Europe to Conquer Italy – Francesco I and Carlo V Part II

By | February 11, 2022

As feared, Hadrian VI not only struck many petty interests in a city that, economically, was almost an appendage of the curia, but he isolated himself, estranged himself from Rome, did not deal with politics, something almost incomprehensible to the Romans, offended habits and deeply rooted feelings and tastes which constituted the Italian civilization of the time. Flemish, his eamerieri, Flemish the painter he called to himself; Spaniards and Swiss his guard; Spanish the castellan of Castel S. Angelo, many Flemish advisers and confidants and dignitaries. Raphael’s pupils and followers, who worked in Rome in the rooms of Costantino, Pierin del Vaga, Giulio Romano, Giovanni da Udine, as well as men like Castiglione and Sadoleto had to go to look for work elsewhere. Not that Adriano was not a man of righteous intentions; as well as, among the Spaniards and Flemings who surrounded the pope, they were not people of good standing. But they appeared and, in Renaissance Rome, were inexperienced, clumsy, of little mental agility, displaced, unable to grasp the surrounding matter, to establish those contacts with men without which an institution withers and dies. It is clear that two peoples, two cultures are facing each other. two mentalities: what was soon to deepen the gap between Italian Catholics and Protestant Germans. How would be understood, with two different religious professions, those who did not understand now that at least the faith united them7 And it is explained how Adrian VI was the last Germanic pope and also the last foreign pope on the throne of St. Peter. According to ELAINEQHO.COM, the Italians, hit in the chest by the invasion of Europe, they finished nationalizing the papacy. It was a means of defense. What he did not mean was to destroy his catholicity and make the pontiff the head of a circumscribed religious community. Indeed, precisely then, in the face of the crisis of catholicity which was also a crisis of medieval life, caused by external forces (Turks, 1522, the fall of Rhodes) and internal (Protestant) , genuine heirs and reenactors of Gregory VII and Innocent III, armed with all the weapons to face the dangers of the vast world, animated by a renewed ardor of proselytism towards the new continents, almost succeeded in canceling the State of the Church per se and consider it a benefit attached to the spiritual office. But the Italians put a certain ambition and a certain feeling of interest in them to keep the supreme government of the Church and they clung to the papacy as their own thing, their glory and defense. And his universality was the universality of Rome, of Italian culture. The reform that the popes asked of it and that the popes initiated was made according to this spirit, not denying but putting the Renaissance in value for the purposes of faith.

Wanting to be, above all, pope, Hadrian VI for some time kept himself impartial between the two contending parties. But then he too came close to Charles V. Venice also made an alliance with Charles V in July. For him sided, in a state of greater or lesser autonomy, Sforza of Milan, Florentine Medici, republics of Lucca and Genoa, Savoy and Gonzaga of Mantua. In short, Italy, gathered all around Charles V, who also had the King of England and his brother Ferdinand of Austria on his side. It seemed then that the aggressive spirit, the will to war, the ambitions of primacy, the danger to Italian “freedom”, were more on the side of France, a populous, compact, central European nation, all in the hands of its king, than on the side of ‘Habsburg. The purpose of the coalition was proclaimed the “freedom of Italy”. And the effort of the French was really stubborn on Italy. In the autumn of 1523, there was an attempt by the Bonnivet to take back the Duchy of Milan. And he failed. The following year, in pursuit of a Spanish and German army that had invaded Provence, Francis I himself tried again. And he seemed with better luck. He also set foot in Milan and besieged the Germans of Charles V in Pavia, led by Antonio de Leyva. And here, at the beginning of 1525, the decisive battle took place. The situation of the king of Spain and Germany and of his troops in Lombardy is dangerous. But his generals fought with a resolute will to win, knowing that a defeat could be irreparable. The victory of Pavia then determined a strong reaction to Charles V. The Spanish and German danger flashed. The hope of the diplomats to see the various foreign potentates counterbalance each other and wear each other out, fell. And they all felt the threat of total and perpetual servitude gather on their heads. The Italians opened their eyes to the reality of this gigantic monarchy that was being built, from Italy and the Baltic to America. And even the cautious Francesco Guicciardini recognized the need, and even admitted the possibility, of attempting an extreme defense. There was a danger that the alliance relations would change for all into relations of subjection. The populations were burdened with heavy burdens by the victors: not only those of the subject and occupied countries, but also those of the small independent states, Lucca, Ferrara, Siena, Monferrato, even Venice. There was a different opinion between generals and ministers of Charles V, about Italy: treating it as a land of conquest, treating it with a stick, suggested Antonio de Leyva, Pescara, Carlo di Lannoy viceroy of Naples, Enrico of Nassau etc., in short, especially the generals and, moreover, of Spanish or German nationality . A different sentence followed by the Grand Chancellor Gattinara. And the emperor had to impose silence on the two contending parties. Gattinara advised agreements with the Italian states, agreements with the pope, in order to remove any basis from the French in Italy or any possibility of their recovery.

Among these contrasts, the opinion of those who, meanwhile, had the army in hand, that is, the generals, prevailed. So violence, extortion, bounty, looting. In this way, the memory of the French, for some years very unpopular in Italy, was rehabilitated a little, as those to whom the first and greatest responsibility for having caused that great ruin of wars was attributed. The politicians were hoping for Suleiman who was advancing into Hungary, behind the imperials; but they also thought about helping themselves.

Europe to Conquer Italy - Francesco I and Carlo V 2