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Chapter 56

CHAPTER VI

Affairs of the pope--He is reconciled to Niccolo Vitelli--Discords
between the Colonnesi and the Orsini--Various events--The war of
Serezana--Genoa occupied by her archbishop--Death of Sixtus IV.--
Innocent VIII. elected--Agostino Fregoso gives Serezana to the
bank of St. Giorgio--Account of the bank of St. Giorgio--War with
the Genoese for Serezana--Stratagem of the Florentines to attack
Pietra Santa--Difficulties and final surrender of Pietra Santa--
The Lucchese lay claim to Pietra Santa--The city of L'Aquila
revolts against the king of Naples--War between him and the pope--
The Florentines take the king's party--Peace between the pope and
the king.

During these events in Lombardy, the pope sent Lorenzo to invest Citta
di Castello, for the purpose of expelling Niccolo Vitelli, the place
having been abandoned to him by the League, for the purpose of
inducing the pontiff to join them. During the siege, Niccolo's troops
were led out against the papal forces and routed them. Upon this the
pope recalled the Count Girolamo from Lombardy with orders first to
recruit his army at Rome, and then proceed against Citta di Castello.
But thinking afterward, that it would be better to obtain Niccolo
Vitello as his friend than to renew hostilities with him, an
arrangement was entered into by which the latter retained Citta di
Castello, and the pope pacified Lorenzo as well as he could. He was
induced to both these measures rather by his apprehension of fresh
troubles than by his love of peace, for he perceived dissensions
arising between the Colonessi and the Orsini.

In the war between the king of Naples and the pope, the former had
taken the district of Tagliacozzo from the Orsini, and given it to the
Colonnesi, who had espoused his cause. Upon the establishment of
peace, the Orsini demanded its restoration by virtue of the treaty.
The pope had frequently intimated to the Colonnesi that it ought to be
restored; but they, instead of complying with the entreaties of the
Orsini, or being influenced by the pope's threats, renewed hostilities
against the former. Upon this the pontiff, unable to endure their
insolence, united his own forces with those of the Orsini, plundered
the houses they possessed in Rome, slew or made prisoners all who
defended them, and seized most of their fortresses. So that when these
troubles were composed, it was rather by the complete subjugation of
one party than from any desire for peace in the other.

Nor were the affairs of Genoa or of Tuscany in repose, for the
Florentines kept the Count Antonio da Marciano on the borders of
Serezana; and while the war continued in Lombardy, annoyed the people
of Serezana by inroads and light skirmishes. Battistino Fregoso, doge
of Genoa, trusting to Pagolo Fregoso, the archbishop, was taken
prisoner, with his wife and children, by the latter, who assumed the
sovereignty of the city. The Venetian fleet had attacked the kingdom
of Naples, taken Gallipoli, and harassed the neighboring places. But
upon the peace of Lombardy, all tumults were hushed except those of
Tuscany and Rome; for the pope died in five days after its
declaration, either in the natural course of things, or because his
grief for peace, to which he was always opposed, occasioned his end.

Upon the decease of the pontiff, Rome was immediately in arms. The
Count Girolamo withdrew his forces into the castle; and the Orsini
feared the Colonnesi would avenge the injuries they had recently
sustained. The Colonnesi demanded the restitution of their houses and
castles, so that in a few days robberies, fires, and murders prevailed
in several parts of the city. The cardinals entreated the count to
give the castle into the hands of the college, withdraw his troops,
and deliver Rome from the fear of his forces, and he, by way of
ingratiating himself with the future pontiff obeyed, and retired to
Imola. The cardinals, being thus divested of their fears, and the
barons hopeless of assistance in their quarrels, proceeded to create a
new pontiff, and after some discussion, Giovanni Batista Cibo, a
Genoese, cardinal of Malfetta, was elected, and took the name of
Innocent VIII. By the mildness of his disposition (for he was
peaceable and humane) he caused a cessation of hostilities, and for
the present restored peace to Rome.

