Vol. 6, Chapter VI (Cont’d) – Julius II., the Warrior-Pope. 1503-1513


Alexander’s successor, Pius III., a nephew of Pius II., and a man of large family, succumbed, within a month after his election, to the gout and other infirmities. He was followed by Julian Rovere, Alexander’s old rival, who, as cardinal, had played a conspicuous part for more than 30 years. He proved to be the ablest and most energetic pontiff the Church had had since the days of Innocent III. and Gregory IX. in the 13th century.

At Alexander’s death, Caesar Borgia attempted to control the situation. He afterwards told Machiavelli that he had made provision for every exigency except the undreamed-of conjunction of his own and his father’s sickness. Consternation ruled in Rome, but with the aid of the ambassadors of France, Germany, Venice and Spain, Caesar was prevailed upon to withdraw from the city, while the Orsini and the Colonna families, upon which Alexander had heaped high insult, entered it again.

The election of Julian Rovere, who assumed the name of Julius II., was accomplished with despatch October 31, 1503, after bribery had been freely resorted to. The Spanish cardinals, 11 in number and still in a measure under Caesar’s control, gave their votes to the successful candidate on condition that Caesar should be recognized as gonfalonier of the church. The faithful papal master-of-ceremonies, whose Diary we have had occasion to draw on so largely, was appointed bishop of Orta, but died two years later. Born in Savona of humble parentage and appointed to the sacred college by his uncle, Sixtus IV., Julius had recently returned to Rome after an exile of nearly 10 years. The income from his numerous bishoprics and other dignities made him the richest of the cardinals. Though piety was not one of the new pontiff’s notable traits, his pontificate furnished an agreeable relief from the coarse crimes and domestic scandals of Alexander’s reign. It is true, he had a family of three daughters, one of whom, Felice, was married into the Orsini family in 1506, carrying with her a splendid dowry of 15,000 ducats. But the marriage festivities were not appointed for the Vatican, nor did the children give offence by their ostentatious presence in the pontifical palace. Julius also took care of his nephews. Two of them were appointed to the sacred college, Nov. 29, 1503, and later two more were honored with the same dignity. For making the Spanish scholar, Ximenes, cardinal, Julius deserved well of other ages as well as his own. He was a born ruler. He had a dignified and imposing presence and a bright, penetrating eye. Under his white hair glowed the intellectual fire of youth. He was rapid in his movements even to impetuosity, and brave even to daring. Defeats that would have disheartened even the bravest seemed only to intensify Julius’ resolution. If his language was often violent, the excuse is offered that violence of speech was common at that time. As a cardinal he had shown himself a diplomat rather than a saint, and as pope he showed himself a warrior rather than a priest. When Michael Angelo, who was ordered to execute the pope’s statue in bronze, was representing Julius with his right hand raised, the pope asked, “What are you going to put into the left?” “It may be a book,” answered the artist. “Nay, give me a sword, for I am no scholar,” was the pope’s reply. Nothing could be more characteristic.

Julius’ administration at once brought repose and confidence to the sacred college and Rome. If he did not keep his promise to abide by the protocol adopted in the conclave calling for the assembling of a council within two years, he may be forgiven on the ground of the serious task he had before him in strengthening the political authority of the papal see. This was the chief aim of his pontificate. He deserves the title of the founder of the State of the Church, a realm that, with small changes, remained papal territory till 1870. This end being secured, he devoted himself to redeeming Italy from its foreign invaders. Three foes stood in his way, Caesar and the despots of the Italian cities, the French who were intrenched in Milan and Genoa, and the Spaniards who held Naples and Sicily. His effort to rescue Italy for the Italians won for him the grateful regard due an Italian patriot. Like Innocent III., he closed his reign with an ecumenical council.

Caesar Borgia returned to Rome, was recognized as gonfalonier and given apartments in the Vatican. Julius had been in amicable relations with the prince in France and advanced his marriage, and Caesar wrote that in him he had found a second father. But Caesar now that Alexander was dead, was as a galley without a rudder. He was an upstart; Julius a man of power and far-reaching plans. Prolonged co-operation between the two was impossible. The one was sinister, given to duplicity; the other frank and open to brusqueness. The encroachment of Venice upon the Romagna gave the occasion at once for Caesar’s fall and for the full restoration of papal authority in that region. Supporters Caesar had none who could be relied upon in the day of ill success. He no longer had the power which the control of patronage gives. Julius demanded the keys of the towns of the Romagna as a measure necessary to the dislodgment of Venice. Caesar yielded, but withdrew to Ostia, meditating revenge. He was seized, carried back to Rome and placed in the castle of S. Angelo, which had been the scene of his dark crimes. He was obliged to give up the wealth gotten at his father’s death and to sign a release of Forli and other towns. Liberty was then given him to go where be pleased. He accepted protection from the Spanish captain, Gonsalvo de Cordova, but on his arrival in Naples the Spaniard, with despicable perfidy, seized the deceived man and sent him to Spain, August, 1504. For two years he was held a prisoner, when he escaped to the court of his brother-in-law, the king of Navarre. He was killed at the siege of Viana, 1507, aged 31. Thus ended the career of the man who had once been the terror of Rome, whom Ranke calls “a virtuoso in crime,” and Machiavelli chose as the model of a civil ruler. This political writer had met Caesar after Julius’ elevation, and in his Prince says, “It seems good to me to propose Caesar Borgia as an example to be imitated by all those who through fortune and the arms of others have attained to supreme command. For, as he had a great mind and great ambitions, it was not possible for him to govern otherwise.” Caesar had said to the theorist, “I rob no man. I am here to act the tyrant’s part and to do away with tyrants.” Only if to obtain power by darkness and assassination is worthy of admiration, and if to crush all individual liberty is a just end of government, can the Machiavellian ideal be regarded with other feelings than those of utter reprobation. There is something pathetic in the recollection that, to the end, this inhuman brother retained the affection of his sister, Lucretia. She pled for his release from imprisonment in Spain, and Caesar’s letter to her announcing his escape is still extant. When the rumor came of his death, Lucretia despatched her servant, Tullio, to Navarre to find out the truth, and gave herself up to protracted prayer on her brother’s behalf. This beautiful example of a sister’s love would seem to indicate that Caesar possessed by nature some excellent qualities.

