I. Background -- The Reign of Innocent VIII.
During the first four and a half years of his reign, Innocent VIII saw the deaths of nine cardinals, almost all of whom were the creations of Sixtus. Within three months of the election of Innocent death claimed Philibert Hugonet, on September 11; Stefano Nardini, on October 22; and Juan Moles de Margarit, on November 21. In 1485, Pietro Foscari died on August 11 and Giovanni d'Aragona on October 17. In 1486, Thomas Bourchier died on March 30 and Gabriele Rangoni on September 27. For nearly two years after this, no cardinals died, but in 1488 two cardinals died within a few days of each other, Charles de Bourbon l'Ancien on September 13 and Giovanni Arcimboldi on October 2. (1)
By this time the College was reduced to twenty-two members, the lowest number since the summer of 1467, twenty years before. In early 1489, the older cardinals were willing to consider, at last, the elevation of new members, since the election capitulation to which Innocent had subscribed limited the College to twenty-four members and, under these provisions, was now understrength.
On March 9, Innocent named eight new cardinals but published the names of only five of them. For the first time, Innocent had a cardinal-nephew, Lorenzo Cibo di Mari, the illegitimate son of the pope's brother, Maurizio. Innocent also elevated two curial officials who had faithfully served him from the earliest days of the reign; Ardicino della Porta was the papal secretary for negotiations with the ambassadors of princes and kings, and Antoniotto Pallavicini, one of the guardians of the conclave of 1484, was now the datarius of the Holy See. (2) Charles VIII was the only monarch to have his wishes in the matter of crown cardinals respected, in the persons of André d'Espinay, archbishop of Lyon and governor of Paris, and Pierre d'Aubusson, grand master of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, who had also recommended himself to Innocent by surrendering into the pope's hands the person of Prince Jem, brother of the Turkish sultan, Bayazid II. (3)
The three cardinals whose names were not published immediately were Giovanni de' Medici, Federico Sanseverino, and Maffeo Gherardo. The first of these received the red hat to fulfill a pledge made by Innocent at the time of Maddalena de' Medici's marriage to the pope's son, Franceschetto Cibo, in 1488. Medici's extreme youth caused the pope to order that he should not be admitted into the College for three years from the date of his creation. Federico Sanseverino was created a cardinal in gratitude for the services rendered to the Church by his father, Roberto Sanseverino, who had been captain-general of the Church during the last troublesome years of the reign of Sixtus IV. His name, too, was not published at once because of his youth. The name of Maffeo Gherardo, patriarch of Venice-an aged man of eighty-three at the time of his elevation-was withheld because the Venetians did not seem anxious to rush to Innocent's aid in his difficulties with Naples. Venice had good reason to stay out of the quarrel between Innocent and Ferrante-Mathias Corvinus, king of Hungary, and an avid supporter of Ferrante, had concluded a treaty with the Ottomans under the provisions of which the Turks would attack Venice if she came to the aid of the pope. (4)
These eight men were the only cardinals whom Innocent was able to create in his pontificate, although in the remaining three years of his reign three more cardinals died-Pierre de Foix le Jeune in the summer of 1490, Marco Barbo on March 11, 1491, and Jean Balue on October 5, 1491. (5)
With the dawning of the new year of 1492, the College of Cardinals, once the apostolic senate of the Roman church, had completed a transformation in which it had become a representative body for European monarchs and princes as well as one in which the popes could, and did, perpetuate the influence of their families in the affairs of the Church for decades after the close of their reigns. Of the twenty-three men who had some pretensions to the cardinalate at the time of the election of Eugenius IV in 1431 only three were cardinal-nephews of former pontiffs, two were crown cardinals, and two were representatives of the great Roman noble families. The remaining sixteen were able career churchmen. By contrast, of the twenty-seven cardinals alive in the closing months of the reign of Innocent VIII no fewer than ten were cardinal-nephews, eight were crown cardinals, while four were Roman nobles and one other had been given the cardinalate in recompense for his family's service to the Holy See-so only four members of the College belonged to those segments of Church life which had provided the great majority of its members sixty years before: three were curial officials and one was a pastor.
The great change in the constitution of the College during the course of the fifteenth century-especially under Sixtus IV and Innocent VIII-meant that the cardinals who met to elect Innocent's successor was a very different electorate, with very different experiences and priorities, than the men who had elected Eugenius IV, barely sixty years before.
II. The Cardinals in Conclave 1492: Background for the election.
The election of Alexander VI in 1492 provides ideal circumstances in which to examine the "new cardinalate" of the fifteenth century in the fullness of its development. Since the death of Jean Balue on October 5, 1491, and at the death of Innocent VIII, the College of Cardinals numbered twenty-seven, all but four of whom were secularly-minded princes largely unconcerned with the spiritual life of either the Latin church or its members.
The conclave which met in the summer of 1492 was one of those for which the cardinals had ample time to prepare. From the outset of his reign, Innocent had never been a well man. Just a few weeks after his election, in October, 1484, he had fallen ill, and on March 12, 1485, he had been seized with a fever which kept him bedridden for three months. (6) His illness was so severe that on one occasion Obietto Fieschi, a protonotary apostolic, informed the Orsini that he was dead. The pope's recovery was transient, and by January 21, 1486, he was again rumored to have passed away. (7) By the following spring, the pontiff had once more regained relatively good health, but for the rest of the reign the necessity for holding a conclave to elect a successor in the near future was regarded as a strong probability. In 1490, Innocent's precarious hold on life began to ebb. The bout of illness which overtook him in August and September of that year was severe enough to cause the ambassador of Ferrara to dispatch word to his master, Ercole d'Este, that the pope was already dead. (8) The crisis of this illness, which may have been precipitated by a stroke, occurred on September 26; but within two days the pontiff had rallied once more. In the following weeks, Innocent left Rome in the hope that time spent resting at Porto d'Anzio and Ostia would aid his recovery. On November 30, he returned to Rome from his vacation, but any hopes for a full return to health were dashed within a few days when he suffered another attack of fever, as reported in a dispatch from the Mantuan ambassador, G. L. Cataneo, dated December 3, 1491. (9)
Innocent's last months of ill health also were plagued with political troubles for the Italian peninsula. On January 22, 1492, the pope concluded a peace with Ferrante of Naples, which seemed to bring to an end the decades of disputes the papacy had had with that monarch and to usher in an era of peace in the south. Yet on the following April 8, Lorenzo de' Medici, whose diplomatic skill had been responsible for the maintenance of a balance of power among the Italian states, died. The removal of Lorenzo from the center stage of Italian affairs did not bode well, for he alone seemed to have the touch for negotiating an end to disputes among the various small states, each one of which jealously watched the fortunes of the others. During the late spring, Innocent seemed to improve somewhat, but on June 22-23 he was attacked by a series of violent abdominal pains as well as by an eruption on the leg. By June 30, he was seen to improve, but in the opening days of July he had a profound relapse, and it was then generally realized that the pope was truly dying. (10)
As was usual in medieval and Renaissance Rome during the last days of a pope, there was an immediate outbreak of popular lawlessness. The Roman baronage also became restless, eager to secure as much power and influence as possible during the coming vacancy. On July 15, 1492, Innocent confessed, and, on the following day, received communion for the last time. By the seventeenth many were sure that his last hour was at hand, (11) yet some inner strength caused the pope to survive another week. Meanwhile, the cardinals in curia began to take precautions to safeguard the material treasure of the Church from depredation during the coming conclave and, in particular, to see that a strong watch was placed over the person of Prince Jem, brother of the Sultan Bayazid II, who had been placed as a pawn in Innocent's custody by Pierre d'Aubusson, grand master of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. Prince Jem had fallen into Christian hands in 1482 while fleeing from a failed coup-d'etat against his elder brother, Sultan Bayazid II. The Knights of Saint John first kept him in custody at Rhodes and then in France. The Sultan remunerated the prince's captors with 45,000 ducats annually, a small price to pay for keeping a politically dangerous younger brother outside the borders of the Turkish state. Innocent VIII had secured the person of the prince in March, 1489, but only at the price of many concessions, including the cardinal's hat for d'Aubusson. The presence of Prince Jem in the West was considered the prime insurance against further inroads by the Turks, because the threat to release him to foment trouble once again among the Turks was not taken lightly by Bayazid. (12)
The cardinals employed one hundred crossbowmen for the patrol of the city, and hired eight hundred more soldiers to patrol the Vatican palace and the Borgo. (13) Giuliano della Rovere, now cardinal-bishop of Ostia e Velletri, who had wielded considerable influence over Innocent VIII, persuaded several of the baronial families to agree to a truce and to combine forces with the conservators of the city to preserve calm. (14) Conscious to the end, Innocent passed away at about nine o'clock in the evening of Wednesday, July 25, 1492. The time is established by a dispatch of Giovanni Andrea Boccaccio on the same day. (15)
III. Background and Cardinalate of Rodrigo de Lançol y Borgia
At that moment the most powerful of the cardinals, by reason of wealth, prestige and power, was Rodrigo de Lançol y Borgia, cardinal-bishop of Porto e Santa Ruffina and dean of the College. Now in the sixty-second year of his life and the thirty-seventh of his cardinalate, he had bided his time patiently, gaining immense political experience during the reigns of five popes. Now he was ready to make his bid for the throne.
Borgia was born in Jativa, near Valencia, on New Year's Day, 1431, the son of Jofre de Lançol and Isabella de Borja, a sister of Alonso de Borja, then bishop of Valencia and the future Calixtus III. The parentage of the future Alexander VI and the future pontiff's relationship to Calixtus III is established in the Apostolic brief Vite ac morum honestas, dated July 11, 1447. (16) There is no doubt that the date of his birth was January 1, 1431; Borgia himself said that January 1, 1431 was his birthday, and, on another occasion, he also said that he was born on the first day of the week. In 1431, New Year's Day was a Monday, while in 1432 it fell on Tuesday. (17) When Rodrigo Borgia was about ten his father died and his mother, together with the rest of the family, removed to Valencia from their country estate at Jativa. As might be expected in the case of an able and intelligent nephew of a fifteenth-century bishop, Rodrigo was given a superior elementary education. When his uncle was made a cardinal-priest in 1444, Rodrigo's expectations materially improved. Early in his pontificate Nicholas V took the first papal notice of Rodrigo. In a dispensation, dated July 11, 1447, Nicholas allowed the sixteen-year-old Rodrigo to hold ecclesiastical office in spite of his minority. Over the next several years, Alonso de Borja gave his nephew several benefices and helped to procure others from Rome which assured the young man a sufficient income. (18) As he grew to maturity, Rodrigo attended the University of Bologna, from which, at the conclusion of his studies in 1455, he received the doctorate. (19) At that time, Borgia went to Rome and took his place as a member of his uncle's cardinalitial court. Had Alonso de Borja died as a cardinal we might well have expected to see his nephew become, in due course, a bishop, and perhaps, at the end of long service in the papal bureaucracy or in the pastorate, a cardinal. But on April 4, 1455, Alonso be Borja became Pope Calixtus III. From that moment forward, a flood of distinctions and benefices flowed down upon Rodrigo, as well as on his first cousin, Luis Juan del Mila y Borja, the pope's other favorite nephew. (20)
On May 10, 1455, only twenty days after the coronation of Calixtus, Rodrigo was made a protonotary apostolic, and then, on the following June 3, dean of the church of Santa Maria de Jativa. (21) Directly after receiving this last position, Rodrigo left Rome for Bologna in the company of his cousin Luis in order to settle his affairs there. In a secret consistory held at the Vatican on February 20, 1456, while Rodrigo was absent from Rome, he was created cardinal-deacon of San Niccolo in Carcere Tulliano. (22) On the same occasion, Luis Juan del Mila y Borja also was created a cardinal. The purpose of raising these two young men to the cardinalate is not difficult to surmise. Each pope in the medieval and Renaissance epochs found himself on his election surrounded by the servants and retainers of his recent predecessors. These men could not be relied upon to serve the interests of the newly elected pope in every way and, indeed, often owed a lasting loyalty to the family of the pontiff who had raised them to power. Thus a new pope felt most comfortable trusting the highest responsibilities of the reign to members of his own family who owed him every favor and whose fortunes would be lost in the event of a disastrous pontificate.
In spite of the fact that the bull which made Rodrigo and Luis cardinals bore the subscriptions of twelve of the nineteen living cardinals, Calixtus was not able to publish the names of his nephews immediately. The cardinals, as usual, were reluctant to accept the diminution of power inherent in the enlargement of their body and, in spite of the fact that the pontiff had compelled their signatures on a bull of creation, they were adamant in insisting that the publication not take place at once. (23) Therefore Calixtus accepted the reservation developed by Martin V in the cases of Domenico Ram and Domenico Capranica: if he were to die before formal publication, his nephews were to be admitted to the next conclave as cardinals in full standing, with seniority that dated from their secret creation. Rodrigo and Luis did not, however, have to wait for this eventuality. On Friday, September 17, 1456, when most of the cardinals had fled the discomfort of the Roman summer's end, Calixtus published their names, and at the same time added seven others to the College. (24) On the following October 18, Rodrigo left Bologna for Rome, arriving on November 16. The next day, Calixtus received him in a public consistory and presented him with the red hat. Ten days later his uncle performed the ceremony of the opening of the mouth, which gave Rodrigo the right to be heard as a cardinal in consistories. On the last day of December, 1456, Rodrigo was invested with the position of legate a latere and vicar general of the pope in the March of Ancona-one of the most important legations in the States of the Church, but a state of political unrest since the time of Eugenius IV. In order to enable the new cardinal-nephew to bear more adequately the burden of his new offices and duties, Calixtus made over to him several additional benefices and reservations. (25)
These new positions were not the only ones destined for Rodrigo by the aging Calixtus III. Without question, the single richest office in the Church was that of vicechancellor. Within this official's purview came every petition addressed to the pope, with accompanying fees; and every state act of the papacy was processed there before being dispatched to its recipient. The vicechancellor's post had been vacant since October 30, 1453, when Francesco Condulmer, cardinal-bishop of Porto e Santa Ruffina and cardinal-nephew of Eugenius IV, had died. On May 1, 1457, Calixtus appointed Rodrigo to the office, who was thus assured importance in Church affairs for the rest of his life, barring gross malfeasance. (26)
On November 26, 1457, Rodrigo returned to Rome from his legation. He was given very little time to settle into the office of vicechancellor, however, for on the following December 11 he was made general-in-chief of the pontifical army with authority over even the captain-general of the Church, nominally the highest military rank in the pope's forces. (27) This latter office was held by Rodrigo's brother, Pedro Luis. Rodrigo held this military commission for the remainder of his uncle's lifetime and was replaced, on March 9, 1459, by Antonio de' Piccolomini, nephew of the newly elected Pope Pius II. (28) On June 30, 1458, the vicechancellor also was made administrator of the diocese of Valencia, which had been vacant since Calixtus' election to the papal throne. Calixtus expressed the fullest formal confidence in Rodrigo by elevating him to the see he himself once had held. (29)</P>
The reason for the delay in giving a diocese to Rodrigo seems to have been that the pontiff wanted him to have Valencia, which Calixtus himself had held, but that Calixtus was prevented from appointing Rodrigo immediately after the papal election because of objections raised by Alfonso of Aragon, Naples, and Sicily. This may be true, because it is unlikely to have been coincidental that Calixtus advanced Rodrigo to the archdiocese on June 27, 1458, only three days after the king's death. (30)
Old Calixtus had nothing more to give. In the closing days of July, he fell gravely ill; and on August 6, 1458, he was dead at the age of seventy-nine. The pontiff was comforted in his last hours by none of the family on whom he had showered so much, except for the vicechancellor, who braved the rage of the Roman mob to be with his uncle to the last. (31)
In the succeeding conclave, Borgia materially assisted in the election of Pius II and, in March, 1463, became archdeacon of the College on the death of Prospero Colonna. During the reign of Pius II, Rodrigo first began to attract unfavorable notice from his style of living, which included the presence of women in his household. A memorial from Pius exists admonishing Rodrigo to mend his ways, (32) but the papal chiding did not improve the vicechancellor's mode of living, and over the remaining years of his life he fathered more children than any other man who has ever occupied the papal chair. The children born to Rodrigo before his election to the throne were Pedro Luis, first duke of Gandia, who died in 1481; Juan, second duke of Gandia, born in 1475; Cesare, once cardinal-deacon of Santa Maria Nuova, and later captain-general of the Church, duke of the Romagna, and duc de Valentinois, born in 1476; Lucrezia, subsequently duchess of Ferrara, born in 1478; Gioffredo, later prince of Squillace, born in 1481; and Girolama, whose date of birth is unknown, later married to Gianandrea Cesarini. After he became pope, Borgia fathered at least two more children, Laura Orsini, daugher of Giulia Farnese Orsini, whose father was given out to be Orso Orsini; and Giovanni Borgia, the "Infans Romanus," probably born in 1498. (33)
Borgia participated in the conclave of 1464 and, as archdeacon, it fell to him both to announce the election of Paul II and to crown him. Paul was an old family friend who had seen to the personal safety of Rodrigo and his brother, Pedro Luis, during the disorders which followed the death of Calixtus III. (34)
In 1472, Rodrigo was a major figure in the election of Sixtus IV, and he performed for Sixtus the same ceremonies he had for Paul II. (35) From Sixtus, the vicechancellor obtained the right of promotion to the first suburbicarian diocese which should fall vacant, in spite of the normal rights of the archpriest of the College to such preferment. The death of Richard Olivier de Longueil, cardinal-bishop of Porto e Santa Ruffina, on August 19, 1471, was followed, on August 29, by the promotion of Filippo Calandrini to Porto e Santa Ruffina and the appointment of Borgia to Calandrini's former rank of cardinal-bishop of Albano. (36) Within a few days of this event, Sixtus also granted to Borgia in commendam the ancient monastery of Subiaco. (37) With elevation to a suburbicarian diocese, Borgia placed himself under obligation to receive ordination to the priesthood and consecration as bishop. No documents seem to remain to indicate just when these rites were undergone but, on October 31, 1471, Sixtus was formally addressing the new cardinal-bishop as "Venerable Brother" instead of "Beloved Son," thus indicating the change in his status. (38)
In the following Christmastide, December 23, 1471, Borgia received the first major diplomatic charge of his career, as legate to the Spanish monarchs for the purpose of promoting preparations for a crusade. (39) From January 8, he served a brief term as chamberlain of the College, entrusted with supervision of all the revenues due to all the cardinals. As chamberlain, he was the successor of Filippo Calandrini, and was succeeded by Guillaume d'Estouteville. (40) On May 15, 1472, Borgia resigned the office of chamberlain and left Rome for the port of Ostia from which he embarked, on the following day, for Spain. He landed at Valencia on June 18. (41)
Rodrigo's legatine experience was uneventful. The only incident worthy of notice in slightly more than a year was the storm of October 10, 1473, which sank one of the two ships that was bringing Borgia and his suite back to Italy. Seventy-five members of the cardinal's household were lost as well as 30,000 florins worth of goods. Borgia, safe on the other ship, arrived in Rome on October 24. On the following day, he was received by Sixtus in a public consistory where he gave an account of his activities during his absence. (42)
In the summer of 1476, Sixtus, together with several of the cardinals, including Borgia, fled Rome at the outbreak of the plague. During the travels of the pontifical court, Sixtus was informed of the death of Filippo Calandrini, cardinal-bishop of Porto e Santa Ruffina. (43) On July 24, Sixtus promoted Borgia to the vacant suburbicarian diocese. (44) During the late summer and early autumn of 1477, Borgia served briefly as legate to Naples for the purpose of crowning Juana d'Aragona, the new wife of King Ferrante. (45)
Throughout the reign of Sixtus IV, Borgia was loaded with many additional offices which yielded him an even vaster revenue. (46) For example, on July 8, 1482, he was made administrator of the diocese of Cartagena in Murcia, a position he would retain until his elevation to the papacy. (47) The wealth thus accumulated over the years put the cardinal-vicechancellor in a most unusual position in the opening weeks of 1479. He lent the Holy See the sum of 15,000 ducats, paid in two installments, for which he received, as security, a mortgage on the cities of Nepi and Civita Castellana, and another on the fortress of Anticoli in the Campagna. (48) When he took over the administration of his sureties, he found the castle of Nepi a total ruin and reconstructed it along the more modern lines we see today.
