List Of Contents | Contents of The Borgias, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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price on the friendship he had at first offered freely, and to impose
his own conditions instead of accepting those of others.  These were
that Piero dei Medici, kinsman and ally of the Orsini, should be
reinstated in his ancient power; that six Florentine citizens, to be
chosen by Vitellozzo, should be put into his hands that they might by
their death expiate that of Paolo Vitelli, unjustly executed by the
Florentines; that the Signoria should engage to give no aid to the
lord of Piombino, whom Caesar intended to dispossess of his estates
without delay; and further, that he himself should be taken into the
service of the republic, for a pay proportionate to his deserts.  But
just as Caesar had reached this point in his negotiations with
Florence, he received orders from Louis XII to get ready, so soon as
he conveniently could, to follow him with his army and help in the
conquest of Naples, which he was at last in a position to undertake.
Caesar dared not break his word to so powerful an ally; he therefore
replied that he was at the king's orders, and as the Florentines were
not aware that he was quitting them on compulsion, he sold his
retreat for the sum of 36,000 ducats per annum, in exchange for which
sum he was to hold three hundred men-at-arms always in readiness to
go to the aid of the republic at her earliest call and in any
circumstances of need.

But, hurried as he was, Caesar still hoped that he might find time to
conquer the territory of Piombino as he went by, and take the capital
by a single vigorous stroke; so he made his entry into the lands of
Jacopo IV of Appiano.  The latter, he found, however, had been
beforehand with him, and, to rob him of all resource, had laid waste
his own country, burned his fodder, felled his trees, torn down his
vines, and destroyed a few fountains that produced salubrious waters.
This did not hinder Caesar from seizing in the space of a few days
Severeto, Scarlino, the isle of Elba, and La Pianosa; but he was
obliged to stop short at the castle, which opposed a serious
resistance.  As Louis XII's army was continuing its way towards Rome,
and he received a fresh order to join it, he took his departure the
next day, leaving behind him, Vitellozzo and Gian Paolo Bagliani to
prosecute the siege in his absence.

Louis XII was this time advancing upon Naples, not with the
incautious ardour of Charles VIII, but, on the contrary, with that
prudence and circumspection which characterised him.  Besides his
alliance with Florence and Rome, he had also signed a secret treaty
with Ferdinand the Catholic, who had similar pretensions, through the
house of Duras, to the throne of Naples to those Louis himself had
through the house of Anjou.  By this treaty the two kings were
sharing their conquests beforehand: Louis would be master of Naples,
of the town of Lavore and the Abruzzi, and would bear the title of
King of Naples and Jerusalem; Ferdinand reserved for his own share
Apulia and Calabria, with the title of Duke of these provinces; both
were to receive the investiture from the pope and to hold them of
him.  This partition was all the more likely to be made, in fact,
because Frederic, supposing all the time that Ferdinand was his good
and faithful friend, would open the gates of his towns, only to
receive into his fortresses conquerors and masters instead of allies.
All this perhaps was not very loyal conduct on the part of a king who
had so long desired and had just now received the surname of
Catholic, but it mattered little to Louis, who profited by
treasonable acts he did not have to share.

The French army, which the Duke of Valentinois had just joined,
consisted of 1000 lances, 4000 Swiss, and 6000 Gascons and
adventurers; further, Philip of Rabenstein was bringing by sea six
Breton and Provencal vessels, and three Genoese caracks, carrying
6500 invaders.

Against this mighty host the King of Naples had.  only 700 men-at-
arms, 600 light horse, and 6000 infantry under the command of the
Colonna, whom he had taken into his pay after they were exiled by the
pope from the States of the Church; but he was counting on Gonsalvo
of Cordova, who was to join him at Gaeta, and to whom he had
confidingly opened all his fortresses in Calabria.