Julius was also actively engaged in repairing some of the other evils of Alexander’s reign and making amends for its injustices. He restored Sermoneta to the dukes of Gaetani. The document which pronounced severe reprobation upon Alexander ran, “our predecessor, desiring to enrich his own kin, through no zeal for justice, but by fraud and deceit, sought for causes to deprive the Gaetani of their possessions.” With decisive firmness, he announced his purpose to assert his lawful authority over the papal territory and, accompanied by 9 cardinals, he left Rome at the head of 500 men and proceeded to make good the announcement. Perugia was quickly brought to terms; and, aided by the French, the pope entered Bologna, against which he had launched the interdict. Returning to Rome, he was welcomed as a conqueror. The victorious troops passed under triumphal arches, including a reproduction of Constantine’s arch erected on St. Peter’s square; and, accompanied by 28 members of the sacred college, Julius gave solemn thanks in St. Peter’s.

The next to be brought to terms was Venice. In vain had the pope, through letters and legates, called upon the doge to give up Rimini, Faenza, Forli and other parts of the Romagna upon which he had laid his hand. In March, 1508, he joined the alliance of Cambrai, the other parties being Louis XII. and the emperor Maximilian, and later, Ferdinand of Spain. This agreement decided in cold blood upon the division of the Venetian possessions, and bound the parties to a war against the Turk. France was confirmed in the tenure of Milan, and given Cremona and Brescia. Maximilian was to have Verona, Padua and Aquileja; Naples, the Venetian territories in Southern Italy; Hungary, Dalmatia; Savoy, Cyprus; and the Apostolic see, the lands of which it had been dispossessed. It was high-handed robbery, even though a pope was party to it. Julius, who had promised to add the punishments of the priestly office to the force of arms, proceeded with merciless severity, and placed the republic under the interdict, April 27, 1509. In vain did Venice appeal to God and a general council. Past sins enough were written against her to call for severe treatment. She was forced to surrender Rimini, Faenza and Ravenna, and was made to drink the cup of humiliation to its dregs. The city renounced her claim to nominate to bishoprics and benefices and tax the clergy without the papal consent. The Adriatic she was forced to open to general commerce. Her envoys, who appeared in Roma to make public apology for the sins of the proud state, were subjected to the insult of listening on their knees to a service performed outside the walls of St. Peter’s and lasting an hour; at every verse of the Miserere the pope and 12 cardinals, each with a golden rod, touched them. Then, service over, the doors of the cathedral were thrown open and absolution pronounced. The next time Venice was laid under the papal ban, the measure failed.

Julius’ plans were next directed against the French, the impudent invaders of Northern Italy and claimants of sovereignty over it. Times had changed since the pope, as cardinal Julian Rovere, had accompanied the French army under Charles VIII. The absolution of Venice was tantamount to the pope’s withdrawal from the alliance of Cambrai. By making Venice his ally, he hoped to bring Ferrara again under the authority of the holy see. The duchy had flourished under the warm support of the French.

Julius now made a far-reaching stroke in securing the help of the Swiss, who had been fighting under the banners of France. The hardy mountaineers, who now find it profitable to entertain tourists from all over the world, then found it profitable to sell their services in war. With the aid of their vigorous countryman, Bishop Schinner of Sitten, afterwards made cardinal, the pope contracted for 6,000 Swiss mercenaries for five years. The localities sending them received 13,000 gulden a year, and each soldier 6 francs a month, and the officers, twice that sum. As chaplain of the Swiss troops, Zwingli went to Rome three times, a course of which his patriotism afterwards made him greatly ashamed. The descendants of these Swiss mercenaries defended Louis XVI., and their heroism is commemorated by Thorwaldsen’s lion, cut into the rock at Lucerne. Swiss guards, dressed in yellow suits, to this day patrol the approaches and halls of the Vatican.

The French king, Louis XII. (1498-1515), sought to break Julius’ power by adding to the force of arms the weight of a religious assembly and, at his instance, the French bishops met in council at Tours, September, 1510, and declared that the pope had put aside the keys of St. Peter, which his predecessors had employed, and seized the sword of Paul. They took the ground that princes were justified in opposing him with force, even to withdrawing obedience and invading papal territory. As in the reign of Philip the Fair, so now moneys were forbidden transferred from France to Rome, and a call was made by 9 cardinals for a council to meet at Pisa on Sept. 1st, 1511. This council of Tours denounced Julius as “the new Goliath,” and Louis had a coin struck off with the motto, I will destroy the name of Babylon — perdam Babylonis nomen. Calvin, in the year of his death, sent to Renée, duchess of Ferrara, one of these medals which in his letter, dated Jan. 8, 1564, he declared to be the finest present he had it in his power to make her. Renée was the daughter of Louis XII. Julius excommunicated Alfonso, duke of Ferrara, as a son of iniquity and a root of perdition. Thus we have the spectacle of the supreme priest of Christendom and the most Christian king, the First Son of the Church, again engaged in war with one another.

At the opening of the campaign, Julius was in bed with a sickness which was supposed to be mortal; but to the amazement of his court, he suddenly arose and, in the dead of Winter, January, 1511, betook himself to the camp of the papal forces. His promptness of action was in striking contrast to the dilatory policy of Louis, who spent his time writing letters and summoning ecclesiastical assemblies when he ought to have been on the march. From henceforth till his death, the pope wore a beard, as he is represented in Raphael’s famous portrait. Snow covered the ground, but Julius set an example by enduring all the hardships of the camp. To accomplish the defeat of the French, he brought about the Holy League, October, 1511, Spain and Venice being the other parties. Later, these three allies were joined by Maximilian and Henry VIII. of England. Henry had been honored with the Golden Rose. Henry’s act was England’s first positive entrance upon the field of general European politics.

