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Title: Caesar Borgia - A Study of the Renaissance
Author: Garner, John Leslie
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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[Illustration: CESAR BORGIA

_From an early engraving._







(_All rights reserved._)


Although much has been written regarding the Borgias, no monograph
devoted to Caesar--the most interesting member of the family as a
psychological study--has hitherto appeared in English.

With the passing of the “great man theory,” biography and history have
become completely separated, and a personality such as Caesar Borgia is
interesting now chiefly as a product of the egoism of the age. Vast,
unrestrained selfishness was the predominant characteristic of the men
of the Italian Renaissance. The Peninsula was in the grasp of a number
of petty tyrants who, to advance their own interests and those of their
families, hesitated at no crime.

Never before was love of power so general and carried to such extremes.
Men and women were mere pawns in a stupendous political game. In the
governing families the women especially were regarded as assets to be
used in establishing alliances to increase the power of the clan.

Men of iron played fast and loose with states and principalities; to
them the lives of a city’s population were nothing except so far as
their own projects and power were concerned.

Of this world the Borgias were part, although they were interlopers in
the affairs of the Peninsula; they saw other upstarts securing vast
wealth and dominion, and why should not they? The thing were easy with
Rodrigo Borgia on the throne of St. Peter. Money in unlimited amounts
was at their command and the spiritual weapons of the Church had not
yet been cast on the rubbish-heap--there were still kings and princes
that quaked at the threat of excommunication.

Other men, other families, have played a much more important part than
the Borgias in the drama of history; others have committed as great
crimes; others have surpassed them in every field of human activity--in
fact, no member of the Borgia family ever produced anything of enduring
value to Italy or the human race. We are therefore led to ask why
Alexander VI., Caesar, and Lucretia Borgia have always aroused such
profound interest. Gregorovius ascribes this to the violent contrast
of their mode of living--their morals--with the sacredness of the
Holy Office. An explanation wholly adequate; for, although there were
temporal princes who equalled or surpassed Alexander VI. and Caesar
Borgia in wickedness, the Papacy furnishes no other example, in the
person of Pope or cardinal, of as great moral obliquity. Caesar had
been a cardinal, and in all his projects, after as well as before he
relinquished the purple, he was supported by the Pope, his father.

Drum and trumpet histories are now fortunately fast becoming obsolete,
and it is a truism to say that any man whose claim to fame is based
on acts prompted by unbridled egoism can have little, if any, lasting
effect upon the progress of the human race. A great scientist, scholar,
or inventor may by his discoveries change the mode of living, the
institutions of mankind, and, therefore, the subsequent history of
humanity. The overthrow of the Feudal System has been ascribed to the
invention of gunpowder; and the mariner’s compass, the steam-engine,
and the printing-press have altered the very nature of man; the
discovery of an anæsthetic or an antitoxin may have greater effect upon
the history of mankind than the victories of an Alexander.

Mere men of violence, the so-called conquerors, the military geniuses,
whom little children were once taught to admire, and whom moral
perverts are still wont to exalt--the ferocious egoists, who sigh for
more worlds to conquer--are the most useless creatures produced by
humanity in the painful course of its evolution.

Even had these men never existed the great historic movements with
which they were connected would undoubtedly have run their course and
reached the same goal. The Roman Empire would have come without Caesar,
and without Napoleon France would still have become the Republic.

However interesting Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon
may be as examples of unbridled egoism, they failed to attain the ends
they sought; their conquests did not last; the victories of fraud and
violence never can endure.

Renascent Italy furnished numerous examples of power built up by
these means, and even the beneficiaries knew how unstable was their
dominion. Professor Achille Loria has pointed out that Machiavelli’s
admiration for Caesar Borgia was due to his perfect comprehension of
the true nature of feudal property and to his understanding of the
inherent necessity for the spoliations, extortions, and crimes which
characterised it; and also of the historical justification of the acts
that favoured the preservation of this dominant social form.[1]

The bombastic chronicles of great men are now recognised as of slight
value, for the economic interpretation of history teaches us that the
individual plays but a small part in the march of events, even when his
character is the noblest, his aims the highest; without Washington the
colonies would have become the United States, and the slaves would have
been freed without Lincoln.

A great man, especially in the domain of politics, is the product
of his age. A genius appearing before society is ready for him is a
visionary, but if the times are ripe for him he is a genius; the great
man is he who best discerns the spirit of the age and enters the lists
as the champion of popular ideals. He is essentially the product of his
environment, and is so much a part of it that it is impossible to think
of him as belonging to any other.

Men being products of history, under similar conditions similar men
will be produced; but as they in the aggregate are the makers of
history there is a constant mutation in conditions and therefore
ceaseless change in men.

In every epoch there are men who although in many respects unlike their
prototypes resemble them in others, and bear a close relationship to
them. Unchecked egoism asserts itself in every age, but the mode of its
expression varies according to the institutions of the day.

In Italy from the twelfth to the sixteenth century this egoism was
embodied in the tyrant or despot; it has found expression in the
absolute monarch, and in the present bourgeois epoch it is exemplified
in the captain of industry, the domineering genius of modern finance.

In the fifteenth century Italy was swarming with tyrants great and
small--men of boundless ambition and greed, striving for power,
deterred by no principle, hesitating at no crime. Duplicity, treachery,
murder, had become fine arts.

A host of adventurers, upstarts, brigands, soldiers of fortune, had
managed to secure possession of the domain of St. Peter and were
building up petty principalities for themselves and their kinsmen.
Originally these tyrants were feudatories of the Holy See, which based
its claim to the territory on the donation of the Countess Matilda,
who, dying in 1115, left her vast estates, which extended from Mantua
to Pisa and thence almost to the walls of Rome, to the Pope.

As soon as these vassals of the Holy See felt themselves strong enough
they refused all allegiance and declined to pay their annual tribute.
Alexander VI. was thus afforded an excellent pretext for attempting to
recover St. Peter’s domain--and this he set about doing, ostensibly
for the Church, but in reality to build up a kingdom in central Italy
for the benefit of his family.



  The Renaissance--The Papacy in the fifteenth century--The
      Borgia                                                          23


  Genealogy of the House of Borgia--Vannozza de’ Catanei--Birth
      of Caesar Borgia--His youth                                     68


  Charles VIII. invades Italy--Caesar a hostage--Caesar leaves
      the King’s camp--The League against France--Charles
      enters Rome--Caesar appointed Governor of Orvieto--The
      Pope conceives the idea of recovering Romagna--He declares
      the Romagnol barons rebels--The Pope summons his son, the
      Duke of Gandia, from Spain to command the papal troops--
      Charles VIII. aids the Romagnol barons--Giuffre Borgia and
      his wife, Doña Sancia, of Naples, come to Rome--Caesar
      appointed Legate to crown the King of Naples                    87


  The murder of the Duke of Gandia--Caesar departs to crown the
      King of Naples--He returns to Rome--The Pope’s projected
      matrimonial alliances for his children                         107


  Louis XII. succeeds to the throne of France--His bargain with
      the Pope--Caesar prepares to go to France--He renounces
      his cardinalate--He arrives in Avignon, where he meets
      Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere--Louis XII. and Caesar
      meet--Caesar’s entry into Chinon--Duke of Valentinois--
      Caesar’s shrewdness--Charlotte D’Albret--Her marriage
      to Caesar--The projected conquest of Milan--Ludovico
      il Moro--The French army invades Italy--Caesar leaves
      France--He enters Milan with Louis XII.                        122


  The first campaign in Romagna--Imola surrenders--Caterina
      Sforza, the type of the virago--Caesar enters Forli--
      Death of Cardinal Giovanni Borgia--Return of Ludovico
      il Moro to Milan--Caesar goes to Rome--His entrance
      into the city--He is invested with the Vicariate of
      Romagna--Delegates from Imola and Forli request the Pope
      to appoint Caesar Governor--Caesar is made Gonfalonier of
      the Church--His oath--Caesar’s physical strength--His
      personal appearance                                            139


  Murder of Alfonso of Naples, Duke of Bisceglie--The second
      campaign in Romagna--Pesaro surrenders--Caesar’s private
      life--Pandolfaccio Malatesta gives up Rimini--Astorre
      Manfredi--Faenza’s brave resistance--The Pope threatens
      Bologna--Faenza surrenders--Caesar returns to Rome--
      Astorre Manfredi flung into prison--Giovanni Bentivoglio--
      Giuliano and Piero de’ Medici--Caesar’s agreement with
      Florence--Piombino invested--Caesar returns to Rome--
      Coalition of the Pope and the King of France for the
      destruction of the House of Naples--Yves d’Allegre comes
      to Rome--Berault Stuart, commander of the French army,
      enters the city                                                157


  The expedition against Naples--The taking of Capua--Naples
      surrenders--Caesar returns to Rome--The orgy in his
      apartments in the Vatican--The Pope divides the conquered
      territory in Romagna among his family--Negotiations for
      the marriage of Lucretia Borgia and Alfonso d’Este--Caesar
      receives the Ferrarese envoys--Lucretia’s marriage--Her
      character--The Pope and Caesar go to Piombino--They visit
      Elba--Caesar and Leonardo da Vinci                             181


  The third campaign in Romagna--Caesar goes to Spoleto--
      The Duke of Urbino flees to Florence--Valentino takes
      possession of Urbino--Florence sends envoys to him--
      Machiavelli’s first impressions of Caesar--The King of
      France warns Valentino not to molest Florence--Caesar
      plunders the palace of Urbino--Michael Angelo’s “Cupid”--
      Camerino surrenders to Valentino’s lieutenants--Louis XII.
      receives Caesar and Alfonso d’Este at Milan--The King and
      Valentino enter into an agreement--Caesar goes to Imola--
      Affairs of Bologna--Valentino prepares to attack Giovanni
      Bentivoglio, of Bologna                                        194


  The conspiracy of Caesar’s captains--Machiavelli and
      Valentino--Vacillation of the conspirators--They offer to
      return to Caesar--They again take heart--A reconciliation
      is effected--Caesar separates the conspirators--He
      enters into an alliance with Bentivoglio--The rebels
      return to Caesar--Paolo Orsini takes possession of Urbino
      in Caesar’s name--Execution of Don Remiro de Lorca--
      Caesar goes to Senigaglia, and meets his commanders--The
      trap at Senigaglia--Fate of the rebels--Caesar informs
      the Italian princes of his act--The Orsini and their
      adherents in Rome are seized--Cardinal Orsini’s palace
      is plundered--Fermo and Perugia surrender to Valentino--
      He puts Paolo and Francesco Orsini to death--Cardinal
      Orsini dies in prison--Caesar demands that the Sienese
      expel Pandolfo Petrucci--He ravages the country about
      Siena--Activity of the Orsini in the neighbourhood of
      Rome--Caesar returns to Rome--He lays siege to Ceri--
      Contemporary opinions of the Pope and Caesar--Gonsalvo de
      Cordova in Naples--The Pope and Caesar are stricken by
      the plague--Death of Alexander VI.--Rumours of poison--
      Caesar recovers--He takes possession of the dead Pope’s
      property                                                       206


  The enemies of the Borgia pour into Rome--Fears of the
      Sacred College--Orsini and Colonna--The Cardinals and
      Valentino--Caesar enters into an agreement with France--
      The Cardinal d’Amboise--Scheming before the conclave--
      Caesar leaves Rome--Return of Giuliano della Rovere--
      The conclave--Election of Francesco Piccolomini to the
      Papacy--The new Pope supports Caesar--Valentino’s
      fortunes ebb--Death of Pius III.--Machinations
      preparatory to electing his successor                          242


  Election of Giuliano della Rovere--Julius II. and Caesar
      Borgia--Caesar leaves Rome--Machiavelli and Caesar--
      Arrest of Caesar--Victory of Gonsalvo de Cordova at the
      Garigliano--Caesar goes to Naples--Gonsalvo seizes
      Valentino and sends him to Spain--Caesar imprisoned in
      the Castle of Chinchilla--Jeanne la Folle and Philippe le
      Beau--Caesar is transferred to the Castle of Medina del
      Campo--His escape                                              266


  Caesar arrives at the Court of his brother-in-law, the King of
      Navarre--D’Albret’s danger--The Agramont and Beaumont
      factions--Beaumont holds Viana--War is declared between
      D’Albret and Beaumont--Caesar is appointed commander of
      the troops of the King of Navarre--Viana--The chronicler
      Moret--Caesar is killed--The body is buried in Santa
      Maria de Viana--His epitaph--Removal of the body and
      destruction of the tomb--The news of Caesar’s death
      reaches Italy--The feeling in the Peninsula--Caesar’s
      wife Charlotte D’Albret and their descendants--His
      illegitimate children--Death of Caesar’s mother, Vannozza
      de’ Catanei--Conclusion                                        297

  INDEX                                                              313


  CAESAR BORGIA                                           _Frontispiece_
                                                             FACING PAGE
  POPE CALIXTUS III.                                                  32

  POPE ALEXANDER VI.                                                  52

  FACSIMILE OF LETTER OF CAESAR BORGIA                                80

  ORVIETO                                                             98

  LOUIS XII. OF FRANCE                                               122

  LUDOVICO SFORZA                                                    136

  MAP OF CAESAR’S CAMPAIGNS IN ROMAGNA                        _Page_ 141

  PESARO                                                             166

  GIOVANNI BENTIVOGLIO                                               172

  RIMINI                                                             176

  FREDERIC II. OF NAPLES                                             184

  LUCRETIA BORGIA                                                    188

  URBINO                                                             198

  VITELLOZZO VITELLI                                                 220

  PROSPERO COLONNA                                                   244

  GONSALVO DE CORDOVA                                                280


The writer desires to acknowledge his indebtedness to the authorities
named below, especially to Alvisi for the details of the campaigns
in the Romagna, and to Yriarte for genealogical data and particulars
regarding Caesar’s life after his seizure by Gonsalvo de Cordova.
Yriarte appears finally to have settled the mooted question of the
descent of Rodrigo Borgia, Alexander VI.; and to have proved that he
was a Borgia on both the maternal and paternal sides, and not merely on
his mother’s; that he was Borja y Borja and not Llançol y Borja; and
that he never had the name of Lenzo,[2] consequently did not relinquish
it and assume that of his mother’s brother.

The dispatches of Giustinian, Venetian ambassador to the Vatican
from May 27, 1502, to April 26, 1505, edited by the profound scholar
Professor Pasquale Villari, have been of the utmost value. The
ambassador watched every move made by the Vatican as if the very life
of his beloved republic depended on it, and with great perspicacity he
followed the extraordinary political drama that was being enacted in

Burchard’s diary is also an inexhaustible mine of information
concerning the pontificate of Alexander VI. and the earlier years of
the reign of Julius II. This Alsatian Master of Ceremonies is a wholly
passionless recording machine, so automatic that one immediately
discovers that he had no moral sense whatever. Only once does he
display any feeling--when the swashbucklers of Charles VIII. placed
some of their horses in “my stable, where they devoured my hay and
oats, so I had them removed to the stable of one of my neighbours”--a
very human act on the part of the Master of Ceremonies.

On account of Burchard’s calm relation of the crimes and scandals
connected with the reign of Alexander VI. efforts have been made to
discredit the _Diarium_. It has been claimed that all the available
manuscripts are not only inexact but also that they are largely
fabrications of the enemies of the Papacy; it has also been maintained
that Burchard’s original manuscript is not in existence.

The diary was published complete for the first time by M. Thuasne
(1883–5) in three octavo volumes. His text is derived from the Paris
manuscript, an almost exact reproduction of that in the Chigi Palace
which was copied from the original in the Vatican by order of Alexander
VII.--Fabio Chigi. M. Thuasne has corroborated the statements of the
diary in innumerable instances with notes from other sources and a
large number of hitherto inedited documents.

Burchard, recording the crimes and scandals of the Vatican under
Alexander VI., has been compared with Procopius flaying the vices
of the Court of Justinian--but the comparison is inapt. Burchard
himself had bought the office of Papal Master of Ceremonies, and he
had no sense of shame. Alexander tolerated him and Caesar evidently
did not think him worth putting to death. As Master of Ceremonies he
was minute, trivial, exact, indispensable; to him the salvation of
a thousand souls was far less important than the proper donning of a
vestment or the swinging of a censer. As a recorder of what was going
on about him he was matchless because he was utterly passionless;
fearless he undoubtedly was--perhaps because of his stupidity;
he was a mere piece of mechanism; his function was to record, to
chronicle everything--fact and rumour--and not to judge, not to
analyse. As complacently as a modern newspaper reporter describes the
reception given by a pork packer, he depicts the banquet of harlots
given by Alexander VI. in the Vatican--and with much less opulence
of adjective. That Christ’s Vicar on earth should go about the
apartment pouring confetti in the bodices of the women, whom he had
just entertained with “certain obscene comedies,” did not seem to the
Master of Ceremonies worthy of any special comment. He merely records;
never does he show surprise, contempt, hate; he never criticises,
never censures. He is entirely different from Infessura, who, as an
Italian and a patriot, betrays his hatred of the Papacy on every page.
Burchard, the Alsatian, apparently had little, if any, personal concern
with Italian politics, and it is precisely his lack of feeling that
renders his diary the most valuable authority extant on the pontificate
of Alexander VI.

Burchard was born about the middle of the fifteenth century; he was
early intended for the priesthood, but soon abandoned his theological
studies to take up the law; he appeared in Rome in 1481 and immediately
secured a position as apostolic prothonotary. He decided to purchase
the office of Master of Ceremonies, when a vacancy should occur, and
with this end in view engaged in a long course of study. In 1483 he
attained his ambition.

       *       *       *       *       *

Alvisi, E. Cesare Borgia, Duca di Romagna, Imola, 1878.

Auton, Jean d’, Chroniques, Paris, 1834.

Balbo, Cesare, Storia d’Italia, Firenze, 1856.

Baldi, Bernardino, Vita e Fatti di Federigo di Montefeltro, Roma, 1824.

Bembo, Pietro, Opere, Milano, 1808.

Biancardi, Bastian, Le Vite de’ Re di Napoli, Venezia, 1737.

Brantôme, Œuvres Complètes, Paris, 1838.

Brosch, Moritz, Papst Julius II. und die Gründung des Kirschenstaates,
Gotha, 1878.

Bryce, James, The Holy Roman Empire, N.Y., n.d.

Burchard, Johann, Diarium sive Rerum Urbanarum Commentarii (1483–1506),
Ed. by Thuasne, Paris, 1883.

Burckhardt, Jakob, The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy,
London, 1892.

Cartwright, Julia, Beatrice d’Este, Duchess of Milan, London, 1903.

Ciaconius, Vitæ et Res Gestæ Pontificum Romanorum et S.R.E. Cardinalium
ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ usque ad Urbanum VIII., Pont. Max., Rome,

Commines, Philippe de, Mémoires, Paris, 1836.

Corio, Historia di Milano, Padua, 1646.

Dante, Il Convito, Firenze, 1857.

Donato, Alexandro, Roma Vetus ac recens, Rome, 1639.

Dumesnil, M. A. J., Histoire de Jules II., sa vie et sa pontificat,
Paris, 1873.

Duruy, Victor, Histoire de France, Paris, 1883.

Fumi, Luigi, Alessandro VI. e il Valentino in Orvieto, Siena, 1877.

Gebhart, Emile, Les Borgia, Paris, 1897.

Gebhart, Emile, Les Origines de la Renaissance en Italie, Paris, 1879.

Gibbon, Edward, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, New York, 1860.

Giustinian, Antonio, Dispacci, ed. by Pasquale Villari, Firenze, 1876.

Gordon, Alexander, Vie du Pape Alexandre VI. et de Cesar Borgia,
Amsterdam, 1751.

Gregorovius, Ferdinand, Storia della Città di Roma nel Medio Evo,
Venezia, 1872.

Gregorovius, Ferdinand, Lucrezia Borgia, nach Urkunden und
Correspondenzen ihrer eigenen Zeit, Stuttgart, 1875, English
translation, New York and London, 1903.

Guicciardini, Francesco, Istoria d’Italia, Pisa, 1819.

Infessura, Stefano, Diario della Città di Roma, Rome, 1890.

Le Gendre, Louis, Vie du Cardinal d’Amboise, Rouen, 1724.

Leti, Giorgio, Il Nipotismo di Roma, Amsterdam, 1667.

Machiavelli, Niccolò, Opere, Firenze, 1818.

Marc-Monier, La Renaissance de Dante a Luther, Paris, 1889.

Mariana, Juan de, Historia General de España, Madrid, 1780.

Maricourt, R. de, Le Procès des Borgia, Paris, 1883.

Matarazzo, Chronicles of Perugia, London, 1905.

Medin, Antonio, Il Duca Valentino nella Mente di Niccolò Machiavelli,
Firenze, 1883.

Müntz, Eugène, Les Précurseurs de la Renaissance, Paris, 1882.

Muratori, L. A., Annali d’Italia, Milano, 1818.

Nitti, Francesco, Leone X. e la sua Politica, Firenze, 1892.

Nitti, Francesco, Machiavelli nella Vita e nella Dottrine, Naples, 1876.

Pii Secundi Commentarii, Rome, 1584.

Platina, Bartolomeo, Le Vite de’ Pontefici, Venetia, 1715.

Roscoe, William, Life of Lorenzo de’ Medici, London, 1884.

Roscoe, William, Life and Pontificate of Leo X., London, 1806.

Sannazarii, Poemata, Padua, 1731.

Strozzi Poetæ Pater et Filius, Venice, 1513.

Symonds, John Addington, Renaissance in Italy, New York, 1888.

Tiraboschi, Girolamo, Storia della Letteratura Italiana, Modena,

Tomasi, Tomaso, Vita del Duca Valentino detto il Tiranno di Roma,
Montechiaro, 1670.

Vasari, Giorgio, Le Vite de’ più Eccellenti Pittori, Scultori et
Architetti, Bologna, 1647.

Villari, Pasquale, The Life and Times of Niccolò Machiavelli, London,

Villari, Pasquale, The Life and Times of Girolamo Savonarola, London,

Yriarte, Charles, César Borgia, Sa Vie, sa Captivité, sa Mort, Paris,



  The Renaissance--The Papacy in the fifteenth century--The Borgia.

Possessing a mild climate and a fertile soil, Italy from the earliest
times has attracted the invader, the adventurer. Extending out into the
Mediterranean, she has been exposed to attacks on all sides, and when
the Roman Empire, disintegrated by its own corruption and wickedness,
had passed away, no strong central power was left to repel the
marauders who swarmed into the peninsula from all sides.

The rich plains of the north attracted the Teutonic tribes who
established the Lombard Kingdom, and from the south came the Arabs,
bringing their arts and crafts to Sicily. To the Orient the merchants
of Venice went for their perfumes, their spices, their gorgeous stuffs,
their stamped leathers, and with them they brought back much of the
civilisation of the Far East.

Owing to her geographical position, to conditions resulting from her
past history, and the prizes she offered the bold and unscrupulous,
Italy at an early date became the battle-ground of Europe. Human
ambitions and energies now have the entire globe for their field,
but before America was discovered little was known of either Africa
or Asia, consequently civilisation was almost entirely restricted to
Western Europe.

Italy was a seething cauldron of life and activity, and there sprang
into being a race of strong, many-sided individuals. Like Spain, she
became, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, a land of mighty
personalities, of men of varied gifts and vast energy. While Spain gave
the world Cortez, Murillo, Velazquez, Calderon, Charles V., Loyola,
Alva, and Gonsalvo de Cordova, Italy produced Columbus, Michael Angelo,
Raphael, Ariosto, Ludovico il Moro, St. Francis, Prospero Colonna, and
Julius II.

Students have ever been fascinated by those periods in the world’s
history which have been characterised by unusual activity in the
domains of art, letters, science, and politics. The marvellous
flowering in architecture and sculpture in the age of Pericles, in
poetry and the drama in the time of Elizabeth, and in all the arts
during the vaguely defined period of the Italian Renaissance have never
ceased to baffle the historian and the psychologist.

Professor Gebhart, in a work of great erudition[3] has endeavoured to
account for the civilisation of the Italian Renaissance by reference to
“the inherent characteristics of the Italian soul; to certain great and
persistent tendencies in her intellectual life, and to certain facts
in her political career--causes which affect the entire life of the
people; some of which were remote in time, but of lasting effect, while
others were recent and transitory.”

In all fields of worthy human endeavour men in Italy had constantly
before them the inspiration of splendid achievement; but they were also
confronted by examples of evil, vast and successful, reaping material
rewards such as rarely fall to the lot of virtue. Throughout Italy, in
the age of the Borgia, impudent but brave and crafty adventurers were
establishing princely houses, enjoying boundless dominion and
wealth--and could their example have been lost on Alexander VI. and
Caesar Borgia?

The Renaissance in Italy was much more than a revival in literature
and the graphic arts; it was the supreme development of Italian
civilisation as a whole, the most perfect expression of the genius and
intellectual life of the peninsula.

The chief causes of the Italian Renaissance, causes inherent in Italy
herself, were, above all, liberty of the individual mind and social
freedom. The persistence of Latin traditions, and the ever-present
memory of Greece were likewise potent factors; while the language
reached maturity at exactly the right moment. The affluents that came
later to swell the movement and hasten the development of the peninsula
were the foreign civilisations, Byzantine, Arabian, Norman, Provençal
and French.

The Italian spirit has always been essentially practical; abstractions
have never appealed to it as anything more than mental gymnastics; for
pure metaphysics the Italians cared but little; the whole tendency of
their philosophy was utilitarian. In Dante’s “Convito” the question of
pure being, the universals, matter and force are subordinate subjects;
the “Banquet” is chiefly concerned with discussions of manners; the
happiness and welfare of humanity, the government of cities--it is the
work, not of a metaphysician, but of a publicist and moralist--ethics
is placed above metaphysics; its philosophy is wholly practical.

The chosen study of the Italian universities was jurisprudence. Law,
the offspring of pure reason and experience seeking to reconcile
changeable conditions with the immutable principles of justice,
assumed, owing to the importance of the interests it endeavoured to
harmonise--interests upon which rest the government and peace of the
world--the first place in the universities of the peninsula. Roman law
was the favourite discipline of mediaeval Italy.

The Papacy and the Empire; the relations and the limits of the
spiritual power with reference to the temporal and feudal power; the
universal monarchy, and the freedom of the cities--such were the
weighty problems to which Italy devoted her intellect. Jurisprudence
controlled all her mental activities just as absolutely as
scholasticism did those of France. The juristprudents Accorso and his
sons, Jacopo of Arena, Cino da Pistoja, Bartolo and Baldo, were the men
who lent lustre to the Italian universities of the thirteenth century.
Law was the basis of a liberal education. Petrarch had studied it. His
contempt for the scholasticism of “the disputatious city of Paris” is
well known. One of his favourite sayings was: “The object of education
is to teach men to think, and not merely to teach them to argue.” Logic
he regarded simply as a useful tool.

The freedom the Italians displayed in their intellectual life was
manifest also in their religious conscience--and this is one of the
most striking characteristics of their genius. During the Middle
Ages they resembled none of the other members of the great family of
Christian nations. Subtle metaphysics, refined theology, strict regime,
dogmatism, elaborate ritual, restless casuistry, all were repellent
to the Italian genius. The Italian regarded the Church of Italy as
the Universal Church and as largely his handiwork. In St. Peter’s
chair, in the Sacred College, in the great monastical institutions
he sees himself; he knows human passions prevail there as well as
elsewhere--consequently he does not hesitate to enter the Church. This
is why they never found the national religion a too heavy burden, why
they seldom seceded and founded sects. Italy never originated any great
national heresy or beheld any general religious uprisings like the
popular movements initiated by Peter Waldo, Wyclif, Huss, and Luther,
although later numerous heresies from other parts of Europe entered
the peninsula. When other countries were burning witches and heretics
at the stake Italy put Dolcino di Novara and Francesco da Pistoja to
death for advocating the abolition of private property. In 1327 the
poet Cecco d’Ascoli was burned at the stake for practising astrology
and necromancy, but in 1452 the priest Niccolò da Verona, condemned
in Bologna for sorcery, was taken from the stake by the populace and
saved. Savonarola suffered martyrdom, not for his religious theories,
but for his political dreams.[4]

The Italians never spared the Papacy. Dante placed Pope Anastasius
in the red-hot sepulchre of the heresiarchs, and Boniface VIII. in
the circle of the simoniacs with Nicholas III., and to St. Peter in
Paradise he ascribes these ghibelline words: “He who on earth now
usurps my seat before the Son of God, has made of my tomb a sink of
blood and filth.” And Petrarch describes the papal city of Avignon as
“a sewer in which is collected all the filth of the universe.”

Without an appreciation of the Italian character and a knowledge of
conditions in the peninsula before and during the Renaissance it is
impossible to understand how such men as Sixtus IV. and Alexander VI.
could have been chosen to fill the chair of St. Peter.

       *       *       *       *       *

By the end of the fifteenth century the Papacy had almost entirely lost
its sacred character and had become a political prize for which all the
powerful families contended. It was an office to which any cardinal,
regardless of his fitness, might aspire.

Like Naples, Florence, Milan, Perugia, and all the other petty
despotisms of the peninsula, it was a secular principality with the
sole difference that its head had certain priestly functions to perform
and that he was an elected not an hereditary sovereign. Owing to this
latter fact it was the most corrupt of all at this time, and its
corruption was all the more vile and hideous because of the contrast
between the theoretical sacredness and the actual baseness of its head.

In the course of the centuries the Papacy had evolved the astonishing
and absurd fiction that the occupant of St. Peter’s chair had the right
to make and unmake sovereigns at will; and princes and potentates made
a pretence of yielding to this doctrine, knowing that the Church, being
able to control the thoughts, actions, and conscience of the ignorant
masses, by the terror it inspired, was the strongest ally they could
have to maintain them in their usurped and illegitimate domination over
those whom they called their subjects and whose subjection had always
originated in acts of violence on the part of their masters.

The Papacy was the greatest office in Christendom. It enjoyed a vast
income; the patronage, the benefices at its disposal, were innumerable,
and during the period of the Renaissance they were usually sold to the
highest bidder. Owing to the vast power of the Pope as the arbiter of
the destinies of mankind beyond the grave, as well as in this world,
his friendship and support were sought by all the potentates of Europe.
Being human, it is quite natural that he was always ready to profit
by this circumstance. The humblest priest might aspire to the great
office, and if he was sufficiently astute and corrupt might attain it.
During the fifteenth century in the election of the supreme head of
the Church votes were bought and sold even more brazenly than they are
to-day on the occasion of the election of a United States senator, and
the rabble made bets on the result just as they now do on the outcome
of a political contest. Giustinian records the odds that were given on
the election of Giuliano della Rovere against his rivals.

Just as only a wealthy man, a member of a great family, or a
representative of a powerful interest can now hope to attain a high
political office, so in those days none other could hope to reach
the Papacy, except when the rivalry among the leading aspirants was
so intense that some obscure member of the Sacred College--a “dark
horse”--was selected as a compromise candidate; and it is worthy of
note that the one so selected was generally in such poor health or
so decrepit that he could not hold the office long, and consequently
during the period between his election and his death the rival
candidates would have another opportunity to develop their respective
forces and strengthen their tactics for a new election. It therefore
seems that the Divine influences which were supposed to preside over
the election of a Pope were somewhat uncertain in their operation, or
that the influences of the Borgia, the Piccolomini, the Della Rovere,
the Cibo, and the Medici factions outweighed the supernatural, and
there is ample evidence to show that this was precisely their view.
A story is told of a certain cardinal who, it was noticed during
the conclave, was bowed and bent beneath the weight of years and
infirmities; indeed, he was scarcely able to hold up his head--his
eyes were ever on the ground. “Surely,” said his colleagues, “he
will soon go to his reward--we will make him our Pope.” Immediately
after his election his eyes brightened, his voice grew strong, he
straightened up erect--and the Princes of the Church marvelled
greatly. “Whence this change?” they asked; “to what miracle is it due?
You were bent--your eyes ever on the ground--but now----!”

“Ah! my beloved children, I was only looking for the keys of St.
Peter--and I have found them!”

Any strong candidate for the great honour and the vast emoluments
of the Holy Office could count on the vigorous support of his own
family and in many cases on that also of various princes in Italy and
throughout Europe.

When Nicholas V. succumbed to the gout in 1455 the Sacred College
was composed of twenty cardinals, and in the conclave which followed
the three strongest candidates were Capranica, Bessarion, and Alonzo
Borgia. The contest had reached the acute stage when Alain, Archbishop
of Avignon and Cardinal of Santa Prassede, sprang to his feet and
asked, “Shall we select for Pope, for head of the Latin Church, a
Greek, a mere interloper? Bessarion still wears his beard--and
forsooth, he is to be our Lord!”

Then arose his Eminence the Cardinal-Bishop of Nicæa, graceful as he
was erudite, and, announcing that it would be a mistake to elect him,
cast his vote for Alonzo de Borja, Cardinal of Santi Quattro Coronati,
deciding the election in favour of the Spaniard, who assumed the name
Calixtus III. Thus it was that the Spanish house of Borja entered into
the history of Italy and of the Papacy, April 8, 1455.

Alonzo Borja was born in Xativa, Spain, in 1378; he developed into a
studious boy and became a professor at Lerida; later he was made a
canon by the anti-Pope Benedict XIII. In Alonzo’s youth a prophet,
Vicenzo Ferrerio, had announced that the studious boy would some day
wear the tiara, and shortly after his election Alonzo secured the
canonisation of the prophetic Vicenzo, thus showing that he recognised

Alonzo was regarded as the leading jurist of his day and as one of the
most astute men who ever occupied the throne of St. Peter. He was the
first of the Borja to come to Italy, having accompanied Alfonso of
Aragon as secretary. By Martin V. he was made Bishop of Valencia and
created cardinal by Eugene IV.

When Bessarion arose and cast his vote--with great tact and perhaps
equal political acumen--in the aged cardinal’s favour, the Curia
remembered that Alonzo was seventy-seven years of age and afflicted
with the gout--and his election was assured.

When Alonzo assumed the tiara he pledged his word to the Sacred College
that he would keep himself free from all nepotism--thus showing that
this was a growing evil--a promise he promptly, broke by bestowing
the purple upon his nephew, Juan Luis de Mila, whom he appointed papal
representative in Bologna, and upon Rodrigo Borgia, whom he made legate
to the Marches and Vice-Chancellor of the Church. He likewise made Juan
Mila, Bishop of Zamora, a cardinal.

The new Pope’s nephews--his sister’s sons--were bad men in a bad age,
but, blinded by his affection for them, he did not foresee to what his
passion would lead.



_From an engraving of 1580._

            To face   p. 32.]

Rodrigo Borgia, when the cardinalate was bestowed upon him by his
uncle, September 26, 1456, was about twenty-five years of age, handsome
and profligate. Like the Claudian family of Rome, the Borgia of
Valencia possessed great intellectual force and physical beauty.

Rodrigo’s brother, Pier Luigi, who was a year younger than the
cardinal, remained a layman, but the highest temporal honours were
bestowed upon him; he was made Gonfalonier of the Church, Prefect of
the city, and finally Warder of the Castle of St. Angelo--in spite
of the protests of Capranica and Scarampo, who consequently became
the object of the Holy Father’s undying hatred. Pier Luigi has been
described as a handsome and depraved ruffian.

Even as early as this--the first period of the Borgia supremacy--Rome
was teeming with Spaniards; when Alonzo was made cardinal numerous
members of the related Borgia and Mila families flocked thither--their
number and aggressiveness being attested by the general and intense
hatred that was felt for the Catalans. It was through the Borgias and
their followers that Spain secured the strong grip upon the Papacy
which she held for a hundred years--although the way had been prepared
by the establishment of the Spanish power in Naples and Sicily. To the
Eternal City they flocked, kinsmen and retainers, fortune-hunters, and
adventurers of every sort; they secured all the important offices; they
became utterly lawless and, justice being perverted, they robbed and
murdered with impunity.

In July, 1458, Calixtus further advanced Pier Luigi by bestowing upon
him the vicariate of Benevento and Terracina. He became the most
powerful man in Rome, and seemed destined for a great future when his
career was abruptly terminated. The Orsini had risen to expel the
Colonna and the Catalans; and Pier Luigi, having sold the Castle of
St. Angelo to the cardinals, fled to Civitavecchia, where, attacked
by a fever, he died--August, 1458--leaving his vast property to his
brother Rodrigo, who, already wealthy, now became one of the richest of
the cardinals.

August 6, 1458, Calixtus passed away--to the great relief of the
Romans, who expressed their joy at being delivered from the Spanish
yoke by sacking the Borgia palaces. Calixtus was bitterly criticised
for allowing his nephews to rule him and because of the wretched
condition of affairs in Rome during his reign, when robbery, violence,
and murder were of daily occurrence.

Although Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia had found it prudent to betake himself
to Ostia on the death of his uncle, his high position in the Church was
not shaken, and he was soon able to return to his house in the Ponte

Little is known of the private life of Rodrigo when he was created
cardinal, but there is extant a beautiful letter of admonition written
to him by Pius II., the amiable Æneas Sylvius, from the baths of
Petriolo, June 11, 1460, when Rodrigo was about twenty-nine years
of age, which throws a strong light on the personal conduct of the
Cardinal of San Niccolò in Carcere Tulliano.

  “DEAR SON,--We have learned that your Worthiness, forgetful of
  the high office with which you are invested, was present in the
  gardens of Giovanni de Bichis four days ago, from the seventeenth
  to the twenty-second hour,[5] with several women of Siena--women
  wholly given over to worldliness and vanity. Your companion
  was one of your colleagues who, owing to his years, if not on
  account of his office, ought to have been mindful of his duty.
  We have heard that wanton dances were indulged in; that none of
  the allurements of love were wanting; and that you conducted
  yourself in a manner altogether worldly. Shame forbids mention
  of all that took place, for not only the acts themselves, but
  also their very names are unworthy your rank. In order that your
  pleasures might be free from all restraint the husbands, fathers,
  brothers, and kinsmen of the women were not asked to be present.
  You and a few servants were the originators of this orgy. I am
  told that in Siena nothing is now talked of but your vanity,
  which is generally ridiculed. Here at the baths, where there are
  a great many people--Churchmen and laity--your name is on every
  one’s lips. Our displeasure is beyond words, for your conduct
  has brought the Holy State and Office into disgrace. The people
  will say that they make us rich and great, and that instead of
  living blameless lives, we use what they give us to gratify our
  passions. This is the reason the Princes and the Powers despise
  us and the laity mock at us. This is why our own mode of living
  is flung in our faces when we reprove others. Contempt falls to
  the lot of Christ’s Vicar because he appears to countenance
  these doings. You, dear son, have charge of the Bishopric of
  Valencia, the most important in Spain; you are Chancellor of the
  Church, and what renders your conduct all the more reprehensible
  is the fact that you have a seat among the cardinals who are
  the Pope’s advisers. We leave it to you to decide whether it is
  becoming to your dignity to court young women and to send those
  whom you love presents of wine and fruits, and during the whole
  day to give thought to nothing but sensual pleasures. On account
  of your conduct people blame us, and the memory of your blessed
  uncle Calixtus also suffers--and many say he did wrong in
  heaping honours upon you. If you seek to excuse yourself on the
  ground of your youth, I say to you that you are not so young as
  not to know what duties your offices impose upon you. A cardinal
  should be above reproach, and an example of right living in the
  eyes of all men--and then we should have just grounds for anger
  when temporal princes revile us, when they dispute with us for
  the possession of our property and force us to submit to their

  “Of a truth we inflict these wounds upon ourselves and of these
  troubles we ourselves are the cause, since by our conduct we
  constantly diminish the authority of the Church. Our punishment
  for it in this world is dishonour, and in the world to come
  it will be torment well deserved. May your good sense place a
  restraint upon these frivolities, and may you never again lose
  sight of your dignity; then people will not regard you as a vain
  gallant among men. If this occurs again we shall be compelled
  to show that it was in violation of our admonition, and that
  it caused us great pain; and our censure will not pass over you
  without bringing the blush of shame to your cheek. We have always
  loved you and thought you worthy of our protection, as a man of
  an earnest and modest character.

  “Therefore conduct yourself henceforth in such a way that we may
  retain this our good opinion of you and may find in you only the
  example of a well-ordered life. Your years, which are not such as
  to preclude improvement, permit us to admonish you paternally.”

During the pontificate of Paul II. Gasparino of Verona described
Rodrigo Borgia as “handsome and of a most glad countenance. He is
gifted with a honeyed eloquence. The beautiful women upon whom he casts
his eyes are lured to love him and are moved in a mysterious manner--as
iron is attracted by the magnet.”

In 1476, the year of Caesar’s birth, the Cardinal of Pavia wrote
Rodrigo a letter in the Pope’s name, urging him to change his manner
of living, in which he says: “What I write you will not be long, but
this letter is necessary between you and me. Do not entrust this
communication, which is inspired by affection, to your secretaries, but
keep it with you so that you may read it over occasionally and think of
it at least once a year.”

From this it is evident that Rodrigo had not changed his habits. Love
of pleasure characterised him throughout his life. He had no less than
eight illegitimate children--five sons and three daughters--all of
whom were recognised in official documents. At the time of his death,
when he was seventy-two years of age, he had a mistress, the beautiful
Giulia Farnese, by whom he had had a son, who was then five years old,
Don Giovanni, Infans Romanus, Lord of Camerino, whom he first declared
to be the child of his son Caesar, but later in a bull dated September
1, 1501, acknowledged to be his own.

It has been said that as Alexander VI. was not an ordinary man he
should not be judged by the moral standards of ordinary men. The theory
that the great are not subject to the laws which should regulate
the conduct of lesser persons is as absurd as it is pernicious. It
would be more just to say that the Borgia should be judged, not by
the criterions of a later day, but by those of his own age. There is
evolution in morals; the standard of right living is higher to-day
than it was during the Renaissance, and no man of the character of
Alexander VI., were such possible, could now be elected to the Papacy.
At that time many thrones were occupied by men who, in this age, could
not survive a year. It is, however, exceedingly difficult to judge men
of a past age, because, the sphere of morals being a wide one, there
may be progress in one field but not in others--in fact, there may be
retrogression in some. During the Renaissance there were men who were
bad, judged by the criterions of their own day as well as by those of
the present, but their contemporaries, ignorant of the laws governing
human progress, which include the laws of morality, did not perceive
their true status. Surrounded by men of like character, many of the
personalities of the Renaissance were blind to their own depravity.

Nepotism was the root, if not of all, of most of the evil in Rome, and
it steadily increased from the time of Calixtus III., who was succeeded
by Enea Silvio Piccolomini--Pius II.--who was no less devoted to
the interests of his family than his predecessor had been to those
of his kinsmen. Of the four children of his sister Laudomia, he made
Antonio a duke, Andrea a castellan in Pescara, and Giacomo a noble of
Montemarciano. Niccolò Forteguerra, a kinsman on his mother’s side, he
made cardinal; Alessandro Mirabelli Piccolomini, who in partnership
with Ambrogio Spannochi conducted a bank in Rome, was made Master of
the Palace and Governor of Frascati. Jacopo Ammananti of Siena was made
cardinal and Bishop of Pavia. Lolli, a cousin of the Pope, was given an
office, and so many natives of Siena were provided with places at the
pontifical court that it was a saying that “all Siena had moved over
to Rome.” Even Saint Catherine owed her beatification to Pius II., who
died August 15, 1464.

The conclave for the election of his successor was held August 27th.
The Bishop of Torcello, a famous Venetian scholar and humanist,
addressed the cardinals, deploring the loss of dignity of the Sacred
College and exhorting his colleagues to select a man who would put
a stop to the abuses in the Church. At the first scrutiny it was
found that the Cardinal of San Marco was unanimously elected. The new
Pope, who was born in 1418, was the son of Niccolò Barbo and Polisena
Condulmer, a sister of Eugene IV.

When a youth, as he was about to embark on a ship for the Orient,
he received news of his uncle’s election to the Papacy; promptly
perceiving the opportunities for advancing his fortunes offered him by
this event, he changed his plans, and assiduously devoted himself to
the study of theology, for which he had no aptitude, and in 1440 he was
made Cardinal of San Marco.

His Eminence was a stupid but handsome man, tall of figure, majestic,
and exceedingly vain of his personal appearance in ecclesiastical
pageants. On his election he wanted to assume the name Formoso, the
Handsome, but was dissuaded by the cardinals, who also prevented
him from taking the name San Marco, which was the battle-cry of the
Republic of Venice, consequently Piero Barbo called himself Paul II.
and was duly consecrated September 16, 1464.

During the conclave he had sworn to prosecute the war against the
Turks; to reform the Curia; to summon a council at the end of the year;
to limit the number of cardinals to twenty-four; and not to appoint any
one under thirty years of age, or any one who was ignorant of law and
theology, or any of his nephews, to the cardinalate. These promises
were exacted by the members of the Sacred College for the protection of
their traditional privileges. They also secured his permission to meet
twice a year to assure themselves that the agreement was being observed.

Their efforts, however, to reduce the monarchical Papacy to an
oligarchy failed. The Pope promptly found a way out of the difficulty
by presenting the cardinals for their signature a document which
purported to be a copy of the original agreement, but which was in
fact very different. Out of complaisance some promptly signed it,
Bessarion under the Pope’s coercion, while Carvajal was the only one
who persisted in his refusal. Among the cardinals created by Paul II.
were his kinsmen Marco Barbo, Giovanni Michiel and Battista Zeno.

The Pope himself, according to Corio, was wholly given over to sensual
pleasures; he filled his palace with concubines, says Attilius Alexius,
and turned night into day, so that it was exceedingly difficult to
obtain an audience with him. The licentiousness of his court and the
corruption of his clergy were scandalous. He was noted for a vulgar
love of display and took a childish delight in showing himself to the
Romans on all public occasions. He desired to be thought astute in
all ways, but was merely duplicit. He was wholly unable to retain the
friendship of other potentates. He, however, did much to embellish
the city, in spite of the fact that he was exceedingly avaricious. He
was fond of the table, gluttonous, and a valiant drinker. Although
comparatively young, his life was terminated by apoplexy, July 26,
1471, following a supper consisting of two huge watermelons.

In the conclave which assembled August 6, 1471, for the selection of
his successor Cardinal Bessarion just missed the throne, being defeated
by Francesco della Rovere, who owed his success to Borgia, Orsini, and
Gonzaga, and also to the zeal of his attendant in the conclave, Fra
Pietro Riario. In return for his support Borgia received the commendam
of Subiaco; Gonzaga, the abbey of S. Gregorio; and Orsini, famous and
wealthy, was appointed camerlengo.

Francesco della Rovere, born in Savona in 1414, was the son of a
poor fisherman and a Greek woman, Lucchesina Mugnone. He was created
cardinal in 1467 and assumed the title of San Pietro ad Vincula. He had
been general of the Minorites and was famous for his scholarship and
his skill in controversy. On his election he took the name Sixtus IV.,
and he was crowned by Rodrigo Borgia August 25, 1471.

With Sixtus the head of the Church rapidly lost his priestly character
and became a temporal prince. Thenceforth St. Peter’s successors were
Italian sovereigns, and when they possessed the sacred character it
was wholly accidental. The life they led compelled them to resort
to mundane expedients--the sale of offices and indulgences and the
promotion of the interests of their kinsmen. Never before had such
shameless nepotism been displayed, and it now became the mainspring of
every act of the Pope.

Illegitimate sons of the Popes appeared with every change in the
Papacy; they conducted themselves in the Vatican like princes; they
terrorised Rome and endeavoured by force to obtain possession of
the various Italian principalities. Generally their careers came to
an abrupt end with the death of the Pope to whom they owed their
advancement, and to whom they were frequently valuable aids, the
Pontiff’s desire for temporal supremacy often finding expression
through them. The Popes, in their struggle with the cardinals,
frequently found these satellites highly useful. Their power, however,
did not extend far beyond the boundaries of the States of the Church as
they were bitterly opposed by the older dynasties.

Under Calixtus III. Rome had been a Spanish state, in the reign of Pius
II. a Sienese, and during the papacy of Sixtus IV. it was a Ligurian
monarchy, and the domain of St. Peter had now reached its greatest
territorial expansion. Within its boundaries, however, there still
remained a number of feudal families and republics to be destroyed.
These the papal favourites, anxious to change the States of the Church
into an hereditary monarchy, were eager to crush.

December 15, 1471, Sixtus made Pietro Riario, his putative nephew, but
probably his son, Cardinal of San Sisto, and Giuliano della Rovere,
son of his brother Raffaele, Cardinal of San Pietro ad Vincola, thus
breaking his oath. Both these young men were of low origin and no
education, and the Sacred College little suspected that one of them,
Giuliano, was destined to become the famous Julius II.

Giuliano della Rovere, who was Bishop of Carpentras, was twenty-eight
years old, a libertine and man of the world. Pietro Riario was somewhat
younger and Sixtus made him Bishop of Treviso and bestowed numerous
other honours upon him. Pietro soon entirely dominated the Pope and
from a poor friar became a man of vast wealth. He entered upon an
unchecked career of vice, and in two years had squandered a fortune of
two hundred thousand gold florins and become a physical wreck. He died
in 1472, leaving vast debts which were never paid. Other kinsmen of
Sixtus remained laymen but nevertheless were advanced to positions of
honour through the influence of the Pope.

On the death of Pietro Riario, Sixtus transferred his affections to his
nephew Girolamo, probably also the pontiff’s son, who was called to
Rome and given the title to Imola, which had been purchased from Taddeo
Manfredi. The government of the States of the Church was entrusted
to him, and Galeazzo Sforza conferred upon him the hand of his
illegitimate daughter, Caterina, the heroic virago who defended Forli
against her husband’s murderers and later against Caesar Borgia, and
whom her countrymen styled _la prima donna d’Italia_. In return for the
honour Sixtus made Galeazzo’s son, Ascanio, a cardinal.

Soon after this the Pope succeeded in establishing a matrimonial
alliance between his family and the princes of Urbino; for, in return
for creating Federico di Montefeltre Duke of Urbino, the latter
consented to the marriage of his daughter, Giovanna, to Giovanni della
Rovere, another brother of Giuliano.

Sixtus also conferred the purple on Cristoforo and Domenico della
Rovere; upon his sister’s son, Geronimo Basso, and also on Raffaele
Riario, a nephew of Pietro Riario.

It was stated that the Pope in his eagerness to advance his innumerable
kinsmen and connections frequently bestowed an office on one,
forgetting he had already given it to another. It was even said that
Cardinal Pietro Riario entered into an agreement with Galeazzo Maria
Sforza, of Milan, by which the duke was to furnish him with money and
troops to enable him to seize the papal throne, which Sixtus appears to
have been ready to yield to him; the plan, however, which would have
resulted in the secularisation of the Papal States, failed through the
death of Pietro.

The secularisation of the Papacy, nevertheless, was proceeding
rapidly. The Curia was becoming more and more addicted to the vices
of the age. German travellers who visited Rome in 1475, the year
of the Jubilee--Paul II. having reduced the period intervening
between jubilees to twenty-five years for the sake of the money they
yielded--relate that they saw nothing but nepotism, simony, extortion,
and crime. On every hand was extravagance, pomp, and vulgar love of
display. The populace, as in the days of the Roman Empire, clamoured
for spectacular exhibitions, and these the Popes lavishly furnished.

The success of the political schemes of Sixtus demanded the overthrow
of the Medici, and he consequently, at least, countenanced the Pazzi
conspiracy, which resulted in the murder of Giuliano de’ Medici and
the wounding of Lorenzo, who only saved himself by flight. Three weeks
later the Pope, King Ferdinand of Naples, and the city of Siena formed
a league whose avowed purpose was the expulsion of the Medici from

Sixtus was a consummate politician, and Infessura speaks of the day
on which he died as “that most blessed day upon which God delivered
Christendom from the hands of a most impious and iniquitous king.”[6]
He states that Sixtus had no affection for his people; that he
was avaricious, vain, vicious; that he trafficked in offices and
benefices, made a plaything of justice, and that he was cruel and

According to history Sixtus was an evil ruler in an evil age. All his
acts were inspired by a love of power or an exaggerated affection for
his kinsmen. He it was who first completely surrendered the Papacy
and Rome to his relatives. He used all sorts of means to increase
the Church revenues, only to hand them over to his nephews to use in
extending the power of his family. He was, however, not wholly devoid
of virtue, for he possessed great learning. Impatient of contradiction,
he used any means to overcome opposition, and he soon showed that he
was born to rule. Sixtus IV. had none of the priestly characteristics
which the Supreme Pontiff is supposed to possess; in him the priest was
lost in the prince.

From that time forth St. Peter’s successors were temporal sovereigns
who happened to be Popes; the members of their families were everywhere
treated as princes. Many of their putative nephews were in reality
their own illegitimate sons. There was a saying current in Europe
during the reign of Sixtus that there were as many popes in Rome as
he had nephews. With every change in the Papacy a new swarm came into
power, only to fall with their creator’s decease.

The Papacy having become a temporal power, the Pope’s kinsmen were his
chief support; at the same time, the Sacred Office was the greatest
political instrument an ambitious and powerful family could secure to
aid its advancement.

The papal nephews terrorised the domain of the Church and endeavoured
to obtain possession of rival states and cities. Nepotism became a
system, and, as hereditary succession was denied the Pope, it furnished
him the only means by which he could hope to perpetuate his power, but
as we have seen the means were inadequate.

The Italians promptly discovered that the same hopes and fears,
the same ambitions and passions prevailed in St. Peter’s Chair as
ruled elsewhere, and also that the Pope was a very human sovereign
and one who enjoyed the advantage of being unhampered by any feudal

The temporal supremacy of the Pope, however, could be exercised only
in the territory about the city of Rome where there were still left a
few powerful feudal families, together with a number of small republics
whose destruction could be compassed only through the agency of the
Pontiff’s favourites or kinsmen. In that way a monarchy might be
established which in size and power would have equalled most of the
Italian states of that age.

Sixtus created no less than thirty-five cardinals. The Pazzi
conspiracy, the war against Ferrara, his treatment of the Colonna and
the names of Pietro and Girolamo Riario show to what depths the Papacy
had fallen in the closing years of the fifteenth century.

Between the nepotism of Sixtus IV. and that of Alexander VI. there was
but little difference. If the nephews of Della Rovere had possessed the
ability of the Borgia, or if political events had occurred to disturb
the concord of the peninsula, Sixtus IV. would have secured the place
in Italy and in the history of Rome which Alexander VI. holds. Sixtus
was the first Pope-king, but he was far surpassed by Alexander VI.

