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rejected an alliance, to accomplish which Sforza had meditated poisoning his own nephew, to whom the princess had been solemnly promised.

664. How did Piero de Medici offend the Florentines?

By placing himself in the power of the French; after which he was ungraciously received at the council, which alarmed him so much that he instantly left Florence for Bologna.

665. What was the effect of this cowardly and impolitic retreat?

Both friends and enemies imagined him culpable, as they justly concluded he dreaded deserved punishment, or he would not have deserted his country when she so greatly needed his presence.

666. Were the consequences of this step disastrous to the fortunes of the Medici?

Yes; the council being prejudiced, passed sentence on him as a criminal, seized his estate, and sold by public auction that prodigious mass of moveables, pictures, antiques, and manuscripts, which had taken seventy years to collect. The grandeur of the house of Medici never appeared with so brilliant an effect as during the three weeks it was abandoned to pillage.

667. Who was elected gonfalioniere after Charles left Florence?

Bernardo Neri, a secret friend of the Medici; but his attempts to serve their interest were frustrated by Savanarola, who elevated men of the lowest rank to the most honourable offices in the state, under the plea of removing the antipathy existing between the nobility

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and the populace: these measures had a contrary effect, the nobles resented what they considered an insult, and the hostile feelings of both parties increased.

668. How had the Medici essentially promoted the prosperity of the Florentines?

By supplying the public treasury from their own coffers, and importing corn from Cairo and the coast of Barbary when famine was general in Italy.

669. What detracted from the popularity of Savanarola?

The scarcity of the season, empty granaries, and inability to furnish supplies.

670. How did Piero improve this civil dissension?

He received intimation from Neri, and laid a scheme to surprise the Florentines by midnight, at the head of the troops of Bartolomo de Salviano, head of the family of Orsini.

671. What defeated the project?

Paulo Vitelli, commanding the Florentine army, chanced to arrive at the city-gate on his way from Pisa, the moment before the enemy; suspecting the design, he, with great presence of mind, drew up the bridge himself, shut the city-gate, and gave the alarm.

672. Relate the subsequent fortunes of the Medici.

The eldest of the three brothers entered as a volunteer the troops of Louis the Twelfth. Giuliano sought retirement with the Petrucci of Sienna. And the youngest, Cardinal de Medici, who did not take the name of his benefice, made the tour of Europe.

673. When did the Medici make their fourth attempt to regain Florence?



In 1501. General Vitelli having been executed on false accusations, internal divisions favoured their return; but the choice of perpetual dictator fell on Piero de Soderini, a man of judgment and liberality.

674. What finally extinguished Piero de Medici's hopes of restoration?

The death of the Orsini; at the feast of Senegaglia, they fell by the treacherous hand of the Duke Valentino, victims to their attachment to the house of Medici: Piero did not long survive them.

675. Where did the cardinal receive the news of his brother's death?

At Rome. Here the policy of Soderini restored to him the manuscripts of the library of his family, in order that he might have no further pretext for returning to Florence.

676. How did Cardinal de Medici eventually effect his entry into Florence after a banishment of eighteen years?

A strong party was raised in his favour by his sister, Lucretia de Medici, who was married to Giacopo Salvieti; but the determination of Pope Giulio to recover all the states beyond the Alps in the possession of France, presented the fifth opportunity. Giulio enlisted his services by creating him legate of Bolognaa commission the cardinal gladly accepted, to escape the importunities of his creditors. At the battle of Ravenna he was taken prisoner, but escaping by the assistance of Rinaldo Zacti and Visimbardi, he bribed the Spaniards at Mantua, and triumphantly made his entrance into Florence.

677. When was the Cardinal de, Medici elected pope?


Three months after his return to Florence.


678. What caused him to assume the name of Leo? The importance he superstitiously attached to a dream his mother had before his birth.

679. On whom did he confer the vacant cap ?

His cousin Giulio de Medici, a knight of Rhodes. On the same day he presented him with the archbishopric of Florence.

680. What honours did the pope reserve for his brother Giuliano?

The sovereign dukedom of Milan; but the death of Giuliano, who had advanced so far as Florence at the head of his troops, diverted this prompt measure for expelling the French from that duchy.

681. Who claimed his attention at this juncture?

Alfonsina degl'Orsini, who sought the aggrandisement of her son, the young Lorenzo. Her importunity, and the hostility of the Duke d'Urbino, who, though a vassal, had opposed the Medici at Florence, and negociated with France in a manner prejudicial to their interests, determined the pope to appoint his nephew to the generalship of the league.

682. With what French king did Pope Leo make a treaty?

Francis the First, at Bologna. This arrested the progress of the French, who had passed the Alps, and made several conquests.

683. How did Leo requité the services of Cardinal Petrucci, who had been his chief supporter in obtaining the papal chair?

By base ingratitude; having banished his house



from Sienna, and made the cardinal his enemy, he caused him to be strangled by an Ethiopian.

684. How many cardinals did Pope Leo create in one day?

Thirty-one, to revenge himself on the sacred college, which rebelled against his exactions: of this number eight were of noble birth; and the principal, Pompey Colonna, proved the most dangerous enemy to the house of Medici.

685. To whom was the duchy of Urbin assigned?

Lorenzo de Medici; the pope despatched the Duke of Albania to Francis the First, to negociate the marriage of Lorenzo and the heiress of Bologna, promising to reward him with the command of the first league against the Turks. The Princess of Florence was received with great pomp; she died at the birth of her daughter, Katherine de Medici; and the melancholy intelligence reached Rome at the moment when a courier arrived from Venice with the news of Selim having seized Egypt and Syria.

686. What caused the death of Lorenzo?

Intemperance. The Cardinal de Medici was appointed his successor at Florence: his measures were as lenient as Lorenzo's had been arbitrary.

687. Who poisoned Pope Leo?

Barnaby Malespina. Never was pope more lamented. His liberality, eloquence, wit, and learning had gained him the love and admiration of all classes. His Latin verses were critically good; but the elegance with which he wrote and spoke the Tuscan tongue was unparalleled; his knowledge of history was extensive, and his criticisms were considered infallible.

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