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    Chapter 55

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    Chapter 56
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    New occasions of war in Italy--Differences between the marquis of
    Ferrara, and the Venetians--The king of Naples and the Florentines
    attack the papal states--The pope's defensive arrangements--The
    Neapolitan army routed by the papal forces--Progress of the
    Venetians against the marquis of Ferrara--The pope makes peace,
    and enters into a league against the Venetians--Operations of the
    League against the Venetians--The Venetians routed at Bondeno--
    Their losses--Disunion among the League--Lodovico Sforza makes
    peace with the Venetians--Ratified by the other parties.

    The invasion of the Turks had deferred the war which was about to
    break forth from the anger of the pope and the Venetians at the peace
    between the Florentines and the king. But as the beginning of that
    invasion was unexpected and beneficial, its conclusion was equally
    unlooked for and injurious; for Mahomet dying suddenly, dissensions
    arose among his sons, and the forces which were in Puglia being
    abandoned by their commander, surrendered Otranto to the king. The
    fears which restrained the pope and the Venetians being thus removed,
    everyone became apprehensive of new troubles. On the one hand, was the
    league of the pope and the Venetians, and with them the Genoese,
    Siennese, and other minor powers; on the other, the Florentines, the
    king, and the duke, with whom were the Bolognese and many princes. The
    Venetians wished to become lords of Ferrara, and thought they were
    justified by circumstances in making the attempt, and hoping for a
    favorable result. Their differences arose thus: the marquis of Ferrara
    affirmed he was under no obligation to take salt from the Venetians,
    or to admit their governor; the terms of convention between them
    declaring, that after seventy years, the city was to be free from both
    impositions. The Venetians replied, that so long as he held the
    Polesine, he was bound to receive their salt and their governor. The
    marquis refusing his consent, the Venetians considered themselves
    justified in taking arms, and that the present moment offered a
    suitable opportunity; for the pope was indignant against the
    Florentines and the king; and to attach the pope still further, the
    Count Girolamo, who was then at Venice, was received with all possible
    respect; first admitted to the privileges of a citizen, and then
    raised to the rank of a senator, the highest distinctions the Venetian
    senate can confer. To prepare for the war, they levied new taxes, and
    appointed to the command of the forces, Roberto da San Severino, who
    being offended with Lodovico, governor of Milan, fled to Tortona,
    whence, after occasioning some disturbances, he went to Genoa, and
    while there, was sent for by the Venetians, and placed at the head of
    their troops.

    These circumstances becoming known to the opposite league, induced it
    also to provide for war. The duke of Milan appointed as his general,
    Federigo d'Urbino; the Florentines engaged Costanzo, lord of Pesaro;
    and to sound the disposition of the pope, and know whether the
    Venetians made war against Ferrara with his consent or not, King
    Ferrando sent Alfonso, duke of Calabria, with his army across the
    Tronto, and asked the pontiff's permission to pass into Lombardy to
    assist the marquis, which was refused in the most peremptory manner.
    The Florentines and the king, no longer doubtful about the pope's
    intentions, determined to harass him, and thus either compel him to
    take part with them, or throw such obstacles in his way, as would
    prevent him from helping the Venetians, who had already taken the
    field, attacked the marquis, overran his territory, and encamped
    before Figaruolo, a fortress of the greatest importance. In pursuance
    of the design of the Florentines and the king, the duke of Calabria,
    by the assistance of the Colonna family (the Orsini had joined the
    pope), plundered the country about Rome and committed great
    devastation; while the Florentines, with Niccolo Vitelli, besieged and
    took Citta di Castello, expelling Lorenzo Vitelli, who held it for the
    pope, and placing Niccolo in it as prince.