Italy had fallen upon evil days; the peninsula was teeming with
corruption; everywhere there was a mad scramble for office; every
man’s hand was against his neighbour; the Popes engaged in all sorts
of financial operations--the sale of offices, honours, indulgences,
immunities; and, to make matters worse, foreign invasion threatened the

Sixtus died August 12, 1484, and when his opponents learned of his
death they rushed forth and sacked the Riario palaces. The conclave
for the election of his successor was held August 26th, and it was
found that the cardinals were divided into two parties, one comprising
Rodrigo Borgia, the Orsini, and the Aragonese faction; the other,
Colonna, Cibo, Della Rovere, and the Venetians.

Rodrigo Borgia felt so certain of being elected that he had his palace
fortified to preserve it from being sacked. Votes were openly traded
for castles, benefices, and papal offices. Ascanio Sforza and the
Aragonese, unable to force the election of the Borgia, sold their votes
to Cardinal Giambatista Cibo, who was elected August 29, 1484. He
assumed the name Innocent VIII. Giuliano della Rovere had managed his
campaign most skilfully.

Cibo was a handsome and imposing man, but he possessed neither wealth
nor brains. He had numerous progeny by a certain Neapolitan woman.
It was his son, Franceschetto Cibo--reputed to be his nephew--who
married Maddalena, daughter of Lorenzo de’ Medici, January 20, 1488, in
the Vatican amid great pomp, and in return for this honour, Giovanni
de’ Medici, then thirteen years of age--the future Leo X.--was
created cardinal.

To the cardinals Innocent made all sorts of promises which he never
kept--promises made by the man might be broken by the Pope. He was
the first of Christ’s Vicars publicly to acknowledge his children, of
whom he had seven. He was a loathsome individual, avaricious, vicious,
and venal, and completely under the control of his favourites. At Rome
he established an office for the sale of pardons whose revenues went
to himself and his son Franceschetto. During his reign crime held high
carnival throughout the Campagna.

Innocent continued and extended the evil practices of his predecessors.
The traffic in offices was conducted on a scale hitherto unknown, for
he constantly created new ones solely for the profit to be derived
from their sale. He sold the right to collect the customs to certain
individuals and bankrupted the State. Rome was a sink of crime and
corruption, a market where all the world might purchase indulgences.

Innocent’s nepotism was different from that of some of the other Popes.
With him it was based on no political idea or purpose, but simply upon
avarice and vulgar greed. He founded no principalities for his sons
because he himself was entirely devoid of force and political acumen,
and they had neither the ambition nor the ability to make themselves
powerful in the State. The county of Cervetri and Anguillara had been
given to Franceschetto, but on the death of his father he sold it to
Virginio Orsini, and wisely, because he could not have held it.

Infessura tells us that when the wretched Innocent VIII. was on his
death-bed his Jewish leech sought to prolong his life with the blood
of three young boys who were purchased for a ducat apiece, and who
promptly died, whereupon the physician fled and the Pope expired, July
25, 1492.

The conclave for the election of his successor began in the Sistine
chapel, August 6th. Twenty-five cardinals were present. The Sacred
College was dominated by Ascanio Sforza, Lorenzo Cibo, Raffaele Riario,
Giuliano della Rovere, and Rodrigo Borgia. It is said that the King
of France contributed 200,000 ducats and Genoa 100,000 to secure the
election of Della Rovere, whose most dangerous rival was Ascanio
Sforza, for whom Rodrigo Borgia cast his vote, knowing that he could
not be elected.

When Sforza saw that he himself could not win the great prize, he set
about securing--with the help of Riario and Orsini--the election of
the Borgia, and at the proper moment cast his vote for him. Although
Ascanio Sforza was enormously wealthy he had his price and he was
bought. In Rome it was said that before the conclave Rodrigo Borgia had
sent him four mules laden with silver, and also that he had promised
him, in the event of his own election, his palace and its contents,
and also the great office of Vice-Chancellor of the Church. Orsini was
satisfied with Monticelli and Soriano, while Colonna and his family
were pleased to accept Subiaco and its castles in perpetuity. Cardinal
Michiel was promised the Bishopric of Porto; Sclafenati was presented
with Nepi, and Cardinal Savelli with Civita Castellana. Others
preferred cash. The Patriarch of Venice, then ninety-five years of age,
was given 50,000 ducats to provide for him until he should enter into
paradise. The few who could not be bought were Piccolomini, Zeno, Della
Rovere, and Caraffa.

When the Borgia found he was elected he was overcome with joy and
exclaimed: “Now I am Pope, Pontiff, Christ’s Vicar!”--but the youthful
Cardinal de’ Medici leaned over and whispered in Cibo’s ear: “Let us
escape before the wolf gets us into his maw!”

Borgia, fearing that by some mischance the office might still slip
through his fingers, hastily donned the papal robes and directed the
Master of Ceremonies to distribute cards bearing the words, “We have as
Pope, Alexander VI.” Early the next morning the window was thrown open,
the cross put forth, and in the silence of early dawn the name of the
new Pope was announced: Alexander VI.!

Alexander’s dissolute life was known of all men; and when we remember
that this was an age of libertinism, when men expected no more of
the clergy than they did of the laity, the fact that the Borgia’s
conduct excited any comment shows to what depths of immorality he had
descended. He was freely accused of the unmentionable vices which
Tacitus and Suetonius lay to the charge of the earlier Roman emperors.

It cannot be denied, however, that Alexander VI. also possessed great
virtues. His contemporaries describe him as energetic, cultivated,
astute, and prompt to act, and also as ready and vigorous of speech.

Rodrigo Borgia had spent seven years at Bologna studying canon law; and
when his uncle, Calixtus III., in 1456, made him Bishop of Valencia, he
also created him Cardinal-deacon of San Niccolò in Carcere Tulliano,
and shortly afterwards made him Vice-Chancellor of the Church.

During the reign of Sixtus IV. he had been made Bishop of Porto and
sent as legate to Spain. While returning to Italy he was shipwrecked
and rescued only with great difficulty. When he was cardinal he
occupied the Cesarini palace, but it is said that he was miserly and
that, in spite of his vast wealth, he seldom entertained.

The Borgia made a majestic and imposing Pope; he was crowned August 26,
1492, with the greatest pomp and magnificence. Never before since the
days of the Empire had Rome beheld such pageants. When the Pope, half
dead with fatigue, reached the Lateran he fainted; and again when he
took his seat on the throne, he swooned, his head falling on Riario’s

Guicciardini says Italy’s two greatest misfortunes were Lorenzo de’
Medici’s death and Rodrigo Borgia’s accession to the papacy.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Borgias were vicious, shrewd, intellectual, and perspicacious, and
possessed of indomitable will. They were endowed with the mental and
physical force which wins success and often hatred.

[Illustration: POPE ALEXANDER VI.

_From a fresco by Pinturicchio._

            To face p. 52.]

Securing possession of the papal office at a time when all men were
greedy for power; building up principalities and advancing the family
interests and at the same time enhancing the Spanish influence in the
Holy See and throughout Italy, their enemies minimised their virtues
and magnified their vices. They were charged with all sorts of hideous
crimes, some of which they undoubtedly committed, and some, of which
they certainly were innocent. Their hostile contemporaries spread
reports of their evil deeds throughout Christendom, and the charges
made against them in their lifetime have been repeated by historians
down to the present day.

Again, the Borgias have been judged, not in connection with their age
and their contemporaries, but as isolated creatures, or by modern
standards of ethics. Caesar Borgia has been described as a ravening
wolf among a flock of sheep, whereas, as Medin well says,[7] he was
merely a wolf battling with other wolves, with this difference, that
while he possessed the same greediness, ferocity, and ambition,
he surpassed them all in the vastness of his projects and in the
unshakable determination with which he carried them out.

To judge the Borgias by present standards is manifestly unjust. The
character of the Papacy has changed; Alexander VI. was merely a
temporal prince with certain sacerdotal functions. He used his great
office for the advancement of himself, his family, and his followers,
as other Popes of his epoch did, but more consistently, more skilfully.
Like other potentates of the day, he had his mistresses, whom he did
not hesitate to introduce into the Vatican, and his numerous bastards,
whom he publicly acknowledged.

In this connection it might be well to remember that the illegitimate
in the fifteenth century were not regarded with the contempt in which
they are supposed to be held at the present time; in fact, they were
openly recognised and treated exactly the same as the legitimate
children, and when for political or other reasons it became necessary
to legitimatise them, nothing was easier, the Popes often undertaking
to remove the taint by special bulls. Gregorovius calls this the golden
age of bastards and enumerates among the reigning princes of Italy of
illegitimate birth, Sforza of Milan, Ferrante of Calabria, Sigismondo
Malatesta of the Marches, and Borso of Ferrara, who was one of the
eight natural sons of the House of Este who rode forth to meet Pius
II. when he was on his way to the Congress of Mantua in 1459, and
whom he described as “eloquent, generous, and magnificent.”[8] When
the lawful children were minors or lacking in force, bastards were
often admitted to the succession; the fitness of the individual, and
not the fact of pure or impure birth, was the test. In more northern
countries, Burgundy for example, illegitimate children were provided
for by a distinct class of appanages, such as bishoprics. The greatest
of the sons of men did not express an isolated opinion when he made
Gloucester’s illegitimate son, Edmund, exclaim:--

 “Who in the lusty stealth of nature take
  More composition and fierce quality
  Than doth, within a dull, stale, tired bed,
  Go to the creating a whole tribe of fops,
  Got ’tween asleep and awake.”

History, whose chief concern until recent years has been the recording
of the victories of fraud and force and the perpetuation of the memory
of the morally deformed, from Caesar to Bonaparte, has preserved for
our edification the names of innumerable bastards who dazzled their
contemporaries, and whom little boys and girls are taught to admire,
just as they are taught to admire those monsters who, in the pursuit
of their own aims and ambitions, have destroyed the greatest number of
their fellows--wholesale murder being a glorious achievement; thus we
have Don John of Austria, Vendôme, Dunois, Prince Eugene, the Constable
of Bourbon, and Maurice of Saxony. Not until the sixteenth century did
Italy feel any repugnance for illegitimacy, and then it was due to the
influence of foreign ideas and the counter-revolution.[9]

In addition to illegitimacy of birth another form of illegitimacy
was common in the peninsula, the illegitimate power of a reigning
sovereign--that is, the usurped dominion enjoyed by a political
adventurer. We need not pause to inquire whether he usurped it from an
earlier usurper, either a prince or a faction, or to ask how usurped
power can ever become legitimate. This state of affairs gave birth to
innumerable crimes of violence, and the dagger and the poisoned cup
were the usual instruments of personal political advancement.

The origin of some of these illegitimate powers can be traced back
to the middle of the eleventh century, when the feudal lords found
themselves confronted by a new power in the cities in the form of the
corporation or guild of artisans who had gradually become conscious of
their strength and importance, and had shown their masters that they
were to be counted with in the future.

The development of this new movement was furthered by the Wars of
Investiture, which, while weakening the authority of the bishops,
aroused the minds of the citizens, caused them to take an interest in
public affairs, and gave them a desire for freedom.

In almost every city there were then two bishops, one representing
the Empire, the other the Holy See, and each sought to increase the
number of his followers for the purpose of overcoming and expelling his
rival; hence innumerable concessions, privileges, and franchises were
granted the citizens, until finally, when the struggle was brought to
a close by the Concordat of Worms, in 1122, almost all the sovereign
rights--the regalia--had passed into the hands of the people.

Not only were the bishops forced to yield but the Emperor himself, the
Countess Matilda, and all the great lords were compelled to acquiesce
in the movement which even extended to cities that were independent of
any bishop.

Henceforth the cities governed themselves and elected their own chiefs
or consuls. They, however, did not pretend to be wholly independent
of the Empire but readily acknowledged themselves its feudatories.
The movement spread throughout Italy, and many of the cities became
so powerful that they compelled the feudal lords of the surrounding
country to apply for citizenship and to agree to obey the communal
statutes. These various elements introduced into the city soon
occasioned discord and quarrels, in which bloodshed became frequent;
in addition to this intestine warfare, the rivalry between the
different communes resulted in continual strife among them.

For a time they were left to prey on each other; for, although they
were feudatories of the Empire, the Emperors were unable to devote
any attention to the affairs of Italy, Germany being torn asunder by
the Guelphs, adherents of the house of Bavaria, and the Ghibellines,
supporters of the house of Franconia.

The communal regime was an advance over the Feudal System, but it could
not survive the internal and external quarrels; it soon began to show
signs of weakness, and by the end of the century it was apparent that
it was doomed. The majority of the people, interested in commerce and
manufacturing, grew tired of the strife and were ready to welcome any
strong power that would assume the leadership and put an end to the
internal dissension and protect the city from attacks from without.
As the commune was broken up into innumerable factions it was in a
peculiarly suitable condition to be seized by any strong and daring
adventurer who might aspire to the control, and when this man happened
to be the head of the city government, the podestà or captain of the
people, it was an easy step to the tyranny. During the later years
of the communes the magistrates were usually selected from among the
feudal families of the neighbourhood. They were accustomed to command
and were supplied with arms, and in addition to their supporting
faction in the city they had, in many cases, a large following of
kinsmen and retainers on their neighbouring estates. Consequently
nothing was easier than for them to seize the supreme power in the
city, hold, and transmit it to their descendants.

Among the first families to secure and preserve this illegitimate power
were the Della Scala, who appropriated Verona; the Este, who imposed
themselves on Ferrara; the Medici, who secured the powerful commune of
Florence; and the Gonzaga, who seized Mantua.

The vast multitude which came to Rome for the jubilee of 1300
inspired Boniface VIII. with dreams of empire, and a year later he
published a bull in which he affirmed the absolute power of the Pope
above all princes, kings, and emperors. This view was contested by
Philippe le Bel of France, who was supported by the nobles, clergy,
and people. Boniface retired to his city of Anagni to prepare a bull
of excommunication, whereupon, acting in accord with Sciarra Colonna
and other enemies of the Pope, Nogaret, Philippe’s minister, took
possession of the town of Anagni and seized his Holiness, who was,
however, liberated by the people a few days later. The Holy Father
returned to Rome, where he died shortly afterwards (1303).

Two years later a Frenchman, Bertrand Got, Archbishop of Bordeaux, was
elected Pope. He, however, did not go to Italy, but established the
Papal See at Avignon, and the Popes finally placed themselves under the
protection of the kings of France and their political authority rapidly

During the succeeding two hundred years the tyrannies established on
the ruins of the communes were growing stronger, and in many cities
powerful dynasties had established themselves, handing the government
down from father to son, or to the member of the clan best fitted to
conserve the power, priority or legitimacy of birth having little to
do with the succession, the possession of _virtu_, the characteristic
most necessary for the preservation of self and family, determining
the descent. Wherever the legitimate heir was found to be inferior,
mentally or physically, to one of the bastards of the family, he was
set aside for the latter.

The companies of paid soldiers now began to appear in Italy. These
bands of mercenaries were captained by the so-called condottieri,
and when the war for which they had been engaged was ended they were
discharged like other wage-workers. Their leaders were bold and
unscrupulous and had no personal interest at stake. This system gave
rise to the gravest dangers to the peninsula; it brought into Italy
swarms of worthless adventurers, who sold their services to any one
able to pay for them and often they turned against their employer. They
overran the country, robbing, murdering, debauching.

The power of the Popes in Romagna, never very strong, had grown
weaker during their absence in Avignon. Bologna had fallen into the
grasp of the Pepoli; the Polentani had secured Ravenna; the Manfredi
owned Faenza; the Ordelaffi enjoyed Forli; the Malatesta held sway
over Rimini; the Varano disposed of the fortunes of Camerino; the
Montefeltre of Urbino and Civitavecchia. The Campagna was harassed
by bands of brigands led by members of these families, and in Rome
complete anarchy obtained, the two great clans of Orsini and Colonna
constantly fighting to secure the control.

The fifteenth century was filled with the contests of the tyrannies
among themselves; the weaker were crushed by the stronger, who absorbed
their territories, and thus the great states were formed and their
heads became princes. Besides the struggles with outside rivals these
princely houses were always at strife with other powerful families
within their own domain; conspiracies and intrigue filled the day;
the princes became more despotic; rivals, pretenders, disobedient or
lukewarm retainers were systematically put to death; cruelty knew no

The people were callous or indifferent to the crimes of the lords
because they were committed chiefly against their own rivals--that
is, persons of their own rank. The populace had long since lost all
hope of ruling, and they were dazzled by the splendour of the Court and
the magnificence of the monuments erected by the reigning prince. The
return of a modicum of the spoils, in the form of a monument of some
sort, a library, or a hospital, to commemorate the name and fame of the
brigand has always been found to be the most efficacious way to placate
the despoiled rabble.

The Visconti of Milan was one of the greatest of the princely houses
of Italy, and it reached the height of its power in the person of Gian
Galeazo, who added greatly to the family domains. With the assistance
of the Carrara of Padua he overthrew the Scala of Verona and Vicenza,
and then proceeded to wrest Padua from his late allies, who, however,
soon recovered the city. He put down the Gonzaga of Mantua, the Este
of Ferrara, and the Paleologi of Montferrat, and in 1395 he induced
the Emperor Winzel to confer the title of Duke of Milan on him. Having
defeated a coalition formed against him, he seized Pisa, Siena, Lucca,
Perugia, Assisi, Spoleto, and Bologna, and was preparing to appropriate
Florence and make himself King of Italy when he suddenly died (1402).
On his death his states rapidly fell away; the Pope recovered Bologna,
Perugia, and Assisi, Florence took Pisa, while the Venetians grabbed
Verona and Vicenza. In some of the cities families that had been
despoiled by the Visconti returned to power, and other places fell into
the hands of the condottieri, so that Gian Galeazzo’s sons found their
estates reduced to Milan and Pavia. No better example could be found of
the rise, growth, and extinction of an illegitimate power--that is, a
power based on fraud, usurpation, and tyranny.

Filippo Maria, the last of the Visconti, died in 1447 and a republic
was immediately proclaimed in Milan. Francesco Sforza, not wishing to
assert such rights as he may have had to the succession as the husband
of a natural daughter of Filippo Maria Visconti, placed his services
at the command of the republic in the war against Venice. He, however,
unexpectedly made peace with the enemy and turned his forces against
Milan, and, although there was a party favourable to Sforza, the city
made a brave resistance. Finally an uprising occurred, the republic was
overthrown, and Francesco entered the city and was proclaimed duke in

Milan in the second half of the fifteenth century was one of the most
powerful of the Italian states; and when Francesco Sforza died in 1466
he was succeeded by his son Galeazzo Maria, a dissolute and cruel man,
who was assassinated in a church by three nobles in 1476. His son,
Gian Galeazzo, at this time was only eight years old, consequently
his mother, Bona of Savoy, assumed the regency. The brothers of the
deceased duke, however, conspired against her, and finally Ludovico il
Moro, the most determined and deceitful of them, succeeded in getting
possession of the government, whereupon he compelled her to leave the

       *       *       *       *       *

Italy had awakened from the long slumber of the Middle Ages, during
which her intellect had been paralysed by the superstitions and terrors
inculcated by an ignorant and mercenary priesthood. She was emerging
from the gloom into the new life which manifested itself, not only
in the revival of learning and the prodigious blossoming of the fine
arts, but also in the expansion of the human personality. Man had again
discovered himself; he had become conscious of his faculties; he had
found that he possessed a will that could carry him on to greatness in
many fields of human activity. Hitherto superstitious, ignorant, and
bigoted, he had been taught that if he ventured to use the intellect
with which he had been endowed he would be eternally damned. Life to
him was merely a painful pilgrimage between two eternities, through one
of which he would be doomed to hell fire if in his mundane existence he
dared to find any of the joy of living.

Finally some perspicacious souls began to doubt, and in the teachings
of the newly discovered heathen philosophy they found a theory of life
more humane, more natural, more charitable.

The arts had been entirely occupied with sacred subjects because
in the Middle Ages the Church was their only patron. The gloom
and superstition of mediaeval Christianity oppressed men’s souls,
consequently the subjects selected were hideous and lugubrious in the
extreme--emaciated saints, representations of the Last Judgment, human
beings writhing in the torment of eternal wrath. The Almighty was not
a god of pity and love, but one of vengeance. The teaching of the
Nazarene was entirely distorted, just as it was by the Presbyterian
divines in Scotland in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when
they proclaimed their mission to be “to thunder out the Lord’s wrath
and to curse,” and endeavoured to frighten their hearers into the
paths of virtue with horrible tales of men “scorched in hell-fire,”
in “boiling oil, burning brimstone, scalding lead,” sufficiently
summarised in one of Binning’s sermons: “You shall go out of one hell
into a worse; eternity is the measure of its continuance, and the
degrees of itself are answerable to its duration.” Such, according to
the Scotch pastors, was the measure of God’s love.

Extremes, however, lead to revolution. A period of great asceticism is
always followed by an era of licentiousness, and in Italy this era was
synchronous with the age of the Borgias.

It is no part of the present writer’s purpose to palliate the crimes
of the Borgia; recent attempts which have been made to show that
Alexander VI. and his son Caesar were gentle and impeccable beings,
maligned and slandered, are inspired chiefly by a love of paradox,
or occasioned by a motive not unlike that which actuates the great
criminal lawyer whose chief victories consist in securing, not the
acquittal of the innocent but of the guilty. These efforts, therefore,
should not be taken too seriously.

Like other princes, the Borgias were human, and the same passions that
prevail among the laity also rule among the priesthood. Theoretically
the cardinals were the Pope’s advisers, an ecclesiastical senate,
charged with the salvation of humanity, but actually they were a body
of powerful and astute politicians, appointed by the Pope on his own
initiative or at the request of some reigning sovereign or great family
whose support his Holiness was anxious to secure. The cardinalate was
bestowed in precisely the same way, and for the same reasons, as a
minister’s portfolio is at the present time--that is, without any
regard to the fitness of the beneficiary, and as a reward for services
rendered or to come, and sometimes for even baser reasons: Alexander
VI. raised Farnese to the purple in return for the complaisance of his
sister, the beautiful Giulia.

Youths were made cardinals at a tender age. Giovanni de’ Medici, a
precocious prelate of eighteen years, on the conclusion of the conclave
that elected Alexander VI. was wise enough to flee from Rome; and
Caesar Borgia was seventeen when his father discovered he had need of
his counsel in conducting the affairs of the Church.

The great houses vied with each other for the honour, prestige, and
power. It was no small matter to sit in the ecclesiastical senate and
have a voice in directing the conscience of civilised humanity, at a
time when the masses did not dare even to think; and to have a vote in
the election of the greatest potentate on earth, who could make and
unmake kings and emperors, and consign them to eternal punishment at
will. The vast emoluments of the great office, the enormous revenues
of the various prebends and livings the cardinals enjoyed need not be

Their power and wealth knew no bounds. Surrounded by their kinsmen and
retainers, they maintained princely courts. They rode about the city
in the garb of condottieri, encased in steel, with swords clanking at
their sides. In their palaces they maintained hundreds of men, whose
number was increased, when occasion demanded, by the addition of gangs
of paid bullies and ruffians. Every palace was a stronghold, and in
addition those of the cardinals possessed the right of sanctuary--a
right, it may be observed, which was not generally respected unless it
was backed by might, as is shown by the frequent murders in churches in
Italy in the period of the Renaissance, one of the most extraordinary
of which was the stabbing to death of Giuliano de’ Medici by Bernardo
Bandini and Francesco de’ Pazzi, assisted by a priest, who “being
accustomed to the place, was less superstitious about its sanctity,”
at the steps of the altar in the duomo of Florence in 1478, under the
very eyes of Cardinal Raffaele Riario, the raising of the Host being
the signal for the attack. The palaces were great stone fortresses
with towers and battlements; the portal was closed with doors barred
and studded with iron, capable of resisting almost any force; within
were vast courts and living quarters for the swarms of retainers. Many
of these strongholds were even supplied with artillery. A criminal
often secured the protection of some cardinal who, with the aid of his
“family,” his armed followers, would rescue and save him from prison.
On one occasion a number of playful young Romans having assaulted
some of Cardinal Ascanio Sforza’s servants, the good prelate’s
“family,” armed to the teeth, sallied forth, fell upon the jokers,
and slashed and hacked about twenty of them. At another time when a
certain Savelli, Captain of the Curia, was about to proceed with an
execution in the vicinity of the palace of Cardinal Balue, that worthy
ecclesiastic called to him from a window and commanded him to stop,
as the place was in his own jurisdiction. On the captain’s refusal to
do as he was commanded the cardinal ordered his “family” to storm the
prison, which they did, liberating all the captives and destroying the
records. That night Cardinals Savelli and Colonna dispatched their own
forces against their colleague. Subsequently all the belligerents were
summoned to appear before the Pope on the charge of contumacy, but the
only notice which Cardinal Balue took of the order was to fill his lair
with armed men.

In a world of rapid change human life, honour, and the higher
sentiments are held in slight esteem; material success is the goal men
strive to reach and few question the means they employ. During the
late Renaissance the despot did not hesitate to remove any obstacle in
the way of his progress, even when that obstacle was a near kinsman;
and the act was generally connived at by the other members of the
family, conscious that in those unsettled days their own position and
safety depended upon the strength and astuteness of their chief.

Italy was then divided into a hundred petty dukedoms and
principalities, each struggling to preserve itself by annihilating its
neighbour. Coalitions were constantly formed for the destruction of a
state whose growing power threatened to disturb the balance, and these
compacts often were broken as soon as made. Deception became a fine
art, and diplomacy and duplicity were synonymous. It was this keen
struggle for existence which made the Italians the most perspicacious
politicians of the day.

Every ruler sought to attract to his court the artist and the literary
man, for he knew that the prestige gained thereby was no slight adjunct
to his power, and this explains why many of the most brutal and
egotistical of the princes became famous as patrons of the arts and
sciences. This protection was repaid with flattery, and to what depths
of sycophancy men will descend is attested by the nauseous dedications
of books of the day. In 1488, when Caesar Borgia was fourteen years of
age, and by the grace of Innocent VIII. a prothonotary of the Apostolic
See, Paolo Pompilio dedicated his “Syllabica,” a work on rhetoric, “to
the ornament and hope of the house of Borgia, the Illustrious Caesar,
whose love of letters foretells the greatness that is to be his.”


  Genealogy of the house of Borgia--Vannozza de’ Catanei--Birth of
      Caesar Borgia--His youth.

The Spanish house of Borja, tracing its line back to 1035, claimed
descent from Don Ramiro Sanchez of Aragon. A certain Don Pedro de Borja
who died in 1152--the year in which Don Ricardo, a representative of
the junior branch, removed to Naples--had a son, Don Ximenes Garcia
de Borja, who was the founder of the senior line. His son, Gonzales
Gil, was the father of Don Raymon de Borja, whose son, Don Juan Domingo
de Borja, Lord of the Torre de Canals--who was living in the city
of Xativa in Valencia in the fourteenth century--had by his wife,
Francina de Borja, several daughters and a son Alonzo, the future
Calixtus III.

As early as 1233 the Borja family had won fame, for in that year eight
of their name had hurried to the support of Don Jaime in his war
with the Moors, and by their bravery had secured a place among the
_Caballeros de la Conquista_.

Numerous positions of honour were held by the Borja from that time
forth, but the height of their glory was attained when Alonzo de Borja,
who had gone to Naples in the train of King Alfonso of Aragon, was
elected to succeed Nicholas V. as Pope in 1455.

Of the several sisters of Alonzo de Borja--who on his election to the
Papacy assumed the name Calixtus III.--Catalina married Juan Mila of
Xativa, by whom she had two sons, Cardinal Juan del Mila and Perot del
Mila, whose daughter Adriana was the wife of Ludovico Orsini and the
kinswoman and confidante of the future Alexander VI., the son of Doña
Isabella de Borja, another of the sisters of Calixtus III.

Ever since the publication of Tomaso Tomasi’s “Duca Valentino”
historians have repeated his statement that Caesar regarded Rodrigo
Lenzuolo, or Lenzol, as his father--_Riconobbe per padre Cesare
Borgia, detto poi il Valentino, Roderigo Lenzolio_.[10]

Gregorovius says that Isabella, the sister of Alonzo, was the wife of
Jofre Lanzol, a wealthy nobleman of Xativa, and that she was the mother
of several daughters, all of whom remained in Spain, and of two sons,
Pedro Luis and Rodrigo; and that Calixtus III., the uncle, adopted
these two nephews and gave them the family name; thus the Lanzol became
Borgia, the Italian form of the Spanish name Borja.

If Tomasi, Panvinio, Mariana, and the later historians are correct in
stating that Isabella’s husband was a Lanzol, their son, following the
Spanish custom of uniting the mother’s family name with that of the
father, would have been Rodrigo Lanzol y Borja and the descent from
the Borja would have been through his mother only. But M. Charles
Yriarte[11] conclusively shows that Rodrigo was Borja y Borja, doubly
a Borgia, his father having been, not Jofre Lanzol, but Don Jofre de
Borja y Doms, who married Isabella de Borja, sister of Calixtus III.
Doms therefore was the name of Rodrigo’s paternal grandmother, and the
shield with the three bands azure, which appears in all the arms of the
Borgia, in all the monuments of the Este family, and in all Italian
works on heraldry, is the escutcheon of the Doms and not of the Lanzol
family, whose arms according to Fabrer were “azure with a sun argent
in the first and or with a crescent argent in the second quarter”--a
device which is never found in connection with the Borgia in either
Spain or Italy.

The Valencian chronicle of the thirteenth century which says that:
“the Borja to the number of eight hastened to Valencia to serve the
king,” adds that “all, without exception, bore on their shields a bull
on a golden ground.” Thus we find the Borgia arms clearly defined
at this early date, and two hundred years later Calixtus III. used
the same arms with a border of gules charged with eight oriflammes;
finally Alexander VI. added to his escutcheon the arms of the Doms, his
paternal grandmother’s family, three bands azure on a field of gold,
which are the arms of Sibilla Doms, of Catalonia, wife of Rodrigo Gil
de Borja, brother of Domingo.

The offspring of this union, Jofre de Borja y Doms, father of Rodrigo
Borgia, therefore had the right to place the three bands azure of the
house of Doms by the side of the Borgia bull, and this he did.

Rodrigo Borgia therefore was the son of Jofre de Borja y Doms and
Isabella de Borja, who were first cousins; and he was the nephew of
Calixtus III., his mother’s brother.

All the descendants of Alexander VI. used the arms which he had
engraved on his pontifical seal and which by his order Pinturicchio
painted in the Appartamento Borgia in the Vatican.

When Lucretia Borgia, through her marriage with Alfonso d’Este, became
Duchess of Ferrara, she added to her arms the eagle of the House of
Este and also the pontifical keys, and when her brother Caesar, on his
marriage with Charlotte d’Albret, was made Duke of Valentinois, he
adopted the lilies of France, although he should have taken the arms of

Now, what connection had the Lanzol with the Borgia, and what caused
the curious mistake regarding the name of Rodrigo Borgia’s father?

Don Rodrigo de Borgia, later Alexander VI., had three sisters, one of
whom, Doña Juana, married P. Guillem Lanzol de Romani and bore him a
son, Don Jofre Lanzol y Borja, who married Doña Juana de Moncada and
by her had a son, Don Rodrigo Lanzol, who, instead of calling himself
Lanzol y Moncada, as he should have done, took the name of Borgia,
which was that of his grandmother as well as of his great-grandmother,
Isabella, the sister of Calixtus III., and it was this Rodrigo Lanzol,
who incorrectly called himself Borgia, whose name finally, in some
unaccountable way, became confused with that of Rodrigo Borja y Borja,
subsequently Alexander VI., and the error has persisted for centuries.
Such is Yriarte’s explanation. The evidence furnished by the arms
is substantiated by the Valencian chronicles and by records in the
archives of Osuna.

The Borgias were Spanish and such they remained throughout their long
and infamous career in Italy, and they were always supported by a
powerful Castillian party.

That Rodrigo Borgia was Caesar’s father there is no doubt. Rodrigo as
cardinal, and later when Pope, always acknowledged and treated him as
his son, lavishing unbounded parental affection on him and striving in
every way to advance his material interests, as he did those of all his
kinsmen and children.

One of the most striking traits of the Borgia family was their
exaggerated affection for each other and their unbounded sense of
family solidarity. Even Pope Calixtus III., who has not been accused
of sacrificing his office wholly to his kinsmen, saw fit to bestow the
cardinalate upon several of them.

If Mariana is correct in stating that Rodrigo’s eldest son Don Pedro
Luis, first Duke of Gandia, who was born in 1467, was the child of
Vannozza de’ Catanei, the cardinal’s relations with this woman, which
lasted about fifteen years, began when he was about thirty-five.

Of Vannozza little is known. She was born in 1441 and was the wife of
Giorgio de Croce when she first succumbed to the magnetic cardinal,
to whom she presented four children, about whose birth and parentage
there is no doubt whatever: Giovanni, born in 1474, married Doña Maria
Enriquez, and was assassinated in 1497; Caesar, born in 1476; Lucretia,
born in 1480, was first married to Giovanni Sforza of Pesaro, then to
Alfonso of Aragon, Duke of Bisceglia, and finally to Alfonso d’Este;
Don Giuffre, the youngest, was born in 1481. Mariana makes no mention
of Rodrigo’s other children--Girolama, who died in 1483; Isabella, the
wife of Pietro Giovanni Matuzzi; and Giovanni Borgia, Lord of Camerino,
who was the son of Giulia Farnese.

Vannozza was simply a nickname for Giovanna, and Catanei was a
common name throughout Italy. In numerous contemporary documents she
is mentioned as Madonna de Casa Catanei. As she was able to hold
the pleasure-loving cardinal so many years and secure from him the
recognition of her children, various writers have seen fit, in the
absence of other grounds for romance, to ascribe to her great physical
beauty, force of character, and intellect. Her name does not appear in
the list of public courtesans of Rome, and numerous guesses have been
made as to her social status and mode of living; they are, however,
neither probable nor illuminating. Her obscurity is proved by the
indifference of the sonneteers and epigrammatists of the day, who, had
she been at all conspicuous, would have made her notorious. Burchard
mentions her only twice, once in January, 1495, when her house was
sacked by the French, and again in connection with the supper that
preceded the murder of the Duke of Gandia in June, 1497.

Although Rodrigo’s relations with Vannozza ceased about 1482 he
continued to interest himself in her material welfare. Her husband,
Giorgio de Croce, died in 1486, whereupon the cardinal, in order that
she might not be without a home and a protector, married her to Carlo
Canale of Mantua, a scholarly, but complaisant, individual who had been
secretary to that great patron of letters Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga,
upon whose death in 1483 Carlo had gone to Rome to enter the service of
Cardinal Sclafenati.

Rodrigo, probably thinking that Carlo’s talents might be useful,
selected him to be the husband of his widowed mistress; and avarice or
ambition induced Carlo to acquiesce in the arrangement.

The nuptial contract was drawn up June 8, 1486, and to her husband
Vannozza brought as marriage portion a thousand gold ducats and an
appointment as _sollicitator bullarum_. The contract describes this
as her second marriage, thus making it doubtful whether she was ever
married to Domenico d’Arignano, who, Burchard says, “had been married
by Rodrigo to a certain woman who had borne the cardinal a son, whom he
had always maintained and recognised as his own, and whom he had made
Bishop of Pamplona.”[12]

With the assistance of her cardinal lover she had amassed a
considerable fortune, a part of which by her will she eventually
devoted to the purchase of her soul’s salvation. She appears to have
been a strong, coarse woman, penurious and avaricious. Records are
extant showing that she was charged with stealing, through the agency
of her paid servants, eleven hundred and sixty sheep from Ludovico
Mattei in 1504, and she was found guilty. In 1502 a complaint was
likewise lodged against Donna Vannozza de’ Catanei by Nardo Antonazzi,
a goldsmith of the Regola Quarter, for refusing to pay for a silver
cross he had made for her in 1500. The jeweller, however, lost his case.

Tomasi says that Vannozza was of ignoble condition and that she
succeeded with the consummate art of the courtesan in dominating any
one she wished to control, and that she was an insatiable harpy.
The same writer states that Cardinal Rodrigo had spent his youth
in cultivating his natural gifts with the aid of all the tricks
and artifices known to the courtier, and that he was a perfidious,
bloodthirsty, and voracious beast of prey, but one who knew how to
insinuate himself into the favour of all men.

Such were the antecedents of Caesar Borgia, and if his parentage was
bad the environment in which he grew up was worse.

Caesar, if we accept his father’s statement, was born in April, 1476,
for in 1501 the Pope, in conversation with the Ferrarese ambassador,
remarked: “The Duchess Lucretia will complete her twenty-second year
next April, and in the same month the Most Illustrious Duke Caesar will
be twenty-six.”

The father’s statement concerning the age of his children, which was
promptly reported to Duke Ercole of Ferrara by the ambassador, is
confirmed by various dispatches and letters, among which are two sent
by Gianandrea Boccaccio to the same person February 5 and March 11,
1493, which are now in the state archives of Modena. These dispatches
give Caesar’s age at that time as “sixteen or seventeen years.” He was,
therefore, somewhat younger than has for a long time been supposed, and
was not as old as his brother Giovanni.

At the time of Caesar’s birth his father was about forty-five and his
mother, Vannozza, thirty-four. Of her four children Caesar is the most
interesting as a psychological and historical study, not on account of
his crimes, for every petty Italian state had its criminal despot at
that time, but because he displayed a calculating cunning, a shrewdness
in statecraft, and a fidelity to purpose which is rarely met with in
men of his years, and which made him pre-eminent among personalities of
his own stamp.

Whether or not Caesar was striving to consolidate the numerous Italian
states and eventually construct a great central kingdom in the
peninsula, as Machiavelli believed, is difficult to determine. Caesar’s
activity, however, reveals something more than the unreasoned efforts
of a ferocious egoist to gratify an unbounded but vague ambition. At
the beginning of the fifteenth century Italy offered great prizes to
the resolute adventurer, and Caesar’s horizons may have been wider than
the domain of St. Peter.

What is known of his boyhood and youth is, in comparison with a
knowledge of the environment in which he grew up, of slight value. A
bull of Sixtus IV., issued in April, 1480, in which he is described as
the “son of a Cardinal-Bishop and a certain married woman,” relieved
him of the necessity of proving himself of legitimate birth; and
an Act signed by Ferdinand the Catholic in 1481 provides for his
legitimation and naturalisation. These steps were necessary before he
could be invested with the various offices his father, the all-powerful
Cardinal of San Niccolò in Carcere Tulliano, was determined he should
enjoy. While still a child privileges of all sorts were bestowed upon
him. July 10, 1482--Caesar was then about six--Sixtus IV. granted
him the revenues of the prebends and canonicates of the cathedral of
Valencia; and by a second bull, dated April 5, 1483, presented him with
another canonicate and a benefice belonging to the archdiaconate of
Xativa; the following year the Pope appointed him provost of Albar, and
finally--September 12, 1484--when according to the bull he was nine
years of age, he was made treasurer of Carthagena.

During his childhood Caesar probably lived with Adriana Mila, his
father’s cousin. A granddaughter of Catalina, sister of Calixtus III.,
she had married Ludovico Orsini, Lord of Bassanello, who died some time
before 1488. She dwelt in the Orsini palace in Rome. Lucretia Borgia
also was placed under her care. Adriana Mila was more than Rodrigo
Borgia’s kinswoman, she was his confidante up to the day of his death.
Her son it was who married the beautiful Giulia Farnese, and Adriana
was the complaisant witness of the adulterous relations of his wife,
“Christ’s Bride,” as the satirists called her, with her cousin, St.
Peter’s successor.

The dedication--already mentioned--of Paolo Pompilio’s treatise on
rhetoric to Caesar in 1488 is the first public notice we have of him.
The following year he was a student of canon law at the Sapienza
of Perugia, where he also had a special preceptor, Juan Vera of
Valencia. At the university he had a number of intimate friends and
companions--all young Spaniards--who were closely associated with his
subsequent fortunes. The most famous of these young men was Francesco
Romolino of Lerida, one of the commissioners sent to Florence in
1498 by Alexander VI. to secure the conviction of Savonarola, and
who remarked to his host, Pandolfo della Luna: “We shall make a fine
bonfire; I bear the sentence with me already prepared.”[13]

From Perugia, where Caesar spent about two years, he went to Pisa--in
1491--to attend the lectures of Filippo Decio, one of the most famous
professors of canon law of that day, and he was still there September
12, 1491, on which date Innocent VIII. conferred the bishopric of
Pamplona on him. Five days later Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, in his
capacity of Vice-Chancellor of the Church, informed the Chapter
of Pamplona, and the alcaldes and counsellors of the city, of the
appointment; and on the same day Caesar, the dignified bishop of
fifteen years, also brought the fact to the notice of these various
personages and sent them as his representative the venerable Martin
Zapata, Canon-Treasurer of Toledo, provided with a power of attorney,
and the bulls and letters naming him administrator of the province. The
original documents are in the archives of Pamplona.

In the first letter, which is written by Caesar’s father, in Spanish,
he is described as a _persona muy a nos conjunta_--“a person very
closely connected with us.” The cardinal adds: “The Holy Father has
decided to appoint to this bishopric the prothonotary Don Caesar de
Borgia, distinguished for his virtues and his learning.”

Caesar’s letter, written at Soriano, is as follows:--

  doubtless have already learned from letters of the Reverend
  Cardinal, Vice-Chancellor of the Church, that, the Episcopal See
  of your city having become vacant in consequence of the death
  of the Reverend Señor Don Alfonso Carillo of blessed memory,
  his Holiness, the Pope, and the Reverend Seniors constituting
  the Sacred College, unanimous in their choice, have promoted
  us to this dignity, and have placed in our hands the bulls and
  briefs which we hereby tender for your examination. Solicitous
  for the future good government of the bishopric, spiritual as
  well as temporal, we send to you the venerable Mossen Martin
  Zapata, the beloved and esteemed canon and treasurer of Toledo,
  as our representative, duly empowered to decide all matters in
  our stead. We have specially instructed him to confer with you
  regarding a number of matters, and we urge you to trust him in
  all things and to show him all confidence. I expect you also of
  your own goodwill to aid and serve him. Should anything special
  arise affecting your noble city and the general welfare of
  yourselves and the community you may rest assured that we will
  give it the same attention that we would bestow on any affair of
  our own. I have only to add that I pray the Lord to take your
  honourable and noble persons under his protection.

  “From Soriano the xvii day of September, MDLXXXXI. Ever yours to

            “CESAR DE BORGIA,
               “_Elector of Pamplona_.”

In the latter half of the fifteenth century, when boys were married at
sixteen, made cardinals at seventeen, and commanded armies at twenty,
children were precocious, and Caesar, a student in Pisa, could not have
been blind to the vast opportunities presented to him by his father’s
elevation to the Papacy in August, 1492.

By the immediate bestowal of high offices on his favourites and kinsmen
Alexander showed that he did not intend to hold himself aloof from
nepotism. His uncle, Calixtus III., having set the example, the evil
had grown, and Alexander was destined to be its supreme exponent.

Caesar did not attend the elaborate fêtes given on the occasion of
his father’s coronation. His Holiness doubtless thought it wise not
to bring his son forth into public gaze thus early in the drama.
Caesar was in Spoleto at the time, and, being a shrewd youth, he must
have appreciated the scandalous means by which his father secured his
election. The coronation took place August 26, 1492, and in honour of
the happy event Alexander made his son, Caesar, Bishop of Valencia, an
office he himself had held, and which carried with it the dignity of
Primate of Spain.


            To face p. 80.]

The Spaniards were not forgotten by the Borgia; those who already
held office were promoted and places were found for those who had not
yet secured a foothold. The Bishop of Modena states in one of his
letters that ten popes would not be able to satisfy these satellites.
The Pope’s sisters immediately became personages of importance in
Rome, and Vannozza, the mother of four of his children--who, after
the birth of Giuffre, had found herself deserted for the beautiful
Giulia Farnese--gained in both social position and material wealth by
Rodrigo’s election. Thenceforth she appears to have lived the life of a
respectable and influential matron in the papal city.

All were provided for; the Pope’s mistress, his innumerable kinsmen,
the children and grandchildren of his sisters, the hosts of Spaniards
who fastened themselves on the papal treasury, the prebends and
benefices--and who even demanded a share of the lands confiscated
from the Romagnol barons. Prominent among the Spaniards in the
papal palace were: Romolino of Lerida, Juan Vera, Juan Lopez--who
was made Chancellor--Pedro Caranza and Juan Marades, who were

A letter written by Caesar from Spoleto to Piero de’ Medici shows that
he was in that place as late as October, 1492. The youth explains
why he had failed to call on the Florentine before leaving Pisa, and
recommends to his favour the faithful Romolino of Lerida. The letter,
which was delivered by Caesar’s tutor, Juan Vera, concludes with the
formula used by princes: “_Tanquam Frater Vr Cesar de Borgia Elect.

Not until the spring of 1493 did Caesar go to Rome, where a house in
the Trastevere was furnished him. Here he maintained a numerous Court,
and although he was only seventeen years of age, one of the dispatches
of Gianandrea Boccaccio, the Ferrarese ambassador, shows that he knew
how to play the prince perfectly. The ambassador went to the Vatican
to render homage, and March 19, 1493, in announcing the results of
his interview to his master, Ercole d’Este, he gives the earliest
description we have of the youthful Bishop of Valencia.

“The other day I called on Caesar in his house in the Trastevere. He
was about to set out for the chase and was clad in a costume altogether
worldly; he was clothed in silk and had a sword at his side. We rode
along on horseback, conversing as we went. I am on friendly terms with
him. He is intellectual and cultured--with the manners of a prince. He
has a serene and cheerful disposition, and his gaiety is contagious. He
is very _modest_. His bearing is much better than that of his brother,
the Duke of Gandia, who is by no means devoid of good qualities. The
Archbishop [Caesar] has never had any taste for the priesthood, but it
should be remembered that his benefices annually bring him in more than
sixteen thousand ducats.”

Just what the word “modesty” meant in those days is not apparent, for
it is applied to persons who would seem to have possessed little of
that admirable trait.

Ecclesiastical rules hampered Caesar but little. He was enormously
wealthy, and additional benefices were constantly given him. He was
promptly allotted the income of the churches of Castres and Perpignan,
and thirty thousand gold ducats from San Michele d’Arezzo fell to his

At the time of Alexander’s accession to the papal throne Italy, and
Naples in particular, were threatened by grave dangers arising from
the contests of King Ferdinand of Naples and Ludovico, Duke of Milan,
and in March, 1493, the former endeavoured to secure the friendship of
the Pope by suggesting a marriage of one of his natural daughters with
Giuffre; the suggestion, however, came too late, for in April Lucretia
Borgia was betrothed to Giovanni Sforza, Lord of Pesaro, and kinsman
of Ludovico; and a coalition was formed by Milan, Venice, and the Holy
See, which could only result in disaster to Ferdinand, as Charles
VIII., who had just inherited the crown of France, was beginning to
assert his claims to the throne of Naples.

Irritated by the rejection of his offer, the King of Naples wrote his
orator in Spain that Alexander was detested by every one in spite of
his holy office, and that his only care was to increase the fortunes of
his children by fair means or foul.

Some of the other Italian states joined the coalition, and in April,
1493, the Bishop of Nepi, Bartolomeo Flores, publicly read the articles
of the treaty in St. Peter’s, and although no threat was made against
Ferdinand, every one knew that the purpose of the league was the
destruction of the House of Naples. Lucretia Borgia’s betrothal to
Giovanni Sforza strengthened the alliance. Alexander hated Ferdinand
because he was outspoken in his condemnation of the scandals of the
Vatican and because he was a vigorous supporter of the Neapolitan
party in the Sacred College. The King had opposed the bestowal of the
cardinalate upon Alessandro Farnese, Giulia Bella’s brother, and he had
also allied himself with Giuliano della Rovere and Virginio Orsini,
who, aided by those who had tried to prevent Alexander’s election, were
holding a portion of the territory of the Church by force. Finally the
King openly supported the rebels, furnishing them troops and supplies,
while his own son, who had gone to Ostia with Giuliano della Rovere,
joined Virginio Orsini and Fabrizio Colonna, the Pope’s mortal enemies.

June 12, 1493, Giovanni Sforza, Lord of Pesaro, was married to the
Pope’s daughter, who was then thirteen years of age. She had been
betrothed twice before, and is described as a beautiful, vivacious,
golden-haired girl. The marriage ceremony was performed in the Vatican,
and the festivities which followed caused an uproar throughout the city.

Burchard, the minute Master of Ceremonies, may not have been
present--his diary stops abruptly June 11, 1493, and does not begin
again until January 14, 1494--but Infessura fills in the lacuna.

The Pope invited one hundred and fifty of the prominent women of Rome
and their husbands, and also the ambassadors and city officials, to the
wedding. After being kept waiting for some time in a hall, the women
were allowed to enter, but when their husbands and the ambassadors
and officials were about to follow, the doors were closed and were
not again opened until an hour had elapsed; then the notaries who had
attested the marriage contract appeared and informed the men, who were
then permitted to enter, that the ceremony was over. It was said that
on the conclusion of the ceremony the Pope had produced fifty goblets
filled with confetti which, in the exuberance of his joy, he had poured
into the bodices of the women, “probably the most beautiful ones, and
this,” concludes Infessura, “to the honour and glory of God and the
Roman Church.”

The chronicler proceeds to describe a banquet in the papal palace,
which was attended by Church dignitaries and numerous women, among whom
were the Pope’s daughter and Giulia Bella. The festivities lasted until
the seventh hour of the night, and included the reading of several
comedies--“among them some obscene ones.” Nowhere in connection with
the marriage of Lucretia and Giovanni Sforza is Caesar mentioned,
although he had left Spoleto.

The tension in the affairs of Italy was somewhat relieved by the King
of Spain, and through the intercession of Frederic, son of the King of
Naples, an agreement was reached in July, 1493, between Virginio Orsini
and the Pope. The price of the agreement and of the dissolution of the
league was the hand of Doña Sancia to be given to Giuffre, Caesar’s
younger brother. The contract was formally signed August 15, 1493, and
the league was dissolved. Giuffre’s marriage with Doña Sancia, like all
those arranged by Alexander VI., was purely a political expedient.

Although Caesar had no inclination or fitness for the Church, shortly
after this, September 21, 1493, he was made a cardinal. It was at this
same creation that Giuliano Cesarini--whose brother had married
Girolama Borgia in 1482--and Alessandro Farnese were made cardinals,
and Burchard adds that there were certain others who paid more than a
hundred thousand ducats for the honour. Farnese, brother of the Pope’s
concubine, as the papal Master of Ceremonies describes him with his
usual fondness for exact details, was henceforth known in Rome as “the
cardinal of the petticoat.”

In that grossly immoral age it is not surprising that Farnese took
advantage of the adulterous relations of the head of the Christian
Church with Giulia, “Christ’s Bride” as she was called in derision. The
Farnese family had been of slight importance in the history of Italy up
to the time of Alexander VI., but when he made Alessandro a cardinal he
brought them into the history of Rome and of the world--for this act
led to the pontificate of Paul III., the founder of the Farnese House
of Parma.


  Charles VIII. invades Italy--Caesar a hostage--Caesar leaves the
      King’s camp--The league against France--Charles enters Rome--
      Caesar appointed Governor of Orvieto--The Pope conceives the idea
      of recovering Romagna--He declares the Romagnol barons rebels--
      The Pope summons his son, the Duke of Gandia, from Spain, to
      command the papal troops--Charles VIII. aids the Romagnol barons--
      Giuffre Borgia and his wife, Doña Sancia of Naples, come to Rome--
      Caesar appointed Legate to crown the King of Naples.

The nuptial contract of Giuffre Borgia and Sancia of Naples was
signed January 25, 1494, but King Ferdinand died before the marriage
was performed, and the crown passed to Federigo of Aragon. Giuffre
by the contract received for himself and his heirs in perpetuity the
principality of Squillace and the county of Cariati in Calabria.
The King of Naples and the Pope each promised to give the young man
an annual allowance of ten thousand crowns, and Giuffre was to be
received and treated as a prince throughout the Regno. The marriage was
celebrated with great pomp, May 7, 1494, and Giuffre remained in Naples
several months. This alliance for a time put an end to the strife
between the Vatican and those who, supported by the King of Aragon, had
been holding part of the papal territory by force.

Naples was now filled with reports of the preparations which Charles
VIII. of France was making for invading Naples, and King Alfonso sent
Ferrante de Genaro to urge Ludovico il Moro to oppose the coming of
the French King. Desiring the Pope’s aid, Alfonso also requested an
interview with him, and about the end of June the Pontiff, accompanied
by three cardinals, set out to meet him at Vicovaro. Burchard describes
the departure of the Pope in great detail; among the cardinals in his
suite was his Eminence of Valencia.

July 14th the approach of the King was announced to the Pope. As they
entered the town Caesar, Cardinal of Valencia, who had gone to escort
his Majesty, rode on the King’s left. The Pope and the King remained
in Vicovaro three days, and a coalition was established between them
and Florence against the King of France, but as all of the allies were
afraid of Charles, it came to nothing. The Pope and Caesar returned to
Rome some time before July 17th.

To understand why Ludovico il Moro urged the King of France to invade
Naples it is necessary to go back to the time of Galeazzo Sforza,
Duke of Milan, whose oppressions and cruelties were ended by his
assassination in December, 1476, as he was about to enter the church of
St. Stephen.

Galeazzo left an infant son, Gian Galeazzo Maria, and a widow, Bona
of Savoy, sister-in-law of Louis XI. of France. The Duchess acted as
regent for her son, but Ludovico, brother of the murdered duke, soon
succeeded in wresting the power from her. He also refused to turn the
government over to his nephew Galeazzo Maria, when he came of age--at
the same time virtually holding him prisoner. Galeazzo Maria’s wife,
Isabella of Aragon, daughter of Alfonso, Duke of Naples, hereditary
prince of the Regno, complained to her father, whereupon, to render
the opposition of Naples unavailing, and eventually obtain control of
Milan, Ludovico hit upon the plan of inducing the youthful King of
France, Charles VIII., to come to Italy and assert the old rights of
the House of Anjou to the throne of Naples.

