List Of Contents | Contents of The Borgias, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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Jacopo d'Appiano's capital within reach of Tuscany, a plan which
neither the pope nor his son had ever seriously abandoned.  The two
accordingly started from the port of Corneto with six ships,
accompanied by a great number of cardinals and prelates, and arrived
the same evening at Piombina.  The pontifical court made a stay there
of several days, partly with a view of making the duke known to the
inhabitants, and also in order to be present at certain
ecclesiastical functions, of which the most important was a service
held on the third Sunday in Lent, in which the Cardinal of Cosenza
sang a mass and the pope officiated in state with the duke and the
cardinals.  After these solemn functions the customary pleasures
followed, and the pope summoned the prettiest girls of the country
and ordered them to dance their national dances before him.

Following on these dances came feasts of unheard of magnificence,
during which the pope in the sight of all men completely ignored Lent
and did not fast.  The abject of all these fetes was to scatter
abroad a great deal of money, and so to make the Duke of Valentinois
popular, while poor Jacopo d'Appiano was forgotten.

When they left Piombino, the pope and his son visited the island of
Elba, where they only stayed long enough to visit the old
fortifications and issue orders for the building of new ones.

Then the illustrious travellers embarked on their return journey to
Rome; but scarcely had they put out to sea when the weather became
adverse, and the pope not wishing to put in at Porto Ferrajo, they
remained five days on board, though they had only two days'
provisions.  During the last three days the pope lived on fried fish
that were caught under great difficulties because of the heavy
weather.  At last they arrived in sight of Corneto, and there the
duke, who was not on the same vessel as the pope, seeing that his
ship could not get in, had a boat put out, and so was taken ashore.
The pope was obliged to continue on his way towards Pontercole, where
at last he arrived, after encountering so violent a tempest that all
who were with him were utterly subdued either by sickness or by the
terror of death.  The pope alone did not show one instant's fear, but
remained on the bridge during the storm, sitting on his arm-chair,
invoking the name of Jesus and making the sign of the cross.  At last
his ship entered the roads of Pontercole, where he landed, and after
sending to Corneto to fetch horses, he rejoined the duke, who was
there awaiting him.  They then returned by slow stages, by way of
Civita Vecchia and Palo, and reached Rome after an absence of a
month.  Almost at the same time d'Albret arrived in quest of his
cardinal's hat.  He was accompanied by two princes of the house of
Navarre, who were received with not only those honours which beseemed
their rank, but also as brothers-in-law to whom the, duke was eager
to show in what spirit he was contracting this alliance.


The time had now come for the Duke of Valentinois to continue the
pursuit of his conquests.  So, since on the 1st of May in the
preceding year the pope had pronounced sentence of forfeiture in full
consistory against Julius Caesar of Varano, as punishment for the
murder of his brother Rudolph and for the harbouring of the pope's
enemies, and he had accordingly been mulcted of his fief of Camerino,
which was to be handed over to the apostolic chamber, Caesar left
Rome to put the sentence in execution.  Consequently, when he arrived
on the frontiers of Perugia, which belonged to his lieutenant, Gian
Paolo Baglioni, he sent Oliverotta da Fermo and Orsini of Gravina to
lay waste the March of Camerino, at the same time petitioning Guido
d'Ubaldo di Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, to lend his soldiers and
artillery to help him in this enterprise.  This the unlucky Duke of
Urbino, who enjoyed the best possible relations with the pope, and
who had no reason for distrusting Caesar, did not dare refuse.  But
on the very same day that the Duke of Urbina's troops started for
Camerino, Caesar's troops entered the duchy of Urbino, and took
possession of Cagli, one of the four towns of the little State.  The
Duke of Urbino knew what awaited him if he tried to resist, and fled
incontinently, disguised as a peasant; thus in less than eight days
Caesar was master of his whole duchy, except the fortresses of Maiolo
and San Leone.

The Duke of Valentinois forthwith returned to Camerino, where the
inhabitants still held out, encouraged by the presence of Julius
Caesar di Varano, their lord, and his two sons, Venantio and
Hannibal; the eldest son, Gian Maria, had been sent by his father to

The presence of Caesar was the occasion of parleying between the
besiegers and besieged.  A capitulation was arranged whereby Varano
engaged to give up the town, on condition that he and his sons were
allowed to retire safe and sound, taking with them their furniture,
treasure, and carriages.  But this was by no means Caesar's
intention; so, profiting by the relaxation in vigilance that had
naturally come about in the garrison when the news of the
capitulation had been announced, he surprised the town in the night
preceding the surrender, and seized Caesar di Varano and his two
sons, who were strangled a short time after, the father at La Pergola
and the sons at Pesaro, by Don Michele Correglio, who, though he had
left the position of sbirro for that of a captain, every now and then
returned to his first business.

