender consumed,
amounting to 2000 oxen, 40,000 pairs of fowls, pheasants and pigeons
without number, 20,000 measures of wine, and 2000 _moggie_ of grain,
besides 15,000 pounds of sweetmeats, and 12,000 of wax candles.[51] On
the conclusion of festivities congenial to his tastes, but ill-suited
to his impending fate, the young Duke lingered in dalliance with his
bride, returning home only the eve of the fatal night which summoned

     "From that unrest which men miscal delight."

[Footnote 51: _Diario Ferrarese_, in _R.I.S._, XXIV., 194.]

It remains doubtful whether his own marriage was ever completed, as
supposed by Litta, but Isotta's cup was fully charged with bitters.
During the festive celebration of her after nuptials with one of the
Frangipani, the partner and lover of her maid of honour fell dead in
the dance, an evil omen too fully realised in domestic dissensions
which soon sent her back to her brother's court.

The Duke was buried in the church of S. Francesco, but his remains are
said to have been subsequently removed to the chapter-house of that
convent. In a neglected cloister leading from the church, there may
still be seen two monuments bearing the Montefeltro arms, one of
which, canopied by light columns of spiral Gothic, has a stork,
holding in its mouth a scroll.[*52] Here probably was the ill-fated
Oddantonio's tomb; the nameless dead to whom the other was dedicated
may have been his grandfather, Count Antonio, or the Countess
Rengarda, both of whom were interred in these precincts, where their
graves were opened and identified in 1634.

[Footnote *52: The other in the sacristy is the _Flagellation_ with
the Duke's portrait on the right; it is the work of Piero della

There is little inducement to dwell on the few notices remaining of
one whose character and fate merit no sympathy. Yet among a rich store
of letters from the Montefeltrian princes to the government of Siena,
we have selected two written by Oddantonio in Italian; one is
characteristic, the other calculated to throw a more favourable light
upon his disposition.

     "To our very noble and well beloved, the Podestà, Priors,
     and Vice-counts of Siena.

     "Mighty and potent Lords, dearest Fathers; After
     commendations: Having heard that, in your magnificent city,
     stakes will shortly be run for, I should have much pleasure
     in sending to it one of my racers;[*53] but understanding
     that there are reprisals between your magnificent community
     and the illustrious lord, my lord father, I beg you, for my
     protection and security, to let me have by the bearer, whom
     I send on purpose, a safe conduct in such ample form as your
     magnificences may think fit, on whose singular favour I
     rely, ever recommending myself to your lordships. From
     Urbino, the 10th of November, 1439. Your magnificences' son,


[Footnote *53: For all that concerns the races in Siena see WILLIAM
HEYWOOD, _Palio and Ponte_ (Methuen, 1904), esp. p. 85 _et seq._]

     "Our noble and beloved;

     "Though we should wish to write you things pleasant and
     consolatory, we must lay before you what our Lord God has
     ordered; and although you ought to participate in all our
     circumstances, whether prosperous or adverse, yet it is with
     grief and much bitterness of heart that we inform you how it
     has been the will of our Lord God to call to himself the
     soul of our lord and father, who passed from this miserable
     life on the 20th instant, between nine and ten at night
     [_i.e._ about half-past three a.m. of the 21st], before
     Thursday morning. And his death occurred in the course of
     nature, from the violence of fever, the proper sacraments of
     the Church having first been received as became a faithful
     Christian, with the utmost humility, contrition, and
     devotion, and having disposed in due form of his own
     affairs, and those of his children and state, and all his
     other concerns. I feel assured that you will be as much
     vexed and grieved at this event in mind and heart as myself;
     and this with reason, for the misfortune and severe loss is
     yours as much as mine, and keeping in view his worth,
     excellence, and good conduct, and the affection he bore you,
     I may say it specially touches you. In whose steps we shall
     do our best to tread, by a conduct at once satisfactory to
     you, and beneficial to our state, as to this city and
     people, and the others that we have to govern, that so you
     may be satisfied with our future conduct, and constrain
     yourselves to conform to the will of our Lord God, and be
     comforted. And we pray you to do thus, and to regard the
     welfare of this city and of our state as recommended to you,
     to which effect we firmly rely upon you. And by help of
     God's grace and the good advices of our said lord and
     father, with the counsel and aid of worthy friends, and our
     own right intentions, matters will go on well and to your
     satisfaction. If we have been [tardy] in advising you of
     these things, do not be astonished, as this was done
     advisedly and for good purpose.


     "Urbino, the 24th February, 1443."

It does not distinctly appear whether the dignity of Duke was merely
personal, or limited to the heirs male of Oddantonio's body. At all
events it must have lapsed on his death, as it was not only dropped by
his successor in the state, but Count Federigo, even after his new
creation, called himself "first" Duke; in this he was followed by his
descendants down to Francesco Maria II., the last of the race, who
alone designated himself sixth Duke, counting from Oddantonio.[*54]

[Footnote *54: Oddantonio seems to have strongly disliked Federigo,
his father's natural son. He would not suffer him to live at Urbino.
The Duke was to have married Cecilia Gonzaga, but preferred at the
last moment Isotta d'Este, thinking she would be more likely to give
him an heir and so exclude Federigo. See TARDUCCI, _Cecilia Gonzaga ed
Oddantonio di Montefeltro_ (Mantova, 1897). Violante, Federigo's
half-sister, renounced her part of the heritage of her father in
documents preserved in Arch. Centrale di Firenze (Carte d'Urbino,
Cartapecore Laiche, Nos. 180 and 209), printed by MADIAI in _Le
Marche_, vol. III., pp. 125-32.]




     The birth of Count Federigo--Condition of Italy--His
     marriage and only military service--The Malatesta, his
     inveterate foes--He takes S. Leo--Is invested with

With Federigo, successor of Duke Oddantonio, commences the proper
subject of these volumes, but we are met by a preliminary difficulty
as to his birth and parentage, which has baffled many of his
biographers. It would be useless, as well as tedious, to enumerate and
examine the host of conflicting and often inconsistent authorities on
this vexed question.[55] The amount of blundering and contradiction to
which it has given rise is scarcely conceivable, considering that most
of our authorities either frequented the court of Urbino during his
own and his son's time, or had access to contemporary documents. Seven
separate theories have found supporters:--1. That Federigo was son of
Count Guidantonio, born in wedlock; 2. That he was his natural, but
legitimated son; 3. That he was his natural son, passed off as the
child of his first wife Rengarda, after a pretended pregnancy; 4. That
he was son of Bernardino della Carda and his wife Anna, sister of
Count Guidantonio, adopted by the latter whilst he had no son; 5. That
he was their son, passed off as the child of Countess Rengarda; 6.
That he was their son, passed off as a natural child of Guidantonio;
7. That being their son, and Anna or Aura being daughter of
Guidantonio, he was adopted or passed off as son of the latter,
though, in fact, his grandson.[56] It would follow that he might have
been either nephew, brother-in-law, or son of Bernardino. All doubt on
this subject is set at rest by a formal legitimation from Martin V.,
of 22nd December, 1424, which I discovered in the Archivio Diplomatico
at Florence, in favour of Federigo, as son of Guidantonio by a maiden
of Urbino. This document is alluded to by Galli, Reposati, and others;
but its existence has been often denied, notwithstanding the almost
equally valid evidence of that Count's testament quoted by Riposati,
wherein, failing his lawful sons, he substitutes his "legitimate son"
Federigo as his universal heir.

[Footnote 55: LAZZERINI, in his _Memorie Storiche dei Conti di
Urbino_, has discussed without exhausting them in fifty folio pages.
The magnificent work by Count Pompeo Litta is marred by adopting the
theory of an Ubaldini descent for Duke Federigo. See his notice of
Emilia Pio da Carpi, wife of Count Antonio di Montefeltro.]

[Footnote 56: The merit of another, and apparently an original
conjecture, belongs to Sismondi, who makes him the adulterous son of
Bernardino, by one of Guidantonio's wives. For this there is no
authority whatever; indeed, this historian, by confounding Guidantonio
with his son, and omitting Oddantonio entirely, has utterly confused
the family and history of Urbino. We have formerly set down Aura as
daughter of Guidantonio, on authority of a licence from Nicholas V.
for Federigo, his wife, and his sister Aura, to choose a confessor,
quoted by Gallo Galli, and also in the MS. of Muzio (Vat. Urb. MSS.,
No. 1011), which is much fuller than the printed edition. Thus also
Giovanni Sanzi, father of the painter Raffaele, in his rhyming
chronicle of Federigo's life, which we shall frequently have to quote
(Vat. Ottobon. MSS., No. 1305), and shall examine in our twenty-fifth
chapter, says of him,--

     "But others call this admirable flower
     Grandson of Guidantonio, being child
     Of that count's daughter, whose exalted name
     Is dear to virtue, Bernardino's wife
     Of th' Ubaldini."]

It is very remarkable that the filiation of Federigo to the Ubaldini
is adopted by a majority of those writers who lived under him and his
son, giving colour to a conjecture that it may have been encouraged at
their court as masking the flaw in their pedigree. This, however, is
but an unsatisfactory explanation. His character and brilliant
distinctions could well dispense with the honours of birth; and in
this century, bastardy, so far from inferring a blot on the princely
escutcheons of Italy, or presenting a bar to sovereignty, seemed, as
in the dynasties of Este and Scala, as well as in the Malatesta,
already referred to, to constitute a preference. But in order to
explain his special affection for the Ubaldini, it has been supposed
that his mother was of that stock, and that he was at first brought up
by them, in deference to the jealousy of Countess Rengarda. This
motive soon ceased by her death, when the infant was received and
cherished in his father's palace.

       *       *       *       *       *

FEDERIGO DI MONTEFELTRO is generally said to have been born on the 7th
of June, 1422, and the earliest incident of his childhood was his
premature betrothal.[*57] The mountain-land from whence spring the
Metauro and the Foglia, including some of the loftiest Apennine
summits, was then called Massa Trabaria, and had been long held in
fief by the Brancaleoni. Mercatello was the petty metropolis of some
twenty townlets which obeyed Bartolomeo, the last male of that race.
Art has given to his merits a record withheld by history, and the few
travellers who visit the church of S. Francesco in that town, a very
shrine of local æsthetics, will pause to admire his Gothic tomb,
beautiful even through its disguise of recent whitewash, and to read
this touching epitaph:--"Joanna Aledusia during her life erected this
monument of affection to Bartolomeo Brancaleone, prince of this place,
her most faithful husband, and to herself." This lady was born an
Alidosio of Imola, and being left with an only daughter, Martin V., to
whom the fief had lapsed, conferred its interim administration upon
Count Guidantonio of Urbino, as rector, with promise of a new
investiture to his son Federigo, on condition of his marriage with the
orphaned Gentile. They were accordingly affianced ere the
boy-bridegroom had completed his eighth year, and the spouses were
brought up together under the fond and judicious tutelage of the Lady

[Footnote *57: Federigo was born in Gubbio, where he remained for two
years, and on 2 December, 1437, was there solemnly betrothed to
Gentile Brancaleoni. On the question of the birth of Federigo, see
REPOSATI, _op. cit._, tom. I., p. 136, and UGOLINI, _op. cit._, tom.
I., p. 221. I take this opportunity of referring the reader behind all
the later lives of Federigo to what is probably the first, the codex
Vatic. Urbin. 1010. It is a codex _cartaceo_ in folio bound in
parchment measuring 0·32 × 0·21 of 107 pages. It is written by many
hands, and is rich in marginal notes probably by Bernardino Baldi. It
is entitled, _Commentarj della vita et gesti dell'invittessimo
Federico duca d'Urbino raccolti et scritti da Pierantonio Paltroni da
Urbino_. GUIDO ZACCAGNINI has written a commentary on this MS. in _Le
Marche_, fasc. I., ann. IV., pp. 8-33 (Fano, 1904). Cf. also MADIAI,
_F. da M. nella Relaz. coi Parenti_ in _Le Marche_ (Fano, 1903), vol.
III., pp. 114 _et seq._; G. ZANNONI, _Federico II., di Montefeltro e
G.A. Compano_, in _Atti della R. Accademia delle Scienze di Torino_.
See also F. MADIAI, _Pierantonio Paltroni e B. Baldi biografi di
Federico da Montefeltro_, in _Le Marche_, fasc. V.-VI., ann. II.
(Fano, 1902).]

       *       *       *       *       *

The return of the popes to Rome was the beginning of a new act in the
great drama of Italian mediæval history. Deserting their proper
capital, they had left it for above a century a prey to faction,
strife, and rapine, which there was no authority to control, nor any
holier influence to modify. The example of such disorganisation spread
through the Peninsula, and aggravated dissension in all its cities. In
absence of the papal court, the gloom of a dark age again brooded over
the ecclesiastical states, for the few sparks of learning had been
carried by emigrant churchmen to Provence. But, with its restoration,
Rome became once more the metropolis of Christendom, and Italy began
to feel that kindling glow, which, radiating from its centre,
disseminated the cheering light and healthful flush of knowledge and
civilisation over the globe. In one respect, however, and that a
material one, was the position of the papacy altered. The protracted
scandal of recent repeated schisms had shaken men's reliance on its
infallibility; the fierce bickerings between popes and anti-popes,
hurling anathemas and bandying abuse, had raised in the spectators a
doubt if their cause could be more sacred than their weapons. The
days when an emperor would hold the stirrup for a successor of St.
Peter were passed away. Nor were affairs altogether satisfactory as
regarded the domestic security of the latter. The dread of again
losing their sovereign court formed a convenient check upon the
factious citizens of Rome; but the barons of the Campagna were
restless neighbours and turbulent vassals, and though the Gaetani and
Frangipani were no longer formidable, the Savelli, the Orsini, and the
Colonna by turns carried fire and sword into each other's holdings, or
scoured the streets of Rome itself in their forays. To assert an
effectual jurisdiction over the province immediately surrounding their
capital, and to maintain their waning influence abroad, became the two
great objects of successive pontiffs during the fifteenth century: one
of these was perhaps a painful necessity, the other originated a
policy ruinous to Italy; both occasioned frequent appeals to carnal
weapons, pregnant with mischief to the Holy See.

Among many anomalies in the papacy, was the inverse ratio of its
foreign influence and its domestic strength. Even whilst Rome and its
vicinity had been most lawless, whilst the authority of popes in
preceding centuries had been most fettered by faction, or most exposed
to seditious outrage, their spiritual sway attained its height, and
was acknowledged over Christendom without question. The reason is
obvious. The religious spirit of the age bowed to ecclesiastical
domination, while the factious temperament of the Romans fretted under
all restraints of order. After their long exemption from the personal
control of the popes, it became more than ever requisite to curb these
feverish citizens, and to break down their robber noblesse: we shall
hereafter see by what unscrupulous means, and at how great a sacrifice
of character, this was finally effected by Alexander VI. But the
popedom, whose unity had been rudely shaken by schism and absence,
began, after its return to Rome, to suffer manifest inroads from the
extension of their political individualities by the chief states of
Europe. In order to maintain itself against this new tendency, it had
recourse to a like policy; it sought by temporal aggrandisement to
compensate the decay of spiritual authority. During its antecedent
struggles with the empire, the cause of the Church had been that of
freedom, its rallying cry the watchword of liberty. In those days its
successes were hailed as a boon by the communes of Italy. Even the
feudatories, whose jurisdiction had grown up under shelter of the
imperial name, were glad to confirm their title by enrolling
themselves as vassals of the Holy See. But when the successors of St.
Peter began to develop ulterior aims,--when they descended into the
arena of mere political ambition, and sought to aggrandise their
territorial dominion by intrigue and arms,--a marked reaction took
place. The princes and republics of the Peninsula stood on their
defence against a new power of discord, the most fickle in its policy,
the most unscrupulous in its expedients, that they had yet been called
to resist. The ultra-montane nations pressed on to cope with or to
conquer those degenerate Vicars of Christ, who, abandoning their high
calling as shepherds and pacificators of Christendom, became its

The rapid sketch which we have given in our first chapter of the
seigneuries and communities of Central Italy may suffice to exhibit
the general condition of Umbria, the March of Ancona, and Romagna as
far as the Po. In Tuscany, democratic institutions had taken deeper
root, among a population addicted rather to arts than to arms, and
preferring wealth earned by industry and commercial enterprise to the
precarious glory and profits of the sword. Their peaceful habits
permitted capital to accumulate; its increase gave them a stake in its
security; leisure and consequent intelligence enabled them to mature
ideas of liberty beyond those of neighbouring states. It was in
Florence especially that a more perfect system of municipal
institutions established communal freedom upon a firmer basis, which,
amid the ceaseless convulsions of domestic factions, and even through
the long atrophy of later Medicean domination, has preserved for that
city a political and intellectual pre-eminence, finely acknowledged by
old Sanzi in his exclamation,

     "For to curtail fair Florence of her freedom,
     Were to pluck forth an eye from Italy,
     And cause her orb to wane."

In the adjacent commonwealths of Pisa, Lucca, and Siena, similar
results sprang from somewhat analogous causes, although they were from
time to time, in the words of Dante,

     With tyrants, and a great Marcellus made
     Of any petty factious villager,"

until, by degrees encroached on by their more powerful neighbour, they
were finally absorbed in the state which owned the Arno's queen as its

[Footnote *58: Lucca was never absorbed. It is true she was sold to
Florence, but the City of the Lily could never get her. Cf. Ammirato,
Muratori, Sismondi.]

Lombardy was no longer the emporium whence commercial wealth
circulated over Europe, but her cities, surrounded by plains of
unequalled fertility, gave no signs of decay, her universities were
crowded by transalpine students. She had fully realised the stinging
reproaches of Alighieri,--

                       "Thy living ones
     In thee abide not without war, and one
     Malicious gnaws another, ay, of those
     Whom the same wall and the same moat contain;"

but her Ezzelino and Can della Scala were no more, and many of her
petty principalities had been merged in the wide-spreading duchy of
Milan, or the mainland conquests of Venice. The Lion of St. Mark was
in the ascendant during the fifteenth century, and, though we have no
occasion to follow the fleets of Venice as they spread terror among
the Turks, we shall in due time find her terra-firma policy
complicating the relations and hampering the diplomacy of Italy.
Naples, long exposed to the calamities of a disputed succession, which
we shall hereafter explain, endured the feeble sway of the notorious
Joanna II., by whose death in February, 1435, the crown passed to
Alfonso V.,--notwithstanding her death-bed recognition of the claims
of the first Angevine dynasty, then represented by the good King René
of Provence,--and the dynasty of Aragon was continued by his
illegitimate descendants until the close of this century.

Having thus endeavoured in a few pages to exhibit the condition of
those Italian states with which our narrative will have to do during
the life of Federigo, we must resume its interrupted thread. Martin V.
was succeeded in 1431 by Eugene IV., a noble of Venice, who, eager to
undo the favours bestowed by Martin on his own relations, sought a
quarrel with the Colonna and their adherents, including the Count of
Urbino. This misunderstanding was patched up by mediation of the
Venetian signory, upon an interchange of hostages, among whom was
included Federigo. It thus became necessary for him to repair to
Venice, where he was received in the college or council, and acquitted
himself so well that the Doge, Francesco Foscari, foretold his rise to
great eminence in after life. The favourable opinion thus formed was
daily confirmed by his engaging manners, and he conciliated the noble
youths, who admitted him into their fashionable and very select club
or fraternity of the _calze_, or hose, so called from their
uniform.[59] The plague having appeared, he was permitted by the
Doge, after a residence of fifteen months, to retire to the court of
Mantua, then presided over by the Marquis Gian Francesco Gonzaga,
whose marriage with a Malatesta connected him with both the wives of
our Count Guidantonio. His welcome there was cordial and
distinguished, and during two years he enjoyed advantages which
beneficially influenced his after life. In the Marquis's children he
found fellow-pupils as well as playmates, and, under their father's
eye, was taught the theory of war and the practice of military
exercises, until he became one of the most skilful swordsmen and
equestrians of his day.

[Footnote 59: It consisted of a tight pantaloon, fantastically
party-coloured, and a device distinguishing it from similar clubs. The
members associated together for festive and social purposes, which
were freely indulged in at the election or marriage of a brother of
the hose, and they wore mourning for four days on the death of any one
of their number.]

But it was to the tuition of Vittorino de' Rambaldoni da Feltre[*60]
that we may ascribe his progress in those tastes and accomplishments,
for which in his person and that of his son, Urbino became eminent.
This Vittorino was excelled in learning by few of his contemporaries,
and none of them equalled his reputation as an instructor of youth. He
was born at Feltre in 1378, and sent to the university of Padua. After
completing, under Giovanni da Ravenna, the training in grammar,
dialectics, and philosophy which then constituted the basis of a
liberal education, he learned Greek from the famous Guarino of Verona.
His powerful mind being attracted to mathematics, and finding his
means unable to command the instructions of Pelacane of Parma, he
proffered the most menial services about his person, in hopes of
picking up some crumbs of knowledge in his service. But the mercenary
professor was not to be melted without gold, and the poor student was
left to struggle unaided with the difficulties of exact science, until
he thoroughly mastered its truths. It was in 1425 that the Marquis of
Mantua induced him to move, with his already celebrated school, to
that capital, for the purpose of teaching his children. The lessons of
Vittorino were well bestowed on the young princes of Gonzaga, but
especially on their sister Cecilia, whose name is not least remarkable
among those prodigies of female learning produced in the Italian
courts of that age. When but ten years old she wrote Greek with
singular purity, and her life of celibacy was devoted to literature.

[Footnote *60: On Vittorino da Feltre, see ROSMINI, _V. da Feltre_
(1845), and Prof. WOODWARD, _V. da Feltre_.]

The peculiarity of Vittorino's system was its extending the field of
his labours beyond the mere scholastic tuition of his time. Without
neglecting the severer studies, he varied them by light
accomplishments, and relaxations of person and mind which proved alike
healthful to both, such as music and drawing, horsemanship, fencing,
and all manly exercises. Its success was testified by an influx of
pupils from transalpine and oriental lands, as well as from every
state in Italy. These for the most part resided in his house, under
the immediate influence of his training and example, which were not
less admirably calculated for inculcating high moral excellence, than
for the development and direction of genius. A man of more simple
tastes, winning manners, and pure life was rarely found, and, by a
happy blending of rigid discipline with mild temper, his influence was
beneficially extended over even the least ductile of his flock. At his
board, the rich acquired habits of frugality, the poor were welcomed
with generous consideration. Careless of worldly gain, his earnings
were freely spent in providing for their wants, and at his death in
1447, he left not enough for his funeral. No work remains from his
pen, but he has given ample proof of his influence on the age, in the
eminent names that issued from his academy, to illustrate Italian
letters, either as sovereigns or savants. A beautiful and rare medal
of him by Pisanello presents a fine allegory: the pelican baring its
bosom to feed its little ones happily suggests the unwearying
self-sacrifices of a conscientious instructor, whilst the legend
designates him as father of all human studies. Sanzi's tribute to his
character is at once happy and just:--

     "Brilliant his powers of thought, unmatched his zeal,
     For science in her varied walks: his life
     And manners holy; yet on gentle crafts
     And joyous themes right heartily intent."


_From a bronze medal by Pisanello_]


_From a medal by Pisanello in the British Museum_]

In the autumn of 1432, the Emperor Sigismund, while returning from his
coronation at Rome, was entertained by Count Guidantonio with
magnificent hospitalities at Gubbio[*61] and Urbino, and bestowed
knighthood both on the Count and his son Oddantonio.[*62] On reaching
Mantua, he conferred the like honour on the Gonzaga princes, and
extended it to their guest the young Federigo, who was recalled home
whenever his father had been restored to a good intelligence with the
Pontiff. His marriage was celebrated on the 2nd of December, 1437,
after he had completed his fifteenth year, and he at once entered upon
the government of his wife's paternal fief.

[Footnote *61: Guidantonio entertained many potentates in Gubbio,
among them, on September 24, Pope Martin V., who was housed in the
Palazzo Beni. Cf. LUCARELLI, _Memorie e Guida di Gubbio_ (Capi, 1888).
The Emperor was received with great magnificence not in the autumn of
1432, but in August, 1433. Cf. GUERRIERO, _op. cit._ (_supra_, note 1,
p. 22); R. REPOSATI, _op. cit._, vol. I., p. 141.]

[Footnote *62: It is instructive to notice that the Emperor also
conferred knighthood a few days later in Rimini on Sigismondo
Malatesta and his brother Novello. Sigismondo was born in 1417, and
was christened Gismondo. Cf. CLEMENTINI and BATTAGLINI. The Emperor,
in knighting him, bade him take his own name. Thus Gismondo became
Sigismondo. This becomes of great importance later to his history. The
family badge of the Malatesti was the elephant (complete); the
elephant's head _échancré_ was the family crest. Neither was ever a
charge in the arms of the family. But for a century before
Sigismondo's time the rulers of Rimini had been in the habit of
placing an initial or monogram in the second and third quarters of the
family arms. The first known date of this use by Sigismondo of SI is
1445, and this has caused it to be confused by all writers on the
subject with the name of Isotta his mistress, later his third wife,
whom he met about this time. The SI, say they, stands for
Sigismondo-Isotta. It does not; it stands for Sigismondo, as I think I
have shown. Of course, I am sure Sigismondo was only too delighted to
find that his monogram embraced the initial letter of his Love. There
is good evidence to show that this was the popular belief after
Polissenas's death in 1449; but that is very different indeed from any
assertion that he actually placed the "I" in the family coat for love
of Isotta. If such a prince could do such a thing, I will believe with
John Addington Symonds that he murdered a wife whom he never married.
I may end this long note with a word or two on the use of the plural
Malatesti. There are many excellent authorities for it, among them
Clementini, Battaglini, and d'Annunzio, to say nothing of Villani and
the chroniclers of Rimini. It is indeed a question for a pedant.
However, the form, to be just, is Florentine, and arose in this
manner, maybe. The Florentine family name was primarily a genitive.
Rainiero, the son, called himself Rainiero Rainiero; Rainiero, son of
Rainiero; Rainierus, Rainieri. The Latin genitive being the same as
the nominative plural, all the family became Rainieri. This, however,
presupposes a nominative singular in _us_. Were the nominative in _a_,
the system would not work: Malatesta--Malatestae. In order to twist it
into Florentine shape it was necessary to insert the preposition _de_,
thus: Malatesta--de Malatestis, and then to drop the final _s_. This
sounds excellent enough; but what if the plural is as natural after
all as an English plural would be in its place: Smith--the Smiths;
Rainiero--i Rainieri; Malatesta--i Malatesti?]

In an age when society consisted of those who fought, those who
wrought, and those who prayed, the young Count of Mercatello belonged
to the first of these classes, and the duty now devolved upon him of
carrying into practice those lessons of warfare which had varied the
routine of his more abstruse studies. Under the military system which
we have already explained, he had to choose what free captain he would
serve with, until experience should qualify him to raise an
independent banner. The condottieri then of greatest name were Nicolò
Piccinino and Francesco Sforza, names which will soon be familiar to
our pages. The first of these was of birth so humble as to own no
other surname than that conferred on him in ridicule of his tiny
stature, and appears to have been equally destitute of those varied
talents and enlarged views which enabled several of his contemporaries
to consolidate and transmit the power gained by their swords. But
though unworthy of historic fame,[*63] his dwarfish body contained a
daring and indomitable spirit, which, after considerable service under
Braccio di Montone, the first general of his age, was rewarded with
the hand of his niece; and, notwithstanding the blame of occasioning
his defeat and death at the Lake of Celano in 1424, Nicolò kept
together his veterans, obtaining, as leader of that gallant band, a
reputation of which his own qualities were unworthy. Yet he was unable
to cope with Francesco Sforza, whose first service had been under
Joanna II. of Naples, but who after having, in 1441, won from Filippo
Maria Visconti, rather by fear than favour, the hand of his natural
daughter Bianca Maria,[*64] eventually established himself as his
successor in the duchy of Milan.

[Footnote *63: Which among the condottieri is worthy of what
Dennistoun seems to regard as only to be bestowed on the best of men?
However, he is wrong about Piccinino. Of all the Bracceschi, he alone
was an honourable man. Gaspare Broglio, one of Sigismondo Malatesta's
captains, gives him the fifth place among the soldiers of Italy; after
Carmagnuolo, Francesco Sforza, Sigismondo himself, and Federigo of
Urbino. A fine fighter, an excellent strategist, it was his weakness
to be true to his master. And then he was what Sforza never was, nor
could the dukedom of Milan make him--a gentleman. Cf. EDWARD HUTTON,
_Sigismondo Malatesta_ (Dent, 1906), _passim_, and G. CAMPANO e G.B.
POGGIO, _Vite di Braccio Fortebraccio e di Nic. Piccinino Perugini_
(Perugia, 1636).]

[Footnote *64: Bianca Maria was promised and withheld from Sforza many
times. At the beginning of the third war with Venice, which ended in
1432, the Emperor Sigismund came into Italy, and to Milan first, to
receive the Iron Crown. It was on this occasion that Sforza was first
betrothed to Bianca Maria Visconti, just then eight years old. At the
date of their wedding--they had not met between--she was only
seventeen, yet I suppose this to have been none too early for an
Italian girl of the fifteenth century. Sforza was forty. A curious
panegyric on the bride will be found in SABADINO G., _Gynevra de la
clare donne_ (_Scelta di curiosità letterarie inedite o rare
Dispensa_, 223, Bologna, 1888). And see C.M. ADY, _Milan under the
Sforza_ (Methuen, 1907), pp. 18 and 24-5.]

The Council of Basle, opened in July, 1431, to concert measures for
extirpation of the Bohemian heresy, had occupied itself in reforming
alleged abuses in the Church and the papal prerogatives. A collision
with Eugene IV. was the natural result, when he fled to Florence,
leaving his state a prey to Sforza, Piccinino, the Colonna, and other
military adventurers. As the best means of bridling these bandits, he
bribed the first of them to turn his arms against the others, by
offering him the vicariate of La Marca,

                       "That land
     Which lies between Romagna, and the realm
     Of Charles."[65]

[Footnote 65: That is, Charles II., king of Naples, when Dante wrote.
See _Purgatorio_, v.]

But by degrees all Italy was involved in the struggle, Alfonso of
Naples, the Florentines, Genoese, and eventually the Venetians,
supporting the Pontiff, whilst Filippo Maria Visconti, the Angevine
party at Naples, and the city of Bologna sided with the Council. In
this war Piccinino led the Milanese army, and among his independent
captains was Bernardino della Carda, who dying in 1437, his company of
800 men-at-arms was divided between his son Ottaviano and the young
Federigo di Montefeltro. In the end of May, 1438, the latter set out
for Piccinino's camp, assisting at the siege of Brescia, and in the
opening of the Lombard war, where the rival generalship of Nicolò and
Sforza was first brought to the test, with results more interesting in
a military than an historical view. It is not to be supposed that
services performed by so youthful a soldier could much influence the
campaign, but they appear to have been approved by his commander.

Guidantonio Manfredi, generally known by the contemptuous abbreviation
of Guidaccio, had been brought up at the court of Urbino, during his
father's temporary banishment from his hereditary fief of Faenza, and
had married a daughter of Count Guidantonio di Montefeltro. In the
division of parties which we have just explained, both these
feudatories adhered to the Milanese, but as their neighbour, the Lord
of Rimini, was at first a partisan of the league, and as Bologna had
but recently thrown off the papal authority, Filippo Maria considered
it advisable to strengthen his forces in Romagna. Federigo was
accordingly ordered to join his brother-in-law Guidaccio, and
acquitted himself creditably in various skirmishes with the Tuscan
troops, under Gianpaolo Orsini. The only personal incident preserved
of this petty war is one to which he was in the habit of alluding,
with something of the superstitious dread that pervades the good
Sanzi's account of it, although its character was rather grotesque
than horrible. Having marched from Faenza in bright moonlight, with a
party of 400 horse on a foraging expedition, a noise like the clashing
of arms was suddenly heard at a distance, which immediately being
repeated close at hand, the troops, with fierce and terrified aspect,
rushed on each other, and for about ten minutes fought and struggled
pell-mell, while their frightened horses, partaking in the panic,
neighed and bolted in all directions. Dawn discovered a scene of
strange confusion; the infantry mounted, the cavalry on foot, many
lying wounded on the ground, not a few horses killed, others with
broken or disordered harness. This senseless alarm was never accounted
for, and was consequently ascribed to diabolical influence.

But he was soon recalled by home interests from under the command of
Guidaccio. The Malatesta, whose descent will be found in the annexed
table, had for some generations held several fiefs in Romagna and the
March of Ancona, and although a bold and warlike race, the usage in
their family of separating its seigneuries among various sons,
legitimate or natural, prevented any of them from acquiring more than
a provincial reputation or influence, until Sigismondo Pandolfo made
himself famous by his struggle with Count Federigo, and by the
memorials of art which embalm his otherwise detested name. The
youngest of three bastard brothers,[*66] he survived to unite their
territories with his own, and although connected with the
Montefeltrian princes by the marriages of his aunt and brother, he
became a bitter enemy to the Count of Urbino. Indeed the latter of
these alliances, which we have noticed at page 48, served to foster
the family feud. Violante di Montefeltro had from Eugene IV. in 1431,
when a mere infant, some form of grant of her native mountain-land in
vicariate, in virtue whereof, and of her assumed rights as heiress of
her nephew Duke Oddantonio, in default of his male issue, a pretended
title was eventually trumped up, in competition with Federigo's
succession,[67] at all events as regarded Montefeltro, some townships
of which had already passed in various ways to the Malatesta, with
whom she intermarried. An incursion upon the territory of Guidantonio,
in the autumn of 1439, accordingly commenced a strife which, with
occasional brief interludes, endured above twenty years, and which
Sanzi thus deplores:--

     "For e'en when fortune crowns the first essays
     Of reckless hardihood, a reckoning hour
     Of rapine, grief, and misery impend.
     Such the destruction which these rival powers
     Reaped from protracted broils and savage war,
     While neighbouring cities, castles, towns, were sacked,
     And high-born chiefs the double risk incurred
     Of death or exile. There, for twice twelve years,
     Italia's flower and might contended, till, in fine,
     To right, by prudence, constancy, and force upheld,
     Heaven gave success; the Eagle gnawed the heart
     Of the great Elephant."[68]

[Footnote *66: I think Dennistoun is wrong here. Galeotto, called _Il
beato_, was the son of Pandolfo Malatesta by Allegra di Mori, and was
born 1411. Sigismondo was his son by Madonna Antonia, and was born in
1417. See BATTAGLINI, _Basini Parenensis Poetæ Opera_ (Arimini, 1744),
vol. II., p. 274; CLEMENTINI, _Raccolto Istorico della Fondatione di
Rimino_ (Rimini, 1617), vol. II., p. 299; and EDWARD HUTTON, _op.
cit._, p. 16. Novello was his son also by Madonna Antonia, and was
born in 1418. Neither of these ladies was Pandolfo's wife. Pandolfo
died before his brother Carlo. On Carlo's death the Malatesta
territory was held in trust for a time by women till Galeotto
succeeded. On his death the same thing happened; but at last
Sigismondo took Rimini when he was fifteen, and Novello had Cesena. It
is true that Novello predeceased Sigismondo, though only by a few
years, but by then Sigismondo was fighting for his life, having lost
everything save Rimini itself. All that Dennistoun says of the
Malatesti is inaccurate and clouded by prejudice.]

[Footnote 67: Bib. Marucelli, MSS. G, No. 308.]

[Footnote 68: The heraldic bearing of the Montefeltri was an imperial
eagle; of the Malatesta an elephant, allusive, perhaps, to the bones
of Hannibal's elephants, said to have been found at the Furlo Pass,
near Fossombrone and Fano, of which they were seigneurs.[*C]]

[Footnote *C: See note *2, page 71, _supra_.]

Had Sigismondo Pandolfo possessed temper and judgment equal to his
courage and ambition, he might have obtained and consolidated a
powerful sovereignty, which his liberal and cultivated tastes would
have rendered glorious in arts as well as arms. But deeply tainted

     "That poison foule of bubbling pride,"

his lofty daring was sustained by no continuous impulse, his
impetuous efforts were crowned by no success; the selfishness of his
political aims was equalled by the vainglorious direction he gave to
art; his energies were wasted in contests with Federigo, a rival
against whom he had neither any just quarrel, nor any chance of
success; his patronage was monopolised by poets who flattered, and
medalists who portrayed himself and his favourite mistress Isotta.

The first foray of Sigismondo into the wild valleys of Montefeltro was
repaid by Federigo, in a successful descent upon the richer
possessions of the Malatesta; but he was checked by a serious wound,
before the petty fortress of Campi, and on his recovery rejoined
Guidaccio. Piccinino, having again changed the seat of war from
Lombardy to Romagna, crossed into Tuscany, and during the summer of
1440, carried on an active but unsuccessful campaign in the upper
valley of the Tiber, till it was closed by his complete defeat at
Anghiari, leaving his baggage and half his army in the hands of the
Florentines. This battle has obtained a singular notoriety, and
affords a valuable test of condottiere tactics, where combats were
interested calculations, not internecine onsets. Machiavelli, the
opponent of that system, asserts that only one man lost his life, out
of some thirty or forty thousand combatants, and he by a fall from his
horse; whilst the largest calculation of slaughter on both sides gives
but seventy killed and six hundred wounded. Federigo was little
interested in that campaign, but ere long found occupation in the
defence of his wife's rights, disputed by Alberigo di Brancaleone.
This pretender had seized on Santa Croce and Montelocco, both of which
the Count recovered in the autumn of 1442, after a severe action,
which first tested his military skill. Sigismondo Pandolfo, having
secretly abetted this onset, was punished by an attack upon S. Leo.

That small city was the capital of Montefeltro, although this honour
has been claimed for Penna di Billi. Its situation is perhaps the most
singular in Europe. In a country whose rugged mountains and
precipitous ravines seem monuments of some tremendous primeval
convulsion, there stand uptossed two isolated pinnacles, the very
obelisks of nature, rising on three sides sheer from the valley. On
the remaining side of each, a narrow and rapidly descending ridge
connects the summit with the surrounding level, affording toilsome and
precarious footing to mules and mountaineers. On either peak, a
fortress commands a cluster of dwellings, nestled wherever the rocky
crest afforded footing, and inhabited by men of iron hearts and stout
sinews. The larger of these is S. Leo, the smaller Maiuolo, and we
shall often have occasion to mention them as the chief strongholds of
Montefeltro, to which they both originally belonged,[*69] though S.
Leo had for some time been possessed by the Malatesta. Its loftiest
pinnacle was crowned, in classic times, by a temple dedicated to
Jupiter Feretrius, affording an easy etymology for Montefeltro: a
later era found it sheltering a Christian hermit, whose ascetic
virtues obtained canonisation, and who left his name to the township
which rose around his cell. During the competition for her crown which
ravaged Italy in the tenth century, and rendered that the most dismal
as well as confused period of her dark ages, S. Leo became the refuge
of King Berengarius, from whence he long defied the arms of his
eventually successful rival Otho the Great: of its protracted siege,
however, in 962-3, no incidents worthy of credit have come down to us.
Its circuit is estimated at two miles, and not the least peculiar of
its phenomena is a spring of excellent water near the summit,
sufficient perennially to supply the mills. The accompanying
engraving, from a sketch taken on the spot, will best convey an
idea of this remarkable site, but we may quote Sanzi's description of
it, and of its surprise by Federigo.[70]

     "A city yonder stands, San Leo hight,
     Whose crest the sky menaces; 'gainst its strength
     No force has e'er prevailed, with scathed cliffs
     And rocks environed, heavenward uprearing
     Its summit, by a single path approached,
     Trod singly by the citizens. Earth holds
     None other deemed impregnable.
     To it the Count his daring aims addressed;
     And, knowing that a rock, which few to scale
     Would venture, jutted midway from the ridge,
     At midnight's murky hour the spot he gained,
     With few but agile comrades, well prepared
     With ladders; then alone and stealthily
     The outposts reconnoitred, slumbering all,
     Like men who knew no fears save from on high.
     Next scaling one by one that arduous rock,
     And reaching thence the level space beyond,
     The town his soldiers entered silently.
     Sudden uprose their cry, with clash of arms,
     And furious blows and crackling flame, the work
     Befitting, whilst the startled garrison,
     Knowing nor whence nor what the sounds,
     No struggle made, but rushed in desperation
     Or here or there, whilst others stood transfixed
     To find themselves befooled. Not more surprised
     Was he who gained the golden fleece, to see
     From the plough's furrow armed men spring forth,
     Than were these luckless denizens to find
     Their stronghold carried in the sudden fray."

[Footnote 69: See UGOLINI, _op. cit._, pp. 4 and 5. S. Leo seems to
have been called at one time Monteferetro. Cf. MARINI, _Saggio di
ragioni della città di S. Leo_ (Pesaro, 1758), and MAZIO, _Relazione a
Urbano VIII., dello stato d'Urbino_ (Roma, 1858).]

[Footnote 70: Views of S. Leo, from other points, will be found in Mr.
GALLY KNIGHT'S _Ecclesiastical Architecture of Italy_, and in COMTE DE
BYLANDT'S _Atlas de Volcans_, where it is rendered subsidiary to the
phenomena developed in that remarkable district.]

[Illustration: _A. Nini, del. A. Marchetti, sculp._


_From a drawing by Agostino Nini_]

A somewhat different account of the means by which S. Leo was taken,
has been adopted by Baldi, from Volpelli's history of that place.[71]
Matteo Grifone, who, from being a miller at S. Angelo in Vado, became
a staunch follower of Count Federigo, and subsequently a general in
the Venetian service, obtained permission to attempt a surprise.
Accompanied by twenty picked men, he, in a dark and rainy night,
gradually made his way to an outpost which he knew to be seldom
occupied, and there left all but one comrade, with whom he effected an
entrance by means of scaling-ladders. Silently and stealthily they two
went from house to house, fastening each door with the chain which
usually hung outside. At dawn, Federigo by concert led his troops to a
feigned assault, to repel which the garrison sallied down the ridge.
Grifone then, hastily admitting his men, closed the gates upon these
skirmishers, and displaying in the piazza eight pair of colours which
he had brought, raised the cry of Feltro! Feltro! The few defenders
left in the citadel, conceiving the town to have been carried, and its
inhabitants (who being barred into their dwellings could offer no
resistance) to have sided with the enemy, surrendered without a blow.
A temporary reconciliation with Sigismondo soon followed, by the
interposition of Francesco Sforza, who gave to Malatesta his natural
daughter Polissena in marriage, as a means of strengthening his hold
on La Marca.

[Footnote 71: Vat. Urb. MSS., No. 928.]

The father of Sforza, whether by birth a peasant or a gentleman, had
owed his fortunes to his sword, which won him wealth and honours in
various Italian states, especially in Romagna and Naples.[*72] His son
succeeded to these honours, as well as to the command of his veterans,
and inherited talents and address of still higher quality. Availing
himself of the enfeebled papacy, and the confusion into which the
ecclesiastical states fell during the contest of Eugenius IV. with
the Council of Basle, he overran La Marca, whilst Fortebraccio menaced
Rome itself. In order to save the latter, Eugenius abandoned the
former to Sforza, with the title of Marquis, and the authority of
Vicar; this bribe was accepted, and the service rendered for it was
the restoration of his supremacy over the rest of the papal territory.
On the death of Joanna of Naples, Francesco Sforza, now the first
soldier of his day, acknowledged René as her successor, and when that
monarch, by withdrawing in 1442, left the kingdom to his rival
Alfonso, Sforza lost his Neapolitan dignities and estates. The
sacrifice was more than compensated by his marriage with the Duke of
Milan's natural daughter; yet for a time this splendid alliance
brought with it no good fruits. Filippo Maria had acceded to it with
indifferent grace, and jealousy of his son-in-law led him, in 1443, to
join Eugenius and Alfonso in a combination for wresting from Francesco
the March of Ancona.

[Footnote *72: Sforza's origin is now proved. The Attendoli were not
peasants, but among the leading families of Cotignola. As early as
1226 an Attendolo was ambassador for the neighbouring town of
Bertinoro in its submission to Bologna. They were a well-known race of
soldiers, it seems. Cf. SOLIERI, _Le origini e la Dominazione degli
Sforza a Cotignola_ (Bologna, 1897), and _ibid._, _L'Antica Casa degli
Attendoli Sforza in Cotignola_ (Ravenna, 1899). Also C.M. ADY, _op.
cit._, p. 3.]

Nicolò Piccinino being again hired to serve against his old enemy,
Count Federigo preferred, after his father's obsequies, joining him
before Monteleone to remaining idle at home, Sanzi assuring us,--

     "That martial practice was his sole desire,
     Ready his guard to mount by night or day,
     And deeming cowardly the love of quiet."

He immediately attended his general to an interview with the King of
Naples at Terracina, embarking at Civita Vecchia; and the impression
made by him on that monarch is thus finely given by the same
chronicler, in language splendid as his reception:--

     "As its bright rays the comet's track precede,
     So the Count's virtues harbingered his way.
     And as Apollo scattering o'er the dawn
     His plumes of gold, along the orient sky,
     E'er he emerges calmly from his couch,
     Bears in his brilliant orb the blazing signs
     Of bounteous disposition: thus the youth
     Round the king's inmost heart himself entwined
     With hope's sweet fillet, and a lodgment made
     Firm as the solid nail in growing tree."[73]

[Footnote 73: The original lines, notwithstanding their antiquated
orthography, so much excel our version, that many readers will gladly
refer to them:--

     "Como a cometa enanze corre el ragio,
       Cusi nel giovin le vertude ancora
       Scorse il senthier del suo illustre viagio:
     E como quando Apollo insu l'Aurora
       Sparge le chiome d'or per l'oriente,
       Mentre tranquillo vien del onde fora,
     Mirava nel suo volto resplendente
       D'un almo invicto segni senza frodi.
       Onde a tal Re quel giovine excellente,
     Cum futura speranza, in dolci nodi
       El cor gli avinse, et poi dentro se fisse,
       Si como in verde pianta saldi chiodi."]

After three days spent in concerting plans for an attack upon La
Marca, Nicolò returned to Tuscany, but Federigo was invited by Alfonso
to remain with him until the campaign should open. Ere long, however,
he rejoined his troops at Viterbo, and, after a foraging march through
the enemy's country, reached Fano just before Sforza, who had for some
time remained there awaiting his Venetian and Florentine contingents,
put Piccinino once more to the rout at Monteluro. Giovanni Sanzi, then
a youth residing at Colbordolo, went forth to see the battle, which he
describes with much spirit:--

     "War's crash and clang were there; the horseman's charge
     With shock impetuous, and with ringing cheers
     That seemed the vaulted sky to scare. There, too,
     Men huddled lay on earth with dismal howls,
     Their drums and spears a booty: some the while
     Encouraging, some eager, some dismayed.
     The very air, with clouds surcharged and dim,
     Seemed wailing for the slaughter of that day,
     Its fierce assaults and sanguinary scenes."

The Count shared not in this defeat, but lent opportune aid to rally
the broken and disorganised troops, and was about this time rewarded
by Eugenius with his promised investiture of the countship of
Mercatello. In July he repaired to the baths of Campagnatico, in the
Maremma, to recruit from an attack of fever, but on his return found
new occupation from the Lord of Rimini.

The grandfather of that seigneur was Galeotto Malatesta, whose
patrimony included Rimini, Faenza, and Fossombrone, and whose elder
brother, Malatesta Malatesta, had transmitted the fief of Pesaro to
his great-grandson Galeazzo. This Galeazzo was a man of feeble parts
and degraded character, altogether unable to maintain his authority
over a disgusted people, or to cope with his bold and ambitious cousin
Sigismondo of Rimini. After the defeat of Monteluro, he had
reluctantly received into Pesaro some of Piccinino's stragglers, and
Sigismondo availed himself of this pretext to persuade his
father-in-law Sforza to seize and make over to him that city. But
Francesco, intent on sustaining his interests in La Marca, soon left
the affair in the hands of Sigismondo, who, although able to overrun
the surrounding country, could make no impression upon the capital,
held by Count Federigo, even after its poor-spirited lord had
withdrawn to Forlì. Thus baffled for eighteen months, the impetuous
Sigismondo, by way of cutting short the contest, sent to Federigo this
insolent challenge:--

     "To the Lord Federigo of Montefeltro, Captain-General of the
     illustrious Count Francesco Sforza.

     "Mighty Lord,

     "Your lordship knows the difference long existing between
     us, and, if you judge rightly, you will perceive the fault
     to lie on your side, not on mine. Patience is no virtue of
     mine, and so far from appearing disposed to amend them, you
     daily multiply your errors. Anew have you written calumnies
     against me to the Court of Rome, and caused ill to be spoken
     of me. I am determined to bear it no longer, but to show,
     with my person against yours, that I am a better man than
     you, for in sooth you are a bad one, and do amiss to affront
     me. I therefore send to you Signor Giovanni da Sassoferrato,
     my chancellor, with full authority to inquire as to the duel
     which by your letter you have already accepted. And although
     Signor Giovanni holds a public instrument of mandate, I
     wished to write this letter as of more ample authority,
     praying that you will accept it: which I feel assured you,
     as the brave man you avow yourself and ought to be, will do;
     and that you will thereupon please to send one of your
     people of weight, informed of your wishes as to the manner,
     time, and place of our fighting, so that all may be settled.
     I have said of weight, that he may be qualified to fix upon
     a place with him whom I shall send, so that we may
     understand each other. And that this your agent may repair
     hither in safety with four horses, this letter will be an
     ample and valid safe conduct for his freely coming, staying,
     and returning. And in case of your refusal, which I do not
     believe, I warn you that I shall proceed against you more or
     less, according to the usual practice, as I may see fit.


     "Rimini, the 21st of February, 1445."

[Footnote 74: _Carteggio inedito d'Artisti_, I., p. 179, from the
Archivio di Urbino at Florence, Lettere, filza 104.]

This cartel was answered as became a high-spirited knight; but, on
reaching the rendezvous under the walls of Pesaro, Federigo was
surprised to find his adversary absent. No explanation appears of this
failure beyond Sanzi's expressive exclamation,--

     "Ah! foul dishonour to the recreant lord!"

and Sigismondo, covered with ridicule, was glad to patch up a truce
with his cousin Galeazzo.[*75]

[Footnote *75: This eloquence is a little stupid. If the _rendezvous_
was "under the walls of Pesaro," already held by Federigo, Sigismondo
would have been indeed a fool to go.]


     Count Federigo succeeds to Urbino and acquires
     Fossombrone--His connection with the Sforza family, whereby
     he incurs excommunication--His campaign in the
     Maremma--Loses his eye in a tournament.

It was during the siege of Pesaro that Federigo heard of the horrible
catastrophe, by which his brother Oddantonio, on the 22nd July, 1444,
atoned the excesses of his brief sovereignty. But this assassination,
the result of a sudden outbreak, indicated no general disloyalty to
the race of Montefeltro. The virtues and moderation of Guidantonio
were fresh in men's minds; Federigo was personally liked, and his
recent feats of arms, under the eyes of his countrymen, were accepted
as first fruits of a growing fame. The fief might indeed be held as
lapsed by the close of the male line, but there were abundant
precedents of reinvestitures to illegitimate successors, and the
citizens of Urbino, shocked at their own outrage, sought to remedy the
past by a prompt return to duty.[*76] Sanzi accordingly tells us that
the factious and blood-thirsty populace wonderfully united in electing
as their seigneur the heroic Federigo, who, meanwhile, informed by the
bishop of the tumult and its results, had repaired to Urbino, where,
on the following day, conditions were formally offered and accepted as
the terms on which he was chosen. The instrument containing the
demands of the people, and his replies to each, will be found in the
Appendix IV., and throws some light upon the extent of popular rights,
and the manner of enforcing them, in the despotic communities of
Italy. Divested of the rude style in which they were expressed, these
concessions were to the following purpose:--

     1. A general amnesty for the recent revolution.[77]

     2. Bimonthly election of the priors of Urbino, with certain
     powers, and with a salary of fifteen ducats.

     3. A new house for the priors.

     4. A reduction of assessments from five and a half to four
     _soldi_ in the _lira_.

     5. Revocation of all donations made posterior to

     6. Similar revocation of immunities and privileges granted
     to the nobility and communes.

     7. Control by the citizens of the watching and warding fees.

     8. Application of a tierce of all escheats to the use of
     public works.

     9. Promise to impose no new taxes, except in urgent

     10. Trimestral elections of the chamberlain.

     11. The notaries acting as clerks of military orders and of
     sentences to be boxed (_imbussolari_) with their salaries
     and perquisites.

     12. Reform of the measures for salt.

     13. Semestral change of the podestà and certain other
     officers, without intervention of the Count.

     14. Appointment of two medical officers bound to attend to
     all ratepayers, their salaries to be charged on the

     15. Similar appointment of a schoolmaster and assistant.

     16. The camp-captains of Urbino to be citizens.

     17. Abolition of recent oppressive tolls, which impede the
     passage of merchants.

     18. Payment to creditors of the two last sovereigns.

     19. Biennial election of two _appassati_[78] for Urbino.

     20. An additional clerk for the priors.

[Footnote *76: I do not quite see what is meant here by "duty." No
such thing as loyalty in our sense, loyalty "to our liege-lord the
king," was, of course, known or even understood in fifteenth-century
Italy. And even if it had been, what "duty" did the Urbinati owe to a
bastard? And again, as we see they "elected" Federigo as the Signore.]

[Footnote 77: This, it is said, was exacted of him on oath, before he
was admitted within the city gate.]

[Footnote 78: _Passatojo_, in Italian, signifies a deduction or
drawback from the pay of soldiers. I am ignorant of the duties of
these functionaries, unless they were commissioners charged with the
adjustment of such claims.]

[Illustration: _Alinari_


_From the XV. Century relief in the Bargello, Florence_]

On the 1st of August proclamation was made of a reduction of imposts,
the regulation of salt measures at thirty-three pounds to the quarter,
and the remission of condemnations. Besides these conditions, Federigo
granted or confirmed to his capital a constitution, which, however,
was rather of a municipal than political character, and which
consisted in two general councils, one composed of thirty-two, the
other of twenty-four, citizens. These preliminaries arranged,
deputations flocked from Gubbio and the other communities to offer
their obedience, and were soon followed by congratulations from
neighbouring powers.

       *       *       *       *       *

The political aspect of Central Italy, and the condition of her
princes, during this century, are thus sketched by a recent
writer:--"Their feeble and unquiet domination was obtained sometimes
by usurpations from rivals, from the people, or from the Church,
sometimes by authority wrested originally from pope or emperor, and
subsequently sanctioned, which was wielded now with more, now with
less, rigour; but all of them were encompassed by a numerous
following, were devoted to the profession of mercenary war, and were
at once the abettors and dreaders of rebellions, ambushes, poisonings.
Various were the vicissitudes of these chiefs. In order to oust a
competitor, they would offer large concessions to the Church or the
populace, and having attained to sovereignty would gradually curtail
these until the community called in another master, to be in like
manner supplanted by a third. In other cases they compromised their
disputes by partitioning cities or principalities. Frequently the
Pontiff would favour one faction in order to put down another, and to
profit by their mutual strife; again, he would elevate a third over
them both, under cloak of freedom. It was, in short, constant wavering
between abuses and concessions, tyranny and licence; the seigneur
intent upon extending his influence, although by dishonest means, the
people prompt to diminish it even to anarchy."[79]

[Footnote 79: CIBRARIO, _Economia Politica del Medio Evo_.]

This description might be justly applied to the Montefeltrian holdings
under most of their early counts, but a brighter day dawned upon the
duchy with Federigo's accession, and Urbino had the singular fortune
during the next hundred and ninety years, and under the sway of two
dynasties numbering five sovereigns, to be equally exempt from
oppression and disorder, from domestic broils and disputed
successions; to be governed by princes not less beloved at home than
respected abroad, whose brows might be graced by olive or laurel,
according to the spirit or the exigencies of the time, but who ever
entwined with it the myrtle wreath.

The policy and manners of Federigo, equally prudent and conciliatory,
confirmed the favourable anticipations previously formed, and are thus
depicted by his contemporary Sanzi:--

     "His flower of youth was bursting into bloom;
     Mild beyond measure, merciful and just,
     Fervent in piety, in counsel sage;
     Heedless of thirst or hunger, cold or heat;
     Unworn by watching, vigorous his frame,
     Gladsome his gentle mien; prompt to obey,
     Or play the master as the case may be,
     Or to persuade: rare gifts in warrior bold!
     Wary and watchful in his generalship,
     The hearts of e'en his foes he knew to win
     By kind forbearance in the battle field.
     From anger, pride, and avarice exempt,
     But courteous, liberal, eloquent, and true,
     In him each lofty grace spontaneous grew."

If the accusation be well founded, which we have formerly stated
against Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, of corrupting Oddantonio's
morals, in the hope of supplanting him in his seigneury, the easy
succession of Federigo must have brought him bitter disappointment.
His total failure before Pesaro aggravated this annoyance, and he
vented his spite by simultaneous inroads on two opposite quarters of
Urbino. A conspiracy against Federigo, discovered about this time, was
also perhaps the fruit of his intrigues; but, being discovered, its
authors were led to the block, whilst the adherents of Malatesta were
repulsed from the frontier. In this state of matters, the Count of
Urbino (for the dukedom had died with Oddantonio) was surprised by an
offer from Galeazzo Malatesta to sell him the seigneuries of Pesaro
and Fossombrone, nominally his, which he found himself incompetent to
defend from his rapacious neighbour of Rimini. The proposal was
tempting, for both these possessions lay admirably to Urbino, and
would extend its frontier to the Adriatic. But Federigo's position was
one of delicacy between Sigismondo Malatesta on one hand, and
Francesco Sforza on the other, both anxious to acquire those fiefs,
and both his personal enemies. The death at this very juncture of his
old friend and commander Nicolò Piccinino, which appeared to
complicate his embarrassment, proved the means of relieving it.
Sforza, having watched his rising reputation, calculated more
advantage from his friendship than his opposition, and availed himself
of the opportunity presented by Piccinino's demise, to make
conciliatory overtures. Before committing himself, Federigo offered
his services to the Pope, which being declined, with full licence to
dispose of them as he pleased, he at once closed with Sforza,
accepting a command, with four hundred lances and as many infantry,
for the common defence of their respective states. This arrangement
transferred his banner from the Braccian to the Sforzan party,
battalions originally embodied under the rival captains from whom
they were respectively designated, but distinguished in name, and
regarded as the type of opposite systems, long after their founders
had passed away. The tactics of Braccio di Montone were rapid and
decisive, the policy of Attendolo Sforza cautious to a proverb;
extremes which the Count of Urbino's practice was considered happily
to have combined. In order to complete the necessary stipulations, he
repaired to Fermo on a visit to Francesco, and passed some weeks
there, returning on the 10th of December.

It remained to adjust the affair of Pesaro and Fossombrone. The
despicable lord of these fiefs had a granddaughter, Costanza Varana,
whose pedigree in relation to the Montefeltrian princes we have
explained, and who had gained the affections of Alessandro, brother of
Francesco Sforza. Federigo, unable to pay for both seigneuries, or
unwilling to hazard the odium which so sudden an aggrandisement might
incur, proceeded on the 9th of January to Jesi, and proposed to the
two Sforza that Francesco should purchase Pesaro for Alessandro, who
should marry Costanza, whilst Fossombrone should be united to
Urbino.[*80] The suggestion being no less agreeable than beneficial to
all parties, it was heartily acceded to, and, ere many weeks passed,
an arrangement was completed, whereby Galeazzo, exchanging the alarms
of insecure sovereignty for a contemptible retirement, made over
Pesaro to Alessandro and Fossombrone to Federigo, for the respective
sums of 20,000 and 13,000 ducats or florins of gold, reserving the
mills and his other allodial property; and thereafter withdrew to
Florence, where, on the death of his talented and neglected wife
Battista di Montefeltro in a convent, he married a lady of the Medici,
and is said to have ended his ignoble life in misery. On the 16th of
March, the nuptials of Alessandro Sforza with Costanza Varana were
happily accomplished; she inherited much of her grandmother's
capacity, and transmitted it to her youngest daughter, Battista, who
in due time became second wife of Count Federigo.[81]

[Footnote *80: For all that concerns Sforza in the Marche, see A.
GIANANDREA, _Della Signoria di Francesco Sforza nella Marca secondo le
Memorie e i documenti dell'Archivio Fabrianese_, in _Archivio St.
Ital._, series V., tom. I., disp. 4.]

[Footnote 81: Sismondi's account of these facts is strangely
inaccurate. One page of his seventy-first chapter contains these four
misstatements: 1. That Federigo was son of Bernardino della Carda by
the Countess of Urbino; 2. That he married, about 1444, a daughter of
Francesco Sforza; 3. That 20,000 florins was the price of both fiefs;
4. That Fossombrone was gifted to Federigo by Sforza. I have not found
an authority for any one of these assertions.]

This partition, apparently so advantageous to Francesco Sforza, was
but the beginning of mischief. His son-in-law Sigismondo, ever

     "On brawls and battle-fields intent,"

could ill brook the disappointment of his designs upon two fiefs long
in his family, and admirably suited to consolidate his territory by
incorporating Fano with Rimini; still less could he submit to be cut
out of them by his especial enemy Federigo. Another circumstance had
lately occurred to exasperate against Francesco his ever jealous
father-in-law the Duke of Milan. Ciarpelion, one of his favourite
captains, had been induced to accept from Visconti the command vacated
by Piccinino's death, but his application for a furlough was answered
by the provost-marshal, who hanged him after inflicting horrible
tortures. Thus were his wife's father and his daughter's husband
united against the Lord of La Marca, nor did they find it difficult to
rekindle in the Pope and the King of Naples their dormant jealousies
of a soldier of fortune, whose possessions were desirable spoil to
them both. He was consequently assailed at once by three of the chief
powers of Italy, and by several of the petty feudatories and
independent captains, whilst, as Florence and Venice were but lukewarm
allies, he had no efficient aid to look for, beyond that of his recent
but faithful friend Federigo. With him accordingly he drew more
closely the bonds of amity, and in the end of June paid him a visit of
five days at Urbino, accompanied by his family, when Sanzi tells us
they exchanged reciprocal pledges of a romantic brotherhood in arms,
preparatory to the empty dignity of general-in-chief, conferred upon
the Count by Sforza on the 15th of July.

The province which accidental circumstances had subjected to Francesco
gave him but a feeble tenure of sovereignty. It extended along the
Adriatic sea-board from Sinigaglia to the Tronto, including the
Marshes of Ancona and Fermo, lately the richest portion of the Papal
States. But time was wanting to consolidate his dominion, and to give
him that hold upon the affections and interests of his people which is
ever wanting to upstart potentates. The very extent of his territory
thus became an element of peril, and the danger was aggravated by the
ill-timed accession to it of Upper Abruzzo as far as Pescara, which,
throwing off the yoke of Alfonso, placed itself under his protection,
giving another pretext to the confederates for accelerating their
attack. This, however, the Marquis[82] anticipated by hurrying to the
north, and attacking his son-in-law's possessions about Fano. Leaving
there an army, under his brother Alessandro and the Count of Urbino,
to intercept the Milanese forces, he proceeded to Florence, and by the
aid of Cosimo de' Medici obtained a considerable sum of money. On his
return he carried La Pergola after a gallant defence. But these
exertions were all in vain. His subjects, proverbially fickle, bound
to him by no hereditary attachment, and alarmed by the extensive
preparations maturing for his destruction, prepared to abandon his
cause, and seek for protection under their former ecclesiastical
masters. Ascoli first raised the standard of insurrection, and slew
Rinaldo, uterine brother of the Marquis; but the contagion quickly
spread, and although, by forced marches and the most strenuous
efforts, he for a time kept the country in obedience, and even
recovered several revolted castles, the loss of Rocca Contrada,
seduced by the intrigues of Sigismondo, closed the most available pass
that remained to him. From that moment his cause seemed desperate, and
it became his object to provide for the safety of his troops and few
remaining strongholds during the approaching winter, in the hope that
spring might bring him better fortune. The garrisons of Fermo and Jesi
were succoured, and his cavalry were quartered in the valleys of
Urbino, whilst he took up his quarters in Pesaro. But ere the year
ended, Fermo his capital rose, and the garrison were starved into a

[Footnote 82: Sforza had this territorial title from Eugenius IV.,
when invested by him with La Marca in 1433, and we prefer it to using
his more common designation of Count, in order to distinguish him from
the Count of Urbino.]

Federigo had shared in all the fatigues of this campaign, and had
gained what distinction could be gathered from its skirmishes and
petty sieges. He thus earned the special indignation of Eugenius,
whose legate vainly represented to him the folly of adhering to a
cause irretrievably lost. Even after Alessandro Sforza had been
induced by these arguments to give his adhesion to the Pontiff, the
Count of Urbino, deeming it disgraceful to swerve from his plighted
troth, afforded shelter and protection at Gubbio to the Marquis's
family, thus compelled to retire from Pesaro. His reward was papal
excommunication, and a new inroad on his devoted state by the Perugian
troops, at the instance of Filippo Maria Visconti.

But the tide of adversity had nearly spent itself. The Venetians and
Florentines, at length roused to exertions in behalf of their ally,
brought their forces into the field. The former advanced to support
Cremona, which belonged to Sforza, but was now assailed by his
father-in-law; the latter marched three thousand cavalry and a
thousand foot into Romagna. Francesco and Federigo, on the strength of
this seasonable reinforcement, resumed the offensive, and challenged
the ecclesiastical army to a trial of strength, the Count adding a
special defiance to personal combat with Sigismondo. Both invitations
were evaded or declined, and as the Sforza battalions marched round
the camp of an enemy superior in numbers,--a clang of triumph echoing
from their trumpets,--and assailed them with hisses and insulting
cries, the moral effect was perhaps equal to a victory.[83] This was
in October, and during the autumn many petty successes were gained
over Malatesta about Pesaro, Alessandro Sforza having reunited his
interests with those of his brother. The Venetians were meanwhile so
pressing upon Visconti in Lombardy that he hastened to make overtures
of reconciliation with his son-in-law, who, gladly profiting by the
opportunity to retrieve his damaged position, found some paltry excuse
to shake himself loose from the Republic, and, by one of those rapid
tergiversations which free lances were privileged to perform, turned
his arms against his defenders. Policy, if not honour, justified this
course, for the declining health of Filippo Maria held out to Sforza
new hopes of the Milanese succession, and gave him a strong inducement
to defend that territory from neighbours so powerful and ambitious.
The confederacy being thus broken up, peace was restored to Romagna by
a treaty of the 11th March, 1447; but Sigismondo, deeply disgusted at
the entire failure of his calculations, which, presuming on the utter
ruin of Federigo, had made sure of acquiring Urbino, Montefeltro,
Durante, Gubbio, Fossombrone, and Pesaro, impatiently awaited an
opportunity for revenge. In the autumn of that year he was enabled by
the cabal of a few discontented citizens to seize Fossombrone, but
within three days it was recovered by Federigo, to the great joy of
its inhabitants, who celebrated by thanksgivings and festivals their
release from a tyrant's odious yoke. The misery of these intestine
wars is illustrated by an anecdote mentioned of this assault, that the
Count conceived it necessary to stimulate the ardour of his soldiery
by promising them the pillage of this his own city; and he is stated
to have earned the praise of a most just and lenient prince, by
restraining their fury until he had placed the women in safety.

[Footnote 83: Sanzi exults over the cowardly confederates in a
triplet, whose sound ingeniously echoes the sense:--

     "Cum pompa excelsa, al suon di molte trombe,
     Empiendo l'aria d'alte voci humane
     Par che ogni valle del remor ribombe."

The ruin occasioned by this campaign is supposed to have overtaken the
poet's family, and to have induced them to exchange their roof-tree at
Colbordolo for the more secure shelter of Urbino, where Raffaele was

During the year 1447, there occurred two deaths of great moment to
Italy, those of Pope Eugenius IV. and Filippo Maria Duke of Milan.
Gabriele Condolmiere of Venice owed his promotion to his countryman
Gregory XII., whose nephew he is said to have been, and received the
triple tiara in March, 1431, when but forty-eight years of age. His
reign was one of turbulence, for the convulsions consequent upon his
policy disorganised Italy, and threatened Christendom with a new
schism. Putting himself at once in hostility with the Colonna, whose
power had grown formidable under their kinsman Martin V., he exposed
Rome to be pillaged by their lawless bands. Soon after, he was glad to
fly in disguise to Florence, leaving his capital in the hands of a
republican faction, and oppressed by the partisans of Braccio. As the
last hope of recovering a portion of his territory from the various
condottieri who ravaged it, and "dreading a perilous contest more than
an ignominious peace,"[84] he recognised Francesco Sforza, the most
influential of them, as Lord or Marquis of La Marca, and created him
Gonfaloniere of the Church. But with the bad faith which marked the
age, he sought to rid himself of the instrument as soon as his purpose
was served. Restless in his policy, headstrong in his counsels, to
him in a great measure was owing that perturbed state of Italy, which,
when once become normal, continued, until the descent of the French in
1492, to realise the graphic description of Machiavelli: "Peace it
cannot be called, whilst the princes were frequently fighting; neither
can such struggles well be regarded as warfare, where men were not
slain, nor cities sacked, nor sovereignties sacrificed; for so feeble
became these strifes, that they were commenced without alarm, were
conducted without risk, and closed without damage."[85] Nor was his
management of spiritual interests more commendable. His quarrel with
the Council of Basle gave him a rival antipope, and might have cost
him his tiara, but for an unexpected overture of the last Emperor of
Constantinople to unite the Greek and Latin Churches. Such, however,
was his good fortune, that the completion of that union, the cruel
persecutions he directed against the Hussites, and his ascetic
rejection of personal indulgences to which he was indifferent, have
gained for him the reputation of a zealot in faith, a saint in morals,
and withal a pillar of the papacy.

[Footnote 84: MACHIAVELLI, _Istorie_, lib. V.]

[Footnote 85: MACHIAVELLI, _Istorie_, lib. V.]

The Pontiff's death was followed within six months by that of Filippo
Maria, last of the Visconti, a race whose sway in Milan is alleged to
date from the eleventh century, and whose twelve princes of that city
have been commemorated by the flattering pen of Giovio. They owe their
place in history rather to the importance of their duchy, and to the
European marriages of their later generations, than to personal
illustration. The immediate succession to Filippo Maria convulsed
Upper Italy during nearly three years, and the dispute, when revived
half a century later, brought upon the Peninsula those barbarian
aggressions from which she has till now been a chronic sufferer. His
only child, the illegitimate Bianca Maria, had been reluctantly
bestowed by him on Francesco Sforza, whom his jealous temper regarded
as a rival and enemy, instead of conciliating as a son and useful
ally. The house of Orleans were heirs of line of his family, but their
title derived little strength by their mother's legitimacy, where
female descent could give no valid claim to inheritance. The late
Duke's testamentary bequest of his sovereignty to Alfonso of Naples,
was clearly beyond his legal powers, so that the best right seemed
that of the Emperor, in virtue of the lapsed fief. But ere any one of
these four competitors was aware that the succession had opened, the
citizens of Milan possessed themselves of the vacant authority, and
their example was partially followed in neighbouring towns, several of
which attempted to establish a Lombard republican confederacy with
Milan at its head. In the struggles which ensued, and to which Venice
and Florence became parties, the Count of Urbino took no share. The
fate of Milan was decided rather by famine than the sword, and in
February, 1450, the populace escaped from their sufferings by
accepting Sforza as successor of his father-in-law.

The Milanese succession was not, however, without its influence on
Central Italy, and upon the fortunes of Count Federigo of Urbino. In
the late contest on the Lombard plains, Florence and Venice had, in
observance of a long-established and obvious policy, opposed the
ambitious projects of Filippo Maria, but had acceded to the new
Pontiff's proposal for a congress at Ferrara, in order to arrange a
general peace. To this Visconti lent himself in no good faith, having
concerted with the King of Naples that they should each attack one of
these republics, as soon as Francesco Sforza should be secured to
their side. Even whilst the congress was sitting, Alfonso obtained a
footing in the Upper Val d'Arno, and although the death of his
confederate abrogated their secret understanding, the opportunity of
pursuing his selfish designs upon Tuscany continued favourable; for
Venice was occupied in a fresh struggle with Sforza, and his own
pretensions upon Milan, under the late Duke's will, would be much
enhanced could he bear the trophies of Florence to the banks of the
Po. He, however, offered to abstain from hostilities, on condition
that free passage and provisions were allowed to his army, and that
the city, now ruled by Cosimo de' Medici, should renounce its Venetian
alliance. It required but little consideration to reject terms which
would have opened to him the Milanese, where his success must have
destroyed the balance of power in the Peninsula.

Disappointed of Siena, which refused his fair offers, Alfonso turned
into the valley of the Cecina, and having possessed himself of
Pomerance, Campigli, Castiglione,[*86] and other townships in the
Maremma, proposed to winter there. But he was promptly checked by
Count Federigo, whom the Florentine Council had taken into their
service,[87] and the spring arrived without any considerable movement
or advantage on either side. There now occurred an incident highly
characteristic of his bitter foe Sigismondo, in which he showed to
advantage by the contrast. The Lord of Rimini, having been engaged by
Alfonso, received from him 30,000 ducats in advance of pay, but, more
intent upon selfish ends than on his promised service, he misapplied
the money, and availed himself of the Count's absence from Urbino to
repeat his attack upon Fossombrone and some neighbouring castles. In
order to palliate this breach of faith, he wrote to the King that it
was in truth a well-laid scheme for his benefit, Federigo being sure
to hasten from Tuscany for the defence of his own subjects. The
calculation was however defeated, as the Count, with the fidelity
seldom found or expected among free lances, refused to quit his
post, resting the safety of his people upon their own gallantry and
devotion. When Alfonso perceived this, he summoned Malatesta to join
him, but, whether from innate treachery or apprehension, he preferred
offering himself and his contingent of above two thousand men to the
Florentines, against whom he was actually engaged to serve. Apart from
the unpleasant position in which it placed himself, this
tergiversation seemed to Federigo so outrageous a treason as to
require from him a special protest; but his usual conscientious
adherence to a temporary banner prevailing over honourable scruples
and personal disgust, he kept the field, and even consented to adjourn
all private quarrels with Sigismondo to the end of the campaign. It
was marked by no circumstance of interest beyond the King's
ineffectual attempt upon Piombino, the peninsular capital of a petty
fief belonging to the Appiani, then confederates of the Republic. The
marsh-fever of the Maremma,

                         "Where the path
     Is lost in rank luxuriance, and to breathe
     Is to inhale distemper, if not death,"

seconded its brave resistance, and Alfonso was glad to return home in
the autumn after sacrificing a portion of his army, while the Count of
Urbino retired to his state. But during their joint service under the
Florentine banner, Sigismondo had found opportunity for the exercise
of his intriguing spirit. Demanding audience of Federigo, he
remonstrated against his having aided in the establishment at Pesaro
of a stranger, to the vast detriment of its hereditary seigneurs the
Malatesta, so long neighbours and kindred of the Montefeltri; and in
token of the thanklessness of that service he showed a bond, whereby
Alessandro Sforza had allied himself with Sigismondo for the partition
of Urbino and its dependencies. With such evidence before him,
Federigo lent himself to an offer made by the false Lord of Rimini to
turn the tables against Sforza, and to surrender all of the
Montefeltrian territory that he had gained two years before, provided
the Count would aid him in ousting the intruder from Pesaro. But with
characteristic treachery he availed himself of a favourable moment to
attack that town single-handed, and Federigo, satisfied of his utter
faithlessness, rushed to the rescue, reclaiming by this new and
noble-minded service the gratitude of Alessandro and of his brother.
As soon as the latter was acknowledged Duke of Milan, he offered the
Count of Urbino an engagement, in highly complimentary terms, stating
that, after full consideration to whom he could worthily commit the
conduct of his army, whereon depended the whole welfare of his state,
he had fixed upon Federigo, having long known and clearly ascertained
his extraordinary and unfailing fidelity, authority, gravity,
prudence, promptitude, justice, wisdom, and diligence in the conduct
of every great enterprise.[*88] The Tuscan war being over, this
appointment was readily accepted by the Count, although suffering from
a painful and dangerous accident.

[Footnote *86: Pomarance (già Ripomarance) is in the Val di Cecina.
Campiglia is in Val di Cornia. Castiglione is Castiglione della
Pescaia. Cf. MALAVOLTI, _Historia, ad ann._, and REPETTI, _Dizionario
della Toscana_.]

[Footnote 87: I found this _condotta_ or engagement in the archives of
the Albani Palace at Urbino. It is for six months from March, 1448,
and stipulates for 3000 florins of monthly pay, for which the Count
was to maintain 500 lances and 300 foot. Poggio says that his actual
force was 1000 horse and 800 infantry.--MURATORI, _R.I.S._, XX., 420.]

[Footnote *88: For Federigo's service under Sforza see ROSSI, _F. da
Montefeltro condotto da F. Sforza_, in _Le Marche_ (Fano, 1905), an.
V., p. 142. Rossi prints the Mandata.]

[Illustration: _Alinari_


_From the XV. Century relief in the Bargello, Florence_]

In honour of the Duke's exaltation, he had proclaimed a tournament at
Urbino, which Sanzi assures us was preceded by omens of evil. In
particular, his mother, influenced by a horrible dream, besought him
on her knees to abandon the intention. Though a firm believer in
astrology, his mind repudiated this superstition, which however
diffused among all ranks a feeling of vague anxiety as the jousting
day approached. Just then there arrived Guidangelo de' Ranieri, a
gentleman of Urbino, who had gained the prize in a recent passage of
arms at Florence; he was met at the city gates by the Count, who
embraced him, placing on his neck the knightly guerdon of a golden
chain. Being asked to run a course with him, Guidangelo would have
excused himself, and is even said to have earned a sharp reproof for
forbearing to touch him, in deference to the prevailing apprehension
of some impending mishap. On repeating the course, the knight being
mounted on a small charger, his lance, after striking Federigo's
armour, glanced upwards, and was shivered against his vizor. He
received the stunning blow between the eyebrows, where it shattered
the bone of his nose and knocked out his right eye. Recovering
himself, however, he kept his seat, and consoled those who flocked
around in consternation, by assuring them of a speedy cure, and that
one of his two good eyes remaining, he would still be able to see
better than with a hundred ordinary ones. This courageous bearing was
perhaps the best recipe, and his cure appears to have been rapid and
easy; but the damage to his features may be presumed from subsequent
portraits representing him in profile, which, whilst concealing the
loss of his eye, exaggerated the prominence of his broken nose.[*89]

[Footnote *89: For the war in Tuscany see ROSSI, _La Guerra in Toscana
dell'anno 1447-8_ (Firenze, 1903).]


     Count Federigo enters the Neapolitan service--His two
     campaigns in Tuscany--Fall of Constantinople--Peace of
     Lodi--Nicholas V.--The Count's fruitless attempt at
     reconciliation with Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta; followed
     by new feuds with him--Death of his Countess Gentile.

The establishment of Francesco Sforza as Duke of Milan had virtually
settled the affairs of Lombardy, for although the Emperor and the
French King refused to recognise his rights to the Visconti
succession, they deferred their respective claims upon that duchy till
a fitter season. The Angevine pretensions to the crown of Naples were
also in temporary abeyance, and the triple tiara had passed from the
turbulent Eugenius to Nicholas V., whose early habits of scholarship
continued undisturbed by ambitious dreams. There thus seemed no
element of contention left, and a prolonged peace was the natural as
well as the true policy of Italy. But, in the words of Sanzi,

     "No long repose Ausonia e'er can brook,
     For peace to her brings languor, and she deems
     It loathsome to lie fallow."

So paltry were the pretexts, so remote the motives for renewed
hostilities, that Sismondi is content to ascribe these to diplomatic
intrigue, seconded by a general irritability of temperaments, and
avows that, ere they were resumed, a review of interests and
reconstruction of alliances became absolutely necessary. Venice and
Florence had hitherto co-operated to protect themselves, and maintain
a balance against the ambitious dynasties of Visconti and Aragon; but
jealousy of the terra-firma acquisitions of the former having induced
her sister republic to league with Sforza, she consulted at once her
safety and her vengeance by an intimate union with Alfonso. Sigismondo
Malatesta being retained in her service, the Duke of Milan bought him
over by an offer of better terms, and the Count of Urbino, finding
himself thus exposed to the same contact with his personal enemy which
had recently annoyed him in the Maremma campaign, renounced his
engagement with Sforza, and as a natural consequence transferred it to
the other side. The King of Naples, disgusted by the late treachery of
Sigismondo, and by similar instances of light faith on the part of
other Italian condottieri, had announced his determination to employ
none of them without sureties for their fidelity. But he made an
exception in favour of Federigo, declining his offer of the Venetian
signory as his sponsors, on the ground that he knew his word to be
sufficient guarantee. In consequence, however, of the coronation of
Frederick III. at Rome, and his stay in Italy, it was not until 1452
that these arrangements were so far completed as to enable the
Venetians to declare war upon Sforza in May of that year, and Alfonso
to publish hostilities with Florence in the following month.[90]

[Footnote 90: Berni dates the Tuscan campaign as in 1451, but Sismondi
is correct.]