By his contemporaries Ludovico was regarded as the greatest political
genius of the age, and the extravagant admiration bestowed on him shows
that the adoption of any means to egotistic purposes was regarded not
only as justifiable but also as commendable. Ludovico accepted the
applause as his due, and boasted that “the Pope was his chaplain, the
Emperor his condottiere, Venice his chamberlain, and the King of France
his courier to come and go at his bidding.”

Charles VIII. was a visionary, weak, headstrong young man, and,
disregarding the advice of his counsellors, he readily fell in with
Ludovico’s plans. Vast preparations were made for war; a great army
was gathered at Vienne and a large amount of artillery of a size
hitherto unknown in Italy was sent to Genoa. Before Charles entered the
peninsula, however, Don Federico began the war by an attack on Genoa,
which, however, was unsuccessful.

Finally, August 23, 1494, Charles himself left Vienne and crossed
the Alps to Asti, where he fell ill. On his recovery he visited his
cousin, the deposed Duke of Milan, and his young wife, who were kept by
Ludovico in the castle of Pavia. The Duchess pleaded for her husband
and infant son and for her father and family, against whom Charles was

Shortly after the King’s visit the young duke died, and it was
generally believed that he had been poisoned by his uncle, Ludovico.

Charles had sent an ambassador, Philippe de Commines, to endeavour
to obtain the support of the Venetians, but they held aloof. The
envoy explained that the King desired their aid and counsel in his
undertaking; to which they replied that he was indeed most welcome,
but that they could not give him any help, as they were afraid of the
Turk--although they were at peace with him--and as to advising such a
wise King, and one who already had such able counsellors, it would be
great presumption on their part; nevertheless, they would much rather
assist than injure him. They were careful to talk and also act with
circumspection. “I believe their affairs are conducted more judiciously
than those of any other power or prince in the whole world,” concludes
Commines. As Venice would not assist him, it was necessary for Charles
to secure Florence before advancing into Naples. He therefore decided
to march through Tuscany, where he encountered no opposition, the
cities in many cases voluntarily opening their gates to him and asking
his protection.

The citizens of Florence were well disposed toward the French, hoping
they would help them to throw off the tyranny of Piero de’ Medici, who
refused to desert Naples. Charles therefore entered Tuscany and laid
siege to Sarzana, whereupon Piero’s courage failed, and he secretly
tried to make terms for himself. His situation had become so desperate
that he offered to give up Pisa, Leghorn, Pietrasanta, and Librafatta,
and he also agreed that the Republic should advance Charles a large
sum of money. On learning of this the Florentines became so incensed
that Piero fled and took refuge at the Court of Giovanni Bentivoglio of
Bologna and never returned. After a short stay in Pisa and Florence the
King set out for Rome.

At that time the French army was greatly superior to the armies of
Italy. Charles’s cavalry consisted of _lances_, each composed of a
heavily-armed man-at-arms and his three or four attendants; they and
their horses were well equipped. The great strength of the French
infantry, however, lay in the Swiss mercenaries.

The Italian troops were subjects of various states and were under the
command of their own captains and were paid by them; consequently
cohesion and discipline were entirely lacking in the armies of the
peninsula. The Italian foot-soldiers were inferior to the Swiss, who
were regarded as the best in the world. In addition to their heavy guns
the French had a large number of light brass field-pieces, which could
be easily moved about, and which threw iron balls, and were discharged
with considerable rapidity, while the Italian guns were so heavy that
they could be moved only by oxen and with the greatest difficulty;
their ammunition consisted of heavy stone balls.

In the fifteenth century wars the loss of life was
slight--notwithstanding the blood-curdling accounts of contemporary
chroniclers. The defensive armour was so massive that it was difficult
to kill a man, although it was comparatively easy to unhorse him.

War is a trade--in spite of the efforts of the advocates of brute
force to glorify it. Wars were usually brought about then by
adventurers bent on gain, as they are now, by the so-called captains of
industry--who control all civilised Governments--for the extension
of commerce, but always, of course, in the sacred name of patriotism,
which Dr. Johnson described as “the last refuge of a scoundrel.” The
leaders and the men in their pay fought for any state which hired
them, and they might at any time change employers. The famous Italian
captains played the game of war with great profit to themselves and no
little skill.

While the French troops were overrunning the Patrimonium Petri a body
of their cavalry under Monsignor Yves d’Allegre captured Madonna
Adriana Orsini, Giulia Bella, the Pope’s mistress, and her sister
Girolama, and great was the consternation of his Holiness; his anxiety
to secure the return of the ladies set all Italy to laughing and gave
the sonneteers an opportunity to display their wit, of which they were
not slow to avail themselves. The captain who made the precious capture
wanted to hold them for a vast ransom, “because the Holy Father would
give his very eyes to have them back”; but Charles surrendered them for
a comparatively insignificant sum, doubtless not valuing them as highly
as did Christ’s Vicar.

The Neapolitan troops retreated before Charles, who entered Rome the
last day of the year 1494; and Burchard describes in detail the manner
of his reception and how the populace greeted him with shouts of
“Francia, Francia! Colonna, Colonna! Vincola, Vincola!” Evidently they
preferred France, Colonna, and Della Rovere to Borgia.

All the great prelates then in Rome promptly paid their respects to
the King, the youthful Cardinal of Valencia among the number. While
the French were in the city they committed all sorts of outrages,
robberies, and murders. It was at this time that Vannozza’s house was
plundered, and on January 10, 1495, the Pope for his greater security
removed to the Castle of St. Angelo, accompanied by several cardinals,
including Valencia.

The following day the Holy Father and Philibert De Bressa, Charles’s
representative, concluded an agreement by which the Pope was to crown
the French monarch King of Naples and was to abstain from harming
the cardinals Della Rovere, Gurk, Savelli, and Colonna. It was also
arranged that the Pope’s son Caesar should accompany the King of France
as his hostage.

January 28th, after taking leave of the Pope with many expressions of
friendship, Charles departed. At the place appointed for Caesar to
join him the youthful cardinal presented himself with six magnificent
chargers, and they rode forth, Caesar on the King’s left. Two days
later news was brought the Pope that the Cardinal of Valencia,
disguised as a stable-boy, had fled from the King’s camp at Velletri.

When Caesar joined the King he had nineteen large chests, which were
supposed to contain his personal effects; two of the trunks were
brought back to Rome; the remaining seventeen were opened by the
King’s order after the flight of his hostage, and were found to contain
nothing--“at least, so I was informed,” adds Burchard, “but I do not
believe this.”

On his return to Rome Caesar spent the first night at the house of
Antonio Flores, Auditor of the Ruota--perhaps to give the paternal
anger time to cool. The following day the Pope sent his secretary, the
Bishop of Nepi and Sutri, to the King to disclaim all responsibility
for Caesar’s disregard of the agreement.

February 1st the city of Rome sent three envoys, Hieronymus Portius,
the Pope’s intimate, Coronato Planca, senior Consistorial Auditor,
and Jacopo Sinibaldi, Master of the Seals, to the King to recommend
the city to his care and to beg him not to be angry on account of the
cardinal’s flight.

At the time it was generally believed in Rome that his Holiness had
connived at Caesar’s conduct, but his right to give his son to Charles
as a hostage was also questioned. Caesar was then only nineteen, and
his flight was clear proof of his powers of dissimulation and of his
determination. Charles finally concluded to ignore the matter, and in
the course of a few days the young cardinal again appeared about the

About the time that Caesar took his unceremonious departure the Spanish
ambassadors arrived in Charles’s camp to renew the protests of the
House of Aragon, which was determined to assert its own rights to the
Neapolitan throne, and while at Velletri Don Antonio de Fonseca had
threatened Charles with war. These protests, which were the beginning
of the famous League of the Conservation, furnish a more reasonable
explanation of Caesar’s flight from the French camp than does the
theory of an earlier agreement between himself and his father.

The day the League was proclaimed in Rome--April 1st--a mob of
Spaniards attacked a body of Swiss troops belonging to the French army,
and Burchard intimates that Caesar inspired the assault in revenge for
outrages committed by the mercenaries. The Pope, to avoid the charge of
complicity in Caesar’s escape, sent him to Spoleto, where the promising
ecclesiastic awaited developments. Twenty days after Caesar left the
French camp Charles VIII. entered Naples as conqueror.

Ludovico il Moro now began to regret the alliance he had made with
King Charles, although by his coming he had been able to make himself
Duke of Milan. A league against France was solemnly proclaimed in St.
Peter’s on Palm Sunday--the Venetians having signed it March 30th--and
when Charles learned of the preparations that were being made in the
north of Italy to oppose him and that his ally the Duke of Milan,
throwing off his mask, had attacked the French vessels in the harbour
of Genoa, he became anxious for his own safety. He therefore arranged
for the occupation of the Regno, leaving a considerable force in the
conquered territory, and decided to return to France. He determined to
endeavour to detach Alexander from the league, and with this end in
view he set out for Rome. The Pope was his nearest and most dangerous
enemy; the King therefore was anxious to win him over and obtain from
him the investiture of the Kingdom of Naples.

Alexander, knowing that Charles was offended by Caesar’s flight and
by his own activity in the formation of the league, decided to avoid
him. Therefore, accompanied by Caesar and nineteen other cardinals,
he left Rome for Orvieto, where he arrived May 28th. In notifying the
people of Orvieto of his intended visit the Pope stated that he was
going thither to meet the King of France. When his Holiness left Rome
he placed Palavicini, Cardinal of Sta Anastasia, in charge of the city,
and directed him not to oppose the King in any way, and to show him
all honour and respect. The Pontiff’s escort numbered more than five
thousand men, including Greek mercenaries, archers, mounted and on
foot, courtiers, and servants.[14] The Pope sent to Montefiascone and
Viterbo for all the artillery, mortars, siege guns, and small cannon,
which he placed in the castle, together with the munitions of war
brought from Rome.

June 3rd an ambassador arrived from the Emperor Maximilian with a
retinue of thirty horsemen, and was escorted into the town by a number
of cardinals with a guard of a thousand men, horse and foot. The
following day an envoy also arrived from the King of France. It is
believed that the purpose of Maximilian’s embassy was to prevent the
Pope and the French monarch--who was persisting in his efforts to see
his Holiness--from coming to any agreement. While the diplomatists
were endeavouring to hoodwink each other Caesar was busily engaged in
putting the strongholds and castles in a condition for defence. The
evening of June 4th the Pope held a consistory, at which it was decided
to send Juan Lopez, Datory and Bishop of Perugia, to that city, whither
the Pope had determined to go, and direct the officials to make proper
preparations for the reception of his Holiness. It was said at the
time that it was the Pope’s intention to go from Perugia to Ancona and
thence to Venice to ask the aid of the Republic, rather than have an
interview with Charles.

June 5th the entire Pontifical Court set out for Perugia, and they had
no sooner left the town of Orvieto than a royal envoy arrived with
instructions to follow the Pope and see him at any cost. As soon as
the messenger learned of Alexander’s departure he left for Perugia. At
Toscanella his people were refused lodging, a fight ensued, and blood
was shed. At Santa Fiora the French learned that Guido Sforza was in
command of the citadel and they immediately took him prisoner, an act
due to their hatred of his kinsmen Ludovico il Moro, who had betrayed
their sovereign. In the meantime the Pope and Caesar had arrived at
Perugia, and thus avoided the meeting they feared.

Charles had entered Rome--June 1st--and had remained there only
over night. On the 5th he was in Viterbo, and thence he advanced
into Lombardy; he avoided Florence and refused to give up Pisa. He
reached Pontremoli and crossed the Apennines without encountering any
resistance, but found the armies of Milan and Venice, under the command
of Francesco Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua, lying in wait for him on the
other side of the mountains. After a brief struggle at Fornovo, on the
Taro, the King with his army of 10,000 men broke through the allied
forces of 35,000--who lost about 3,500--and escaped to Turin and
thence to France, where he apparently forgot all about his conquest of
Naples, for he left his Viceroy, Gilbert de Montpensier, to look after
himself as best he might. Immediately after the battle of Fornovo,
Ferdinand II. with a few Spanish troops surprised Naples and captured
Montpensier, and the French dominion in the Regno came to an end as
quickly as it had been established. Before leaving Italy Charles had
made peace with Ludovico independently of the Moor’s allies.

The danger passed, the inhabitants of Orvieto, anxious for the Pope to
return to their city, sent a delegation to request him to do so, and
June 21st he did return, but was so anxious to be back in Rome that he
remained only a day. The Pontiff, however, appreciated the strategic
advantages of the castle of Orvieto so highly that he made the town a
legation _a latere_ and appointed his son legate and governor for life.

[Illustration: ORVIETO

_From an early engraving._

            To face p. 98.]

The Pope’s letter announcing Caesar’s nomination is dated July 22,
1495, and is as follows:--

  “Beloved Sons etc. Having[15] for a long time known of your great
  love and loyalty toward us and that you desired us to appoint our
  beloved son, Caesar, Cardinal of Valencia, to be your protector
  and governor; and knowing that on account of his high character
  and especially his sound judgment, you can expect much from him;
  and being exceedingly anxious to comply with your wishes in order
  that you may know how great is our love for you we have decided
  to make him your governor for life and do so appoint him as you
  will see by the proper document under our seal. We do this the
  more willingly as, owing to the great love and affection he bears
  you, we are confident that you will be well governed and also
  protected; and that your affairs will prosper in all ways. On
  account of other matters which concern us he is not able to go to
  you immediately, consequently he sends in his place our beloved
  son, Giacomo Dracaz, etc. Given in Rome, in St. Peter’s under
  the Pontifical seal xxii July MCCCCLXXXXV, the third year of our

            “B. FLORIDUS.”

The reader may well wonder whether any one was ever deceived by such an

Caesar’s first act was to make certain appointments to office which
were beyond his authority, and when the fact was brought to his
attention he withdrew them, and apologised with a tact and courtesy
which proved the maturity of his judgment and character and at once
endeared him to the people of Orvieto.

Caesar concludes his letter:--

“In view of the tricks and shrewdness of certain men who have no regard
for the truth nothing is more difficult for those who are animated by
just intentions than to distinguish the true from the false. If in
future I should ever do anything contrary to your customs, statutes,
or privileges, know that I have been led into error by some designing
person, for I am only human and as such am liable to be tricked and

The cardinal of nineteen years signs himself _C. cardinalis Valentinus,
qui vos ex corde amat_.

Although the letter does not sound like that of a boy of nineteen we
must remember that children were precocious in those days and that
his training and constant association with astute men much older than
himself, who were concerned with the great interests of the age,
probably made him wise beyond his years.

The letter to the conservators is dated August 7, 1495; consequently
the Pope and Caesar had returned to Rome as soon as they knew that the
French army was engaged with the forces of the league.

It was about this time that Alexander conceived the great idea of his
reign--namely, to secure the definitive submission of the Romagnol
barons who had greatly troubled the earlier years of his Pontificate.
Caesar was only twenty years of age, and it is hardly probable that
he was of much help in this project, although he could not have been
indifferent to events about him--the collecting of men to strengthen
the papal army, the repairing and provisioning of the castles about
Rome, movements undoubtedly directed against the barons of the Romagna
now deprived of the support of both France and Naples, the latter the
victim of another war, caused by the determination of the Catholic
sovereigns to restore the throne of Aragon in the Regno.

At this juncture the Pope decided to strengthen the Spanish party
in the Sacred College; he accordingly at one creation--February
19, 1496--bestowed the cardinalate on four Castillians: the Bishop
of Segovia, the Bishop of Agrigentum, the Bishop of Perugia, and on
Francesco Borgia. The number of Spanish votes in the Sacred College was
thereby raised to nine, and a great protest was made in Rome.

Romagna, the Marches, and Umbria nominally belonged to the Papacy,
but in reality they were governed by certain powerful families: the
Orsini and Colonna near Rome, the Verano in Camerino, the Freducci
in Fermo, the Trinci in Foligno, the Della Rovere in Sinigaglia and
Urbino, the Baglioni in Perugia, the Vitelli in Città di Castella, the
Sforza in Pesaro, the Malatesta in Rimini, the Manfredi in Faenza,
the Bentivoglio in Bologna, and the Este in Ferrara. These families
Alexander determined to destroy, ostensibly to recover the territory
for the Church, but actually to build up a great principality for his

To carry out his design, however, the Pope had to find a reasonable
pretext, and this he readily did, for when the King of France came
to Italy the Orsini had entered into a treaty by which they were
to help him, although they had hitherto supported the House of
Aragon. Alexander could not have had a better excuse for crushing
them; accordingly June 1, 1496, in public consistory he had a bull
read declaring Virginio, Gian Giordano, Paolo and Carlo Orsini, and
Bartolomeo d’Alviano rebels and deprived of their estates for having
sided with the French and borne arms against the Church. Their ruin was
hastened by the surrender of Aversa, July 23rd, when Virginio, the
head of the family, was taken prisoner.

To carry out his plan the Pope summoned his son Giovanni, Duke of
Gandia, to Rome, intending to confer on him the office of Gonfalonier
of the papal forces, a position his elder brother, Pier Luigi, had
previously held. Giovanni was born in 1474; he was therefore two years
older than Caesar. In 1492 he had married Doña Maria Enriquez, a niece
of the Catholic Sovereigns, and he seemed destined for a great career.

When Giovanni reached Rome, August 10, 1496, the Cardinal of Valencia,
accompanied by the entire Court on horseback, went to meet him at the
Porta Pertusa, and escorted him in great state to the papal palace.

Giovanni found his sister Lucretia and his brother Giuffre married into
two of the great families of the peninsula and his brother Caesar an
enormously wealthy Prince of the Church.

So many benefices had been conferred on him that he was one of
the richest of the cardinals. At this time Caesar’s secretary was
Carlo Valgulio of Brescia, a famous scholar, who dedicated his “De
Contemplatione Orbium Excelsorum Disputatio,” a translation from
Cleomedes, to his master with the usual flattery.

Towards the end of October the Duke of Gandia was made Captain-General
of the Pontifical forces, and, together with the Duke of Urbino and
several of the Colonna, with all his men, arms, and machines of war,
set out for Anguillara for the purpose of seizing the estates of the

In less than a month they took ten castles, but during this time
Bartolomeo d’Alviano made a raid up to the very walls of Rome and just
missed capturing Caesar, who was hunting; the cardinal only saved
himself by flight.

Carlo Orsini arrived at Soriano January 26, 1497, with the troops of
Vitellozzo Vitelli, and after a fierce struggle the Duke of Urbino was
captured. In the fight the Duke of Gandia was slightly wounded in the
face. Fabrizio Colonna and the legate Pietro de Luna were forced to
flee to Ronciglione. The war continued for another month, and ended
with an agreement by which the Orsini promised to pay 50,000 ducats for
the return of the territory which had been occupied and to release all
their prisoners except the Duke of Urbino.

When the King of France had learned of Alexander’s activity against the
great feudatories of the Romagna, who had sided with him, he had sent
Carlo Orsini and Vitellozzo Vitelli to their aid with fresh troops.
One after another the Baglioni, the Della Rovere, and all who hated
Alexander and saw that the destruction of the Orsini would be followed
by the overthrow of their own power joined the Pope’s enemies. Only the
Colonna and the Savelli held to the Holy Father.

The Duke of Gandia was the hero of the _fêtes_ which followed the
termination of the war. He and Lucretia’s husband, Giovanni Sforza
of Pesaro, were selected to meet Gonsalvo de Cordova when he came to
Rome, March 15th, after the capture of Ostia, which Minaldo da Guevra
had endeavoured to hold for Giuliano della Rovere. The Holy Father,
however, continued to look after the interests of Lucretia, and
especially of those of Caesar, who was given a share of the spoils
wrested from the Roman barons. Next to Estouteville, Caesar was the
wealthiest of the cardinals, and it now began to be whispered about
that he intended to relinquish the purple.

In entering the Church he had merely yielded to his father’s wishes
and he had only the first tonsure. The ambassadors noted his dislike
for the Church; his instincts were those of a soldier; he was always
armed; he was attracted by war and greedy for power. Had he been the
eldest son he undoubtedly would have been made Captain-General of the
papal forces, for he had more energy, a stronger will, a livelier
imagination, and what is perhaps of even greater importance in the
egotistical scramble for wealth and honours, he had absolutely no moral
sense. In the great drama that was preparing he undoubtedly would have
promptly found his fitting part. He was as violent and overbearing
as his father, who had not dared to punish him when he fled from the
French camp.

Giuffre, Prince of Squillace, and his wife, Doña Sancia of Naples,
entered Rome in great state, May 20, 1496, by the Lateran Gate. The
Prince was then fourteen and his wife two years older. They were
escorted to the principal entrance of the Lateran Church by Caesar
and Lucretia, with a company of two hundred persons, including the
orators of all the powers, the cardinals and their suites, and numerous
citizens; here Giuffre, Sancia, and Lucretia dismounted and entered the
edifice; thence, after a short stay, they proceeded to the Apostolic
Palace, where from a window the Pope eagerly watched their approach.
His Holiness, attended by eleven cardinals--Caesar having now joined
him--received them in a great hall. Before the Pope’s footstool was
a low bench, on which was a brocaded cushion, and before this on the
floor, in the form of a cross, were four large cushions of crimson
velvet. Giuffre knelt before the Pope, who took the Prince’s head
between his hands, but did not kiss him. Sancia and Lucretia followed,
and were received in the same manner. Thereupon the Prince and his
consort kissed the hands of all the cardinals. This done, Giuffre took
his place between his brother, the Cardinal of Valencia, and Cardinal
Sanseverino, while Lucretia and Sancia seated themselves on the Pope’s
left-hand, and “all conversed for some time pleasantly and wittily,”
after which they took their departure. The next day Sancia and Lucretia
and a number of other women, to the great scandal of Rome, crowded into
and about the marble pulpit in St. Peter’s, from which the priests were
accustomed to read the gospel.

Sancia, brought up in the corrupt Court of Naples, was a bold and
perverse woman, who later became Caesar’s most determined and fearless
enemy; she was the only person who dared brave him. Older than her
husband, she despised and dominated him. It is said that she was the
mistress of both her brothers-in-law, the Cardinal of Valencia and the
Duke of Gandia, and also later of Cardinal Ippolito d’Este.

In a consistory held June 8, 1497, Caesar Borgia was appointed legate
to anoint and crown Frederic of Aragon King of Naples. Alexander had
consented to invest him with the Regno and remit the annual tribute
to the Church if he would make Benevento an independent principality
for his son, the Duke of Gandia, without feudal obligations. In secret
consistory the Pope secured the cardinals’ consent to the investiture
of the Duke of Gandia with Terracina and Pontecorvo.

Caesar was making extravagant preparations for his departure and Gandia
was completing arrangements to go with him to receive the investiture
of his new domains when an event occurred which changed the whole order
of things, and one which has continued to baffle historians--the
murder of the Duke of Gandia the night of June 14, 1497.


  The murder of the Duke of Gandia--Caesar departs to crown the King
      of Naples--He returns to Rome--The Pope’s projected matrimonial
      alliances for his children.

The most circumstantial account we have of the murder of the Duke of
Gandia is contained in Burchard’s diary,[16] and is as follows: “June
fourteenth the cardinal of Valencia and the Illustrious Don Giovanni
Borgia of Aragon, Duke of Gandia, Prince of the Holy Roman Church,
Captain-General of the pontifical forces, and most beloved son of his
Holiness dined at the home of their mother, Donna Vannozza, near the
church of San Pietro ad Vincola with their mother and several other
persons. The repast finished and night having come, Caesar and Gandia,
accompanied by a few of their people, mounted their horses and mules to
return to the Apostolic Palace. They rode together to a place not far
from the palace of Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, the Vice-Chancellor. There
the Duke, saying he intended to go and enjoy himself for a while before
returning to the palace, took leave of his brother, the cardinal, and
having dismissed all but one of the servants he had with him, _he rode
back_. He also kept with him a certain person who was masked and who
had come to him while at supper, and who for the past month had been
coming to see him almost every day at the Apostolic Palace. The Duke
took this person up on the crupper of his mule and rode off to the
Piazza degli Ebrei, where he left the servant he had kept, telling him
to wait for him there until the twenty-third hour, and if he did not
return then to go back to the palace. Having given these instructions,
the Duke with the mysterious person on the crupper, rode away from the
servant to some place--I know not where--and was killed and thrown
into the river.”

The servant left in the Piazza degli Ebrei was found there mortally
wounded and unable to give any information.

The morning of the fifteenth day, the Duke having failed to return
to the Apostolic Palace, the Pope became uneasy, but, assuming that
his son had gone to see some mistress and that he did not wish to be
observed coming away in the daytime, the father concluded he would
return that night; but Gandia failing to put in an appearance, the Holy
Father became alarmed and caused a thorough investigation to be made.

Among those examined was a certain Giorgio Sclavus, who made a business
of gathering driftwood along the banks of the river and who stated
that on the night the Duke disappeared he was guarding his wood when,
about the fifth hour, he saw two men on foot come from the Hospital
Sclavorum, along the public highway close to the river. After looking
about in every direction and seeing no one, they returned the way they
had come. Soon after two others appeared from precisely the same place
and did as the former couple had done, and, discovering no one, they
made a signal to their comrades. Immediately a man rode forth on a
white charger with a dead body behind him.

The corpse was taken from the horse and cast into the stream, whereupon
the rider asked, “Did it sink?” To which the others replied, “Signor,
si.” Then all disappeared whence they had come.

When the man was asked why he had not reported the crime to the
Governor of the city, he replied that in his time he had seen a hundred
bodies cast into the Tiber at this very place and no questions had been

Men were secured in the city to drag the river; a large reward was
offered for the recovery of the body, and about nightfall it was
found, fully clothed; even his purse, containing thirty ducats, was
untouched. On the corpse were nine wounds, one in the throat and eight
in the head, body, and legs, thus proving that the Duke had bravely
defended himself. The body was taken to the Castle of St. Angelo, and
subsequently to the Church of Santa Maria.

When Alexander learned of his son’s murder his grief exceeded all
bounds. For several days he would neither eat nor drink, and the
efforts of his familiars to console him were unavailing.

The Pope directed the Governor of the city to apprehend the murderers,
but in vain. Rome was filled with rumours. The Orsini were suspected,
so was Bartolomeo d’Alviano; even Lucretia Borgia’s husband, Giovanni
Sforza, was mentioned in connection with the crime. By those close to
the Pope Cardinal Ascanio Sforza was said to have been, if not the
perpetrator at least the instigator of the murder--he had recently
complained to the Pope of an insult he had received from Gandia.
Ascanio, when summoned by his Holiness, refused to obey until his
safety had been guaranteed by the ambassadors of Spain and Naples. When
he did appear, however, the Pope received him kindly and allowed him to
depart at his pleasure. Ascanio, nevertheless, believed it prudent to
leave Rome for a while.

It was also said that Antonio Maria Pico della Mirandola, inspired by
Ascanio, had committed the murder, and even Giuffre was suspected,
because--at least, so it was stated--Gandia had been unduly intimate
with his wife. In the effort to fasten the guilt on Caesar it was
said that both he and Gandia were rivals for Sancia’s favours, and
that, owing to jealousy, he had killed his brother. Burchard’s account
contains all that is known of the murder of the Duke. Suspicion finally
crystallised around Caesar, although the reasons for ascribing the
crime to him are so slight that it is amazing that historians have for
four hundred years laid the guilt at his door; we are not offered even
circumstantial evidence; the most that is adduced against him is a
possible motive, and there were undoubtedly equally strong motives for
him against the crime, especially if he had the astuteness we are led
to believe he possessed.

Even admitting he was potentially the criminal into which he later
developed, is it possible that he would have begun his career of
iniquity with a crime so monstrous as the deliberately planned murder
of his own brother? Caesar was then twenty-one and Gandia twenty-three
years of age. The latter may have received great honours at the hands
of their father, but so had the former. Caesar, a Prince of the Church,
of vast wealth, could look forward to a far more brilliant career than
could any mere princeling of Benevento. He must have known that even
the Papacy was within his prospects, and in that age what potentate in
Italy could compare with Christ’s Vicar? Although Caesar disliked the
Church the sacerdotal character of the cardinal was no impediment to
great temporal enterprises; like a cloak, it could be laid aside and
assumed again at pleasure; it was a distinct advantage, as Caesar must
have known.

There are men who are jealous of the success of all others, but they
are invariably weak characters, and no one can accuse Caesar Borgia
of weakness; even admitting he was jealous of Gandia, it is unlikely
that his jealousy was sufficiently bitter to induce him to plan the
murder of his brilliant and accomplished brother, whose talents and
advancement would surely contribute to the progress of all the family.
In that age, although there were determined family feuds and rivalries,
there was frequently a strong sense of family solidarity, and this the
Borgias possessed in an eminent degree.

Who was the unknown man in the mask who had been coming to see Gandia
at the Papal Palace almost daily for a month past, and who had even
called on him during the supper in Vannozza’s garden? Perhaps some
pander or low associate who had accompanied him during his debauches;
or if not this, a decoy sent by some enemy of the Duke or of his
family--and Italy was teeming with them.

If the murder was the work of some enemy, what would be more natural
than for the assassin to endeavour to turn suspicion from himself and
at the same time heap infamy upon the Borgias by launching the rumour
that the Cardinal of Valencia was the author of the crime?

It is clear that Gandia voluntarily went into the quarter of the city
dominated by the most determined enemies of the Borgia--the Orsini.
His personal attendant was found in the morning murdered, in the Piazza
degli Ebrei, where the Duke had left him. Evidently the man in the mask
had led Gandia into a trap, and then, after he had been dispatched,
had provided for the taking off of this henchman. When Gandia left the
servant he evidently thought he might not return that evening.

But how could the man in the mask have visited Gandia every day for a
month for the purpose of entrapping him, without the Duke discovering
it was a plot? Clearly Gandia had no suspicions whatever.

The whole affair is so mysterious that we are inclined to ask whether
Burchard’s statement of the circumstances is correct.

It is against all reason to suppose that Gandia would have ventured
at night unattended into the quarter of the Orsini with a strange man
behind him on his mule, unless he was going to keep an assignation, and
his remark to Caesar shows that such was his purpose.

If this assignation was only a plot to get him away from his own
people, who contrived it? Did Caesar? For Caesar to have arranged it
right in the stronghold of their bitterest enemies, a mass of details,
a planning, and a coincidence of events wellnigh impossible would have
been necessary. It is much more logical to suppose that those enemies
themselves planned it--especially as Gandia had been brought from
Spain expressly to crush the Orsini.

Again--we may ask--was the Duke playing false with his own people?
He had seen little of them, he scarcely knew them. Did he perhaps
fancy that he might rise more rapidly by casting his fortunes with
the enemies of the Pope than by supporting him? Was the mysterious
man in the mask the agent of some family or faction trying to win
over the Duke? Gandia accompanied this man apparently without even a
suggestion of fear into the enemy’s quarter. If he was concerned in
some conspiracy against his family and the Vatican, some obstacle in
the negotiations may have made his death and that of the bully left in
the square necessary to prevent exposure, even if it had not at first
been intended to murder the Duke.

If he was plotting against the Vatican, who were his
fellow-conspirators in the Orsini quarter? The affair seems to contain
more than a mere assignation, for if not why was it necessary to
dispatch the servant?

It was not long before accusations came from without, started perhaps
by persons who at a distance felt secure from the wrath of the Borgia.

February 22, 1498, Pigna, the Ferrarese ambassador in Venice, reported
that he had heard that Caesar had caused the Duke of Gandia’s death.
This was more than eight months after the crime; it was the first time
the charge had definitely been made; several of the Orsini were then
in Venice, and they would undoubtedly have spread the rumour, as the
Pope had endeavoured to cast suspicion on them. If they, however, had
brought about the Duke’s destruction, they would probably have gloried
in the deed.

The accusation once made against Caesar, it was repeated by Paolo
Capello in a relation of September 25, 1500, and also in the famous
letter to Silvio Savelli of November 15, 1501. This same Capello,
Venetian ambassador, wrote: “Every night the bodies of four or five
murdered men, bishops, prelates, and so forth, are found in Rome.”
Under Alexander VI. crime held high carnival in the Eternal City, as it
had under his predecessors.

The Pope did not receive Caesar--at least, publicly--for five weeks,
and the cardinal busied himself with preparations for his journey to
Naples to crown the King.

His Holiness seemed to have changed; he was constantly at work with
the six cardinals he had appointed to draw up plans for the reform
of the Church, and he declared in consistory that henceforth family
considerations and projects would have no weight with him.

At last he gave up trying to discover the murderer, and the conviction
became general that he, better than all others, knew who the guilty one
was. Alessandro Braccio, the Florentine orator in Rome, said in one
of his dispatches: “Whoever managed the affair had a good head, and
courage--and every one admits that he was a ‘master.’” This peculiar
attitude toward crime, which is merely a form of the unreasoned and
immoral admiration for success regardless of means still everywhere
prevalent, was especially noticeable in Italy during the Renaissance.
Machiavelli well illustrates it in his remarks on Giovanpagolo Baglioni
in connection with the expedition of Pope Julius II. to Perugia in
1505, for the express purpose of driving the Baglioni from their
domain. Although the Pope had a considerable army he entered the city
with only a small guard, in spite of the fact that Giovanpagolo had a
large force--and the “prudent men who were with the Pope commented on
his rashness and on the cowardice of Giovanpagolo, who might have won
eternal glory and at the same time have destroyed his enemy and secured
vast spoils, for the Pope was accompanied by all the cardinals with
their rich belongings. His restraint was not due to any goodness or
conscience, for he was a man who, in order to reign, had murdered many
of his kinsmen; and it was concluded that there are men who do not know
how to be great criminals or perfectly good--for a crime may possess
greatness and be to some extent glorious [_generosa_]. Therefore
Giovanpagolo did not know how--or better, did not dare--when he had
the opportunity, to perform a deed for which every one would have
admired his courage and which would have secured him eternal fame. And
he would have been the first to show the prelates how little respect
is due to those who live and reign as they do; and he would have
performed a deed whose greatness would have wiped out all infamy.”[17]

The Vice-Chancellor’s palace near which Caesar and Gandia parted on the
night of June 14, 1497, was on the Banchi Vecchi in the Ponte Quarter,
where the Orsini had four strongholds--Monte Giordano, Torre di Nona,
Tor Millina, and Tor Sanguigna. Besides the Orsini and their retainers
a large number of Jews dwelt in this part of the city.

June 16th Cardinal Ascanio Sforza sent his brother, the Moor, an
account of the tragedy, which agrees closely with that of Burchard. He
adds that Gandia’s mule was found near the house of Carlo da Parma.
Burchard’s narrative agrees with all those of the day. Many of the
Romans made no effort to conceal their joy at being rid of one Borgia,
and the satirists did not overlook the murder.

More than three years afterwards, September 28, 1500, the Venetian
Ambassador, Paolo Capello, definitely stated that Caesar was the
murderer; Capello, however, was not in Rome at the time of the

It may never be known who was the murderer of the Duke of Gandia, but
there is absolutely no proof that Caesar either instigated or planned
the assassination. Gandia was about to form an alliance which the
Pope believed--and Caesar must have been of the same opinion--would
materially strengthen the house of Borgia, and the power of the family
had not yet become so firmly established that Caesar would have been
likely to commit a terrible crime for the purpose of securing the sole
dominion for himself. He still had need of Gandia, whatever the future
might bring him. There certainly were numerous enemies of the Borgia
who would profit much more by the destruction of a member of the family
than Caesar could.

The kingdom of Naples was torn by discord; one faction supported
France, another Aragon; and in his brief appointing the Cardinal of
Valencia legate to crown the King, the Pope enjoined him to put an end
to the strife. Caesar’s mission was an important one.

Accompanied by a numerous retinue, the expenses of which were to be
borne by King Frederic, the Cardinal of Valencia left Rome for Naples,
and August 1st reached Capua, where he was received by the royal Court
with the highest honours. There he fell ill, and Giuffre and his wife,
Sancia, left Rome almost immediately to go to him. However, his illness
could not have been serious, for he crowned Frederic, the last of the
Aragonese rulers of Naples, August 10, 1497.

Caesar acquitted himself well, displaying a dignity beyond his years.
He was invested with special privileges for the occasion; the symbols
of the spiritual as well as of the temporal power--the flabel, the
sedia gestatoria, the globe, and the sword--were borne before the
Pope’s representative, who exerted himself to secure the goodwill of
the new sovereign, who invested him, as the representative of the
son of the unfortunate Duke of Gandia, with Benevento, the barony of
Fiumara, and the county of Montefoscolo.

August 22nd, to the great relief of Frederic, whose exchequer was
suffering severely on account of the entertainment, Caesar set out
to return to Rome; as he did not reach the city until the 5th of the
following month, he may have spent some time inspecting the estates
granted Gandia’s son by the newly-crowned King.

The morning of the 6th--says Burchard--all the cardinals who were in
the city went to meet Caesar at Santa Maria Nuova, and later all were
received by his Holiness, and the Master of Ceremonies adds, “neither
father nor son uttered a word, but the Pope, having blessed him,
descended from the throne.” In this circumstance some writers discover
evidence of Caesar’s guilt.

The Pope, accompanied by the Cardinals of Valencia and of Agrigentum,
with an escort of a thousand men, went to Ostia, October 17th, to spend
a few days. The large guard was made necessary by the proximity of the
Orsini. The Pope and his family were in grave danger, and now that
Gandia was dead who was to defend them? Giuffre was scarcely twenty,
and he had cast his fortunes with the House of Aragon; moreover, he
showed none of Caesar’s resoluteness.

At the coronation of the King of Naples the legate had used a sword
upon which was engraved the motto _Cum Numine Caesaris Amen_ and
_Caesar Borgia Cardinalis Valentianus_, and which is now in the
possession of the Gaetani family of Rome. All the engravings on the
blade represent scenes of war, and it is therefore reasonable to
assume that the cardinal’s dreams turned more to military glory than
to ecclesiastical honours, and Gregorovius says, “the allusions to the
Caesar of the Roman Empire show what ideas were already seething in
the cardinal’s brain.”

In November, 1497, the Spanish physician Gaspare Torrella dedicated
to the youthful cardinal a work on a loathsome disease which had
been spread in Italy by the soldiers of Charles VIII., and which
was in consequence called the “French sickness.” Caesar himself
evidently had suffered from it, for the author states that the world
owed the cardinal a debt of gratitude for subjecting himself to his
treatment.[18] A work by Sebastiano Aquilano of Padua on the same
subject was dedicated to Ludovico Gonzaga, Bishop of Mantua.

February 14, 1498, the body of Pedro Calderon, one of the Pope’s
familiars, was found in the Tiber, into which he had fallen, _non
libenter_, as Burchard says, a few days before. In this connection the
Venetian ambassador, Capello, writes: “and another time he [Caesar]
murdered with his own hand messer Pierotto, under the very mantle of
the Pope, so that the blood spurted up into the face of his Holiness,
of whom Pierotto was a favourite.” This account agrees with that in
the letter to Silvio Savelli. Sanudo’s report of the affair is the
same as Burchard’s, but he adds that Pierotto was “found drowned in
the Tiber with a young woman called Madona Panthasilea, one of Madonna
Lucretia’s young women and a creature of this pontiff’s--and the cause
is not known.” Early in the year 1498 it was rumoured in Rome that
Caesar intended to leave the Church. A letter written by Alexander
in August, 1497--less than two months after the murder of the Duke
of Gandia--shows that the Pope was already considering a plan which
implied this step on his son’s part. Caesar now seldom appeared in the
garb of a cleric; he went everywhere dressed in the “French style” and
armed. His tastes were altogether martial.

It appears that his Holiness was scheming for Caesar to marry
either the widow of King Ferdinand of Naples or Doña Sancia, his
sister-in-law, who was to be separated from Giuffre for this purpose;
later the Prince of Squillace was to be made a cardinal to replace his
brother, in order that the number of Spanish members of the Sacred
College be kept the same.

In this connection Sanudo says in his diary: “Giuffre, younger than
his wife, has not yet consummated the marriage (he is not sixteen),
he is not a man, and according to what I have heard Doña Sancia has
for some months been the mistress of the Cardinal of Valencia.”
Fifteenth-century chroniclers went into minute particulars.

Lucretia Borgia’s marriage with Giovanni Sforza had been dissolved in
spite of the husband’s protests. For her the Pope was planning a more
brilliant future than the insignificant Lord of Pesaro could offer and
his Holiness readily found a pretext for getting rid of him; in his
project he was assisted by both Ascanio Sforza and the Duke of Milan.
Although every one was against him, Giovanni did not submit tamely, and
he it was who launched the charge of incest against the Pope and Caesar
and his own wife--a charge which, whether true or false, has done more
than anything else to blacken their memory.

Lucretia’s formal divorce took place December 2, 1497. It had been
brought about by the Pope and Caesar purely for political reasons, and
it was now rumoured in Rome that she was to marry Alfonso of Bisceglia,
Sancia’s brother.

The Pope had asked King Frederic for the hand of his daughter Carlotta
for Caesar, but both he and the princess absolutely refused. In his
anxiety, however, to escape the Pope’s wrath he made one sacrifice and
consented to the marriage of Lucretia and Don Alfonso, Sancia’s younger
brother. This youth of seventeen came to Rome unattended by any pomp
and the betrothal took place in the Vatican June 20, 1498, and the
marriage the 21st of the following month. Lucretia was about a year
older than her husband.


  Louis XII. succeeds to the throne of France--His bargain with
      the Pope--Caesar prepares to go to France--He renounces his
      cardinalate--He arrives in Avignon, where he meets Cardinal
      Giuliano della Rovere--Louis XII. and Caesar meet--Caesar’s entry
      into Chinon--Duke of Valentinois--Caesar’s shrewdness--Charlotte
      d’Albret--Her marriage to Caesar--The projected conquest of
      Milan--Ludovico il Moro--The French army invades Italy--Caesar
      leaves France--He enters Milan with Louis XII.

Charles VIII. died April 7, 1498, and was succeeded by Louis XII., who
was endeavouring to secure from the Pope the necessary dispensation to
enable him to repudiate his wife Jeanne and marry his predecessor’s
widow, Queen Anne, whose dowry would include the Duchy of Bretagne.

The Pope, with his usual clairvoyance with respect to his personal
interests, immediately saw an opportunity to profit by the
circumstances, and he made a bargain by which, in return for his
dispensation, the King agreed to bestow the county of Valence--which
was to be raised to a duchy--upon Caesar, who was to renounce his
cardinalate. The King also promised to find him a princess for wife.
The Cardinal of Valencia was thus to become the Duke of Valentinois.
The King also agreed to give him a pension of twenty thousand livres--a
great sum for those days--and also to maintain a company of one hundred
men-at-arms for him. The bargain also included a cardinal’s hat for
the King’s Prime Minister, Georges d’Amboise, Bishop of Rouen, who was
always careful not to overlook his own interests.



_From an early engraving._

            To face p. 122.]

In addition the Pope and the King entered into an alliance, offensive
and defensive, the Holy Father agreeing to assist the King in the
conquest of the Regno, and Louis promising to aid Alexander to reduce
the rebellious lords in the Romagna and to re-establish the integrity
of the Papal domain. Thus did sovereigns play fast and loose with human
destinies. This vast intrigue developed during the first eight months
of the year 1498; and August 17th, in a secret consistory, Caesar asked
for a special dispensation to enable him to resign his ecclesiastical
offices and again become a layman in order that he might marry. On the
Pope’s promise that all the offices and benefices his son had enjoyed
should revert to the Sacred College, the cardinals promptly consented
to the dispensation. The same day Louis de Villeneuve, Baron of Trans,
representing Louis XII., arrived in Rome for the purpose of escorting
Caesar to France.

Sure of the cardinals’ consent, everything had been arranged in advance
for Caesar’s departure, even those who were to accompany him had been
selected. His gorgeous wardrobe, which set all Rome to talking, had
been prepared. The Baron of Trans had brought the patents of Caesar’s
new domain, and, accompanied by a numerous retinue, they set out for
Ostia October 1st “for the purpose of going to France by sea, and,”
Burchard adds, “I heard that he had a vast amount of money with
him and that several of his horses were shod with silver.” The new
Duke took with him 200,000 gold ducats, confiscated shortly before
from Pedro de Aranda, Bishop of Calahorra, who had recently--most
opportunely--been convicted on the charge of heresy--Alexander VI.
always endeavoured to pluck his victims and compass his iniquities
strictly in accordance with the forms of law. Three hundred Jews and
usurers, found guilty of various offences, had been imprisoned, but
their terms were commuted into heavy fines, the money going to swell
Caesar’s exchequer.

Louis XII. had promised to send a fleet of several vessels to Ostia to
conduct him to France, and it was expected about the end of August, but
it did not arrive until October 27th, when the new Duke embarked with a
hundred pages, servants, equerries, and retainers. Besides his horses
he had fifty mules and wagons to carry his personal effects.

In his suite were his secretary, Agapito, the famous Spanish physician,
Gaspare Torrella, and his majordomo, Remiro de Lorca, whom he
subsequently had beheaded in Cesena for fraudulent and oppressive acts
as governor of that place.

Six days were required to make the voyage to Marseilles, where Caesar
was received upon the quay by the Archbishop of Dijon. Thence they went
to Avignon, where the Duke met Giuliano della Rovere, the implacable
enemy of his family, who was compelled in consequence of his quarrel
with them to live abroad, and who was then residing at the Court of
France, although since August, when Ostia had been restored to the
cardinal, they had been on somewhat better terms. A month before
Caesar’s departure for Marseilles the Pope had written the Cardinal
San Pietro ad Vincola recommending Caesar to him, and Della Rovere had
replied in the friendliest manner. In one of his letters to the Pope he
said: “I cannot refrain from telling you that the Duke of Valence is so
modest, sensible, and capable, and endowed with such fine qualities,
both mental and physical, that every one is charmed by him. He is in
high favour at Court and with the King. All love and esteem him; it
gives me real pleasure to say this.”

In cunning and duplicity Della Rovere was a match for Borgia, and he
was waiting for a more favourable opportunity to destroy his enemy.

From Avignon Caesar went to Valence, the capital of his duchy, but
he declined to accept the honours which were offered him until he
was formally placed in possession of his State. Almost immediately
on his arrival there a royal messenger appeared and in the King’s
name presented him with the Order of St. Michael--an honour at that
time reserved for princes of the blood and the great nobles of the
kingdom--but Caesar declared he would accept it only from the hands of
the sovereign.

Benoit Maillard, Prior of the Abbey of Savigny, records Caesar’s
arrival in Lyons in November “with great magnificence in his apparel
and trappings.” The 7th of the month an extraordinary banquet was
given for Valentinois, and the account of the expenditures throws
a curious light on the manners of the day. The list of viands is
astonishing: 28 capons, 168 white partridges, 24 red ones, 192 ducks,
420 turtle-doves, 36 wood-cock, 144 peafowl, 120 pheasants, a round
of veal, a quarter of beef, 150 pounds of lard, oranges, vanilla, 2
_goneaux_, 18 quince pies, 18 English tarts, 18 _bride faveaulx_, 18
platters of minced meat fritters, 18 platters of _foub_, 18 platters
of lambs’ tongues in aspic, 18 platters of _mestier_, 18 _pâtés_ of
capon, 18 _pâtés_ of lark, 18 cream cakes, almonds, eggs, rose-water,
suet, quantities of cinnamon, candied orange-peel, annis, _pignons_,
colliander-seed, _mandrians_, sugar-plums seasoned with musk,
hippocras, ginger, nutmegs, cloves, sugar, malmsey, muscat, grapes,
plums, dates, pomegranates, &c.--truly a gargantuan feast.

Caesar finally met the King at Chinon, December 18th. Louis did not
wish to treat Caesar as the son of a sovereign, but at the same time
did not want to incur the Pope’s enmity by offending him; he therefore
hit upon the ingenious expedient of meeting Caesar by chance--under
pretext of going to the chase--about two leagues from the city gates.
There he greeted him warmly, even treating him familiarly, but did not
accompany him to the city, where he was met by the Cardinal of Rouen
and a brilliant escort representing the King.

Brantôme gives a detailed account of Caesar’s entry into Chinon.[19]
The Sieur de Bourdeille says he found the account among his family
papers written in rather crude verse, and that he rewrote it in
prose--_au plus clair et net langage_.

“First came M. the Cardinal of Rouen, M. de Ravastain, M. the
Seneschal of Toulouse, and M. de Clermont, who together with many lords
and gentlemen of the court accompanied the Duke on his entry as far
as the end of the bridge. Then there were eighty-four very beautiful
mules laden with trunks and chests covered with red cloth with the arms
and escutcheon of the said Duke. Then came twenty-four more mules with
trappings of red and yellow, the livery of the King, for these were his
colours; then followed twelve mules covered with striped yellow satin.
Then came ten mules covered with cloth of gold in stripes, first one
smooth and then one wavy.

“When all had passed the bridge they went to the castle.

“Then came sixteen magnificent coursers covered with red and yellow
cloth of gold, each led by a groom, and with Turkish bridles. These
were followed by eighteen pages each mounted on a handsome steed,
and sixteen of them were clad in crimson velvet and the other two in
crinkled cloth of gold. Then followed six lackeys, according to the
custom of the day, leading six beautiful mules harnessed and with
saddle and bridle, and with trappings of crimson velvet, and the
lackeys were clothed with the same.

“Then came two mules bearing coffers on their backs and all were
covered with cloth of gold--and the people in the crowd said that
these contained something more exquisite than all the others--rich
and precious stones for his mistress, and for others--perhaps some
bulls and fine indulgences from Rome, or perhaps some holy relics,
said others. Then came thirty gentlemen clothed in cloth of gold and
silver--but there were not enough of these, said the Court; in view of
the large number that had preceded them there should have been at least
a hundred, or a hundred and twenty clad in the French or Danish fashion.

“Then followed three musicians, two small drums and a violin--which
were at this time in great favour--just as the great lords of
Germany and generals of armies now have them when on the march. The
two drummers above mentioned were clad in cloth of gold and their
instruments were of silver and were provided with great chains of gold
and the said musicians went before the gentlemen named above and the
Duke of Valentinois, playing their instruments the while.

“Then came four trumpets or clarions of silver, the musicians being
richly dressed and playing continually. These were followed by eighty
lackeys clad in crimson velvet and yellow silk, who surrounded the Duke
and M. the Cardinal of Rouen, who was conversing with him.

“As to the Duke himself he was mounted upon a magnificent charger
richly accoutred with a robe of red satin and cloth of gold, with a
border of precious stones and pearls.

“On his bonnet were five or six rubies as large as beans which flashed
most brilliantly; on his cuffs were great quantities of precious stones
and even his boots were covered with gold and gems.

 ‘Et un collier, pour en dire le cas,
  Qui valoit bien trente mille ducats,’

so says the rhyme.

“The horse which he rode was covered with gold and jewels with pearls
and precious stones galore.

“In addition he had a beautiful little mule to ride about the city; and
its harness, saddle, bridle, and brest band were covered with rosettes
of fine gold as thick as one’s finger.

“Bringing up the rear there were eighty mules more, with red trappings
and the arms of the said Duke and also a great number of wagons laden
with other necessities such as camp beds, utensils, &c.

 ‘Ainsi entra, pour avoir bruict et nom,
  Ledict seigneur au chasteau de Chinon,’

“The King was at a window watching his arrival and there is no doubt
that he and his courtiers made merry over him and said that it was too
much for a little Duke of Valence.”

The château of Chinon had been selected for the Duke’s residence and
there the King, accompanied by Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, called
upon him. When the Duke was about to kneel the King restrained him; a
few words were exchanged and then the Cardinal of Rouen informed his
Majesty that Monseigneur, the Duke, had not yet dined, whereupon the
King replied: “Very well, then let his Highness go to dinner”--thus
ending the interview; Louis evidently was bored and not greatly
impressed. After dinner the King received Caesar and the following day
they took a walk together. A few days later the King went to Nantes to
meet the Queen and the marriage was celebrated. Caesar’s fopperies and
extravagance in dress caused general amusement and disgust and the King
and his courtiers ridiculed the “vain glory and stupid pomposity of
this little duke of Valentinois.” Louis, however, wished to use Caesar
in his schemes, consequently he was careful not to offend him.

The Duke had brought the King a letter from the Pope in which he said:
“In order that your Majesty may see how great is our desire to please
you in all things we are sending you our heart, that is our beloved
son, the Duke of Valentinois, and we beseech your Majesty to treat him
in such a way that all may know how dear this Caesar, whom I entrust to
your kingly good faith, has become to you in all ways.”

Thus far but one of the articles of the agreement between the Pope
and the King had been carried out. By letters patent, dated August
13, 1498, Caesar had been created Duke of Valentinois and he had been
received as such at the Court of France. The negotiations, however,
which were intended eventually to make him the heir to a crown had
failed. Louis had undertaken to secure the marriage of Caesar and
Carlotta of Aragon, daughter of the King of Naples, but Frederic
opposed it and the young woman herself absolutely refused to consent to
the union.

The brilliant entry into Chinon therefore was a fiasco, as Giuliano
della Rovere, in a letter dated January 18, 1499, informed the Pope,
who shortly after complained to the cardinal that the King had exposed
him to ridicule, as it was known everywhere that Caesar had gone to
France expressly to marry.

Caesar, however, had displayed the astuteness and cunning that never
deserted him, for when obstacles began to be interposed in the way of
marrying Carlotta he pretended that he did not have the dispensation
permitting Louis XII. to marry Anne of Bretagne.

The King, however, had been informed by the Pope himself that the
dispensation had been granted, consequently he had proceeded with his
plans and the decree of divorce had been obtained.

The political interests of the King of France in Italy were, however,
more important than the purely personal question of his marriage with
the widow of Charles VIII.; consequently it was greatly to his interest
to find some way to gratify the Pope’s wishes, therefore he made
another effort to overcome the opposition of Frederic and his daughter,
but in vain. Louis thereupon decided to substitute his own niece, the
daughter of the Count de Foix, but she, too, declined.

Caesar, however, treated the matter in a cavalier manner, saying that
if the King of Naples would have none of him because he was a natural
son, Frederic himself was also illegitimate, merely a king’s bastard,
while he himself--and he was proud of it--was the bastard of a pope!

