List Of Contents | Contents of The Borgias, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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who had settled their families in Rome, and had grown rich partly by
their pay and partly in the exercise of various industries.  The
cardinal had every one of them dismissed, with orders to quit Rome
within twenty-four hours and the Roman territories within three days.
The poor wretches had all collected together to obey the order, with
their wives and children and baggage, on the Piazza of St. Peter,
when suddenly, by Cardinal Valentino's orders, they were hemmed in on
all sides by two thousand Spaniards, who began to fire on them with
their guns and charge them with their sabres, while Caesar and his
mother looked down upon the carnage from a window.  In this way they
killed fifty or perhaps sixty; but the rest coming up, made a charge
at the assassins, and then, without suffering any loss, managed to
beat a retreat to a house, where they stood a siege, and made so
valiant a defense that they gave the pope time--he knew nothing of
the author of this butchery--to send the captain of his guard to the
rescue, who, with a strong detachment, succeeded in getting nearly
forty of them safely out of the town: the rest had been massacred on
the piazza or killed in the house.

But this was no real and adequate revenge; for it did not touch
Charles himself, the sole author of all the troubles that the pope
and his family had experienced during the last year.  So Caesar soon
abandoned vulgar schemes of this kind and busied himself with loftier
concerns, bending all the force of his genius to restore the league
of Italian princes that had been broken by the defection of Sforza,
the exile of Piero dei Medici, and the defeat of Alfonso.  The
enterprise was more easily accomplished than the pope could have
anticipated.  The Venetians were very uneasy when Charles passed so
near, and they trembled lest, when he was once master of Naples, he
might conceive the idea of conquering the rest of Italy.  Ludovico
Sforza, on his side, was beginning to tremble, seeing the rapidity
with which the King of France had dethroned the house of Aragon, lest
he might not make much difference between his allies and his enemies.
Maximilian, for his part, was only seeking an occasion to break the
temporary peace which he had granted for the sake of the concession
made to him.  Lastly, Ferdinand and Isabella were allies of the
dethroned house.  And so it came about that all of them, for
different reasons, felt a common fear, and were soon in agreement as
to the necessity of driving out Charles VIII, not only from Naples,
but from Italy, and pledged themselves to work together to this end,
by every means in their power, by negotiations, by trickery, or by
actual force.  The Florentines alone refused to take part in this
general levy of arms, and remained faithful to their promises.

According to the articles of the treaty agreed upon by the
confederates, the alliance was to last for five-and-twenty years, and
had for ostensible object the upholding of the majority of the pope,
and the interests of Christendom; and these preparations might well
have been taken for such as would precede a crusade against the
Turks, if Bajazet's ambassador had not always been present at the
deliberations, although the Christian princes could not have dared
for very shame to admit the, sultan by name into their league.  Now
the confederates had to set on foot an army of 30,000 horse and
20,000 infantry, and each of them was taxed for a contingent; thus
the pope was to furnish 4000 horse, Maximilian 6000, the King of
Spain, the Duke of Milan, and the republic of Venice, 8000 each.
Every confederate was, in addition to this, to levy and equip 4000
infantry in the six weeks following the signature of the treaty.  The
fleets were to be equipped by the Maritime States; but any expenses
they should incur later on were to be defrayed by all in equal

The formation of this league was made public on the 12th of April,
1495, Palm Sunday, and in all the Italian States, especially at Rome,
was made the occasion of fetes and immense rejoicings.  Almost as
soon as the publicly known articles were announced the secret ones
were put into execution.  These obliged Ferdinand and Isabella to
send a fleet of sixty galleys to Ischia, where Alfonso's son had
retired, with six hundred horsemen on board and five thousand
infantry, to help him to ascend the throne once more.  Those troops
were to be put under the command of Gonzalvo of Cordova, who had
gained the reputation of the greatest general in Europe after the
taking of Granada.  The Venetians with a fleet of forty galleys under
the command of Antonio Grimani, were to attack all the French
stations on the coast of Calabria and Naples.  The Duke of Milan
promised for his part to check all reinforcements as they should
arrive from France, and to drive the Duke of Orleans out of Asti.

Lastly, there was Maximilian, who had promised to make invasions on
the frontiers, and Bajazet, who was to help with money, ships, and
soldiers either the Venetians or the Spaniards, according as he might
be appealed to by Barberigo or by Ferdinand the Catholic.