The King being desirous of bringing into notice his natural son
Ferdinando Duke of Calabria, the destined heir of his crown, now
placed him at the head of 8000 cavalry, and half that number of foot
soldiers, but bestowed on Federigo the rank and title of
Captain-general. Entering Tuscany by Cortona, this army penetrated by
the valleys of Chiana and Arno, carrying terror almost to the gates of
Florence, and overrunning a vast extent of country. But no permanent
impression was made, for, trusting to the artillery of Siena, which
was refused him, Alfonso had not provided his troops with the means
of taking any strong places. It accordingly cost them six weeks to
reduce Foiano, and after spending as long before Castellina, the
bursting of their only battering-gun rendered further perseverance
useless. Thus when they betook themselves to winter quarters at
Aquaviva on the Mediterranean coast, they could boast no important
result of the campaign. A colourable pretext was thus afforded for
murmurs from the captains, many of whom served reluctantly under a
commander so much their junior. Although these complaints reached
Alfonso, they no way diminished his confidence in Federigo, whom he
encouraged to meet such jealousy by redoubled exertions. In order to
arrange a plan of operations, the Count repaired to Naples, and
received from him a cordial welcome. As spring advanced, the pestilent
air of the Maremma, which had formerly compromised the Neapolitan army

     "That sun-bright land of beauty,"

again proved their scourge. Many officers and men were attacked by
fever, and among them the Captain-general, who was removed to Siena
whilst his troops fell back upon Pitigliano.

The following letter, written by him during an earlier stage of his
malady, and probably in reply to pressing invitations from the priors
of that city, proves his reluctance to leave his post:--

     "Mighty and potent Lords, dearest Fathers;

     "Although I have experienced the singular goodwill, paternal
     affection, and love displayed by your lordships towards
     myself and my house, not only now and on this occasion, but
     in other times and circumstances, yet the renewed offers and
     cordial proposals so freely made me in your most courteous
     letters, in reference to this illness of mine, have imposed
     upon me further and greater obligations. Not that I admit
     these to render me more devoted to your lordships than
     before, seeing that I was already your son, and as such
     sincerely attached to your state and magnificent community:
     but I desire your lordships to be aware that I acknowledge
     my obligations to be ever and greatly on the increase, and
     that I am most anxious to acquit them, so far as in my
     power, for the advancement of your lordships' honour and
     advantage. More I cannot at present; nevertheless, being
     desirous to do my best, I give your lordships infinite
     thanks; and having nothing new to offer, I yet tender what
     has been yours a thousand years past,--my state and person;
     assuring your lordships that, in so far as consists with my
     honour, your lordships may dispose of me and mine, as a son
     faithful and devoted beyond all others. Notwithstanding a
     violent and serious attack of illness, I have not thought
     fit to come to Siena, nor to repair to any other part of
     your lordships' territory (though ready to go thither with
     the same confidence as to my own house), because from the
     first I resisted leaving my illustrious Lord Duke, however
     unimportant my remaining by him might be. Since then, thanks
     to God, I have gone on improving, and am now pretty well, so
     that I hope to be speedily quite restored; whereof I wished
     to inform you, convinced that it would be gratifying to your
     lordships, from whom I pray instructions, should anything
     occur that I can do. From his Majesty's successful army at
     Aquaviva, the 26th of July, 1453.

     Captain-general of the Serene King of Aragon."[91]

[Footnote 91: Though pruned of not a few redundant particles which
obscure the original, this letter proves that even before Spanish
fashion had elaborated feebly magniloquent expletives, the Italian
style was justly chargeable with verbiage.]

This campaign differed little in tactics, and no way in results, from
that in which Federigo, under the Florentine standard, had lately
contested much of the same ground with Alfonso. We pass rapidly over
the events of both, for although minutely dwelt upon by his
biographers, and tending to develop his military science and
reputation, they were marked by no brilliant incidents, and involved
no general interests. Machiavelli, ever willing to sneer at mercenary
warfare, observes that places were then deemed impregnable which in
his day were abandoned as untenable, and explains the policy of the
invaded to consist in avoiding a general engagement; "for they deemed
it impossible to be ultimately worsted, so long as they were not
beaten in any pitched battle, the loss of petty castles being
recovered with returning peace, while more important places were
secure in the enemy's inability to assault them."[92]

[Footnote 92: _Istorie_, lib. VI.]

The Count's engagement was renewed by the King of Naples in autumn for
another year on the same terms, which appear from the Oliveriana MSS.
to have been 1500 ducats a month for his own pay, 8 ducats, of ten
gigli, for each lance, and 2 for each foot-soldier; his company to
consist of 700 lances and 600 infantry. No active service was,
however, required; and the general pacification, to which Alfonso
reluctantly acceded in January, 1455, restored matters to their former
state,--the usual issue of such contests.

Europe was now startled by an event which exposed Italy to peculiar
peril. The Eastern Empire had long been falling into feeble senility,
and in proportion as her vigour relaxed and her frontier receded, the
Crescent extended its domination, and menaced the Bosphorus. The
Greeks appealed for aid to Western Christendom; but men's enthusiasm
had become selfishness; the crusading spirit was extinct, and the cry
echoed unheeded along the Mediterranean shores. The siege of
Constantinople by Mahomet II., a barbarian endowed with qualities
which would have shone in any sphere, might have been prevented or
raised by very moderate efforts of the Italian powers; and it was not
until the loss of that great capital, that they perceived the folly of
their neglect, which had sacrificed the best bulwark of Europe against
Ottoman aggression. But besides this general consternation, the
maritime republics staggered beneath the blow, for it annihilated that
trade with the Archipelago and the Euxine which had crowded their
ports and filled their coffers; and when Constantinople fell, many
wealthy Christian merchants, there resident, were stripped of their
property, and passed into menial slavery. It was in the moment of
universal alarm, that Nicholas V. urged a general reconciliation and
league of Italy, with a zeal which, notwithstanding the doubts of
Simonetta adopted by Sismondi, we believe to have been sincere. The
congress held for this purpose at Rome was, however, distracted by
narrow views and shallow intrigues, and broke up without effecting its
object. Yet, ere long, policy prevailed over petty ends, and the peace
of Lodi, signed in April, 1454, to which at first only Venice and
Milan were parties, was ratified within a few months by all the
Peninsular states, and secured to them a long period of comparative

This pacification of Italy, which the Pontiff had ardently desired, he
was not long spared to witness, for he closed his exemplary life on
the 24th of March. Tommaso de' Parentucelli, though of Pisan
parentage, was born and brought up at Sarzana, from whence he took his
usual designation. He was early vowed to the Church in consequence of
his mother's dream, and at the University of Bologna his progress
attracted notice from the bishop, who took him into his family, where
he remained for about twenty years. On the return of Eugenius to Rome,
in 1443, he was elevated to the purple, as vice-camerlingo; and three
years and a half later, was chosen to succeed that Pontiff. The tastes
and habits of scholarship which Nicholas had formed in early youth
preserved their ascendency after this remarkable advancement. The
first object of his government was the maintenance of general peace;
and when he had failed to effect this, his uniform policy was
neutrality. His attention was thus left free to follow out, for the
benefit of his subjects, and of mankind, those aspirations for
justice, and those enlarged views of mental development which formed
his character. The revenues which other pontiffs of that age
misapplied to promote miserable contests, or lavished on schemes of
nepotism and courtly vices, he directed into more wholesome channels.
Magnificent in all that could lend dignity to the religion of whose
faith and ritual he was the guardian, careful of whatever could
promote the dignity of his sacred office, an economical management
enabled him largely to gratify his literary longings. At his court,
habits of study were an unfailing recommendation; mental acquirements
were duly honoured, and men of letters were sure of finding a generous
and enlightened friend. With him originated the Vatican library,
which, under liberal popes, and by favourable opportunities, has since
been gradually augmented into one of the brightest ornaments of the
papacy. His mild and useful reign ended far too soon for the welfare
of Italy and the interests of letters, but the light which it diffused
scattered the last shadows of the dark ages, and still gilds the
remainder of this century.

It chanced that a few days before peace had been concluded, a subsidy
of 36,000 ducats reached Federigo from the King of Naples, which he
immediately offered to return, as no longer required. Regarding this
as an act of unusual conscientiousness, Alfonso desired him to retain
the money on account of future services; whereupon the Count, after
sending home his company from the Tuscan war, attended the Duke of
Calabria to Naples, to offer acknowledgments in person. To his
suggestion, while there, has been ascribed by Muzio and Baldi a
double matrimonial alliance, now proposed between the hitherto hostile
houses of Aragon and Sforza, as a means of cementing the new league,
but of which only that of Hippolita Maria Sforza took effect. On the
same authority we must attribute to him a selfish and ill-timed
counsel, which marred that measure and perilled the peace of Italy.
Whilst a party to the losing game which Sforza played in La Marca
during 1445-6, several of his townships were seized by the Lord of
Rimini, in whose possession they had since remained. With the ultimate
hope of reclaiming these on some fitting opportunity, he is alleged to
have reminded Alfonso of the scurvy trick played upon him in 1448 by
Sigismondo, in passing over to the service of Florence after receiving
his pay, and to have suggested such treachery as sufficient ground for
specially excluding the latter from the league, and for reserving a
right to make reprisals. The King adopted this hint the more readily,
that he had other wrongs to settle with the Genoese and with Astorre
Manfredi, seigneur of Imola; he accordingly, on ratifying the treaty
of Lodi in January, 1455, introduced an exceptional clause against
these three states, the effect of which was not only to keep up petty
warfare in Romagna and Liguria, but eventually to entail upon his son
a disputed succession which well-nigh cost him his crown.

It was the destiny of Urbino long to endure the full weight of
Malatesta's troublesome qualities; to be in turn agitated by his
intrigues, compromised by his instability, deluded by his duplicity,
harassed anew by his inroads, and again cajoled by his hollow
repentance. The Count, whose sense of honour was delicately
susceptible, and who felt warmly for his people's welfare, could no
longer brook such aggressions. Bent upon signally punishing them, he,
however, before concerting measures with Alfonso, judged it prudent to
visit Florence, Bologna, Milan, and Mantua, in order to justify to
their governments the necessity of making an example of his inveterate
foe. Nothing could exceed the honourable reception accorded him at
these places; but he did not obtain anything beyond general assurances
or cold civilities in regard to the matter he had in view. The
proffered mediation of Borso d'Este, Duke of Modena and Marquis of
Ferrara, held out one last hope of an arrangement; so he paid him a
visit on his return homewards, in May, 1457, and found that Malatesta
was already his guest. The interview of these rivals is described by
Sanzi and Baldi with details probably more dramatic than historical.
The Lord of Rimini came reluctantly, with arms at his side and
implacable passions in his breast; he commenced the discussion with a
long catalogue of grievances, and quickly wrought himself up to
violent and insulting language, which Federigo met by mild but firm
remonstrance, ending with a proposal to settle by single combat, "hand
to hand, in field, or plain, or valley," whatever misunderstandings
could not be amicably disposed of by their host. Sigismondo, for
answer, drew his sword, and after the parties had exchanged ferocious
defiance, the Duke separated them, grieved at the total failure of his
intervention. Before leaving Ferrara, the Count offered to submit to
his arbitration their differences, the chief of which was as to
restoration of the places in Montefeltro retained by Malatesta; but
the latter declined any reference of the sort.

After provocations so aggravated, and in the certainty that
opportunity alone was wanting to renew them in manner more perilous to
his interests, Federigo no longer hesitated to act upon the
reservations of the treaty of Lodi, and in June hastened to Naples, in
order to obtain assistance. It happened that Giacopo, son of Nicolò
Piccinino, was then in the Abruzzi with his company of adventure,
retained by Alfonso, but waiting the chances of war. The Count,
therefore, applied for permission to employ him against Malatesta,
who, like a true braggart, lost courage on finding himself exposed to
just vengeance, and virtually excluded from assistance by the terms of
the league. Recurring as usual to intrigue, he sent his eldest son
Roberto to Naples, that he might gain favour with the beautiful
Lucrezia Allagno, or del Lagno, who, though said to have equalled her
Roman namesake in propriety, held the elderly monarch by the silken
chain of youthful passion. Her dragon-like virtue did not exempt her
from womanly weakness, and in exchange for the most brilliant ruby
which the jewellers of Venice could supply, backed by an offer of his
hand for her niece, Roberto gained her influence in his father's
behalf. Months were lost in the counteracting this back-stairs
interposition; and meanwhile Federigo was widowed by the death of
Gentile, of whom nothing is known beyond the excessive stoutness of
her person. These delays enabled him to prepare the munitions of war,
and he addressed to the magistrates of Siena this request for a person
qualified to cast mortars:--

     "Mighty and potent Lords, and Fathers honourable and

     "I have immediate want of a master mortar-founder, and being
     informed that there is in Siena one such, able and
     sufficiently qualified, who would well satisfy me, and whom
     I knew when detained there ill [in 1453], I urgently pray
     your lordships, as a particular favour, to give him leave of
     absence. And my need of him being urgent, I trust that he
     will come quickly along with the bearer hereof, and I shall
     so pay him his dues that he shall be well satisfied. I have
     reason to hope that your lordships will oblige me as to this
     artist, for in all that tends to the weal of your republic I
     would be most affectionate, and observant beyond any other
     ally you have in the world. As for the mortars, I want to
     use them against the Lord Sigismondo, the enemy of your
     lordships, to whom I commend myself. From Urbino, the 7th
     of November 1457."[93]

[Footnote 93: _Carteggio d'Artisti_, I., p. 178. Promis, the recent
editor of Francesco di Giorgio's works, conjectures this
artillery-founder to have been Agostino da Piacenza, not Francesco, as
had been supposed.]

It was in this month of November that the Count and Piccinino at
length took the field, although the season already warned them to
winter-quarters in the inclement climate of the Apennines. After
reducing several places near Fossombrone, Federigo, in order to save
his own people, seized some townships of Carpegna, a tiny fief held by
a branch of his family with whom he was at variance, and there left
the troublesome troops of Giacopo until the spring. When it opened,
notwithstanding the dilatory and heartless tactics of their leader,
who, like a true condottiere, regarded decisive movements as fatal to
his trade, this "war of petty sieges by petty armies," as it is aptly
called by Sismondi, soon exhausted and humbled the refractory
Sigismondo, whose unhappy condition is thus pitiably described in
another interesting despatch to the Sienese authorities.

     "Mighty and potent Lords, dearest Fathers:

     "I have not cared to write sooner to your lordships, nothing
     further having been decided by the serene King regarding
     peace or war with the Lord Sigismondo; but I have at length
     determined to write this, in order that your lordships may
     not marvel at my silence, and that you may be informed how
     matters stand. And I hereby advise you how the Lord
     Sigismondo has sent many humble and respectful messages,
     through his son, to the serene King, supplicating that his
     Majesty would condescend to have mercy, and notwithstanding
     misconduct so gross as to merit no favour nor compassion,
     that his Majesty would take to himself his sons as his
     Majesty's slaves, and would deign to decide that they should
     not go begging their bread. And the son besought his
     Majesty to permit that his father should come and throw
     himself at his feet, with a halter round his neck, publicly
     to crave mercy, bringing with him as much money as possible,
     and the jewels formerly offered; and should this not
     suffice, that his Majesty might take whatever else of his he
     would, until satisfied. His Serene Majesty replied that the
     youth should remain at Naples whilst he went to Magione, and
     that he would cause an answer to be sent through his
     council. Thus passed many days without further incident. And
     although the ambassador of the Duke of Modena strongly
     interceded, no further reply was obtained, nor any other
     resolution come to, things remaining in suspense. And I am
     informed that the serene King is decided to exact the sum
     demanded, of 27,000 ducats of the highest value, and 70,000
     for expenses; besides insisting on restitution of my
     territory, without restoring his own conquests. But the Lord
     Sigismondo's people declare it impossible for him to give
     such a sum in cash, though he might pay 20,000 down, with
     the jewels, and as far as 60,000 by instalments, so that I
     do not see how the matter can well be arranged. I, however,
     hourly look for further advices, and your lordships will be
     informed of what I hear, for things cannot now remain much
     longer in suspense, Gottefredo being gone to Naples with the
     Lord Sigismondo's ultimatum. From Urbino, 2nd of May, 1458.

     Captain-general of the Serene King of Aragon."[94]

[Footnote 94: From the Italian original, in the Archivio Diplomatico
at Siena.]

These sanguine anticipations were, however, premature, as fortune had
still some trials in store for Federigo. Alfonso's death took place on
the 1st of July, that of Pope Calixtus III. a few weeks later; both
events materially affected the struggle which he had thus regarded as
at an end. Indeed, the whole state of parties in that strife
curiously illustrates the chances and changes on which depended
success in the intestine broils of Italian feudatories and captains of
adventure. The great ambition of the latter was to attain the
sovereignty of some petty state, and Piccinino conceived himself, as
representative of the Braccian influence, well entitled to watch an
opportunity of turning it to such account. His calculation probably
was that he might be able to possess himself of one at least of the
seigneuries which Malatesta's ruin would vacate; but as the contest
went on, that wily intriguer appears to have suggested to him Urbino
as a richer guerdon, attainable by gradually wasting Federigo's
resources, and finally at a fitting moment turning round to crush him.

The Duke of Milan's sympathies were naturally with the Count, who had
stood by him single-handed in adversity, and in his cause had incurred
those losses he was now endeavouring to recover, whilst the Lord of
Rimini had betrayed him again and again, and with his own hands had
strangled his natural daughter, the third wife murdered by this
Bluebeard of real life.[*95] Yet such was Sforza's detestation of
Giacopo as head of the old Braccian faction, and fear lest his
ambition of sovereignty should be gratified, that he actually advanced
money to support Sigismondo, who also obtained similar assistance from
the Duke of Modena, jealous perhaps of the growing Montefeltrian
influence. The Pontiff's death opened a new hope to Piccinino, and on
the speculation of possibly making good a footing in Perugia, he
profited by this vacancy of the Holy See to seize upon Assisi, Nocera,
and Gualdo. Thus, within three months after his letter to Siena,
Federigo found himself deprived of his only ally Alfonso, deserted by
his confederate Piccinino, and left to maintain the contest
single-handed against an adversary suddenly enabled to rally under his
standard some of the boldest adventurers of Romagna.

[Footnote *95: There are here three mistakes in three lines. (1)
Sigismondo had not betrayed Sforza; (2) he had not strangled his
natural daughter; (3) his third wife Isotta outlived him. See EDWARD
HUTTON, _op. cit._]

But the reaction in his favour was not long postponed. Ferdinand
continued his commission as captain-general, with a pension of 6000
ducats assigned to him by Alfonso three years before; and fully aware
of the importance of conciliating papal sanction to his own
questionable sovereignty, commanded Giacopo to quit the ecclesiastical
territory and return to the banner of Montefeltro. A miserable contest
of sacked villages and barbarous reprisals was continued during autumn
and winter, and though the advantage preponderated on the Count's
side, these successes were at his people's cost.

Meanwhile the repose of Italy was exposed to more serious
interruption. Alfonso V. of Aragon and Sicily had maintained his very
doubtful title to the crown of Naples[96] by a happy union of energy
and judgment. Devoting his life to Italy, he first established his
reputation by a series of victories over his Angevine competitor, and
then cemented his popularity by an easy and accessible address, by
lavish profusion of treasure and honours, by a zealous pursuit and
patronage of learning. The epithet of Magnanimous, which graces his
name, was merited by his testamentary disposition as well as by his
character. Having no legitimate issue, he left to his brother John his
hereditary dominions in Spain and the islands, but conceived himself
at liberty to bestow the crown of Naples, received at first as a gift
and retained by the sword, upon his natural son Ferdinand, whose
substitution to it had been sanctioned by two popes, recognised in
various treaties, and formally voted by a native parliament. His chief
confidant and agent in these arrangements had been his countryman
Cardinal Alfonso Borgia, who at his death filled the papal throne
with the title of Calixtus III., and who, anticipating that bad faith
and unscrupulous nepotism which, under Alexander VI., consigned to
enduring infamy their subsequently canonised name, used his authority
to supplant Ferdinand by his own nephew Pierluigi Borgia. With this
view he, as suzerain of Naples, declared its sovereignty lapsed on the
King's death without a legitimate son, and although he published a
notice calling upon all claimants to appear for their interests, his
real object was divulged by an offer to Francesco Sforza of his
father's fiefs in the Abruzzi and Apulia, on condition of his enabling
him to place the crown on Pierluigi's head. These intrigues were,
however, frustrated by this Pope's death on the 8th of August; and his
successor Pius II., a man in all respects his opposite, hastened to
recognise Ferdinand, maintenance of peace in the Peninsula being the
first requisite towards his grand project of a crusade against the

[Footnote 96: See above, p. 68, and afterwards ch. XIV.]

Full of this scheme, he summoned a congress of European powers at
Mantua, which proved one of the most interesting assemblages recorded
in mediæval history, and offered to Christendom the rare spectacle of
a pontiff engaged in reconciling his universal flock. From the British
Isles no adequate response answered his summons, "England being
hopelessly convulsed by civil broils, and Scotland hidden in the ocean
depths." His self-imposed task including the arrangement of all
disputes, those of the rival Lords of Urbino and Rimini attracted
early notice. Sigismondo attended at Mantua in person to plead his
cause: that of Federigo, who reluctantly consented to transact with
one whom he well knew no award, no promise, could bind, was conducted
by an envoy. The treachery of the former being made manifest, he was
condemned by the Pope to a pecuniary mulct, and, failing payment, to
the surrender of some fastnesses in security. Thereupon new
difficulties arose, Malatesta avowing himself as yet unconquered, and
ready to brave extremities rather than accept the proffered terms. His
swaggering was thus checked by Pius:--"Hold your peace; our care is
not for you, but for your house: our pity belongs to your subjects,
not yourself, whose manner of life merits no commiseration. However
you may defend it by a multitude of words, your whole life tells
against you, and your sole plea is upon the deeds of an ancestry
deserving well of the Romish Church. Hence is it that we seek to
pacify your foes; and if you now resile from what is fair and
equitable, we shall leave you in the slough wherein we found you: nor
would it surprise us were the divine mercy to permit the poor to be
afflicted for a season, that you may finally expiate your guilt by a
bloody end, or by a wretched and impoverished exile." Daunted by these
words, Sigismondo succumbed to terms approaching the award; but the
other party, elated by success, would make no concession, though the
Pontiff, indignant at such clinging to victory rather than
conciliation, strove to settle the points still at issue.[*97] It was
in this state of matters that he indited the following brief.

[Footnote *97: Pius II. hated Sigismondo for his supposed treachery to
Siena quite as much as Federigo did.]

     "To Federigo, Count of Montefeltro, &c.

     "Beloved son, we salute you. It is our urgent desire, in
     accordance with the charge committed to us, that harmony
     should be restored between the dissentient faithful; and to
     this we are the more urgently bound, when misunderstandings
     arise between our own friends and the subjects of the Holy
     Roman Church. Seeing, therefore, that quarrels have for some
     time past prevailed under our vicars, between you and our
     beloved son the noble Messer Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta
     of Rimini, occasioning bloodshed, fire-raising, rapine, and
     the like calamities, and that worse evils impend, unless
     timeously averted, we have thought fit specially to
     intimate to you our pleasure that a friendly adjustment
     should take place, rather than arbitrarily to employ our
     supreme authority to that end. Twice have we fully discussed
     this matter at Florence, and now again at Mantua, and in
     this good and pious work we have had the aid of the noble
     and our beloved son Francesco Sforza Duke of Milan. We
     entertained the hope of bringing the affair to a happy
     conclusion, and of ensuring you an honourable and lasting
     peace, in which your credit and advantage should be equally
     regarded; nor shall this hope be fallacious if you will at
     all accede to our mediation. But since you demand very rigid
     conditions, giving your ambassador no discretion as to
     modifying them, and limit us to merely ministerial
     interference, it is impossible for us to bring about a
     compromise; for rather than thus accept a compulsory
     dictation, Sigismondo is ready to try the chances of war,
     and expose himself to all impending risks. It is with equal
     grief and astonishment that we perceive another great
     explosion ready to burst forth. You despise the pacification
     we offer you, sure, enduring, advantageous, honourable
     though it be. You are victorious, and Sigismondo
     acknowledges you to be so; as worsted, he is ready to submit
     to terms, and if you consent to our arbitration the matter
     is settled. Better surely to accept a certain and favourable
     proposal than to hazard a doubtful hope. You are the
     conqueror; let not your rigour and obstinacy wrest from you
     your conquest. Often have we read and observed how mutable
     are the events of war, how rapid and various its reverses,
     how constantly in the end an over-confident victor is
     vanquished. We therefore exhort your Highness in the Lord to
     weigh well this matter, and if you deem an honourable peace
     advantageous to your affairs, to leave open for our
     mediation somewhat of the terms you have dictated to your
     envoy, in which case we repeat our assurance that you will
     best consult your own reputation and advantage. Given at
     Mantua, 21st June, in our first year [1459]."[98]

[Footnote 98: Bibl. Laurentiana, plut. 90, cod. sup. 138, f. 4. We
take these proceedings from the Pope's own narrative, _Commentaria_,
pp. 52, 74.]

The Pontiff's eventual decision was, that their conquests should be
mutually restored, but that La Pergola, Pietrarobbia, and other
townships should be given over to the Count, in compensation of
damages; also that Malatesta should consign Sinigaglia and Mondavio as
security for payment to Ferdinand of 50,000 ducats, in full of his
debts to the crown of Naples; this money, or, failing it, these towns,
to be given to Piccinino in lieu of all demands on account of services
to Alfonso and Federigo. The only difficulty in carrying out these
terms appears to have originated with that selfish adventurer, who,
trusting to the terror with which his robber bands were regarded, and
conceiving that he might extort still greater advantages from a
Pontiff intent on promptly settling every divisive element in Italian
politics, made several demonstrations against the ecclesiastical
territory. But the temporising Nicholas had been succeeded by a
practical and energetic statesman, who at once ordered the Count of
Urbino to protect the interests of the Church.[99] In the following
spring an interview between the rivals, in token of their perfect
reconciliation, was brought about by the Duke of Milan. It took place
in presence of a numerous and noble concourse, witnesses to studied
displays of affectionate cordiality, which on one side were neither
voluntary nor sincere.

[Footnote 99: See letters to him from Pius II., of Nov. 11 and Dec.
12, 1459, in the Laurentian MS. just quoted.]


     Count Federigo's domestic life--His second marriage--New war
     for the Angevine succession to Naples--Battle of San
     Fabbiano--Conclusion of the war--Humiliation of the

Those readers who have thus far followed our narrative of Count
Federigo's military career may perhaps regret that its somewhat
limited and monotonous interest should not have been varied by
glimpses of his domestic life. A prince whose engagements were
observed with rare fidelity, whose chivalrous honour was happily
combined with practical good sense and unflinching justice, must have
been almost necessarily a good husband and kind master. But, in
accordance with the habits of his age and the calls of his condottiere
profession, most of his time was passed in the field, and
unfortunately in those times few bards and biographers considered any
incense worth offering which did not savour of

     "The pomp and circumstance of glorious war."

His marriage with Gentile being hopelessly barren, he had followed the
example of his father by obtaining papal briefs of legitimation, in
1454, for his natural sons Buonconte and Antonio. With the latter we
shall make acquaintance by and by; the former, a youth of remarkable
promise, is supposed to have been his destined heir,[100] but having
been sent on a mission to Alfonso at Naples, in October, 1458, he died
there of the plague; and another brother, Bernardino, who had
accompanied him on that journey, scarcely survived his return.
Berni, speaking from personal knowledge of these two princes, applies
to them Virgil's high-flown compliment to Marcellus:--

     "Ah, couldst thou break through Fate's severe decree,
     A new Marcellus shall arise in thee!
     Full canisters of fragrant lilies bring,
     Mixed with the purple roses of the spring;
     Let me with funeral flowers his body strew."[101]

[Footnote 100: BALDI, II., p. 48.]

[Footnote 101: DRYDEN'S translation of _Æneid_, VI., p. 810.]

[Illustration: _P. della Francesca, pinx. L. Ceroni, sculp._



_From the picture by Piero della Francesca in the Uffizi Gallery_]

These bereavements probably predisposed their father to a proposal
made to him at Mantua by the Duke of Milan, that he should marry his
niece Battista Sforza, daughter of the Lord of Pesaro, whose descent
we have already explained, and who was now about thirteen years of
age.[102] Her mother's death, when she was but eighteen months old,
had occasioned her being carried at an early age to the court of
Milan, where those gifts and endowments were well cultivated for which
her mother and great-grandmother had been renowned. Nearly of an age
with her cousin Hippolita Maria, one of the paragon princesses of her
age, whose marriage to the heir presumptive of the Neapolitan crown we
have noticed, she shared her laborious education, and amply redeemed
her own hereditary claim to the talents and classical acquirements
then in vogue among the pedantic dames of Italy. With the like showy
scholarship and precocious command of Latin rhetoric to which her
female predecessors had been trained, she was put forward to welcome
illustrious visitors at Milan and Pesaro, in harangues which we are
assured were sometimes prepared, sometimes extempore, but always
elegant and appropriate.[103] The same contemporary authority
attributes her engagement with Federigo to the influence of King
Alfonso immediately upon Gentile's death; but the dispensation is
dated the 4th of October, 1459,[104] and in the following month the
betrothal took place at Pesaro, where great satisfaction was
displayed, and a donation of 3000 bolognini, or 75 florins, was voted
by the council to Alessandro, of which he would accept but two-thirds.
The marriage was celebrated at Urbino, on the 10th of February, 1460;
and we turn to Sanzi's Chronicle, in the hope of finding some
interesting details commemorated by an eye-witness. These pomps are,
however, unfortunately curtailed by the poet, anxious to resume the
dull recital of little wars. He describes the bride as

                              "A maiden
     With every grace and virtue rare endowed,
     That heaven at intervals on earth vouchsafes,
     In earnest of the bliss reserved on high."

[Footnote 102: See p. 41 above. The extreme inaccuracy of Frenchmen,
in speaking or writing of names and persons, is proverbial; and
Sismondi, a French writer, although no Frenchman, has fallen into
manifest errors regarding the family of Urbino. We have already
detected one as to the birth of Federigo. In chap. LXXI. he calls
Battista daughter of Francesco Sforza, and in chap. LXXXI. falls into
the still more gross blunder of making Sigismondo Malatesta
father-in-law (_beaupère_) of Federigo. This may be a misprint for
_beaufrère_, which he would have been had Battista been a daughter of
Francesco, as well as Polissena, whom Malatesta had married; but this
was not the case. See notes at p. 91 and above.]

[Footnote 103: Urb. Vat. MSS., No. 1236, her funeral oration.]

[Footnote 104: Archivio Diplomatico di Firenze, original

Muzio most unaccountably omits all notice of the marriage; we,
however, learn from Betussi that she was tiny in person, but inherited
the gifts and eloquence of her grandmother, Battista di Montefeltro.
These she publicly exercised at Mantua, in an oration addressed to
Pius II., and answered in a compliment dictated either by his
gallantry or critical acumen. Bernardo Tasso has pleasingly embodied
the testimony of her contemporaries:--

     "The first of them in equal favour holds
     Demosthenes and Plato; reading, too,
     Plotinus, while, in wisdom as in words,
     Arpino's orator she well shall match;
     Consort of one unconquered, Frederick,
     Urbino's Duke and long-tried champion."[105]

[Footnote 105: _Amadigi_, canto XLIV., st. 57. Cicero was born at





_After the picture by Piero della Francesca in the Uffizi Gallery,





_After the picture by Piero della Francesca in the Uffizi Gallery,

Yet much learning distracted her not from the practical affairs of
life. During her husband's ever-recurring absences, she administered
his state with singular propriety, besides bringing him many children.
On the fourth day after the ceremony, Federigo left his capital to
visit the Pope at Siena, where he was magnificently entertained,
returning home to pass the carnival with his bride.

New elements of discord were meanwhile fermenting, by which the
Turkish crusade was indefinitely postponed. The popularity gained by
the noble character of Alfonso of Naples, and confirmed by his
residence in Italy, descended not to his successor. Ferdinand was
already unfavourably known, from his sombre and revengeful temper, his
falsehood and avarice; yet we look in vain for provocations or
grievances adequate to justify the factious proceedings of his great
barons. Resolved to supplant him, they made overtures to Jean, King of
Navarre, the successor to Alfonso's hereditary dominions, whose eldest
son, Count Viane, had already gathered golden opinions in Lower Italy.
But Jean, more anxious to consolidate his kingdom than to augment it
by outlying appendages, declined interfering, and the malcontents
turned to the Angevine claimant of the Neapolitan crown. René the Good
still reigned in Provence, occupied with his pen and pencil, and
better fitted to be the bard of chivalry than its hero. His son, the
titular Duke of Calabria, had established himself at Genoa in 1458,
with almost sovereign authority, on the invitation of her citizens,
who, finding themselves worsted in a contest, unwisely renewed by
Alfonso, after the peace of Lodi, in order to avenge himself of the
obstinately Angevine policy of that republic, naturally called to
their aid his French rival. The Duke's winning qualities, and the
sound judgment which he had manifested in their service, were well
calculated to render him a competitor very formidable to the
unprepossessing Ferdinand. The Genoese, whose hearts he had thus
gained, were ready to back him with a naval armament, reinforced by
some galleys originally fitted out at Marseilles for the Turkish
expedition, but placed by Charles VII. at René's disposal. Florence, a
tried partisan of the Angevine succession, was faithful to her
prescriptive policy, and now urged upon Venice the recent grudge which
both republics owed to Alfonso of Aragon. But it was in vain that the
Duke sought support from Francesco Sforza and the Pope. The former,
with comprehensive glance, calculated the risks of French domination
in Italy, and took his stand on the treaty of Lodi, which, uniting all
her powers in one solemn national league, guaranteed the succession of
Naples. He therefore respectfully declined from the Angevine candidate
the same bribe which Celestine had vainly offered him of his father's
holdings in the Abruzzi, and during the Congress at Mantua confirmed
the Pontiff's inclination for the Aragonese dynasty.

In October, 1459, the Duke of Calabria made a descent on the
Neapolitan coast, and his arrival gave the signal for an almost
universal rising of the great barons of the kingdom. At this crisis of
his fortunes, Ferdinand succeeded, through the Duke of Milan's
strenuous exertions, in detaching from the Angevine party Venice and
Florence, which assumed a neutral position. He also summoned Piccinino
from schemes of personal aggrandisement in La Marca, to defend his
crown; but that greedy freebooter, indignant at being called off his
quarry, took the usual licence of condottieri, and opened a
correspondence with his master's competitor. Warned of this by the
Count of Urbino, the King and the Duke of Milan made every effort to
retain Giacopo under the banner of Aragon, and we are assured that the
Count, in their interest, went so far as to promise him a surrender of
part of his newly recovered territory, should the adventurer not make
good for himself any other seigneury.[106] But trusting little to
that slippery soldier, they desired Federigo and the Lord of Pesaro to
concert measures for preventing his march into the Abruzzi. Their
precautions were, however, defeated, for Piccinino, who then lay in
Romagna, sent his baggage and camp-followers to be embarked at the
nearest ports, and partly by dexterously misleading them as to his
route, chiefly by forced marches of extraordinary rapidity, in three
days scoured the Adriatic coast, and reached the Tronto without
impediment. On the last day he is said to have done fifty miles, with
twenty squadrons of men-at-arms and two thousand infantry--a feat
which cost him many horses, and which he was believed to have effected
by aid of the Lady of Loretto, before whose shrine he found time to
prefer a passing orison. Possibly more important to his success was
the adhesion of Ercole d'Este, and of the Lords of Rimini and
Camerino, to the cause of Anjou, as well as orders privately given by
the papal legate to accelerate the passage of his formidable company
through the ecclesiastical territory.

[Footnote 106: BALDI, III., p. 79. Pius had arranged all this with
Federigo at Siena, in February, 1460, and had advanced him money, in
order, if necessary, to corrupt Piccinino's troops--_Commentaria_, p.
97. At p. 100 the Pontiff insinuates against Federigo the same charge
which the Urbino writers have preferred against his own legate, of
facilitating their transit into the enemy's country, which
unquestionably could not have been effected without collusion or
remissness in some quarter.]

Although the army of the League, following closely on that of
Piccinino, had crossed the Tronto early in April, it was unable to
effect a junction with Ferdinand, in consequence of the eastern side
of the kingdom having risen against him, and of the passes being all
well guarded. In this state of affairs the King's defeat at Sarno
rendered his prospects still more gloomy, and his only remaining hope
seemed to rest on the confederate force in the Abruzzi. It consisted
of a strong contingent from Lombardy, led by Bosio Sforza, and of a
less important brigade of ecclesiastical troops, besides the hardy
mountaineers of Montefeltro and the well-tried company of Alessandro
Sforza, the whole commanded by the Count of Urbino. It was kept in
check by Piccinino's army, superior especially in infantry and
cross-bowmen, although of late considerably weeded of the Braccian
veterans, many of whom had taken service under the Lords of Pesaro and

In July these contending armaments were in presence at San Fabbiano,
on the Tordino, the Angevines encamped on the hill-side, the Aragonese
in the plain, separated by a considerable extent of intervening level
ground, on which marauding or exploring parties from each camp daily
met. During one of these skirmishes, a defiance was given by Nardo da
Marsciano to Francesco della Carda to break a lance, which was
cheerfully accepted; and the challenge being repeated by Serafino da
Montefalcone, it was taken up by one Fantaguzzo da S. Arcangelo. Two
days were allowed for preparations, and, when the encounters took
place, victory declared for the Aragonese knights, who, by order of
Piccinino, were crowned with laurel, and escorted back to their camp
by a pompous array of martial music. While aiding to keep the lists,
Federigo, in making a dash at a straggler, spurred his charger, which
suddenly bounding, so wrenched his back that he was rendered incapable
of motion, and was lifted from his horse in exquisite pain. Being put
to bed, with the prospect of a tedious cure, a council of war was held
in his tent, when Alessandro Sforza, the next in command, advocated a
general action; but the Count spoke long and strongly in favour of
defensive tactics, and of saving the troops from continual skirmishes,
exhausting to their strength and temper. The latter opinion was
unanimously approved of; but Alessandro having exclaimed, with some
show of mortified feeling, "You, however, have thrice had a tussle
with the enemy," Federigo replied, "Well then, you may do the same,
but with two or three squadrons only, not putting the whole
encampment under arms." Accordingly, two days after,[107] a partial
onset was made, which, as both sides were supported by repeated
reinforcements, gradually brought on a general action. The battle,
thus commenced without plan or object, became a disorderly pell-mell
fight, and hence, probably, its results were far more fatal than the
usually bloodless engagements of hired companies, more anxious about
their own safety than the cause which they supported for the nonce.
Little can be gathered from the confused accounts of the Urbino
writers, and that of Simonetta is obviously incomplete. From the
latter it would seem that the Braccians strove to cross a deep ditch
in front of their quarters, whilst Ricotti makes them successful in
breaking through the enemy's line, too much extended under an
apprehension of being outflanked by superior numbers. Again, the
biographers of Federigo tell us that, learning the impending loss of a
battle brought on against his advice, he rose from bed, had himself
swathed in bandages, and, though unable to don his armour, was lifted
on horseback, heading a charge of the reserve, which, although not
crowned by victory, averted a certain and signal defeat. The contest
was prolonged when night had closed in, and, after seven hours of
severe fighting, the combatants withdrew to their respective quarters.
Baldi, who dwells very fully on the Count's gallantry, quoting
contemporary manuscripts, mentions that two horses were killed under
him: but his courage was shown in triumphing over the agony of his
malady even more than by exposing himself in the brunt of a battle
which had become almost desperate. His conduct in both respects was
done justice to by his followers, and much of his military reputation
dated from the disastrous fight of San Fabbiano. It is to be
regretted that no return of its casualties has reached us, as it would
have been curious to know the losses of the most bloody action of this
age. Berni merely says that 400 horses and many men were slain. As to
its immediate consequences, our authorities are again at issue.
Simonetta, the historian of the Sforzas, and, consequently, a partisan
of the League, admits that, though apparently a drawn battle, the
disadvantage was greatly on the allies' side; that a portion of their
troops fled from the field, and never drew bridle until they had
crossed the Tronto, followed by the rest, during the stillness of the
subsequent night. Sismondi also claims a victory for the Angevines,
with the loss to their opponents of all their baggage and most of
their horses. On the other hand, Baldi quotes two contemporary
authorities, one of them a spectator, to prove that Federigo's army
sacrificed scarcely more than four hundred horses, and that he did not
break up his cantonments for at least ten days later, and even then
only in consequence of progressive disaffection in the Abruzzi. He
admits, however, that the confederate army exhibited a most
pusillanimous spirit, and, but for their captain-general's exertions
and authority, would have actually done what Simonetta lays to their
charge, instead of eventually retiring beyond the Tronto rapidly, but
in good order, with baggage and wounded, their retreat covered by a
succession of ambuscades, which checked and severely punished the
columns of Piccinino, while in disorderly pursuit.

[Footnote 107: There is much discrepancy as to the date. Berni and
Muzio say it was the 22nd of July; Baldi names the 29th; Muratori,
followed by Sismondi and Ricotti, the 27th of that month; Simonetta
the 22nd of June. Muzio and Baldi, however, agree that the battle was
fought on a Tuesday, which must have been the 22nd of July, the Feast
of the Magdalen.]

The tournament which preluded this mortal strife proves that a spirit
of chivalry still animated the Italian condottieri,[*108] who, in the
words of Dante,

     "Hired to a hireling, still with hirelings fights,
     Ne'er asks the cause of quarrel nor its rights."

[Footnote *108: As witness the almost comic challenge of Piccinino to
Sforza. Cf. EDWARD HUTTON, _op. cit._, pp. 124-7.]

An anecdote of Federigo which occurred a few days later illustrates
the same feeling. Piccinino, informed by spies of the panic prevailing
among the allies, sought by all means to aggravate it, in order to rid
himself of them without further bloodshed. He, therefore, on various
pretexts, sent into their camp bearers of bad news, and exaggerated
rumours from the south. One of these emissaries, being taken before
the Count and asked what tidings, represented himself as commissioned
by Giacopo to request that their plate and valuables might not be sent
away, as he wished to have them for his own special use. Federigo,
though blessed with uncommon command of temper, was irritated by this
boastful and ill-timed insult, and, starting to his feet, exclaimed,
"Reply to Piccinino, or whoever else sent you on this mission, that he
who would win my property will have enough to do, and must first stake
his own." Then, looking towards the sun, he added, "It is now late,
but to-morrow I shall inquire by what means he is to get them." In the
morning he accordingly sent his secretary, Paltroni, to inform the
General that, having received such a message in his name, he desired
to know how he proposed to gain these things, by pitched battle or
single combat; that he was welcome to choose what way he pleased, as
they would be well defended against one or many. But Giacopo
repudiated the bravado imputed to him, and sent back the envoy with
many compliments, so that this intended discouragement was, by the
Count's tact, converted into a sort of triumph, at the expense rather
than to the advantage of his designing adversary.

Ferdinand having lost every place of importance but his capital, the
cause of Aragon was now most critically situated; and had the Duke of
Calabria moved directly upon Naples, there can be little doubt that
the French dynasty would have been seated, and probably established,
upon the throne of one of the Sicilies. But he let slip the
favourable moment, influenced it is said by Orsini, Prince of Tarento.
Such was the predominance enjoyed by this overgrown feudatory, that
Alfonso had conceived a marriage with his niece Isabella sufficient to
secure the crown to Ferdinand; yet was he the first to disturb the
succession, and his whole power had been directed against her husband.
It is said that love or duty, ambition or pique, working on woman's
wit, induced her to hazard an appeal to her uncle's mercy, and that,
disguised as a Franciscan monk, she made her way to his tent, where
her expostulations moved the stern baron to give breathing time to
Ferdinand, by diverting the Angevine arms from the capital to less
important places. Simonetta, omitting this little romance of history,
ascribes Orsini's policy to the selfish motive of prolonging a civil
war which augmented his individual importance. Under this pressing
necessity all thoughts of the Turkish crusade were abandoned; and even
Pius postponed to a more fitting season, what he regarded as the cause
of Christendom, in favour of one which Sforza had satisfied him was
that of Italy. Both these sovereigns promptly advanced subsidies, and
a small contingent of troops from Lombardy arrived in the confederate
camp. The Count of Urbino's service as captain-general expired in
September, when he would gladly have quitted a cause forsaken
apparently by fortune, in order to protect home interests, always in
peril from his neighbour of Rimini. But he was persuaded to accept a
renewed engagement from the Pontiff, who in the autumn was recalled
from Siena by the exigency of his capital.

Piccinino, consulting as much the advantage of his own company as that
of the house of Anjou, made a descent upon the Sabine territory, and
scoured the rich Campagna, until the Romans, tracing from their walls
his path of fire, trembled for their insecure city. The army of the
League was summoned in all haste for its defence, but their march was
delayed by divided councils and private aims, the leaders being averse
to leaving exposed their interests in Romagna; and had Giacopo
ventured to attack the Eternal City, instead of intriguing with a few
of her discontented inhabitants, he might have anticipated those
scenes of plunder and outrage inflicted on her in the following
century by the lawless host of the Constable Bourbon. But it was
reserved for a French renegade, leading a horde of ultra-montane
banditti, to strike a blow, from which the Italian condottiere may
have recoiled as sacrilegious. Fortunately, Federigo was thus spared
the disgrace which tarnishes his grandson Duke Francesco Maria I., of
sacrificing the metropolis of Christendom to dilatory movements and
selfish ends. After losing three months inactively on the Adriatic,
the confederates advanced into the Sabine country, and recovered
several places lately seized by the Angevines. November having
arrived, both armies went into winter quarters; the Count of Urbino at
Magliano, near Narni, where he learned that his departure from La
Marca had encouraged Malatesta to seize upon Mondavio, which under the
late arrangement had become his, Sinigaglia being re-annexed to the

Federigo and Alessandro Sforza repaired to Rome for the Christmas
ceremonies, when there occurred a singular proceeding, commemorated by
Pius in his _Commentaries_. An advocate of the papal courts brought
before a full consistory the malpractices of Sigismondo Malatesta in a
formal pleading, accusing him of rapine, wilful fire-raising,
slaughter, rape, adultery, incest, parricide, sacrilege, treason,
lese-majesty, and heresy, and praying his Holiness to listen to the
suppliant voices of those who could no longer endure the tyrant's
cruel yoke, and to avenge them by at length freeing Italy from a foul
and abominable monster, in whose cities no good man's life was safe.
None having replied to this oration, the Count of Urbino and his
neighbour of Pesaro resumed the charges, alleging that many of the
culprit's worst enormities had been passed over; that his treacheries
equalled the number of his transactions, that none ever trusted him
without being betrayed, that he scoffed not at one or another point of
faith, but at the whole evangelical system, in utter ignorance of
religion. The Pontiff then, in a long speech, took credit for
leniency, in not summarily consigning the offender to eternal
perdition, and remitted the cause to the Cardinal of S.
Pietro-ad-vincula. The report by his Eminence pronounced him guilty of
all these crimes, and of disbelief in the resurrection or the soul's
immortality; whereupon sentence went forth, depriving him of his state
and dignities, and condemning him to the punishment of heresy. On a
vast pile of combustibles raised before the steps of St. Peter's, was
placed an effigy of Sigismondo from the mouth of which issued a scroll
inscribed, "Here am I, Sigismondo Malatesta, son of Pandolfo, king of
traitors, foe of God and man, condemned to the flames by a sentence of
the sacred college." Fire being applied, the figure was consumed amid
the curses of thousands, and in Easter week of 1461, formal
excommunication went out against the brothers Malatesta.[109]

[Footnote 109: _Comment. Pii Papæ II._, pp. 129, 131, 184, 203.]

[Illustration: _Alinari_


_Detail from the fresco by Piero della Francesca in the Tempio
Malatestiano in Rimini_]

When spring permitted new operations, the League, by a series of petty
successes, restored the papal authority in the revolted townships, and
punished Savelli, one of the great Campagna chiefs who had sided with
the Angevine pretender. Then crossing the frontier into the Abruzzi,
Alessandro Sforza encompassed Sulmona, whilst Federigo, by a most
difficult march among the Apennine sierras, made a successful foray
upon the enemy's unprotected country. From thence he suddenly
returned, on hearing that Pius contemplated retiring from Rome to
Tivoli during the dog-day heats, and warmly remonstrated with his
Holiness on risking his person among a proverbially treacherous
population, by whom Piccinino had been recently welcomed. To these
entreaties, seconded by the cardinals, the Pope replied that a
residence among them was the surest means of recovering the affections
of these citizens, and confirming their attachment to the Holy See.
Thither accordingly he was escorted by the Count of Urbino with ten
troops of horse; and the Pontiff dwells in glowing terms on their
splendid horses, arms, and accoutrements, their shields glittering in
the morning sun, their crests and morions dazzling beholders, each
troop a forest of spears. "As they rode along the Campagna, Federigo,
whose reading was extensive, inquired of his Holiness whether the
generals of antiquity were armed like those of our day? Pius replied
that all the weapons in actual use, as well as many now obsolete, may
be found in Homer and Virgil, for though poets sometimes invent, yet
they generally describe pretty correctly what has at some period
existed. The conversation turning upon the Trojan war, which the Count
endeavoured to depreciate, the Pontiff demonstrated its importance,
and that its great reputation was not unfounded. Such pleasant and
spirited discourse upon ancient history was prolonged between them to
the Lucano Bridge, where the guard was dismissed; but, thereafter, his
Holiness availed himself of a leisure moment at Tivoli to detail from
Ptolemy, Strabo, Pliny, Quintus Curtius, Julius Solinus, Pomponius
Mela, and other old authors, many appropriate particulars regarding
Asia Minor and its limits, which had by chance been mentioned."

This interesting episode concluded, Federigo rejoined his army, and
after accumulating vast booty from the villages, and carrying several
fastnesses, dictated terms to the important city of Aquila. Thus
passed the summer, and in October he was instructed to bring to
obedience the Duke of Sora, who had thrown off allegiance to
Ferdinand. Before attacking the town of that name he found it
necessary to reduce the mountain fortress of Castelluccio, near the
Garigliano; but its tiny garrison, availing themselves of a strong
position, held out against the defective artillery of that day until a
large force had assembled for its relief. These, however, met from him
so warm a reception that they were glad to retire, and leave not only
the place but all the duchy of Sora at his mercy. This service was
most grateful to Pius, who gladly saw an enemy on his very frontier
brought to terms. In the next consistory he remarked that "this
captain of ours with his single eye sees everything," and addressed to
him the following complimentary brief, which Muzio has preserved. "To
our well-beloved son, health and apostolic benediction: We have been
duly informed of the courage wherewith you have met the enemy, and in
how short a time you have carried the stronghold you were
beleaguering. These marvellous exploits content us much, and are
worthy of your wonted prowess and magnanimity. Dear to us is your
person, and we would cherish your worth and valour. Proceed as you
have commenced, and daily add to your good offices in behalf of
ourselves and of his Majesty: let it be your endeavour by every
exertion to augment your reputation, and you shall always be the son
of our benediction. From Rome, at St. Peter's, under the fisher's
ring, this 1st of October, 1461, in the eighth year of our

During the dead season Federigo visited the Pope and Ferdinand, to
concert measures for the ensuing campaign, and on its opening was
again obliged to proceed against the Duke of Sora, who had evaded a
submission extorted from him in the autumn. It was not, however, by
such petty achievements that the Neapolitan succession was to be
settled. Nominally a republic, Genoa was really an oligarchy, the
sport of rival factions; but there had long been a leaning to the
Angevine alliance, and no support could have been more useful to that
house in its pretensions upon Naples. Without command of the sea, such
pretensions were absolutely vain, and that commercial community,
situated between Provence and Lower Italy, not only secured to these a
mutual intercourse, but formed a most available entrepôt for
reinforcements and military stores. The French, originally received
within its walls as allies, had become virtually masters of the
maritime state; but in the spring of 1461 a popular revolution,
occasioned by financial burdens consequent upon the Neapolitan war,
and promoted by the Duke of Milan, overthrew the Angevine party, and
obliged the French to seek shelter in the fortress. An army chosen
from the chivalry of Languedoc and France was embarked at Marseilles
to succour the Duke of Calabria, but his father directed the fleet
conveying it to stand into the bay of Genoa, in hopes of easily
re-establishing there the Angevine interests. He was, however,
repulsed thence in July by a defeat so bloody and complete that his
army was annihilated and his influence entirely overthrown. The cause
of René, hitherto almost uniformly successful, never recovered this
check, by which he lost at once a highly important reinforcement and a
most serviceable ally. Other discouragements followed in rapid
succession: the death of Charles VII. deprived him of a powerful
coadjutor, the unlooked for convalescence of Francesco Sforza restored
energy to his most active adversary, and a sudden descent upon Apulia
by George Scanderbeg, the hero of Greece, with a seasonable
reinforcement of Castriot horse, cheered Ferdinand's drooping spirits,
and enabled him during the campaign of 1462 to recover his lost

Sigismondo Malatesta having recovered most of his territories in the
previous year, Piccinino conceived the opportunity favourable for
employing in the French interests his soldiery, no longer required for
his own ends. He therefore dispatched an emissary with sufficient
funds to retain some minor condottieri of Lombardy and Romagna, and to
persuade Malatesta to march at their head into the Abruzzi. By this
effort a force was raised which gave extreme uneasiness to the Pope
for the safety of La Marca, and from which great expectations were
raised by the Angevines, in the belief that it would promptly advance
southward. There was thus little difficulty in allowing Federigo to
hasten from the seat of war in order to meet this new danger; and
although he hurried onwards with extraordinary rapidity, he reached
Sinigaglia an hour after it had been treacherously surrendered to its
former master, the Lord of Rimini. Sigismondo, alarmed at this
unexpected descent, made overtures to his old rival in an altered
tone, interlarding general professions of regard with many wily
suggestions that their common interests would be far safer with
Sinigaglia in his hands than in those of the Church. Without entering
upon this view of the matter, Federigo replied that, being in the
field not as Count of Urbino but as captain of his Holiness, such
private considerations must be postponed to a more fitting moment.

The rising sun was gilding the slumbering Adriatic on the 12th of
August, when the Count appeared before Sinigaglia, after a forced
march from the Chiento, thirty long miles distant, effected within as
many hours.[110] During that day his army passed the Nevola, and sat
down within a bow-shot of the enemy's camp. Had Malatesta at once
charged these toil-worn troops, his victory might have been complete;
had he occupied the city, or kept possession of his own well-fortified
entrenchments, he might have waited another opportunity for striking a
decisive blow. But from folly or cowardice irreconcilable with the
fair reputation he held among contemporary free captains, he adopted
the extraordinary resolution of a retreat upon Fano, and shortly
before midnight silently quitted his camp. Federigo was, however, on
the alert, and throwing himself on horseback, sped on with a few
mounted squadrons, whilst he ordered all his troops to follow with
their utmost diligence. As he hurried forward, some of his staff,
unaware of the precautions taken against surprise, remonstrated at the
risk of thus rushing into danger; but he cheered them on, saying it
was in like manner, and the same hour, and through this very country,
that Claudius Nero had advanced after Asdrubal, when he beat and
utterly overthrew him. Thus pressing onward he overtook the enemy at
the streamlet of the Cesano, and with trumpet and shouts raised the
cry to battle. Sigismondo, deeming it impossible for the army to
follow after its severe exertions of the preceding night, conceived
his pursuers to be but a handful of skirmishers whom it were well at
once to dispose of. He therefore formed his rear-guard to receive
their attack, thus giving the main body of his adversaries time to
arrive. A full moon enabled the Count to perceive his advantage,
without exposing his weakness; and, waiting until he was sufficiently
supported, he charged with an impetuosity which cleared the rivulet,
and so thoroughly routed the enemy that even their van felt the shock
and took to flight. Before dawn Malatesta's army, although said to
have outnumbered Federigo's as five to two, was scattered to the
winds, whilst he escaped into Fano, and his eldest son to Mondolfo.
The victor, after a day to recruit his men, withdrew into his own
state, having no artillery wherewith to reduce Sinigaglia.

[Footnote 110: Muratori says that the battle of the Cesano was fought
on the 26th; but we prefer the date given by Berni, who makes it
commence on a Thursday night, being the 12th, not the 13th, which
Sismondi has adopted for the combat.]

Sigismondo, ever prepared to cloak defeat by hypocrisy, sent a
confidential envoy to the Count, charged with the same arguments and
professions he had a few days before proposed to him, and commissioned
to offer the hand of his eldest son Roberto for one of Federigo's
infant daughters, in guarantee of their perfect reconciliation. For
reply, the latter taunted him with his ever-broken faith, and rejected
propositions which it would be dishonourable in him to entertain, as
an officer of the Pope, whose service he infinitely preferred to
amity or relationship with Malatesta. This negotiation being reported
to his Holiness by the legate, was approved in the following papal
brief addressed to Federigo.

"If it be as reported to us, that accomplished master of treason and
wicked plotter of profanity, Sigismondo Malatesta, a true son of
perdition, has attempted in many and various ways to undermine your
still incorruptible faith; and this, as we have heard, and as you have
in part informed us, since he was worsted and overthrown near
Sinigaglia, nay, driven to a disgraceful flight, by your superior
might and the bravery of your soldiers: and he has at the same time
added that, if we reduce him to do our kitchen service and to set our
meat in order, you too will end by becoming our muleteer; promising
you, however, an alliance with his family, provided you will either
reinstate him in our favour, or abstain from annoying him: but we are
aware how wisely you replied to his folly, and how your good sense
brought him to confusion. It is superfluous for us to advise you as to
the most prudent course; we would but encourage you heartily to
persevere and keep at him, letting slip no opportunity of oppressing
and humbling the enemy, and that you do your utmost speedily to
terminate this war, and to liberate us and yourself from a most
rascally foe, with whom no terms of peace can ever be relied on. And
do not imagine, however much our ally the King of France may desire a
truce in the kingdom of Hither Sicily, including in it Sigismondo as
his adherent, that we shall suffer any to interfere as arbiter or
judge between us and our subjects, except the Holy See which we
represent. Proceed then, conquer, destroy, and consume this accursed
Sigismondo, and in him neutralise the poison of Italy. Which if you
do, as we hope, you will be most dear not only to us, but to all our
successors in time to come, and we shall acknowledge your deserts by
such recompense as shall by all be considered adequate. It is not
nobility that we hate, as is falsely asserted by him, but profligate
and faithless nobles like himself, who has not hesitated to betray his
mother and sovereign the Roman Church, and we shall not neglect to
chastise him as God may give us opportunity. You, and all such as
imitate your ways, we love right heartily, and shall honour and exalt
to the utmost of our power while life endures, knowing well that
authority is best maintained by punishments and rewards, and that in
the opinion of all the world, Sigismondo has earned the former and you
the latter. From Petriuolo with our own hand, this 6th of October,

[Footnote 111: Papal bulls and briefs, when abusive, are often more
pungent than dignified, and their epithets sometimes baffle
translation. In this instance, the meaning being filtered through the
slovenly Italian version of Muzio, may have lost somewhat of its
point. The obscure mention of menial offices in the Pope's service, is
perhaps a clumsy allusion to some now forgotten proverb.]

In implement of these promises, the Count, on the 3rd of November,
received a commission as lieutenant-general of the ecclesiastical
forces, which he had hitherto led as captain-general, and under his
authority pursued with energy the invasion of his enemy's territory.
On the 20th of September he obtained Mondavio, whose inhabitants
averted a sack by paying 3000 ducats. This was followed by a surrender
of the whole vicariat of Sinigaglia and territory of Fano, which he
did his best to save from the miseries of war: but as it was necessary
to keep his soldiery in good humour, he at Barchi allowed all the
people to remove; then closing the gates, and disarming his men, he
gave the word for a general assault upon the abandoned fortress, whose
pillage was thus in some degree divested of the horrors usually
attendant on such scenes, which are described by Sanzi in these
feeling terms:--

     "Alas, the wailing, the heart-rending woe!
     The modest mansions and proud palaces,
     The towers and petty castles, all o'erthrown;
     Their dwellers madly rushing here and there,
     Their women weeping in dishevelled garb,
     Imploring mercy for their little ones!
     Ah, cruel fates, ah, tendencies accursed!
     Such, Malatesta! the embittered fruits
     Of thy dissensions and audacious deeds.
     Unwearied foe to peace! How numerous
     The victims of thy countless crimes, who thus
     Their substance see in ashes or despoiled,
     Themselves imprisoned and impoverished."

The Count now carried his victorious arms into the country of Rimini,
and, after taking Mondaino, laid siege to Montefiori, which
capitulated on the 22nd of October, when Giovanni, a son of
Sigismondo, was made prisoner. Being demanded by the papal legate, it
was not without considerable discussion that a preferable claim to his
ransom was established for the lieutenant-general, who proved that the
war was on his part one neither of selfishness nor vengeance, by
freely restoring his liberty and personal effects, and escorting him
in person from the camp with many kind and consolatory expressions. It
is curious to contrast this chivalrous conduct with the unworthy trick
by which Federigo dexterously, and apparently without any stain upon
his good name, gained the citadel of Verucchio after the town had
surrendered. He caused a letter, forged in the name of Sigismondo, and
fastened with an old impression of his seal,[112] to be transmitted to
the castellan, informing him that on a stated night a reinforcement of
twenty men would arrive, whom he should be prepared to admit. At the
indicated hour a detachment stealthily approached the gate, which was
hastily opened to them on an alarm rising in the besieger's camp;
rushing upon the guard, they were quickly supported by their
confederates, and the place was carried ere the garrison were aware
that they had admitted enemies in the guise of friends. The few
remaining weeks of open weather sufficed to reduce all the territory
of Rimini, with most of that around Cesena; and when the snow fell
Federigo repaired to Verucchio, whence he blockaded the city of Rimini
during the winter.

[Footnote 112: So say Muzio and Baldi. Pius II. and Reposati print the
letter as from his brother Malatesta Novello, lord of Cesena,
brother-in-law of Federigo, a prince who shared, without deserving,
his brother's fate, and whose love of literature, differing widely
from that of the vainglorious Sigismondo, continues to benefit
posterity in the fine old library which he founded at Cesena, where
its ponderous tomes remain chained to their stalls as he left them
four centuries ago. See his verses in I. of the Appendices.]

The misfortunes thus heaped upon Malatesta were paralleled by those
which befel the Angevine cause. Hastening to obtain succours from
Piccinino, he found him paralysed by an almost equally decisive defeat
received before Troia on the 18th of August. Within a month the Prince
of Tarento gave his adherence to Ferdinand, a clear proof that the
star of Aragon was in the ascendant; and although this example was not
adopted by Giacopo until the following autumn, his intermediate
exertions were directed to securing the means of dictating favourable
terms for himself, rather than to saving the Duke of Calabria from
reverses rapidly accumulating around him. In August, 1463, he made his
peace, receiving Sulmona and many adjoining townships as a sovereign
principality, and in spring the Duke, whose footing had during many
months been limited to the island of Ischia, returned to Provence,
finally abandoning his pretensions to Lower Italy. These evil tidings
are said to have found his father René so absorbed in painting a
partridge that the loss of a kingdom neither shook his hand nor
ruffled its plumage.

After his bootless visit to the Angevine camp Sigismondo turned for
aid to Venice, and obtained the Signory's mediation with Pius in his
behalf. But the Pontiff, by a long allocution recorded in his
_Commentaries_, justified to their ambassador the strong measures
required against so incorrigible an offender, who thereupon directed
his energies to providing Fino and Rimini with means of resistance. In
the reopening campaign his opponent's first measure was to bring
Macerata and some other mountain fastnesses to terms, for which the
noise of his guns sufficed. Thence he descended upon Fano, then held
by Roberto Malatesta, and after the manner of the age preluded his
attack by gathering in the harvest that awaited the townspeople's
sickles. This delay allowed the languid ecclesiastical levies to
arrive, and in July the siege was formed. Under a system of improved
warfare few places would be more untenable, its position affording it
no natural advantages, and lying open to assault by sea or land. It
was otherwise in the infancy of artillery and military engineering.
Much time and labour and some lives were expended before the
besiegers' pieces could be brought to bear, or be protected from the
heavy stones, weighing each 300 pounds, which were fired upon them
from the ramparts. Sigismondo commanded the sea by means of vessels
chartered at Venice, supplying the place with men, ammunition, and
provisions; and although his fleet was seriously damaged by a flotilla
of boats hastily manned by Federigo's orders, communications were
quickly re-established under protection of some Venetian galleys:
after these had been recalled, in consequence of urgent
representations made to the Signory on behalf of the Pope, this
service was performed by two Angevine galleys hired by Malatesta for
the purpose. Neither perseverance nor courage in its proper sense were
qualities of the Italian soldiery, even in their age of military
reputation, and the discouragement resulting from this state of
affairs was so aggravated by a terrific thunder-storm, under cover of
which a sally captured their artillerymen and dismounted their guns,
that it was with the utmost difficulty, and only by urgent
representations to Pius himself, the lieutenant-general could keep his
troops together. Aware that success constituted his best hold upon
them, he redoubled his exertions, and in a short time had the
satisfaction not only of remedying these reverses, but of seeing his
operations put on a really satisfactory footing. The prospect of
pillage now carried his army to the opposite extreme; they could not
be restrained from an assault, which they gave with such impetuosity
that the terrified citizens capitulated whilst Roberto with his mother
and sisters retired into the castle. These ladies, remembering the
Count's generous conduct to their Giovanni at Montefiori, and
preferring his clemency to the risks of further resistance, induced
Roberto to surrender it on the third day, before a shot had been fired
in its defence. The conditions appear to have been a general assurance
of protection to persons and property; and when the Malatesta family
presented themselves before their conqueror, the ladies in convulsive
grief, he was assailed by persuasions from the legate and most of his
officers and advisers--

     "To keep the word of promise to the ear,
     And break it to the sense."

They urged upon him that, in dealing with an enemy who had again and
again set good faith at defiance, it was weakness to adhere to a
capitulation, and thus lose the opportunity at length offered by
fortune of avenging past injuries on the son of his foe; at all events
that, under provocations so aggravated, he would be amply justified in
observing the terms rather to the letter than in their spirit, and in
exacting an ample ransom for his prisoners, as Sigismondo would, in
the like circumstances, have assuredly done. These suggestions, though
entirely conformable to the morality and honour of the age, were
rejected by Federigo, to whose candid and generous mind they seemed
mere sophistry. He, therefore, not only liberated the Malatesta, but
escorted them to the place of their embarkation for Rimini. Pius has
himself recorded the feelings with which he learned the fall of Fano.
Rising from table, he spread his hands towards heaven, and poured
forth thanks to the Almighty, who thus loaded him with benefits.
After which, he said apart, "There is now nothing to keep me at home;
God calls me to his own war, and lays open the way; there is no reason
for further delay." These, however, were projects destined to remain

The moral influence of the Count's moderation, as well as of his
success, was proved in the speedy surrender of Mondolfo and
Sinigaglia, by which the whole vicariat finally passed from the
Malatesta, and lapsed to the Church. Fano has ever since been included
in the ecclesiastical territory, but Sinigaglia, conferred by Sixtus
IV. on his nephew, Giovanni della Rovere, son-in-law of Federigo,
became the cradle of the second ducal dynasty of Urbino, and an
integral portion of their duchy. In order to reduce what remained of
the Rimini fiefs, the Count presented himself before the stronghold of
Gradara, a mountain village, even now retaining some interesting
memorials of the Malatesta, which quickly followed the example of
Sinigaglia,[113] as did Maiuolo, Penna di Billi, and S. Agata, in

[Footnote 113: Muzio says in four days, Baldi in eighteen.]

Accident now intervened to save Sigismondo from utter destruction.
Some disputes between Venice and the Emperor, originating in
commercial jealousies, exposed Trieste to an attack by the former. It
happened that Pius, having been bishop of that place, interposed in
his behalf. The Venetian Signory had observed with jealousy the
progress of the Church along the Adriatic, which they looked upon as
their own lake, and where their ascendancy was apparently secure, so
long as its western sea-board continued to be partitioned among petty
feudatories and communities. Their plan of indirectly thwarting the
siege of Fano having failed, they seized this opportunity of making
the recal of their armament against Trieste conditional upon an
arrangement between his Holiness and Malatesta, urging that it ill
became him to preach Christian union as a preliminary to the Turkish
crusade, whilst he pertinaciously instigated a selfish contest. It was
not easy to evade or answer a plea which appealed to the Pontiff's
ruling passion, especially as apprehensions began to be entertained
that Sigismondo might in desperation sell his services, or even his
territory, to the Infidel. Availing himself of this favourable
opening, the culprit sent envoys from Rimini to Rome, to sue for peace
on any terms. Those dictated by Pius were abundantly stringent to
gratify vengeance and disarm apprehension. In order to expiate his
flagrant heresies, commissioners, formally authorised by him, were to
appear in the church of the Santissimi Apostoli, on a festival, during
celebration of mass, and there publicly confess and recant their
master's atheistical tenets. As an atonement for his treasons and
temporal misdeeds, his possessions were forfeited to the Church,
except Rimini and a few miles of the surrounding country, his
conquests from Federigo being at the same time restored. Conditions of
nearly equal severity were imposed on Malatesta of Cesena, and the
remnant of territory allowed to the brothers was continued to them
only during life, under burden of a heavy annual tribute. But for the
imperious Sigismondo there was reserved a deeper humiliation. As the
bishop who was commissioned to raise the interdict approached his
capital, he and his people met him in suppliant guise. Proceeding to
the cathedral, the prelate set forth the sins of the sovereign, and
imposed upon the community three days of fasting and penance, with
suspension of Divine ministrations. At the end of that interval,
Sigismondo appeared on his knees before the bishop at the high altar,
to acknowledge his errors, implore their remission, and pledge his
future obedience: whereupon he and his people, who crowded around in
the same abject attitude, were absolved, and received the benediction.

Thus ended twenty-four years of strife between Sigismondo and
Federigo, which, necessarily occupying our narrative, may have unduly
taxed the patience of our readers. When it began, the Malatesta owned
the whole coast from Cervia and Cesena to the Fiumisino, near Ancona.
Had their conduct equalled their daring ambition, they might, by
acquiring the comparatively unimportant fiefs of Urbino, Durante, and
Gubbio, and by absorbing the petty holdings which adjoined their
northern frontier, have established a powerful state in the fairest
and strongest provinces of Central Italy. But when the struggle
closed, it left them but a precarious life-interest in mere fractions
of that ample territory, the rest of which had gone to enrich the
Church, or to aggrandise their especial enemies, the Montefeltri and
the Sforza. The portion now accruing to Federigo, by authority of the
Pope and the consistory, included about fifty townships between the
Foglia and the Marecchia, which had been partly seized from himself
and his predecessors, partly held as debatable land, subject to the
strongest, but which henceforward continued incorporated with Urbino.


     Count Federigo's home administration and court--Description
     of his palace and library at Urbino--His other palaces--The
     resources of his state.

The three years and a half which had now passed since the Count's
marriage had been spent by him almost entirely in active service.
During his long absences, the state was in a great measure
administered by Countess Battista, who, notwithstanding her youth, is
said to have held the reins of government with admirable firmness and
good sense, as well as with a leniency and gentleness which
conciliated universal popularity.[114] The remainder of his life had a
more peaceful destiny, for not only was his almost domestic foe
Malatesta now reduced to harmless insignificance, but Italy enjoyed
comparative respite from her normal condition of unceasing strife. We
are assured that Federigo turned to excellent account the
opportunities this afforded for attending to the internal affairs of
the duchy, and ameliorating the position of his people. But his
biographers, deeming these objects much less momentous than his
military exploits, have unfortunately left us almost in the dark
regarding occupations and measures so infinitely more important, as
distinguishing his views from those of his age and order. Of the laws
which he promulgated, the manner of enacting and administering them,
the organisation and exercise of justice, the operation and limits of
popular rights, the extent and value of municipal suffrages, the
system of taxation and finance, the tendency and usage of trade, the
statistics of the duchy, the internal condition and well-being of the
people, we scarcely obtain a hint from those who prolixly dwell upon
battle-fields, detail sieges, and trace countermarches, few of which
offer variety of tactics or interesting results. Neither are
manuscript authorities in this respect more useful than the published
memoirs, for most of those we have seen are adulatory compositions,
occupied only with matter calculated to enhance our appreciation of
their hero as a successful general or patron of letters, but utterly
neglecting the internal policy of his government. The peculiar quality
of his mind unquestionably was that strict observance of good faith, a
total absence of which is the fatal characteristic, the indelible
stain of his age. There is thus every reason to believe that the
conditions imposed upon him at his succession in 1443 would be rigidly
fulfilled, and we have discovered no complaint ever made against him
of their non-observance. They provide, according to the lights then
enjoyed, for a popular election and control of magistrates, reduction
of burdens, fiscal reforms, public education, and medical aid,
restrictions on the prerogative in so far as it sheltered abuses,--and
it is obvious that, if carried out in their true spirit, they must
have offered no mean guarantees against such tyranny as the recent
historian of the Ausonian Republics has sweepingly charged upon all
mediæval dynasties.

[Footnote 114: Urb. Vat. MSS. No. 1236, her funeral oration.]

[Illustration: _A. Nini, del. A. Marchetti, sculp._


_From an original drawing by Agostino Nini of Bologna_]

The few notices of his government wherewith Baldi has favoured us
savour of those minute and paternal attentions which ensure to a
prince great personal popularity. He tells us that the Count
commissioned certain persons called revisors to perambulate the state,
and investigate the condition of the people. Among the matters
specially committed to them were these: To inquire into the
requirements of the religious houses; to ascertain where maidens of
good reputation were unable from poverty to obtain husbands; to inform
themselves secretly as to modest paupers; to learn what traders or
shopkeepers were distressed by large families, debts, or any
particular misadventure. In order to secure efficiency to this
charitable espionage, these officers were privileged to pass at all
times into the sovereign's presence, and it is said that a porter or
groom of the chambers, who had rudely denied one of them access, was
summarily punished by a public whipping. Following up this system, the
Count, in his daily walks or rides, used to call to him the citizens
individually, questioning as to their welfare and circumstances, or
encouraging them in any enterprise or building they had undertaken.
"But," continues the Abbot of Guastalla, "to such details we do not
descend, as do some writers, overscrupulous about trifles; nor shall
we tell how, on daily recurring occasions, he interfered to maintain
the poor, to arrest litigation, to secure a pure administration of
justice, to protect the honour of families, and to recompense his
diligent servants. Still less do we collect his witty jests and
pleasant sayings, as these are things far too petty and unbecoming the
gravity of history, besides which, they all or most of them live in
the memory and mouths of the people. But since splendour is a virtue
peculiar to great princes, we shall touch upon some circumstances
regarding the nobleness, the numerical grandeur, and the magnificence
of his court."[115]

[Footnote 115: BALDI, _Vita e fatti di Federigo_, III., p. 59.]

This passage fairly represents the pervading spirit of Italian
biographies and local histories, though probably containing a latent
sneer from Baldi at the earlier work of Muzio, whose "petty details,"
with those scantily supplied by Vespasiano, will be greedily gathered
in a future page of this volume. Little deemed the reverend pedant how
independent the historic muse would become of the stilts on which he,
and many of his contemporaries, so unfortunately elevated her, or how
infinitely posterity would have preferred his despised omissions to
his solemn prosings! Nor is this our only complaint. His
illustrations of the Urbino court, thus magniloquently ushered,
consist of a dull catalogue of twelve or fifteen noble names, ending
with an apology for such trespass on his reader's patience, and a
reference to some unpublished manuscript for details. This excuse is
offered after devoting six pages, out of eight hundred, to the home
interests and adminstrations of his hero. In supplement to these
unsatisfactory allusions, we have recourse to such MSS. as detail the
establishment which gained for Federigo's court the high reputation it
enjoyed as a model of princely taste and munificence. Its constitution
may be seen at a glance, from this minute return of its members, by
one of their number.[116]

[Footnote 116: Vat Urb. MSS. No. 829, f. 55. Other nearly similar
lists of his household are preserved in No. 1248 of that library, and
in Vat. Ottob. MSS. No. 3141, f. 144, and Oliveriana MSS. No. 384, f.
1. There is no date affixed to any of these, but they were probably
drawn up after he had attained the ducal dignity.]

  Counts of the duchy, and from other states                        45
  Knights of the Golden Spur                                         5
  Gentlemen                                                         17
  Judges and councillors                                             2
  Ambassadors and secretaries [at Naples, Rome, Florence,
    Milan, and Siena]                                                7
  Secretaries of state                                               5
  Clerks in chancery [or public offices]                            14
  Teachers of grammar, logic, and philosophy [including
    Maestro Paolo, astrologer, and Gian Maria Filelfo]               4
  Architects and engineers [Luziano, Francesco di Giorgio,
    Pipo the Florentine, Fra Carnevale, and Sirro of
    Casteldurante]                                                   5
  Readers during meals                                               5
  Transcribers of MSS. for library [besides many abroad]             4
  Chaplains                                                          2
  Choristers of the chapel                                           3
  Singing boys                                                       5
  Organists                                                          2
  Workers in tapestry                                                5
  Dancing-masters for the pages                                      2
  Dancing-masters                                                    2
  Apothecary                                                         1
  Master of the palace keys                                          1
  Chamberlain                                                        1
  Master of the household                                            1
  Treasurer                                                          1
  Chamber attendants                                                 5
  Pages                                                             22
  Carvers and sewers                                                 3
  Stewards of the buttery                                            4
  Storekeepers                                                       2
  Purveyors                                                          3
  Grooms of the chamber                                             19
  Table waiters                                                     19
  Footmen                                                           31
  Cooks                                                              5
  Various menial servants                                            8
  Masters of horse and purveyors of the stable                       5
  Servants under them                                               50
  Keeper of the bloodhounds                                          1
  Keeper of the camel-leopard                                        1
    Total household of the Duke                                    317

  Captains in constant pay                                           4
  Colonels of infantry                                               3
  Trumpeters                                                         6
  Drummers                                                           2
  Master-armourers                                                   3


  Ladies in waiting                                                  7
    [After the Duchess's death, Madonna Pantasilea
    Baglione, sister of Brozo Baglione of Perugia, was
    made governess to the Princesses.]
  A great many female attendants.
  Elderly and staid gentlemen                                        6
  Servants of Prince Guidobaldo when a child                         7
    Total establishment, so far as enumerated                      355

In this list may be detected obvious omissions, such as almoner,
librarians, heralds, &c., and it would be much increased by adding
servants of the noblemen entertained at his court. Music appears only
in the establishments of the chapel and of the guard, but in 1473, the
Count was visited by Martino and Giorgio, two German lute-players, to
whom he gave letters of recommendation on their departure for Siena.

The contemporary notice by Vespasiano affords us some standard of the
qualities of this court, which, not less than the martial prowess and
intellectual superiority of its Montefeltrian princes, constituted the
glory of Urbino. "His household was regulated much in the manner of a
religious establishment, and the five hundred mouths which it
contained lived with almost monastic regularity. There were no
mess-table manners there, no gambling nor blasphemous language, and
all expressed themselves with the utmost moderation. The Prince having
been entrusted by several personages of high station with their sons,
to be instructed in military service, he, with good regard also for
their good breeding, placed them in charge of a gentleman from
Lombardy of distinguished manners, long resident at his court
[probably Odasio], who exercised over these youths a paternal sway,
gaining their respectful deference, and correcting their little
errors, until an exemplary carriage became habitual to them." Thus,
too, Muzio: "Federigo maintained a suite so numerous and distinguished
as to rival any royal household. For not only did the most
distinguished chivalry resort to him as the first of Italian soldiers,
but thither were sent youths of the highest rank, to be reared under
his discipline, as to the most select of schools. And among the many
personages who thus frequented his court were Giovanni della Rovere,
Giulio and Francesco Orsini, Girolamo and Pier Antonio Colonna,
Ranuccio and Angelo Farnese, Andrea Doria, and Gian Giacomo Trivulzio,
with others of equal eminence. Attended by these, and by a concourse
of gentlemen and servants, as well as by a crowd of citizens, he
generally on festivals went to mass in procession, making a round
of the great churches in their turn. And, on his return home, he
would keep the burghers about him for a little in gracious
conversation, or calling for his dispatches, communicated portions
before kindly dismissing them."

