Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/233

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turned for help to Gonzalo, and an arrangement was made by which Bartolommeo d' Alviano, one of Gonzalo's condottieri, was to invade Tuscany and to restore Giovanni and Giuliano de' Medici to Florence; when this was accomplished, the Medici were to help to reinstate Sforza at Milan. This intrigue had hardly been matured, when Ascanio Sforza died. Bartolommeo d' Alviano, however, continued to advance, but was defeated by the Florentines in the summer of 1505, the Republic thus escaping from a very serious danger. So elated were the Florentines by their victory, that they followed it up by an attempt to storm Pisa; but Gonzalo sent a force of Spanish infantry to defend the town and the attack had to be abandoned.

The regular failure of so many repeated attempts to overpower Pisa disheartened the Florentines, but their hatred was insatiable. Everything tended to confirm the opinion, to which many men had been long inclining, that success could only be achieved by a thorough reform of the military system. The year 1506 witnessed the actual carrying out of a scheme which was to supersede the employment of mercenary troops. Machiavelli was the leading spirit in the whole movement; he was supported both by Soderini and by Antonio Giacomini. A national militia was instituted and a body of troops enrolled from the Contado; they numbered about 5000, and were mustered before the close of the year. A new magistracy with the title I Nove della milizia was formed to manage all affairs connected with the militia in time of peace, while the authority in time of war would as usual rest with the Died della guerra. Machiavelli was in January, 1507, appointed chancellor of the Nove della milizia, and the main bulk of the work connected with the levy and organisation of the new troops fell to him.

During the following years Florence enjoyed a period of comparative repose, while Julius II was occupied with designs which did not directly concern Florence. The subjection of Perugia and Bologna, the War of Genoa, and the early operations of the War against Venice, left Florence to pursue her own designs, unattacked and unimpeded. But when in 1510 Julius decided to make peace with Venice, the consequence was a collision with France, and it was also clear that the Florentines would become involved in the struggle. To this they might, however, look forward with some measure of hopefulness; for they had at last (1509) reduced Pisa to submission, and one long-standing cause of weakness and waste was thus removed.

The year 1510 witnessed the first stages of the conflict between the Pope and France. At Florence it was common knowledge that Julius II was hostile both to Soderini and to the Republican government, and that he already entertained the idea of a Medicean restoration. The difficulties of the situation were not lightened by Louis XII's demand that the city should definitely declare her intentions. The danger from the papal troops was at the moment more directly pressing than any