On January 22, 1483, the death of Guillaume d'Estouteville, cardinal-bishop of Ostia e Velletri, made Borgia dean of the College, while in the same year he became archpriest of the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and cardinal-protector of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem. (49) As dean of the College, Borgia participated in the conclave of 1484 which elected Innocent VIII. (50) On January 27 1485, the new pontiff made Borgia archbishop of Seville, but at the wish of Isabella, Queen of Castille, he resigned this office a few days after his appointment so that it might be regranted to Diego Hurtado de Mendoza. (51) On October 9, 1489, Borgia was named perpetual administrator of the diocese of Majorca, and took possession of this new charge by proxy in the following March. (52) These two dioceses were only the largest and most opulent of the benefices granted to him under Innocent VIII, the revenue from which augmented his already stupendous wealth, reputed to be greater than that of any other man in Christendom. (53) This wealth gave Borgia unparalleled opportunities to enjoy the acme of luxurious living obtainable in Renaissance Rome and he did not let the chance pass. He closed a cardinalitial career filled with spectacle and entertainment by offering the people of Rome their first bullfight. The occasion was the conquest of Granada in 1492. (54) Now, at the age of sixty-one, the cardinal-vicechancellor was ready to marshal all of the wealth and experience he had attained over the decades at the highest level of Church government in order to attain the papal throne.
Borgia, whose cardinalate was longer than that of any other man alive in 1492, was, indeed, a good candidate. Though Spanish by birth and education, he had transcended his background in the process of becoming the foremost papal administrator of his time. True, he maintained Spanish customs in his household as well as on public occasions, as his sponsorship of Rome's first bullfight testifies, and Spanish was the language he spoke with his family and familiars. Yet he stood fast with several of the more recent popes in defending the States of the Church against the depredations of Ferrante of Naples, a cadet scion of the house of Aragon, which demonstrated that he was no slavish adherent of the ruler of his native land. He also was a wealthy pluralist whose morals had been criticized, yet his very riches testified to his skill as both administrator and diplomat. He held benefices of some sort in virtually every area of the Christian West, even during times when the secular rulers of many of those areas had policies antithetical to those espoused in Rome. This, alone, is a comment on his diplomatic abilities. Much of Borgia's success came from his determination to work towards a goal with crushing perseverance, using whatever information came his way to serve his ends, without being dismayed by momentary setbacks in the progress of his plans. He was able, for example, to obtain appanages, both Spanish and Italian, for his elder sons, Pedro Luis and Giovanni, and ecclesiastical preferment for his third, Cesare, in spite of the fact that most of his contemporaries did not look favorably on the bastards of churchmen. Pope Innocent VIII had scandalized Rome by keeping his children near him and recognizing them, yet no such public stigma seems to have been directed against the cardinal-vicechancellor for similar actions, at least during the cardinalitial years and the first stages of the papal reign. Borgia also was possessed of that pre-eminent skill always found in those who make a success of high public office. He chose men of ability and loyalty to serve him and delegated authority appropriately. This is clear from the success of those members of his cardinalitial staff whom he elevated to the College once he was pope. Altogether, intelligence and experience seemed to mark Borgia as the appropriate candidate to achieve success in the conclave of 1492.
IV. The Cardinal Nephews of Pius II and Paul II.
Rodrigo de Lançol y Borgia was by no means the only cardinal of great seniority who could be considered papabile, in 1492, however. The only surviving creation of Pius II also belonged to that group of prelates who could hope to achieve the throne. The antecedents of Francesco di Nanni Todeschini de' Piccolomini were in many ways similar to Borgia's. He was born on May 9, 1439, the second son of Laudomia, sister of the future Pius II. (55) Upon completing his education at the University of Perugia, he entered the ecclesiastical life and was made a protonotary apostolic as an honor to his uncle, then a cardinal. After the election of Pius, favors and distinctions began to come to Francesco as they had to Rodrigo in the earlier reign. On February 6, 1460, he was made archbishop of Siena, his birthplace and the birthplace of the pontiff, and, on the following March 5, he was made a cardinal-deacon. It is probable that Francesco was not Pius II's original choice for the position of principal cardinal-nephew. Another Piccolomini, Antonio, was made ordinary of Siena when it was still of episcopal rank and became its first archbishop on April 23, 1459. Antonio, however, died November 8, 1459, and Francesco was appointed his successor. (56) Pius wasted no time in introducing his nephew into the complexities of Church diplomacy and administration, sending him as legate to Piceno in April, 1460. When the pope decided to supervise personally the preparations for a planned crusade and left Rome for Ancona in June, 1464, he left Francesco in Rome as governor and legate to the States of the Church. (57) When Pius died at Ancona, August 15, 1464, (58) the period of the greatest influence of Francesci di Nanni Todeschini de' Piccolomini came to an end. The youthful cardinal-deacon participated in the conclave of 1464 and then virtually disappeared for a time from public view. He is next heard of escorting the Emperor Frederick III to the gates of Rome on Christmas Eve, 1468. (59) Francesco, as a member of his uncle's household, had early acquired a knowledge of, and affection for, things German. In consequence, when Paul II (1464-1471) looked about him for someone to represent the papacy at the Diet of Ratisbon in 1471, he chose Francesco. (60) Because of his absence in Germany, Piccolomini did not attend the conclave of 1471 which elected Sixtus IV.
As cardinals more senior to him began to die or were promoted to higher positions in the College, Francesco began to acquire more influence and offices in the College. On August 30, 1471, Borgia was advanced to the suburbicarian diocese of Albano from the position of archdeacon of the College. Piccolomini, as the next senior cardinal-deacon, became archdeacon in turn. (61) While occupying this last office, he participated in the conclave of 1484 and both announced the election of, and crowned, Innocent VIII. His public activities during the reign of Innocent, however, were restricted to the administration of the diocese of Fermo, which he was given in 1485, and to a short legatine commission at Perugia. (62)
During his cardinalitial years, Piccolomini received many benefices which made his income comfortable, yet he was not especially wealthy by the standards of the cardinals in his time. He had a passion for order and discipline in his personal life and led a quiet existence without attracting public attention. His retiring nature is partially accounted for by the fact that, like his uncle, Pius II, he was tormented by gout. His kindliness was proverbial, and from a distance Piccolomini seemed to possess the qualities which would rank him high among the papabili, but this was not the case. His experience, intelligence, and education were scarcely inferior to Borgia's, yet his poor health, more than anything else, militated against his election. After all, the cardinals were quite aware that the welfare of the Church had suffered during the eight years of the sickly Innocent VIII and they were not disposed to see another invalid elevated. In spite of the condition of his health, however, many religious zealots would have been delighted to see the elevation of Piccolomini in 1492, as they later would be in 1503. While in 1503 the political circumstances made the choice of a compromise pope a necessity, in 1492 the international diplomatic situation made the rise of a mild or overly conciliatory pontiff very dangerous. Astute diplomats and bureaucrats of the type of Borgia, Giuliano della Rovere, and Oliviero Caraffa, must have thought, as the name of Francesco di Nanni Todeschini de' Piccolomini occurred to them, that it was both a political and administrative liability to be too Christian.
Within the scope of Piccolomini's papabilit (ability to be elected pope), also, was the possibility that his known partiality for the Empire might place him in the position of actively welcoming German interference in the affairs of the Italian peninsula should the Neapolitan question reach unmanageable proportions. Because the Church had zealously worked through the reigns of twenty popes for the express purpose of excluding the German emperor from such a rôle, the possibility that Piccolomini would undo this accomplishment was too real to be ignored. Since his uncle, Pius II, had been the eldest of at least eighteen children, Piccolomini had a large retinue of relatives-more than a hundred cousins-who might, by this time rather legitimately, expect to receive preferential treatment at his hands if he were elected. The cardinals were acutely aware that to provide for such a substantial host would indeed prove a drain upon the Apostolic fisc. When he was elected in 1503, the brevity of his reign left no time for the patronage of his relatives. (63)
Since the most difficult problem facing the papacy in the closing years of the fifteenth century was the stance to be taken vis-a-vis the claims of Charles VIII of France to the crown of Naples, the opportunities open to the cardinal who was native to that city would, at first glance, seem considerable. Oliviero Caraffa was the most senior surviving creation of Paul II, having been made a cardinal on September 18, 1467. At the time of his elevation he had already been archbishop of his native city for nine years. (64) In 1471, the newly-elected Sixtus IV appointed Caraffa legate to Ferrante of Naples as well as commander of the pontifical flotilla then fitting out to carry the war at sea to the Turks. (65) As fleet commander, Caraffa developed a reputation as a military chief which he would hold for the rest of his life. Indeed, this reputation was one of his principal assets as the negotiation for a successor to Innocent VIII began, but his closeness to Ferrante of Naples prevented his ever being seriously considered by the cardinals in 1484; and he was never advanced as a candidate. (66) Partly as a reward for his successful campaign against the Turks and partly because of his seniority in the College he was advanced to the rank of cardinal-bishop of Albano on July 24, 1476. (67) This promotion placed the Neapolitan prelate even higher in the state councils of the reign of Sixtus IV, as did his term as camerlengo of the College for the year 1477-as the successor of Giacomo Ammanati-Piccolomini; he served from January 15, 1477, to January 9, 1478; and was succeeded by Marco Barbo. (68) After his participation in the conclave of 1484, Caraffa resigned the archdiocese of Naples in favor of his brother, Alessandro, and from that time forward he had no official standing within his native realm-although, on November 16, 1491, he was made administrator of the diocese of Salamanca, which he retained until June, 1494. (69) At the time of the conclave of 1492, in spite of a recent dispute with his former Neapolitan master, Ferrante, Caraffa was a firm defender of that kingdom's interests in the selection of a new pope. Perhaps this came about because he was administrator of Salamanca and this, in turn, obligated him to Ferdinand of Aragon, Ferrante's cousin. (70)
Caraffa's position as sub-dean of the College gave him considerable importance in governmental matters during the sede vacante, and the cardinals might well have considered Caraffa for the tiara but for the fact that he had obtained the cardinalate at the instigation of Ferrante in more friendly years and seemed now to be a representative of the interests of Ferdinand of Aragon. Perhaps, if Caraffa were elected, Ferrante might gain a foothold in the States of the Church during the tenure of a pope who had once been his subject. This fear alone ruled Caraffa out of any serious consideration. Moreover, Caraffa was extremely partial to his family and actively sought preferment for them at every opportunity. Were he pope, Rome would almost certainly witness an onslaught by hordes of relatives and a corresponding diminution in the influence of the current cardinals and the members of their staffs. The peers of Caraffa would not have forgotten the troubles which grew from the elevation of the last Neapolitan pontiff, Urban VI. (71)
Besides Caraffa, two other cardinals created by Paul II survived, Giovanni Battista Zeno, the son of Paul's sister, Isabella, (72) and Giovanni Michiel, another nephew of the pontiff. (73) Of the two, Zeno was perhaps the more papabile. Many perhaps would have favored him except that his mild disposition did not seem appropriate in a time when the pope was expected to take a leading, if not a dominating, part in the affairs of the Italian peninsula. Also, he was a subject of the Venetian Republic, as was his cousin, Michiel, and still held the ordinariate of Vicenza, a subject city of Venice. (74) Michiel, on the other hand, was a prelate who enjoyed to the fullest the pleasures of living and, moreover, was in such good health that a long reign of parties and entertainments could be expected were he to be elevated, which hardly sorted well with the growing European diplomatic unpleasantness over Naples which demanded a pope who would devote a great deal of his reign to serious business. Beyond these considerations, however, lay the overriding fact that Venice, the native land of these two prelates, had been none too friendly toward the papacy in recent years and often took an independent stand whenever it suited her, risking ecclesiastical censure with impunity. The suave Paul II had dealt successfully with his former masters, (75) but this could be considered a fortuity, and casting the die a second time with hopes of the same number was not a chance the cardinals were prepared to take.
V. Giuliano Della Rovere - Borgia's Chief Rival.
By far Borgia's most formidable opponent was Giuliano della Rovere, the nephew and senior surviving creation of Sixtus IV. Giuliano was born at Albescola (Albizzola), near Savona, on December 5, 1443, the son of Raffaele della Rovere, brother of the future Sixtus IV. The young Giuliano studied at Perugia under the care of the Franciscans and, in 1469, was made a protonotary apostolic, in deference to his uncle, who was then a cardinal. (76) After the election of Sixtus in 1471, honors quickly flowed to Giuliano, as they had in former reigns come to Rodrigo de Lançol y Borgia and to Francesco di Nanni Todeschini de' Piccolomini. Sixtus was elected on August 9, 1471, and on the following October 16 Giuliano was made bishop of Carpentras. (77) This promotion opened a lifelong connection between the north Italian prelate and the French, which, during almost all his cardinalitial years, was a most cordial one. On December 16, 1471, Giuliano was created a cardinal-priest and six days later his name was published and he was given the red hat together with the title of San Pietro in Vincoli. (78) It was about this time that Giuliano assumed the rôle of patron of the arts for which, as cardinal and later as Pope Julius II, posterity chiefly remembers him. He took up residence in a palace, adjacent to his title church, which he had decorated by Giuliano da Sangallo. (79) Early in 1472, Giuliano exchanged the see of Carpentras for that of Lausanne, though no new bishop was appointed for his first diocese, so that he seems to have enjoyed the revenues of both sees. Giuliano took possession of his new diocese on February 25, 1472. In the following January, Giuliano also was made administrator of the diocese of Catania but he resigned this charge in the following year. (80)
Early in the reign of Sixtus, Melozzo da Forli executed the famous fresco of "Sixtus IV and His Court Appointing Platina Librarian of the Vatican." In this work we have a full length portrait of Giuliano, wearing a purple cape lined with ermine. His serious, almost grim, appearance contrasts sharply with the bland expressions of the other members of the della Rovere family portrayed, namely Sixtus IV, Cardinals Pietro Riario and Domenico della Rovere, and the prefect of Rome, Giovanni della Rovere. Giuliano's appearance coincides well with the description of his character given by Pastor. (81)
After the death of the incumbent in March, 1473, Giuliano was appointed administrator of the diocese of Messina, while keeping his other ordinariates, but he resigned this charge in May of the following year in favor of an annual pension from the revenues of this see. (82) During the period in which he held Messina, he functioned as a member of the hierarchy of the kingdom of Naples when he acted as escort to Leonora d'Aragona, daughter of Ferrante, as she passed through Rome on her way to be married to Ercole d'Este of Ferrara. This was the first occasion, as far as can be ascertained, on which Giuliano came to meet a member of that royal family with which he would be in combat for many of the remaining years of his cardinalate. (83)
After Sixtus' favorite cardinal-nephew, Pietro Riario, died in January, 1474, Giuliano acquired much of the property of the deceased cardinal and began to conduct more and more of the papal affairs in which, up to that time, Riario had been paramount. (84) From this time forward, Giuliano assumed a role in the government of the Church second only to that played by Rodrigo de Lançol y Borgia. During the remaining years of his uncle's pontificate, Giuliano's sway was well nigh absolute, and the reign of Innocent VIII saw but little diminution of his influence. During the course of his reign, Sixtus had bestowed such a plentitude of benefices on Giuliano that to list them alone would take pages. In one year alone, December, 1472-December, 1473, Giuliano received the abbey of Grottaferrata, the monastery of San Savino near Pisa, the Benedictine house of Saint Pierre de Luxeuil in the diocese of Besançon, the Benedictine monastery of Santa Sofia at Benevento, and the monastery of Saint Symphorien at Metz. (85)
Giuliano's first major administrative appointment had been given to him only a few weeks before the death of his cousin Riario, on November 3, 1473, when he was made legate to the Marches. In June of the following year, acting as chief of the pontifical household, he led the pontifical army to quell an uprising in the city of Todi. After the reduction of that city, he turned his attention to Spoleto, which had revolted against Sixtus with the assistance of members of the Orsini family. Spoleto was completely overwhelmed. Città di Castello was next on the list. When its tyrant, Niccolo Vitelli, refused with scorn all offers of clemency from Sixtus, Giuliano besieged the city. In spite of aid sent by both Florence and Milan, Città di Castello eventually capitulated and Vitelli was brought to Rome in Giuliano's train. At about the time of his return, Giuliano went to live in the palace built for Cardinal Joannes Bessarion near the title church of Santi Dodici Apostoli, which he had received in commendam. (86) This expedition marks the emergence of Giuliano as a military leader of consequence and established for the cardinal a lifelong reputation for decisive military success. In consequence, Giuliano also increased his standing at his uncle's court.
Early in 1476, Giuliano was named legate to France and to Avignon. (87) Giuliano was already bishop of Avignon, having been elevated to that position on May 23, 1474, after it had been resigned by Cardinal Alain de Coëtivy, shortly before the latter's death. (88) On November 20, 1475, Sixtus raised Avignon to an archdiocese, with Giuliano as first archbishop. (89) The combined legatine commission that Sixtus gave to his nephew enabled him to transact business with Louis XI at the same time that he regulated affairs in his archdiocese. During his stay in France, Giuliano was quite successful in the tasks he undertook and won the friendship of king and court, particularly after the red hat was bestowed on Charles de Bourbon at the express wish of Louis. (90) The good relations thus established with the French were to last well into the pontificate of Alexander VI; and during the conclave of 1492, Giuliano was the official French candidate for the tiara.
During the course of his residence in France, Giuliano received additional benefices in that country and exchanged several others with French prelates, thus strengthening his ties with the Gallic Church-on July 15, 1476, Giuliano exchanged the diocese of Lausanne for that of Coutances, and later in the same year he was made administrator of the diocese of Viviers. In the summer of 1478 Giuliano became administrator of the see of Mende and Viviers was given to another. (91)
In October, 1476, Giuliano returned to the papal court to give an account of his legation. The court, then at Foligno, attended a public consistory on the occasion of Giuliano's reception by his uncle. (92) The cardinal-nephew returned to Rome with Sixtus later that month and was soon given the office of penitentiary major, vacated by the death of Cardinal Filippo Calandrini in the preceding July. (93) In August, 1477, Giuliano was also made archpriest of Saint John Lateran. (94) The acquisition of these two offices served to increase his power in the curia. The first gave him jurisdiction over all penitential matters everywhere in western Christendom, while the latter advanced him in precedence at court.
The measure of his importance at this time is revealed by the fact that, on January 8, 1479, he was elected to an annual term as camerlengo of the College. This office placed in his hands the management of all the revenues due to all the cardinals. During his term as camerlengo, Giuliano was further advanced by his uncle by being made cardinal-bishop of Sabina in April of the same year. (95)
When his term as chamberlain expired in April, 1480, Giuliano was once more named legate to France, to which, on this occasion, Burgundy was added. (96) His purpose on this mission was threefold. He was to try to make peace between Louis XI and the future Emperor Maximilian; to obtain the release from imprisonment of Cardinal Jean Balue; and to secure French aid for a projected crusade against the Turks. In the latter two of these efforts he was successful and, in the process, greatly increased the fondness of the French for him. His pleasure at residing in France was evident because he chose to remain at Avignon until August, 1481. (97) When he returned to Rome in the following February, he went to reside with his uncle at the Vatican, doubtless because of the increasing infirmities of Sixtus as his reign drew to a close. (98)
On January 31, 1483, Giuliano was advanced to the highest ecclesiastical office he would hold before his election to the papal chair in 1503. He was made cardinal-bishop of Ostia e Velletri, in succession to the dean of the College, Guillaume d'Estouteville, who had died on January 22. (99) In addition, on the following November 3, the cardinal's revenues and responsibilities were materially increased when he was made bishop of Bologna. (100)
His activities during the pontificate of his uncle close with his nomination by Sixtus to say the jubilee Mass for the twelfth anniversary of his uncle's coronation as pope. (101) This Mass, chanted on August 23, 1483, was the first service to be held in the newly opened Sistine Chapel and marks Giuliano's first association with that room with which he is intimately connected for the rest of his life-the connection for which posterity best recalls the memory of Julius II.
