1902 Encyclopedia > Rome > Mediaeval Roman History - History of the Roman Republic in the Middle Ages - (e) Cola de Rienzo and the Pope's Return to Rome

Rome
(Part 17)




UNIT I: ROMAN HISTORY

SECTION II: HISTORY OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC IN THE MIDDLE AGES

(e) Cola de Rienzo and the Pope's Return to Rome


Cola di Rienzo

Shortly before this another revolution in Rome had re-established the government of the Thirteen and the two senators. The people, being anxious to show their intention of respecting the papal authority, had despatched to Avignon as ambassador of the republic, in 1343, a man destined to make much noise in the world. This was Cola di Bienzo, son of a Roman innkeeper, a notary, and an impassioned student of the Bible, the fathers, Livy, Seneca, Cicero, and Valerius Maximus. Thoroughly imbued with a half pagan half Christian spirit, he believed that he had a divinely inspired mission to revive the ancient glories of Rome. Of handsome presence, full of fantastic eloquence, and stirred to enthusiasm by contemplation of the ruined monuments of Rome, he harangued the people with a stilted oratory that enchanted their ears. He hated the nobles, because one of his brothers had been killed by them; he loved the republic, and in its name addressed a stately Latin speech to the astonished pope, and, offering him the supreme power, besought his instant return to Rome. He also begged him to allow the city to celebrate a jubilee every fifty years, and then, as a personal request, asked to be nominated notary to the urban chamber. The pope consented to everything, and Rienzi communicated this good news to Rome in an emphatically worded epistle. After Easter, in 1344, he returned to Rome, and found to his grief that the city was a prey to the nobles. He immediately began to admonish the latter, and then, draped in a toga adorned with symbols, exhibited and explained allegorical designs to the people, and announced the speedy restoration of the past grandeur of Rome. Finally he and a few burghers and merchants, whom he had secretly inflamed by his discourses, made a solemn vow to overthrow the nobility and consolidate the republic. The moment was favourable, owing to the anarchy of Naples, the absence of the pope, the weakness of the empire, and the disputes of the barons, although the latter were still very potent and constituted, as it were, a separate government opposed to that of the people. Rienzi, having gained the pope's ecclesiastical vicar to his side, passed in prayer the night of the 19th May 1347, placing his enterprise under the protection of the Holy Spirit, and the following day marched to the Capitol, surrounded by his adherents, convoked a parliament of the people, and obtained its sanction for the following proposals:—that all pending lawsuits should be at once decided; that justice should be equally administered to all; that every region should equip one hundred foot soldiers and twenty-five horse ; that the dues and taxes should be rearranged; that the forts, bridges, and gates of the city should be held by the rector of the people instead of by the nobility; and that granaries should be opened for the public use. On the same day, amid general homage and applause, Rienzi was proclaimed head of the republic, with the title of tribune and liberator of the Holy Roman Republic, " by authority of the most merciful Lord Jesus Christ." The nobles withdrew scoffing but alarmed. Rienzi engaged a bodyguard of one hundred men, and assumed the command of thirteen hundred infantry and three hundred and ninety light horse; he abolished the senators, retained the Thirteen and the general and special councils, and set the administration on a new footing. These measures and the prompt submission of the other cities of the state brought an instant increase of revenue to Rome.

