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    Chapter 57

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    Chapter 58
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    The pope becomes attached to the Florentines--The Genoese seize
    Serezanello--They are routed by the Florentines--Serezana
    surrenders--Genoa submits to the duke of Milan--War between the
    Venetians and the Dutch--Osimo revolts from the church--Count
    Girolamo Riario, lord of Furli, slain by a conspiracy--Galeotto,
    lord of Faenza, is murdered by the treachery of his wife--The
    government of the city offered to the Florentines--Disturbances in
    Sienna--Death of Lorenzo de' Medici--His eulogy--Establishment of
    his family--Estates bought by Lorenzo--His anxiety for the defense
    of Florence--His taste for arts and literature--The university of
    Pisa--The estimation of Lorenzo by other princes.

    The pope having observed in the course of the war, how promptly and
    earnestly the Florentines adhered to their alliances, although he had
    previously been opposed to them from his attachment to the Genoese,
    and the assistance they had rendered to the king, now evinced a more
    amicable disposition, and received their ambassadors with greater
    favor than previously. Lorenzo de' Medici, being made acquainted with
    this change of feeling, encouraged it with the utmost solicitude; for
    he thought it would be of great advantage, if to the friendship of the
    king he could add that of the pontiff. The pope had a son named
    Francesco, upon whom designing to bestow states and attach friends who
    might be useful to him after his own death, saw no safer connection in
    Italy than Lorenzo's, and therefore induced the latter to give him one
    of his daughters in marriage. Having formed this alliance, the pope
    desired the Genoese to concede Serezana to the Florentines, insisting
    that they had no right to detain what Agostino had sold, nor was
    Agostino justified in making over to the Bank of San Giorgio what was
    not his own. However, his holiness did not succeed with them; for the
    Genoese, during these transactions at Rome, armed several vessels,
    and, unknown to the Florentines, landed three thousand foot, attacked
    Serezanello, situated above Serezana, plundered and burnt the town
    near it, and then, directing their artillery against the fortress,
    fired upon it with their utmost energy. This assault was new and
    unexpected by the Florentines, who immediately assembled their forces
    under Virginio Orsino, at Pisa, and complained to the pope, that while
    he was endeavoring to establish peace, the Genoese had renewed their
    attack upon them. They then sent Piero Corsini to Lucca, that by his
    presence he might keep the city faithful; and Pagolantonio Soderini to
    Venice, to learn how that republic was disposed. They demanded
    assistance of the king and of Signor Lodovico, but obtained it from
    neither; for the king expressed apprehensions of the Turkish fleet,
    and Lodovico made excuses, but sent no aid. Thus the Florentines in
    their own wars are almost always obliged to stand alone, and find no
    friends to assist them with the same readiness they practice toward
    others. Nor did they, on this desertion of their allies (it being
    nothing new to them) give way to despondency; for having assembled a
    large army under Jacopo Guicciardini and Pietro Vettori, they sent it
    against the enemy, who had encamped upon the river Magra, at the same
    time pressing Serezanello with mines and every species of attack. The
    commissaries being resolved to relieve the place, an engagement
    ensued, when the Genoese were routed, and Lodovico dal Fiesco, with
    several other principal men, made prisoners. The Serezanesi were not
    so depressed at their defeat as to be willing to surrender, but
    obstinately prepared for their defense, while the Florentine
    commissaries proceeded with their operations, and instances of valor
    occurred on both sides. The siege being protracted by a variety of
    fortune, Lorenzo de' Medici resolved to go to the camp, and on his
    arrival the troops acquired fresh courage, while that of the enemy
    seemed to fail; for perceiving the obstinacy of the Florentines'
    attack, and the delay of the Genoese in coming to their relief, they
    surrendered to Lorenzo, without asking conditions, and none were
    treated with severity except two or three who were leaders of the
    rebellion. During the siege, Lodovico had sent troops to Pontremoli,
    as if with an intention of assisting the Florentines; but having
    secret correspondence in Genoa, a party was raised there, who, by the
    aid of these forces, gave the city to the duke of Milan.

    At this time the Dutch made war upon the Venetians, and Boccolino of
    Osimo, in the Marca, caused that place to revolt from the pope, and
    assumed the sovereignty. After a variety of fortune, he was induced to
    restore the city to the pontiff and come to Florence, where, under the
    protection of Lorenzo de' Medici, by whose advice he had been
    prevailed upon to submit, he lived long and respected. He afterward
    went to Milan, but did not experience such generous treatment; for
    Lodovico caused him to be put to death. The Venetians were routed by
    the Dutch, near the city of Trento, and Roberto da S. Severino, their
    captain, was slain. After this defeat, the Venetians, with their usual
    good fortune, made peace with the Dutch, not as vanquished, but as
    conquerors, so honorable were the terms they obtained.

