Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Pio II E le Trasformazioni dell'Europa Cristiana, 1456-1464

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Pio II E le Trasformazioni dell'Europa Cristiana, 1456-1464

Article excerpt

Pio II e le trasformazioni dell'Europa cristiana, 1456-1464. By Barbara Baldi. [Centro per gli studi di politica estera, 11.] (Milan: Edizioni Unicopli. 2006. Pp. xxiii, 271. euro20,00. ISBN 978-8-840-01149-3.)

Barbara Baldi' s book is a close and long-needed look at the pontificate of the Piccolomini pope Pius II (1458-64) in terms of its political issues. The book begins by examining Pius's viewpoint on Europe. Europe appears as a cultural, not just a geographic or political entity. Furthermore, the pope is described, even before Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini ascended the papal throne, as led by Rome. This ideal would come into conflict with European realities, especially the political interests of princes and communes. Not even mild diplomacy could budge most princes toward a crusade against the Turks, whether via the Congress of Mantua or through normal diplomatic channels. Moreover, the papacy could not act without being accused of using the crusade to raise money for selfish purposes. As the author notes, both the Congress of Mantua and the declaration the pope would lead his crusade were accompanied by actions against critics - Diether von Iseberg, archbishop of Cologne, in the one case, and George Podiebrad, king of Bohemia, in the other.

Particularly, the book deals with the Italian entanglements of the pope as he sought to promote a unified effort to repel the Turks. The depth of Pius II's tie to the Sforza regime in Milan is given particular attention. Moreover, the book casts light on the issue of the Neapolitan succession, which is familiar but not ordinarily studied as deeply as it might, for the period after the death of King Alfonso the Magnanimous of Aragon. The French interest in the Angevin claim to the Neapolitan throne looms large, although no campaign was undertaken to oust the Aragonese dynasty until late in the fifteenth century. …

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