After the death of Sixtus, Giuliano entered the conclave of 1484 with little of the power over the cardinalitial creations of his uncle that cardinal-nephews usually enjoyed. Yet his diplomatic skill enabled him to bring about the election of his candidate, Giovanni Battista Cibo, who became Innocent VIII. (102) In consequence of this effort, Giuliano retained for the whole reign an influence scarcely less than that which he had during the time of Sixtus IV. (103) For example, directly after the elevation of Innocent, Giuliano served an interim term as camerlengo of the College until a successor could be found for Cibo himself. (104)
At the end of November, 1485, Giuliano once more demonstrated his talents for managing a crisis. When the troops of Alfonso of Calabria invested Rome, he saw to the fortification of the city personally, and bolstered the courage of the inhabitants by publicly making the rounds of the gates and walls in the company of Cardinals Giovanni Colonna and Giovanni Battista Savelli on even the coldest December nights. (105) For the next year, during the war with Ferrante of Naples, it was Giuliano, rather than Innocent, who directed the papal government. This was attributable, in part, to the ill health of the pontiff and to the fact that Innocent had as yet, no cardinal-nephew into whose hands he could entrust affairs. (106) Giuliano's activities during this time show a determined administrator, military commander and diplomat functioning at the peak of his powers. In March, 1486, Giuliano went to Ostia, where he began the fortification of the citadel. He then went directly to Genoa to arm a flotilla which was nominally being readied for use in the crusade against the Turks but was, in fact, to be employed against Ferrante. (107) A year later, Giuliano was back in Rome and was named legate to the March of Ancona and Venice. (108) Under his superintendence, but with Milanese aid and without his presence, the city of Osimo, then in revolt, was subdued. (109) On July 19, 1487, Giuliano, disappointed with the progress of the siege of Osimo, requested permission to return to Rome. After a few days there, he departed once again, this time for his episcopal seat at Bologna, where he stayed only briefly. By April of the following year, he was once more at Ostia. (110) During the rest of the reign of Innocent, Giuliano led a less hectic life while negotiations for peace with the Neapolitan king continued. (111)
As Innocent's life drew to a close and preparations began to choose his successor, Giuliano emerged as the chief rival of Borgia for the throne. The two cardinals were not recent rivals; indeed their quarrel was already decades old in 1492. The origins of this feud are not known, but in any case they hated each other with intensity. (112)
Giuliano went into the conclave of 1492 as the official candidate of both France and Genoa. But his time had not yet arrived. France's candidates for the papal throne had not fared well in earlier elections of the fifteenth century; and the current king, Charles VIII, was a vacillating and weak young man who did not please the Italian cardinals with his warlike posture in his claims to the kingdom of Naples. Those prelates were more concerned with the preservation of those territories and incomes gathered over years of patient diplomatic endeavor than with encouraging, through the election of Giuliano, a youthful, untried monarch who might well sweep all of their hard-earned fortunes away if given the chance. Giuliano was not yet known as the figure who would, indeed, protect and defend the States of the Church against all comers regardless of former loyalties. The future Julius II could not be discerned in the cardinal in 1492. Moreover, Giuliano and his adherents must surely have known that their prospects for success at this time were remote, for Borgia and his party would exercise themselves to the utmost to prevent his triumph. Perhaps the best result for which Giuliano could hope was to thwart the ambitions of Borgia and secure the elevation of a nonentity of the stamp of Innocent VIII, who would be content to follow the advice of the cardinal-bishop of Ostia. To this last end, Giuliano bent his whole will and skill. Yet this limited ambition, too, was something which caused many to view with suspicion any candidate he put forward. For any of those doubts which applied to Giuliano himself applied to any pontiff he might dominate. Giuliano, moreover, was not blessed with one of the age's more attractive personalities. Borgia could woo smilingly the vacillating to his side by courtesy and public regard; he had done so in the past. (113) But Giuliano rightfully was regarded everywhere as a man of strong passions who was friendly enough to those who agreed with him and were intimate in his household, but bitterly, often frighteningly, insulting and dangerous to those who opposed him. In this regard, he shared the personality of his uncle, Sixtus IV. That pontiff came to be hated by virtually all the cardinals once he had tasted the fruits of papal power. (114) If the mild Francesco d'Albescola della Rovere could abandon the demeanor of Saint Francis to assume the character of a tyrant-pope, what might happen if a cardinal of that same blood, already reputed to be willful and domineering, should also achieve the papal throne? The memories of the Pazzi conspiracy and other examples of Sistine statecraft were too fresh in the minds of the cardinals who represented the major Italian princely families-Sforza, Medici, Caraffa-to have them risk a repetition. (115)
VI. The Other Creations of Sixtus IV.
The cardinal-bishop next junior to Giuliano, and the only other Iberian, besides Borgia, then in Rome to take part in the election was Giorgio da Costa. He certainly was not going to be the next pope, for his eighty-six years barred him from this high office. Yet he remained active in every way and was one of the most experienced of the political cardinals of the fifteenth century. He owed his rise to greatness to a chance encounter with the Portuguese royal family after which he was appointed to a number of important missions in the Portuguese diplomatic service. (116) His advance, both ecclesiastical and political, was steady after he proved his worth to Afonso V. (117) On December 18, 1476, he was made a cardinal; he already was archbishop of Lisbon and first minister of state. (118) Near the end of Afonso's life, da Costa began to fear that he would be stripped of his power and position once the crown prince, Joao succeeded, so he prepared to leave his homeland, and arrived in Rome in the spring of 1480. (119) There, at the age of seventy-four, he began a new career. Both Sixtus IV and Innocent VIII confided several difficult missions to the Portuguese, (120) who was advanced to the rank of cardinal-bishop on October 10, 1491, as a suitable reward. (121)
At the time of the death of Innocent, da Costa had lost none of the astuteness by which he had risen to be first minister of Portugal. Indeed, he behaved in every way like a man twenty years younger. His vigor and alertness served him until the day of his death at the age of one hundred two.(122) In spite of this obvious vigor, da Costa was never in serious consideration for the tiara. No man in the ninth decade of life had been elevated to the papal throne in centuries-the oldest pope elected in recent history, Calixtus III, had been seventy-six at the moment of his pontifical elevation. (123) Even had da Costa been twenty years younger, however, his longstanding strained relationship with King Joao II of Portugal would have made his successful candidacy extremely doubtful.
The senior cardinal-priest in Rome during the summer of 1492 was the next most senior surviving creation of Sixtus IV after Giorgio da Costa. Girolamo Basso della Rovere, another cardinal-nephew of Sixtus, was the son of the pope's sister, Luchina, and of Giovanni Guglielmo Basso. Girolamo, like his cousin, Giuliano, was born at Albescola near Savona. His age is uncertain but when he was made bishop of Albenga in 1472, he was still a minor. In 1476, Girolamo was advanced to the wealthier see of Recanati. (124) Sixtus first broached the matter of Girolamo's creation to the College on March 24, 1477. During much of the following summer, Sixtus pressed the College to consent to his elevation, and four others, to the cardinalate. This papal discussion with the cardinals is the subject of a letter of Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga, dated March 24, 1477, where the Mantuan prelate informed his father, the Marchese Luigi III, that among the pope's relatives was "lo vescovo di Recanati nepote d. S. Sta. ex sorore."
Girolamo's formal creation finally took place on December 10, 1477. The publication of Girolamo's name together with his assignment to the title of Santa Balbina, which had just been vacated by Giovanni Battista Cibo, occurred two days later.(125)
Girolamo arrived in Rome on February 21, 1478, and on the following day Sixtus received him in a public consistory and performed the ceremony of the opening of the mouth for him. After this, Girolamo took up his duties as a member of the papal household. (126) In the following years, he was content to live quietly in Rome without attempting to impress himself on pontifical government. He did, however, win the enmity of the powerful Colonna and Savelli families thanks to his role during and following the consistory of June 2, 1482. At this time representatives of the Orsini family publicly accused Cardinals Giovanni Colonna and Giovanni Battista Savelli of treason. Sixtus ordered their arrest and Giovanni Colonna was given over to the charge of Girolamo to be kept in confinement in the latter's apartments in the Vatican. Girolamo was released from this duty on the following day when both the accused cardinals were transferred to Castel Sant'Angelo, after the partisans of their families created such an uproar in the city that their presence in the Vatican became a danger to the pope's person. We can be sure, however, that the Colonna cardinal, in particular, never forgot the humiliating fact that Girolamo Basso della Rovere had once been his jailer. On the following September 23, Girolamo was made administrator of the diocese of Gubbio, which he retained until January 9, 1492. (127)
Girolamo was by nature somewhat meek and was fully content to allow the care of his interests, and those of his family, to remain in the hands of his much more forceful cousin, Giuliano. Girolamo's major role during the conclave of 1492 was to act as the archpriest of the College during the absence of Cardinals Luis Juan del Mila y Borgia and Pedro Gonsalvez de Mendoza, who were both senior to him in rank. (128) No one considered that Girolamo would make a suitable pope. Any attempt to elevate him would have been seen by Borgia's partisans as a ploy to maintain the power and influence of Giuliano della Rovere; so, in consequence, the Borgian party would have spared no efforts to ensure Girolamo's defeat.
Another member of the della Rovere family who was created a cardinal on the same occasion as Girolamo Basso della Rovere was Raffaele Sansoni Riario. He was born at Savona, May 3, 1461, the son of Antonio Sansoni and Violante, sister of Cardinal Pietro Riario and daughter of Bianca della Rovere, sister of Sixtus IV. Raffaele's creation as cardinal followed the completion of his studies at the University of Pisa when he was only sixteen years old. When his name was published on December 12, 1477, he was given the rank of cardinal-deacon of San Giorgio in Velabro. (129)
During the early months of his cardinalate, Riario continued to reside at Pisa, but fled the city in the spring of 1478, because of an outbreak of the plague. He went to Florence, where he was present when the Pazzi carried out their attempt on the lives of Lorenzo and Giuliano de' Medici. (130) The young cardinal was wrongly suspected of complicity in the plot, and he was arrested and imprisoned. The reasons for this suspicion are to be found in the deteriorating relationship between the papacy and the Medici at this time. Riario's greatuncle, Sixtus IV, demanded his release on May 24 in a letter conveyed into Florence by Giacomo Vannuci, bishop of Perugia. The young cardinal was not immediately set at liberty, and a week later Sixtus excommunicated Lorenzo de' Medici. As the dispute became more heated, the Florentines made the gesture of releasing Riario in the hope that this would serve to cool the situation. Raffaele arrived in Siena, June 13, 1478, "plus mort que vif." (131) One week later he was in Rome and on June 22 he was received by Sixtus in a public consistory at which time the ceremony of the opening of the mouth was performed for him. Four days later he left Rome for Perugia as legate, and thus began his active ecclesiastical career. (132) In May, 1480, he became a cardinal-priest. (133) On January 24, 1483, Sixtus IV presented to his great-nephew the single most valuable office which became vacant during the course of his reign, that of camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, which had been under the care of the dean of the College, Guillaume d'Estouteville, until his death on January 22. (134)
At about the time of this appointment Riario began to display signs of considerable political talent as well as some determination to shape the course of his own life. In late spring, 1484, there occurred another outbreak of the centuries-long feud between the Colonna and Orsini families which, in this case, involved the protonotary apostolic, Lorenzo Oddone, whom Sixtus ordered arrested. This man, a protege of the Colonna, was also a good friend of Riario, who risked the considerable displeasure of Sixtus by interceding on behalf of the hapless papal courtier. All this was to no avail, however, for Oddone was beheaded on June 30. (135) But the young cardinal was willing to risk all of the preferments he had received by defending his friend before an enraged Sixtus IV. It would seem, however, that Riario did not lose any of the regard in which he was held by the pontiff as a result of his action. (136)
Riario's political acumen was demonstrated for the first time in 1488. On April 14 of that year Girolamo Riario, Lord of Forli and Imola, and uncle of the cardinal, was murdered, and insurrection broke out at once. Raffaele Riario was sent to Forli as legate by Innocent VIII with a mandate to quell the popular uprising. His first efforts seemed to promise success, yet he was thwarted, in the end, largely because of Milanese intervention on behalf of Girolamo's widow, Caterina Sforza. Riario returned to Rome from this charge in October, 1488, (137) and from that time forward we do not hear of him participating in the government of the Church under Innocent VIII.
The importance of Raffaele Riario during the vacancy of the papal throne in 1492 is not mentioned anywhere, but as chamberlain of the Church he was in charge of the whole of the ecclesiastical government during the sede vacante. The fact that the transition of government from the weak Innocent VIII to the strong Alexander VI was as smooth as it was is, in part, because Riario acquitted himself of his responsibilities well. Riario conducted business largely by careful negotiation rather than by force of personal action. (138) His course of life in this regard may have been impressed on him as a result of his experience during the aftermath of the Pazzi conspiracy. He was said, indeed, to have had a pale cast to his complexion all the days of his life in consequence of the terror he experienced at that time. (139) Riario's career seems always to have been haunted by encounters with the Medici in which he was humiliated. In the end, he was implicated in the attempt, in June, 1517, to murder Leo X, and only escaped with his life and dignities by the payment of a huge indemnity. (140) Thus he was brought low by the son of the man at whose side he had walked into the cathedral of Florence that fatal Sunday nearly forty years before. A broken man, Riario died in July, 1521. As his star set, that of Giuliano de' Medici, soon to be Clement VII, was rising. Giulio was the son of that Giuliano who was cut down while Raffaele Riario crouched in fear at the foot of the high altar in Florence. (141)
In the sede vacante of 1492, the sixth cardinal, and youngest cardinal-nephew, to survive from the creations of Sixtus IV, was Domenico della Rovere. Like all the Rovereschi, Domenico was assured a comfortable future when his uncle was elected pope. He was not, however, originally destined for the cardinalate. Sixtus first elevated Domenico's elder brother, Cristoforo, to the College in 1477. (142) But Cristoforo died suddenly on February 1, 1478, after only fifty-three days as cardinal, and nine days later the pope created Domenico a cardinal-priest to replace his brother in the College. (143) For a year, 1483-1484, Domenico served as legate to Savoy, and then he participated in the conclave which elected Innocent VIII. (144) In this electoral meeting, he was one of the original members of the faction of Giuliano della Rovere which brought about the election of Innocent. Like the other members of the family, Domenico spent the years of Innocent's pontificate away from the affairs of ecclesiastical government, content to leave his interests in the hands of Giuliano, whose influence with the pontiff was nearly paramount. Today, as in his own time, Domenico has the reputation of a lavish patron of the arts, particularly architecture. Among the buildings erected under his ægis were his palace in the Piazza Scossacavalli, now the hospital of Santo Spirito near the Colonnade of Saint Peter's, a villa near Ponte Molle, and a chapel, now called the Capella Venuti, which was decorated by Pinturicchio with an Adoration of the Infant Christ and lunettes depicting scenes from the life of Saint Jerome. In this chapel, Domenico was entombed. (145)
The adjective which best describes this cardinal is colorless. Perhaps no description is a better exemplification than his portrait by Melozzo da Forli discussed above. In every way Domenico was guided by the wishes of his cousin, Giuliano, save only for his actions in the conclave of 1492, as will be seen.
Four of the remaining living cardinals created by Sixtus IV, Giovanni Colonna, Giovanni Battista Savelli, Giovanni Conti, and Giovanni Battista Orsini, all belonged to old established Roman noble families, each of whom had given the Church dozens of cardinals and not merely one pontiff. Their creation was effected by Sixtus IV simply to ensure the relative peace of the Roman vicinity during his reign, and to give these great Roman princely families some voice in the conduct of papal government during his time. Of these four, the one who had the greatest effect on the public affairs his time was Giovanni Colonna.
Colonna was born in 1456, the son of Antonio Colonna, Prince of Salerno; a nephew of Cardinal Prospero Colonna, and a great-nephew of Martin V. Three of Giovanni's brothers, Fabrizio, Girolamo, and Prospero, all became celebrated captains of the fifteenth century.
In view of their origins, it is not surprising that at least one of these four brothers would be destined for an ecclesiastical career, and the family choice fell on Giovanni, for reasons which will almost certainly never be known. After having been made a protonotary apostolic and abbot, in commendam, of Grottaferrata, Giovanni was created a cardinal-deacon on May 15, 1480, and, a few days later, was assigned the deaconate of Santa Maria in Aquiro. On June 3, he was given the red hat in a ceremony in Saint Peter's; and six days later the rite of the opening of the mouth was performed for him. (146) Because the number of benefices he had received up to that time was not large, he was shortly afterwards appointed administrator of the diocese of Rieti. (147) Colonna's willingness to take an independent course was first indicated in the quarrel between Sixtus IV and Ferrante of Naples, in which the cardinal sided with the Neapolitan, largely because the Orsini remained devoted adherents of the papal cause. The enmity between the Colonna and the Orsini was centuries old, and the mere fact that Sixtus had elevated Giovanni to the College did not in any way lessen Giovanni's dedication to his family's part in the quarrel, even if this meant opposing the pontiff responsible for his advancement. In this atmosphere of strained relations, matters were not improved when Girolamo Colonna, the cardinal's brother, was murdered in April, 1482, at the instigation of members of the Santacroce family. (148) Though Sixtus acted against the perpetrators of the crime, the Colonna remained dissatisfied with papal conduct during the whole affair. Matters came to a climax on June 2, 1482, when members of the Orsini clan openly denounced Cardinals Giovanni Colonna and Giovanni Battista Savelli for treason in a public consistory. In consequence, Colonna was arrested. He finally was released on November 15, 1483, and took part in a consistory held that day in which five new cardinals were named, including Giovanni Battista Orsini. (149) The fierce struggle between the Colonna and the Orsini did not abate, however, and when Giovanni gave sanctuary to Lorenzo Oddone in his palace in the Piazza della Pilotta, the pope was exasperated. Oddone was seized and executed on May 30, 1484, as has been related, and Giovanni Colonna fled Rome. (150) The incidents are worth noting in detail, for they reveal that Giovanni Colonna was no friend of the Rovereschi. During the conclave of 1492, Colonna was one of the cardinals who actively supported the candidacy of Rodrigo de Lançol y Borgia for the papacy. He did so, perhaps, for the sole reason that he was thus striking back at the chief member of that family which had once injured him so much, Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere.
After the death of Sixtus IV in August, 1484, Colonna returned to Rome amidst the acclamations of its citizens, and participated in the ensuing conclave. At that time, he supported the cause of Borgia, which failed. (151) During the course of the reign of Innocent VIII, Colonna was very much out of the mainstream of papal affairs, simply because Giuliano della Rovere had so much to do with them. Giovanni Colonna played a major rôle only once, during the disorders of 1485, when he joined his old friend, Giovanni Battista Savelli, and his old enemy, Giuliano della Rovere, in attempting to maintain order in the troubled Eternal City.
Giovanni Battista Savelli came of a background which differed little from that of his friend Giovanni Colonna, save that the Savelli cardinal was thirty-five years older. His early years are clouded in obscurity, except for the fact that he was a protonotary apostolic and participated in a number of legations. (152) In 1468, he was, for a time, Governor of Bologna. In May or June, 1471, he was secretly created a cardinal by Paul II, but his name was not published on the occasion of Paul's death in the following July, as the pontiff had mandated. Because of the influence of Cardinal Latino Orsini, Savelli and the other secretly created cardinals were excluded from the conclave which elected Sixtus IV. (153) After the election of Sixtus, Savelli was dispatched to Perugia as legate. On May 15, 1480, he was again named a cardinal and, afterward, the rank of cardinal-deacon of Santi Vito e Modesto was assigned to him. On the following June 3, Savelli was given the red hat in a ceremony at Saint Peter's; and six days later the ceremony of the opening of the mouth was performed. (154) Immediately afterward, Savelli resumed his diplomatic career and returned as legate to Perugia (155) until, in December, 1480, he was sent to Genoa to try to assist in establishing peace between the warring factions of Fregoso and Adorno, that is to say between the French and Milanese parties then struggling for control of the city. In Genoa, the cardinal inspected the fleet which Cardinal Paolo Fregoso was fitting out for an expedition against the Turks. Savelli returned to Rome with Fregoso and both were present on June 30, 1481, at San Paolo fuori le Mura, when Sixtus blessed the standard that was to be borne by the papal flotilla. In this same public consistory, Savelli gave a report of the results of his mission to Genoa. (156)
On May 18, 1482, having once more returned to Rome, Savelli was embroiled in the outbreak of hostilities between the Colonna and the Orsini. Like his friend, Cardinal Giovanni Colonna, Savelli was denounced for treason in the public consistory of June 2. And, like Colonna, Savelli was arrested and imprisoned on orders from Sixtus IV. He was released on November 15, 1480, in order to take part in a new creation of cardinals among whom was Giovanni Battista Orsini. (157) After the elevation of Innocent VIII, Savelli was appointed legate to Bologna and, on September 22, 1484, he was given the fief of Monticelli. (158)
The possibility that either Colonna or Savelli would achieve the throne was very remote. Savelli almost always, it would seem, subordinated his interests to those of Colonna, in part because of the long standing alliance between the families of these two prelates. Both were at odds with Giuliano della Rovere during most of their careers before the reign of Alexander VI, and Giuliano was ready to thwart any ambitions either Colonna or Savelli might have had for the papacy, even if the candidacy of one of them were put forward by partisans of Borgia as a possible compromise.
