The Borgias HTML version

Chapter 6
Charles learned all this news at Naples, and, tired of his late conquests, which
necessitated a labour in organisation for which he was quite unfitted, turned his
eyes towards France, where victorious fetes and rejoicings were awaiting the
victor's return. So he yielded at the first breath of his advisers, and retraced his
road to his kingdom, threatened, as was said, by the Germans on the north and
the Spaniards on the south. Consequently, he appointed Gilbert de Montpensier,
of the house of Bourbon, viceroy; d'Aubigny, of the Scotch Stuart family,
lieutenant in Calabria; Etienne de Vese, commander at Gaeta; and Don Juliano,
Gabriel de Montfaucon, Guillaume de Villeneuve, George de Lilly, the bailiff of
Vitry, and Graziano Guerra respectively governors of Sant' Angelo, Manfredonia,
Trani, Catanzaro, Aquila, and Sulmone; then leaving behind in evidence of his
claims the half of his Swiss, a party of his Gascons, eight hundred French lances,
and about five hundred Italian men-at-arms, the last under the command of the
prefect of Rome, Prospero and Fabrizio Colonna, and Antonio Savelli, he left
Naples on the 20th of May at two o'clock in the afternoon, to traverse the whole
of the Italian peninsula with the rest of his army, consisting of eight hundred
French lances, two hundred gentlemen of his guard, one hundred Italian men-at-
arms, three thousand Swiss infantry, one thousand French and one thousand
Gascon. He also expected to be joined by Camillo Vitelli and his brothers in
Tuscany, who were to contribute two hundred and fifty men-at-arms.
A week before he left Naples, Charles had sent to Rome Monseigneur de Saint-
Paul, brother of Cardinal de Luxembourg; and just as he was starting he
despatched thither the new Archbishop of Lyons. They both were commissioned
to assure Alexander that the King of France had the most sincere desire and the
very best intention of remaining his friend. In truth, Charles wished for nothing so
much as to separate the pope from the league, so as to secure him as a spiritual
and temporal support; but a young king, full of fire, ambition, and courage, was
not the neighbour to suit Alexander; so the latter would listen to nothing, and as
the troops he had demanded from the doge and Ludavico Sforza had not been
sent in sufficient number for the defense of Rome, he was content with
provisioning the castle of S. Angelo, putting in a formidable garrison, and leaving
Cardinal Sant' Anastasio to receive Charles while he himself withdrew with
Caesar to Orvieto. Charles only stayed in Rome three days, utterly depressed
because the pope had refused to receive him in spite of his entreaties. And in
these three days, instead of listening to Giuliano delta Rovere, who was advising
him once more to call a council and depose the pope, he rather hoped to bring
the pope round to his side by the virtuous act of restoring the citadels of
Terracina and Civita Vecchia to the authorities of the Romagna, only keeping for
himself Ostia, which he had promised Giuliano to give back to him. At last, when
the three days had elapsed, he left Rome, and resumed his march in three
columns towards Tuscany, crossed the States of the Church, and on the 13th
reached Siena, where he was joined by Philippe de Commines, who had gone as
ambassador extraordinary to the Venetian Republic, and now announced that the