In the meantime the French were carrying on the Council of Pisa. The pope prudently counteracted its influence by calling a council to meet in the Lateran. Christendom was rent by two opposing ecclesiastical councils as well as by two opposing armies. The armies met in decisive conflict under the walls of the old imperial city of Ravenna. The leader of the French, Gaston de Foix, nephew of the French king, though only 24, approved himself, in spite of his youth, one of the foremost captains of his age. Bologna had fallen before his arms, and now Ravenna yielded to the same necessity after a bloody battle. The French army numbered 25,000, the army of the League 20,000. In the French camp was the French legate, Cardinal Sanseverino, mounted and clad in steel armor, his tall form towering above the rest. Prominent on the side of the allied army was the papal legate, Cardinal de’ Medici, clad in white, and Giulio Medici, afterwards Clement VII. The battle took place on Easter Day, 1512. Gaston de Foix, thrown to the ground by the fall of his horse, was put to death by some of the seasoned Spanish soldiers whom Gonsalvo had trained. The victor, whose battle cry was “Let him that loves me follow me,” was borne into the city in his coffin. Rimini, Forli and other cities of the Romagna opened their gates to the French. Cardinal Medici was in their hands.

The papal cause seemed to be hopelessly lost, but the spirit of Julius rose with the defeat. He is reported to have exclaimed, “I will stake 100,000 ducats and my crown that I will drive the French out of Italy,” and the victory of Ravenna proved to be another Cannae. The hardy Swiss, whose numbers Cardinal Schinner had increased to 18,000, and the Venetians pushed the campaign, and the barbarians, as Julius called the French, were forced to give up what they had gained, to surrender Milan and gradually to retire across the Alps. Parma and Piacenza, by virtue of the grant of Mathilda, passed into his hands, as did also Reggio. The victory was celebrated in Rome on an elaborate scale. Cannons boomed from S. Angelo, and thanks were given in all the churches. In recognition of their services, the pope gave to the Swiss two large banners and the permanent title of Protectors of the Apostolic see — auxiliatores sedis apostolicae. Such was the end of this remarkable campaign.

Julius purchased Siena from the emperor for 30,000 ducats and, with the aid of the seasoned Spanish troops, took Florence and restored the Medici to power. In December, 1513, Maximilian, who at one time conceived the monstrous idea of combining with his imperial dignity the office of supreme pontiff, announced his support of the Lateran council, the pope having agreed to use all the spiritual measures within his reach to secure the complete abasement of Venice. The further execution of the plans was prevented by the pope’s death. In his last hours, in a conversation with Cardinal Grimani, he pounded on the floor with his cane, exclaiming, “If God gives me life, I will also deliver the Neapolitans from the yoke of the Spaniards and rid the land of them.”

The Pisan council had opened Sept. 1, 1511, with only two archbishops and 14 bishops present. First and last 6 cardinals attended, Carvajal, Briçonnet, Prie, d’Albret, Sanseverino and Borgia. The Universities of Paris Toulouse and Poictiers were represented by doctors. After holding three sessions, it moved to Milan, where the victory of Ravenna gave it a short breath of life. When the French were defeated, it again moved to Asti in Piedmont, where it held a ninth session, and then it adjourned to Lyons, where it dissolved of itself. Hergenröther, Pastor and other Catholic historians take playful delight in calling the council the little council — conciliabulum — and a conventicle, terms which Julius applied to it in his bulls. Among its acts were a fulmination against the synod Julius was holding in the Lateran, and it had the temerity to cite the pope to appear, and even to declare him deposed from all spiritual and temporal authority. The synod also reaffirmed the decrees of the 5th session of the Council of Constance, placing general councils over the pope.

Very different in its constitution and progress was the Fifth Lateran, the last ecumenical council of the Middle Ages, and the 18th in the list of ecumenical councils, as accepted by the Roman Catholic Church. It lasted for nearly five years, and closed on the eve of the nailing of the XCV theses on the church door in Wittenberg. It is chiefly notable for what it failed to do rather than for anything it did. The only one of its declarations which is of more than temporary interest was the deliverance, reaffirming Boniface’s theory of the supremacy of the Roman pontiff over all potentates and individuals whatsoever.

In his summons calling the council, Julius deposed the cardinals, who had entered into the Pisan synod, as schismatics and sons of darkness. The attendance did not compare in weight or numbers with the Council of Constance. At the 1st session, held May 3, 1512, there were present 16 cardinals, 12 patriarchs, 10 archbishops, 70 bishops and 3 generals of orders. The opening address by Egidius of Viterbo, general of the Augustinian order, after dwelling upon the recent glorious victories of Julius, magnified the weapons of light at the council’s disposal, piety, prayers, vows and the breastplate of faith. The council should devote itself to placating all Christian princes in order that the arms of the Christian world might be turned against the flagrant enemy of Christ, Mohammed. The council then declared the adherents of the Pisan conventicle schismatics and laid France under the interdict. Julius, who listened to the eloquent address, was present at 4 sessions.

At the 2d session, Cajetan dilated at length on the pet papal theory of the two swords.

In the 4th session, the Venetian, Marcello, pronounced a eulogy upon Julius which it would be hard to find excelled for fulsome flattery in the annals of oratory. After having borne intolerable cold, so the eulogist declared, and sleepless nights and endured sickness in the interests of the Church, and having driven the French out of Italy, there remained for the pontiff the greater triumphs of peace. Julius must be pastor, shepherd, physician, ruler, administrator and, in a word, another God on earth.

At the 5th session, held during the pope’s last illness, a bull was read, severely condemning simony at papal elections. The remaining sessions of the council were held under Julius’ successor.

When Julius came to die, he was not yet 70. No man of his time had been an actor in so many stirring scenes. On his death-bed he called for Paris de Grassis, his master of ceremonies, and reminded him how little respect had been paid to the bodies of deceased popes within his recollection. Some of them had been left indecently nude. He then made him promise to see to it that he should have decent care and burial. The cardinals were summoned. The dying pontiff addressed them first in Latin, and implored them to avoid all simony in the coming election, and reminded them that it was for them and not for the council to choose his successor. He pardoned the schismatic cardinals, but excluded them from the conclave to follow his death. And then, as if to emphasize the tie of birth, he changed to Italian and besought them to confirm his nephew, the duke of Urbino, in the possession of Pesaro, and then he bade them farewell. A last remedy, fluid gold, was administered, but in vain. He died Feb. 20, 1513.