But the feeling of safety inspired by Frederic's faithless ally was
not destined to endure long: on their arrival at Rome, the French and
Spanish ambassadors presented to the pope the treaty signed at
Grenada on the 11th of November, 1500, between Louis XII and
Ferdinand the Catholic, a treaty which up, to that time had been
secret.  Alexander, foreseeing the probable future, had, by the death
of Alfonso, loosened all the bonds that attached him to the house of
Aragon, and then began by making some difficulty about it.  It was
demonstrated that the arrangement had only been undertaken to provide
the Christian princes with another weapon for attacking the Ottoman
Empire, and before this consideration, one may readily suppose, all
the pope's scruples vanished; on the 25th of June, therefore, it was
decided to call a consistory which was to declare Frederic deposed
from the throne of Naples.  When Frederic heard all at once that the
French army had arrived at Rome, that his ally Ferdinand had deceived
him, and that Alexander had pronounced the sentence of his downfall,
he understood that all was lost; but he did not wish it to be said
that he had abandoned his kingdom without even attempting to save it.
So he charged his two new condottieri, Fabrizio Calonna and Ranuzia
di Marciano, to check the French before Capua with 300 men-at-arms,
some light horse, and 3000 infantry; in person he occupied Aversa
with another division of his army, while Prospero Colonna was sent to
defend Naples with the rest, and make a stand against the Spaniards
on the side of Calabria.

These dispositions were scarcely made when d'Aubigny, having passed
the Volturno, approached to lay siege to Capua, and invested the town
on both sides of the river.  Scarcely were the French encamped before
the ramparts than they began to set up their batteries, which were
soon in play, much to the terror of the besieged, who, poor
creatures, were almost all strangers to the town, and had fled
thither from every side, expecting to find protection beneath the
walls.  So, although bravely repulsed by Fabrizio Colonna, the
French, from the moment of their first assault, inspired so great and
blind a terror that everyone began to talk of opening the gates, and
it was only with great difficulty that Calonna made this multitude
understand that at least they ought to reap some benefit from the
check the besiegers had received and obtain good terms of
capitulation.  When he had brought them round to his view, he sent
out to demand a parley with d'Aubigny, and a conference was fixed for
the next day but one, in which they were to treat of the surrender of
the town.

But this was not Caesar Borgia's idea at all: he had stayed behind to
confer with the pope, and had joined the French army with some of his
troops on the very day on which the conference had been arranged for
two days later: and a capitulation of any nature would rob him of his
share of the booty and the promise of such pleasure as would come
from the capture of a city so rich and populous as Capua.  So he
opened up negotiations on his own account with a captain who was on
guard at one of the gates such negotiations, made with cunning
supported by bribery, proved as usual more prompt and efficacious
than any others.  At the very moment when Fabrizio Colonna in a
fortified outpost was discussing the conditions of capitulation with
the French captains, suddenly great cries of distress were heard.
These were caused by Borgia, who without a word to anyone had entered
the town with his faithful army from Romagna, and was beginning to
cut the throats of the garrison, which had naturally somewhat relaxed
their vigilance in the belief that the capitulation was all but
signed.  The French, when they saw that the town was half taken,
rushed on the gates with such impetuosity that the besieged did not
even attempt to defend themselves any longer, and forced their way
into Capua by three separate sides: nothing more could be done then
to stop the issue.  Butchery and pillage had begun, and the work of
destruction must needs be completed: in vain did Fabrizio Colonna,
Ranuzio di Marciano, and Don Ugo di Cardona attempt to make head
against the French and Spaniards with such men as they could get
together.  Fabrizia Calonna and Don Ugo were made prisoners; Ranuzia,
wounded by an arrow, fell into the hands of the Duke of Valentinois;
seven thousand inhabitants were massacred in the streets among them
the traitor who had given up the gate; the churches were pillaged,
the convents of nuns forced open; and then might be seen the
spectacle of some of these holy virgins casting themselves into pits
or into the river to escape the soldiers.  Three hundred of the
noblest ladies of the town took refuge in a tower.  The Duke of
Valentinois broke in the doors, chased out for himself forty of the
most beautiful, and handed over the rest to his army.

The pillage continued for three days.

Capua once taken, Frederic saw that it was useless any longer to
attempt defence.  So he shut himself up in Castel Nuovo and gave
permission to Gaeta and to Naples to treat with the conqueror.  Gaeta
bought immunity from pillage with 60,000 ducats; and Naples with the
surrender of the castle.  This surrender was made to d'Aubigny by
Frederic himself, an condition that he should be allowed to take to
the island of Ischia his money, jewels, and furniture, and there
remain with his family for six months secure from all hostile attack.
The terms of this capitulation were faithfully adhered to on both
sides: d'Aubigny entered Naples, and Frederic retired to Ischia.

Thus, by a last terrible blow, never to rise again, fell this branch
of the house of Aragon, which had now reigned for sixty-five years.
Frederic, its head, demanded and obtained a safe-conduct to pass into

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