This revolution, as will be noted, was of an entirely novel stamp. For its leader despatched envoys to all the cities of Italy, exhorting them to shake off the yoke of their tyrants, and send representatives to the parliament convoked for the 1st August, inasmuch as the liberation of Rome also implied the " liberation of the sacred land of Italy." In Rienzi's judgment the Roman revolution must be, not municipal, hut national, and even in some points universal. And this idea was welcomed with general enthusiasm throughout the peninsula. Solemn festivals and processions were held in Rome ; and, when the tribune went in state to St Peter's, the canons met him on the steps chanting the Veni, Creator Spiritus. Even the pope, willingly or unwillingly, accorded his approval to Rienzi's deeds. The provincial cities did homage to Rome and her tribune, and almost all the rest of Italy gave him its enthusiastic adherence. The ancient sovereign people seemed on the point of resuscitation. And others besides the multitude were fascinated and carried off their feet. Great men like Petrarch were transported with joy. The poet lauded Cola di Rienzo as a sublime and supernatural being, the greatest of ancient and modern men. But it was soon evident that all this enthusiasm was mainly factitious. On the 26th of July a new parliament was called, and this decreed that all the rights and privileges granted to the empire and church must now be vested in the Roman people, from whom they had first emanated. But on the convocation of the national parliament few representatives obeyed the summons and the scheme was a failure. All had gone well so long as principles only were proclaimed, but when words had to be followed by deeds the municipal feeling awoke and distrust began to prevail. Nevertheless, on the 1st August Rienzi assumed the spurs of knighthood and passed a decree declaring that Rome would now resume her old jurisdiction over the world, invoking the Holy Spirit upon Italy, granting the Roman citizenship to all her cities, and proclaiming them free in virtue of the freedom of Rome. This was a strange jumble of the ancient Roman idea combined with the mediaeval. It was a dream of Rienzi's brain, but it was also the dream of Dante and Petrarch. The conception of the empire and the history of Italy, particularly that of ancient and mediaeval Rome, were inevitably preparing the way for the national idea. This Rienzi foresaw, and this constitutes the true grandeur of his character, which in other respects was not exempt from pettiness and infirmity. He pursued his course, therefore, undismayed, and had indeed gone too far to draw back. On the 15th August he caused himself to be crowned tribune with great pomp, and confirmed the rights of Roman citizenship to all natives of Italy. But practical matters had also to be taken into account, and it was here that his weakness and lack of judgment were shown. The nobles remained steadily hostile, and refused to yield to the charm of his words. Hence conflict was unavoidable; and at first Bienzi succeeded in vanquishing the Gaetani by means of Giovanni Colonna. He next endeavoured to suppress the Guelf and Ghibelline factions, and to restore Italy to " holy union " by raising her from her present abasement.

The pope, however, was weary of toleration, and, coming to terms with the nobles, incited them to war. They accordingly moved from Palestrina, and on the 30th November were encamped before Rome. Rienzi now put forth his energy. He had already called the militia to arms, and a genuine battle took place in which eighty nobles, chiefly of the Colonna clan,' were left dead. This was a real catastrophe, to them, and the aristocracy never igain achieved the rule of the republic. But Rienzi's head was turned by this sudden success. In great need of money, he began to play the tyrant by levying taxes and exacting instant obedience. The papal legate saw his opportunity and seized it, by threatening to bring a charge of heresy against the tribune. Rienzi was dismayed. He declared himself friendly to the pope and willing to respect his authority; and he even sought to conciliate the nobles. At this moment certain Neapolitan and Hungarian captains, after levying soldiers with the tribune's consent, joined the nobles and broke out in revolt. On their proving victorious in a preliminary encounter with some of Bienzi's guards, the tribune suddenly lost heart, resigned the power he had held for seven months, and took refuge with a few trusty adherents in Castle St Angelo, on the 15th December 1347. Thence he presently fled to Naples, vainly hoping to find aid, and afterwards disappeared for some time from the scene.

Meanwhile the Romans remained tranquil, intent on making money by the jubilee; but no sooner was this over than disorders broke out and the tyranny of the baronage recommenced. To remedy this state of things, application was made to the pope. He consulted with a committee of cardinals, who sought the advice of Petrarch, and the poet suggested a popular government, to the complete exclusion of the nobles, since these, he said, were strangers who ruined the city. The people had already elected the Thirteen, and now, encouraged by these counsels, on the 26th December 1351 chose Giovanni Perrone as head of the republic. But the new leader was unable to withstand the hostilities of the nobles; and in September 1353 Francesco Baroncelli was elected tribune. He was a follower of Rienzi, had been his ambassador to Florence, and did little beyond imitating his mode of government and smoothing the way for his return.