[Illustration: _Alinari_


_After the picture by Piero della Francesco, in the Sacristy of the
Duomo, Urbino._

_Supposed portraits of Duke Federigo and Caterino Zeno_]

One of the manuscripts just cited, which is entitled "Regulations and
Offices for the Court of the most serene Lord Duke of Urbino," after
insisting on a rigid observance of rules to be enforced by the master
of the household, imposes upon that functionary an obligation to
inform his lord privately of the arrival and quality of all strangers,
that he might regulate the degree of hospitality to be extended to
them. This was of three grades. Personages of the highest rank were
received and lodged in the palace; those of less distinction in a
separate building, attended on by the Prince's household; for a third
class an inn was provided, where they were lodged at his cost, and at
a fixed rate per head.[117] The liberal hospitalities of the court are
thus mentioned by its chronicler Sanzi:--

     "Nor ought we to omit the greetings kind
     And gracious, which with princely courtesy
     He gave to coming strangers, ne'er before
     Welcomed with gentler words, or phrase more cordial,
     His aspect cheerful and his carriage plain.
     Glorious was he in all things, but unmatched
     In hospitality; for never guest
     Arrived, such noble treatment hoping for,
     Or went his way without a lingering look
     Of friendly admiration."

[Footnote 117: Ordine ed Officii della Corte del Serenissimo Signore
il Duca de Urbino, Urb. Vat. MSS. No. 1248.]

His wide-spreading military renown, and the honourable reception thus
accorded them, attracted visitors from all quarters, until Urbino
attained that reputation as the resort of numerous celebrities which
in the next generation rendered its little court a model to Europe,
and which it never entirely lost while its independence lasted. But
this concourse of guests, and the additional importance conferred
upon the principality by considerable territorial aggrandisements,
rendered a new palace necessary. Baldi mentions it as commenced about
this time: Sanzi tells us it was undertaken to divert Federigo's grief
for the death of his Countess in 1472; whilst Lazzari and the
anonymous author of the Memoir regarding the devolution of the duchy
to the Church in 1631 note 1454 as the date of its foundation. In
truth, it was, like many great edifices in Italy, slowly progressive,
spreading over several generations, and finally left unfinished. The
same may be said of several other buildings promoted by the Count
during his intervals of leisure, such as the palaces of Gubbio and
Fossombrone, and the cathedral of Urbino; and it may be convenient in
this place to notice those creations which are prominently set forth
among the glories of his reign.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the three roads by which Urbino is approached, that on the
south-west, leading from Tuscany, gives the most favourable view of
the city, which is faithfully rendered on our frontispiece. The
central mass of building, beautifully relieved by a stately
spire-capped tower on either side of the grand entrance, and
stretching backwards to the domed cathedral, is the palace which we
are now to describe. The numerous accounts of it, repeated from one
copyist to another in somewhat over-strained panegyric, have spread
its fame throughout Italy, and the folio volume printed in 1724, at
the expense of Cardinal Annibale Albani, was got up with an
elaboration unusual in that age, but with the tasteless dulness which
then pervaded literary and artistic efforts in Italy. The Abbate
Pungileone has added little of importance by his tediously told
investigations, and other local antiquaries have scarcely been more

[Footnote 118: _Memorie concernenti la Città d'Urbino._ It was edited
by Monsignor Bianchini, and was meant to extend to four folio volumes,
illustrating: (1) the city of Urbino; (2) the princes who ruled there;
(3) its most famous citizens; (4) their works. Of these only the first
volume saw the light, at the expense of Pope Clement XI., an Albani of
Urbino. It contains, 1st, Baldi's prolix and fulsome Encomio della
Patria; 2nd, his equally dull description of the ducal palace, with
seventy-four engravings of its architecture and sculpture; 3rd,
Bianchini's catalogue of the sculptured trophies, with seventy-two
engravings; 4th, his geometrical survey of the province of Urbino in
1723. It is a curious example of a volume compiled from promising
materials, but destitute of interest, and is dedicated to an English
exile whose name, once a watchword ominous to our island, frequently
meets us in Central Italy, and whose wanderings here found a brief
repose. See an account of the Chevalier de St. George's residence at
Urbino, in an article on the Stuarts in Italy, contributed by the
author of these pages to the _Quarterly Review_ for December, 1847,
vol. LXXX.]

In absence of further evidence, we may accept the doubtful testimony
already quoted, that the palace was begun in 1454,[*119] but we must
briefly refute the misstatement of Vasari, that its architect was
Francesco di Giorgio. In our twenty-seventh chapter, we shall have
occasion to notice much new matter regarding that artist, which recent
inquiries have detected, and to show the nature and extent of his
engineering labours in the service of the Montefeltrian princes. It
appears that the palace at Urbino, usually ascribed to his design, was
commenced by an architect whose name, almost overlooked by Italian
writers, is preserved by Giovanni Sanzi. The motive imputed by the
poet to his master in this great work is as follows:--

     "Knowing how admirable and how grand
     By every people, every age, are deemed
     Time-honoured fabrics, and that active life
     No higher aim can follow."

[Footnote *119: Cf. BUDINICH, _Il Palazzo Ducale di Urbino_ (Trieste,
1904). Rich in documents and designs.]

And he goes on to inform us that

     "The architect, set over all the rest,
     Was Lutian Lauranna, whose bright name
     Survives in excellence the knell of death.
     His apt and lofty genius ruled the work,
     With the Count's sanction, for no prince possessed
     A sounder judgment or a will more prompt."

The name of this artist was Luziano, son of Martini of Lovranna and
Jadia in Dalmatia, and we owe to Pungileone an interesting patent in
his favour, granted by Count Federigo at Pavia, on the 10th of June,
1468, in these terms:--

"Whereas, we, deeming those men to be worthy of distinction and
preference who are gifted with such genius and talent as have been in
all ages esteemed, especially for architecture founded upon arithmetic
and geometry, which, as foremost among the seven liberal arts, and as
depending upon exact science, require profound knowledge and great
ability, and are therefore highly appreciated by us; and whereas, we,
having sought everywhere, but particularly in Tuscany, the fountain of
architects, without finding any one really versant and skilful in that
profession, and having lately heard by report, and since ascertained
by full experience, the learning and attainments of the distinguished
Messer Lutiano, bearer hereof; and, further, we, having resolved to
erect in our city of Urbino a fair residence, in all respects
befitting the rank and reputation of our predecessors and
ourselves,--have, for these causes, selected the said Messer Lutiano
as engineer and chief of all those employed upon that fabric, in
building, hewing, woodwork," &c. &c. The deed goes on to enjoin upon
all the workmen implicit obedience to his orders, and to authorise his
entire control over them, and over the funds destined for the

[Footnote 120: GAYE, _Carteggio d'Artisti_, I., p. 214, and
PUNGILEONE, _Elogio di Bramante_, 63. The original is in Latin.]

Although the date of this patent may appear inconsistent with that
already adopted for the foundation of the _Corte_, as this residence
was usually called, it is clear, from other documents printed along
with it, that operations were already considerably advanced under the
superintendence of Luziano. In the preceding year we find him designed
the Count's engineer, acting as a sort of clerk of the works, and
litigating with a builder from Como regarding measurements of masonry;
indeed, he seems to have continued these duties until his death at
Pesaro, soon after that of his patron, whose liberality enabled him to
leave considerable property to his children.

The edifice thus commenced was carried on by Baccio Pontelli, a
Florentine artist, who, though designing himself a carpenter, was much
employed by Sixtus IV. to erect important fabrics in Rome. It is
impossible now to decide whether he was at first assistant to
Lauranna, or what portion of the Corte we owe to him, the entire
credit of which seems claimed in a presumptuous epitaph, apparently of
his own composition, which is given by Gaye.[121] He was employed upon
it in 1481, when applied to by Lorenzo de' Medici to furnish a design
or plan of the already famous work, a request handsomely responded to
by Federigo, in that almost oriental exaggeration of compliment still
usual in Lower Italy, with the assurance that such a wish was a
command, and that he only regretted being unable to send him the
building itself, of which he might fully dispose. Baccio's letter
mentions it as then at the fifth story, and that his drawing had been
done from actual measurements, thus proving he had no access to the
original plan,--circumstances strongly presumptive that the design was
not his, but that of Luziano, who lived till the following year. The
praise bestowed by him on the carved ornaments and decorations render
it probable that they had been under his peculiar charge. There is no
evidence as to the length of Baccio's stay at Urbino, but he is said
to have obtained the privileges of citizenship, and to have built the
church of S. Bernardino and the castle of Sinigaglia.

[Footnote 121: _Carteggio_, I., pp. 274-6. The author has discussed
the point in No. 86 of the _Kunstblatt_ for 1836.]

Such are the architects whom recent investigations enable us to claim
as authors of the palace at Urbino, which Vasari and many others have
celebrated for the beauty and comfort of its internal arrangements,
the magnificence of its saloons, the convenience of its imposing
stairs; for its smiling chambers, its vast corridors, its airy
porticoes and pleasant baths, its gilded doors and windows, its rich
furniture, carpets, and brocades. The assertion of that writer, so
often inaccurate as to Umbrian matters, ascribing its merit to
Francesco di Giorgio, may now be considered as disposed of,
notwithstanding the zeal with which his countrymen of Siena have
reasserted his claims; but the lights lately thrown upon his
performances by Promis of Turin, enable us to restore to him the
credit of certain bellicose decorations, often imputed to Roberto
Valturio, and which have attracted attention rather from their
adaptation to the genius of Count Federigo than from their artistic
value. They consist of a frieze of military machines, which Vasari
mentions as painted in fresco, but which were carved in relief along
the exterior basement of the palace: designs for most of these remain
among the MSS. of Francesco, and they have been engraved and tediously
explained in Bianchini's ponderous work. Their original object was no
doubt to illustrate the pompous inscription which surrounds the great
court in immense capitals.[122] After being injured and scattered,
they were again collected about a century ago, and arranged by
Cardinal Stoppani along the corridor of the principal story. They are
each about three feet by two, rudely representing seventy-two engines
long since disused in war, and interesting only to the antiquary.
Among the sculptors employed upon them, and similar architectural
ornaments in the Corte, was Ambrogio Baroccio of Milan,
great-grandfather of a painter as to whom we shall have much to say in
our fifty-third chapter.

[Footnote 122: "Federicus Urbini Dux, Montisferetri ac Durantis Comes,
sanctæ Ro. ecclesiæ Confalonerius, atque Italici Confederationis
Imperator, hanc domum a fundamentis erectam, gloriæ et posteritati suæ
exædificavit: Qui bello pluries depugnavit, sexies signa contulit,
octies hostem profligavit, omniumque preliorum victor ditionem auxit.
Ejusdem justitia, clementia, liberalitas, et religio pace victorias
equarunt, ornaruntque."]

We need not weary our readers by minute descriptions of the palace,
which, upon near approach, hardly realises the imposing effect of its
site. The rugged and broken ground on which it stands has, in a great
degree, marred that unity of plan which is essential to architectural
grandeur and harmony, augmenting at the same time the difficulties of
construction. Notwithstanding this drawback, and the rambling
character which a portion of the building has consequently taken,
there is much beauty in the façade of the great court, and in the
unfinished elevation towards the cathedral, although the brickwork is
but partially cased with stone. Barbaro, in his commentary upon
Vitruvius, cites the grand stair as a model of beauty and convenience,
and the corridors of the principal story (enriched, since 1756, with
the museum of antique sculpture and inscriptions collected by Raffaele
Fabretti) are truly magnificent. From these open many splendid rooms,
among which is the great hall, about one hundred and twenty feet in
length, of noble proportions, and severe in a simplicity contrasting
with the chromatic decorations usual in Italy. In its elevated niches
were formerly placed the insignia of its lords and of their allies,
but of these none remain save the winged lion of St. Mark, which still
looks proudly down upon the deserted audience-chamber, where its
envoys used to be deferentially received by those long-departed dukes
who often bore its banner to victory. The next story, which from its
ornaments and devices appears to have been finished by Duke Guidobaldo
II., is the summer residence of the cardinal-legate of Urbino and
Pesaro, and, consequently, is seldom shown.

Each of the towers seen in the engraving, and considered by Passavant
as antecedent to Duke Federigo, contains a spiral staircase of curious
construction, leading to balconies whence may be enjoyed a most
characteristic prospect of the surrounding country, wherein

     "Hills are not seen, but for the vales betwixt
     The deep indentings."

Fatigued by its uptossed and almost barren undulations, the eye turns
for repose to the magnificent sierra, which bounds the horizon. On the
extreme left is Monte Catria, crowned by the convent of S. Albertino,
5600 feet above the sea. Then comes Monte del Cavallo, described by
Cimarelli as the most beautiful of all the Apennine chain, and named
from the horses of famous race bred by the later princes of Urbino, on
the luxuriant pastures of its gentle slopes and verdant meadows. Monte
Nerone, so called from an

     "Unwritten story fondly traced
     From sire to son,"

which tells that the blood-stained tyrant of Rome once dwelt there, is
supposed to be a slumbering volcano. Its rich iron ore was once highly
productive, and the herbs and simples grown on it were esteemed above
all others in Italy. Far on the sky-line are discerned the Sassi di
Simeone, twin rocks of singularly abrupt form, separated by the Tuscan
frontier. Northward from these stands the massive Monte Carpegna,
cradle of the Montefeltrian race, domineering over their original
fief, and giving its local name to the wind which sweeps from its
heights upon the Adriatic. The mountain view terminates with the
triple peaks of San Marino, isolated, it would seem, by nature, as
well as by the forms of its constitution and the accidents of its

The merit specially dwelt upon in the old descriptions of this palace
is the carved work in wood and stone, executed by sculptors brought
from various places, and facilitated by the excellent quality of a
close-grained grey limestone, imported from the Dalmatian coast. The
most striking of its decorations are accordingly the elaborate tracery
encircling the architraves, doorways, lintels, and chimneys, and
running along the cornices. This consists of fine arabesque designs,
mingled with dancing loves, and interlaced with military trophies and
heraldic fancies, among which frequently occur the Garter of England,
the Ermine of Naples, the Eagle of Montefeltro, with several monograms
and devices usually worn by Count Federigo, the origin whereof is
described in No. V. of the Appendices. A kindred art, here lavishly
expended, is that of _tarsia_, or wood inlaying, which, unlike the
more modern _marquetrie_, was enriched by pure arabesque designs, and
even by historical or religious compositions. In this style, though
now sadly defaced, were many of the doors, and especially the tiny
chapel, with its adjoining sacristy, the latter elaborately panelled
in varied scrolls, and bearing the titles of Federigo, with the date
1476. On the stone-work of this chapel occur the devices and initials
of Duke Guidobaldo II., marking probably the alterations made by

[Footnote 123: Pungileone has found a payment of 7 florins, in 1473,
to Maestro Giacomo, from Florence, on account of _intarsia_ for the
audience-hall, which seems, from other entries there cited, to have
been decorated during 1464 with paintings now lost. _Elogio_ di G.
Santi, p. 47.]

The following passage, often quoted from the commencement of
Castiglione's _Cortegiano_, has given rise to considerable
misapprehension:--"Among other laudable actions, Federigo erected, on
the rugged heights of Urbino, a residence, by many regarded as the
most beautiful in all Italy, and so amply provided with every
convenience, that it appeared rather a palatial city than a palace. He
furnished it not only with the usual plenishings of rich brocades in
silk and gold, silver plate, and such like, but ornamented it with a
vast quantity of ancient marble and bronze sculptures, of rare
pictures, and musical instruments in every variety, excluding all but
the choicest objects." Now, it so happens that, with every desire to
verify what ought to be a valuable authority for a fact in itself most
interesting, and especially probable of that prince, we have not been
able to trace a single piece of sculpture, and hardly an easel
picture, to his possession (a few portraits, of course, excepted),
nor does one contemporary distinctly mention anything of the sort at
Urbino. But whilst truth compels us to an admission calculated to
impair his traditional reputation as an amateur of the fine arts,
there was one branch of them which found in him a most zealous patron;
and among the adornments of his palace was a treasure rivalling in
beauty and excelling in importance all coeval museums of art.

To the right and left of the carriage entrance into the great
court-yard are two handsome saloons, each about forty-five feet by
twenty-two, and twenty-three in height. That on the left contained the
famous library of manuscripts collected by Count Federigo; the
corresponding one received the printed books, which, gradually
purchased by successive dukes, became, under the last sovereign, a
copious collection. Baldi, in his description of the palace, printed
in Bianchini's work, dwells on the judicious adaptation of the former,
its windows set high against the northern sky, admitting a subdued and
steady light which invited to study; its air cool in summer, temperate
in winter; its walls conveniently shelved; the character and objects
of the place fittingly set forth in a series of rude hexameters
inscribed on the cornices.[124] Adjoining was a closet fitted up with
inlaid and gilded panelling, beneath which Timoteo della Vite, a
painter whose excellence we shall attest in our thirtieth chapter,
depicted Minerva with her ægis, Apollo with his lyre, and the nine
muses with their appropriate symbols. A similar small study was fitted
up immediately over this one, set round with armchairs encircling a
table, all mosaicked with _tarsia_, and carved by Maestro Giacomo of
Florence, while on each compartment of the panelling was the portrait
of some famous author, and an appropriate distich. One other article
of furniture deserves special notice--a magnificent eagle of gilt
bronze, serving as a lectern in the centre of the manuscript room. It
was carried to Rome at the devolution of the duchy to the Holy See,
but was rescued by Pope Clement XI. from the Vatican library, and
restored to his native town, where it has long been used in the choir
of the cathedral.

[Footnote 124:

     "Sint tibi divitiæ; sint aurea vasa, talenta
     Plurima, servorum turbæ, gemmæque nitentes;
     Sint vestes variæ, pretiosa monilia, torques;
     Id totum hæc longe superat præclara supellex.
     Sint licet aurati niveo de marmore postes,
     Et variis placeant penetralia picta figuris;
     Sint quoque Trojanis circumdata moenia pannis,
     Et miro fragrent viridaria culta decore.
     Extra intusque domus regali fulgida luxu,
     Res equidem mutæ; sed BIBLIOTHECA parata est,
     Jussa loqui, facunda nimis, vel jussa tacere,
     Et prodesse potens, et delectare legentem.
     Tempora lapsa docet, venturaque plurima pandit,
     Explicat et cunctos coeli terræque labores."]

[Illustration: _Alinari_


Roscoe has well observed that "by no circumstance in the character of
an individual is the love of literature so strongly evinced, as by the
propensity for collecting together the writings of illustrious
scholars, and compressing 'the soul of ages past' within the narrow
limits of a library." But it is not easy now to appreciate the
obstacles attending such a pursuit in the age of Federigo. The science
of bibliography can scarcely be said to have existed before the
invention of printing, in consequence of the extreme difficulty of
becoming acquainted with works of which there were but few copies, and
these widely scattered, perhaps scarcely known. Great outlay was
required, either to search out or transcribe manuscripts, and even the
laborious habits which then accompanied learning shrank from a task so
beset by obstructions. Yet there was a bright exception in Thomas of
Sarzana, whose learning supplied the knowledge, and whose elevation to
the triple tiara as Nicholas V. procured him the opportunities,
necessary for amassing a library. Not only did he found that of the
Vatican, but he prepared for Cosimo _Pater patriæ_ a list of authors
for the infant collection of S. Marco, at Florence, which, being
recognised as a standard catalogue, was adopted by Count Federigo.
The longer life allowed to the latter enabled him to outstrip these
bibliomaniacs, and all contemporary accumulators, until the fame of
his library stood unrivalled. Accordingly Ruscelli, in his _Imprese
Illustri_, avers it to be "notorious that the earliest and most famous
collection formed out of the ruins of antiquity was that of Urbino,
from whence many excellent authors were edited, and copies supplied."
Marsilio Ficino and Leandro Alberti, with others of equal weight, have
borne similar testimony, the former from common report, the latter
from ocular demonstration; but we shall content ourselves with quoting
from two contemporaries, familiar with what they describe. To begin
with old Sanzi:--

     "No fitting outlay on the work he spared
     The eye to please; but more intent to feed
     The mind, he ardently began to build
     A library, so vast, and so select,
     As to supply each intellect and taste.
     With noble aim such books he there amassed,
     That every genius might its flight direct
     To kindred objects. Foremost in the band
     The works of holy churchmen, all adorned
     And bound with wond'rous beauty;
     Next what survives of ancient wisdom's thoughts
     In classic tongue contained; historians all;
     The sacred choir of charming poesy;
     In law and medicine many famous names,
     Symmetrically ranged; there, too, I note
     A wealth of books in divers languages,--
     Arab and Greek, with Hebrew reverend;
     And sundry others whose rich ornaments
     Deserve detailed description, for I've seen
     Men of the finest taste in wonder lost
     Before them."

No poet's licence need be suspected in this description, for it is
thus fully borne out by Vespasiano, who was originally an agent in
amassing these treasures, and subsequently their custodier.[125] "We
have now to mention the high estimation in which he held all Greek and
Latin authors, sacred or profane; and to him alone was given the
enterprise to carry out what no one, for above a thousand years past,
had done, by establishing a library superior to any formed during all
that period. In no respect did he look to expense; and whenever he
learned the existence of any desirable book in Italy, or abroad, he
sent for it without heeding the cost. It is now above fourteen years
since he began to make this collection, and he has ever since
maintained at Urbino, Florence, and elsewhere, thirty-four
transcribers, and has resorted to every means requisite for amassing a
famous and excellent library,--which it now is. He has, in the first
place, all the Latin poets, with their best commentaries; also the
entire works of Cicero, with all the orators and grammarians in that
language. In history, he commissioned every known work of that or the
Greek tongue, as well as the orators of the latter. In moral and
natural philosophy, no author of these languages is wanting. In the
faculty of theology he has been most profuse, having, besides the four
doctors of the Church, St. Bernard, Tertullian, Hilary, Remigius, Hugh
of St. Victor, Isidore, Anselm, Rabanus, Dionysius the Areopagite, St.
Basil, Cyril, Gregory Nazarene, John of Damascus, Eusebius, Origen,
St. Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus, Alexander de Alexandro, Duns
Scotus, Bonaventura, Richard Mediavilla, Archbishop Antonio, with all
the modern doctors. There are further all the best civilians, with the
lectures of Bartolomeo Capretti. He had the Bible, that best of books,
written in two volumes, with the richest and most beautiful
illustrations, bound in brocade of gold, and lavishly ornamented with
silver; and he made it be thus gorgeously adorned as the chief of all
literature, and it has no equal in our time.[126] There are also all
the Commentaries on the Bible in Greek and Latin, including Nicolò de
Lira. He further has all the treatises on astrology, geometry,
arithmetic, architecture, and military tactics, and a very curious
volume with every ancient and modern military engine: also all books
on painting, sculpture, and music; the standard writers on civil law;
the _Speculum Innocentiæ_; in medicine, the works of Hippocrates,
Galen, and Avicenna; the writings of Averröe on logic, ethics, and
physics; a volume of early councils; the writings of Boethius on
logic, philosophy, and music; and those of modern authors, with Pius
II. at their head. There are all the works of Petrarch, Dante,[*127]
Boccaccio, Colluccio, Leonardo d'Arezzo, Fra Ambrogio, Gianozzo
Manetti, Guarino, Panhormita, Francesco Filelfo, Perotto, Campano,
Mafeo Vegeo, Nicolò Secondino, Pontano, Bartolomeo Fazii, Gasparino,
Paolo Vergaio, Giovanni Argiropolo, Francesco Barbaro, Leonardo
Giustiniani, Donato Acciaiuolo, Alamanno Remicini, Christofero da
Prato the elder, Poggio, Giovanni Tartellio, Francesco d'Arezzo, and
Lorenzo Valla. It was his object to obtain every book in all branches
of learning, ancient and modern, original or translated. He had also
of Greek classics, with their commentaries, Aristotle, Plato, Homer,
Sophocles, Pindar, Menander, Plutarch, Ptolemy, Herodotus, Pausanias,
Thucydides, Polybius, Demosthenes, Æschines, Plotinus, Theophrastus,
Hippocrates, Galen, and Xenophon; the New Testament, St. Basil and
other fathers in Greek, with the Book of Paradise, lives of the
Egyptian saints, lives of Balaam and Jehosaphat; and all works on
geometry, arithmetic, and astrology, as well as every other attainable
writer in that language. It was the same as to Hebrew books, beginning
with the Bible, and including philosophy, medicine, and other
faculties, with every known commentary; and there was a remarkable
polyglot Psalter in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

[Footnote 125: Commentary on Duke Federigo, Vat. Urb. MSS. No. 941, f.
43. See his _Life of Nicholas V._; MURATORI, _Script._, XXV., 268,
274; also below, ch. XXIV.]

[Footnote 126: The Urbino Bible, noticed again in this extract, will
be more particularly described in VI. of the Appendices.]

[Footnote *127: On the "veltro" Dante, see Dennistoun's note in the
Appendix to this vol., p. 448, and L. FRATI, _Federico Duca d'Urbino e
il "Veltro" Dante_, in _Arch. St. per le Marche e per l'Umbria_, vol.
II., pp. 360-67. Cf. also VESPASIANO, _Vite_ (Barbera, Firenze), p.

"On all this the Duke spent upwards of 30,000 ducats; and he made a
rule that every book should be bound in crimson, ornamented with
silver, from the Bible already described down to the modern authors.
It is thus a truly rich display to see all these books so adorned, all
being manuscripts on vellum, with illuminations, and each a complete
copy,--perfections not found in any other library. Indeed, shortly
before he went to the siege of Ferrara, I compared the catalogue with
lists of other libraries which he had procured, such as those of the
Vatican, Florence, St. Mark, Pavia, down to that of the University of
Oxford in England, and found that all but his own had deficiencies and

The book of regulations for the court and household of Guidobaldo I.
contains these rules for the administration of the library[128]:--"The
librarian should be learned, of good presence, temper, and manners;
correct and ready of speech. He must get from the gardrobe an
inventory of the books, and keep them arranged and easily accessible,
whether Latin, Greek, Hebrew, or others, maintaining also the rooms in
good condition. He must preserve the books from damp and vermin, as
well as from the hands of trifling, ignorant, dirty, and tasteless
persons. To those of authority and learning, he ought himself to
exhibit them with all facility, courteously explaining their beauty
and remarkable characteristics, the handwriting and miniatures, but
observant that such abstract no leaves. When ignorant or merely
curious persons wish to see them, a glance is sufficient, if it be not
some one of considerable influence. When any lock or other requisite
is needed, he must take care that it be promptly provided. He must let
no book be taken away but by the Duke's orders, and if lent must get a
written receipt, and see to its being returned. When a number of
visitors come in, he must be specially watchful that none be stolen.
All which is duly seen to by the present courteous and attentive
librarian, Messer Agabito."

[Footnote 128: Vat. Urb. MSS. No. 1248, f. 58.]

Without attempting any enumeration of those who filled the office thus
regulated, we may refer to Vespasiano, already mentioned in that
capacity, and to Lorenzo Abstemio of Macerata, an eminent professor of
literature about 1500. But the most useful of them was probably
Veterano, who was spared to serve three Dukes of the two Urbino
dynasties, and the fruits of whose laborious caligraphy may still be
recognised in many a fair MS. at the Vatican. Among these is a
Commentary on the Triumphs of Petrarch, a note on the colophon of
which informs us that it was one of about sixty volumes copied by him
on parchment for this collection. A gluttonous patriotism has led some
encomiasts of the duchy into the glaring absurdity of imputing the
authorship of these manifold works to their transcriber, whose
original compositions, to be noticed in our twenty-fifth chapter,
suggest few regrets that his long life should have been chiefly
devoted to more mechanical occupations. We are fortunately able to
test the reputation enjoyed by Count Federigo's library; for, although
some of its treasures were lost in the revolutions of 1503 and 1517,
and although the MSS. transported to the Vatican in 1658 included many
additions subsequent to his death, still the volumes most important to
literature, and most embellished by art, may, with few exceptions, be
attributed to his liberality. The estimate of 30,000 ducats, already
stated from Vespasiano as the cost of the collection in his time, is
carried to 40,000 by Gallo Galli, who lived under Duke Guidobaldo
II., thus affording a probable inference as to the augmentation it had
received between 1482 and 1566. This increase, which went on until the
devolution of the duchy in 1631, was chiefly by a mass of unpublished
writings of local interest or authorship, without any pretence to
artistic beauty. The numbers now catalogued are thus no evidence of
its original extent; but we may mention that an inventory by Stefano
Gradio, though by no means complete, includes 1361 entries; that
Platner, in the _Beschreibung der Stadt Rom_, estimates the ducal MSS.
at 1711; but that the catalogue compiled by Mauro Costa, in 1797, and
now actually in use, exceeds four thousand articles. As some of the
illuminated MSS. executed for Count Federigo are of the highest
interest, we shall notice a few of them in VI. of the Appendices, and
in our forty-eighth chapter shall mention the fate of this library,
after the extinction of the ducal line.

     "Within this curious palace dwelt a soul
     Gave lustre to each part, and to the whole:
     This drest his face in courteous smiles, and so
     From comely gestures sweeter manners flow.
     This courage joyned to strength; so the hand, bent,
     Was valour's; opened, bounty's instrument;
     Which did the scale and sword of justice hold,
     Knew how to brandish steel and scatter gold."


Before concluding our account of the Corte, we may mention some
appurtenances intended for the more material requirements of its
inmates. Of the garden we can say nothing, horticulture being then a
latent science; neither need we linger upon the court-yard provided
for tennis or ball. But the stable-range, built by Francesco di
Giorgio in 1475, is thus curiously described by himself: "From the
stable, constructed by me, for my most illustrious Duke of Urbino, may
be seen how much a complete and perfect set ought to include. It is
capable of containing three hundred horses, half on either side,
being twenty-eight feet wide, thirty-six high, and three hundred and
sixty long,[129] and over it there is a beautiful loft for hay and
straw, with square holes for throwing down the forage, and above all a
roof. There are several contiguous rooms, the first being a yard or
shed, wherein to mount and dismount, or to shoe the horses; in it is a
fountain with two troughs, and a pipe passing thence under the
mangers, with various stop-cocks for the supply of water, by means
whereof the stable can be cleansed, and to facilitate this operation
the floor falls towards the centre, enabling such horses as wish it to
stand higher before. Next the fountain is a corn-store, with the
head-groom's rooms above it, overlooking the stable, and beyond these
a servant's room, and one for medicines, saddlery, repairs, &c.
Lastly, there is a great tower, with a winding-stair, accessible only
to the owner, whence he can see the entire establishment; and this,
being known to the overseer and servants, is a check upon their good

[Footnote 129: There must be some mistake as to the length, which
would scarcely half suffice for a hundred and fifty horses. See the
original in Promis' Turin edition of Francesco di Giorgio's Works, I.,
p. 171.]

In a letter by Gallo Galli to Duke Guidobaldo II. in 1566, he mentions
having seen memoranda stating the cost of the Urbino palace at 200,000
ducats, the silver plate at 40,000, a set of tapestries representing
the siege of Troy at 10,000, and the MSS. library at 40,000. Before
leaving the subject we shall transcribe from the _Cortegiano_ an
anecdote, not on account of its value, but as a specimen of the dull
wit which Castiglione thought worth commemorating as the gossip of his
model court. "Recollect also the silly trait, just related by our Lord
Duke, of an abbé who, standing by while Duke Federigo was discussing
what to do with the vast quantity of earth excavated from the
foundations of this palace, exclaimed, 'My Lord, I have thought of a
capital contrivance. Desire an immense ditch to be made, into which
it may be put without more ado.' The Duke answered with a smile, 'And
where shall we place the earth of the ditch itself?' To which the abbé
replied, 'Make it big enough for both.' And though the Duke repeated
that the larger it was the more earth would there be to remove, he
never could see it, but went on saying, make it so much the greater!"

Sanzi informs us that Federigo had intended to erect, in connection
with this residence, a fane unequalled in regularity, beauty, and
ornament, in order at once to manifest his piety and to provide a last
home for his remains. The cathedral adjoining it, though founded by
his father in 1439, was scarcely well begun until 1471, and when
completed, in no way realised his project.[130] The church of S.
Bernardino, also left unfinished at his death, was in some degree a
substitute, being not only a special memorial of his piety, but
supplying a mausoleum for himself and the few after members of his

[Footnote 130: Much confusion of dates has arisen regarding this
church, owing to its slow advance,--unusually protracted even for
Italy. Lazzarini tells that it was founded by Federigo in 1447, and
consecrated to S. Crescentino in 1534, but that the façade was not
completed till 1781. The cupola, planned by Muzio Oddi, was erected in
1604, but fell in 1789. The pulpit and organ were designed by Girolamo
della Genga, and the latter was painted by Baroccio. The stuccoes were
executed by Federigo Brandani, who died in 1575.]

Of the other residences that shared the cares of Count Federigo,
Gubbio was the most important. Sanzi describes it as facing the
south-east, and flanked by mountains on the north, overlooking fertile
valleys and smiling champaigns, and excelling the attractions of
Urbino in charming prospects and pleasant pathways. Notwithstanding
the general truth of this eulogy, nothing could be more consistent
with beauty or convenience than its site, planted on a slope, with the
cathedral right in front, crowded round with poor buildings, and
accessible only by precipitous alleys. Its architecture is disputed
between Francesco di Giorgio and Baccio Pontelli,[*131] nor would it
add much credit to either, its sole merit being minute decorations in
hewn work and inlaid panelling, both after the style we have described
at Urbino. Although the initials of the two Montefeltrian dukes appear
in these, it is believed to have been chiefly built by Guidobaldo, and
the oak-tree cognisance of the Della Rovere indicates in some parts a
still later date. The constant recurrence of the Garter among its
ornamental devices is gratifying to the very rare English visitors of
this Apennine town, but no traveller of taste and intelligence can be
otherwise than shocked to find this once chosen sanctuary of Italian
refinement and high breeding, the residence in which Castiglione
recounted his reception at the Tudor court, and where Fregoso and
Bembo were successively bishops, degraded to vile uses and menaced by
speedy ruin. It is now in the hands of a person who there manufactures
wax candles and silk, but on my second visit in 1843 was closed up
entirely and inaccessible. I owe to the obliging attention of Signor
Luigi Bonfatti, a local antiquary of taste and intelligence, who is
preparing a work on the early painters of Gubbio, this notice of the
building and its remaining decorations: "Differing much from the
architecture at Urbino, its court-yard is very fine, of the mixed or
composite style usual in that age. The windows, doors, and chimneys
have stone lintels, exquisitely chiselled in low relief with masterly
arabesque designs, those in the interior being touched with gold. The
ceilings, now partially decayed, are all of wood, in half-relief
compartments, with heavy cornices, and roses coloured and gilded. The
palace was completed by Duke Guidobaldo, who commissioned the cabinet
or closet of superb _intarsia_, thirteen by six and a half feet. This
tiny room is nineteen feet high, but the inlaid work goes only
half-way up. It is of the finest patterns and workmanship, including
several emblematic representations of music, literature, physical
science, geography, and war. On the cornice is an inscription now in
part illegible.... It was, in my opinion, the work of Antonio Mastei
of Gubbio, a famous artist in wood, who executed the beautiful choir
of S. Fortunato at Todi, and who is known to have been much in favour
with Dukes Guidobaldo and Francesco Maria I., the latter of whom gave
him an exemption from imposts."[132]

[Footnote *131: It is the work of Lorenzo Laurana.]

[Footnote 132: The kindness of Mr. F.C. Brooke, of Ufford Place,
Suffolk, enables me to supplement from his note-book this imperfect
mention of the most interesting feature of the palace. "The small
cabinet has shared a better fate than that of the remainder of the
apartments, and requires little else than cleaning up to restore it to
its original state. The ceiling is divided into several scanty
compartments, of octangular form and relieved with gold, while the
wainscoted walls are inlaid with _tarsia_, representing bookcases, or
rather cupboards, with their contents, amongst which are a ship, a
tambourine, military weapons, a cage with a parrot in it, and, as if
for the sake of variety only, a few volumes of books, over one of
which, containing music, with the word 'ROSABELLA' inscribed on its
pages, is suspended a crucifix. On the central case opposite to the
window, and occupying as it were the post of honour, is the Garter,
with its motto, 'HONI SOIT Q MAL I PENSE'; a device which has been
sculptured on the exterior of the stone architrave of the door of this
apartment. It appears again in _tarsia_ in the recess of the window,
where may also be seen, within circles, 'G. UBALDO DX.' and 'FE DUX.'
On the frieze, and in a single line interrupted only by the spaces
occupied by the door and window, is the following inscription in

     "'Aspicis æternos venerandæ matris alumnos,
       Doctrina excelsos ingenioque viros.
     Vi nuda cervice cadant ante...
                          ... genu.
     Justiciam pietas vincit reverenda, nec ullum
       Poenitet ultrici succubuisse suæ.'

"I might also have mentioned as amongst the devices, the crane
standing on one leg, and holding, with the foot of the other which is
raised, the stone he is to drop as a signal of alarm for his
companions. Among other feigned contents of a bookcase are an
hour-glass, guitar, and pair of compasses; in another are seen a
dagger, dried fruits in a small basket made of thin wood, and a
tankard; while in a third is represented an open book surmounted with
the name of Guidobaldo, who probably made the description inscribed on
the two pages of the volume, comprising verses 457 to 491 of the tenth

It is unnecessary here to introduce this long quotation; for the last
combat and death of Pallas by the spear of Turnus, however happily
described by Virgil, bear no traceable analogy to incidents in the
Montefeltrian family. Mr. Brooke conjectures that it was recommended
by the passage,--

     "Stat sua cuique dies; breve et irreparabile tempus
     Omnibus est vitæ; sed famam extendere factis,
     Hoc Virtutis opus:"

a sentiment equally beautiful in itself, and appropriate to the
fortunes of Guidobaldo; yet why not have given point to the epigram by
isolating it from the inappropriate context?]

Muzio and Baldi impute to Federigo's munificence many other palaces in
his state, such as Fossombrone, Cagli, Casteldurante, La Carda,
Mercatello, &c.; but most of these were probably forts, of which
Francesco di Giorgio speaks as having one hundred and thirty-six under
his charge at once, for this prince. At the two first-named places,
there still remain residences dating from this reign, and the parks or
game-preserves which formerly surrounded them, embracing circuits of
seven and five miles respectively, were walled in by the Count, and
stocked with fallow-deer.[133] These have long ago run to waste, and
the palaces, with their ample halls,

     "Shadowy with remembrances
     Of the majestic past,"

are now desolate and rapidly falling to ruin.[*134]

[Footnote 133: We have very few notices of his sporting tastes; but
the Vatican collection of his letters includes one of the King of
France, on sending, at his request, a brace of dogs.]

[Footnote *134: The palace of Urbino was indeed the wonder of the age.
Dennistoun, however, tells us little or nothing about Federigo's
villas. The gardens of Lorenzo de' Medici at Poggio a Caiano were
provided with every vegetable, both for ornament and use, which the
most diligent search could supply. Indeed, his was one of the first
collections of plants made in Europe. Alessandro Braccio, in a Latin
poem addressed to Bernardo Bembo, gives a graphic account of it.
Laurentian Library, Plut. LXXXVI., sup. cod. 41. Band. Cat., III.,
787. The poem is given by Roscoe, _Lorenzo de' Medici_, App. XXV.]

       *       *       *       *       *

It has been aptly observed that "of works which appeal to the eye, any
description must be tedious and inconclusive," but less could not have
been said of creations which constituted the chief praise of Count
Federigo among his contemporaries, and his most enduring glory with
posterity. Nor can it but excite our interest to inquire whence means
were obtained for so lavish an outlay, and for his munificent
patronage of letters and arts. When the eye wanders over the map of
Urbino, as possessed by its dukes of the Della Rovere dynasty, it is
difficult to restrict our conceptions to its true limits at this
date. It would probably now be impossible to define these with perfect
accuracy, much of its frontier being then debatable land.[135] Into
this category had fallen part of the original fief of Montefeltro,
lying north of the Foglia. The proper territory of Urbino occupied the
central portion of the far-receding stripe situated between that river
and the Metauro, its upper section being the Brancaleone country, its
sea-board divided between Pesaro and Fano. Out-lying were the holdings
of Gubbio and Cagli, the latter perhaps reaching to the recently
acquired townships of Fossombrone. The state composed of these
straggling parts may have included about one-fourth of the subsequent
duchy; but cut off from the coast, and from the fertile districts
which skirt the Adriatic, its rugged uplands and rude climate derived
from nature few elements of wealth. The various wars which had swept
it, and especially the forays and reprisals it had long endured from
the tyrant of Rimini, might well have exhausted its resources, and
utterly impoverished both sovereign and people. The fact was, however,
quite otherwise, war being a source of wealth to both. Military
service was their only trade, and so well did they ply it, that during
thirty-four years, short intervals excepted, the Count drew continuous
pay from some foreign power or adventurer. The value of these
engagements may be estimated from some examples. In 1453 his war pay
from Alfonso of Naples exceeded 8000 ducats a month, and for many
years he had from him and his son an annual peace-pension of 6000 in
name of past services. At the close of his life, when captain-general
of the Italian league, he drew in war 165,000 ducats of annual
stipend, 45,000 being his own share; in peace 65,000 in all. Of these
vast sums a considerable portion went among his hardy mountaineers,
besides their contingent of plunder and perquisites picked up in the
field. Thus was war rendered so acceptable to their interests, as well
as to their tastes and habits, that Sanzi compares them, when their
arms are cast aside, to "unpinioned eagles." Nor did the ravages of
invasion prove so destructive as might be supposed. The entire
population were located in villages or townlets, each a fastness
capable of resistance, which, even when unsuccessful, gave time to
conceal their valuables: thus when the sack began, they had only to
save their persons, and these generally were allowed to go

[Footnote 135:

     "Nunc ager Umbreni sub nomine, nuper Ofelli
     Dictus; erat nulli proprius, sed cedit in usum
     Nunc mihi, nunc aliis."

     HORACE, _Sat._, ii. 2.]

[Footnote 136: See, as to later statistics of the duchy, the Appendix
to Vol. III.]


     Count Federigo's varied engagements--Battle of La
     Molinella--Death and character of his enemy
     Malatesta--Affairs of Rimini.

It was to the Pontiff's anxiety for his favourite project against the
Infidel, that the Malatesta owed the shadow of sovereignty still left
them. He inherited from Nicholas V. the design of a holy war; but
though the ten years passed since the peace of Lodi had united the
Italian powers for that purpose, the cross had not yet been raised
against the aggressive and triumphant crescent. He now sought to
redeem delays by redoubled zeal, and his temporal diplomacy seconded
his spiritual exhortations in collecting troops and treasure from
Western Europe, to be mustered at Ancona and led by his Holiness in
person. But, as was shrewdly remarked by Cosimo de' Medici, it was an
old man undertaking an enterprise which needed a young one. He
travelled to Ancona when scarcely recovered from a severe fit of gout,
and on arriving, had the mortification to discover that his ardour had
been ill seconded by most of the Christian powers; that the soldiery,
already disgusted with a service whose rewards were indulgences for
the next world instead of present pay and pillage, were retiring in
great numbers; and that the volunteers who crowded the port, far
beyond the means provided for feeding or transporting them, were a
mere mob of unarmed and undisciplined idlers. Chagrin, anxiety, and
fatigue occasioned a relapse, which carried him off on the 14th of
August.[137] The consistory countermanded the ill-advised expedition,
and the conclave hurriedly chose as his successor the Venetian Barbo,
whose character and habits, in all respects a contrast to those of
Pius, would have been best expressed by Barbaro, but whose absurd
personal vanity is said to have prompted him to propose assuming as
his title Formoso I.

[Footnote 137: Sismondi says the 14th; Harris Nicolas the 15th or
16th; Baldi mentions the morrow of the Assumption, which would be the
16th; but Berni specifies the fourth hour, or midnight of Tuesday the
14th, which corresponds with the calendar of that year.]

The papal throne has seldom been better filled than by Pius II. Gifted
with much practical capacity and intelligence, he brought to it the
experience of a life devoted to diplomacy, statesmanship, and
literature, and he found time to record in historical commentaries,
for the benefit of posterity, his impressions of the many important
incidents wherein he had been an actor or a witness. It is very
remarkable that the last measure of his pontificate, from which he
anticipated its chief lustre, should have been not only opposed to the
spirit of his age, but undertaken without consideration, pursued
without judgment, and terminated in utter failure. To these inherent
errors ought to be ascribed the frustration of hopes in themselves
vain, rather than to the death of his Holiness, as thus set forth by

     "Ah cruel destiny! unjust and harsh
     To Italy's high name, even as her gates
     Were opened wide for glory. Doubtful, sure,
     And manifold the chances that impede
     Such plans as man conceives: the Pontiff died;
     And so these gladsome hopes were blotted out,
     Whilst all their pomp, and pains, and stores profuse
     Were turned to sullen, sluggish discontent."

[Illustration: _Brogi_


_After the fresco by Pinturicchio in the Cathedral Library, Siena_]

The late Pope, intending to leave Federigo as lieutenant-general,
charged with the defence of the papal state during his absence in the
east, had summoned him to Ancona, and there consulted him both on that
subject and on the projected expedition. Thence the Count proceeded to
Gubbio for the marriage of his relation Guidantonio Ubaldini, and on
the 28th of September repaired to Rome, with a noble suite, to
offer congratulations to the new Pontiff, by whom he was confirmed in
his command, with the title of Gonfaloniere of the Church. After
visiting the King of Naples, he returned home in the end of October,
and in the following autumn had from his Majesty a renewed condotta as

[Footnote 138: Gonfaloniere, originally signifying standard-bearer,
was the title of supreme command in the papal armies, and is so used
throughout these volumes when applied to the dukes of Urbino. In
Florence, and other old republics, it meant the chief magistrate for
the time, and it is still employed in the same sense throughout many
towns, especially in the ecclesiastical states. The gonfalone, or
banner of the Church, was and is now white, with the golden
cross-keys, surmounted by the umbrella-shaped _baldachino_, or canopy,
usually carried over the Pope in processions. This device was borne on
the armorial shields of the Gonfalonieri, impaled between their proper
quarterings, as seen on the stamp outside of these volumes. The golden
keys surmounted by a triple tiara is another common pontifical device,
used in place of a crest.]

The crusade and all its preparations had passed away as completely and
almost as rapidly as a stage-scene, and the quiet of Italy remaining
undisturbed, the new Pontiff availed himself of it to chastise the
Aversi of Anguillera, a band of robber barons whose predatory
incursions extended to the gates of his capital. Although in more
peaceful times this would have been a matter of police rather than a
military movement, it fell to Federigo as gonfaloniere to repress
their audacity. This he did in a few days during July, their
strongholds about Ronciglione all surrendering without a blow. Paul,
encouraged by this success, followed it up by similar proceedings
against the Savelli, another great Campagna family, whose Angevine
policy had led them into open rebellion five years before, and whose
influence never recovered the loss of territory now wrested from them.
The Count, having gone to visit his Holiness, received from him verbal
instructions and a written commission to take effectual measures for
securing the devolution to the Holy See of the Malatesta fiefs, as
soon as these brothers should die, and there being some suspicion of
intrigues on their part to defeat that arrangement under which Cesena
and Rimini had been left them only for their respective lives, a
solemn obligation to secrecy under pain of excommunication shrouded
these deliberations. Thus were pursued those repressive steps adopted
by Pius II., and which were matured into a fixed policy of successive
pontiffs during the next seventy years, until, of all the sovereign
vassals who divided and distracted the ecclesiastical territory, from
Terraccini to the Po, there remained but those of Ferrara, Urbino, and
Piombino. Malatesta Novello of Cesena, whose wife Violante had been
sister of Federigo, died in November, when Cesena was at once seized
by his nephew Roberto, eldest son of Sigismondo. The Count of Urbino,
in obedience to the papal injunctions, marched into Romagna and
blockaded that town, until matters were compromised by a concession of
Meldola to Roberto, on his surrendering the rest of his uncle's fief,
and entering the papal service, as a guarantee for his future

Francesco Sforza died suddenly at Milan on the 8th of March. He was
the most sagacious as well as the most fortunate of Italian
adventurers, and as a sovereign conciliated general confidence and
regard by his judicial administration, whilst a liberal and
discriminating encouragement of learning gave to his court and capital
attractions and brilliancy too quickly lost under his dissolute
successor. The first to apply to his country the axiom that union is
strength, it was his cherished aim to cultivate the hitherto neglected
principle of nationality as the mainspring of her policy. The league
of Italy, carried through by him, was the primary step towards that
good end, which was effectually frustrated before the close of this
century by the intemperate and selfish ambition of of his son
Ludovico, and which continues to puzzle the theorists, to mislead the
patriots, and to baffle the politicians of that fair land. His eldest
son Galeazzo Maria being absent in France at his death, the Duchess
sent to request the Count of Urbino's attendance as a tried friend and
comrade of her lord, and as husband of his niece. Federigo,
anticipating the messenger, had already set out on the first news of
so important an event, and by his prudent counsel and conciliating
manners greatly forwarded the harmonious recognition of the new Duke.
During three months he devoted his entire attention to this object,
and before taking his departure, his past efforts were acknowledged,
and his future services retained, by a renewal of his engagement as
captain-general on the following terms:--

"With the approval and benediction of the supreme Pontiff, his Most
Serene Majesty Ferdinand, the noble republic of Florence, and
Ourselves have reunited ourselves in a public confederation, and have
renewed our former league for common protection of our states and
repelling of external aggression, selecting as our chief in command
that illustrious captain and magnanimous lord, the Count of Urbino,
than whom none can be desired more skilful and prompt in the conduct
of war or peace, seeing with what gallantry, authority, and success he
has managed both, and has exhibited such proofs of unequalled faith,
constancy, and integrity, that throughout Italy these are not less in
repute than are his famous feats of generalship."[139] On the 6th of
June, the courts and nobles assembled in the cathedral to witness his
installation, with all the pomp and circumstance of a military
religious ceremonial. After the baton and banner had been placed in
his hand, the goodly cortège conducted him to his lodgings, where a
gallant charger, a beautiful head-piece, and a stately mantle awaited
his acceptance. Two days thereafter he set out on his homeward
journey, which was a continued progress of honour, the sovereigns and
people of each state through which he passed emulating the
compliments they should render to so distinguished a guest.

[Footnote 139: MUZIO, p. 389.]

The treaty of Lodi, to which Sforza had been mainly instrumental,
remained in force at his death; indeed, historians dwell with peculiar
pleasure on the twenty-eight years of tranquillity which succeeded
that settlement. Compared with the turmoil of preceding wars, or with
the clang of battles, which, from 1492 till 1529 rang continually
through the Peninsula, these were, indeed, years of repose and
prosperity, and may be considered the halcyon age of modern Italy. It
is true that those republican institutions had been widely infringed
under which her communities rose to eminence, and that arbitrary
sovereigns had with more or less success established over most of them
a personal or hereditary sway. True also, that her newly awakened
spirit of philosophy had then assumed, under the influence of the
ancient classics, a somewhat unprofitable direction; that "the
all-immortal three" of the preceding century already had raised her
literature to perhaps its culminating point; and that it was not until
the following age that her arts attained their highest perfection. But
whilst individual freedom had been curtailed, individual security had
been generally enlarged; even the despotism of one was welcomed, when
it brought relief from the storms of faction and the tyranny of mobs.
The reviving energies of mind felt the invigoration which succeeds to
long repose, but still glowed with a healthy character, free from that
infusion of meaner motives and more degrading tendencies which too
quickly and permanently poisoned the fairest creations of the pen, the
pencil, and the chisel. Above all, Italy in the fifteenth century was
as yet independent. Her bright plains had not become battle-fields for
European ambition; her treasures had not been plundered, her
civilisation trampled upon, her nationality defaced by foreign and
barbarous invaders.

Yet the pæans of peace inspired by the interval of comparative quiet
upon which we are now entering must be read with poetical allowance,
for we shall have to trace during that period not unfrequent
intrigues, and to mention many, ebullitions of

     "The mind of Italy to strife inflamed."

Wherever war was intended, the Count of Urbino's services were
naturally in request, for his name stood foremost on the roll of
condottieri since the death of Giacopo Piccinino in July, 1465. It is
unnecessary to contrast the qualities of these rival generals: the
latter is known to history but as a military adventurer, whilst the
reputation of Federigo rests not less on his conduct as a wise and
generous prince. The Neapolitan war had at length given to Giacopo the
great object of his life. He was sovereign of Sulmona, and his
marriage with the Duke of Milan's natural daughter had strengthened
him in his new rank, and finally closed the long strifes of the
Braccian and Sforzan factions. But fortune, after this signal
exaltation, destined for him a fearful reverse. The false-hearted
Ferdinand forgot not that he had been the right arm of the Angevine
party. Receiving him with hollow courtesy, he amused him at Naples
until Ippolita Maria Sforza, the affianced bride of his eldest son
Alfonso Duke of Calabria, left her father's duchy of Milan. When she
had reached Siena, on her way to be married, Piccinino was
treacherously seized and mysteriously done to death. The impression
was long current that his father-in-law had countenanced this
disgraceful murder, but Rosmini, in his recent history of Milan, has
fully vindicated the memory of Francesco Sforza from a calumny utterly
repugnant to his noble character.[140]

[Footnote 140: RICOTTI (_Storia delle Compagnie di Ventura in Italia_,
1844, vol. III., pp. 191-201) ably reviews the evidence on both sides,
and satisfactorily disposes of an error which had been received during
three centuries and a half.[*D]]

[Footnote *D: Cf. also C.M. ADY, _op. cit._, p. 78, for a well-argued
defence of Sforza.]

The death of Francesco Sforza had been preceded in 1464 by that of
Cosimo de' Medici, whose virtual authority at Florence, earned by his
personal qualities, was exercised tacitly, and cemented by no title,
until FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY was inscribed by the grateful citizens
upon his tomb. These two great men had been allied by common objects
of policy as well as by the sympathy of lofty minds, neither of which
descended to their sons. Pietro de' Medici quickly found that his
father's influence passed not with his name and wealth, whilst his own
pretensions only roused the factious spirit for which Florence enjoyed
an unenviable reputation. It would lead us too far from the immediate
object of these pages were we to analyse the state of parties there
during this crisis, and examine the conduct of leaders, who, under the
mask of patriotism, sought by treachery and assassination to gratify
private ambition, envy, jealousy, and revenge. Even those reformers
who, with purer motives and an unwavering faith in democratic
utopianism, sought to establish public liberty apart from individual
ends, had no better panacea to offer than that of submitting official
appointments to ballot; a singular consequence of the intelligence
and, if we accept the opinions of Sismondi, of the freedom for which
Florence was already preeminent. Two years of caballing concluded with
results common in the republics of classic Greece and mediæval Italy;
the ostracised minority saved themselves by flight, and, in order to
avenge personal wrongs, brought upon their native land the disasters
of foreign invasion, as well as the calamity of native broils.[141]
The Medicean faction remained in the ascendant, and were intimately
allied with Naples and Milan; but the exiles rallied under the winged
lion of St. Mark, and endeavoured by prayers and promises to interest
the Venetians in their behalf, reminding them of the support
perseveringly afforded to their enemy Francesco Sforza by the Medici.
These representations were cordially received by the most jealous of
republics; yet with habitually crooked policy, the Signory, instead of
frankly seconding the Tuscan refugees, nominally discharged Bartolomeo
Colleoni from its service, but secretly aided them to engage him in an
expedition against their country.[142] Colleoni, the last of the old
race of stipendiary commanders, had risen to wealth and reputation,
and had grown grey in years, without ever gaining an important battle.
Mustering once more his veteran followers, and reinforced by several
captains of adventure from Romagna and Upper Italy, he marched at the
head of 8000 horse and 6000 foot through the Ferrarese, intending to
enter Tuscany by the Lamone valley.

[Footnote 141: These intrigues are most succinctly explained by
Pignotti, but Machiavelli and Sismondi may be consulted, as well as
ROSCOE'S _Life of Lorenzo de' Medici_, ch. II.]

[Footnote 142: Machiavelli speaks as if Bartolomeo continued in the
Venetian service, and Roscoe appears to adopt this view; but the best
authorities bear out Sismondi's statement, which I have followed.]

These preparations were viewed at Florence with extreme anxiety.
Pietro, wavering in character and broken in health, seemed unequal to
the crisis; his son Lorenzo, though full of promise, was but eighteen;
the exiles had friends ready to second them at home. The foreign
influence of his house was still however great, and the Dukes of Milan
and Calabria led in person their contingents into the field. The
confederate army was commanded by the Count of Urbino, to whose merits
the following flattering attestation by Ferdinand of Naples is
preserved in the pages of Muzio:--"Amid these warlike movements, and
perils for Italy, it is most satisfactory that we have found a
captain-general whose military skill can rival that of the ancient
times. For, with all deference, who in this age has more fairly taken
arms? who has led armies under happier auspices? whose conduct in
pitched battles or in sieges has been more exemplary? Such questions
are answered by the many honourable trophies he has wrested from the
enemy; by all the cities he has taken, the fortresses he has stormed,
the armies he has routed; by the victories and the booty he has
carried off. Besides, it is notorious that he is not less eminent at
home than abroad, not less excellent in council than in arms. And,
what is still more remarkable, all this superiority is the fruit of
his genius, not less than his prowess, and especially of his good
faith, which, although the basis of every virtue, is the rarest of
them all, and which, almost banished from earth, has taken refuge in

The sincerity thus lauded had been recently tested. Vespasiano informs
us that the emissaries of Venice having offered Federigo an
engagement, with 80,000 ducats in war and 60,000 in peace, he simply
reported it to the allies; whereupon they lost no time in arranging
with him a formal condotta, which probably embodied the compliment we
have cited, and which obliged him to serve against all enemies of the
league, the Pontiff not excepted.[143] The Venetian agents had
succeeded better with Astorre Manfredi, Lord of Faenza, in consequence
of whose defection the Count of Urbino early in April marched his own
company into Romagna, in order to persuade or overawe the minor
feudatories of that warlike country into adherence to the
confederates. During three months the two armies were in presence, the
tactics of both being, as was then usual, rather a display of strategy
than a struggle for victory, and the blockade of Faenza by Federigo
proving the only incident worth notice. But this inactivity, though
pleasant and profitable to the stipendiaries, occasioned much
grumbling from those who had to find the sinews of war, especially
from the exiles, whose means were quickly expended. It is alleged, in
justification of the Count's temporising, that the rashness of
Galeazzo Sforza had several times almost compromised the confederates;
that, in order to rid them of his counsels, he was induced to visit
the Medici, on pretexts which are variously stated; and that the
opportunity of his absence was seized by Federigo to fight a pitched
battle on his own terms. Baldi, however, informs us that Colleoni,
having virtually abandoned his designs against Florence, contemplated
an attack upon the Milanese, and that the confederates came into
collision with him whilst intercepting his movement in that direction,
of which they were fully aware.

[Footnote 143: Vat. Urb. MSS. No. 941, printed in the _Specilegium
Romanum_ of Cardinal Mai, I., 94.--Archivio Diplomatico di Firenze,
May 15, 1467.]

Although we have descriptions of many of these mediæval combats from
spectators or actors, their details seldom convey an intelligible idea
of the actual conflicts. Thus, whilst Muzio and Baldi prolixly recount
the inconclusive movements which preceded the engagement, and
introduce tedious harangues as spoken by Federigo to his army, they
throw but little light upon the field manoeuvres. The battle was
commenced early in the afternoon of the 25th of July, by the light
cavalry of Urbino charging the enemy when about to halt for the night;
and although the Count had intended to delay the attack until they
were in the bustle of encamping, he gallantly supported his
skirmishers in two divisions, one led by himself, the other by Roberto
di Sanseverino, general-in-chief of the Milanese forces, whilst a
reserve of cavalry under Donato del Conte was instructed to hover
about, and render aid where required. In the heat of the engagement,
Federigo, with more knight-errantry than prudence, called upon his
brilliant staff, composed of his kinsman the Cavaliere Pietro
Ubaldini, his future son-in-law Giovanni della Rovere, and other
youths of promise, to follow him to the rescue, and, lance in rest,
bore headlong into the _mêlée_. But this ill-timed gallantry had
nearly cost him his life, for a foot soldier, getting under his horse,
inflicted a mortal wound on the animal, and he was not saved without
immense efforts of his own and those around him. The day was intensely
hot, the armies had both marched some miles before they met, and after
fighting for six or eight hours (some say sixteen) without apparent
advantage to either side, Colleoni sent a trumpet to Federigo,
suggesting that, as it was now high time to seek repose, they had
better be done for the day. The staff warmly seconded this proposal,
being three miles from their intended quarters; so by common consent
the troops were recalled, and whilst the soldiery lit torches and
fires, as substitutes for the now deepened twilight, the leaders
mutually advanced to shake hands and congratulate each other on their
escapes. This singular conclusion of what is generally represented as
a well-fought field was quite in accordance with the received rules of
military procedure; but it tempted Machiavelli, the enemy of
stipendiary armies, to sneer at this affair of La Molinella as a
pitched battle, lasting half a day, wherein neither side wavered, and
no one fell, a few prisoners and wounded horses being the only result
of the fray. This is certainly an exaggeration, but though all
characterise the conflict as sanguinary, our authorities differ widely
as to the loss, which probably did not exceed a few hundred men
killed, including, however, several captains of note.[144]

[Footnote 144: RICOTTI, III., p. 208, quotes these authorities. Our
account of the battle endeavours to reconcile the Urbino writers with
the generally received facts. Muzio says above 40,000 men were engaged
in it. Berni estimates the Count's force at eighty-three squadrons of
horse and two thousand foot against ninety-six squadrons and thrice as
many infantry; the killed he states at 500, and the wounded at the
same number, chiefly on the side of Colleoni. The Ferrarese diarist,
speaking of an engagement fought close to his capital, may be
preferred to Machiavelli. He considers the loss on both sides at 500
killed, and 1000 mortally wounded, besides "above 1000 horses ripped
up;" and mentions Saturday, the 23rd of July, as the date of the
battle. Roscoe, in a succinct account of the campaign, cites three
authorities for his facts, but two of these refer to points of
unimportant detail (one of them quoting a recent writer, whose
information is at second hand), while the third establishes a view
entirely passed by in the text. I mention this in no spirit of
cavilling, but to show the inutility of a system of copious and
indiscriminate reference by foot-notes, which, without pretending to
establish every momentous statement, constantly distracts attention
from the continuous narrative. Corio, a contemporary at the court of
Milan, has, by confusing his master's two visits to Florence,
misrepresented this engagement as fought in 1471. He mentions some
incidents of it, one of which, whether accurate or not, is
characteristic of such battles. Federigo, towards the close of the
conflict, meeting Alessandro Sforza, whose daughter he had married,
but who then fought against him, exclaimed, "Oh, my lord and father!
we have already done enough;" to which Sforza replied, "This I leave
you to determine;" whereupon both commanders called off their troops.
Another anecdote represents Galeazzo Maria as severely blaming the
Count of Urbino for not securing a decided victory by a more vigorous
onset; to which the latter replied he was nowise to blame, and would
leave it to any one cognisant of the art of war to say if he had not
proceeded after the rules of military tactics. But so little was the
Duke satisfied with this plea, that, when the Count went afterwards to
visit him at Milan, he threatened to decapitate him, and would have
done so but for the intervention of his secretary Simonetta, a
personal friend of Federigo. The latter, taking the hint, soon
retired, and made the best of his way home. Notwithstanding Corio's
authority, and Galeazzo Maria's impetuous temper, this story appears
apocryphal: see our immediate context, p. 189.]

The peculiar feature of the day was the employment of flying
artillery, gunnery having, till now, been limited to clumsy
battering-pieces, adapted only for sieges and fortifications. The new
weapons called spingards and invented by Colleoni were long swivels,
measuring three cubits,[145] mounted upon carriages, and discharging
balls somewhat larger than a walnut or plum. Although the advantage
has been claimed for the confederates, the battle was a drawn one;
indeed, Colleoni remained upon the field, whilst Federigo led his
exhausted troops to the encampment he had previously resolved on. Yet
the results became equivalent to a victory as regarded the Medici, for
their outlawed opponents, no longer possessing money or credit, were
overlooked in the arrangements for peace which followed early next
year. Galeazzo Sforza having withdrawn most of his troops for
protection of his frontier on the side of Savoy, the autumn was passed
by the armies beating over their former ground about Faenza and Imola,
Federigo vainly anxious, as we are assured, to bring on another
engagement. Finally, sickness and winter terminated a campaign quite
unworthy of the space that has been allowed it by most annalists.

[Footnote 145: So described by Ricotti, who apparently has declined
reducing this measurement to an intelligible quantity. The cubit of
Vitruvius was of six, sixteen, or thirty-six palms, a Roman palm being
nine inches and a half. Dr. Johnson defines the cubit as eighteen or
twenty-one Paris inches. Such want of precision in weights, measures,
and money, occasions constant and often inextricable embarrassment in
mediæval history.]

In one respect, however, it was not unimportant to the Count of
Urbino, for it gave him opportunities of improving an acquaintance
with the youthful Duke of Milan, and of cementing his tried friendship
for the house of Sforza. So long as Colleoni kept the field, he was
watched by the Count, who rightly guessed that, under pretext of the
descent upon Florence, he was ready enough to carry the banner of St.
Mark into the Milanese, should a favourable opportunity offer. Even
after peace was concluded, Federigo remained in Lombardy, and was
employed by Galeazzo Maria on the honourable mission of receiving at
Genoa his bride, Bona of Savoy, on her arrival from the French court,
over which her sister presided. Having conducted her to Milan, the
marriage was celebrated in July, 1468, after which he at length
contrived to repair home. From thence, however, he was speedily
summoned to return, and, as the Duke's captain-general, to take the
field against the Savoyards, and afterwards to reduce Brisella on the
Po, whose inhabitants had attempted to stir up new strife among the
rival powers of Italy. The autumn was well advanced ere these matters
were arranged. Galeazzo presented him with a palace at Milan, and
relying upon his judgment and experience, detained him there during
the winter to assist in organising his state. The arrival of Frederick
III. at Venice early in the year appeared to impose on the Duke, as
his principal feudatory, the duty of a special mission, and Federigo
was selected for that distinction. His object was, however,
misrepresented to the Emperor, who consequently altered his route and
proceeded to Rome for his coronation. On the 1st of March, 1469, the
Count returned to Urbino. Ricotti mentions, as a startling proof of
the low estate to which the imperial authority had now been reduced in
Italy, that the King of the Romans on this occasion asked of Colleoni
a safe conduct for himself and suite, on their way to the nominal
capital of his empire!

During his absence, the detested Lord of Rimini closed his wayward
career. No Italian prince of this century fills so picturesque a niche
in mediæval history; none has more fully realised its worse vices, or
so narrowly escaped its noblest qualities. Bred as a soldier of
fortune, and numbering among his subjects the most martial population
of the Peninsula, his bravery when tested became mere bravado, his
duplicity rendered him a dangerous adherent to any cause. Unbounded
ambition was in him so marked by selfishness, ready talent so clogged
by overweening conceit, that all his efforts and aspirations resulted
in failure, and with the means and opportunities of establishing an
important sovereignty, he left behind him but a shadow of departed
power. His domestic morals were scandalous in an age of notorious
laxity. Not only were his three wives sacrificed to jealousy or
vengeance, but their murders are boastfully alluded to on his monument
in the miserable jest, that although the horns he wore were visible
enough, he had found means to curtail them.[146]

[Footnote 146: Such, at least, is the key afforded by Sansovino to the
obscure couplet inscribed on his tomb in his great edifice of S.

     "Porto le corna ch'ogn'uno le vede,
     E tal le porta che non se lo crede."

Baldi asserts for all his wives an unblemished reputation, and charges
him with the murder of but two of them. Mazzuchelli alleges that he
jilted or repudiated the first, and made away with the next two.]

His progeny were all illegitimate, and several of them came to violent
ends. The sole redeeming trait of human kindness that seems to have
softened his harsh and treacherous nature was his affection for
Isotta, whom he raised from obscurity to participate in his
affections, or as some say his rank. However that may have been, she
shares such celebrity as has been conferred on him by the creations of
art and literature which he sedulously patronised, and in which
chiefly his name survives, although their humanising influences left
no impress on his haughty and cruel nature. Mariotti remarks, that "an
Italian prince in those days durst not be a barbarian. A murderer,
perhaps, stained with the most flagitious crimes, he might be; but he
must seek his absolution in works of munificence, he must atone for
his outrages against public morality by his devotion to the cause of
learning and homage to the public taste." So was it with
Sigismondo.[*147] Valturio tells us that he read a great deal, and
often took part in discussions and disputations upon philosophy,
letters, and arts, with a patience of contradiction which honourably
contrasted with his usual outbreaks of temper. At his court were
entertained Porcellio, Basinio, Trebanio, and other Latinist
poetasters, who repaid such hospitality by a meed of fulsome and
long-forgotten doggerel, and celebrated the beauty and accomplishments
of his mistress. Italy could boast of no architect superior to Leon
Alberti, no military engineer more skilful than Valturio: he employed
the former on the church of S. Francesco at Rimini, which marks an era
in the revival of art; the latter, under his auspices, wrote on the
science of war, and exemplified its practice in constructing the
castle of that town: both of these buildings enshrine the name and
munificence of Sigismondo Pandolfo. But the most pleasing memorials of
a prince by name and by nature chief of the _wrong-heads_ (if we may
be pardoned a pun upon Malatesta) are the medallions in bronze struck
for him by Pisani, Di Pastis, and other celebrated medalists, one of
which we here introduce. Zanetti's publication on the mint of Rimini
gives twelve of these without exhausting their number; they preserve
his manly bust and Isotta's matronly features, whilst the sculptures
of S. Francesco familiarise us with the elephant and negro-heads borne
as their respective cognisances.

[Footnote *147: It is perhaps needless to assert the partiality of
this verdict on the life and character of Sigismondo Malatesta. That,
after a considerable study of all the available sources of his life
and times, I have come to a very different conclusion regarding him,
it is perhaps not altogether egotistical to point out. If I send the
reader, then, to my own work on this extraordinary man (_Sigismondo
Malatesta_, by EDWARD HUTTON, Dent, 1906), it is that there is no
other work concerned with him in the English language. As for
Dennistoun, most of what he says, even though it were just in its
conclusions, is inaccurate in detail. To begin with, Sigismondo was
only "detested" by his enemies; the people of Rimini appear to have
loved him, supporting him in his troubles, and loyally standing by his
wife Isotta after his death. His bravery is sufficiently proved by a
thousand encounters, notably that (described at page 150 of my book)
when he outwitted his captors and spent the whole night in a marsh up
to his neck in water; or that in which he set out to kill the Pope in
the Vatican, and would have done so but that he found him surrounded
by cardinals, armed. That his domestic morals were bad, "even in that
age of laxity," I am not eager to deny; but no single crime of this
sort laid at his door, chiefly by his bitterest enemy Pio II., who in
his relations with Sigismondo always seems least himself, can be
proved--I have tried to prove them--and all can be very easily denied.
As for his three wives, which, according to Dennistoun, he "sacrificed
to jealousy or vengeance," it will be sufficient to say that the first
Madonna Ginevra d'Este appears to have died of fever at Villa Scolca
while Sigismondo was besieging Forlimpopoli, and in any case the
d'Este remained his close friends after her death. Neither Clementini
(_op. cit._) nor Battaglini (_op. cit._) nor Broglio, in his
unpublished life, know anything of the supposed murder, which, so far
as I know, was first laid at Sigismondo's door by Pio II., who hated
him for his treachery to Siena. Sigismondo's second wife was Madonna
Polissena, daughter of Francesco Sforza. Again, when she died of
plague in Rimini, Sigismondo was absent in Lombardy. (Cf. CLEMENTINI,
_op. cit._ II., 363, who accuses Pio II. of this second libel also.)
As for his third wife Isotta, who had been his mistress, she outlived
him, and was killed at last, as is supposed, by her stepson Roberto,
in the service of Pope Paul II., who coveted Rimini, and would have
had it but that Roberto outwitted him. What motive Sigismondo can have
had in murdering his two wives, both daughters of powerful houses,
does not appear. To Dennistoun "the sole redeeming trait" in his
character was his love of Isotta; but we, less strict perhaps than in
middle Victorian times, shall always love and honour him as one of the
earliest and most sincere of Italian humanists and patrons of learning
and art, a true lover of beauty and a protector of scholars and poets.
As for the "deification of his paramour" (p. 194), I do not know what
it means; but if it refers to the "Divine" Isotta, it was a common
mode of address in that age: and for the decoration of the Tempio,
they are not pagan gods (alas!), but the planets we see there; they
illustrate a poem Sigismondo wrote in his youth. Dennistoun (note, p.
194) insists that Sigismondo had three wives before Isotta, though
Sismondi would have put him right there. He has been misled probably
by an early betrothal of Sigismondo to the daughter of Carmagnuola,
who, on her father's execution by the Venetians, was repudiated.]

It is remarkable how entirely his virtues and vices, his talents and
tastes, were formed upon the standards of paganism, and one
circumstance alone was wanting to place him on a level with the heroes
of classic times,--that he had been born a heathen. Thus, his selfish
daring, his reckless waste of human life and welfare, needed but the
name of Mars to sanctify them; his unscrupulous and insatiable lust
had been welcome incense at the shrine of Venus; the murder of his
wives and the deification of his paramour found orthodox precedents in
many demigods. So too was it with his encouragement of letters and
art. The verses of his laureates were modelled after the most approved
classical adulation. His architects were employed in the art of war,
his sculptors upon heroic medals and devices commemorative of himself
and his favourite mistress; the church which he built as a monument of
his magnificence is covered with ornaments, emblems, and tombs so
profane in character, that but for its dedication to St. Francis, it
might scarcely have been taken for a Christian shrine.

The latter scenes of his life have a touch of romantic interest
altogether wanting to its more prosperous days. When deprived of
substantial sovereignty, he left the scene of his humiliation, and
turning against the Crescent those arms which had often been arrayed
against the Keys, as a captain of adventure he led the Venetian troops
to encounter the Infidel in the Morea. There he distinguished himself
in 1464-5, and then returned to Italy, bringing, it is said, the dry
bones of Themistios, a Byzantine philosopher, to a court no longer
open for living celebrities of literature. His haughty spirit spurned
all overtures from the Pontiff, who sought to anticipate the
devolution of Rimini to the Holy See by bribing him into a quiet
surrender of it during his life; but abject in misfortune as he had
been arrogant in prosperity, and disgusted at the contrast of his
fallen fortunes, he pined and died before completing his fifty-second

[Footnote 148: According to his epitaph, on the 7th ides, being the
9th of October, 1468. Sismondi, chap. lxxxi., says on the 13th; calls
him father-in-law of Count Federigo; and speaks of his having but two
wives besides Isotta. He certainly had three; while his connection
with the house of Urbino arose from his brother Domenico having
married the sister of Federigo, and his son Roberto espousing a
daughter of that Count. Nothing can be more terse and graphic than the
sketch of his character by Pius II. in his _Commentaries_, book II.,
p. 51.]


_From the relief by Pisanello in the Dreyfus Collection_]

The death of Sigismondo without legitimate male issue inferred the
lapse of his fief to the Church, and this devolution was expressly
stipulated by his convention with Pius II. in 1463. But Isotta,
finding herself in possession of Rimini, and personally popular with
the citizens, asserted an alleged bequest of its late lord in favour
of his son Sallustio, and stood on the defensive. Nor was this unequal
resistance hopeless. The neighbouring feudatories were necessarily
opposed to ecclesiastical rights that greatly infringed the value of
their own tenure. Venice regarded with jealousy any extension of papal
influence in Romagna, and was ever ready, for her own ends, to support
the petty princes there. Relying, therefore, on external support,
Isotta closed the gates when summoned in name of the Pontiff, and the
people, proud of their independence and abhorring provincial
insignificance, seconded her resistance. Roberto, the eldest of
Sigismondo's bastards, was in the papal service on the confines of
Naples, and on him Paul fixed as the instrument for attaining his
object without a contest. Summoning him to his presence, he assumed an
air of patronising interest, and by large promises induced him to
repair to Rimini, and so contrive that the ecclesiastical troops
should be quietly admitted. Heir of his father's duplicity though not
of his rights, Malatesta lent himself to this intrigue with a secret
view to his personal ends, and after binding himself by hand and seal
to the Pope's stipulations, he early in January entered the city in
disguise. No guest could have been less welcome to Isotta, but at a
juncture so delicate she was content to dissemble, and accept his
amicable professions.

Federigo's condotta in the papal service had just expired, leaving him
free to consult the dictates of policy, his views as to which were
stated in an appeal to Pietro de' Medici on behalf of Rimini, in words
which may almost be deemed prophetic. "I am constrained to believe
that the Pontiff and the Venetian Signory intend to occupy Rimini and
all Romagna, and eventually Bologna too. Rimini once lost, the rest
will readily follow, and your lordship and the league may easily
suppose where Bologna and Imola would then be. Those who will not
resist such projects at first may have afterwards to pay a
hundredfold, and God grant that it be then to good purpose." He
proceeded in person to Milan in order to urge these considerations
upon Galeazzo Maria, to whom they came with greater cogency as he had
purchased Imola from the Manfredi. Whilst there he favourably received
overtures from Roberto, and arranged a new confederation of Milan,
Florence, and Naples for the independence of Rimini, of which he was
general-in-chief, with a command for Malatesta. The latter, now
throwing off all disguise, wrote to the Pope his best excuses for
resiling from his engagement, and, after persuading Isotta to retire
out of harm's way, proclaimed himself seigneur of Rimini.[*149]

[Footnote *149: Roberto murdered Isotta. With the assistance of the
Pope and Federigo of Urbino he had set out to win Rimini--for himself,
as it proved. Once within the walls he first befriended Isotta,
finding her too strong in the affections of the people to oppose
openly. On August 8, 1470, Sallustio was found dead in a well
belonging to the Marcheselli in Rimini, and within the year Isotta
died also, of poison, as was believed, for Valerio, her second son,
was openly slain by Roberto not long after.]

The contest which ensued was one of the many paltry "squabbles for
towns and castles" which ever recur in restless Italy, to distract the
historian without affording him materials for a stirring episode. The
league were bound to bring up a considerable force of cavalry in their
respective proportions, but their hearts were not in a cause where
they had to support the weaker side, and ere they took the field,
Alessandro Sforza, at the head of the ecclesiastical troops, had
carried the suburbs of Rimini and reduced the city to great
straits.[150] Federigo, after repeated efforts, persuaded the
Neapolitan contingent to risk a march through the enemy's country,
whereupon Sforza fell back from the leaguer to provide for his own
defence. This movement was, however, but of partial benefit to
Malatesta, for, as the allies were bound only to defensive operations,
they withheld their assistance beyond maintaining him in the limited
state of which his father died possessed. Such trifling, and the
do-little tactics by which it was supported, scarcely consisted with
the exigence, for though the cause was at first unimportant, the
disgust and indignation felt by Paul at being outwitted by an almost
beardless boy led him to entertain vast schemes of vengeance,
extending to the partition of Romagna with his countrymen of Venice,
and to a new war for the Neapolitan succession.