The scenes which ensued were very different from those which followed upon the death of Alexander VI. A sense of awe and reverence filled the city. The dead pontiff was looked upon as a patriot, and his services to civil order in Rome and its glory counterbalanced his deficiencies as a priest of God.

It was of vast profit that the Vatican had been free from the domestic scandals which had filled it so long. From a worldly standpoint, Julius had exalted the papal throne to the eminence of the national thrones of Europe. In the terrific convulsion which Luther’s onslaughts produced, the institution of the papacy might have fallen in ruins had not Julius re-established it by force of arms. But in vain will the student look for signs that Julius II. had any intimation of the new religious reforms which the times called for and Luther began. What measures this pope, strong in will and bold in execution, might have employed if the movement in the North had begun in his day, no one can surmise. The monk of Erfurt walked the streets of Rome during this pontificate for the first and only time. While Luther was ascending the scala santa on his knees and running about to the churches, wishing his parents were in purgatory that he might pray them out, Julius was having perfected a magnificently jewelled tiara costing 200,000 ducats, which he put on for the first time on the anniversary of his coronation, 1511. These two men, both of humble beginnings, would have been more a match for each other than Luther and Julius’ successor, the Medici, the man of luxurious culture.

Under Julius II. the papal finances flourished. Great as were the expenditures of his campaigns, he left plate and coin estimated to be worth 400,000 ducats. A portion of this fund was the product of the sale of indulgences. He turned the forgiveness of sins for the present time and in purgatory into a matter of merchandise.

In another place, Julius will be presented from the standpoint of art and culture, whose splendid patron he was. What man ever had the privilege of bringing together three artists of such consummate genius as Bramante, Michael Angelo and Raphael! His portrait in the Pitti gallery, Florence, forms a rich study for those who seek in the lines and colors of Raphael’s art the secret of the pontiff’s power. The painter has represented Julius as an old man with beard, and with his left hand grasping the arm of the chair in which he sits. His fingers wear jewelled rings. The forehead is high, the lips firmly pressed, the eyes betokening weariness, determination and commanding energy.

In the history of the Western Continent, Julius also has some place. In 1504 he created an archbishopric and two bishoprics of Hispaniola, or Hayti. The prelates to whom they were assigned never crossed the seas. Seven years later, 1511, he revoked these creations and established the sees of San Domingo and Concepcion de la Vega on the island of Hayti and the see of San Juan in Porto Rico, all three subject to the metropolitan supervision of the see of Seville.


56. Leo X. 1513-1521

Illustration, Pope Leo X

The warlike Julius II. was followed on the pontifical throne by the voluptuary, Leo X., — the prelate whose iron will and candid mind compel admiration by a prince given to the pursuit of pleasure and an adept in duplicity. Leo loved ease and was without high aims. His Epicurean conception of the supreme office of Christendom was expressed in a letter he sent a short time after his election to his brother Julian. In it were these words, “Let us enjoy the papacy, for God has given it to us.” The last pontificate of the Middle Ages corresponded to the worldly philosophy of the pontiff. Leo wanted to have a good time. The idea of a spiritual mission never entered his head. No effort was made, emanating from the Vatican, to further the interests of true religion.

Born in Florence, Dec. 11, 1475, Giovanni de’ Medici, the second son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, had every opportunity which family distinction, wealth and learned tutors, such as Poliziano, could give. At 7 he received the tonsure, and at once the world of ecclesiastical preferment was opened to the child. Louis XI. of France presented him with the abbey of Fonte Dolce, and at 8 he was nominated to the archbishopric of Aix, the nomination, however, not being confirmed. A canonry in each of the cathedral churches of Tuscany was set apart for him, and his appointments soon reached the number of 27, one of them being the abbacy of Monte Cassino, and another the office of papal pronotary.

The highest dignities of the Church were in store for the lad and, before he had reached the age of 14, he was made cardinal-deacon by Innocent VIII., March 9, 1489. Three years later, March 8, 1492, Giovanni received in Rome formal investment into the prerogatives of his office. The letter, which Lorenzo wrote on this latter occasion, is full of the affectionate counsels of a father and the prudent suggestions of the tried man of the world, and belongs in a category with the letters of Lord Chesterfield to his son. Lorenzo reminded Giovanni of his remarkable fortune in being made a prince of the church, all the more remarkable because he was not only the youngest member of the college of cardinals, but the first cardinal to receive the dignity at so tender an age. With pardonable pride, he spoke of it as the highest honor ever conferred upon the Medicean house. He warned his son that Rome was the sink of all iniquities and exhorted him to lead a virtuous life, to avoid ostentation, to rise early, an admonition the son never followed, and to use his opportunities to serve his native city. Lorenzo died a few months later. Forthwith the young prelate was appointed papal legate to Tuscany, with residence in his native city.

When Julius died, Giovanni de’ Medici was only 37. In proceeding to Rome, he was obliged to be carried in a litter, on account of an ulcer for which an operation was performed during the meeting of the conclave. Giovanni, who belonged to the younger party, had won many friends by his affable manners and made no enemies, and his election seems to have been secured without any special effort on his part. The great-grandson of the banker, Cosimo, chose the name of Leo X. He was consecrated to the priesthood March 17, 1513, and to the episcopate March 19. The election was received by the Romans with every sign of popular approval. On the festivities of the coronation 100,000 ducats, or perhaps as much as 150,000 ducats, were expended, a sum which the frugality of Julius had stored up.

The procession was participated in by 250 abbots, bishops and archbishops. Alfonso of Este, whom Julius II. had excommunicated, led the pope’s white horse, the same one he had ridden the year before at Ravenna. On the houses and on the arches, spanning the streets, might be seen side by side statues of Cosmas and Damian, the patrons of the Medicean house, and of the Olympian gods and nymphs. On one arch at the Piazza di Parione were depicted Perseus, Apollo, Moses and Mercury, sacred and mythological characters conjoined, as Alexander Severus joined the busts of Abraham and Orpheus in his palace in the third century. A bishop, afterwards Cardinal Andrea della Valle, placed on his arch none but ancient divinities, Apollo, Bacchus, Mercury, Hercules and Venus, together with fauns and Ganymede. Antonio of San Marino, the silversmith, decorated his house with a marble statue of Venus, under which were inscribed the words — 

Mars ruled; then Pallas, but Venus will rule forever.