Rienzi had spent two years in the Abruzzi, leading a life of mystic contemplation on Monte Maiella. Then, in 1350, he had gone to Prague and endeavoured to convert to his ideas the yet uncrowned emperor Charles IV. When apparently on the point of success, he was sent under arrest to the new pope, Innocent VI. (1352-62), a man of great shrewdness and practical sense. On Rienzi's arrival at Avignon it became evident that his popularity was still very great, and that it would be no easy task to dispose of him. The Romans were imploring his return ; Petrarch lauded him as a modern Gracchus or Scipio ; and the pope finally released him from confinement. Innocent had decided to send to Italy, in order to settle affairs and bring the state into subjection to the church, that valiant captain and skilled politician, Cardinal Albornoz. And, having no fear that the latter's hand would be forced, he further decided that Rienzi should be sent to give him the support of his own popularity in Rome. In fact directly the pair arrived Baroncelli was overthrown, the supremacy of the senate granted to the pope, and the government confided to Albornoz, who, without concerning himself with Bienzi, nominated Guido Patrizi as senator. He then marched at the head of his troops against Giovanni, prefect of Vico, and forced him to render submission at Montefiascone on the 5th June 1354. With the same promptitude and skill he reduced Umbria and the Tuscan and Sabine districts, consented to leave the privileges of the cities intact in return for their recognition of the papal authority, and planted fortresses in suitable positions. In the meantime Bienzi's popularity was increasing in Rome; without either money or arms, the ex-tribune succeeded by his eloquence in winning over the two Provencal i leaders, brothers of the famous free captain Fra Monreale; and, seduced by his promises and hopes, they supplied him with funds. Then, profiting by his prestige, the apparent favour of the pope, and the sums received, he was able to collect a band of five hundred soldiers of mixed nationalities and returned towards Rome. On Monte Mario he was met by the cavallerotti. On the 1st August 1354 he entered the Castello gate, took possession of the government, named Monreale's two brothers his captains, and sent them to lay siege to Palestrina, which was still the headquarters of the Colonna. But then money ran short, and he again lost his head. Inviting Fra Monreale to a banquet, he put him to death for the sake of his wealth, and kept the two brothers in confinement. This act excited general indignation. And when, after his ill-gotten gains were spent, he again recurred to violence to fill his purse, the public discontent was vented in a sudden revolt on the 8 th October. The people stormed the Capitol with cries of " Death to the traitor." Rienzi presented himself at a window waving the flag of Rome. But the charm was finally broken. Missiles were hurled at him; the palace was fired. He hid himself in the courtyard, shaved his beard, and, disguised as a shepherd with a cloth over his head, slipped into the crowd and joined in their cries against himself. Being recognized, however, by the golden bracelets he had forgotten to remove, he was instantly stabbed. For two days his corpse was left exposed to the insults of the mob, and was then burned. Such was the wretched end of the man who, at one moment, seemed destined to fill the world with his name as the regenerator of Rome and of Italy.





In all the Italian cities the overthrow of the aristocracy had led to military impotence and pressing danger of tyranny. The same thing had happened in Rome when the nobility, weakened by the absence of church and empire, received its death blow from Bienzi. But, whereas elsewhere tyrants were gradually arising in the citizen class, Rome was always in danger of oppression by the pope. Nor was any aid available from the empire, which had never recovered from its abasement under Louis the Bavarian. In fact, when Charles of Luxembourg came to Rome to be crowned, he was obliged to promise the pope that he would not enter the city.