Other forces were at work, as well, to, prevent the elevation of either. Both came of ancient and distinguished Roman noble families which had, in this time as in former centuries, wielded considerable power in the Eternal City. All that had kept the Colonna or the Savelli from paramountcy at various times in Roman history had been the concerted opposition of other, equally powerful, families, such as the Orsini, who were also represented in the College in 1492. The traditional enemies of the Colonna had tolerated the elevation of Martin V in 1417 only because he seemed, as a Romano dei Romani, the ideal figure to preside over the reunification of Western Christendom. But the end of the same century was a different age. Giovanni Battista Orsini and, to a lesser extent, Giovanni Conti, would have been vehement in their opposition to the candidature of either Colonna or Savelli for dynastic reasons, just as Giuliano would have opposed either for personal reasons. Finally, there were the circumstances of age. Colonna was viewed as far too young, he was only thirty-six; while Savelli, now seventy, was slightly too old for real consideration.
The antecedents of Giovanni Conti were similar to those of the two cardinals just discussed, yet he was a man of an altogether different stamp. Upon embarking upon an ecclesiastical career, Conti was made an apostolic sub-deacon and, in 1455, Nicholas V made him archbishop of Conza. (159) On November 15, 1483, after nearly three decades in a pastoral, rather than a curial, position, he was created a cardinal-priest and was assigned the title of Santi Nereo ed Achilleo. On the following November 19, he received the red hat; and on November 26 the ceremony of the opening of the mouth was performed for him. (160)
Conti participated in the conclave of 1484, where he was the official candidate of the Orsini party for the throne, in spite of the fact that he was then seventy years old. Following the election of Innocent VIII, Conti resigned the only see he had ever held, Conza, in favor of his nephew, Niccolo Conti. (161) The refusal on his part to countenance episcopal pluralism made him a refreshing exception among the cardinals of his age. In 1492, though he was nearly eighty, Conti would have been an ideal choice as a compromise candidate, but his age told against him as much as the brilliant accomplishments of his family in former times were in his favor. In spite of his years, his vigor was undiminished and, although he opposed the style of luxurious living adopted by Borgia, Conti would support the latter during the conclave.
Giovanni Battista Orsini was a prelate in character far more like his archenemy, Giovanni Colonna, than like his friend, Giovanni Conti. A Roman, Giovanni Battista was the son of Lorenzo Orsini, Lord of Monte Rotondo, and also a nephew of Cardinal Latino Orsini. He was chosen from among his generation for the ecclesiastical state and was made, successively, Clerk of the Apostolic Chamber, Auditor of the Rota, protonotary apostolic, Canon of Saint Peter's, and holder, in commendam, of the Benedictine monastery of San Salvatore Maggiore in the diocese of Arezzo. (162) The capstone of his advance was reached on November 15, 1483, when he was created and published cardinal-deacon of Santa Maria in Dominica. (163) He participated in the conclave of 1484, and in the following September Innocent VIII made him legate to the March of Ancona. (164)
Orsini, like Colonna and Savelli, was concerned during the whole course of his career with the interests of his family; to safeguard and expand those interests, the Cardinal was willing to go to any length. During the entire reign of Innocent VIII Orsini came to the fore in the affairs of the Church only once. In January, 1486, while the conflict between his family and the pope was in full force, Giovanni Battista left his residence at Monte Rotondo and went to Rome in the hope that he might be able to negotiate a reconciliation. To this end, he surrendered Monte Rotondo into the hands of papal troops. The defection of the cardinal from the political camp of Alfonso, duke of Calabria, dampened the effectiveness of the campaign the Neapolitan army was conducting in the vicinity of Rome and caused the duke to flee his forces for sanctuary at Pitigliano when he heard of the cardinal's action. (165) In spite of all this, however, the cardinal was not able to bring about any lessening of the tension between the Orsini and the Holy See and so retired once more from Rome. (166)
During the sede vacante of 1492, Orsini played his most important rôle when he secured the admission of Maffeo Gherardo, Patriarch of Venice, to the College with full voting rights, even though the latter had not had his name published or received the red hat. Orsini himself was not a candidate for the tiara. because of the opposition it would engender among the Colonna, Conti, and Savelli. It was always difficult to secure the throne for a scion of one of the princely families of Rome because of the enmity of the other clans, which centuries never seemed to diminish. To raise an Orsini to the papal throne was looked upon by the Colonna as the worst fate which could conceivably befall them for, they were convinced, the whole reign would be devoted to a systematic reduction of their strongholds and their power. Similar feelings, needless to say, were actuated in the Orsini at the thought of a Colonna pope. The other princely families of Rome felt much the same about the various rivals to their power in areas which they had carved out for themselves, both within the city itself and in the Campagna. The remaining three junior cardinals of Sixtus IV, Fregoso, Sclafenati, and Sforza, all belonged to princely families from northern Italy whose local dominions had been responsible for their elevation to the College. The oldest of the three, and the one who had the widest administrative experience, was Paolo Fregoso. Fregoso, or Campofregoso to give the older, fuller spelling of the name, was born into a Genoese family that played a major part in the political affairs of that city throughout the fifteenth century. Paolo embarked upon an ecclesiastical career and, after a term as protonotary apostolic, he was made archbishop of Genoa early in 1453, in succession to Giacomo Imperiale, who had died late in the preceding year. (167) During the 1440's and 1450's, several members of Paolo's house served in succession as doges of Genoa, the line ending with Paolo's brother, Pietro. (168) The latter was deposed from office in 1458, when Charles VII of France and his partisans assumed control of the city. (169) Pietro died in 1459 at which time the leadership of the Fregoso clan, and of the anti-French party in the city, devolved upon the thirty-one-year-old archbishop. On July 17, 1461, Paolo Fregoso and his friends effected a coup which drove the French from the city and placed the government in the hands, successively, of two of the archbishop's relatives. With this arrangement the citizenry of Genoa were not content, however, and Fregoso obtained permission from Pius II to assume the rôle of chief magistrate of the Republic. This he did on May 14, 1462. The archbishop-doge after only twenty-five days in office retired in favor of a relative, Ludovico Fregoso. (170) In the following January, Paolo once more became doge of his native city, but his reign was cut short in April, 1464, when Genoa passed under Milanese control in the person of Galeazzo Maria Sforza. (171) Paolo Fregoso continued to serve in his archiepiscopal office, however, and, on May 15, 1480, Sixtus IV made him a cardinal-priest and, a few days later, assigned to him the title church of Santa Anastasia. (172)
Sixtus elevated him to the cardinalate as an attempt to ensure Genoese participation in the projected crusade against the Turks. The pope was not disappointed in his expectations, for the new cardinal arranged to outfit and dispatch twenty-four vessels to accompany the papal fleet. As an additional reward for his success in fitting out the squadron, Fregoso was made cardinal-legate and admiral of the combined Papal-Neapolitan fleet. (173) Following the conclusion of naval operations against the Turks, Fregoso returned once more to his native city to resume his pastoral duties. On November 23, 1483, however, he emerged from political retirement once more and was proclaimed doge. (174) His last term in office came to a close in August, 1487, when Milanese troops once more drove him out. (175) After some time spent wandering about northern Italy in search of backers for an attempt to regain control of Genoa, Fregoso finally came to Rome, late in 1488, and joined the court of Innocent VIII, in whose election the cardinal had not participated because of civil duties at home. On November 15-18, 1489, Fregoso accompanied Innocent on a holiday to Ostia. (176)
At the time of the death of Innocent, Paolo Fregoso was still archbishop of Genoa in spite of his exile and was scheming to return home once more. Since the Milanese, allied with France, were firmly entrenched in Genoa, Fregoso could see little else to do but join himself to Giuliano della Rovere in the hope that the cardinal-nephew of Sixtus IV would be able to work some plan in his favor. By nature, Fregoso was a man of direct action, as he had demonstrated both in 1461 and 1481. Although the Cardinal of Genoa was highly admired for his courage by both high and low alike, the possibility of his achieving the tiara was remote. No one could deny his years of experience in Italian affairs but his former successes had won for him many enemies, not the least of whom was Cardinal Ascanio Maria Sforza-Visconti, whose brother, Ludovico il Moro, regent of Milan, had been responsible for deposing Fregoso from the dogate in 1487. Since Ascanio was Borgia's chief supporter and unlikely to consider any arrangement with Fregoso, the latter's prospects were nil.
In contrast to the flashing and vibrant Fregoso stood the wealthy and sybaritic Giangiacomo Sclafenati. A Milanese, born in September, 1451, he had the good fortune to be appointed private secretary to Sixtus IV. Soon, he became an auditor of the Rota and a canon of Saint Peter's in addition to holding the office of archpriest of the Roman church of Santi Celso e Giuliano. As papal secretary, he received several other lucrative papal appointments, including that of secretary to the College, which he received on July 3, 1480, in succession to Stefano Burelli, who had died a little before.(177) At about this same time Sclafenati was ordained a priest by the chamberlain of the College, Giovanni Battista Zeno. (178)
Now ordained, he was advanced to the vacant diocese of Parma in the late summer of 1482. (179) The apogee of his meteoric rise in ecclesiastical affairs was reached on November 15, 1483, when he was made cardinal-priest of the title of Santo Stefano al Monte Celio. (180) He participated in the conclave of 1484, but during the reign of Innocent VIII he was content to employ his large fortune, accumulated through his ecclesiastical offices, in pursuit of a luxurious life, emulating some of the more senior cardinals, like Borgia and Riario.
Sclafenati was in no sense papabile, for he was, correctly, considered to be too wholeheartedly devoted to secular activities to address himself to the problems of the Church. Innocent VIII had displayed many of the same characteristics before his elevation, and neither the Borgian party nor that of Giuliano della Rovere wished to risk a repetition of the disasters of the reign just ended. Moreover, each of the two great rival parties thought that Sclafenati might too easily fall under the domination of some influential cardinal drawn from the ranks of the enemy. In addition, even if he had been truly able, age told against Sclafenati, for he was only forty-one. Comparative youth is never an asset during the conclaves, simply because the older cardinals rightly feel that the elevation of a younger man all but permanently bars the rest of them from any chance at the tiara.
The most junior of the surviving creations of Sixtus IV, yet perhaps the most astute, was Ascanio Maria Sforza-Visconti. Of all the new breed of political cardinals in the fifteenth century, he came from the family which had risen the highest in the shortest space of time. Ascanio was born in March, 1455, at Cremona, the son of Francesco Sforza, duke of Milan, and the grandson of Filippo Maria Visconti, also duke of Milan. Two of the cardinal's brothers, Galeazzo Maria and Ludovico, also were Milanese dukes; while his niece, Bianca, was subsequently Empress.(181)
The complex problems which Ascanio had to surmount in his rise to the cardinalate are worth some detailed examination, since they reveal to us a good deal about the nature of papal government and the use of the cardinalate as a political reward in this age. When still only a protonotary apostolic, Ascanio was first mentioned as a possible cardinal at the time of the conclave of 1471. (182) Giullaume d'Estouteville, the aging cardinal-dean, who very much wanted to secure the tiara, made a bid for the support of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Ascanio's brother. D'Estouteville promised the Milanese duke that if he were able to obtain the papal chair, Ascanio would be created a cardinal. (183) Ascanio's name next appears in connection with the cardinalitial office in a consistory held by Sixtus IV on March 24, 1477. At that time, the pope proposed his name to the cardinals, together with the names of four others, as one to whom he would like to give the red hat. (184) The negotiations between Sixtus and the College lasted all summer, and on the following December 10, all those whose names had been advanced by the pontiff were created, except Ascanio. (185) Sixtus, after having failed in his first attempt to secure the cardinalate for the Milanese prince, made Ascanio bishop of Pavia in September, 1479. (186)
In the early weeks of 1483, when Sixtus' struggle with the Venetians was mounting in intensity, Ascanio participated in the Congress of Cremona. The Congress, summoned by Sixtus to form alliances to aid the papacy in its quarrel with Venice, was attended by Alfonso d'Aragona, duke of Calabria; Lorenzo de' Medici, Ercole d'Este, Federigo Gonzaga; and Giovanni Bentivoglio, lord of Bologna. (187) They formed an alliance which included, besides the papacy, Naples, Milan, Ferrara, and Florence. The conclusion of the Congress was entirely favorable to Sixtus IV and the pope felt strong enough to begin the campaign against Venice by imposing an interdict. The entire College, with the exception of the Venetian cardinals of Paul II, approved this course of action on May 24, 1483. (188) At the request of the allies, particularly, of course, Milan, Ascanio was finally created a cardinal-deacon on March 6, 1484. His name was published on March 17, and the pope then dispatched to the Milanese the red hat together with assignment to the diaconate of Santi Vito e Modesto, which had just been vacated by the transfer of Giovanni Battista Savelli to San Niccolo in Carcere Tulliano. (189) Sixtus was able to bend the will of the College to his view by this time for two reasons. First, the political exigencies of the moment did not permit any quibbling with the desires of the allies, and, second, Sixtus had by now filled the College sufficiently with his own creations so that the opposition was now a distinct minority.
It might have been thought that, after having finally achieved the great prize, Ascanio would rush to Rome to formally assume his new dignity, but such was not the case. Ascanio did not enter Rome until August 23, 1484, eleven days after the death of Sixtus. Ascanio was never received as cardinal by Sixtus IV, and the ceremony of the opening of the mouth had not been performed at the time of the pope's death. Nevertheless Ascanio was accepted as a cardinal with full rights in the conclave of 1484. (190) Three days later the Milanese entered the conclave and, significantly, immediately adhered to the papal cause of Borgia, Ascanio was, however, persuaded to give his vote to Cibo, and aided the latter to become Innocent VIII. (191)
Once having entered the cardinalate, Ascanio threw himself with zest into the political life of both the College and Italy. He attracted considerable attention, for example, in the consistory of March 5, 1486, when the discussion turned to the matter of obtaining aid to defend Rome from the armies of Naples and the Orsini. (192) Cardinal Jean Balue proposed summoning Rene d'Anjou, titular king of Naples, to the aid of the papacy, thus posing a threat to the continued tenure of Ferrante on the Neapolitan throne. Ascanio vehemently opposed this suggestion, and the argument between the two cardinals became so violent that Innocent was forced to demand silence from both. (193) The support given by Ascanio to Ferrante came before the formal Milanese alliance with France. When Ferrante finally agreed to discuss a binding peace with Innocent VIII, he dispatched his grandson, Ferdinando, prince of Capua, to Rome. He was the eldest son of Alfonso, duke of Calabria, the heir to the Neapolitan throne. (194) Ferdinando arrived in May, 1492, and was given a sumptuous banquet and entertainment by Ascanio. Stefano Infessura states that he would not attempt to describe the banquet, for it was so magnificent that if he were to give an account no one would believe him. (195)
As the reference to this dinner shows, Ascanio was every inch a Renaissance prince who delighted in entertaining lavishly. His standard of living was a state of luxury which few monarchs of the day could enjoy and which, among the cardinals, was eclipsed only by Borgia. The Milanese cardinal was also an astute politician and statesman; few in his time could rival his command of diplomacy and statecraft. In fact, Ascanio was, with Cardinal Ardicino della Porta, one of the two prelates most discussed as a possible pope during the last days of Innocent VIII and the first hours of the vacancy, according to Giovanni Andrea Boccacio, bishop of Modena, in a letter to Eleanora d'Aragona, duchess of Ferrara. (196) Nor were the Milanese hopes without merit. Ascanio was held in high regard as a diplomat and politician; in addition, he had demonstrated that most highly valued of administrative talents in the Renaissance, the ability to acquire benefices, to retain them, and to obtain large profit from them. That was the mark of success in a Church bureaucrat.
Ascanio's pride did not at first allow him to see the many forces at work which would effectively bar him from the throne. First, Milan was at the front of the diplomatic disturbances which were, at this very moment, in the process of shattering forever Lorenzo de' Medici's carefully constructed balance of power in the peninsula-the Concert of Italy. To advance Ascanio would have meant committing the Church for some time to come to a foreign policy that reflected the ambitions of Ascanio's brother, the Milanese regent, Ludovico il Moro. The two brothers had always been, and would remain, very close personally and politically. (197) The Neapolitans were ready to exert themselves in every way to cleanse Ascanio of the ambition to be the pontiff to usher in the sixteenth century, since the new Milanese alliance with France, whose king claimed the Neapolitan crown, could not bode well for Ferrante. It was well recognized everywhere in Italy that few families had displayed more ambition and thirst for power than the Sforza, and their forebears, the Visconti; and few would have been willing to unleash upon the Church a scion of the house whose armorial device depicted a serpent swallowing a child.
All the remaining cardinals were created by Innocent VIII on March 9, 1489. Of the eight men named to the College on that occasion, only six were fully recognized as cardinals during the last moments of Innocent's life. Two, Maffeo Gherardo, patriarch of Venice,(198) and Federico Sanseverino, (199) were dubious cardinals, because their names had not been formally published.
Sanseverino, who was the junior creation in the consistory of March 9, 1489, was born at Naples into the family of the counts of Caiazzo. He was the son of the condottiere Roberto Sanseverino, who had entered papal service in 1485, after having formerly served the Venetians. The elder Sanseverino rescued the pope and the city of Rome from the siege of Alfonso of Calabria in the last days of 1485, and the creation of Federico as cardinal in 1489 was a gesture of thanks on the part of Innocent VIII.
When these two cardinals finally were acknowledged as members of the College, part of the reason was that neither was a candidate for the throne-Gherardo was well advanced into the ninth decade of life, while Sanseverino was barely out of his teens.
Maffeo Gherardo was born in Venice about 1406. He entered the Camaldolese when young and rose to the position of abbot general of his order. In 1456, he was named patriarch of Venice, and this office was confirmed to him in 1468. On July 3, 1489, Innocent VIII declared that if the Venetian's name had not been published at the time of the next conclave he was to be admitted with full voting rights. Perhaps at that time, or at the time of his creation, the diaconate of Santi Sergio e Bacco was reserved for Gherardo, but he never held that rank.
VII. The Cardinals of Innocent VIII.
Innocent's senior creation was his cardinal-nephew, Lorenzo Cibo di Mari, who became nominal leader of his uncle's cardinals in the conclave of 1492. He was no intellectual, no schemer, no politician, and was content to take a subordinate position. Cibo would not be chosen pope, if only because tradition forbade any pope being succeeded directly by his nephew.
Cibo was born in 1450 and was the illegitimate son of Innocent's brother, Maurizio. After his uncle became cardinal, Lorenzo was made a canon of Saint Peter's. Following the election of Innocent to the throne in 1484, Lorenzo Cibo di Mari began to receive a host of rich benefices, the greatest of which was the archdiocese of Benevento given to him on December 5, 1485. He was created and published a cardinal-priest on March 9, 1489, and received the red hat on the same day. On the following March 23, the pope performed the ceremony of the opening of the mouth for him and, at the same time, assigned to him the title of Santa Sussanna. In 1490, Cibo became administrator of the diocese of Vannes. In January, 1492, the cardinal-nephew was elected to an annual term as chamberlain of the College and was serving in that office all through the sede vacante of 1492.