[Footnote 150: The following dispatch by the Count to the priors of
Siena, from Urbino, the 27th of July, before the confederates had
appeared, proves how unimportant were the proceedings of the siege.
"Since I last wrote your lordships, nothing new has occurred beyond
some attempts by the besiegers of Rimini, to which those of the town
offered such resistance that they proved fruitless, indeed, rather
detrimental. It also happened, by a sudden and unexpected chance, that
the barks and armed vessels which blockaded the town were dispersed
and scattered; one if not two of them are known to have foundered, but
nothing further has yet been heard of their fate."--Archiv. Diplom. at

The movement of Sforza to Vergiliano, a few miles west of Rimini, had
virtually raised the siege, and the confederates lay round Cerasolo,
about the same distance to the south. Matters were now at a dead-lock,
for the actual territory in dispute being thus cleared of papal
troops, the allies had no pretext for aggressive operations, although
Roberto was obviously exposed to destruction should they withdraw,
which they showed every disposition to do. In order to bring matters
to a point, Federigo informed Malatesta that it was for him to attack;
and as his tiny garrison could effect nothing beyond a predatory
incursion on the papal territory, it was concerted that he should
assail Mulazzano, whilst the Count sent some troops to protect Rimini.
The scheme succeeded to their hearts' content, for Sforza, moved by
complaints from the menaced villages, quitted his position in order to
check the marauders and occupy new ground within reach of Mulazzano.
Federigo, informed of this intention, foresaw that he would encamp,
at all events pass, near his cantonments, and prepared to give him
battle. It was not without opposition that he obtained the approval of
his languid supporters, but having done so, he thus harangued his
troops:[151] "Soldiers! I have good news for you. The enemy have a
fancy to water their horses in that stream where we water ours, and
for this purpose have resolved to encamp right opposite us. If you
would know why I take this for so good news, I shall tell you. I know
that you all ply the trade of arms in order to gain you honour and
advantage; and if the enemy come, as I have said, I shall lead you
where each of you will have equal opportunity of displaying his
gallantry. Take no thought that they outnumber you, for victory is
gained by valour and not by multitudes, and the more they are, the
greater your glory and plunder. I already know well your bravery, and
you should have no doubts when I promise you so sure a victory, since
that I see how it is to be won. This much I can say, that I even now
feel as ample satisfaction in the triumph which I anticipate from your
valour as if it were already gained; yet for your satisfaction I have
something to add. They are coming to make a lodgment without an idea
of opposition, and therefore fool-hardily and incautiously; we shall
thus probably find them in disorder, whilst we are fully prepared for
action. At all events we shall come upon them encumbered by baggage
and disheartened, which affects both mind and body; and being
ourselves in light order and prepared for battle, the advantage must
be all with us. Should they fancy returning whence they came, we shall
let them see what it is to show their backs to an enemy. One way or
other the victory will be ours, and besides having my word you may
assure yourselves of it, for it is in your own hands."

[Footnote 151: We have spared our readers the numerous orations with
which Baldi, emulating the style of Livy, has interpolated his
narrative. This one is taken from Muzio, and may be a fair specimen of
the eloquence then in use on similar occasions.]

The battle took place on the 29th or 30th of August, on ground
selected by Federigo. During three hours the enemy vainly sought to
make an impression on his position, at the end of which time Roberto
came up with some fresh battalions, and the papal forces began to
retire. Whereupon the Count, rushing forward, exclaimed to his men, "I
promised you that, should the enemy give signs of retreat, you would
make them feel what it is to show heels, and I must keep my word. At
them now! and having maintained your ground against their attack, does
not this encourage you to set upon them when flying? Come merrily on
with me, who promise you a glorious and dashing victory!" Their flight
soon became a rout; the confederates, pursuing in good order, carried
the ecclesiastical camp by a _coup-de-main_, and were rewarded by
immense booty. The enemy, who considerably outnumbered them, were
scattered to the winds, the leaders seeking shelter in various towns
of Romagna. Though the dead did not exceed a few hundreds, a vast
number of horses, standards, artillery, and prisoners were taken,
including many captains of note. Muzio thinks it necessary to defend
Federigo for this victory, as scarcely within the stipulated object of
the league, that of resisting aggressions upon Roberto's proper
territory of Rimini; and it was perhaps from a consciousness of this
objection that he adopted the very unusual course of dismissing all
prisoners without ransom, after an oration on the chances of war, and
his personal regret at being called upon to draw the sword against his
ecclesiastical over-lord. Such a course was, however, consistent with
his general feelings and practice; and there now occurred an
opportunity for the special manifestation of his generosity. Count
Gian Francesco of Pian di Meleto, who, though a subject of
Montefeltro, had been ever a partisan of Sigismondo Pandolfo, and a
personal foe of Federigo, was on this occasion in the pay of
Alessandro Sforza, and, being captured on the fall of his horse, was
with difficulty rescued by Federigo himself from the summary
punishment intended by his exasperated adherents. When the battle was
over, he and his son were summoned by the victorious general, and
while awaiting the sentence befitting their treason, were thus
addressed by their over-lord: "Count, this will be evil news for your
wife, and it would be right to console her by tidings of your welfare
and her son's. It is therefore my pleasure that you both be the
bearers of them to her." He then dismissed them home with an escort.

Federigo's commission being now effectually fulfilled, and having no
warrant for pursuing the war into the papal territory, he retired to
Urbino, leaving Roberto in the field to follow up the recent victory.
Although blamed for wavering during the early part of the battle, in
order to fall back upon Rimini had its fortune been adverse, the
latter was not slow to profit by its results, and ere November he had
re-established the Malatestan sovereignty over the whole fiefs of
Rimini and Fano, as well as part of the vicariat of Sinigaglia.

The first fruit of Federigo's triumph was a very flattering commission
from the Duke of Milan as lieutenant-general of his state, accompanied
with 10,000 golden ducats in payment of his claims upon Francesco
Sforza. But ere long there broke out those jealousies which
chronically afflicted all Italian confederacies. The contingents of
Milan and Florence, arriving too late for the battle, shared neither
its glory nor its spoils, which thus fell in a great measure to the
Neapolitans, whose sovereign was already regarded with no friendly eye
by the haughty Lombard Prince. The liberality of the latter to the
Count of Urbino was but a covert bribe to alienate him from the
league, and secure his undivided services, but it was unavailing
against the prior and long-established claims of the house of Aragon.
Thus thwarted, Galeazzo Maria withheld from Federigo his quota of the
pay promised by the allies, namely 70,000 scudi in war, and half as
much in peace, and refused to contribute with them to the expense of
maintaining Roberto in Rimini. This ebullition of temper, dictated by
no animosity against Federigo, occasioned a diet of the powers at
Florence, which, however, failed to arrange their differences. Pietro
de' Medici being dead, his influence had descended to his more
talented son, who, finding that the wily Venetians were courting a
separate treaty with Ferdinand, hastened to urge upon his allies the
importance of sinking minor differences, and maintaining the league as
the best guarantee for the repose of Italy. These representations had
due weight. The confederacy was renewed, and a peace concluded in
December with the Pope, provided to Roberto all the territory of which
his father died possessed. The following letters of Federigo to the
Signory of Siena testify his interest in these arrangements, the
bearings of which on the policy of Italy and Europe have been ably
stated by Sismondi in his eighty-first chapter.

     "I believe your lordships have learned the rupture of the
     most serene and illustrious league, and how this came about,
     whereat I feel the utmost dissatisfaction and regret. Not
     that I have on my own part to lament any want of such
     exertion and action for its continuance and union as my duty
     demanded, but that fortune so willed it. Yet I entertain a
     hope and assurance that the peace of Italy will not thereby
     be compromised; indeed matters may, as often happens, turn
     out eventually better than they were at first." [May 8,

     "Mighty and potent Lords, dearest Fathers,

     "Your lordships' letters by this courier have afforded me
     much pleasure, as they must ever in all circumstances do,
     but especially when it is in my power to perform something
     acceptable to your lordships, or to comply with any request
     of yours. I am well assured, as your lordships observe, that
     you are fully informed up to this time of the transactions
     among the Italian powers, and of the difficulties that have
     arisen; of these, therefore, I need say nothing. I do not
     understand that as yet matters have assumed a definite
     shape, or been finally decided upon; although it is quite
     possible that something has been concluded at Naples, where
     the ambassadors of all these states are assembled, but there
     has not yet been time for me to hear of it. Thus much I may,
     however, say to your lordships, that I hope things will at
     all events issue in a satisfactory peace, towards which
     these views of the Turk ought to incline every one, for all
     tempers, however rough or obdurate, ought at this juncture
     to yield and bend for the general advantage of the Christian
     religion. I am also able to assure your lordships that your
     republic and its honour and character must derive quite as
     much satisfaction, utility, and benefit from peace and
     tranquillity as any other community, seeing the affection
     generally entertained for it, especially by the serene King.
     I commend myself to your lordships. From Urbino, the 7th of
     July, 1470.


[Footnote 152: From the original in Italian in the Archivio
Diplomatico at Siena.]

The duplicity of Italian diplomacy has passed into a proverb, and by
none was it more constantly practised than by the successors of St.
Peter. The investiture of Roberto, although a specific stipulation of
the new league, was constantly evaded by Paul, until, after months of
procrastination, death released his Holiness from the engagement. His
successor, Sixtus IV., was a friend of Federigo and of the Neapolitan
Monarch, and through their mediation Malatesta obtained prompt
performance of the obligation. Thus established in a seigneury, long
the heritage of bastards, Roberto allied himself more intimately with
the Count of Urbino, by espousing, on the 28th of March, 1472, his
daughter Elisabetta (or Isabella, for the names were synonymous), then
about nine years old; and thus were happily closed the long feuds of
these rival races.[153]

[Footnote 153: Her mother having been then married but eleven years,
Berni is palpably wrong in calling the bride nineteen. Three years
appear to have intervened between this betrothal and the nuptials,
that the bride might attain the age of puberty. Roberto Malatesta had
from his contemporaries the appellation of Magnifico, in common with
others of like station. The authorities quoted by Roscoe (ch. ii.,
note 49), as proving this distinction to have been special to Lorenzo
de' Medici, are comparatively modern, and do not countervail repeated
instances of its adoption by personages of much less mark. Neither is
Sismondi correct in considering it a generic title of such princes as
possessed no other.]

[Illustration: POPE SIXTUS IV.

_From a miniature prefixed to the dedication copy of Platina's Lives
of the Popes in the Vatican Library_]

In writing to the Signory of Siena regarding the election of Sixtus,
Federigo says "there could not have been a choice more worthy, better,
or more consonant with the requirements of the Christian religion." We
shall ere long have ample means of testing the accuracy of this
opinion. Under its influence he attended the coronation, the splendour
whereof is described by a spectator in these somewhat inflated terms:
"The only news I have to tell you is about the triumphant and
unexampled honours paid by all Italy to the new Pontiff, a detailed
account of which would be more proper for history than suited to a
letter. Your renowned Federigo surpassed all others in magnificence
and pomp, the number of his mettlesome chargers, with their rich
trappings and housings, astonishing every one. So perfect was the
order, so effective the marshalling of the nobles, knights, pages, and
select attendants who surrounded him, that on him were centred the
eyes of all. In front of the procession the crash of clanging trumpets
rang through the sky, nearer the centre the ear was soothed by the
sweeter melody of flutes, whilst in the rear bells tinkled an
accompaniment to the dulcet harmony of voluptuous lyres. Every one
was dressed in gold, silver, silk, or some such precious stuff. On the
necks and head-gear of many sparkled oriental gems, and the number of
collars, necklaces, and bracelets exceeded what all Italy might have
been expected to produce. But supereminent and conspicuous above the
others was the Crown Prince of Naples, a very Absalom, borne on a
proud and prancing charger, and wearing a scarf radiant with gold and
pearls. When the cortège reached the Piazza di San Celso, and crowned
the bridge, the heavens seemed to bellow and shake from explosions of
artillery in the castle of St. Angelo, startling the fretted steeds,
whose bounding movements were truly beautiful. The streets, squares,
porticos, and windows were insufficient to contain the spectators."[154]

[Footnote 154: Letter of Matteo Bosso, quoted by Riposati, I., 409.]

It was about this time that the hospitalities of Urbino were called
into exercise by the arrival of unusual guests. The sceptre of Persia
had been usurped by an adventurer, whom Italian writers have generally
named Usum-cassan,[155] and whom the far-seeing policy of Venice had
some fifteen years before induced to attack the Asiatic Turks. So
useful an ally was conciliated by Calixtus V., as well as by the
Maritime Republic; and in 1471 the oriental despot sent an embassy to
confirm his relations with these powers, and obtained from them some
artillery to be employed against the common enemy. His envoys, after
being laden at Venice with those rare and magnificent gifts which
their ramified commerce enabled its merchant princes to command,
visited several petty courts in their way to Rome and Naples. Their
arrival at Urbino was commemorated by the singular compliment of
introducing their portraits, along with that of the Count, into an
altar-picture executed by Justus of Ghent for the fraternity of Corpus
Christi. Of this work we shall have to speak in our thirtieth chapter:
it still hangs in the church of Sta. Agata,[*156] and represents the
celebration of the Last Supper in the manner of the Romish communion,
the Count and the Persian envoys figuring as spectators. In departing,
they carried with them a complimentary letter in Latin from Federigo
to their master, which mentions that it was written at their request.

[Footnote 155: So written by Pietro Bizarro, whose _Historia Rerum
Persicarum_ is our chief authority for these circumstances. The letter
of Federigo (Urb. Vat. MSS. No. 1198) has Asanbech Kan; it is also
written Uzun Hassan Bey. The picture is mentioned in PUNGILEONE,
_Elogio di Giovanni Santi_, pp. 11 and 64.]

[Footnote *156: The picture is now in the Pinacoteca.]

The princely manner of welcome already established at this mountain
court, which in after generations became proverbial for magnificent
hospitalities, may be learned from the visit of Borso, Marquis of
Ferrara, who, in March, 1471, while passing to Rome, spent four days
at Urbino and Gubbio, with an escort of 500 horsemen, 100 on foot, and
150 mules. He was immediately thereafter made Duke by Paul, who
signalised his elevation by a hunting-field on the most exaggerated
scale. Berni tells us that it brought together about 25,000 people,
and that among the returns of slaughter were 100 oxen, and as many
calves. Ere a few months had passed, the Pontiff and the Duke were
numbered with the dead; the former died unregretted, but the mild sway
of the latter passed into a proverb, "the time of Duke Borso" being
long quoted in contrast with that of less popular sovereigns. During
next year another remarkable guest arrived. Pietro Riario, the new
Pontiff's favourite nephew, having been raised by him to the purple,
and appointed legate of all Italy, made a pompous progress throughout
the provinces thus placed under his nominal jurisdiction.[*157] He was
met on the frontier by the Count, accompanied by the Lords of Faenza,
Rimini, and Pesaro, with a noble following, and conducted to the
palace of Gubbio, Federigo and his nephew Ottaviano della Carda
leading the palfrey of this proud parvenu. The name of Pietro will
recur in our thirty-first chapter; meanwhile we may cite the sketch of
him preserved to us by Giovanni Sanzi in reference to this visit.

[Footnote *157: I am in some doubt here. Guerriero says (see _op. cit.
supra_, p. 21) that on 27 April, 1472, the Cardinal [Bessarione]
Niceno, called the Cardinal Greco, came to Gubbio on his way into
France as Legate. "Fo de lunedì. Foli facto grande honore. Stecto in
Ugubio tucto el martedì et in quello dì cresimò el figliolo piccino
del Signor Conte con grande festa, el mercoledì partì ... laso ...
certe indulgentie al sepulcro novamente facto in la fraternità di
Bianchi in Ugubio." As to Pietro Riario, I can find nothing; but it
may well have been as Dennistoun says.]

     "He was a man, if well his mind I wot,
     Magnanimous but lavish; to his friends
     Most generous and liberal; to the learned
     A patron kind, though indiscriminate.
     The locust well might typify his life:
     In youth a friar, but no longer bent
     On things of such high import, now he deemed
     Himself all but supreme. Yet of his deeds
     No record lives in prose or lofty song,
     No fame but of a splendour all apart
     From churchman's calling, more offensive still
     To laymen. Thus elate and arrogant
     (For pride of place the youthful heart corrupts),
     His whim it was through Italy to speed
     In gorgeous array, till sudden death
     Snatched him from these delights....
     Just as a locust by the sun struck down,
     So perished in their prime his fancies vain,
     Despite the projects hatched beneath the shade
     Of his red hat."


     Birth of Prince Guidobaldo--Count Federigo captures
     Volterra--Is again widowed--Receives the Garter and the
     Ermine--Is made Duke of Urbino--His patronage of learned

Eleven years had now gone by since the marriage of Federigo, and had
given him eight daughters. Although the laws of succession were
neither well defined nor rigorously adhered to among Italian
feudatories, a general desire to see the sovereignty secured in the
line of one so justly beloved was felt throughout his state. For an
object beyond human aid recourse was had to the Disposer of all good,
and to Him were the prayers both of sovereigns and subjects
continuously addressed for the blessing of a boy. We are told by
Odasio, that the anxious Battista hesitated not to offer her own life
in return for the boon of a son worthy of his father; and he gravely
attests this supernatural answer to her own and her people's
intercession. She saw in a dream a lovely phoenix perched upon a
lofty tree, which, after sitting there for thirty-six days, winged its
flight heavenward until it touched the sun, and then disappeared in
flames. Coincident with this vision was the fulfilment of her desire,
and in due time she presented her delighted husband and subjects with
a beautiful boy.[158] As her dream occurred while resident at Gubbio,
and in supposed response to appeals addressed through S. Ubaldo, the
patron of that city, she was careful that her confinement should
likewise take place under his auspices. The child was born there on
the 17th or 24th of January, 1472,[*159] and whilst the grateful piety
of his parents ordered solemn public devotional acknowledgments for
the boon, the universal joy was testified by popular festivities and
illuminations, which were prolonged until Lent set in. A few days
after his birth he was baptised in the cathedral with becoming
solemnity by the Bishop, Antonio de' Severi. The names selected were
GUIDO PAULO UBALDO, of which the second seems never to have been used:
the first was, as we have seen, of historical illustration in the
family of Montefeltro; the last acknowledged the presumed mediation of
the Gubbian saint.[160]

[Footnote 158: BEMBI, _Opera_, I., p. 588. The portentous tale is
gravely repeated by BALDI in his _Life of Duke Guidobaldo_; and as an
instance of the twaddle of Italian biographies, we may translate
literally the reverend abbot's exposition of the exertions through
which the Count and Countess at length obtained a male heir:
"Meanwhile, being both of them resolved to leave nothing untried,
they, under the direction of prudent physicians, unceasingly employed
potent remedies, calculated to invigorate them, and, in as far as
practicable, to supply by artificial means the defects of nature.
Aware more especially of the efficacy of pious works, accompanied by
righteous and fervent prayers to the Most High, they distributed vast
alms, aiding them with vows and with public and private prayers."
After this sample, we need not dwell upon the prodigies preceding, nor
the astrological calculations occasioned by the appearance of the

[Footnote *159: 24 January, 1472. Cf. UGOLINI, _op. cit._, vol. I., p.
497. Cf. _infra_, p. 282.]

[Footnote 160: Berni, the annalist of Gubbio, says the names were
Ubaldo Girolamo Vincenzio.]

The next partial interruption to the peace which reigned through the
Peninsula arose on the side of Tuscany, and called forth the energies
of Federigo. There are varying accounts how the squabbles of a few
miners brought on a sanguinary contest; but its origin may thus be
explained. Volterra, though nominally independent, was tributary to
Florence, and under her protection. That community possessed a wide
extent of rocky and barren pastures, leased annually by auction for
the public good. The poverty of their surface was amply compensated by
minerals buried under an arid volcanic soil, which contained abundance
of alum, vitriol, salt, and sulphur, besides a sprinkling of precious
metals. Some enterprising speculators having obtained a five years'
lease of a portion of these grazing lands, formed a mining company
along with several Florentine capitalists. The success attending their
adventure roused the jealousy of certain Volterran citizens, who
grudging such gains at the public expense raised a riot, in which the
company's works were injured. The merchants of Florence appealed to
their own government, and the intervention thus commenced led to
further outrages, until, at the instance of Lorenzo de' Medici, an
expedition to humble this contumacy was resolved on. After explaining
to the confederate powers the causes of quarrel, the Florentine
executive thus announced to their troops Count Federigo's appointment
as their leader:--

"On looking round for a captain worthy of your valour, there has been
no difficulty in finding one, who from his earliest years has been
signalised, under the eyes of you all, by so many and great feats of
arms, that there cannot be a question whom you ought to ask for, and
we to give. In former times it has frequently happened that a safe
commander has been discovered after great exertions and amid grievous
perils. But, in this menacing war, the skill, gallantry, influence,
and good fortune of the Lord of Urbino save us all trouble in
searching out a leader for our army." Federigo was accordingly placed
at the head of a hastily mustered force, estimated by Machiavelli at
above ten thousand men, though stated much more moderately by
Ammirato. Loathing the horrors of an almost civil contest, the Count
anxiously desired an amicable arrangement, or, failing that, a prompt
issue of this petty quarrel. In a few days he overran the territory

     "Of lordly Volaterra,
       Where scowls the far-famed hold
     Piled by the hands of giants,
       For god-like kings of old;"

and from his quarters at Mazzola, within four miles of their gates,
dissuaded the authorities from an unavailing defence, urging,
according to Baldi, among other motives for wishing to spare their
city, that it was the birthplace of Persius the poet, and offering his
mediation to procure for them favourable terms. The magistracy,
turning a deaf ear alike to friendly remonstrances and classic
associations, began to fortify the place, although without a single
ally, and unable to engage more than a thousand stipendiaries. To the
infinite disgust of the Florentine commissaries, who desired to humble
and punish a rebellious vassal, Federigo allowed the defences to be
completed, on pretext of awaiting reinforcements of his own, and the
pontifical troops, but in the secret hope that emissaries whom he had
sent among the citizens might have better success in conciliatory
representations. His forbearance was, however, unavailing against
obstinate infatuation, and on the arrival of these auxiliaries, a
bombardment was begun from the eastern side of the town. Its site was
naturally strong, and the tactics of a siege were then always
dilatory, so three weeks passed ere a breach was effected in the wall,
and even then several days were spent in bringing up to it covered
approaches for the assaulting party. The stipendiaries, regarding the
cause as hopeless, now deserted, and the citizens deemed it full time
to sue for terms. After negotiations, which were remitted to Florence,
it was agreed to surrender the place, on a pledge that life and
property would be spared, and that the past would be buried in
oblivion. But the authorities, apprehending from their own populace
and garrison an outbreak of indignation against these conditions,
stipulated that troops should be secretly introduced for preservation
of order, preparatory to admitting the besiegers. By some
mismanagement, this attempt led to renewed hostilities from the town,
but the citadel falling into the hands of the companies who had been
so admitted, consternation and confusion spread on all sides. At this
juncture a cry was raised from within that the sack was begun, and
that all who wished for a share of plunder should look to it.

Other accounts tell us that the walls were carried by assault on the
18th of June, and that a capitulation was then agreed on, by which
only certain municipal privileges were surrendered by the city; but
that, as the troops entered, an alarm arose of some treacherous
movement on the part of the populace, whereupon the Milanese
contingent rushed headlong upon them, and commenced a general pillage.
Federigo, who had remained outside with the artillery, was made aware
of the bloody scenes passing within by cries from the outraged
citizens. He instantly proclaimed by trumpet a cessation of
hostilities and plunder, commanding all to their quarters, and
enjoining the arrest of stragglers. Hurrying to the scene of horrors,
he rode among the excited multitude, exerting himself to save the aged
and infants, and to protect the women and convents. He compelled the
soldiery to lay down their ill-gotten burdens, especially all sacred
utensils, and hanged on the spot a Venetian and a Sienese commissary,
the alleged authors of this insubordination. But diabolical passions
thus roused brooked no control. Hours elapsed, indeed, according to
some authorities nightfall arrived, ere the savages could be called
off their quarry.

Such appears the substance of numerous contradictory accounts of this
unfortunate and mysterious affair.[161] There can be little doubt that
it originated in the licentious habits and lax discipline then usual
in Italian armies, who looked on plunder as the chief end of war, and
regarded pillage as a right rather than a military offence. Almost
every writer acquits the Count of blame, and the only imputation
against him arose from the terms of a general order, proclaiming death
to every soldier found within the walls at sundown, which have been
misconstrued into an implied permission for outrage till that hour. It
was reserved for flatterers of an after age to soil his fair fame by
an invention which they meant as incense to his memory. In proof at
once of his moderation and lettered taste, he is stated by these to
have contented himself with a great Hebrew Bible as his share of the
booty. No contemporary gives the slightest foundation for such a tale,
nor have I at all traced to Volterra that curious MS. which will be
described in VI. of the Appendices. If found there and abstracted at
the siege, it was not improbably presented to Federigo by the grateful
authorities of Florence, from whom he refused any pay, serving them
for love, whilst, in the words of old Sanzi,

     "He nothing brought away but honour bright,
     Which every other treasure far outshines."[162]

[Footnote 161: The tract by Ivano (? Hyvanus), printed in vol. XXXIII.
of Muratori, is diffuse and unsatisfactory, although he was an
official of Volterra. I prefer the contemporary narratives of
Porcellio and Vespasiano, Vat. Urb. MSS. Nos. 373 and 941. I have also
consulted the epics of Sanzi and Naldo, Rinuccini's _Ricordi_, and a
number of unimportant narratives and documents in the public library
of Volterra, as well as the standard Italian histories.]

[Footnote 162: There is in the Albani library at Rome a MS. by Giunta,
where I found it stated that the Count asked and obtained this Bible
of the magistracy, in exchange for the standards taken at Volterra.]

His return from this rapid campaign to the beautiful Queen of Arnoa
was a triumphal pageant. Its enthusiastic population met him beyond
the gates, and escorted him with acclamations through streets draped
with tapestries and rich brocades. In the piazza he was welcomed by
the magistrates with a complimentary oration, and at a public banquet
received as appropriate gifts the colours of the republic, a handsome
charger richly caparisoned, together with a silver helmet, studded
with jewels, and chased in gold by the marvellous chisel of
Pollaiuolo.[163] Besides a substantial guerdon of lands, houses,
brocade stuffs, and vases brimming with bullion, conferred on
Federigo, valuable commercial exemptions were decreed in favour of the
subjects of Urbino, and three days of uninterrupted festivity scarcely
abated the popular rejoicings. Not less valuable in his eyes was the
compliment which his good service earned from a private citizen.
Poggio Bracciolino being on the outlook for a patron for his _History
of the Florentines_, deemed it could be most appropriately inscribed
to one who had just crowned their arms with signal success.

[Footnote 163: Sanzi tells us its crest was Hercules trampling on a
griffin (the device of Volterra), which lay wounded, plucked of its
pinions, and chained by the neck. How often has it happened that art,
capable of ennobling the meanest materials, is lost to the world from
being employed on those whose intrinsic value is a temptation to
ignorant cupidity. This helmet might now bring tenfold the price for
which it probably was broken up!]

The star of Federigo's fortunes now reached its zenith. The scattered
mountain fiefs held by his ancestors had been concentrated by his
first marriage, and extended by his policy or prowess.[164] His second
nuptials, long crowned by singular domestic felicity, had at length
given him an heir. He had founded palaces and churches worthy the
admiration of coming generations. He had wielded the batons, and he
enjoyed the affectionate respect, of the five great Peninsular powers.
He saw the wars, which had yielded him laurels and enriched his
state, subside into a peace still more beneficial to his subjects and
conducive to his tastes. But, as old Sanzi moralises,

     "The spider's most attenuated thread
     Is cord, is cable to man's tender tie
     Of earthly bliss: it breaks with every breeze."

[Footnote 164: It may not be inappropriate here to glance at the
territorial limits which, under him, were erected into the duchy of
Urbino, and their gradual increment from the petty holding of
Montefeltro, which was at first narrow in extent and poor in all but
defence. Lying in the furthest highlands of Umbria, its soil and
climate yielded nature's bounties but sparingly, though its fastnesses
bred bold hearts and stout sinews. The township of Urbino, over which
its counts extended their authority, added little to their limited
territory. Those of Gubbio, Cagli, and Cantiano, which next came under
their rule, lay many miles from their mountain home, separated by an
Apennine rampart, and the valleys of the Foglia and Metauro, as well
as by the Brancaleoni fiefs. These scattered domains were concentrated
by Federigo's first marriage, which gave him all Massa Trabaria from
the Foglia to the Cantiano. His purchase of Fossombrone and his
conquests from the Malatesta extended his frontier to the Vicariat of
Sinigaglia, which he lived to see conferred on his daughter's husband.
His long struggles with Sigismondo Pandolfo were further compensated
by Tavoleto, Sassocorbaro, S. Leo, Sta. Agata, and Castel d'Elce,
establishing his sway over what had been hitherto at best debatable
land, to the extreme northern boundary of the state. Although precise
limits cannot now be defined, it would seem that Count Federigo nearly
trebled the territory which had obeyed his brother, and the only
important addition subsequently made consisted of the sea-board
brought to it by his grandson Francesco Maria I.]

Scarcely had he quitted the scene of his triumphs, in order to bear
tidings of them to one whose sympathy would have enhanced their
sweets, when an express met him with alarming news of her health.
Riding day and night, he reached Gubbio on the 6th of July, just in
time to close the eyes of his Countess. We are fortunately enabled to
give in his own words all the particulars which have reached us of
this melancholy event.[165]

[Footnote 165: The first of the letters here introduced was addressed
to his allies, the magistrates of Siena, in the archives of which city
I found the Italian original. The next, without address, but probably
for the King of Naples or the Duke of Milan, and the two following
extracts, are copied from the volume of his Latin letters already
quoted. Vat. Urb. MSS. No. 1198. Muzio and Baldi by mistake place
Battista's death in 1474.]

[Illustration: _Alinari_


_From the bust by Francesco Laurana in the Bargello, Florence_]

     "Mighty and potent Lords, dearest Fathers,

     "With such bitter and heartfelt grief as your magnificent
     lordships may suppose, I inform you that, my wife Battista
     having sickened on Tuesday the last ultimo with fever and
     headache, our Lord God has taken to himself her soul at four
     o'clock to-night of this 6th instant [_i.e._ 11 p.m.], after
     she had received all the sacraments with the utmost
     devotion, leaving me as afflicted, disconsolate, and unhappy
     as any one can be in this world. Medical men were in
     attendance, both those of the Lord Messer Alessandro [Sforza
     of Pesaro] and others from Perugia, and my own, but neither
     physicians nor physic had power to aid her. I arrived but
     this morning, and found her in a happy frame of mind. The
     funeral service will be celebrated at Urbino on the 17th of
     August. I commend myself to your lordships; from Gubbio
     this 6th of [July], 1472.

     Captain-general of the Most Serene League."

       *       *       *       *       *

     "By the letters recently received from your Serene Highness,
     I readily conceived how much regret the death of my wife
     Battista has occasioned you, and although your remarkable
     courtesy had already assured me of this, yet to ascertain it
     from your own missives afforded me the best of all
     consolation: for who is there, though struck by deep grief
     (as indeed I am by the deepest of all), who would not feel
     it alleviated, when so illustrious a personage thus
     willingly lends his sympathy. I have indeed lost a wife, the
     ornament of my house and the devoted sharer of my fortunes,
     and hence have too much cause for affliction; but so
     opportune were your most judicious letters, filled with such
     sensible suggestions, that my grief is now greatly
     mitigated. I therefore give your Highness much thanks, to
     whose kindness I am thus greatly beholden; and it has been
     my best solace that so illustrious a Prince will never be
     wanting to me in prosperity or in misfortune. Under such
     obligations my service, should occasion ever offer of
     rendering it available, will be the more freely proffered,
     faithfully dedicated as it is to your Highness, to whom I
     most humbly commend myself."

Another letter still more touchingly expresses his feelings on this
bereavement. It may have been addressed to the secretary of the Duke
of Milan, who had sent an ambassador to attend the obsequies of
Battista. "No book lore, no personal experience, could state better
than your very elegant letter the vanity of human hopes. Most
consolatory has it proved to me, describing so appropriately and
feelingly my varied fortune;--the affair of Volterra, the honours
with which the distinguished government of Florence has complimented
me, and my secret delight while returning homewards to rejoin my
circle, my sweet children, my wife, precious above aught else--these
all at once transmuted by a death blow, to me the most calamitous.
Most impressively have you set forth my affliction, and the loss I
have publicly and privately sustained: by such things may indeed be
seen the uncertain issues of earthly events."

Again, in thanking the Pope for his condolence, the bereaved Count
adds, "For many reasons her death was a grievous vexation, for she was
the beloved consort of my fortunes and domestic cares, the delight
equally of my public and private hours, so that no greater misfortune
could have befallen me."

[Illustration: _Alinari_


_Detail from the picture by Giusto di Gand, in the Palazzo Ducale,

(_From the Ducal Collection_)]

At a court already attractive to men of literary pretensions, many
were ready to take up a theme recommended by sympathy and gratitude.
The funeral oration by Antonio Campano, Bishop of Teramo, was printed
at Cagli in 1476, and would now be a prize to collectors. The Vatican
Library contains several others in manuscript, overflowing with
adulation, which for once was well bestowed.[166] Battista was a
remarkable instance of the transmission of talent by female descent.
Her great-grandmother, Battista di Montefeltro, already celebrated in
these pages,[167] though married to a man of miserable character, had
a daughter Elisabetta Malatesta, who inherited her misfortunes as well
as her genius. Elisabetta's daughter was Costanza Varana, the
associate of scholars and philosophers, whose gifts she is said to
have rivalled, notwithstanding an early death that deprived her infant
Battista of a mother's care. The babe began her letters when three
years old, and at four was removed to the court of her uncle,
Francesco Sforza, where she was put forward to deliver publicly a
Latin oration, during the festivities following upon his installation
as Duke of Milan. This display of infantine self-possession and
memory, indicating at all events a tractable disposition, has, with
fulsome adulation, been magnified as evidence of extraordinary
precocious talent, and has been retailed without inquiry, as if her
discourse had been an extempore effusion.[168] On the strength of this
reputation, when returned home she was made to welcome her father's
more distinguished guests in public harangues, a discipline which,
however injudicious, does not seem to have prevented her rapid
acquisition of solid knowledge, nor to have interfered with her
progress in those useful accomplishments of the needle which then
formed the resource of high-born dames. The peculiarity of her
character was a sedate temperament, that enabled her to take her place
with singular judgment in the household of her widowed father, and
gained for her several proposals of marriage even earlier than was
usual in Italy. The circumstances of her union with Federigo have been
noticed in 1459, and although our narrative has rarely named her, we
are assured that during his frequent and prolonged absences, her
judgment and tact were equally manifested in public affairs and in the
management of her domestic concerns. It is startling to find her at
fourteen a mother, and virtually regent of his state whilst he was
employed in the war of the Neapolitan succession during 1461 and 1462.
She spent the spring of both these years with him in winter quarters,
the former at Magliano on the northern limit of the Campagna; the
latter in the Eternal City, where she interchanged complimentary
harangues in Latin with the diplomatic body, and where Pius II.,
himself no mean critic, praised her eloquence as equalled only by her
discretion, and pronounced that fame had understated her merits. On
this occasion, among other distinctions, his Holiness received her in
full consistory, and conferred the spurs of knighthood on twelve of
her suite. Yet these flattering demonstrations in no respect marred
the freshness of her character, and devotional observances were the
chief object of her visit to Rome. Though gifted with beauty of a high
caste, simple dress and manners were her delight, and it was only on
state occasions that, indulging her husband's taste rather than her
own fancy, she displayed such magnificent attire as is represented in
the characteristic portrait here introduced. It is very happily
rendered from the original in the Uffizi Gallery at Florence, where
profile likenesses of herself and her husband are enclosed in one
frame. They were painted by Piero della Francesca, court limner of
Urbino, whom we shall mention in our twenty-seventh chapter, and
afford highly interesting specimens of early portraiture and mediæval
costume. The Countess wears a robe of boldly flowered brocade, from
beneath which emerges the richly bullioned sleeve of her vest. Her
jewels are massive but elegant; her elaborate head-dress tastefully
disposes a superabundance of luxurious hair--the distinctive beauty of
Italian women. Yet a fashion of shaving above the forehead has
somewhat marred the harmony of her features, by unduly exposing her
"modest and majestic eye." This happily descriptive epithet we owe to
Giovanni Sanzi, who knew her well, and scanned her features with an
artist's glance; but his tribute merits an extract.

[Footnote 166: Vat. Urb. MSS. No. 324, 373, 727, 1193, 1236, 1272.]

[Footnote 167: See _ante_, p. 39, for Battista the elder.]

[Footnote 168: A relic of like strange perversion of childhood still
obtains at Rome, in the displays at the Aracoeli Church from
Christmas to Epiphany, where girls of five years old are elevated on a
table and spout to assembled crowds the events of the Nativity.]

     "Then closed that modest and majestic eye.
     Her pious soul, from mundane risks released,
     To God its rapid flight devoutly winged,
     Leaving a tearful household, and the state
     Grief-stricken, whilst Italia's noblest names
     Partook their sorrow."

Muzio says, that by "her death was dissolved the most honoured,
fitting, and congruous union of that or any other age."

The obsequies, as announced by Federigo to the Priors of Siena, were
celebrated with singular magnificence on the 17th of August, in the
Church of S. Bernardino, at Urbino. They were attended by thirty-eight
envoys from the princes, cities, and great feudatories of Italy,
excluding those of Venice and Siena, retarded by bad weather. These
deputations formed a retinue of three hundred and sixteen nobles,
besides two hundred and ninety belonging to the court of Urbino, and
three hundred and eight ecclesiastics. The procession was swelled by
crowds of citizens from every town in the state, so that nearly 2000
appeared in mourning garb.[169] The Countess left six daughters and an
infant son, the care of whom was a serious burden to her lord. But
Sanzi tells us that,

     "Feeling at length how sad and profitless
     It were on this dark world his hopes to rest,
     His grief within his inmost heart he hid,
     And mastered it in grave and modest guise."[170]

[Footnote 169: Campano's funeral oration, Vat. Ottob. MSS., No. 3135,
f. 274.]

[Footnote 170: Porcellio, in his Feltria, Vat. Urb. MSS. 710,
describes his emotions in these rough lines:--

     "Ipse domum rediens primum vacua atria lustrat,
     Mox semota petens, clausis de more fenestris,
     In luctu et lacrymis, nigraque in veste sedebat.
     Pullati incedunt comites, famulique minores,
     Ac nigra sunt mensi mantilia, nigra supellex,
     Et thalamum infaustum velamina nigra tegebant."]

The next two years were chiefly passed at home, in bringing his mind
to this pious resignation, in urging forward his palaces, and in
administering his authority for the welfare of an attached people. Of
an existence so tranquil and pleasing no glimpses are transmitted to
us by his biographers, for it was barren of those martial feats which
they considered the almost exclusive field of their labours. But from
its not inglorious repose he was called to new honours.

On the 20th of August, 1474, he entered Rome with an escort of two
thousand horse. Next morning he was summoned to receive the dignity of
Duke from Sixtus, who met him in the great doorway of St. Peter's.
There was, however, the preliminary compliment of creating him Knight
of St. Peter, in this form. The Pontiff being seated on his throne,
the Count was placed on his left, just below the cardinals. High mass
having proceeded as far as the _gloria_, he was led by the Pope's
favourite nephews, Girolamo Riario and Giovanni della Rovere, in front
of the throne, and knelt on its steps, while Sixtus, taking from one
of them the sword of St. Peter, elaborately blessed it, and placed it
in his hands, with an injunction to wield it for the Church, and
against the enemies of Christ's cross. He was then girt with it by
Cardinal Orsini, the nephews meanwhile buckling on his golden spurs,
and at a signal from the master of ceremonies, he drew and twice
brandished it, returning it to its scabbard. These accoutrements being
removed, mass was continued, and, whilst the litanies were chanted, he
took the usual oath of fidelity, returning thereafter to his place.
Before reading of the Gospel he was conducted to the sacristy by
Cardinals Gonzaga and Zeno, where his knightly mantle of gold brocade
having been replaced by a ducal robe of similar material, he was again
led to his place. The Gospel being concluded, he was taken by them
during the offertory once more before his Holiness, who, as Federigo
stooped to kiss the pax, suspended from his neck a golden chain, at
which hung an exquisite leash (_dilascio_), and placed on his head a
ducal cap,[171] giving into his hand the sceptre, accompanied with
appropriate benedictions and exhortations. Having next been led apart,
he read aloud the customary oath of fidelity to Pontiff and Church,
after which followed the salutations in this form. Prostrated before
the Pope, he kissed his feet and hands, whilst prayers were proffered
by his Holiness, who then tenderly embraced him. Proceeding to the
cardinals, he touched their hands and kissed each, paying the like
compliment to the empty seats of those absent, after which he took his
place by them. This ceremony ended, he again knelt before the Pontiff,
who consigned to him two standards, one with the arms of the Church,
the other with his own, and created him Gonfaloniere, declaring him
general of the new league.

[Footnote 171: Its form somewhat resembled an heraldic cap of
maintenance; but on this occasion Baldi says the older shape was
retained, with large ears hanging down at the sides. The sceptre was
of silver gilt, nearly two feet in length.]

The Duke of Urbino, thus laden with dignities, was conducted to the
foot of the great stairs of St. Peter's; and, as he mounted a charger,
the gift of his Holiness, the air reverberated with the clang of
trumpets, the drone of bagpipes, and the crash of artillery from St.
Angelo. Twenty cardinals and a crowd of nobles, prelates, and
spectators escorted him to his lodging at the SS. Apostoli, but as the
procession crossed the bridge they were dismayed by an evil omen. A
sudden gust of wind striking the newly inaugurated standards, their
staffs broke over, and they were dashed to the ground.[172]

[Footnote 172: The details of these ceremonials by Baldi are partly
taken from the narrative of Cardinal Arrivabene, in No. 568 of
_Epistolæ Card. Papiensis_, p. 832. Some writers mention his also
obtaining the Golden Rose, which usually accompanied the papal gift of
the Sword to sovereigns whom the Church delighted to honour. Sismondi
says the dukedom was conferred on the 21st of August, but we prefer
the date given by Baldi. The latter assigns the Golden Rose and
Giovanni della Rovere's marriage to the year 1475, after the affair of
Città di Castello; we, however, in these follow an unedited history of
Sinigaglia, Vat. Urb. MSS. No. 819, f. 208. Volterrano's Diary is
confused as to dates, and would seem to place Giovanni's betrothal and
his princely investiture in May, 1473. The latter, he says, "was
considered a pernicious example of [partiality to] flesh and blood;"
but a still more serious scandal arose in the sacred college from the
special mark of favour conferred by Sixtus in placing the Lord of
Urbino immediately beneath the cardinals in chapel, a seat privileged
for heirs apparent of royalty, against which several of these
dignitaries vainly remonstrated, reminding his Holiness of the few
years that had elapsed since that Duke successfully defied the papal
banner under the walls of Rimini.--MURAT., _Scriptor._, XXIII., 95.
This annalist unfortunately passes over Federigo's investitures with
his new honours. Not so Porcellio in his Feltria, Vat. Urb. MSS. No.
710; but a brief sample of his rude rhythm may suffice. Describing the
Pope's appearance, he says:--

     "Aurea vestis erat, lato circundato limbo,
     In medio effulget latus sub pectore clavus,
     Statque ingens diamas majoris sideris instar,
     Et nitidus media radiens de nocte pyropus,
     Purpureusque lapis, viridesque in margine gemmæ,
     Adde quod et triplices gemmarum ardore coronæ
     Fulgebant capiti fusis per serta lapillis."]

Porcellio asserts that, besides these tokens of high favour bestowed
by himself, Sixtus had employed his influence in forwarding Federigo's
pretensions to the foreign decorations at this time conferred on him.
Such an accumulation of good offices from a pope whom he had not as
yet been able to serve, had been ascribed to the nepotism so
conspicuous in his Holiness's arrangements. If this be true, the clue
to it is afforded by a marriage solemnised next day, whereby their
respective families were allied. The Duke's daughter Giovanna was then
wedded to Giovanni della Rovere, nephew of Sixtus, who soon after
obtained for him from the reluctant consistory an investiture of
Sinigaglia and Mondavio, that hard-won territory which Federigo had
conquered for the Church from its contumacious vassal Sigismondo
Pandolfo Malatesta, and which came eventually to be united with Urbino
under the second dynasty of its dukes. On the same day were celebrated
the nuptials of another of his daughters, Agnesina, to Fabrizio
Colonna. The hereditary talents of her mother, which we have recently
traced through several descents,[173] were revived in a daughter of
this marriage, Vittoria Colonna, the ill-mated wife of the Marquis of
Pescara, whose piety, genius, and beauty divide the applause of her
contemporaries, and whom we shall mention in our forty-ninth chapter.

[Footnote 173: See p. 216.]

Early in September Federigo repaired to Naples, and the King, having
about this time resolved to institute an Order of knighthood, selected
for its badge the Ermine, an animal emblematical of purity, whose fur
has long been a royal ornament, and named his eldest son and the Duke
of Urbino among its original members.[174] Their installation took
place at Naples on the 11th of that month, in the chapel royal, where
high mass was celebrated, the court attending in gala. After reading
of the Epistle, the two acolytes were led by a deputation of nobles
into the sacristy, and put on tunics of white damask in the Turkish
fashion, after which they were reconducted to the chapel, and having
kissed hands, were placed beside the monarch. When the Gospel had been
chanted, they were arrayed by the Sovereign with the mantle of the
order, which was of scarlet satin lined with ermine fur, open at the
right side, and flowing to the feet. A sermon, appropriate to the
occasion, having been delivered, they were led to the high altar,
where, kneeling, they received their collars, being rich chains of
gold, from which hung the insignia, an ermine studded with diamonds
and other jewels. The King then calling the young Antonio, who had
accompanied his father from Urbino, knighted him, girding a sword to
his side, and placing a golden chain on his neck, with an admonition
that he should walk in his parent's steps. The ceremonial was
concluded by a splendid breakfast in the palace; and four days
thereafter the Count set out for Rome, escorted some way by Ferdinand,
from whom he parted with mingled embraces and tears.

[Footnote 174: There was an idea that the ermine would submit to be
taken rather than soil its coat, and hence the legends of this order
were _Malo mori quam foedari_, or _Nunquam_.]

The English Order of the Garter, instituted by Edward III in 1344, has
always enjoyed a European reputation, from its ranks being recruited
by foreign sovereigns and heroes. At the chapter of 26th February,
1474, four votes were given to Federigo, and on the 18th of the
following August, he was unanimously elected, by the seven knights
present, to the stall vacated by Lord Montjoy. He soon after paid, by
the Chancellor's hands, 109 pence as fees, and had been installed
before the following April. Thus far we have Anstis for our guide; but
the unfortunate loss of all the early records of the Order renders us
dependent for further particulars on Italian writers. Among these we
have met with no contemporary authorities except the epics of Sanzi
and Porcellio, whose details, however curious, are scarcely of
historical value. These deficiencies are, however, in some measure
supplied from a letter-book of Federigo preserved in the Vatican, upon
which we have drawn largely for this incident in his career. But in
order that the context of our narrative may not be interrupted by
somewhat lengthened extracts, they are thrown together into VII. of
the Appendices, and will, it is hoped, prove an interesting
contribution to the scanty muniments of the Garter. His investiture
took place at Grottoferrata during the autumn of 1474, and he
commissioned his relative Pietro degli Ubaldini to proceed to England
as proxy for his installation.[175]

[Footnote 175: Baldi has unquestionably fallen into error in fixing
1476 as the date of this event.]

       *       *       *       *       *

The great captains under or from whom Federigo had gathered his
laurels were now all dead, and his military reputation far transcended
that of any remaining condottiere. It was, therefore, not without
jealousy that the powers of Upper Italy saw him establish relations of
such close amity with the Pope and Ferdinand. Other matters tended to
aggravate the feelings of alarm thus generated. Not satisfied with
indulging his nepotism at the expense of the Holy See, Sixtus showed
tendencies to an aggressive policy against his neighbours. A portion
of the treasure supposed to have been accumulated by his avaricious
predecessor, but of which he gave no account, was suspected to have
been employed in purchasing for his favourite nephew, Girolamo, the
seigneury of Imola from the Manfredi. A local squabble at Todi,
dignified with the almost forgotten watchwords of Guelph and
Ghibelline, afforded him a pretext for sending thither another nephew,
the Cardinal della Rovere, at the head of an army, which, though
marching under the papal banner, sided with the self-styled
imperialist faction. The Pontiff, who had long seen with regret the
feeble hold which his predecessors maintained over their vassals, and
even over the nominal subjects of the Church, commissioned his legate
to carry out the good work thus begun. Accordingly, after chastising
Todi and Spoleto, Giuliano advanced into the upper valley of the
Tiber, in order to reduce Città di Castello, where the Vitelli had for
some time exercised absolute sovereignty with the title of Vicar. To
this expedition the Duke of Urbino gave his aid, and on its successful
issue carried several of that family to Rome, in order to intercede
for their pardon.

These events accelerated arrangements in the north for a combination
calculated to balance the threatening attitude of the southern powers,
and in November a defensive treaty was signed by Milan, Venice, and
Florence, under reservation, however, to the Pope and King of Naples
to accede to the new league. Of this they declined availing
themselves, content with general professions of moderation and peace,
which, fortunately acted upon, prolonged the general tranquillity of
Italy, and enabled her energies to be directed with tolerable
unanimity against the Turks. The three years of renewed repose which
followed were spent by Federigo at home, in the indulgence of those
humane tastes which signalised his court, and laid a foundation for
that cultivation of mind by which Urbino became distinguished. This
may accordingly be the best place to review his patronage of letters.

The constant repetition of his name in that capacity by writers on
literary history leads to an impression that his zeal was remarkable,
and that its fruits are attested by ample remains. The former of these
conclusions is more correct than the latter. Italian authors have been
too prone to re-echo vague compliments; their encomiums are lavish
rather than discriminating; rhetorical panegyrics, not portraits to
the life; accordingly, most of the plaudits thus bestowed on him are
mere phrases of rote, reiterated without varying form of added force.
Fortunately there remains to us substantial evidence that they were
well founded. Muzio, who wrote about half a century after his death,
with full access to original documents, tells us that it was his daily
habit to be read to during meals, and to discuss with his courtiers
such questions in theology, history, or philosophy as thus arose. When
at Urbino, he used to repair weekly to the convent of S. Francesco,
for the purpose of maintaining similar disputations with the resident
friars, and by these expedients

     "Held converse with Zabarell,
     Aquinas, Scotus, and the musty saw
     Of antick Donate."

Of Grecian literature, which after the fall of the Eastern Empire came
into sudden repute in the Peninsula, he was one of the earliest
promoters. Lazzari cites records, proving that in 1467 he brought to
his capital Angelo, one of the fugitive Greeks, and, two years later,
his countryman, Demetrio, for the purpose of teaching their language.
It was under him that the Feltrian court first became what Ruscelli
has designated it in the motto prefixed to this work, "a fountain
which, in the sober truth of history, rather than in poetic vein, may
be called a real Hippocrene." No complete list has come to us of the
poets and philosophers who found shelter there, nor would it much
avail us to recover names few of which merit a better fate than the
obscurity that has long overshadowed them. The fifteenth century was
more remarkable for the diffusion of learning than for commanding
genius. There were earnestness and laborious diligence in abundance,
but they were content to follow or imitate foregone conclusions rather
than to strike out new and striking turns of thought. Such was the
character of many of those works which, composed for or dedicated to
this Duke, remain in MS.,[*176] slumbering undisturbed, and deservedly
forgotten, on the shelves of the Vatican. Several of them, being
devoted to commemorate his actions or his contemporaries, held out to
me a rich promise of racy material. But servile in style as in
substance, and disfigured by the borrowed diction and engrafted
mythology of classic models, they often proved in all respects
unsatisfactory references, ill repaying the time bestowed on their
examination. It will be necessary to allude more particularly, in our
twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth chapters, to such of their authors as
belonged to the court of Urbino; meanwhile we may mention a few works
dedicated to Federigo by learned men in other parts of Italy, from
which it would seem that the rival systems of Plato and Aristotle
shared his attention and patronage.

[Footnote *176: Dennistoun does not seem to be acquainted with the
_Ode lirica a Federigo di Montefeltro_ (Per Nozze. Roma Tip. della
Camera dei Dep., 1899), which Francesco Filarete wrote to him after
the conquest of Volterra in 1472. It was possibly spoken at Florence
in 1474, when Federigo became Duke. It speaks (strofe 14) of
Federigo's early campaigns with Nicolò Piccinino, without hiding
(strofe 16) the disaster of Monteluro and the rout of Montelocco
(strofe 17), and goes on to tell of the Tuscan campaign of King
Alfonso and the retaking of Fossombrone (strofe 26), and so forth.]

Ptolemy's geography was translated into Latin verse by Berlinghieri,
who inscribed to Federigo the result of his ill-bestowed toil, in a
splendid MS., richly illuminated, which remains in the Brera library.
The published work was also issued in 1480, under sanction of his
name, as was the translation of another work of Ptolemy by Pontano. To
these Baldi adds Marsilio Ficino's _Epistles on the Platonic Theology_
and translation of Plato's _Dialogue de Regno_, Alemanno Rinuccini's
translations of Aristotle and Philostratus, Paolo Marso's Commentary
upon the _Fasti_ of Ovid, Nicolò Perotto's _Cornucopia_, Poggio's
_Historia Populi Florentini_, as specimens of a catalogue which might
be greatly lengthened.[177] In the volume of his own MS. letters
already often quoted, we find him thanking Naldo of Florence for his
poem on the Volterran expedition, and acknowledging the _Disputationes
Camaldulenses_ of Cristoforo Landino. Writing to Donato Acciaiuolo, he
avows the pleasure and advantage derived from perusing his
Commentaries on a book of ethics, and expresses satisfaction that he
had succeeded in persuading him to undertake a similar work on
politics, for which he thanks him in a subsequent letter, apologising
for having detained his messenger until he had read a great portion of
it with the utmost pleasure, and enjoining reliance on his friendship
and services.[178]

[Footnote 177: Vat. Urb. MSS. No. 1198.]

[Footnote 178: Several of these MSS. I have found in the Laurentian
library at Florence.]

Before leaving the subject of dedications, we may quote the following
singular illustration of literary history.

     "To the Lord and most excellent Captain-at-arms, the Lord
     Federigo of Montefeltro, Count of Urbino, Lord of Gubbio,
     and most illustrious Captain-general of the League, our
     especial Lord, &c.; the Priors of Arezzo.

     "Gambino, the poet, is ranked by us among our most regarded
     and well-beloved citizens, on account both of his
     distinguished talents and of his peaceful and unoffending
     life. As a curious inquirer into history and antiquities, he
     cannot be unaware of the great goodwill and affection which
     for many ages has subsisted between your illustrious
     progenitors and this our city. Indeed, these facts have been
     hitherto so trite and public that they are notorious to the
     rude and unlettered, as well as to the learned and
     accomplished. Gambino, therefore, like a good man, thinking
     to promote the benefit of his country by devoting his genius
     to the cultivation of that old-established and constant good
     understanding, has dedicated and inscribed to your Lordship
     a work lately composed by him in praise of the Virgin Mary.
     He, indeed, merits all commendation in seeking first the
     kingdom of heaven, according to the precept of our Saviour,
     but it would be well that he descend sometimes to worldly
     topics. And as in heaven no creature is more glorious than
     the blessed Virgin, so, if the praises of the heroes of our
     age be the subject, who on earth can be called, believed, or
     accounted more distinguished for bravery, more considered
     for military discipline or martial fame, than your Lordship?
     Should any one differ from this sentiment, we object not to
     his lending us a feigned assent, but he who appears to
     contest it must by all persons of sense be considered
     ridiculous and prejudiced. We, therefore, pray your Lordship
     to accept Gambino and his little offering with courtesy and
     favour, as it is your wont to receive others of eminent
     talents and learning; for we doubt not but that your favour
     will supply his genius with a new stimulus and inducement to
     enter upon and accomplish those pursuits which we desire to
     see him undertake. And should your Lordship's elevated and
     enlarged mind even light-lay the praises of men, so be it.
     And we further beseech your Lordship to adopt the sentiment
     of our Community, which justly desires that its citizens and
     scholars may attain, by their writings and poetry, as great
     celebrity as the glorious deeds which they celebrate will

[Footnote 179: Bib. Laurent, plut. 90, Cod. sup. No. 36. The rubric
mentions Abbot Jerome as author of this letter. Gambino appears to
have offered the incense of a poem in praise of Federigo, and is
mentioned by Quadri as author of some fugitive and forgotten verses of
local interest.]

Francesco di Giorgio, in his Treatise on Architecture, mentions Duke
Federigo as holding out inducements for the learned men at his court
to illustrate the works of classic authors on architecture and
sculpture. But no testimony to his literary habits can be more
satisfactory than that of his librarian Vespasiano, to the following
purpose.[180] The Duke was a ready Latin scholar, and extremely fond
of ancient history. As a logician he had attained considerable
aptitude, having studied Aristotle's Ethics along with Maestro
Lazzaro, a famous theologian, who became Bishop of Urbino, discussing
with him the most intricate passages. By the like process he mastered
the Stagirite's politics, physics, and other treatises; and having
acquired more philosophy than any contemporary prince, his thirst for
new sources of knowledge induced him to devote himself to theology
with equal zeal. The principal works of St. Thomas Aquinas and Duns
Scotus were habitually read to him; he preferred the former as more
clear, but admitted that the latter displayed greater subtlety in
argument. He was well acquainted with the Bible, as well as the
commentaries of Saints Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory; also
with the writings of the Greek fathers, such as Saints Basil,
Chrysostom, Gregory Naziazen, Nicetas, Athanasius, and Cyril. Among
the classic authors whom he was in the habit of reading or listening
to were Livy, Sallust, Quintus Curtius, Justin, Cæsar, Plutarch, Ælius
Spartianus, Æmylius Protus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Eusebius. All men of
letters visiting Urbino were hospitably entertained, and several were
always attached to his court. His largesses to such were at all times
liberal. He spent above 1500 ducats in this way when at Florence, and
remitted similar bounties to Rome and Naples. He gave 1000 ducats to
the learned Campano, professor of belles-lettres at Perugia in
1455,[*181] who aided him in collecting ancient MSS., and became
Bishop of Teramo. Nor were elegant accomplishments neglected. His
acquaintance with the principles and practice of architecture excelled
that of most contemporaries in any station, enabling him to
superintend personally the plans and execution of his palaces and
other buildings. He was equally at home in military engineering, and
applied to his numerous fortified places such modifications as the
introduction of artillery required, especially in reducing their
altitude. The kindred sciences of geometry and arithmetic were his
favourite studies, and not long before his death, he had a course of
these read to him by Maestro Paolo, a learned German astrologer,
retained at his court. In music, his taste and knowledge were
excellent; there were in his chapel and palace bands of choristers and
skilful performers, the organ being his favourite instrument. He was
familiar with sculpture, and adopted it in the ornaments of his
palace. He brought from Flanders a celebrated painter in oil, and
employed him to execute many portraits; also from thence workers in
gold and silver tapestry, the beauty of whose performances resulted in
a great degree from his own connoisseurship and tastes, which pervaded
all he had executed in the fine arts.[182]

[Footnote 180: Vat. Urb. MSS. No. 941.]

[Footnote *181: For Federigo's intercourse with Campano, cf. G.
ZANNONI, _Federigo di Montefeltro e G.A. Campano_, in _Atti della R.
Accademia delle Scienze di Torino_, vol. XXXVIII. (Torino).]

[Footnote 182: This painter was Justus of Ghent, mentioned at p. 205.
To the subject of art at Urbino we shall return in ch. xxvii.]

This testimony of Vespasiano is confirmed by Sanzi, also a
contemporary in attendance on his court, whose account, although
inferring some repetition, may be given in his own words:--

     "Since excellence in sooth gives no repose
     To men of merit, least to those of names
     Already known to glory, so the Count,
     Though laden with the laurels of the field,
     To mental discipline himself addressed.
     And anxious to employ his ardent thoughts
     On elevating themes, he Ethics chose
     Whereon to bend his mind, and took as guide
     One Messer Lazzaro, a preaching friar
     Of singular repute; a good divine,
     In whom each gentle, each endearing trait
     With honour and devotion blended well.
     On Aristotle's writings all intent,
     His learning to their wisdom glory gave;
     And gladly entered he upon the task
     Of clearly setting forth their lustrous thoughts
     In daily readings, oft at matin hours.
     With zealous mind and intellect matured,
     The Count a great and rapid progress made;
     And as no generous spirit willingly
     Leaves favours unrequited, by his means
     His able master filled Urbino's see,--
     A guerdon gratefully received. Thus fond
     Of study, he his time could seldom spend
     To disadvantage. Even as he took
     His modest frugal meals at home, or when
     He sojourned elsewhere, it was his delight
     To listen whilst from ancient histories,
     Or recent chronicles, were read details
     Of martial deeds, discerning readily
     How sped the fortune of the fight ere yet
     Its changing turns were told. Of maxims shrewd
     And singular he master was beyond
     Most others; nor from table would he rise
     Whilst any staid to crave an audience.
     To Arithmetic daily he applied,
     And Algebra's high science, with success,
     By Paul Alamanno taught; to whom seemed plain
     Truths hid from many; who the heavens had scanned
     For years successive, and the stars had tracked,
     Until celestial influences grew
     To him familiar; an exponent famed
     Of physical philosophy, and hence
     Much favoured by the Count."

The digression as to Federigo's literary habits and circle into which
we have been led, would detain us too long from the more immediate
object of our narrative, were we now to inquire into his patronage of
art and artists. This will be discussed in our fourth book; meanwhile
we resume the story of his life.


     The Duke of Milan assassinated--Count Girolamo Riario--The
     Pazzi conspiracy--Duke Federigo's campaigns in
     Tuscany--Progress of the Turks.

The mediæval history of Italy is too frequently traced in characters
of blood, and the period which we have now reached, although generally
regarded as one of comparative tranquillity, was signalised by
conspiracies systematically matured, and by murders perpetrated in
high places with revolting barbarity. It matters little that they were
instigated by political abuses or provoked by domestic tyranny; so
repugnant is assassination to the better feelings of mankind, that
public sympathy is ever with the sufferer, and the crime is
perpetuated by history as a national stigma. The brutalising influence
of such deeds descends like an hereditary taint to after generations,
and to it may in a great measure be ascribed the recklessness of human
life, and the consequent reputation for cruelty, which are still
imputed to the Italian nature, and which recent events but too sadly

The earnestness of character, the energy of mind and action, which had
gained for Francesco Sforza the sovereignty of Milan, passed not to
his son. Galeazzo Maria was magnificent in his tastes. His court was
the most splendid of a brilliant age. In his duchy justice was prompt
and impartial. But his foreign policy and personal courage were
unstable, in his home administration cruelty and oppression were
aggravated by caprice. Yet these faults and foibles might have been
endured, had not the patience of his subjects been worn out by
outrages against their domestic peace. Machiavelli informs us that
hatred to their ruler, and the comparative benefits of a republic,
were lessons habitually instilled into such of the young nobles as
frequented the school of Cola Montano, then the most eminent teacher
in Milan. But it was not until several of these youths found their
wives or sisters sacrificed by the Duke's ruthless debauchery, that
the seditious seeds thus implanted sprang to sudden and full growth.
Seldom have the secrets of conspiracy and murder been so fully
detected and exposed.[183] There is, however, a melodramatic effect of
the narrative of old Sanzi which entitles it to notice as contemporary
and unpublished, although apparently biassed in favour of Galeazzo.
The three conspirators, mingling fanaticism with vengeance, sought by
religious observances to sanctify the deed of horror. Their invocation
to their city's patron saint for blessings on the attempt, with a
solemnity ill becoming its sacrilege, has been preserved; but Sanzi
adds that they bribed an apostate priest to consecrate at the altar a
sacramental wafer, which he administered not until each had shed upon
it a drop of his blood,--a blasphemous rite intended to seal their
mutual vows of fidelity and secrecy; also that they used to rehearse
their fury, and practise their swordsmanship, against a wooden puppet,
decked out in gold brocade, and kept for the purpose in one of their
houses. Among the solemn functions of Christmas week was that of St.
Stephen, performed in the picturesque old fane dedicated to the
protomartyr, where it was usual for the court to attend; the Duke on
this occasion accidentally left behind a cuirass, that defence of
despots, which he was wont to wear, and thus unconsciously facilitated
the execution of a concerted project. It was customary, in allusion
to the expiring year, to fire a light mass of carded flax suspended in
the church, whilst a warning voice

     "Exclaimed, 'Thus human glory vanishes;
     Unhappy he who hazards there his hopes!'"

[Footnote 183: We need not quote the many authorities, but in
MURATORI, _Script._, XXIII., pp. 268 and 777, will be found the Duke's
good and evil qualities fairly balanced, and frightful details of the
brutal licentiousness which he made his pastime.]

As the sovereign raised his eyes to this touching emblem of transient
and fragile existence, he was done to instant death by the poignards
of the three conspirators.[*184] The moral offences imputed to the
wretched man thus miserably summoned to his account have been
collected by Sismondi, the consistent impugner of princes.[185] Sanzi,
who generally leans to them, has thus painted them in colours less

     "A man he was remarkable for worth,
     Though charged with faults not few, which in his state
     Were freely challenged. Happy years of youth,
     Though pregnant with the germs of age mature,
     And preluding too oft its perils grave!
     Here must my tongue this prince exalt, as one
     Who even-handed justice dealt to all,
     Subject or stranger, noble or obscure;
     Nor willed that any, founding on his wealth
     Or station, should the meanest pauper vex.
     Yet is he censured as one pitiless,
     And prone to undue passion: trite reproach
     Of prosperous despots!"

[Footnote *184: Murder in church was a crime peculiar to that time. It
might seem that the "tyrants" were so well guarded that it was
impossible to lay hands on them save at mass; for on no other occasion
was the whole family gathered together. To say nothing of the clergy
and the Pope who murdered Giuliano and tried to murder Lorenzo de'
Medici in S. Maria del Fiore, it was in church the Fabrianesi murdered
their Signori the Chiavistelli (1435), the Milanesi Duke Giovan Maria
Visconti (1412), and Galeazzo Maria Sforza (1476). Ludovico Sforza
only escaped the same end because by chance he entered S. Ambrogio by
a door that was not watched. For the whole subject see REUMONT,
_Lorenzo de' Medici_, pp. 387-97, especially 396, and BURCKHARDT, _The
Civilisation of the Period of the Renaissance_ (trs. Middlemore,
1878), vol. I., p. 79.]

[Footnote 185: It is painful to find an author of our age, and
especially one of Sismondi's merited reputation and influence, so
warped by anti-despotic feelings as to become the apologist of
assassination. The phrase we use is startling, but surely not
misapplied to those passages in vol. XI., pp. 44 to 47, and p. 114,
where, by innuendo, if not by argument, motives which led to the
murder of Galeazzo Maria, and two years later to that of Giuliano de'
Medici, are shielded from infamy by ingenious special-pleading, worthy
the pen of Machiavelli or the morality of Loyola. I refer to the
comments of Roscoe in his volume of Additional Illustrations to his
_Lorenzo de' Medici_, pp. 114 to 119.]

The steady support long given by the Duke of Urbino to the Sforzan
dynasty suggested him as his most valuable stay in this crisis of
peril, and in obedience to a summons of the widowed Duchess he made
ready to march northward. The policy of the Holy See and of Naples,
whose batons he jointly held, clearly tended towards Lombardy; but,
unlike most successful conspiracies, the murder of Galeazzo Maria led
to no revolution, and Federigo returned to vindicate the papal
authority against the turbulent Carlo Braccio, who, ambitious of his
father's fame and fortunes, and instigated by Lorenzo de' Medici,
threatened Perugia from his stronghold of Montone. The ruin of so
petty an opponent added no laurel to the victor's already loaded

The Duke of Milan left a daughter, Caterina, the fruit of a boyish
intrigue, who was born in 1462, and became one of the most remarkable
women of her time. On the election of Sixtus, her father, willing to
conciliate by family ties a pontiff whose energy of character promised
no ordinary career, offered her in marriage to Girolamo Riario, one of
his favourite nephews, whom he had in 1480 created Count of Forlì, the
dispossessed fief of the Ordelaffi. In order that the bride's dowry
might tempt the ambitious Vicar of Christ, her father, in 1473, made
over to her such rights to the sovereignty of Imola as he had obtained
by purchase from its lords the Manfredi; and after the parties had
been betrothed, that seigneury was confirmed to Girolamo by his
Holiness as its ecclesiastical over-lord.[186] Caterina being,
however, but in her eleventh year, the nuptials were postponed, and
she meanwhile remained at Milan, cultivating the abstruse and
ornamental branches which were then included in female education.
Endowed with a lively genius, a ready apprehension, and a singularly
retentive memory, she quickly mastered these studies, and acquired a
rare facility of expressing herself with elegance and propriety. Her
marriage was solemnised soon after her father's murder, and having
being carried by her husband to Rome, she was welcomed with
magnificent festivities by the Pope, who found in her a brilliancy of
beauty and a courtesy of manner excelling all that rumour had
anticipated. Out of the growing favour of Sixtus for Count Girolamo,
seconded by his own ambitious intrigues, which aimed at an extended
sovereignty, sprang the seeds of a new conspiracy not less atrocious
than that of which the Duke of Milan was victim, and far more widely
influencing the politics of Italy.

[Footnote 186: The convention of Galeazzo Maria with Taddeo Manfredi,
and the bull investing Riario, explain this transaction more fully
than the authorities quoted by Sismondi, ch. lxxxiii. They are printed
in vol. III. of BURRIEL'S elaborate _Life of Caterina Riario Sforza_.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the envoys who had repaired from all the parts of Italy to hail
the advent of Sixtus to the tiara was Lorenzo de' Medici; and he has
described the honourable reception and gifts accorded him by a pontiff
whose favour was ere long turned to deadly hatred. Aware of the rising
influence of this youthful guest, the Pope sought to attach him by
substantial benefits, including his nomination as banker to the Camera
Apostolica, with power to manage that important charge through his
uncle Tornabuoni, then resident from Florence at the papal court.
Fabroni, in his _Life of Lorenzo_, tells us that his Holiness, wishing
to realise the costly jewels accumulated by Paul II., sold them to the
Medici at a price yielding a large profit to the purchasers, who
gained still more from a lease, now conferred upon them, of the alum
mines at Cento Celle. Results more generally important of this visit
were the valuable relics in literature and art, which the Florentine
ambassador was enabled, by the liberality of the Pope, and many
dignitaries, to accumulate; and the strong representations which he
made, not vainly, against a reckless destruction of ancient buildings
in the city. But this amicable intercourse quickly cooled, and the
mutual jealousies of the parties, arising from complicated causes,
became aggravated by various concurrent grudges. Sixtus, ambitious and
warlike, desired to make himself arbiter, if not autocrat, of Italy.
Lorenzo was a man of peace, content to preserve the _status quo_ with
his neighbours, that he might leisurely establish at home, on a firm
basis, such power as should enable him to promote the commercial
prosperity and intellectual pre-eminence of his native city. From
similar views, rather than as a means of territorial aggrandisement,
he sought to extend his family influence, by securing for his brother
Giuliano a seat in the sacred college. With unaccountable blindness,
the Pope refused a favour which policy should have induced him to
volunteer; and from that moment the Medici were entirely alienated.
Their able diplomacy and ample means were especially directed to
thwart the views of his Holiness upon the feudatories of Romagna. By
their aid, Città di Castello had, in 1474, resisted the arms of his
legate Giuliano della Rovere; at their suggestion, two years later,
Carlo Braccio made an attempt upon Perugia; further, their credit was
interposed to extricate Taddeo Manfredi from those pecuniary
difficulties which induced him to surrender his fief of Imola to the
Duke of Milan. The last of these intrigues, although unavailing,
provoked the special indignation of Count Girolamo Riario, who,
finding himself thwarted in his matrimonial scheme, hampered in the
acquisition of a new state, and baffled in his aims at further
sovereignty, by the ever-watchful policy of Lorenzo, employed his
boundless influence to stimulate the Pontiff's growing dislike for the
Medici. This was at first vented in petty slights. Lorenzo lost his
agency for the Holy See; and his personal enemy, Salviati, received
the richly endowed mitre of Pisa. The quarrel, thus exasperated by
mutual affronts, boiled up until it exploded in bloody vengeance.

[Illustration: _Alinari_


_After the fresco by Ghirlandaio in S. Trinità, Florence_]

It is worthy of remark, that in Florence, which by democratic writers
is upheld as the model of Italian republics, almost every convulsion
originated from some personal pique or family feud, rather than in any
general outbreak against intolerable oppression. Without pausing to
examine how far the same remark is applicable to many popular
revolutions, we shall glance hurriedly at the events of the Pazzi
conspiracy, one of the numerous and melancholy proofs of corruption
and bad faith in high places, during these the palmy days of Italian

Those jealousies, with which the rising star of the Medici had to
contend in their native city, were the natural fruit of their rapidly
extending wealth and influence, rather than of direct aggressions upon
its freedom. They were sown by rival families,

     "Whose aim was but themselves to magnify,"

and who were greedy of an ascendancy which, in other hands, would
probably have been used with less moderation; but in most cases they
were rendered abortive by the universal popularity of those against
whom they were directed. Among these rivals were the Pazzi, an injury
to one of whom, from the operation of a new law limiting female
succession, fanned into flame the smouldering sparks of an old hatred.
Francesco, another of this family, who resided at Rome, and who
supplanted Lorenzo as papal banker, seems to have been the first to
suggest violence, urged it is said by Count Girolamo, with whom he was
intimate, and who is alleged to have interested his uncle, the Pope,
in the foul scheme. At all events, there can be little doubt that the
plot was matured at Rome, and that its execution was chiefly entrusted
to Cardinal Raffaele Riario, the Count's nephew, aided by Francesco
Salviati, Archbishop of Pisa, and by others who owed some private
grudge to the Medici. The purpose of this conspiracy, apparently
stimulated by a prelate, directed by a cardinal, and sanctioned by the
Pontiff, was the murder of Lorenzo and his brother Giuliano. After
repeated postponements, the blow was struck on the 26th of April,
1478, in the cathedral of Florence, during celebration of high mass,
the elevation of the Host being the concerted signal for an
assassination by priestly hands. The sacrilegious attempt was but
partially successful. Giuliano, struck down by the dagger of Francesco
de' Pazzi, fell pierced by many mortal wounds; but Lorenzo, after
receiving a slight flesh-cut, was hurried by his attached friends into
the sacristy, and its doors secured. Salviati and other conspirators
meanwhile made a vain attempt to possess themselves of the Palazzo
Pubblico, and raise a revolutionary cry; but they being resisted from
within, and seconded by no response of the citizens, with whom the
existing government was highly popular, the émeute was promptly put
down, the Archbishop and its other leaders being instantly hanged from
the windows, and their bodies tossed into the piazza.

[Illustration: _Alinari_


The melancholy catalogue of crime contains no blacker atrocity, none
more fatal by example and social results, than such concerted murders
as those of Galeazzo Maria Sforza and Giuliano de' Medici. Yet when
history arraigns their assassins at the bar of human judgment, due
consideration should be given to certain extenuating pleas. The age
was one of violence, when life was little valued, and religion
exercised no vital influence on morals; when their public and private
excesses too often rendered those in high places a common nuisance;
when justice and vengeance were convertible terms, the dagger or the
poisoned draught their ready instruments. As we write these
sentences similar outrages are revived. One looked upon as the most
enlightened and most practical of Italian liberals is suddenly called
to administer the temporal affairs of Rome at a crisis of singular
difficulty. His private life is unchallenged, his public policy
untried. As he enters the anticipated scene of his future
labours,--the first constitutional assembly ever attempted in a city
which had long ruled the world,--he falls pierced to the heart by the
poignard of a dastardly miscreant. A crime for centuries disused
becomes again national, consecrated by pæans of the Roman populace,
who tramp the streets chanting--

     "Blessings on the hand
     That laid the tyrant low."[187]

When the dismal tidings reached Leghorn, the mob hurry to the piazza,
prompt, like the old democracy of Florence, to overturn existing
powers on the chance of new masters. The governor of the city, and
guardian of its peace, accepts and celebrates the cowardly murder, by
announcing to them from his balcony that "Pellegrino Rossi, a man
hated by all Italy for his principles, has fallen by a son of the
ancient Roman republic. May God save his soul, and the liberty of

[Footnote 187: On the 15th of November, 1848, Count Rossi was
assassinated on entering the Chamber of Deputies at its first sitting.
No effort was made by the bystanders or Assembly to seize the culprit.
At night the streets rang with the chorus--

     "Benedetta quella mano
     Che il tiranno pugnalò!"

It has been our study to exclude from these pages all allusion to
modern politics, or to events as yet untested by time. But when
outrages such as this are perpetrated in broad day, and applauded by a
people, it becomes all men to protest against lessons calculated to
annihilate civilisation, and to reproduce the worst features of the
dark ages.]

But to return from the melodramatic horrors of modern Italian
politics. Confessions by subordinate agents traced the origin of this
disgraceful plot of the Pazzi to the Roman court, and Sixtus, so far
from repelling the charge, adopted the attitude of a partisan, by
excommunicating Lorenzo and all Florence. The manifesto by which he
sought to justify this measure affords no sufficient defence, nor any
satisfactory contradiction of his privacy to the designs of the Pazzi;
indeed, when hard names are substituted for facts, and mixed up with
transparent evasions or detected falsehoods, the cause which they
defend naturally becomes suspected.

The official documents by which the Pontiff must be judged are
accessible to English readers in the Appendix to Roscoe's _Life of
Lorenzo_.[188] Giovanni Sanzi, whose ample details were unknown to
that accomplished biographer, confirms generally his account of the
conspiracy, but mentions a report that when imparted to his Holiness
he refused his consent, and dissuaded its leaders from their design.
This, if proved, would still leave him under scandal as an accessory
after the fact. We learn from the same chronicle that Duke Federigo,
when asked to share the plot, scouted it as utterly revolting to his
honour, and calculated to overwhelm its authors with eternal infamy,
adding that, during his own long struggle with Sigismondo Malatesta,
similar expedients had been repeatedly suggested to him, but that by
God's grace he had been enabled to resist them all: at the same time
he expressed his readiness to take the field against the Medici, and
try the fortune of war in open campaign. Lorenzo having subsequently
sent to demand why he concealed the conspiracy thus brought to his
knowledge, he denied the necessity of offending a good friend by
imparting to an enemy an attempt which he disapproved and abhorred,
adding, that he would soon be in Tuscany to settle all differences in
honourable warfare.

[Footnote 188: See also in FABRONIO, _Laurentii Medicis Vita_, ch.
ii., p. 130, a letter from Sixtus to Duke Federigo, explanatory of his
policy, but curious rather from the eccentricity of its illiterate
style, in which barbarous Latin forms a strange medley with
uncultivated Italian. Likewise, at p. 136, a protest of the Florentine
clergy to the Pope.]

[Illustration: _Alinari_


_Supposed portrait of Simonetta Cattaneo--mistress of Giuliano de'

_Detail from the picture by Sandro Botticelli in the Uffizi Gallery,

Sanzi has thus rendered Lorenzo's spirited address to his fellow
citizens, when struck by excommunication and menaced with war:--

     "Hear me! fair Florence' worthy denizens,
     Thus called to choose betwixt my house and peace.
     If 'tis your will our race to sacrifice,
     Behold me ready, manacled and bound;
     The fatal doom to suffer lead me forth!
     Oh! that my blood the Pontiff might appease,
     And sate the vengeance of yon bloody Count.
     Oh! that, as metal by the fire refined,
     You'd in the furnace cast me, from yourselves
     To parry discipline not less severe.
     But well I warn you that such woe to us
     For you were still more fatal, and our foes,
     My doom once sealed, your freedom straight would curb."

The appeal was not vainly made. The Lateran thunders fell harmless on
a people who, rallying round their favourite leader, appealed to a
general council, and meanwhile compelled their clergy to disregard the
censures hurled at them. Spiritual weapons being thus foiled, the
Pontiff had recourse to temporal arms.

The war which ensued, though limited in its field, included many
parties. Sixtus was supported by the Dukes of Calabria and Urbino, the
latter acting as generalissimo. The Medici, strengthened at home and
abroad by the failure of a conspiracy equally atrocious and
unprovoked, had for allies France and Venice, the Dukes of Milan and
Ferrara, with the Marquis of Mantua. Sismondi justly observes that the
Pope was prepared to take advantage of an explosion which he had
premeditated, whilst the Florentines were surprised at a moment of
confidence and repose. The ecclesiastical troops were accordingly
first in the field, and having united with those of Naples, entered
Tuscany by the Val di Chiana early in July. But on the do-little
system which then constituted warfare, the Dukes of Calabria and
Urbino, though met by no effectual opposition, lingered away the
summer, countermarching in plains where malaria was ever rife, and
signalising themselves by forays upon townships incapable of defence.
Leaving on the left Siena, their faithful and effective ally, they
reduced Radda on the 24th of August; but instead of then pushing
forward to the Arno, they consumed the autumn, attacking in detail
many surrounding places, of which Monte Sansovino alone offered a
serious resistance.