The Florentines, after the pacification of Lombardy, could not remain
quiet; for it appeared disgraceful that a private gentleman should
deprive them of the fortress of Serezana; and as it was allowed by the
conditions of peace, not only to demand lost places, but to make war
upon any who should impede their restoration, they immediately
provided men and money to undertake its recovery. Upon this, Agostino
Fregoso, who had seized Serezana, being unable to defend it, gave the
fortress to the Bank of St. Giorgio. As we shall have frequent
occasion to speak of St. Giorgio and the Genoese, it will not be
improper, since Genoa is one of the principal cities of Italy, to give
some account of the regulations and usages prevailing there. When the
Genoese had made peace with the Venetians, after the great war, many
years ago, the republic, being unable to satisfy the claims of those
who had advanced large sums of money for its use, conceded to them the
revenue of the Dogano or customhouse, so that each creditor should
participate in the receipts in proportion to his claim, until the
whole amount should be liquidated, and as a suitable place for their
assembling, the palace over the Dogano was assigned for their use.
These creditors established a form of government among themselves,
appointing a council of one hundred persons for the direction of their
affairs, and a committee of eight, who, as the executive body, should
carry into effect the determinations of the council. Their credits
were divided into shares, called /Luoghi/, and they took the title of
the Bank, or Company of St. Giorgio. Having thus arranged their
government, the city fell into fresh difficulties, and applied to San
Giorgio for assistance, which, being wealthy and well managed, was
able to afford the required aid. On the other hand, as the city had at
first conceded the customs, she next began to assign towns, castles,
or territories, as security for moneys received; and this practice has
proceeded to such a length, from the necessities of the state, and the
accommodation by the San Giorgio, that the latter now has under its
administration most of the towns and cities in the Genoese dominion.
These the Bank governs and protects, and every year sends its
deputies, appointed by vote, without any interference on the part of
the republic. Hence the affections of the citizens are transferred
from the government to the San Giorgio, on account of the tyranny of
the former, and the excellent regulations adopted by the latter. Hence
also originate the frequent changes of the republic, which is
sometimes under a citizen, and at other times governed by a stranger;
for the magistracy, and not the San Giorgio, changes the government.
So when the Fregosi and the Adorni were in opposition, as the
government of the republic was the prize for which they strove, the
greater part of the citizens withdrew and left it to the victor. The
only interference of the Bank of St. Giorgio is when one party has
obtained a superiority over the other, to bind the victor to the
observance of its laws, which up to this time have not been changed;
for as it possesses arms, money, and influence, they could not be
altered without incurring the imminent risk of a dangerous rebellion.
This establishment presents an instance of what in all the republics,
either described or imagined by philosophers, has never been thought
of; exhibiting within the same community, and among the same citizens,
liberty and tyranny, integrity and corruption, justice and injustice;
for this establishment preserves in the city many ancient and
venerable customs; and should it happen (as in time it easily may)
that the San Giorgio should have possession of the whole city, the
republic will become more distinguished than that of Venice.

Agostino Fregoso conceded Serezana to the San Giorgio, which readily
accepted it, undertook its defense, put a fleet to sea, and sent
forces to Pietra Santa to prevent all attempts of the Florentines,
whose camp was in the immediate vicinity. The Florentines found it
would be essentially necessary to gain possession of Pietra Santa, for
without it the acquisition of Serezana lost much of its value, being
situated between the latter place and Pisa; but they could not,
consistently with the treaty, besiege it, unless the people of Pietra
Santa, or its garrison, were to impede their acquisition of Serezana.
To induce the enemy to do this, the Florentines sent from Pisa to the
camp a quantity of provisions and military stores, accompanied by a
very weak escort; that the people of Pietra Santa might have little
cause for fear, and by the richness of the booty be tempted to the
attack. The plan succeeded according to their expectation; for the
inhabitants of Pietra Santa, attracted by the rich prize took
possession of it.

This gave legitimate occasion to the Florentines to undertake
operations against them; so leaving Serezana they encamped before
Pietra Santa, which was very populous, and made a gallant defense. The
Florentines planted their artillery in the plain, and formed a rampart
upon the hill, that they might also attack the place on that side.
Jacopo Guicciardini was commissary of the army; and while the siege of
Pietra Santa was going on, the Genoese took and burned the fortress of
Vada, and, landing their forces, plundered the surrounding country.
Biongianni Gianfigliazzi was sent against them, with a body of horse
and foot, and checked their audacity, so that they pursued their
depredations less boldly. The fleet continuing its efforts went to
Livorno, and by pontoons and other means approached the new tower,
playing their artillery upon it for several days, but being unable to
make any impression they withdrew.

In the meantime the Florentines proceeded slowly against Pietra Santa,
and the enemy taking courage attacked and took their works upon the
hill. This was effected with so much glory, and struck such a panic
into the Florentines, that they were almost ready to raise the siege,
and actually retreated a distance of four miles; for their generals
thought that they would retire to winter quarters, it being now
October, and make no further attempt till the return of spring.

When the discomfiture was known at Florence, the government was filled
with indignation; and, to impart fresh vigor to the enterprise, and
restore the reputation of their forces, they immediately appointed
Antonio Pucci and Bernardo del Neri commissaries, who, with vast sums
of money, proceeded to the army, and intimated the heavy displeasure
of the Signory, and of the whole city, if they did not return to the
walls; and what a disgrace, if so large an army and so many generals,
having only a small garrison to contend with, could not conquer so
poor and weak a place. They explained the immediate and future
advantages that would result from the acquisition, and spoke so
forcibly upon the subject, that all became anxious to renew the
attack. They resolved, in the first place, to recover the rampart upon
the hill; and here it was evident how greatly humanity, affability,
and condescension influence the minds of soldiers; for Antonio Pucci,
by encouraging one and promising another, shaking hands with this man
and embracing that, induced them to proceed to the charge with such
impetuosity, that they gained possession of the rampart in an instant.
However, the victory was not unattended by misfortune, for Count
Antonio da Marciano was killed by a cannon shot. This success filled
the townspeople with so much terror, that they began to make proposals
for capitulation; and to invest the surrender with imposing solemnity,
Lorenzo de' Medici came to the camp, when, after a few days, the
fortress was given up. It being now winter, the leaders of the
expedition thought it unadvisable to make any further effort until the
return of spring, more particularly because the autumnal air had been
so unhealthy that numbers were affected by it. Antonio Pucci and
Biongianni Gianfigliazzi were taken ill and died, to the great regret
of all, so greatly had Antonio's conduct at Pietra Santa endeared him
to the army.