Meanwhile Vitellozzo Vitelli, who had assumed the title of General of
the Church, and had under him 800 men-at-arms and 3,000 infantry, was
following the secret instructions that he had received from Caesar by
word of mouth, and was carrying forward that system of invasion which
was to encircle Florence in a network of iron, and in the end make
her defence an impossibility.  A worthy pupil of his master, in whose
school he had learned to use in turn the cunning of a fox and the
strength of a lion, he had established an understanding between
himself and certain young gentlemen of Arezzo to get that town
delivered into his hands.  But the plot had been discovered by
Guglielma dei Pazzi, commissary of the Florentine Republic, and he
had arrested two of the conspirators, whereupon the others, who were
much more numerous than was supposed; had instantly dispersed about
the town summoning the citizens to arms.  All the republican faction,
who saw in any sort of revolution the means of subjugating Florence,
joined their party, set the captives at liberty, and seized
Guglielmo; then proclaiming the establishment of the ancient
constitution, they besieged the citadel, whither Cosimo dei Pazzi,
Bishop of Arezzo, the son of Guglielmo, had fled for refuge; he,
finding himself invested on every side, sent a messenger in hot haste
to Florence to ask for help.

Unfortunately for the cardinal, Vitellozzo's troops were nearer to
the besiegers than were the soldiers of the most serene republic to
the besieged, and instead of help--the whole army of the enemy came
down upon him.  This army was under the command of Vitellozzo, of
Gian Paolo Baglioni, and of Fabio Orsino, and with them were the two
Medici, ever ready to go wherever there was a league against
Florence, and ever ready at the command of Borgia, on any conditions
whatever, to re-enter the town whence they had been banished.  The
next day more help in the form of money and artillery arrived, sent
by Pandolfo Petrucci, and on the 18th of June the citadel of Arezzo,
which had received no news from Florence, was obliged to surrender.

Vitellozzo left the men of Arezzo to look after their town
themselves, leaving also Fabio Orsina to garrison the citadel with a
thousand men.  Then, profiting by the terror that had been spread
throughout all this part of Italy by the successive captures of the
duchy of Urbino, of Camerino, and of Arezzo, he marched upon Monte
San Severino, Castiglione, Aretino, Cortone, and the other towns of
the valley of Chiana, which submitted one after the other almost
without a struggle.  When he was only ten or twelve leagues from
Florence, and dared not an his own account attempt anything against
her, he made known the state of affairs to the Duke of Valentinois.
He, fancying the hour had came at last far striking the blow so long
delayed, started off at once to deliver his answer in person to his
faithful lieutenants.

But the Florentines, though they had sent no help to Guglielmo dei
Pazzi, had demanded aid from Chaumont dumbest, governor of the
Milanese, an behalf of Louis XII, not only explaining the danger they
themselves were in but also Caesar's ambitious projects, namely that
after first overcoming the small principalities and then the states
of the second order, he had now, it seemed, reached such a height of
pride that he would attack the King of France himself.  The news from
Naples was disquieting; serious differences had already occurred
between the Count of Armagnac and Gonzalva di Cordova, and Louis
might any day need Florence, whom he had always found loyal and
faithful.  He therefore resolved to check Caesar's progress, and not
only sent him orders to advance no further step forwards, but also
sent off, to give effect to his injunction, the captain Imbaut with
400 lances.  The Duke of Valentinais on the frontier of Tuscany
received a copy of the treaty signed between the republic and the
King of France, a treaty in which the king engaged to help his ally
against any enemy whatsoever, and at the same moment the formal
prohibition from Louis to advance any further.  Caesar also learned
that beside the 400 lances with the captain Imbaut, which were on the
road to Florence, Louis XII had as soon as he reached Asti sent off
to Parma Louis de la Trimouille and 200 men-at-arms, 3000 Swiss, and
a considerable train of artillery.  In these two movements combined
he saw hostile intentions towards himself, and turning right about
face with his usual agility, he profited by the fact that he had
given nothing but verbal instructions to all his lieutenants, and

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