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several other places in the kingdom of Naples. On Carlo's
refusing to accede to this demand, Urban, with character-
istic impetuosity, had recourse to threats, to which the king
answered by putting the pontiff for some days under an
arrest. Urban, dissembling his indignation, requested,
and obtained of the prince, permission to retire to Nocera
for the benefit of his health. The first step which he took
on his arrival at that place, was to strengthen its fortifica-
tions, and recruit its garrison. He then proceeded to the
nomination of new cardinals, and threw seven members of
the sacred college into prison, alleging, that at the insti-
gation of Carlo, and of his rival Clement, they had formed
a conspiracy against his life. Having cited the Neapolitan
monarch to appear and answer to the charges which he had
to prefer against him, he proceeded to his trial. Carlo
treated the summons with contempt, and sent Count



" Paffffitts de Varietate Forturue, p. 56. Ammiruto Istorie Florentine.
P. I. T. II. p. 752.



12 CHAP. I.

Alberico, grand constable of his kingdom, at the head of an
army to lay siege t Nocera. Urban, escaping from that
city, embarked with his prisoners on board some Genoese
galleys, which had been prepared to aid his flight. Exaspe-
rated to the highest degree of cruelty, the fugitive pontiff
vented his fury on the captive cardinals, five of whom he
caused to be tied up in sacks, and thrown into the sea.*

On the death of Carlo, who, having usurped the throne
of Hungary, which belonged of right to Maria, the daugh-
ter of the late monarch, was murdered by assassins hired
by the deposed queen, Urban endeavoured to make himself
master of the kingdom of Naples. Being frustrated in this
attempt, he returned to Rome, where he died on the 15th
of October, 1389. We may easily credit the assertion of
Platina, that " few were the persons who wept at his death."

Poggio, in a letter to Angelotto, cardinal of St. Mark,
ascribes the violent conduct of Urban to a derangement of
intellect, consequent upon his elevation to the pontifical
dignity;^ and he has recorded in his Facetiae an anecdote,
which may be quoted as proving the prevalence of an opinion
that he was afflicted with insanity.!

* Platina, torn. i. p. 373, 374. Giannone, lib. xxiv. cap. i.

f Vide Poggii Epistolas Ivii, a Johanne Oliva Rhodigino vulgatas ad
calcem librorum de Varietate Fortuna, p. 199.

J Alter Urbanum olim summum pontificem leviter perstrinxit. Nam cum

ille nescio quid acrius a pontifice contenderet, " malo capite es " inquit Urba-

nus. Turn ille " hoc idem " inquit " et de te vulgi dicunt homines pater
tancte." Poggii Opera, edit, Basil, p. 428.



CHAP. I. 13

A.D. 1389. Urban was succeeded by Boniface IX.
a Neapolitan, of the family of the Tomacelli, who was
raised to the chair of St. Peter at the early age of thirty
years.* The distracted state of Italy required indeed the
exertions of a pontiff endowed with the vigour and activity
of the prime of life. That beautiful country was the '
devoted prey of war, rapine, and civil discord. The native
country of Poggio did not escape the general calamity.
Galeazzo, lord of Milan, having declared war against
Florence and Bologna, sent a powerful body of forces
under the command of Giovanni Ubaldino, with orders to
lay waste the territories of those states. In this extremity,
the Florentines dispatched a considerable army, under the
command of their general Auguto, to make a diversion in
the Milanese, and successfully solicited the assistance of
Stephen, duke of Bavaria, and of the count d'Armagnac.
The campaign was opened with brilliancy by the conquest of
Padua ; but the duke of Bavaria, having been seduced from
his fidelity to his allies by the tempting offers of the enemy,
returned to his own dominions. The count d'Armagnac,
descending into Italy by the way of Turin, with the in-
tention of co-operating ^rith Auguto, who had advanced to
Bergamo, was also successful in his first operations. But his
troops, encountering the enemy under the walls of Alessan-
dria, were put to the rout, and the count himself, exhausted
by his exertions, was carried a prisoner into the town, where
he soon afterwards expired in consequence, it is said, of
drinking a copious draught of cold water. In these critical

* Platina, torn. i. p. 376.



