Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/175

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

The complicated problems had not been solved, and, before Julius' death in February, 1513, new difficulties had arisen. In order to secure the recognition of his Lateran Council by Maximilian, Julius had to make at least a show of sacrificing Venice, who obstinately refused to give up Vicenza and Verona. The new league of Pope and Emperor, compacted in November, 1512, was bound to suggest the reconciliation of Venice and France, and before the year was out overtures were made, which in March, 1513, led to a renewal of the Franco-Venetian league. On the other hand, the question of Ferrara was not decided, and imperial rights conflicted with papal pretensions in Parma and Piacenza, Modena and Reggio. The advance of the Spanish army into Lombardy, and its occupation of Brescia, threatened Italian freedom in every direction. The Swiss had been called into Milan as deliverers; they remained as masters. These problems were bequeathed by Julius to his successor, Giovanni de' Medici (Leo X).

During the period of the Swiss conquest of Milan Louis had been in great straits. The English had landed at Guipuscoa to join with the Spaniards in invading France, and although the only result was the conquest of Navarre, the danger had been serious. The retirement of the English, and a truce with Ferdinand on the Pyrenean frontier relieved the French King, and the Venetian alliance gave him strength. With the Swiss it was impossible to come to terms. But the dissatisfaction of the Milanese with the costly, oppressive, and disorderly rule of the Swiss, complicated as if was by the collateral authority of the Emperor's commissioners and of the Spanish viceroy, made the King hopeful of support in the duchy. In April the army of France, strengthened by a powerful force of Landsknechte, recruited in the Emperor's despite, was ready to cross the Alps, under Louis de la Tremouille and Trivulzio. The Guelf party rose to receive them. In May the Venetian army under Alviano, now at length released, began to advance and occupied the country to Cremona. The French party was set up in Genoa by the aid of a French fleet. Cardona remained inactive at Piacenza. At the end of the month only Novara and Como remained faithful to Sforza. On the third of June the French army lay before Novara, which was held by the Swiss. After a fruitless attack on the town, the French withdrew to Trecate, a place in the neighbourhood. Meanwhile Swiss reinforcements had reached Novara, and on the 6th of June the whole force swarmed out to attack the French. Advancing under cover of a wood they surprised the French outposts. When serious business began, the Swiss foot, unsupported by horse and artillery, carried the day by sheer force and fury. It is said that 8,000 fell on the side of the French, although the pursuit was ineffective for lack of horse. All the artillery and stores fell into the hands of the Swiss. Thus Milan was once more lost and won. The French retreated hastily by Vercelli, Susa, and the Mont Cenis. The power of Massimiliano, or rather of the Swiss, was