Among the demoiselles who had come from various parts of France to
acquire the graces of the polished Court of the Queen was Charlotte
d’Albret, sister of Jean d’Albret, King of Navarre, and daughter of
Alain, Duke of Guyenne. While Charlotte was still a child she had been
placed under the care of Anne of Bretagne, and she had grown into a
beautiful young woman, gracious and intelligent, and Louis decided to
endeavour to bring about a union between her and Caesar. Alain, the
father, looked with little favour upon the proposed marriage, but the
political interests of the House of Navarre were such that he decided
to consent, provided, of course, he could drive a good bargain--for in
the days of chivalry fair women were exceedingly valuable pieces in the
great game of politics. Throughout the negotiations Charlotte’s father
showed himself to be cold, calculating, avaricious, and suspicious, but
as Louis felt that everything depended upon securing a wife for Caesar,
and as he himself was anxious to set out for Italy he granted all of
Alain’s demands. The negotiations were protracted, almost interminable,
but finally the marriage contract was drawn up at the château of Blois,
May 10, 1499, in the presence of the King, Queen Anne, the Cardinal
d’Amboise, Chancellor of France, the Archbishop of Sens, the proxies
of the Duke of Guyenne, and numerous other dignitaries. By its terms
Alain d’Albret was to give his daughter a dowry of 30,000 livres
Tournois. The marriage was celebrated May 12, 1499, and the bride
was said to be the most beautiful woman of France, while Caesar was
described as possessing fine features and a most elegant bearing; one
writer said that, like the Emperor Tiberius, he was the handsomest man
of his century. Charlotte d’Albret must have known that the marriage
was purely a political one. Burchard records that May 23rd a courier
arrived from France with a letter to the Pope from Caesar in which he
made a brutal confession with regard to his wife.

Charlotte wrote the Pope expressing filial devotion and a desire to
come to Rome to make his acquaintance--and she added that she was
very much pleased with her new spouse.

Alain’s daughter was the sacrifice and Alexander VI. and Louis
XII. were to reap the benefits. Among the documents containing the
negotiations with Alain d’Albret are some which clearly reveal their

The treaty made by the Pope and the King has often been published;
but the one under discussion when they were endeavouring to bring
about a marriage between Caesar and King Frederic’s daughter had never
been printed until M. Yriarte reproduced[20] the entire document
as an example of the duplicity which then marked all political
transactions--and, it might be added, which continues to characterise

“Minutes of an agreement between our Holy Father, the Pope Alexander
VI. and the Most Christian King:--

“1. In order that the Pope may appreciate the love which the King bears
toward him and his, the said lord promises His Holiness to marry Mgr.
de Valence to the eldest daughter of Don Frederic, with her express
consent, the said daughter being with the queen.

“2. In order that the said seigneur of Valence may have the necessary
means for maintaining his proper estate the King will give him, for
himself and his heirs in perpetuity, the county of Valence and Diois
which is estimated to be worth twenty thousand francs a year; and
in case it should not prove to be worth the sum named the King will
furnish him from some other source enough to make up the said sum, and
as the brothers of the said sieur de Valence are dukes and princes the
King will raise the said county into a duchy.

“3. He will give to the said seigneur de Valence one hundred lances,
maintained by France, both in time of war and in peace, for carrying on
his projects in Italy and elsewhere. The King will increase this number
with two or three hundred lances whenever it should seem to him to be
for the best.

“4. He will give the said seigneur de Valence an annual pension of
twenty thousand francs for his personal expenses.

“5. In case that the said King recovers his duchy of Milan he will give
the said seigneur de Valence his county of Asti for him and his, to
hold under the King in loyalty and homage.

“Item. He will give the said seigneur de Valence his order of St.
Michael; and in order that the King may be satisfied of the good will
of our Holy Father, His Holiness will place the said Sieur de Valence
in his service and will have him marry the person selected. To conduct
the affair more secretly and surely the King will, by the middle of
August, place six vessels in order in the port of Ciotat, Bishopric of
Aix, to bring the said Sieur de Valence and the legate whom the Pope
shall select to perform the requirements of the King. Item because ...
runs danger by the absence of Mgr. de Valence the King will send the
Pope a thousand men for his guard during his absence for which the King
will pay each month four thousand ducats which shall be paid the Pope
secretly by Mgr. the Cardinal of St. Denis, who is in Rome, and this
engagement shall be for three or four months.

“And in case the Holy Father should feel that this confederation and
agreement of perpetual friendship was endangered by any prince of the
league the King will give him letters patent signed with his hand and
sealed with his seal by which he will promise and swear to God and the
Virgin Mary to defend, guard, and protect His Holiness in temporal as
well as spiritual affairs.

“Item. Regarding the kingdom of Naples whatever the King may do, the
said seigneur promises to do nothing and determine upon nothing except
by the hand of His Holiness.

“Item. He will have our seigneurs the Cardinals ad Vincula and Gurk
return to Rome and the Pope agrees to treat them with all friendliness
and gentleness as his good brothers, of which the King shall assure
them, at the same time exhorting them to obey and respect our Holy

“All of which the King promises on his word as King to maintain,
observe, and keep, and in whatever concerns the estate of Mgr. de
Valence regarding the said counties he will have the same ratified and
agreed to by the chamber of accounts.

“And so far as the other articles are concerned the King will give the
Bishop of Cette and the Archdeacon of Chalais such private letters as
the Pope may wish and which will be sent with the memorandum, &c., &c.”

When news reached Rome that Caesar had received the coveted order of
St. Michael from the King there was a great celebration in the city
and bonfires were lighted by order of the Pope before the palaces of
Cardinals Orsini and St. Dionysius and also before that of Lucretia;
the evening of May 23rd the Spaniards indulged in an orgy which
Burchard says was a disgrace to the Pope and the Holy See.

From the secret agreement it is clear that the conquest of Milan and
the expedition against Naples had been decided upon. The King of
France, now sure of the Pope and Caesar, signed a treaty of alliance,
both offensive and defensive, with Venice April 15, 1499, which was
directed against all the Italian princes. The negotiations had been
kept secret from Ludovico il Moro; that prince _sans foi et sans loi_,
whose destruction was determined upon, was the last to learn of it. The
price the Venetians demanded for joining the league was the cities of
Cremona and Chiari. Although the Duke of Savoy was in accord with Louis
XII. he did not formally join the alliance.

Ludovico il Moro was the most hated man in Italy: he had betrayed
Florence, Venice, and the King of France one after the other; without
regard to the other powers of Italy he had treated with Charles VIII.
when the French first descended into the peninsula. Consequently when
he was again threatened he found himself without friend or ally.

Louis’s pretensions to Milan were based, not only on his inheritance of
the rights of Charles VIII. but also on the claims of his grandmother,
Valentina Visconti, and as he was also determined to recover Naples he
was wise in securing a strong place in the north. Before attempting the
conquest of Milan Louis renewed the treaties of Charles VIII. with his
neighbours. The Duke of Savoy gave him permission to pass through his
territory and promised him troops; in return for Venice’s assistance
Louis agreed to give her the two places she had demanded; the Pope and
Caesar had already been paid.

[Illustration: LUDOVICO SFORZA.

_From the woodcut in Antonio Campo’s “Istoria di Cremona.”_

            To face p. 136.]

The King dispatched his armies to Italy under the command of Louis de
Ligny and the Count d’Aubigny but did not immediately go himself.

Ludovico il Moro was attacked simultaneously by the French and the
Venetians, and as his own people hated him and his governors proved
false, he lost all his cities one by one and was reduced to the last
extremity and finally compelled to make his escape to Germany. When
the Gascon archers entered Milan, October 2, 1499, they shot his
statue--the work of Leonardo da Vinci--to pieces with their arrows.

Caesar was still in France but was preparing to come to Italy; before
leaving he gave his wife a power of attorney to enable her to act as
administrator of his new possessions, the Duchy of Valentinois, the
County of Diois, and all his seignories and property in the Kingdom of
France, and in Dauphiné.

Valentinois had lived with his wife from the last of April until
September, and early in 1500 Charlotte bore him a daughter, who was
christened Louise and who was destined never to know her father. The
Duchess of Valentinois never saw Caesar again.

Valentino may have returned to Italy with the King of France, for the
chronicler Jean d’Auton records that the Duke was among the great
lords who accompanied Louis XII. when he entered Milan, Sunday,
October 6, 1499.[21] The cardinals Delia Rovere and Amboise were also
present, together with the dukes of Savoy and Ferrara, the Marquis of
Mantua, the ambassadors of Genoa, Florence, Pisa, Siena, and Bologna,
and innumerable other high dignitaries. Baldessare Castiglione, who
accompanied the Marquis of Mantua, describes Valentinois as _molte
galante_. A month later when Louis XII. set out to return to France,
having left the government of the conquered duchy to Trivulzio, he
directed two of his captains, Yves d’Allegre and the Bailli of Dijon to
place themselves under Valentino’s orders. The former had a company of
three hundred lances and the latter four thousand Swiss and Gascons,
while Caesar himself had collected a considerable number of men.


  The first campaign in Romagna--Imola surrenders--Caterina Sforza,
      the type of the virago--Caesar enters Forli--Death of Cardinal
      Giovanni Borgia--Return of Ludovico il Moro to Milan--Caesar goes
      to Rome--His entrance into the city--He is invested with the
      Vicariate of Romagna--Delegates from Imola and Forli request the
      Pope to appoint Caesar Governor--Caesar is made Gonfalonier of
      the Church--His oath--Caesar’s physical strength--His personal

The campaign in Romagna had been decided upon and Caesar found himself
at the head of a thoroughly disciplined and well-equipped force of
about sixteen thousand men who were held in camp at Cesena.

Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, whose brother was assured Sinigaglia
by the betrothal of his nephew, Francesco, with Angela Borgia,
abandoned his kinsmen, the Riario, to their destruction. In a letter
dated October 12, 1499, the cardinal thanked the Pope for the proposed
marriage and promised to look after Valentino’s interests with the King
of France.

November 9th the army broke camp, Caesar taking the cavalry to
Piacenza, whence, accompanied by the Bishop of Tulle and a single
servant, he came quietly to Rome and remained at the Vatican with
the Pope until the 24th, when he rejoined his troops and set out for
Imola. Girolamo Riario’s wife, Caterina Sforza, had been given Imola
as part of her dowry and, her husband having died in 1488, she acted as
regent for her son Ottaviano. Of Caterina Sforza Gregorovius says: “The
grandchild of the great Francesco Sforza of Milan, natural daughter of
Galeazzo Maria and sister of Bianca, wife of the Emperor Maximilian,
she was the ideal of the heroic women of Italy who were found not
merely in the poems of Bojardo and Ariosto but also in real life. To
understand the evolution of such personalities, in whom beauty and
culture, courage and reason, sensuality and cruelty combined to produce
a singular organisation, we must be familiar with the conditions from
which they sprang--Caterina Sforza’s experiences made her the amazon
that she was.”

Shortly after her marriage to the untutored nephew of Sixtus IV.,
Girolamo Riario, Count of Forli, her father met a tyrant’s death in
Milan. Subsequently her husband was stabbed to death and his naked body
flung from the walls of the castle of Forli by conspirators. Caterina,
however, ferociously avenged the murder of her husband and succeeded
in holding his estates for her children. Six years later her brother,
Gian Galeazzo, died of poison administered by Ludovico il Moro. Finally
her second husband, Giacomo Feo of Savona, was slain by conspirators
in Forli, and the heroic Caterina mounted her charger and with a small
body of men pursued them to their lair and put them all to the sword,
with their women and children--thus she deserved Sanudo’s description,
“a courageous woman and most cruel virago.”


  _Towns taken by assault_
  _Towns surrendered_


She ruled her little domain with force and cunning; and later, when
she fell into Caesar’s clutches, few lamented her fate and Giangiacomo
Trivulzio cynically remarked: “She has now fallen into the hands of two
men who can satisfy all her desires.”

She was a woman of heroic character, such as the Renaissance described
as a virago, a term expressive of admiration, not reproach. The virago
corresponded to the man who possessed what the Italian called _virtu_,
which has nothing to do with virtue, but which comprises energy,
intellect, will, the sum total of attributes which enabled a man
successfully to cope with his adversaries--in brief, the qualities
most dear to the Italian heart of the fifteenth century.

When the Pope had declared that the lords of the Romagna, having failed
to pay the annual tribute to the Holy See, were deprived of their
possessions, Caterina Sforza set up the claim that the Holy See still
owed her a large sum of money which had been due her husband as Captain
of the pontifical army; she therefore announced that if they persisted
she would resist, and her first move was to send her younger children
and her jewels to Florence for safety.

Knowing in advance that her people, because of their hatred of the
Riario, would betray her, she retired to the castle of Forli and,
filling it with arms and munitions of war, calmly awaited the enemy.

When Caesar was still some distance from the city, delegates appeared
in his camp and offered to surrender the town to him without
resistance. The capitulation was signed November 26th and Valentino
entered the city the following day.

The castle independently of the town was defended by Dionigi di Naldo,
whose wife and children were held by Caterina Sforza as hostages in
the stronghold of Forli. Naldo held out for some time, but was finally
forced to surrender, and December 13, 1499, Cardinal Giovanni Borgia,
legate for Romagna and Bologna, received the oath of fidelity to the
Holy See, in the Church of S. Domenico in Imola.

The smaller places in the county of Imola having been captured
without difficulty, Valentino advanced against Forli, December 15th.
On learning of Caesar’s approach, Caterina, who had retired to the
castle, dispatched her brother, Alessandro Sforza, to urge the citizens
to resist, saying that she herself would fight to the last. They,
however, refused, and she took advantage of the last moments to send
her eldest son to Florence for safety. The citizens were determined
to surrender, and they so informed both the Countess and Valentinois.
The two commissioners--who never returned--had scarcely delivered
their message when she directed her artillery on the city and partly
demolished the town hall.

Caesar arrived before the gates of Forli December 17th, but refused to
enter as conqueror until the articles of capitulation had been given
him. Two days later he made his entry without opposition, the citizens
preferring him to their lord, Girolamo Riario, who had burdened them
with heavy taxes and administered the laws in the most partial manner.

The castle still held out and Caesar immediately began preparations for
its capture. On Christmas Day Caterina raised the flag of Venice, the
lion of St. Mark, to make the enemy believe that the republic was her
ally, but Caesar was not deceived.

After attempting to make a breach, Valentino decided to try to effect
an agreement of some sort, and for this purpose presented himself
before the walls, where the Countess herself talked to him from the
ramparts; but she refused all offers; the Duke made two other equally
unsuccessful attempts, and did not open fire until December 28th.

The Countess succeeded in repelling all his attacks until January 12,
1500. She was everywhere on the ramparts encouraging and directing
her men. When the outer walls were stormed, Caterina, before retiring
to the keep--the last resort--ordered all the supplies to be set on
fire, thinking thereby to compel the enemy to retreat, but it was too
late, for Yves d’Allegre and his French company succeeded in forcing
their way into the tower, and a Bourguignon, in searching the halls,
found the heroic Countess of Forli surrounded by a band of her faithful
people. Eager for the reward of twenty thousand ducats which had been
offered for her capture alive, he declared her his prisoner.

That same evening the Countess left the fortress with the honours
of war; she rode forth, mounted on her charger, between the Duke of
Valentinois and Yves d’Allegre, who conducted her and her maids to the
palace of the Numai.

Immediately after the capture of Forli, Caesar dispatched Yves
d’Allegre to secure the surrender of the remaining small towns, while
he devoted himself to reorganising the government of the conquered
territory. His solicitude for the proper administration of justice
and the prompt restoration of order at once won him the respect of
the Romagnols, and from Imola and Forli envoys were sent to ask the
Pope to appoint Caesar--who had declared himself to be merely the
representative of the Holy See--their Governor in place of the tyrant
he had expelled.

Caesar signed his first decree: “Caesar Borgia De France, Duke of
Valentinois, Count of Diois and Issoudun, Pontifical Vicar of Imola and
Forli,” and at the head of the province he placed Don Remiro de Lorca,
the Spaniard who had been his constant companion, and whom we shall
meet again.

After the capture of Imola, Cardinal Giovanni Borgia, papal legate
to Romagna, had gone to Urbino, where he suddenly died, January 14,
1500. In spite of the fact that seventeen days had intervened between
his departure from Caesar’s camp and his death, it was rumoured that
Valentino, actuated by jealousy, had poisoned him. Sanudo was the first
to attribute the Cardinal’s death to Caesar, but--as in the case of
the murder of the Duke of Gandia--there is not the slightest evidence
that he had anything to do with it. The Cardinal had been in Rome, and
on his way to Urbino had been seized with a fever from which he died.

Caesar readily consented that all the benefices of the deceased should
be given to his brother, Ludovico, who was made Governor of Spoleto.

The general hatred of the Borgia explains the facility with which these
rumours spread and the universal credence they obtained.

January 24th it was decided to set out for Pesaro the following day;
but in the night the Swiss mutinied, and the Bailli of Dijon went to
the castle where Caterina Sforza was held, and, declaring that it was
contrary to the rules of war to hold a woman prisoner, and that his
sense of honour was outraged, escorted her to the palace where he
lodged and refused to surrender her to Valentino, who intended to take
her to Rome and deliver her to the Pope.

The revolt lasted a day, and Yves d’Allegre, having been hastily
summoned by Caesar, returned in the evening, and Valentino, now sure
of being able to repress the rebels with the aid of the French and
the Spaniards, addressed the mutineers and threatened them with dire
punishment. It was finally agreed that the bailli should surrender
the Countess, “who shall be retained in the discretion of the King of
France,” and an understanding with the Swiss mercenaries was reached.

The evening of January 25th the army set out for Cesena, Caterina
Sforza, in a black satin gown and heavily veiled, riding between the
Duke of Valentinois and Monsieur d’Allegre.

At Montefiore, January 26th, news reached Caesar that Ludovico il Moro,
who had fled from Milan, had learned of the dissatisfaction of the
people under French rule, and, having gathered an army of 1,300 Swiss
and Bourguignons, was advancing on Como. Trivulzio, who had been left
in charge of Milan, hastily sent for Yves d’Allegre, whose withdrawal
from Caesar’s army terminated operations in the Romagna for a time, as
it deprived Valentino of his artillery, and left him with only about
five hundred cavalry and a thousand foot-soldiers.

In Milan the French were defeated as easily as they had conquered, and
the people displayed the same enthusiasm on the return of the Moor as
they had shown on his overthrow.

Caesar had left a small force to hold each of the towns he had captured
in Romagna, and he had placed five hundred horse, under the command
of Ercole Bentivoglio, conveniently situated to go to the aid of any
garrison that might be threatened.

Valentino, having with him the Countess of Forli, who had again been
placed in his charge on the departure of Yves d’Allegre for Milan, set
out January 30th with five hundred horse, and passing through Fano,
Urbino, and Spoleto, arrived in Rome February 26, 1500.

The Pope evidently wished to make the entrance of the Duke of
Valentinois--returning from his victorious campaign in the
Romagna--into the Eternal City as imposing as possible, for he
instructed all the Church dignitaries then in Rome to meet the
illustrious Caesar, with their suites. Several of the cardinals had
already gone to greet him at some distance from the city, and now the
orators of the various powers, the abbreviators of the Roman Curia, and
the secretaries rode forth to welcome him. The Duke entered the city
late in the afternoon, and was met near the Church of Sta Maria del
Popolo by the Church dignitaries.

First came a train of wagons laden with chests filled with the Duke’s
personal effects; then there were a thousand of his foot-soldiers,
Swiss and Gascons; these were followed by a papal escort of lancers,
with the flag of St. Andrew. Caesar followed, riding between Cardinal
Orsini and Cardinal Farnese, who had gone forth to meet him. They were
accompanied by a bodyguard of a hundred men clad in black velvet.
Caesar wore a black velvet cloak reaching down to his knees. Just
behind him were several flute-players wearing his arms, and then came
two heralds of his own and one of the King of France. After them were
the Duke of Bisceglia on the right and the Prince of Squillace on the
left; then the Archbishop of Ragusa on the right and the Bishop of
Treguier on the left of the orator of the King of France; then came the
Bishop of Zamora and the orator of Spain, who were followed by the two
ambassadors of Navarre, who engaged in an altercation with the orators
of Naples and England regarding the question of precedence--the former
lost and dropped out of the procession in a tiff. Then came the envoys
of Venice, Florence, and Savoy, who were followed by a great rabble,
who crowded and pushed so rudely that the prelates were unable to
secure their proper places.

The Pope had taken up his position in a room above the entrance to the
palace, and with him were the Cardinals of Monreale, Alessandria and
Capua, together with Cesarini and Farnese.

When the Duke reached the Vatican the Pope went to the Chamber of the
Papagalli with several cardinals, and when the doors were thrown open
Caesar and a great swarm of nobles and prelates entered. Valentino
advanced, and kneeling before the Holy Father, addressed him briefly
in Spanish, thanking him for the honours he had conferred upon him.
The Pope replied in the same tongue, “which I did not understand,” says
Burchard. Thereupon the Duke kissed the Pope’s feet and right hand, and
his Holiness kissed his son on the lips. Then such of the nobles who
desired to do so kissed the Pontiff’s feet. Sanudo says the Holy Father
was so overjoyed at the return of his son, that he laughed and wept at
one and the same time, and that he would not grant any audiences that

The Master of Ceremonies describes the decorations of the Castle
of St. Angelo and the pageants and festivities at great length,
and “never before had I beheld such extravagance and display,” he
concludes. February 27th, the day after Valentino’s arrival, there was
a magnificent pageant representing the “Triumph of Julius Caesar,”
in which there were eleven cars, the last bearing the Roman Emperor.
The procession went to the palace, where the car of Julius Caesar was
left, whence some writers have concluded that Valentino took the part
of the Emperor. Burchard says that Caesar rode on horseback from the
palace to the Agona quarter, where the festivities of the citizens were
held according to their custom. The games, which included races of
horses, asses, bulls, buffaloes, lasted until March 5th, when Caesar
began to pay his calls on the cardinals. He went unaccompanied by any
of the Church dignitaries, but had with him a few of his officers and
a military escort of a hundred men clad in black velvet. He displayed
his usual tact, and surprised the cardinals by always allowing them the
place of precedence.

Caesar had brought his prisoner, Caterina Sforza, to Rome, but the
story that he compelled her to grace his triumphal entry into the
Eternal City is undoubtedly false, because, had he done so, Burchard,
who chronicles the most insignificant details regarding his entry,
would certainly have mentioned her, and he does not refer to the
Countess. The stories of her having been led through the streets
of Rome with golden chains on her wrists were probably picturesque
inventions of the enemies of the Borgia.

When the Countess was confined in the Belvedere she made an
unsuccessful attempt to escape, whereupon Alexander had her removed
to the Castle of St. Angelo, from which, on the expiration of about
eighteen months, she was liberated, owing to the intervention of
certain French gentlemen, especially of Yves d’Allegre. His Holiness
gave her permission to go to Florence, and commended her to the Signory
in a letter which is a masterpiece of hypocrisy. In it he refers to our
“beloved daughter in Christ”; “we have,” he says, “not only exercised
mercy with respect to this Caterina, but also, so far as we were
able, with God’s help, have looked with paternal solicitude after her
welfare”--and more of the same sort.

In Florence Caterina Sforza married Giovanni de’ Medici, and, dying in
1509, left a son of the same mettle as herself, the famous Giovanni of
the Black Bands, the last of the great condottieri.

March 15, 1500, Alexander signed a bull investing Caesar with the
vicariate of Romagna, seventeen cardinals concurring in his action.
When his Holiness had held the consistory to find ways and means for
securing money for recovering the Church domain, which was being held
by the great lords who refused to pay tribute and acknowledge the
Pope’s authority, it was for the purpose of restoring the territory to
the Holy See.

Twice delegations had come from Imola and Forli to ask Alexander to
sign the agreement made by these cities to have the Duke of Valentino
for their governor. Had the Pope needed an excuse for handing this
territory over to his son, he could not have had a better one. The
cardinals readily yielded to the persuasions of Alexander and Caesar.
To render the transaction perfectly legal, the Riario were formally
deprived of their domain by a decree of the camerlengo for having
failed for a number of years to pay the tribute to the Holy See--a
thousand gold florins for Forli, two hundred for Imola, and two silver
cups for Mauri.

Caesar signed the agreement, March 15, 1500, with the citizens of
Imola, by which he promised to govern them with justice and mercy; to
maintain them in peace, and defend them in time of war; to preserve
their communal rights and restore those usurped by Count Girolamo
Riario and his successors. The great seal which the document bears
has the bull of the House of Borgia and the three bands azure of the
family of Doms, quartered with the lilies of France. Caesar signs as
lieutenant of the King.

Alexander had his son invested with the office of Gonfalonier and
Captain-General of the Church, March 29th, in the Church of St. Peter,
himself bestowing the insignia of the office--the biretta, the baton,
and the gonfalon--on Caesar.

The ceremony is described by Burchard in detail. The Duke was clad in
a doublet of brocaded gold velvet, with large pearls for buttons; on
his head he wore a scarlet velvet cap. The biretta of investiture,
according to the Master of Ceremonies, was of the height of two palms,
bordered with ermine, and embellished with four large pearls; on top
was a dove, fashioned also of pearls.

Caesar received the baton and the gonfalon as his unfortunate brother
the Duke of Gandia had before him. The Pope in blessing the standard
repeated the prescribed formula, and then, after performing the
necessary rites, Caesar came forward, removed his biretta, knelt before
his father, and in a firm voice repeated the solemn words:--

“I, Caesar Borgia of France, Duke of Valentinois, Gonfalonier and
Captain-General of the Holy Roman Church, swear now and henceforth
to be faithful and obedient to the Blessed Peter and to you, my most
holy Master, Alexander VI., Pope, and to your legally constituted
successors. Never by deed or word will I enter into any conspiracy to
destroy or injure you, or to imprison you by treachery, in short to lay
violent hands on you or your successors in any manner whatsoever, or to
do you any violence under any pretext whatsoever. The commissions which
you or your successors entrust to me either directly by messenger, or
by letter, will be disclosed to no one, and no one will receive from
me any advice which could turn to your disadvantage or to that of
your successors. I will aid you, and those who shall come after you,
to preserve and defend the Pontifical State and the royal rights of
St. Peter against any and all enemies; I will honour the legate of
the Apostolic See on his coming and on his going, and I will lend him
my aid when he shall have need of it; I shall take care to preserve,
defend, augment, and extend the rights, honours, privileges, and
authority of the Roman Church under you and your successors; I will
take no part in any projects, acts, or treaties which might cloak any
criminal design or enterprise prejudicial to you or your successors,
or finally to the Roman Church; and if I should learn that any such
project has been arranged or is under way I will use all my strength to
prevent it, and as promptly as possible; and I will inform you or your
said successors or some one who may inform you of it in my stead. So
help me God and the Holy Angels!”

The Duke remained kneeling before the Pope, who handed him the
standard. Thereupon the golden rose was brought to the Pope, who
presented it to Caesar, who was still kneeling, with the following

“Receive this rose from our hands, from the hands of him who, however
unworthy, holds the place of God on earth. It signifies the joy of
the two Jerusalems--that is, of the Church triumphant and the Church
militant--and to the faithful in Christ it symbolises the admirable
flower which is the joy of all the saints, and constitutes their crown.
Receive it therefore, dear son, thou who art noble in all time, and
who art endowed with so many virtues; receive it in order that you may
still further grow in virtue through Christ, our Lord, like the rose
that flourishes on the banks of the streams with abundant waters; and
may Christ, our Lord, deign to grant you His grace, and in His infinite
mercy may you be blessed by Him who is Three in One in the centuries of
centuries. Amen!”

The Duke received the rose, kissed the Pope’s hand and foot, and
Burchard, who conducted the ceremony, placed the toque of the
gonfalonier on Caesar’s head. Thus the hypocritical performance ended,
and Caesar, with a number of the cardinals, accompanied the Pope to the
Curia, where he took leave of his father.

Caesar’s first act as Governor of Imola was to appoint Giovanni
Olivieri, Bishop of Isernia, his lieutenant, April 10, 1500, and a few
days later he empowered him to receive the oaths of allegiance of his
new subjects in his stead. All Caesar’s official letters at this time
are countersigned Agapitus--Agapito Gerardino of Amelia, his first
secretary, who remained with him throughout his career. Valentino
immediately turned his attention to reorganising the government of the
conquered territory and to providing for the administration of justice.

The return of Ludovico il Moro to Milan did not prove a serious
obstacle to Caesar’s plans, for he was completely defeated by the
French, under Louis de La Trémoille, at Novara, April 10, 1500, and
taken prisoner to France, where he died on being released ten years
later--it was said--of sheer joy.

Bull-fighting had been introduced into Italy by the Spaniards in the
time of Calixtus III., and June 24, 1500, Caesar gave an exhibition of
his prowess by dispatching a number of bulls in the open space back
of St. Peter’s. He entered the arena armed with only a short sword
and killed five of the bulls, the last with a single stroke of his
weapon, which excited much enthusiasm among the people and secured
him a reputation for great physical strength. The event is described
more fully by Capello, the Venetian ambassador, than by Burchard. The
orator adds: “Caesar is twenty-seven years of age, handsome of figure,
tall, and well formed; he is most regal and extravagant--which greatly
displeases the Pope; if he lives he will be one of the great captains
of Italy.” His generosity was such that it was described as _liberalita
cesarea_, and his Court was thronged with soldiers, artists, and men of
letters, though we look in vain for any great name among them. The men
of letters were mostly mediocre rhymesters and Latinists whose works
have been consigned to oblivion.

It is hardly to be supposed that an Italian condottiere of twenty-seven
years, engrossed with the actualities of life, fascinated by a dream of
vast power, could take very much interest in the arts. Although Michael
Angelo, Garofalo, Bramante, and Antonio di Sangallo were in Rome at
this time, the efforts of Caesar’s eulogists to find in this, and other
similar circumstances, enhanced glory for the young adventurer should
not be taken too seriously.

He undoubtedly had relations with Leonardo da Vinci, as he availed
himself of the artist’s services as an engineer in remodelling certain
fortresses and designing machines of war. Vasari says that Pietro di
Cosimo, the Florentine artist, who died in 1521, painted many portraits
of distinguished persons in Rome, “including those of Virginio Orsini,
and Roberto Sanseverino, and also that of the Duke Valentino, son of
Pope Alexander VI., which portrait is now lost as I know, although
the artist’s preliminary sketch is in the possession of Cosimo


  Murder of Alfonso of Naples, Duke of Bisceglia--The second campaign in
      Romagna--Pesaro surrenders--Caesar’s private life--Pandolfaccio
      Malatesta gives up Rimini--Astorre Manfredi--Faenza’s brave
      resistance--The Pope threatens Bologna--Faenza surrenders--
      Caesar returns to Rome--Astorre Manfredi flung into prison--
      Giovanni Bentivoglio--Giuliano and Piero de’ Medici--Caesar’s
      agreement with Florence--Piombino invested--Caesar returns
      to Rome--Coalition of the Pope and the King of France for the
      destruction of the House of Naples--Yves d’Allegre comes to Rome--
      Berault Stuart, Commander of the French Army, enters the city.

Alexander VI. nearly lost his life in an accident which occurred in
the Vatican, June 27, 1500, when the ceiling of a room fell down and
he was buried in the rubbish, from which, however, he was finally
extricated, having received only a few scratches. His escape, according
to his Holiness, was due to the Blessed Virgin Mary; solemn thanks were
therefore rendered her July 2nd. She, however, did not interfere about
two weeks after Alexander’s providential escape to prevent the brutal
murder of Lucretia Borgia’s second husband, Alfonso of Naples, Duke of

Early in the evening, July 15th, Alfonso was attacked at the entrance
to St. Peter’s by several armed men and wounded in the head, the right
arm, and the leg. The ruffians, about forty in number, ran down the
steps of the church, hastily mounted their horses, and escaped by the
Pertusa Gate. Such is Burchard’s account of the affair.

The orator of Naples adds: “And the prince ran to the Pope and told him
that he had been attacked and wounded, and Madonna Lucretia, who was
with the Pope, fainted.” Alfonso was placed in a room in the Vatican,
and his wife and his sister, Sancia, consort of the Pope’s son Giuffre,
Prince of Squillace, took entire care of him, even cooking his meals
themselves for fear of poison, owing to Valentino’s hatred of him. The
Pope had him guarded by sixteen men, fearing the Duke might murder him.
Only on one occasion, when the Pope went to see Alfonso, did Caesar
accompany him, and then he was heard to remark to his father, “What
is not finished at dinner may be finished at supper.” When the orator
asked the Pope about the affair his Holiness told him that Valentino
said, “I did not attack Alfonso, but if I had done so, it would have
only been what he deserved”; but one day--August 17th---Caesar
entered the wounded man’s room, drove Lucretia and Sancia out, and
ordered Don Michele to strangle the youth, and that night the body was
buried--a murder so cold-blooded that all Rome was horrified, though
no one dared mention it openly. Finally Valentino admitted that he had
caused Alfonso’s death because he feared the Duke would murder him.
Such is Capello’s account. Burchard adds that Alfonso’s physicians and
attendants were arrested and examined but immediately set at liberty,
as there was no doubt of their innocence.

Alfonso, sacrificed by his father for political reasons, had married
Lucretia, and when the plans of Alexander and Caesar required his
elimination she was unable to save him. He had been frequently warned
by his friends that Rome was a dangerous place for him. Caesar hated
the House of Aragon, and he had derived no greater profit from his
sister’s marriage with Alfonso than he had from her former union with
Giovanni Sforza of Pesaro. Valentino apparently had another alliance
in mind for his sister which he hoped would prove more advantageous to

As a son had been born to Lucretia and Alfonso, the marriage could
not be set aside as easily as the former had been; therefore heroic
treatment was necessary. When the war broke out in Milan Alfonso left
Rome, and he returned only on the urgent solicitations of his wife
and the Pope, his fears having been somewhat allayed by the warm
congratulations which Caesar had sent him on the birth of his son.

In a dispatch of July 19th the Venetian ambassador says: “It is not
certain who wounded Alfonso, but it is said to have been the same
person who killed the Duke of Gandia!”

Burchard merely records: “Alfonso was strangled in his bed about the
nineteenth hour, and in the evening, about the first hour of the night,
the body was carried to the basilica of St. Peter, accompanied by
Francesco Borgia, Archbishop of Cosenza, and his household.”

Various reasons have been adduced to explain Caesar’s hatred of his
sister’s husband. It has even been said that Caesar wished to have
him out of the way in order that he himself might enjoy her favours;
however, although this charge and others equally hideous, which
were made at the time, are no longer believed, they show to what
extremes calumny would go in those days and how ready chroniclers and
historians, inspired by hate, were to repeat slanders; but they also
show the execration and abhorrence in which the Borgias were held.

There was a Neapolitan party in Rome, and Alfonso may have been a
member of it; his sister Sancia was the wife of Giuffre, Caesar’s
brother, and probably the latter’s mistress. Subsequently she and
Valentino became bitter enemies, and she was the only person about the
Vatican who dared oppose him in anything.

All Rome, prelates, citizens, Lucretia, Giuffre, the Pope himself
seemed afraid of Caesar. Of the Pope it was said that he both loved and
feared him--_ama ed ha paura_. Valentino, hating the House of Naples,
and especially Sancia, whose strong nature and unprincipled character
clashed with his own, could easily bring himself to compass the death
of her brother because it would also leave his sister free for him
to marry her into some powerful family which would prove of great
assistance to him in his far-reaching projects.

Lucretia and Alfonso, whom his contemporaries described as one of
the handsomest men in Italy, apparently loved each other. She had
been greatly distressed when he fled from Rome, and had begged him
to return. On his death Lucretia, who was wholly without will and
character, who had none of the traits of the virago, such as Caterina
Sforza possessed, retired to Nepi for a time.

In speaking of the prompt release of Alfonso’s physicians and
servants, “because they were innocent,” Burchard adds the significant
remark, “as those sent to arrest them knew perfectly.”

The attack on the Duke of Bisceglia evidently was well planned, and he
was subsequently strangled within the very walls of the Vatican. The
servants and physicians were immediately exonerated. Who, then, was
responsible for the murder?

All the chroniclers, historians, and ambassadors either openly or by
implication charge Caesar with the crime. According to the standards
of that perfidious and brutal age, he had ample grounds for the
murder--grounds based on both personal hatred and on political ambition.

The conquest of Romagna was intimately connected with the aims of the
King of France with respect to Naples, and Alfonso was an obstacle
in Caesar’s path. The Neapolitan House had refused Valentino one of
its daughters for wife, and he had married a French princess; the
destruction of the Aragonese family was therefore the logical sequel.

When Alfonso of Bisceglia was murdered, Lucretia was only twenty years
of age; she was beautiful and wealthy, and had powerful kinsmen and
a considerable domain of her own; it would be a comparatively easy
matter, in view of these attractions, to find her another husband in
one of the great families of the peninsula, who would be of help to
Alexander and Caesar in subjugating Romagna, and in any other ambitious
projects they might evolve.

Alfonso of Bisceglia was useless to such practical men as Valentino
and his father; he was honest, gentle, and weak, and such men had even
less place in the swift movement of the Renaissance than they have in
modern politics and industry, and he had to be removed.

Alexander perhaps recognised his own blood in Caesar, and discovered
in him the same cynical contempt for all laws, human and Divine, that
he himself felt. If he had any horror of his son’s deed, it was not
of long duration, for Capello, wrote in September, a month after the
murder: “The Pope is daily growing younger; his greatest sorrows pass
in a night; he is of a most cheerful disposition, and never undertakes
anything but what promises to turn to his own profit; all his thoughts
are directed to a single end--to make great personages of his
children--to all else he is indifferent.”

Efforts have been made to place the responsibility for the murder of
Alfonso on the Sanseverini, who were robbed of the Principality of
Salerno in order that it might be given the prince; and on the Gaetani,
who had been despoiled of the Duchy of Sermoneta that it might be
bestowed on Alfonso’s infant son, Rodrigo. However, neither of these
families, who must also have had their enemies, was ever charged with
the crime by their contemporaries, and had Caesar and Alexander ever
suspected either of them, they certainly would not have treated the
affair with such indifference. The only one charged with it at the time
was the Duke of Valentino.

An ingenious eulogist of the Borgias has suggested that the strangling
in the Borgia tower, which was doubtless reported by Lucretia or
Sancia, was no strangling at all, but probably tetanic convulsions
due to infected wounds caused by the daggers--poignards usually being
cleaned in the earth; he, however, neglects to explain away the attack
when the daggers were used two weeks before.

Early in July the Pope had placed the ban on Faenza, on the ground
that Astorre Manfredi had refused to pay the tribute; the reduction of
Faenza and Rimini, therefore, was decided upon by the Pope and Caesar.
By his ambassador, Villeneuve, Louis XII. sent his consent for the
undertaking, and also his promise to help as far as he was able. In
addition the Venetian ambassador assured the Vatican of the neutrality
of his Government.

Valentinois had formed an army which he was holding in Umbria, in order
that it might be near at hand to be used to destroy the Colonna, who
were allies of Federigo of Naples, or for the operations in Romagna.

According to the statement of the Venetian orator, the King of France
was to furnish six hundred men-at-arms and the same number of Swiss,
in case it should be necessary to crush the Bentivoglio of Bologna,
who might attempt to aid their kinsmen in Faenza, Rimini, and Pesaro.
On the advice of the King they had withdrawn their protection from the
Malatesta and the Manfredi.

When the letter of the Signory was delivered by the ambassadors,
Capello and Giorgi, the Pope was so delighted that in spite of his
promise to keep it secret, the whole palace knew of it at once, and the
same night a great banquet was given in celebration of the event.

When Valentino was ready to set forth on the second campaign for
the conquest of Romagna, he had about ten thousand soldiers, partly
enlisted by himself and partly by Paolo Orsini and Giampaolo Baglioni,
who were waiting for him and his army in Perugia.

Caesar’s departure from Rome having become known, October 5th,
Pandolfo Malatesta sent his wife and children to the Court of his
brother-in-law, Giovanni Bentivoglio, in Bologna, and fortified himself
in the castle of Rimini, knowing he could no longer count on the help
of Venice.

To secure funds for the second campaign in Romagna, Alexander created
twelve cardinals, charging each of them one-tenth of the ecclesiastical
revenues. To this was added the plunder derived from the Gaetani and
other Roman nobles, and large sums were borrowed from the great banker
Agostino Chigi. This was one of the worst scandals of Alexander’s
reign. At this creation two members of the Borgia family were made
cardinals--Francesco of Sueca and Pier Luigi, the Pope’s nephew. All
the cardinals except the last paid well for the dignity. The Bishop
of Catania paid the highest--the enormous sum of 25,000 gold ducats;
Louis, Bishop of Acqui, and Jacobus, Archbishop of Oristano, paid 5,000
each; while D’Albret, Caesar’s brother-in-law, was charged ten thousand.

It is Burchard himself who gives the amount each cardinal was required
to pay. This creation was entirely political. Caesar had found that
he needed money for his undertakings, and he had enjoined the Sacred
College to ratify the nominations, and he had fixed the prices himself.

September 26th Capello wrote the Signory: “I understand that orders
have been given so that--the cardinals having been selected--the
Duke of Valentinois may set out in two or three days, provided the
astrologers say that the moment is favourable.”

The Holy Father, by the agreement with the King of France, was to help
Louis in case he decided to undertake the conquest of Naples, and the
King was to aid Caesar, to whom he now sent a considerable force under
Yves d’Allegre.

Caesar’s foot-soldiers were clad in red and yellow doublets with his
insignia, and were armed with short pikes and swords and casques of
iron. They were well drilled, and far superior to the earlier troops,
which had been little more than poorly armed mobs.

The army set forth the last of September, and it soon became known that
it was Caesar’s intention to drive Giovanni Sforza from Pesaro, and the
last of the Malatesta from Rimini. Sforza was a military commander of
no little reputation, and he decided to resist. He first endeavoured to
secure the help of his former wife’s brother, Francesco Gonzaga, and
also that of the Emperor Maximilian, with whom he was connected through
Bianca Sforza.

Early in 1500 Gonzaga had asked Valentino to stand as sponsor for his
infant son, a child who two years later was betrothed to Caesar’s
own daughter by Charlotte d’Albret. Giovanni Sforza plainly had not
appreciated the relations of Valentino with the Gonzaga family, who,
like all the princely families of Italy at that time, were ever ready
to ally themselves with the stronger and especially with the Papacy.

Struggling for existence, all were playing a desperate game of
politics. The duplicity of the age is again disclosed by the fact that
Gonzaga did send one hundred men to the assistance of the Lord of
Pesaro, who had only two hundred of his own. Giovanni had not been an
altogether unjust ruler, consequently a considerable portion of his
subjects remained loyal to him. While the nobles opposed him he could
count on the support of the lower classes; the middle classes, as is
usual, held aloof, ready to go over to the victor.

Most of the petty lords in the Romagna were upstarts and adventurers,
and as such were tyrants and entirely indifferent to the welfare of
their subjects; being politicians, they were wholly unable to look
ahead and provide for the future--their measures were always mere
temporary expedients to provide against present difficulties, chiefly
of a personal nature; being both ignorant and egotistical, they had no
just appreciation of their actual position, which they were compelled
to hold by force; the result was that they themselves were constantly
the victims of the treachery of their subjects--if treachery it could
be called, for their people professed no loyalty. For them a change
of masters only meant a change of evils, with the chance that for a
while, at least, their condition would be ameliorated. When the people
did not actually oppose their lords, they were indifferent to them.
This explains why many of the cities in Romagna made no resistance and
voluntarily opened their gates to Caesar.

[Illustration: PESARO.

_From an early engraving._

            To face p. 166.]

Pesaro promptly surrendered to Bentivoglio, Caesar’s lieutenant, but
before the town yielded Giovanni Sforza managed to make his escape, and
October 27th the Duke himself entered the city with his usual brilliant
array of nobles and officers, by which he knew he could impress the
vulgar imagination. Valentino was theatrical in whatever he did, and
he studiously preserved an air of mystery at all times. When in Rome
he would keep himself in seclusion, and then suddenly on some pretext
would exhibit himself to the populace.

The castle of Pesaro was famous for its strength, and Caesar had
sketches made of it, which he sent to his father, who was interested in
affairs military.

Pandolfo Collenuccio, Ercole d’Este’s orator, arrived in Pesaro the
very day Caesar entered the place, and the Duke sent Don Remiro de
Lorca to call on him.

Collenuccio, a humanist of great reputation among the writers and
jurists of the day, had been exiled in 1489 by Giovanni Sforza in order
that he might confiscate the scholar’s property, and at the same time
be rid of an honest counsellor. After holding offices in various cities
of Italy, he had entered the service of the Este of Ferrara.

Caesar sent the orator a present of grain, wine, candles, a sheep,
and a number of capons and chickens, and in writing to his master,
Pandolfo said Caesar was “brave and generous--and it is believed he
will take care of deserving men. He is determined in his vengeance;
his is a great soul, eager for glory and power, but he seems more
anxious to acquire new States than to give those he already has a
good government”--a statement which does not wholly agree with those
of others. Pandolfo, however, failed to secure a public office,
consequently he discovered some of the Duke’s defects.

One day when conversing with the ambassador, Caesar remarked: “I do
not know what Faenza will do, but she will not cause us any greater
difficulties than the other places have--still, she may try to hold
out.” To which the accomplished diplomatist replied: “If she does it
will only give your lordship another opportunity to display your valour
and skill in taking the place.”

In one of his letters to the Duke, Ercole d’Este, Collenuccio gives
a description of Caesar’s personal habits which is interesting, as
details regarding his private life are few. “The Duke’s life is
as follows: he goes to bed between eight and ten at night. At the
eighteenth hour it is dawn; at the nineteenth the sun rises, and at the
twentieth it is broad daylight. Then he rises and immediately sits down
to the table. After this he gives his attention to business affairs.”

While Caesar was in Fano and Pesaro, Astorre Manfredi--the only tyrant
in that part of Italy who enjoyed the confidence and affection of his
people--was preparing to defend himself in Faenza.

Aid came to him from an unexpected quarter, for Giovanni Bentivoglio,
fearing that Valentino would attack him if Faenza fell, determined
to help the youthful tyrant. Bentivoglio had managed to secure the
goodwill of the French, and had entered into treaties with several of
his neighbours. Among others, Florence had promised to aid him if he
would assist her when she attacked Pisa. Late in October the Pope sent
a letter to Bentivoglio, commanding him, under pain of excommunication,
to take no part in the affairs of Faenza--the only effect of which
was to increase his determination to help Manfredi by sending him
additional troops. At the same time Bentivoglio strengthened his own

When Valentino left Pesaro, he placed a Spaniard, Marco Suere, in
charge of the citadel. Rimini was surrendered without a struggle by its
pusillanimous lord, Pandolfaccio Malatesta.

Astorre Manfredi, who was only eighteen, had discovered as early as
January, 1500, that Caesar had designs on his territory, although he
had been assured by Valentino of his friendship.

Early in November Caesar’s captain, Vitellozzo Vitelli, occupied
Brisighella, which was the key to Faenza, and all the petty powers of
the neighbourhood hastened to go over to Valentino, feeling certain
that he would win. Astorre had counted on Venice, but he soon found
that she had allied herself with the Pope, for in October Caesar’s
name was inscribed in her “book of gold,” and the Senate had voted him
a palace for residence in Venice, although it had refused to grant
him the title, which he had coveted, of Captain of the Armies of the

Manfredi was brave, but he saw that his cause was hopeless. In his
extremity he suggested to his people that they make no resistance in
order that useless bloodshed and destruction of property might be
avoided, but to their great credit and his own they decided to support
him to the last. In the meantime Bentivoglio had succeeded in getting a
thousand infantry to Manfredi.

Faenza was invested November 10th, and Caesar offered the besieged
their lives if they would surrender; promises were followed by threats,
but the inhabitants of the place remained firm. Winter was drawing
near and Faenza was well protected with walls. Caesar established his
camp on the side towards Forli, and attempted to storm the walls,
but failed. Valentino had expected the youthful tyrant to offer him
a pitched battle, but Manfredi wisely refrained, and Caesar’s troops
suffered so from the severe weather that he decided to go into winter
quarters. The people of Faenza had destroyed all the timber in the
vicinity; the troops were encamped in a low, wet place, and they
were constantly harassed by the enemy. Astorre’s men were well fed
and sheltered, and were able to rest at night, while the besiegers
were never secure; Caesar therefore decided to raise the siege, and
announced he would return when the season was more favourable. He
withdrew December 3rd, but was careful to secure all roads leading to
Faenza, and to invest the city in such a manner that no provisions
could be introduced into it. He passed the winter in Cesena, remaining
until April, 1501. The time was spent in all sorts of spectacular
sports and amusements, and when he departed he left behind him the
memory of an amiable and affable lord, and at the same time that of
an able governor and severe justiciary. The accounts we have of his
daily life are chiefly by panegyrists who were enjoying his bounty and
protection, consequently, as evidence of his actual character, they are
worth little more than are the ferocious attacks of the enemies of the

While Caesar was in Forli, the usual number of avaricious artists
and literary men flocked about him, greedy for money or honours, and
clamouring for permission to dedicate their works--works for the
most part now lost--to him. This servility is a curious phase of the
literary character of those and even later days, and the ridiculously
bombastic dedications of books to various tyrants and adventurers,
stained with every crime, and incapable of appreciating anything
upright and noble, is nauseating. However, the painters and poetasters
who shone by the reflected light of some political adventurer as a rule
passed away with him, and such of their works as have been spared by
time are of a nature to console us for those which have been lost. All
these dedications and panegyrics were inspired by the hope of reward
in some form, and as evidence that the person addressed possessed any
characteristics worthy of admiration they are of no value. The names of
Caesar’s eulogists were legion, and in him they discerned every virtue,
just as his political adversaries and their sycophants discovered
every vice. While Caesar was in Cesena the youthful Manfredi, although
definitely abandoned by both Bologna and Florence, was holding out

Alexander, knowing that Louis XII. would require his investiture
for the realisation of his designs regarding the Kingdom of Naples,
complained to him that his ally, Giovanni Bentivoglio, had frustrated
Caesar’s plans with respect to Faenza, although their failure was due
more to Manfredi’s stout resistance and the severity of the winter than
to the assistance of the tyrant of Bologna. His Holiness even went so
far as to demand possession of the territory of the Bentivoglio.

January 28, 1501, the Pope threatened Bologna with the interdict in
case lodging and supplies were not ready for Caesar’s troops within
six days. The King of France, however, was more diplomatic, for he
dispatched a letter from Blois, January 30, 1501, in which he “besought
his great and good friend of Bologna to aid our said cousin of
Valentinois with men, provisions, and artillery.”

Bentivoglio did furnish lodgings, supplies, and men, but absolutely
refused to allow the castle of Bologna to be occupied by Caesar’s
troops, because, as he said, this would endanger his authority too
much. Alexander had demanded possession of the stronghold on the ground
that it was required for Caesar’s operations in the Romagna, but
Bentivoglio was not to be deceived.

Valentino spent the early months of the year 1500 organising the
government of the territories bordering on the Adriatic, but he kept
a close watch on Faenza, which he again attacked about the middle
of April, but without accomplishing anything. The skill and valour
of Manfredi and his followers won the admiration of all Italy, and
Isabella d’Este, writing to her husband, the Marquis of Mantua, April
20th, said: “The people of Faenza have saved the honour of Italy”; and
Caesar is reported to have remarked: “Had I at my command an army like
the defenders of Faenza I could confidently undertake the conquest of
the entire peninsula.”


_From an early engraving._

            To face p. 172.]

Manfredi, however, was finally reduced to the necessity of asking
for an armistice to arrange the terms of surrender and the night of
April 21st he was received by Caesar at his headquarters with marked
courtesy. The terms of the capitulation were drawn up in Caesar’s name
by Battista Orfino, and Michelotto Corella was placed in charge of the

The brave Manfredi was to be allowed to go whithersoever he wished; his
officers also were permitted to depart; the people and their property
were to be respected; the coins struck by the prince were to remain
current in the State; his debts were to be paid by Caesar, and to
enable the people to regain their prosperity they were to be granted
certain exemptions in the matter of taxes.

Manfredi, deceived by Caesar’s promises, instead of going to his
friends and kinsmen in Bologna or Venice, accepted the Duke’s
invitation to remain in his camp, and he probably stayed with Valentino
until his arrival at the Vatican, June 17, 1501. A few days later he
was flung into prison in the Castle of St. Angelo.

After the fall of Faenza Valentino directed his attention to Giovanni
Bentivoglio, demanding possession of Castle Bolognese in the name
of the Pope. When Bentivoglio learned that Caesar was advancing
with troops he dispatched ambassadors, who were promptly seized by
Vitellozzo, who had captured the strongholds of San Pietro, Frumina,
Guelfo, and Medicina. Bentivoglio, seeing that Caesar was determined,
decided to yield, but he cunningly planned to secure him as an ally at
the same time. April 30, 1501, Paolo Orsini negotiated a treaty between
Caesar and Bentivoglio by which, in return for the surrender of Castle
Bolognese, the former was to serve the latter as condottiere for three
years with adequate pay, in all undertakings except such as might
be directed against the King of France. Caesar was also to furnish
a certain number of troops. Giulio and Paolo Orsini and Vitellozzo
Vitelli signed the treaty for Caesar, who had remained at Medicina
and who was for the first time designated as the Duke of Romagna in
this document, his father having just conferred this title upon him.
Caesar’s consent to this arrangement is explained by the fact that the
King of France had demanded the return of his troops and the Pope had
instructed Valentino to come to Rome without molesting the Florentines.

Giuliano and Piero de’ Medici, anxious to recover possession of the
city from which they had been expelled, proposed to enter into an
alliance with Caesar. Giuliano joined him at Bologna, intending to
remain on his staff as he advanced through Tuscany and rally his own
adherents. Piero also came from Rome to join Caesar, who knew that
their presence in his army and the hatred of his captains for Florence
would constitute a menace to the Republic; he therefore refused to
enter into any agreement with Piero, and on the way to Bisagno he
compelled Giuliano to stop at Loiano.

Notwithstanding this the Signory of Florence felt that he had some
sinister purpose with respect to themselves, consequently they sent
Machiavelli to watch and study Caesar’s movements.

