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    Chapter 44

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    Chapter 45
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    CHAPTER VII

    Christendom alarmed by the progress of the Turks--The Turks routed
    before Belgrade--Description of a remarkable hurricane--War
    against the Genoese and Gismondo Malatesti--Genoa submits to the
    king of France--Death of Alfonso king of Naples--Succeeded by his
    son Ferrando--The pope designs to give the kingdom of Naples to
    his nephew Piero Lodovico Borgia--Eulogy of Pius II.--Disturbances
    in Genoa between John of Anjou and the Fregosi--The Fregosi
    subdued--John attacks the kingdom of Naples--Ferrando king of
    Naples routed--Ferrando reinstated--The Genoese cast off the
    French yoke--John of Anjou routed in the kingdom of Naples.

    The pope, though anxious to restrain Jacopo Piccinino, did not neglect
    to make provision for the defense of Christendom, which seemed in
    danger from the Turks. He sent ambassadors and preachers into every
    Christian country, to exhort princes and people to arm in defense of
    their religion, and with their persons and property to contribute to
    the enterprise against the common enemy. In Florence, large sums were
    raised, and many citizens bore the mark of a red cross upon their
    dress to intimate their readiness to become soldiers of the faith.
    Solemn processions were made, and nothing was neglected either in
    public or private, to show their willingness to be among the most
    forward to assist the enterprise with money, counsel, or men. But the
    eagerness for this crusade was somewhat abated, by learning that the
    Turkish army, being at the siege of Belgrade, a strong city and
    fortress in Hungary, upon the banks of the Danube, had been routed and
    the emperor wounded; so that the alarm felt by the pope and all
    Christendom, on the loss of Constantinople, having ceased to operate,
    they proceeded with deliberately with their preparations for war; and
    in Hungary their zeal was cooled through the death of Giovanni Corvini
    the Waiwode, who commanded the Hungarian forces on that memorable
    occasion, and fell in the battle.

    To return to the affairs of Italy. In the year 1456, the disturbances
    occasioned by Jacopo Piccinino having subsided, and human weapons laid
    aside, the heavens seemed to make war against the earth; dreadful
    tempestuous winds then occurring, which produced effects unprecedented
    in Tuscany, and which to posterity will appear marvelous and
    unaccountable. On the twenty-fourth of August, about an hour before
    daybreak, there arose from the Adriatic near Ancona, a whirlwind,
    which crossing from east to west, again reached the sea near Pisa,
    accompanied by thick clouds, and the most intense and impenetrable
    darkness, covering a breadth of about two miles in the direction of
    its course. Under some natural or supernatural influence, this vast
    and overcharged volume of condensed vapor burst; its fragments
    contended with indescribable fury, and huge bodies sometimes ascending
    toward heaven, and sometimes precipitated upon the earth, struggled,
    as it were, in mutual conflict, whirling in circles with intense
    velocity, and accompanied by winds, impetuous beyond all conception;
    while flashes of awful brilliancy, and murky, lurid flames incessantly
    broke forth. From these confused clouds, furious winds, and momentary
    fires, sounds issued, of which no earthquake or thunder ever heard
    could afford the least idea; striking such awe into all, that it was
    thought the end of the world had arrived, that the earth, waters,
    heavens, and entire universe, mingling together, were being resolved
    into their ancient chaos. Wherever this awful tempest passed, it
    produced unprecedented and marvelous effects; but these were more
    especially experienced near the castle of St. Casciano, about eight
    miles from Florence, upon the hill which separates the valleys of Pisa
    and Grieve. Between this castle and the Borgo St. Andrea, upon the
    same hill, the tempest passed without touching the latter, and in the
    former, only threw down some of the battlements and the chimneys of a
    few houses; but in the space between them, it leveled many buildings
    quite to the ground. The roofs of the churches of St. Martin, at
    Bagnolo, and Santa Maria della Pace, were carried more than a mile,
    unbroken as when upon their respective edifices. A muleteer and his
    beasts were driven from the road into the adjoining valley, and found
    dead. All the large oaks and lofty trees which could not bend beneath
    its influence, were not only stripped of their branches but borne to a
    great distance from the places where they grew, and when the tempest
    had passed over and daylight made the desolation visible, the
    inhabitants were transfixed with dismay. The country had lost all its
    habitable character; churches and dwellings were laid in heaps;
    nothing was heard but the lamentations of those whose possessions had
    perished, or whose cattle or friends were buried beneath the ruins;
    and all who witnessed the scene were filled with anguish or
    compassion. It was doubtless the design of the Omnipotent, rather to
    threaten Tuscany than to chastise her; for had the hurricane been
    directed over the city, filled with houses and inhabitants, instead of
    proceeding among oaks and elms, or small and thinly scattered
    dwellings, it would have been such a scourge as the mind, with all its
    ideas of horror, could not have conceived. But the Almighty desired
    that this slight example should suffice to recall the minds of men to
    a knowledge of himself and of his power.