    The pope now found himself in very great straits; for the city of Rome
    was disturbed by factions and the country covered with enemies. But
    acting with courage and resolution, he appointed Roberto da Rimino to
    take the command of his forces; and having sent for him to Rome, where
    his troops were assembled, told him how great would be the honor, if
    he could deliver the church from the king's forces, and the troubles
    in which it was involved; how greatly indebted, not only himself, but
    all his successors would be, and, that not mankind merely, but God
    himself would be under obligations to him. The magnificent Roberto,
    having considered the forces and preparations already made, advised
    the pope to raise as numerous a body of infantry as possible, which
    was done without delay. The duke of Calabria was at hand, and
    constantly harassed the country up to the very gates of Rome, which so
    roused the indignation of the citizens, that many offered their
    assistance to Roberto, and all were thankfully received. The duke,
    hearing of these preparations, withdrew a short distance from the
    city, that in the belief of finding him gone, the magnificent Roberto
    would not pursue him, and also in expectation of his brother Federigo,
    whom their father had sent to him with additional forces. But Roberto,
    finding himself nearly equal to the duke in cavalry, and superior in
    infantry, marched boldly out of Rome and took a position within two
    miles of the enemy. The duke, seeing his adversaries close upon him,
    found he must either fight or disgracefully retire. To avoid a retreat
    unbecoming a king's son, he resolved to face the enemy; and a battle
    ensued which continued from morning till midday. In this engagement,
    greater valor was exhibited on both sides than had been shown in any
    other during the last fifty years, upward of a thousand dead being
    left upon the field. The troops of the church were at length
    victorious, for her numerous infantry so annoyed the ducal cavalry,
    that they were compelled to retreat, and Alfonso himself would have
    fallen into the hands of the enemy, had he not been rescued by a body
    of Turks, who remained at Otranto, and were at that time in his
    service. The lord of Rimino, after this victory, returned triumphantly
    to Rome, but did not long enjoy the fruit of his valor; for having,
    during the heat of the engagement, taken a copious draught of water,
    he was seized with a flux, of which he very shortly afterward died.
    The pope caused his funeral to be conducted with great pomp, and in a
    few days, sent the Count Girolamo toward Citta di Castello to restore
    it to Lorenzo, and also endeavor to gain Rimino, which being by
    Roberto's death left to the care of his widow and a son who was quite
    a boy, his holiness thought might be easily won; and this certainly
    would have been the case, if the lady had not been defended by the
    Florentines, who opposed him so effectually, as to prevent his success
    against both Castello and Rimino.

    While these things were in progress at Rome and in Romagna, the
    Venetians took possession of Figaruolo and crossed the Po with their
    forces. The camp of the duke of Milan and the marquis was in disorder;
    for the count of Urbino having fallen ill, was carried to Bologna for
    his recovery, but died. Thus the marquis's affairs were unfortunately
    situated, while those of the Venetians gave them increasing hopes of
    occupying Ferrara. The Florentines and the king of Naples used their
    utmost endeavors to gain the pope to their views; and not having
    succeeded by force, they threatened him with the council, which had
    already been summoned by the emperor to assemble at Basle; and by
    means of the imperial ambassadors, and the co-operation of the leading
    cardinals, who were desirous of peace, the pope was compelled to turn
    his attention toward effecting the pacification of Italy. With this
    view, at the instigation of his fears, and with the conviction that
    the aggrandizement of the Venetians would be the ruin of the church
    and of Italy, he endeavored to make peace with the League, and sent
    his nuncios to Naples, where a treaty was concluded for five years,
    between the pope, the king, the duke of Milan, and the Florentines,
    with an opening for the Venetians to join them if they thought proper.
    When this was accomplished, the pope intimated to the Venetians, that
    they must desist from war against Ferrara. They refused to comply, and
    made preparations to prosecute their design with greater vigor than
    they had hitherto done; and having routed the forces of the duke and
    the marquis at Argenta, they approached Ferrara so closely as to pitch
    their tents in the marquis's park.