Valentino had asked permission to lead his troops through Florentine
territory, and the request, with certain restrictions--among them one
requiring him to avoid the fortified places--was granted. The Duke
did not wait for the envoys but continued his march, and when they
did appear he was already on Florentine territory. They threatened to
lodge a complaint, but Valentino upbraided them for the attitude of
their Government towards himself and his undertakings. He did not wish
to declare himself an enemy of the Republic, but he needed time to
consider the situation; he therefore made an appointment to meet the
envoys again at Barberino di Mugello.

Owing to her long and exhausting war with Pisa and to her intestine
troubles Florence was in no position to risk a struggle with the Duke
of Romagna; the Signory had therefore decided to grant his request.
Appreciating the danger of having a large number of armed men in their
territory, the Council of Ten made arrangements for resisting any
sudden attack. Caesar finally entered into an alliance, both offensive
and defensive, with Florence, and the Signory took him into its employ
as condottiere, furnishing him the number of troops befitting his rank
and promising him suitable remuneration. The arrangement was for three

Caesar had agreed to continue his march as soon as the convention was
signed, but May 17th he was still at Forno dei Campi, and he asked for
half the artillery belonging to Florence for use against Piombino and
also for his first quarter’s salary. The Signory replied that these
requests were not included in the agreement, and Caesar did not insist.
He, however, dispatched Vitellozzo Vitelli to the Pisans to demand
their siege pieces. On the march towards Pisa Caesar’s troops committed
great depredation, sacking, burning, and plundering. His captains, the
Orsini and Vitelli--especially the latter, whose brother had been
executed by the Florentines--may have been responsible for this. The
Pope had sanctioned Caesar’s undertaking with respect to Piombino,
whose lord, Giacomo d’Appiano, after a feeble resistance before the
city, retired to the stronghold, which was well fitted to resist a
siege. Here it was that Giacomo’s grandfather had bravely defended
himself fifty years before against the ferocious condottiere Sigismondo
Malatesta, son of Pandolfo, Lord of Rimini.

By his agreement with Louis XII. Caesar was compelled to join the
French army about the middle of June. He therefore left a part of his
forces to invest Piombino, which surrendered to his lieutenants after a
two-months siege, and set out for Rome, where he arrived June 17, 1501.
His purpose in coming to Rome at this time was to join the French army
which was about to set forth for Naples. While in the city he concealed
himself from public gaze in the apostolic palace, rarely showing

[Illustration: RIMINI.

_From an early engraving._

            To face p. 176.]

Nothing illustrates the duplicity of the age better than this coalition
of the head of the Christian Church and the King of France for the
destruction of the House of Naples. Only four years before Caesar, as
cardinal-legate, had crowned the last of the Aragonese Kings of Naples;
three times Alexander had endeavoured to marry one of his children into
this family, and he had become connected with it by the marriage of his
son Giuffre with Doña Sancia, and that of his daughter Lucretia with
Alfonso, Prince of Bisceglia, whom Caesar had murdered--and in this
perfidious age the most perfidious of all was the head of the Christian

In 1499 Louis XII. had secured the Pope’s consent to his undertaking
with respect to the Kingdom of Naples and the Duchy of Milan.

This, as we have seen, was one of those immoral bargains which powers
and potentates still make at the expense of weaker States, although the
bald egoism of the ruler is now less in evidence in these transactions
than it was during the Renaissance. To-day the heads of government,
being shorn of autocratic power, do not represent personal ambition or
achievement; they are either simply survivals of mediaevalism or the
representatives of some interest or faction--of an industrial unit of
some sort; therefore in advanced countries the actual egoism of the
ruler is of slight moment.

In the age of the Borgia the personality of the ruler was more
important; the extension of his power--in fact, his very tenure of
office and position--depended on his physical strength, his cunning,
his powers of dissimulation, his predilections, his ambitions, his
morals. He was hampered by no constitutional restrictions and his
dynasty required for its perpetuation something more than law; the
domination of his family could be secured only by force and fraud.
The heads of governments to-day being mere accidents of birth or the
product of economic interests, their accession to positions of nominal
power and their abandonment of those positions have no appreciable
influence upon the destinies of States; they are products of one class
of economic or social factors just as the despots of the Renaissance
were the products of another group.

Louis XII. was a ferocious egoist just as were Alexander VI. and Caesar
Borgia. He had desired a divorce from Jeanne of France in order that
he might marry Anne of Bretagne. Superstition, if not universal, was
then general, and was not, as it is now, confined to the ignorant and
depraved; rationalism and personal independence had not reached the
stage when mankind sees how absurd and preposterous it is to entrust
the conscience to the care and guidance of another man and especially
a bad one. During the latter half of the fifteenth century, when the
Popes were more depraved than they ever were before or have been
since, other monarchs were especially anxious to secure the pontiff’s
assent to their own egotistical undertakings and the more determined
to avoid his weapon of excommunication, ridiculous as it was. Louis,
therefore, had made a bargain with the Pope by which the latter was to
sanction and aid in the destruction of Naples and Milan, and also to
grant the necessary dispensation to enable the King to put aside his
wife. In return the King had created the Pope’s son, Caesar, Duke of
Valentinois, and had secured for him the hand of a French princess;
the bargain had been made and formally sealed, and now Louis was
endeavouring to compel the Pope to perform his part of the agreement.
The House of Aragon, by right of conquest, which it may be observed is
no _right_ at all, had ruled Southern Italy for a hundred years, but
its days were now numbered. To give his project an appearance of right
Louis had based his claim to Naples on the imaginary rights of the
House of Anjou.

Caesar came quietly to Rome the evening of June 17, 1501. The 19th
Yves d’Allegre arrived with his men-at-arms, who were to be placed
under Valentino’s command. Acqua Traversa was selected for the French
camp, and Burchard enumerates the supplies required for the troops;
wine, bread, meat, eggs, cheese, fruit, and even sixteen harlots were
allotted them. He also informs us that certain Florentine merchants
who were required to lodge the officers paid the Governor of the city
two hundred ducats to be relieved of the burden, and that the official
accepted the money, but, nevertheless, when the French officers arrived
compelled the Florentines to lodge them.

Berault Stuart, commander of the main body of the French forces,
entered Rome June 23rd and was received by all the cardinals and the
Pope’s household with great honours. He immediately repaired to the
papal palace and was conducted to the Pope in the Chamber of the

“To-day the King’s lieutenants and several of the captains of the
French army went to see the Pope in his palace in Rome, where a great
many cardinals and nobles of the city were gathered. The Pope is a
Spaniard and a poor Frenchman, but he concealed his real feelings
and received the French officers with great cordiality and conversed
with them good-naturedly. To Monsieur Berault Stuart, the King’s
Lieutenant-General, he presented a grey charger, strong and swift,
perfectly broken, and richly caparisoned. The rest of the day was spent
in sports and various pastimes until evening, when the Cardinal of
Sanseverino, Bishop of Maillezais and brother of the Count of Gayas,
entertained the officers at a formal banquet at which the viands were
_exquises et plaisants_. The banquet was given in Cardinal Ascanio’s
garden amid the oranges, lemons, pomegranates, and other rare and
esteemed fruits and fragrant flowers of various sorts, while singers
and players, both tragic and comic, displayed their arts. The banquet
over, the Frenchmen went and took leave of the Holy Father. This done
they returned to their camp. It had been decided that the army should
set forth the following morning, to go directly to Naples and continue
the work begun.”[23]


  The expedition against Naples--The taking of Capua--Naples
      surrenders--Caesar returns to Rome--The orgy in his apartments in
      the Vatican--The Pope divides the conquered territory in Romagna
      among his family--Negotiations for the marriage of Lucretia
      Borgia and Alfonso d’Este--Caesar receives the Ferrarese envoys--
      Lucretia’s marriage--Her character--The Pope and Caesar go to
      Piombino--They visit Elba--Caesar and Leonardo da Vinci.

His Holiness took up his position at a window in the Castle of St.
Angelo, June 28, 1501, and “with great joy” watched the armies of
France file by and out of the city on their march to Naples to destroy
the Aragonese dynasty. Burchard says that there were about 12,000 foot
and 2,000 cavalry, 26 wagons, and 36 mortars. Jean d’Auton describes
the departure of the French troops, the infantry and the cavalry
leading, the file two miles long. The “men-at-arms in good order and
fair array, encased in their armour and, with lances on thighs, wearing
their casques ready for battle--thus they traversed Rome, the trumpets
and clarions sounding, and the great Swiss drums thundering. On the low
battlements of the Castle of St. Angelo stood the Pope, surrounded by
bishops, archbishops, and cardinals. The illustrious Duke of Romagna
and numerous other gentlemen of Rome were with him, and as the army
marched by the Holy Father gave it the apostolic blessing; then the
troops passed through the city gates and marched forth in the direction
of the Kingdom of Naples and they moved rapidly and in perfect order.”

Caesar remained in Rome until July 9, 1501, when he left for Naples,
but Burchard adds that he believed he returned to the city again the
same evening.

In a secret consistory, June 25th, Frederic of Aragon had been declared
deprived of the Kingdom of Naples, and the King of France invested with
it. The 29th the league between the Pope and Louis XII. was solemnly
proclaimed in St. Peter’s, the _Te Deum_ was sung, and his Holiness
repeated the Lord’s Prayer and gave his benediction.

On the way to Naples the French destroyed Marino and Cavi, while
San Germano opened its gates to the invaders. Fabrizio and Prospero
Colonna, who had abandoned their domain to the Pope, were Frederic’s
only allies, but in his employ he had the famous condottiere Rinuccio
da Marciano, who with Fabrizio Colonna had command of the forces
in Capua. On the approach of the French Frederic promptly retired
to Naples, where he was pursued by D’Aubigny, while Valentino and
Sanseverino laid vigorous siege to Capua. The siege lasted for eight
days, at the end of which time Fabrizio Colonna, seeing that further
resistance was useless, endeavoured to arrange a meeting to agree upon
the terms of surrender, but in the meantime a traitor had opened the
gates and the French army rushed into the town.

“After the wall was destroyed and a breach effected large enough
to permit of the assault, the King’s lieutenants had the trumpets
and clarions sound the charge, and the drums beaten to arouse the
army; the men-at-arms were given all the wine they wanted--to lend
them courage--that the valour of France might humble the pride of
Italy--and Messire Berault Stuart, Lieutenant-General of the King,
addressed the men; on the conclusion of his speech the French were
fired with courage and resolved to stand firm in the midst of the
terrible adventures of war--and there, whether they lived or died, to
maintain the justice of their King’s quarrel. And the assault was given
about eleven o’clock on the morning of July 25th and was begun by the
infantry, and a hand-to-hand fight ensued and the air was filled with
spears and arrows and flashing swords--and beyond was the fire and
smoke of the artillery--in the streets of the town pikes and halberds
clashed--rude was the attack--but so bravely met that in less than half
an hour more than two hundred French and Germans were killed in the
breach--and the men of Don Frederic--of a truth they received their
share of the blows and many were slain--and the troopers had no rest
and it would have gone ill with the French if their men-at-arms had
not come to their aid--and the shedding of human blood was each man’s
care--and the Neapolitans and the Colonna maintained their quarrel with
the sweat of their brow and the blood of their bodies--but the French
continued to attack so furiously that the enemy knew not how to save
themselves, except by flight--so they fell back and the French gained
the breach--and they carried the town by assault and entered--and
rivers of blood were shed and men innumerable slaughtered--the soldiers
destroyed all whom they found armed in the streets, or hiding in the
houses--giving quarter to none--whatever his condition--so that down
the streets in great streams ran the blood. I will not describe the
groans and shrieks of despairing women who beheld their husbands
murdered, or the cries of the children over their slaughtered fathers,
or the grief of the old men who saw their homes robbed and their city
destroyed--but I will say that besides the butchery of the men, many
maidens and women were violated and forced, which is the culmination of
the horrors of war. The foot-soldiers of the Duke of Valentino managed
to secure thirty of the most beautiful women of the city, who were
carried away prisoners to Rome.”

The chronicler Jean d’Auton adds that to escape dishonour numerous
women committed suicide; that many of the soldiers made themselves
rich for life with the plunder, which caused them henceforth to be all
the more eager for war. Between seven and eight thousand people were
killed. Those of the men who were left, together with the women and
priests, fled and hid in the belfries and towers of the churches, in
the caves, and among the rocks, but the next day they were hunted out
and held for ransom.

Fabrizio Colonna was captured, and his enemy, Giangiordano Orsini,
generously furnished his ransom. Rinuccio da Marciano, wounded in
the fight, was taken prisoner by Valentino’s men and died two days
later--Guicciardini maintains of poison. Giovio says Marciano’s wounds
were poisoned by Vitellozzo in revenge for the death of his brother
Paolo, who had been condemned by Rinuccio’s faction in Florence.

[Illustration: FREDERIC II. OF NAPLES.

_From a drawing by Boudan in the Bibliothèque Nationale_

            To face p. 184.]

July 26th news reached the Pope of the capture of Capua by Caesar,
_per ducem Valentinum_, says Burchard; but the importance of Caesar’s
part in it seems to have been exaggerated, although he was one of
the signers of the agreement between the King of France and King
Frederic of Naples, by which the latter was to retire to Ischia for
six months, and if he obtained help within that time he was to be
allowed to denounce the armistice and endeavour to recover his throne.
He was permitted to remove all his property, except his artillery and
provisions. In case he failed to secure assistance within six months
he agreed to abandon Ischia and Salerno, and was to be allowed to go
wherever he wished. In about a month he saw that further resistance was
useless and set sail for France, where he was received by Louis XII.,
who presented him with the Duchy of Anjou and a pension suitable to his
rank. The unfortunate King of Naples died an exile September 9, 1504.
When he left his kingdom he was accompanied by Sannazzaro, the famous
poet, who was one of the bitterest of the enemies of the Borgia, and
whose epigrams have perhaps done more than anything else to perpetuate
the memory of their infamy.

Before Caesar returned to Rome the King of France sent Edouart Buillon
to Naples to thank him for his services. The instructions to the envoy
are dated August 8, 1501. He is to tell Valentino that the King has
been informed of his great and good services in the conquest of Naples,
for which he thanks him with all his heart, and that the King also
recognises the goodwill the Duke bears him and which he purposes to
reward by assisting him in his own affairs and treating him as his good
friend and relative.

The King further requests Valentino to withdraw all his forces, except
his own company, from the Regno, and to hold them in readiness and
good order for use should occasion arise. He explains that this is
necessary on account of the great gathering of men about Naples and the
difficulty of providing for so many. He also enjoins him to prevent his
men from robbing and pillaging.[24]

Caesar’s lieutenants in the north--with whom he remained in
communication while he was in Naples--had advanced his projects
to some extent, Vitellozzo Vitelli and Paolo Orsini having secured
possession of Piombino, September 3rd.

Valentino returned to Rome with his men September 15, 1501.

Burchard describes an orgy which took place in Caesar’s apartments in
the apostolic palace shortly after his return, to which fifty harlots
were invited. After the supper they danced nude and indulged in various
performances, the Pope, Caesar, and Lucretia looking on. Matarazzo
also gives an account of the bacchanalia, but slightly changed. A
description of it is likewise included in the letter to Silvio Savelli,
and this is repeated by Sanudo in his diary.

August 20th the Pope had pronounced the ban against the Colonna and
the Savelli, and the confiscation of their property, and shortly
afterwards by a bull, dated September 17th, he divided their domains
and the estates of the Gaetani, of the Savelli, of the Estouteville,
and of the barons of Pojano and Magenza between the two Borgia infants.
Rodrigo, the two-year-old son of Lucretia and the murdered Alfonso,
received Sermoneta, Ninfa, Norma, Albano, Nettuno, and Ardea; while
Giovanni was given Nepi, Palestrina, Paliano, Rigano, and other
cities. The Pope erected Nepi, Sermoneta, and Palestrina into duchies,
while he bestowed Subiaco with its eighteen castles on the Borgia
family in perpetuity; the bull was signed by all the cardinals then
in Rome, nineteen in number, among whom were Caraffa, Sanseverino,
Cesarini, Farnese, Palavicini, and Medici, not one of them opposing
this high-handed robbery of the Ghibelline lords of Latium by the Pope
for the benefit of his own family--and with the help of the funds and
offices of the Church. Almost the entire patrimony of St. Peter was now
in the hands of the Borgia, for Caesar controlled all of Romagna.[25]

In one bull the Pope describes Giovanni Borgia as Caesar’s son, but in
the second he calls him his own “son by a certain woman”--this woman
was Giulia Bella. It would be difficult to believe such effrontery
possible if the bulls, both of which are dated September 1, 1501, were
not in existence to prove it.

Negotiations for the marriage of Lucretia Borgia and Alfonso d’Este
had been in progress for some time. It had become known that he was
looking for a wife, and his Holiness immediately discerned the
advantages a union with the powerful House of Ferrara would afford.
Ferrara would serve as a bulwark against the Venetians, who, the
Pope knew, had designs on Romagna. The Duke of Ferrara was not very
favourably disposed toward a marriage with a Borgia, and when Alexander
suggested an alliance between his daughter Lucretia and the Duke’s son
Alfonso, Ercole received the suggestion coldly. Moreover, Louis XII.
had partly promised to find him a French princess for a wife for his
son. Louis, however, being more anxious to please the Pope than any
other Italian sovereign, had the Cardinal of Rouen inform Ercole that
he could look to him for nothing. Lucretia had twice lost her husband
under tragic circumstances, and Alfonso himself had little inclination
for the match, while his sister Isabella d’Este, wife of the Marquis
of Mantua, was bitterly opposed to the union upon which the Pope’s
heart was set. Alfonso and his father, however, did not dare offend the
Pope and Caesar, so they determined to drive as good a bargain as they
could. The negotiations were wellnigh interminable. At first Ercole
merely demanded a large dowry; then he insisted upon the remission
of four-fifths of the annual tribute due the Church, and in addition
he required the bishopric of Ferrara for his son, Cardinal d’Este.
The dowry was to be 200,000 gold ducats, secured by liens on fiefs in
Romagna, and an agreement was finally reached. In secret consistory,
September 7th, all the cardinals present had consented to the remission
of the Church’s tribute for the purpose of advancing the family
interests and political ambitions of Alexander and Caesar Borgia.

[Illustration: LUCRETIA BORGIA.

_After Titian._

            To face p. 183.]

Valentino had returned to Rome about the middle of September, and the
23rd he received the envoys of the Duke of Ferrara, who found him lying
on a bed, but dressed. October 6th they again had occasion to confer
with him, and they brought the list of those who were to come to Rome
to escort the bride to Ferrara. Valentino was especially gracious;
the orators gave a detailed account of their interview, because, as
they explained, it was a favour usually accorded only to cardinals. It
seems to have been difficult to obtain an audience with Caesar; when
the Ferrarese orators again tried to see him two days later they were
refused; they complained to the Pope, who appeared greatly annoyed, and
said: “Caesar turns night into day, and day into night; the ambassadors
of Rimini have been in Rome more than two months without securing an
audience.” They also reported that Alexander was much displeased with
Caesar’s conduct, and that he remarked that he was not certain that his
Excellency would be able to hold the conquered territory.

The preparations for the wedding were interrupted for some days by
the absence of the Pope and Caesar, who, accompanied by a number of
cardinals and their suites, went to Civita Castellana and Nepi to
inspect the changes which had been made in the stronghold of the latter
place, and the fortress which was being constructed in the former town
by Antonio di Sangallo.

During their absence Lucretia had been left as regent in the Vatican,
according to Burchard, just as she had been on a former occasion, with
authority to open letters and transact ecclesiastical business.

The escort which was expected to come to conduct Lucretia to Ferrara
was delayed several times, and they were still looking for it at the
end of October; finally Ercole announced that, owing to the inclemency
of the season, he had decided to postpone the matter; the true reason,
however, was the fact that the Emperor Maximilian had given him to
understand that the alliance with the Borgia to which he had committed
himself was highly displeasing to himself.

It was at this time that the remarkable “Letter to Silvio Savelli” was
received in Rome; it was a small book printed in Germany. Its author is
unknown, but it is supposed to have been written by a Colonna. Savelli
had been robbed of his property by Alexander, and was an exile living
at the Court of Maximilian. Gregorovius remarks: “This is an authentic
document revealing the condition of Rome under the Borgia; no other
writing so well exhibits the iniquity of these people, their corrupt
politics, in great as well as small affairs, and the terror that ruled
the city, which was filled with their spies and cut-throats.”

The universal execration in which they were held is also well revealed
in the epigrams of the day, one of the most famous of which is the

 “Vendit Alex. claves, altaria, christum,
    Emerat ille prius, vendere jure potest.
  De vitio in vitium, de flamma crescit in ignem,
    Roma sub Hispano deperit Imperio.
  Sextus Tarquinius, Sextus Nero, Sextus et Iste.
    Semper sub Sextis perdita Roma fuit.”

Alexander VI. read and enjoyed the letter to Silvio Savelli, as he
was used to these satires, but Burchard remarks that Caesar regarded
them more seriously, and cites the case of the rhetorician Jeronimo
Mancini of Naples, who, having spoken ill of the Duke, was seized,
and suffered the loss of the end of his tongue and a hand, which were
exposed at a window in the Curia S. Crucis for two days. Some have
ascribed the authorship of the famous letter to Mancini. January 28,
1502, a Venetian, who, it was said, had sent something he had written
against the Pope to Venice, was seized, and when his ambassador went
to intercede for him that night, he was informed that the unfortunate
wretch had already been executed. Costabili, the Ferrarese ambassador,
when he spoke to the Pope about the Duke’s vindictiveness, was told by
his Holiness, “The Duke is good, but he cannot bear insults; and,” he
added, “once when I told him he should profit by my example and let
them write all the satires they wished, he became angry, and exclaimed
he would teach these scribblers good manners.”

In the meantime Ercole d’Este, having no excuse for further delay,
dispatched the escort--December 7th--for Rome, where it arrived
the 23rd. In the cortège were Cardinal Ippolito and Fernando d’Este,
brothers of the groom, with their suites, numbering more than five
hundred persons. Valentino, accompanied by the French ambassador,
Monseigneur de Trans, went to meet the princes. He embraced the
cardinal affectionately, and when returning to the city rode on
Ippolito’s left. At the gates they were met by nineteen other
cardinals and their “families.” They were received by the Pope and his
Court in the Vatican, after which Caesar conducted the princes to his
sister’s apartments. The wedding gifts were magnificent--the least of
all was that of Florence, a present of cloth of gold and silver to the
value of 3,000 ducats. The betrothal took place December 28th, and the
church ceremony the 30th.

Burchard describes the wedding with a wealth of detail that would
do credit to a modern society reporter; the gowns, the jewels, the
presents, the guests, the bride, the groom--all are there; the games
for the entertainment--all are described.

Another move in the great political game had been made; the declining
House of Naples had been eliminated as a factor in the Borgia plans by
the murder of Alfonso of Aragon, and the support of the great House
of Este, secured by the marriage of Ercole’s son, the future Duke of
Ferrara, with Lucretia, who was apparently a passive instrument in
the hands of Caesar and the Pope in their machinations. The final
historical estimate of her is that she was not the virago, the baneful
fiend she is represented to have been, but a colourless, characterless
personality, wholly lacking in will, and completely under the control
of Caesar and the Pope. She had none of the characteristics of Caterina
Sforza. She left Rome to go to her future husband, who had been
represented by a proxy, and she never returned. She appears to have
made an excellent wife and mother.

Caesar remained in Rome until February 17, 1502, when he and the
Pope, accompanied by several cardinals, left for Piombino, where
they arrived the 21st. On the 25th they sailed for Elba to inspect
two strongholds which Caesar was having his engineers construct on
the island. When they were returning, March 1st, there was a severe
storm, which made it impossible for them to leave the vessels for five
days, and Burchard remarks that the Pope and cardinals who were in the
captain’s ship were so frightened that they fell ill. They did not
succeed in getting back to Rome until the 11th of March.

The strongholds on the island of Elba were probably built by Leonardo
da Vinci, who had left Cesena in the fall of 1501 to go to Rome to
confer with Caesar, and not by Antonio di Sangallo, who was engaged on
the works in the vicinity of Civita Castellana during the early months
of 1502.

In October, Caesar had declared his intention of attacking Camerino,
but, owing to various causes, had been compelled to defer his
undertaking. We have few details regarding Valentino during the months
which he spent in Rome, but the chroniclers have left minute records
of the administrative measures of his lieutenants in the Romagna. The
petty States had been allowed to retain their own laws and customs,
and, so far as possible, their own peculiar governmental systems; but
all officials were responsible to the Governor of Romagna, Don Remiro
de Lorca, an overbearing martinet, feared and hated by every one.


  The third campaign in Romagna--Caesar goes to Spoleto--The Duke of
      Urbino flees to Florence--Valentino takes possession of Urbino--
      Florence sends envoys to him--Machiavelli’s first impression
      of Caesar--The King of France warns Valentino not to molest
      Florence--Caesar plunders the palace of Urbino--Michael Angelo’s
      “Cupid”--Camerino surrenders to Valentino’s lieutenants--Louis
      XII. receives Caesar and Alfonso d’Este at Milan--The King and
      Valentino enter into an agreement--Caesar goes to Imola--Affairs
      of Bologna--Valentino prepares to attack Giovanni Bentivoglio of

Caesar was compelled to wait until the conclusion of the Neapolitan
campaign before he could resume his own projects in the Romagna, where
there were a few independent lords still left--these few knew that
their time would soon come; among them were the Varano of Camerino and
the Duke of Urbino, Guidobaldo di Montefeltre, who was greatly beloved
by his people.

To complete his conquest of Romagna, Caesar determined to secure
possession of Camerino, Urbino, and Sinigaglia. The early months of
1502 had been occupied with the trips to Piombino, Elba, and the towns
belonging to the Colonna, and he was obliged to remain in Rome until
after the Easter festivities; he was, therefore, unable to set about
the execution of his projects until June.

Shortly before his departure the body of the youthful Lord of Faenza,
who had so heroically defended his domain, was found in the Tiber,
“strangled and dead.”

On surrendering to Caesar, Astorre’s life had been spared, and he had
been allowed to depart with his personal belongings, and, as we have
seen, trusting in Valentino’s word, he had gone to Rome, where he had
almost immediately been thrown into prison.

He was held in the Castle of St. Angelo almost a year, and under date
of June 9, 1502, Burchard has the following entry in his diary:--

“This day there was recovered from the Tiber, strangled and dead, the
Lord of Faenza--a young man of about eighteen years, so fair, and
handsome of form that among a thousand scarcely could his equal be
found. A great stone was tied to his neck.”

The same day the river gave up the bodies of several other persons,
among them two young men, one fifteen, the other twenty-five, both
bound, and also a woman.

Vettori states that Manfredi perished at the hands of Bianchino di
Pisa by order of Caesar, who was in Rome at the time. Manfredi was
in the power and possession of the Borgia at the time of his death;
consequently, whoever actually performed the murder, Alexander VI. and
Caesar Borgia were responsible for it.

The murder of the Lord of Faenza shocked all Italy, and served to
strengthen the suspicion that Valentino had caused the assassination
of his brother, the Duke of Gandia, and also of his brother-in-law,
Alfonso, Prince of Bisceglia.

Caesar’s motive is perfectly clear; he was determined to rule in
Romagna. Manfredi was magnetic and brave, and skilful in war. His
subjects had fought valiantly to save him, and were broken-hearted at
his departure. Of all the petty sovereigns of Italy, he was almost the
only one who enjoyed the love of his people, who continued loyal to him
and looked forward to his return. In addition, his powerful kinsmen,
the Este of Ferrara and the Bentivoglio of Bologna, might take it into
their heads any day to restore him to power. Manfredi dead, Caesar’s
progress would be easier and more certain. In spite of Valentino’s able
administration of the government of Faenza, he had utterly failed to
secure the goodwill of the people. Faenza was the least certain of his
conquered territories. Before setting out to attack Camerino and Urbino
it was, according to Caesar, the part of wisdom to eliminate Astorre
from the desperate game which the virtuosi of renascent Italy were

This deliberate planning of the destruction of a prince or a reigning
family, for the sole purpose of securing possession of their property
or power, seems peculiarly monstrous.

Caesar Borgia, aided by his father, Alexander VI., was building up a
great power in central Italy for himself and his family, of which he
clearly regarded himself as the head. Politics, parties, and dynasties,
although apparently of vital importance to a people, are now really of
slight moment, and it is only when the headstrong exercise of power
leads to oppression that a people revolts. In the Far East the people
are wholly indifferent to a change of rulers, consequently conquests
in Asia are as easy as they are fruitless; the people pursue the
even tenor of their way regardless of who their masters are, except
so far as their economic situation is concerned--and the people of
Italy during the Renaissance resembled them in this particular. We
have seen how ready the cities of the Romagna were to open their gates
to Caesar Borgia, and the same phenomenon has been noted elsewhere in
the peninsula. In Naples whether France or Spain prevailed was of no
importance. In Milan the people were equally indifferent to Ludovico
il Moro and to Louis XII., and in Florence not until the greed of the
Medici passed all bounds did the people drive them out. With advancing
civilisation party lines vanish; one party usurps the principles of
another, and modifies them sufficiently to cause them to appear to
accord, or be identical, with its own doctrines; and just in proportion
as party lines disappear the one enduring relation which has existed
from all time, the relation of exploiter and exploited, stands forth
more clearly--in fine, the whole organisation of civilised society is
reducible to the hedonic postulate.

Caesar had collected an army in the neighbourhood of Spoleto, and
thither he went June 12, 1502. His forces consisted of about 10,000
men--6,000 foot-soldiers, and 700 men-at-arms; in addition he had
about 2,000 men conveniently placed in Romagna. Large bodies of troops
were likewise held in reserve about Sinigaglia, Urbino, and Verruchio.
Valentino had issued an order requiring every family in Romagna to
furnish one man-at-arms. Resorting to cunning, he then announced that
he intended to attack Camerino, and he went to the Duke of Urbino
and asked for his artillery for his lieutenant, Vitelli; he also
requested him to send supplies to Gubbio, assuring Montefeltre the
while that “among all the princes of Italy there is none more dear
to me than you are.” While he was advancing by way of Nocera and
Costaciaro, he dispatched 2,000 men to secure Cagli, which they entered
June 20th without resistance. There was nothing left for the Duke of
Urbino’s representative to do but to warn his master of the advance of
Valentino, “who will appear as an enemy before the gates of Urbino on
the morrow.”

The Duke of Urbino was so confident that Caesar had no designs on his
domain that he had gone to one of his suburban villas for a brief
sojourn, and he was still there when his representative at Fossombrone
informed him of the advance of a large force by way of Isola di Fano.
Montefeltre, learning that the roads leading to the fortress of San
Leo, which was regarded as impregnable, were already in Caesar’s
possession, determined to flee to Florence. With him he had only a few
servants and soldiers, whom he soon dismissed, and disguising himself
as a peasant, he fled to Mantua, where he arrived about the end of the

Just four hours after the flight of Montefeltre, who was entirely
unable to count on any support on the part of his people, Caesar
entered Urbino, and all the officials of the place immediately repaired
to him to pay their respects.

[Illustration: URBINO.

_From an early engraving._

            To face p. 198.]

No sooner was Valentino installed in the beautiful palace of Urbino
than he dispatched Pedro de Oviedo to Florence to demand the person
of the Duke of Urbino, who, he had reason to believe, was within her
borders, and to ask what her intentions were with respect to himself.
To this the Signory replied by sending an embassy consisting of the
Bishop, Francesco Soderini, and a secretary, the astute Machiavelli,
who, however, after two interviews with Valentino, returned to report
to the Signory.

The envoys on their first meeting with Caesar lost whatever illusions
they may have had concerning his intentions regarding Florence.
Valentino complained that the Florentines had shown a want of faith
towards him; but notwithstanding this he was desirous of forming an
alliance with the Republic, and it was for this that he had requested
that plenipotentiaries be sent him; and to make sure that there would
be no violation of faith, he demanded that the government of the
city be changed and a new one established upon whose word he could
rely, “otherwise,” he remarked to the two envoys, “you will very soon
understand that I will not long endure the present state of affairs,
and if you do not wish to have me for a friend you shall have me for
an enemy.” The envoys endeavoured to excuse the Republic’s breach of
faith, and assured the Duke that she only desired his friendship. As
to a change in the government they replied that the city had the best
government that could be found; but Caesar insisted, and regretting
that this was not that for which they supposed they had been summoned,
and was not what the city expected, they took their leave. In one of
their dispatches the envoys stated that Caesar was _molto solitario e
segreto_--very solitary and secret. Valentino informed them that he
had no desire to seize the property of any one--that it was not his
purpose to make himself a tyrant, but, on the contrary, to drive out
the tyrants.

Machiavelli alluded to the fate of the Duke of Urbino, “whose death
had been announced simultaneously with the disease,” to which Caesar
replied, “that the fate of Urbino showed the rapidity with which he
reached his goal.”

Caesar literally dazzled and disarmed the envoys with his dash and
cunning and effrontery, and Machiavelli wrote: “This lord is splendid
and magnificent, and in the profession of arms his boldness is such
that the greatest undertakings present no difficulties for him; when
he sets out to acquire glory and enlarge his domains, he knows neither
rest, fatigue, nor danger; his arrival in a place is no sooner known
than he is gone; he understands how to win the love of his men, and he
has the best troops in all Italy--and this circumstance, together with
most extraordinary good luck, makes him a conqueror and a formidable
adversary.” In one of his dispatches Soderini says: “It is difficult to
answer him, so numerous are his arguments, and his speech and wit so

The negotiations, however, were protracted, and Machiavelli returned
to Florence, while his colleague remained to divert Caesar, so that
the Republic might have time to appeal to France. July 6th a messenger
arrived from Louis XII., who commanded Caesar not to molest Florence;
his Majesty also stated that he would regard any act of violence
against the Republic as an affront to himself. The King’s action had
been taken at the request of the Signory, who thus wished to show
Valentino that they enjoyed the favour of France. In the meantime
Caesar’s unchecked captains continued their aggressions by seizing
Anghiari and Borgo San Sepolcro. July 9th the orator in Urbino informed
the Duke that his Government would enter into an alliance with him, but
demanded that he order Vitellozzo Vitelli to withdraw from Florentine
territory. To this Caesar would not consent until an agreement had
been reached, but to show his goodwill he proposed a suspension of
hostilities. The Florentines, however, having been informed that the
King of France with 20,000 men was on the way to Italy, procrastinated.
They answered that while they would be glad to please him they would
first have to consult with his Majesty. Soderini was directed to
prolong the negotiations as much as possible to give the French lancers
time to reach the field of action. After considerable fencing the envoy
took leave of Valentino July 19th.

It appears that Caesar had already added to his numerous titles that
of Duke of Urbino--“the weak State,” which he regarded as of slight
importance, and in whose beautiful palace he found numerous works of
art, which he caused to be removed to Cesena, not the least valuable of
the treasures being the famous library. Among the statues was Michael
Angelo’s “Cupid,” which Caesar himself a few years before, when still a
cardinal, had presented to Guidobaldo di Montefeltre. Isabella d’Este,
after Caesar’s occupation of Urbino, having expressed a desire for
this work of art, and for a certain “Venus,” the Duke sent them to
her, although when she had asked her brother Ippolito to procure them
for her, she had explained that “she did not wish to have anything to
do with the Duke of Romagna.” Isabella had supposed the “Cupid” to
be antique, but Caesar informed her that it was the work of Michael
Angelo. Writing to her husband, Isabella said: “I will not describe the
beauty of the ‘Venus,’ as I think you have seen it, but the ‘Cupid’ has
no equal among modern works.”

No sooner had Soderini departed than Caesar, disguised and accompanied
by only four servants, also left the city, intending to go secretly
to the King of France in Milan. Just as he was about to take horse
envoys arrived to congratulate him on the fall of Camerino, which had
surrendered to his lieutenants July 19th.

The Varano family were the overlords of Camerino, and their head,
Giulio Cesare, a man of seventy, who had been a condottiere in the
pay of Venice, was one of the tyrants Valentino had singled out
for destruction. Pope Alexander, on the ground that the Varano had
neglected to pay the tribute due the Church, had at the time of
Caesar’s first successes declared their States confiscated. Early in
June Valentino had dispatched two of his captains, the Duke of Gravina
and Oliverotto da Fermo, from Rome to take possession of Camerino.
Giulio Cesare Varano had sent his two younger sons to Venice for aid,
and had kept the two elder with him in Camerino. There they made some
resistance, but their relations with their subjects were similar to
those of most of the Italian tyrants with their people, consequently
they found but lukewarm support; there was even one faction, composed
of their most determined adversaries, who were anxious to open the
gates to Valentino’s lieutenants. Giulio Cesare Varano and his two
sons were taken to Urbino and cast into prison. The Colonna, who had
assisted in the defence of Camerino, succeeded in making their escape.
July 20th Caesar informed his sister Lucretia of the capture of
Camerino in the following letter:--

  “Illustrious and most excellent Lady, and our dear sister.
  Knowing that in your present illness no medicine could be more
  efficacious and more helpful than the announcement of good news,
  we inform you that we have just received a reliable report to
  the effect that Camerino has been taken. We beg you to honour
  this message with an immediate amelioration in your health and
  to inform us of it; for, distressed as we are, knowing you are
  so ill, nothing, not even this happy event, can give us any
  pleasure. We beg you to communicate this present news to the
  Illustrious Sr. Don Alfonso, your husband and our dearly beloved
  brother-in-law, to whom I cannot write to-day. Urbino XX July


Valentino always maintained friendly relations with Ercole and Alfonso
d’Este, who never neglected to congratulate him on his successes.

Caesar evidently was anxious regarding his sister’s health, for he sent
a famous physician of Cesena, Niccolò Marsini, to consult with his
own physician, Gaspare Torrella, who had been previously dispatched
to Ferrara. A few days later Caesar, disguised and with only a small
suite, went to see his sister; he remained only two hours with her,
and then, accompanied by his brother-in-law Alfonso, set out for Milan
to meet the King of France.

Louis had been informed of their coming, but had kept the matter secret
from the numerous deposed princes who had hastened to him. To the
astonishment of the entire Court, which included the Duke of Urbino,
the Lord of Pesaro, Varano of Camerino, and the Marquis of Mantua, who
had offered to place himself at the head of a league for the purpose of
dispossessing Caesar of his domains, the King received the new-comers
most cordially. The courtiers had supposed that Louis would undertake
to discipline Valentino for threatening Florence, but instead he
received Caesar and his brother-in-law with the highest honours. The
dethroned princes therefore immediately divined that the King and the
Vatican were in perfect accord. Louis needed the Pope’s support in his
plans with respect to Naples, and Caesar was astute enough to know that
his Majesty would not seriously interfere with his own projects.

About this time Louis XII. and Valentino entered into a formal
agreement regarding Bologna, by which his Majesty promised to furnish
the Duke with three hundred lances “to help him to conquer Bologna in
the name of the Church and subdue the Orsini, the Baglioni, and the
Vitelli,” while Caesar promised to hold himself in readiness for three
years to assist the King in any enterprises in which he might see fit
to engage.

On returning from Milan Caesar immediately--September 10th--went
to Imola to meet Cardinal Borgia, Bishop of Elne, and Don Remiro de
Lorca, Governor of Romagna. Leonardo da Vinci had just completed his
inspection of the Romagnol stronghold and castles, and had drawn up
plans for strengthening them; he had also made designs for certain
engines of war. Caesar remained in Imola until the 16th conferring with
his lieutenants. In the meantime Alexander had sent an envoy to Bologna
to demand that Giovanni Bentivoglio submit to his authority. At this
juncture Claude de Seyssel, ambassador of Louis XII.--who had returned
to France--appeared in Bologna to make known the wishes of his master,
who had always regarded himself as the protector of the city. The
Bentivoglio were loyally supported by the citizens, who refused to
allow Giovanni’s sons, who had been summoned to the Vatican, to go to
Rome; and the political parties, which had divided Bologna, laid aside
their differences in the face of the threatening danger.

The Bolognese had found allies in Caesar’s own camp. The Orsini, the
Baglioni, and Vitellozzo Vitelli had become estranged from him by his
treatment of Bentivoglio and his efforts to compel Vitelli to surrender
Milan to Florence. The condottieri, in Caesar’s name, had entered into
an alliance of friendship with Bentivoglio during the last campaign; it
therefore is not surprising that they refused to break this treaty and
finally took sides with the House of Bologna against him.

Caesar was now isolated, and his only support was the small army of
Romagna, which was not sufficient to permit him to attack Bologna;
nevertheless, counting on the French lances which the King had promised
him at Milan, he prepared to make an assault upon the city.


  The conspiracy of Caesar’s captains--Machiavelli and Valentino--
      Vacillation of the conspirators--They offer to return to Caesar--
      They again take heart--A reconciliation is effected--Caesar
      separates the conspirators--He enters into an alliance with
      Bentivoglio--The rebels return to Caesar--Paolo Orsini takes
      possession of Urbino in Caesar’s name--Execution of Don Remiro
      de Lorca--Caesar goes to Sinigaglia and meets his commanders--
      The trap at Sinigaglia--Fate of the rebels--Caesar informs the
      Italian princes of his act--The Orsini and their adherents in
      Rome are seized--Cardinal Orsini’s palace is plundered--Fermo
      and Perugia surrender to Valentino--He puts Paolo and Francesco
      Orsini to death--Cardinal Orsini dies in prison--Caesar demands
      that the Sienese expel Pandolfo Petrucci--He ravages the country
      about Siena--Activity of the Orsini in the neighbourhood of Rome--
      Caesar returns to Rome--He lays siege to Ceri--Contemporary
      opinions of the Pope and Caesar--Gonsalvo de Cordova in Naples--
      The Pope and Caesar are stricken by the plague--Death of Alexander
      VI.--Rumours of poison--Caesar recovers--He takes possession of
      the dead Pope’s property.

Caesar’s preparations for attacking Milan were the signal for the final
rupture with his captains, who met at Todi, where they had concentrated
their troops. Here they entered into a formal agreement to refuse
to obey any of Caesar’s orders directed against their ally Giovanni
Bentivoglio. The first meeting was held about the end of September, and
a second one took place a little later at Magione, near Perugia. Those
present were Ermes and Annibale Bentivoglio, Cardinal Orsini, the Duke
of Gravina, two other members of the Orsini family, Guido Petrucci
(who also represented Pandolfo Petrucci), and Gentile and Giampaolo
Baglioni. Vitellozzo Vitelli, who was ill, had himself carried to
the meeting on a litter. At this meeting of the conspirators it was
resolved not only to refuse to attack Bentivoglio but also to take
active steps against Caesar, their former commander.

October 2nd news of the conspiracy reached the Vatican. In the north
Bentivoglio was advancing on Imola; in the south the Orsini and Vitelli
were preparing to attack Urbino. Caesar was in Imola awaiting the
arrival of the French lances, and there he learned of the revolt of
his lieutenants. The loss of the Orsini was especially serious, and he
endeavoured to win them over from the conspirators. In the meantime
he sent out agents to enlist new troops. As soon as the condition of
affairs became known soldiers of fortune hastened to him from all
directions; among the first to appear were Gasparo Sanseverino, Luigi
della Mirandola, Galeazzo Palavicini, Raffaelle de’ Pazzi, Ranieri
della Sassetta, and Francesco de Luna. The Romagnols hurried to his
assistance, and he placed them under the command of his ablest leaders,
Dionigi di Naldo, Marc Antonio di Fano, Gabrielle da Faenza, Guido di
Vaini, and Giovanni Sassatelli. To his Spanish captains he entrusted
the command of the cities and strongholds, upon which the security of
his new duchy depended.

In the meantime the Pope had used his influence with Giulio Orsini, who
was now ready to desert Vitelli, while Pandolfo Petrucci, dismayed by
the preparations Caesar was making to crush his enemies, dispatched a
messenger to Imola to assure his former commander of his loyalty.

To secure the support of Florence Caesar now requested the Republic to
send an ambassador to him to confer on matters of mutual interest, and
again the envoy selected was Machiavelli.

No other man was so well fitted as he to read the devious mind of
Valentino; he had given evidence of the greatest perspicacity and
shrewdness, and if any one was a match for the son of Alexander VI.
the Florentine secretary was. Not only his friends the Adriani, the
Soderini, the Valori, but even his opponents approved of the selection.
Machiavelli accepted his commission eagerly; he was naturally restless
and was intensely interested in the political life of the day. He had
met Caesar a few months before, and he regarded him as the Italian
ideal, a personification of _virtu_, the aggregation of the qualities
most dear to the Italian heart; it is therefore not surprising that he
eagerly embraced the opportunity to study Valentino and match wits with

Machiavelli having promised his young wife, Marietta di Ludovico
Corsini, whom he had married but a few months before, that he would
return in eight days, set out for Imola. On the road he met Agapito
Gerardino, Caesar’s secretary, on his way to Florence to ask aid of the
Signory. The Pope also, foreseeing the danger, had dispatched an envoy
to the Republic. Caesar’s secretary decided to turn back and accompany
Machiavelli to Imola, where they arrived October 7th.

Machiavelli explained to Valentino that he had come to assure him of
the friendship of the Republic and to inform him that it had refused to
join his enemies. Valentino received the envoy cordially, and thanked
him for the professions of friendship on the part of his Government.
They discussed the political situation at great length, and Caesar
appeared very anxious to conclude some sort of an agreement with
Florence for their mutual support, but Machiavelli was unable to get
any very definite suggestion from the Duke. The Borgia, who was then
only twenty-six, showed himself a consummate diplomatist and more than
a match for the Florentine secretary.

October 9th Machiavelli had another interview with Caesar, who, to
strengthen the demands he had made for an alliance with Florence,
produced a letter from the King of France in which aid was promised
for the undertaking against Bologna. Valentino seemed much elated.
“Now, you see, secretary, this letter is an answer to my request for
permission to attack Bologna.”

Machiavelli did not allow himself to be deceived by Caesar’s astuteness
and eloquence, but he carefully weighed the causes for the Duke’s
confidence in the success of his projects; he estimated his actual
military strength and the number of troops he could collect, and he
found that Caesar was far from weak, but also that his enemies were
much more powerful than he had represented them to be.

The Florentine was greatly impressed by Valentino’s astuteness, but he
was, nevertheless, able to discern his real purpose. Caesar had boldly
stated that if he effected a reconciliation with the Orsini it would be
impossible for him to enter into any treaty of friendship with their
enemy Florence, and Machiavelli knew that this was true, consequently
he wrote the Signory that it would be well to make some sort of compact
with the Duke at once.

Machiavelli’s first impressions of Caesar were vague and uncertain. The
Duke was not more perspicacious than the secretary, but he had greater
self-control, had a sharper insight into motives, and he possessed
powers of dissimulation which Machiavelli entirely lacked. Above all
else Caesar was perfect master of himself. He therefore succeeded in
hiding much of his real purpose from the secretary.

The Signory of Florence, however, attached the greatest importance to
Machiavelli’s report of his interviews with Caesar, and Valori wrote
him, October 11th, saying his “relation was clear cut, exact, and
sincere--and to be relied upon.”

Among the conspirators it had been decided that Bentivoglio should
attack Romagna, while the Orsini and Vitelli should try to take Urbino.
Some of the leaders had hesitated and the plan was still in abeyance
when an unexpected event gave them new courage.

The Castle of San Leo, the bulwark of Urbino, was seized by a supporter
of the Montefeltre early in October, and Caesar had been informed of
the fact before Machiavelli reached Imola. Valentino was not disturbed
by the news, and the Florentine envoy says that he expressed his pity
for those who had chosen such an unfavourable moment to attack him; he
made light of the loss of a State he had no intention of retaining;
he could recover it any time he saw fit. He even showed Machiavelli
copies of the orders he had sent his lieutenants to retire within their
lines of defence.

These commanders, Ugo Moncada, Michelotto de Corella, Bartolomeo
Capranica, and Giovanni de Cordova, retreated, but destroyed the
villages that lay in their way, delivering them over to fire and
pillage. Pergola and Fossombrone were laid waste and all their
inhabitants, men, women, and children, put to the sword. The news
of these crimes reached Imola October 12th, and Caesar exultingly
exclaimed to Machiavelli, “The stars this year seem to be unfavourable
to rebels!”

One after another the towns in Urbino revolted, but still the
conspirators hesitated. Paolo Orsini announced that he would return to
Caesar if he would relinquish his intention of attacking Bologna and
direct his energies against Florence; Vitelli, at first the most active
of the conspirators, now offered to follow Valentino if he would assure
him of his safety. That all Italy was afraid of Caesar and the Pope
there is no doubt.

The Duke pretended to believe in the sincerity of his captains and
received them again into his favour; he even dispatched them to the
support of the garrisons in Urbino that were still loyal to him.
Vitelli had advanced as far as Castel-Durante, and the Baglioni were
at Cagli. The Orsini were in the neighbourhood of the stronghold of
San Leo, holding aloof from both Caesar and Montefeltre, who had taken
refuge in Venice, where he had recruited a considerable number of
troops. October 12th a courier arrived in Urbino with the news that
Montefeltre was advancing to the aid of the garrison. This meant that
Venice was helping the conspirators, who consequently again took heart
and threw off the mask. The 15th the Orsini, who had apparently been
willing to return to Caesar, fell upon the troops of Ugo Moncada and
made him prisoner. Michelotto was forced to flee to Fossombrone, and a
few days later the Duke of Urbino again entered his capital.

Had the conspirators with their united forces attacked Caesar at this
moment, it is highly probable that he would have lost the greater
part of his domain; but each appeared to be concerned only with his
own interests and much time was lost by remaining inactive in Urbino.
Finally the rebels began to be suspicious of each other. Giampaolo
Baglioni, knowing that Fano was Caesar’s most loyal town, asked
permission to enter as his lieutenant. Pandolfo Petrucci of Perugia had
always hesitated because he feared the Borgia would finally outwit the
conspirators; and a few days after the return of the Duke of Urbino
he sent a messenger to suggest in the name of all that a new treaty
or agreement be made by which they would again enter his service and
recover the territory which had been lost.

Louis XII., unable to accomplish his purpose with respect to Naples
without the help of Alexander VI., declared those who opposed the
Holy Father’s plans regarding the Romagna were also his enemies. The
King had promptly discovered the part Venice had played in effecting
the return of Montefeltre to Urbino, consequently he threatened the
Republic with his wrath in case it lent any further aid whatsoever to
the enemies of Valentino; this again strengthened Caesar.

Furnished with a safe conduct from Valentino, Paolo Orsini came to
Imola October 20th, and the terms of a reconciliation having been
arranged, he was allowed to depart unharmed a few days later. All were
to be forgiven, and Caesar agreed to protect the estate of each of his
lieutenants, and in return they were to defend him and his territory
and those of the Pope, and, theoretically at least, also those of all
the princes of the House of Borgia. There was to be a special agreement
regarding Bologna, and Cardinal Orsini, Pandolfo Petrucci, and
Valentino himself were chosen to arrange the terms.

Machiavelli heard Caesar’s confidant, Agapito of Amelia, laugh at the
conspirators and speak of them as rebels after the compact had been
signed--“a child would laugh at such a treaty.” In Rome, too, the
agreement was not regarded very seriously.

Only a short time elapsed between Paolo Orsini’s departure from Imola
and his arrival in Urbino, where he informed Vitelli of the terms
of the agreement he had signed in the name of the conspirators with
Valentino. In the meantime Vitelli had been very active; he had aided
the Duke of Urbino in every way possible; he had attacked Caesar’s
lieutenants, and had even put some of his civil officers to death.
Oliverotto da Fermo, another of the conspirators, had been equally
active and Baglioni had not been idle. Romagna, however, had remained
faithful to Caesar.

Vitelli rejected Caesar’s offer and persuaded Baglioni also to join
him in supporting the Duke of Urbino. The situation, however, was
serious. Caesar was frequently heard to remark that he was “eating the
artichoke leaf by leaf.” Having detached Petrucci and Orsini from the
band of conspirators, he endeavoured to win over Bentivoglio. Finally
an agreement was reached with the Lord of Bologna and the treaty was
signed in Rome by his representative, Francesco Parato and the Pope’s
chamberlain, Michele Romolino. Giovanni Bentivoglio had been left to
his fate by the conspirators, and when he entered into the treaty with
the Vatican he was acting solely in his own interests without regard
to any of the others. The treaty, whose purpose was to assure the
integrity of the domain of the two parties, was signed in the Vatican
November 23rd. The King of France, the Duke of Ferrara, and the Signory
of Florence stood sponsors for the alliance. Bologna agreed to furnish
Valentino a hundred men-at-arms and two hundred light cavalry “for
one or two enterprises the Duke was planning.” In addition Caesar was
engaged by Bologna as a condottiere at an annual salary of 12,000
ducats. The treaty was finally signed November 23rd and was sent to
Caesar for ratification.

Giustinian, the Venetian ambassador, in his dispatch of that date
reports that he had heard that Cardinal Orsini and the Bolognese envoy
had engaged in a violent altercation in the presence of the Pope, the
former charging Bentivoglio’s representative with endeavouring to
effect an agreement with Caesar and the Vatican without regard to the

Vitellozzo Vitelli, finding himself deserted, hastened to accept the
terms offered him in Caesar’s name by Paolo Orsini, who, bringing the
agreement signed by all the conspirators, arrived in Imola November
27th, before Valentino had formally ratified the treaty between Bologna
and the Pope. Two days later Orsini set out for Fano to assume command
of the troops and advance on Urbino. He was accompanied by Antonio del
Monte, Valentino’s special commissioner for the city of Urbino, bearing
letters of amnesty for the rebels, and delegated to take possession of
the duchy in the name of his master.

His recent comrades having sworn to recover Urbino, Guidobaldo di
Montefeltre gave himself up for lost. In vain some of his loyal
subjects urged him to resist; at Valbona the women offered him their
jewels to procure means to secure troops and supplies, but he decided
to flee. Before doing so he had the strongholds of Pergola and Cagli
razed. Early in December Paolo Orsini entered the domain of the
Montefeltre and, halting a few miles from Urbino, sent a messenger
to ask for an interview with Guidobaldo, who was suffering from an
attack of the gout and had to be borne on a litter to the place of
meeting. December 7th he took leave of such of his subjects as had
remained faithful, and two days later Paolo Orsini entered Urbino
and assumed the office of Governor of the domain of the Montefeltre,
although the four strongest castles in the territory, San Leo,
Maggiolo, Montecuccolo, and San Marino were still held by Vitelli, who,
notwithstanding the fact that he had signed the agreement with Caesar,
still seemed to be hesitating as to his course.

