Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/230

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situated about midway between the two points and a little to the north, might have hampered his designs, had been brought over to his interests in 1501. The country along the eastern line from Perugia to Forli was won by the rebellion of Arezzo and the Valdichiana. On the north, from Forli to Pisa, his hold was not quite so secure, but Pistoia, ever rent by faction, could offer no effective resistance, Lucca was avowedly Medicean, and the Pisans definitely offered their city to Cesare Borgia before December 1502. About the coast-line from Piombino to the mouth of the Arno, there was no need to trouble. It seemed, therefore, as though everything were ready for an immediate and crushing attack upon Tuscany.

The situation of Florence was not, however, so desperate as it appeared to be. There were still a few places of importance lying outside the eastern line from Forli to Perugia, which might at any moment prove troublesome to Cesare. Of these the most notable were Urbino, Camerino, and Perugia. The latter he could afford to disregard for the moment, as the Signore, Giovan Paolo Baglioni, was serving in his army and at the time seemed trustworthy. But Urbino, which blocked his way to the eastern coast and might cut off communication with Rimini and Pesaro which he had held since 1500, had to be subdued. The same could also be said of Camerino, as the point of junction between Perugia and Fermo. Cesare was, moreover, already aware that he could not trust to the loyalty of his mercenary captains. Seeing how town after town fell before him, it was inevitable that they should reflect how their own turn might come next. They distrusted their employer, and he distrusted them. Conspiracy and treachery were bound to ensue; the notions of right and authority had ceased to be regarded on either side, and the vital question was, who would have the dexterity and cunning to overreach his antagonist? Lastly, Louis XII was still the most important factor in the impending struggle. There had recently been some grounds of dispute between the Florentines and France, Louis complaining that he had not received proper assistance from the city during his Neapolitan campaign. But the misunderstanding had been removed by a new agreement (April 12, 1502); and the King had undertaken to supply troops for the defence of Florence whenever necessary. The French had no intention of allowing the Borgia to become masters of Florence; in that event, the road to Naples would have been blocked by a new Power commanding Central Italy from sea to sea. The capture of Urbino by Cesare Borgia at the end of June was an unmistakable revelation of his designs. It was at this juncture that France intervened, and obliged him to suspend operations. It became necessary to temporise, and he entered into negotiations with Florence. Arezzo and the other places which he had conquered in Tuscany were reluctantly restored to the Republic. But at the end of July he went in person to Milan to have an interview with Louis XII,