The exact sciences, which were encouraged at the court of Urbino, took
there, as elsewhere, the tendency most easy in an age of prevailing
superstition. Maestro Paolo, a noted German adept, was accordingly
retained by the Duke, and taught him astrology along with the kindred
branches of geometry and arithmetic. Yet Cortesio tells us that,
although he always had about him a number of soothsayers, and, in
deference to the notions current among his soldiery and subjects,
pretended to rely upon their prognostics, he utterly despised all
kinds of divination. The only notice of the subject I have discovered
among his letters is contained in one addressed to Ant---- Nar----,
which may have been written during the siege of Monte Sansovino, or
possibly from the leaguer of Colle, eleven months later. The reader
will judge how far it ought to be received with the gloss suggested by

"I observe in your former longer letters that you wish to draw
auguries of futurity, which you announce to be pregnant with events of
the highest moment, saying that now is the time to gird ourselves for
great things; indeed, such words seem to point at some loftier issue.
It would, therefore, be agreeable to us that you should again acquaint
us by letter, whether that augury really infers any imminent result.
For, if perchance you allude only to this siege, we acknowledge to
have undertaken a difficult business, and that the town is by nature
or art amply provided; yet do we hope, through the grace of the
eternal God, to effect that which we have taken in hand. But if you
refer to something else, it will be not less gratifying to have from
you some explanation, and to know if it rest on your own or another's
opinion. Farewell."[189]

[Footnote 189: Vat. Urb. MSS. No. 1198.]

The leaguer was protracted by an incident mentioned by Sanzi, who
dwells at considerable length on a portion of his hero's life scarcely
touched by other biographers. The army suffering from scarcity and
sickness, natural results of its prolonged stay in a narrow and
unhealthy country, the dispirited troops sighed for winter quarters.
It happened that, during a skirmish, two of the Orsini, relations, but
banded under opposite banners, met and interchanged mutual wishes for
a truce. These aspirations, reported to the Duke of Urbino, were
promptly and publicly refused. The garrison, misled by this apparent
anxiety to continue hostilities, proposed a suspension of arms, the
very measure most fatal to their safety. This was accepted for ten
days, during which the besiegers obtained rest and forage, and, when
thus recruited from their languor, quickly reduced the place: it
surrendered on the 8th of December, whereupon the army fell back on
Bonconvento to pass the winter.

In a letter to Matthew Corvinus, King of Hungary, Federigo thus
briefly narrates this campaign:--"During last summer the illustrious
Lord Duke of Calabria was in the field, leading a large body of fine
troops of my Lords, the Pope and his Serene Majesty, against the
League, and had numerous advantages, especially in the Florentine
territory. Many of the enemy's castles and towns were taken,
dismantled, and burned, notwithstanding a very powerful army arrayed
against us, so that they were outmanoeuvred, as well in the
estimation as by the efficiency of our troops, and their strongholds
were attacked and carried by us. In consequence of these successes,
besides taking many towns, we made forays, plundering and wasting the
country even to the gates of Florence. Just then fortune turned quite
against us, and one after another our munitions and supplies failed.
There first occurred an immense explosion of artillery stores, which
prevented our undertaking further operations, and, subsequently, on
opening the siege of Monte Sansovino, a place of great importance to
us, we found ourselves in absolute want of everything, from the
terrible plague which raged throughout the friendly territory of
Siena. This, with continual heavy rains, weakened our army
exceedingly; and when the enemy discovered that we were thus harassed
by contagion, dearth, and weather, they advanced their army within
four miles, with the view of at once encouraging the besieged and
awing us. But they were foiled in both objects, for we, having granted
them a truce of eight days, obtained during that interval supplies,
which enabled us to renew the assault; and at its termination the town
was carried, under their eyes, to their great detriment and disgrace,
and to the credit of the Pope, his Majesty, and my illustrious general
the Duke, who, on the surrender of the place, went into quarters,
winter being at hand, where we are now making all preparations for
next year's campaign."[190]

[Footnote 190: Vat. Urb. MSS. No. 1198. In this collection of
Federigo's letters are other proofs of his intimacy with the
accomplished Sovereign of Hungary. In 1476 he entertained at Urbino
the ambassadors sent by that monarch to negotiate his marriage with
Beatrice, daughter of Ferdinand of Naples; and having received,
through the physician Fontana, an invitation to the nuptials, the Duke
wrote to King Matthew that, though most willing to attend, this must
depend on the pleasure of his Holiness and Ferdinand, adding that he
had been the servant of his affianced bride from her tender years.]

Federigo suffered greatly this summer from an accident which he had
met with at San Marino some months before.[*191] While discoursing to
those around him on past incidents of his adventurous life, and in
particular of his prolonged struggle with Sigismondo Malatesta, to
which the surrounding country had been often witness, the wooden
balcony whence he surveyed these familiar scenes suddenly broke under
his weight, and he was precipitated with its ruins to the ground,
fracturing his left ankle and lacerating the leg. His first
exclamation was one of gratitude for escaping with his life. Gangrene
supervened, in consequence of tight bandaging, and a month elapsed ere
he could be carried home; but the wound continued so troublesome, that
for a considerable time his surgeons apprehended the limb could only
be saved by amputation, and when the Tuscan war opened, he was still
entirely dependent upon a litter, being unable to walk or ride. To
this circumstance may perhaps be, in part, ascribed the sluggish
tactics of that campaign; when it closed, he repaired to the mineral
springs of Petriolo, near Radicofani, attended by Maestro Ludovico, a
physician, and remained in that bleak sojourn for five months,
quitting it to rejoin the army at the end of May. In acknowledgment of
his services during the previous year, the King of Naples conferred on
him a right to make and export annually five hundred loads of salt
from the works of Manfredonia.

[Footnote *191: For an account of the Duke's connection with San
Marino, cf. G.G., _Tre Documenti inediti risguardanti la Rep. di S.
Marino_ (Pesaro, 1888). The first document refers to Federigo in 1461,
the others to 1502 and 1560.]

Roberto Malatesta was serving under the Duke of Calabria at the
surrender of Monte Sansovino, and, having quarrelled with him for
sanctioning a sack of that place, he, with a condottiere's easy
conscience, transferred his company to the Florentine camp. There,
too, were assembled the Duke of Ferrara, the Marquis of Mantua,
Costanzo Sforza of Pesaro, Nicolò Vitelli of Città di Castello, Carlo
Braccio of Montone. The promise afforded by these names proved,
however, illusory; and although a diversion was made by them in June
towards Perugia, the spring and summer again passed without notable
efforts on either side. This number of independent leaders, serving
under no recognised head, embarrassed the allies; and although they
obtained some inconsiderable successes near Thrasymene, the other
division of their forces sustained a decided check at Poggio
Imperiale, in Val d'Elsa, on the 7th of September. The ecclesiastical
forces, following up their advantage, laid siege to Certaldo and
Poggibonsi, both of which speedily fell. They next attacked Colle,
which held out till the 12th of November; its surrender, and the
approach of winter, led to a three months' truce, and the troops
repaired to quarters. Comines, then resident at Florence as envoy from
the French Court, criticises these operations as inert, and considers
the Italians as inferior to his countrymen in the attack or defence of
fortified places, but admits their superiority in the quartermaster's
department, and in commissariat arrangements.

The diary of an eye-witness, Allegretti of Siena, and the Duke of
Urbino's despatches to the magistrates of that city, still remaining
in its archives, enable us to state some curious facts relating to the
then infant art of gunnery.[*192] In the ecclesiastical army, which
had, on the whole, some advantage in this campaign, there were five
field-pieces, called bombards, distinguished by such startling names
as, the Cruel, the Desperate, the Victory, Ruin, None of your Jaw, &c.
One of the largest of them is described by Allegretti as consisting of
two portions; the tube, which was fully nine feet long, weighing
14,000 pounds, and the tail, half that length, weighing 11,000. It
discharged balls of stone, varying from 370 to 380 pounds, and was
made by one Pietro of Siena, surnamed Il Campano, from being a
bell-founder. In the town of Colle there were three bombards, and
during the siege, which lasted six weeks, 1024 shots were fired from
both sides.[193] Three of these enormous guns used in the siege
belonged to Siena, where the art of casting them was especially
followed; and it required above a hundred pairs of buffaloes to drag
them up to that city. The Pope and King of Naples had each but one
with the army; there were, however, other pieces of artillery, called
spingards, cerbottane, and passavolanti; one of the last class is
mentioned by Allegretti as about thirteen feet long. The extreme
inconvenience of such monstrous engines, in a hilly country, ill
supplied with roads, requires no comment.

[Footnote *192: ALLEGRETTI, _Diario Senese_, in MURATORI, _R.I.S._,
vol. XXIV. TONINI, _Storia di Rimini_ (Rimini), vol. IV., p. 163,
tells us that "Furono comprato nove palle di ferro del total peso
libbre 33, pro 9 pallottis bombatarum pond. 33 libr...."]

[Footnote 193: It was usual to bind the annual fiscal accounts of
Siena in wooden boards, on which some historical or domestic incident
was painted. Many of these _bicherne_ remain, curious memorials of
manners and of art. I found at p. 210 of Pecci's Iscrizioni, MSS. in
the public library there, a notice of one representing the siege of
Colle, which would valuably illustrate these observations, could it be

The following extracts are from Duke Federigo's despatches. On the
14th of July, 1478, he writes to Siena from the camp: "Since the
powder for the bombard which you sent me is not fit to be fired, and
will not answer the purpose, I pray you to let me have as soon as
possible some that will do the business, in order that time may not be
lost; and also to send me fine powder, fit for spingards, by mixing
which, what we have may be rendered serviceable. And I further pray
you to see that the other bombard be forwarded with all speed; for it
is impossible to say of what importance these things are, or what
honour and advantage will result if this be done with diligence, and
how much it will be otherwise if they are delayed."

On the 8th of August he writes from the camp at Castellina: "There
being hereabouts great scarcity of stones for the bombard, and the few
available ones only to be had with much difficulty, I send your
lordships the measure of its height, from which you can have them
prepared, since you have its diameter; and I pray you to cause search
be made in your stores, or outside the town, if any suitable ones can
be had for the said bombard. And I pray your lordships to let me know
immediately, that I may send for them without loss of time; and even
should they be somewhat large, I shall not object, as I can have them
reduced with much less trouble than it would take to have them
quarried and prepared, seeing how few here are adapted for that
bombard. Lastly, I beseech your lordships to let me have as many
hewers as possible."

On the 12th of August, he sends a messenger for two barrels of salt of
nitre for refining the powder supplied to him, which "to say the
truth, worked badly." Again, on the 18th of November, 1479, when in
camp before Colle, he writes: "I inform your lordships that we cannot
move from this, because the Marzochesca bombard has not been removed;
and I have not had it broken up, because Messer Borghese tells me your
lordships wish for it; and the muzzle of the last bombard which burst
is still here, for its carriage broke down on the march, as also its
_serandina_, and was left by the way; and thus we are unable to
decamp, as I have said. I therefore earnestly beg your lordships,
immediately on receipt hereof, to send hither all the Pope's and his
Majesty's buffaloes you have, and as many of your own as possible,
with such oxen as you can; also all the waggons you have, dismounting
the bombards from those which are already laden with them, in order
that we may be amply provided. Let other carts be made ready to
replace those that may break down, with lots of buffaloes and oxen;
and let them be brought hither safely and speedily, for your need and
ours: and in God's name, if ever you used diligence do so now, that
these carts, buffaloes, and oxen arrive quickly, seeing the Lord Duke
[of Calabria] and Messer Lorenzo have already written for theirs in
similar terms."

These remonstrances had their effect. On the 20th the camp was raised,
the troops dispersing into winter quarters, and so ended this dilatory
and unimportant war, marked by devastation rather than by victory,
barren of laurels, crowned by no enduring conquest. The two allied
leaders repaired to Siena, where they were honourably welcomed,
Federigo being lodged in the episcopal palace. In accordance with the
custom of that age, a large donation was given to each of them,
consisting of calves, wedders, capons, corn, bread, wine,
almond-cakes, almonds, ray-fish, pheasants, chickens, pigeons, etc.
Many influences favourable to peace were now brought to bear upon the
Pontiff; and although his own wishes were for a further humiliation of
the Medici, his ally of Naples being tired of a struggle in which no
personal interest was at stake, and no trophies had been earned, he
could not prevent the offer of a truce. It was eagerly accepted by the
Florentines, whose position was one of imminent peril. Long unused to
arms, and totally alien to the military spirit of the Peninsula, it
was their habitual policy to trust for defence to hired troops. Their
merchant families sent forth no martial geniuses, and Lorenzo avoided
appearing in the field, for which he felt himself in no way qualified.
But on this occasion they were singularly unfortunate in their
defenders. Nominally backed by all Upper Italy, they had no effectual
aid from Venice, occupied in protecting her mainland from the Turks.
The Duke of Ferrara, though titular leader of their motley army,
possessed neither talent nor influence to occupy such a position. The
other free captains sought their separate interests, and the
hereditary feuds of the Braccian and Sforzan companies broke out for
the last time, as the remnants of these once famous bands found
themselves encamped together. Even after this element of mutiny had
been extinguished, by detaching Carlo Braccio and his following on the
Perugian expedition, new quarrels arose between the Lords of Ferrara
and Mantua, which so disorganised the army that Machiavelli declares
it took to flight at Poggio Imperiale on seeing the dust raised by the
enemy's approach, abandoning to them camp, baggage, and artillery. But
this writer, prejudiced against the whole military system, may be read
with some qualification, when he declares its poltroonery to have
been such that the turn of a horse's head, or the whisking of his
tail, was enough to put it in a panic. Yet, with every allowance, it
seems clear that, had the confederates of Lower Italy then marched
upon the capital, instead of loitering on the Val d'Elsa, the fondest
wishes of Sixtus might have been gratified; and Baldi confers no
honour on the Duke of Urbino in claiming for him the credit of
successfully thwarting such a proposal, upon no better grounds than
that the army was too ill-disciplined to withstand the temptations of
success in so attractive an enterprise.

Lorenzo was alive to the delicacy of his position; the finances of his
country and his private resources wasted upon useless stipendiaries;
the patience of even his partisans exhausted by a mismanaged and
unfortunate war. His resolution was magnanimously formed and boldly
executed. Early in December he suddenly embarked for Naples to plead
for peace, if not for his family at least for his fellow citizens. The
fate of Giacopo Piccinino, in 1465, rendered such an appeal to
Ferdinand one of chivalrous daring, but it fully succeeded. The
gratifying compliments bestowed on Lorenzo were only equalled by his
own munificence; and although negotiations were protracted by
Ferdinand's cold and unrelenting disposition, and by the intrigues of
Sixtus, he was finally successful in removing all difficulties, and in
concluding a defensive treaty with Naples, which was proclaimed on the
25th of March. The Pope, unable to maintain the war single-handed, had
no option but to accede; it was not, however, until the end of the
year that he would grant a formal remission, and the removal of
ecclesiastical censures. To obtain this grace, there arrived in Rome
in November an embassy of eleven eminent citizens of Florence, who,
prostrated in the dust on Advent Sunday in the metropolitan church,
confessed their derelictions of duty, and implored pardon. They,
however, did not receive absolution until the irate Pontiff had read
them a severe rebuke, and had gently applied to the shoulders of each
a scourge of penance, whilst they recited the fifty-first penitentiary

[Footnote 194: Volterrano gives a curious account of this function,
_R.I.S._, XXIII., 114.]

Whilst the Duke of Calabria remained at Siena, nominally to overawe
the Florentines, and maintain his recent advantages, but in reality
ripening those schemes by which, ever since 1446, the house of Aragon
had aimed at establishing their influence in that republic, Federigo,
after being entertained at a ball in the Palazzo Pubblico, on the 18th
of December, 1479, went to the baths of Viterbo, which had been
recommended for his still suffering limb. We owe to Sanzi some notice
of his residence in that town, where his numerous suite, and his own
graceful and polished address, made a general sensation. It was his
delight to receive as guests such personages of distinction as passed
that way to Rome. Among these was the Duke of Saxony, who was
repairing to the Holy City on a pious pilgrimage with a goodly
cortège. To him and his attendants Federigo's courtly demeanour and
splendid hospitality were an agreeable surprise: though "barbarians"
by birth, they were fully qualified to appreciate such civilities, nor
were they allowed to depart without a promise to renew their visit to
him at Urbino on their return homewards. His son, Guidobaldo, and his
nephew, Ottaviano della Carda, joined in doing the honours to their
guest, who was distantly related to them through the Gonzaga family,
and they parted with mutual compliments and good wishes. Soon after
Christmas, Federigo received from the Pope, by the hands of Pier
Felice, his resident at Rome, the Sword and Hat, honours among the
highest at his Holiness's disposal, and reserved for sovereigns of
tried fidelity and devotion to the papacy, but which seemed on this
occasion to acquire new illustration in the person of the recipient.
In May he addressed this letter to his allies of Siena:--

     "Mighty and potent Lords, dearest Brothers,

     "It has pleased our lord his Holiness, and his Majesty the
     most serene King, that I may return home; where, and
     wherever I may be, your magnificences may dispose of me and
     mine as of your own, for this much my long and true
     friendship requires and exacts. And I ever shall remember
     the great love and kindness I met with in many parts of your
     land. Moreover I recommend to you my son Antonio, for whom I
     have taken the precaution to let him be conducted home by
     the goodness of Ottaviano, who accompanies him to Naples,
     not being at present otherways required. From Viterbo, the
     19th May, 1480.

     "FEDERIGO DUCA D'URBINO, _manu propria_."

Bidding adieu to Viterbo amid the regrets of its inhabitants, the Duke
went to meet his daughter the Princess of Salerno; and having greatly
suffered from fatigue and pain during the last two years, returned
home almost a wreck. He was triumphantly welcomed by his people, and
soon after received a visit from Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, then
on his way to France as papal legate. About this time the Ordelaffi of
Forlì, making a final effort to maintain themselves against Count
Girolamo, appealed to Federigo. But being unable to espouse their part
while himself in the papal service, he counselled the last survivor of
that race to compromise with Riario by a sale of his rights, and to
hope for better days. This having been at length effected, Girolamo
and his Countess visited their new principalities, where,
notwithstanding the popular dissatisfaction with changes which had
extinguished the former dynasties, they speedily so gained all hearts,
that Sanzi gravely questions whether Jove himself, if descending upon
earth, would have had an equally honourable reception. This may be in
some degree attributed to the fickleness of popular opinion,
especially in a nation of lively and impressionable character; but
there was much to recommend the new-comers. Possessed of ample means,
and prodigal in their use, the ambition and political influence of
Girolamo promised a long career of advancement and of coming glories
for his subjects. Of Caterina, then in her twentieth year, we have
this florid description from her biographer Fabio Oliva: "As she
issued from her litter, it seemed as if the sun had emerged, so
gorgeously beautiful did she appear, laden with silver, and gold, and
jewels, but still more striking from her natural charms. Her hair,
wreathed in the manner of a coronet, was brighter than the gold with
which it was twined. Her forehead of burnished ivory almost reflected
the beholders. Her eyes sparkled behind the mantling crimson of her
fair cheeks, as morning stars amid those many-tinted lilies which
returning dawn scatters along the horizon." In somewhat less inflated
language, Ratti, the Sforzan biographer, says: "It would be difficult
to find in history any female who so far surpassed her sex, who was so
much the amazement of her contemporaries and the marvel of posterity.
Endowed with a lofty and masculine spirit, she was born to command;
great in peace, valiant in war, beloved by her subjects, dreaded by
her foes, admired by foreigners." The features of this siren of her
times are supposed to have been commemorated by more than one of those
church pictures into which it was then customary to introduce
likenesses of the donors and their families, especially the
altar-piece of the Torelli Chapel by Marco Palmeggiani, still in the
church of S. Girolamo at Forlì, which represents Caterina, her
husband, and her two eldest sons kneeling before the enthroned
Madonna. Another likeness is given in the preceding page from a rare
medallion of the lady of Imola in her more matronly years, whose
descendants still subsist in various princely houses, and in the noble
family of Riario Sforza at Naples. This much of a heroine who will
reappear at intervals in our pages.

The adhesion of Sixtus to the treaty which closed the Tuscan war was
partly extorted by his terror of the Turks, whose progress in Europe,
as yet, had met with no decided reverse. The energy and skill of
Loredano had, indeed, kept them in check during the campaigns of
1474-5, but Venice found herself exhausted by efforts which, although
of vital moment to Christianity, she was left to make single-handed.
The following year was one of comparative repose, till in 1477, the
Infidels, bursting those ramparts along the Isonzo by which the
Republic considered her territories secured, scoured the rich plains
of Friuli, and burned the mainland palaces of her citizens within
sight of the capital. During 1478 Troia fell, and Scutari suffered a
long and hopeless siege, whilst Sixtus was wasting in the Tuscan war
those energies which, as head of the Church, he might have easily
united against the victorious Crescent. After vainly protesting, and
threatening the Pontiff with a general council, the Signory, in
January, 1479, concluded with Mahomet II. a disastrous peace, at the
sacrifice of all their recent conquests in the East.

The Venetians were now justly incensed at the Pope and Ferdinand, who
had not only refused them aid in defending Western Europe from Turkish
inroads, but had effectually prevented Florence from contributing its
contingent for that purpose. With the King there was a further cause
of quarrel, as he had concluded a treaty with the Sultan in the spring
of 1478, recognising conquests wrested by him from their Republic.
Renouncing the tardy and uncertain remedy of a general council, they
sought more summary vengeance by inviting Mahomet to invade Lower
Italy, and when, after a siege of thirteen days, the Crescent waved
over the walls of Otranto, they so successfully diverted suspicions of
this anti-Italian policy from themselves to his Holiness, that
Ferdinand threatened to throw open to the Infidel a passage to Rome.
The panic which now spread throughout Italy, and this imminent peril
of the Holy See, at length forced the Pontiff to merge selfish
considerations, and to make an effort in the common cause. Bulls
exhorting all Christian princes to unity, were followed by diplomatic
arrangements with the powers of Italy; and Sismondi is probably
correct in ascribing to the terror of this crisis the Pope's tardy
absolution of the Medici and their adherents, which we have already
mentioned, and which was accompanied with a condition that Florence
should send a fleet to the rescue of Otranto.

The dangers impending over his own kingdom occasioned Ferdinand to
recall his son from Siena, and to invoke Federigo's services against
the Turk. The latter, foreseeing danger from the ambitious energy of
Mahomet, had already protested against the King's imprudence in
leaving his coasts unprotected, while pursuing schemes of idle
ambition in Tuscany; he hastened notwithstanding to obey the summons,
but was stopped by an order from Sixtus to guard the ecclesiastical
sea-board, menaced by an incursion from Scutari. To his counsels,
however, was ascribed the ultimate recovery of Otranto, in order to
effect which the Pontiff and Lorenzo de' Medici had hastily united
with Ferdinand. Exactly a year after its capture that city was
restored by its Moslem garrison, discouraged by the Sultan's death
three weeks previously. Yet these events which, by ridding Italy of
invasion, and closing the career of her most formidable foe, ought to
have been hailed with unalloyed satisfaction, were soon found to infer
new dangers, by promoting those internal distractions habitually
fermented in the Peninsula during each interval of repose.


     The war of Ferrara, and death of Duke Federigo--His
     character and portraits.

The sparks of discord, though smothered, were still smouldering in
many quarters. Sixtus, whose restless ambition was stirred by schemes
of nepotism for his unscrupulous nephew of Forlì, forgot not that
Ferdinand had baulked him of full vengeance upon the Medici, and
brooded over that monarch's threat of letting the Infidel march upon
his capital. He also calculated that, in the scramble of a general
war, some pickings might fall to the lot of Count Girolamo. Venice,
moreover, had had good cause for apprehending retribution for Naples,
for the scurvy trick she had played in bringing the Turks upon Lower
Italy; and thus was the way prepared for new party combinations. It
was against the Duke of Ferrara that these were chiefly directed; for
besides the offence of being son-in-law to Ferdinand, his territory
was a desirable acquisition both to the Republic and to Count
Girolamo. To Venice the latter accordingly proceeded in September, on
a mission from his uncle, and arranged for the partition of that
duchy, of which Lugo and Bagnacavallo were to be his share, with full
liberty to expel the Manfredi from Faenza and to appropriate their
possessions. Among other preliminaries, he stipulated that Federigo
should command the allied army, a proceeding not only unauthorised by
the Duke, but in direct opposition to the moderate counsels and
peaceful policy earnestly pressed by him upon the youthful envoy,
during a recent visit at Urbino. The appointment was accordingly
declined, nor was his determination shaken by an offer from the
Signory of 80,000 ducats as retaining pay, on condition of his taking
no part in the war: one of his family demurring to his rejection of so
advantageous a proposal, he replied, that "good faith and its
observance are still better, and worth more than all the gold in the
world." In a long and earnest letter he warned the Pontiff of the
impolicy and mischief of such projects, and the miserable results of
fresh contests in Italy; urged upon his Holiness that the moment was
favourable for turning the united arms of Christendom against the
Turks, while distracted by disputes between the sons of Mahomet; and
offered his shattered limbs for any post in that glorious cause. Views
so repugnant to the schemes of Sixtus had no weight in the Camera, and
gave great offence to Girolamo Riario.

[Illustration: _Alinari_


_From the picture by Scaletti in the Pinacoteca of Faenza_]

As it was in his father-in-law Ferdinand's quarrels that the Duke of
Ferrara was likely to be victimised, the former was not slow to
interpose for his protection. Personal feeling, as well as a sense of
justice and a keen perception of the true interests of Italy, brought
Lorenzo de' Medici to the same side, while the adherence of Milan,
Mantua, and Bologna was secured by an apprehension of the ambitious
advances of the Holy See and Venice upon Romagna and Lombardy. By
these six powers a league was accordingly formed to defend Ferrara;
and, on the 17th April, Federigo was engaged as its captain-general
for three years. During war he was to provide 600 men-at-arms and 562
infantry, with 165,000 golden ducats of pay; in peace he was to have
65,000 ducats, finding 300 men-at-arms and 375 foot soldiers. In the
event of death, his son and troops were to complete the stipulated
period of service, with 15,000 ducats of personal pay.[195] Opposed
to him was Roberto di Sanseverino, as leader of the Venetian army;
and the papal contingent was nominally under Count Girolamo, who did
not take the field, although the quarrel was in a great measure for
his profit. The command of the ecclesiastical forces, thus vacated by
the Duke of Urbino, had devolved upon his son-in-law Roberto
Malatesta, who remained in Central Italy to occupy the Neapolitan
troops at home, and protect Rome from the rebellious Colonna and
Savelli. The Genoese and the Marquis of Montferrat adhered to the
Venetian alliance.

[Footnote 195: This condotta is preserved in the Oliveriana MSS. The
diary of Duke Francesco Maria II. gives a slightly varied version of
the engagement, and explains that, of the gross allowance, 45,000
ducats in war and 25,000 in peace were the general's personal pay. The
war of Ferrara is minutely detailed by Sanuto; in the Scriptores,
xxii. 1215; and in a volume of Commentaries privately printed at
Venice, in 1829; also by Cyrneo, in Scriptores, xii., 1189. Sanzi's
chronicle supplies very ample particulars, as does Vespasiano.]

The offer of an engagement by the League had been carried to Federigo,
by six envoys commissioned from its leading powers, and was readily
accepted. His preparations being completed, he set forth from his
capital on St. George's day, while tearful eyes and ominous sighs
attested his subjects' anxiety at the departure of their paternal
sovereign, bent by failing health and advancing years. Besides his
wonted suite, there followed him for many miles a train of men
distinguished in letters and arts, philosophers, theologians, jurists,
astronomers, and architects. By his side rode his nephew and
confidential friend Ottaviano della Carda, to whom, as if anticipating
his approaching end, he warmly and affectionately recommended his son
Guidobaldo and all his friends. At the foot of the Apennines this
sorrowing convoy quitted him to return home, whilst he crossed the
mountains to Borgo San Sepolchro, where he was received by Lorenzo de'
Medici. In the Val d'Arno he met his old and sage friend Antonio
Bellanti, with a troop of white-plumed lances, exiled from his native
Siena by adverse factions, and offered him a safe retreat in his state
until times should change; an invitation which he declined, and so
incurred a bloody death. At Florence the people gladly welcomed the
conqueror of Volterra, and the magistracy received him at the door of
the Palazzo Vecchio.

The war now impending was alike iniquitous in its motives, and
disastrous in its attendant circumstances. Its seat was in the lower
plains of Lombardy, where they merge into a wide delta, formed by the
arterial channels of the rivers Po and Adige, and veined by the minor
drainage of the Polesine and Ferrarese territories. Most of

     "That level region, where no echo dwells,"

was, and still continues, so embanked that its waters may easily be
let loose upon the hapless cultivators, submerging their dwellings and
swamping their crops. Numerous streams, navigable by boats, laid it
open to privateering incursions, highly attractive to amphibious
Venetian adventurers. Finally, the malaria, always generated by summer
heats, was naturally more inveterate when invaders had opened the
sluices and broken the banks, thereby flooding an unusual extent of
marsh-land. Thus ravaged by fire and sword, and decimated by disease,
the unhappy natives had good cause to curse the ambition of which they
were victims. In no part of Italy had the people been so exempt from
the calamities of war. The family of Este, ever addicted to habits of
almost effeminate indulgence, had been long represented by Duke Borso,
whose reign, as described in the Ferrarese _Diary_, was one continued
revel at home and pageant abroad. Those who would understand the
extent to which prodigal magnificence and immoderate festivity were
carried in the Peninsula, will there find details of refined luxury
and lavish expenditure, scarcely credible in an age but emerging from
what we are accustomed to regard as barbarism, or in a state enjoying
no extraordinary resources.

The plan of the campaign was to reduce Ferrara by a combined attack,
in which a flotilla of five hundred vessels of light draught, fitted
out at Ancona and Venice, was to ascend the Po, and co-operate with
the troops of Sanseverino. War was proclaimed on the 3rd of May, but
the Venetian general had already opened his operations by invading the
Polesine, a fenny dependency of the d'Este family extending between
the Adige and the Po. Marching his army southward from Legnano, he
crossed the Veronese marshes upon a hastily constructed roadway of
beams, supported by flat boats and faggots, and attacked Mellara on
the north bank of the Po. Having taken it in three days, he advanced
eastward to Castelnuovo, which capitulated after a ten days' siege.
Following the river's course, he reached Ficheruolo on the 11th of
May, and immediately invested it. This place being scarcely more than
twelve miles from Ferrara, already menaced by the armament on the
lower reaches of the river, the Duke of Urbino advanced to meet the
enemy, and posted himself at La Stellata, which lay opposite
Ficheruolo and commanded the passes of the Po. His opinion of the
state of matters may best be gathered from a despatch addressed by him
about this time to Lorenzo de' Medici, and printed by Fabronio from
the Florentine archives.

     "Magnificent and dearest Brother,

     "Your mightiness will see by the copy, herewith sent to the
     eight lords of the Balia, of a letter I have written to the
     most illustrious Duke of Ferrara, that I am advised of the
     loss of the fort of Mellara, and of the enemy's intention to
     unite the flotilla with their land forces, and to advance
     with the stream upon Ferrara: nor can there be a question
     that this design may to a certain extent succeed, unless
     prevented by speedy and effective measures on the part of
     the most serene League, that illustrious lord not being able
     to maintain himself single-handed, as your magnificence has
     already heard from himself.

     "The remedy that occurs to me in this urgent danger is that
     your excellent Signory should send him as many infantry as
     possible, preferring those of Romagna, and the Val di
     Lamone, both as nearest and as the best drilled, and thus
     more suitable than any others that can be thought of. And so
     soon as the most illustrious Lord Duke of Milan shall
     forward the infantry and cavalry, for whom I have applied to
     him, I shall move upon the duchy to make the enemy pull up.
     And when the most serene League shall provide what is
     requisite for honour and utility, enabling me to face him, I
     am prepared to prove to him that it is one thing to form a
     project, but quite another to carry it into effect. I care
     not to detain your magnificence, feeling assured that once
     aware of the importance of this, your prudence will not
     delay the needful provisions.

     "I urgently remind your magnificence to forward with all
     speed the infantry, as agreed on, into my state and that of
     the Lord Costanzo [of Pesaro]; for I have ordered my
     men-at-arms not to follow me till these come up, seeing it
     would be a risk to expose our territories without a force
     equal to defend them at all hazards.... From Rovere
     [opposite Mellara], the 4th May, 1482."[196]

[Footnote 196: This letter by no means bears out the allegation in
support of which it has been referred to by Roscoe,--that the
preparation and direction of this war chiefly rested on Lorenzo de'
Medici, and that on his activity and prudence the allies mainly
relied. There is no evidence whether he fully carried out the
suggestions here made, but it is quite clear that Federigo received
from none of his confederates adequate support during the campaign.]

The affairs of the League were far from promising. Ferdinand, caring
little to send his troops through a hostile state in search of distant
and unprofitable laurels, preferred carrying on a little war of his
own against the Pope in the Pontine marshes to marching upon Lombardy.
The Tuscans, ever averse to battle-fields, employed their
stipendiaries, under Costanzo Sforza, in guarding the Umbrian
principalities. The brunt of the war thus fell upon the Lords of
Milan and Mantua; and the Duke of Urbino, ill satisfied with their
exertions, took boat soon after the date of this despatch, and
proceeded in person to urge further exertions upon them both. Sanzi,
somewhat inconsistently, selects this visit of urgency to pause upon
his raptures with the works of art he saw at Mantua, introducing an
episodical criticism, and a catalogue of the best painters and
sculptors of Italy, which will be afterwards noticed.[197] On the 20th
of May he returned, bringing with him their contingents to La
Stellata, where the League lay almost inactive during the siege of
Ficheruolo on the opposite bank of the Po, their offensive operations
being confined to a pretty constant and galling discharge of long
swivels across the river into the Venetian camp, which they also
submerged by cutting the banks of the Mincio. This irksome aggression
was answered by a message from Sanseverino that he would presently
return fire for their water, and by sending to Federigo a fox in a
cage, as a hint that, with all his cunning, he too might be entrapped;
a paltry taunt, which provoked only a smile from the veteran. No
warfare could be more irksome and inglorious; but Federigo, regarding
Ferrara as Italy's best bulwark against the ambitious maritime
Republic, resolved to defend it at any sacrifice. Ficheruolo held out
until the end of June, by which time the marsh fever had become more
fatal than human weapons, and mowed down both armies. The Venetian
proveditore or commissioner was among its earliest victims; but, as
the summer heats increased, the epidemic spread with augmented
virulence, until 20,000 men are said to have perished in this
miserable contest. Passing over the sad details, we may borrow from
Sanuto an absurd incident which varied these horrors. In order to
divert the people from their misfortunes, and to inspire them with
courage, their sovereign had devolved extensive powers upon a
commission or council of sixteen "sages," and the Duchess sent for a
wandering friar, whose eloquence and sanctity were in high repute, to
preach in the cathedral. One of his orations was wound up by an offer
to provide an armada of twelve galleons, which should disperse the
Venetian force before Ficheruolo. On the appointed day he produced a
dozen of pennons, each surmounted by a cross, along with figures of
Christ, the Madonna, and forty saints; and with these he formed a
procession, marching at its head, and followed by a concourse of
fanatics to the river's brink, opposite the leaguer. There he
commenced shouting a sermon across the stream to Sanseverino; but the
Duke of Urbino, attracted by the hubbub, sent him away, covered with
ridicule, saying, "Why, Father, the Venetians are not possessed! Tell
the Duchess it is money, artillery, and troops that we want to expel
them." Although Federigo's obstinate policy averted from the doomed
capital the visitation of a siege, its miseries were scarcely the less
from such exemption. Many dead bodies, thrown by both armies into the
river, aggravated the pestilence, which, spreading to the city, so
deterred the peasantry, that its supplies were interrupted, until
famine augmented the mortality. In this crisis, Sanzi represents the
commander of the League as addressing to the Pontiff the following

     "Most holy Father! turn thy face away
     From this so needless and destructive war,
     Which direst ills on Italy entails:
     Thy pastor's hand put forth that rose to pluck,
     Ere others reap its glory: be invoked
     With sov'reign and paternal care to free,
     From discipline so ruinous and harsh,
     Rome, and the dwellers in Ausonia's lands,
     Whose bootless passions, pitiably wrecked,
     In suicidal outrage spend themselves,
     With benefit to none. While time remains,
     Oh, Sire! this fatal error shun, nor choose
     A course which all your merit tarnishes!"

[Footnote 197: See ch. xxviii. and Appendix to vol. II.]

The game in which Sixtus had engaged was one of selfish ambition and
nepotism, and he played it boldly, unmoved by this appeal, or by the
straits to which he was reduced by his lawless barons. In the words of
the same old chronicler,--

     "Hapless was then the holy Father's case,
     Each house in Rome a garrison, each street
     Alive with armed escorts; e'en by day
     Rapine was rife as in the lonely wood,
     And unredressed, while cardinals
     Were seized in full consistory; for now
     Colonna's and Savelli's bands were up;
     The Pontiff's power at discount."

Under a robust frame Federigo concealed the taint of a vitiated
constitution, and though but entering upon the autumn of life, long
exposure and fatigue, aggravated by repeated severe accidents, had
anticipated the effects of age. Yet he rallied from the first attack
of malaria, at all times dangerous to one of his years, and, had he
yielded to the persuasions of friends and confederates by retiring to
Bologna during the unhealthy season, his valuable life might have been
spared. He owned the justice of their apprehensions, but, deeming his
personal danger in remaining to be fully counterbalanced by the
probable loss of Ferrara, which, at that juncture, he considered the
key-stone of Italian policy, should he quit the army, he rejected the
reiterated representations of his family and adherents, refusing on
any consideration to relinquish the post of honour and duty. But,
whilst he spared not himself, he ever and anon renewed to the allied
powers his remonstrances against their folly in thus pitting a brave
army against a noxious climate. As his saddest trial was to see fresh
levies of his attached subjects prostrated by sickness on arriving
from the healthful breezes of their native uplands, he sent away his
son Antonio, with all whom he could spare, reserving in the camp at
La Stellata but 400 of his immediate followers, whom the foggy
atmosphere and putrid water soon thinned away to forty.

[Illustration: _Anderson_


_After the picture by Justus van Ghent, once in the Ducal Collection
at Urbino, now in the Palazzo Barberini in Rome_]

A relapse of fever having supervened about the beginning of September,
he felt that his end was approaching, and calling around him the
commissioners of the League, showed them how all his repeated warnings
had come true, protesting that his life was sacrificed to unflinching
duty in an evil cause. After exposing to them his plan of escape from
the jaws of destruction, by removing the seat of operations into a
healthy part of Lombardy, he recommended to them the surrounding
country and fortresses, and then formally resigned his command, thus
briefly reviewing his military career:--

     "To Heaven's almighty Lord my thanks are due
     For eight-and-forty years of manhood, spent
     In war's most worthy calling, though of these
     Three-fourths the cares of high command on me
     Imposed, beneath time-honoured banners, all
     Unstained by foreign insult, and upheld
     Proudly victorious. Mine the task has been
     To conquer further frontiers for their states,
     With gainful triumphs and distinctions high,
     Or vindicate a good and lasting peace."[198]

[Footnote 198: Sanzi.]

The commissioners at length, by affectionate persuasions, induced the
invalid to leave his army in charge of the Lord Giulio Orsini, and
withdraw to Ferrara, where a villa of the Duke was prepared for his
reception.[199] But it was too late. The disease rapidly gaining
ground, he set himself to prepare for death like a Christian hero,
and, by the grace of God, was permitted to do so in full exercise of
his mental powers. "Having arranged all matters pertaining to the
succession of his son, he began to attend to his soul's salvation,
and after confessing himself repeatedly, as a faithful and good
Christian, he set in order all that seemed to him tending to his
future welfare, and took, in their prescribed order, the sacraments of
the Church. It was graciously vouchsafed him from on high to perform
all this with a mind amply prepared by full examination, so that
nothing was omitted that behoved a faithful Christian; and this favour
was granted him by God for his perseverance through life in the
habitual exercise of virtue, for on every occasion his clemency
entitled him to the appellation of father of the miserable, and
protector of the afflicted."[200]

[Footnote 199: Machiavelli says he died at Bologna, but this is a
mistake. Sanzi tells us he meant to do so, but was persuaded by the
Duchess Leonora to prefer her capital.]

[Footnote 200: Vespasiano da Bisticci.]

Among the friends who tended his last hours was his secretary,
Comandino Comandini, to whom he gave instructions for his funeral; but
his son, Count Antonio, having come from the army to visit him, was,
according to Sanzi, received with this reproof:--

     "How! wouldst thou thus my gallant comrades quit,
     In time of need, to gaze upon a corpse?
     Far other course the urgent hour demands!
     The sacred church's all-consoling rites,
     Like staid and thoughtful Christian, then he sought:
     Nor did they fail his latest pangs to cheer.
     Few were the watchers round his lonely couch,
     To whom, in sadly soothing words, he spoke
     Of gentle kindness, and to God his soul
     In peace committed, spurning mundane moils....
     With holy zeal his last behests were told
     In charity and love; and, having touched
     The hand of each in turn, with tears bedewed,
     That lofty and unvanquished spirit sped;
     Whilst on his lips, with pious fervour, late
     Lingered the names of God and of our Lady,
     Giving good hope, if man such signs may read,
     That to a glorious home its flight was winged."

Veterani, another laureate of Urbino, composed a touching sonnet on
his patron's death, which begins thus:--

     "With ever-welling tears I weep for him,
       On him I call, of him I nightly dream,
       And to my lips his cherished image strain,
     Till by my stains of grief its smile grows dim.
       To it my verse I vow, it living deem
       For solace of my stricken soul, in vain!"

The Duke died on the 10th of September, within a few days of the
premature decease of Roberto Malatesta of Rimini, his son-in-law, and
successor in command of the papal troops.[*201] Aided by the factious
barons of the Campagna, the Duke of Calabria had gradually penetrated
to the gates of Rome, when Roberto, on the 21st of August, dispersed
his army in a pitched battle, and returned in triumph as saviour of
the Eternal City. His death supervened in a few days, in consequence
of a draught of cold water, or, as some thought, of poison
administered by the jealous Count of Forlì; and Sixtus, to testify
gratitude or remove suspicion, forthwith erected a monument to his
general in St. Peter's, with an epitaph testifying that his life had
been attended by valour, his death by victory.[202]

[Footnote *201: He died on the same day (September 10) as the Duke.
See BERN. ZAMBOTTO, _Silva Cronicarum_, Bib. Civica di Ferrara, MS.
470, f. 104 v. under Settem. 10, 1482: "The Duke of Urbino,
Captain-General of all the army of the league, returning sick, in the
ducal chambers of the garden towards our Duke's chapel of Our Lady in
the palace with continual fever, died to-day at the sixteenth hour,
and I saw him lying dead in his room under a covering of crimson
velvet. He was conveyed by his own people to Urbino to be buried."
Zambotto is writing in Ferrara, the palace--corte--is the present
Palazzo del Municipio, and "our Duke" is the Duke of Ferrara. I am
able to publish this note by the kindness of Mr. E.G. Gardner who sent
it me. His book _Dukes and Poets at Ferrara_ (Constable, 1904) should
be consulted concerning Ferrara.]

[Footnote 202: The following pompous epitaph was written for

     "Io son colui che venne, vidi, e vinsi
     L'invitto Duce, e Roma liberai,
     E lui da gloria, e me da vita spinsi."

     The chief was I who came, and saw, and beat
     The Duke, till then unconquered, freeing Rome.
     I spilt my life, but spent my foeman's fame.]

Although character is usually best estimated by the evidence of
contemporaries speaking from personal knowledge, some allowance must
be made for the language of adulation applied to princes by their
subjects or favourites. Yet in reference to one whose elevated
qualities are so well established as those of Federigo, less caution
than usual is requisite in adopting the words of his courtiers, and
seldom has the meed of praise been more amply confirmed by the award
of posterity. We shall, therefore, willingly give a place to the
testimony left by one of the most eminent of his acquaintances. Poggio
Bracciolino, who had studied the world in many courts and countries,
thus writes of him:--"Besides his rare eloquence and acquirements, and
the many excellent personal and mental endowments accorded him by
nature, his military skill was especially conspicuous, wherein he was
surpassed by no contemporary captain. For who does not know the
prudence of his undertakings, the promptitude of his actions, the
soundness of his decisions, rendering him as it were the model to our
age of those great men of antiquity gifted with all the arts of
command?" Francesco di Giorgio, the associate of his studies, and the
comrade of his campaigns towards the close of his glorious career,
ranks his generalship higher than any known to history from the days
of old Rome, and acknowledges himself his debtor for many important
suggestions as to fortification. The principle of his tactic was,
according to this most competent authority, great caution at the
commencement of an engagement, holding himself in readiness to support
any point exposed by mistake or failure of a subordinate; and, when
such opportunity occurred, an impetuous daring which, "with eyes to
see and wings to fly," remedied the mischief and secured the victory.
"Considerate of his soldiery, compassionate to the enemy, it was his
pleasure to mitigate the horrors and miseries of war. He was liberal
and merciful, but uncompromisingly just. An eloquent orator, a most
subtle philosopher, an eminent moralist, an expert and ingenious
mathematician, his intellectual habits were confirmed by long and
constant practice. So intense was his admiration of worth, that he
sought to attract to his court and reward every man conspicuous by
virtue and attainments. A Mars in the field, a Minerva in his
administration, he was equally feared and loved." Such is an abstract
of the character which Francesco terms but an atom of the encomium due
to his patron.

Let us now hear Pirro Pirotti, who seasons his tribute with something
more quaint and racy than most of the eulogists who followed in his
wake. In dedicating to Federigo the Cornucopia of his uncle Nicolò
(who had united the medley honours of apostolic secretary, governor of
Umbria, archbishop of Siponto, and poet-laureate of Frederick III.),
Pirro apostrophises its happiness, "in having you as the foremost to
welcome and assign it a place in this your palace, so truly worthy of
a victorious prince. At the first glance which it will enjoy on
entering your magnificent library, all glittering in marble, silver,
and gold, though without speech or life, it will seem to exult and
rejoice. It will also be read by you, in whom flourish all the virtues
desirable in a prince: it will experience your bounty, clemency,
courtesy, and wisdom. With you will it visit the porticoes, palaces,
fanes there raised, so costly and magnificent. It will admire your
experience in the arts of peace and of war; it will hear of your deeds
foreign and domestic, your successes far exceeding expectation, your
stratagems and triumphs, your fame, bounded but by the sun's far
circuit. It will survey with admiration your almost superhuman frame,
your robust limbs, your dignified bearing, your mature years, a rare
majesty, coupled with not less affability; qualities, in short,
befitting a prince selected as generalissimo of the Roman states. It
will further be the companion and sharer of your studies and your
discussions; it will witness all the honours you pay to professors of
belles-lettres, and the reception bestowed by you on men of learning,
in consequence whereof the fine arts, long exiled wanderers, are
through you alone restored to life and country."

Were we to quote every contemporary compliment to the Duke's
character, we should fatigue our readers with fulsome epithets. None
is more condensed or complete than the notice of his death by Pietro
Cyrneo, a resident in Venice, against which Federigo was then
fighting. "He was gifted with all virtues beyond all other mortals;
for he was a man of consummate prudence, truthful in his discourse,
righteous in his judgments, provident in his counsels, conspicuous for
his worth, distinguished for the uniform purity of his morals, liberal
of his charities; most eloquent, of unprecedented equity, consummate
justice, singular sincerity, superhuman wisdom; equally learned in
every branch of study, patient under reverses, most moderate in
prosperity; the bravest of generals."

One more such tribute, and we have done. It was paid by Vespasiano,
who concludes his biographical sketch with the attestation that,
having long resided at the court of Urbino, he witnessed most of what
he relates, and that whatever did not come under his own observation,
he had from persons of credit attached to the Duke's service.[203] "In
Messer Federigo were united many virtues, and his age produced no one
superior in every laudable quality. In military science, which was his
peculiar profession, he was excelled by no commander of his time;
uniting energy with consummate judgment, he conquered by prudence as
much as by force. The like wariness was observed in all his affairs;
and in none of his many battles was he ever worsted. More numerous
were the victories he gained and the places he captured, and all
redounding to his honour.... His modesty equalled his merit. Duke
Galeazzo Maria Sforza having one day observed, 'Whenever I have
fighting on hand, I should wish to keep by me your Lordship, who, in
my opinion, cannot be worsted'; he replied, 'I learned all that from
his excellency the Duke your father.'... Nor may I omit, among his
remarkable excellences, the strict observance of good faith, wherein
he never failed. All to whom he once gave his word, might testify to
his inviolate performance of it, but especially the two sovereigns of
Naples, whom he served above thirty-two years."

[Footnote 203: Vespasiano's Commentary, Vat. Urb. MSS. No. 941, fol.

Of Federigo's personal habits and conduct, we borrow some interesting
sketches from the same pen:--"He was singularly religious, and most
observant of the Divine commands. No morning ever passed without his
hearing mass on his knees. He fasted on all the vigils enjoined by the
Church, and during every Lent. The year preceding his death, the Lord
Ottaviano, being most affectionately attached to him, procured from
the papal court a dispensation for his eating flesh, which was
presented to him one morning at table; whereupon, turning to Ottaviano
and smiling, he thanked him, but added, 'Since I am able enough to
fast, why will you not let me do so? What an example should I give to
my people in omitting it!' and so continued his meagre fare as before.
Every morning he attended mass and sermon with his household, and such
others as chose. During his forenoon meal he had a homily of St. Leo,
or some other religious book, read to him, and when any striking
passage occurred, he made the reader pause that he might understand it
thoroughly. His clemency and compassion were remarkable, and he was
prone to pardon all offences, excepting blasphemy and fraudulent
murder. He daily distributed at his palace a considerable amount of
bread and wine, besides administering to the necessities of many
unfortunate persons of learning or of birth. He was, in short, a
refuge for all men of worth. Large were his donations to charitable
institutions, and his secret alms to modest paupers; indeed, none ever
vainly appealed to his compassion. When an ecclesiastic came into his
presence, he took his hand with much respect, and would not let him
speak until seated by him; indeed, he honoured all holy men beyond any
other personage of my day. He liberally endowed various monastic
orders, and extended his special protection to the nunnery of Sta.
Chiara, which he had built in Urbino, repairing weekly to the grating
to inquire after the welfare of her inmates from the superior, an aged
and honourable lady. Even his own establishment was conducted with the
regularity of a religious fraternity, rather than like a military
household. Gambling and swearing were unknown, and singular decorum of
language was observed, whilst numerous noble youths, sent there to
learn good manners and military discipline, were brought up under the
most exemplary tuition.

"His subjects he regarded as his children, and was at all times
accessible to hear them personally state their petitions, being
careful to give answers without unnecessary delay. He walked freely
about the streets, entering their shops and work-rooms, and inquiring
into their circumstances with paternal interest. On market-days he
went among the peasants, conversing and jesting with them about their
bargains. When riding through the country, he always accosted those
whom he met; and by these various means, so gained the attachment of
his subjects, that, as he passed by, they used to bend the knee and
shower blessings upon him. The large sums he spent at home, on
buildings and other improvements, enriched his people, among whom a
pauper was nowhere seen.

"In summer he was in the saddle at dawn, and rode three or four miles
in the country with half-a-dozen of his court, attended by one servant
and two footmen unarmed, reaching home again when others were just up.
After mass, he went into an open garden and gave audience to all
comers until breakfast-time. When at table, he listened to the Latin
historians, chiefly Livy, except in Lent, when some religious book was
read, any one being free to enter the hall and speak with him then.
His fare was plain and substantial, denying himself sweet dishes and
wines, except drinks of pomegranates, cherries, apples, or other
fruits. After dinner and supper, an able judge of appeal stated in
Latin the causes brought before him, on which the Duke gave judgment
in that language; and I have been assured that these decisions were
worthy of Bartolo and Baldi.[204] When his mid-day meal was finished,
if no one appeared to demand audience, he retired to his closet and
transacted private business, or listened to reading until evening
approached, when he generally walked out, giving patient ear to all
who accosted him in the streets. He then occasionally visited the
convent of Sta. Chiara, or at other times repaired to a meadow of the
Franciscans, where thirty or forty of the youths brought up in his
court stripped their doublets, and played at throwing the bar, or at
wrestling, or ball. This was a fine sight, which the Duke much
enjoyed, encouraging the lads, and listening freely to all until
supper-time. When that and the audiences were over, he repaired to a
private apartment with his principal courtiers, whom, after some
familiar discourse, he would dismiss to bed, taunting them on their
sluggish indulgences of a morning.

[Footnote 204: Two famous jurisconsults, whose portraits by Raffaele
in the Doria Pamfili gallery have preserved their names after their
decisions have been forgotten.[*E]]

[Footnote *E: Bartolo and Baldi are by no means forgotten. They were
Perugians, and are often alluded to as notable in the _Bollettino per
l'Umbria_, e.g. "un opinione di Bartolo."]

"Federigo inculcated courtesy as a most valuable quality in a
sovereign, and he practised it to a remarkable degree in his
intercourse with all ranks. He entertained a very modest estimate of
his own merits, but was most particular in recollecting and
acknowledging services of any sort, and in giving credit for
assistance where it was due: he never indulged in detraction nor
permitted it in his presence. Though of a naturally choleric temper,
he by long attention brought it entirely under control, and was on all
occasions the peace-maker among his people. In short, no state of
Italy for a long period had been ruled by a sovereign in all respects
so worthy of admiration."

It would have been easy to condense the substance of these extracts in
smoother language and more balanced periods, but we prefer laying them
before the reader in their original form, and with the genuine impress
of the grateful feelings which dictated them. Although already
occupying so large a space, we venture to add a passage from Muzio,
who, writing seventy-two years after Federigo's death, had gleaned
from the traditions of Urbino several traits characteristic at once of
his hero, and of what is not less germane to our purpose, the
primitive manners of an age when European civilisation was starting
into vigour.

"In person, Federigo was of the common height, well made and
proportioned, active and stout, enduring of cold and heat, apparently
affected neither by hunger nor thirst, by sleeplessness nor fatigue.
His expression was cheerful and frank; he never was carried away by
passion, nor showed anger unless designedly. His language was equally
remarkable for modesty and politeness; and such his sobriety that,
having once had the gout, he immediately left off wine, and never
again returned to it. His inclinations were naturally amorous and
addicted to sensual indulgence, but so entirely were they under
control, that even in earliest youth nothing was ever alleged against
him inconsistent with decorum and the due influence of his rank. He
was uniformly courteous and benignant to those of private station, as
well as to his equals and to men of birth. With his soldiers he was
ever familiar, calling them all friends and brethren, and often
addressing them as gentlemen or honoured brothers, whilst he
personally assisted the sick and wounded and supplied them with money.
None such were excluded from his table; indeed he caressed and invited
them by turns, so that all loved, honoured, served, and extolled him,
and those who had once been under his command were unwilling to follow
any other leader.

"But if his kindness was notable in the camp, it was much more so
among his people. While at Urbino, he daily repaired to the
market-place, whither the citizens resorted for gossip and games, as
well as for business, mixing freely with them, and joining in
discourse, or looking on at their sports, like one of themselves,
sitting among them, or leaning on some one by the hand or arm. If, in
passing through the town, he noticed any one building a house, he
would stop to inquire how the work went on, encouraging him to
beautify it, and offering him aid if required, which he gave as well
as promised. Should any answer him, that although desirous of making a
handsome dwelling, he was frustrated by the refusal of some neighbour
to part with an adjoining hovel at a fair price, Federigo sent for its
obstructive owner, and urged him to promote the improvement of the
city, kindly assisting to arrange a home for him elsewhere. On hearing
that a merchant had suffered loss in his business, he would enter his
shop to inquire familiarly into his affairs, and, after learning the
extent of his difficulties, would advance him the means of restoring
his credit and trade. Once, meeting a citizen who had daughters to
marry, he said to him, 'How is your family?--have you got any of your
girls disposed of?' And being answered that he was ill able to endow
them, he helped him with money or an appointment, or set him in some
way of bettering himself. Indeed, such instances were numberless of
his charitable and sympathising acts, among which were the numerous
poor children of talent or studious tastes whom he educated out of
love for letters. On the death of those in his service, he took
special interest in their families, providing for their maintenance or
education, or appointing them to offices, and continually inquiring in
person as to their welfare. When the people came forth to meet him as
he went through his state, receiving him with festive demonstrations,
he had for each a word. To one, 'How are you?' to another,'How is your
old father?' or 'Where is your brother?' to a third, 'How does your
trade thrive?' or 'Have you got a wife yet?' One he took by the hand;
he put his hand on the shoulder of another; but spoke to all
uncovered, so that Ottaviano Ubaldini used to say, when any person was
much occupied, 'Why, you have more to do than Federigo's bonnet!'
Indeed, he often told the Duke that his cap was overworked, hinting
that he ought to maintain more dignity with his subjects. Talking of
his courtesy: when returning one day from Fossombrone to Urbino, he
met a bride being escorted to her husband by four citizens, as was
then customary; he at once dismounted, and joined them in accompanying
her, and sharing in their festivities.

"Many similar anecdotes are preserved of him at Urbino and other
places; and it is told that, during a year of great scarcity, several
citizens secretly stored up grain, in order to make a large profit,
which being known to the Duke, he summoned them to his presence, and
thus addressed them:--'My people, you see how severe is the dearth;
and that, unless some measures be adopted, it will increase daily. It
is thus my duty to provide for the support of the population. If,
therefore, any of you possess grain, say so, and let a note of it be
made, in order that it may be gradually brought to market for supply
of the needy; and I shall make up what is required, by importing from
Apulia all that is necessary for my state.' Some there were who stated
that they had a surplus beyond their own wants; others said they had
not even enough. Of the latter he demanded how much more they
required, and had a list taken of what each asked. He then regulated
the sale of what had been surrendered; and sent meanwhile to Apulia
for a large store of corn. When it arrived, he prohibited all further
sales of grain, and called upon those who had stated themselves as
short of supplies to purchase from him the quota they had applied for,
accepting of no excuse, on the allegation that, having bought in a
quantity for them, he could not let it be useless. Thus were those
punished who, refusing to sell what they had over at a fair price,
lost the advantage of their stock, and were forced to pay for more. In
the distribution of this imported grain, he desired that the poor who
could not pay in cash, should be supplied on such security as they
could offer. The distribution took place in the court of the palace,
under charge of Comandino, his secretary; and when any poor man came,
representing that, with a starving family and nothing left to sell, he
could find no cautioner, Federigo, after listening from a window to
the argument, would call out, 'Give it him, Comandino, I shall become
bound for him.' And subsequently when his ministers wished to enforce
payment from the securities, he in many instances prevented them,
saying, 'I am not a merchant: it is gain enough to have saved my
people from hunger.'

"There arose a notable matter which he had to settle, in reference to
Urbino. The citizens, having come to a resolution that no one from the
country ought to have houses in the town, petitioned Federigo to pass
such a law, on the ground that, the city being theirs, no one else
ought to intrude pretensions to it. He replied that there was much
reason in this, and that he wished to gratify them in every such just
proposal; but, before doing so, he wished their opinion what he ought
to say, should the country-folks in turn ask a favour, alleging that,
as the city was for the townsfolk, and the rural districts for
themselves, the citizens should be prohibited from holding extra-mural
property. Not knowing what to answer, they remained silent, and no
longer asked for any law of the sort. He was most particular in the
performance of justice, in acts as well as words. His master of the
household having obtained large supplies for the palace from a certain
tradesman, who had also many courtly creditors, and could not get
paid, the latter was obliged to have recourse to the Duke, who said,
'Summon me at law.' The man was retiring with a shrug of his
shoulders, when his lord told him not to be daunted, but to do what he
had desired, and it would turn out for his advantage and that of the
town. On his replying that no tipstaff could be found to hazard it,
Federigo sent an order to one to do whatever this merchant might
require for the ends of justice. Accordingly, as the Sovereign issued
from the palace with his retinue, the tipstaff stood forward, and
cited him to appear next day before the podestà, on the complaint of
such-a-one. Whereupon he, looking round, called for the master of his
household, and said, in presence of the court, 'Hear you what this man
says? Now give such instructions as shall save me from having to
appear from day to day before this or that tribunal.' And thus, not
only was the man paid, but his will was made clear to all,--that those
who owed should pay, without wronging their creditors.


_After the portrait by Piero della Francesca in the National Gallery_]

"It having been represented to him that the fashion of going armed
gave daily occasion for brawls and tumults, he made the podestà put
forth a proclamation that no one should carry any weapon, and took
care to be passing with his court when the crier was publishing it.
Stopping to listen, he turned:--'Our podestà must have some good
reason for this order, and that being so, it is right he should be
obeyed.' He then, unbuckling his sword, gave it to one of his suite to
be taken home; whereupon all the others did the same. Thus by his
example he maintained more prompt and perfect justice than others
could effect by sentences, bail-bonds, imprisonments, tortures, or the
halter; ... and it was just when he made least show of power that he
was most a sovereign. One Nicolò da Cagli, an old and distinguished
soldier in his service, having lost a suit, went to Fossombrone to
lodge an appeal with Federigo, and, finding that he was hunting in the
park, followed him, without ever considering that the time and place
were ill adapted for such a purpose. At the moment when he put his
petition into his sovereign's hand, a hart went by with the hounds in
full cry. The Count spurred after them, and in the hurry of the moment
dropped the petition, which Nicolò taking as a personal slight, he
retired in great dudgeon, and went about abusing him roundly, as
unjust, ungrateful, and haughty. Federigo hearing of this, ordered the
commissary of Cagli to send the veteran to Urbino, who hesitated to
obey the summons, dreading punishment of his rashness. In reliance,
however, on his master's leniency, and his own merits, he set out, and
found the Count at breakfast in the great audience chamber. It was
customary while at his meals, for those who had the entrée to fall
back on each side, leaving the entrance clear, so that he saw Nicolò
come in: and when he had done eating, he called and thus addressed
him:--'I hear that you go about speaking much ill of me, and as I am
not aware of having ever offended you, I desire to know what you have
been saying, and of what you complain.' At first he turned it off with
some excuse, but on being pressed for an explanation, he recounted
what had occurred in the park; and that, considering his long and
zealous service, his sacrifices and wounds, it appeared to him a
slight, and virtually a cut direct, to run after a wild beast when he
came in search of justice; that having in consequence let slip the
opportunity of appealing, and so, irretrievably lost a cause of much
importance, he had in irritation given too great licence to his
tongue. Whereupon, Federigo, turning to the bystanders, said, 'Now see
what obligations I am under to my subjects, who not only peril their
lives in my service, but also teach me how to govern my state!' and
continued thus to the litigant, 'Friend Nicolò! you are quite right;
and since you have suffered from my fault, I shall make it up to you.'
He then ordered the commissary of Cagli to pay him down the value of
the house, and all his travelling expenses, although the fault was
clearly his for not bringing his appeal at a fitter time. Again,
during one severe winter, the monks at S. Bernardino,[*205] being
snowed up, and without any stores, rang their bells for assistance;
the alarm reaching Urbino, Federigo called out the people, and went at
their head to cut a way and carry provisions to the good friars."

[Footnote *205: About a mile to the east of Urbino.]

These extracts, illustrating the true spirit of a paternal government,
amply account for the esteem in which the Duke of Urbino was held by
contemporaries, and for his fame which still survives in Italy,
although partially obscured north of the Alps by Sismondi's
indifference to whatever merit emerged among the petty sovereigns of
that fair land. Immensely superior to most of them in intellectual
refinement and in personal worth, he may be regarded as, in military
tactics, the type of his age, and was sought for and rewarded
accordingly. He served as captain-general under three pontiffs, two
kings of Naples, and two dukes of Milan. He repeatedly bore the baton
of Florence, and refused that of Venice. He was engaged by several of
the recurring Italian leagues as their leader in the field. From the
popes he earned his dukedom, and the royal guerdons of the Rose, the
Hat, and the Sword. Henry VII of England[*206] sent him the Garter;
Ferdinand of Naples conferred on him the Ermine. In fine, Marcilio
Ficino, a philosopher as well as a courtier, cited him as the ideal of
a perfect man and a wise prince.

[Footnote *206: It was Edward IV., not Henry VII., who only came to
the throne in 1485, whereas Federigo was invested with the Order at
Grottoferrata in 1474. Cf. _supra_, 214.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Federigo's dying requests were, that his nephew and confidential
friend Ottaviano Ubaldini should charge himself with the care of his
youthful heir, and that his body should be interred by that of his
father in the parish church of S. Donato, a short distance eastward
from Urbino. The funeral, though celebrated with

     "Those rites which custom doth impose,"

was more remarkable for the heartfelt grief which attested the
calamity fallen upon his people. His funeral oration, pronounced by
Odasio, whom we shall afterwards find performing the like sad office
to his son, is preserved in the Vatican, and has furnished us with
some traits of his character. His body, duly embalmed, was enclosed in
a marble sarcophagus in the new church of the Zoccolantines, which he
left unfinished, close to that of S. Donato.[*207] Thirty years after
his death, it was laid open by his grandson, Duke Francesco Maria, who
reverently plucked a few hairs from his manly breast.[208] The tomb,
thus strangely violated, remained open, and Baldi, who wrote in 1603,
describes the corpse as still perfect, except a slight injury to the
nose, and resembling a wooden figure, fleshless, and covered with
white skin. It was attired after the fashion of Italy, in a gala dress
of crimson satin and scarlet, with a sword by its side. Muzio tells us
that he too had seen the body half a century before, when it was
visited by Duke Guidobaldo II. and many of his people.

[Footnote *207: He lies now in S. Bernardino, beside Duke Guidobaldo.]

[Footnote 208: Vat. Urb. MSS., No. 489, f. 11. Odasio's oration is No.
1233. The Duke's epitaph will be found in the Appendix to Vol. III.
His favour for this church has been already alluded to. It was
rewarded, in 1470, by a rescript from the general of the order of
Minims, granting all the spiritual privileges of that fraternity to
him, his consort, and children, including a right to its peculiar
funeral services,--fit guerdon for

     "A race that nobly, fearlessly,
     On their hearts' worship poured a wealth of love."]

       *       *       *       *       *

We may here notice six likenesses still preserving to us the form and
fashion of that body, with which his people's posterity thus strangely
held converse, beginning with, I. the portraits of Federigo and his
consort, painted in tempera by Piero della Francesca, now in the
Uffizi gallery at Florence, which we reproduce. The individuality
belonging alike to the features and the costumes could scarcely be
doubted, even had we not historical authority for the Count's broken
nose, and that of Giovanni Sanzi for Battista's "grave and modest
eye," already more particularly mentioned at page 218.[*209] The clear
tone and enamel finish are admirable, notwithstanding a thick varnish,
with which old tempera pictures are invariably dabbled, under the
recent management of the Florence gallery. The panels are painted on
both sides, the subjects on the reverse being triumphs of the two
sovereigns in a style of mythological allegory then in fashion. On a
car drawn by two milk-white steeds with docked tails, driven by Cupid,
Federigo sits on a curule chair, in full armour, pointing forward with
his truncheon, and holding a helmet on his knee, whilst a winged
Victory, standing behind, crowns him with a garland. On the front of
the car ride four female figures, one of whom, representing Force, has
in her arms a broken Corinthian column; another, emblematic of
Prudence, is placed in the centre of the group, holding a mirror in
her hand; her face, bright with youthful hope, looks in advance to the
future, and the profile or mask of a bearded and wrinkled old man,
affixed to the back of her Janus head, contemplates the past with
matured experience; a metaphor closely followed by Raffaele for his
Jurisprudence in the Stanza della Segnatura. Justice is introduced
with her scales and two-edged sword; and the fourth figure is
scarcely seen. The distant country, in this as in the others of these
pictures, shows that their author was unable to apply to landscape the
excellence in linear perspective displayed by his architectural
designs. Countess Battista's triumph is similarly treated; but her car
is drawn by bay unicorns, types of purity, and she sits on a chair of
state, splendidly attired, with an open book on her knee. Behind her a
bright maiden, meant probably for Truth, contrasts with an elderly
female in semi-monastic dress who may be intended for

     "A pensive nun, devout and pure,
     Sober, steadfast, and demure,
     All in a robe of darkest grain,
     Flowing with majestic train,
     And ashy stole of Cyprus lawn
     Over her decent shoulders drawn."

[Footnote *209: Cf. _L'Arte_, ann. IX., fasc. i. (Miscellanea).]

On the front of the car, Faith, with cross and chalice, sits by
Religion, on whose knee the pelican feeds her young, emblematic of the
Saviour's love for mankind. Under each of these allegorical paintings
is a strophe of Sapphic measure, which may be thus rendered:--

"In gorgeous triumph is borne the hero, whom enduring fame worthily
celebrates as a sovereign, equalling in his virtues the greatest

"Thus conducted amid her prosperity, and illustrated by the laurels of
her mighty husband's deeds, her name circles in the mouths of

[Footnote 210:

     Clarus insigni vehitur triumpho,
     Quem, parem summis ducibus, perhennis
     Fama virtutum celebrat decenter
         Sceptra tenentem.

     Quemodum rebus tenuit secundis,
     Conjugis magni decorata rerum
     Laude gestarum, volitat per ora
         Cuncta virorum.]

II. Our next portrait of this Duke was probably obtained by the
Barberini family at the devolution of Urbino to the Holy See, about
1630, and remains in their palace at Rome. It is on a three-quarters
panel, life size, in full armour, wearing the ducal mantle of crimson
flowered with gold, and an ermine cape. From his neck hangs the order
of the Ermine, and below his left knee is the Garter. The ducal cap of
yellow silk, thickly studded with pearls, hangs on a tall lectern in
front of his armchair. He holds a crimson book, and reads from it to
his son, standing by his knee, in a yellow frock richly jewelled, a
sceptre in the boy's right hand. This head and figure have been copied
by Clovio, in an illuminated volume which we shall describe in VI. of
the Appendix; and although ascribed to Mantegna, they may rather be a
work of Piero della Francesca (if I may form an opinion after the
single visit and distant inspection allowed me in 1845 by its jealous
owner), but always with the proviso that that able artist's
blindness[*211] had not supervened in 1478, when, from the prince's
age, this picture must have been done. We have no notice of Mantegna
having been at Urbino, although this is probable, from Sanzi's
admiration of him.[212]

[Footnote *211: It is to Vasari we owe the statement that Piero was
blind in 1458, being then sixty years old (cf. VASARI, _Vite_, vol.
II., p. 500). This appears to be another of Vasari's mistakes. Fra
Luca, who records so many facts concerning his master, is silent as to
his blindness, while if dates are looked into they will easily
disprove the statement. Cf. W.G. WATERS, _Piero della Francesca_
(London, 1901), p. 93.]

[Footnote 212: See his catalogue of painters in the Appendix to our
second volume.]

III. In 1843, there was in the possession of the widow Comerio, at
Milan, a very small head of Federigo on copper, which she wished to
sell as a Raffaele for 200_l._ I have learned, by the kindness of an
intelligent friend, that it is a good old copy of the seventeenth
century, the composition slightly varied from the Barberini picture
and Clovio miniature. It may have been the original of a poor
engraving prefixed to Muzio's life of this Duke, and would scarcely
have been noticed here had not the Abbé Pungileone, with his usual
lack of discrimination, ventured a conjecture that it was done by
Raffaele from a work of his father; a random guess, discountenanced by
the Italian editor of Quartremere de Quincy, notwithstanding his
readiness to adopt _all_ speculative Raffaeles in the hands of his
Milanese townsmen. It is a duty to expose such blunders, especially
when greedily adopted as a foundation for imposture.

IV. The picture of which we have now to speak possesses strong claims
upon our interest. Among the artists of Urbino who will figure in our
twenty-seventh chapter was Fra Carnevale, a Dominican monk, who, at
the Duke's desire, painted, for his new church of the Zoccolantines,
an altar-piece, transferred by French rapine to the Brera gallery at
Milan, where the imperfect restitution of 1815 has left it. Tradition,
fortified by a questionable MS., points out the Madonna and child as
portraits of Countess Battista and her son, while Federigo's figure
kneeling before her throne, cannot be mistaken. But, as we shall
afterwards have occasion to show, the genius of Christian art was at
that time opposed to embodying in sacred personages the lineaments of
real life, and, although the apocryphal legend has been received
without challenge by two recent commentators on Fra Carnevale, a
monkish limner seems unlikely to have infringed the rule.[213]
Marchese, correctly describing the picture from Rosini's print, tells
us that before the enthroned Madonna and four attendant saints "is the
Duke of Urbino in armour, prostrate on his knees, and imploring her
favour for himself and his children, who appear grouped behind the
throne." After praising the life-like heads of these portraits, this
critic from the cloisters questions the propriety of so stowing away
the ducal progeny. But an artist friend, who at my request examined
the original work since I have been able to do so, informs me that the
latter are winged angels in long white robes and pearl necklaces,
although with faces apparently taken from the life. Federigo's figure
is unquestionably introduced, by a usual and very beautiful licence,
as donor of this altar-piece, thus bearing witness to the devotional
spirit which dictated his gift; and could we have it replaced in the
church that was reared at his bidding, over against the sarcophagus
which contains his remains, and believe that on its panel, painted in
pious commemoration of the birth of an heir, are preserved the
features of six of his family, no more interesting memorial of
Urbino's golden days could be conceived.

[Footnote 213: The Abbé Pungileone, in his _Elogio di Giovanni Sanzi_,
and Padre Marchese, in his _Memorie dei Pittori Domenicani_, both
adopt, without examination, the identity of the Madonna and Child with
the Duke's wife and son. The picture is engraved in Rosini, Plate 93,
and in the Brera gallery.]

V. This Duke's portrait is delineated in another altar-piece at
Urbino, in which, being from the hand of a Fleming, such mixture of
sacred and historical art is less inconsistent. Having already alluded
at page 205 to the occasion on which it was commissioned, and having
to describe it in our thirtieth chapter, we need not further notice it

VI. I saw at Florence in 1845, in the hands of Signor di Tivoli,
master of languages, an interesting but ruined picture painted on
panel, apparently by a Venetian master of the sixteenth century. In a
chair of state, on the elevated platform of a vast hall, is seated
Duke Federigo, with Guidobaldo at his knee, the Garter embroidered on
his left sleeve, and its star on his ducal mantle. Three courtiers
stand behind him, and another group on the floor below, listening to
the prelections of a figure in black robes. On a cornice of the saloon
conjecture this subject to be a sitting of the Academy degli
Assorditi, though it may represent Odasio or some other lettered guest
reading his compositions: in either case the painting is an
interesting, though scarcely contemporary, memorial of this lettered

[Footnote 214: Several important medallions of Federigo are described
in our thirtieth chapter, and, in our fifty-third, a statue erected to
him in the palace at Urbino by his great-great-grandson, Francesco
Maria II.]

       *       *       *       *       *

By his first marriage Federigo had no family, but his wife Battista
Sforza brought him eight children in twelve years. Their son was the
youngest, but the daughters' seniority is disputed.

     1. GUIDOBALDO, his heir.

     2. A daughter, who died in infancy, 1461.

     3. ELISABETTA, born in 1461-2, betrothed March 1471, and
     married in 1475 to Roberto Malatesta, Lord of Rimini, with
     12,000 florins of dowry. This match was intended to solder
     up the long feuds of the Montefeltri and Malatesta. At the
     age of twenty she heard, at the same moment, of the deaths
     of her husband and her father, and soon after assumed the
     veil by the name of Sister Chiara, in a convent of
     Franciscan minor observantines which she founded at Urbino
     in honour of that saint, endowing it with all her

     4. GIOVANNA, married in 1474, to Giovanni della Rovere,
     nephew of Sixtus IV., who became Lord of Sinigaglia and
     Prefect of Rome. From this marriage sprang the second
     dynasty of Urbino, as we shall see in chapter xxxi.

     5. AGNESINA, married in 1474 to Fabrizio Colonna, Lord of
     Marino, Duke of Albi and Tagliacozza. She inherited the
     talents and literary tastes which, as we have already seen,
     had descended to her mother, and transmitted them to a still
     more gifted daughter, the illustrious Vittoria Colonna,
     Marchioness of Pescara. Of this marriage was also born
     Ascanio Colonna, Duke of Palliano, who, in 1526 and 1529,
     set up claims upon Urbino, on the ground that his mother was
     an elder sister of the Prefectess Giovanna.

     6. COSTANZA, married to Antonello Sanseverino, Prince of
     Salerno, and had a son born in 1507. Their grandson was the
     patron of Bernardo Tasso, whom we shall mention in chapter

     7. CHIARA, a nun.

     8. VIOLANTE, married to Galeotto Malatesta.

Federigo's natural children were:--

     1. BONCONTE, a youth of singular promise and
     accomplishments, on whom, in absence of legitimate issue,
     were centred his father's hopes. Having been sent at
     fourteen to the court of Naples, he died there of plague.

     2. ANTONIO, who was legitimated, along with his eldest
     brother, in 1454, and became a student. But soon devoting
     himself to arms, he attended his father in many campaigns,
     and especially in the fatal one of Ferrara. A cloud,
     however, came over his military renown at the battle of the
     Taro in 1495, where he misconducted himself under the banner
     of St. Mark. He married Emilia, youngest daughter of Marco
     Pio of Carpi, and died childless soon after 1500. His wife
     was the chief ornament of Urbino when its court was the
     model of intellectual refinement, and she will often be
     noticed in after portions of this work. Her charming social
     qualities are celebrated in prose and verse by Castiglione,
     and she is called by Bembo a magnanimous and prudent lady,
     remarkable for wisdom as for warm affection. The Duchess
     Elisabetta, whose friend and companion she had been, alike
     during the bright days of wedlock and the blight of
     widowhood, bequeathed to her in 1527 the liferent of Poggio
     d'Inverno, and appointed her an executrix of her will. Her
     portrait from a medal will be found in our second volume.

     3. BERNARDINO, who died at Castel Durante, 1458.

     4. GENTILE, a celebrated beauty, who married Agostino
     Fregoso of Genoa, and had the Montefeltrian fief of Sta.
     Agatha. Their sons, Ottaviano and Federigo Fregoso, will
     figure in our twenty-first chapter, and attained the
     respective dignities of Doge of Genoa and Cardinal.
     Ottaviano's posterity were Marquises of Sta. Agatha in the
     seventeenth century.




     The early promise of Duke Guidobaldo I.--Count Girolamo
     Riario assassinated--The Duke's marriage--Comparative quiet
     of Italy.

In the life of Duke Federigo we have seen personal merit accompanied
by a remarkable continuance of good fortune. The mystery of his birth
was no bar to his enjoying unquestioned a sovereignty to which he
could not have established any clear right. The popular outbreak which
had cut off his predecessor shook not the stability of his dynasty. To
the fief he thus peaceably acquired he added important territories by
marriage and purchase. He transmitted to a hopeful son an important
and flourishing state, and with it the highest title compatible with
his station, obtained by his personal merits. Among competitors and
opponents of great military renown he was ever conspicuous, and almost
uniformly victorious. In an age when letters and arts began their
rivalry with arms he retained, as the Maecenas of a cultivated court,
the fame he had gained as a successful general. The biographers of
Guidobaldo[*215] have justly ascribed to him no inferior merit, while
they have strongly contrasted the persecutions of fortune which he
endured; and they have established the probability that, with equal
years and equal advantages, his memory might have not been less
glorious than that of his father. Those portents attending the
Prince's birth, to which a miraculous character was assigned by the
gratitude or superstition of the people, have been mentioned in a
preceding chapter. It took place at Gubbio on the 17th or 24th of
January, 1472, and on the 2nd of February he was baptized Guido Ubaldo
Girolamo Vincenzo;[*216] the first pair of these names, given in
memory of the old counts of Urbino, and of the patron saint of that
city, was commonly used by him in its contracted form GUIDOBALDO. The
court of his father, ever attractive to eminent men, was soon after
visited by the venerable Cardinal Bessarion, who, after being twice
within a vote or two of the triple tiara, was returning from his last
diplomatic mission to England a few months before his death. Federigo
availed himself of this opportunity to obtain for the infant the rite
of confirmation, though but three months' old. In two months more, the
condition with which Battista had accompanied her prayers for a male
heir was fatally fulfilled,[217] and Guidobaldo was deprived of a
mother's care long ere he could be sensible of the sad bereavement.