December 10th Valentino departed for Forli and from there he went to
Cesena, where he made preparations to go to Rome by way of Ancona.

It had been decided to make war on Sinigaglia, Cardinal Giuliano della
Rovere having failed to convince the Pope and the King that he had not
aided Guidobaldo di Montefeltre in the last rebellion. The Cardinal
exerted himself to save his nephew’s estates but failed.

The day before Caesar left Cesena for Pesaro a terrible sight met the
eyes of the peasants as they entered the town in the early morning
bringing supplies. Thrown in the public square was a bleeding and
headless corpse clothed in a rich costume; near by, impaled on a
pike, was the head, which the inhabitants of the capital of Romagna
immediately recognised as that of their Governor, Don Remiro de
Lorca. One of Caesar’s political maxims was: leniency for small
offenders, severity for great ones. Numerous charges of malfeasance in
office--among others that of having sold for his own profit grain which
Valentino had imported--had been made against the Governor and he had
been tried “to satisfy justice and our honour, and that of those he had
injured--and as a salutary example for all public officials present and
to come,” condemned, and executed.

Machiavelli, who saw the body exposed in the public square, observes:
“It is not clearly known what was the cause of his death--unless it
was simply the pleasure of the prince, who shows that he knows how to
make and unmake men according to their deserts.” There were rumours,
however, that Don Remiro had been plotting with Caesar’s enemies.

The 29th of the month, while in Fano, which had remained faithful to
him, Valentino received a delegation from the citizens of Ancona, who
had come to assure him of their loyalty. With them was a messenger from
Vitelli, bringing news of the capture of Sinigaglia, after a feeble
resistance, about the end of December, 1502.

Caesar’s commanders, to prove their good faith, had not only offered
their services for his movement against Sinigaglia but several of them
had gone there in person. Paolo Orsini and his son Fabio, Francesco
Orsini, Duke of Gravina, and Oliverotto da Fermo were there, and
Vitellozzo Vitelli and one of his nephews appeared on the 30th. The
only ones absent were Giampaoli Baglioni, who, distrustful of Caesar,
had sent him word from Perugia that he was ill; and Giulio Orsini, who
was in Rome under the protection of the all-powerful head of the house,
Cardinal Orsini.

How astute men, living in an age of unparalleled duplicity, when every
man’s hand was against his neighbour, when treachery and assassination
were regarded as fine arts, and poison and poignard perfectly proper
tools in political machinations, could have rushed into such a trap is
difficult to understand. Caesar’s character was known to all of them;
he was more than a match for any one of them in cunning, intellect,
astuteness, determination, and what is of still more importance, he had
even less moral sense; he had frequently shown that mercy, compassion,
pity, were no part of his nature, and these men, having betrayed him,
conspired to destroy him, ruin him, rob him of the estates he regarded
as his own, deliberately placed themselves in his power! It would not
have been surprising if one or two had been deceived, but there were
seven or eight; in fact, there was only one, Baglioni, who had not
fallen into the trap.

The only explanation is that the conspirators were utterly
panic-stricken; they found their coalition was gradually being weakened
by Valentino--in fact, that he was “eating the artichoke leaf by leaf”
as he said--and that they were doomed; they perhaps thought that by
surrendering and again entering his employ there would be at least
a chance of being forgiven; with many men this would have been the
case, but they had failed to grasp what was perhaps Caesar’s chief
characteristic, his utter implacability, which, in conjunction with his
extraordinary powers of dissimulation, made him the most dangerous of
the Italian despots. All the members of his own family, not excepting
his father, the Pope, feared him. He possessed all the characteristics
of all the other Italian condottieri but in a more highly developed
form. Caesar immediately saw that the hour for vengeance had
arrived--all the rebels were together.

The conspirators informed the Duke that the territory had surrendered
to them, but that the stronghold still held out because, as the warder
said, he would relinquish it only to the Duke in person.

The 30th of December Caesar sent them word from Fano that he would be
in Sinigaglia the next day with the artillery to reduce the castle in
case it still refused to yield.

December 31st the army left Fano with Don Michele and two hundred
lances in the van, followed by Caesar with the men-at-arms. When they
reached the bridge crossing the Misa just before Sinigaglia, Don
Michele halted the light horse to allow the infantry to pass and enter
the town.

Oliverotto da Fermo had remained in the city, but Paolo and Francesco
Orsini and Vitellozzo Vitelli, who had taken possession of some of
the neighbouring castles, came to meet Caesar, who received them
graciously, shook hands with them in the “French fashion” and kissed
them. According to Machiavelli, seeing that Oliverotto was not with
them, Caesar made a sign to Michele to go and find him, which he did
and told him to come with him to Caesar.

Valentino entered Sinigaglia on horseback, riding between Vitellozzo
Vitelli and Francesco Orsini, and on arriving at the palace the four
prepared to take leave of him, but he asked them to go in with him to
confer--or perhaps to have luncheon. This they did, but no sooner had
they passed the portals than they were seized by Valentino’s guard.
The accounts differ in some unimportant details but the above is the
generally accepted one.

That evening when Machiavelli reached Sinigaglia he found the streets
filled with soldiers and the place in a tumult. As he was about to
enter the palace he saw the Duke come forth, armed from head to foot,
mounted on his charger. Caesar called the Ambassador to him and told
him of the arrest of the Orsini and Vitelli. The Florentine secretary
was dazzled by this masterpiece of treachery which he described as _il
bellissimo inganno_--“the most beautiful piece of deception.”

When news of the capture reached the troops of Vitelli and Orsini they
at once realised their danger, and rallying about Fabio Orsini and
Vitelli’s nephew, withdrew from the town. Encountering no further
opposition, Caesar’s men overran the place, robbing, plundering,
violating, until he himself issued from the palace with a guard and
hanged a number of the rioters in the public square.

Caesar decided to take Orsini to Rome, while Oliverotto and Vitelli
were condemned to death after a semblance of a trial, the Duke
apparently desiring to give his action an appearance of right. The
order was given for them to be executed the same night. It is related
that the youthful and proud Oliverotto tried to stab himself to avoid
the shame of death at the hands of the executioner. As to Vitelli--“in
his last hour he showed himself unworthy of his past life, for he
begged to be allowed to plead with the Pope for forgiveness--and
Oliverotto turned his back on him.” At the tenth hour of the night they
were strangled.

Immediately after the execution Caesar wrote all his friends among
the Italian princes telling them what he had done; his officers had
conspired to destroy him, and although he had forgiven them they had
met at Sinigaglia expressly for the purpose of again entering into a
compact to secure his overthrow; having learned of this, he himself had
gone to that place with his troops and seized the traitors, who had
been duly tried and condemned. The letter to Venice concludes with the
remark, “I am certain your Serenità will be pleased.” To the Romagnols
he wrote: “All the world ought to be pleased, and especially Italy,
seeing that by their death the country is relieved of a dangerous
pest,” and he urges them to “thank God for putting an end to the
calamities the country suffered owing to these misguided ones,” who,
it may be observed, had until recently been among his most capable

Many of the princes congratulated Caesar, and Isabella d’Este sent him
a present of some masks, and in her letter referred to the “favourable
progress you are making.”

During the night of January 2, 1503, news was brought the Pope of the
capture of Sinigaglia, and the next morning he sent a messenger to
Cardinal Orsini to inform him that he desired his presence.

According to the Master of Ceremonies, when the cardinal and his
suite reached the apostolic palace their horses and mules were led
away to the Pope’s stables, and when Orsini entered the Chamber of
the Papagalli he found himself surrounded by armed men and--says
Burchard--was frightened.

The Prothonotary Orsini, Bernardino d’Alviano, brother of the
condottiere Bartolomeo, Santa Croce, a supporter of the Orsini, and
Rinaldo Orsini, Archbishop of Florence, were arrested at the same time.
Santa Croce, however, having promised that he would appear when wanted
and given bonds, was set at liberty, but Cardinal Orsini was thrown
into prison in the Castle of St. Angelo, and the Governor of Rome took
possession of his palace and personal property.

January 3rd the Holy Father informed the Signory of Florence of what
had taken place at Sinigaglia and in Rome, and the following day he
told Giustinian that Caesar’s commanders and Remiro de Lorca, Governor
of Romagna, had conspired to destroy him, and that this was the reason
Remiro had been executed at Cesena.

A few days later nearly the entire Sacred College went to the Pope to
ask him to release their colleague Cardinal Orsini, but the Holy Father
insisted that he had been the very heart and soul of the conspiracy and
refused to accede to their wishes; he also justified Caesar’s action
and showed that he regarded the terrible vengeance he had wrecked on
his condottieri as a brilliant stroke of genius.

Giustinian gives particulars of the plundering of Cardinal Orsini’s
palace. “Everything, even to the straw, was carried away and
taken to the Vatican. A vast quantity of silver vessels was found
there--estimated to be worth more than 10,000 ducats--the most
beautiful tapestries and other household furniture--of money it is
not known how much, but it is said to have been less than had been at
first supposed. The cardinal’s mother was dragged from the house with
only what she had on her back, and a few of her maids. The cardinal was
taken to S. Angelo and every one has given him up for dead.”

In his dispatch of January 5, 1503, the ambassador says that Pope
Alexander held a convocation the evening before and explained to the
cardinals why he had imprisoned Cardinal Orsini, and he also informed
them that everything he had heard regarding the prelate’s treachery
toward himself and Caesar had been confirmed since his imprisonment;
that all this and more, too, was true. The cardinals begged for mercy
for their colleague, to which his Holiness replied that he would be
governed by a sense of justice in whatever he did with respect to
Orsini; that he would see that he was not wronged, and was treated
with perfect justice; then he assured them of his love and of his
appreciation of their recommendation--and his words confirmed all in
their belief that he intended to have Orsini put to death.

The same day the Pope’s son Giuffre and Jacopo Santa Croce, probably as
the cardinal’s representative for form’s sake, with an adequate force
rode to Mount Rotundo, and in the name of his Holiness took possession
of it and of all the other property of the Orsini, including the abbey
of Farfa.

The day after the murder of Vitelli and Oliverotto Caesar set out for
Perugia and Siena, having with him his prisoners Paolo and Francesco
Orsini. Before he left Sinigaglia Andrea Doria had surrendered the
citadel to him on receiving Caesar’s permission to retire whithersoever
he wished.

On the way Valentino took possession of Vitelli’s capital, Città di
Castello, which had been abandoned by the inhabitants. Then he set
out for Perugia, where the Duke of Urbino and the Prince of Camerino,
Vitelli’s nephew, had found refuge under the protection of Giampaolo
Baglioni, who had announced his intention of resisting. Caesar had,
however, no sooner reached Gualdo--January 5th--than the Duke of
Urbino fled to Pitigliano, and Baglioni, abandoning his wife and
children, who fell into the hands of Caesar’s men, made his escape, and
joined Pandolfo Petrucci in Siena.

Their leaders having deserted them, the people of Fermo and Perugia
sent messengers to Valentino offering him their allegiance, which he
accepted, and, having appointed Vincenzo Calmeto and Agapito Gerardino
Governors of these places, he set out for Siena. When he reached
Assisi--January 7th--he was met by envoys from Siena, come to ask him
what terms he would grant. His first demand was that they surrender
Pandolfo Petrucci, and without waiting for an answer he pressed forward
in the direction of Castel della Pieve. While there he made public
the treaty into which he had entered with Giovanni Bentivoglio, who,
to prove his sincerity, immediately announced that he was ready to
dispatch the troops he had agreed to furnish. At the same time the
marriage contract of the sister of the Bishop of Elne, a relative of
the Pope and Caesar, with Costanzo Bentivoglio was signed--this had
also been stipulated in the treaty.

Caesar reached Castel della Pieve January 18th, and there he had
Paolo and Francesco Orsini strangled. He had stated that he intended
to imprison them in Civita Castellana, but he probably found their
presence hampering to his movements and concluded that there was no
reason to defer their death, upon which he was resolved. The papal
Master of Ceremonies calmly records the fact: “January 18th Francesco
Orsini, Duke of Gravina, Paolo Orsini, and the Chevalier Orsini[26]
were killed and strangled by Michelotto and Marco Romano by order of
the Duke Valentino.”

When the Pope was asked about the affair he replied coldly, saying that
he knew nothing about it, as he had received no letters from the Duke;
and to give an appearance of truth to what he said he added that the
Duke had entered upon the Sienese expedition without his consent.


_From an early engraving._

            To face p. 220.]

Cardinal Orsini had been in prison since January 2nd. For a time his
mother, who was then eighty years old, was allowed to bring him his
meals, but this was finally forbidden. In vain she and her son offered
large sums for his liberty; she even sent the Pope a very valuable
pearl which he had admired; he accepted it and again allowed her to
furnish the cardinal his meals; “but it was believed he had already
drunk the cup the Pope had prepared for him.” The Holy Father continued
to tell Orsini to be of good cheer and to look to his health, and
he informed the cardinals in consistory that he had directed his
physicians to take the best of care of the prisoner. His age, the
humiliation he had suffered, and the confinement were, however, more
than he could withstand. About the middle of February it was rumoured
that the cardinal was ill of the fever, and the 22nd of the month
he passed away. Immediately the report spread that he had died of
poison, and to disprove the rumour the Pope ordered the corpse to be
carried to the church on an open litter and with the face uncovered,
and he further commanded all the Orsini in Rome to attend the funeral.
Giustinian clearly believed that the cardinal had been poisoned.
In this connection it is worth remarking that while the Venetian
ambassador is hostile to the Borgia he would not intentionally distort
what he believed to be facts in his dispatches to his own Government;
he was in Rome to watch Alexander and to keep the Senate fully informed
of every event. Had he misled his Government his services would have
been worthless and he would have been promptly recalled.

Burchard’s comment is as follows: “To-day, February 22nd, Cardinal
Orsini died in Castle S. Angelo--and may his soul rest in peace. Amen!
His Holiness directed my colleague D. Bernardino Guttieri to take
charge of the funeral of the deceased--therefore I did not wish to
know anything more than was necessary, I was not present--and I took
no part in it.”

Soderini, the Florentine orator, in a letter of February 23rd, says:
“Cardinal Orsini was buried yesterday at the twenty-fourth hour in S.
Salvatore, the church of the Orsini; by the Pope’s order the corpse was
accompanied by his family and by those of the cardinals of the palace.
It lay uncovered on a cloth of gold, clad in a chasuble of red damascas
silk embroidered with gold flowers. On the head was a white miter.”

In the meantime, in defiance of the Pope and Caesar, the inhabitants
of Siena remained faithful to Pandolfo Petrucci, and January 27, 1503,
Valentino sent word from his camp in Pienza that he would give them
twenty-four hours to expel their chieftain. The same day the Pope
dispatched a brief to the officials of the _Balia_ of Siena containing
a similar demand. Both documents are given by Alvisi. Caesar lays aside
all diplomacy and writes in a tone of mastery and confidence:--

“To-day, the 27th of the month, at the twenty-third hour we received
a letter from Cipriano, our chancellor, written yesterday in Siena,
from which we learn that you have failed to execute the stipulations
contained in the treaty into which we entered. If by the day named you
have not expelled Pandolfo from your city and domain we shall proceed
against you; we will make you understand that we are not to be deceived
by you. We have justly conceived such contempt for your conduct that we
are unable to find words to express it in a letter; and we swear by God
that when you have received this letter, if you have not already driven
forth, without any more delay, the said Pandolfo we will regard each
one of you as the same as Pandolfo, and forthwith proceed to the total
destruction of all your subjects, goods, and domain, and of your city
and of yourselves.”

Then he scolds them for their ingratitude, and reminds them that with
his own troops and without their aid and with no expense whatsoever to
the Republic he stands ready to relieve their country of a scheming
tyrant. He signs the letter _Caesar Borgia de Francia Dux Romandiolae
Valentiaeque Princeps_.

The Sienese refused to comply, and Caesar proceeded to execute his
threat by sending out troops to ravage the country. The towns of
Pienza, Chiusi, Castel della Pieve, and San Quirico were destroyed and
the inhabitants put to the sword; the people of Viterbo, Acquapendente,
and Montefiascono suffered the same fate; old men and women were
tortured and killed; the fruit-trees were cut down and everything that
might offer shelter for the fugitives was destroyed. Burchard records
that at San Quirico Caesar’s soldiers suspended two old men and nine
old women by the arms and lighted fires under their feet to torture
them into revealing where they had hidden their valuables; they,
however, would not disclose the place, and died in torment.

The people of Siena, terrified by the cruelties of Caesar’s troops,
sent a delegation to the _Balia_ to say that it was wrong for all to
be destroyed for the sake of one. Petrucci thereupon decided to leave,
and he authorised the Council to treat in his name, but he reserved
the right to remove with all his troops. Caesar and the Pope, knowing
the city was well supplied with men and munitions of war and admirably
situated for withstanding a siege, decided it was wise not to impose
too harsh conditions. The Sienese were brave and determined, and they
had the support of Giampaolo Baglioni, an able captain. Furthermore,
Siena, which enjoyed the favour of the King of France, had never been
part of the papal domain. The undertaking against Siena was therefore
abandoned for the time being.

Caesar and the Pope may have thought that the Orsini in and about Rome
were becoming too dangerous; they and their followers were swearing
vengeance for the murder of their kinsmen Paolo and Francesco, and the
imprisonment of the cardinal, Giambattista Orsini.

Giulio Orsini had collected a considerable force at Pitigliano, and
Fabio and Organtini held Cervetri, while Giovanni and a number of the
family’s supporters had fortified themselves at Ceri. In addition
Silvio Savelli had joined the Orsini forces in the Campagna, and all
were determined to fight to the death.

Caesar hastened to Rome and the Pope urged him to proceed against the
Orsini immediately; but the son, no less resolute than the father, was
even more astute and thought it best to delay, for which he readily
found a pretext. Niccolò Orsini, Count of Pitigliano, was a condottiere
in the pay of Venice, and this was one of the reasons why Valentino
decided to temporise. When Alexander wanted him to seize Bracciano,
Caesar objected on the ground that its lord, Giangiordano Orsini, was
in the service of the King of France in Naples and, like himself, was
a member of the Order of St. Michael, therefore he could not make
war upon him, and of this Louis XII. took occasion to remind him by
a special messenger. Valentino was too shrewd to incur the King’s
displeasure at this juncture, and he concluded it would be wiser to
secure and establish order in the States he had already won than it
would be to endeavour to add to his domain.

The King of France undoubtedly had misgivings regarding Caesar’s
growing power. Pisa, the relentless enemy of Florence, the King’s
protégé, had requested Valentino’s aid, and if Perugia and Siena fell
into his hands a formidable power would be established in central Italy
under an energetic, brave, and daring soldier--one who would hesitate
at nothing and who already enjoyed great prestige.

Louis XII. therefore immediately set about forming a coalition,
comprising Siena, Lucca, Florence, and Bologna, to curb Caesar’s

Alexander was annoyed by what he considered the King’s unwarranted
interference, and accused Caesar of weakness with respect to the
Orsini. The Duke, however, persisted in his determination to leave
Bracciano and Pitigliano alone and to lay siege to Ceri.

The ancient town of Ceri was famous for its stronghold. The castle had
been regarded as impregnable; it had resisted numerous sieges from
Roman days down through the Middle Ages. It was defended by a large
number of troops with able leaders, consequently Caesar’s task was a
difficult one.

The Duke went to Rome about the middle of February, but never left the
palace except disguised. The Pope was so displeased by his refusal to
proceed against Bracciano that he threatened to excommunicate him and
deprive him of his estates. Although Caesar probably did not regard
these threats as very serious, he prepared to go to Cervetri, where
he had left his captains--Ludovico della Mirandola, Ugo Moncada, and
Michelotto de Corella. He left Rome April 6th for Cervetri, but on the
way learned that the town had capitulated to the Count of Mirandola.
The defenders threw themselves on Caesar’s mercy, and he conducted
Giulio Orsini to the Pope and interceded for him so effectively that he
was restored to liberty.

Giangiordano Orsini betook himself to Celle, in the Abruzzi, and while
he was there the Pope offered to give him the principality of Squillace
if he would relinquish all claims to his estates in the Romagna. These
terms were accepted and, with the aid of the French ambassador, were
embodied in a treaty which was drawn up April 8th.

Caesar had now become a power in Italy; soldiers of fortune flocked to
his standard; he was the most dreaded man in the entire peninsula; the
wealth of the Church was at his command and the influence of the Papacy
was behind him. All the castles in the Patrimonium Petri were held by
his lieutenants. Matarazzo says he was now the first captain in Italy,
not owing to great knowledge of the art of war but to his treachery and
corrupt use of money--he had reduced the science of warfare merely to
a consummate art of deception.

He, however, had great and loyal admirers because the Italian of the
sixteenth century had not learned that the success of men in an evil
environment is commensurate with their own capacity for iniquity; that
in human competition the ethical sense, the finer feelings, often
preclude great achievement. All that Caesar had won he had secured by
treachery and crime.

The politicians of the day attributed his success chiefly to the favour
of the Pope and of the King of France, while the astrologers held
the stars responsible, pronouncing him _filium fortunae_. Official
astrologers, however, like the sycophants of the present, were not
blind to their own interests. Cardinal Francesco Soderini says that
among the attributes of greatness in Caesar and the Pope was their
ability to recognise their opportunities and to avail themselves
of them to the utmost--but this they could not have done had they
possessed even a suggestion of the altruistic sense; theirs was simply
the success of utter, merciless egoism.

The dispatches of the day are filled with suspicions and rumours
regarding the aims of the Pope and Caesar; some said the former was
plotting with the Spaniards to secure the Kingdom of Sicily for his
son; others thought he had his eye on Tuscany. Machiavelli wrote:
“Caesar having always thought little of Venice and still less of
Florence, it would be well for the latter to build up such a powerful
State in Italy that her friendship would be desired by some other
potentate.” The secretary also says that Caesar doubtless aspired to
the dominion of Tuscany, which, owing to her situation, would serve
well with the other States he possessed to form a kingdom. Alvisi
thinks that these suspicions and rumours were due to the universal fear
of Caesar and he also suggests that the talk of a crown for Valentino
may have been due to the steps Alexander VI. had taken to erect the
Duchy of Romagna into the Kingdom of Adria, which had already been
attempted by Clement VII. in 1379, for a prince of the house of Anjou.
This action, however, would not have enlarged the domain he already
possessed, and it is even possible that the Pope actually did intend to
restore the entire Campagna to the Church after crushing the barons who
were withholding it.

While Caesar’s captains were occupied about Ceri the Pope, with his
own guard and a few of Valentino’s men took possession of Palombara,
Lenzano, Cervetri, and other towns belonging to the Savelli.

The Spaniards in the Regno were successfully resisting the French, and
Louis’s influence was rapidly waning. He was, however, still actively
supporting the league which he had formed against Valentino.

After Pandolfo Petrucci’s departure from Siena the people became
uneasy; the King therefore caused him to return.

Valentino’s grasp on the duchy was far from secure; many of the
strongholds of the Montefeltre were still holding out against him;
Lattanzio da Bergamo, shut up in San Leo, felt he could defend himself
until the Duke of Urbino returned to relieve him. At the same time,
the continued activity of the Orsini and their numerous adherents made
it necessary for Caesar to remain in, or near, Rome and postpone for a
time at least his projected conquests. In fine, conditions were such
that he would be fortunate if he succeeded in conserving what he had
already secured.

The extraordinary record of events in the Vatican, Burchard’s
_Diarium_, breaks off abruptly in February, 1503, not to be resumed
again until the following August, but Caesar’s presence in and about
Rome is attested by numerous documents and letters.

Louis XII. having established a league comprising Florence, Siena,
Lucca, and Bologna, Pandolfo Petrucci, escorted by a French troop,
returned to Siena, March 29, 1503. Discord, however, arose among the
allies and gave Caesar renewed hope. The dominion of the Pope and
his son Caesar did not extend beyond the Patrimonium Petri and even
there it was limited by Ferrara and Bologna. Valentino, profiting by
conditions in the Regno, began to plot with Spain, who saw in him an
able ally against France.

In April, 1503, Gonsalvo de Cordova had begun a brilliant campaign
in Apulia; the French commanders Aubigny and Nemours were repeatedly
defeated and finally Gonsalvo entered Naples, May 14th, the remnant of
the French forces retreating to Gaeta.

Louis XII. sent all the troops he had at Genoa, under the command of
the Marquis of Saluzzo, to aid the beleaguered army in Gaeta and in the
meantime Gonsalvo had decided to attempt the capture of the place and
also of Castel Nuovo, the last strongholds of the French. The latter
place surrendered, but the former held out until the arrival of the
Marquis of Saluzzo, who forced the Spaniards to retreat to Naples. In
the meantime Prospero Colonna, who was in the service of Spain, had
been uniformly successful in Calabria and the Abruzzi.

Caesar and the Pope anxiously followed the course of events in the
south; the defeat of France would permit them to renew their efforts
against Siena and Perugia, and also against Giangiordano Orsini.
Valentino could accept the lordship of Siena, which the inhabitants had
offered him but which Louis, out of regard for Florence, had compelled
him to refuse, and once in possession of Pisa he could attack Florence.

Caesar had been forced to defer his own projects in Romagna because of
the sending of forces from Genoa by Louis to aid the besieged at Gaeta.
By his agreement he was required to assist the King of France, and he
had already dispatched some of his captains--among them Fracasso and
the Count of Mirandola--to the French camp, and by the middle of July
he had gathered a considerable force about Perugia.

The rumours that the Pope and Caesar were plotting with Spain
continued, and the tyrants whom they had been endeavouring to crush
asked permission of the King of France to proceed against the Duke.
Above all, Guidobaldo di Montefeltre hoped his relative, the Marquis
of Mantua, would help him to return to Urbino.

In the meantime--July 28th--in public consistory, the Pope announced
Caesar’s departure for the field. August 7th the Venetian ambassador
wrote that the Pope had told him Caesar would set forth the following
day; at the same time his Holiness stated, placing his hand on his
heart and swearing on the word of Christ’s Vicar, that it was not his
intention to engage in any undertaking against any one, but simply to
attend to his own affairs, and especially the state of Urbino, where,
he said, “those in San Leo are constantly trying something new.”
Then, turning to Cardinal Adriano, he said: “Bring these Florentine
shopkeepers here to-morrow--I wish to assure them that the Duke’s
expedition is not against them, or any one else, unless some one should
justly provoke him”--and he displayed considerable impatience.

The heat in Italy that year--1503--was intense, and the plague
broke out in Rome and elsewhere. The 1st of August Cardinal Borgia of
Monreale was stricken, and the 9th Alexander prepared a bull appointing
the Cardinal of Este perpetual administrator of the diocese; the bull,
however, was never issued, for the Pope himself and Valentino fell ill
of the plague August 12th.

The next day the Holy Father was bled and he seemed somewhat better,
for he called a number of the cardinals to his bedside and interested
himself in watching them play cards. The 14th the fever returned and
again the 16th. The doors of the palace were closed and the physician
and attendants were not allowed to leave his Holiness. Then they
bethought them of a saintly woman who lived immured in a cell in the
Vatican and asked her to pray for the Holy Father, but she said that
there was no hope. August 18th the Pope confessed to the Bishop of
Carniola and then, seated on the bed, received the Sacrament. The
same evening the Bishop administered the extreme unction and, in the
presence of the datary and a few officials of the palace, the monster
who for eleven years had occupied the throne of St. Peter expired.

On the death of Alexander all sorts of rumours were circulated,
including, of course, one to the effect that he had been poisoned.
It is, however, practically certain that he simply died of a tertian
fever. Burchard’s notes are extremely clear and concise.

In his dispatch of August 11th Giustinian says “the Pope did not enter
the chapel at the celebration of the anniversary of his elevation to
the Papacy with his usual cheerful demeanour”--which the Ambassador
attributes, probably incorrectly, to worry caused by the political
situation. The 13th he gives particulars of the illness of the Pope
and of Valentino, and refers to a dinner given by Cardinal Adriano
di Corneto about a week before, and states that all the guests had
fallen ill, which of course strengthened the suspicion of poison;
the host himself was the first to be stricken. Giustinian endeavours
to follow the course of the fever in the Pope and Caesar, but great
secrecy was maintained by those who were admitted to the palace. The
Venetian ambassador clearly discerned what the death of either or of
both of them meant for Italy and he tried to keep his Government fully

August 18th at the nineteenth hour the ambassador again wrote his
Government saying that a messenger had just come from the Bishop of
Carniola, who was constantly with his Holiness, asking him to send his
secretary to the Vatican, which he did; whereupon the Bishop informed
him that the Pope was in the throes of dissolution and could not live
through the night. He adds that while his courier was waiting for the
dispatch a messenger came to inform him that a member of the Pope’s
household had gone to the warder of the Castle of St. Angelo and
directed him to place all his men under arms, load the artillery, and
put the stronghold in a state of defence.

At the twenty-third hour the orator again wrote the Senate saying that
the Pope’s physician, Scipio, had informed him that his Holiness could
not survive the night. The physician--_omo excellente nell’ arte
soa_--stated that the Pope’s illness, in his opinion, began with a
stroke of apoplexy. He also said that the Duke was in no danger, that
he had no fever and could leave his bed any time he desired so to do.
For his own safety Valentino was preparing to remove that night to the
Castle of St. Angelo, whither the two children, Giovanni, the Pope’s
youngest son, and Rodrigo, Lucretia’s boy, had already been sent. Early
that morning Caesar’s troops had been ordered to Rome with all speed
and they had been pouring into the city all day. They had been massed
in the Borgo and drummers had been sent about the city to call the
guard to arms; the palace was entirely surrounded by troops, foot and

At the first hour of the night Don Alvarotto di Alvarotis, a member of
the household of the Cardinal of Santa Prassede, informed Giustinian
that while he was with the cardinal the Duke’s chamberlain, Don
Romolino, had come and told them that his Holiness had just passed
away. The ambassador was also informed of the death of the Cardinal
of Trani. The same morning, according to the messenger, Caesar had
dispatched a courier to Prospero Colonna to ask his support and to
offer to restore his estates to him.

Gregorovius inclines to the theory of poison, but Burchard records
no such suspicion. The corpse was “monstrously swollen and
discoloured--black, a most horrible thing to behold, and many suspected
poison,” wrote Beltrando Costabili to his master, Ercole of Ferrara.
“Never since the beginning of Christianity has there been seen such a
terrible and horrible thing. It was the most bestial, monstrous, and
horrible body, without the form or face of a man.” Wonderful were the
stories told; while he lay ill Alexander had even seen the devil in the
form of a monkey enter his room to bear his soul away.

The grounds for believing that the Pope had been poisoned are so
slight that they may be disregarded. It is clear from the statements
of Burchard and Giustinian, who was hostile to the Borgia, that
Alexander VI. died of a tertian fever, or the plague, which in that
year destroyed a vast number of people in Italy. The Pope was a fleshy
man, well advanced in years, and the appearance of the corpse, even if
it were as hideous as it was described, would not necessarily indicate
that he had died of poison.

Beltrando Costabili, the Ferrarese orator, concluded a letter dated
August 14th with the remark: “It is not strange that the Pope and
Caesar are sick, because almost all the prominent men in Rome are
ill--and especially in the Vatican, owing to the bad air.” Stories of
the poisoning began to circulate as soon as the rapidity with which the
body putrefied became known.

Guicciardini’s account has been followed by all later writers until
the present day, and he was one of the bitterest of the enemies of
the Borgia. According to his statement, before Caesar’s departure for
the field he and the Pope were invited to dine with Cardinal Adriano
di Corneto. Romolino, Valentino’s intimate, and two other cardinals
were also present. One of the Borgia, desiring to secure possession of
their host’s property, decided to poison him, but the servants confused
the glasses and gave Alexander and Caesar the envenomed cups. This
account was based on a letter written by Peter Martyr of Anghiara, from
Segovia, November 10, 1503--that is, about three months after the
death of the Pope. None of the ambassadors in Rome, who were closely
following events in the Vatican, even hinted at poison at the time.

The facts, briefly summarised, were as follows: The dinner took place
August 5th; Caesar and the Pope fell ill the 10th; the latter was
feverish the 12th; the 16th he was bled copiously and his illness
became serious; the 17th he was given an exceedingly powerful draught
of some sort which failed to relieve him; the 18th, feeling that
his end was approaching, he confessed to the Bishop of Carniola,
who administered the Communion. Later, Mass was celebrated at his
bedside in the presence of five cardinals. The Pope was extremely weak
and he declared that he felt death was near. The Bishop of Carniola
administered the Extreme Unction and a few hours later the Holy Father
expired--thirteen days after the dinner in Cardinal Corneto’s garden,
which precludes the idea of poison.

Giustinian makes no mention of poison. Beltrando Costabili, the
Ferrarese ambassador, who followed the course of the Pope’s illness
from hour to hour, likewise does not suggest it. Alexander VI. was
probably merely one of the many victims reaped by the plague in Rome in

The rumour of poisoning spread through the city and found many
believers who, hating the Borgias and believing they had dispatched
many by means of poison, were only too glad to conclude that they had
fallen victims to a plot which they had laid for another. Caesar’s
illness at the same time further strengthened the conviction, as did
also the horrible condition of the Pope’s body. Not until after the
funeral does Costabili refer to the suspicion of poison.

Valentino, being young and vigorous, recovered in spite of the heroic
treatment to which he, according to reports of the day, was subjected.
It was said that his physician, Gaspare Torrella, had him wrapped in
the warm entrails of a disembowelled mule; another story was that he
had been placed in an enormous amphora filled with ice.

Whatever the means employed to save his life his appearance had greatly
changed. Formerly accounted one of the handsomest men in Italy--not
excepting King Ferdinand of Naples--he was described now as altogether
revolting, and the marks of the severe treatment he had undergone
persisted until his dying day.

The ambassadors--whose function it is to flatter publicly--had
frequently spoken of Caesar as “blonde and handsome”--“like the
Emperor Tiberius, the handsomest man of his day”; but Paul Jovius says
“his face was disfigured with red blotches and pimples; his eyes, which
were very deep set, had a cruel and venomous look and seemed to dart

When the Pope passed away the Duke, who was still ill, sent Michelotto
with a number of men to lock all the doors of the palace, and when
the Cardinal of Casanova hesitated to give up the keys one of the
swashbucklers drew his sword and threatened to cot his throat and throw
him from the window, whereupon the cardinal in terror surrendered the
keys. Then they took possession of all the money they could lay their
hands on--about 100,000 ducats. Later the servants of the palace
rushed in and appropriated everything that was left. The Duke did
not go near the Pope during his illness, and his Holiness never once
mentioned him or Lucretia. The minute Master of Ceremonies describes
the obsequies at great length; he also gives an inventory of the dead
Pope’s effects--that is, such as had escaped Caesar’s henchmen and the

The very day of the funeral Silvio Savelli returned and took possession
of his house and of the prison of the Sabelle, from which all the
prisoners were immediately released.


  The enemies of the Borgia pour into Rome--Fears of the Sacred
      College--Orsini and Colonna--The Cardinals and Valentino--Caesar
      enters into an agreement with France--The Cardinal d’Amboise--
      Scheming before the conclave--Caesar leaves Rome--Return of
      Giuliano della Rovere--The conclave--Election of Francesco
      Piccolomini to the Papacy--The new Pope supports Caesar--
      Valentino’s fortunes ebb--Death of Pius III.--Machinations
      preparatory to electing his successor.

Rome was in a tumult; the enemies of the House of Borgia and of the
Spanish party began to pour into the city. The Orsini were the first to
appear; Fabio, Niccolò, and Giangiordano, with their followers, at once
prepared to take possession of their estates in the Romagna. Prospero
Colonna led his army up to the very gates of the city. The Vitelli were
advancing on Città di Castella, Giampaolo Baglioni attacked Perugia;
Urbino, Camerino, Cagli, and Piombino were ready to revolt; Caesar’s
domain was to crumble away in a day. Valentino did not lose courage; he
was resolute, defiant; he had--so he told Machiavelli later--prepared
for everything, even for the death of the Pope--for all but one
contingency, and that was his own illness.

The streets were thronged with troops; the Spanish cardinals,
officials, retainers, hangers-on, spies, informers, bullies were
panic-stricken; they barricaded their doors and armed themselves.
It was feared the French would seize the opportunity and advance on
the city, and to the south not far away was the army of the King of
Spain. The Sacred College, whose duty it was to elect a successor to
Alexander, had no military force at their command, and they were afraid
to appeal to Caesar, who, with his well-disciplined troops and able
commanders, was still the strongest power in the city.

The Orsini and the Colonna, now at the very gates of Rome, were ready
to fly at Valentino’s throat. The cardinals Santa Croce, Cesarini, and
De’ Medici went to the warder of the Castle of St. Angelo, Francesco
de Roccamura, a Spaniard, to assure themselves of his support, and,
although he was one of Alexander’s creatures, to his great credit and
in spite of Caesar’s efforts to win him over, he remained faithful to
the Sacred College as the representative of the papal power. He trained
his cannon on the streets leading to the castle and his men shouted
“Collegio, Collegio! Chiesa, Chiesa!” The same afternoon the Spanish
mob burned the Orsini palaces on Monte Giordano.

August 21st the cardinals, to the number of seventeen, again met in
the Minerva, and the question of entering into some agreement with
Valentino was discussed at length. The Duke had professed loyalty and
devotion to the Sacred College, and Pandolfo, a notary, was directed to
confer with Caesar’s secretary, Agapito of Amelia.

August 22nd, through his secretary, Caesar swore obedience to the
cardinals, who confirmed him in his office of Captain-General of the
Church. The cardinals had warned both the Colonna and the Orsini to
keep away from Rome, but, disregarding their orders, Prospero Colonna
entered the city with a small force of cavalry. The next day Ludovico
and Fabio Orsini also appeared with their followers. Determined
to avenge the murder of their kinsmen and the plundering of their
estates, they sought Caesar, and failing to find him, they wrecked
their vengeance on the Castilians generally. Valentino and the Spanish
cardinals kept to the Vatican, and without the whole city was in a
tumult. Gangs of ruffians rushed about shouting “Colonna! Orsini!

Caesar’s political sagacity coming to his aid, he endeavoured to
separate the Colonna, whom he had injured the least, from the Orsini.
These great rival families had been brought together by the wrongs they
had suffered at the hands of the Borgia. Caesar offered to restore the
property of the Colonna, and this offer Prospero promptly accepted, at
the same time promising in return to support the Duke. This agreement
saved Caesar for a time, and it was thought that in the impending
conclave a Pope favourable to the Borgia might be elected. The Orsini
were frightened and, yielding to the demands of the cardinals, withdrew
from the city during the night of August 24th.


_From an early engraving._

            To face p. 244.]

In the meantime the Italian cardinals had been insisting that Caesar
also leave Rome. The Sacred College had secured about two thousand
troops and had placed the city under the protection of the ambassadors
of the Emperor, of Spain, France, and Venice, who--August 25th--went
to Valentino, whom they found in the Vatican stretched upon a bed,
but completely dressed and surrounded by the Spanish cardinals, and
requested him to leave the palace. This he refused to do, saying that
he was ill and that he would be safe nowhere else. Thereupon they
offered him the Castle of St. Angelo for his abode. Caesar asked
permission for his troops also to occupy the stronghold. He was still
Duke of Romagna and he had more than nine thousand men under his
command. He also had large amounts of money on deposit with Alessandro
Spanocchi, consequently he was treated as a reigning prince. Both the
Spanish and French ambassadors knew that his aid would be valuable in
the war in Naples, and Prospero Colonna was endeavouring to persuade
him to enter the service of Gonsalvo de Cordova. At the same time
France was trying to secure him.

Finally, to the utter dismay of Colonna and the Spanish cardinals, he
decided to cast his fortunes with the latter power, for September 1st,
through the mediation of Grammont, the French ambassador, he entered
into an agreement by which he was to place his troops at the service of
France in the Regno and to hold himself in readiness at all times to
aid the King, and to use all his influence with the Spanish cardinals
to secure the election of the Cardinal of Rouen to the Papacy.

No sooner had Georges d’Amboise, Cardinal of Rouen, learned of the
death of Alexander VI. than he set out in great haste for Rome, feeling
certain that he could be elected to succeed the Borgia. The Papacy was
the dream of his life, and he was ardently supported by the King, who
would profit greatly by the election of his minister. In fact, Louis
thought that if Amboise, his intimate friend, his subject, his Prime
Minister, became Pope he could easily make himself master of all Italy.
Amboise, with the French army under the very walls of Rome, promptly
secured a strong following in the Sacred College.

By his agreement with France Caesar was assured the protection of the
King both as to his person and his property. The same day--September
1st--Valentino entered into an arrangement with the Sacred College,
one clause of which required him to leave Rome within three days.
Prospero Colonna had also been compelled to depart, and the ambassadors
of Maximilian and of Louis XII. guaranteed that while the papal throne
was vacant Caesar, the Colonna, and the Spanish forces would not
approach within ten miles of Rome; the orators of Venice and France did
the same with respect to the French army and the Orsini.

Giustinian says it was agreed that Prospero Colonna should leave
September 2nd, and Caesar, with all his artillery, the following
day. Colonna did depart on the appointed day and Caesar withdrew a
little later with all his troops, horse, foot, and artillery. The Duke
himself was so ill that he had to be borne on a litter. The Venetian
orator adds: “Now that Caesar has gone it is thought that the election
will take place quietly and without any disturbance, since every one
respects the Sacred College.” Still, some uneasiness was felt lest
the French should cause a disturbance, because Odoardo Bugliotto, the
King’s valet, had arrived with a large amount of money, determined
to make the Cardinal of Rouen Pope. Monsignor de Trans had told
Giustinian that neither Ascanio Sforza nor any of the other cardinals
then in France would attend the conclave, “nevertheless, yesterday
evening the report was circulated, and this morning it was confirmed,
that Amboise, Sforza, San Malo, and Aragona[27] were already on the
way, and,” he adds, “if this is true there will be much intriguing, for
these men are seditious and shameless and with their astuteness and
machinations cause much disturbance, and may God in his mercy watch
over Christendom.”

The same day--September 2nd--Giustinian informs his Government:
“It is learned that Valentino, without the knowledge of any one, has
entered into an agreement with France.”

Prospero Colonna was greatly chagrined by Caesar’s last trick, and when
he left Rome he took with him the Princess of Squillace--“who will be
some comfort to him--while the Prince went with the Duke. The Princess
departed willingly, hoping to recover her estates in the Regno--in
any event there is little love between her and her husband as they are
entirely unlike.” Owing to the trouble and discord she had occasioned
in the family, the Princess Sancia had been imprisoned by Alexander VI.
in the Castle of St. Angelo.

Burchard describes Valentino’s departure in detail. The very morning of
the agreement he paid his troops and sent thirteen heavy wagons laden
with engines of war forward through Trastevere. He had three large
bombards, two medium, and eight small ones. Then he dispatched his
guard to the Milvius Bridge, there to await him. More than a hundred
wagons were required for his baggage. They left the Vatican by the
Viridaria Gate and proceeded to Monte Mario, the Duke borne on a litter
by twelve halberdiers. After him was led a magnificent charger with
trappings of black velvet, embroidered with his arms and the ducal

The Spanish and French ambassadors accompanied him as far as the city
gate. Caesar set out for Nepi, a town belonging to his family, the
citadel of which was still loyal to him. Gregorovius says his mother
Vannozza and his brother Giuffre accompanied him.

Valentino was still a power to be reckoned with, and he undoubtedly
hoped to secure the election of a Pope who would be friendly to himself
and the Borgia family, for he knew that he could count on the votes of
the eleven Spanish cardinals.

Alexander’s obsequies began September 4th, and in accordance with the
papal custom continued for nine days. The cardinals, however, soon lost
interest in the ceremonies and were anxious to enter into conclave. One
after another the cardinals who, for various reasons, had been living
abroad returned. All Rome was looking forward to the event which to
Caesar was the most momentous in his entire career--not excepting the
election of his own father to the Papacy--for not only his future but
his very life depended on the outcome.

The French army, under Monsignor de La Trémoille and the Marquis of
Mantua, had entered the Romagna, where they were ordered to remain
until a successor to Alexander had been elected.

Giuliano della Rovere, after an absence of ten years in France,
returned to Italy September 3rd; Cardinal Colonna, who had been hiding
in Sicily for five years, appeared a few days later; the 9th the Romans
received Riario in triumph, and the next day Ascanio Sforza, Georges
d’Amboise, and the Cardinal d’Aragona made their entry. Amboise had
secured Sforza’s release from prison and had brought him with him
from France, counting upon securing his vote. The Cardinal of Rouen
also felt certain that at the proper moment Caesar would throw the
votes of the Spanish cardinals for him, and he believed that the near
presence of the French troops would influence the Sacred College in his
favour, because they would immediately see that the Papacy would be
greatly strengthened by having the support of the armies of France. He,
however, was not slow to discover that Ascanio Sforza was the favourite
of the Romans; moreover, the Sacred College promptly requested Amboise
not to permit any of the French troops to enter the city.

When Giustinian called upon Giuliano della Rovere on his arrival in
Rome the cardinal remarked to him: “I am here in my own interests and
not in those of any one else; I am not here to cast my vote for the
Cardinal of Rouen unless I should see that even without my vote he
could be elected--which I think is impossible.” He added that he was a
good Italian and that he could not be forced to make a Pope unless it
were for the good of the Christian religion and the peace and welfare
of Italy; he also expressed great affection for Venice and promised to
consider her interests.

September 16, 1503, thirty-eight cardinals entered the conclave which
was held in the Vatican. They first drew up an agreement which was
to be submitted to any power that would guarantee their rights; they
also promised to reform the abuses which were wellnigh universal in
ecclesiastical affairs, and agreed to summon a council for that purpose
within two years; they also promised to prosecute the war against the
Turks. The urgency of the situation in which they were placed cut short
the discussion. The Italians and the Spaniards united against Amboise
and agreed to elect a Pope who could not long survive, and, September
22nd, on the second scrutiny they selected Francesco Piccolomini,
Cardinal of Siena, to be the supreme head of the Church. He adopted the
name Pius III.

Piccolomini had been Cardinal-Deacon forty-three years; he was a man
of probity, advanced in years, and a sufferer from the gout, with not
long to live. Giuliano della Rovere, seeing that his own election was
impossible, had secured the elevation of Piccolomini. French politics
had failed signally, and Pius III. promptly compelled the Marquis of
Mantua to withdraw his troops from the Romagna.

The college had been divided into three nearly equal factions--the
French, the Spanish, and the Italian, whose respective candidates were
Georges d’Amboise, Bernardino Carvajal, and Giuliano della Rovere.
Caesar for obvious reasons had supported the French candidate, and had
succeeded in frustrating Della Rovere’s plans; the latter, however,
had immediately discerned the true situation, and with the aid of
Oliviero Caraffa, Cardinal of Naples, and Girolamo Basso della Rovere,
Cardinal of Recanati, succeeded in placing his Eminence of Siena in the
papal chair, thereby giving himself time to perfect his own plans for
securing the great prize on the demise of Pius III., which was sure to
take place soon.

Pius III. was born in Siena in 1439, consequently at the time of his
elevation to the Papacy he was sixty-four years of age. The cardinals
who had procured his election in the hope that he would not survive
long were not disappointed, for he died twenty-seven days after
assuming the tiara--so promptly that the usual rumour of poison
immediately spread. At first it was whispered that Pandolfo Petrucci,
tyrant of Siena, was guilty of the crime, and later the enemies of
Julius II. fancied they discovered the hand of the Cardinal of San
Pietro ad Vincola in the sudden death. Although Pandolfo had committed
many atrocities, it is extremely unlikely that any crime in this
instance had been committed. As to Della Rovere, he knew that the new
Pope could not live long, and therefore had no need to shorten his
days; in fact, he had procured his election for the express purpose of
gaining time to perfect his own plans to secure the throne of St. Peter.

Caesar had also been active in effecting the election of Piccolomini,
who, in the event of his elevation, had promised to confirm him in
his office of Captain-General of the Church and Vicar of Romagna.
Immediately after his elevation to the Papacy the new Pope began to
bestow marks of his favour upon Valentino. Bonafede, Bishop of Chiusi,
Caesar’s representative during the conclave, was made Governor of Rome
the very day the new Pontiff was proclaimed.

September 23rd the Pope granted Giustinian an audience, during which
the Venetian ambassador interceded in favour of the Romagnol barons,
who had returned to their estates. His Holiness replied: “As far as
Cesena is concerned, I agree perfectly with your Illustrious Signory,
but as to the other lords, God has punished them for their sins with
a _tristo_ instrument, and I wish to remind the Senate that all the
troubles of Italy originated in Romagna.” Then he said, smiling,
“Perhaps God will restore these lords after they have done penance.”
Undoubtedly the Pontiff had made some sort of an agreement with Caesar,
for he did not hesitate to maintain the Duke’s rights in Romagna. He
even went so far as to dispatch a legate to Perugia to break up the
league which Valentino’s enemies had formed against him, and he also
sent commissioners through Romagna to urge the people to be loyal to

Thus enjoying the favour of the new Pope, Caesar returned to Rome with
a considerable following October 3rd. He was accompanied by Cardinals
Amboise, Sanseverino, and D’Albret.

The Pope, however, did not support Caesar very actively. In fact,
when he urged obedience upon the Romagnols, he remarked that he would
give the Duke no further aid--he wished, not to be a warlike Pope,
but a pacific one, to bring peace and quiet to Christendom. Regarding
Valentino, the Pope advised the Republic to do nothing, because it
would soon be all over with him--his illness was a punishment from
God. The 29th the ambassador writes: “Valentino has sent messengers
from Nepi to Rome to ask the Pope’s assistance, but the only result so
far is a few briefs.”

Caesar had only 200 men left; Ugo Moncada with the flower of his troops
had deserted him, and 2,000 men who had been under the command of
Romolino also left. Alessandro Spanocchi, the Duke’s treasurer, tried
to send money of his for deposit in Florence, Milan, Bologna, and
Ferrara--14,000 to 20,000 ducats. It was said that the Florentines
offered Valentino a free passage through their territory in case he
wished to go to Romagna.

The following day the Pope issued a brief threatening with
excommunication any one who should refuse to return any money or other
property removed from the apostolic palace during the illness of Pope
Alexander VI.--evidently this was aimed at Caesar and his agents.

Nothing escapes Giustinian. “The Duke is still at Nepi in bad health,
and deserted by nearly every one. The Pope has given him fair words,
but Caesar is distrustful.” October 1st Bartolomeo d’Alviano requested
the Venetian orator to secure the Senate’s permission for him to attack
Caesar in Nepi; he also informed the ambassador that Caterina Sforza
desired to join in the undertaking and had promised him a large sum
of money, but he had refused his consent because he would have been
obliged in return to help her recover her own estates, which would
offend Venice. October 2nd the orator writes that the Duke of Urbino
had sent a courier to Rome with a letter in which he said he had
attempted, but unsuccessfully, to persuade the people of Fano, which
was in the possession of Valentino’s forces, to return to the Holy
See--and he asked permission to compel them to do so. The Cardinal San
Pietro ad Vincola accompanied the messenger and explained all to his
Holiness, who replied that he could not make any open demonstration
against Caesar, but that he was willing that the Duke of Urbino should
do what he could--that it would not displease him; which shows that
the Pope was willing they should do as they saw fit with respect to
this Duke of Valence, provided it did not appear to come from him. The
Pope decided Valentino should return to Rome, and he arranged to put
the palace of the Cardinal of Ferrara near St. Peter’s at his disposal.
His Holiness stated that he could not bring himself to use extreme
measures with respect to the Duke--that he had decided to have pity on
him--however, “the chief reason why the Pope has been so indulgent is
that he heard the Duke was very ill and incapable of taking the field,
and being by nature very determined and avaricious, he hopes in case
the Duke dies, without using force, to get possession of the money and
other valuables he removed from Rome, although I think--and this is
the opinion of many--that in this he will be disappointed, because the
greater part of the valuables have been taken to the castle of Forli
and the money deposited in various places. The reason the Duke asked to
be allowed to return to Rome is because he is afraid of Alviano, who is
trying in every way to get his clutches on him.”

Valentino entered Rome October 3rd with his entire force, about 150
men-at-arms, 500 foot-soldiers, and a few light horse. Burchard’s
mention of Caesar’s return is even more concise.

The Duke was lodged in the palace of the Cardinal of San Clemente, and
many of the high Church dignitaries immediately called upon him. “He
is still sick,” adds Giustinian, “and it is thought he will die.” Two
days later the orator writes, perhaps somewhat regretfully: “Valentino
is not as ill as was supposed; he talks arrogantly and boasts that he
will shortly recover all his domain. To-day the Cardinal of Rouen went
to see him and succeeded in getting 30,000--some say 50,000--ducats
from him. Although the Pope is not very favourably disposed towards
him, Valentino, to obtain his support, is said to have lent him a large
sum of money for his coronation expenses. It is believed here that
the Pope will regard this money as his own and keep it, together with
the other valuables collected after the publication of the brief of
excommunication, and also the 24,000 ducats found on deposit in the
bank in the name of the _duchetti_”--the little Dukes, Don Giovanni
and Don Rodrigo.

The cardinals San Pietro ad Vincola and San Giorgio complained to the
Pope of Caesar’s presence in the city, and the ambassador reports a
conversation he had with his Holiness, in which the latter said: “I am
neither a saint nor an angel, but a man, and one who does not fancy
that he knows everything. I have been deceived. I thought the Duke
would ask to be made Captain-General of the Church, and then I should
have told him that I had no money for soldiers.” It was rumoured in
Rome that the city of Pesaro had been captured in the name of Caesar,
with the aid of Florence, and the Duke became more arrogant and
threatening. The French and the Cardinal of Volterra were scheming to
get him to enter the service of Florence.

The Pope was crowned in St. Peter’s, October 8th, but the event in
comparison with the actions of Valentino was of slight importance in
the opinion of Giustinian; the Florentines were negotiating with him,
and he was busily engaged enlisting soldiers for use in Romagna. The
agent of the Duke of Urbino informed the Venetian orator that Soderini,
Cardinal of Volterra, had asked him in what manner the Republic of
Venice had helped Valentino, and that he had also tried to convince him
that insomuch as Alexander VI. was dead, there was no reason whatever
to accord Caesar any protection any longer; to which Giustinian replied
that it would be a mistake for Urbino to second the endeavours of
Venice, who was trying to get possession of Romagna, for in that case
Valentino, France, and the other powers would take steps against him,
and the Duke of Urbino would lose his domain for the third time; “then
I advised him to make a compact with Florence and the French.” Urbino
was, however, more inclined toward Venice. The very day Pius III. was
crowned he issued a bull appointing Caesar Gonfalonier of the Church.