14 CHAP. I.

circumstances, the Florentines were greatly indebted to the
extraordinary military talents of Auguto, who with an
inferior force, effected a retreat through the heart of the
Milanese, and held in check the army of Galeazzo, which
had made an irruption into the Tuscan territories. Both
parties being at length weary of a contest which was pro-
ductive only of mutual injury, they listened to the paternal
admonitions of Boniface, who interposed between them in
the quality of mediator; and, under the auspices of the
pontiff and the duke of Genoa, a peace was concluded
between Galeazzo and the Florentines, on the basis of
mutual restitution.*

When will a sufficient number of instances have been
recorded by the pen of history, of nations harassing each
other by the outrages of war, and after years of havock and
bloodshed, when exhausted by exertions beyond their na-
tural strength, agreeing to forget the original subject of
dispute, and mutually to resume the station which they
occupied at the commencement of the contest. " Were
subjects wise," what would be their reflections, when their
rulers, after the most lavish waste qf blood, coolly sit down
and propose to each other the status quo ante bellum.
Happy would it be, could the status quo be extended to
the widow and the orphan to the thousands and tens of
thousands, who, in consequence of the hardships and

Plallna. torn. i. p. 376, 377. Poggii Historia Florentine,, lib. Hi. Am-
mirato Islor. lib. xv.



CHAP. I. 13

accidents of war, are doomed to languish out the remnant of
their lives in torment and decrepitude.

A. D. 1393. In the year 1393, the antipope Clement
VII. dying at Avignon, the schismatic cardinals, still per-
sisting in their rebellion against the Italian pontiff, elected
as the legitimate successor of St. Peter, Pietro da Luna,
who assumed the name of Benedict XIII.*

For the space of five years after the pacification of
Genoa, Florence enjoyed the blessings of peace; but at the
end of that period its tranquillity was again disturbed by
the ambition of Galeazzo, who had now obtained from the
emperor Wenceslaus, the title of duke of Milan. This
turbulent chieftain, being encouraged by the death of
Auguto,^ the experienced commander of the Florentine

Platina, torn. i. p. 378.

f- The English reader will prohably be surprised to recognize in Giovanni !
Auguto, his countryman John Hawkewood. John was a soldier of fortune, and
had been engaged in the war which Edward III. king of England, carried on with
so much glory against France. On the conclusion of peace between those two
countries, he led into Italy a band of 3000 adventurers, of restless spirits, and
approved courage, who had engaged to fight under his banners, on behalf of .
any state which would give them a suitable remuneration for their services. In
the year 1363, this army of desperadoes was hired by the republic of Pisa, and
spread ruin and devastation through the territories of Florence, with which state
the Pisans were then at war. They afterwards entered into the service of Bernabo
Visconti, lord of Milan, and being again opposed to the Florentines, they defeated
the Tuscan army, and made predatory incursions to the very gates of Florence.
Being defrauded by Bernabd of the remuneration which his services merited,
Hawkewood readily acceded to the terms proposed to him by the cardinal of
Berry, legate of pope Gregory XI. and heartily engaged on the side of the pontiff



1(5 CHAP. I.

forces, sent into Tuscany a strong body of troops, which
made incursions to the very gates of the capital. Ruin and
devastation attended the progress of the Milanese forces,
who laid waste the country with fire and sword, and led a
great number of the inhabitants into captivity. The fol-
lowing letter, addressed on a similar occasion by Poggio to
the chancellor of Siena, is at once a document of the
misery to which the small states of Italy were at this time
exposed in consequence of the wasteful irruptions of their

in hostilities against the lord of Milan. Having assisted in the capture of nearly
a hundred towns belonging to that prince, he had the satisfaction of seeing him
reduced to the necessity of suing for peace. In the year 1375 he entered into the
service of the Florentines. In the course of a little time he was promoted to the
chief command of the Tuscan forces, in which capacity he merited and acquired
the confidence of his employers, by the courage and skill with which he conducted
the military operations of the Republic. He retained the office of Generalissimo
of the Florentine army till the time of his death, which event took place in the
latter end of the year 1393. The gratitude of the Florentines honoured him
with a magnificent funeral, and his fame was perpetuated by an equestrian
statue, erected to his memory at the public expense.

Poggii Historia Florentina, p. 29, 41, 46, 122, 123. See particularly
note ( x) p. 29, which settles the English appellation of Auguto.

In a volume of portraits of illustrious men, engraven on wood, entitled Musaei
Joviani Imagines, and printed at Basil, An. 1577, there is a portrait of Auguto,
who is there denominated IOANNES AVCVTHVS. BRITAN. Underneath
this portrait is printed the following inscription.