    To return to our history. King Alfonso was dissatisfied with the
    peace, and as the war which he had unnecessarily caused Jacopo
    Piccinino to make against the Siennese, had produced no important
    result, he resolved to try what could be done against those whom the
    conditions of the League permitted him to attack. He therefore, in the
    year 1456, assailed the Genoese, both by sea and by land, designing to
    deprive the Fregosi of the government and restore the Adorni. At the
    same time, he ordered Jacopo Piccinino to cross the Tronto, and attack
    Gismondo Malatesti, who, having fortified his territories, did not
    concern himself, and this part of the king's enterprise produced no
    effect; but his proceedings against Genoa occasioned more wars against
    himself and his kingdom than he could have wished. Piero Fregoso was
    then doge of Genoa, and doubting his ability to sustain the attack of
    the king, he determined to give what he could not hold, to some one
    who might defend it against his enemies, in hope, that at a future
    period, he should obtain a return for the benefit conferred. He
    therefore sent ambassadors to Charles VII. of France, and offered him
    the government of Genoa. Charles accepted the offer, and sent John of
    Anjou, the son of King René, who had a short time previously left
    Florence and returned to France, to take possession with the idea,
    that he, having learned the manners and customs of Italy, would be
    able to govern the city; and also that this might give him an
    opportunity of undertaking the conquest of Naples, of which René,
    John's father, had been deprived by Alfonso. John, therefore,
    proceeded to Genoa, where he was received as prince, and the
    fortresses, both of the city and the government, given up to him. This
    annoyed Alfonso, with the fear that he had brought upon himself too
    powerful an enemy. He was not, however, dismayed; but pursued his
    enterprise vigorously, and had led his fleet to Porto, below
    Villamarina, when he died after a sudden illness, and thus John and
    the Genoese were relieved from the war. Ferrando, who succeeded to the
    kingdom of his father Alfonso, became alarmed at having so powerful an
    enemy in Italy, and was doubtful of the disposition of many of his
    barons, who being desirous of change, he feared would take part with
    the French. He was also apprehensive of the pope, whose ambition he
    well knew, and who seeing him new in the government, might design to
    take it from him. He had no hope except from the duke of Milan, who
    entertained no less anxiety concerning the affairs of the kingdom than
    Ferrando; for he feared that if the French were to obtain it, they
    would endeavor to annex his own dominions; which he knew they
    considered to be rightfully their own. He, therefore, soon after the
    death of Alfonso, sent letters and forces to Ferrando; the latter to
    give him aid and influence, the former to encourage him with an
    intimation that he would not, under any circumstances, forsake him.
    The pontiff intended, after the death of Alfonso, to give the kingdom
    of Naples to his nephew Piero Lodovico Borgia, and, to furnish a
    decent pretext for his design and obtain the concurrence of the powers
    of Italy in its favor he signified a wish to restore that realm to the
    dominion of the church of Rome; and therefore persuaded the duke not
    to assist Ferrando. But in the midst of these views and opening
    enterprises, Calixtus died, and Pius II. of Siennese origin, of the
    family of the Piccolomini, and by name Æneas, succeeded to the
    pontificate. This pontiff, free from the ties of private interest,
    having no object but to benefit Christendom and honor the church, at
    the duke's entreaty crowned Ferrando king of Naples; judging it easier
    to establish peace if the kingdom remained in the hands which at
    present held it, than if he were to favor the views of the French, or,
    as Calixtus purposed, take it for himself. Ferrando, in acknowledgment
    of the benefit, created Antonio, one of the pope's nephews, prince of
    Malfi, gave him an illegitimate daughter of his own in marriage, and
    restored Benevento and Terracina to the church.