Valentino felt that his star was again in the ascendant. Favourable
reports were coming in from the Romagna, and about the end of
September the people of Cesena had dispatched an ambassador whom
Caesar received graciously and thanked for the loyalty of his people.
Immediately after the victories of Carpineto and Martirana, he sent
letters to the Romagnols urging them to resist until he should be well
enough to come to their assistance. The States he had more recently
acquired were somewhat doubtful, but most of them remained loyal to
him. His bitterest enemy, Giulio Orsini, had made peace with him, and
the Pope gave him permission to embark on a new campaign to punish
Pandolfo Malatesta for his attempt to seize Rimini, and Sforza for his
movement against Pesaro, and also to chastise the Duke of Urbino for
endeavouring to recover his own property.

Alvisi publishes a brief issued by the Pope October 13th, in which he
requests the Florentines to allow Caesar, “whom he loves tenderly,
paternally, on account of his rare and superior virtues,” to lead his
army through their territory.

It is difficult to judge how sincere the Pope was, but it is certain
that all Italy, except Romagna, feared and hated Caesar, and rejoiced
in his downfall; many were afraid that he might rise again; every
one was eager to betray him; Ferrara, in spite of Lucretia Borgia’s
marriage with Alfonso d’Este, hated him--the daughter of a dead Pope
was of slight account in Italian politics. The Romagnol barons had
entered into a treaty with him, but had no intention of keeping it.
Bartolomeo d’Alviano and Baglioni were gathering an army to crush him,
and, in conjunction with the Orsini, were trying to get possession
of his person; shortly after his return to Rome his enemies entered
into a solemn compact to pursue him to the death. Even Spain’s
representative in Naples, Gonsalvo de Cordova, signed the agreement.

Annibale Bentivoglio came to Rome early in October ostensibly to do
homage to the Pope, but in reality to watch Caesar’s movements. The
Holy Father told Bentivoglio he had written the briefs in Caesar’s
favour in good faith, but that henceforth he would do nothing for
him--but at the same time he was careful to add that he would do
nothing to injure him. Dissatisfied with this, Bentivoglio asked
Cardinal della Rovere to get the Pope’s permission for him to attack
Caesar. This the cardinal promised to endeavour to do, and Riario
likewise agreed to use his influence to this end.

In the meantime Valentino’s forces were rapidly dwindling away; of
the 6,000 foot-soldiers and 600 men-at-arms he had at the time of
his father’s death, not half were left to him. The clouds were fast
gathering; even the Florentines, who pretended to be his friends, were
more than suspicious of him. Gonsalvo de Cordova promulgated an edict
forbidding the Spanish captains to serve under Caesar’s orders, and
commanding them immediately to report to himself to check Louis XII.,
who was advancing on Naples; October 14th the edict, in the name of
Castile, was solemnly proclaimed in Rome before Valentino’s palace and
in two other places. Small companies of men under the lieutenants of
Alviano, of Baglioni, and Orsini were constantly being brought to Rome.
The Pope held a conference with the ambassadors of the various powers,
and asked them to put a stop to Alviano’s operations in the Romagna;
this they diplomatically declined to do.

Caesar’s palace was surrounded; it was impossible for him to escape. In
case he attempted to flee by way of Ostia, Mottino, formerly captain of
Alexander’s galleys, was ready to pounce upon him, and Giustinian says:
“This Alviano is like a mad dog determined to fly at his throat.”

Valentino, however, bribed the guards at the Porta Viridaria, and
Burchard records that he escaped with all his men October 15th, but
that some of his people immediately deserted and returned to Rome. When
Orsini heard of his flight he hurriedly left the city by another gate,
and Caesar, finding his road cut off, returned to Rome, where he was
admitted to the Vatican. All but seventy of his men-at-arms abandoned
him, and they, together with a few foot-soldiers, acted as a guard
before the palace.

On the ground that he was a common criminal the Orsini protested to the
Pope against affording him any protection.

Rome was on the verge of civil war; the Orsini burnt the Torrione gate,
and Fabio Orsini and Renzo di Ceri were ordered to attack the Borgo
which Caesar had fortified. With the Torrione gate destroyed, it was
easy to get into the Vatican. Valentino was driven to the wall, when
Cardinals Borgia, Salerno, Sorento, and Arborea had him conducted
through the subterranean passage to Hadrian’s Mole, where for a time at
least he was safe. With him he had his natural children and the little
Dukes of Nepi and of Sermoneta. His palace in the Borgo was sacked and
plundered. October 16th Giustinian tersely records: “The Duke has
retreated to castle S. Angelo with four or five servants; his people
are scattered; the Orsini have surrounded the castle; they are trying
to persuade the Spanish ambassador to take steps to prevent him getting

At the same time the Spanish cardinals were endeavouring to induce the
warder to permit Valentino to escape disguised as a friar. But the
Orsini were vigilant and took every precaution to prevent this. Caesar
was deserted by all his people; what little property he had managed
to save was now gone; the captain of the guard, a nephew of the Pope,
secured the greater part of it, and even the magnificent Bartolomeo
d’Alviano obtained two beautiful chargers; all was scattered and
Valentino was in sore straits.

The Orsini, finding themselves baffled, instituted a civil suit against
their enemy for seizing the estates of the barons, and demanded that he
be held in the castle of St. Angelo until a decision could be rendered.

To some extent Caesar still enjoyed the favour of the Pope, and he
conceived the idea of escaping by night and joining Michelotto at the
castle of Soriana, where, he believed, he might collect an army and
recover Romagna. He, however, had no chance to carry out this plan,
for the one friend still left--if friend he could be called--Pope
Pius III., died during the night of October 18, 1503, thus promptly
fulfilling the hopes and expectations of many of the cardinals.
Piccolomini had reigned just twenty-seven days. September 27th he
had undergone a painful operation, and the Venetian ambassador
followed his illness day by day as closely as he had done that of his
predecessor. October 16th he states that fears for the Pontiff’s life
were felt; he was worse the next day and during the night his brothers
removed his valuables from the Vatican to a place of safety. The
Orsini, determined to force the election of a Pope of their choice when
Pius passed away, remained in Rome.

When Alexander VI. died, the most scurrilous epitaphs were found
affixed to the palace walls, but when Pius III. passed away, numerous
laudatory epigrams were discovered. Angelo Colucci drew a striking
comparison of the short but respectable reign of Piccolomini and the
shameless pontificate of his predecessor.

The death of Pius was a great blow to Caesar, who had enjoyed his
support for a time. Even now, however, his courage did not entirely
desert him. Machiavelli, who arrived in Rome October 26th, wrote the
Signory that the Duke was more hopeful than ever of accomplishing great
things--providing a friendly Pope is elected. It was said that Caesar
finally despairing of any other aid, had made some sort of a compact
with the Cardinal of San Giorgio.

The Sacred College, after seriously considering the demands of the
Orsini that Caesar be held until a new Pope was elected, decided
that they had no authority to do so. During the meeting the Cardinal
of Rouen defended Caesar, hoping thereby to secure the support of
the Spanish prelates who were still devoted to Valentino and were
themselves influential and united. The cardinals decided that the Duke
was at liberty to go and come as he saw fit. There was, however, little
likelihood that he would leave, as he was safer where he was than he
would be anywhere else; moreover, when the new Pope should be elected
he would be in the best possible position to secure his favour through
the mediation of the cardinals who might remain loyal to him. How
influential Caesar still was is shown by the orator’s remark that all
those who aspired to the Pontificate were ready to promise him anything
he asked to secure the votes of the Spanish cardinals and “there is one
thing certain,” he adds: “no one will be Pope who does not consent to
all of Valentino’s demands.”

The Spanish prelates seemed to favour the astute Cardinal of San
Pietro ad Vincola, but Santa Prassede and Alexandrino were also strong

Burchard records that the Cardinal of San Pietro ad Vincola came to the
apostolic palace October 29th with Valentino and his Spanish cardinals,
and entered into an agreement with them by which he promised, when he
became Pope, to make Caesar Captain-General of the Church, and also
to protect his interests and restore him to his estates; the Duke on
his part was to aid Della Rovere in the conclave, and all the Spanish
cardinals promised to cast their votes for him. The evening of October
30th, the obsequies of the deceased Pope being over, the cardinals
agreed among themselves that the Cardinal of San Pietro ad Vincola
should be his successor. The same day Machiavelli informed his Signory
that Giuliano della Rovere had secured the promise of the majority of
the votes of the Sacred College “by means adapted to this end.”

Giustinian repeats the various rumours current regarding the momentous
event, the election of the new Pope. The very day of the Pontiff’s
death he wrote: “There are three strong candidates--Naples, San Pietro
ad Vincola, and San Giorgio; the Spaniards incline to the second
because he will be able to satisfy their demands the best. The Cardinal
of Naples may get a few votes, but he is suspected of being French.
San Giorgio’s age is against him, consequently Della Rovere is the
strongest candidate. Sforza, Colonna, and Rouen are not mentioned now.”

The day following the Pope’s decease all the cardinals were “intent on
their machinations, some with little respect to God and the dignity
of their office. Bargains are openly made; the terms are no longer in
hundreds, but in thousands and tens of thousands--to the measureless
shame of our religion, and insult to God; there is now no difference
between the Papacy and the Sultanate--it will go to the highest

October 22nd the Orsini complained to the Sacred College of their
treatment and Alessandrino and Medici were delegated to confer with
them and Caesar. The Orsini, feeling that they had been grievously
wronged, and at the same time not wanting to oppose the Holy See and
the Sacred College, promised that if the Duke would leave Italy and
go to France or some other place they would allow him safe passage;
on the other hand, if he desired to remain in Italy in the Province
of Gesia, they demanded that he be required to give security for his
appearance before the future Pope to answer the charges lodged against
him; they also agreed to give bonds to appear and defend an action he
had threatened to bring against them. “It is not known what Caesar
said to these suggestions; many think he will decide to go to France,
but some say he will remain here.” The next day the orator heard that
Valentino had resolved to leave Italy, and that he had asked for eight
or ten days in which to make his preparations; he also demanded that
the Orsini be required to leave Rome and to give him a safe-conduct as
they had agreed. It is clear that he asked for this time to enable him
to persuade the Sacred College to force the Orsini to leave Rome and
also to permit him to carry on his machinations in connection with the

The obsequies of the deceased Pope continued, but attracted little
attention, the impending election of his successor being the
all-absorbing topic--while the electioneering proceeded and the
scandal increased.

Cardinal Colonna went over to the Spanish faction, and this again
rendered the situation more complicated. The 27th of the month the
Venetian ambassador wrote that it was still uncertain who would secure
the great prize. The cardinals of Naples and San Pietro ad Vincola were
now the leading candidates; Ascanio Sforza was also mentioned. The
ambassador adds that while “the wishes of the King of France have some
weight, the Duke’s desires are more important than anything else--and
may God save us from having a Pope who, under obligations to Valentino,
may convulse the affairs of all Italy and even of all Christendom.”

Reports reached Rome that Antonio Ordelaffi had captured Forli and
that Sforza had recovered Pesaro; at the same time Pandolfo Petrucci
had entered Rimini, taken the fortress, and put Caesar’s men to rout;
this renewed activity was directly due to the Pope’s death and Caesar’s
retreat to the Castle of St Angelo.

The Duke was greatly discouraged by this news and dispatched a
messenger to the Venetian ambassador to ask the help of the Senate. By
this time Alviano and the Orsini had, in obedience to the wishes of the
cardinals, left Rome with nearly all their troops.

The Pope’s obsequies were concluded the 29th. Giampaolo Baglioni was
still in Rome under the protection of the Cardinal of Rouen, who stated
he desired his presence for his own security. The Sacred College,
however, to render this unnecessary, enlisted about five hundred
foot-soldiers to guard the conclave. Caesar was still in the Castle
of St. Angelo and daily received visits from Cardinals Borgia, Loris,
Romolino, and Vera to confer regarding the future Pope.

Although Valentino had received the safe-conduct he made no move to
depart; in fact, he had no intention of going before the election of
the new Pope. The morning of the 30th it became known that Della Rovere
had reached an agreement with the Spanish cardinals and Rouen, and
his election was assured. The betting, according to Giustinian, ran
as high as 82 per cent. on Della Rovere as against 6 per cent. on the
field--just how bets were placed in those days is not known.


  Election of Giuliano della Rovere--Julius II. and Caesar Borgia--
      Caesar leaves Rome--Machiavelli and Caesar--Arrest of Caesar--
      Victory of Gonsalvo de Cordova at the Garigliano--Caesar goes
      to Naples--Gonsalvo seizes Valentino and sends him to Spain--
      Caesar imprisoned in the Castle of Chinchilla--Jeanne la Folle and
      Philippe le Beau--Caesar is transferred to the Castle of Medina
      del Campo--His escape.

The last day of October the cardinals entered into conclave, and
November 1, 1503, Giuliano della Rovere, Cardinal of San Pietro ad
Vincola, was elected Pope on the first scrutiny. Thus the nephew of
Sixtus IV., after nineteen years of waiting, aspiring, scheming, years
of exile, of strife, of hopes and fears, realised the ambition of his

At the fifteenth hour the window was thrown open, the cross held out,
and the announcement made that the most reverend Cardinal of San Pietro
ad Vincola had been elected supreme head of the Christian Church. The
new Pope was pleased to assume the name Julius II.

Giustinian conceives that Venice will profit by the election of Della
Rovere, who was reputed to be a man of his word. He was sixty years of
age and had no nephews for whom it would be necessary to find places.
Caesar therefore felt sure of the new Pontiff’s favour.

Almost immediately after Della Rovere’s election chambers over the
audience-hall were, by the Pope’s orders, placed at Valentino’s
disposal, and there he took up his residence.

The Venetian orator had heard that the new Pope had dispatched briefs
to Romagna of the same tenor as those which Pius III. had issued in the
interests of Valentino, and he went to the Pontiff and asked whether
the report was true, to which his Holiness replied: “Ambassador, do not
for a moment think that I will fail in anything I have promised you;
I give you my word that I have written no such briefs, and I do not
intend to do so, and” he added, “even if I had written them you know
I would at the same time have taken steps to prevent them from doing
any harm”--that is, he would have given those to whom they were sent
to understand that they were not to be observed--modern politics has
made but little advance in duplicity. “It is true Agapito has asked me
to write them, but I will do nothing. Ambassador, it is not necessary
for you to remind me that we should not favour the Duke in the affairs
of Romagna, because this is our office, this territory being ours,
_mediate vel immediate_; therefore whoever holds it holds it as a vicar
or feudatory of the Church.”

The Pope’s coronation was set for November 19th, and as early as
the 3rd Giustinian was informed that Julius had written Guidobaldo
di Montefeltre, Duke of Urbino, requesting him to be present at the
ceremony. This special invitation shows that the new Pope was on the
side of Caesar’s enemies. Although the Cardinal of San Giorgio feared
that if Guidobaldo absented himself from his State it would afford
Caesar a chance to injure him, it can hardly be supposed that the
Pope invited the Duke of Urbino to Rome simply to give Valentino an
opportunity to destroy him or attack his capital city.

It is difficult to see how Caesar, himself a past-master in duplicity
and cunning, could have placed any dependence upon the promises Della
Rovere had made to him to secure his elevation to the Papacy. Just
what were the terms of the bargain is not known; the cardinal had but
one end in view--the assuring of his own election; and once elected,
he would not hesitate to break the agreement he had made. It is true
he carried out some of the stipulations by appointing Valentino
Captain-General of the Church and guaranteeing him the nominal
possession of Romagna, but the very day of his election he began to aid
and encourage the Duke’s enemies.

Alexander VI. had urged the Sacred College never to make Giuliano della
Rovere pope, and he was correct in regarding him as an implacable enemy
of his House. Caesar himself almost immediately discovered that he had
made a mistake and was on his guard. November 12th the Pope formally
took possession of the Castle of St. Angelo, placing the Bishop of
Sinigaglia in command of it.

The following day a council was held by the Pope, Amboise, Soderini,
the Cardinal of Ferrara, the Spanish cardinals, and Caesar, regarding
the departure of Valentino, and it was agreed that he should at
once go to Ferrara and his troops to Imola, which was still held
by his lieutenants. The Duke, however, seemed suspicious and
irresolute--perhaps owing to a sort of stupor into which he had been
thrown by the reverses he had suffered--for he was neither accustomed
to misfortunes nor able to bear them.

Giustinian writes November 6th: “The Duke is still in the palace but
has little reputation; he made every effort to obtain an audience with
his Holiness but failed. He is very submissive and has repeatedly sent
to ask me to come and confer with him regarding his affairs, but I
declined, for various reasons, among them being the fact that he quite
ignored the Republic during his days of prosperity.” Caesar continued
to enlist troops but with what end in view is not clear.

The Cardinal of Cosenza told the orator that his Holiness was
considering an alliance between one of his great-nieces and the little
Duke of Camerino. It was also reported that the Pope intended to give
Caesar the strong Castle of Civita Castellana for his residence, but
this statement was not confirmed.

It was even arranged that when the proposal should be made in
consistory to give the office of Gonfalonier of the Church to Valentino
it should be merely for form’s sake to satisfy him. About the middle of
November it became known that Cesena desired to be freed from Caesar’s
authority and return to that of the Church. The Pope’s coronation was
postponed for a week “on the advice of the astrologers, who stated that
the stars would be more propitious for his Holiness that day.”

“The Pope is most harshly disposed towards the Duke, and it is said
has ordered Pandolfo Petrucci to treat him as an enemy; his Holiness
looks for Caesar’s destruction, but does not want it to appear that he
has any part in it.”

Julius II. had conceived the idea of recovering the strongholds in
the Romagna for himself, and he soon discovered that Caesar actually
expected to retain them. The Borgia, shrewd as he was, was no match
for the Della Rovere in cunning; the Pope outwitted him at every turn,
and he did not hesitate to tell Giustinian that “the Duke shall never
have so much as a single tower of my fortresses. All I owe him is to
save his life and protect his property--in interceding for him with
the Florentines it was really to save Romagna for the Church.” The
Pope told the orator that as soon as he had secured possession of the
castles he would send Caesar away. Clearly his Holiness did not want to
be compelled to use force to get possession of the strongholds; he was
trying to delude Caesar into giving them up, and then he would cast him

The orator confesses that the Pope’s mind is “ambiguous” to him--_me
ambigua_--but he promptly discovered that he wanted to crush the Duke,
and this view was confirmed by many of those in the Pope’s confidence;
some, however, maintained that he was well disposed toward Valentino.

November 19th occurred the event to which all had been eagerly looking
forward--Caesar’s departure from Rome. He went to Ostia, where he was
met by Mottino with two galleys to take him to Tuscany. There were
various rumours regarding the place where he intended to disembark;
the Venetian orator was told that Viareggio, a town belonging to the
Duke of Ferrara, was his destination. He had with him about 160 horse.

Valentino was greatly changed when Machiavelli saw him in Rome, and
both he and Giustinian regarded Caesar as lost; the latter saw him
“fearful and terrified,” while Machiavelli wrote: “The Duke allows
himself to be carried away by his confident mind”; he also said
Valentino was “changeable, irresolute, and suspicious.”

Worn out by his reverses, he had at first thought of going to Romagna.
But when he embarked he had decided to go either to Livorno or Genoa
and thence to Ferrara. Machiavelli, who had assured him that Florence
would grant him a safe conduct, said that if the Signory failed him
“Caesar would make a compact with the Venetians and the devil and would
go to Pisa and devote all the money, forces, and allies that remained
to him to injuring the Republic.”

The 18th, the very day that Caesar left the Palace, Julius II.
dispatched briefs to Romagna in which he said he had disapproved of
the bestowal of the vicariate upon Valentino by Alexander VI., and
he exhorted the people to raise the standard of the Church, in whose
possession he intended Romagna should remain. A few days later he told
Cardinal Soderini that it would have been wiser, he thought, to have
placed the strongholds of Romagna under Caesar’s command, as it would
be better for him than for the Venetians to have them. Soderini went
to Ostia and made certain proposals to Caesar, which were rejected.
November 24th the Pope ordered Mottino to hold Valentino, and at
the same time he arranged with Soderini to impede the progress of
Michelotto, who had started forward with the Duke’s cavalry. The same
day he appointed the Bishop of Ragusa, Giovanni Sacchi, Governor
of Romagna and Bologna, and directed him to take possession of the
province in the name of the Church, and he again called upon the cities
to raise the papal standard.

The general opinion in Rome was that Julius II. was only waiting for a
more favourable opportunity to give Caesar the final blow, and the joy
felt at his departure was wellnigh universal. Agapito and Romolino, his
two closest friends, men whose names had been connected with some of
his most atrocious crimes, had refused to accompany him and remained in

The Pope had also instructed Soderini to demand the surrender of the
citadel of Forli, and Caesar’s refusal to comply was what caused his
Holiness to seize him and hold him prisoner.

Machiavelli reported to his Government the rumours which filled Rome
when Caesar’s arrest became known; it was even said that his Holiness
had ordered him to be flung into the Tiber, and he adds: “If this has
not been done it will be done shortly, in my opinion; we see that the
Pope has commenced to pay his debts very honourably; his pen and ink
are all that are necessary--nevertheless his praise is in all men’s

The night of November 27th the papal guard set out for Ostia to arrest
Caesar, but they did not have to proceed far, for, searching the boats
they chanced to come upon, they found him on a little craft on the
Tiber about two miles from Rome.

The troops he had embarked at Ostia, finding themselves without a head,
left the galleys and went back to Rome, while the gentlemen of his
suite returned to their estates.

At first the Pope had Caesar taken to Magliano, a place about seven
miles from Rome, where he was closely guarded, but not treated harshly.
Julius undoubtedly wished to avoid the use of force with Caesar as far
as possible and to secure his own ends peaceably if it could be done.
He may have feared that if he too openly disclosed his real purpose
Valentino’s lieutenants would surrender the castles they still held
to some other power, for several were casting longing eyes upon them.
Later the Pope ordered Valentino to be brought back to Rome and had him
lodged in the Vatican.

Giustinian informs his Government, November 28th, that the Pontiff, to
justify himself for arresting Caesar, especially in the eyes of the
Spanish cardinals, held a convocation, which was attended by fifteen
cardinals, to whom he explained that as Venice had been active in
Romagna, not against the Church or the Holy See, but only against
Valentino, and also to restrain the Florentines, who appeared to
have designs upon the same territory, he had decided to remove the
cause, in order that the Republic would have no pretext for going any
farther. Therefore he had given the Duke to understand that he must
surrender the territory now in his possession into the hands of the
Pope and must give the countersigns of the fortresses; but for fear
that he would not give the true countersigns it seemed advisable to
his Holiness to have the Duke brought to Rome and kept in a safe place
until their correctness could be verified. This done, the Duke could
go whithersoever he wished. All seemed satisfied. The 29th Valentino
was brought back to Rome and lodged in the chambers of the Cardinal
of Salerno. “The Pope says that when he has secured possession of the
strongholds he will permit him to depart--but God knows what will
become of him,” adds the orator.

The 1st of December news reached Rome that Michelotto had been captured
and all his men slain or dispersed by Giampaolo Baglioni somewhere
between Perugia and Florence. This was a crushing blow to Caesar,
who now had little hope left--he was “no longer considered of much

At this time the Cardinal of Rouen was making preparations to leave
Rome for the Court of the Emperor at Florence, and Caesar desired
to go with him, but to this the cardinal would not consent. Before
Amboise set out the Pope commanded Valentino to send one of his
officers, Pedro de Oviedo, accompanied by a prelate, to obtain the
surrender of the places his supporters were still holding in Romagna,
but before consenting Caesar asked Amboise to give him a guarantee
in writing that the Pope would keep the promises he had made to him
before the conclave. Amboise, however, refused to do this, and after
the Cardinal’s departure the Duke, finding his last support taken from
him, acceded to the Pope’s demands. The commandant of Caesar, however,
thinking or pretending to think there was treachery, seized the
unfortunate Oviedo and hanged him from the battlements forthwith as a
traitor to his sovereign.

When he learned of this the Pope was beside himself--in fact, as Carlo
da Moncalieri expressed it, he was “mad as the devil”--_alterato come
il diavolo_--and threatened to put Caesar in prison for life. Believing
that he had found some way to tell the commandant to disregard the
order he had given, the Pope had Valentino confined in the Borgia
Tower. He nevertheless continued to treat with him, and again allowed
him to go to Ostia, this time in charge of the Spanish Cardinal
Carvajal, with the understanding that he was to be given his liberty
when his officers surrendered the strongholds in Romagna.

Giustinian records the hanging of Oviedo December 20th and Caesar’s
transfer to the Borgia Tower, and adds: “Terrified by recent
events, the Cardinal of Sorento and Cardinal Borgia have left the
city--possibly to go to the Spanish camp. It is believed by many
that their flight was due to Valentino’s affairs or because they
had acquiesced in the poisoning of Cardinal Sant Angelo.” When the
Cardinals Francesco Romolino and Francesco Borgia fled to Naples with
the little Dukes to ask Gonsalvo of Cordova for protection Vannozza
and the Borgia ilk were trying to save their plunder. Much of it was
intercepted and seized when they endeavoured to send it from the
city to a place of safety. Some of the wagons dispatched from Rome
to Ferrara in the name of the Cardinal d’Este were stopped by the
Florentines, while others from Cesena were captured by Giovanni

Caesar was wellnigh ruined when an event occurred which immediately
restored the waning influence of the Spanish cardinals with the Pope,
who was a French sympathiser, and this was the victory of Gonsalvo de
Cordova at the Garigliano, December 31st, which finally assured the
Regno to the Spanish crown.

For some time Valentino was partly forgotten, but he was still in the
Vatican as late as January 15, 1504, and was planning to go to Ferrara,
although Alfonso d’Este was by no means anxious to have him. Just what
was to be done with him was a puzzling question. It was finally decided
to send him to Civitavecchia in the custody of the Cardinal of Santa
Croce, and the Pope told the Venetian orator that he wished to make
one more attempt to reach a settlement in order that he might be able
to justify himself in the eyes of the world for the steps he would be
compelled to take against Valentino if the latter failed to keep the
promises he had made to him.

January 18th, through the mediation of Don Diego de Mendoza, the
Spanish ambassador, it was arranged that Caesar should give the
countersigns of all the castles still remaining to him, and that he
himself should go to Ostia in the custody of the Cardinal of Santa
Croce and then, when the strongholds were surrendered, he should be
allowed to depart for France. There was some delay in carrying out
the agreement, due to recent events in Forli and Imola, but February
14, 1504, the Duke set out for Ostia, and in taking leave of him his
Holiness “caressed him and promised him his support.”

The Pope was suffering from the gout, which appears to have been
essentially a papal disease at that time, and had remained in bed the
greater part of the day. Valentino, accompanied by a few of his own
people and Francesco del Rio, the Pope’s treasurer, set out for Ostia
the same night. According to Giustinian, while there he was closely
guarded, and consequently greatly annoyed.

The commissioners, who had been furnished the new countersigns, had
in the meantime again gone to Romagna, but they did not succeed in
securing possession of the strongholds, for the warders of Cesena and
Bertinoro, distrusting the Pope’s promises, dispatched messengers to
Rome to tell him they would surrender the strongholds if he would
release the Duke, but in case he was not willing to set Valentino free
“they could not honourably relinquish the castles,” on hearing which
his Holiness fell into a violent passion and shouted at them: “You want
to brazen it out. Away with you! If you don’t give them up peaceably I
will make you. You wanted to surrender them to the Venetians, but they
would not have them!” And he drove the messengers from the room.

Mottino, who was to take Caesar to France on one of his galleys, had
been directed by the Holy Father not to leave port, even after the
strongholds had been surrendered to the Pope’s representatives, until
he received specific orders to do so.

The Cardinal of Santa Croce, however, when messengers brought the news
that Cesena and Bertinoro had been surrendered, did not wait for
definite orders from the Pope to set his prisoner free, but let him go
February 26th, after obtaining his written promise never to take part
in any war against the Holy Father or any of his kinsmen.

Caesar and two of his people took horse, and, following the coast, rode
to Naples, where he joined Gonsalvo de Cordova, from whom Cardinals
Borgia and Romolino had previously secured a safe-conduct for the Duke.
At Naples several of his family were awaiting him, among them his
brother Giuffre and his sister-in-law Sancia.

About the middle of April Giustinian informed his Government that the
affairs of Valentino, so far as the Pope was concerned, were settled,
and there were no further difficulties to be apprehended.

April 20th the Pope received a letter from Mottino informing him that
Caesar had left Ostia and was on his way to Naples. His Holiness was
much disturbed by this news and immediately sent a messenger to summon
the French ambassador. The Cardinal of Salerno informed the Venetian
orator that the Cardinal of Santa Croce, fearing that the Pope, even
after the strongholds had been surrendered, would on some pretext
refuse Valentino his liberty, had immediately set him free. The Pope
was greatly annoyed by Santa Croce’s action and charged him with breach
of faith. The orator adds: “Many are pleased by Caesar’s departure, but
others are greatly displeased. Opinions differ as to what Valentino
will do; some think he will cause the Pope trouble.” His Holiness
evidently had not intended Valentino should get away.

In a letter to the Cardinal of Salerno, received in Rome May 3rd,
Caesar said he had not yet had an opportunity to speak to the Spanish
commander; he also asked the cardinal to supply him with funds, which
the prelate promptly did.

When Baldassare di Scipione arrived in Rome from Naples he reported
that Gonsalvo had received Caesar in the most cordial manner and had
called on him, as all the other Spanish officers had done. Rome was
filled with rumours regarding the coming of Caesar by the favour of the
Spaniards to help the Pisans.

When the Roman barons in the Spanish army at the Garigliano learned
of the death of Piero de’ Medici they began to take a lively interest
in the affairs of Tuscany and decided to send forces there; while the
Florentines, disturbed by the military preparations about Siena, had
sent assistance to the Lord of Piombino, who felt his people were
opposed to him. Bartolomeo d’Alviano was to have had charge of the
forces which were to be dispatched to Tuscany, but Gonsalvo preferred
Caesar on account of the friends upon whom he could still count in
Piombino and Pisa. Early in May active preparations were well under
way. In Rome Baldassare di Scipione publicly stated that his lord
“would soon return and give his enemies cause to think of him.” The
Pisans sent an ambassador to Caesar and he dispatched Ranieri della
Sassetta with a considerable force to them. Giulio degli Alberini was
waiting in the harbour of Naples to transport the cannons and other
machines of war; everything was ready and the main body of troops was
to start in a few days, when, on the night of May 26th, as Valentino
was coming from a conference with the Spanish captains, he was arrested
by the castellan, Nugnio Campeio.

The Pope had sent a special envoy to Gonsalvo de Cordova to urge him
not to assist Valentino in any way; and there is no doubt whatever
that it was at the instigation of the Holy Father that the Duke was
finally again seized. The very night that Valentino was arrested the
Pope, thinking that the Duke’s treasurer, Alessandro di Franzo, who was
then in Rome, and had in his possession about 300,000 ducats, which he
was about to remove to Naples, might endeavour to leave, had guards
stationed at all the gates of the city and allowed no one to depart.
All the following day the gates were kept closed and watched by the
papal troops. During the night the Governor of Rome had patrols about
the city and all suspected persons were arrested and examined. Even the
house of Madonna Vannozza, Caesar’s mother, was carefully searched.

May 29th Giustinian states that, accompanied by Cardinal Grimani, he
went to the Castle of St. Angelo to see the Pope, who informed them
that the Bishop of Cervia had shown him letters from the Great Captain,
saying that Valentino, having in mind certain undertakings which would
be harmful to Italy, had, by his orders, been confined in the castle,
and also requesting that his Holiness be informed of the fact.



_From an early engraving._

            To face p. 280.]

Opinions differed as to the responsibility for Caesar’s arrest; some
said the Pope caused it, others the Spanish monarch, and still others
that Gonsalvo do Cordova took the step on his own initiative. Some even
ascribed the affair to the Queen of Spain and Doña Maria Enriquez,
widow of Giovanni, Duke of Gandia. The Pope made no effort to conceal
his pleasure at the arrest and displayed marked evidence of his
favour to the Spanish ambassador, assuring him of his devotion to his
sovereign--“it was judged,” adds the orator, “to induce him to compass
the death of the said Valentino!”

His brother, the Prince of Squillace, was also arrested about the
same time but almost immediately set at liberty. Caesar’s messengers
were likewise seized when they chanced to come within reach of the
determined Julius.

Michelotto, who was closely confined in the Torre di Nona awaiting
trial, was subjected to searching examinations regarding the deaths of
numerous persons, principal among whom were the Duke of Gandia; Giulio
Cesare Varano, Lord of Camerino, and his two sons, Piero and Venanzio,
who were captured when Camerino surrendered and later were strangled
by Valentino’s orders; the Lord of Faenza, Astorre Manfredi and his
illegitimate brother, Giovanni Evangelista; the Duke of Bisceglia,
Lucretia Borgia’s second husband; Bernardino Gaetani da Sermoneta,
slain by Caesar’s orders in 1500, about the same time that Alexander
caused the death in the Castle of St. Angelo of Giacomo Gaetani, the
head of the House, seizing their estates and conferring them on his
daughter Lucretia; and the Bishop of Cagli, who was hanged in the
public square for his brave resistance to Valentino’s lieutenants in

Caesar’s arrest so pleased his Holiness that he spoke of it as _un’
opera divina_--although it was brought about by himself.

August 20th Gonsalvo had Caesar taken to Spain by sea and by a
refinement of cruelty his jailer on the trip was his bitterest enemy,
Prospero Colonna.

Valentino was destined never again to see the peninsula, and it is no
exaggeration to say that all Italy breathed easier when it became known
that he was a prisoner on board a galley bound for Spain.

The faithful Baldassare di Scipione, inspired by love for his
imprisoned lord, issued a challenge addressed to “any Spaniard who
might dare to maintain: That the Duke Valentino had not been made a
prisoner in Naples in violation of the safe-conduct of King Ferdinand
and Queen Isabella, and owing to their utter want of faith, and all to
their eternal infamy and everlasting shame”--and the challenge was
exposed in public places throughout Christendom, and never a Spaniard
dared reply.

For a long time Romagna suffered for want of a strong governing hand;
the country was being ruined by rival factions, the cities were
deserted, and many there were who regretted the overthrow of Valentino.

With Caesar’s removal to Spain his influence in the affairs of Italy
became negligible. In fact, since that time the Borgia family has been
inconspicuous in the history of the peninsula.

About this time an event occurred in the Vatican which was duly
chronicled by Burchard--the betrothal of Niccolò della Rovere and
Donna Laura, the illegitimate daughter of Alexander VI. by Giulia
Farnese. Gregorovius remarks that the consent of Julius II. to the
union of his nephew with his enemy’s natural daughter is one of the
most extraordinary facts in the personal history of this Pope. It looks
like a pledge of reconciliation with the Borgia. While these men were
his opponents Julius had hated them, but his hostility was not based
on any moral grounds. He had never felt any contempt for Alexander or
Caesar, but on the contrary, like Machiavelli, he had admired their
power and ability. They were his enemies because they tried to crush
him and frustrate his ambitions, and he retaliated.

July 10th the Pope informed the Venetian orator that Gonsalvo had
proposed to aid Caesar with men and cannon in his undertaking against
the Lord of Piombino on account of the latter’s opposition to the
Spaniards, but that, dissatisfied with this, Valentino had endeavoured
to disarrange the Great Captain’s plans, and had engaged in his
customary scheming--this was the cause of his arrest--and “God had so
ordained it on account of his misdeeds--inducing others to do what we
were unwilling to do.”

Ten days later his Holiness informed the Venetian ambassador that
Caesar had been sent to Spain carefully guarded and with a single
servant. He added that certain cardinals had urged him to write a
letter to his Catholic Majesty in Caesar’s behalf and that he had
promised to do so, but he feared even if he merely recommended
protection for Caesar’s life and person, his letter would be
misconstrued and the King would show him greater favour than he had
intended, and might even undertake to recover for him a part, if not
all, of his estates, which would be dangerous to himself; he therefore
had revoked the order to write the brief, and “I assured his Holiness
that he was most prudent and circumspect--and with this I took my

Caesar reached Valentia about the end of September and thence he was
immediately transferred to Chinchilla, which is about two leagues from
the town of Albacete in the province of the same name.

Little is known of his sojourn here, but a document now in the archives
of Pau shows that he was still there as late as May 4, 1505, eight
months after his arrival in Spain.

Abandoned by every one, Caesar endeavoured to secure the dowry of
100,000 livres which had been promised by Louis XII. on the occasion of
his marriage with Charlotte d’Albret.

In October letters came from Spain describing the rigour with which
Valentino was held prisoner. It was even said that at the instigation
of Doña Maria Enriquez he was to be tried there for the murder of
her husband, the Duke of Gandia, and for that of his brother-in-law,
Alfonso of Bisceglia, with the intention of putting him to death
for his crimes. Early in 1505 news reached Italy that Valentino’s
brother-in-law, Jean d’Albret, King of Navarre, was endeavouring to
secure his release. The cardinals who were still loyal to him believed
D’Albret would succeed, Caesar’s most determined enemy, the Queen of
Spain, having died.

It is recorded that while he was confined in the castle of Chinchilla
Caesar attempted to kill the warder, Gabriel Guzman. One day Valentino,
who was lodged in the high tower, asked for an interview with Don
Gabriel, and while they were engaged in conversation the Duke suddenly
seized his gaoler and attempted to hurl him from the window. The
governor, however, who was more than a match for Caesar in strength,
succeeded in throwing him to the floor; whereupon, with the effrontery
which never deserted him, the Duke laughed and explained that he had
heard that the warder was a man of colossal strength and he wanted to
test it for himself, and he had found the stories were not exaggerated.

This curious episode undoubtedly was the cause of Caesar’s removal to
the more secure fortress of Medina del Campo, in the northern part of
Spain, which was both a stronghold and a palace and had been used as a
royal residence.

It was about this time that Lucretia Borgia began to exert herself to
obtain her brother’s freedom--efforts which have been taken as proof
of her affection and devotion to him. Requesenz, Caesar’s majordomo,
interceded for his release with the King of Spain, who informed him
that while he was not responsible for Valentino’s arrest, he would,
owing to Gonsalvo’s representations, hold him prisoner, but that,
should the charges made against him prove false, he would accede to the
cardinals’ wishes.

Events conspired to aid the prisoner. Isabella the Catholic,
anticipating that her daughter, Jeanne la Folle, wife of Philippe le
Beau, would never recover her reason, decided to make her husband
Ferdinand regent of Castile on her death. Ferdinand was surrounded by
enemies, and in the kingdom of Naples even the loyalty of Gonsalvo
de Cordova was suspected. Louis XII., in spite of his defeat at the
Garigliano, still maintained his right to the Regno, while the Emperor
Maximilian, whose son Philippe le Beau, husband of Jeanne la Folle,
had been excluded from the regency by Isabella’s will, feeling himself
aggrieved, determined to demand his son’s rights. At this juncture
Ferdinand suggested to Louis XII. that they discontinue their struggle
for Naples, and that, as evidence of good faith, the French King bestow
upon him the hand of his niece, Germaine de Foix, who was then eighteen
years of age, while the King of Spain was fifty-four. As dowry she
would bring her husband half of the Kingdom of Naples which had been
granted the King of France by the treaty of Granada. In addition Louis
was to aid Ferdinand to recover Navarre--which on his death was to be
returned to the crown of France--for Gaston de Foix, brother of the
betrothed and nephew of Louis XII. The treaty of alliance was signed at
Blois, October 12, 1505, and the marriage was performed March 18, 1506,
at Dueñas.

At the same time the Cortes confirmed Ferdinand in the possession of
Castile, disregarding the fact that Isabella had willed it to him only
on condition that he did not marry again. Some of the most powerful
members of the Court refused their consent and declared themselves
in favour of Jeanne and her husband, Philippe le Beau. They elected
the Count of Benavente their leader. The others ranging themselves on
Ferdinand’s side, under Don Fabrique de Toledo, Duke of Alva, civil war
broke out. At first the King’s party was successful, whereupon the
Emperor Maximilian entered into the conflict, and his son, Philippe le
Beau, hastened from Flanders and demanded the regency.

The help which the Count of Benavente later gave Caesar and the
relations of the latter with Maximilian’s ambassadors show that in
prison the Duke was on the side of Philippe, who, as soon as he came to
Spain, established himself at Medina del Campo.

In October, 1505, Ferdinand, who had already recalled Gonsalvo de
Cordova from Naples and decided to supplant him with his own son
Alfonso of Aragon, Archbishop of Saragossa, determined, owing to his
lieutenant’s uncertain attitude, to go to Naples himself. The ten days
Gonsalvo had asked to put the defences in order and arrange his affairs
had elapsed and the King’s suspicions were strengthened. It was then
that he conceived the idea of using Caesar to crush Gonsalvo. Thereupon
he dispatched Don Pedro de Ayala to Philippe le Beau at Medina del
Campo to demand his prisoner, saying that he intended to confine him in
the Castle of Ejerica until he was ready to go to Naples, when he would
take him with him to command his troops.

Fate apparently was about to afford Caesar an exquisite revenge; he
was to lead a Spanish army against the man who had deceived him and
delivered him into the hands of the Catholic monarch. Philippe le
Beau, however, had his own plans regarding Caesar, and while Ferdinand
desired to avail himself of his services against Gonsalvo and Julius
II., Maximilian’s son conceived the idea of using him against the
Catholic sovereign himself in case he persisted in claiming the
regency. From these circumstances it is clear that Caesar’s ability and
energy as a military leader were universally recognised.

To lend greater authority to his refusal to surrender Caesar, Philippe
le Beau stated that he would first have to refer the matter to the
Council of Castile to determine whether the Duke was the prisoner of
the King or of Queen Jeanne. In apprehending him in Naples Gonsalvo
indubitably was acting in the interests of the kingdom of which
Philippe was Regent for his wife, the legitimate heir. Moreover, the
Duke would have to be held a prisoner until the suit instituted by the
Duchess of Gandia was decided. Ferdinand did not give up the fight
when informed of the Council’s decision, but requested Don Bernardino
de Cardenas, Governor of the province of Grenada, to whose care he had
committed Caesar, to surrender his prisoner. Cardenas was disposed to
obey, but asked permission of the Regent, who absolutely refused to
allow Caesar to be given up. The Governor then explained to the King
that even if he freed Valentino, Philippe would at once seize him again
as he did not have a sufficient force to oppose the Regent.

Ferdinand set sail for Naples September 4, 1506, accompanied by his
young Queen, and having with him the flower of his army. About a month
later, October 5th, his son-in-law Philippe, the Regent of Castile,
suddenly died. The Regent was then only twenty-eight years of age,
and he was so strong and active that it was believed that he had been
poisoned. His widow had still sufficient sense left to ask her father
to return to Spain, and to her supplications were added those of his
subjects, who feared the kingdom might become a prey to the contending
factions. Ferdinand, however, was making good progress in Naples and
was anxious to complete his work; he therefore refused to come, and
Jeanne acted as Regent during his absence.

The death of Philippe had left Caesar’s guardian, Don Bernardino de
Cardenas, in a peculiar position; he had directly disobeyed Ferdinand’s
orders, and now, to save himself from the King’s wrath, he proposed
to Luis Ferrer, the Catholic monarch’s ambassador, to send Caesar to
him in order that he might be transferred to Aragon. Ferrer, cognisant
of the machinations which had been carried on by Philippe le Beau and
Maximilian with Caesar in prison, promptly accepted the offer in the
name of his sovereign, but asked Cardenas to keep his prisoner until he
could ascertain Ferdinand’s wishes regarding him. The Spanish monarch,
however, was still in Naples, and Caesar, informed by Don Bernardino
of what he had done, and unwilling to trust himself to him, succeeded
in making his escape, October 25, 1506. He arrived at the Court of his
brother-in-law Jean d’Albret December 3, 1506, suddenly--“like the
devil,” as the chronicler Moret says.

The news of his escape caused consternation in Italy; Julius II. could
never rest as long as Valentino was at large; the Venetians feared him,
and the King of France immediately took steps to defend himself against
his machinations. Caesar’s friends in Romagna, however, immediately
recovered hope.

The Castle of Medina del Campo was the largest in Spain, and for any
one to escape from its gloomy walls had been deemed impossible. Erected
about the middle of the fifteenth century, in 1460 it fell into the
hands of Fonseca, Archbishop of Seville, who on his death left it to a
cousin. In 1473 it was seized by the first Duke of Alva.

The Count of Benavente undoubtedly aided Caesar to escape. Valentino
had been furnished a chaplain, and this man probably was the one who
acted as his agent in dealing with the outer world and also the person
who furnished the rope by means of which Valentino descended from the
tower. One of the servants tried the rope first; it was found to be too
short, and the unfortunate man fell into the moat, breaking some of
his bones; he was left where he fell and later was apprehended, tried,
and put to death. Caesar had almost reached the end of the rope when,
the alarm having been given, it was cut, and he also dropped into the
moat. He was injured and had to be carried to the horse which was held
in waiting for him by his confederates. Putting spurs to their animals,
they never stopped until they reached the little town of Pozaldez;
thence they travelled to Villalon, the seat of the Count of Benavente.
Caesar was now safe. He had escaped from prison, October 25th, and not
until five weeks later did he reach the Court of his brother-in-law at
Pamplona; it had taken nearly all this time for him to recover from his
injuries and regain his strength; but he had also had time to renew his
machinations with the Emperor Maximilian’s ambassadors.

The records of the investigation which followed his escape are
preserved in the archives of Simancas and are exceedingly voluminous.
The order for his apprehension, which was issued in the name of Queen
Jeanne, reads as follows: “Sixteenth December 1506. Commission and
order is given by the Queen [titles] to you, Christoval Vasquez de
Acuña, and to our alcaldes and to all of those to whom this royal
letter shall be shown. You are informed that the Duke of Valentinois,
being a prisoner by my order in the castle of Medina del Campo, the
said Duke has escaped, and I advise you that I have been informed
that he went to the city of Santander; that there were two persons
mounted on horseback and that they left their horses in the town of
Castres with the son of Pedro Gonzales Calderon. Thence they went to
Santander where it is said the Duke was apprehended by an alcalde of
the said town, but that the latter released him on receiving presents
from him; once free he looked for some one to conduct him safe and
sound to Castro-Urdiales to take ship from there. I require that the
Duke be searched for with all possible diligence; that careful inquiry
be made regarding the persons who left the said horses in the town of
Castres; whither they went and where they now are; whether the said
alcalde actually had the Duke in his hands and who these persons were.
If these persons embarked, from what port, on what vessel, and their
destination. In a word I wish you to inform us of everything relevant;
and you will seize the person of the said Duke wherever you may find
him, be this in a church or a monastery, or any other place, however
privileged it may be, and even beyond your jurisdiction, and that,
this done, you keep him in your sight with a strong guard until you
shall have received further orders. For this purpose I send you the
said letter and direct you to begin a searching investigation wherever
and among all persons who may be able to give you any information
regarding this matter; and that you procure all information concerning
the said Duke, and that they give you the means of apprehending him,
and that the sum that you promise them on my account for this purpose,
be paid them in the manner agreed upon. And if any of them conceal him,
cause them to understand that they incur the risk of death and that all
their goods will be confiscated. And if you learn that the persons who
left their horses in the said town of Castres were unknown, they must
nevertheless be held until it is ascertained what they were doing, why
and whither they were travelling.

“To carry out my instructions I give you absolute power with all
the warrants, writs and authority necessary; and if any one in any
way interferes with you he will be liable to a fine of ten thousand
maravedis to be paid into my treasury.

“Given in our city of Burgos, 14 December 1506.--Signed JEANNE.”

       *       *       *       *       *

After leaving Villalon Caesar’s destination was Pamplona, but instead
of going there directly he travelled due north to the Atlantic coast,
probably for the purpose of throwing his pursuers off the track. At
Santander he took a boat. He had two guides, Martin de la Borda, of
Los Passages, near San Sebastian, and Miguel de la Torre. All three
were mounted on horses furnished by the Count of Benavente. The
travellers passed for grain dealers; they stated they had come from
Medina del Campo, where certain moneys had been owing them, which they
had placed in a bank, and that they were now on their way to Santander,
where they expected a boat laden with wheat from France. At Santander
they learned that the vessel had stopped at Bernico, and in order that
they might not suffer by a decline in price they had to embark again
immediately for this port; thus they explained their haste.

When they reached the outskirts of Castres, November 29th, Caesar’s
horse and that of Martin de la Borda could go no farther, and the
travellers entered the town on foot. At Castres they put up at the inn
of one Ruyz Guttierez. Here Valentino found a vessel-owner with whom
he made arrangements to be taken by sea to the port nearest the border
of Navarre. The witnesses examined twenty-one days after these events
even named the dishes the travellers had for luncheon--“three chickens
and a large piece of meat.” Scarcely had they seated themselves at
the table when the arrival was announced of the lieutenant of the
corregidor, who had been informed of the coming of the mysterious
strangers who had no sooner entered the town than they hurried to
Francesco Gonzales de Santiago, a vessel-owner, and offered him an
extravagant price to take them by sea to Castro-Urdiales.

The official was accompanied by a notary and an alguazil, and they
questioned the three travellers, who told a plausible story, and were
allowed to go their ways.

Mary Gonzales de Pertillon, one of the servants about the inn,
testified that one of the travellers had spoken little; that he
was wrapped in his cloak; that he was a man of medium height,
somewhat heavy, his nostrils wide open, his eyes large, and that his
hand--doubtless injured--was bound up in a piece of linen.

Owing to the high sea the travellers were unable to set sail before
sunrise, but they finally reached Castro-Urdiales, where, being unable
to procure horses, they were compelled to remain two days. At last they
obtained some mules and continued their journey, and some time between
December 1st and 3rd they reached Pamplona. The investigation disclosed
every move made by Caesar and his companions from the time they left
Castres until they reached the Court of Navarre.

Valentino, informing his friends in Italy of his escape, stated that he
had arrived at Pamplona December 3, 1506.

When the Council of Castile received the Queen’s order to institute an
investigation, Caesar was entirely safe; in fact, he had been at the
Court of his brother-in-law nearly two weeks. His two guides, however,
Martin de la Borda and Miguel de la Torre, were apprehended. It was
probably the news of Caesar’s arrival at Pamplona that caused the
investigation to be instituted, although of course his escape was known
at once. All along his route witnesses were found, and great was the
astonishment when it was learned that the mysterious traveller was a
prisoner of state, for whose apprehension a reward of ten thousand gold
ducats was offered, and the strangest thing of all was the fact that
the corregidor of Santander had actually had his hands on Caesar, had
questioned him, and finally had set him free. He evidently had promptly
reported the circumstances, but when he was informed who the strangers
were the worthy official was dismayed, and he immediately indited the
following frank letter to the Queen:--

  “MOST POWERFUL LADY,--Don Pedro de Mendoza, your corregidor for
  the four towns on the sea-coast, kisses your Majesty’s hand,
  being informed by a royal rescript that she requires me to
  explain how one of the alcaldes in my jurisdiction could have
  apprehended and then set at liberty the Duke of Valentino....
  Your Majesty already knows everything connected with the arrest
  of the said Duke from a previous report of mine, and from
  the investigation conducted by the corregidor of the town of
  Bilboa and county of Biscay, regarding this subject. I send no
  further information, having given all the particulars furnished
  by trustworthy witnesses regarding the persons who conducted
  the Duke to the place of embarkation. Your Majesty may be sure
  that, if at the time I had the Duke in my power, I or any of my
  alcaldes, had known of his escape, even had he untold wealth
  to give us, it would never have entered my head to do anything
  contrary to faithful service to your Majesty, and least of all to
  set the Duke at liberty, knowing or even suspecting that it was
  he whom I had in my hands. At the time I had him in my power,
  I did not know he had escaped--in fine, I did not so much as
  remember that such a person existed.

            “DON PEDRO DE MENDOZA.”


  Caesar arrives at the Court of his brother-in-law, the King of
      Navarre--D’Albret’s danger--The Agramont and Beaumont factions--
      Beaumont holds Viana--War is declared between D’Albret and
      Beaumont--Caesar is appointed commander of the troops of the King
      of Navarre--Viana--The chronicler Moret--Caesar is killed--The
      body is buried in Santa Maria de Viana--His epitaph--Removal
      of the body and destruction of the tomb--The news of Caesar’s
      death reaches Italy--The feeling in the peninsula--Caesar’s
      wife, Charlotte d’Albret, and their descendants--His illegitimate
      children--Death of Caesar’s mother Vannozza de’ Catanei--

The last of December, 1506, Caesar’s secretary, Don Federico, arrived
in Italy with letters from his master announcing his escape. Of these
letters, dated December 7, 1506, one was to the Marquis of Mantua,
and another to the Cardinal of Este. The former, owing to political
reasons, had always been friendly to Valentino; moreover, his wife
Isabella was a sister of Alfonso d’Este, Caesar’s brother-in-law. The
seal on the letters has the lilies of France and the Borgia arms, with
the inscription, “Caesar Borgia de France, Duke of Romagna.”

On arriving in Italy Don Federico immediately went to Ferrara, where
he appeared December 28th to impart the good news to Lucretia. Two
weeks after leaving Ferrara, Federico was arrested at Bologna by order
of Julius II., and Lucretia wrote the Marquis of Mantua, who was in
the Pope’s service, and who had just administered a crushing defeat
to Bentivoglio, and annexed his domain to the States of the Church,
telling him that the messenger had merely come to bring her news of her
brother, and not to attempt anything contrary to the Pope’s interests
or wishes.

It was suspected that Federico had been sent to feel the pulse of the
country, and to ascertain whether the Romagnols were still loyal to

If Caesar in prison was a source of uneasiness to the Holy Father, how
much more to be feared was he now, at liberty in Navarre, protected by
the Emperor Maximilian, and likely to appear in Italy any time, rally
his supporters--of whom he still had many--about him, and endeavour
to recover Romagna, where his rule was preferred to that of the Pope!
It was, therefore, the part of wisdom to nip his plans in the bud;
consequently Don Federico was seized.