This league was all the more disconcerting for Charles, because of
the speedy abatement of the enthusiasm that had hailed his first
appearance.  What had happened to him was what generally happens to a
conqueror who has more good luck than talent; instead of making
himself a party among the great Neapolitan and Calabrian vassals,
whose roots would be embedded in the very soil, by confirming their
privileges and augmenting their power, he had wounded their feelings
by bestowing all the titles, offices, and fiefs on those alone who
had followed him from France, so that all the important positions in
the kingdom were filled by strangers.

The result was that just when the league was made known, Tropea and
Amantea, which had been presented by Charles to the Seigneur de
Precy, rose in revolt and hoisted the banner of Aragon; and the
Spanish fleet had only to present itself at Reggio, in Calabria, for
the town to throw open its gates, being more discontented with the
new rule than the old; and Don Federiga, Alfonso's brother and
Ferdinand's uncle, who had hitherto never quitted Brindisi, had only
to appear at Tarentum to be received there as a liberator.


Charles learned all this news at Naples, and, tired of his late
conquests, which necessitated a labour in organisation for which he
was quite unfitted, turned his eyes towards France, where victorious
fetes and rejoicings were awaiting the victor's return.  So he
yielded at the first breath of his advisers, and retraced his road to
his kingdom, threatened, as was said, by the Germans on the north and
the Spaniards on the south.  Consequently, he appointed Gilbert de
Montpensier, of the house of Bourbon, viceroy; d'Aubigny, of the
Scotch Stuart family, lieutenant in Calabria; Etienne de Vese,
commander at Gaeta; and Don Juliano, Gabriel de Montfaucon, Guillaume
de Villeneuve, George de Lilly, the bailiff of Vitry, and Graziano
Guerra respectively governors of Sant' Angelo, Manfredonia, Trani,
Catanzaro, Aquila, and Sulmone; then leaving behind in evidence of
his claims the half of his Swiss, a party of his Gascons, eight
hundred French lances, and about five hundred Italian men-at-arms,
the last under the command of the prefect of Rome, Prospero and
Fabrizio Colonna, and Antonio Savelli, he left Naples on the 20th of
May at two o'clock in the afternoon, to traverse the whole of the
Italian peninsula with the rest of his army, consisting of eight
hundred French lances, two hundred gentlemen of his guard, one
hundred Italian men-at-arms, three thousand Swiss infantry, one
thousand French and one thousand Gascon.  He also expected to be
joined by Camillo Vitelli and his brothers in Tuscany, who were to
contribute two hundred and fifty men-at-arms.

A week before he left Naples, Charles had sent to Rome Monseigneur de
Saint-Paul, brother of Cardinal de Luxembourg; and just as he was
starting he despatched thither the new Archbishop of Lyons.  They
both were commissioned to assure Alexander that the King of France
had the most sincere desire and the very best intention of remaining
his friend.  In truth, Charles wished for nothing so much as to
separate the pope from the league, so as to secure him as a spiritual
and temporal support; but a young king, full of fire, ambition, and
courage, was not the neighbour to suit Alexander; so the latter would
listen to nothing, and as the troops he had demanded from the doge
and Ludavico Sforza had not been sent in sufficient number for the
defense of Rome, he was content with provisioning the castle of S.
Angelo, putting in a formidable garrison, and leaving Cardinal Sant'
Anastasio to receive Charles while he himself withdrew with Caesar to
Orvieto.  Charles only stayed in Rome three days, utterly depressed
because the pope had refused to receive him in spite of his
entreaties.  And in these three days, instead of listening to
Giuliano delta Rovere, who was advising him once more to call a
council and depose the pope, he rather hoped to bring the pope round
to his side by the virtuous act of restoring the citadels of
Terracina and Civita Vecchia to the authorities of the Romagna, only
keeping for himself Ostia, which he had promised Giuliano to give
back to him.  At last, when the three days had elapsed, he left Rome,
and resumed his march in three columns towards Tuscany, crossed the
States of the Church, and on the 13th reached Siena, where he was
joined by Philippe de Commines, who had gone as ambassador
extraordinary to the Venetian Republic, and now announced that the
enemy had forty thousand men under arms and were preparing for
battle.  This news produced no other effect an the king and the
gentlemen of his army than to excite their amusement beyond measure;
for they had conceived such a contempt for their enemy by their easy
conquest, that they could not believe that any army, however
numerous, would venture to oppose their passage.

Charles, however, was forced to give way in the face of facts, when

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