As a ruler, Leo had none of the daring and strength of his predecessor. He pursued a policy of opportunism and stooped to the practice of duplicity with his allies as well as with his enemies. On all occasions he was ready to shift to the winning side. To counteract the designs of the French upon Northern Italy, he entered with Maximilian, Henry VIII. and Ferdinand of Spain into the treaty of Mechlin, April 5, 1513. He had the pleasure of seeing the French beaten by Henry VIII. at the battle of the Spurs and again driven out of Italy by the bravery of the Swiss at Novara, June 6. Louis easily yielded to the pope’s advances for peace and acknowledged the authority of the Lateran council. The deposed cardinals, Carvajal and Sanseverino, who had been active in the Pisan council, signed a humiliating confession and were reinstated. Leo remarked to them that they were like the sheep in the Gospel which was lost and was found. A secret compact, entered into between the pontiff and King Louis, and afterwards joined by Henry VIII., provided for the French king’s marriage with Mary Tudor, Henry’s younger sister, and the recognition of his claims in Northern Italy. But at the moment these negotiations were going on, Leo was secretly engaged in the attempt to divorce Venice from the French and to defeat the French plans for the reoccupation of Milan. Louis’ career was suddenly cut short by death, Jan. 1, 1515, at the age of 52, three months after his nuptials with Mary, who was sixteen at the time of her marriage.

The same month Leo came to an understanding with Maximilian and Spain, whereby Julian de’ Medici, the pope’s brother, should receive Parma, Piacenza and Reggio. Leo purchased Modena from the emperor for 40,000 ducats, and was sending 60,000 ducats monthly for the support of the troops of his secret allies.

At the very same moment, faithless to his Spanish allies, the pope was carrying on negotiations with Venice to drive them out of Italy.

Louis’ son-in-law and successor, Francis I., a warlike and enterprising prince, held the attention of Europe for nearly a quarter of a century with his campaigns against Charles V., whose competitor he was for the imperial crown. Carrying out Louis’ plans, and accompanied by an army of 35,000 men with 60 cannon, he marched in the direction of Milan, inflicting at Marignano, Sept., 1515, a disastrous defeat upon the 20,000 Swiss mercenaries. At the first news of the disaster, Leo was thrown into consternation, but soon recovered his composure, exclaiming in the presence of the Venetian ambassador, “We shall have to put ourselves into the hands of the king and cry out for mercy.” The victory, was the reply, “will not inure to your hurt or the damage of the Apostolic see. The French king is a son of the Church.” And so it proved to be. Without a scruple, as it would seem, the pope threw off his alliances with the emperor and Ferdinand and hurried to get the best terms he could from Francis.

They met at Bologna. Conducted by 20 cardinals, Francis entered Leo’s presence and, uncovering his head, bowed three times and kissed the pontiff’s hand and foot. Leo wore a tiara glittering with gems, and a mantle, heavy with cloth of gold. The French orator set forth how the French kings from time immemorial had been protectors of the Apostolic see, and how Francis had crossed the mountains and rivers to show his submission. For three days pontiff and king dwelt together in the same palace. It was agreed that Leo yield up Parma and Piacenza to the French, and a concordat was worked out which took the place of the Pragmatic Sanction. This document, dating from the Council of Basel, and ratified by the synod of Bourges, placed the nomination to all French bishoprics, abbeys and priories in the hands of the king, and this clause the concordat preserved. On the other hand, the clauses in the Pragmatic Sanction were omitted which made the pope subject to general councils and denied to him the right to collect annates from French benefices higher and lower.

The election of a successor to the emperor Maximilian, who died Jan., 1519, put Leo’s diplomacy to the severest test. Ferdinand the Catholic, who had seen the Moorish domination in Spain come to an end and the Americas annexed to his crown, and had been invested by Julius II. in 1510 with the kingdom of Naples, died in 1516, leaving his grandson, Charles, heir to his dominions. Now, by the death of his paternal grandfather Maximilian, Charles was heir of the Netherlands and the lands of the Hapsburgs and natural claimant of the imperial crown. Leo preferred Francis, but Charles had the right of lineage and the support of the German people. To prevent Charles’ election, and to avoid the ill-will of Francis, he agitated through his legate, Cajetan, the election of either Frederick the Wise, elector of Saxony, or the elector of Brandenburg. Secretly he entered into the plans of Francis and allowed the archbishops of Treves and Cologne to be assured of their promotion to the sacred college, provided they would cast their electoral vote for the French king. But to be sure of his ground, no matter who might be elected, Leo entered also into a secret agreement with Charles. Both candidates had equal reason for believing they had the pope on their side. Finally, when it became evident that Francis was out of the race, and after the electors had already assembled in Frankfurt, Leo wrote to Cajetan that it was no use beating one’s head against the wall and that he should fall in with the election of Charles. Leo had stipulated 100,000 ducats as the price of his support of Charles. He sent a belated letter of congratulation to the emperor-elect, which was full of tropical phrases, and in 1521, at the Diet of Worms, the assembly before which Luther appeared, he concluded with Charles an alliance against his former ally, Francis. The agreement included the reduction of Milan, Parma and Piacenza. The news of the success of Charles’ troops in taking these cities reached Leo only a short time before his death, Dec. 1, 1521. For the cause of Protestantism, the papal alliance with the emperor against France proved to be highly favorable, for it necessitated the emperor’s absence from Germany.

In his administration of the papacy, Leo X. was not unmindful of the interests of his family. Julian, his younger brother, was made gonfalonier of the Church, and was married to the sister of Francis I.’s mother. For a time he was in possession of Parma, Piacenza and Reggio. Death terminated his career, 1516. His only child, the illegitimate Hippolytus, d. 1535, was afterwards made cardinal.