    It thus appeared that the internal dissensions of Italy might be
    quelled, and the pontiff prepared to induce the powers of Christendom
    to unite in an enterprise against the Turks (as Calixtus had
    previously designed) when differences arose between the Fregosi and
    John of Anjou, the lord of Genoa, which occasioned greater and more
    important wars than those recently concluded. Pietrino Fregoso was at
    his castle of Riviera, and thought he had not been rewarded by John in
    proportion to his family's merits; for it was by their means the
    latter had become prince of the city. This impression drove the
    parties into open enmity; a circumstance gratifying to Ferrando, who
    saw in it relief from his troubles, and the sole means of procuring
    his safety: he therefore assisted Pietrino with money and men,
    trusting to drive John out of the Genoese territory. The latter being
    aware of his design, sent for aid to France; and, on obtaining it,
    attacked Pietrino, who, through his numerous friends, entertained the
    strongest assurance of success; so that John was compelled to keep
    within the city, into which Pietrino having entered by night, took
    possession of some parts of it; but upon the return of day, his people
    were all either slain or made prisoners by John's troops, and he
    himself was found among the dead.

    This victory gave John hopes of recovering the kingdom; and in
    October, 1459, he sailed thither from Genoa, with a powerful fleet,
    and landed at Baia; whence he proceeded to Sessa, by the duke of which
    place he was favorably received. The prince of Taranto, the Aquilani,
    with several cities and other princes, also joined him; so that a
    great part of the kingdom fell into his hands. On this Ferrando
    applied for assistance to the pope and the duke of Milan; and, to
    diminish the number of his enemies, made peace with Gismondo
    Malatesti, which gave so much offense to Jacopo Piccinino, the
    hereditary enemy of Gismondo, that he resigned his command under
    Ferrando, and joined his rival. Ferrando also sent money to Federigo,
    lord of Urbino, and collected with all possible speed what was in
    those times considered a tolerable army; which, meeting the enemy upon
    the river Sarni, an engagement ensued in which Ferrando was routed,
    and many of his principal officers taken. After this defeat, the city
    of Naples alone, with a few smaller places and princes of inferior
    note, adhered to Ferrando, the greater part having submitted to John.
    Jacopo Piccinino, after the victory, advised an immediate march upon
    Naples; but John declined this, saying, he would first reduce the
    remainder of the kingdom, and then attack the seat of government. This
    resolution occasioned the failure of his enterprise; for he did not
    consider how much more easily the members follow the head than the
    head the members.

    After his defeat, Ferrando took refuge in Naples, whither the
    scattered remnants of his people followed him; and by soliciting his
    friends, he obtained money and a small force. He sent again for
    assistance to the pope and the duke, by both of whom he was supplied
    more liberally and speedily than before; for they began to entertain
    most serious apprehensions of his losing the kingdom. His hopes were
    thus revived; and, marching from Naples, he regained his reputation in
    his dominions, and soon obtained the places of which he had been
    deprived. While the war was proceeding in the kingdom, a circumstance
    occurred by which John of Anjou lost his influence, and all chance of
    success in the enterprise. The Genoese had become so weary of the
    haughty and avaricious dominion of the French, that they took arms
    against the viceroy, and compelled him to seek refuge in the
    castelletto; the Fregosi and the Adorni united in the enterprise
    against him, and were assisted with money and troops by the duke of
    Milan, both for the recovery and preservation of the government. At
    the same time, King René coming with a fleet to the assistance of his
    son, and hoping to recover Genoa by means of the castelletto, upon
    landing his forces was so completely routed, that he was compelled to
    return in disgrace to Provence. When the news of his father's defeat
    reached Naples, John was greatly alarmed, but continued the war for a
    time by the assistance of those barons who, being rebels, knew they
    would obtain no terms from Ferrando. At length, after various trifling
    occurrences, the two royal armies came to an engagement, in which John
    was routed near Troia, in the year 1463. He was, however, less injured
    by his defeat than by the desertion of Jacopo Piccinino, who joined
    Ferrando; and, being abandoned by his troops, he was compelled to take
    refuge in Istria, and thence withdrew to France. This war continued
    four years. John's failure was attributable to negligence; for victory
    was often within his grasp, but he did not take proper means to secure
    it. The Florentines took no decisive part in this war. John, king of
    Aragon, who succeeded upon the death of Alfonso, sent ambassadors to
    request their assistance for his nephew Ferrando, in compliance with
    the terms of the treaty recently made with his father Alfonso. The
    Florentines replied, that they were under no obligation; that they did
    not think proper to assist the son in a war commenced by the father
    with his own forces; and that as it was begun without either their
    counsel or knowledge, it must be continued and concluded without their
    help. The ambassadors affirmed the engagement to be binding on the
    Florentines, and themselves to be answerable for the event of the war;
    and then in great anger left the city.

    Thus with regard to external affairs, the Florentines continued
    tranquil during this war; but the case was otherwise with their
    domestic concerns, as will be particularly shown in the following
    book.
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