THE FALL OF IL MORO -- LOUIS XII. IN MILAN (1498-1507)
ON 7th April, 1498, died Charles VIII. Louis, Duke of Orleans thereupon succeeded him on the throne of France, assuming at the same time the titles of King of the Two Sicilies and Duke of Milan. Aided by a map of Lombardy and by the information which Trivulzio could furnish, the new monarch at once began to lay his plans for a fresh Italian campaign, declaring that he would rather possess the Duchy of Milan for a single year than spend a whole life-time without it. The long-expected blow had fallen, and Lodovico Sforza must prepare to defend his dominions against the power of France.
There were many reasons which distinguished Lodovico Il Moro as the special object of Louis XII.'s enmity. From the days of the War of Ferrara, Louis of Orleans had asserted his claims to Milan, as the grandson of Valentina Visconti, whenever the opportunity arose. His failure in 1495 had but whetted his ambitions, and during the years between his return from Italy and his accession, he had encouraged the exiled Guelphs of Lombardy to seek his protection and support. Now as the successor to Charles VIII., Louis must avenge the insult to the French Crown contained in Il Moro's repudiation of the Treaty of Vercelli, while the high position which Lodovico held among the princes of Italy marked him out as the chief obstacle to the predominance of France. Even beyond the borders of Italy France had suffered from Lodovico's opposing influence. The Duke of Milan perpetually urged Maximilian to keep the French King out of Italy by means of an attack on Burgundy. In 1498 a campaign actually took place, financed for the most