The precedents established in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries made the eventual enthronement of Cibo a distinct possibility, but not in the conclave which followed his uncle's death. In the fifteenth century alone, Eugenius IV, nephew of Gregory XII, had become pope only after the intervening reign of Martin V; while Paul II, Eugenius' nephew, had achieved the throne only after the reigns of Nicholas V, Calixtus III, and Pius II. Within the lifetime of Lorenzo Cibo, the Church would see the cardinal-nephews of Calixtus III, Sixtus IV, and Pius II, as popes, but in no case directly after the death of the pope who had made them cardinals. Indeed, Martin V, Nicholas V, as well as Innocent VIII, are the only popes for a century after the close of the Great Schism who were not cardinal-nephews or who did not create a cardinal-nephew who was an eventual successor. (200)
Of the papal possibilities of the sixteen year old Giovanni de' Medici no notice whatever need be taken. De' Medici ranked seventh among the creations of Innocent of March 9, 1489. The future Pope Leo X was born in the Palazzo Medici in Florence on December 11, 1475, the second son of Lorenzo de' Medici, called il Magnifico, and Clarice Orsini. His position as second son caused Lorenzo to determine upon an ecclesiastical career for Giovanni, but the father decided not to make the choice definite until he was sure his son would receive appropriate preferment in the Church. On May 19, 1483, Lorenzo received news that Louis XI had granted to Giovanni the abbey of Fontdouce, and on May 31 came word that Sixtus IV had confirmed the nomination. On the following day, the young Medici received the tonsure at the hands of Gentile de Becchi, bishop of Arezzo. Afterwards, a considerable number of benefices and dispensations were granted to Giovanni. In 1487, Innocent desired to strengthen his ties with Florence and the Medici and negotiated a marriage between his son, Franceschetto Cibo, and Lorenzo's daughter, Maddalena. The wedding took place on January 30, 1488, in the presence of the pontiff. Part of the agreement which led to this family alliance was that Giovanni should be raised to the cardinalate in spite of his youth. On March 9, 1489, he was made a cardinal-deacon at the age of thirteen years, thirty-eight days, the youngest cardinal ever created up to that time. On March 23, came the red hat and assignment to the diaconate of Santa Maria in Dominica. Because of his youth, Innocent decreed that Giovanni should not assume the habit of a cardinal or be recognized as such for three years from the date of creation. On March 9, 1492, following the dictum of Innocent, Giovanni donned the cardinal's robes in the Badia di Fiesole. Thirteen days later, he arrived in Rome to take up his cardinalitial duties. On May 11, 1492, Giovanni was named legate a latere to Florence and Tuscany and left Rome at once to take up his post in his native city. But the return of Giovanni in triumph as prince of the Church came too late for Lorenzo the Magnificent, who had expired on April 5. (201)
Two other cardinals named in 1489 were, however, to some extent papabile. The senior of these two was Ardicino della Porta, the great-nephew of the other cardinal of the same name created by Martin V. The younger Ardicino was born at Novara in 1454 and became a doctor of both laws. He was acting as the vicar-general of the archbishop of Florence at the time that Paul II placed the city under interdict, (202) and it was under this circumstance that he first obtained renown by promulgating the papal strictures despite the penalties threatened by the Florentine Signoria. Subsequently, della Porta served as legate to the Emperor Frederick III and to Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary, for the purpose of bringing about a reconciliation of the differences between them, with the object of promoting imperial and royal cooperation in the projected crusade against the Turks. (203) Later, in Rome, della Porta served Sixtus IV as referendarius and then as datarius of the Holy See. In February, 1475, he was made bishop of Aleria. (204) After his episcopal appointment, he was made governor, successively, of Norcia, Terni, Perugia, Todi, and Citta di Castello. (205) Innocent VIII brought della Porta back to Rome to direct all the diplomatic negotiations with the ambassadors of princes, thus making him, in effect, secretary of state-though that office, under that name, did not come into existence for more than a century after his time. (206) Della Porta was created and published on March 9, 1489. He received the red hat together with assignment to the title of Santi Giovanni e Paolo on the following March 23, at which time the ceremony of the opening of the mouth was performed for him. After his creation, however, della Porta soon wearied of the cardinalate. (207) A retiring and kindly man, he requested Innocent to allow him to resign the office together with its accompanying luxury, in a letter dated June 12, 1492. The members of the College in consistory at that time persuaded the pope to deny the request. (208)
From the reign of Paul II forward, della Porta had acquired and maintained a reputation as an able and self-effacing servant of the Church and, as will later be seen, his candidacy attracted the greatest attention during the days immediately following the death of Innocent. Perhaps if he had been less self-effacing and more determined and fired with ambition, the reign which began in 1492 might have been his. However, he made no attempt to advance his cause and thus fell victim to the traditional view, "Enter a pope, exit a cardinal."
The other possibility for the throne among the cardinals of Innocent VIII was Antoniotto Pallavicini, the third ranking of the cardinals named in 1489. Like Innocent, Pallavicini was a native of Genoa, and was born in 1441. During his youth, the future cardinal visited Spain on a commercial venture in the company of his brothers, Girolamo and Cipriano. (209) Antoniotto came to Rome in 1470 and joined the household of Cardinal Cibo, who persuaded Sixtus IV to name the young Genoese to the office of secretary of apostolic letters. (210) On June 15, 1484, in one of his last hierarchial actions, Sixtus made Pallavicini bishop of Ventimiglia. (211) His next promotion was his creation as cardinal on March 9, 1489. On March 14, Pallavicini received the red hat; and on the following March 23 the ceremony of the opening of the mouth was performed for him and he was assigned the title of Santa Prassede. (212) Antoniotto's chances of reaching the throne were enhanced his reputation as an able administrator of the benefices he had begun to acquire during the last months of Sixtus' rule. He had, however, the disability of being a native of Genoa, birthplace of Innocent VIII. The cardinals have always refused the throne to a native of the same locality from which the last pope had come, because the benefits which flow to a region of a result of being a papal birthplace should not be prolonged beyond one reign. It is true that Innocent had not squandered vast revenue in beautifying his native city, and had not elevated great numbers of Genoese to places of influence and responsibility at court, but the cardinals could remember, most of them, the benefits which accrued to Siena thanks to its connection with Pius II, to Valencia in Aragon because of Calixtus III, and, indeed, Rome itself, because of Martin V.
VIII. Cardinals Absent from the Conclave
The lives and careers of the cardinals thus far discussed encompass all those who were expected to take part in the electoral assembly of 1492, and who subsequently did. Four other cardinals did not come to Rome for the election. The eldest and most senior of these was Borgia's first cousin and the other cardinal-nephew of Calixtus III, Luis Juan del Mila y Borgia. He had been living in complete retirement in his diocese of Lerida in Spain for more than a quarter of a century at the time of the death of Innocent. Pedro Gonsalvez de Mendoza, the second senior creation of Sixtus IV, was also absent. Sixtus had appointed him to the College to please the Spanish monarchs, and during his whole career he never once left the Iberian peninsula. Now, near the close of his active political life, he displayed no interest in the outcome of the Roman proceedings.
The remaining two absent cardinals, André d'Espinay (213) and Pierre d'Aubusson, (214) were both elevated by Innocent VIII in the consistory of March 9, 1489.
André d'Espinay was born in Brittany about 1451, entered the Benedictine order and subsequently became a minister of state to Charles VIII. He rose through a number of ecclesiastical preferments to become archbishop of Bordeaux in 1479. Now, D'Espinay remained in France at the side of his patron, Charles VIII. (215)
Pierre d'Aubusson was born near Limoges in 1423. About 1450, he entered the order of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem. He was made grand master in a chapter held at Rhodes on June 8, 1476. In 1492, d'Aubusson, as grand master of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, remained busy, defending his island realm of Rhodes from the Turks. (216)
At the moment of the pope's death, there were twenty-one recognized cardinals. In the conclave, the seating began on the left of the altar with the throne of the dean of the College, Rodrigo de Lançol y Borgia, and then the seats of the other cardinal-bishops, in order of seniority, Oliviero Caraffa, Giovanni Battista Zeno, Giovanni Michiel, Giuliano della Rovere, and Giorgia da Costa. Next, also in order of seniority, came the cardinal-priests, Girolamo Basso della Rovere, Riario, Domenico della Rovere, Fregoso, Conti, Sclafenati, Cibo, della Porta, and Pallavicini. Lastly, to the right of the altar, the thrones of the cardinal-deacons, beginning with that of the archdeacon Piccolomini, followed by those of Savelli, Colonna, Orsini, Sforza, and de' Medici. At that time it remained to be seen whether or not the College would recognize the testamentary publication of the names of Gherardo and Sanseverino.
IX. The Election of Alexander VI - The Last Days of Innocent VIII.
As soon as it was apparent that Innocent VIII was in his final illness, the Italian powers began a feverish round of diplomatic communications on the election of a new pontiff. The twin centers of this activity were Naples and Milan, hearty enemies, each of whom desired the selection of a candidate favorable to its interests.
Ferrante, king of Naples, on July 20, 1492, dispatched to his ambassador at Rome, Giovanni Pontano, a letter in which he strongly favored the elevation of Giuliano della Rovere. In order to facilitate this, Ferrante attempted the historically bizarre expedient of trying to obtain support from both the Colonna and the Orsini. The king sent Virginio Orsini, his principal captain, to Rome to agitate in Giuliano's favor and to try to persuade the captains Fabrizio and Prospero Colonna, brothers of Cardinal Giovanni, to approach the Eternal City secretly with a view to supporting the Neapolitan plan. Ferrante's devotion to this scheme was short-lived. Two days later, the king sent another missive to his ambassador, this time in cipher, in which he objected greatly to the elevation of da Costa and pronounced in favor of Mendoza, who was absent. Mendoza became the Neapolitan favorite only because he was the first minister of Ferrante's cousin, Ferdinand of Aragon. In the same letter, Ferrante discussed Zeno's candidacy, in case neither of the favorites should receive the tiara. Ironically, Giuliano della Rovere also was the official candidate of Charles VIII of France as well as Ferrante of Naples, both of whom were preparing for a final struggle with each other, the prize of which was the Neapolitan throne. (217) The later volte-face of Ferrante may have been caused by his discovery that Giuliano was the avowed candidate of the French. If so, the Neapolitan intelligence network was much less effective than has traditionally been thought, for the French had been agitating in favor of Giuliano for some time.
All of the Neapolitan efforts were surrounded with the utmost secrecy. On July 24, it was declared to the Milanese ambassador at Naples that Ferrante would take no part in the making of the next pope, since he had seen what had come of his efforts in the last conclave; the king would allow ecclesiastical events to run their own course. (218) The Milanese, however, were not deceived and expected a major effort by Ferrante to influence the conclave. The ambassador erred in thinking that the Neapolitan candidate would be Francesco de' Piccolomini, however, for Piccolomini was never uppermost in the mind of Ferrante as a possible successor to Innocent VIII. (219)
Giuliano's hopes of reaching the throne rested upon the loyalty and devotion of a small group of cardinals who had become attached to him during Innocent's last years. We know from a report sent to Ludovico il Moro at Milan sometime before the death of the pope that this group included seven members besides Giuliano himself. They were da Costa, Domenico della Rovere, Girolamo Basso della Rovere, Fregoso, Michiel, Cibo, and Colonna. The report is probably to be dated early in 1491, since it includes as the ninth member of the party Marco Barbo, who died on March 11 of that year. It was probably drawn up following Innocent's serious illness at the close of 1490. It lists twenty-two of the twenty-seven living cardinals in the body of the document and discusses another, Giovanni de' Medici, in a subscription. At that time, Medici had not been fully admitted to the College, though his creation was an open secret. The four cardinals not mentioned were those who would not be expected to attend a conclave held at that time, and who, in fact, did not attend in 1492-del Mila y Borja, Mendoza, d'Espinay, and d'Aubusson. Gherardo and Sanseverino also are not mentioned, because their creation was still an official secret. Jean Balue, also listed as an adherent of Giuliano, died October 5, 1491. (220)
Meanwhile, the Milanese campaign was in the hands of Ascanio Maria Sforza-Visconti, brother of Ludovico il Moro. In the documents just discussed, Ascanio is shown to have seven devoted adherents who would be sure to follow his leadership: Borgia, Caraffa, Conti, Sclafenati, della Porta, Savelli, and Zeno; and four others who could probably, but not certainly, be relied upon to support Ascanio's choice for the tiara-Pallavicini, Piccolomini, Riario, and Orsini. (221) The Milanese reporter was convinced that the party of Giuliano, including Colonna, did not include Savelli, Colonna's closest personal and political friend in the College. Perhaps the two old friends had decided to split their allegiance, one for Giuliano, and the other for Ascanio, so as to be able to preserve a political avenue of escape for the member of whichever party should be bested in the electoral struggle.
On the evening of July 24, Federico Sanseverino rode into Rome. Innocent still lived, but did not move to receive his junior cardinal. On the next day, while the pope was laboring through his last hours, Ascanio moved to have Sanseverino admitted to the College with full rights as an elector, notwithstanding the fact that there had been no formal publication of his name, and the ceremony of the opening of the mouth had not been performed for him, as stipulated in the bull In Eminenti of Eugenius IV. On July 26, after Innocent had breathed his last, Sanseverino was accepted by the cardinals. This was done by a formal publication of his name as an act of the College in sede vacante. Sanseverino was assigned to the diaconate of San Teodoro, which had been vacant since the death of Teodoro di Monferrato on January 21, 1484. (222) This assignment was sure to be confirmed by the new pontiff, whoever he might be, since San Teodoro was one of the poorest of the cardinalitial diaconates, and no other prelate would want it.
The number of electors had now risen to twenty-two, and the party of Ascanio could be assumed confidently to have risen by one, since Sanseverino owed his speedy admission to the College to the exertions of the Milanese.
X. Speculations about, and Preparations for, the Conclave.
While the corpse of Innocent was being prepared for the tomb, the ambassadors of the various Italian powers were assiduously scouring Rome to obtain what information and rumor they could for speedy transmission back home. A few of those ambassadorial reports have survived. One of the more interesting is that of Giovanni Andrea Boccaccio, bishop of Modena (1479-1495), ambassador of Ercole I d'Este, duke of Ferrara. His is a gossipy letter to Eleonora d'Aragona, duchess of Ferrara. Boccaccio tells her that the principal favorite is Ardicino della Porta, who is desired by all because of his great goodness. The second choice, according to the Modenese, is Caraffa, but the strong objection to his candidacy by Ferrante makes his elevation unlikely. Third on his list is Ascanio, and fourth is Borgia. Presciently, Boccaccio devotes the greatest part of his short letter to pointing out that this last cardinal is a favorite because of all the wealth he will have to distribute among his former colleagues if he is elected. Among the gifts in Borgia's hands are the office of vicechancellor-"which is like unto another papacy"-the temporalities of the cities of Nepi and Civita Castellana, an abbey in Aquila with a revenue of 1,000 ducats, the suburbicarian diocese of Porto e Santa Ruffina valued at 1,200 ducats per annum, the abbey of Subiaco with twenty-two dependent villages worth 2,000 ducats, and, in Spain, sixteen dioceses together with numerous other goods and benefices, including Valencia, valued at 16,000 ducats, Cartagena, valued at 7,000, and Majorca, valued at 6,000. Among the other cardinals of whom there is talk, Boccaccio names Savelli, da Costa, Piccolomini, and Michiel, as well as Domenico della Rovere, Fregoso, and Zeno. Each of these cardinals, the ambassador says, has dismantled the furnishings of his palace and sent them into safety, to guard against the pillage of his possessions should he be elevated. (223) This last was a time honored tradition of the Roman populace countenanced by the popes.
On the same date, August 4, the Milanese envoy also dispatched a report to Ludovico il Moro. Stefano Taberna also tells his master that Ardicino della Porta seems to have the best chance of success. The reason for these hopes, Taberna continued, is that Giuliano knows that neither he nor da Costa is likely to be elected, and because Giuliano will not allow the election of Borgia on any terms, that Piccolomini is Giuliano's enemy, and that Ferrante's objection makes the elevation of Caraffa impossible, Giuliano will support a nominee of Ascanio. Of Ascanio's followers, the most acceptable to Giulinao is della Porta; though Zeno also is possible. This opinion has the weight of definite attribution, for the bargain is said to have been offered by Giuliano to Ascanio in an interview in the sacristy of Saint Peter's earlier on the same day. (224) But the Cardinal of Milan had little intention of taking advantage of della Rovere's offer.
Still another person in Rome during the days preceding the opening of the conclave was Bernardo Corio, the Milanese historian. He relates that Giuliano had little chance of achieving the throne because of the dislike engendered by his French sympathies and because of the influence he had during the reign of the late pope. (225) Corio goes on to say that the two most promising candidates were Ardicino della Porta and Ascanio Sforza, the latter because of the support his candidature was receiving from Milan.
All during this period, it is evident from the lack of any notice taken of his activities that Borgia was quietly preparing his course of action and making no overt moves towards his fellow cardinals. On one of the evenings just before the conclave began, he offered his first bribe, and it was accepted. Four mules laden with silver were taken from his palace to that of Ascanio, ostensibly for safekeeping from the mob should Borgia be elevated to the throne. (226) That this action constituted a payment to Sforza is without question, for Ascanio himself was papabile, yet neither cardinal involved in the transaction seems to have considered what would happen to the silver should Sforza be elected and the populace come to pillage his residence. In spite of doubts cast upon the report of this occurrence by historians of the conclave, (227) there is little doubt as to its truth, since we also have the evidence of Taberna that Giuliano made Ascanio a handsome offer which was refused. Evidently Borgia quoted the higher price. Ascanio, who was one of the most astute and clever cardinals of his day, and not averse to behaving as if his office were a secular one, would have had no scruple against taking the highest offer made to him for his support and that of his party, as long as the security and the state policies of Milan were not threatened by the arrangement. The four mule loads of silver, as we shall see, however, was not all the offer made by Borgia to the Milanese cardinal.
Had the prescriptions concerning conclaves enacted in Ubi periculum and Ne Romani been followed, the cardinals would have entered the conclave on August 4, ten days after the death of the pope, and the day following his funeral. This was not done, however. The probability is that the cardinals were informed of the approach of the patriarch of Venice, who carried with him a letter from the Venetian Council of Ten which urged that the cardinals accept him into the College. Gherardo's great age made his journey a slow one, and the cardinals may have been reluctant to enter upon the electoral process before his arrival for fear of offending Venice. Maffeo Gherardo arrived in Rome on August 3, and on the next day he was escorted into a meeting of the cardinals which was taking place in the sacristy of Saint Peter's, the very one in which Giuliano had tried to strike a bargain with Ascanio. Gherardo was introduced to the College by Giovanni Battista Orsini who moved that he be admitted at once, with full rights as an elector, in the same manner as Sanseverino had been. At the same time, the cardinals were apprised of the letter from the Council of Ten which had the same object. It was particularly fitting that Orsini should aid Gherardo in his claim to admission to the College, for his uncle, Latino Orsini, had been responsible for the exclusion of the secret creations of Paul II from the conclave of 1471, the last time the College had to make a decision regarding who was and who was not to be considered a cardinal. (228)
Gherardo, like Sanseverino, was forthwith published by the College, and assigned to the rank of cardinal-priest of the title of Santi Nereo ed Achilleo. This title had been vacant since the option of Giovanni Conti to the title of Santi Vitale, Gervasio e Protasio, on March 9, 1489. It is by no means certain that Gherardo was even intended by Innocent to be a cardinal-priest, because the diaconate of Santi Sergio e Bacco was reserved for him at the time of his creation; and no notice was taken of the possibility that the pope might have the intention of raising Santi Sergio e Bacco to presbyterial status pro hac vice. On the other hand, it is impossible to determine any reason for the transfer of Conti from Santi Nereo ed Achilleo on the day on which Gherardo was secretly made a cardinal; so that it may be true, though no reference can be found to it, that Innocent in fact intended this title church for Gherardo from the time of his creation. (229)
The admission of Gherardo raised the number of electors to its final number of twenty-three. It does not appear that any of the four absent cardinals made even the slightest attempt to reach Rome in time to participate in the election.
It had been decided earlier, perhaps in the first meeting of the cardinals on July 24, to hold the conclave in the Vatican, with the actual assembly and balloting each day to take place in the Sistine chapel, the first time this portion of the palace was used for a papal election. The chapel was constructed under Sixtus IV, whose name it bears, but the election of 1484, while held in the Vatican, employed another area of the palace complex.(230)
The sede vacante was a comparatively quiet one, largely because of the foresighted arrangements of Giuliano della Rovere, but there was still an increase in crime accompanied by some public discord. As a remedy, the cardinals appointed two prefects to maintain order while they were immured, a layman for the city, and an ecclesiastic for the Vatican quarter itself. The latter was Gonzalo Fernandez de Heredia, archbishop of Tarragona (June 13, 1490-November 21, 1511). It is perhaps noteworthy that a Spaniard was chosen for this critical office. (231)
On the morning of August 6, 1492, the cardinals assembled to hear the Mass of the Holy Spirit which traditionally marks the opening of a conclave. The celebrant for this rite was Giuliano della Rovere, although by tradition it should have been Borgia, since the dean of the College is the functionary charged with this ritual. This Mass, for which the vestments are red, is a votive celebration of extreme antiquity. It is not the same service as that used on Holy Thursday, which is also called the Mass of the Holy Spirit, but is distinguished from it by a special proper.
Following the conclusion of the Mass, the cardinals listened to the address of a prelate chosen by them to deliver the oration on the duties of electing a pontiff. In many conclaves, this address was given by the secretary of Latin letters to the late pope, but, on this occasion, the appointment went to the ambassador from Ferdinand and Isabella to the papal court, Bernardino Lopez de Carvajal. (232) It is perhaps not altogether coincidental that the most important public function associated with the opening of a conclave should go to a Spaniard, any more than that the functionary charged with maintaining public order in the Vatican quarter also should be Iberian. Borgia, as dean of the College, as well as vicechancellor, had more weight in the decisions concerning the holding of the conclave than did any of the other cardinals. The choices of de Carvajal and Heredia were probably his. Here can be discerned the first moves of Borgia on the way to the throne. The chief police power of the region was in the hands of a countryman, and the chief spokesman for the public in exhorting the cardinals to do their duty was likewise a Spaniard. Thus he could expect that in every event his person should be protected and that the vision of the new pope to be placed before the cardinals on this most solemn occasion would conform in some way to the best aspects of his own personality.