    The League found they must no longer delay rendering him efficient
    assistance, and ordered the duke of Calabria to march to Ferrara with
    his forces and those of the pope, the Florentine troops also moving in
    the same direction. In order to direct the operations of the war with
    greater efficiency, the League assembled a diet at Cremona, which was
    attended by the pope's legate, the Count Girolamo, the duke of
    Calabria, the Signor Lodovico Sforza, and Lorenzo de' Medici, with
    many other Italian princes; and when the measures to be adopted were
    fully discussed, having decided that the best way of relieving Ferrara
    would be to effect a division of the enemy's forces, the League
    desired Lodovico to attack the Venetians on the side of Milan, but
    this he declined, for fear of bringing a war upon the duke's
    territories, which it would be difficult to quell. It was therefore
    resolved to proceed with the united forces of the League to Ferrara,
    and having assembled four thousand cavalry and eight thousand
    infantry, they went in pursuit of the Venetians, whose force amounted
    to two thousand two hundred men at arms, and six thousand foot. They
    first attacked the Venetian flotilla, then lying upon the river Po,
    which they routed with the loss of above two hundred vessels, and took
    prisoner Antonio Justiniano, the purveyor of the fleet. The Venetians,
    finding all Italy united against them, endeavored to support their
    reputation by engaging in their service the duke of Lorraine, who
    joined them with two hundred men at arms: and having suffered so great
    a destruction of their fleet, they sent him, with part of their army,
    to keep their enemies at bay, and Roberto da San Severino to cross the
    Adda with the remainder, and proceed to Milan, where they were to
    raise the cry of "The duke and the Lady Bona," his mother; hoping by
    this means to give a new aspect to affairs there, believing that
    Lodovico and his government were generally unpopular. This attack at
    first created great consternation, and roused the citizens in arms;
    but eventually produced consequences unfavorable to the designs of the
    Venetians; for Lodovico was now desirous to undertake what he had
    refused to do at the entreaty of his allies. Leaving the marquis of
    Ferrara to the defense of his own territories, he, with four thousand
    horse and two thousand foot, and joined by the duke of Calabria with
    twelve thousand horse and five thousand foot, entered the territory of
    Bergamo, then Brescia, next that of Verona, and, in defiance of the
    Venetians, plundered the whole country; for it was with the greatest
    difficulty that Roberto and his forces could save the cities
    themselves. In the meantime, the marquis of Ferrara had recovered a
    great part of his territories; for the duke of Lorraine, by whom he
    was attacked, having only at his command two thousand horse and one
    thousand foot, could not withstand him. Hence, during the whole of
    1483, the affairs of the League were prosperous.

    The winter having passed quietly over, the armies again took the
    field. To produce the greater impression upon the enemy, the League
    united their whole force, and would easily have deprived the Venetians
    of all they possessed in Lombardy, if the war had been conducted in
    the same manner as during the preceding year; for by the departure of
    the duke of Lorraine, whose term of service had expired, they were
    reduced to six thousand horse and five thousand foot, while the allies
    had thirteen thousand horse and five thousand foot at their disposal.
    But, as is often the case where several of equal authority are joined
    in command, their want of unity decided the victory to their enemies.
    Federigo, marquis of Mantua, whose influence kept the duke of Calabria
    and Lodovico Sforza within bounds, being dead, differences arose
    between them which soon became jealousies. Giovan Galeazzo, duke of
    Milan, was now of an age to take the government on himself, and had
    married the daughter of the duke of Calabria, who wished his son-in-
    law to exercise the government and not Lodovico; the latter, being
    aware of the duke's design, studied to prevent him from effecting it.
    The position of Lodovico being known to the Venetians, they thought
    they could make it available for their own interests; and hoped, as
    they had often before done, to recover in peace all they had lost by
    war; and having secretly entered into treaty with Lodovico, the terms
    were concluded in August, 1484. When this became known to the rest of
    the allies, they were greatly dissatisfied, principally because they
    found that the places won from the Venetians were to be restored; that
    they were allowed to keep Rovigo and the Polesine, which they had
    taken from the marquis of Ferrara, and besides this retain all the
    pre-eminence and authority over Ferrara itself which they had formerly
    possessed. Thus it was evident to everyone, they had been engaged in a
    war which had cost vast sums of money, during the progress of which
    they had acquired honor, and which was concluded with disgrace; for
    the places wrested from the enemy were restored without themselves
    recovering those they had lost. They were, however, compelled to
    ratify the treaty, on account of the unsatisfactory state of their
    finances, and because the faults and ambition of others had rendered
    them unwilling to put their fortunes to further proof.
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