" Anglorum egressus patriis Aucuthus ab oris,

" Italiae primum climata laetus adit,
" Militiae fuerat quascunque edoctus et artes,

" Ausoniae exeruit non semel ipse plagse,
" Ut donaretur statua defunctus equestri,

" Debita nam virtns pnemia semper habet."



CHAP. I. 17

enemies, and a record of the benevolent dispositions of the '
writer's heart.

" I could have wished that our correspondence had



Paulus Jovius, in his Elogia Virorum illustrium, p. 105, 106, gives a long
account of Auguto, who, he asserts, came into Italy in the suite of the duke
of Clarence, when that prince visited Milan, where he married the daughter of
Galcazzo Visconti.

Holingshed, in his Chronicle, has recorded the actions of Hawkcwood in
the following terms. " And that valiant knight, Sir John Hawkewood, whose
" fame in the parts of Italic shall remain for ever, where, as their histories make
" mention, he grew to such estimation for his valiant achieved enterprises, that
" happie might that prince or commonwealth accompt themselves that might
" have his service ; and so living there in such reputation, sometimes he served
" the Pope, sometimes the Lords of Millane, now this prince or commonwealth,
" now that, and otherwhiles none at all, but taking one towne or other, would
" keep the same till some liking entertainment were offered, and then would he
" sell such a towno, where he had thus remained, to them that would give him
" for it according to his mind. Barnabc, Lord of Millane, gave unto him one
" of his base daughters in marriage, with an honourable portion for her dower.

" This man was horn in Essex, (as some write) who at the first became a tailor '
" in London, and afterwards going to the warres in France, served in the roome
" of an archer ; but at length he became a Capteine and leader of men of war,
" highlie commended, and liked of amongst the souldiers, insomuch that when
" by the peace concluded at Bretignie, in the yeare 1360, great numbers of sol-
" diers were discharged out of wages, they got themselves together in companies,
" and without commandment of any prince, by whose authentic they might
" make warre, they fell to of themselves, and sore harried and spoiled diverse
" countries in the realm of France, as partlie yee have heard, amongst whome
" this Sir John Hawkewood was one of the principall capteines, and at length
" went into Italic to serve the Marquis of Montserrato, against the Duke of
" Millane, although I remember that some write how he came into that coun-
" trie with the Duke of Clarence, but 1 thinke the former report to be true ;
" hut it may well be that he was readic to attend the said Duke at his coming
" into Italic." HolingshefTs Chronicle, vol. ii. p. 413.



18 CHAP. I.

" commenced on other grounds than the calamity of a man
" for whom I have a great regard, and who has been taken
" captive, together with his wife and children, whilst he
" was engaged in the cultivation of my estate. I am in-
" formed that he and one of his sons are now languishing
" in the prisons of Siena. Another of his children, a boy
" of about five years of age is missing, and it is not known
" whether he is dead or alive. What can exceed the misery
f ( of this lamentable destiny ? I wish these distresses might
" fall upon the heads of their original authors : but alas !
^ r>Y " tne wretched rustics pay the forfeit of the crimes of others.

" When I reflect on the situation of those on whose behalf
" I now intercede with you, my writing is interrupted by
" my tears. For I cannot help contemplating in the eye
" of imagination the woe-worn aspect of the father the
" pallid countenance of the mother the exquisite grief of
" the unhappy son. They have lost every thing except their
" life, which is bereft of all its comforts. For the father,
" the captors demand, by way of ransom, ten, for the son,
"forty florins. These sums it is impossible for them to
" raise, as they have been deprived of their all by the
" rapacity of the soldiers, and if they do not meet with
" assistance from the well-disposed, they must end their
" days in captivity. I take the liberty of earnestly pressing
" this case upon your consideration, and I entreat you to
" use your utmost exertions to redeem these unfortunate
" people on the lowest terms possible. If you have any
" regard for my entreaties, or if you feel that affection which
"is due from one friend to another, I beseech you with
" all possible importunity to undertake the care of this



CHAP. I. 19

" wretched family, and save them from the misery of pcrish-
" ing in prison. This you may effect by exerting your
" interest to get their ransom fixed at a low rate. Whatever
" must be paid on this account, must be advanced by me.
" I trust my friend Pietro will, if it be necessary, assist
"you in this affair. I must request you to give me an
" answer, informing me what you can do, or rather what
" you have done, to serve me in this matter. I say what
" you have done, for I know you are able, and I trust you
" are willing to assist me. But I must hasten to close my
" letter, lest the misery of these unhappy people should be
" prolonged by my delay."*