In his address to the cardinals, de Carvajal correctly estimates the reverence in which the papacy was held at the close of the fifteenth century, but even more can be seen in his admonitions. He urged the cardinals to put aside ambition, revenge, rivalry, and ill will, which can be seen as a direct criticism of Giuliano della Rovere, who was unalterably opposed to the election of Borgia for personal reasons. When de Carvajal urged the cardinals to consider the well-being of their preferments throughout the Christian world, he addressed directly not only those Roman cardinals whose lands and properties near the Eternal City were the focus of their interests, but men such as Sforza, Pallavicini, and Sclafenati, who held a variety of benefices scattered throughout Europe, the protection of which was their main concern. (233)
XI. The Conclave and the Bargaining Begin.
Following the conclusion of this address, the cardinals entered the Vatican to begin the election. The first order of business, which occupied all the rest of Monday, August 6, was the drafting of the election capitulation and subscription to it. (234) We have no text of the document drawn up in 1492, and know only that there was to be a restriction on the number of new cardinals the new pope could create, for this is verified in the text of the bull that elevated Giovanni Borgia, seniore, to the College on August 31, 1492. (235)
When they arose on the next day, the cardinals began the prattiche, the formal negotiating among themselves to secure votes. In consequence, the electors did not hold a scrutiny. No report survives, not even in Burchard's Diary, of the proceedings which took place on Tuesday, but of their simoniacal nature there can be little doubt. Giuliano della Rovere had received 200,000 ducats from Charles VIII to defray his expenses in the bargaining, and Genoa had added 100,000 more to the coffers of the hopeful della Rovere. (236) This immense sum, however, was but a pittance compared to the lavish offerings in Borgia's gift.
The fullness of Borgia's wealth is difficult to measure precisely because he collected revenues from so many benefices and reservations. Peter de Roo lists literally dozens of canonries, prebendaries, deaneries, and chaplaincies in his possession, as well as his major benefices, such as the diocese of Valencia, worth 5,000 florins per annum; Majorca, worth 1200 florins; and Erlau, worth 800 florins. The revenues from his curial offices and Roman holdings also were considerable, especially those from the office of vicechancellor. Many of the stated amounts of income in the fifteenth century were expressed in gold florins as a sum of account. The return on investment listed by Lorenzo the Magnificent on the Florentine tax role of 1481 was seven percent, and we may well expect ecclesiastical income to have been much the same. The gold florin, which remained highly stable as a currency, was worth 60/73 of the Venetian ducat in May, 1468, and this relationship also appeared to be stable, because of the standard set by Venice in her coinage. Thus Borgia's 5,000 florins from Valencia alone represented a capital of 71,429 florins or 58,708 ducats, not counting any of his other revenue. Another measure of Borgia's incredible wealth may be gained from noticing that Lorenzo the Magnificent's annual income in 1481 was but 3,852 florins, notably less than Borgia's 5,000 from Valencia alone. (237)
Based on this wealth, and from the presentations and preferments made after the conclave, we can gain some distinct outline of the size and quality of the bribes offered by Borgia.
XII. Borgia Makes his Move.
Because Ascanio Maria Sforza-Visconti himself was hopeful of obtaining the tiara, and Borgia was a member of his party, it is first necessary to win the Milanese to his side. To Ascanio, Borgia offered the office of vicechancellor together with the palace which he had built during his tenure in that office. Indeed. the vicechancellorship was "like unto another papacy" and the power of its holder was second only to that of the pontiff. If Ascanio was not to have the highest honor in this electoral meeting, he would at least obtain the fullest possible source of power outside it, were he to accept Borgia's offer. It took only a little time to win over the brother of Ludovico il Moro, since Borgia increased the magnificence of the offer by the adding the castle of Nepi and the administration of the diocese of Erlau, which carried a revenue of 10,000 ducats per annum. Ascanio's acceptance cemented the alliance which had been begun with the four mule loads of silver. (238) Other smaller considerations later were given to the Milanese cardinal, although they probably did not figure directly into the amount of the bribe.
In approaching Giovanni Battista Orsini, Rodrigo knew that his offer would have to be one which not only materially increased this prelate's revenues, but which also provided for the further safety of the Orsini lands in and around the Eternal City. After carefully weighing what would be most acceptable to the Roman, Borgia offered the fortified towns of Monticelli and Soriano; the legation of the Marches, including Massa Trebaria and Ascoli; and the administration of the diocese of Cartagena. (239) This also was taken from the hands of the cardinal-vicechancellor, and Borgia had acquired another vote.
A similar method was employed in the negotiations with Cardinal Giovanni Colonna. Borgia was careful to offer this Roman a bribe equal in magnitude to that offered to Orsini, in this case the abbey of Subiaco, with its dependent villages. (240) This was also accepted, and Borgia had now accomplished the nearly impossible; he had brought to his side both the Orsini and Colonna cardinals, and thus could command the adherence of the other Roman princes.
Having made substantial offers to increase the power of the Colonna and the Orsini families in the vicinity of Rome, Rodrigo did not ignore the desires or the pretensions of the Savelli. To their cardinal was to go the city of Civita Castellana and the administration of the diocese of Majorca (241) together with a monastery to be held in commendam. (242) No special promises were made, however, to Giovanni Conti or to Ardicino della Porta, because they belonged to the party of Ascanio and would vote for the candidate named by the Milanese. (243)
Other cardinals, without the necessity of protecting the strongholds of their families, were primarily interested in the increase of their revenues. Antoniotto Pallavicini was one of these. To him Rodrigo gave the administration of the diocese of Pampeluna. (244) To the Venetian Giovanni Michiel, Borgia suggested the option from the suburbicarian diocese of Palestrina to the Vicechancellor's own holding of Porto e Santa Ruffina, which had a much larger annual revenue. (245) Giangiacomo Sclafenati was offered the Cistercian abbey of Ripolta. (246) Raffaele Riario was offered, and accepted, several smaller benefices, while Paolo Fregoso was to become legate a latere to the Campagna, which would put this Genoese cardinal on the fringes of his homeland once more, able to take advantage of any opportunity he might have of recovering once more the government of his native land. (247) To Domenico della Rovere, Rodrigo offered a number of very valuable benefices, including a Benedictine abbey in the diocese of Turin, although the abbey was not actually bestowed upon him until September 29, 1492. Since most of electoral pledges were redeemed in the first consistory of the reign, on August 31, 1492, the reason for the delay in the case of Domenico della Rovere is unclear. Perhaps Alexander VI, as he now was, delayed the actual appointment of Domenico to this benefice to give the latter time to make his peace with Giuliano, his cousin. (248)
Beyond these generous advances, Borgia probably offered still more to the cardinals who have been mentioned, as well as benefices to some whose acceptance of them is not proven. For example, Federico Sanseverino received an abbey in a grant made on October 19, 1492, but whether or not this was in return for his vote in the conclave cannot be determined. Most of the promises made by Borgia were redeemed in the first consistory of the new reign, on August 31, 1492, and since Sanseverino did not figure in the list of beneficiaries until October 19, it may have been that Alexander merely wished to provide the cardinal with additional revenue to maintain himself in proper style now that he had been admitted into the College. (249)
Because we know that in the first few days of his reign Alexander did dispose of the benefices mentioned here to those who voted for him, it seems altogether beyond doubt that simony was rife in this conclave. The nature and kind of bribes offered to the various cardinals shows us that the primary view held by the cardinals in conclave of their responsibilities was not providing the world with a spiritual leader, but rather filling a vacancy with the most suitable politician, that is, the one who would willingly provide them with the greatest wealth for themselves and the greatest security for their families. Colonna, Orsini, and Savelli, in particular, would have laughed at the suggestion that their function as men in a religious office took precedence over the necessities of protecting the interests of their princely holdings. Sclafenati viewed the cardinalate as an office providing wealth and security he was not agitated by the spiritual doubts voiced by de Carvajal in his admonitory address. Sforza was interested in the acquisition of power, certainly, but his interest was actuated mainly by his desire to insure the continued power and influence of his family in Milan. The office of vicechancellor, for example, gave Ascanio a large voice in decisions concerning the placement and revenues of benefices and dispensations in Naples, and thus would put him in a position to put pressure on the Neapolitan Church in the event that Ferrante were to make some overt movement in favor of Sforza's enemies. Even two of Giuliano's cousins, Raffaele Riario and Domenico della Rovere, were more aware of their needs for income and security than they were heedful of the desires of their powerful and strong-minded relative.
It is not to be supposed, though, that the Cardinal-Vicechancellor made all these promises and concluded his arrangements all on Tuesday. On the contrary, the process took several days. Borgia had to weigh very carefully the size and scope of the blandishments to his fellow cardinals, and they, in turn, gave careful consideration and took sufficient time to determine whether or not the offer was one which met their needs or desires. The first scrutiny of this election was held on the morning of August 8; the second on the ninth; and the third on the tenth. (250) The Florentine ambassador relates of these scrutinies, that most of the votes had gone to Caraffa and da Costa, and the surviving tallies show this to be substantially correct. (251) Caraffa belonged to the adherents of Ascanio, and da Costa to the party of Giuliano della Rovere, and thus the parties, knowing that each did not have the number of votes to elect a pope, voted for one of their own while waiting for the outcome of the negotiations being carried out by Borgia and his new lieutenant, Ascanio.
By the evening of the tenth, however, Borgia had managed to detach Domenico della Rovere, Fregoso, Michiel, and Colonna from the party of Giuliano. He had lost, as a result of this blatant bargaining, in all likelihood, Caraffa, Zeno, and Piccolomini, who were originally of the party of Ascanio, but were now uncommitted. This realignment gave him fourteen votes, those of himself, Ascanio Maria Sforza-Visconti, Giovanni Battista Orsini, Giovanni Colonna, Giovanni Battista Savelli, Giangiacomo Sclafenati, Antoniotto Pallavicini, Giovanni Michiel, Domenico della Rovere, Raffaele Riario, Federico Sanseverino, Giovanni Conti, Ardicino della Porta, and Paolo Fregoso. The voice of only one more cardinal was necessary to provide the requisite two-thirds majority of those present to elevate Borgia to the Papal Chair.
There was no chance of being able to persuade Giuliano della Rovere to give his vote and bring with him the members of his party. The loss of the support of Caraffa, Zeno, and Piccolomini was irretrievable. Girolamo Basso della Rovere, unlike his cousin, stood firmly with Giuliano. This posture does the greatest credit to Girolamo, for he stood to gain considerably from the elevation of any cardinal-bishop to the papacy, inasmuch as he was the senior cardinal-priest present and the choice of one of the holders of a suburbicarian diocese meant that he would be advanced to the rank of cardinal-bishop in the first consistory of the new reign. (252) Lorenzo Cibo, likewise, remained faithful to Giuliano who had been his uncle's chief support during a troublesome reign. (253) Giovanni de' Medici had no need to accept a bribe, since he had been surrounded by wealth and power from the moment of his birth, and, moreover, Borgia was not high among the cardinals favored by the Florentine government. In addition, the recent death of Giovanni's father may have imbued him with the desire to keep to the letter of Lorenzo's last missive and refrain altogether from any action which could be considered by anyone as immoral or undignified. (254) Giorgio da Costa also remained faithful to Giuliano, perhaps in remembrance of the courtesy with which he had been treated by Sixtus IV when he had first come to Rome as a refugee from the homeland in which he had been so long a powerful force. Also, da Costa was the official candidate of Giuliano for the throne and perhaps the Portuguese felt that this expression of confidence on the part of Giuliano was deserving of the utmost loyalty. Thus, for Borgia, there remained only one cardinal who could provide the critical fifteenth vote, Maffeo Gherardo, Patriarch of Venice.
There seems to be no question that Gherardo was in an advanced state of senility and not entirely sure of place or time. He was probably not, as has been said, in his ninety-sixth year, (255) but in his late eighties. During the course of the evening of the tenth, relays of cardinals and conclavists under the direction of Ascanio talked without interruption to the tired Patriarch, repeating over and over again, the merits of Borgia and the desirability of having him for pope. Finally, if only to be allowed to lie down and go to sleep, Gherardo capitulated and promised to give Borgia his vote in the morning scrutiny. He must have known that Venice would not approve the elevation of the Spaniard, but he was too exhausted to care. The account of the wearing down of Gherardo is to be found in two documents-a letter of Taddeo Vicomercato to Milan, dated August 18, 1492, and a letter of Giacomo Trotti to Ercole I d'Este, duke of Ferrara, dated August 28, 1492. (256)
XIII. Borgia is Elected.
On the morning of Saturday, August 11, 1492, the cardinals arose and heard Mass. Following this, they proceeded to the scrutiny, where Borgia received just a majority of two-thirds, fifteen votes. The election was now accomplished, but an accessus was held, perhaps the only one of this conclave, and the eight other cardinals formally changed their votes in Borgia's favor, thus making the election unanimous.
That this method was employed to bring a semblance of unanimity to the proceedings is certain, for in the following days a number of the reports of the ambassadors mention that the final tally of the electoral meeting had been unanimous in favor of Borgia. Filippo Valori wrote to the Signoria of Florence on August 12 that the election of the new pope had been unanimous.
A similar notice was sent by Manfredo Manfredi to Ferrara, and Alexander VI, in notifying the Archduke Sigmund of Alsace and the Tyrol of his election, states that the cardinals had "unanimi voluntate et concordia elegerunt." (257)
For decades historians have been faced with a choice between Pastor's acceptance of the two-thirds majority of the cardinals electing Alexander backed by copious contemporary sources, and de Roo's contention that the choice had been unanimous, likewise supported by ample documentary evidence. What has not been seen is that the two positions are not incompatible. It is quite likely, knowing the enmity which existed between Rodrigo and Giuliano, that Borgia strove hard to obtain the requisite fifteen votes at scrutiny in order to achieve election and then that Giuliano, seeing his cause lost, put the best face on the situation and led the cardinals of his party to Borgia's side at the accessus.
As soon as the accessus was completed, the new dean of the College, Oliviero Caraffa, approached Rodrigo de Lançol y Borgia and asked him if he accepted the canonically-made election of himself to the papacy. Borgia replied that he did. Caraffa then asked him by which name he wished to be known, and the last of the Church's three Spanish pontiffs replied Alexander. It was seven o'clock in the morning. (258) Borgia is said to have taken the name Alexander in memory of Alexander III. (259)
At this moment the youthful and athletic Cardinal Federico Sanseverino lifted Alexander VI in his arms and carried him, doubtless amidst gales of laughter, to the side of the altar of the Sistina so that the cardinals might come forward, one by one, to offer to their new sovereign obedience and fealty. (260) Then a window facing the Piazza di San Pietro was thrown open and Francesco di Nanni Todeschini de' Piccolomini, archdeacon of the College, announced to the throng assembled below the ancient formula which proclaimed the elevation of a new sovereign pontiff.
After this the doors of the Vatican were thrown wide and Alexander was borne on the sedia gestatoria into Saint Peter's, to the high altar, where the cardinals performed a second act of homage. Then the cardinals dispersed to their Roman palaces, and Alexander retired to the papal apartments to rest. (261)
As might be expected in the case of a prelate who had four decades of experience in the workings of the Curia Romana, Alexander took up his administrative duties at once. On the following day, Sunday, August 12, the new pontiff confirmed Ambrogio Mirabilia, one of the senators of Rome, in his office. During the fifteen days which elapsed between the election and coronation of the pope, most of the papal time was taken up in receiving the congratulatory and laudatory addresses which arrived from the nearby princes and republics already informed of the election. During these days, also, his pontifical seal was struck, which bore the words of the first verse of Psalm 119 (120), "Ad Dominum tribularer clamavi, et exaudivit me." (262)
The coronation took place on Sunday, August 26, 1492, the tenth Sunday after Trinity, and the feast of Saint Zephyrinus, pope and martyr. Every contemporary account states that the festivities on this occasion eclipsed those of any previous papal coronation. Stefano Infessura notes that "there was done for Alexander VI, especially by the people of Rome, more than had been done for any other new pontiff." (263) This shows more than any other assessment that the populace of the Eternal City was indeed glad to see the election of Borgia to the supreme dignity, a prelate known for his munificence.
The events of the day began at the palace of the Vatican with a monumental procession which led the pope into Saint Peter's for the High Mass and another obeisance of the cardinals. After this, Alexander appeared in the loggia over the portico of the ancient basilica and was crowned there by the cardinal-archdeacon Piccolomini.
Alexander then rode under a canopy of purple from Saint Peter's to Saint John Lateran, his new cathedral, where he was enthroned as bishop of the ancient imperial city of the western world. After this ceremony had been completed, Alexander rested for a time in the vestry of the cathedral before returning to the Vatican. (264) While at Saint John Lateran, Alexander made a number of grants of benefices and petitions in honor of his coronation. (265)
The business of the next four days was preparation for the first consistory of the new pontificate, to be held on August 31, 1492. Here Alexander began to rule as well as to reign.
The work of the College of Cardinals was now complete, Alexander VI was now sovereign pontiff. But, more than that, the revolution in the cardinalate begun in the time of Martin V and Eugenius IV was also complete, for the new pontiff was, before everything else, a secular prince whose governance happened to be the Church. The cardinals who had elevated him to this position were themselves, with but one or two exceptions, princes like him with interests far from the religious life.
The change in the composition of the College which brought about the election of Alexander from that which brought about the elevation of Eugenius IV in 1431 is startling. In 1431, there were twenty-two living cardinals, although three of them had not yet been received into the College. Of the nineteen who were fully recognized, only three were cardinal-nephews, Antonio Correr and Gabriele Condulmer, cardinal-nephews of Gregory XII; and Prospero Colonna, the cardinal-nephew of Martin V. (266) Of the twenty-seven cardinals alive at the moment of the elevation of Alexander VI, no fewer than ten were cardinal-nephews, more than a third of the total membership of the College: Rodrigo de Lançol y Borgia and Luis Juan del Mila y Borja, cardinal-nephews of Calixtus III; Francesco di Nanni Todeschini de' Piccolomini, cardinal-nephew of Pius II; Giovanni Battista Zeno and Giovanni Michiel, nephews of Paul II; Giuliano della Rovere, Girolamo Basso della Rovere, Domenico della Rovere, and Raffaele Sansoni Riario, cardinal-nephews of Sixtus IV; and Lorenzo Cibo, the nephew of Innocent VIII. At the time of the conclave of 1431, none of the cardinals were holders of that office because they had been nominated by one of the European monarchs, though Henry Beaufort was a member of the English royal family and Hugues Lancelot de Lusignan was a prince-royal of Cyprus. (267) At the time of the election of Alexander VI, however, five of the cardinals had received the red hat specifically on the nominations of their sovereigns; Oliviero Caraffa on the demand of Farrante of Naples, Giorgio da Costa on the nomination of Afonso V of Portugal, Pedro Gonsalvez de Mendoza on the request of Enrique IV of Castille, and André d'Espinay and Pierre d'Aubusson on the demand of Charles VIII of France. In 1431, only one cardinal came from the northern Italian nobility, and not a landed family at that-Branda Castiglione, who sprang from the Milanese family of Pope Celestine IV. (268) In 1492, four of the cardinals came from this source, three of whom came of ruling families: Ascanio Maria Sforza-Visconti, of the ruling family of Milan; Paolo Fregoso, once himself the ruler of Genoa; Giovanni de' Medici of Florence; and Giangiacomo Sclafenati, whose family was important but not sovereign. In 1431, there had been an Orsini, a Colonna, and a Conti in the College; they also were represented in 1492, but their number was increased by two other Roman barons: Giovanni Battista Savelli, of an old family, and Federico Sanseverino, whose family was a new arrival on the Roman scene. This increased the baronial representation from three to five. In 1431, no fewer than fourteen of the cardinals were men of experience as either curial officials of longstanding or pastors of distinguished reputation. In 1492, however, only one curial official remained, Ardicino della Porta, and he had tried to resign the cardinalate, as we have seen. And there remained one pastor, Maffeo Gherardo, patriarch of Venice, whose great age and feebleness rendered him almost a nonentity in the College.