The worldly hopes of the Medicean dynasty now centred in Lorenzo de’ Medici, the son of Leo’s older brother. After the deposition of Julius’ nephew, he was invested with the duchy of Urbino. In 1518 he was married to Madeleine de la Tour d’Auvergne, a member of the royal house of France. Leo’s presents to the marital pair were valued at 300,000 ducats, among them being a bedstead of tortoise-shell inlaid with mother-of-pearl and precious stones. They took up their abode at Florence, but both husband and wife died a year after the marriage, leaving behind them a daughter who, as Catherine de’ Medici, became famous in the history of France and the persecution of the Huguenots. With Lorenzo’s death, the last descendant of the male line of the house founded by Cosimo de’ Medici became extinct.

In 1513 Leo admitted his nephew, Innocent Cibo, and his cousin, Julius, to the sacred college. Innocent Cibo, a young man of 21, was the son of Franceschetto Cibo, Innocent VIII.’s son, and Maddelina de’ Medici, Leo’s sister. His low morals made him altogether unfit for an ecclesiastical dignity. Julius de’ Medici, afterwards Clement VII., was the bastard son of Leo’s uncle, who was killed in the Pazzi conspiracy under Sixtus IV., 1478. The impediment of the illegitimate birth was removed by a papal decree. Two nephews, Giovanni Salviati and Nicolas Ridolfi, sons of two of Leo’s sisters, were also vested with the red hat, 1517. On this occasion Leo appointed no less than thirty-one cardinals. Among them were Cajetan, the learned general of the Dominicans, Aegidius of Viterbo, who had won an enviable fame by his address opening the Lateran council, and Adrian of Utrecht, Leo’s successor in the papal chair. Of the number was Alfonso of Portugal, a child of 7, but it was understood he was not to enter upon the duties of his office till he had reached the age of 14. Among the other appointees were princes entirely unworthy of any ecclesiastical office.

The Vatican was thrown into a panic in 1517 by a conspiracy directed by Cardinal Petrucci of Siena, one of the younger set of cardinals with whom the pope had been intimate. Embittered by Leo’s interference in his brother’s administration of Siena and by the deposition of the duke of Urbino, Petrucci plotted to have the pope poisoned by a physician, Battesta de Vercelli, a specialist on ulcers. The plot was discovered, and Petrucci, who came to Rome on a safe-conduct procured from the pope by the Spanish ambassador, was cast into the Marroco, the deepest dungeon of S. Angelo. On being reminded of the safe-conduct, Leo replied to the ambassador that no one was safe who was a poisoner. Cardinals Sauli and Riario were entrapped and also thrown into the castle-dungeons. Two other cardinals were suspected of being in the plot, but escaped. Petrucci and the physician were strangled to death; Riario and Sauli were pardoned. Riario, who had witnessed the dastardly assassination in the cathedral of Florence 40 years before, was the last prominent representative of the family of Sixtus IV. Torture brought forth the confession that the plotters contemplated making him pope. Leo set the price of the cardinal’s absolution high, — 150,000 ducats to be paid in a year, and another 150,000 to be paid by his relatives in case Riario left his palace. He finally secured the pope’s permission to leave Rome, and died, 1521, at Naples.

One of the sensational pageants which occurred during Leo’s pontificate was on the arrival of a delegation from Portugal, 1514, to announce to the pope the obedience of its king, Emmanuel. The king sent a large number of presents, among them horses from Persia, a young panther, two leopards and a white elephant. The popular jubilation over the procession of the wild beasts reached its height when the elephant, taking water into his proboscis, spurted it over the onlookers. In recognition of the king’s courtesy, the pope vested in Portugal all the lands west of Capes Bojador and Non to the Indies.

The Fifth Lateran resumed its sessions in April, 1513, a month after Leo’s election. The council ratified the concordat with France, and at the 8th session, Dec. 19, 1513, solemnly affirmed the doctrine of the soul’s immortality. The affirmation was called forth by the scepticism of the Arabic philosophers and the Italian pantheists. A single vote recorded against the decree came from the bishop of Bergamo, who took the ground that it is not the business of theologians to spend their time sitting in judgment upon the theories of philosophers.

The invention of printing was recognized by the council as a gift from heaven intended for the glory of God and the propagation of good science, but the legitimate printing of books was restricted to such as might receive the sanction of the master of the palace in Rome or, elsewhere, by the sanction of the bishop or inquisitors who were charged with examining the contents of books. The condemnation of all books, distasteful to the hierarchy, was already well under way.

The council approved the proposed Turkish crusade and levied a tenth on Christendom. Its collection was forbidden in England by Henry VIII. Cajetan presented the cause in an eloquent address at the Diet of Augsburg, 1518. Altogether the most significant of the council’s deliverances was the bull, Pater aeternus, labelled as approved by its authority and sent out by Leo, 1516. Here the position is reaffirmed — the position taken definitely by Pius II. and Sixtus IV. — that it is given to the Roman pontiff to have authority over all Church councils and to appoint, transfer and dissolve them at will. This famous deliverance expressly renewed and ratified the constitution of Boniface VIII., the Unam sanctam, asserting it to be altogether necessary to salvation for all Christians to be subject to the Roman pontiff. To this was added the atrocious declaration that disobedience to the pope is punishable with death. Innocent III. had quoted Deu_17:12 in favor of this view, falsifying the translation of the Vulgate, which he made to read, “that whoever does not submit himself to the judgment of the high-priest, him shall the judge put to death.” The council, in separating the quotations, falsely derived it from the Book of the Kings.

Nor should it be overlooked that in his bull the infallible Leo X. certified to a falsehood when he expressly declared that the Fathers, in the ancient councils, in order to secure confirmation for their decrees, “humbly begged the pope’s approbation.” This he affirmed of the councils of Nice, 325, Ephesus, Chalcedon, Constantinople, 680, and Nice, 787. 214 years before, when Boniface VIII. issued his bull, Philip the Fair was at hand to resist it. The French sovereign now on the throne, Francis I., made no dissent. The concordat had just been ratified by the council.