    About this time, there arose serious troubles in Romagna. Francesco
    d'Orso, of Furli, was a man of great authority in that city, and
    became suspected by the count Girolamo, who often threatened him. He
    consequently, living under great apprehensions, was advised by his
    friends to provide for his own safety, by the immediate adoption of
    such a course as would relieve him from all further fear of the count.
    Having considered the matter and resolved to attempt it, they fixed
    upon the market day, at Furli, as most suitable for their purpose; for
    many of their friends being sure to come from the country, they might
    make use of their services without having to bring them expressly for
    the occasion. It was the month of May, when most Italians take supper
    by daylight. The conspirators thought the most convenient hour would
    be after the count had finished his repast; for his household being
    then at their meal, he would remain in the chamber almost alone.
    Having fixed upon the hour, Francesco went to the count's residence,
    left his companions in the hall, proceeded to his apartment, and
    desired an attendant to say he wished for an interview. He was
    admitted, and after a few words of pretended communication, slew him,
    and calling to his associates, killed the attendant. The governor of
    the place coming by accident to speak with the count, and entering the
    apartment with a few of his people, was also slain. After this
    slaughter, and in the midst of a great tumult, the count's body was
    thrown from the window, and with the cry of "church and liberty," they
    roused the people (who hated the avarice and cruelty of the count) to
    arms, and having plundered his house, made the Countess Caterina and
    her children prisoners. The fortress alone had to be taken to bring
    the enterprise to a successful issue; but the Castellan would not
    consent to its surrender. They begged the countess would desire him to
    comply with their wish, which she promised to do, if they would allow
    her to go into the fortress, leaving her children as security for the
    performance of her promise. The conspirators trusted her, and
    permitted her to enter; but as soon as she was within, she threatened
    them with death and every kind of torture in revenge for the murder of
    her husband; and upon their menacing her with the death of her
    children, she said she had the means of getting more. Finding they
    were not supported by the pope, and that Lodovico Sforza, uncle to the
    countess, had sent forces to her assistance, the conspirators became
    terrified, and taking with them whatever property they could carry
    off, they fled to Citta di Castello. The countess recovered the state,
    and avenged the death of her husband with the utmost cruelty. The
    Florentines hearing of the count's death, took occasion to recover the
    fortress of Piancaldoli, of which he had formerly deprived them, and,
    on sending some forces, captured it; but Cecco, the famous engineer,
    lost his life during the siege.

    To this disturbance in Romagna, another in that province, no less
    important, has to be added. Galeotto, lord of Faenza, had married the
    daughter of Giovanni Bentivogli, prince of Bologna. She, either
    through jealousy or ill treatment by her husband, or from the
    depravity of her own nature, hated him to such a degree, that she
    determined to deprive him of his possessions and his life; and
    pretending sickness, she took to her bed, where, having induced
    Galeotto to visit her, he was slain by assassins, whom she had
    concealed for that purpose in the apartment. She had acquainted her
    father with her design, and he hoped, on his son-in-law's death, to
    become lord of Faenza. A great tumult arose as soon as the murder was
    known, the widow, with an infant son, fled into the fortress, the
    people took up arms, Giovanni Bentivogli, with a condottiere of the
    duke of Milan, named Bergamino, engaged for the occasion, entered
    Faenza with a considerable force, and Antonio Boscoli, the Florentine
    commissary, was also there. These leaders being together, and
    discoursing of the government of the place, the men of Val di Lamona,
    who had risen unanimously upon learning what had occurred, attacked
    Giovanni and Bergamino, the latter of whom they slew, made the former
    prisoner, and raising the cry of "Astorre and the Florentines,"
    offered the city to the commissary. These events being known at
    Florence, gave general offense; however, they set Giovanni and his
    daughter at liberty, and by the universal desire of the people, took
    the city and Astorre under their protection. Besides these, after the
    principal differences of the greater powers were composed, during
    several years tumults prevailed in Romagna, the Marca, and Sienna,
    which, as they are unimportant, it will be needless to recount. When
    the duke of Calabria, after the war of 1478, had left the country, the
    distractions of Sienna became more frequent, and after many changes,
    in which, first the plebeians, and then the nobility, were victorious,
    the latter and length maintained the superiority, and among them
    Pandolfo and Jacopo Petrucci obtained the greatest influence, so that
    the former being distinguished for prudence and the latter for
    resolution, they became almost princes in the city.