Rodrigo Borgia was able to play with skill on the desires and fears of his colleagues in order to reach the throne in 1492. We have seen how carefully he offered to the Colonna and Orsini cardinals bribes which at once increased the security of their families in the States of the Church and augmented their already considerable wealth. Borgia's offer to Ascanio Maria Sforza-Visconti was well calculated to appeal to that prince, for the office of vicechancellor gave the Milanese a voice in practically every decision of importance in the Church, and thus increased Milanese influence in Church government manyfold. We have seen Borgia offer the ex-ruler of Genoa, Fregoso, a legatine appointment which placed that prelate on the borders of his homeland, ready to take immediate advantage of any political change which might result in his reassumption of power in his native city. Borgia also won the allegiance of another Roman baron, Savelli, with offers which improved the standing of his family in the region. Other cardinals, like Sclafenati and Pallavicini, were simply bought outright, since their main concern was to keep up a luxurious standard of living as Renaissance princes and their concern for the welfare of the Church as a religious institution was nil.
It is obvious, then, that had not Eugenius IV begun the practice of creating cardinals wholesale on the nominations of the European monarchs; had not the fifteenth-century popes, particularly Sixtus IV, created so many members of their own families cardinals; had not Pius II and his successors given way to the desires of the newly emerged north Italian princes to see faithful retainers of family members in the College; and had not Martin V continued and augmented the habit of reserving places in the College for the representatives of the great Roman baronial houses, there would have been no Alexander VI. For Borgia reached the throne specifically by appealing to the deepest concerns of those whose votes made him pope, and those concerns grew out of the background from which these cardinals came, one that was concerned very little with the life of the Church outside the accumulation of wealth from the holding of benefices.
Alexander's election in 1492 is but the greatest and most visible example of the conduct of conclaves in the fifteenth and early sixteenth century. The attitudes and interests of the cardinals remained much the same until the time of the Council of Trent, and some of the traditions established in the fifteenth century remained with the Church to the threshold of the modern age. The institution of crown cardinals, for example, was still having an effect on the membership in the College in the nineteenth century, and, in spite of several post-Tridentine edicts, most of the popes before Pius VII (1800-1823) elevated members of their families to the College.
The fifteenth century saw the emergence of the northern Italian princes in the College in the persons of a Gonzaga of Mantua, a Sforza of Milan, and a Medici of Florence. The hold that these princely families, and others like them, had on the College of Cardinals was not weakened by the work of the Council of Trent, as can be seen by the fact that the house of Gonzaga saw eight of its members elevated in the sixteenth century, two others in the seventeenth, and still two others in the eighteenth, the last in 1776! The Medici were represented in six creations in the sixteenth century and four others in the seventeenth. How many other Medici cardinals there might have been is moot, since the family became extinct in 1745. It should not be thought that the arrival of the Catholic Reformation eliminated those positions traditionally reserved in the College for the representatives of the Roman baronage. The Colonna, for example, saw members of their house created cardinals three times in the sixteenth century, once in the seventeenth, and no fewer than seven times in the eighteenth: (269) and the succeeding centuries would see two more popes drawn from the ancient baronial families of Rome: Innocent XIII, a Conti, and Benedict XIII, an Orsini, both in the eighteenth century.
The foregoing examples are but samples from a long list of noble families, papal relatives, and crown nominations which monopolized a large part of the membership of the College of Cardinals for centuries. Only with the age of the French Revolution and Napoleon and the emergence of the industrialized world was their hold finally broken. The changes wrought at the highest level of Church government by the fifteenth century popes were indeed profound.
The changes discussed had, without question, the strongest effect on the minds and spirits of the world outside the narrow confines of high Italian politics. Luther and his northern European contemporaries were so moved by the composition of the College in their time that the Italian princely cardinals and their statesman-cardinal colleagues can be seen as one of the largest and most powerful springs behind the Reformation. As papal reign after papal reign went on, the highest levels of Church government sank ever lower and lower in public esteem until, by the eighteenth century, the very presence of a churchman in a position of power and influence in the state was looked upon as an evil of the first magnitude to be assiduously shunned, and the papal government, in particular, was reduced to an influence in European affairs equal to that of the other petty Italian states of the time.
One of the most visible signs of the moral and spiritual influence that popes of the present century have been able to regain is in the undoing of the cardinalitial revolution of the fifteenth century. Gone are the Colonna, the Orsini, the Borgia, the della Rovere, and in their place have been Newman and Wiseman, Manning and Gibbons, Pacelli and Roncalli, Bernardin and Hume, whose position as dedicated pastors, experienced curial officials, and distinguished theologians, had merited for them the cardinalate much as it did their predecessors of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
Archivi d'Italia e Rasega internazionale degli archivi. Periodico della Bibliotheque des Annales institutorum.
Burchard, Johannes, Johannis Burchardi Argentinensis capelle pontificie sacrorum rituum magistri diarium, sive Rerum urbanarum commentarii (1483-1506). Edited L. Thuasne. 3 vols. Paris: E. Leroux, 1883-1885.
"Essai de Liste General des Cardinaux," Annuaire Pontifical Catholique. Annually serialized 1925-1939. Paris: Maison du Bonne Press. 1898-1939, 1946-48.
Eubel, Conradus, Gauchat, Patritium, et alii, Hierarchia Catholica medii et recentioris ævi, 8 vols. Padua: Il Messaggero di S. Antonio, 1960.
Pastor, Ludwig von, The History of the Popes from the close of the Middle Ages. Translated by Frederick Ignatius Antrobus and Ralph Kerr. 40 vols. Saint Louis: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1949.
Stokvis, Anthony Marinus Hendrik Johan, Manuel d'Historie, de Genealogie et de Chronologie de tous les Etats du Globe, depuis les temps les plus recules jusqu'a nos jours. 3 vols. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1887-1893.
de Roo, Peter, Material for a History of the Pope Alexander VI, his relatives and his time. 5 vols. Bruges: Desclee, De Brouwer & Co., 1924, Vol. 2: Roderic de Borgia, from the cradle to the throne.
Gams, Pius Bonifacius, Series Espiscoporum Ecclesiæ Catholicæ. Regensburg: Verlag Josef Manz, 1873.
Cristofori, Francesco, Storia de' Cardinali di Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome: Tipografia de Propaganda Fide, 1888.
(1) Eubel, 2:14-19, 47-49.
(2) Pastor, 5:355-56; Eubel, 2:20-21.
(3) "Essai" (1934):149.
(4) "Essai" (1934):149-52; Pastor, History, 5:255, 255 n. 2. For the political climate, see Pastor, 5:272-80.
(5) Eubel, 2:15, 17.
(6) Pastor, History, 5:247-48.
(7) Pastor, 5:259.
(8) Pastor, 5:281, 281 n. 5.
(9) Pastor, 5:282, 282 n. 4.
(10) Pastor, 5:282, 318.
(11) See the dispatch of Ambassador Brognolo, dated July 17, 1492, published in Pastor, 5:319, 319 n. 3.
(12) Pastor, 5:297-305, and Roo, 4:150-55, 188-96.
(13) Roo, 2:307.
(14) Roo, 2:307.
(15) Pastor, 5:320, 320 n. 5.
(16) Roo, 1:535-36.
(17) Burchard, Diarium, 2:425; 3:228. Cf. Roo, 2:6-10; Pastor, 5:387.
(18) Roo, 1:14-19, 536-50.
(19) Roo, 2:20.
(20) Roo, 2:26, 413-14; cf. "Essai" (l933):127.
(21) "Essai" (1933):127.
(22) The full text of Calixtus III's bull which elevated Rodrigo to the cardinalate is given in Roo, 2:415-17, appendix, document 57, and in Pastor, 2:541-44, appendix, document 37. A comparison of the two printed texts shows a few minor discrepancies. Other citations of Rodrigo's elevation will be found in Pastor, 2:451 and Eubel, 2:12, 12 n. 3.
(23) Roo, 2:31-34.
(24) "Essai" (1933):126-31.
(25) Roo, 2:60-62.
(26) Roo, 2:69-70.
(27) Roo, 2:68-80; Pastor, 2:459-60.
(28) Roo, 2:68-80; Pastor, 2:459-60.
(29) Roo, 2:84-87; Eubel, 2:261; Gams, 86.
(30) Roo, 2:84-87; Eubel, 2:261; Gams, 86.
(31) Roo, 2:102-104.
(32) A full discussion of the memorial of Pius II will be found in Roo, 2:113-26, though the author displays a more than charitable attitude towards the morals of Borgia in his interpretation. Another, less complete, discussion will be found in Pastor, 2:452-60.
(33) Pastor, 5:363-66. Arguments against Borgia's fatherhood of these children are interesting, but not convincing. Roo, 1:167-370, 419-46. For the political convolutions with which Alexander VI tried to conceal his parentage of Giovanni Borgia, see Pastor, 6:104-107.
(34) Roo, 2:103.
(35) "Essai" (1927):127.
(36) "Essai" (1932):148; (1933):127, 130.
(37) Roo, Material, 2:155-63.
(38) Roo, 2:166.
(39) Roo, 2:167-216.
(40) Eubel, 2:59. Neither Pastor nor de Roo mention the fact that Borgia held this office.
(41) Roo, 2:178.
(42) Roo, 2:204.
(43) For Calandrini's death, see "Essai" (1932):148. For a discussion of the journey of Sixtus, see Pastor, 4:288-290.
(44) Roo, 2:216-17, and Eubel, 2:11, 12, 60.
(45) Roo, 2:219.
(46) Roo, 2:151-237 passim.
(47) Gams, 24; Eubel, 2:119.
(48) Roo, 2:221-22.
(49) Roo, 2:232. The dean of the College is always the most senior cardinal-bishop, with seniority dating from the day of appointment to the rank of cardinal-bishop. Since the holders of the suburbicarian sees take precedence over the other two grades of cardinals, and since the cardinals rank next after the pope in the Western Christian hierarchy, the dean is the second highest figure in Roman Catholicism.
(50) Pastor, 5:233-39.
(51) Roo, 2:245-46; Gams, 73; Eubel, 2:165 Hispalen. n. 7.
(52) Roo, 2:252, and Eubel, 2:184.
(53) See the notices of annual revenues from these two dioceses in Eubel, 2:165, 184. Seville was worth about 5000 florins per annum and Majorca about 1200. See also Roo, 239-56, for a discussion of Borgia's great wealth.
(54) Roo, 2:253, and Pastor, 5:315.
(55) The elder son, Antonio Todeschini de' Piccolomini (d. 1493) was made duke of Amalfi, and became the ancestor of the elder branch of the Piccolomini family.
(56) For details of his creation as cardinal see Eubel, 2:13, 13 n. 6, 66. For notices of his elevation as archbishop, see Gams, 753; Eubel, 2:235.
(57) Pastor, 3:258-260.
(58) Roo, 2:141-43.
(59) Pastor, 4:162.
(60) Piccolomini, however, failed in his goal at the Diet of Ratisbon. Pastor, 4:180-82.
(61) Piccolomini's rise to the rank of archdeacon of the College is traced in "Essai" (1933):127, 135.
(62) Pastor, 5:282.
(63) "Essai" (1933):129; Pastor, 6:198-201.
(64) For Caraffa's appointment as archbishop of Naples, see Eubel, 2:200. For his creation as cardinal, see Eubel, 2:14, 14 n. 7; Pastor, 4:219 n. 2. See also Gams, 905.
(65) Pastor, 4:226-28.
(66) See the discussion in Pastor, 5:232-39; Roo, 2:239-42.
(67) Eubel, 2:14, 59.
(68) Eubel, 2:59.
(69) See Eubel, 2:200, 2:227.
(70) For the relationship between Ferdinand of Aragon and Ferrante of Naples, see Wilhelm Karl Prinz von Isenberg, and successors, Stammtafeln zur geschichte der Europaische Staaten, (Marburg: Verlag von J. A. Stargardt, 1956), Band 2, tafel 48.
(71) In whose reign the Great Schism began.
(72) Pastor, 4:123; Roo, 2:316.
(73) Pastor, 4:123, 288-90, 414; 5:263-64; Gams, 798, 806; Eubel, 2:210, 265.
(74) For Zeno's appointment to Vicenza by Paul II, see Eubel, 2:267. For a discussion of the ecclesiastical dispute with Venice, see Pastor, 5:334-35. A short mention of the treasures he left at his death will be found in "Essai" (1933):145.
(75) An example of Paul II's diplomacy with his native city is the manner in which he handled the question of whether or not Venice would conclude a peace with the Turks. The Venetian pontiff knew that his native city was motivated more by the profit motive than any other so he simply bought them off. Pastor, 4:84-5.
(76) Details of Giuliano's early life are offered in "Essai" (1933):146.
(77) Pastor, 4:237; Gams, 530, and Eubel, 2:119, 119 Carpentoraten. n. 4.
(78) For details, see Pastor, 4:235-37.
(79) For a note on this palace, now no longer extant, see "Essai" (1933):146. The adjacent monastery-court, still standing, is briefly described in Karl Baedeker, Central Italy and Rome, Handbook for Travelers (Leipzig: Karl Baedeker, 1909) 217.
(80) Pastor, 4:237; Gams, 530, 944; Eubel, 2:122, 173, 173 Lausanen. n. 5.
(81) The original was transferred to canvas and is now in the Pinacoteca, Museo del Vaticano, Rome. A full-page, full-color reproduction is to be found in McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Art, 5 vols. (New York: McGraw Hill Book Co., 1969), facing p. 37. Character sketches of Giuliano, quoting contemporary descriptions, will be found in Pastor, 4:236-37; 6:212-17. Giuliano is viewed as a hard man with an inflexible will. "He hardly ever jested. He was generally absorbed in deep and silent thought. . ." Pastor, 6:216.
(82) "Essai" (1933):146.
(83) Pastor, 4:241.
(84) For a comment on the influence of Riario in papal affairs and his style of living, see Pastor, 4:264-69.
(85) "Essai" (1933):146, which has the most complete list.
(86) For details on the military expedition, see Pastor, 4:262-69.
(87) "Essai" (1933):146.
(88) Eubel, 2:100.
(89) Gams, 504.
(90) Pastor, 4:322-23.
(91) Gams, 577 & 656; Eubel, 2:192, 270, 270 Vivaren. n. 2.
(92) "Essai" (1933):146.
(93) Filippo Calandrini died on July 18 and Giuliano was appointed to the vacant office on October 23. "Essai" (1933):146.
(94) "Essai" (1933):146.
(95) Giuliano's term as chamberlain of the College extended to January 7, 1480. In that office he was the successor of Marco Barbo and was, in turn, succeeded by Giovanni Battista Zeno. Eubel, 2:59. On being made cardinal-bishop, Giuliano continued to hold the church of San Pietro in Vincoli in commendam. Eubel, 2:60, 64.
(96) Pastor, 4:338-41, 338 n. 4.
(97) "Essai" (1933):146.
(98) "Essai" (1933):146.
(99) Eubel, 2:60.
(100) Bologna became vacant with the death of Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga on October 22. Gams, 676, and Eubel, 2:108.
(101) "Essai" (1933):146.
(102) For Giuliano's role in the election of Innocent VIII, see above and Pastor, 5:231-39.
(103) A summary of the role played by Giuliano during the reign of Innocent VIII will be found in Pastor, 5:369.
(104) Eubel, 2:59.
(105) Pastor, 5:257.
(106) Lorenzo Cibo di Mari was not created cardinal until March, 1489. Up to that time there were no members of the pope's family in the highest levels of Roman administration. See Pastor, 5:260-63.
(107) Pastor, 5:260-61.
(108) "Essai" (1933):146.
(109) Pastor, 5:261-62.
(110) For Giuliano's itinerary during this time, see "Essai" (1933): 146-47.
(111) Pastor, 5:284-87.
(112) Evidence of this hatred is present everywhere in the narratives of the time. A good discussion of the last phase of the relationship between Alexander VI and the future Julius II will be found in Roo, 3:408-19.
(113) On Borgia's conduct of affairs, see the quotations of contemporary descriptions of his manner and expertise in Pastor, 5:386-88.
(114) A comment on the personality of Sixtus, with quotations from fifteenth century sources, will be found in John Addington Symonds, The Renaissance in Italy, 2 vols. (New York: The Modern Library, n.d.), 1:195-202.
(115) A discussion of the Pazzi Conspiracy, its importance in the politics of the time, and the rôle Pope Sixtus IV played in it, will be found in Pastor, 4:300-319.
(116) "Essai" (1933):151.
(117) Gams, 99, 104; Eubel, 2:149, 259, 259 Ulixbonen. n. 2.
(118) Eubel, 2:17, and Pastor, 4:411.
(119) "Essai" (1933):151.
(120) For example from March to August, 1484, he served as legate a latere to Venice for the purpose of negotiating a general Italian peace. Pastor, 4:378.
(121) He was made cardinal-bishop of Albano in succession to Giovanni Michiel, who was, in turn, transferred to Palestrina on the same day. Da Costa had most recently held the presbyterial title of San Lorenzo in Lucina and this he retained in commendam while cardinal-bishop.
(122) He was born in 1406 and died in 1508. "Essai" (1933):151.
(123) Calixtus III was born December 31, 1378, and was elected to the pontifical chair on April 8, 1455, at the age of seventy-six years, ninety-nine days. "Essai" (1932):142.
(124) For notices of his appointment to Albenga, see Gams, 810; Eubel, 2:84, 84 Albinganen. n. 3. For his subsequent elevation to Recanati, see Gams, 703, 810; Eubel, 2:220, 220 Racanaten. n. 4.
(125) Pastor, 4:411, 411 n. 3; Cristofori, 124.
(126) Pastor, 4:355-56. (127) Pastor, 4:355-56; Gams, 700; Eubel, 2:151, 151 Eugubin. nn. 1 & 2.
(128) Cardinal Luis Juan del Mila y Borja was elevated to the cardinalate by his uncle, Pope Calixtus III, on February 20, 1456, in a secret creation. The new cardinal's name was published on the following September 17. With the exception of one brief visit to Rome, during the reign of Paul II, he was never seen in Rome after the reign of Pius II, preferring to live in complete retirement in Spain. So complete was this retirement that even the date of his death is unknown; although he outlived Alexander VI. See Eubel, 2:12.
Cardinal Pedro Gonsalvez de Mendoza was created and published cardinal-priest of the title of Santa Maria in Dominica on May 7, 1473. His title as cardinal is significant for it is one of the rare incidents during the Renaissance of a diaconate being elevated pro hac vice to presbyterial status. Mendoza, first minister of Ferdinand and Isabella for many years, never came to Rome at any time during his cardinalate. He died at Guadalajara on January 11, 1495. Eubel, 2:17, and details in "Essai" (1933): 149.
(129) Eubel, 2:18; "Essai" (1933):155.
(130) The attempted assassination took place on Easter Sunday, April 26, 1478 (Pastor, 4:317). See also Gams, 714; Eubel, 2:214, and Pastor, 4:313-19, for other materials concerning Riario at this time. A complete history of the Pazzi Conspiracy from the Florentine point of view will be found in G. F. Young, The Medici (New York: The Modern Library, 1935) 166-78. For Sixtus' reaction to the failure of the Pazzi and the imprisonment of the youthful Cardinal Riario, see the Apostolic bull Iniquitatis filius in César Baronius and Odoricus Raynaldus, Annales ecclesiastici accedunt notæ chronologieæ, vol. 11 (Lucca: s. p., 1754-1756), anno 1478, 4.
(131) The phrase is specifically used by Pastor, 4:317, citing Allegretto Allegretti, Diari delle cose Sanesi del suo tempo, in Rerum italicarum scriptores, ed. Ludovicus Antonius Muratori, 23:784. This may be the first written use of this common expression.
(132) Riario remained at Perugia only until October 15, 1478 (Pastor, 4:317 n. 3. From his great-uncle, Riario received many benefices and dispensations. For notices of many of these, see Gams, 31, 752; Eubel, 2:133, 216, 216 Pisan. n. 2.
(133) This option, comparatively rare at this time, occurred on May 5, 1480. Riario went from the diaconate of San Giorgio in Velabro to the title of San Lorenzo in Damaso, which had become vacant with the death of Juan de Mella on October 12, 1467. At about the same time as his rise to cardinal-priest, Riario was made legate to Hungary and did not return from this mission until August 31, 1480. On the following November 27, Riario was made legate to the March of Ancona and remained at that post for two days less than a year. In 1482, Riario exchanged the administration of the diocese of Guenca for that of Salamanca, which he retained until 1490. In 1483, he became administrator of the see of Osma, as well. For details of these appointments and offices, see Gams, 31, 67; Eubel, 2:209, 209 Oxomen. n. 5, 227, 227 Salamantin. n. 1.