[Footnote *215: For the life of Guidobaldo, see BALDI, _Vita e fatti
di Guidobaldo I. di Montefeltro_ (Milano, 1821); ZACCAGNINI, _La Vita
e le opere edite e inedite di B. Baldi_ (Modena, 1903); CASTIGLIONE,
_Epistola ad Sacratissimum Britanniae Reg. Henricum de Guidobaldo Urb.
Duce_; BEMBO, _De Guido Ubaldo Feretrio deque Elisabetta Gonzagia
Urbini Ducibus liber_ (Cod. Vatic. Urbin., 1030), and Ugolini, _op.
cit._, II., lib. VIII. and IX.; see also MADIAI _Commentari dello
Stato di Urbino_, in _Arch. Stor. per le Marche e per l'Umbria_, vol.
III., pp. 419-464.]

[Footnote *216: See _supra_ note *1, p. 208. There, too, Guidobaldo's
names are given as Guido Paolo Ubaldo. As stated here they seem to be

[Footnote 217: See above, p. 207.]

[Illustration: _Gio. Sanzi, pinx. L. Ceroni, sculp._


_From a picture in the Colonna Gallery in Rome_]

Almost from his cradle the Prince was remarkable for a sweet and
docile temper, as well as for uncommon promise. We are gravely assured
by his preceptor that, while other infants had scarcely learned to
satisfy their instinctive need of sustenance, he could express his
wants; while they were trying to speak he was mastering his rudiments;
and these, with similar proofs of precocity, which we shall presently
cite, are asserted with the most solemn asseverations of their literal
truth. Fully aware of the importance of early directing so prompt a
genius, his father engaged, as the guide of his youthful studies,
Ludovico Odasio of Padua, an accomplished gentleman, as well as a
distinguished scholar, whom he ever treated with the attention due to
his own merits, as well as to the importance of his charge. The after
life of his pupil, and the language used by Odasio in his funeral
eulogy,[*218] bear ample testimony to the careful and satisfactory
tuition which the Prince imbibed, and the benefit he reaped from his
instructions. Nor were these ungratefully received by the latter, who,
on attaining majority, bestowed upon his preceptor the countship of
Isola Forsara, near Gubbio, which his descendants continued to enjoy
during many generations.

[Footnote 218: Guidobaldo always honoured and enriched Odasio, to whom
he gave, for instance, a fine _podere_ on 26 February, 1495 (cf.
_Arch. Centr. Perg. d'Urbino_, p. 275). This eulogy was an ovation and
nothing more; it was not the truth, or meant to be the truth. Cf.
UGOLINI, _op. cit._, vol. II., p. 151.]

The Paduan sage describes his charge as a fit model of those infantine
Cupids whom painters delight to introduce in their pictures of the
Queen of Love. Nor were his dispositions less engaging; gentle and
just to all, generous but prudent beyond his years. Neglecting the
childish toys suitable to his age, his whole mind was concentrated on
his studies and on manly sports, occasioning in many those anxious
fears that so generally attend the premature development of early
talent. Such was the genius committed to the care of Odasio, who seems
to have rendered it ample justice. Besides his native tongue,
Guidobaldo rapidly acquired the Latin language, and although Greek was
then a comparatively rare accomplishment, he so thoroughly mastered
its difficulties as to write it with freedom and Attic grace.
Possessing great powers of application, his reading included all the
best classical authors. The poets were his delight in boyhood, but by
degrees he attached himself more to the severer studies of philosophy
and ethics. Nor was his attention limited to abstract literature.
Geography engaged in turn his versatile talents, accompanied with
practical information as to the inhabitants by whom various countries
were peopled, their manners, their political relations, and the
character of their respective governments. But what his preceptor
considered as the great aim of a princely education was the
development of his powers of eloquence, and an extensive acquaintance
with history; to these, therefore, he drew Guidobaldo's attention with
entire success. In detailing to us these interesting particulars,
Odasio takes little credit for the progress of his pupil, whose quick
apprehension rendered his duty that of a companion and observer rather
than of a teacher. His powers of memory were especially remarkable,
and by judicious and habitual exercise were extended with advancing
manhood. He is said to have possessed that rarest gift, of never
forgetting anything he wished to recollect, and to have repeated with
perfect accuracy successive pages which he had read only once, some
ten or fifteen years before.

His insatiable thirst for knowledge did not prevent his perfecting
himself in every healthful and manly exercise. Precocious in his
amusements as in his talents, he devoted to these the play-time which
other children pass with noisy toys, and whilst they listened to
nursery tales, he hung upon the recital of heroic deeds, or the
stirring narratives of glorious war. To the boyish sports of ball and
dancing quickly succeeded gymnastic and military games, which were
followed with an enthusiasm, and accompanied by exposure to fatigue
and cold, that appear to have fatally affected his constitution. Thus
he grew up, adorned by the accomplishments, endowed with the courage,
and skilled in the martial exercises which formed a perfect knight
when the standard of chivalry was high. Nor were the graces of person
wanting to this phoenix of his age. Count Castiglione describes him
as represented in our engraving, of fair complexion and hair; of
singularly handsome features, in which a severe style was chastened
by gentle expression; of a person and limbs the model of manly beauty.

       *       *       *       *       *

The death of Duke Federigo in the disastrous campaign of Ferrara, on
the 10th of September, 1482, left Guidobaldo an orphan ere he had
completed his eleventh year. In times where so much of the success,
and even security, of a petty sovereign depended on his personal
qualifications, a minority was ever perilous; but, in the present
instance, there were circumstances of peculiar danger to augment the
delicacy of his position. The state of Urbino was surrounded by those
of the Church, of Florence, of Rimini, and of Pesaro, whilst the more
distant powers, whose influence habitually bore upon the lesser
principalities of Italy, were Venice, Milan, and Naples. Of the former
category, the Pope, though connected by marriage, could scarcely be
deemed friendly, for Federigo had died in arms against the papal
troops; Lorenzo de' Medici was indebted to him for important aid, but
had never shown any peculiar attachment to his alliance; Rimini had
once more passed into the hands of an illegitimate heir, in whose eyes
the intermarriage of his father with the aunt of Guidobaldo[*219]
might not counterbalance the inveterate feuds between his grandfather
Sigismondo Pandolfo and Federigo. With Costanzo Sforza, Lord of
Pesaro, the young Duke could, indeed, calculate upon amicable
relations, but these, with so feeble a neighbour, were of negative
rather than available advantage. The open hostility of Venice, then
almost at the climax of her power, might well counterbalance the
Neapolitan alliance, and Ludovico Sforza was too busy with his own
ambitious projects upon the Milanese to interfere in support of a
distant ally. But how vain the calculations of human policy in the
sight of HIM in whose hands are the issues of life! The perils which
hung over the youthful Guidobaldo passed away like the morning mists
that precede a brilliant sunrise.

[Footnote *219: His sister, not his aunt. It was Elisabetta, the third
child of Federigo, who married Roberto Malatesta, illegitimate son of
Sigismondo. Roberto and Federigo of Urbino died on the same day (cf.
Allegretti, ap. Fabr. II., 245, and E.G. GARDNER, _Dukes and Poets at
Ferrara_ (Constable, 1904), p. 184).]

Having performed the last duties to his illustrious father, the new
Duke, on the 17th of September, was solemnly invested with the ducal
mantle, and rode through Urbino receiving homage amid the rejoicings
of all ranks. Thence he proceeded to Gubbio and his other principal
towns, meeting everywhere a unanimous welcome, and leaving, by his
fine presence and engaging manners, a highly favourable impression on
his subjects. In the arrangements necessary for the administration of
his state, he was aided by his cousin-german Ottaviano Ubaldini, of
whom we have already spoken.[220]

[Footnote 220: See above, p. 50, note.]

The messengers sent from Urbino to the combined powers of Naples,
Florence, and Milan, in whose service Duke Federigo had met his death,
returned with news which dissipated all present anxiety as to the
position of his heir, whom it at once placed on an eminence that might
have turned an older and more experienced head. The allies, in
faithful implement of his father's condotta, continued to him the same
command, entrusting to a child a charge which had baffled the best
generals of Italy. It is difficult satisfactorily to explain this
apparent absurdity. No doubt the services of condottieri were in
certain cases retained, rather for the following which they could
bring into active service than out of regard to their personal
qualifications, and it must have been most important for the League to
secure the brave and hardy militia of Montefeltro. Yet this affords no
valid reason for ostensibly setting a mere schoolboy over many veteran
officers. The appointment was probably but nominal, and at a moment
when no onward movement seemed requisite--when, in fact, the war had
been turned into a blockade--it was sanctioned as a mere temporary
expedient until time should be gained to deliberate on ulterior steps,
whether for a renewal of offensive demonstrations, or for a general
pacification. In this view the measure was politic, as a flattering
compliment to one whom it was well to conciliate, without tying up the
parties from whom it emanated. But, whatever be the just explanation,
the fact is positive that, in the language of Odasio, the Duke was
treated as a man ere he had well completed his childhood; was ranked
as a veteran ere he had served as a cadet; was made general before he
had served as a soldier. The career thus happily opened was not,
however, that which was destined most to illustrate his name. When
compared with his father's achievements, or with the military science
of his successor, the martial feats of Guidobaldo sink into
insignificance. The promise of an active and athletic childhood, and
the premature honours of boyish command, were blighted by the early
development of constitutional infirmities, which in a few years
disabled him from service in the field. Fortunately for himself and
his reputation, nature had endowed him with other resources, the
cultivation of which not only consoled his own privations, but greatly
contributed to humanise the age.

Nor did the result of their policy disappoint the confederates, or
expose Guidobaldo's military fame to premature risks. The wayward and
fickle character of Sixtus IV. solved all difficulties, by suddenly
changing his side. Upon pretended compunction for the miseries
produced by the war, but in reality from finding the Venetians likely
to reap the exclusive advantage of successes to which he had in no way
contributed, he reconciled himself with Ferdinand of Naples, and in a
treaty to this effect, signed on the 6th of January, 1483, he left to
the Signory an option of adherence to its terms. The publication of
this new alliance was inaugurated at Siena by a triumphal procession,
during which the Pontiff's sudden amity with the two Tuscan republics
was celebrated in a chorus to this effect:--

     "Whate'er on earth by thee is bound shall be
     Bound in the heavens, freed what thou settest free:
     So spake the Lord, when in St. Peter's hands
     He left the sovereignty of Christian lands;
     And such the League, now destined to unite
     Our state with God's own Vicar in the fight.
     Pray that the Virgin and her Son uphold
     The Oak, the Lily, and the Lion bold."[221]

[Footnote 221: These being the insignia of the Pope, Florence, and
Siena. See DELLA VALLE, _Lettere Sanese_, II., 47.]

The abandonment by Sixtus of his design upon Ferrara, although no
doubt promoted by the confederates' threat of a general council, was
probably induced by a calculation that the condotta with 10,000 ducats
of pay, and the vague promise of other fiefs in Romagna, which were
offered by Naples and Spain to Girolamo Riario, would prove to him a
more substantial boon than his stipulated share of the Ferrarese
territories, exposed to the chances of an obstinate and expensive
struggle, and coupled with the condition of handing over the larger
portion of that dukedom to the already dangerously powerful republic
of Venice. Thus was dissolved the League against the d'Este, and with
it expired Guidobaldo's commission, his position being at the same
time strengthened by a reconciliation with the Church.

But though the parties had changed, the game of war was continued. The
Venetians had good grounds for umbrage at the unceremonious desertion,
by his Holiness, of the common cause, without due notice, and still
better reason for discontent on finding themselves called upon to
abandon their designs upon Ferrara, after a long, expensive, and, on
the whole, successful campaign. They therefore, rejected the offer of
joining the new alliance, and persisted in offensive operations
against Duke Ercole, notwithstanding the displeasure of Sixtus, who,
with his usual violence, thundered an interdict against his recent
allies for pursuing the very policy to which he had persuaded them.
Intent on forcing peace upon the parties between whom he had recently
stirred up unprovoked hostilities, he directed the whole power of the
new combination against the Republic. To meet the exigencies of the
opening campaign, the combatants prepared their several forces, and
Guidobaldo was taken into the pay of King Ferdinand, with a salary of
15,000 ducats for three years, more, of course, on account of his
contingent of 180 men-at-arms and 30 lances than with any intention of
putting his own military talents to the test. The Venetians, nothing
daunted by the formidable combination they were called upon to oppose,
engaged the services of Costanzo Sforza, of Pesaro, with 300
men-at-arms. Thus, by a coincidence not uncommon in the career of
military adventurers, Guidobaldo was pitted against an uncle with
whom, and with whose states, the most affectionate and cordial
relations had always subsisted. But their impending rupture was
averted by the hand of fate. A malignant fever cut off Costanzo on the
19th of July, and his subjects were left to mourn a prince who had
conciliated their affection by wise policy, by attention to their
welfare, and by zeal in the improvement of his capital.

Death had, however, selected a partner in the game more important than
the Lord of Pesaro. The dread hour of reckoning was arrived to the
arch-spirit of turbulence, who from the chair of St. Peter had, during
thirteen years, been the scourge of Italy. Nor was his end out of
character with his career. By counter-plots, which we need not stay to
develop, the crafty Venetians contrived to seduce Ludovico il Moro
from the hostile band by whom they were beset, and turning the tables
upon the Pope, effected a pacification without including or even
consulting him. The treaty of Bagnolo aggrandised the maritime
republic with no reference to the interests of Riario. It reached
Sixtus on the 12th of August, 1484, and brought on a sudden attack of
his constitutional malady, gout, which struck him speechless. In a few
hours he expired of vexation, at finding himself outmanoeuvred in
his favourite game of intrigue, and at seeing those broils which he
had done so much to foment, thus brought to an unexpected close. The
Venetians, on learning that their rancorous foe had ceased to live,
redoubled the joy with which they heard of the general pacification;
and the satirical wits of the day commemorated his death in this
biting epigram:--

     "No truce could Sixtus bind, though ratified:
     A peace at length proclaimed,--he heard and died."[222]

[Footnote 222:

     "Sistere qui potuit nullo cum foedere Sixtus,
         Audito tantum nomine pacis, obiit."

     _MSS. Bib. Magliab._ Cl. vii. No. 345.]

The successor of Sixtus was Cardinal Cibò, who took the title of
Innocent VIII. Between him and Duke Federigo had existed an old
friendship, which was cordially extended to Guidobaldo, and also to
Ottaviano Ubaldini: to these, therefore, it was a pleasure as well as
a duty to lay their congratulations at his feet, in return for which a
new investiture, already prepared by order of the late Pontiff, was
promptly forwarded to the young Duke. The aggressions of the Turk,
that standing grievance of Christian Europe, had of late menaced Italy
itself, and each pope, on ascending the chair of St. Peter, sought to
signalise his zeal by uniting the Peninsular powers against the common
foe. Yet, like his predecessors, Innocent was quickly diverted from a
project vast, glorious, and attractive, but impracticable, to meaner
objects; from the cause of Christianity to ebullitions of personal
pique. The rigour with which he exacted from the King of Naples some
arrears of _cense_, or ecclesiastical tribute, due to the Camera under
old investitures, but which had been modified by Sixtus IV.,
occasioned an exchange of harsh words. There occurred at Aquila, about
the same time, a most serious insurrection, headed by some Neapolitan
nobles belonging to the Angevine party, who, exasperated by a long
course of oppressive and injudicious government, appealed to Innocent
for assistance. The occasion seemed tempting for gratifying his
indignation against Ferdinand I., and for adding to the papal states
that important fief. The grand crusade against the Crescent was once
more forgotten, and the Pope, entering upon the career of Sixtus,
became the perturbator in place of the pacificator of unhappy Italy.
Among other small princes whom he retained for this struggle was
Guidobaldo, nor did he omit to secure the Venetians. Ferdinand was not
idle on his side, having made an alliance with the Florentines. Whilst
the ecclesiastical troops, under Roberto da Sanseverino and the
Prefect della Rovere, seconding the rebellious barons of Naples,
carried an aggressive war into the Abruzzi, the King made a diversion
in La Marca, by means of some military adventurers, who, at his
instigation, stirred up the people of Città di Castello, Fano, and
Osimo, to throw off the papal sway. To quell these movements, the
troops of Urbino, led by commanders sent by Innocent, and still more
the influence of the Duke, proved highly instrumental. The war, begun
without just cause, and leading to no important result, ended, as
usual, in a league which left the parties much as before. It included
the Pope, the King, Giovanni Galeazzo Sforza, and the Venetian
Republic, and was hailed with a joy that seemed wilfully oblivious of
the hollowness of former pacifications. It was concluded on the 11th
of August, 1485, and, unlike these, it secured the quiet of Italy
during the remainder of that pontificate.

The first actual service which it was the lot of Guidobaldo to
witness was in a cause at once vile and unimportant; but it placed him
under a rising soldier, who became one of the most distinguished
commanders of the age. Among the adventurers to whom we just now
referred as troubling the Marca, was Boccolino Guzzoni or Uguccione,
who, having made himself master of Osimo, continued to hold out with
obstinacy, embittered by a furious temper, and by the impolitic
severity which Innocent had manifested towards him. To reduce this
firebrand, Gian Jacopi di Trivulzio was sent from Milan in May,
1487;[*223] and, although the mediation of Lorenzo de' Medici saved
Uguccione from impending destruction, an incident which made him
acquainted with so remarkable a general must be considered important
to the youthful Duke, who had only completed his fifteenth year. His
advance towards manhood was marked by communications from the Court of
Rome being henceforward addressed to himself, instead of to Ottaviano;
but he dutifully continued to avail himself of his guardian's counsels
in all matters of moment.

[Footnote *223: Cf. AMBROGIO DA PAULLO, _Cronaca Milanese_,

[Illustration: _Alinari_


_After the picture by Marco Palmezzani in the Pinacoteca of Forlì_]

We have seen the peculiar circumstances in which, with the aid of Duke
Federigo, the sovereignty of Count Girolamo Riario and his wife
Caterina Sforza was established in Imola and Forlì.[224] They had
reigned there during eight years, cited by their flatterers as models
of paternal government; abused by those whom they had disappointed and
especially by the Florentine writers, as monsters of tyranny. Truth
may probably lie between. Girolamo has been accused of no flagrant
crime, except a participation in the Pazzi conspiracy, which was
instigated by his uncle Sixtus IV., while Caterina is favourably
distinguished even above those brilliant spirits who abounded among
the contemporary princesses of Italy. The Count is alleged to have, by
an overbearing manner, offended several of his courtiers, but
particularly Francesco Deddi de' Orsi. Another account accuses
Lorenzo de' Medici of intriguing to avenge the old injury which he
justly attributed to Riario, a charge which his eulogists have
indignantly repelled, and which, resting on no proof, is certainly
inconsistent with a character so noble. Francesco, at the head of a
band of conspirators, broke in upon Count Girolamo, and murdered him
in his palace at Forlì. They then threw his body into the piazza, and
the populace, ever ready for change, rose simultaneously, some crying
"Liberty," others "Church," and finished their work by plundering his
residence.[*225] Meanwhile the leaders of the insurrection possessed
themselves of the Countess, her mother, sister, and six children; and
finding that Giacomo Fea, captain of the citadel, held it against
them, they dragged her to the walls, and insisted upon her summoning
him to surrender. Upon his refusing, they acceded to a proposal that
she should be admitted, in order to induce him to yield. Once within
the castle, Caterina thanked its defender, and stimulated the garrison
to fresh resistance, directing that all the artillery should be
brought to bear upon the town, ready to bombard it should the rebels
attempt to execute their cowardly threat of offering violence to her

[Footnote 224: We have spoken of this above.]

[Footnote *225: Cf. PASOLINI, _Caterina Sforza_. It was Ludovico and
Cecco Orsi who slew Girolamo, with the aid of two soldiers.]

[Footnote 226: The current edition of this anecdote, though somewhat
too gross for literal translation, is curiously illustrative of the
determined character of its heroine. It is thus recounted by
Boccalini, in his _Ragguagli di Parnasso_:--"Onde i congiurati così
vedendosi ingannati, apertamente le protestarono, che in pezzi avanti
gli occhi le havrebbono tagliati i suoi Figliuoli, s'ella non
consegnava loro la Rocca nelli mani, e ch'ella per quelle horrende
minaccie, in tanto non si spaventò punto, che anzi alzatesi le vesti,
e loro mostrando le parte vergognose, disse, che de' suoi Figliuoli
facessero a voglia loro, che a lei rimaneva la stampa di rifarne degli
altri." He represents Caterina as demanding, on the merits of this
action, admission into Parnassus, whereupon Apollo decides, after
ample discussion, that although "il sempre contenersi entro i termini
della modestia, fosse obbligo delle donne private, disse, che le
Principesse nate di alto sangue, negli accidenti gravi, che
occurrevano loro, erano obbligate mostrar virilità." [Transcriber's
Note: Errors in the Boccalini quotations have been corrected by
comparison with the original edition of 'De'ragguagli di Parnaso' at
the Internet Archive.] Bonolli, in his history of Forlì, tells the
same story, and Vallery characterises the expedient of the Countess as
"noblement impudique, et moins mère que femme de parti." Those who
wish to compare the various authorities on this point will find them
enumerated by Sismondi, chap. lxxxix. A letter of the conspirators to
Lorenzo de' Medici, printed by Roscoe, Appendix, No. 24, tends to
clear him of that participation in their crime of which he was

This bold bearing saved the cause of the young Riarii, without really
endangering their persons. Giovanni Bentivoglio, Lord of Bologna, a
faithful adherent of the Sforza, on the first news of this
insurrection, put himself at the head of a thousand horse and eight
hundred foot, and arrived in hot haste at the gates of Forlì. The
conspirators, divided in their counsels, and distracted by the
decisive course which the Countess had adopted, fled from the town
without waiting to resist, and thus the revolution was at an end.
Within two short weeks Caterina had been a happy wife, a bereaved
widow, an outraged prisoner, a triumphant sovereign. She remembered
her sorrows signally to avenge them; she threw aside her weeds to
assume a robe of triumph; and issuing from the castle, proclaimed her
son Ottaviano, Count of Forlì.

But a deep stain attaches to the punishment which she must have
sanctioned, if she did not direct it, and which was inflicted upon
Count Orsi, father of the assassin, with an accumulation of horrors
rarely exampled among even savage tribes. The old man, then in his
eighty-sixth year, after being exposed on the great square to insults
of the soldiery in presence of the whole populace, was bound to a
board, and drawn twice round the piazza, his snow-white head
projecting, and broken against the sharp stones; his quivering limbs
were then hacked in pieces by armed ruffians, whose atrocious
barbarities, as described by an eye-witness, are too revolting for
detail. All this the sufferer endured with a heroism and resignation
which produced on the spectators the usual effect of such brutal
perversion of justice, and converted their abhorrence of the crime
into sympathy with the criminal.

The murder of Count Girolamo took place on the 14th of April, 1488,
and the news of it excited great consternation at the court of Urbino,
which had always maintained a friendly footing with that of Riario, he
being cousin to the Prefect of Sinigaglia, husband of Guidobaldo's
sister. In the excited state of public feeling, men's minds caught
greedily at any trivial circumstance on which to found a surmise as to
the authors of the outrage, seeking for remote influences to account
for what seems to have been merely an outbreak of private passion. The
cries of "Church," which had mingled in the shouts of the excited
populace, were interpreted as an indication of the Pope's privacy to a
conspiracy, and doubts were entertained as to the part which he might
take in the revolution. But such ideas were quickly dissipated.
Whatever may have been the feelings of Innocent towards the dynasty
established by his predecessor at Forlì, the occupation of that city
by the Bolognese troops awakened his jealousy of the Bentivoglii. He
therefore despatched couriers, instructing the Duke of Urbino to
maintain at all hazards the legitimate government of Forlì, as
indispensable to the peace of Italy, and for this purpose to hold
himself in readiness for a march into Romagna, as soon as
commissioners should arrive from Rome with a subsidy. Guidobaldo
hastily assembled his troops, but ere the Pope's paymaster made his
appearance, the prompt aid of Bentivoglio, and an army sent from
Milan, had anticipated the service which he was commissioned to

Although the youthful Duke of Urbino was but little concerned in these
events of Italian history, they involved persons, and prepared the way
for political combinations, which turned the scale of his after life,
loading it with an undue portion of cares and sorrows. In absence of
domestic incidents during his minority, we may vary the narrative by
abstracting a few particulars from a volume of regulations for his
court. Though trifling, they throw light on his personal habits, and
supply an index to the civilisation of his age.[227] To all persons
composing the ducal household, unexceptionable manners were
indispensable. In those of higher rank there was further required
competent talents and learning, a grave deportment and fluency of
speech. The servants must be of steady habits and respectable
character; regular in all private transactions; of good address,
modest, and graceful; willing and neat-handed in their service. There
is likewise inculcated the most scrupulous personal cleanliness,
especially of hands, with particular injunctions as to frequent
ablutions, and extraordinary precautions against the unpleasant
effects of hot weather on their persons and clothing: in case of need
medical treatment is enjoined to correct the breath. Those who wore
livery had two suits a year, generally of fustian, though to some silk
doublets were given for summer use. They had a mid-day meal and a
supper: the former usually consisted of fruit, soup, and boiled meat;
the latter of salads and boiled meat. This was varied on Fridays and
vigil fasts by dinners of fish, eggs, and cheese; suppers of bread,
wine, and salads. Saturdays were semi-fasts, when they dined on soup
and eggs, and supped on soup and cheese. The upper table offered but
few luxuries in addition to this plain fare, such as occasionally
roasts, fowls, and pastry, with a more liberal allowance of eggs and
cheese on meagre days.

[Footnote 227: Urb. MSS. No. 1248. It was compiled after the death of
Duke Federigo, and apparently for his son's court.]

Of the diet at the ducal table we find sparing and unsatisfactory
notices; but its chief difference from that of the attendants seems to
have consisted in the more liberal use of sweet herbs and fruits. The
latter were presented in singular order: cherries and figs before
dinner; after it, pears, apples, peaches, nuts, almonds; before
supper, melons and grapes. The splendour of the table service seems to
have been more looked to than its supplies; and many rules are given
as to the covered silver platters in which meats were brought up, the
silver goblets and glass caraffes for wine, the fine napery and the
ornamental flowers. The regulations for the Duke's chamber service
indicate scrupulous cleanliness, both as to ablutions in perfumed
water, and frequent change of clothing, in strict conformance to the
directions of physicians and astrologers. Among the conveniences
enumerated for his bedroom are a bell, a night-light, and in cold
weather a fire. An attendant slept by him without undressing, also a
clerk in the guard-room within call. The music provided to accompany
the Duke on his rides seems to have been somewhat miscellaneous--a
company of bagpipers, a sackbut, four trumpets, three drums, with a
herald or pursuivant. The qualities insisted on for ladies of the
Duchess's household are exemplary gravity and unsullied honour; they
must further be handy, addicted neither to gossip nor wrangling, and
never talking unnecessarily in her presence.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Anderson_


_After the drawing by Beltraffio in the Biblioteca Ambrogiana, Milan_]

We here reach an eventful epoch in the life of Guidobaldo. Baldi
informs us that, when Duke Federigo went to Naples in 1474 to receive
from Ferdinand the order of the Ermine he formally betrothed his son,
then but two years and a half old, to Princess Lucrezia of Aragon. He
adds that she corresponded with the Duke within a few months of his
death, but gives no account of the circumstances under which this
engagement was broken off. When Duke Guidobaldo had completed his
sixteenth year, another alliance was contracted for him, to the great
joy of his people, with Elisabetta (sometimes called Isabella)
Gonzaga, youngest sister of Francesco Marquis of Mantua. She was
daughter of the Marquis Federigo, by Margaretta daughter of Albert
III. Duke of Bavaria: her virtues, her manners, and her almost
unearthly beauty are extolled by Castiglione, in language which the
evidence of all writers has stamped with truth.[*228] Her age exceeded
the bridegroom's by one year, and her sister Madalena was at the same
time betrothed to Giovanni Sforza, Lord of Pesaro, the celebration of
both the nuptials being deferred until the end of October, 1489.

[Footnote *228: CASTIGLIONE, _Il Cortegiano_ (Firenze Sansoni, 1894),
Lett. Dedic. I., lib. I., iv.; III., ii.; III., xlix. Cf. also BEMBO,
_Lettere_, IV., i., 31.]

The rivalry inherent in the relations between neighbouring towns of
the Peninsula had on this occasion pleasing opportunity for display,
for nowhere more than in Italy do the people delight in pompous
festivities. The citizens of Urbino and of Pesaro strove which should
exhibit most taste and splendour in celebrating the happy event, and
in welcoming the bridal parties to their several homes. I have seen no
account of these shows, which is little loss, as there was much
sameness in all such exhibitions, and great dullness in their
monotonous descriptions. But we are assured that, in both capitals,
the display of triumphal processions, under arches studded with
statues and elaborate devices, followed by fireworks and dramatic
spectacles, were worthy of the auspicious occasion, and the emulous
spirit of their citizens.[229] The remainder of the year was devoted
by the Duke to similar amusements, or to sports of the chase, of which
his bride was passionately fond, and which she enjoyed at her ease in
the parks of Fossombrone and Castel Durante, where Federigo had
established an ample stock of fallow deer. The following spring
brought to his court new causes for joy, in the Marquis of Mantua's
marriage to a Princess of Ferrara, and the birth of an heir to the
Lord Prefect, in the person of Francesco Maria della Rovere, on whom
the dukedom of Urbino eventually devolved.

[Footnote 229: In the Laurentian Library (Plut. 91. No. 44, f. 57)
there is a laboured Latin epithalamium in ninety-six lines, written on
this marriage by Marcial de Gathe of Mantua, among his poems which are
dedicated to Bernardo Bembo.]

But alas, too soon was "bitter mixed with sweet." The hopes of
maintaining the ducal line, which the marriage of Guidobaldo had
nourished, were doomed to disappointment from infirmities of his
constitution which, though long kept secret from their people, were
quickly known to the young couple. These defects, having baffled
medical skill, were eventually attributed to the malign influence of
poison, or sorcery; an impression which the physicians probably
countenanced, to excuse the failure of their prescriptions, and which
seems to have been fully credited by the Duke and the public, when the
fact was allowed to transpire.[*230] The secrecy and resignation of
the Duchess under this dispensation, and her strict observance of her
nuptial vows, in circumstances which the loose morality of the age
might have regarded as a palliation for less faithful adherence to
them, are celebrated by her eulogists as proofs of almost superhuman
virtue, especially by Bembo, whose prurient language on this repulsive
topic offers curious proof of the low standard of decency then
prevailing among dignified churchmen, and persons of high pretensions
to refinement. Giovanni Sforza's marriage was still more fated, for
within ten months he was an afflicted widower.

[Footnote *230: An interesting book has been announced on the medical
practice of that day: TARULLI, _I medici ed i primordi della scuola
medica Perugina._ Meanwhile cf. TARULLI, _Appunti Storici_, in _Boll.
per l'Umbria_, vol. XII., p. 385 _et seq._ According to Petrarch,
Astrology and Medicine were different branches of a common
charlatanism. Cf. _Libri IV., Invectivarum contra medicum quemdam._
HEYWOOD, _The Ensamples of Fra Filippo, a Study of Mediæval Siena_
(Siena, 1901), p. 325. VOIGT, _Il Risorgimento dell'antichità
classica_ (Fir., 1897), vol. I., p. 77 _et seq._ OWEN, _The Skeptics
of the Italian Renaissance_ (London, 1893), p. 119, and cf. CHAUCER in
the _Prologue_ to the _Canterbury Tales_. For medical practice in the
fourteenth century, see _Fiori di Medicina di Maestro Gregorio
Medicofisico Del Sec. XIV._ (Bologna, Gaetano Romagnuoli, 1865), and
cf. IL LASCA, Nov. I., _et_ X., Cena Prima. Pico della Mirandola was
one of the first who entered the lists against these charlatans in his
treatise in twelve books, _Adversus Astrologos_ (Venice, 1498).]

The Duke had now attained to manhood, and in the enjoyment of a
tranquil reign he began to practise those lessons which he had imbibed
under Odasio. Amid the attractions of the lists or the chase, which
his own tastes and the joyous temperament of his Duchess strongly
recommended to him, he was not forgetful of more solid accomplishments.
It is unfortunate that few memorials are preserved of the formation of
that select circle which he appears thus early to have drawn around
him. It was not until fourteen years later, that Count Castiglione
entered that court which he was destined to immortalise; nor had the
group of fine spirits who are brought upon the stage in the
_Cortegiano_ as yet assembled at Urbino. But many of Duke Federigo's
old and honoured servants remained about the person of his son, and
maintained that tone of lettered refinement which the veteran
commander had cherished.

The pontificate of Innocent did not realise the warlike foretaste
which his early quarrel with King Ferdinand had given, and his mature
policy resolved itself into a maintenance of the _status quo_. Yet
from time to time there broke out, among the cities which acknowledged
his sway, those feuds and party squabbles, which ever and anon deluged
in blood most of the Italian communities, and of which Baldi well
says, "that it was matter equally of astonishment and compassion to
see persons born and bred within the same walls, brought up under one
law and one rule, change their very nature, and forget every principle
of humanity; mangling, destroying, and despoiling each other without
remorse, like wild beasts." On more than one such occasion, the Pope
called upon Guidobaldo to interpose his influence, or to advance his
troops in order to restore quiet; but these incidents do not merit
detailed notice. In services so barren of glory, the Duke showed
sometimes but little zeal, and in consequence received more than one
admonition from his ecclesiastical over-lord. The pacific views of
Innocent had been efficiently supported by Lorenzo the Magnificent,
with an influence belonging more to his personal character than his
absolute rank; but the premature death of both these sovereigns,
occurring almost simultaneously, deprived the Peninsula of its best
guarantees of tranquillity. Lorenzo having expired on the 7th of
April, 1492, the Pontiff breathed his last on the 25th of July; and on
the 11th of August was succeeded by Alexander VI.


     State of the papacy at the accession of Alexander VI.--His
     election, character, and children--The aspect of Italy at
     the close of her golden age--The disputed succession of
     Naples reopened--Character and views of Charles
     VIII.--Proposed league to oppose him frustrated--State of
     the Roman Campagna--The old and new military systems in

The spiritual sway of the papacy at this time enjoyed great advantages
over its temporal dominion. Although the former had necessarily been
more permanent and influential under a Gregory or a Boniface, than
when wielded by imbecility or divided by schism, it continued as yet
undisputed. The power of the Keys was acknowledged to the utmost
limits of Christendom, whatever might be thought of their possessor or
policy. Monarchs and armaments, who defied or defeated the pontifical
banner, quailed under an interdict, and humbled themselves to the dust
for absolution. Another important vantage-ground of the Roman
ecclesiastical polity, well set forth by Robertson, was its unity.
Faithful to long traditionary maxims, as the magnetic needle to its
pole, few cases could occur unprovided for by precedent; and so
numerous were the checks and balance-wheels of the complicated
machine, which was kept in motion and regulated by a large and well
drilled staff, rather than by its apparent director, that his personal
conduct or private aims seldom perceptibly affected its working.
Although the same dignitaries who, by education and habit, were
enabled to maintain and transmit this unvarying system, formed also
the administrative government of the Papal State, they were, in the
latter capacity, merely ministers of a temporal prince, bound by
interest to flatter his foibles as well as to obey his behests. And
the sovereignty of Rome being elective, under circumstances often
inferring a very transient tenure of power, it was usually wielded
with much waywardness, selfishness, and caprice, even to the detriment
of that order by whom, through whom, and for whom the ecclesiastical
authority was exercised. Apart from the general question of the
fitness of priests for temporal sway, their circumstances were
peculiarly unfavourable at a time when no special requisites of
character were indispensable for holy orders, these being often
regarded as a mere qualification for preferments closed against the
laity. When legates were sent to lead armies, and cardinals took the
field as condottieri; when papal diplomacy and intrigue were rarely
veiled by a semblance of truth or honour; when poisoning by prelates
passed into a proverb, and "son of a clergyman" ceased to be an
imputation, it is not surprising that priest-ruled and priest-ridden
Italy should have become thoroughly demoralised. It was of this age
that Masse has pointedly remarked that "never were holy things mocked
with greater impunity, or spiritual power more unblushingly profaned;
never were the humane virtues held in such disrepute, nor blood so
treacherously spilt; never did poison more perfidiously contaminate
the veins of those whose presence was burdensome, or who clogged an
ambitious career, or whose death could serve any end whatever." Under
the new pontificate these evils were fully developed, and the fatal
influence exercised by it on Duke Guidobaldo and his state will demand
from us from time to time detailed notices of Alexander and his race.

       *       *       *       *       *

Alfonso Borgia, on whom the triple tiara had been conferred in 1455,
with the title of Calixtus III., was descended from the ancient
Spanish family of Borja, at Xativa, in the kingdom of Murcia. His
sister Giovanna, or Isabella, married Giuffredo or Alfonso Lenzuoli,
and to them was born, in 1427, Roderigo, whose youth was spent in
arms, but on obtaining a page's appointment at the court of Alfonso
V., he laid aside the sword, and finally, in compliance with the
wishes of his family, entered the Church. Being there destined for
high preferment by the influence of his uncle, who had adopted him, he
exchanged his paternal name for that of Borgia. By this step, and by
his personal qualities, he so completely gained the favour of Calixtus
that, during his short pontificate, he rose to the highest honours,
and accumulated the best benefices at his disposal. To the dignities
of cardinal, vice-chancellor of the Church, and archbishop of
Valencia, were added the temporalities of three other archiepiscopal
and two episcopal sees, besides a shower of minor but rich endowments,
and various important legations. For the conspicuous part he was thus
called to fill nature had fully qualified him. His unbounded ambition
was supported by vigorous and varied talents; and, although his
acquirements by study were limited, his address and pliant sagacity,
seconded by great facility of speech, enabled him to bend people and
events to his purposes.[*231]

[Footnote *231: GASPAR VERONENSIS in MURATORI, _R.I.S._, III., pt.
II., 1036, speaking of the young Cardinal, says: "Formosus est,
laetissimo vultu, aspectuque jocundo, lingua ornata atque melliflua,
qui mulieres egregias visas ad se amandum gratior allicit, et mirum in
modum concitat, plusquam magnes ferrum; quas tamen intactas di mittere
sane putatur."]

The influence which Cardinal Borgia enjoyed from his abilities and
preferments was but little impaired by his notorious personal vices;
for the corruption of manners which disgraced the golden age of
Italian refinement had deeply tinctured the court of Rome. His open
immoralities brought upon him public censure from the worthy Pius II.,
but the laxer discipline of succeeding pontiffs left such scandals
unchecked. In order more easily to carry on a disgraceful intercourse
with his mistress Caterina Vanozza, he married her to a Roman, named
Domenico Arignano, and subsequently had by her three sons and a
daughter, whom he fully acknowledged as his children, allowing them
his adopted name. His general conduct and language were in all
respects consistent with such licentious courses. Guicciardini
describes him as of most debauched habits, insatiable avarice,
immoderate ambition, savage cruelty, and unscrupulous nepotism;
without sincerity, truth, good faith, shame, or religion. It would be
easy to adduce similar testimony from other contemporary authorities,
which, although widely varying in their details of scandal, agree in
the general estimate of his public and private character, even before
his elevation to the tiara.

On the death of Innocent VIII., Borgia was much the oldest cardinal.
His talents were unquestioned; his dissolute conduct could scarcely be
pleaded as disqualifying him from a dignity which Cibò and della
Rovere had just held. His rivals were Ascanio, son of the great
Francesco Sforza, and Giuliano della Rovere. The latter, at the head
of a feeble minority of five, who refused to sell their votes, earned
his uncompromising hatred. The former, finding success unattainable,
preferred making profit of his adherence to the winning candidate. To
him, to Orsini, Colonna, Savelli, and other influential members of the
conclave, those high dignities and benefices which their choice of
Borgia would render vacant, were lavishly promised, and, as an earnest
of future favours, treasures long purposely hoarded by the wily
Spaniard, were distributed amongst them in mule-loads. On the 11th of
August, Roderigo Borgia ascended the chair of St. Peter, amid festive
pageants more suited to a heathen triumph than a Christian coronation,
hailed by such epigrams as this:--

     "Great under Cæsar, greatest under thee,
     Rome hailed him _hero_, here a GOD we see!"[232]

[Footnote 232:

     "Cæsare magna fuit, nunc Roma est maxima, Sextus
         Regnat Alexander; ille vir, iste Deus."]

The sacred office to which Alexander VI. was thus elevated had no
salutary effect upon his unholy passions.[*233] The power he had
attained he administered by intrigue. Simony and poisoning were the
instruments of his administration; nepotism was its end. His temporal
policy was equally selfish, unstable, and dishonest. He was resolute
in nothing but his breaches of good faith. In the broils which he
fomented he sold his adherence to the best bidder, but ever kept
himself open for a higher offer. His contemporary, Machiavelli, thus
stamps his character, which he had carefully studied:--"His entire
occupation, his only thought, was deception, and he always found
victims. Never was there a man with more effrontery in assertion, more
ready to add oaths to his promises, or to break them; yet did his
deceit ever succeed to his heart's content."[*234] Sismondi terms him
"the most odious, the most publicly scandalous, and the most wicked of
all miscreants who ever misused sacred authority to outrage and
degrade mankind." No ecclesiastical writer has undertaken to defend
his reputation; most of them have treated him as a disgrace to the
papacy. Tommasi has termed him a "perfidious, sanguinary, and most
insatiable wolf, capable of insinuating himself like a fawning and
attached spaniel."

[Footnote *233: All that Dennistoun says of the Borgia must be
accepted with care. He takes the Puritan point of view in a country
where such a thing as Puritanism has happily seldom existed. Pastor,
to whom it seems natural to refer the reader [_A History of the
Popes_] is almost equally censorious though more discerning in his
condemnation. He, apparently holding a brief for the Papacy, felt it
incumbent upon him to restore the balance of some of his judgments by
denouncing Alexander VI. It is strange that the only two sane
historians of the Borgia should be Protestants. I gladly refer the
reader with every confidence to the work of CREIGHTON [_A History of
the Papacy from the Great Schism to the Sack of Rome_, vols. IV. and
V.] and of GREGOROVIUS [_Lucrezia Borgia_].]

[Footnote *234: As for Machiavelli's opinion of Alexander VI., it is
the most valuable we could possibly have, but he says little of him,
thinking him of small importance beside Cesare. Dennistoun, not
content with abusing the Pope himself by taking words out of the
context, tries to bring Machiavelli to his way of thinking. This is
not easily excused. In chapter xi. of _Il Principe_, Machiavelli says:
"Di tutti i Pontefici che sono stati mai, mostrò quanto un Papa e con
il denaro e con le forze si poteva prevalere." As Creighton says: "The
Borgia have become legendary as types of unrestrained wickedness, and
it is difficult to judge them fairly without seeming to palliate
iniquity.... The exceptional infamy which attaches to Alexander VI. is
largely due to the fact that he did not add hypocrisy to his other
vices.... Moreover, Alexander VI. was the only man in Italy who
clearly knew what he wanted to do and who steadily pursued his
purpose" (vol. V., pp. 51-52).]

Out of the conflicting statements which have reached us of the Borgian
pedigree and of Alexander's spurious offspring, we have prepared the
accompanying table as on the whole probable.[235] Francesco (called by
others Giovanni or Pietro), his eldest son by La Vanosia, was, at the
Pope's request, created Duke of Gandia by Ferdinand the Catholic, and,
as we shall see, came to a fearful end. The title descended to his
progeny, and was borne by his great-grandson, the famous general of
the Jesuits, who died in 1572, and was canonised as San Francesco
Borgia.[236] Cesare was his father's favourite, and we shall have
frequent occasion to trace him through the various phases of cardinal,
count, condottiere, usurper, sovereign, and prisoner. Giuffredo, with
the hand of a natural daughter of Alfonso II. of Naples, acquired high
honours in that kingdom. Lucrezia, after being branded with triple
incest and frequent poisonings, and after changing her husbands as
often as suited her father's schemes, dedicated her maturer years to
the patronage of letters and the cultivation of piety. Upon the
details and crimes of such a character there is fortunately little
occasion here to enter. Those who wish to learn them have only to turn
to any historian of her age; such as would see nearly all that has
been charged against her confronted with whatever redeeming traits
exist, and ingeniously redargued by negative proofs and assumed
improbabilities, may consult the dissertation appended to Roscoe's
_Leo the Tenth_.[*237]

[Footnote 235: Among numerous conflicting statements, the Duke of
Gandia is named Giovanni by Sismondi, in _Biog. Universelle_, _voce_
Borgia, Cæsar; and Francesco by Despartes, _voce_ Alexander VI. in the
same work.]

[Footnote 236: See below, p. 368.]

[Footnote *237: The Borgia entered as strangers into the cunning but
childish game of deception and lying that made up Italian politics.
Accepting the principles of the game, as all must who would play at
all, they broke through its absurd conventions. It was this that
caused them to be so universally hated. Savonarola, extraordinary
though his success was, knew that the greatest statesman in Italy saw
through his treason and his ambitions. The other politicians were
beaten at their own game, and loudly proclaimed that they had been
cheated. But, as Creighton reminds us, "Alexander dealt unscrupulously
with unscrupulous men, and played for higher stakes than any of them
dreamed of." Even his love for his children has been thrown in his
face. Would it have been a virtue in him to hate them?]

[Illustration: _Anderson_


_Detail from a fresco by Pinturicchio in the Borgia apartments of the
Vatican, Rome_]

We have now reached a period when our narrative must be extended, and
must include those great events which, besides revolutionising almost
every state in Italy, ultimately affected the political relations of
Western Europe. The fiery natures and turbulent spirits of the Italian
republicans and condottieri had for many years expended their energies
in petty broils and intestine struggles for mastery. Henceforward the
bloody drama was to be varied by the introduction of a new class of
actors; the battles of European ambition were to be fought on the
sunny plains of the Peninsula; her flourishing cities were to be the
spoil of victor and vanquished: the protracted struggle was destined
to leave her strength prostrated, her wealth wasted, her nationality
extinguished, her treasures of art defaced, the character of her
people degraded, their political independence destroyed. Although,
from 1466 to 1494, Italy had never remained very long free from
intestine commotions, the seat of serious warfare was during that
interval removed to Hungary, Turkey, and the Levant, and she enjoyed a
comparative repose, under the balmy influence of which, letters and
the liberal arts rose to high perfection. The invention of printing,
the study of the classics, the revival of ancient literature and
philosophy, the cultivation of vernacular poetry, and the adoption of
these tastes at many of the minor courts, all tended to this happy

Under this prosperous state of things the condition of the Peninsula
is thus eloquently described by her Thucydides:--"Reduced to profound
peace and tranquillity, cultivated on her sterile and rugged sites as
in her more fertile districts, swayed by none but native masters, not
only did her population, commerce, and wealth abound, but she was
rendered gloriously eminent by the magnificence of her many princes,
by the splendour of her numerous noble and fair cities, and by the
seat and sovereignty of religion; whilst her celebrity was maintained
among all nations by the men whom she produced of high capacity for
public affairs, of elevated genius and acquirements in each branch of
learning, and every liberal or useful art, as well as of military fame
not unworthy of their age."[238] This was indeed her golden era, but
the pure metal was henceforward to be tarnished. The middle ages,
during which the civilisation of Europe had centred within her shores,
were now passed away: modern history was about to open, and with it
her subjugation. She had to learn, on a greater and more impressive
scale, the lesson which her annals have too often afforded, and as her
old republics had fallen one by one from want of union, so, at this
juncture, her states, failing in mutual good faith, became an
unresisting prey to the spoiler. She was in truth on the eve of that
fearful struggle which, after trampling for half a century on her
energies, left her to all intents at the mercy of those northern
powers whom she deemed barbarians. Their armies had heretofore
descended into her plains to fight under her banners and to receive
her pay; henceforward they warred on their own account, though not
less at her expense: formerly her mercenaries, they were in future her

[Footnote 238: Guicciardini, ch. i.]

The immediate cause of these evils was the disputed succession to the
crown of Naples, which we have formerly seen convulsing Italy, and
which it will require a brief digression and the annexed table to
explain. The Norman knights who in the eleventh century visited Lower
Italy in a crusade against the Saracens, soon contrived to make that
country their own. One of them, Robert Guiscard, by his valour and
talents acquired a supremacy in which he was succeeded by his nephew
Roger, who had by similar means made himself master of Sicily. In
1130, the latter procured from Innocent II. the investiture of a
kingdom nearly equal in extent to that of the Two Sicilies in our day,
which, during next century, passed by marriage into the line of the
Hohenstaufen emperors of Germany. But the same incurable jealousies,
which gave rise to the Guelphic and Ghibelline parties, made the popes
look with little favour on their new neighbours, who however
maintained their ground for three generations, notwithstanding
repeated offers of a competing investiture, by successive pontiffs, to
various English and French princes. The crown, thus sent a-begging,
was at length accepted by Charles Count of Anjou and Provence, seventh
son of Louis VIII. of France, who, in 1266, defeated and slew Manfred,
the last monarch of the Hohenstaufen line, and assuming the title of
Charles I., founded the first Angevine dynasty. But in consequence of
the brutal behaviour of his soldiery, he lost Sicily in a revolt,
during which there occurred, in 1282, the massacre of the French,
known as the Sicilian vespers. On this opening, Alfonso III. of Aragon
put in a claim through his mother, a daughter of Manfred, and having
established himself as King of Sicily, that title continued in his
successors, and was ultimately reunited to the crown of Naples. The
first house of Anjou, however, maintained themselves upon the throne
of Naples for about one hundred and seventy years, notwithstanding the
testamentary disposition of the maligned and unfortunate Queen Joanna
I., who, in 1382, bequeathed that kingdom and the county of Provence
to Louis I., second son of John II. of Anjou.

This will had been dictated by dislike of her second cousin and
adopted heir Charles Count of Durazzo, but it did not prevent him,
his son Ladislaus, and his daughter the beautiful and dissolute Joanna
II., from establishing a _de facto_ right to their heritage. Meanwhile
Louis I., Louis II., and Louis III., their rivals of the second
Angevine line, as it was called, persisted in styling themselves kings
of Naples as well as of Jerusalem, and having patched up their
defective title, by obtaining a recognition of their claims and
investitures from several popes, they each invaded their titular
kingdom. The first Angevine dynasty being about to close by the
childless death of Joanna II., she was persuaded to terminate the
struggle by settling her crown upon the second Angevine race, which at
her death in 1435, was represented by Rénier, usually called René le
Bon. The fatality of a disputed succession, with its attendant
miseries, was however still in store for unhappy Naples. Joanna II.
had already in 1421 adopted as her heir Alfonso V., King of Aragon and
Sicily, who was likewise representative of whatever claims might have
been transmitted from the old Norman dynasty, being in fact similar to
those upon which his family had acquired Sicily before 1300. Eugene
IV., at the same time, still further complicated this confusion, by
interposing his right as over-lord, alleging that the investiture had,
by failure of the reigning dynasty, lapsed to the Holy See.

After ineffectually attempting by an invasion to vindicate his title
against his rival of Aragon, René retired to his little state of
Provence, to dedicate his life to literature and the arts, but
especially to those chivalrous lyrics which, casting the halo of
poetic romance around the troubadours and their times, have wreathed
his brows with laurels far more enduring than the crown of Naples
could have conferred. Yet he and his nephew Charles continued titular
kings, until the latter, dying without surviving male issue in 1481,
left all his property, and therewith his claims upon Lower Italy, to
Louis XI. of France, his third cousin and nearest male heir, upon
whose death in 1483, these passed to Charles VIII. Alfonso V., having
repulsed the good René, had no further serious disturbance in his
possession of Naples and Sicily, now once more united; but he being
succeeded in these by a natural son Ferdinand I., his Spanish crown
going to his brother John II., the already defective title of the
house of Aragon to their Italian dominions on _terra firma_ was
thereby further weakened, at a moment when they exchanged the
competition of a petty and unwarlike prince for that of the powerful
and ambitious monarch of France.

Such was the political position of Naples; that of Milan must now
claim our attention. Giovanni Galeazzo had succeeded to the dukedom,
upon the assassination of his debauched father Galeazzo Maria, in
1476. Being then but seven years old, his mother, a princess of Savoy,
managed the government during four years, until the intrigues of his
uncle Ludovico supplanted her, and possessed himself virtually of the
sovereignty, though exercising it in the name of his nephew. He
married him at the age of twenty to Isabella, daughter of Alfonso
heir-apparent of Naples, but availing himself of his feeble character
maintained his own position, even after the Duke had attained to
manhood. He was generally known by the surname of _Il Moro_, from
using as his device the mulberry, which, being the last tree to hazard
its buds, and the first to mature its fruit, was the received emblem
of discretion and cautious policy. Ludovico il Moro may thus be
rendered Louis the Discreet, an epithet little in keeping with his
character, at once rash and restless, wavering and weak. Accordingly,
in pursuing his designs of unprincipled ambition, this unscrupulous
usurper most signally overreached himself, and, as we shall in due
time see, brought utter ruin upon his own person and house.

Venice, now at the summit of her pride and power, is thus finely
apostrophised by Politian;--

     "Sole Queen of Italy! of regal Rome
       The beauteous rival, ruling earth and sea,
     Sovereigns would fain thy citizens become.
       Ausonia's honoured light! 'tis but in thee,
     Unquenched by barbarous hosts, our freedom glows;
       'Tis to thy beams our sun a brighter radiance owes."[239]

[Footnote 239: _Opera Latina_, III., Eleg. i., p. 95.]

As yet she was the mart of the known world, for a commerce with the
enterprise of Columbus and the daring of De Gama were on the eve of
directing into new channels and rival ports. Her navy scarcely knew a
competitor on the seas. Her eastern possessions not only gave security
to her trade, but placed her foremost in defence of Christendom
against the Infidel, a post of natural glory and influence which it is
now difficult fully to appreciate. But these honourable and
substantial advantages sufficed her not. It was her ever cherished but
fatal ambition to swell her mainland possessions by every means of
arms or diplomacy. Although her citizens had no turn for military
exploits, although the gloomy genius of her government found no
sympathy among her _terra firma_ subjects, she pursued the ruinous
policy of intermingling in every combination, co-operating in every
war, which could add to her territories. At the moment of Charles's
invasion, she had gained her object of becoming one of the five great
Italian powers. How she lost it at the hands of his successor, and
how, in defending a pre-eminence she never should have desired, she
impaired the true sources of her superiority, will, in course of
events, come under our view.

In Florence Lorenzo de' Medici, to whose bright name history has done
justice, at the expense perhaps of some coeval stars in the Italian
hemisphere, had died a few months before Innocent VIII. He was happy
in living during a breathing time of comparative tranquillity, which
he had been not uninstrumental in preserving, and which it was perhaps
his good fortune not to survive. He had lived long enough to gain an
imperishable fame, and passed from life just before the golden age, of
which he was the signal ornament, began to be dimmed by influences
which he and his family were instrumental in promoting. Our admiration
of the assiduous and enlightened encouragement bestowed by him, and by
his son Leo X., upon letters and art, ought not to blind us to the
melancholy truths that the theoretical paganism of Lorenzo, the
practical worldliness of Leo, and the disastrous blundering of Clement
VII., have left upon the religion, the nationality, and the public
spirit of Italy, effects which counterbalance that vast impulse to
genius which the two first had the power to create, without the
judgment and virtue to direct. Lorenzo the Magnificent was succeeded
in his authority by his eldest son Pietro; but as that was founded
exclusively upon personal claims, and unsupported either by official
or hereditary dignities, it quickly passed from his feeble hands. It
was the folly of this Pietro that supplied a train to the smouldering
elements which we have endeavoured in this digression to analyse, and
which, had his father been spared, might have been welded into a
compact aggregate calculated to withstand barbarian aggression,
instead of, as we shall now see, bursting into a simultaneous and
destructive conflagration.[240]

[Footnote 240: Du Peloux, in a despatch addressed to Charles V. in
1529, alluding to the distractions and miseries of Italy, in terms
more appropriate to the period now under our review, observes "that
there were two races who occasioned all its misfortunes, the Medici
and the Sforza, and that it would be well for the world were both of
them extirpated."--_Lanz Correspondenz._]

Charles VIII. of France had attained his twenty-third year. It has
been well remarked of him that few monarchs have played so active a
part with fewer personal qualifications for success or distinction.
The hideous deformity of his body seems to have been equalled by the
defects of his character. Impetuous and fickle, ignorant and wilful,
he was alike devoid of judgment and of perseverance. The wars of the
Neapolitan succession, that had during much of the preceding century
harassed Lower Italy, were not forgotten, and the latent claims of the
Angevine dynasty became serious grounds for fresh anxiety, when vested
in the youthful monarch of a powerful ultra-montane nation. Ludovico
Sforza, situated nearest to the quarter whence the storm threatened,
was the first to take alarm, and for once his selfish policy tended to
a great and beneficial object. He proposed a general defensive
alliance of the Italian states against all foreign invasion. But his
counsels flowed from a tainted source. The King of Naples had already
interposed to emancipate his grand-daughter's husband from the unduly
prolonged regency of Ludovico, who soon perceived that his usurped
authority must be relinquished ere his overtures would be listened to
in that quarter. Yet the stake was worth an effort, and the new Pope's
elevation suggested a fit opportunity for the attempt, since it
attracted to Rome many embassies of congratulation which, when thus
congregated, might conveniently arrange the terms of a league. As a
preliminary, the Regent of Milan proposed that the various ambassadors
should give moral weight to their union, by entering the capital of
Christendom on the same day, in one imposing procession. This idea was
approved by most of the parties, but Pietro de' Medici, conceiving
that his personal vanity would be more effectively gratified by
exhibiting the superior magnificence of his retinue in a separate
display, resolved to thwart by indirect means a proposition to which
he could offer no reasonable objection. He, therefore, induced
Ferdinand to interpose some obstacles of etiquette, which marred by
miserable jealousies the intended unanimity of the demonstration.
Ludovico, having ascertained the origin of this intrigue, saw in it a
separation from the common cause by the two powers whose interests
were the most at variance with his own. The Medici were formidable
neighbours, as wielding the preponderating power of Florence, while
with the King of Naples the seeds of a domestic quarrel were already

Upon the coldness thus generated, other influences were brought
coincidently to bear. The Colonna and the Orsini had long been most
prominent and influential among the great barons of Rome. The
authority which they exercised over their fiefs in the Campagna was to
all intents sovereign. They alternately wasted that fair land with
their mutual broils, or bearded their ecclesiastical over-lord in his
capital. Those who have journeyed from Monterosi to Albano along the
lonely plain which, curtained by the Sabine mountains and the Alban
hills, stretches far around the Eternal City, or have cantered for
miles and miles across its vast expanse of undulating sward in
solitude and stillness; who have marked its rich vegetation running
wild in the most genial of European climes, its melancholy lines of
interrupted aqueducts witnessing to a long-degraded civilisation, its
distant and dilapidated watch-towers telling only of former forays,
its few isolated dwellings sheltering beneath crumbled walls and
broken battlements the units of a scanty and squalid population; and
who, to account for the spell of such a singular desolation, conclude
that this dreary waste has been depopulated by the course of nature;
such may wonder to hear that the mischief and misery are chiefly the
act of man. The calm serenity of these forlorn downs becomes deeply
touching from remembering that the soil was for centuries sodden with
blood, and covered with smouldering ruins; that European civilisation
there was nurtured, there waned, and there struggled into a second
life, amid the din of battles, the devastation of armies, the rapine
of banditti; that its long grass springs from the grave of ancient
refinement, of classic memorials, of mediæval strife.

In the middle ages much of the Campagna was fertile, and peopled by
an industrious peasantry. Its undulating slopes waved with abundant
crops, varied and sheltered by venerable woods, which the Goths and
Vandals of former centuries had spared. But incessant civil feuds
proved more fatal than barbarian hordes. The Ghibelline Colonna, from
their fortresses of Marino and Palestrina, watched the fitting moment
to pour their armed retainers on the plain, and, crossing the Tiber,
carried fire and sword, through the estates of their rivals, to the
very gates of Bracciano. The Guelphic Orsini waited for revenge only
till the ripened harvest had prepared for them a golden spoil in their
foemen's fields. Year after year did this miserable partizan-warfare
ravage those devoted lands till the peasantry by degrees were
exterminated, or driven to seek a livelihood in some more tranquil
spot; till of their smiling homes no stone remained upon another,
except where, at long intervals, the farm buildings were turned by
these men of blood into fortresses, or the tombs of the dead were
desecrated into defences for the living. A soil teeming with fertility
under a burning sun, and abandoned by man, ran to rank vegetation,
which, gradually choking the water-courses, generated miasma. The
evil, thus commenced, was augmented by cutting down the trees which
shadowed the burning earth, and, not unfrequently, covered a hostile
ambush. But the crowning mischief was the rash destruction of a vast
forest which, extending between the Campagna and the sea, excluded the
malaria that brooded over the Mediterranean coast from Leghorn to Mola
di Gaeta. Once admitted, that fearful scourge took possession of the
depopulated territory, which has ever since remained a puzzle to the
physiologist, a mystery to the moralist, a terror to all. At no period
had the feuds of the Colonna and Orsini been more virulent than during
the feeble reign of Innocent, when their armed bands had more than
once scoured the streets of Rome, and overawed the papal
government. The Savelli, the Frangipani, and the Gaetani, those
great families who, a century or two before, had been their rivals,
were no longer able to cope with them, and the lesser barons of the
Comarca sought protection and employment by ranging themselves as
their respective partizans. To humble these rampant houses was thus
the natural policy of the successors of St. Peter, and especially of
Alexander VI., who soon devoted his ambition and his authority to
provide temporal sovereignties for his illegitimate progeny. His
ruthless proceedings, and the changes which ensued over the whole
country, at length effectually quelled the lawless turbulence of these
chiefs; but it was too late to remedy the ruinous havoc which their
insatiate strife had occasioned.

[Illustration: "DIVA JULIA"

_From a bronze medal by L'Antico in the British Museum_]

[Illustration: CESARE BORGIA

_From a medal ca. 1500 in the British Museum_]


_From a medal in the British Museum_]

The late Pope, following the practice of the times, had endowed his
natural son Francesco Cibò (ancestor of the princes of Massa) with
Anguillara, Cervetri, and other holdings to the north-west of Rome,
and had married him to Madalena, sister of Lorenzo the Magnificent.
Desirous of exchanging this precarious sovereignty for some more
peaceful home, Francesco, by the influence of his brother-in-law,
Pietro de' Medici, induced the King of Naples to advance 40,000 ducats
to Gentile Virginio Orsini, for the purchase of these castles, which
adjoined his fief of Bracciano. This slight circumstance served to
kindle that train which the long series of events now alluded to had
gradually prepared for combustion, and to ripen those jealousies
already sown among the Peninsular powers. The Pope saw in it an
accession of territory to one of those great barons of the Campagna
whom he had resolved to humble; Ludovico il Moro, with the coward
suspicions of guilt, watched every motion of Ferdinand, whose just
indignation at his treatment of the Duke of Milan he had too good
reason to dread. As soon, therefore, as he had ascertained that Pietro
de' Medici, abandoning the cautious neutrality which his father had
ever maintained between the Milanese and Neapolitan interests, had
united with Ferdinand in the affair of Orsini, as well as in the less
serious intrigue which had prevented the cementing of a general
confederation he plotted to provide for the King full occupation at

Suddenly, however, the tangled policy of the Peninsular states assumed
an aspect more favourable to Ludovico. The ambitious overtures of
Alexander to obtain for his natural son Giuffredo the hand of Sancia
of Aragon having been spurned by her father Alfonso, the impetuous
Pontiff, in April, 1493, hastily concluded a defensive treaty with
Milan and Venice, for the avowed purpose of expelling Orsini, the ally
of Naples, from his recent acquisitions. These having been obtained by
that feudatory, with the aid of his tried friend Ferdinand, and his
relation Pietro de' Medici, he naturally looked to these two powers
for support; and thus was Italy on the point of relapsing into her
normal condition of feud. But the King of Naples, considering such a
price extravagant for the mere gratification of family pride, had
within a few weeks adjusted his differences with the Pope, by
betrothing his granddaughter to Giuffredo Borgia. As if by repulsion
of the magnetic poles, the accession of Ferdinand caused Il Moro to
secede from the alliance he had just before joined, but from which he
could no longer look for support in his lawless authority, and,
judging his only security to consist in the depression of that
monarch, he resolved to effect it at any price.

Upon these most inadequate grounds of personal pique, or personal
apprehension, did Ludovico madly run upon the very danger against
which he had been the first to prepare

                       "All the swords
     In Italy, and her confederate arms."

In his eagerness to disable Ferdinand's anticipated vengeance upon his
own crimes, he renewed the calamities of a succession-war in the
south, and thereby laid open the Peninsula to a scourge whose
chastisement fell most heavily upon himself. Instead of heading a
league against foreign aggression, as he had just before proposed, he
made overtures to Charles VIII., tempting him with the diadem of
Naples as the reward of an invasion of Italy, and offering him free
passage through the Milanese. His private quarrel with the usurper did
not blind Ferdinand to the insanity of this step, and, forgetting his
feelings as a parent, he united with the other powers in representing
the peril of his policy. Gladly would Ludovico have withdrawn the
false step he had hastily made; but it was too late. The demon of
ambition was roused in the French king; the hour for retraction was
passed; that of bitter repentance was at hand. Behind her Alpine
barrier there was gathered an army, ready to burst upon fated Italy,
and to pour upon her plains calamities unknown since the fall of the
Western Empire.

       *       *       *       *       *

With Federigo of Montefeltro and Roberto Malatesta, the old generation
of Italian condottieri may be said to have passed away. Political
changes and progressive civilisation, developed during forty years of
comparative tranquillity, already tended to limit both the supply of
veteran adventurers and the demand for their services. Under such
genial influences, the great companies of adventure had melted down to
petty followings, more proportioned to the exigencies of the age, and
to the resources and experience of their new leaders. Peaceful times
offered no rich prizes to call forth sustained daring, and to reward
vast enterprises. Captains of minor reputation, heading small bands
raised for some passing broil or petty foray, succeeded to the
Hawkwoods, Montoni, and Malatesta, without rivalling their deeds, or
maintaining their fame. The limited brigandage of the broken lances
differed from the sweeping desolation of their marshalled thousands
only in the narrower field on which it found scope; but the mercenary
system became more manageable when deprived of its cumbrous machinery,
and its leaders were henceforth the tools of their employers instead
of their virtual masters.

In bidding adieu to that system, we may quote the sweeping
condemnation bestowed upon it by Machiavelli; yet it is right to
remember that, as the advocate of infantry and national militia, he
had no toleration for the military art which they superseded, and that
he witnessed its practice only after its spirit was gone. "Whoever
relies for power upon mercenaries will never be stable or secure; for
they are disunited, ambitious, undisciplined, faithless: braggarts
among friends, dastards before the foe; destitute of fear of God, or
faith with man. To delay their assault is to postpone your own ruin;
in peace, you are plundered by them, in war by the enemy. The reason
of all this is, that they have no object, no inducement to keep the
field beyond their pittance of pay, which is never such as to induce
them to spend life and limb for you. They readily enough take service,
so long as you don't go to war, but when that comes, they desert or
fly. It were easy to establish all this, for the destruction of Italy
has arisen from no other cause but that, for many years, she depended
upon mercenary troops; who, indeed, occasionally did something, and
wore a semblance of valour when pitted against each other, but, on the
appearance of the stranger, showed in their true colours. Thus was
Charles of France allowed to take possession of the Peninsula as
easily as he would have chalked off his cantonments, and the result of
all their prowess left the country overrun by him, ravaged by Louis,
trampled on by Ferdinand, and insulted by the Swiss; in fine, by their
means she was enslaved and disgraced."

These changes led to considerable modifications in the art of war, to
which other circumstances greatly contributed. The invasion of Italy
by successive ultra-montane hosts brought into her battle-fields
other races, armed, drilled, and disciplined upon new principles; and
the descent of Charles VIII., which we are now about to describe,
forms an era in military tactics. The heavy accoutrements, the staid
evolutions, the blockade sieges, the bloodless encounters of the old
system were admirably suited for troops whose grand object was to
perform their term of service without unnecessary personal risk, and
to spare themselves all exertion which did not promise a meed of
booty. The invention of gunpowder at first tended to exaggerate the
very inconveniences which it was destined eventually to supplant: for
a time, defensive armour became more and more massive, and
horse-trappings less manageable. In order to resist the additional
weight, chargers of the most powerful shapes were sought for; but they
were in proportion sluggish and unhandy, apt to fall on the slightest
stumble, difficult to maintain in condition, and incapable of
sustained exertion. These evils having become apparent, the
men-at-arms ceased to be regarded as the sole sinews of war, and many
of them were converted into lances.

Unlike the cavalry which now bear that name, these lances were heavy
troops, and, like the men-at-arms, they each consisted of three
mounted soldiers--a head-lance on his charger, a soldier on his steed,
and a lacquey on his pad. The pay of these troops, which in 1492 were
already used in Romagna,[*241] was twelve florins for every lance,
being four times that of a foot-soldier; and they were reckoned twice
as effective as _balestrieri_ or light-horse, both new varieties of
mounted force. The former were brought into repute by Camillo Vitelli,

     "In heart a lion, though a calf in name,"[242]

and were armed with cross-bows, their tactics being to gall the enemy
without coming to close quarters. Of the latter there were several
varieties, the most efficient of which were the Stradiotes. Accustomed
from childhood to constant skirmishes with their Turkish foes, in the
mountains of Albania, where manoeuvres of regular cavalry were
impracticable, they partook of the agility and address for which
Cossacks and Circassians have lately become celebrated. Their arms
were a spear ten feet long, a broad-sword and a mace, and they were
defended by an iron skull-cap, a small shield, and a short quilted
jerkin. They were introduced by the Venetians into Lombardy, where
their dashing qualities, as well as their ferocity, soon established
the reputation of these irregular horse as most formidable

[Footnote *241: The _Lancia_ had been used in Romagna and the Marche
for over half a century, certainly, in 1492. Cf. EDWARD HUTTON,
_Sigismondo Malatesta_, p. 71. Cf. BATTAGLINI, _op. cit._, vol. II.,
p. 348.]

[Footnote 242: Of sixteen Vitelli named in the genealogy following the
appendix, all but the first were renowned condottieri.]

Infantry occupied, under the new system, a place until then denied
them. They had hitherto been of small account in the mustering of
armies, and were rarely relied on except in situations which excluded
cavalry evolutions. They carried small shields, and halberts or
lances, but were scarcely at all drilled, and never attempted to stand
against a charge of horse. More effective were their cross-bows, and
the rude muskets which they began to use. As fire-arms were made more
handy, the value of infantry rapidly increased, and its discipline
became an important branch of the military art. But in this section of
the service, Italians had to learn costly lessons from their alpine

In a land where nature had lavished her most sublime efforts, she
reared a race as hardy in heart and sinew as their climate was severe,
their scenery wild, their hardships extreme. Life was there a
perpetual struggle with privations, an unceasing exercise of toil. To
provide the necessaries of existence required limbs enduring of
fatigue, an eye of unerring accuracy, perseverance inexhaustible,
courage indomitable. And such were the qualities of the Swiss
mountaineers, which they developed in the chase, exercised in rude
sports, and perfected in their struggles with the house of Hapsburg,
until their shouts of victory echoed through the valleys around
Morgarten,--until Europe stood aghast at the issue of Granson, and of

     "Morat the proud, the patriot field."

In their country of crags and ravines it was impossible either to rear
powerful horses, or to manoeuvre with heavy cavalry; the
accoutrements of _gens d'armerie_ were also too costly for a
population of scanty and much divided means. They therefore adopted,
what proved more effective even in the plain, an infantry so armed and
drilled as to withstand the shock of men-at-arms. In lines four deep,
or in cross-shaped columns, they received the charge upon their
bristling pikes, and with two-handed swords dealt fell blows on the
broken squadrons. Their defensive armour was of the least cumbrous
description, consisting generally but of breastplates; and with the
axe-headed halberts, which some of them carried, they unseated their
enemies, or cut their reins in the _mêlée_. By these means they were
enabled so well to apply the activity and endurance bestowed upon them
by nature, as to meet on equal terms with armies apparently much their
superiors. Louis XI. was the first sovereign to avail himself of a new
element, whose qualities he had learned by bloody experience at the
passage of the Birsa, in 1444.[243] But after the Swiss mercenaries
had tasted the gratification of regular pay, and the plunder of lands
more golden than their own, an appetite for adventure superseded the
pristine simplicity of their habits. The cantons, finding it difficult
to keep their youth at home, became parties to contracts which hired
out their services to the best bidder; and we shall henceforth find
them in the champagne lands of Lombardy, following with equal
goodwill the lilies of France, the lion of St. Mark, or the Papal
gonfalone. Thus in a few years, the military aspect of Southern Europe
became changed, not only by the employment of Swiss infantry in all
important enterprises, but from an adoption of their system by the
troops of Italy, France, and Germany.

[Footnote 243: RICOTTI, III., 257. The Swiss were first brought into
Italy by Sixtus IV., and fought at Giornico in 1479.]

The Emperor Maximilian was the first to organise in Germany a militia
of foot, under the name of _lanznechts_, against whom the Swiss,
recollecting their ancient struggles for liberty, nourished a rancour,
which only their common stipendiary interests could for the moment
suspend. Lightly armed with lance and dagger, but encumbered by a
preposterous camp-following; reckless of danger, yet indifferent to
glory; they were fractious, disobedient, debauched, impatient of
suffering, greedy of pay, devoted to plunder. But our notice of the
ultra-montane infantry would be incomplete without the Spaniards. They
were brought into Italy to maintain Ferdinand's pretensions upon
Naples, and to support the aspirations of his successor to extended
dominion in the Peninsula. Levied by tuck of drum, with scanty promise
of pay, but unlimited licence to pillage, they campaigned in the
spirit of pirates; and though the energy of Gonsalvo di Cordova
ultimately brought the Hispano-Neapolitan army into a very efficient
state, this stain was never effaced. The character for ferocity which
attached to their birth is stamped upon their military exploits, and
has left its traces to this day upon the inhabitants of Lower Italy.
The cavalry of Germany and Spain was decidedly inferior to the Italian
light horse and men-at-arms, and played but an unimportant part in the
wars which we are now to consider.

Our review of the military art in the Peninsula must needs include the
recent introduction of fire-arms. The researches of Gaye have
discovered that projectiles were used in Italy considerably earlier
than the date usually assigned to their invention, a due provision of
"cannons and metal balls," both for field-service and fortification,
being ordered by the Florentine government in February, 1326.[244]
Whatever may have been its origin, the invention was slowly followed
up; for, after nearly a century and three quarters, the Italian
artillery was still so cumbrous and defective as to be of little
practical utility, and it was rarely employed except in sieges.
Indeed, according to Guicciardini, the very name of cannons had passed
out of use, and the light and rapidly-served field-pieces of the
French army were regarded with as much surprise as apprehension.

[Footnote 244: _Carteggio d'Artisti_, preface to vol. II. Among the
other sources to which we have been indebted for these military
details, we may mention Machiavelli, Ricotti, and the Relazioni
Venete, _passim_, but especially Promis' edition of Francesco di
Giorgio on military institutions, a work of great learning and
research, published at Turin in 1841. See below, ch. xxvii.]

The development of the new power was extremely gradual; and although
we have seen it in operation at the battle of Molinella, in 1467, no
other instance occurred during that century of its being used with
effect in the field.[245] Nor is this surprising, when we consider the
unmanageable nature of the service, and the gradual steps whereby
science superseded rude contrivance. Heavy cannon were then from ten
to twelve feet long, requiring at times fifty yoke of oxen. They
carried balls of stone or metal of ten or twelve hundred pounds; and
after each discharge, some hours were needed to clean out, reload, and
point the piece. Even the flying artillery (_passa volanti_) were in
length sixty diameters, and the basilisks, reckoned as light guns,
were two-hundred pounders. We cannot now pursue the subject, but any
one who visits a complete armoury of 1480-1500, or examines the works
upon military engineering of that age, will probably conclude that few
modern discoveries in the destructive art had not even then been
approximated. For attack and defence of fortified places these
machines were certainly better adapted; yet, with all the talent and
princely encouragement then expended upon fortification, it must be
considered as in its infancy. But when the chivalry of the north
poured upon fated Italy, under Charles VIII., no part of their array
appeared so formidable as their field-train, powerful yet compact,
heavy but easily moved; and the unimportant service required from it
in that brief campaign, was performed in a manner which showed how
much even the Italians had to learn in this department. At the Taro,
the nature of the ground prevented it from contributing much to the
success of that bloody day, and it was reserved for the sanguinary
conflict of Ravenna to develop the capabilities of a service which
gradually became the right arm of European warfare.

[Footnote 245: Refer back to p. 189; also to p. 248, for a description
of the bombards used at the siege of Colle in 1479. The same tendency
to overweight artillery seems common to many half-civilised nations.
The size of the guns mounted in the Dardanelles is an instance, as
well as that of the Scottish Mons Meg; but the most gigantic
projectiles yet known have been found among the Burmese, and I believe
the Chinese. In modern warfare, field batteries are usually of six,
or, at most, nine pounders.]


     Italy ill prepared for the French Invasion--Duke Guidobaldo
     sent against the Orsini--Lucrezia Borgia's second
     marriage--Descent of Charles VIII.--He reaches Naples and
     retreats--Battle of the Taro--The Duke engaged in the Pisan
     war--Is taken prisoner by the Orsini and ransomed.

The preceding rapid sketch may show the materials of which the
invading hosts were composed, and the nature of the approaching
danger. Its imminence appalled even those powers who, like Sforza,
thought more of their own ends than of the general weal; and Alfonso
II., who had succeeded to the crown of Naples on the death of his
father Ferdinand, in January, 1494, was indefatigable in uniting them
on the defensive. With Pietro de' Medici, we have already seen that
the latter was in close relations. Among the princes of Romagna,
Gallic influence had obtained no footing. The Venetians, occupied in
the defence of their eastern dependencies from the Turks, and
trusting, perhaps, to see Charles redeem his promise of a crusade
against the Crescent, were inclined to neutrality. Genoa was in the
hands of a faction entirely under the influence of Ludovico il
Moro,[*246] who, though bound by treaty to Charles, was already
alienated at heart from the connection, and ready on the first
opportunity to discard it. The Pontiffs position, like his usual
policy, was somewhat complicated. We have formerly found his
predecessors generally hostile to the dynasty of Aragon, as well as to
that of Hohenstaufen, and tolerably consistent in support of the
Angevine races, whose original title the Neapolitan crown was a papal
grant. Further, claims of the popes as lords paramount of that
kingdom, and the annual payments which in that capacity they demanded,
were fertile grounds for rancour, which but a few years before had
broken out into hostilities. We have also seen Ferdinand assisting
Virginio Orsini in purchasing those estates from which Alexander was
bent upon expelling him. But a deeper cause for mortification and
personal enmity arose out of the resistance by that King and his son
to the matrimonial alliance of a princess of their house with one of
the Pope's spurious sons.[*247] For a time, therefore, his Holiness
balanced between the parties, and appears even to have allowed his
name to be used by Ludovico Sforza in proposing to Charles the
conquest of Naples.[*248] But his object was merely to annoy and alarm
Ferdinand; and when he found this idea seriously adopted by the young
monarch of France, he hastily backed out, and employed his spiritual
and temporal influence to dissuade him from the enterprise.[249]
Alfonso warmly supported his Holiness in this new policy, and, in
order to clench him in it, betrothed his natural daughter, Sancia,
with a dowry of lands worth 10,000 ducats of rent, and jewels to the
value of 200,000 ducats, to Giuffredo Borgia, the Pope's youngest
child, whom he created Prince of Squillace. This son-in-law not being
yet marriageable, the King had an excuse for taking him to be brought
up near his bride, with the intention of securing a hostage for his
unstable parent's good faith. As a further bait, the principality of
Tricarico, with estates of 12,000 ducats a year, and one of the seven
great offices under the crown of Naples, were given to the eldest
Borgia, now Duke of Gandia; whilst on Cesare, already raised to the
purple as Cardinal Valentino (or of Valencia), his best ecclesiastical
benefices were showered by the hard-pressed Alfonso.