The council adjourned March 16, 1517, a bare majority of two votes being for adjournment. Writers of Gallican sympathies have denied its ecumenical character. On the other hand, Cardinal Hergenröther regrets that the Church has taken a position to it of a stepmother to her child. Pastor says there was already legislation enough before the Fifth Lateran sat to secure all the reforms needed. Not laws but action was required. Funk expresses the truth when he says, what the council did for Church reform is hardly worth noting down.

In passing judgment upon Leo X., the chief thing to be said is that he was a worldling. Religion was not a serious matter with him. Pleasure was his daily concern, not piety. He gave no earnest thought to the needs of the Church. It would scarcely be possible to lay more stress upon this feature in the life of Louis XIV., or Charles II., than does Pastor in his treatment of Leo’s career. Reumont says it did not enter Leo’s head that it was the task and duty of the papacy to regenerate itself, and so to regenerate Christendom. Leo’s personal habits are not a matter of conjecture. They lie before us in a number of contemporary descriptions. In his reverend regard for the papal office, Luther did Leo an unintentional injustice when he compared him to Daniel among the lions. The pope led the cardinals in the pursuit of pleasure and in extravagance in the use of money. To one charge, unchasteness, Leo seems not to have exposed himself. How far this was a virtue, or how far it was forced upon him by nature, cannot be said.

The qualities, with which nature endowed him, remained with him to the end. He was good-humored, affable and accessible. He was often found playing chess or cards with his cardinals. At the table he was usually temperate, though he spent vast sums in the entertainment of others. He kept a monk capable of swallowing a pigeon at one mouthful and 40 eggs at a sitting. To his dress he gave much attention, and delighted to adorn his fingers with gems.

The debt art owes to Leo X. may be described in another place. Rome became what Paris afterwards was, the centre of luxury, art and architectural improvement. The city grew with astonishing rapidity. “New buildings,” said an orator, “are planted every day. Along the Tiber and on the Janicular hill new sections arise.” Luigi Gradenigo, the Venetian ambassador, reports that in the ten years following Leo’s election, 10,000 buildings had been put up by persons from Northern Italy. The palaces of bankers, nobles and cardinals were filled with the richest furniture of the world. Artists were drawn from France and Spain as well as Italy, and every kind of personality who could afford amusement to others.

The Vatican was the resort of poets, musicians, artists, and also of actors and buffoons. Leo joined in their conversation and laughed at their wit. He even vied with the poets in making verses off-hand. Musical instruments ornamented with gold and silver he purchased in Germany. With almost Oriental abandon he allowed himself to be charmed with entertainments of all sorts.

Among Leo’s amusements the chase took a leading place, though it was forbidden by canonical law to the clergy. Fortunately for his reputation, he was not bound, as pope, by canon law. As Louis XIV. said, “I am the state,” so the pope might have said, “I am the canon law.” Portions of the year he passed booted and spurred. He fished in the lake of Bolsena and other waters. He takes an inordinate pleasure in the chase, wrote the Venetian ambassador. He hunted in the woods of Viterbo and Nepi and in the closer vicinity of Rome, but with most pleasure at his hunting villa, Magliana. He reserved for his own use a special territory. The hunting parties were often large. At a meet, prepared by Alexander Farnese, the pope found himself in the midst of 18 cardinals, besides other prelates, musicians, actors and servants. A pack of sixty or seventy dogs aided the hunters. Magliana was five miles from Rome, on the Tiber. This favorite pleasure castle is now a desolate farmhouse. In strange contrast to his own practice, the pope, at the appeal of the king of Portugal, forbade the privileges of the chase to the Portuguese clergy.

The theatre was another passion to which Leo devoted himself. He attended plays in the palaces of the cardinals and rich bankers and in S. Angelo, and looked on as they were performed in the Vatican itself. Bibbiena, one of the favorite members of his cabinet, was a writer of salacious comedies. One of these, the Calandria, Leo witnessed performed in 1514 in his palace. The ballet was freely danced in some of these plays, as in the lascivious Suppositi by Ariosto, played before the pope in S. Angelo on Carnival Sunday. Another of the plays was the Mandragola, by Machiavelli, to modern performances of which in Florence young people are not admitted. An account given of one of these plays by the ambassador of Ferrara, Paolucci, represented a girl pleading with Venus for a lover. At once, eight monks appeared on the scene in their gray mantles. Venus bade the girl give them a potion. Amor then awoke the sleepers with his arrow. The monks danced round Amor and made love to the girl. At last they threw aside their monastic garb and all joined in a moresca. On the girl’s asking what they could do with their arms, they fell to fighting, and all succumbed except one, and he received the girl as the prize of his prowess. And Leo was the high-priest of Christendom, the professed successor of Peter the Apostle!

Festivities of all sorts attracted the attention of the good-natured pope. With 14 cardinals he assisted at the marriage of the rich Sienese banker, Agostino Chigi, to his mistress. The entertainment was given at Chigi’s beautiful house, the Farnesina. This man was considered the most fortunate banker of his day in Rome. The kings of Spain and France and princes of Germany sent him presents, and sought from him loans. Even the sultan was said to have made advances for his friendship. His income was estimated at 70,000 ducats a year, and he left behind him 800,000 ducats. This Croesus was only fifty-five when death separated him from his fortune. At one of his banquets, the gold plates were thrown through the windows into the Tiber after they were used at the table, but fortunately they were saved from loss by being caught in a net which had been prepared for them. On another occasion, when Leo and 18 cardinals were present, each found his own coat-of-arms on the silver dishes he used. At Agostino’s marriage festival, Leo held the bride’s hand while she received the ring on one of her fingers. The pontiff then baptized one of Chigi’s illegitimate children. Cardinals were not ashamed to dine with representatives of the demi-monde, as at a banquet given by the banker Lorenzo Strozzi. But in scandals of this sort Alexander’s pontificate could not well be outdone.