The uneasiness which the Florentines experienced, in
consequence of the hostile incursions of Galeazzo's forces,
was considerably augmented by the accession of territory and
of strength, which that enterprising warrior at this time
obtained by the acquisition of the cities of Bologna, Pisa,
Siena, and several fortresses bordering on ^he territories of
the republic. Perugia also having thrown off its allegiance
to the pope, had sheltered itself from his indignation under
the protection of the duke of Milan. *f-

The year of the jubilee was now approaching, and the
Romans, ever delighted with the frivolity of magnificent
spectacles, sent a deputation to Boniface, who had studiously
withdrawn from Rome, requesting him to honour his capital

* Poggii Opera, edit. Basil, p. 311.
f Platina, torn. i. p. 37K.



30 CHAP. I.

with his presence. With this request, Boniface hesitated
to comply, alleging, as the reason of his hesitation, that
the choice of magistrates, which the Roman people had
lately made, was by no means pleasing to him. Unwilling
to forego the amusements and profits of the approaching
festival, the compliant citizens of Rome gratified the pon-
tiff with the selection of the principal officers of state, and
moreover, supplied him with a considerable sum of money.
Boniface, in return for these acts of submission, vouchsafed
to make his public entry into Rome ; and employed the
money which he had received, as the price of his condescen-
sion, in fortifying the Mole of Adrian, in modern times
better known by the name of the castle of St. Angelo, and
other posts, which gave him the command of the city.
Thus had the Romans the satisfaction of celebrating the
jubilee with extraordinary pomp, at the expense of the rem-
nant of their liberty.*

A. D. 1400. In the mean time the Florentines, being
hard pressed by the duke of Milan, derived a ray of hope
from the assistance of the newly-elected emperor Robert
duke of Bavaria, who promised to come to their aid, with a
powerful body of troops. The joy which they felt on this
occasion was however but of short continuance ; for soon
after his entrance into Italy, the emperor was totally defeated
by the duke of Milan, and the remnant of his army being
driven over the mountains, was obliged to take shelter in
the city of Trent. By the retreat of the imperial troops,

* Plalina, torn. i. p. 37'J.



CHAP. I. 21

the Florentines were reduced to the utmost extremity.
Abandoned by their allies, and exposed to the inroads of
their neighbours, they implored the assistance of Bonifa.ce.
The pontiff, who felt deep resentment against Galeazzo on
account of his seizure of several cities in the ecclesiastical
state, readily entered into the views of the Florentines, and
without hesitation concluded a treaty, by which he engaged
to bring into the field an army of five thousand men, which
was to co-operate with the Tuscan forces. But soon after
the commencement of the campaign, the Florentines were
happily relieved from their anxiety, by the death of their
inveterate enemy Galeazzo, whose career of conquest was
terminated by a fever, of which he died at Marignano,* on



* Marignano was a castle, or country residence, to which Galeazzo had
retired to avoid the plague, which had made its appearance in Milan. Poggio
informs us in his history of Florence, that the day and hour of his departure from
his capital was fixed by his astrologers, whom he was accustomed to consult in
all cases of consequence. According to the observations of these soothsayers, so
evidently had the stars determined the proper season for his journey, and so
auspicious was the appearance of the heavens, that they boldly predicted that
their illustrious patron would return, graced with the title of King of Italy.
Poggio also asserts, that it was generally believed, that the death of Galeazzo
was portended by a comet, which appeared in the month of March preceding that
event. It should seem that the astrologers of the lord of Milan had forgotten
to take this comet into their calculations.

Poggio's partiality to his native country did not render him blind to the
merits of Galeazzo, on whom he bestows the praise due to his liberality, magna-
nimity, and noble manners. He also highly commends him for his patronage
of literature and of learned men. The following anecdote however, which is
recorded in Poggio's Facetiae, proves that the lustre of Galcazzo's good qualities
was tarnished by his excessive indulgence in the pleasures of the table.