The Court of Navarre was impoverished and could not be of much help to
Caesar, the larger part of whose fortune consisted of deposits with
the bankers of Genoa; these funds, however, had been attached by his
Holiness. Caesar now remembered that he was a French prince, Duke of
Valentinois, and entitled to the revenues of the duchy, in addition
to those of the county of Diois--not to mention those of the salt
magazines of Issoudun, all assured to him by formal contract at the
time of his marriage to Charlotte d’Albret. Besides, there was the
dowry of 100,000 livres promised by Louis XII. and guaranteed by the
royal treasurers, not a sou of which had he ever received, although it
was to have been paid in November, 1500.

Caesar therefore sent his majordomo Requesenz to France to press his
claim before Louis XII., and ask permission to come and take his place
at Court and serve his Majesty.

In January, 1507, the French King was at Burgos, and there Requesenz
presented himself. Louis not only refused to grant any of Caesar’s
demands, but, February 18th, by letters patent, formally declared the
Duke deprived of the revenues and lordship of Issoudun. From this
document it is clear that Louis wanted to punish Caesar for threatening
Florence, which he regarded as treachery; for his attack on Pisa, which
was under the protection of France; and also for his attempts to expel
the King’s ally, Giovanni Bentivoglio, from Bologna.

Caesar was now thirty-one years of age, and his one desire was to
avenge himself on his enemies, Julius II., who had deprived him of his
estates; on the King of Spain, who had treacherously imprisoned him;
and on Louis XII., who had taken all his privileges from him, and who
had even withheld the marriage portion. Louis had used the Borgia in
securing Milan and Naples, and he had obtained Bretagne thanks to the
dispensation of Caesar’s father permitting his marriage with Anne.

When Caesar found refuge at the Court of Navarre, his brother-in-law
Jean d’Albret was in sore straits. On one side he was threatened by
Ferdinand, the Catholic, who had always regarded Navarre as his
prey, and on the other he was imperilled by the contentions of two
factions, one headed by the Count of Agramont, the other by Luis de
Beaumont, Count of Lerin. Louis XII. was doing all he could to foment
the discord, and at this juncture D’Albret’s brother-in-law, Caesar,
suggested that the King ask aid of the Emperor Maximilian, and offer
him free passage through Navarre to Castile and Aragon. This suggestion
immediately approved itself to Jean d’Albret. Caesar, of course,
expected to be made commander of the forces of Navarre, and he at
once set about putting the castles and strongholds of the kingdom in
condition for defence, and enlisting such forces as Navarre could equip
and maintain.

The first thing for Jean d’Albret to do was to put an end to the
discord among his own subjects. Luis de Beaumont was then in possession
of the castle of Viana, and he refused to surrender it on the King’s
demand. His rebellion was of long standing. Luis had inherited his
father’s affection for Castile, and in 1495 he had entered into an
agreement with Ferdinand, the Catholic, by which he relinquished his
estates in Navarre, and received in exchange for them equivalent
domains in Castile. Thus he became a vassal of the Spanish monarch,
and at the same time the latter secured a foothold in the kingdom of
Navarre. The convention was duly ratified, but owing to the difficulty
which was encountered in adjusting the exchange of estates it was soon

Don Juan de Ribera, Captain-General of the Catholic Monarch, had taken
charge of the domain hitherto in the possession of Beaumont, whose
departure from Navarre had brought peace to the kingdom. Jean d’Albret
of course was incensed by the occupation of a part of his territory by
a representative of the King of Spain. He therefore went to Seville to
endeavour to reach an understanding with Ferdinand; this he succeeded
in doing, and the convention included a pardon for his rebellious
count, to whom was also restored the office of constable and warder
of the castle of Viana, while Don Juan de Ribera, Captain-General of
Castile, returned to him all the estates he had conveyed to their
Catholic Majesties. Luis de Beaumont was, however, a turbulent soul;
his tomb in the monastery of Veruela bears the inscription: _En un
cuerpo tan pequeno nunca se vi tanta fuerza_--Never before in body so
small was there such strength.

Ever since 1505 he had regarded himself as the rightful owner of the
castles, which he was merely holding for his sovereign, and, forgetful
of D’Albret’s generosity, he refused to submit to him, and also
continued to make inroads on his neighbours’ domains and appropriate
their lands. He was endeavouring to build up a power to oppose the
throne of Navarre and had established himself as a conqueror in the
castle of Viana. While Jean d’Albret and Caesar were putting the
strongholds of the country in fighting condition, the King sent an
officer to Beaumont to demand the surrender of the place. Luis had the
envoy seized, whipped, and confined in the castle of Larraga. Incensed
when he was informed of this, and remembering how he had forgiven the
count, the King sent to him three times and commanded him to appear;
on his failure to do so he charged him with _lese-majeste_, declared
all his goods confiscate, his titles, honours, and offices forfeit, and
himself condemned to death.

Supported by Don Alonzo Carilli de Peralta, Count of San Sebastian, who
was also on the side of Castile, Luis prepared to take the field.

War was declared between the King and his rebellious vassal, and
Caesar, having been appointed Captain-General of the royal troops,
set out February 11, 1507, to invest Larraga, whose defence had been
entrusted by Beaumont to Ogier de Verastegui. Caesar attacked with
great determination, but the place resisted bravely. Trusting to his
lieutenants to cut off all means of communication, Valentino decided to
go and attack Beaumont at his camp near Mendavia, adjacent to the small
town of Viana, on the road to Logroño.

At Viana, near the frontier of Castile, D’Albret would be in an
excellent position to receive reinforcements from the Count of
Benavente, the Duke of Najera, and Maximilian’s partisans, who were
anxious to begin a struggle which would open Castile to the son of
Philippe le Beau.

Caesar’s force consisted of a thousand cavalry, more than two
hundred lances, an escort of thirty men-at-arms, and five hundred
foot-soldiers, with some siege guns and a few field-pieces. It was his
intention to invest Viana, and then seek the Count, who had entrusted
the defence of the town to his son Luis, and who had himself taken up a
position near Mendavia.

Viana, being poorly supplied with provisions when the troops of Navarre
appeared under her walls, was in no condition to resist a long siege.
The Count of Lerin, aware of this, determined to re-victual the place;
the undertaking was difficult and would have to be carried out, if at
all, by night, for the Navarrais had entirely surrounded the town. The
plan was favoured by a terrific storm which occurred during the night
of March 11th, when Beaumont set out from Mendavia with two hundred
lances and six hundred foot-soldiers, some of whom were armed with
blunderbusses, to cover the line of his convoy, which consisted of
sixty horses laden with flour. Profiting by the darkness, he advanced
up to the very walls of the castle of Viana with a small force, having
concealed the greater part of his men in a ravine near the town, so
that they might be brought up quickly if needed. Everything was in
his favour--the darkness, the storm, the relaxed vigilance of the
besiegers, and he succeeded in getting his convoy into the stronghold
by a secret gateway. Elated by his good fortune, Beaumont twice
repeated the operation, and with equal success. He might have returned
to his camp without being detected, but he decided to take advantage of
the opportunity and reconnoitre, and, if possible, inflict some loss on
the enemy.

As he was manœuvering his troop they were discovered by a considerable
body of soldiers coming down the road leading to Logroño who, they
thought, were reinforcements sent by the Duke of Najera. At sight of
Beaumont’s men a shout went up. The alarm was given in the besiegers’
quarters surrounding the castle. Instantly all was confusion. Caesar
hastily donned his armour, sprang to his horse, and without waiting to
give any orders dashed out of the gate and down the Solana road.

“When I was a boy,” says the chronicler Moret, “I heard old men eighty
years of age, who had it from contemporaries who saw him, say that just
as he dashed through the gate, cursing and swearing, his horse stumbled
and fell.” Believing that his men were at his heels, the Borgia spurred
straight on toward the rebels, and, coming up to the rearguard, with
his own hand he slew three of the enemy; oblivious of the fact that he
was alone, he spurred on, cursing the rebels the while. Suddenly he was
discovered by Beaumont, who ordered some of his men to advance to meet

Among those who did so were Luis Garcia de Agredo and Pedro de
Allo, who succeeded in drawing him on into a deep ravine, where his
followers, who were far behind, were unable to see him. There, hidden
from the sight of his own people and also from that of Beaumont’s men,
he engaged in a terrible hand-to-hand fight with his adversaries.

Valentino fought for his life, but, wounded in the armpit just as he
was about to deliver a blow, he was unhorsed, and finally, covered with
wounds, was forced to the ground and killed.

His brilliant armour having attracted the attention of his assailants,
they removed it. Entirely unaware who their victim was, they even took
his weapons and his charger and its accoutrements.

Fearing they might be surprised, they hastily departed, leaving the
body naked on the field of battle. When the Count of Lerin saw the
costly armour he was incensed because, instead of taking him alive,
they had killed a man evidently of high rank, and he ordered some of
his followers to fetch the body to his camp at Mendavia. They started
for the ravine, but turned back when they heard the shouts of the men
of Navarre who, in the early dawn, were searching for the body of their
dead chieftain.

Before retreating, however, Beaumont’s men succeeded in capturing an
unfortunate equerry whom they had found in manifest grief wandering
about the scene of the conflict. Taken to Beaumont, he was shown the
brilliant armour and asked to whom it belonged, and “Juanico burst into
tears, exclaiming that he had girded it on his master, Caesar Borgia of
France, Duke of Romagna, that very morning, and that he had followed
him when he dashed through the gate, but had lost him from sight owing
to the swiftness of the Duke’s horse.”

In the meantime the King of Navarre was advancing. After the first
surprise his forces rallied and deployed before the hill upon which
Viana is situated. Beaumont, seeing he was in danger of being cut
off from Mendavia, retired with his men, leaving the unhappy squire,
who immediately hastened back to the ravine, where he was found by
D’Albret and his followers standing over the bleeding body of his
master. The King had the corpse taken to Viana, where it was placed in
a tomb before the great altar in the parochial church of Santa Maria
of Viana, and in the course of the same year--1507--a magnificent
monument was erected to Caesar’s memory, and upon it was chiselled the
following epitaph:--

 “Aqui yace en poca tierra
  Al que toda le temia;
  En que la paz y la guerra
  En la su mano tenia.
  Oh! tu que vas a buscar
  Cosas dignas de loar!
  Si tu loas lo mas digno,
  Aqui pare tu camino;
  No cures de mas andar.”

Early in the eighteenth century Father Aleson, then in Viana, found
nothing left of the monument but two stones which had been inserted in
the base of the main altar. In the “Antequedades de Navarra” Yanguez
Miranda says the destruction of the sepulchre was, according to oral
tradition, which he gathered from some of the inhabitants of Viana,
due to the order of a fanatical bishop who felt that the church was
desecrated by the presence of Caesar’s ashes.

The Church of Santa Maria de Viana underwent extensive repairs about
the end of the seventeenth century, and probably it was at that time
that the tomb was removed. Its destruction may have been connected with
an incident which occurred long before. In 1498 Pedro de Aranda, Bishop
of Calahorra and Superior of the diocese of Viana, was examined by
Alexander VI. on the charge of heresy and was condemned and imprisoned
in the Castle of St. Angelo, where he was held a long time. As a result
of his confinement the bishop died. It is highly probable that the
prelates of the diocese of Viana, which had been dishonoured in the
person of its bishop by the Borgia, continued to feel resentment toward
the family and that one of Pedro de Aranda’s successors revenged them
by removing Caesar’s remains from the church. What could have been
more natural than for the officiating priest to have desired to have
removed from his sight all reminders of the recalcitrant cardinal, the
degenerate son of Alexander VI. whose memory was already blasted by
history? This much is certain--a bishop did destroy the tomb.

Following Paul Jovius and Tomaso Tomasi, later historians have placed
Caesar’s burial at Pamplona; but Father Aleson, who continued Moret’s
“Annals of Navarre,” and who lived in Viana, says: “_Asi lo llevaron a
Viana, no a Pamplona, como algunos quisieron decir; y lo depositaron
en la yglesia parocchia de Santa Maria_”--Thus they took the body to
Viana, not to Pamplona as some say, and placed it in the parochial
church at Santa Maria. Then follows a description of the tomb and the
epitaph and the fact of the removal of the monument. In 1523, only
sixteen years after Valentino’s death, Antonio de Guevara, the Bishop
of Mondoñedo, described the tomb and copied the epitaph in his “Lettres

Tradition indicated that the final resting-place of Caesar’s remains
was just in front of the steps in the _Calle de la Rua_, leading to the
terrace upon which the Church of Santa Maria de Viana stands, and M.
Charles Yriarte induced the alcalde of the town, Don Victor Cereceda,
to make an excavation at the place. The investigation brought to light
a perfectly preserved skeleton--were these the mortal remains of the
son of Alexander VI.?

There was nothing to prove that they were; the bishop may have wished
to consign them to everlasting oblivion and so placed no mark upon the
tomb. With the skeleton were other bones, which may have been removed
from the church at the same time, when it was being restored.

Reports of Caesar’s death reached his sister--who in January, 1505,
had become Duchess of Ferrara--by way of Naples promptly, and she
dispatched one of her servants, a certain Tullio, to Navarre to
ascertain whether the rumour was true. As he progressed on his journey
he became convinced of the truth of the report, and therefore returned
to Ferrara without going to Navarre. The last doubt was dispelled when
Juanico Grasica, who had been present at Caesar’s funeral and who
had been sent by King Jean d’Albret to inform Lucretia of his death,
appeared in Ferrara. Alfonso was absent from his domain, and his
brother, Cardinal Ippolito d’Este was the first to receive the news,
which he immediately directed Jeronimo Magnanini, the Duke’s secretary,
to communicate to his master. This he did in a long letter giving full
particulars of Caesar’s death taken down from the lips of his faithful
squire Grasica. The details were confirmed by Costabili, who had just
come from Rome. Accounts of Valentino’s death are given by Zurita,
Moret, Esteban de Garribay, and Avalos de la Piscina, and all closely
agree with that of Grasica.

Lucretia’s grief was profound and apparently sincere, and many were
the prayers she directed to be said for the repose of Caesar’s soul.
Shortly afterwards her Court poet, Ercole Strozzi, dedicated his
“Epicedium,” a funeral oration in verse, in honour of Valentino, to
her, but Jacopo Sannazzaro, the mortal enemy of the Borgia, invited
his friends and all Italy to join him in making merry over “this happy

Caesar, deprived of the support of the Vatican, was merely a bold
condottiere, a soldier of fortune, and with these Italy teemed in his
day. He was ready to sell his services to the highest bidder, provided
he could advance his own projects. Although he was no longer in a
position to harm his enemies, all Italy breathed a sigh of relief when
the news of his death was confirmed; even Julius II., who was more than
a match for Caesar, felt easier, and henceforth he was able peaceably
to carry on the work of reconstructing the domain of the Church. Had
Valentino survived and entered the employ of Venice in her conflict
with the Pope for the possession of Romagna, or if he had taken the
side of France when his Holiness withdrew from the League of Cambray,
he might have recovered his former influence and power.

But all Italy now laughed at the adventurer who had inscribed on his
sword the words, _Aut Caesar, aut nihil_. Still, there were a few
individuals who remained faithful to his memory, and a number of poets
published panegyrics and bewailed the loss of the hero. Hieronimus
Portius, the Strozzi, Francesco Justolo, and Uberti saw fit to lament
him in more or less polished verse. One of the most famous of the
epitaphs was written by Jeronimo Casio of Bologna, who had known

 “Cesar Borgia che ere della gente
  Per armi et per virtù tenuto un sole;
  Mancar dovendo, andó dove andar sole
  Phebo, verso la sera, a l’occidente.”

Leaving France immediately after his marriage with Charlotte d’Albret,
Caesar had never seen his wife again, and there is nothing to show that
he regretted her. She was merely a pawn in the political game, and she
had been sacrificed by her father for his own gain and to further the
plans of Louis XII., on whose marriage to Anne of Bretagne she had
retired to Berri to be as near as possible to Jeanne of France, his
repudiated Queen. It was not long, however, before she took up her
final residence at Motte-Feuilly, where she occupied herself with the
education of her daughter Louise, whom the father, Caesar, had never
seen. The Duchess of Valentinois died March 11, 1514, leaving, as her
sole heir, her daughter, who two years later, when she was seventeen
years of age, married Louis II. de La Trémoille, Viscount of Thouars
and Prince of Talmont, the Chevalier Bayard, the knight _sans peur et
sans reproche_, who was slain at the battle of Pavia in 1525. Five
years later she again married, her second husband being Philippe de
Bourbon, Lord of Busset, eldest son of Pierre de Bourbon.

Caesar also left an illegitimate son, Girolamo, whose mother is
unknown, and who probably died young, as we find no trace of him after
his removal to Naples about the time of Caesar’s release by Julius II.
He likewise had a natural daughter, whom he named Lucretia in honour of
his sister, and who subsequently became abbess of San Bernardino and
died at Ferrara in 1573.

Caesar’s mother, Vannozza de’ Catanei, survived him eleven years. Up
to the time of her death she had maintained close relations with her
numerous children. She lived in Rome and enjoyed a certain competency,
provided for her by Alexander VI.; she engaged actively in charitable
work. The day of her death, according to the Roman custom, the
announcement was made by the public crier:--

“Messer Paolo gives notice of the demise of Madonna Vannozza, mother
of the Duke of Gandia. The deceased belonged to the fraternity of the

She left her entire fortune to S. Giovanni in Lateran. She was interred
in Santa Maria del Popolo, her parish church, and on her tomb her
executor inscribed the following epitaph:--

“To Vannozza Catanea, ennobled by her children, the Dukes, Caesar of
Valentinois, and Juan of Gandia, the Prince Giuffre of Squillace, and
the Duchess Lucretia of Ferrara. To the woman rendered illustrious
by her integrity, her piety, her wisdom, and to whom the Hospital of
the Lateran is so greatly indebted, Geronimo Pico, her testamentary
executor, has erected this monument. She lived seventy-seven years,
four months, and thirteen days, and died November 26, 1518.”

For two centuries the friars of Santa Maria del Popolo prayed for the
repose of her soul, but a sense of decency or shame finally asserted
itself, and the monument was removed.

Lucretia Borgia, Duchess of Ferrara, survived her brother Caesar twelve
years, dying in 1519, greatly beloved by her people. By her husband
Alfonso d’Este she had five children: Ercole II, who married Renée
of France; Ippolito, who passed away in 1572; Eleonora, who became
a nun and lived until 1575; Francesco, who survived until 1576; and
Alexander, who died in infancy. Ercole II., by his wife Renée, daughter
of Louis XII., had five children: Alfonso II. Cardinal Ludovico d’Este,
Donna Anna, Duchess of Guise, Lucretia, Duchess of Urbino, and Leonora,
who never married.

The Spanish chroniclers contemporary with Caesar Borgia discovered
the hand of God in his death, which occurred March 12, 1507, on the
anniversary of his premature elevation to the Bishopric of Pamplona and
in his own diocese, where he had never before set foot!



[1] Loria, “Economic Bases of Society,” London, n.d., p. 37.

[2] Lanzol, Llançol, Llanzol, &c.

[3] Gebhart, E., “Les Origins de la Renaissance en Italie,” Paris, 1879.

[4] Gebhart.

[5] The Roman day of twenty-four hours ended at sunset--about eight in
the evening in June.

[6] Infessura, “Diario,” Rome, 1890, p. 155.

[7] Medin, “Il Duca Valentino nella Mente di Machiavelli,” Florence,

[8] “Pii Secundi Comentarii,” Rome, 1583, Lib. 2.

[9] Burckhardt, “Renaissance in Italy,” London, 1892.

[10] Tomaso Tomasi, “Vita del Duca Valentino,” ed. by G. Leti,
Montechiaro, 1670.

[11] Yriarte, “César Borgia, sa Vie, sa Captivité, sa Mort,” Paris,

[12] Burchard, “Diarium,” ed. by Thuasne, vol. ii., p. 84.

[13] Villari, “Savonarola,” English translation, London, p. 742.

[14] Fumi, “Alessandro VI. e il Valentino in Orvieto,” Siena, 1874.

[15] Fumi, Appendix, Document VIII.

[16] Burchard, “Diarium,” ed. by Thuasne, Paris, 1884, vol. iii., p.

[17] Machiavelli, “Opere,” Florence, 1820, vol. iii. “Discorsi,” Lib.
1, Chap. XXVII.

[18] Gaspare Torrella, “Tractatus Contra Pudendagra,” Rome, 1497.

[19] Pierre de Bourdeille, “Œuvres,” Paris, 1838, vol. i., p. 156,
“Caesar Borgia.”

[20] Yriarte, “César Borgia,” Paris, 1889.

[21] Jean d’Auton, “Chroniques,” Paris, 1834.

[22] Varsari, “Vite de’ più, Eccellenti Pittori, Scultori et
Architetti,” Bologna, 1647. “Vita di Pietro di Cosimo.”

[23] Auton, Jean d’, “Chroniques,” Paris, 1834, Pt. III., vii.

[24] Alvisi, “Cesare Borgia,” Document 40.

[25] Gregorovius, “Storia della Città di Roma,” Venice, 1875, Bk. 13,
Chap. V., sec. 4.

[26] Burchard’s statement is incorrect: the last named was spared, but
was assassinated August 28, 1504.

[27] Guillaume Brissonet of Tours, Bishop of San Malo, Cardinal of
Santa Prudenziana; Luigi d’Aragona, Cardinal-Deacon of the title of
Santa Maria in Cosmedin.


  Æneas Sylvius, _see_ Pius II.

  Agapito, _see_ Gerardino, Agapito

  Agramont, Count of, 300

  Agrigentum, Bishop of, 101

  Alain, Cardinal of Santa Prassede, 31

  Albret, Alain d’, 131

  Albret, Charlotte d’, 71, 131;
    marries Caesar Borgia, 132, 137;
    her death, 310

  Albret, Jean d’, 131, 284, 291, 300, 301, 305

  Aleson, Padre, 306

  Alexander VI., Pope, 38;
    nepotism of, 47, 48;
    election of, 51;
    his dissolute life, 51;
    a temporal prince, 53, 64, 69, 70, 72, 78, 83, 86;
    meets Alfonso of Naples, 88;
    removes to Castle St. Angelo, 93;
    treaty with Charles VIII., 93, 94;
    avoids the King, 96;
    goes to Perugia, 97;
    his letter to the people of Orvieto, 98;
    the Romagnol barons, 100;
    creation of cardinals, 101;
    declares the Orsini rebels, 101;
    receives Giuffre and Sancia, 104;
    grief for murder of Gandia, 109;
    reform of the Church, 114;
    goes to Ostia, 118;
    alliance with Louis XII., 123, 124, 133, 149;
    confiscates estates of the Riario, 151;
    appoints Caesar gonfalonier, 151;
    confers the Golden Rose on him, 153, 160;
    Faenza banned, 163;
    creates twelve cardinals, 164, 171;
    threatens Bologna, 172, 177;
    receives French officers, 179, 182;
    places the ban on the Colonna and the Savelli, 186;
    his son Giovanni, 187;
    relations with Ferrara, 188, 189, 190;
    his opinion of Caesar, 191;
    goes to Piombino, 192;
    to Elba, 193, 196;
    seizes the Orsini, 221, 222, 229;
    threatens Caesar, 230;
    seizes the towns of the Savelli, 232;
    watches Naples, 234;
    stricken by the plague, 235;
    death and rumours of poison, 236, 238;
    obsequies, 248, 261

  Alexius, Attilius, 41

  Alfonso of Naples, Duke of Bisceglia, 73, 121;
    murder of, 157–9, 161

  Allegre, Yves d’, 92, 138, 144, 146, 147;
    in Rome, 179

  Alviano, Bartolomeo d’, declared a rebel, 101;
    active about Rome, 103, 202, 257, 260

  Alvisi, E., 232

  Amananti, Jacopo, Cardinal of Pavia, 39

  Amboise, Georges d’, Cardinal of Rouen, 123, 129, 245, 246;
    in Rome, 247, 249;
    defends Caesar, 261, 274

  Anastasius, Pope, 28

  Angelo, Michael, his “Cupid,” 201

  Appiano, Giacomo d’, 176

  Aquilano, Sebastiano, 119

  Aragona, Luigi d’, comes to Rome, 247, 249

  Aranda, Pedro de, Bishop of Calahorra, 124, 306, 307

  Arignano, Domenico d’, 74

  Aubigny, Count d’, 137

  Auton, Jean d’, chronicler, 137;
    account of Pope’s reception of French officers, 179–80;
    account of the expedition against Naples, 181;
    the taking of Capua, 182

  Avignon, the Papal See at, 58

  Ayala, Pedro de, 287

  Baglioni, the, join the Pope’s enemies, 103, 257

  Baglioni, Giampaolo, 164, 212;
    attacks Perugia, 242, 274

  Balue, Cardinal, 66

  Barbo, Marco, Cardinal, 41

  Barbo, Piero, 39

  Beaumont, Luis de, 300, 301, 302, 305

  Benavente, Count of, 286–7, 290

  Benedict XIII., Anti-Pope, 32

  Bentivoglio, the, 205

  Bentivoglio, Annibale, 258

  Bentivoglio, Ercole, 147

  Bentivoglio, Giovanni, 164, 171, 172, 173;
    his agreement with the Pope, 214, 276

  Bessarion, Cardinal of Nicæa, 31, 32, 41

  Bisceglia, Alfonso, Duke of, _see_ Alfonso of Naples

  Boccaccio, Gianandrea, 75;
    account of Caesar Borgia, 82

  Bologna, relations with the Pope, 205

  Bona of Savoy, regent in Milan, 62, 88

  Boniface VIII., Pope, 28, 58

  Books, dedication of, 67

  Borgia or Borja family, the, 31;
    their character, 52, 68, 70;
    family solidarity, 72;
    their enemies, 242

  Borgia, Alonzo, Cardinal (_see_ Calixtus III., Pope), 31, 68

  Borgia, Angela, 139

  Borgia, Catalina, 69, 77

  Borgia, Caesar, 38, 44, 53, 64, 67, 71, 73;
    his birth, 75–6;
    plans in central Italy, 76, 77;
    student in Pisa, 78;
    his letter to the Counsellors of Pamplona, 79;
    in Spoleto, 81, 82, 83;
    made cardinal, 85, 88, 93;
    hostage of Charles VIII., 93, 94, 95, 96, 97;
    Governor of Orvieto, 98, 99, 100;
    meets the Duke of Gandia, 102–4;
    legate to Naples, 105;
    suspected of the murder of Gandia, 110–12;
    crowns the King of Naples, 117;
    returns to Rome, 118;
    book dedicated to, 119;
    to resign ecclesiastical offices, 123;
    goes to France, 124–5;
    meets Louis XII., 126, 129;
    Duke of Valentinois, 130, 131;
    marries Charlotte d’Albret, 132;
    given Order of St. Michael, 135;
    his daughter Louise, 137;
    first campaign in Romagna, 139;
    takes Forli, 144;
    Vicar of Imola and Forli, 145;
    in Rome, 147–9;
    Vicar of Romagna, 150;
    Governor of Imola, 151;
    Gonfalonier of the Church, 151;
    his oath, 152;
    the Golden Rose, 153;
    a bull-fighter, 154;
    and the artists, 155;
    murders Alfonso of Naples, 158, 159;
    second campaign in Romagna, 164;
    relations with the Gonzaga, 166;
    enters Pesaro, 167;
    his habits, 168;
    returns to Rome, 173;
    Florence, 175;
    and Machiavelli, 175, 176;
    in Rome, 179;
    expedition against Naples, 182;
    Capua, 185;
    affairs in the north, 186, 189, 190, 191;
    goes to Piombino, 192;
    Elba, 193;
    third campaign in Romagna, 194;
    has Manfredi killed, 195, 196;
    goes to Spoleto, 197, 199;
    Duke of Urbino, 201;
    his letter to Lucretia, 203;
    goes to Milan, 204;
    estranged from his captains, 205;
    the conspiracy, 206–7;
    and Machiavelli, 208–10, 211, 212;
    his captains return to him, 215;
    receives delegation from Ancona, 217;
    goes to Sinigaglia 218;
    the trap at Sinigaglia, 219;
    has Oliverotto and Vitelli killed, 220;
    seizes Città di Castello, 223;
    has Paolo and Francesco Orsini strangled, 224, 226;
    his letter to the _Balia_ of Siena, 226–7, 228, 229, 230;
    a power in Central Italy, 230, 231;
    plots with Spain, 223, 234;
    ill of the plague, 235, 237;
    he recovers, 240;
    seizes the Pope’s personal property, 241;
    his domain crumbles, 242;
    and the Sacred College, 243, 244, 245;
    leaves Rome with troops, 246, 248, 251;
    favoured by Pius III., 252;
    deserted by Moncada and Romolino, 253;
    brings his men to Rome, 255, 256;
    his fortunes improve, 257;
    again deserted, 258;
    he escapes but returns to Rome, 259, 260, 261, 265;
    lodged in the Vatican, 267;
    relations with Julius II., 269;
    leaves Rome, 270;
    arrested, 272, 273, 274;
    confined in the Borgia tower, 275;
    goes to Ostia, 276–7;
    goes to Naples, 278, 279;
    arrested by Gonsalvo de Cordova, 280;
    sent to Spain, 284;
    attempts to kill his gaoler, 285, 286, 287;
    escapes from prison, 289;
    the investigation, 291–3;
    informs friends of his escape, 294, 298, 299;
    Captain-General of Navarre, 302;
    is slain, 304;
    his body taken to Viana, 305;
    entombed in Santa Maria, 306;
    news of his death reaches Italy, 308, 309;
    his epitaph, 310, 312

  Borgia, Francesco, Cardinal of Cosenza, 101, 146;
    flees from Rome, 275

  Borgia, Francina, 68

  Borgia, Giovanni, Cardinal of Monreale, dies of the plague, 235

  Borgia, Giovanni, Cardinal of Santa Susanna, his death, 145

  Borgia, Giovanni, _see_ Gandia, Duke of

  Borgia, Giovanni, Lord of Camerino, 38, 73, 187

  Borgia, Girolama, 73, 86

  Borgia, Girolamo, son of Caesar, 311

  Borgia, Giuffre, Prince of Squillace, 73, 83, 85;
    marries Sancia of Naples, 87;
    enters Rome, 104, 120, 248;
    arrested and released, 281

  Borgia, Gonzales Gil, 68

  Borgia, Isabella, daughter of Rodrigo Borgia and wife of Pietro
          Giovanni Matuzzi, 73

  Borgia, Isabella de, sister of Calixtus III., 70

  Borgia, Juan Domingo, 68

  Borgia, Juana de, wife of P. Guillem Lanzol, 71

  Borgia, Laura, daughter of Alexander VI., betrothed to Niccolò
          della Rovere, 282

  Borgia, Louise de, daughter of Caesar, 137, 310, 311

  Borgia, Lucretia, daughter of Alexander VI., 71, 73;
    her birth, 75;
    under care of Adriana Mila, 77;
    betrothed to Giovanni Sforza, 83;
    married, 84, 104;
    divorced, 120;
    married to Alfonso, Prince of Bisceglia, 121, 158, 161, 187;
    placed in charge of Vatican, 189;
    married to Alfonso d’Este, 192;
    the final estimate of her, 192, 285, 308;
    her death and her descendants, 312

  Borgia, Lucretia, daughter of Caesar, 311

  Borgia, Ludovico, 145

  Borgia, Pedro Luis, First Duke of Gandia, 72

  Borgia, Pier Luigi, 33, 34;
    made cardinal, 164

  Borgia, Raymon, 68

  Borgia, Ricardo, 68

  Borgia, Rodrigo (_see_ Alexander VI.), 32, 33, 34, 37;
    made cardinal, 41;
    crowns Sixtus IV., 32, 48, 50, 51;
    a student of canon law, 52;
    Bishop of Valencia, 52;
    Vice-Chancellor, 52, 71, 77, 78;
    elected pope, 80

  Borgia, Ximenes Garcia, 68

  Borja, _see_ Borgia

  Borja, Rodrigo Gil de, 70

  Borja, y Doms, Jofre, 70

  Braccio, Alessandro, 114

  Brantôme, describes Caesar’s entry into Chinon, 126

  Bretagne, Anne of, 131

  Brissonet, Guillaume, Cardinal of Santa Prudenziana, comes
          to Rome, 247

  Bugliotto, Odoardo, 246

  Bull-fighting in Rome, 154

  Burchard, Johann, his account of the murder of the Duke of
          Gandia, 107–14;
    on the death of Cardinal Orsini, 226

  Calderon, Pedro, murder of, 119

  Calixtus III., Pope (Alonzo Borgia), 31, 32, 34, 39, 43, 70, 71, 72, 77

  Calmeto, Vincenzo, 223

  Camerino, fall of, 202

  Canale, Carlo, 74

  Capello, Paolo, relation of, 114, 116, 119;
    describes Caesar, 155, 158;
    on Alexander VI., 162, 165

  Capranica, Bartolomeo, 211

  Capranica, Domenico, Cardinal, 31, 33

  Capua, capture of, 183

  Caraffa, Oliviero, Cardinal, 51

  Caranza, Pedro, 81

  Cardenas, Bernardino de, 288–9

  Cardinals, the, their wealth, 64;
    their character, 65

  Carilli, Alonzo, 302

  Carlotta of Aragon, 121, 130

  Carniola, the Bishop of, 239

  Carvajal, Bernardino, Cardinal, 41, 275

  Casio, Jeronimo, his epitaph on Caesar, 310

  Castiglione, Baldessare, 138

  Catanei, Vanozza de’, 72–3;
    her character, 74;
    her house plundered, 93, 248, 275, 311

  Catherine, St., 39

  Cecco d’Ascoli, 27

  Cesarini, Giuliano, 86

  Charles VIII., claims Naples, 83;
    prepares to invade Italy, 88;
    his character, 89, 90;
    enters Tuscany, 92;
    enters Naples, 95;
    returns to Rome, 95, 97;
    returns to France, 98, 103;
    his death, 122, 136

  Chinchilla, Caesar sent to, 284

  Church, States of the, 43

  Churches, murders in, 65

  Cibo, Franceschetto, 48, 49

  Cibo, Giambatista, elected pope, 48;
    his nepotism and avarice, 49

  Cibo, Lorenzo, 50, 51

  Clement VII., Pope, 232

  Collennuccio, Pandolfo, 167;
    on Caesar’s habits and character, 168

  Colonna, feud with the Orsini, 60;
    they hold to the Pope, 103;
    banned by the Pope, 186, 203

  Colonna, Cardinal, 50, 66, 93;
    returns to Rome, 249

  Colonna, Fabrizio, 84, 103, 182;
    captured, 184

  Colonna, Prospero, 182;
    returns to Rome, 242, 244, 246, 247

  Commines, Philippe de, envoy to Venice, 90

  Communes, the Italian, 56–7

  Condottieri, the, 59

  Cordova, Juan de, 211

  Cordova, _see_ Gonsalvo de Cordova

  Corio, Bernardino, 41

  Corneto, Adriano di, Cardinal, the dinner in his garden, 236

  Corrella, Michelotto, 158, 173, 211, 260;
    captured, 274;
    examined for crimes, 281

  Cosimo, Pietro di, 156

  Costabili, Beltrando, 191;
    on death of Alexander VI., 238

  Crime during the Renaissance, 115

  Croce, Giorgio de, 72, 74

  Dante, his “Convito,” 26

  Da Vinci, Leonardo, 137, 155, 193, 205

  Decio, Filippo, 78

  Dijon, the Bailli of, 138, 146

  Dolcino di Novara, 27

  Doms, family arms, 70

  Doms, Sibilla, 70

  Doria, Andrea, 223

  Dracaz, Giacomo, 99

  Empire, the, 56

  Enea, Silvio, _see_ Pius II.

  Enriquez, Maria, 73, 102, 284

  Este family, 58;
    arms, 71

  Este, Alfonso d’, 71, 73;
    marries Lucretia Borgia, 187–8, 192

  Este, Ercole d’, 188, 191

  Este, Fernando d’, 191

  Este, Ippolito d’, 105, 188, 191, 308

  Este, Isabella d’, 188, 221

  Estouteville, Cardinal, 104, 187

  Faenza, invested, 170;
    surrenders, 173

  Farnese, Alessandro, 64, 84;
    made cardinal, 86

  Farnese family, 86

  Farnese, Giulia (La Bella), 38, 64, 73, 77, 81;
    captured by the French, 92

  Federico, Caesar’s secretary, arrested by Julius, 11, 297

  Feo, Giacomo, 140

  Ferdinand II. of Spain, 77, 286;
    goes to Naples, 287, 289, 300–1

  Ferdinand II. of Naples, 98

  Ferdinand of Naples, 83

  Ferrara, 188;
    her orator complains to the pope, 189

  Ferrer, Luis, 289

  Ferrerio, Vincenzo, 32

  Foix, Gaston de, 286

  Foix, Germaine de, 286

  Forli surrenders, 143–4

  Fornovo, battle of, 98

  Florence, 45, 175

  Flores, Antonio, 94

  Flores, Bartolomeo, 83

  Francesco da Pistoja, 27

  France, superiority of armies of, 91

  Frederic II. of Naples, 105, 130;
    declared deprived of Naples, 182;
    goes to France, 185

  Gaetani, the, robbed by Alexander VI., 164, 167

  Gandia, Giovanni Borgia, Duke of, 73;
    made Captain-General, 102;
    wounded, 103;
    the murder of, 107–14

  Gasparino da Verona, 37

  Gerardino, Agapito, 124, 154, 208, 213, 224;
    deserts Caesar, 272

  Ghibellines, the, 57

  Giovanni, Don, Infans Romanus, _see_ Borgia, Giovanni, Lord of Camerino

  Giovio, Paolo, 184

  Giulia Bella, _see_ Farnese, Giulia

  Giustinian, Antonio, Venetian ambassador, 214, 225, 236, 247, 252,
          253, 255, 260;
    his opinion of Julius II., 266, 269, 270, 273, 275, 277, 278, 280

  Gonsalvo de Cordova, defeats the French, 233, 258, 275;
    victory at the Garigliano, 276, 279, 280, 285;
    sends Caesar to Spain, 282, 287, 288

  Gonzaga family, 58

  Gonzaga, Francesco, Cardinal, 41, 74, 97, 165

  Got, Bertrand, made pope, 58

  Grammont, French ambassador, 245

  Grasica, Juanico, Caesar’s equerry, 305;
    goes to Ferrara, 308

  Gregorovius, Ferdinand, opinion of Caterina Sforza, 140;
    on Letter to Silvio Savelli, 190, 283

  Guelphs, 57

  Guevara, Antonio de, 307

  Guicciardini, Francesco, his opinion of Alexander VI., 52, 184;
    account of Alexander’s death, 238

  Guilds, 55

  Gurk, Cardinal (Raymond Perrault), 93

  Guzman, Gabriel, 284

  Illegitimacy during the Renaissance, 42, 54–5

  Infessura, Stefano, his opinion of Sixtus IV., 45;
    his opinion of Innocent VIII., 50, 84

  Innocent VIII., Pope (Giambatista Cibo), 48, 49;
    death of, 50, 78

  Investiture, Wars of, 56

  Isabella of Aragon, daughter of Alfonso of Naples, 89

  Isabella of Spain, 285

  Italy, corruption in, 48

  Jeanne la Folle, 285, 288, 292

  Jubilee of 1300, 58

  Julius II., Pope (Giuliano della Rovere), 115, 266;
    statement to Giustinian, 267;
    attitude towards Caesar, 269, 270, 272;
    arrests Caesar, 273, 275, 277, 280, 281, 283, 289

  La Trémoille, Louis de, 154

  La Trémoille, Louis II. de, 310

  League of the Conservation, 95

  League against France, 95

  Lenzol, the, family arms, 70, 71

  Lenzol, Jofre, 69

  Lenzol, Pedro Luis, 69

  Lenzol, Rodrigo, 69, 71

  Lenzol y Borja, Jofre, 71

  Lenzol y Moncada, 71

  Ligny, Louis de, 137

  Lopez, Juan, 81, 97

  Lorca, Remiro de, 124, 193;
    put to death, 216

  Louis XII., King of France, 122;
    alliance with Alexander VI., 123, 124, 131;
    his claim to Milan, 136, 137, 171, 176, 177, 178;
    league with Pope against Naples, 182;
    thanks Caesar for his services, 185, 186, 200;
    receives Caesar at Milan, 204, 212, 229;
    restores Pandolfo Petrucci to Siena, 232–3;
    sends troops to the Regno, 234;
    his Prime Minister, 246, 258, 286, 289;
    deprives Caesar of his French fiefs, 299, 300, 310

  Luna, Pietro de, 103

  Machiavelli, 76;
    on Giampaolo Baglioni, 115, 175;
    sent to Caesar, 199;
    his opinion of Caesar, 200, 208–10, 216, 219, 232, 261, 271, 272

  Maillard, Benoit, his description of a banquet given to Caesar, 125

  Malatesta family, lords of Rimini, 59

  Malatesta, Pandolfo, 164, 169, 257

  Mancini, Jeronimo, 191

  Manfredi family, lords of Faenza, 59

  Manfredi, Astorre, 163, 168, 169;
    his bravery, 172;
    surrenders, 173;
    murder of, 194, 196

  Mantua, Marquis of (Gian Francesco Gonzaga), 248

  Marades, Juan, 81

  Marches, the Lords of the, 101

  Marciano, Rinuccio da, 182;
    wounded and captured, 184

  Mariana, Juan de, historian, 69, 72

  Marsini, Niccolò, 203

  Martin V., Pope, 32

  Martyr, Peter, of Anghiara, 239

  Matarazzo, 186;
    on Caesar, 231

  Matilda, Countess, 56

  Maximilian, his ambassador arrives in Spoleto, 96, 165, 190,
          286, 298, 300

  Medici, the, 45, 58

  Medici, Giovanni de’, made Cardinal, 49, 51, 64

  Medici, Giuliano de’, murder of, 45, 65, 174

  Medici, Lorenzo de’, attempted murder of, 45

  Medici, Maddalena de’, married to Franceschetto Cibo, 48

  Medici, Piero de’, 90, 174

  Medino del Campo, fortress of, 285, 290

  Mendoza, Diego de, 276

  Mendoza, Pedro de, his letter, 295–6

  Mercenaries in Italy, 59

  Michele, _see_ Corrella, Michelotto

  Michelotto, _see_ Corrella, Michelotto

  Michiel, Giovanni, Cardinal, 41, 51

  Middle Ages, 62;
    the Arts during, 63

  Mila, Adriana, 69, 77

  Mila, Juan del, Cardinal, 69

  Mila, Juan, Bishop of Zamora, 32, 69

  Mila, Juan, Luis de, 32

  Mila, Perot del, 69

  Mirandola, Antonio Pico della, suspected of the murder of Gandia, 110

  Moncada, Juan de, 71

  Moncada, Ugo, 211, 253

  Montefeltre, Federico, made Duke of Urbino, 44, 198, 210, 234, 267

  Montefeltre, Giovanna, 44

  Montefeltre, Guido, 215

  Montefeltre, lords of Urbino, 59

  Montpensier, Gilbert de, Vice-Regent in Naples, 98

  Moret, the chronicler, 289, 304

  Moro, Ludovico il, 62, 83, 88, 89, 95, 97, 98, 136, 137, 140, 146;
    returns to Milan, 147;
    defeated by the French, 154

  Mottino, Admiral, 259, 277, 278

  Mugnone, Lucchesina, 42

  Naples, Federico of, 85

  Naples, Ferdinand of, 45

  Naples, league against, 83

  Naples, Sancia of, _see_ Sancia of Naples

  Nepotism, 39, 47, 80

  Nicæa, Cardinal-Bishop of, _see_ Bessarion

  Niccolò da Verona, 26

  Nicholas III., Pope, 28

  Nicholas V., Pope, 31, 68

  Oliverotto da Fermo, 202, 213;
    put to death by Caesar Borgia, 220

  Olivieri, Giovanni, 154

  Ordelaffi family, lords of Forli, 59

  Orsini, the, 50;
    their feuds, 60;
    and Charles VIII., 101, 103;
    strongholds in Rome, 116;
    active about Rome, 228;
    return to Rome, 242, 244, 257;
    protest to the Pope against Caesar, 259, 260, 261

  Orsini, Carlo, declared a rebel, 101;
    captures the Duke of Urbino, 103

  Orsini, Giambattista, Cardinal, 41;
    made camerlengo, 42;
    arrested by Alexander VI., 221;
    his palace plundered, 222;
    death in prison, 225

  Orsini, Gian Giordano, declared a rebel, 101, 230

  Orsini, Giulio, 174, 257

  Orsini, Ludovico, Lord of Bassanello, 69, 77

  Orsini, Niccolò, 229

  Orsini, Paolo, declared a rebel, 101, 164, 174, 211, 213;
    takes Urbino, 215

  Orsini, Virginio, 50, 84, 85;
    declared a rebel, 101;
    made prisoner, 102

  Orvieto, 98

  Oviedo, Pedro de, 198, 274

  Palavicini, Antoniotto Gentile, Cardinal of Sta Anastasia, 96

  Panvinio, 69

  Papacy, the, 28, 42;
    secularisation of, 45–6;
    politics of, 262

  Paul II., Pope, 37, 40, 41;
    his avarice, 45

  Pavia, Cardinal of (Francesco Alidosio), 37

  Pazzi, conspiracy, 45, 47

  Pepoli, the, lords of Bologna, 59

  Perugia, Bishop of, _see_ Romolino, Francesco

  Pesaro, surrenders, 167

  Petrarch, 26, 28

  Petrucci, Pandolfo, 212;
    leaves Siena, 228, 251

  Philippe le Beau, 285, 287;
    his death, 288

  Philippe le Bel, 58

  Piccolomini, the, 51

  Piccolomini, Enea Silvio, _see_ Pius II.

  Piccolomini, Francesco, Cardinal of Siena, elected Pope, 250

  Pigna, Ferrarese ambassador, 113

  Pinturicchio, Bernardo, 71

  Piombino, surrender of, 176, 186

  Pius II., Pope (Enea Silvio Piccolomini), his letter to Rodrigo
          Borgia, 34, 35, 39, 43, 54

  Pius III., Pope (Francesco Piccolomini), compels French troops to
          withdraw from Romagna, 250;
    death and rumours of poison, 251;
    favours Caesar, 252;
    makes Caesar Gonfalonier, 256, 258;
    his death, 260

  Plague of 1503, 235

  Polentani, the, lords of Ravenna, 59

  Politics, Italian, 166;
    papal, 262

  Pompilio, Paolo, dedicates a work to Caesar, 67, 77

  Popes, the character of, 42;
    temporal sovereigns, 46;
    their nephews, 46;
    corruption of, 48

  Rationalism in Italy, 63

  Renaissance, the Italian, 23–8, 38;
    illegitimacy during, 42, 54–5, 62;
    murder during, 65;
    palaces of, 66;
    lack of moral sense in, 67;
    politics and rulers of, 77;
    warfare during, 91

  Requesenz, Caesar’s Majordomo, 285, 299

  Riario, the, deprived of their domain, 151

  Riario, Girolamo, 44, 140

  Riario, Pietro, 41;
    made cardinal, 43

  Riario, Raffaele, Cardinal, 44, 50, 65;
    returns to Rome, 249

  Ribera, Juan de, Captain-General of Spain, 300–1

  Rimini, surrender of, 169

  Rio, Francesco, 277

  Roccamura, Francesco de, 243

  Rodrigo, son of Alfonso of Naples and Lucretia Borgia, 187

  Romagna, feudal families of, 42;
    lords of, 101;
    Caesar’s first campaign in, 139;
    second campaign in, 164;
    third campaign in, 194;
    remains faithful to Caesar, 213;
    lack of order in, 282

  Rome, corruption in, 49;
    plague in, 235;
    threatened by civil war, 242, 249

  Romolino, Francesco, made Cardinal of Perugia, 78, 81, 101;
    deserts Caesar, 253, 272;
    flees from Rome, 275

  Rouen, Cardinal of, _see_ Amboise Georges d’

  Rovere, della, the, 103

  Rovere, Francesco della, 41, 42

  Rovere, Giuliano della (Julius II.), made cardinal, 42, 43;
    a skilful campaign manager, 48, 84, 93, 103, 124, 125, 130;
    abandons the Riario, 139, 215;
    returns from France, 249, 250, 251, 254;
    complains of Caesar’s presence in Rome, 255, 262;
    elected pope, 266, 268

  Rovere, Giovanni della, 44, 45

  Sacred College, treats with Caesar, 243

  Saluzzo, Marquis of, 234

  Sancia of Naples, 85;
    marries Giuffre Borgia, 87;
    enters Rome, 104;
    her character, 105, 160, 177, 247

  San Clemente, Cardinal of, 255

  Sanctuary, right of, 65

  Sangallo, Antonio di, 189, 193

  San Giorgio, Cardinal, complains of Caesar’s presence in Rome, 255

  San Malo, Bishop of, _see_ Brissonet, Guillaume

  San Marco, Cardinal of, 39

  Sannazzaro, Jacopo, 185;
    on Caesar’s death, 309

  San Niccolò in Carcere Tulliano, Cardinal of, _see_ Borgia, Rodrigo

  San Pietro ad Vincola, Cardinal of, _see_ Rovere, Giuliano della

  Sant Angelo, Cardinal, 275

  Santa Croce, Cardinal of, 276;
    releases Caesar, 278

  Santa Prudenziana, Cardinal, _see_ Brissonet, Guillaume

  Santi Quattro Coronati, Cardinal, _see_ Borgia, Alonzo

  Sanudo, 119–20, 145

  Sasseta, Ranieri della, 279

  Savelli, the, support the Pope, 103;
    banned by the Pope, 186;
    their estates seized, 187

  Savelli, Giambattista, Cardinal, 51, 66, 93

  Savelli, Silvio, the letter to, 114, 186, 190;
    joins the Orsini, 228;
    returns to Rome, 242

  Savonarola, Girolamo, 27, 78

  Scalla, the, family, 58

  Scarampo, Ludovico, Cardinal, 33

  Scipione, Baldassare di, 279, 281

  Sclafenati, Gian Giacomo, Cardinal, 51, 74

  Segovia, Bishop of, made cardinal, 101

  Sforza, Ascanio, made cardinal, 44;
    bribed with office of Vice-Chancellor, 50;
    suspected of murder of Gandia, 110, 116, 246;
    comes to Rome, 247, 249

  Sforza, Caterina, 44, 140, 142, 144;
    a prisoner, 147

  Sforza, Francesco, seizes Milan, 61

  Sforza, Galeazzo, 44, 88

  Sforza, Galeazzo Maria, 44, 62

  Sforza, Gian Galeazzo, 62

  Sforza, Gian Galeazzo Maria, 88;
    his death, 90

  Sforza, Giovanni, of Pesaro, 73;
    marries Lucretia Borgia, 84;
    meets Gonsalvo, 103, 167

  Siena, surrenders, 228

  Sinigaglia, 216;
    captured, 217

  Sixtus IV., Pope (Francesco della Rovere), 42, 43;
    his nepotism, 44–5;
    a politician, 45, 46, 47, 48, 52, 76–7

  Soderini, Francesco, sent to Caesar, 199;
    his account of Cardinal Orsini’s funeral, 226

  Spanocchi, Alessandro, 253

  Spanocchi, Ambrogio, 39

  Squillace, Prince of, _see_ Borgia, Giuffre

  Squillace, Princess of, _see_ Sancia of Naples

  Strozzi, Ercole, his _Epicedium_ on Caesar, 309

  Stuart, Berault, comes to Rome with the French Army, 179

  Suere, Marco, 169

  Toledo, Fabrique de, Duke of Alva, 286

  Tomasi, Tomaso, his “Duca Valentino,” 69;
    his opinion of Vanozza and Alexander VI., 74

  Torrella, Gaspare, dedicates a work to Caesar, 119, 124, 203, 240

  Trans, Baron of, _see_ Villeneuve, Louis de

  Trivulzio, Gian Giacopo, 146

  Tyranny and tyrants, the Italian, 55–7, 58–9, 61, 101, 166

  Umbria, the lords of, 101

  Valentino, Valentinois _see_ Borgia, Caesar

  Valentinois, Duchess of, _see_ Albret, Charlotte d’

  Valgulio, Carlo, 102

  Vannozza, _see_ Catanei, Vannozza de’

  Varano, Giulio Cesare, 202

  Varano, lords of Camerino, 59, 202

  Vasari, Giorgio, 155

  Vatican, Orgies in, 84, 186

  Venice, the Patriarch of, 51;
    aids Montefeltre, 211–12

  Vera, Juan, 78, 81

  Verastegui, Ogier, 302

  Vettori, Francesco, 195

  Viana, the Castle of, 300, 301, 302, 303;
    Santa Maria de, 306

  Villeneuve, Louis de, Baron of Trans, 123

  Virago, the, 142

  Visconti, Filippo Maria, last of the, 61

  Visconti, the, lords of Milan, 60

  Visconti, Gian Galeazzo, 60

  Visconti, Valentina, 136

  Vitelli, the, return to Rome, 242

  Vitelli, Vitellozzo, 103, 169, 174, 201, 213, 214;
    put to death, 220

  Warfare during the Renaissance, 91

  Worms, Concordat of, 56

  Yriarte, Charles, his genealogy of the Borgia, 69;
    searches for Caesar’s remains, 307

  Zapata, Martin, 78

  Zeno, Battista, Cardinal, 41, 51


      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber’s note:

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained; occurrences of
inconsistent hyphenation have not been changed.

Some illustrations of people had two captions: one in Latin, placed
within the frame of the image, and one in English, printed below the
image. When present and legible, both are shown in printed form in this
eBook. The Latin spellings sometimes differ from the English ones.

Text uses the names “Spanocchi” and “Spannocchi” several times; the
latter is correct, but both spellings have been retained here.

The spellings of proper names were not thoroughly checked.

Footnotes, originally at the bottoms of pages, have been moved to the
end of the book, just before the Index.

Index not checked for proper alphabetization or correct page references.

Page 41: “duplicit” was printed that way.

Illustration facing page 280: The Latin caption is “CONSALVO DI
CORDOVA;” the English caption is “GONSALVO DE CORDOVA”.

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