Upon the taking of Pietra Santa, the Lucchese sent ambassadors to
Florence, to demand its surrender to their republic, on account of its
having previously belonged to them, and because, as they alleged, it
was in the conditions that places taken by either party were to be
restored to their original possessors. The Florentines did not deny
the articles, but replied that they did not know whether, by the
treaty between themselves and the Genoese, which was then under
discussion, it would have to be given up or not, and therefore could
not reply to that point at present; but in case of its restitution, it
would first be necessary for the Lucchese to reimburse them for the
expenses they had incurred and the injury they had suffered, in the
death of so many citizens; and that when this was satisfactorily
arranged, they might entertain hopes of obtaining the place.

The whole winter was consumed in negotiations between the Florentines
and Genoese, which, by the pope's intervention, were carried on at
Rome; but not being concluded upon the return of spring, the
Florentines would have attacked Serezana had they not been prevented
by the illness of Lorenzo de' Medici, and the war between the pope and
King Ferrando; for Lorenzo was afflicted not only by the gout, which
seemed hereditary in his family, but also by violent pains in the
stomach, and was compelled to go the baths for relief.

The more important reason was furnished by the war, of which this was
the origin. The city of L'Aquila, though subject to the kingdom of
Naples, was in a manner free; and the Count di Montorio possessed
great influence over it. The duke of Calabria was upon the banks of
the Tronto with his men-at-arms, under pretense of appeasing some
disturbances among the peasantry; but really with a design of reducing
L'Aquila entirely under the king's authority, and sent for the Count
di Montorio, as if to consult him upon the business he pretended then
to have in hand. The count obeyed without the least suspicion, and on
his arrival was made prisoner by the duke and sent to Naples. When
this circumstance became known at L'Aquila, the anger of the
inhabitants arose to the highest pitch; taking arms they killed
Antonio Cencinello, commissary for the king, and with him some
inhabitants known partisans of his majesty. The L'Aquilani, in order
to have a defender in their rebellion, raised the banner of the
church, and sent envoys to the pope, to submit their city and
themselves to him, beseeching that he would defend them as his own
subjects against the tyranny of the king. The pontiff gladly undertook
their defense, for he had both public and private reasons for hating
that monarch; and Signor Roberto of San Severino, an enemy of the duke
of Milan, being disengaged, was appointed to take the command of his
forces, and sent for with all speed to Rome. He entreated the friends
and relatives of the Count di Montorio to withdraw their allegiance
from the king, and induced the princes of Altimura, Salerno, and
Bisignano to take arms against him. The king, finding himself so
suddenly involved in war, had recourse to the Florentines and the duke
of Milan for assistance. The Florentines hesitated with regard to
their own conduct, for they felt all the inconvenience of neglecting
their own affairs to attend to those of others, and hostilities
against the church seemed likely to involve much risk. However, being
under the obligation of a League, they preferred their honor to
convenience or security, engaged the Orsini, and sent all their own
forces under the Count di Pitigliano toward Rome, to the assistance of
the king. The latter divided his forces into two parts; one, under the
duke of Calabria, he sent toward Rome, which, being joined by the
Florentines, opposed the army of the church; with the other, under his
own command, he attacked the barons, and the war was prosecuted with
various success on both sides. At length, the king, being universally
victorious, peace was concluded by the intervention of the ambassadors
of the king of Spain, in August, 1486, to which the pope consented;
for having found fortune opposed to him he was not disposed to tempt
it further. In this treaty all the powers of Italy were united, except
the Genoese, who were omitted as rebels against the republic of Milan,
and unjust occupiers of territories belonging to the Florentines. Upon
the peace being ratified, Roberto da San Severino, having been during
the war a treacherous ally of the church, and by no means formidable
to her enemies, left Rome; being followed by the forces of the duke
and the Florentines, after passing Cesena, found them near him, and
urging his flight reached Ravenna with less than a hundred horse. Of
his forces, part were received into the duke's service, and part were
plundered by the peasantry. The king, being reconciled with his
barons, put to death Jacopo Coppola and Antonello d'Aversa and their
sons, for having, during the war, betrayed his secrets to the pope.

Niccolo Machiavelli