(134) "Essai" (1933):156. For notices of the death of Guillaume d'Estouteville, see "Essai" (1932):140.
(135) Pastor, 4:380-83.
(136) Cf. Pastor, 4:379-85 and notes.
(137) Pastor, 5:271-73.
(138) As was the case in his legatine commission to Forli under Innocent VIII. As soon as Riario was faced with concerted Milanese opposition to his negotiations with the Forlese the cardinal withdrew. See n. 132 above.
(139) Pastor, 4:317.
(140) "Essai" (1933):157.
(141) Details on Riario's role in the plot aqainst Leo X, as well as other data on his cardinalate, in "Essai" (1933):157.
(142) Cristoforo della Rovere was created a cardinal on December 10, 1477, and died February 1, 1478. Eubel, 2:18.
(143) For notices of other offices, benefices, and dispensations given to Domenico before his creation as cardinal, as well as in his early cardinalate. see Gams, 278, 706, 824, 829; Eubel, 2:138, 138 Cornetan. n. 5, 158, 245, 245 Tarentasien. n. 4, 247, 247 Taurinen. n. 3.
(144) Pastor, 5:237.
(145) The Capella Venuti is in the title church of Santa Maria del Popolo. Baedeker, Central Italy and Rome, 178-79.
(146) "Essai" (1933):159-60.
(147) Gams, 721; Eubel, 2:221, 221 Ratin. n. 3.
(148) Pastor, History, 4:353-54.
(149) Pastor, 4:415.
(150) Pastor, 4:379-82.
(151) Pastor, 5:236.
(152) "Essai" (1933):159.
(153) Pastor, 4:201.
(154) Eubel, 2:19.
(155) Pastor, 4:353-57.
(156) "Essai" (1933):159.
(157) Pastor, 4:415.
(158) "Essai" (1933):159. For Savelli's rôle during the disturbances in Rome in December, 1485, see Pastor, 5:257.
(159) Gams, 877; Eubel, 2:134, 134 Consen. n. 1.
(160) "Essai" (1933):160.
(161) Gams, 877; Eubel, 2:134.
(162) This latter benefice was resigned into his hands by his uncle, Cardinal Latino Orsini, on August 8, 1477. "Essai" (1933):162.
(163) Orsini received the red hat on November 19; and the ceremony of the opening of the mouth was performed for him on November 26. Eubel, 2:19.
(164) Orsini departed for his legatine post on December 22, 1484. On January 22, 1485, Innocent VIII wrote to him to order him to make provisions to resist a possible invasion by the Turks. Pastor, 5:247.
(165) Pastor, 5:258-59.
(166) Gams, 930; Eubel, 2:246.
(167) Gams, 815; Eubel, 2:167, 167 Januen. n. 4.
(168) Giovanni Fregoso, January 30, 1447 - December, 1448; Ludovico Fregoso, December 16, 1448 - December, 1450; and Pietro Fregoso, Paolo's brother, December 8, 1450 - May 11, 1458. For the succession and the relationships, see Stokvis, 3:755.
(169) John Bagnell Bury, gen. ed., Cambridge Medieval History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1936) 8:215.
(170) Stokvis, 3:755.
(171) "Essai" (1933):158. (172) Eubel, 2:19.
(173) Pastor, 4:343-47; "Essai" (1933):158.
(174) Stokvis, 3:755.
(175) "Essai" (1933):158.
(176) "Essai" (1933):158.
(177) "Essai" (1933):161.
(178) "Essai" (1933):161.
(179) Gams, 745; Eubel, 2:213, 213 Parmen. n. 2.
(180) Eubel, 2:19.
(181) Stokvis, 3:772-73.
(182) Pastor, 4:200.
(183) A full discussion of this bargain is found in Pastor, 4:200, who cites a letter from Paulus Gazzurus de Novara to Galeazzo Maria Sforza, dated July 29, 1471.
(184) Pastor, 4:411-12.
(185) "Essai" (1933):153-57.
(186) Gams, 801; Eubel, 2:212, 212 Papien, n. 4.
(187) Pastor, 4:374.
(188) Pastor, 4:374-76.
(189) For additional details, see Pastor, History, 4:378, 415 n. 4, citing the Apostolic brief to Ascanio dated March 17, 1484.
(190) "Essai" (1933):162.
(191) The newly elected Innocent VIII gave Ascanio a number of dispensations and benefices. Gams, 716, 790, 820; Eubel, 2:139, 205, 205 Novarien. n. 5, 214.
(192) Pastor, 5:251-60.
(193) Pastor, 5:260.
(194) See Wilhelm Karl, Prinz von Isenberg, Stammtafeln zur geschichte der Europaische Staaten, Band 2, tafel 48.
(195) Giovanni Andrea Boccacio attempts such a description in a letter. "El rev[erendissi]mo Mons[ignore] Ascanio fa uno apparato quodammodo incredibile per honorare el dicto principe a casa soa ad uno pranso che sera tuto il giorno; fa cuprire tute quelle strade et cosi il cortillo com quello suo orto quasto dove se fara el pranso con uno apparato regale et dove se recitarano molte comedie et representacione; non se attende ad altro se non de fare una cosa singulare ali di nostri." For details of this account see Stefano Infessura, Diario della Città di Roma, printed in Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, ed. Ludovicus Antonius Muratori, 3:2, 1111-1252, quoted in Pastor, 5:285 n. 4.
(196) Pastor, 5:533-34.
(197) This close cooperation is attested by every action of the political lives of Ascanio and Ludovico il Moro. One particular example is the joy of Ludovico on hearing that Ascanio had successfully worked to bring about the election of Alexander VI in the conclave of 1492. Pastor, 5:390-92.
(198) Gams, 792; Eubel, 2:264, 264 Venetiarum. n. 5.
(199) For additional details on his career and appointments, see Gams, 558, 611; Eubel, 2:21, 21 n. 5, 178, 184; Pastor, 5:356. For details on the papal career of Roberto Sanseverino, see Pastor, 5:250, 256-58, 261.
(200) For additional details on Cibo and his cardinalate, see Gams, 672; Eubel, 2:104, 104 Beneventan. n. 6, 264.
(201) For these and many other details of the early career of Giovanni de' Medici, see Gams, 482, 742; Eubel, 2:21, 21 n. 4, 91, 91 Aquen. nn. 2, 3 & 4; Pastor, 5:269-70, 356-58, and G. F. Young, The Medici (New York: The Modern Library, 1933), 189, 193-94, 210-11. For the text of the famous admonitory letter written by Lorenzo to Giovanni, when the latter left for Rome to take up his public duties, see Pastor, 5:359-61; Young, The Medici, 211.
(202) "Essai" (1934):146-47.
(203) "Essai" (1934):146-47.
(204) Gams, 765; Eubel, 2:85, 85 Alerien. n. 1.
(205) "Essai" (1934):146-47.
(206) Eubel, 2:20, 20 n. 6.
(207) Eubel, 2:20.
(208) "Essai" (1934):147.
(209) A note of this journey is found in "Essai" (1934):147.
(210) "Essai" (1934):147.
(211) Gams, 102, 251, 857; Eubel, 2:171, 171 Lamecen. n. 5, 253, 268.
(212) Not that of Santa Anastasia as in "Essai" (1934): 147; Santa Anastasia was held by Paolo Fregoso until after August 10, 1490, when Fregoso was transferred to San Sisto. Santa Prassede had been vacated October 2, 1488, when Giovanni Arcimboldi died. Sometime after August 10, 1490, Pallavicini was transferred to Santa Anastasia, while retaining Santa Prassede in commendam. On September 20, 1493, he was again transferred to Santa Prassede, and Santa Anastasia then was granted to John Morton. Eubel, 2:20, 61, 64.
(213) Eubel, 2:21, 21 n. 2, 112, 175, 182, 193, 198, 221, 262; Gams, 494, 520, 571, 578, 582, 607, 622.
(214) Eubel, 2:21, 66; "Essai" (1934):149.
(215) "Essai" (1934):148.
(216) "Essai" (1932):149.
(217) Pastor, 5:379.
(218) Pastor, 5:378-79.
(219) Pastor, 5:378-79.
(220) Pastor, 5:532. The original document is in the State Archives in Milan.
(221) Pastor, 5:532.
(222) Pastor, 5:376.
(223) The document is published in Pastor, 5:533-34, with commentary on it at 5:379-80. The original is in the State Archives in Modena with the papers of the ducal chancellery, filed under the dispatches of the orators of the house of Este in Rome. It is dated August 4, 1492.
(224) Letter of Stefano Taberna, August 4, 1492, State Archives, Milan, quoted in extenso in Pastor, 5:381.
(225) Bernardino Corio, Storia de Milano (3 vols. Milan: Colombo, 1855-1857) 3:463, with additional commentary in Pastor, 5:381.
(226) Burchard, 2:3.
(227) Particularly Roo, 2:351-52.
(228) Pastor, 4:200-201.
(229) Eubel, 2:21, 21 n. 3, 64, 67.
(230) Pastor, 5:232, 377.
(231) Roo, 2:308; Gams, 77; Eubel, 2:248, 248 Terracenen. n. 5.
(232) For de Carvajal, see Gams, 8, 11; Eubel, 2:97, 97 Astoricen. n. 1, 209; Roo, 2:308-309.
(233) For the full text of the address see Roo, 2:309-312.
(234) Pastor, 5:381.
(235) Published in Roo, 1:558-60.
(236) This information comes from a letter of P. Cavalieri to Eleanora d'Aragona, Duchess of Ferrara, dated August 6, 1492, in Atti e Memorie delle RR. Deputazione di Storia Patria per le Provincie Modensi e Parmenesi, 6 vols. (Modena, 1863-1876) 1:249. Additional notices and commentary on the letter are to be found in Pastor, 5:378 n. 3, and Roo, 2:328.
(237) Roo, vol. 2, for Borgia's ecclesiastical; holdings; for Valencia, see Eubel, 2:261; for Majorca, Eubel, 2:184); and for Erlau, Eubel, 2:82-83. For Lorenzo de' Medici on the Florentine tax role of 1481, see Raymond de Roover, The Rise and Decline of the Medici Bank, 1397-1494 (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1966) 29. For the relationship of the florin to the ducat, see Roover, 122. To compare Lorenzo de' Medici's income to Borgia's, see Roover, 29; Eubel, 2:261.
(238) Pastor, 5:382. Part of the payment is discussed in a dispatch of Filippo Valori, dated August 12, 1492, in Burchard, 2:612. For the promised episcopal appointment, see Eubel, 2:83. The document granting the vicechancellor's palace is quoted in Roo, 2:354-55, and is dated August 26, 1492. The document appointing Ascanio Maria Sforza-Visconti to the office of vicechancellor, dated August 27, 1492, is cited in Pastor, 5:382 n. 2. The appointment to Erlau (Agria, Eger) took place on August 31, 1492. "Essai" (1933):163.
(239) The source is a dispatch of Floramonte Brognolo to Gianfrancesco II Gonzaga, marchese of Mantua, dated August 31, 1492, published in Pastor, 5:541-42. For Pastor's commentary on this, see 5:382-83. For the actual appointment to Cartagena, see Eubel, 2:119. The appointment was made in the first consistory of the new reign, on August 31, 1492.
(240) Burchard, 2:611, and Pastor, 5:541-42.
(241) Pastor, 5:383 n. 2, citing a dispatch of Filippo Valori, Florentine ambassador at Rome. The actual appointment to Majorca took place on August 31, 1492. Eubel, 2:184.
(242) The monastery is unnamed. See "Essai" (1933):159.
(243) That Conti and della Porta were confidently expected to follow the lead of Ascanio is clearly believed by the person who prepared the list of cardinals in 1491. See Pastor, 5:532 and 5:384.
(244) Pastor, 5:383, citing the Atti Consistoriali for August 31, 1492. For the actual appointment, see Eubel, 2:211. At the time of the conclave of 1492, the diocese of Pampeluna was in the hands of Rodrigo's son, Cesare, who received it on September 12, 1491. Eubel, 2:211. Upon enthronement, Alexander transfered Cesare to his own former see of Valencia, so that Pampeluna could be given to Pallavicini. Eubel, 2:261.
(245) Pastor, 5:384, citing the Atti Consistoriali for August 31, 1492; and Eubel, 2:60.
(246) Pastor, 5:384 n. 2. For the grant, made on August 26, 1492, Alexander's coronation day, see details presented in "Essai" (1933):161.
(247) For the offers and appointments to Riario, see Pastor, 5:384 n. 2. For the appointment of Fregoso as legate, see Pastor, 5:398.
(248) Pastor, 5:384 n. 2.
(249) Pastor, 5:384 n. 2, specifically calls this grant a payment for Sanseverino's vote. See also "Essai" (1934):151.
(250) The source of the dates and times of the actual ballotings is a dispatch of Filippo Valori, ambassador of Florence, to the Signoria of the Republic, dated August 11, 1492, printed in Pastor, 5:535-36. For a comment on the dispatch, see Pastor, 5:381 n. 4. About fifty years ago, a much altered document appeared showing a list of the cardinals who took part in the conclave of 1492 and their voting tallies in the first three scrutinies. The document is transcribed in full in Giovanni Battista Picotti, "Nuovi Studi e Documenti intorno a Papa Alessandro VI," Revista di storia della chiesa in Italia 5 (1951): 169-262. The value of the document lies in what it does not reveal about the events within the conclave. On the first scrutiny, for example, Borgia received only seven votes, those of Orsini, Sclafenati, Pallavicini, Caraffa, Zeno, Sforza, and Domenico della Rovere. At the same time the aged da Costa, whose candidature was advanced by Giuliano as a blind, received seven votes as well, those of Girolamo Basso della Rovere, Sclafenati, Pallavicini, Cibo, Savelli, Gherardo, and Giuliano himself. Since the tabulation makes no distinction between the balloting and the accessus it is plain that the results were of no significance, since in one of the procedures Sclafenati and Pallavicini voted for the candidate of Giuliano and in the other they voted for Rodrigo. It is interesting to note that the pre-conclave favorite, della Porta, received only five votes in both scrutiny and accessus, those of Raffaele Riario, Ascanio Maria Sforza-Visconti, Piccolomini, Sanseverino, and Borgia.
In the two procedures of the second scrutiny, Borgia picked up one additional vote, receiving those of Conti, Pallavicini, Riario, Sclafenati, Zeno, Domenico della Rovere, Caraffa, and Ascanio. In the same two procedures, Giuliano himself received the suffrages of Fregoso, Colonna, Michiel, da Costa, and Zeno. Again the document reveals the insincerity of the cardinals in casting their votes before the bargaining was completed, for Zeno voted for Borgia in either the scrutiny or the accessus and gave his vote to Giuliano on the other occasion. In one of the procedures, Borgia gave his vote to della Porta and in the other to Pallavicini. The scattering of votes is further emphasized in the document when it is noted that, on one occasion, Giuliano gave his vote to Michiel, while Michiel himself voted for Fregoso-surely a rare example of a Venetian voting in favor of a Genoese.
By the close of the accessus following the third scrutiny, held on August 10, Michiel had received nine votes, including those of Fregoso, Savelli, Girolamo Basso della Rovere, da Costa, Giuliano della Rovere, Cibo, Zeno, Colonna, and Pallavicini. Ten cardinals, however, voted for Caraffa-della Porta, Orsini, Piccolomini, Riario, Sanseverino, Conti, Medici, Sclafenati, Ascanio, and Borgia. Earlier in the balloting, Colonna had voted for Savelli, and Savelli for Colonna-perhaps a small gesture of their friendship. It is also interesting to note that Ascanio received nothing in any of the procedures save for the vote of Conti at some time in the second scrutiny.
This document has been discussed and used as a major source in Giovanni Soranzo, "Documenti inediti o poco relativi all'assunzione al pontificato di Alessandro VI," Archivi 19 (1952):157-78; Picotti, "Nuovi studi e documenti intorno a Papa Alessandro VI"; Giovanni Soranzo, "Risposta al Professore Giovanni Picotti," Revista di storia della chiesa in Italia 6 (1952), 96-107; Giovanni Battista Picotti, "Replica al Professore Giovanni Soranzo," Revista di storia della chiesa in Italia 6 (1952), 107-110; and Giovanni Battista Picotti, "Ancora sul Borgia," Revista di storia della chiesa in Italia 8 (1954), 313-355, but, in spite of the interest, discussion, and controversy its discovery generated, it is of little value in analyzing the conclave, as is seen from the voting pattern it reveals.
(251) Pastor, 5:381 n. 4; but see the previous note on the veracity of the ambassador's statement.
(252) Pastor makes the point that Girolamo would not hear of Borgia's election, yet he nonetheless was raised to the rank of cardinal-bishop once Alexander had been enthroned. For a notice of his attitude in the conclave, see Pastor, 5:384. For notices of Girolamo's elevation to the rank of cardinal-bishop of Palestrina, see Eubel, 2:60.
(253) Pastor, 5:384.
(254) For de' Medici's refusal to accept a bribe, see Pastor, 5:384. For the letter of Lorenzo de' Medici to his son, on the occasion of the latter's assumption of the cardinalate, see chapter 2, n. 57; Pastor, 5:359-61; and G. F. Young, The Medici (New York: The Modern Library, 1933), 211.
(255) His age is thus given in Pastor, 5:385, but cf. "Essai" (1934):149, where his birth date is given as ca. 1405.
(256) Both are transcribed in Pastor, 5:537-38. Manfredo Manfredi believed that Gherardo's servants were bought. See Roo, 2:467.
(257) For the letter of Valori, see Burchard, 2:610. The letter of Alexander to Sigmund of Austria, dated August 26, 1492, is reprinted in Roo, 2:485. For other comments of the unanimity of Alexander's election, see Roo, 2:332-35.
(258) For the establishment of the time of election, see Pastor, 5:385 n. 2.
(259) Roo, 2:373.
(260) Roo, 2:373. The popular tale that Alexander was carried to the altar in the arms of Federico Sanseverino is often told, though it seems to rest only on tradition. A relation of the episode is in Frederick William Rolfe [Frederick Baron Corvo], Chronicles of the House of Borgia (London: E. P. Dutton, 1901) 87.
(261) Roo, 2:374.
(262) Roo, 2:378 and Alphonsus Ciaconius, Vitæ et res gestæ Pontificum Romanorum et S[anctæ] R[omanæ] E[cclesiæ] cardinalium ab initio nascentis ecclesiæ, usque ad Clementi IX P. O. M. Alphonsi Ciaconii O. P. et aliorum descriptæ, cum uberrimis notis ab Augustino Oldoino, S. J. Recognitæ et ad quator tomos ingenti ubique rerum accesione productæ, 4 vols. (Rome: typis Vaticanis, 1677), 1:156. The King James version has: "In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me," Psalm 120:1.
(263) Burchard, 2:4.
(264) Roo, 2:385-89.
(265) For a grant made to Giangiacomo Sclafenati on this occasion, see chapter 2, n. 108. For other grants made then, see Roo, 2:391-92. Of the many actions of Alexander while at Saint John Lateran surely the most important was the official appointment of Ascanio to the office of vicechancellor as well as the gift of the Borgia palace in Rome to the same cardinal. In addition, Ascanio was given two canonries and the priory of a monastery in the diocese of Calahorra. Roo, 2:354-55. One of the more curious of Alexander's acts at this time was the new provision granted to Maurice O'Brien, canon of Killaloe, to the vacant diocese of Kilfenora. O'Brien had been provided originally to the see by Innocent VIII on December 12-13, 1491, but somehow the correct letters were never sealed and O'Brien had not taken possession of his episcopal chair. The reprovision by Alexander on the day of his coronation smoothed over whatever difficulties the Irishman was experiencing in entering his new office. For details of this, see Sir Frederick Maurice Powicke and E. B. Fryde, Handbook of British Chronology, 2d ed. (London: Offices of the Royal Historical Society, 1961), 320, and cf. the data in Eubel, 2:154; Gams, 225.
(266) For the cardinal-nephews of Gregory XII, see Eubel, 2:31; Cristofori, 319. For notices of the elevation of Prospero Colonna, see Eubel, 2:34; Cristofori, 325.
(267) Eubel, 2:34, and Cristofori, 325.
(268) Branda Castiglione was made a cardinal on June 6, 1411 by John XXIII. Eubel, 2:33, and Cristofori, 324.
(269) The relationship among many of the cardinals of this prolific family is seen in Stokvis, 3:854, and the notices of cardinalitial creation are given in Cristofori, 345, 365, 376, 396, 423, 433, 435, 441, 443, 447.
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