" Pope Martin V. had employed Antonio Lusco in the composition of tome
" letters, which, after he had perused them, the pontiff ordered him to submit to



22 CHAP. I.

the third of September, 1402. Soon after the death of this
powerful prince, many cities, of which he had at different
times forcibly taken possession, were seized by various petty
tyrants, who took advantage of the odium excited by the
vices of his son and successor Giovanni Maria ; and Boniface
availed himself of the general confusion to reduce Bologna
and Perugia to their ancient allegiance to the papal see.*

" the examination of a friend of mine, in whose judgment he had great confi-
'' dence. This person, who was a little disordered with wine at the time when
" the letters were communicated to him, totally disapproved of them, and
" ordered Lusco to re-write them. Then Antonio said to Bartolomeo de' Bardi,
" who happened to be present, I will do with my letters as the tailor did with
" Giovanni Galeazzo's waistcoat. Upon Bartolomeo's asking what that was, he
" replied, Giovanni Galeazzo was a very corpulent man, and was in the habit of
" eating and drinking immoderately at supper. As he was retiring to rest after
" one of these copious repasts, he sent for his tailor, and sharply reproved him
" for making his waistcoat too tight, and ordered him to widen it. I will take
" care said the tailor to execute your highness's orders, and I trust that to-
" moiTow it will fit you to your satisfaction. He then took the garment in
" question, and without making the least alteration in it, hung it on a nail.
" Being asked why he did not make the waistcoat wider, according to the orders
" which he had received, he said, to-morrow when the prince has digested his
" supper, it will be found large enough. He accordingly carried it back in the
" morning, when Galeazzo having put it on, said, Aye, now it will do it fits
. " perfectly easy." ,

Platina, torn. i. p. 379, 380. Poggii Historia Florentina, p. 153.

* During the state of anarchy into which the Milanese territories fell, in
consequence of the folly and wickedness of the successor of Galeazzo, Como
and Piacenza became the prey of the soldiers, Vercelli and Novara were seized
by the marquis of Montferat. Pandolfo Malatesta made himself master of
Brescia ; Ottobuono III. took possession of Piacenza, Parma, and Reggio.
Pavia, Alessandria, Tortona, and several other towns, submitted to the autho-
rity of Facino Cane. This last chieftain was the captain of one of those bands
of adventurers, who at this time subsisted upon the wages which they received
for their military services, and upon the plunder of the rich towns and fertile



CHAP. J. 23

It has been already observed, that Poggio arrived in
Rome in the year 1403. He was then in the twenty-fourth
year of his age. At this dangerous season, though animated
with a lively fancy, and stimulated by an ardent constitution,
he was not allured into dissipation, by the temptations of a
corrupt and luxurious court. We learn indeed from the
introductory conversation of his dialogue on Avarice, that
the appointments of the pontifical secretaries were not very
splendid. Antonio Lusco, one of the interlocutors in that
dialogue, is there represented as declaring, that their income
was scarcely sufficient to maintain the dignity of their
office.* It is probable therefore, that the scantiness of
Poggio^s revenues had no unfavorable influence on his moral
conduct and his studies. In the preface to his Historia
disceptativa conmmalis, he acknowledges, that he fre-
quently had recourse to literary pursuits, in order to beguile
the anxiety which he experienced in consequence of the

provinces of Italy. The following anecdote may serve to give the reader an
idea of the insolent rapacity with which these disciplined robbers carried on
their depredations. 4

" A person once complained to Facino Cane that he had been robbed of his
" cloak by one of that captain's soldiers. Facino, observing that the complain-
" ant was clad in a good waistcoat, asked him whether he wore that at the
" time when he was robbed. Being answered in the affirmative, Go, says he
" the man who robbed you cannot be one of my soldiers, for none of my follow-
" ere would have left you so good a waistcoat."

Poggii Hist. Flor. p. 159, IfiO. Opera, p. 427.

* " Mallem tamen dici adversus avaritiam, cum vcrear ne sit necesse nos
" fieri avaros, ob tenuitatem lucri quo vix possumus tueri officii nostri digni-

" tatem." +

Poggii Opera, edit. Basil, p. 5.



24 CHAP. I.

narrowness of his circumstances.* Poverty is not un-
frequently the parent of knowledge, and the stern, but
salutary guardian of virtue. Whatever might be the cause,
certain it is, that Poggio diligently devoted his leisure hours
to study, and cultivated the acquaintance of those whose
conversation might tend to the improvement of his mind.
As literary pursuits had at this sera acquired the currency of
fashion, the character of the scholar was frequently found
united with that of the man of the world. To this circum-
stance we may ascribe the union of learning, politeness, and
knowledge of the human heart, which shines so conspicuously
in the writings of Poggio.

On the 1st October, 1404, Poggio sustained a con-
siderable loss by the death of his patron, Boniface IX.



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