Machiavelli and Renaissance Italy

By J. R. Hale | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
Defeat and Dismissal: 1510-1512

WHILE Machiavelli spent the spring of 1510 engaged in militia business, the shape of international politics was undergoing a drastic revision in the face of Julius II's change of front: perturbed by the foothold France and Maximilian had gained in Lombardy, and, satisfied by his own acquisitions, he began to substitute for his former 'Down with Venice!' 'Out with the Barbarians!' -- a cry that was to become notorious. In February he signed peace terms with the Venetians and prepared a three-pronged assault on his ex-ally, France, aiming at Ferrara and Genoa, both French dependencies, and urging the Swiss to invade Lombardy from the north.

Florence was in a delicate position, caught between two traditional friendships. Apart from the Savonarolan interlude, she had been friendly towards the papacy: from 1494 she had remained an ally of France. Her best friends were now at one another's throats: which should she help? To gain time, Soderini sent Machiavelli to Louis on June 24th. He was to say that Florence hoped an open rupture between France and the papacy could be avoided, and to urge Louis to continue the war against Venice. But Machiavelli found Louis resolutely anti-papal and preparing a general council of the Church which would depose

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