    The Florentines after the war of Serezana, lived in great prosperity
    until 1492, when Lorenzo de' Medici died; for he having put a stop to
    the internal wars of Italy, and by his wisdom and authority
    established peace, turned his thoughts to the advancement of his own
    and the city's interests, and married Piero, his eldest son, to
    Alfonsina, daughter of the Cavaliere Orsino. He caused Giovanni, his
    second son, to be raised to the dignity of cardinal. This was the more
    remarkable from its being unprecedented; for he was only fourteen
    years of age when admitted to the college; and became the medium by
    which his family attained to the highest earthly glory. He was unable
    to make any particular provision for Guiliano, his third son, on
    account of his tender years, and the shortness of his own life. Of his
    daughters, one married Jacopo Salviati; another, Francesco Cibo; the
    third, Piero Ridolfi; and the fourth, whom, in order to keep his house
    united, he had married to Giovanni de' Medici, died. In his commercial
    affairs he was very unfortunate, from the improper conduct of his
    agents, who in all their proceedings assumed the deportment of princes
    rather than of private persons; so that in many places, much of his
    property was wasted, and he had to be relieved by his country with
    large sums of money. To avoid similar inconvenience, he withdrew from
    mercantile pursuits, and invested his property in land and houses, as
    being less liable to vicissitude. In the districts of Prato, Pisa, and
    the Val di Pesa, he purchased extensively, and erected buildings,
    which for magnificence and utility, were quite of regal character. He
    next undertook the improvement of the city, and as many parts were
    unoccupied by buildings, he caused new streets to be erected in them,
    of great beauty, and thus enlarged the accommodation of the
    inhabitants. To enjoy his power in security and repose, and conquer or
    resist his enemies at a distance, in the direction of Bologna he
    fortified the castle of Firenzuola, situated in the midst of the
    Appennines; toward Sienna he commenced the restoration and
    fortification of the Poggio Imperiale; and he shut out the enemy in
    the direction of Genoa, by the acquisition of Pietra Santa and
    Serezana. For the greater safety of the city, he kept in pay the
    Baglioni, at Perugia, and the Vitelli, at Citta di Castello, and held
    the government of Faenza wholly in his own power; all which greatly
    contributed to the repose and prosperity of Florence. In peaceful
    times, he frequently entertained the people with feasts, and
    exhibitions of various events and triumphs of antiquity; his object
    being to keep the city abundantly supplied, the people united, and the
    nobility honored. He was a great admirer of excellence in the arts,
    and a patron of literary men, of which Agnolo da Montepulciano,
    Cristofero Landini, and Demetrius Chalcondylas, a Greek, may afford
    sufficient proofs. On this account, Count Giovanni della Mirandola, a
    man of almost supernatural genius, after visiting every court of
    Europe, induced by the munificence of Lorenzo, established his abode
    at Florence. He took great delight in architecture, music, and poetry,
    many of his comments and poetical compositions still remaining. To
    facilitate the study of literature to the youth of Florence, he opened
    a university at Pisa, which was conducted by the most distinguished
    men in Italy. For Mariano da Chinazano, a friar of the order of St.
    Augustine, and an excellent preacher, he built a monastery in the
    neighborhood of Florence. He enjoyed much favor both from fortune and
    from the Almighty; all his enterprises were brought to a prosperous
    termination, while his enemies were unfortunate; for, besides the
    conspiracy of the Pazzi, an attempt was made to murder him in the
    Carmine, by Batista Frescobaldi, and a similar one by Baldinetto da
    Pistoja, at his villa; but these persons, with their confederates,
    came to the end their crimes deserved. His skill, prudence, and
    fortune, were acknowledged with admiration, not only by the princes of
    Italy, but by those of distant countries; for Matthias, king of
    Hungary, gave him many proofs of his regard; the sultan sent
    ambassadors to him with valuable presents, and the Turkish emperor
    placed in his hands Bernardo Bandini, the murderer of his brother.
    These circumstances raised his fame throughout Italy, and his
    reputation for prudence constantly increased; for in council he was
    eloquent and acute, wise in determination, and prompt and resolute in
    execution. Nor can vices be alleged against him to sully so many
    virtues; though he was fond of women, pleased with the company of
    facetious and satirical men, and amused with the games of the nursery,
    more than seemed consistent with so great a character; for he was
    frequently seen playing with his children, and partaking of their
    infantine sports; so that whoever considers this gravity and
    cheerfulness, will find united in him dispositions which seem almost
    incompatible with each other. In his later years, he was greatly
    afflicted; besides the gout, he was troubled with excruciating pains
    in the stomach, of which he died in April, 1492, in the forty-fourth
    year of his age; nor was there ever in Florence, or even in Italy, one
    so celebrated for wisdom, or for whose loss such universal regret was
    felt. As from his death the greatest devastation would shortly ensue,
    the heavens gave many evident tokens of its approach; among other
    signs, the highest pinnacle of the church of Santa Reparata was struck
    with lightning, and great part of it thrown down, to the terror and
    amazement of everyone. The citizens and all the princes of Italy
    mourned for him, and sent their ambassadors to Florence, to condole
    with the city on the occasion; and the justness of their grief was
    shortly after apparent; for being deprived of his counsel, his
    survivors were unable either to satisfy or restrain the ambition of
    Lodovico Sforza, tutor to the duke of Milan; and hence, soon after the
    death of Lorenzo, those evil plants began to germinate, which in a
    little time ruined Italy, and continue to keep her in desolation.
    Chapter 58
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