[Footnote *246: Ludovico Sforza held dominion in Genoa till 1498, when
he was defeated by Louis XII. of France, to whom Genoa was then made

[Footnote *247: See note below.]

[Footnote *248: Ludovico was alarmed at the alliance of Florence and
Naples, and tried to meet it with a league between the Pope, Milan,
and Venice [cf. Codice, Aragonese, II., 254, etc.] On April 25, 1493,
Alexander VI., guarded by an armed escort, celebrated Mass in S.
Marco, and after published his league with Venice, Milan, Siena,
Mantua, and Ferrara. The Pope's object was the recovery of the
possessions of the Holy See. Ferrante saw this, and immediately wrote
to Spain speaking of him as a profligate and accusing him of stirring
up strife--the one weak point in the Pope's armour. The Spanish
ambassador, Don Diego Lopez de Haro, came to Rome to offer the
obedience of the Catholic kings, and at once began to plead for the
peace of Italy, which was enforced by a hostile demonstration on the
part of Naples. Alexander agreed to negotiate. The result was that
peace was established. Orsini was allowed to keep the castles he had
bought from Cibò on condition that he paid 40,000 ducats to the Pope.
Peace with Naples was cemented by the marriage of the Pope's son Jofre
and Sancia, a daughter of Alfonso.]

[Footnote 249: Roscoe, in a note to chapter iii. of the recent
editions of _Leo X._, discusses the conflicting assertions as to the
Pope's encouragement of Charles's expedition.]

But the transaction of Virginio Orsini gave rise to a preliminary
episode in the great drama, which, as bringing the Duke of Urbino upon
the stage, requires some notice in this place. Besides the uneasiness
with which Alexander viewed the further aggrandisement of that already
too formidable subject, it is more than probable that, in claiming the
Cibò estates, as lapsed to the Camera Apostolica, his ultimate
intention was, to bestow them upon one of his own children; for his
selfish policy seldom embraced any aim more noble than nepotism or
revenge. Being doubtful of his own ability to drive the Orsini from
their new purchase, he, in April, 1493, leagued himself with Ludovico
Sforza and the Venetian republic. Through the former, he carried into
effect a scheme which at once tended to facilitate that object, and
promoted his favourite aim of providing his offspring with eligible
marriages. His daughter Lucrezia,--she whose name has, perhaps, done
more to render her infamous than her guilt, but whose beauty,
accomplishments, and eventual penitence, had been forgotten in the
heinous crimes which history laid to her charge unquestioned, until
Roscoe's ingenious defence,--Lucrezia Borgia was then betrothed wife
of a Spanish, or, rather, a Neapolitan, gentleman, named Procida. To
nullify a union so valueless cost no qualm to the Pontiff, and,
probably, as little to the lady. To match her with the widowed Lord of
Pesaro scarcely required the persuasions of his relation Ludovico il
Moro, and his brother-in-law, Duke Guidobaldo, whose good offices the
Pope put in requisition to arrange preliminaries with the bridegroom,
paying at the same time 3000 ducats as a solace to her first husband.
The betrothal, in May, was celebrated by a ball in the palace of
Pesaro, from which the assembled guests issued forth in couples,
dancing through the streets a sort of polonaise, which was led by the
papal ambassador! The nuptial ceremony was postponed until Lucrezia's
arrival from Spain in the following spring, and it was not until June
that the bridal party reached their capital.[*250]

[Footnote *250: For all concerning Lucrezia, see GREGOROVIUS,
_Lucrezia Borgia_.]

[Illustration: _Anderson_


_Supposed portrait of Lucrezia Borgia by Pinturicchio. Detail from a
fresco in the Borgia apartments of the Vatican, Rome_]

Having arranged this marriage, Alexander sent Duke Guidobaldo, along
with his son Cesare, against the Orsini. The former, though only in
his twenty-second year, was already suffering from gout, his fatal
malady, which had first shown itself during the rejoicings at Giovanni
Sforza's betrothal. But he resisted it with great courage, addicting
himself more than ever to the hardy exercises of the camp. The
partizan warfare on which the Pope thus employed him as gonfaloniere
of the Church, was, however, productive of little glory, and the
Orsini, driven by superior force from their new lands, awaited an
opportunity for retaliation. The nuptials of Lucrezia took place in
1494, after she had made a triumphal entry into Rome, scandalous even
in that pontificate of scandal. The ceremonial was witnessed by a
select party of ecclesiastical dignitaries, and a hundred and fifty of
the handsomest women of Rome, selected without regard to their
character, whose husbands were excluded. To each of these dames the
Pope presented a silver cup of confections, which, amid much
outrageous merriment, were emptied into their bosoms, "and all to the
honour and praise of Almighty God and the Romish Church," as the
contemporary narrator caustically observes.[251] The same parties then
paired off to supper, which was prolonged some hours beyond midnight,
the company being entertained by dramatic representations of a most
impure character. In all these revels Alexander and his then
favourite, Giulia Bella took part, and they were fitly wound up by his
conducting in person the bride to her husband's couch. For the
introduction of such disgusting details an apology may be due, but
without them, general declamation on the vices of the Borgian court
would convey no just idea of the truth. That the loathsome picture is
under-coloured, may be supposed from a concluding remark of the
diarist, that he had suppressed many reports regarding this orgy, as
they seemed either false or exceeding credibility. Bad as is this
scene, it is pure compared with some described by Burchard, another
journalist of the Vatican obscenities. In June, Lucrezia set out for
her new home, and, resting a night at Urbino on the way, was received
with the honours due to her rank. A furious tempest, in which she next
day entered her capital, ruined the costly preparations intended to
celebrate her welcome, and was remembered afterwards as ominous of the
result of her marriage, and of the mischiefs occasioned there by the
Borgia. But men's minds were quickly roused from idle festivities. The
barbarians were already scaling the Alps; Italy and her spoils lay at
their feet.

[Footnote 251: Stephani Infessuri Diarium Romanæ, in MURATORI,
_R.I.S._, III., p. ii., p. 1246. He dates the marriage ceremony the
12th of June, 1493.]

In return for the favours bestowed upon his children, the Pope renewed
to Alfonso his investiture of Naples, and sent thither his own nephew,
the Cardinal of Monreale, to attend his coronation and the betrothal
of his daughter to Giuffredo Borgia. But, with wonted cunning,
Alexander kept open a retreat from this alliance, by instructing the
Cardinal to obtain as a personal favour, the return to Rome of his
hostage child and bride. He celebrated their arrival in May following,
with pompous festivities exceeding in splendour the reception accorded
to royal personages, and, in defiance of public decency, appeared in
consistory, and in the papal chair of St. Peter, at the solemn
function of Pentecost, between the bastard bride of his bastard son,
and his dissolute daughter Lucrezia.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such was the position of Italy at the moment of the French invasion,
the calamities of which are thus prefigured by Guicciardini. "From it
originated not only the revolution of states, the subversion of
dynasties, the desolation of provinces, the destruction of cities, the
most savage massacres; but likewise altered habits, changed morals, a
new and more sanguinary mode of warfare, and therewith diseases
previously unknown; it also so entirely disorganised the guarantees
for concord and internal tranquillity, that these could never be
replaced, and thus was the country left to be trodden down and wasted
by other foreign nations and barbarian armies. By a yet greater
misfortune, in order that our shame might derive no alleviation from
the prowess of our enemy, he whose invasion brought us so many
mischiefs, although most amply endowed with the bounties of fortune,
was destitute of almost every natural or mental endowment. For Charles
was from his childhood of languid complexion, deformed person, and
diminutive stature, besides having a countenance singularly repulsive
but for his penetrating and dignified glance, with limbs so
disproportioned as to resemble a monster rather than a man. Nor was he
only destitute of liberal acquirements; he scarcely knew his letters.
Although greedy of empire, there was nothing for which he was less
qualified; for he was encircled by a few, with whom he maintained
neither dignity nor authority; he was averse to all occupation and
business, and, when he did apply to his affairs, was alike wanting in
prudence and judgment. Even such apparently laudable qualities as he
seemed to possess proved, on examination, more akin to vices than to
virtues. Thus his inclination for glory was from impulse rather than
matured resolution; his liberality was ill directed and without
discrimination or degree; wavering at times in his counsels, he was
oftener guided by foolish obstinacy than by decision; and what many
called good-nature would have been better named indifference or
easiness of temper." The description given by a son of Andrea Mantegna
is still less favourable to the King's appearance. "He is said to have
a very ill-favoured face, with great goggle eyes, an aquiline nose
offensively large, and a head disfigured by few and sparse hairs. When
I think of such a little hunchy fellow my fancy is struck with
wonder."[252] We shall add one other characteristic sketch of a
monarch for whom fortune destined a part strangely at variance with
his qualifications. It was given by Ludovico il Moro, in December of
this year, to the Venetian resident at his court, and has been
obligingly communicated to me by Mr. Rawdon Brown, than whom no one is
more perfectly versed in the transactions of that republic. "The man
is young, and his conduct meagre, nor has he any form or method of
council. His assistants are divided into two factions, one headed by
the Comte de Bresse, the other by St. Malo and Beaucaire with their
adherents; they are violently opposed to each other on every topic,
and provided the one thwart the other and carry his point, no regard
soever is had for the King's interests. They attend to the
accumulation of coin, and care for nothing else; nor would all of them
put together make half a wise man. I remember when at Asti seeing him
in a room with the members of his assembled council, and, whilst
discussing any matter, one kept playing, another was eating breakfast,
a third was attending to this, a fourth to that; and the King was in
motion the whole time whilst listening to any one. He would order
letters to be couched in a certain form, and subsequently countermand
them on hearing another person's ideas."[253]

[Footnote 252: GAYE, _Carteggio_, I., p. 326. See a contemporary
estimate of the invading army in VIII. of the Appendix.]

[Footnote 253: Our French authorities for this expedition are
valuable, including Comines, and André de la Vigne, contemporaries who
shared in its hazards. A curious essay by M. de Foncemagne, ascribing
to Charles the ambition of a crusader, and pointing at Constantinople
as its real destination, will be found in vol. XVII., p. 539 of
_Mémoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions_.]

It would lead us far beyond our limits to follow the blunders which on
both sides signalised the campaign. Charles opened it by sending an
army into Lombardy, under Sir Bernard Stuart of Aubigny, cousin-german
of John first Earl of Lennox in Scotland, whose career in arms was
rewarded with many dignities, and who, after uniting his troops with
those of Ludovico il Moro, his now unwilling ally, advanced on
Romagna. The King, leaving Vienne upon the 22nd of August, took the
Cenis pass with the main body of his forces, and on the 9th of
September was at Asti in Piedmont. From thence he visited Milan,
before marching against Florence. To meet these formidable foes,
Alfonso alone manifested any energy. He sent a fleet to the Ligurian
coast to watch a naval armament which had been fitted out at
Marseilles, and, if possible, to make a diversion upon Genoa. He at
the same time dispatched his eldest son Ferdinand, Duke of Calabria,
accompanied by two experienced generals, Nicolò Orsini Count of
Petigliano and Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, to support the Bolognese
against the onset of d'Aubigny. Being joined at Cesena by Guidobaldo
of Urbino, who had been engaged by Alfonso with 200 men-at-arms, at an
annual pay of 24,000 ducats, and by Giovanni Sforza, the Duke found
himself at the head of 2500 men-at-arms and 8000 foot, of whom the
portion belonging to Florence was commanded by Annibale Bentivoglio.
But none of these leaders possessed a master influence suited to the
crisis. The spirit of cordiality and mutual confidence, which alone
could promise success, was on this as on all similar occasions wanting
to Italy; and whilst Trivulzio and the other commanders, confident in
the superiority of their army, urged on a decisive engagement,
Petigliano exposed himself to the charge of sluggishness or the
suspicion of bad faith, by frustrating all their endeavours.

The forces of the league had orders to advance towards Parma, and meet
the French and Milanese troops under d'Aubigny and Gian Francesco da
Sanseverino, Count of Cajazzo, who had been retained by Ludovico il
Moro. This, however, they were unable to effect, and, finding
themselves much inferior in strength to the invaders, they retired
upon Faenza. In that neighbourhood the two armies remained for some
time, face to face, without further encounter than a few skirmishes,
in which Guidobaldo distinguished his bravery. Whilst they lost time
in disunited counsels, the progress of Charles in Central Italy
occasioned the recall of the Florentine and papal contingents. The
princes of Romagna, seeing the game virtually lost, found excuses for
liberating themselves from a falling cause, and by withdrawing to
their several states, sought safety in a neutral position. The Duke of
Calabria thus abandoned, retired within the Neapolitan frontier to
await fresh instructions from his father; and thus was the last chance
of saving Italy shamefully lost. Meanwhile the French monarch took the
road by Pontremoli and Sarzana, which fortress and Pietra Santa,
Pietro de' Medici surrendered to him in a panic, as base as it was
inexplicable. Disgusted with his cowardice, Florence and Pisa rose and
expelled his whole race, but rashly crediting the assurances of
Charles that he came as a deliverer and friend of liberty, received
him with open arms.

The description of an eye-witness to the overthrow of the Medici
conveys a vivid picture of the revolutions so common in republican
Florence. It has been printed by Gaye,[254] from the original diary of
Giusto. "On Sunday the 9th of November, the people of Florence rose in
arms against the _palle_, that is, against Pietro de' Medici, who had
so used his sway, and who repaired to the palace. The populace,
observing this, rushed thither, crying, 'Live the people and liberty!'
the children being first in the piazza: and by God's will all Florence
armed and hurried to the palace, calling out, 'People and liberty!' so
that Pietro, the Cardinal, and Giuliano his brother fled. And there
was a reward of 2000 florins proclaimed by the Signory, for whoever
would bring the Cardinal alive or dead to the palace; and thus matters
continued. Next day all the banners and pennons were set up, and such
was the people's fury at the palace, throughout the town, and at the
gates, day and night, that although I have four times found Florence
in arms since 1458, this has been the most unanimous and extraordinary
affair, from the efforts made by the lilies to erase the balls
[_gigli_ and _palle_, the respective arms of the republic and of the
Medici]: even children two or three years old, by a miracle, cried in
the houses 'People and liberty!' and among them our little Catherine.
Thus by God's grace did this community free itself from the hands of
many tyrants, who, thanks to the blessed God! were expelled without

[Footnote 254: _Carteggio_, I., p. 213.]

But with these revolutions, which ended in giving to Florence and Pisa
independent popular governments,[*255] and with the war of rivalry
which consequently ensued between them, we have at present no concern.
The struggle was maintained during several years, with an obstinacy
and bitterness which more than once compromised the general
tranquillity of the Peninsula; when it terminated Pisa had been ruined
and Florence was bankrupt. It was at this crisis that there occurred
an anecdote preserved in the _Corteggiano_, among the _facetiæ_ of the
court of Urbino. One of the Florentine council, in a committee of ways
and means, proposed to augment the customs revenue by doubling the
number of city gates at which dues were collected!

[Footnote *255: These words are infinitely misleading.]

Alexander, ever too occupied with private objects to heed the general
cause, had meanwhile, upon a petty quarrel with the Colonna, withdrawn
his troops from Romagna, to waste them and much precious time in
wretched partizan struggles with these fractious barons, and in this
miserable trifling employed his son Cesare. Vainly confident while no
immediate danger impended, he had flattered himself that the French
invasion would come to nothing. But when he saw two powerful armies
reach his frontier, without obstacle or check, terror succeeded to
foolish security. Abandoning his ally of Naples, he humbly besought
his personal enemy Cardinal Ascanio Sforza to mediate with the French
monarch in his behalf. Yet to the latest moment did he waver,
alternately insolent and abject, fawning and fickle. Through these
fluctuations it is needless to follow him. On the last day of 1494 the
invading army marched unopposed and triumphant into Rome, and, leaving
the city on the 28th of January, advanced towards Naples. A panic had
already seized upon Alfonso, his army, and his people. On the 23rd of
January he abdicated the crown in favour of his son Ferdinand, and
fled with his treasures to Sicily, where he died after ten months of
abject austerities, as an offset to long years of aggravated
debauchery. The new King, upon his bloodless rout at the Garigliano,
found himself without money, and supported neither by his troops nor
his subjects. The bold front which he assumed availed nothing in
circumstances so desperate. He retired to Ischia, and on the 22nd of
February Charles took possession of Naples, amid the acclamations of a
populace, whom the iron sway of the false and gloomy Ferdinand, and of
his sanguinary son, had alienated from the Aragonese dynasty. But
though we pass thus rapidly over the campaign of the French and
Spaniards in Lower Italy, its results were of lasting importance. The
foretaste of the Peninsula then obtained by these nations as its
invaders or defenders stimulated a fatal relish for its attractions;
and the appetite thus engendered was not stayed until that fair land
had been trodden down by successive hosts, scarcely less damaging to
her prosperity and destructive to her liberties as her selfish allies,
than as her open foes.

Experience had by this time shown the folly of the Italian policy, and
the various states were not unwilling to profit by its lesson.
Forgetting for the moment their individual ends, they resolved to
throw off an incubus which threatened to make the Peninsula a province
of France. Ludovico Sforza had long sought to resile from his
ill-judged engagements with Charles; the Venetians found that the
Turkish crusade was but a false pretext; the Florentines saw their
adhesion to the invader repaid by the loss of Pisa; the Pope, ever
inclined to intrigue, was more especially ready to join in any plan
which should open an escape from his blunders in bringing down such
dangerous neighbours. Nor did the ultra-montane powers view with
satisfaction so vast an accession to French influence. Ferdinand II.
of Spain, whose envoy had formally broken with Charles ere he crossed
the Neapolitan frontier, now put himself forward to wean the Venetians
from their neutrality. Maximilian (who, not having been crowned, was
only King of the Romans, but whom we shall generally call Emperor)
burned for opportunity of avenging a double wrong which the French
monarch had done him by jilting his daughter Margaret, and by
espousing his betrothed bride, Anne of Bretagne. Having himself
married in 1493 Bianca Sforza, her uncle Ludovico il Moro bribed him
by a large dowry to take advantage of certain alleged flaws in the
Milanese investitures, and to recognise him as Duke, passing over his
sickly nephew Giovanni Galeazzo. The new charter in favour of Il Moro
reached him immediately after the death of the latter, whose feeble
and wretched existence was terminated, perhaps by poison, in October
1494. He left a son, and in defiance of the title of this child, whose
injuries his uncle, Alfonso of Naples, was no longer in circumstances
to redress, Ludovico seized the trappings of that sovereignty, which
he virtually had usurped long before the imperial diploma reached him.
Thus were these parties prepared for a united exertion in the common
cause; and the minor feudatories of the Peninsula willingly joined
them in a five years' league, for the purpose of restoring and
maintaining the independence of Italy. It was concluded at Venice, on
the 31st of March 1495, and by it Germany, Spain, Venice, Milan, and
the Pope were bound to furnish 34,000 horse, and 20,000 foot, or
monied contributions proportioned to their respective contingents of
that force.

[Illustration: _Anderson_


_After the picture by Ambrogio de' Predis in the Biblioteca
Ambrogiana, Milan_]

Charles and his army had abandoned themselves to the intoxication of
their easy conquest, and to excess in those pleasures which in the
Ausonian climate seem to enervate natives and strangers. From this
careless security, news of the alliance roused him to the danger of
being entrapped in his new kingdom. Leaving half his army there to
maintain his authority, he on the 20th of May set out with the
remainder on his return homeward. Hastily retracing the same route, he
saw difficulties increasing around him, but avoided hostilities, until
in descending the Apennines into Lombardy he found himself intercepted
among the defiles of the Taro by the allied army, so superior in force
as to render his destruction next to inevitable, even without taking
into account the immense advantages of the position which they had
selected. But the singular good fortune which had enabled the French
monarch to overrun the whole Peninsula, conquer a kingdom, and retire
in the face of opposing Europe, without once calling into exercise
whatever talent, judgment, or bravery he might have possessed, did not
forsake him in this his first difficulty. The confederates, by
unpardonable want of good understanding among their leaders, and of
steadiness among their troops, let slip the precious opportunity of
exterminating their invaders. On the 6th of July they suffered on the
Taro an overthrow which they vainly claimed as a victory, and after a
brief hour's conflict retired in disorder, leaving above three
thousand men on the field. Of this battle Guicciardini remarks that it
was the first for a long period that had been really sanguinary in its
character, compared with those tactic engagements of the condottieri,
in which bloodshed was little sought on either side. As the earliest
struggle between Italy and her invaders, the only occasion when her
disunited interests were rallied beneath one banner, it holds a place
in history which in a military view it by no means merited.[256] It
was lost by the delays, distracted counsels, and deficient discipline
among the allies, and brought little glory to the retreating army,
which, without further opposition, reached Asti, where a strong
garrison had been left, and in October re-entered France. The
Aragonese party was strong in Naples, and within six weeks after
Charles had quitted that capital, Ferdinand II. was welcomed back to
it by a versatile people, whom the never-failing insolence of the
French had quickly disgusted with their change of masters. The kingdom
was gradually recovered from its invaders and their supporters, the
Angevine barons, by aid of Spanish succours under Gonsalvo di Cordova,
whose gallantry and skill during a harassing guerilla campaign
established his reputation, and procured him the name of the Great
Captain. Montpensier, when left as viceroy in command of the army of
occupation, made feeble head against him for above a year, until most
of his troops having dropped under the effects of climate and
debauchery, he surrendered the remainder as prisoners of war. Lower
Italy, again under Ferdinand's sway, was no more disturbed by Charles,
who wasted the brief remainder of his life in dissolute indulgences,
better becoming his despicable character than foreign conquests.

[Footnote 256: See some details of it in IX. of the Appendix.]

Thus terminated the first of those systematic and successful invasions
from which Italy has suffered in later ages. Various circumstances
combined to modify its serious results upon her prosperity, and though
almost unopposed, the victors perhaps paid more dearly than the
vanquished. But the seeds of mischief were sown, too surely to ripen
into fatal evils. The nations of the north had learned important
lessons; her temptations, her disunion, and her consequent
powerlessness had been disclosed to them. This epoch may indeed be
regarded as the turning point of European history. From it the
liberties and prosperity of Italy declined, and the new combinations,
alliances, and intermarriages then formed by ultra-montane governments
gradually matured that political system which has since come to be
regarded as the bulwark of national independence. We have introduced
this rapid sketch of the French expedition, because, although it but
slightly influenced Guidobaldo's position, subsequent events, to which
it in some degree gave occasion, brought forward himself and his
successor as prominent actors. He had been engaged by the Venetian
republic to join the confederate army with four hundred and seventy
horse, but had no share in the disgraceful conflict at the Taro; his
squadrons, however, seem to have been there under his natural brother
Antonio, who, while commanding the reserve, might have turned the
fortune of the day, but for an oversight in the transmission of orders
to him.

The Pisan war was the immediate fruit of the French invasion, as
regarded the internal relations of the Peninsula. Charles, remembering
the old proverb, "sow divisions and rule," or perhaps from a mere love
of mischief-making, had instigated that city to throw off the yoke of
Florence, and re-establish its ancient republican independence. But
the support which he had pledged to it was forgotten, when personal
considerations rendered a retreat advisable; and the Pisans were left
to maintain themselves as best they could against their old rivals and
recent masters, with the aid of a French brigade under Monsieur
d'Entragues. The Florentines lost no time in engaging the Duke of
Urbino to command their troops for three years, who, by active and
well-judged movements, quickly possessed himself of Ponte Sacco,
Palaia, and other small towns about the Era. Their resistance was
punished with the usual barbarity of the time, by cold-blooded
cruelties which Guidobaldo does not appear to have shared or approved.
It seems questionable how far the blunders in an assault on Vicopisano
were owing to him or to the Florentine commissaries, who, as was usual
in the service of the great republics, were sent to control their
general; but the consequence was a repulse, after which he retired
into winter quarters. His subsequent operations in their service are
of no interest; their jealousies paralysing both his spirit and their

The last year's experience was but short-lived in the Italian states.
Instead of profiting by the absence of their common foe to strengthen
themselves against a recurrence of danger, they resumed their innate
rivalries, and fomented fresh discord. The Florentines, far from
joining the league to expel Charles, continued to favour his cause,
attributing, with justice, to his advent their liberation from the
Medici and the re-establishment of a democratic government. What they,
above all things, dreaded was the return of that banished race, so
they kept aloof from any new combination that might lead to it. This
contumacy was looked upon with little favour by those powers who were
averse to popular institutions, or friendly to Pietro de' Medici;
besides which they apprehended that such a state of matters, if
allowed to continue, would facilitate a repetition of the late
invasion. In accordance with the crooked policy of the age, they
succoured Pisa, without any open declaration of the war which they
were in fact carrying on against Florence. This circumstance, and the
wonted bad faith of Ludovico il Moro, complicated a struggle which was
conducted in the drawling spirit of half-fighting, half-negotiating,
usual in such petty strifes. Ludovico finally tempted the Emperor to a
fresh invasion of Italy, in order to force Florence into the general
league, but he conducted the enterprise with equal feebleness and
faithlessness, and after having occupied Pisa, retreated without
leaving any material impression on the campaign, which declined into a
series of unimportant skirmishes. Meanwhile the Pope, the Venetians,
and Sforza united in exciting various neighbours of the Florentines,
such as the Bentivoglii, the Riarii, and Siena, to molest their
frontiers, whilst Virginio Orsini prepared to restore the Medici by
arms. This plan, however, fell to the ground, and Guidobaldo was soon
after summoned, as a vassal of the Church, to leave his incomplete
term of unsatisfactory service under the lilies of Florence, and join
the new combination formed by the Pontiff to replace Ferdinand upon
the Neapolitan throne.

The fate of the French army at Naples, against the wreck of which this
expedition was directed, has been already mentioned. The evolutions
whereby Guidobaldo, as lieutenant-general of the ecclesiastical
forces, in concert with the great Gonsalvo di Cordova, reduced some
Angevine feudatories in the Abruzzi, who, supported by the Orsini, for
a time resisted the restoration of the house of Aragon, need not
occupy our attention. The particulars are involved in contradiction,
and the results were unimportant to his fame. No sooner had Ferdinand
triumphed over his difficulties than he was called to another sphere.
He died in October, 1496, and was succeeded by his paternal uncle
Federigo. Of the French, not above five hundred escaped from sword and
pestilence to reach home.

       *       *       *       *       *

Peace was once more restored to Italy, but not to the breast of that
turbulent Pontiff who was her curse. The moment was propitious for
resuming his favourite scheme of oppressing the Orsini, in whose
extensive estates he saw ample endowments for his own disreputable
progeny. The leaders of that family, Virginio, Gian-Giordano, Paolo,
and its adopted scion Bartolomeo d'Alviano of Orvieto, had fought
against Ferdinand's restoration, and all of them remained prisoners in
his hands.[257] The Pope at once perceived the chance thus offered,
and hastened to avail himself of it. After conciliating the Duke of
Urbino by a pompous reception on the 14th of October, and by assigning
him apartments in the Vatican, he held a secret consistory, which
attainted the Orsini on general charges of lese-majesty and rebellion,
and sanctioned the military occupation of their fiefs in name of the
Church. He entrusted the command to his son the Duke of Gandia,
associating with him the Duke of Urbino and Fabrizio Colonna (the
latter but too willing to promote the downfall of a rival house), and,
to inaugurate the expedition, he blessed the banners at St. Peter's,
with an imposing military and religious spectacle.

[Footnote 257: See their pedigree, so far as concerns our subject, in
the table at the end of this volume.]

The troops marched in October, and, having reduced Isola, a castle
within ten miles of Rome, which stood a twelve days' siege, many other
small strongholds speedily surrendered, their absent lords being
unable to aid in their defence. The fortress of Bracciano was,
however, strong by nature, and was held by Bartolomea, sister of
Virginio Orsini, with energy, talent, and unquailing resolution, which
saved her family in their urgent straits, and kept the assailants at
bay until her husband, Bartolomeo d'Alviano, escaping from Naples,
hastily raised a few old adherents of his adopted house, and hurried
to her rescue. The impetuous Alexander, disgusted by this dilatory
progress of affairs, had a lighter hastily built, and sent under a
strong escort to the lake of Bracciano, in order to aid the besiegers'
efforts, and to intercept the manoeuvres of the enemy, whose petty
force, passing by the water from one castle to another as occasion
required, was enabled to garrison the three separate strongholds of
Bracciano, Anguillara, and Trevignano. A well-timed ambuscade, laid by
d'Alviano, routed the escort, and the boat was burnt. In another sally
Bartolomeo, falling upon Cesare Borgia while hunting, chased him
almost to the gates of Rome, and, but for the fleetness of his horse,
would have obtained in his person the means of dictating terms to his
father. Of these incidents a partizan warfare was naturally more
productive than a more serious campaign.

Tired of such inglorious marauding, and aware how much delays might
tell against eventual success, Guidobaldo, although suffering from a
gunshot wound, pushed on operations to the utmost, but was met by a
most obstinate resistance, until affairs suddenly assumed an entirely
new aspect. Virginio, head of the Bracciano Orsini, his eldest son
Gian-Giordano, and cousin Paolo, were still captives at Naples; but
his natural son Carlo had repaired to the court of Charles VIII. to
crave assistance. There he found Vitellozzo Vitelli, on a similar
mission in behalf of his brother Paolo, who, having been suspected by
the Florentines of perfidy while in their service against Pisa, had
been arrested by them, and who was subsequently tortured and put to
death upon this charge. They easily obtained from that King a subsidy
to be employed for advantage of the French party in Italy, and,
hastening back, devoted it to the relief of Bracciano. The two Vitelli
were chiefs of a family whose pedigree is annexed, and who long held
Città di Castello in seigneury, greatly distinguished among the
military adventurers of the south. These brothers had paid especial
attention to training their hardy mountaineers in the art of war, with
all those improvements which the ultra-montane troops had recently
introduced. Vitellozzo, hurrying to the upper valley of the Tiber,
quickly recruited his old followers, whilst Carlo levied men about
Perugia and Todi. Guidobaldo with difficulty persuaded his coadjutors
to anticipate the attack thus preparing for them, by marching towards
Viterbo in quest of the enemy. In the action which followed, on the
23rd of January, the ecclesiastical troops, though inferior in
numbers, had at first some advantage, but the unskilful management of
their artillery turned the day, and they were in the end totally
routed, with loss of it and their baggage. Guidobaldo, having been
surrounded, fought with the utmost bravery, until his horse fell under
him, when he was taken prisoner by Battista Tosi, a Roman knight. In
this reverse the Colonna and Savelli shared deeply, their ancient
hatred of the Orsini having blinded them to the danger which they, in
turn, equally incurred from the selfish designs of the Pope. The
latter was filled with consternation, and would have brought the whole
force of Naples into the field. But his impetuous energy, being
neither based on principle nor maintained with perseverance, was
quickly discouraged by the coldness of Federigo, who had no
inclination to consume his already dilapidated resources in
ministering to the Pontiff's schemes of nepotism. The higher range to
which these projects were perhaps already aspiring may have conduced
to the arrangement by which his quarrel with the Orsini was patched
up, gilded as it was by the to him irresistible bait of 70,000 ducats
towards the expenses of the war.

The Duke of Urbino was committed to ward in Soriano, a castle of the
Orsini, near which his defeat had occurred, and the whole influence of
his family and numerous friends was exerted for his liberation under
the truce which ensued. With this view Dr. Marino Giorgi, envoy from
Venice to Naples, was instructed by the Signory to make a detour to
Urbino, in order in their name to console the Duchess, and then to
Soriano and Bracciano, for the purpose of negotiating her husband's
release.[258] But their interposition was fruitless, as he was
specially excluded from the free interchange of prisoners, and held to
ransom for 40,000 ducats, without which timely aid the Orsini would
have been unable to discharge the contribution imposed on them for the
costs of the war. Alexander having, without scruple, left a faithful
vassal and ally in his enemy's hands, had no delicacy in thus
pocketing from his captors the sum which this cruel abandonment cost
Guidobaldo. So large an amount was not, however, raised without
difficulty from the sale of jewels, and other heavy sacrifices by the
Duchess, and several of his subjects, which they did not hesitate to
incur. It may perhaps have been modified to 30,000 ducats, that being
the sum mentioned by Sanuto as paid for his liberation.[259] At
Gubbio he was warmly welcomed by his consort and people, and during
more than a year he enjoyed at home the blessings and leisure of
peace, "after having suffered much and most unfairly."

[Footnote 258: MARINO SANUTO'S Diary MS. i. 374. From another passage
in his annals we learn that a then usual scale of ransom was
twenty-five ducats for a man-at-arms, twelve for a light-horseman, and
three for a foot-soldier. These Diaries extend to fifty-seven large
volumes, from 1495 to 1533. Our various extracts from them were most
kindly communicated to us by Mr. Rawdon Brown, who has printed at
Venice a very curious digest of their contents, and whose successful
diligence in illustrating the secret history of that Republic may well
put her own citizens to the blush. They are preserved in Bib.
Marciana, MSS. Ital. classe vii. No. 419.]

[Footnote 259: Diary MS. i. 448.]


     The crimes and ambition of the Borgia--Murder of the Duke of
     Gandia--Duke Guidobaldo's expeditions against Perugia and
     Tuscany--He adopts Francesco Maria della Rovere as his
     heir--Louis XII. succeeds to Charles VIII., and to his views
     upon Italy--Cesare Borgia created Duke Valentino--Duke
     Guidobaldo at Venice.

Time was meanwhile maturing the crimes of the Borgia, whose sinister
influence upon the destiny of Guidobaldo was about to be signally
manifested. So far from regarding his spurious progeny with shame,
Alexander was indefatigable in his endeavours to elevate them to the
most conspicuous places. He had obtained for the eldest the dukedom of
Gandia in Spain, and one of the highest offices at Naples. For the
youngest he had secured, by political intrigue, a similar dignity
there, with the principality of Squillace, and the hand of an
illegitimate daughter of Alfonso II. He had loaded Cesare with
ecclesiastical benefices, and had remarried Lucrezia to the sovereign
of Pesaro. But his ambition became insatiable in proportion as it was
pampered. Upon a vague pretext he annulled his daughter's marriage,
that he might give her hand to the Duke of Bisceglia, natural son of
Alfonso. His schemes for endowing his sons with the Orsini holdings
having entirely miscarried, he resolved to provide for the Duke of
Gandia a sovereign principality from the states of the Church,
consisting of Benevento and Terracino. Having gained a complete
co-operation in the consistory, by frightening into exile or removing
by poison the more impracticable cardinals, and by overawing or
corrupting the others, he, on the 7th of June, invested the Duke with
these towns with due solemnity. Three days previously, Lucrezia had
retired to the convent of S. Sisto, to prepare for the formal rupture
of her marriage with Giovanni Sforza, whose murder would have
anticipated the divorce, had not a hint from her enabled him to save
his life by flight, _insalutato hospite_, as Machiavelli remarks.[260]
On the 9th, Cardinal Valentino received his credentials as legate for
the coronation of Frederick of Naples. On Thursday, the 15th, he set
out on his mission, after spending the preceding afternoon at a casino
of his mother, near S. Pietro in Vinculis, where all the family except
the sister were assembled in apparent harmony. He quitted it in
company with his eldest brother, who was never again seen in life, and
having visited his father at a late hour to receive a benediction, he
left Rome before dawn. When an alarm was raised on the Duke of
Gandia's disappearance, a boatman deposed to having seen, about one
o'clock on Thursday morning, a body thrown neck and heels into the
Tiber, at the present port of the Ripetta, by four attendants of a
mounted gentleman, who had brought it to the bank swung across his
horse. The river was dragged, and the Duke's body was found pierced
with wounds. He was said to have spent the preceding hours with a lady
in whose favours the Cardinal was his avowed rival. Public opinion,
though distracted by conflicting rumours, branded the latter with
fratricide, and scandal gave to that charge a still more loathsome
dye, by naming the lady Lucrezia Borgia. History has received the
former accusation as established, the latter as uncontradicted,
adducing against its truth no better argument than its revolting
improbability. It is, however, but just to pause ere we lend our faith
to charges so hideous. Burchard, though greedy of gossip, and seldom
scrupulous in exposing the Vatican immoralities, mentions no fact,
breathes no hint, tending to inculpate Cesare. Neither do contemporary
accounts from residents in the Holy City, preserved by Sanuto, attach
any such foul slur to his name, but chiefly mention Cardinal Ascanio
Sforza as then suspected of the murder.[261] They even prove that,
four days after it took place, the latter thought it necessary to
rebut the allegation by the mouth of the Spanish ambassador, in a full
consistory, from which he alone was absent. But this negation does not
appear to have quashed a surmise which gathered strength by scenting
out motives for the outrage. By some, Ascanio was regarded as an
unscrupulous instrument of the Orsini in their vengeance against the
Pontiff's family; others traced his evil purpose to a recent feud
between the Duke of Gandia and some guests at an entertainment given
by him, where mutual insults had led to bloody reprisals, imputed to
the implacable Borgia. Again, we are told by Burchard that the victim
was last seen in company with a masked figure, who had been observed
to follow him during several days, and whom he that night took up on
the crupper of his horse, probably to keep an assignation; a statement
easily reconcileable with the bargeman's evidence, and pointing
probably to some dark intrigue, whereto it does not appear that his
brother was necessarily privy.

[Footnote 260: The assertion of most historians, that the pretext was
Giovanni's impotency, is contradicted by very curious documents in the
suit of divorce. A commission having been issued by the Pontiff,
empowering two cardinals to examine into the facts, Lucrezia stated to
them that in her twelfth year she had been contracted in marriage, by
the words "Will you? I will," to Gaspare, son of Giovanni Francesco da
Procida, Count of Aversa, but that subsequently she had been induced
[_quadam facilitate_] to marry Sforza, and live with him above three
years; but she offered to prove by her own oath, and by the report of
_obstetrices_, that this marriage had never been consummated. Giovanni
averred himself ready to affirm on oath that no _copula_ had ever
followed, and he adhibited his consent to the divorce. These steps
took place towards the close of the year, and on the 18th of December
a bull issued dissolving this ill-fated union. Archiv. Dipl. Urb. at

[Footnote 261: SANUTO'S MS. Diary, Bib. Marc., vol. II., 466-71, 489,
495, 587-98. Compare with BURCHARD, _Eccard._, II., 2060; TOMMASI, I.,
223-43. Burchard has no trace of that partiality for Cesare at this
period, usually imputed to the Pontiff, but establishes an excessive
fondness for his elder brother up to his death. Roscoe rejects the
charge against the Cardinal; his German translator credits it.]

[Illustration: _Anderson_


_Detail from the fresco of the Disputa of S. Catherine in the
Appartamento Borgia in the Vatican_]

Although the Duke of Gandia's morals will bear no examination, he was
a general favourite in Rome. To a people fond of pageantry the taste
of his family for splendour was naturally grateful, and he, alone, of
the race, mingled neither tyranny nor cruelty with his magnificence.
The bargeman of the Ripetta had manifested neither surprise nor
curiosity regarding an incident which he stated to be of frequent
occurrence at that spot; but when the victim was ascertained, the
whole city was moved; the tradespeople closed their shops,[*262] and
all retired panic-stricken to their homes. The few stragglers who
crossed the bridge near to which the mutilated body had been found,
started at the cry of many sorrowing voices which issued from St.
Angelo, and one deep-toned note of woe, which rose above the wailing,
was imputed to the Pontiff, "lamenting him who was his right eye, the
hope and glory of his house." His grief and horror were indeed
overwhelming: we are assured that he swallowed nothing from Wednesday
till Saturday, and passed three successive nights without an hour of
sleep. On the 19th he held a consistory, to receive the condolence of
the cardinals and foreign ministers, whom he addressed to the
following purpose[263]:--

"The Duke of Gandia is dead, and his death has been to us the greatest
affliction: a more grievous trial we could not have met with, for we
loved him mightily, and we no longer value our popedom nor anything;
nay, had we seven popedoms, we should give them all to recover the
Duke's life. It is rather a visitation from God, sent, perhaps, for
some sin of ours, than that he should have merited a death so
dreadful. It being unknown by whom he was murdered and thrown into
the Tiber, rumour has ascribed the assassination to the Lord of
Pesaro, which we are certain is untrue; no more can it have been done
by the Prince of Squillace, brother of the Duke; and we are even
satisfied as to the Duke of Urbino: may God forgive who ever it was!
We have, however, determined no longer to apply to anything, nor take
any charge of the papacy, nor of life itself, nor any thought for the
Church; but in order to regulate it and our mode of life, and for the
due correction of our own person, we mean to commit these to six of
you, most reverend cardinals our brethren, along with two judges of
the Rota; and in order that all benefices may be bestowed by merit,
apart from any other consideration, they shall be decided by a
majority of you cardinals." After naming this executive council, and
hearing a justification of Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, volunteered in his
absence by the Spanish ambassador, the Pope continued:--"God forbid
that we should entertain such a fancy, for never could we credit that
his Lordship would do us the smallest injury, least of all an outrage
such as this; for we have regarded him as a brother, and have on every
occasion placed ourselves at the disposal of himself and of the Duke
his brother: assuredly we harbour not the trace of such an idea, and
when he comes to us he will be welcome."

[Footnote *262: They always did; it was a mediæval practice in the
case of any trouble or riot: it might seem the merest common sense.
But the truth is, that when a crime had been committed the government
closed the shops till the culprit was forthcoming.]

[Footnote 263: SANUTO. Yet there are scoffers who sneered at this
worthy successor of St. Peter the fisher, netting the river for his
bastard son! Burchard apud Raynaldum.]

It was, indeed, high time that the scandals brought upon the Church by
the enormities of her head should terminate. Alexander had for some
time been openly living with a sister of Cardinal Farnese, wife of
Monoculo Orsini, who was known as Giulia Bella; and who, after
appearing prominently by his side on all public and solemn occasions,
had lately borne him a son.[264] But even now he realised the
scriptural proverb of "the dog turned to his own vomit again, and the
sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." The remorse and
repentance he had avowed, in full consistory, with sobs and tears,
were quickly forgotten; the public reforms he had promised were
repudiated; the administrative council he had formally nominated was
never assembled nor installed. Nepotism and intrigue again became his
policy, debauchery his pastime. Those who charge the Cardinal
Valentino with his brother's murder, may point to the exclamation, "I
know who did it," which was said to have escaped from their father in
the first outbreak of his grief; and it has been by some connected
with the alleged institution of Giovanni, their next brother, to the
titles and inheritance of the Duke of Gandia, passing over the
suspected fratricide. This, however, is an entirely erroneous
assumption, as there not only appears no brother of the Duke of Gandia
bearing his honours, but the invaluable diary of Sanuto expressly
mentions an investiture of the Neapolitan fiefs obtained for his _son_
within a few weeks of his death.[265] The Pontiff's displeasure with
Cesare, from whatever cause originating, was transient as his personal
reformation. His schemes of aggrandisement could not be pursued
without the co-operation of him who, alone of his children, was as
ambitious and as unscrupulous as himself, and the close of the year
brought Valentino an addition to his already enormous plurality of
benefices, upon the death of the Cardinal of Parma.

[Footnote 264: The papal legitimation of this Giovanni di Borgia, then
in his third year, dated the kalends of September, 1501, proceeds upon
this preamble: "Legittime genitos, ex quorum verisimilibus infantilis
ætatis indiciis, spes concipi potest quod, succedentibus annis, se in
viros debeant producere virtuosos, quousque progenitorum suorum
præclara merita, et ortûs generosa propago decorant, naturæ vitium
minime decolorat, quia decus virtutum genituræ maculam abstergit in
filiis, et pudicitia morum pudor originis aboletur." He is called a
son of Cesare, but in another, and probably secret, brief of the same
date, the Pope recognises him, nevertheless, as his own offspring by
an _unmarried_ woman, this description being also a legal fiction.]

[Footnote 265: SANUTO, Diario MS. i. 539.]

Valentino had endeavoured, by the imposing splendour of his legation
to Naples, and by scattering immoderate largesses, to dazzle, and if
possible blind, men to the Cain-brand that was upon him. But when he
developed a new scheme of aggrandisement, by proffering to a daughter
of Federigo a hand which his unscrupulous father was ready to liberate
from priestly vows, the King and the Princess alike recoiled from an
offer tainted by sacrilege and fratricide. We have seen that a similar
refusal by Ferdinand I. was a principal cause for Charles VIII. being
invited into Italy. Unwarned by that result of a wretched policy, the
Pontiff prepared to repeat it in circumstances still more fatal to the
Peninsula. Cesare Borgia returned from his legation on the 5th of
September, and was received with every mark of honour and favour by
his father, who appeared to have dismissed the Duke of Gandia's very
existence from his mind. The pontifical court was once more a scene of
alternate dissipation and crime, and the Cardinal of Valencia was the
moving spirit of both. In December, Lucrezia's divorce was pronounced,
and her dowry of 31,000 ducats returned; next August she became wife
of Alfonso Duke of Bisceglia, with an augmented provision of 40,000
ducats, he being then seventeen years of age.

In the following summer, the Duke of Urbino was induced to unite with
the Prefect della Rovere in an expedition against Perugia, for the
purpose of restoring the Oddi, who, as heads of the Ghibellines, had
been expelled from thence by their rivals, the Guelphic
Baglioni.[*266] But from this enterprise the Pope speedily recalled
him by a remonstrance, which with wonted devotion he hastened to obey,
stipulating, however, for indemnity of the expenses he had incurred,
amounting to 5000 scudi. About the same time he lost his relation and
counsellor Ottaviano Ubaldini, Count of Mercatello, who died at an
advanced age.

[Footnote *266: For this expedition, see MATARAZZO, _Chronicle of
Perugia_ (Dent), p. 243 _et seq._]

The services of Guidobaldo were speedily required in another quarter;
and by one of those sudden changes, not unusual to soldiers of
fortune, he found himself comrade of his late opponents, the Orsini
and Baglioni.[*267] The occasion was the recommencement of the Pisan
war, when the fickle usurper of Milan joined the Florentines in their
attempts to reduce that city to its former obedience; a combination
which, arousing the jealousy of Venice, induced her to adopt the cause
of Pisa. Pietro de' Medici and his brother Giuliano availed themselves
of this opportunity to make another effort for their re-establishment
in that capital. They offered to support an invasion of Tuscany, with
all the aid which their own credit and the Orsini influence could
bring into the field; and the maritime republic, accepting the
proposal, took into their pay, besides the Baglioni of Perugia, the
Duke of Urbino with two hundred men-at-arms, and a hundred light
horse, for which they allowed him 20,000 scudi a year.[268] Having
gained over one of the Malatesta, owner of a small fief in the passes
above Sarsina, the confederates sent forward Bartolomeo d'Alviano,
who, penetrating the mountain paths about Camaldoli, entered Tuscany
and seized Bibbiena, in the upper Val d'Arno, ere the Florentines were
aware of the incursion. Guidobaldo followed with a strong body of men,
and, finding the season vigorous, went into winter quarters in that
and the adjoining towns. The enemy was led by Paulo Vitelli, whose
judicious arrangements and great activity, having closed all the
defiles around them, kept them in a state of siege during the winter,
cutting off their supplies, surprising their posts, and tempting their
men to desertion, until they were reduced to great straits. The Duke's
health, already broken by frequent gouty attacks, suffered sadly from
the severe climate of these mountain sites, and the privations of an
ill-supplied commissariat. The critical position of his army
aggravated his malady by preying upon his spirits, and his
applications for a physician were coldly refused by his assailants. At
length, in the middle of February, their general, Vitelli, on his own
responsibility, granted him free passage home to Urbino, an act of
charity afterwards severely visited upon his head by the authorities
of Florence. Disgusted by the losses of a campaign fruitlessly
protracted by disinclination of the respective commanders to risk
their reputation in an engagement, the Venetians recalled the
reinforcements which they had sent under Nicolò di Petigliano, and
abandoned the cause of Pisan independence for that wider field of
ambition which the schemes of Louis XII. were developing.

[Footnote *267: For the peace, July 6, 1498, see V. ANSIDEI, _La Pace
fra Guidobaldo Duca d'Urbino e il Comune di Perugia_, in _Boll. per
l'Umbria_, vol. V., p. 741 _et seq._]

[Footnote 268: Bembo says 170 pounds of gold. _Hist. Venet._, IV.
Navigero puts the mounted cross-bow-men at 200. MURATORI, _R.I.S._,
xxiii. 1214.]

The Cardinal della Rovere, who, during nearly all the pontificate of
Alexander, provided for his safety by absence from Rome, had shared
the hardships of the Bibbiena campaign, and escaped from them with
Guidobaldo. Whilst thus thrown together they seem to have planned an
arrangement which opened a new era for Urbino. Feeling that in himself
must terminate the male investiture of his states, and dreading that
by his early decease they might lapse to a Pope who would joyfully
endow with them one of his odious progeny, the Duke willingly listened
to a suggestion of the Cardinal, that he should adopt their mutual
nephew Francesco Maria della Rovere, son of the Prefect of Sinigaglia,
then a promising boy of eight years old. At first they thought of
concealing this design from Alexander, but Guidobaldo, aware that
without his sanction it could not be matured, and trusting to the hold
which his services and dutiful obedience ought to have given him in
that quarter, soon proposed it for his approval. The successor of St.
Peter, anticipating the modern discovery that words are given to
conceal thoughts, professed great satisfaction with the plan, and
hinted at bestowing the hand of his niece Angela Borgia upon the
presumptive heir of Urbino. A brief interval removed the flimsy veil,
and proved that the Pontiff was ready to anticipate the lapse of that
dukedom, without awaiting his vassal's death.

The great convulsions impending over Italy require another general
glance at the new combinations which the politics of Southern Europe
had assumed. Charles VIII. died of apoplexy on the 7th of April, 1498,
and was succeeded by his second cousin, Louis XII., first of the
Orleans branch of Valois. Though a prince of narrow views and somewhat
feeble character, he became the instrument of unprecedented
misfortunes to Italy. In him were centred the Angevine claims upon
Naples which his predecessor had asserted; and likewise such
pretensions upon the Milanese as vested in the heir of line of the
Visconti, through his grandmother Valentina, sister of the last Duke.
Upon these grounds he at once assumed the style of King of Naples and
Jerusalem, and Duke of Milan, and avowed his intention of rendering
the latter at least of these titles effectual. Federigo of Aragon and
Ludovico Sforza trembled at the impending danger; but, with
unaccountable blindness, the other powers strove who should be
foremost to offer their alliance to the invader. The Venetians hailed
the certain punishment of a tyrannical usurper, who had aided in
thwarting them in their recent attempts to maintain the independence
of Pisa. They and the princes of Romagna and La Marca remembered how
little their several interests had suffered from the expedition of
Charles. Florence conceived that the return of the French was the
surest guarantee of their democratic independence against the
re-establishment of the Medici. The Pope, as usual, had in view
ulterior and private ends. His late indignation against his son, the
Cardinal, had, with unaccountable revulsion, been succeeded by an
increased fondness. The latter reminded him that the years passed
since his elevation to the tiara had brought no fulfilment of those
schemes of aggrandisement which their mutual ambition had nourished.
His recent domestic catastrophe perhaps warned the father how much
might be dared by a disappointed son. Every consideration urged upon
both the necessity of a great effort to obtain for Cesare a sovereign
principality; and conscious that this scheme would have the best
chance of success at a moment of general confusion, they resolved to
effect it through the instrumentality of a new French invasion, if no
readier means offered for their purpose.

Louis XII. had set his mind upon divorcing his queen, Jeanne, the
daughter of Louis XI., in order to marry Anne of Bretagne, widow of
his predecessor, for which purpose papal dispensations were required,
and for these he was a suppliant. The Borgia seized the golden moment
to pledge him to their views. Cesare had been created a Cardinal in
1494, by means of suborned oaths, that he was the lawful son of a
Roman citizen, for illegitimacy was a bar to that dignity. On the
pretext that ecclesiastical orders had been unwillingly conferred upon
him, his father, on the 17th of September, annulled them in full
consistory, and accepted a renunciation of his cardinal's hat. Next
day he appeared in a rich military costume of the latest French
fashion, and forthwith took shipping for Marseilles, on a special
embassy to the French court, where he arrived about the 18th of
October. The following letter of recommendation which he bore is
preserved in the Bibliothèque du Roi, and being to all intents a
private missive, written and addressed by the Pope's own hand,
possesses a very different interest from ordinary papal brieves.

     "To our well-beloved son in Christ, the most Christian King
     of the French;

     "I.H.S. MARIA.

     "Pope Alexander VI., with his own hand.

     "Health and the apostolic benediction to our most dear son
     in Christ. Anxious in all respects to accomplish your and
     our own desires, we destine to your Majesty our heart, that
     is, our favourite son, Duke Valentino, who is prized by us
     beyond aught else, as a signal and most estimable token of
     our affection towards your Highness, to whom no further
     commendation of him is required; and we only ask that you
     will so treat him, who is thus commissioned to your royal
     person, as that all may, for our satisfaction, perceive that
     in his mission he has been in every respect most acceptable
     to your Majesty. Given at St. Peter's, Rome, the 28th of
     September." [1498.][269]

[Footnote 269: _Molini Documenti di Storia Italiana_, i. 29.]

This mission was ostensibly to present Louis with his divorce; but the
Duke, in fact, carried also a dispensation for his union with Queen
Anne, which had been secretly granted, and which he thus held, ready
to deliver it as soon as he should gain the royal consent to certain
conditions for his own aggrandisement, the prize then in distant
perspective being nothing less than the sceptre of Naples.[270]

[Footnote 270: See the curious disclosures of a Venetian ambassador,
printed by Ranke, _History of the Popes_, Appendix, sect. i., No. 3.
The exposition, by Machiavelli, of the French policy, and of the
persevering pursuit of sovereignty by the Borgia, is interesting and
instructive; _Il Principe_, ch. iii. and vii.]

Relieved from a character and garb but ill-adapted to his temperament
and habits, Cesare Borgia at once assumed the bearing and pomp of
sovereignty to which his gradually extending ambition now aspired. All
Rome had been busied in preparing his outfit, which is stated by
Sanuto at 100,000 ducats; and the magnificence of his following may
be estimated from the assertion that his chargers were shod with
silver, or, as some say, with gold. An account of his presentation at
the French court will be found in the Appendix X., with details of
splendour befitting lavish tastes. His reception was suited to such
pretensions, and Louis, well appreciating his disposition, prefaced
all negotiation by presenting him with a dukedom, a pension of 20,000
francs, and a similar sum in name of yearly pay for himself and a
hundred lances. As he had been styled Cardinal Valentino, from
Valencia in Spain, he now became Duke Valentino, from Valence in

But the intrigues of the Borgia had not entirely abandoned the hope of
an alliance for Cesare with a princess of Naples, notwithstanding the
cold reception which such a proposal had met with on his recent
legation at her father's court. Carlotta, daughter of Federigo, by his
first wife, a princess of Savoy, was resident in France, and they
hoped to sell the Pope's sanction to the French King's designs upon
Milan, for the influence of Louis in favour of her marriage to the
Duke Valentino, with the sovereignty of Tarento as her dowry. This
project was, however, finally abandoned, on receiving from the lady a
scornful refusal to soil her hand by uniting it with an apostate
priest, the son of a priest, a blood-thirsty fratricide, as base in
character as in birth. This result was not a little pleasing to Louis,
who, with a view to his ulterior designs upon Naples, was much more
content that the Duke should be the insulted suitor than the
son-in-law of Federigo. Meanwhile the finesse of Cesare had nearly
overreached itself. Keeping back the dispensation until he had
effected his own objects, he endeavoured to attach conditions to its
delivery; but Louis, informed by the Bishop of Cette, who was Nuncio
at his court, that it had already issued on the 20th of October, and
that its non-publication could not prevent its validity, prepared to
celebrate his marriage without delay. The Duke hastened to remedy his
mistake with a good grace, by delivering the dispensation, and
presenting a cardinal's hat to George d'Amboise, the French King's
favourite minister; but with a vengeance that knew no pity, he had
poison administered to the tell-tale Bishop.

Lying nearest the common danger, Ludovico il Moro was the most
energetic, as well as the most interested, in preparing for defence.
Again he proposed a general league for the exclusion of ultra-montane
invasion, and attempted to gain the Pope's adherence to it by a secret
engagement, that the great states should, at his dictation, make
common cause against any or all of the princely feudatories of the
Church, and by money or the sword should establish Cesare Borgia in
some sovereignty. This offer being addressed to the Pontiff's leading
passion, it was entertained with apparent favour, in order to keep his
decision open to the last, as well as meanwhile to divert Sforza from
maturing an effectual resistance to Louis, whose alliance, as the most
powerful, seemed on the whole most eligible, and from whom it might be
easy for his Holiness to obtain the very advantages which Ludovico's
proposal offered.

Whilst the policy of Italy remained thus in suspense, Duke Valentino
became more and more united to the interests of France. Profiting by
the pique which his recent disappointment occasioned, Louis persuaded
him in the beginning of May to marry Charlotte d'Albret, sister of
Jean, King of Navarre, adding 80,000 francs to her dowry of 30,000;
and at the same time decorated him with the order of St. Michael, then
the most distinguished in Christendom. The Pope presented him with
200,000 scudi, and celebrated the event by extravagant festivities.
Having thus seemingly secured Alexander, the French King bribed the
Venetians to aid him in conquering the Milanese, by promising them a
slice of its territory, and in August sent his army across the Alps.
It would lead us too far from our proper theme to trace the invasion
of Italy which followed these complicated intrigues. The French
incursion into Lombardy was crowned with entire success, and within
three weeks Ludovico, driven from the capital which he had usurped,
retired with his treasure to Inspruck.

After recruiting the hardships of Bibbiena, from which however his
constitution never recovered, the Duke of Urbino paid a visit to
Venice, which is thus graphically told by Marino Sanuto in his amusing

"On the 2nd of June luncheon was prepared for the Duke of Urbino's
coming; and when it was over, the Doge with the ambassadors and
senators went in the Bucentaur to meet Duke Guido, as far as San
Antonio, and there awaited him; and there were five gig-boats
[_paraschelmi_] prepared as usual for us sages of the orders,
ornamented with the armorial bearings of each. And presently the Duke
arrived from Chioggia, with Giorgio Pisani, the Podestà, and some
gentlemen who had been sent to meet him. He is twenty-eight years of
age, a handsome man, dressed in black after the French fashion, as
were all his attendants, on account of the death of his uncle [cousin]
Ottavio de' Ubaldini, who long had governed both the state and the
Duke. And being brought into the Bucentaur with great rejoicings, he
came by the Cana l' Grande to the Marquis of Ferrara's house, which
had been made ready for him, and the Doge accompanied him to his
chamber. He remained [eleven] days in this city, with a numerous
suite, and thirty-five ducats a day were assigned for his expenses."
According to the estimate of this chronicler, a ducat was then worth
four English shillings, so that, making allowance for the depreciated
value of money, the sum set apart for the Duke's daily maintenance may
have exceeded 70_l._ He received at the same time the compliment of
citizenship, and his services were retained for the Republic with two
hundred men-at-arms, and 27,000 ducats of pay. It does not, however,
appear that he was called into action during the rapid campaign by
which Louis possessed himself of Milan, being probably then disabled
by gout: indeed, he seems to have suffered from it even on his visit
to Venice, as his not having danced at a ball given in his honour is
specially noted by Sanuto, and it was provided in his engagement of
service that his contingent should be led by an approved commander.
During this year he testified his good will for the Signory, by
sending them from his wide forests forty head of bucks, does, kids,
wild-boar, and other game, borne by forty men.


     The condition of Romagna--Cesare Borgia overruns and seizes
     upon it--The spirit of his government--Naples invaded by
     Louis, and handed over to Spain--Lucrezia Borgia's fourth

The French conquests in Lombardy having been achieved, Valentino now
urged Louis to perform certain secret stipulations which had for their
object his establishment in Romagna and La Marca as a sovereign
prince. The scene of our narrative must, therefore, for a time be laid
in that country; and it may be well, though thereby incurring some
repetition, to lay before the reader a brief sketch of its then
condition, as given by Sismondi.

"Whilst even in the Campagna of Rome the Pope's authority was barely
acknowledged, and whilst in the very streets of his capital he was
forced to arm alternately against the Colonna and the Orsini, the more
distant provinces had still more completely shaken off his sway. In
some towns, republican forms of government were continued: Ancona,
Assisi, Spoleto, Terni, and Narni had either avoided or broken the
yoke of domestic tyranny, but their internal factions and petty wars
kept them in feeble obscurity. Other towns had become subject to
pontifical vicars, who asserted a complete independence, burdened with
but the promise of an annual tribute which they never paid. Nearly the
whole Marca was divided between the families of Varana and Fogliano.
Giulio di Varana was then the seigneur of Camerino; Giovanni di
Fogliano, who soon after was cruelly murdered by his nephew
Oliverotto, ruled in Fermo. Sinigaglia had been given in fief by
Sixtus IV. in 1471, to his nephew Giovanni della Rovere, the titular
Prefect of Rome, who was likewise son-in-law and heir presumptive to
the Duke of Urbino. That highland district which extended from La
Marca to Tuscany, and included the duchy of Urbino, the county of
Montefeltro, and the lordship of Gubbio, was under the sway of
Guidobaldo, the last and distinguished representative of the Feltrian
race: the warlike qualities of its people and the lettered elegance of
its court were nowhere surpassed in Italy. On the western frontier of
this duchy the vale of the Tiber was occupied by two petty
principalities, those of Giovanni Paulo Baglioni of Perugia, and of
Vitellozzo Vitelli of Città di Castello: both of these chiefs were
soldiers by trade, and the latter had conferred importance on his
state by great military talents shared with his four brothers, as well
as by the high state of discipline to which he had brought his

"Towards Romagna lay Pesaro, wrested in 1445 from the Malatesta by
Francesco Sforza, and erected by him into a little sovereignty for a
younger branch of his family.[271] It was then held by Giovanni
Sforza, who in 1497 had been divorced from Lucrezia Borgia, daughter
of the Pope. The next domain was Rimini, sadly fallen from the
ascendency to which Pandolfo III. and his brother Carlo Malatesta had
raised it in the preceding century. It had been, since 1482, in the
hands of Pandolfo IV., natural son of Roberto Malatesta and son-in-law
of Giovanni Bentivoglio of Bologna, whose debaucheries and cruelty had
gained for him a bad notoriety. He had accepted the protection of
Venice, which, anxious to secure an influence along the Adriatic
coast, offered her pay to all the chiefs of this province, heeding
little whether they led in person the levies which they thus became
bound to maintain at her disposal, or only made these a pretext for
receiving what was deemed an honourable pension.

[Footnote 271: See a more correct statement of this transaction,
above, pp. 72, 90.]

"Westward of Rimini, Cesena formed part of the ecclesiastical state,
having been seized from a branch of the Malatesta. Forlì, the ancient
heritage of the Ordelaffi, had passed in 1480 to Girolamo Riario,
nephew of Sixtus IV., who in 1473 had also been invested by his uncle
with the lordship of Imola. These two seigneuries, separated by that
of Faenza, had been held since 1488 by the youthful Ottaviano Riario,
under tutelage of his mother, the undaunted Caterina Sforza, natural
daughter of Duke Galeazzo of Milan. By her second [third] marriage
with Giovanni, a cadet of the Medici, she had a son who became famous
in the wars of Italy: and though her husband had died in 1498, she
remained faithful to the interests of Florence, which took the young
Ottaviano into her pay, as a guarantee of her protection.

"Between the two last-mentioned principalities, Faenza extended up the
valley of the Lamone, as far as the Tuscan frontier. To this, as a
point of attacking the Florentine republic, the Venetians attached
great importance. Constituting themselves guardians of Astorre
Manfredi its chief, then in his seventeenth year, they had appeased
the struggle between him and his illegitimate brother Ottaviano, and
had made themselves all but masters of Faenza and the passes of the
Lamone. They had also seized Ravenna and Cervia from the families of
Polenta and Malatesta. The rich and powerful city of Bologna had,
since 1462, been absolutely ruled by Giovanni Bentivoglio. But of all
the church feudatories, Duke Ercole d'Este was the most distant and
the most independent; his family had for several centuries held
Ferrara of the apostolic chamber, and the possession of the imperial
fiefs of Modena and Reggio elevated his pretensions above the level of
other pontifical vicars.

"The courts of so many petty sovereigns gave to Romagna a character
of elegance and wealth. All their capitals had churches, tasteful
palaces, and libraries; and each court strove to render itself not
less distinguished for mental refinement. Among the pensioned
attendants of each prince were numbered poets, philosophers, and men
of letters; and the rivalry of these little states was most assuredly
beneficial to the progress of literature, even whilst it generally
tended to demean the character of the learned. But it is the nature of
absolutism to promote costly vices: the flatterers who surround the
most petty sovereign extol his munificence as a virtue, and he can
seldom moderate his desires more than if he ruled a great empire.
Hence it happened that the princes of Romagna found their revenues
unequal to the sums they required for defence, for vanity, and for
pleasures. They were ever seeking some pretext for extorting from
their subjects a portion of their property, and they eked out the
inadequate returns of taxation by fines and confiscations.

"There are certain descriptions of crime which seem peculiar to those
families who, occupying a position of social isolation, have never
learned the common feelings of humanity, and do not consider
themselves subject to the ordinary code of morals. The princely races
of Romagna had in fact given to their subjects frequent examples of
parricide, poisoning, and treachery of every sort. The higher
noblesse, too, deemed vengeful cruelty a proof of independence; and
even in the villages hereditary hatred was cherished by the leaders of
contending factions, and gratified by savage atrocities. Numerous
bands of cut-throats were ever ready to be employed in aggression or
defence; and enmities were seldom satisfied so long as one of any age
or sex survived of the detested house. We are assured that when
Arcimboldo, Archbishop of Milan and Cardinal of Santa Prassede, went
as legate to Perugia and Umbria, he found there a gentleman who, after
smashing against a wall the heads of the children of his foe, and
strangling their mother who was pregnant, nailed to the door a
surviving infant in trophy of his revenge, just as a gamekeeper would
hang up the birds and beasts of prey which he had killed; nor was this
outrage regarded by the neighbours as anything remarkable!"

Those who accompany our narrative of the Dukes of Urbino will, we
trust, admit that this sweeping denunciation had its exceptions. The
well known and never concealed prejudices of its able and eloquent
author exempt us from the necessity of cautioning the reader against
implicit credence in the view which here and in other passages he
endeavours to establish, that Cesare Borgia's usurpations were hailed
by the people of Romagna as a welcome relief from the perpetual
oppressions of their domestic tyrants. Of extortion and confiscations
I have discovered but few instances under these princes. Their
personal vices were common to the age, and prevailed from the
representatives of St. Peter, through all ranks and under all
governments. It is unnecessary now to discuss how far the security and
welfare of the masses were most promoted under such despotisms, or
amid the ever restless anarchy of democracies like Florence, "whose
whole history was one intermittent fever of insurrection; where each
man's own arm was his best, often his sole, law and protection; where
the magistrate of to-day might be the exile or martyr of
to-morrow";[272] and whose convulsions are compared by her own Dante
to those of

                       "A sick wretch,
     Who finds no rest upon her down, but oft
     Shifting her side, short respite seeks from pain."--_Purg._ VI.

[Footnote 272: _British and Foreign Review_, No. xxix.]

Duke Valentino now assumed the life of a condottiere, in order to
raise troops for his enterprise. His winning manners,--for none could
better mask the nature of a hyæna under the manners of a dove,--his
gallant bearing--for he was handsome, frank, and daring,--his
prodigal pay and specious professions,--all contributed to gather
around him many warrior chieftains with their respective followings,
devoted to his person, and ready to promote whatever views his
ambition might prompt. To such adherents Louis added a brigade, for
which he had no longer immediate need, consisting of three hundred
French lances, under Ives d'Allègre, and four thousand Swiss
mercenaries, commanded by the Bailli of Dijon. At the head of this
little army Borgia marched upon Imola, and there united it with the
papal troops to the number, in all, of fifteen thousand men.

The same force of character by which we have already seen Caterina
Riario Sforza prevail over the faction which murdered her first
husband,[273] had enabled her to maintain her son Ottaviano's
authority in Imola and Forlì during his long minority. She had given
her hand to the brave and handsome Giacomo Fea, who at that crisis
saved her cause by his defence of the citadel of Forlì, and in 1496
had been again widowed by a base cabal of disaffected nobles, who
suffered at her hand a retribution resembling that endured by the Orsi
in 1488. In 1497 she celebrated her third nuptials with Giovanni de'
Medici, envoy from Florence at the court of her son. He was second
cousin of Lorenzo the Magnificent, and died in the following year,
leaving by her an only child, well known in Italian history as
Giovanni _delle bande nere_, whose brief but glorious career of arms
we shall see cut short at the fight of Borgoforte, in 1527, and whose
son was the Grand Duke Cosimo I. Ottaviano Riario was now in his
twenty-first year, and seconded his mother's stout resistance by
placing garrisons and supplies in Imola, Forlì, and his minor
strongholds. But she vainly attempted to impart her own spirit to her
dastardly or dissatisfied subjects. On the last day of 1499 the gates
of Imola were opened to Duke Valentino, and the castle surrendered
after a feeble defence. Sending her son and her treasure into Tuscany,
Caterina once more entered the citadel of Forlì, which, after a
bombardment of several days, was lost by treachery. The Countess was
carried to Rome, but after a short imprisonment was permitted to
retire to Florence, where she dedicated the eight remaining years of
her chequered life to the education of her younger children, to
charity and spiritual meditation, and to the austerities of an almost
monastic discipline.

[Footnote 273: See above, p. 308.]

After this success, Cesare Borgia hastened to Rome to advise with his
father as to their next step; but his progress was interrupted by the
sudden recall of the French troops in his service. Ludovico Sforza so
well employed the money he had carried into the Tyrol, and the support
which he received from the Emperor Maximilian, that early in February
he marched into Lombardy at the head of an army of Swiss, before whom
the garrison of Milan retired, leaving him once more in possession of
his capital and most of his original territory, where he was welcomed
with general joy. But the reaction of his fortunes was momentary.
Louis quickly repaired to Lombardy with reinforcements, and the combat
which would have decided his fate was anticipated by the desertion of
his Swiss mercenaries, who went over in a body to the French. Ludovico
was carried to France, where he remained, during ten years, prisoner
in a gloomy dungeon or cage at the Castle of Loches, and died on being
released.[274] His talents and address aggravated his crimes; his
treachery to his nephew and faithlessness to his allies lost him the
goodwill of all; he was the earliest victim of those barbarian inroads
which he first brought upon Italy, and which led to the annihilation
of her independence.

[Footnote 274: Some interesting particulars of his arrival in France
will be found in XI. of the Appendices.]

The interval of the Milanese rising had been spent by Cesare in Rome,
where the solemnities of the jubilee year were disturbed by
extravagant demonstrations of public joy, provided by his father and
himself in honour of his recent successes. Among these was a triumph,
after those of the Roman emperors, where he inscribed upon his
banners, AUT CÆSAR AUT NULLUS, an insolent motto, which he frequently
used, but which was thus pungently parodied on his death:--

     "Cæsar in deeds as name would Borgia be,
     A CÆSAR or a CIPHER,--both was he!"[275]

[Footnote 275:

     "'Borgia Cæsar eram, factis et nomine Cæsar;
         Aut nihil aut Cæsar,' dixit: utrumque fuit."

The idea was thus repeated by Sannazaro:--

     "Aut nihil aut Cæsar vult dici Borgia: quid ni?
         Cum simul et Cæsar possit, et esse nihil."

     Cæsar _or_ nothing, Borgia fain would be;
     Cæsar _and_ nothing, both in him we see.]

On the 2nd of April he received from his father the royal distinction
of the golden rose, along with the dignities of gonfaloniere and
captain-general of the Church, each of which gave occasion for pompous
ceremonials of surpassing magnificence, wherein the velvet and brocade
liveries of his numberless followers dazzled even the Roman populace.
Among his attendants Burchard mentions a thousand Gascon and Scotch
infantry [Guascones et Scottenses?], whose unsteady straggling,
"caring nought for our arrangements," sadly disconcerted this master
of ceremonies.

To supply the vast sums which were unceasingly absorbed in these and
similar displays of vanity and selfish profusion by the Borgia, as
well as in their ceaseless wars, every device was called into
requisition. Besides seizing upon a large portion of the pious gifts
brought by pilgrims of the jubilee year to the metropolis of
Christianity, the Pope had recourse, for the first time, on a great
scale, to the sale of dispensations. Notices were circulated over
Europe, that payment of stated sums, by such as found personal
performance of the pilgrimage inconvenient or disagreeable, would
ensure to them all the benefits of a visit to the prescribed jubilee
stations at Rome. Simony had become the rule, not the exception. Every
office in church and state was bestowed on the highest bidder by the
greedy Pontiff, who himself had purchased the tiara.[*276]

     "The keys, the altar, and his God he sold;
     'Twas well! their price he first had paid in gold."[277]

[Footnote *276: This again is overstated. The Pope wanted money to
enable Cesare to subdue the Romagna. It is absurd of Dennistoun to ask
below whether Cesare "directly participated" in these "unrighteous
profits." Sanuto (III., 855) tells us that Duke Valentino visited the
old cardinals and asked them to agree to the new nominations that he
might be supplied with money for his work in Romagna.]

[Footnote 277:

     "Vendidit Alexander claves, altaria, Christum;
         Emerat ille prius, vendere jure potest."]

Having learned the value of this source of wealth, he hesitated not to
turn it to new account by a series of crimes unequalled in the annals
of iniquity. Finding that the course of nature did not afford
vacancies as rapidly as his finances required new supplies, he refined
upon the practice of an age "profuse in poisons," and had frequent
recourse to the chalice. From time to time cardinals and other high
dignitaries were thus disposed of, often from revenge, but oftener for
lucre. Now, too, the tax of a tenth was imposed on the clergy, and a
twentieth on the Jews, to continue for three years, on the delusive
pretext of a Turkish war. How far these unrighteous profits were
directly participated by Cesare Borgia may been seen from the diary of
Sanuto:--"The twelve new cardinals, after their creation [Sept. 28],
went to the Duke, offering their services, and dined there, and
balanced their accounts, and swore fealty to him, so that for this
creation he has touched about 120,000 ducats."[*278] The dinner was,
however, but an empty form of hospitality, for we learn from the same
authority, that his cautious guests declined partaking of the splendid
banquet laid out to tempt them, observing that _omnia preciosa cara
sunt_, and excusing their scruples by a desire of avoiding popular

[Footnote *278: SANUTO, III., 878. BURCHARD, III., 77, who gives the
sum obtained from each.]

The readiness with which Valentino had suspended his own plans to
repair the reverses of Louis in Lombardy, obtained him from the latter
a more hearty support. The French troops were sent back to serve under
his banner, and their monarch having declared his intention of
treating the opponents of Borgia as his personal enemies, the latter
hastened again to Romagna, and took possession of Pesaro. Its lord,
Giovanni Sforza, had flattered himself that the storm would pass him
by unharmed. He was under the avowed protection of Venice, and had
been son-in-law of the Pope. But the Signory were not unwilling to
close their eyes to an insult which it would have been impolitic to
avenge, and Lucrezia's divorce had alienated her late husband from the
sympathies as well as from the family circle of the Borgia. Warned by
the fate of the Riarii, and perceiving that the friendly dispositions
of his relation Guidobaldo were of no avail against such a combination
of adverse circumstances, Giovanni had, in the beginning of the year,
fled by sea to Venice, and offered his state to that republic, a
proposal which was coldly declined by the prudent Signory, who
regarded it as a fatal gift. He, however, found shelter in their
sea-borne city, where he quickly consoled himself by marrying a
daughter of Matteo Tiapolo.

On the 27th of October, Borgia entered Pesaro, with an imposing
display of luxurious military equipments. His men-at-arms wore his
sumptuous livery of red and yellow over richly wrought cuirasses, and
their belts were studded with seven serpents' heads. He then proceeded
to Rimini, where Pandolfo and Carlo, natural sons of Roberto
Malatesta, fled to avoid at once the perils of his invasion and the
seditions of subjects wearied by their senseless tyranny. At Faenza,
which he reached on the 20th of November, he met with a check, and
winter forced him to postpone operations. Astorre Manfredi, its
sovereign, though but a boy of eighteen, was endeared to his subjects,
who rallied in his defence; and it was not until the 22nd of April
that, overcome by numbers, he closed the hopeless struggle by an
honourable capitulation. He was allowed to retain his private
revenues, but being sent to Rome with his natural brother, they were
both strangled by order of Alexander, and their bodies thrown into the
Tiber. Romagna, thus wrested from its lawful feudatories, was erected
into a dukedom for Cesare, consent of the consistory being gained by
means of that new creation of cardinals to which we have just alluded;
and it was at this time, Sanuto tells us, that ten ducats were given
in the Roman betting circles to receive a hundred when the upstart
should be king of that province.

       *       *       *       *       *

Regarding the manner in which the Duke governed the state he had thus
acquired, we find the following passage in Sismondi: "This man,
distinguished for so many crimes, was not destitute of countervailing
qualities. Brave, eloquent, dexterous; lavish of favours, but ever
careful of his finances; zealous in maintaining justice throughout his
states; he knew how, by good government, to promote their rapid
prosperity, and to endear himself alike to his subjects and to his
soldiery, whilst dreaded and detested by neighbouring princes and
nations. His early conquests in Romagna, having had time to taste the
advantages of his rule, remained faithful to him on the death of
Alexander, while his more recent acquisitions returned to the
obedience of their hereditary lords. Though cruel and perfidious in
his policy, he was enlightened as to what best ensured the happiness
of the people: his dealings with them were marked by scrupulous
impartiality, and the public security was inviolably preserved. Under
his administration factious violence had been restrained, authorised
robberies had ceased, talent had met with enlightened encouragement,
military merit had been promoted, men of letters had been enriched by
ecclesiastical preferment. In a word, his state had prospered, and no
inhabitant could anticipate without fear a restoration of the old

Such is the judgment of an historian who saw in these dynasties but
the supplanters of democracies, in his eyes the only pure, virtuous,
and popular forms of government. So blinded is he in this one-sided
view that, imitating Machiavelli, he becomes an apologist of the
Borgia, whose policy left no other results than the general breaking
down of these princely families; a fact apparently atoning, in his
estimation, as in that of his Florentine prototype, for crimes
exceeding in a few years the accumulated enormities which during
centuries had sprung from the unbridled passions of the petty
sovereigns whom he decries. But, when removed from the influence of
this prepossession, he admits, in the _Biographie Universelle_, that
"Valentino systematised crime, carrying impudence and perfidy beyond
all previous bounds. Many princes have shed more blood, have exacted
more savage vengeance, have ordered punishments of greater atrocity,
but no name is tainted by fouler infamy. Even his ferocity was an
egotistic calculation, sacrificing everything for his own interests,
recognising neither morals, religion, nor sentiment except as
instruments for his purpose, to be crushed when they became
inconvenient." Revolting as are the vices which these pages connect
with Alexander and his family, only such are here introduced as belong
to the thread of our narrative. Were it our object to bring the
character of these monsters fully into view, the catalogue and its
loathsome details must have been greatly extended: indeed, of the
many gross outrages upon female honour and domestic peace with which
history charges Cesare, a considerable proportion are attributed to
his stay in his own capital of Cesena. To bring home these charges
would be far more easy than to discover coeval authority for
Sismondi's commendations.[*279] We are, however, told by a
contemporary poet, Marcello Filosseno, that Romagna bore witness to
the justice and clemency of the god-like Borgia, whom all nations far
and near invited to rule over them, and willingly hailed as their
master. The inflated terms of this compliment are surely sufficient
contradiction of its truth; and its now forgotten author, aspiring to
be the Petrarch of the modern Lucrezia, was naturally the slavering
adulator of her kindred.[280]

[Footnote *279: This is the most absurd attack on Sismondi, who was
certainly prejudiced, if at all, against "tyrants." Dennistoun's whole
view of Cesare is worthy only of his age. His conscience has blinded
his intelligence. How are we to explain the fact that Leonardo and
Machiavelli were eager to follow Cesare's fortunes and believed in him
if we accept Dennistoun's estimate? Cesare was greatly in advance of
his age, which he met with its own weapons.]

