Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/169

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ground and the vineyards which clothed the slope, the Venetians held their own for awhile, and even gained some advantage. But when the main battle of the French came up, while Alviano received no further support, the day was lost. The losses fell chiefly on the levies raised by conscription from the Venetian peasantry, who did well. Alviano's own band of infantry from Brisighella was almost annihilated. He was himself captured, fighting desperately. Pitigliano, with the main body of men-at-arms, was able to retreat in good order. But a great part of the army was broken and fled. Thirty-six pieces of ordnance were left behind and fell into the hands of the enemy. Pitigliano at Brescia endeavoured to collect and reorganise the remnant of his army. But the demoralisation was great, and the troops refused to remain with the colours, deserting in numbers as soon as they received their pay.

The first impulse of the proud Republic was to bow before the storm. France was allowed to occupy Bergamo and Brescia, Crema and Cremona, almost unopposed. The visdomino, whom the Signoria had some years before set up at Ferrara as a mark of suzerainty, was driven out. The restitution of the towns of Romagna and other concessions were offered to the Pope, and shortly afterwards the Romagna was actually evacuated. Verona, Vicenza, and Padua were allowed to give themselves up to emissaries, real or' pretended, of the Emperor. Treviso was still held, but the recent conquests to the east of Venice were given up. The towns in Apulia were abandoned. Meanwhile every effort was made to strengthen the narrower line of defence. Fresh troops were raised, and money and stores collected; while on the other hand attempts were made to open negotiations, with the allies severally, and especially with the Pope.

Maximilian had appeared at Trent in June; but as his forces were slow in collecting, the Venetians felt strong enough in July to re-establish themselves in Padua, which was made as strong as possible. Thus, when at length in August he was ready to move, the first thing necessary was the recapture of this fortress-city. Supported by 500 French lances under la Palice, and an army that seemed to contemporaries nothing less than prodigious, he sat down to besiege the town in the middle of August. The hostility of the peasantry, whose hearty loyalty furnishes the best testimonial to Venetian good government, caused him much difficulty, and his heavy guns were not in position till the middle of September. Dissensions arose among the allies. La Palice was on the worst of terms with Maximilian's chief military adviser, Constantin Areniti. A famous legend represents Bayard himself and the French men-at-arms as unwilling to go to the assault on foot unless accompanied by the German nobles and gentlemen, who declined to derogate so far. Finally the siege was given up on October 2. Soon afterwards the Emperor took his departure to the Tyrol; the French retired into the