Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/153

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


round and took up a position to the left of the rear guard, facing to the rear. Fortunately, the baggage, which was moving along the hills and away from the river, attracted the Stradiots, and diverted them from serious work. The Italian horse, who charged the King's rear and centre, were outflanked and soon put to flight, and were pursued to the ford from which they came. More than half the army of the allies never came into action, but the whole of it was thrown into confusion and many fled. The rout was partly stopped by the King's prisoners Pitigliano and Virginio Orsini, who escaped during the battle. But another attack was out of the question, and the French even thought of assuming the offensive. Perhaps a well-timed charge by the Marshal de Gie with the vanguard might have turned the defeat into a rout, but the French had every reason to be satisfied. They were able after a rest to march off" during the night, and reached Asti on the 15th of July practically unmolested. The Venetians claimed the victory, but the fruits of victory were with the French.

At Asti the King found things in forlorn case. The expedition against Genoa had failed. The French fleet was captured in Rapallo by a superior Genoese force and all the plunder of Naples was lost. The Duke of Orleans was besieged at Novara, and his garrison were at the last pinch. Bessey was sent in haste to raise a fresh force of Swiss, but by the time they arrived, 20,000 strong, Novara had capitulated on easy terms, and Ludovico showed himself inclined for peace. Louis of Orleans was anxious to use the Swiss against Milan, but Charles, perhaps disgusted with the shifting fortune of war, concluded at Vercelli a separate peace with Ludovico, and on the 15th of October he crossed the Alps.

Milan was left in statu quo, except that the Castelletto of Genoa was left for two years as a pledge of good faith to France in the hands of the Duke of Ferrara. Venice had profited by the trouble of Naples to acquire four ports, Monopoli, Trani, Brindisi, and Otranto, on the easterly coast of Apulia. Florence was by agreement to receive back her towns, but the corrupt disobedience of French lieutenants gave Pisa to the Pisans, Sarzana to the Genoese, and Pietra Santa to Lucca. In Naples the first descent of Gonzalo had not been fortunate. His army was defeated at Seminara by a band of Swiss. But Ferrantino, nothing daunted, presented himself at Naples with his fleet. Repulsed at first, a chance gave him the advantage, and his supporters gained the town. Montpensier, Yves d'Allegre, and Etienne de Vesc were shut up in the Castel Nuovo. The Provinces, North and South, rose against the French. The Colonna left them. Aubigny with difficulty held out against Gonzalo in Calabria. Montpensier in despair concluded a conditional capitulation, and, when Precy failed to relieve him, abandoned the city of Naples. In February, 1496, all the castles of Naples were in the hands of the Aragonese. The French still held Ariano, Gaeta, and a few other posts. In July Precy and Montpensier surrendered to