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RENAISSANCE IN ITALY.
THE SPANISH HEGEMONY.
Italy in the Renaissance—The Five Great Powers—The Kingdom
of Naples—The Papacy–The Duchy of Milan—Venice—The Florentine Republic-Wars of Invasion closed by the Sack of Rome in 1527–Concordat between Clement VII. and Charles V.
- Treaty of Barcelona and Paix des Dames-Charles lands at Genoa-His Journey to Bologna-Entrance into Bologna and Reception by Clement-Mustering of Italian Princes—Francesco Sforza replaced in the Duchy of Milan-Venetian EmbassyItalian League signed on Christmas Eve, 1529—Florence alone excluded-The Siege of Florence pressed by the Prince of Orange-Charles's Coronation as King of Italy and Holy Roman Emperor-The Significance of this Ceremony at Bologna-Ceremony in S. Petronio-Settlement of the Duchy of Ferrara-Men of Letters and Arts at Bologna—The Emperor's Use of the Spanish Habit-Charles and Clement leave Bologna in March, 1530 -Review of the Settlement of Italy effected by Emperor and Pope-Extinction of RepublicsSubsequent Absorption of Fero rara and Urbino into the Papal States—Savoy becomes an Italian Power—Period between Charles's Coronation and the Peace or Cateau Cambresis in 1559-Economical and Social Condition of the Italians under Spanish Hegemony—The Nation still Exists in Separate Communities Intellectual Conditions—Predomin. ance of Spain and Rome-Both Cosmopolitan Powers-Leveling down of the Component Portions of the Nation in a Common Servitude—The Evils of Spanish Rule.
In the first volume of my book on Renaissance in Italy, I attempted to set forth the political and sociai phases through which the Italians passed before their principal States fell into the hands of despots, and to explain the conditions of mutual jealousy and military feebleness which exposed those States to the assaults of foreign armies at the close of the fifteenth century.
In the year 1494, when Charles VIII. of France, at Lodovico Sforza's invitation, crossed the Alps to make good his claim on Naples, the peninsula was independent. Internal peace had prevailed for a period of nearly fifty years. An equilibrium had been established between the five great native Powers, which secured the advantages of confederation and diplomatic interaction.
While using the word confederation, I do not, of course, imply that anything similar to the federal union of Switzerland or of North America existed in Italy. The contrary is proved by patent facts. On a miniature scale, Italy then displayed political conditions analogous to those which now prevail in Europe. The parcels of the nation adopted different forms of self-government, sought divers foreign alliances, and owed no allegiance to any central legislative or administrative body. I therefore speak of the Italian confederation only in the same sense as Europe may now be called a confederation of kindred races.
In the year 1530, when Charles V. (of Austria and Spain) was crowned Emperor at Bologna, this national independence had been irretrievably lost
THE FIVE GREAT POWERS.
by the Italians. This confederation of evenlybalanced Powers was now exchanged for servitude beneath a foreign monarchy, and for subjection to a cosmopolitan elective priesthood.
The history of social, intellectual, and moral conditions in Italy during the seventy years of the sixteenth century which followed Charles's coronation at Bologna, forms the subject of this work; but before entering upon these topics it will be well to devote one chapter to considering with due brevity the partition of Italy into five States in 1494, the dislocation of this order by the wars between Spain and France for supremacy, the position in which the same States found themselves respectively at the termination of those wars in 1527, and the new settlement of the peninsula effected by Charles V. in 1529–30.
The five members of the Italian federation in 1494 were the kingdom of Naples, the Papacy, the Duchy of Milan, and the Republics of Venice and Florence. Round them, in various relations of amity or hostility, were grouped these minor Powers: the Republics of Genoa, Lucca, Siena ; the Duchy of Ferrara, including Modena and Reggio; the Marquisates of Mantua and Montferrat; and the Duchy of Urbino. For our immediate purpose it is not worth taking separate account of the Republic of Pisa, which was practically though not thoroughly enslaved by Florence; or of the despots in the cities of Romagna, the March.
Umbria, and the Patrimony of S. Peter, who were being gradually absorbed into the Papal sovereignty. Nor need we at present notice Savoy, Piemonte, and Saluzzo. Although these north-western provinces were all-important through the period of FrancoSpanish wars, inasmuch as they opened the gate of Italy to French armies, and supplied those armies with a base for military operations, the Duchy of Savoy had not yet become an exclusively Italian Power.
The kingdom of Naples, on the death of Alfonso the Magnanimous in 1458, had been separated from Sicily, and passed by testamentary appointment to his natural son Ferdinand. The bastard Aragonese dynasty was Italian in its tastes and interests, though unpopular both with the barons of the realm and with the people, who in their restlessness were ready to welcome any foreign deliverer from its oppressive yoke. This state of general discontent rendered the revival of the old Angevine party, and their resort to French aid, a source of peril to the monarchy. It also served as a convenient fulcrum for the ambitious schemes of conquest which the princes of the House of Aragon in Spain began to entertain. In territorial extent the kingdom of Naples was the most considerable parcel of the Italian community. It embraced the whole of Calabria, Apulia, the Abruzzi, and the Terra di Lavoro; marching on its northern boundary with the Papal States, and having no other neighbors.