With the easy unconcern of a child of the world, spoiled by fortune, the light-hearted de’ Medici went on his way as if the resources of the papal treasury were inexhaustible. Julius was a careful financier. Leo’s finances were managed by incompetent favorites. In 1517 his annual income is estimated to have been nearly 600,000 ducats. Of this royal sum, 420,000 ducats were drawn from state revenues and mines. The alum deposits at Tolfa yielded 40,000; Ravenna and the salt mines of Cervia, 60,000; the river rents in Rome, 60,000; and the papal domains of Spoleto, Ancona and the Romagna, 150,000. According to another contemporary, the papal exchequer received 160,000 ducats from ecclesiastical sources. The vendable offices at the pope’s disposal at the time of his death numbered 2,150, yielding the enormous yearly income of 328,000 ducats.

Two years after Leo assumed the pontificate, the financial problem was already a serious one. All sorts of measures had to be invented to increase the papal revenues and save the treasury from hopeless bankruptcy. By augmenting the number of the officials of the Tiber — porzionari di ripa — from 141 to 612, 286,000 ducats were secured. The enlargement of the colleges of the cubiculari and scudieri, officials of the Vatican, brought in respectively 90,000 and 112,000 ducats more. From the erection of the order of the Knights of St. Peter, — cavalieri di San Pietro, — with 401 members, the considerable sum of 400,000 ducats was realized, 1,000 ducats from each knight. The sale of indulgences did not yield what it once did, but the revenue from this source was still large. The highest ecclesiastical offices were for sale, as in the reign of Alexander. Cardinal Innocent Cibo paid 30,000 ducats or, at; another report went, 40,000, for his hat, and Francesco Armellini bought his for twice that amount.

The shortages were provided for by resort to the banker and the usurer and to rich cardinals. Loan followed loan. Not only were the tapestries of the Vatican and the silver plate given as securities, but ecclesiastical benefices, the gems of the papal tiara and the rich statues of the saints were put in pawn. Sometimes the pope paid 20 per cent for sums of 10,000 ducats and over. It occasions no surprise that Leo’s death was followed by a financial collapse, and a number of cardinals passed into bankruptcy, including Cardinal Pucci, who had lent the pope 150,000 ducats. From the banker, Bernado Bini, Leo had gotten 200,000 ducats. His debts were estimated as high as 800,000 ducats. It was a common joke that Leo squandered three pontificates, the legacy Julius left and the revenues of his successor’s pontificate, as well as the income of his own.

For the bankers and all sorts of money dealers the Medicean period was a flourishing time in Rome. No less than 30 Florentines are said to have opened banking institutions in the city, and, at the side of the Fuggers and Welsers, did business with the curia. The Florentines found it to be a good thing to have a Medicean pope, and swarmed about the Vatican as the Spaniards had done in the good days of Calixtus III. and Alexander VI., the Sienese, during the reign of Pius II., and the Ligurians while Sixtus IV. of Savona was pope. They stormed the gates of patronage, as if all the benefices of the Church were intended for them.

Leo’s father, Lorenzo, said of his three sons that Piero was a fool, Giuliano was good and Giovanni shrewd. The last characterization was true to the facts. Leo X. was shrewd, the shrewdness being of the kind that succeeds in getting temporary personal gain, even though it be by the sacrifice of high and accessible ends. His amiability and polish of manners made him friends and secured for him the tiara. He was not altogether a degenerate personality like Alexander VI., capable of all wickedness. But his outlook never went beyond his own pleasures. The Vatican was the most luxurious court in Europe; it performed no moral service for the world. The love of art with Leo was the love of color, of outline, of beauty such as a Greek might have had, not a taste controlled by regard for spiritual grace and aims. In his treatment of the European states and the Italian cities, his diplomacy was marked by dissimulation as despicable as any that was practised by secular courts. Without a scruple be could solemnly make at the same moment contradictory pledges. Perfidy seemed to be as natural to him as breath.

At the same time, Leo followed the rubrics of religion. He fasted, so it is reported, three times a week, abstained from meat on Wednesday and Friday, daily read his Breviary and was accustomed before mass to seek absolution from his confessor. But he was without sanctity, without deep religious conviction. The issues of godliness had no appreciable effect upon him in the regulation of his habits. Even in his patronage of art and culture, he forgot or ignored Ariosto, Machiavelli, Guicciardini and Erasmus. What a noble substitution it would have been, if these men had found welcome in the Vatican, and the jesters and buffoons and gormandizers been relegated to their proper place! The high-priest of the Christian world is not to be judged in the same terms we would apply to a worldly prince ruling in the closing years of the Middle Ages. The Vatican, Leo turned into a house of revelling and frivolity, the place of all others where the step and the voice of the man of God should have been heard. The Apostle, whom he had been taught to regard as his spiritual ancestor, accomplished his mission by readiness to undergo, if necessary, martyrdom. Leo despoiled his high office of its sacredness and prostituted it into a vehicle of his own carnal propensities. Had he followed the advice of his princely father, man of the world though he was, Leo X. would have escaped some of the reprobation which attaches to his name.

There is no sufficient evidence that Leo ever used the words ascribed to him, “how profitable that fable of Christ has been to us.” Such blasphemy we prefer not to associate with the de’ Medici. Nevertheless, no sharper condemnation of one claiming to be Christ’s vicar on earth could well be thought of than that which is carried by the words of Sarpi, the Catholic historian of the Council of Trent, who said, “Leo would have been a perfect pope, if he had combined with his other good qualities a moderate knowledge of religion and a greater inclination to piety, for neither of which he shewed much concern.” Before Leo’s death, the papacy had lost a part of its European constituency, and that part which, in the centuries since, has represented the furthest progress of civilization. The bull which this pontiff hurled at Martin Luther, 1520, was consumed into harmless ashes at Wittenberg, ashes which do not speak forth from the earth as do the ashes of John Huss. To the despised Saxon miner’s son, the Protestant world looks back for the assertion of the right to study the Scriptures, a matter of more importance than all the circumstance and rubrics of papal office and sacerdotal functions. Not seldom has it occurred that the best gifts to mankind have come, not through a long heritage of prerogatives but through the devotion of some agent of God humbly born. It seemed as if Providence allowed the papal office at the close of the medieval age to be filled by pontiffs spiritually unworthy and morally degenerate, that it might be known for all time that it was not through the papacy the Church was to be reformed and brought out of its medieval formalism and scholasticism. What popes had refused to attempt, another group of men with no distinction of office accomplished.