Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/150

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his men across the Apennines into Tuscany. Montpensier had gone on with the troops from Genoa. The heavy artillery had been disembarked at Spezia, and was following the King. A small force with Giuliano della Rovere joined the Colonna who were holding Ostia. The position of the Pope was critical. Rumour ran that he had not hesitated to call in the Turk in defence of Rome and Naples. It was certain that he was the pensioner of Bayazid, and the gaoler of his brother, Jem. The simony by which he had gained the triple crown and the scandals of his private life were well known, and even exaggerated by report. His bitterest enemies were with the French. Could he resist, should he fly, should he await the King, and come to terms? For a time he meditated resistance. The Duke of Calabria, Ferrantino, afterwards king, led his army into Rome. Alexander arrested the cardinals Ascanio and Colonna. Then wiser counsels prevailed. The city was not defensible. Ferrantino was dismissed, the cardinals released, and on the last day of the old year Charles VIII entered Rome with the consent of the Pope. Even in the strong places of the Orsini, who served the King of Naples, he had found no resistance.

Reluctantly, sullenly, Alexander came to terms. The King was to Have the custody of Jem, who might be Used in the proposed crusade to stir up rebellion against Bayazid. The Cardinal of Valencia, Cesare Borgia, was to accompany Charles, nominally as legate, really as a hostage. The Pope promised no investiture; indeed, he had every reason to be satisfied with the moderation, perhaps with the simplicity, of his visitor. The hostile cardinals were bitterly disappointed.

On the 28th of January, 1495, the King left Rome. Meanwhile his lieutenants, advancing in the Abruzzi, had occupied Aquila. The Neapolitans, retreating, had laid waste the country before him. But Alfonso, conscious of his own unpopularity, and tortured, it is said, by remorse, had lost all courage. On the 21st of January he resigned in favour of his son Ferrantino, an amiable youth, free from all complicity in the crimes of his father and grandfather. At Velletri the King of France received his first warning. Envoys from Spain reproached him with the injuries done to the Holy Father, whereby they declared the treaty of Barcelona had been violated; and summoned him to desist from his enterprise, and to accept the mediation of the Catholic King. The same day the 'Cardinal of Valencia escaped from the French camp. The best answer to such indications of ill-feeling was success. Ferdinand lay at San Germane defending the line of the Liris. At Monte San Giovanni the strong fortress ventured to defy the French. In a few hours the place was taken by assault and sacked. The advanced guard of the French crossing the Liris then threatened the enemy's flank and rear. Ferrantino retreated to Capua. Gaeta surrendered; and, during the absence of the King at Naples, Gian Giacomo Trivulzio made overtures to give up Capua, which were accepted. At Nola, the Orsini captains, Pitigliano