[Footnote 280: Yet one of his sonnets, bewailing the abasement of
Italy, is so touching and so true, as well as so little known, that we
shall introduce it in XII. of our Appendices. It in some degree
anticipates the more powerful and popular declamatory rhymes of
Filicaja on the same theme, which Byron has embodied in _Childe

[Footnote *F: Without doubt Cesare was welcome in Romagna. Cf.
GREGOROVIUS, _Lucrezia Borgia_, and GUICCIARDINI, _Op. Ined._, III.,
307, who says the inhabitants loved his rule.]

On such a point the prosaic diary of Sanuto affords better evidence.
Whilst passing the spring at Imola, the Duke of Romagna frequently
occupied his mornings with bull-baiting, and generally spent the
nights in dancing, masques, and varied dissipation. "No redress is
obtained; force supersedes justice; the troops quarter at their own
pleasure; whilst all cry out for vengeance on the Duke; for they
plunder everything, to say nothing of the matrons and their daughters,
of whom possession has been long since taken." As to the
administration of his government, the facts stated by Machiavelli, and
admitted by Sismondi, are these. The numerous and violent revolutions
which had recently convulsed his new state left behind them their
necessary consequences. Law and justice, public order and personal
security, were alike prostrated; the country was in the hands of
banditti, or military adventurers. To put an end to such misrule was
the interest of the new sovereign, and he set about it in a
characteristic manner. Selecting Ramirez d'Orco, the most savage and
blood-thirsty of his captains,[281] he left him to govern the country
with unlimited authority, and to clear it summarily of every suspected
individual. As the benefits of order restored by such sanguinary means
might be questioned even by those who had gained them, Borgia promptly
disconnected himself from the instrument when the reformation was
complete. At the close of 1502, there was one morning displayed in
their piazza, to the appalled inhabitants of Cesena, the racked and
dismembered corpse of their tyrannical viceroy, with a knife on one
side, and a reeking block on the other; and this doom the Pope
justified to the Venetian envoy on pretext of his treasonable
intrigues with the confederates of La Magione.[282]

[Footnote 281: Sanuto has preserved a story that his page having
fitted him with a tight shoe, he with one kick threw him upon the
fire, where he slew him with his hanger, and left his body to be

[Footnote 282: Burchard tells us that Cesare ordered a masked figure,
who had lampooned him at Rome, to be seized, his hand and tongue to be
amputated, and publicly exposed during two days. Verily his tastes lay
towards melodramatic murder!]

[Footnote *G: Dennistoun forgets to mention that Cesare descended on
d'Orco suddenly and put him to death.]

Of all the evil passions of men, the lust of power most grows by
indulgence. His craving for sovereignty at length gratified, the Duke
Valentino panted for new conquests. His advance upon Bologna was
suddenly arrested by a notice from Louis of that city being under
French protection. The opportunity had not yet arrived for attacking
the Duke of Urbino, the cherished general of the Venetians, the
scrupulously obedient vassal of the Church. The four Tuscan republics,
exhausted by long intestine struggles and civil commotions, seemed an
easy prey; and the exiled Medici, ever prompt to close with any offer
against their native city, afforded the excuse for an inroad upon
Florence by the Mugello, with the secret intention of appropriating it
to himself. His schemes of selfish aggrandisement were, however, again
reluctantly suspended, at the call of an ally with whose support he
could not dispense. Louis was now marching upon Naples, and thither
also Cesare directed his steps. But, ever prompt to plunder for his
own gain, or the gratification of his troops, he on the route seized
upon Piombino, the little fief of the Appiani, and, on the 3rd of
September, sacked its capital. This he retained as a footing for
further conquests, and consoled himself for foregoing his designs upon
the Florentines, by accepting, in guerdon of his forbearance, a
nominal rank in their service, with 36,000 zecchins of pay.

After establishing his sway in the Milanese, the French King proceeded
to the conquest of Naples. The league remained in force by which all
the Peninsular powers were brought to afford a voluntary or
constrained approbation of this enterprise; and, since the ruin of
Ludovico Sforza, Federigo had no ally. Of all the smaller feudatories,
the Colonna alone adhered to his falling cause, and the Pope availed
himself of this pretext to break down their strength and appropriate
their great estates, as he had already done those of their rivals the
Orsini. Duke Guidobaldo adopted the only prudent policy left in his
option, and obtained the nominal protection of Louis by sending fifty
lances to co-operate with his Neapolitan expedition. On its results we
cannot linger. The French King halted in Rome for a few days, whilst
Alexander, on the 28th of June, declared Federigo deprived of his
crown. The latter had turned towards Ferdinand of Spain, hoping that
policy would combine with family ties to procure from him support in
this exigency; but he was doomed to experience the hollowness of such
hopes. A treaty, signed on the 11th of November, 1500, was produced,
by which his kingdom had been secretly partitioned between Louis and
Ferdinand; the northern portion, with the capital, was assigned to the
former, and the southern, with the dukedom of Calabria, became an
appanage of the Spanish monarchy, the maritime cities of Monopoli,
Otranto, Brindisi, and Trani being reserved for the Venetians.[*283]
At Capua alone were the French arms resisted, and after a short siege
that city was delivered over to the worst horrors of a sack, Duke
Valentino reserving for himself forty of the most beautiful maidens of
the place. The King of the Two Sicilies, seeing his cause desperate,
abdicated a short-lived sovereignty, which in happier circumstances he
might have usefully and honourably wielded. He was permitted to retire
to France, as titular Duke of Anjou, with a pension of 30,000 ducats,
and died there in 1504. But he lived long enough to see his dominions
pass from his conqueror, and the French driven from Lower Italy by the
Spaniards. His last public act was to reconcile these powers, who, on
plundering him of his dominions, had quarrelled over the spoil. After
struggles protracted during two years, and brightened by the last
blaze of expiring chivalry, Gonsalvo, the Great Captain, established
over Naples the Spanish monarchy, which during the next two centuries
swayed that fine country with an iron rod, the wounds whereof still
rankle in its vitals. Thus was firmly planted in the Peninsula an
influence which quickly overshadowed, and eventually crushed, her
nationality, and which, even when finally withdrawn, left upon her
intellectual powers and material prosperity a malignant blight that
continues to spread its poison.

[Footnote *283: For treaty, see DUMONT, _Corps Diplomatique_, III.,

The calculation of the Borgia was, that, in the general scramble
consequent upon the French invasion, their selfish schemes might be
readily promoted.[284] Besides investing Cesare with the best portion
of Romagna, and erecting Nepi with many of the Colonna estates into a
dukedom for Giovanni, another natural son born after his elevation to
the tiara, Alexander had pursued his ambitious views for his too
favourite daughter Lucrezia, and after marrying her to Don Alfonso,
Duke of Bisceglia, in 1498, had endowed her with the sovereign duchy
of Spoleto. But the French alliance subsequently superseded his
original design of basing the grandeur of his house upon the Aragon
dynasty of Naples; and, prompt to free himself from the trammels of a
falling cause, he was suspected of sanctioning the assassination of
his son-in-law the Duke, in July, 1500, by the paid cut-throats of
Cesare, whose blows not proving fatal, the unhappy prince was
strangled in bed a few weeks later. The Venetian report, lately quoted
from Ranke,[285] tends, however, to acquit his Holiness of this
enormity, which was consummated by the bow-string of his son's agent
Michelotto; indeed it represents Lucrezia as affectionately tending
the invalid, and, with his sister the Princess of Squillace, cooking
his food as a security against the potions of her remorseless brother,
whose remark that "what failed at dinner might be managed at supper,"
was a pregnant hint of his sinister designs. At all events, this
outrage seems to have deeply disgusted Lucrezia, but, after a brief
interval, she reappeared at the court of her father, who, on quitting
his capital several times during 1501, left the executive in her
hands, exhibiting the novel scandal of the papacy under petticoat
government. In the following year she willingly lent herself to the
fourth nuptials which he had arranged for her.[*286] Once more the
states of the Church were enjoined to celebrate her marriage with
festivities worthy of royalty, the bridegroom being Alfonso, heir to
the dukedom of Ferrara, who, by this discreditable connection, earned
the towns of Cento and Pieve, with a dowry of 100,000 ducats, and the
protection of the Borgia. The ceremony was performed by the Pontiff in
person, who presented his daughter with jewels to the value of 100,000
scudi. Comedies, bull-fights, and illuminations were exhibited over
all Rome in her honour, this lavish expenditure being defrayed out of
sums raised by the indiscriminate sale of benefices, and indulgences
for the pretended Turkish crusade. Of these revels, as described by
Burchard, it is quite impossible to stain our pages with any account;
their disgusting impurities would have disgraced the orgies of a
brothel.[*287] The dukedom of Sermoneta was about the same time
erected out of the Gaetani estates for her infant son Roderigo, born
in November, 1499, during her marriage with the Duke of Bisceglia, but
of doubted paternity: she having soon after lost the favour of her
brother Cesare, which had brought upon her much scandal, this fief was
seized by him, on the paltry excuse that being a woman she could not
maintain possession of it.

[Footnote 284: We have spoken of this above.]

[Footnote 285: See ALBERI, _Relazioni Venete_, series II., vol. III.,

[Footnote *286: Cf. BURCHARD, III., 162. "Hurrah," cried the people,
"for the Duchess of Ferrara! Hurrah for Pope Alexander VI.!" when the
news was brought to Rome that the contract was signed. Lucrezia, in
splendid attire, rode to offer thanks at S. Maria del Popolo. Four
bishops and three hundred horse accompanied her.]

[Footnote *287: Cf. GREGOROVIUS, _Lucrezia Borgia_, p. 189 _et seq._
The wedding was celebrated on 30th December in the Cappella Paolina
before the Pope, who sat on his throne attended by thirteen cardinals
and the foreign ambassadors. The Emperor was not represented.]

In the following January, the bride set out for her new capital, and
the Pope wrote desiring that the Duchess of Urbino should attend her
to Ferrara. Considering how lately Lucrezia had been wife of her
brother-in-law Giovanni Sforza, this was an honour she would gladly
have dispensed with, but the habitual deference shown by Guidobaldo to
the wishes of his Holiness prevented her declining what was expressed
as a compliment, though subsequent events soon showed that it was but
a cloak to ulterior projects of a very difficult character. The
Duchess of Ferrara arrived at Urbino on the 18th of January, 1502,
with the extravagant accompaniment of two thousand attendants and a
hundred and fifty horses, who were all entertained by the Duke in
Gubbio, Cagli, and Urbino, at an expense of about 8000 ducats.[288]
Escorted by her hosts, she next day proceeded to Pesaro, visiting as a
passing guest the city which had lately owned her as its mistress. For
the second time she entered it a bride, greeted by bell-chimes and
bonfires, and met by a hundred children bearing olive-branches. But
their wands of peace mingled strangely with the gorgeous liveries of
her brother, who in right of the sword, held the state of him who had
on the former occasion been her husband. Even when at the height of
her dissolute career, she was characterised by a contemporary as
liberal and _savia_ (which may either mean learned or discreet); and
to her taste and patronage, rather than to Duke Alfonso, is ascribed
the literary tone which graced the court of Ferrara. As years wore on
she is represented as having purified her thoughts, and, weaning them
from earthly gauds and sensual joys, to have concentrated them on
devotional contemplations. Her death took place in child-bed on the
24th of June, 1519, and the following letter of condolence from the
Doge of Venice to her husband indicates the regard which she had
gained in that capital:--

"We have this morning heard with great concern the death of your most
illustrious consort, to whom, on account of the excellent qualities
possessed by her Ladyship, we ever have extended our affection and
entire goodwill, knowing them to be fully reciprocated by her. With
the paternal love which we bear to you and her, we condole with your
Excellency as if we had lost a daughter of our own. Yet our grief is
somewhat mitigated, knowing it to be a dispensation of nature which
none can escape, and remembering the past religious life of her
Excellency. And so we implore your Lordship that, in this so
distressing event, you will have recourse to your usual and natural
prudence for the alleviation of your grief, submitting to the will of
our Lord God, in which we ought all to acquiesce."[289]

[Footnote 288: Sanuto says 753 mouths, 426 horses, with 234 mules. See
details in Mr. RAWDON BROWN'S _Ragguagli_, II., p. 192.]

[Footnote 289: Diarii di M. Sanuto, xxvii. f. 320. The reader is again
referred to Roscoe's dissertation on the character of Lucrezia, for
views which this letter tends to support. In Sanuto we find a very
elaborate report of the marriage festivities which celebrated her
arrival at Ferrara in 1502, and in which the Duchess of Urbino bore a
distinguished part. It is perhaps the most graphic description of a
cinque-cento pageant that has come down to us, and will be found in
XIII. of the Appendices.]

     * NOTE.--The following account of the state of the Romagna
     before Cesare's conquest cannot be ignored, and must be
     accepted as accurate; cf. MACHIAVELLI, _Discorsi_, III., 29:
     "La Romagna, innanzi che in quella fussero spenti da Papa
     Alessandro VI. quelli signori che la comandavano, era uno
     esempio d'ogni scelleratissima vita, perchè quivi si vedeva
     per ogni leggiera cagione seguire uccisioni e rapine
     grandissime. Il che nasceva dalla tristizia di quei
     principi, non dalla natura trista degli uomini, come loro
     dicevano. Perchè sendo quelli principi poveri, e volendo
     vivere da ricchi, erano sforzati volgersi a molte rapine, e
     quelle per varj modi usare; e intra l'altre disoneste vie
     che e' tenevano, facevano leggi e proibivano alcuna azione;
     dipoi erano i primi che davano cagione della inosservanza di
     esse, nè mai punivano gl'inosservanti, etc." Cesare ruled
     well, introducing many reforms, and, avoiding excessive
     taxes, established some sort of security both for life and
     for property.


     Duke Guidobaldo's retired life--Cesare Borgia surprises and
     seizes Urbino--The Duke's flight--The diet of La
     Magione--Rising in the Duchy, and his return--He again

Our attention has been long distracted from our mountain duchy, whose
lord sought, in the peaceful retreat of his elegant court and happy
home, to isolate himself from intrigues alien to his tastes and
perilous to his welfare. The notices we shall gather of his social
circle towards the close of his life would doubtless apply, in part,
to this period, so barren of incidents as to have baffled our
research. All we know of him after his return from Venice is, that at
Easter, in 1500, he visited Rome, with a suite of six horsemen and
sixty attendants on foot, to observe with due honour the jubilee
functions, and that, in the following February, one Camillo Caraccioli
was hanged at Urbino, as an emissary of Valentino, suspected of a
design to assassinate the Duke. In November, 1501, he met with a
severe political as well as domestic loss in the death of his
brother-in-law Giovanni della Rovere, Lord of Sinigaglia, and Prefect
of Rome. In pursuance of the arrangement already referred to, of
adopting his son Francesco Maria as heir of Urbino, the boy, then in
his twelfth year, was removed to that court; and with a view to throw
these parties more completely off their guard, Alexander continued to
the youth his father's dignity of prefect, with which he was solemnly
invested, on the 24th of April, in the cathedral of Urbino, a hint
being still held out of betrothing him to Angela Borgia, niece of his
Holiness. The installation was not attended by the Duchess, who, when
the ceremonies and fetes of Lucrezia Borgia's marriage were concluded
at Ferrara, had proceeded to Venice, accompanying her sister-in-law
the Marchioness of Mantua, and attended by her faithful Emilia Pia.
They remained there during several weeks, preserving a nominal
incognito, and attending public sights muffled in their hoods, but
received from the Signory a compliment of confectionary and wax to the
amount of twenty-five ducats. On Easter Thursday they went to Verona
and so to Mantua, where the Duchess remained until joined by her lord
on his flight from Urbino.

       *       *       *       *       *

The ambition of the Borgia must again claim our attention. For the
nominal purpose of avenging upon the Colonna and Savelli their
adherence to the King of Naples, Alexander had anew instituted an
active persecution against these powerful barons of the Campagna and
their inviting fiefs. But a larger field was wanting for Cesare's
ever-expanding designs. Tuscany and Bologna were now under the
protection of Louis XII.; the heir of Ferrara had become his
brother-in-law; so was he compelled to turn towards La Marca in
pursuit of his plans of usurpation. The Pope, having on some idle
ground declared the fief of Camerino forfeited by Giulio Cesare
Varana, its hereditary seigneur, sent Valentino to expel him by arms.
At the same time, Vitellozzo Vitelli, lieutenant-general in Cesare's
service, laid siege to Arezzo, on pretext of avenging his brother
Paolo's judicial murder by the Florentines, but having, no doubt, a
secret understanding with his master. The events, now crowding upon
each other, which reduced Guidobaldo within a few hours from his
flourishing sovereignty to proscription and exile, are clearly
narrated in a letter written by himself a few days after his romantic
escape, and addressed to Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, the uncle of
his adopted heir, whom we shall, ere long, have to notice as Pope
Julius II. It has been printed by Leone in his life of Duke Francesco
Maria I.; but our translation was made from a contemporary copy in the
Vatican library.[290] That the costly visit of Lucrezia to
Urbino,[*291] the journey of Duchess Elisabetta to Ferrara, the
withdrawal of troops and money to Arezzo, and the demand for
artillery, were all parts of a deep-laid design to embarrass
Guidobaldo, and facilitate the treacherous seizure of his capital by
Cesare Borgia, is established beyond question by that letter. The
attachment of his subjects, the respectability of his character, the
support of France and of Venice secured to him by solemn pactions, the
personal influence with Louis of his relation the Cardinal della
Rovere, and the strength of his country, all presented most serious
political and military obstacles to the employment against the Duke of
the same means by which Valentino had gained a footing in Romagna. A
surprise might anticipate remonstrance and paralyse resistance.
Recourse was therefore had to treachery, and its success was equal to
the cunning which prepared and the dexterity which effected it.

[Footnote 290: Urb. MSS. No. 1023, f. 188. In No. 904, f. 43, is the
diary of a citizen of Urbino during the usurpation of Borgia, which
has supplied us with many of the succeeding details.]

[Footnote *291: In this year begins _Diario delle Cose di Urbino_,
which FEDERICO MADIAI has published in _Arch. St. per le Marche e per
l'Umbria_, vol. III., p. 423 _et seq._ It begins on January 18, the
day on which Lucrezia came to Urbino, "_con 150 cavalli e circa 2000
bocche_." "_Andò moglie di D. Ferrante figlio del Duca di Ferrara. Fu
stimato che tra Gubbio, Cagli e Urbino il nostro Duca spendesse circa
ottomila ducati._" For Gubbio, see A. PELLEGRINI, _Gubbio sotto i
Conti e Duchi d'Urbino_, in _Boll. per l'Umbria_, vol. XI., p. 211 _et

     "Most reverend Lord,

     "Your Lordship has doubtless ere now learned the excessive
     treachery used towards me by the Pope and Duke Valentino,
     and must feel surprise at not having received from me any
     confirmation of the fact. I pray your pardon for this delay;
     but the great difficulties I encountered in saving myself
     have occupied all my thoughts, although that I have reached
     this, may be ascribed rather to a miraculous interposition
     of Providence than to anything else. But to put you in
     possession of the whole case, you must know that the affair
     of Arezzo against the Florentines being disclosed to me
     after the return of Nicoloso Doria, I could not credit such
     a piece of villainy, for I never did or conceived anything
     in regard to the Pope or Duke Valentino except for their
     pleasure and profit. I therefore remained in secure
     reliance, considering the expeditions against Tuscany and
     Camerino to be great and justifiable enterprises: and I did
     so the more that my agent in Rome daily received pressing
     assurances of affection and safety from the Pope, the
     Cardinal of Modena, Trotti, Signor Adriano, Signor Paolo
     Orsini, and Duke Valentino. The Cardinal, in particular,
     volunteered to me, through an Observantine friar of
     influence who was much in my interest, the most solemn
     assurances on his own responsibility that I had nothing to
     fear, and that, having seen every despatch sent to France,
     Germany, and Venice, he was certain my name was never
     alluded to but in friendly terms. Whilst I thus remained
     inactive, and ready to follow your Lordship's advice, which
     I had already most anxiously sought through the Lord
     Prefect, I heard of the Duke leaving Rome with his troops,
     and at the same moment was applied to for a thousand
     infantry by Vitellozzo, who having taken Arezzo was doubtful
     of carrying the citadel. To whom I replied, that I had every
     wish to oblige his Holiness, the Duke, and himself, but
     that, as the Florentines were under French protection, and,
     as I had no personal quarrel with them to plead, I wished he
     would get the Pope to send a written application to me as
     his vicar, which I would at once obey. This answer he took
     much amiss, and refused me, saying that he would have the
     place without me.

     "There arrived soon after at Perugia the Bishop of Elna, as
     commissary-general of the Pope for the enterprise against
     Camerino, who sent me two Spanish gentlemen, with a letter
     from his Holiness, couched in the most affectionate terms,
     and stating that having ever found me in all respects
     devoted to the Church and to himself, he prayed me to concur
     in all the Duke's projects, and to execute the directions
     which I should receive from the Bishop. My reply placed
     myself at his Holiness's disposal. The Spaniards then
     informed me that my artillery must advance by Gubbio, Cagli,
     La Serra, and Sassoferrato, for which purpose I should have
     the roads repaired, and draught oxen provided; they likewise
     required me to give free passage and provisions for [an
     escort of] fifteen hundred foot. I immediately sent back
     with them Messer Dolce, to inform the Bishop that these
     instructions should all be willingly fulfilled, and I gave
     the necessary orders to the commissioner of Cagli and the
     lieutenant of Gubbio. I subsequently wrote to Messer Dolce
     at Perugia, desiring him to proceed as far as Spoleto to
     meet the Duke, and to wait upon his Excellency with every
     offer of service. He was received with all possible
     demonstrations of gratitude by the Duke, who assured him,
     with many thanks, that on no one in Italy could he look with
     the same fraternal attachment as myself; and who further
     earnestly entreated that I should send the thousand men to
     Vitellozzo. Messer Dolce having reported these matters to
     me, I instantly sent him back to represent my readiness to
     comply, on receiving from the Pope and his Excellency such
     letters as should discharge me of every responsibility with
     the King of France, and to propose that, since the exigence
     did not afford time to obtain these, Vitellozzo might raise
     five hundred men in my state, for which purpose I should
     contribute 1000 ducats, a force which would probably
     suffice, as I had just heard of his having reduced the
     citadel of Arezzo. I also prepared a beautiful charger with
     a surcoat of brocade, and sent them with Messer Dolce next
     day as a present, to the Duke.

     "But the latter, having suddenly taken horse at Spoleto
     hurried towards Costaccioro, sending forward two thousand
     men, whom he called the foot artillery; and these, having
     been admitted by my people, according to my instructions,
     advanced without further leave upon Cagli. The Duke,
     hurrying after them, was met between Cagli and Cantiano by
     Messer Dolce, who at the same moment received advices from
     Fossombrone, that of the two thousand infantry whom the
     former had in Romagna for the enterprise against Camerino,
     one half had moved upon Isola di Fano, Sorbolongo, and
     Reforzato, which places commanded the passes between my
     territory and that of the Lord Prefect, and that, besides
     these, a soldier was quartered in every house at Fano. It
     further appeared that the Counts of Montevecchio and S.
     Lorenzo, who were hovering on that frontier, had within the
     last few days been taken into the Duke's pay.

     "These several pieces of intelligence, so very different
     from my anticipations, reached me within the interval of an
     hour, about eight o'clock at night, whilst I was enjoying
     myself at supper in the country, supposing myself in perfect
     security. I hurried back to Urbino, and there found a
     message from the authorities of S. Marino, to inform me that
     the remaining thousand infantry of Romagna had advanced upon
     Verucchio and S. Arcangelo, well officered, occasioning them
     great alarm. Presently there reached me a letter from the
     commissioner of Cagli, intimating that the Duke had avowed
     hostile intentions, and would reach Urbino next morning.
     That place being in all respects unprovided for resistance,
     and its defences of no strength, I thought it well to make
     the best of my way on horseback, along with the Lord
     Prefect, three of my people, and a few archers, to S. Leo,
     my strongest fortress in Montefeltro, which is accessible by
     only two passes. I left instructions that matters should be
     so arranged that Urbino might suffer as little as possible,
     and at midnight I set out. By dawn I reached a castle [Monte
     Coppiolo] four miles distant from S. Leo, and there learned
     that the troops from Verucchio and S. Arcangelo, instead of
     marching upon S. Marino, had seized the passes of S. Leo,
     which was surrounded on all sides by the men of Rimini and
     Cesena, well organised. On hearing this, I despatched a
     person to ascertain how things were, and took the road to S.
     Agata, another of my Montefeltrian castles, on the confines
     of Tuscany and Romagna, which, though not of great strength,
     was a good quarter, and there I halted for a short rest to
     the horses, then nearly dead.

     "Dismissing there the archers, I, with three mounted
     followers, thought it best to separate from the Lord
     Prefect, who, with two of his people, took the most secure
     route towards the Val di Bagno, whilst I, disguised as a
     peasant, followed the mountain paths towards the Tuscan
     frontier, and the strongholds in the bishopric of Sarsina,
     then held for the Duke. About fourteen miles from S. Agata,
     and eight beyond the frontier, at a stream called the
     Borello in the territory of Cesena, I was attacked by some
     country people, who pursued us with cries of 'blood, blood,
     murder them!' Within a bow-shot of me they seized one of my
     people who carried my money, and a guide, but the rest of us
     with great difficulty reached Castelnuovo, a small place
     belonging to the illustrious Signory [of Venice], but
     surrounded by the Duke of Romagna's territories. I arrived
     about eight o'clock at night, half dead with fatigue, and
     after writing to the authorities of Ravenna to represent
     what had occurred, I betook myself to rest. Next mid-day
     there came an answer from the magistrates of that city,
     twenty-six miles distant, enjoining me on no account to
     remain there, which I believe was given with a good
     intention, as the place seemed weak and open to the
     enemy.[292] I therefore begged permission to stay still
     until evening, and, changing my disguise, prepared to face
     what then seemed inevitable death. Meanwhile another
     messenger, who had been despatched by the authorities of
     Ravenna to hurry my departure, was arrested at Meldola, a
     mile from Castelnuovo, and being examined as to his
     business, avowed the whole affair; whereupon Valentino's
     officers instantly ordered the passes to be guarded,
     especially that toward Galeato in Tuscany, and the high road
     to Ravenna. Having heard of this about six o'clock p.m.,
     from a woman of Meldola, I decided not to wait for night,
     and took horse, accompanied by two of my people, the
     messenger from Ravenna, his three attendants, and two
     guides. To deceive the enemy, we avoided the direct roads to
     Ravenna and Galeato, and resolved to push right through the
     heart of the Duke's territory, at the risk of an encounter
     with his force. Passing between Bertinoro and Cesena, we
     crossed the highway from Cesena to Forlimpopoli, a mile from
     the former town, and thence by cross roads reached Ravenna
     without interruption; a most surprising escape, as at
     nightfall, whilst still in the enemy's country, we heard
     from Cesena, Forlimpopoli, and Bertinoro discharges of
     artillery and alarm bells, and saw signal fires, and a rush
     towards the very places which we had just passed. After
     riding the whole night, we got at sunrise to Ravenna, where
     we were well received by the magistracy; and thence, through
     the state of Ferrara, we arrived here [at Mantua], where we
     were welcomed in the most affectionate manner I could wish
     by the Lord Marquis.

     [Footnote 292: This rudeness was, however, visited by the
     Signory with a sharp rebuke.--SANUTO'S _Diaries_.]

     "Your Reverence has now heard all, and will excuse my
     lengthy details. I beg you will inform his most Christian
     Majesty of the treachery employed towards me, relying on the
     scrupulous truth of this, which may stand the test of all
     the world. And as to the assertion of my having been
     expelled by my people, which I hear the Duke begins to put
     abroad, be assured that all those who were aware of my
     departure did nothing but bewail it. I recommend myself to
     your Reverence, assuring you that my only earthly desire is
     to submit myself to the opinion of his Majesty in this
     affair, whose good servant, as your Lordship knows, I have
     ever been and will continue.

     "I hope in God that the Lord Prefect will escape, as the
     road he took was safer, and as I have heard no bad news of
     him. You should also know that as soon as the Duke reached
     Urbino, he wrote to Messer Giovanni Bentivoglio to seize and
     deliver me up to him, and that along all the coast of
     Sinigaglia, Fano, Pesaro, and Rimini measures were taken to
     intercept me. Further, that I have saved nothing but my
     life, a doublet and a shirt. Mantua, 28th June, 1502.

     "Your servant,

     "THE DUKE OF URBINO, _manu propria_."

It was on the 20th of June that Valentino, after a forced march of
thirty miles under a midsummer sun, halted his little army at Cagli,
and the same evening the first alarm reached Guidobaldo, on the return
of Dolce. The Duke had been supping in a shady grove by the
Zoccolantine convent, about a mile out of Urbino, and sat enjoying the
charm lavished by prodigal nature on that fair land at the hour of
sunset, which

     "Fronde sub arborea ferventia temperat astra."

It was long ere his breast again knew the tranquillity of that
evening. On hearing the fatal news, he remained for a few moments
absorbed in thought; then striking the table with his hand, he
exclaimed, "I fear I shall find myself betrayed." Within four hours he
had bid a touching but manly farewell to his court and people,
cheering their despondency with the hope of better days, and had
passed a secret postern of his palace, carrying with him a few papers,
some money and jewels.[*293] Those who have experienced the
difficulty, delay, and fatigue of penetrating the rugged country
between his capital and S. Leo, may form some idea of the risks and
sufferings of his midnight flight among these sierras,

                                 "As one
     That makes no pause, but presses on his road
     Whate'er betide him."

[Footnote *293: The Duke left between the fourth and fifth hour of the
night (i.e. between 11 p.m. and midnight) on June 20. Cf. _Diario
delle Cose di Urbino_ in _Arch. St. per le Marche e per l'Umbria_,
vol. III., p. 423.]

But when the aggravations to a constitution broken by gout are
considered, his surviving the exertion must seem almost miraculous.
Two of his attendants were his favourite Giovanni Andrea, and
Cathelan, his first chamberlain, the latter of whom, when hard pressed
at the Borello, fell behind, and allowed himself to be taken and
plundered, pretending to be the Duke, a device which slackened the
pursuit, and enabled his master to escape.

At the court of his brother-in-law, Francesco Marquis of Mantua, he
found the hospitable shelter which his wearied frame so much needed
after this tumult of exhausting incidents; and, in the society of his
beloved wife,

     "Whose worthy words him seemed due recompense
     For all his passed pains,"

he cheerfully practised those lessons of contentment and philosophy
with which, in brighter days, he had disciplined his mind. When a
brief delay had given time for the Cardinal della Rovere to interpose
with Louis in his behalf, Guidobaldo sought that monarch at Milan, and
reminding him of his pledged protection, stated his grievances and
besought redress. But state policy is ever selfish. Mutual interests
rendered the close alliance of his Christian Majesty with the Borgia
of primary importance to the unscrupulous ambition of both, and the
outraged Duke of Urbino's appeals were responded to by cold
generalities. Turning to his old allies, the Venetians, he repaired to
their capital; and although they dared not resort to active measures
in his behalf, situated as they were between two such formidable
powers as Louis and Valentino, he received with them a cordial
welcome, and enjoyed from their hospitality an honourable retirement,
and an allowance of thirty pounds of gold a month, until time had
given a favourable turn to the wheel of his fortune.

An impression has arisen among the historians of these transactions,
founded perhaps on a passage in Bembo's gossiping discourse,[294]
that, either seriously, or as a temporary security from Borgia's
murderous agents, the Duke, while at Milan, declared his impotency,
and held out the hope that, should the Pope on this ground dissolve
his marriage, and confer on him a cardinal's hat, his duchess might
marry Cesare, now a widower. The whole story is apocryphal, and the
character of the Duke and Duchess prevent our crediting that such an
expedient could be seriously proposed or sanctioned by either of them.
It is, however, casually mentioned by Machiavelli as a rumour, at the
time of Guidobaldo's second withdrawal from his state in the following

[Footnote 294: BEMBO, _Opera_, II., p. 637.]

The night of the Duke's flight was one of lamentation and panic in
Urbino. To the grief with which the inhabitants saw their beloved
sovereign driven into unmerited exile quickly succeeded anxiety for
themselves. The dismay attendant upon a dreaded invasion was
augmented by the well-known blood-thirsty rapacity of Borgia and of
his ferocious soldiery. Abandoned to their resources, each acted upon
his own plan. Some hurried their women and valuables out of the city,
in hopes of reaching, among the neighbouring villages, or even at
Pesaro, a safe retreat from the horrors of conquest; others sought to
conceal their treasures. Many fiercely ran to arms; more resigned
themselves to wretched forebodings. At length, with returning light,
order and confidence were in some degree restored by the energy of the
magistrates, who forbade all tumult or attempts at defence on pain of
instant punishment.

Valentino, after a brief halt at Cagli, hurried his troops towards
Urbino, and by sunrise was before its gates. Devoted to "the pomp and
circumstance of glorious war," he entered the city in gorgeous armour
on a beautiful charger, followed by his lances and men-at-arms,
caparisoned as for a tournament, their parti-coloured plumes and
glittering mail bearing no signs of a hurried march. He was met by the
magistracy and principal inhabitants, who surrendered to him the town
and citadel without any show of resistance; and his first act was to
behead Pier-Antonio, a confidant of the Duke, who, at his instigation,
had persuaded his master to grant the successive demands of the
usurper, and so virtually to disable himself from defence, but who, by
omitting to secure Guidobaldo's person, earned the vengeance of his
seducer. After seizing several who were notoriously attached to the
legitimate dynasty, he sought repose in the palace, where he found,
and at once removed to Forlì, a vast amount of plate, tapestry, books,
and other valuables, estimated by Sanuto at above 150,000 ducats, a
sum now equal to perhaps a quarter of a million sterling. His orders
against plundering were ill observed; and it was not till after much
damage had been done by his troops, to property both of the Duke and
of the citizens, that he marched them to Fermignano, a village at some
distance, where their rapine was indulged without check.[*295] The
various communities of the state, finding themselves in the enemy's
hands, sent in their adherence; the only exceptions were S. Leo and
Maiuolo: the latter speedily surrendered; the former was gained by
treachery, as we shall hereafter see. Camerino was likewise reduced
within a month, and Giulio Cesare Varana, its brave lord, was soon
after strangled by Borgia's order, in daring breach of the terms and
assurances he had received, his eldest son Venanzio, with two natural
brothers, sharing his fate. Adding sacrilege to murder, the usurper
carried off from the monastery of Sta. Chiara, at Urbino, Elisabetta
Malatesta, the widowed sister of Guidobaldo, a lady whose mature years
might have protected her from outrage, and who was released by an
exchange of prisoners only on her brother's first return.[296]

[Footnote *295: The _Diario delle Cose di Urbino_ makes no mention of
any terror or looting on the 21st or after. There was an earthquake on
the 23rd at mid-day, "_che non s'udì mai il maggiore_." On the 25th
Cesare departed towards Casteldurante. He returned on August 3rd and
left on the 6th.]

[Footnote 296: See of her, p. 289.]

We here once more draw upon Capello's Venetian relation for some
notice of the monster, whose misdoings have thus gradually become
bound up in our narrative. To that ambassador of the Republic, Duke
Valentino appeared quite as much feared as he was loved by his father,
who grumbled at his regal prodigality, more than at his own favourite
Perotto being stabbed by him under his very mantle, while the
life-blood spurted into his face. Tall and well made, surpassing in
personal advantages even the handsome Ferdinand of Naples, he prided
himself on having slain six wild boars with the lance while on
horseback, striking the head off one at a blow, to the wonder of all
Rome, "so that the whole town trembled lest it should be their turn
next to test the temper of his steel."

The strong representations made to Louis at Milan, by most of his
Italian confederates, of Duke Valentino's tyranny, faithlessness, and
cruelty, were neutralised by his sudden appearance in person. Meeting
his Majesty in the street, the minion averted his rising indignation
by proffering humble submission, and imploring protection from
numberless foes. The impression thus made he followed up by abject and
elaborate flattery, and so successfully did he justify himself, or
rather, perhaps, so fully did he demonstrate how necessary to their
several schemes was an unshrinking mutual support, that, instead of
being disavowed by the French monarch, he obtained his sanction, and a
squadron of three hundred lances, in aid of his scarcely disguised
designs against Bologna, Perugia, and Città di Castello. The
respective lords of these places were allies of France, and two of
them were, or had been, actually in Borgia's pay; but such
considerations availed not to save them from his avowed resolution of
extirpating their races, and adding their territories to the kingdom
at which his boundless ambition seems now to have aimed.

Thus aroused to their common danger, these and other chiefs sought to
organise a common defence, and, about the end of September, assembled
at La Magione, near Perugia, to concert their measures. In this
confederacy were included Giovanni Bentivoglio, of Bologna; Gian-Paolo
Paglioni, of Perugia; Vitellozzo Vitelli, of Città di Castello;
Pandolfo Petrucci, of Siena; along with the Orsini, including Cardinal
Gian-Battista, Francesco Duke of Gravina, Paolo, a bastard of the
Bracciano line, and his son the Chevalier Fabio. With these was
likewise associated Oliverotto Eufreducci, generally called Liverotto
da Fermo, whose atrocities deserve brief notice. Having treacherously
murdered his guardian and maternal uncle, Giovanni Fogliano, seigneur
of Fermo, whilst his guest at a banquet, in January, 1502, he seized
that city. In the same cold-blooded slaughter were included the son
and son-in-law of Giovanni, the latter by name Raffaele della Rovere
(natural son of the Cardinal Giuliano), whose two infants were also
murdered by orders of the monster, as he rode through the city to
proclaim himself sovereign, one being thrown from the window at which
it gazed on the spectacle, the other having its throat cut while in
its mother's arms.[297] Such was the miscreant selected by Machiavelli
as the paragon of a prince exalted by criminal means, and such
Sismondi would seem to consider the type of Italian seigneurs in this

[Footnote 297: Vat. Urb. MSS. No. 1023, art. 17.]

The diet of La Magione had ample cause for alarm. They had seen half
of the independent feudatories of the Church, the Riarii, Malatesta,
Sforza, Manfredi, Colonna, Montefeltri, and Varana dispossessed,
slaughtered, or exiled, and now their turn was at hand. At this
juncture an event occurred which quickly matured their wavering
counsels. Of the many fortresses of his highland state, S. Leo alone
held out for Guidobaldo, till, after some weeks, it was treasonably
surrendered by the commander, Ludovico Scarmiglione, of Foligno. This
traitor, having the assurance to present himself to his master at
Venice, and, attempting to make excuses for the "misfortune," added
that he would, without doubt, take steps for its reconquest, the Duke
causticly replied, "Give yourself no further trouble as to that; your
having lost it was already one step towards its recovery." Among its
citizens was Gian-Battista Brizio, who, as page and equerry of Duke
Federigo, had learned the duties at once of a gallant soldier and a
loyal subject. Having gained the engineer employed to repair its
fortifications, he introduced singly into the town a number of the old
militia on whom he could depend, disguised as peasants; and, at the
preconcerted moment, on the 5th of October, the drawbridge was jammed,
as if accidentally, by some large logs of timber. On a given signal
the pretended peasants rushed upon the garrison, and supported by an
ambuscade planted outside, who seized the embarrassed gate, they
slaughtered Borgia's officers, and carried the place by a
_coup-de-main_. Their cry of "Feltro, Feltro! the Duke, the Duke!"
alternating with "Marco, Marco!" the watchword of Venice, rang through
the mountain passes, and was echoed from the surrounding castles,
spreading the insurrection as far as Gubbio and Cagli.[298] News of
the fall of S. Leo reached Urbino on the 8th, being market day, and
the country people, catching up the same war-cries, rushed upon part
of their garrison, who were endeavouring to secure some pieces of
artillery that had been carelessly left outside the walls since the
Camerino affair.[*299] The soldiers being beaten back, the citizens
and militia rushed to arms; but ere the counter-revolution was
completed in the town, fifteen mules, laden with valuables from the
palace, had been sent out towards Forlì. Next day, by a sudden and
well-supported assault, the citadel was taken, and as its assailants
congratulated themselves on their easy victory, an express brought
tidings that Fossombrone too had declared for the Duke. A detachment
of four hundred men, hastily despatched to aid in reducing the
castle, arrived there too late to save that devoted town from a savage

[Footnote 298: Sanuto has preserved the following letter of the 8th
October, addressed by Cesare to the inhabitants of Bertinoro, near
Cesena, in reference to this feat of Brizio:--

"The Duke of Romagna, Prince of Urbino and Adria, Lord of Piombino, to
our well-beloved, greeting: The peasants of S. Leo, carrying wood into
that place, induced by cupidity of new booty, captured the warder and
took the castle; and it being the capital of Montefeltro, the
neighbouring castles have rebelled; and as perhaps Guidobaldo,
feigning to have assistance from some potentate, may attempt to go
thither, we command you, as you value our favour, to exert yourselves,
and guard the passes with armed men, arresting all who may come that
way, giving them into the hands of our commissary, or slaying those
who may make resistance. Guidobaldo is not aware of the good
understanding which exists between the Pope's Holiness and the most
Christian King of France, as also between other potentates and us."]

[Footnote *299: On 8 October, according to the _Diario_ above cited
(p. 401, note *1) [Transcriber's Note: Original erroneously cites p.
385], news came of the return of San Leo, San Marino, and Tavoleto,
and all the Montefeltro. Gubbio and Cagli had returned to their
allegiance to Guidobaldo, and all Urbino armed itself and cried,
"_Feltro! Feltro! Feltro!_" There was, however, at first a large party
who did not wish to see Guidobaldo again. The _rocca_, still
presumably in the hands of Cesare, was taken next day, four
_contadini_ being killed.]

Notice of the rising having reached Michele Coreglia, Cesare's
favourite minister in his worst atrocities, who, from his small
figure, was surnamed Don Michelotto, he marched upon La Pergola, which
was also in arms. At Fossombrone he obtained admission with his
troops, by raising a cry of "Feltro" at the gates, and sacked both
these towns with revolting excesses, the women seeking to save
themselves and their infants in the river Metauro. He then turned his
track of fire and sword towards Urbino, menacing the citizens with a
similar fate. Their drooping courage was revived by news of the league
of La Magione, and by Vitellozzo's arrival on the 11th, with a
reinforcement of forty lances and four hundred infantry. Paolo Orsini
advanced upon Cagli the same day, in order to keep the cut-throat
Michelotto in check. The other leaders were equally active. They had
sent urgent representations to Venice and Florence, praying support
against the common enemy; but with these republics a cautious policy
prevailed, and by their backwardness the opportunity of crushing him
was lost. Indeed, the latter stood already committed to Valentino by
sending Nicolò Machiavelli, on the 5th of October, to offer him, as an
ally of France, their support against the confederation; whilst the
Venetian Signory, on hearing the affair of S. Leo, assured the Pope's
legate, in presence of Guidobaldo himself, that the movement had
neither their sanction nor sympathy.

Borgia, deserted by his best captains, was well aware of his danger,
and is described as full of alarm by Machiavelli, who arrived at this
juncture; but putting the best face upon matters, he ascribed the
rising in the duchy to the unpopularity of his troops, to his
ill-judged clemency in not having formerly made a sufficient example
of the inhabitants, and to his remissness in leaving the principal
offices in disaffected hands. But affecting indifference as to Urbino,
which from the moment S. Leo was surprised he regarded as lost, and
remarking that he had carried it in three days, and had not forgotten
how to do so again, he concentrated his cares upon Romagna. Emboldened
by the timely support of Florence, he sent to Louis, who had now
returned home, the strongest representations of the peril impending
over their mutual designs, and pressed him for prompt and efficient
succours. Meanwhile, distrusting his strength, he had recourse to
cunning, in order to avert the danger, or, at least, to gain time.
Disguising his indignation, he opened communications with the
individual confederates, and endeavoured to amuse them with hollow
professions and seeming apologies, artfully appealing to their
respective prejudices, sowing jealousies, explaining away former
offences, and avowing for each a sincere friendship, based upon a
community of interests. Whilst these intrigues were fomenting he
remained at Imola, apparently at his ease, but, in reality, recruiting
the means of vengeance, to be used as soon as his enemies had been
divided. Meanwhile he rallied many mountain chieftains and straggling
adventurers, each with his handful of broken lances, and thus, when
the moment for action arrived, had secured a not despicable following
of troops prepared for any enormity. On the 29th of October,
Machiavelli's despatch contained returns of above five thousand foot,
and nearly a thousand men-at-arms, light cavalry, and archers, even
before the arrival of his French or Swiss auxiliaries.

The first successes of his friends at S. Leo and Urbino had been
communicated to Guidobaldo on the 7th, by letters urging his immediate
presence, and he hastened to respond to the call.[300]

[Footnote 300: Among the Oliveriana MSS. I found a statement that his
return was reluctant, and against hope of success, and that it had
been somewhat forced upon him, in consequence of the injudicious zeal
of a priest, who, finding his seal in S. Leo, gave out that he was
arrived, ordered rejoicings, and issued forged letters in his name.
The apocryphal story is not supported by any authority that I have met
with. From the instructions to Machiavelli, dated 5th of October, it
appears that his return was anticipated before the surprise of S. Leo
had taken place,--an event probably brought about in part by such
rumours, tending

                             "Spargere voces
     In vulgum ambiguas, et quærere conscius arma."

Indeed, he had secretly applied to the Signory for pecuniary aid some
days anterior to the rising in his duchy.]

Having experienced the risks of the Romagna passes when in the hands
of a watchful foe, he took sea from Venice to Sinigaglia, which his
courageous sister still held in name of her son, the young Lord
Prefect. After a brief fraternal greeting,--for night had fallen when
he landed, and the hours of darkness were precious,--the Duke once
more undertook a harassing ride through intricate mountain paths, and
reached S. Leo, on the 17th of October, just twelve days after the
banner of Montefeltro, streaming from its towers, had roused the
country to arms. Thanking the gallant Brizio, and cheering his little
garrison, he next morning set out for his capital, through villages
and townships that vied with each other in zeal to welcome his
appearance by tables placed for refreshment. When he approached
Urbino, whose devotedness on this and similar occasions gained for
that city the distinguishing epithet of _fidele_, or leal, the entire
population turned out to receive him; and it was with much delay and
difficulty his horse could penetrate their crowded ranks, and carry
him to the cathedral.[*301] There he found the bishop at the head of
his clergy, and after attending a solemn function to return thanks to
the King of kings for his restoration, he sought repose in his palace.
Worn out by severe exertion, and suffering from gout, he was confined
to bed during the next three days, but none were refused access of
the promiscuous multitudes who flocked to satisfy themselves as to his
actual return.[*302] Of the affection entertained towards him, a
touching instance occurs in the naive diary to which we have recently
referred:--"I was plundered at Montecalvo by the soldiery of stuff to
the value of twenty-five ducats, which prevented me from sowing this
year; but my losses seemed as nothing when I saw my Prince, and
especially when I touched his hand; such were the caresses bestowed
upon me by my Lord, whom God preserve!"

[Footnote 301: On 18 October, 1502, the Duke returned to Urbino; he
had with him but ten horse. "Non saprei estimare la moltitudine degli
uomini d'ogni parte grandi e piccoli che si trovarono per la strada.
Da poi che si partì da San Leo per sino a Urbino, in ogni poggio erano
le tavole apparecchiate dagli Urbinati. Ogni uomo se gli fe incontro
dalla terra a un miglio, a due, a tre, a quattro" (_Diario_, cf.
_supra_, p. 401, note *1)] [Transcriber's Note: Original erroneously
cites p. 385.]

[Footnote *302: "Our Signore," says the _Diario_, "did not leave his
bed on the 19th because he had the gout ... but every man went to
speak with him in bed, the _contadino_ as well as the citizen; and day
and night he gave them audience, and spoke with every one willingly."]

On the 15th, Ugo di Moncada and Michelotto, after being worsted near
Fossombrone by Paolo Orsini and Vitellozzo, fell back upon Fano, and
the whole country rushed to arms. Four months after his first
surprise, Guidobaldo was again master of his states, almost without a
blow, Sant'Agata being the only fortress still held for Borgia. Had
one united effort been then made by the chiefs against their common
enemy, his cause might have been rendered desperate. But precious
moments were lost in undecided movements and petty skirmishes, till
Louis had responded to his appeal by ordering him a reinforcement of
five hundred lances, and promising what further aid he might require.
The harmony which actuated the confederates against Valentino became
distracted when they found themselves in hostile contact with that
victorious monarch. On their mutual heart-breakings and wavering
resolutions Cesare's wily representations told with tenfold effect.
Within a week of the fall of S. Leo, he had opened secret
communications with Paolo Orsini, a man of shallow capacity, and he
complained bitterly to Machiavelli of having been deceived by that
chief in the affair of Fossombrone. On the 25th of October Paolo
arrived at Imola to treat with him, and in two days acceded to his
terms. A treaty was signed on the 28th, by Cesare for himself, and by
Paolo on the part of the Diet, whereby its combined chiefs, forgetting
past jealousies, were to re-enter Valentino's service, and assist him
to recover Urbino and Camerino. To this accommodation there was,
however, some difficulty in obtaining the sanction of their
associates. Vitellozzo is said to have torn it up when presented to
him, and it was not until his brother, the Bishop of Città di
Castello, had met some cardinals sent by the Pope to La Magione, and
had visited Petrucci at Siena, that a reluctant unanimity was
obtained. The conditions of this hollow reconciliation resembled, in
some respects, the bonds of maintenance and manrent then usual among
Scottish chieftains. The associated condottieri were taken bound to
aid and support all the race of Borgia in their quarrels and causes,
and to give their sons as hostages when required by Cesare, on whom
one of them was to be in constant attendance.

The contest had, from Borgia's dilatory policy, quickly declined to a
guerilla war, most harassing to the Urbinites, whose alarm was
aggravated by the rumours of an arrangement between him and the
confederates, which prevailed in the beginning of November. When the
treaty transpired, the Duke, upon the 17th, laid his case before the
principal inhabitants of his state, offering to place himself in their
hands, and either to retire or to live and die with them, as they
might decide. Resistance to the death was their option, and so great
was the enthusiasm, that a deputation of ladies waited upon him to
applaud the resolution, and to lay at his feet their jewels and
ornaments for the common cause. All was now busy preparation over the
duchy. Men were hastily levied and drilled, free captains were
enrolled, fortresses were repaired.

But a new access of gout proved how little fit their sovereign was for
the field, and in so desperate a crisis the maintenance of their
independence seems scarcely to have been contemplated by the most
sanguine. Still, by showing a good front, they calculated upon making
better terms for themselves and the Duke; nor were their opponents'
views such as to render hopeless such an issue. The chiefs having
bound themselves to make common cause with Guidobaldo for the
re-establishment of his rights, they were anxious that he should fall
easily after their desertion, and willingly lent their mediation to
obtain for him such conditions as might save them from being the
instruments of his utter destruction. Cesare, too, had his own reasons
for seeking a more prompt solution of the dilemma than was promised by
a winter campaign in the most inaccessible country of Italy and
against its bravest people, fighting for their hearths and in support
of a beloved dynasty. The horrors of such a war possessed no charm for
him, for he had already planned a sanguinary vengeance which risked
nothing, and to his crooked mind treachery was more attractive than
fair fighting. Besides, he was awaiting the arrival of three thousand
Swiss mercenaries, and in the interval lent himself to negotiations,
conducted on his part by Gian-Paolo Vitelli, and on that of the Duke
of Urbino by Ottaviano Fregosa.

At length, on the 4th of December, an arrangement was published, by
which S. Leo and three other fortresses were to remain in the hands of
Guidobaldo, with permission to transport thither whatever property he
chose, the remainder of the Duchy passing again to Borgia. During the
next two days much of the Duke's valuables were removed, and on the
7th the palace was thrown open to general plunder; indeed, all law and
order being suspended, there was a scramble by the citizens for the
safety of their families and effects. Paolo Orsini, to calm the
excitement, offered to guarantee the full amnesty stipulated in the
surrender; but, enraged at a reverse which they attributed mainly to
his perfidy and cowardice, they spurned his assurances, and, being
unable to tear him to pieces, wreaked their indignation by hooting
him as "the Lady Paul." To the Duke there remained no alternative but
once more to withdraw; yet, before setting out, he advised his people
to dismantle the other castles, as these could only serve to
strengthen the usurper's hold upon his country, in the event of any
new effort for his restoration,--a suggestion which they carried
enthusiastically into effect ere Cesare could take means to prevent
them. But to have punished their precipitancy would have been all the
more impolitic, when there were no longer fortresses from which to
overawe their obedience; so he had no alternative but conciliation,
and on taking possession of the duchy he proclaimed a general amnesty,
as provided in the capitulation.

The fatigues which Guidobaldo had undergone in reaching his capital
had brought on a severe attack of his constitutional enemy, which
disqualified him from active exertion during most of the anxious
period of his stay there, and, indeed, generally confined him to his
couch. A new exertion was, however, requisite, and he met it with his
wonted firmness. On the 7th of December he made a parting address to
his people, and explained to them that, after applying in vain for aid
to all the powers of Italy, and unable singly to resist the Pope and
his son, the interests of his state left him no choice but to retire.
He recommended them resignation to an inevitable destiny, and advised
them to remain quietly under their new sovereign until it should
please God to send them better times. Next morning, at eight o'clock,
he once more bade adieu to his dominions amid the lamentations of
thousands, and retired to Città di Castello. There the Bishop
entertained him hospitably until the 5th of January, when news of the
tragedy at Sinigaglia suggested to them both the necessity of flight.
The Duke soon found a kind welcome in the castle of Pittigliano, near
Bolsena, from his old friend Count Nicolò Orsini, and obtained from
the Venetians an injunction prohibiting Cesare from molesting him in
that stronghold of their general. But he too well knew his daring
enemy to trust much to such nominal protection, and on his approach
took the road to Mantua. From Rovigo he addressed these hurried lines

     "The most serene Prince and most illustrious Lord my special
     Lord, Leonardo Loredano, by God's grace Doge of the

     "Most serene Prince and most illustrious Lord, my special

     "This is only to make known to your Serenity how, after
     enduring many and infinite pains and perils, I am by God's
     grace safely brought back into your Serenity's territory and
     dominions, and have been most affectionately received and
     welcomed by the magnificent Messer Gianpaolo [Gradenigo,
     governor of Rovigo]; and, please God, I mean to be presently
     in Venice, where I consider myself at home. All this I have
     deemed it right to notify to your Serenity, to whom I ever
     commend myself. From Rovigo, 27th of January, 1503.

     "Your servant,

     "GUIDO DUKE OF URBINO, _manu propria_."

Sanuto, who has preserved this letter, continues the following detail
of the wanderer's reception at Venice. "On this day [31st of January]
there came into college the Duke Guido of Urbino, for whom the Signory
sent the chiefs of the forty, and us sages for the orders, to be his
escort. He was seen with favour by an immense concourse of persons,
and there on the landing I addressed him, saying he was welcome, and
that the Signory was anxious to embrace him, and rejoiced at his
escape from so great perils. His Highness returned thanks, and then
went up by the grand stone staircase. All were gladdened on seeing
him; and, being seated near the Doge, he spoke some bland words,
purporting how miraculously he had reached what he might term his own
house, and added, that having neither state nor property, he could
offer none such, but that his person was the Signory's until death.
The Doge replied in congratulatory terms at his escape from so great
dangers, the account of which he said gave him more satisfaction than
if his own son had been rescued from shipwreck. He then inquired of
the Duke how he got away, which his Lordship thus recounted.

"Being at Pittigliano, and his surrender demanded by the Pope, who
proposed going thither with the camp, he resolved on departing. His
wish was to go by sea, but he could not get a brigantine, so he left
by land with a single companion [Vitelli], Bishop of Città di
Castello, who was also setting forth, he knew not whither. On reaching
Montefiore, above Siena, the Count sent his secretary there to
accompany him; and riding all night, he skirted the walls of Siena to
Bonconvento, another dependency of that community, where he took
post-horses, and entered the Florentine territory, the secretary
leaving him, as he had not heart to act as guide. At Fucecchio he
found the passes guarded, but the commissary, after examination of
him, allowed him to proceed; and he also passed inspection at a second
barrier guarded by a certain count. Having thus crossed the Arno, he
came towards Monte-carlo, where he was brought before the commissary
for examination. In reply he stated himself to be Gian-Battista of
Ravenna, a messenger of the Cardinal of Lisbon's household; but the
commissary said his orders were to arrest all comers and write to
Florence, thirty-two miles distant. His baggage having then been
seized, the Duke was searched, and locked up in a chamber without fire
or bed. The answer from Florence was that counsel should be taken; and
one Francesco Becchi of that city having been sent, with fifteen
mounted bowmen, to examine him, he recognised the Duke, whose state he
had frequented, but said 'I know him not.' He then returned to
Florence, where the Duke supposes that further consultation was held,
as the Ten wrote ordering him to be set at liberty, on his swearing to
be the person he represented himself, and his baggage to be given up.
After being thus detained for seven days he came on to a friend in
Lucca, and thence passing by Grafegnana he embarked in a little barge,
and with great risks reached Polesella, and so came to Rovigo, where
he found himself at length in safety. Such was his marvellous voyage,
during which he had suffered greatly from journeying on foot, as he
walks with difficulty by reason of gout, and this very morning I was
obliged to give him my arm. After taking leave of the Doge we again
accompanied him to his gondola. His consort is here on the Canaregio,
in the house of Malombra." This continued his residence during his
exile, except for a short visit which he paid to the hot mud-baths at
Abano, in the vain attempt of stewing out his gout; and he enjoyed
from the Signory a monthly pension of a hundred golden scudi.



(Pages 37, 40)


We shall here collect a few literary remains of personages connected
with the family of Montefeltro, to whom we have alluded in early
chapters of this work. They can scarcely now be considered of general
interest, but they indicate and test that cultivation of letters among
princely houses to which we have often pointed, and, coming from
sources not generally accessible, will be welcome to literary

The authors of whom we are to give specimens, may be thus arranged:--

I. Antonio Count of Urbino, mentioned above at pp. 36-8. To him is
ascribed a sonnet on Christ crucified, in a MS. of the _Divina
Commedia_, at the royal library of Naples, and published in vol. II.,
p. 361, of the _Giornale Arcadico_ of Rome, 1819. It is No. I. of our
specimens, and but for its imputed authorship, might probably have
remained unnoticed.

II. Malatesta de' Malatesti, or, as he was more frequently designated,
_de' Sonnetti_, was Seigneur of Pesaro, and second cousin of
Sigismondo Pandolfo, Lord of Rimini. He was born in 1370, and died in
1429, leaving the reputation of an elegant poet. Several of his
fugitive effusions are referred to by Crescimbeni, III., 225, who has
printed one of his sonnets. Our selections are two others, Nos. II.,
III., moralising on the vanity and disappointments of life, from the
Oliveriana MSS. No. 454, ff. 30, 31, and part of a canzone, No. IV.,
describing the charms of his love, from Vat. Urb. MSS. No. 3212, f.
128. His son married,

III. Battista di Montefeltro, daughter of Count Antonio, and aunt of
Duke Federigo of Urbino. We have spoken of her above at p. 39, and
insert two sonnets from her pen, addressed to Malatesta, Nos. V., VI.,
the former an invocation of the Holy Ghost, the latter deprecating her
own presumptuous spirit; also, No. VII., her letter to Pope Martin V.,
referred to at p. 40. A canzone, addressed by her to the princes of
Italy in a fine tone of expostulation, will be found in Crescimbeni,
III., 266. Her granddaughter, Costanza Varana, married, in 1445,

IV. Alessandro Sforza, Lord of Pesaro, who has been often mentioned in
our Second Book, and to whom is ascribed the sonnet No. VIII. below.
He was father of Battista, second wife of Duke Federigo of Urbino, and

V. Costanzo, his successor in Pesaro, author of the last sonnet in
this collection. Both of these lyrics have been given by Crescimbeni,
V., 223-4.


     I sacri piedi, e l'una e l'altra palma
       Ti furo in croce, o Re del Ciel, confitti.
       Gl'invisibil nimici ivi sconfitti,
       E franto il giogo, e sposta la gran salma.
     D'esiglio librasti la prim' alma,
       E gli altri che con lei eran proscritti:
       Oggi purgasti i suoi primi delitti,
       Che me intendesser l'aula eterna ed alma.
     Quella pietà che in tal giorno ti mosse
       A salvar tutto 'l mondo, anco ti mova
       Verso un'altr' alma combattuta e vinta.
     Fragili e debil son le umane posse:
       A grandi assalti prostata si trova
       Se non è l'alma di tua grazia cinta.


     El tempo, el quale è nostro, i' ho smarrito
       In vanitade, ho speso ogni mia sorte;
       Seguito ho il mondo, traditor si forte,
       Che giusta cosa è, ch'i' ne sia punito.
     Di fumo e vento i' fui già ben formito,
       Et ora per ristor chieggio la morte,
       E la prosperità chiuso ha le porte;
       Ingrato trovo ogn'uom' ch'i' ho servito.
     Or sia che vuole, i' sono al fin pur giunto,
       Intricato, et perplexo in tanto errore,
       Ch'i' vorrei ogni giorno esser defunto.
     O tu che leggi, pensa qual dolore
       Esser de' il mio, veggendomi in un punto
       Povero, infermo, vecchio e peccatore.


     I son pur giunto carco, alla vecchiezza,
       Di peccati, dolor, pene, et affanni;
       Ch'il mondo traditor, con falsi inganni,
       M'ha privato di lume et d'allegrezza.
     O sciagurato me, ch'in tal lunghezza
       Ho consumato i giorni, i mesi, e gli anni:
       Ne mai ho posto a miei gravosi danni
       Fren di virtù, che dà somma richezza.
     Ohime, che tardi omai penso ritrarmi,
       La mal usanza m'ha si tratto al fondo
       Che gran fatica fia poter levarmi.
     Tu ben vedi, O Signor, che dal profondo
       Del core i' traggo i lagrimosi carmi,
       E sai il bisogno e 'l modo di salvarmi.


     Coralli, rose, perle, ebano e stelle
     Adornan la tua faccia, in ciel creata
     Nel cerchio triumphal, dove se eterna
     La mane eburnee, e l'altre membra snelle,
     In ciascun loco sua parte affirmata,
     Debitamente la parte superna.
     Io benedico la virtù paterna
     La qual produsse un si bel fructo al mondo,
     Che simil ne secondo
     Vivè d'entro ne fuor da sette clima.
     Qual tesor, di che stima!
     Vale solo la terra o fermi il piede.
     La natura non diede
     Mai si grata influenza a creatura;
     Vergine bella, dolce, humile et pura.


     Clementissimo Spirto, ardente amore
       Dal Padre Eterno, e dal Verbo emanante;
       Somma Benignità, cooperante
       Quel mistero, ch'esalta il nostro cuore;
     Nella mia mente infondi il tuo timore,
       Pietà, consiglio: e poi, somma Creante,
       Dammi fortezza, e scienza fugante
       Dall'alma nazional ciascuno errore.
     Solleva l'intelletto al Ben superno,
       Illuminando l' tanto che difforme
       Non sia da quella fe ch'al ciel ne scorge.
     Donami sapienza, con eterno
       Gusto di tua dolcezza, O Settiforme
       Si, ch'io dispregi ciò ch'il mondo porge.


     La tua superbia m'è di gran stupore,
       Alma presuntuosa et arrogante,
       Con tanto ardir la tua voce elevante,
       A quel sublime et immenso splendore.
     L'angelico consorzio, con fervore
       Il glorioso objetto contemplante,
       Benchè beato, pur vi sta tremante,
       E tu ardisci parlar senza rossore?
     Vuoi gustar qui l'aura del Ben eterno
       E non correggi la tua vita enorme?
       Ma del tuo vaneggiar Dio ben s'accorge.
     Il viver basso dunque prendi a scherno,
       Piangi, sospira amando, e segui l'orme
       Degli umil', a cui Dio la man sua porge.



Paveo equidem, Beatissime Pater, nec mediocriter vereor, cum inscia
muliercula sim, tuæ Celsitudinis aures inquietare incomptis eloquiis
meis. Sed diuturnæ ac incredibiles angustiæ, illius videlicet fidelis
ancillæ tuæ serenissimæ sororis mei, necnon admirandæ tuæ clementiæ
fama quam in parte sum experta, oris claustra propulsant, maxime cum
non pro sæcularibus commodis tuam Sanctitatem decreverim exorare, immo
pro animæ salute quæ pro integritate fidei Catholicæ tot et tanta
perpessa est, quanta neminem his temporibus sustinuisse cognovi.
Quamquam igitur tui mi terreat magnitudo, visio tamen causæ, quæ me
medullitus angit et afficit, tuaque benignitas et humanitas ausum
præbent. Quapropter muliebri timiditate deposita, coram venerandis tuæ
Sanctitatis prostrata vestigiis, tandem humiliter et gemebunde
deposco, ne animam, pro qua Dominus Jesus non recusavit crucis subire
supplicium, suo derelinquat patrocinio destitutam. Nosti enim,
beatissime Pater, quod ovicula illa tua non absque consensu tuo
corporaliter a Græcis sejuncta est. Ne igitur sequestretur et mente,
enquirere eam, optime Pastor, et illius imitare velis exemplum, cujus
vicem geris in terris, qui errantem propriis humeris reduxit ad
caulas. Timendum namque est, ne mens illa, quæ invisibili subsidio
roborata, hucusque incredibili fortitudine immota permansit, deinceps
pusillanimitate deficiat, præsertim si in mediis fluctibus se
derelictam sanserit, nec saltem sibi manum porrigi sublevantem. Cum
ergo fidei ortodoxæ defensor et gubernator existas, illa quæ pro fide
servanda tot pericula patitur, et ærumnas, a quo nisi a Beatitudine
tua potest aut debet auxilium postulare, cui et potissimum incumbit
cura, et adest potentia? Eja ergo, sanctissime Pater, consurge in
defensionem constantissimæ filiæ, quæ tibi sanguine et spiritu
conjuncta est, eoque vigilantius, quo nunc acrius impugnatam agnoveris
a bello utique domestico, et intestina pugna.

Venerabilis namque Pater, præsentium lator, Sanctitati tuæ omnia serio
ore expositurus adveniet, quem cum audiveris, nisi sis ex silice
natus, aut hircanarum tigrium lacte nutritus, absque dubio movebuntur
omnia viscera tua, solitaque pietate devictus, celerrime et benigne
subvenies indigenti, minimeque hujuscemodi supplicatione opus erit in
posterum, sed potius gratiarum actione apud Beatitudinem tuam, cujus
pedibus me humiliter et instantissime recommitto.


     Io son si lasso, debilito, e stanco
       Sotto il gran fascio del terrestre peso,
       E tutto il ciel si mortalmente ho offeso,
       Che tra i sospiri lacrimoso or manco.
     Di dolor tremo, e di paura imbianco
       Come uom trafitto; il cor legato e preso
       In se raccoglie il tempo male speso,
       Ond esce il zel che gli percuote il fianco.
     Non mia pianeta o corso di mia stella,
       Non fato o mio destin, non mia fortuna,
       Ma solo incolpo la sfrenata voglia.
     Pero convien che, in solitaria cella,
       Le mie piaghe mortali ad una ad una
       Piangan mercede, con pentita doglia.


     Oh tu, che con tuoi versi si mi sproni,
       E con soavi rime e dolci canti,
       Dolendoti pur meco de' miei pianti,
       Et a mie' affanni mi conforti e moni.
     Se ti rincrescon, si come tu poni
       Le infinite mie angosce e i martir tanti,
       Non mi ricordar più le doglie e pianti,
       E li sospir già vani e i miei gran toni.
     Aime che ricordando si rinfresca
       I colpi, e le gran piaghe che nel core
       Io porto, per colei qual sempre invoco.
     E pure il gran desio mi tira all'esca,
       E quanto più sgrupar mi sforza, allore
       M'intrico più: e sempre ardo nel foco.


(Page 48, note 1)


  7 pair of sheets of spun silk striped with gold;
  7 pair of napkins [_paniselli_], also of silk striped with gold;
  1 fillet with stripes of silk and gold;
  1 _trapisello_ of silk with a stripe of gold;
  4 hoods of silk wrought with gold, one made up, the others not;
  2 other caps, one of crimson velvet, the other green, both embroidered;
  1 other napkin of silk striped with gold;
  1 other _trapisello_ of silk wrought with satin;
  1 other _trapisello_ of cambric damasked at the head;
  4 crimson buttons mounted in gold for pillows;
  1 reticule woven of gold and silk;
  3 other bags wrought in silk and gold, and one with pearls;
  1 cord of silver and silk with _mape_;
  2 combs wrought in ivory;
  2 pieces of brocade tissue, one white the other crimson, unmade up;
  2 dog-collars, silver mounted;
  2 silver salt-sellers;
  4 trimmings of tissue;
  1 pair of small crystal-handled knives;
  3 pillow-slips of crimson silk;
  1 pair white ditto, with silk buttons;
  1 half pillow-slip, wrought in gold and untrimmed;
  1 silk coverlet, with a stripe of gold in the middle;
  1 half pillow-slip of silk untrimmed;
  1 netted cap with several fringes of silk and gold;
  1 _agnus Dei_ mounted in silver, with a little silver chain;
  3 strings of coral beads, one plain, another alternating with gold;
  1 pair of large linen table-cloths with stripes of silk and gold;
  1 pair of thin sheets wrought with gold and silk;
  1 bundle of napkins of German cambric [_renda le man_];
  2 comfit-boxes of silk striped with gold;
  2 napkins with stripes of gold and silk;
  1 other bundle [_golupo_] of small towels of cambric [_reno_];
  1 other bundle of _trapiselli de reno_;
  1 black striped towel, used;
  41 head-kerchiefs with black stripes, in a trunk;
  1 table-cover in a trunk, and _oselati_ of black cotton;
  8 head-kerchiefs in another trunk with black stripes;
  8 hand-towels in _oselati_ with black stripes in one piece;
  12 ditto in another piece;
  2 towel-cases wrought with black stripes;
  2 worked napkins;
  6 trimmed tissues, one purple, one alessandrine, one green, one pied
    [_bertina_] besides two old ones, to be given to Antonella and
  1 purple brocaded dress;
  1 small brocaded cloak, alessandrine coloured;
  1 other crimson brocaded, which was unpicked and used as a lining for
    the black brocaded dress;
  1 dress of white embroidered cloth;
  1 dress of green embroidered velvet, which, if she likes it, is to be
    sent to my Lady;
  1 dress of engrained black;
  1 ditto of brown;
  1 pied mantle, which, if it pleases my Lady, may be made an altar-cloth;
  1 dress of purple damask, which, if she likes it, I shall give to
    Antonia, daughter of Signor Orlandin;
  1 lining of martin fur for a pair of large sleeves;
  1 _conetoro da cima_ of crimson brocade lined in the back, and
    another of crimson also lined in the back, and another old
    alessandrine of ermine.

I give to Victoria de Monaldin a pair of used crimson brocade sleeves;
to Francesco of Cagli, an old crimson damask petticoat; to Fra di
Messer Benedicto, a little cloak of white damask, which I promised a
good while since.

Another brown mantle [_camura_] I have given to my nurse.

Also two small towels striped with gold and silk, which our mother has
asked of me for the altar.


(Page 50, note)


The two following sonnets, though rude, testify to Ottaviano
Ubaldini's taste for the arts of design, and to the excellence of
Pisano, who, though here and in his usual epigraph designed a painter,
is best known to us by his medals, one of which accompanied this
second sonnet as a gift to Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan. I
found them in a MS. volume at the Vatican, and both are dated in 1442.
Gretto is Allegretto Nuzio.


     Se Cimabo, cum Gretto et cum Gentile,
       Ch'a' pinger puser l'honorata mano,
       Et chi de l'arte fu mai più soprano,
       Tornassero hoggi, et crescesser lo stile;
     Farebbe el nome lor più basso et vile,
       El glorioso et dolce mio Pisano,
       Tanto è più grato el suo stil deretano
       Quanto è più de l'inverno un dolce Aprile.
     Arte, mesura, äere et desegno,
       Manera, prospectiva et naturale,
       Gli ha dato el celo per mirabil dono.
     Le sue figure son si proprie, et tale
       Che parer vive, sol li manca el sole:
       Pero de eterna fama e lui sol degno.


     Chi vol' del mondo mai non esser privo
       Venga, a farse retrar del naturale
       Al mio Pisano, qual' retra l'hom' tale
       Che tu dirai, "Non è anzi, è pur vivo!"
     Perchè la par' vivace e sensitivo.
       O mirabil pictor, che tanto vale
       Ch'a' la natura tu sei quasi eguale,
       Cum l'arte et cum l'ingegno si excessivo.
     Credo te manca solo, ad esser' lei.
       Ch'ella a suo' nati da la voce e 'l sono.
       Tu a depinti fai parlar tacendo.
     Ben potristi agli amanti tor gli omei,
       Far a ciascun de la sua amata un dono,
       Et starien' sempre, seco, hon dormendo.


(Pages 85-6)


In the name of God, amen; to the honour and worship of the indivisible
Trinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and his mother the glorious Virgin,
of the blessed Crescentius, and of the whole triumphant heavenly host.
These underwritten are certain articles, conditions, and concessions
made, published, concluded, and consented to between the illustrious
and potent lord our Lord Federigo di Montefeltro, Count of Urbino,
Durante, and various other places, and the inhabitants and community
of the city of Urbino, on the 23rd of July, in the year of our Lord
1444; the seventh indiction, and the reign of Pope Eugene IV.

_First._ That your Lordship is not to bear in remembrance, against
such as have committed them, the injuries and offences inflicted
during this revolution on the person of Oddantonio late Duke of
Urbino, and others, nor in any way, or on any pretext, to punish or
avenge them publicly or secretly; further, that you are understood to
forgive and take under your protection all who may be compromised in
these crimes.

_Answer._ We consent, and shall observe all that we promised at our

_Second._ Further, that the Lords Priors of the city of Urbino shall,
in time to come, be appointed every two months, as heretofore, and
shall enjoy the privileges, exemptions, and dignities conceded to them
by law, except the custody of the registers; and shall be empowered to
remit sentences and punishments for injuries done, and to administer
the duties of the Lord Podestà of this city on extraordinary occasions
as he may direct; each prior to have a salary of fifteen ducats (at
forty bolognini to the ducat), payable monthly.

_Answer._ We again consent and approve; but their authority and
privileges shall be those possessed during the time of our father of
happy memory; and their salary of fifteen ducats to each in monthly
payments shall include the whole period of their service.

_Third._ Further, as the house of the priors was in old times that now
used as the great hall for the supreme court, your Lordship shall
deign to concede to them, in compensation for it, that new building
near the episcopal cemetery, or some other residence convenient for
the despatch of public business; and this the more, as their present
dwelling is going to ruin.

_Answer._ So be it, until their old house be repaired.

_Fourth._ Further, seeing that the ordinary assessment, which was of
old three shillings in the pound, has been raised to five and a half,
without the sanction and consent of the people,--a very grievous and
insupportable exaction, reducing the soil to sterility, whereby many
communities have been dispersed, and threatening further evils,--that
your Lordship shall condescend to lower it to four shillings a pound,
in order to relieve the poor and needy, as well in this city as
throughout the state.

_Answer._ Be it so.

_Fifth._ Further, that your Lordship would deign to revoke all
donations made since the death of the Lord Guidantonio, in order the
better to provide for your outgoings and expenses.

_Answer._ Be it so.

_Sixth._ Further, that your Lordship would deign to revoke all
immunities and exemptions granted to any individuals or communes, on
the plea of nobility, or on any other pretext, so that no one now or
henceforth may be exempt from assessments, warding, or other public
burdens, real or personal.

_Answer._ So be it; but reserving all exemptions granted by our father
of happy memory.

_Seventh._ Further, that your Lordship would condescend to approve the
citizens deputed to watch and ward, with the customary pay; and that
your Lordship may not intromit (as has been the case heretofore) with
the warding moneys, nor receive any sums or contributions for that

_Answer._ Be it so.

_Eighth._ Further, that one-third of all fines for convictions and
damages shall be paid over to the master of works, for repair of the
city walls and other public edifices, according to law and usage; and
that your Lordship will deign to renounce the power of bestowing
gratuities out of that tierce, seeing that a decree of the Lord
Guidantonio, of felicitous memory, is still in force, prohibiting such
gratuities or misapplications.

_Answer._ Be it according to that decree, and this although the
payments be made before sentence, or by way of composition.

_Ninth._ Further, that your Lordship would condescend, for the
maintenance of this city and state and its inhabitants, to ask from
them no further contribution, nor to impose on them any loan,
restraint, or other burden, beyond the ordinary assessment as above.

_Answer._ So be it, except in a case of necessity.

_Tenth._ Further, that every three months a chamberlain should be
elected, and his notary be boxed [_inbussolari_] for this community,
as provided by the statutes, and with the usual salaries.

_Answer._ We shall delegate a chamberlain for a competent period; as
to the notary, let it be as asked.

_Eleventh._ Further, that the notary of the military and the chancery
notary of sentences be boxed, with the same salaries and emoluments as

_Answer._ Be it so.

_Twelfth._ Further, that the quarter of salt be revised, and restored
to its proper weight of thirty-five pounds, in order to remove
numerous complaints as to this, and that it be sold for the customary

_Answer._ Be it so.

_Thirteenth._ Further, that the podestà reside constantly in the city,
and that his office last six months, with the usual honours; also that
your Lordship should agree never to re-appoint any podestà, and that,
at the termination of their official services, he and the other
officials should render account to the priors of this city, the
statutory allowance being paid to the persons employed to pass their
accounts, and to the notary.

_Answer._ Such is our intention, reserving our freedom therein; but
the accounts and notary shall have the usual salaries: as to the
podestà's jurisdiction, we consent that it shall not be renewed beyond
a year.

_Fourteenth._ Further, that your Lordship deign to select two good,
competent, and skilful physicians, to be paid a salary from the
community, and to be bound to visit and prescribe for all persons
within the city and countship paying imposts, and for all others, at
some fee or emolument, including your Lordship's family.

_Answer._ So be it; but let them be held to visit indiscriminately all
citizens, our household included.

_Fifteenth._ Further, that there always be in this city a
schoolmaster, with an excellent and well-qualified rehearser, at the
customary salary.

_Answer._ Be it so; be it so.

_Sixteenth._ Further, that the camp-captains of this community be
citizens or inhabitants of the countship.

_Answer._ Be it so.

_Seventeenth._ Further, seeing that many merchants and others, passing
with their effects, have and do refuse to take the road by Urbino, or
through this state, in consequence of the great and enormous tolls,
that your Lordship would agree to these tolls being paid as under the
old laws in the time of Count Antonio of happy memory.

_Answer._ Let the same regulations be observed as in the time of our
sire of good memory; be it so.

_Eighteenth._ Further, seeing that many citizens of Urbino are
creditors of the Lord Guidantonio of most happy memory, and of his son
and successor Oddantonio, some for merchandise and other goods
supplied to them, or by their order; some for obligations and
engagements incurred by their command; that your Lordship would
condescend and will that these be paid out of their effects.

_Answer._ It will be our endeavour to arrange that they be satisfied
in so far as possible, but we do not hereby intend to commit ourselves
further than we are legally bound.

_Nineteenth._ Further, that two suitable and qualified citizens of
Urbino be chosen to the office of _appassatus_ for this community,
their appointment to last two years, and to be regulated thereafter as
found convenient.

_Answer._ We agree as regards ourselves, but, as other interests are
involved, let justice be observed.

_Twentieth._ Further, that your Lordship would condescend to depute
for the priors a clerk for their business, not from those employed in

_Answer._ The communal clerk may suffice[303] for this.

FEDERICUS FELTRIUS, _manu propria_.

[Footnote 303: The extract sent me has "supplicat," probably for


(Page 161)


A great deal of ingenuity, and no small amount of learning, were
expended in Italy on the invention of _impresi_, or allegorical
emblems used by personages of high station or celebrity, somewhat as
crests and mottoes are in modern heraldry. The same quaint fashion of
_devises_ or badges prevailed to a less degree in France, and found
some favour even in England during the days of euphuism, but, being
better suited to the pedantic conceits and lively fancy which
circulated freely in southern lands, than to the practical tendency of
Anglo-Saxon temperaments, it took no enduring hold among us. Giovio,
Ruscelli, and other Italian writers of note, thought their talents
worthily employed in publishing collections of impresi,--a jargon of
tropes, illustrated by a jingle of spurious jests,--as well as in
imagining them for patrons or friends; and Bernardo Tasso was
considered an adept in such perverted ingenuity. Yet, as these badges
are constantly met with in a