The Popes Seek to Constitute a Temporal Kingdom

On Easter day 1355 he received the crown, and departed, after counselling the Romans to obey the pope. And the pontiffs had greater need than ever of an established kingdom. Their position in France was much endangered by that country's disorder. New states were being formed on all sides ; the mediaeval kingdom, unity was shattered ; and the shrunken spiritual authority of the church increased her need of material strength. As Italian affairs stood, it would be easy for the popes to found a kingdom, but their presence was required in Rome before it could be firmly established. The bloodstained sword of Albornoz had prepared the way before them. In 1355-56 he vanquished the lords or tyrants of Bimini, Fano, Fossombrone, Pesaro, TJrbino, and other cities. And all these places had been so rudely oppressed that the cardinal was often hailed as a liberator after subduing their masters by fire and sword. But everywhere he had been obliged to leave existing Governments and rulers in statu quo after exacting their oaths of fealty. Thus the state was still dissevered, and it was impossible to bind it together with the pope at Avignon and Rome a republic. Bologna was still independent, Ordelaffi still lord of Forli; Cesena and other cities were still rebellious ; and the Campagna was still in the hands of the barons. Some places were ruled by rectors nominated by the pope; at Montefiascone there was an ecclesiastical rector, with a bench of judges, and a captain , commanding a mixed band of adventurers. Rome had submitted to the haughty cardinal, but hated him mortally, and, on his departure for Avignon in 1357 to assist the threatened pontiff, immediately conceded to the latter the supremacy of the senate. And the pope, instead of two senators, hastened to name a single one of foreign birth.

Foreign Senators

This was a shrewd device of Albornoz and another blow to the nobles, with whom he was still at war. Thus was inaugurated, by the nomination of Raimondo de' Tolomei in 1358, a series of foreign senators, fulfilling the functions of a podestà, and changed every six months, together with their staff of judges, notaries, and knights. The people approved of this reform as being inimical to the nobles and favourable to the preservation of liberty. Hitherto the senators had been assisted, or rather kept in check, by the thirteen representatives of the regions. These were now replaced by seven reformers, in imitation of the priors of Florence, the better to follow that city's example. The reformers were soon the veritable chiefs of the republic. They first appeared in 1360, were either popolani or cavallerotti, and were elected by ballot every three months. When Albornoz returned to Italy, although desirous to keep Rome in the same subjection as the other cities, he had first to vanquish Ordelaffi and reduce Bologna. The latter enterprise was the more difficult task, and provoked a lengthy war with Matteo Visconti of Milan. Thus Rome, being left to herself, continued to be governed by her reformers ; and the nobles, already shut out from power, were also excluded from the militia, which had been reorganized, like that of Florence, on the democratic system.

The Banderesi

Three thousand men, mostly archers, were enrolled under the command of two banderesi, " in the likeness," says M. Villani, " of our gonfaloniers of the companies," with four antepositi constituting a supreme council of war. And the whole body was styled the "Felix Societas Balestrariorum et Pavesatorum." It was instituted to support the reformers and re-establish order in the city and Campagna, to keep down the nobles and defend the republic. It fulfilled these duties with much, and sometimes excessive, severity. Banderesi and ante-positi had seats in the special council beside those of the reformers, as, in Florence, the gonfaloniers of the companies were seated beside the priors. Later these officials constituted the so-called signoria dei banderesi. In 1362, the Romans having subjected Velletri, which was defended by the nobles, the latter made a riot in Rome. Thereupon the banderesi drove them all from the city, killed some of their kindred, and did not even spare the cavallerotti. The fight became so furious that from gate to gate all Rome was in arms, and even mercenaries were hired. But in the end renewed submission was made to the pope.

On the death of Innocent VI. in 1362, an agreement was concluded with his successor Urban V. (1362-70), also a Frenchman, who was obliged to give his sanction to the government of the reformers and banderesi. And then, Albornoz being recalled in disgrace to Avignon, and afterwards sent as legate to Naples, these Roman magistrates were able, with or without the co-operation of the foreign senator, to rule in their own way. They did justice on the nobles by hanging a few more ; and they defended the city from the threatening attacks of the mercenaries, who had now become Italy's worst foes. It was at this period that the Roman statutes were revised and re-arranged in the compilation erroneously attributed by some writers to Albornoz, which has come down to us supplemented by alterations of a later date.

But now the popes, being no longer in safety at Avignon, really decided to return to Italy. Even Urban V. had to pay ransom to escape from the threatened attacks of the free companies. The Romans implored his return, and he was further urged to it by the Italian literati with Petrarch at their head. In April 1367 he finally quitted Avignon, and, entering Rome on the 16th October, was given the lordship of the city. Cardinal Albornoz had fallen mortally ill at Viterbo, but, though unable to accompany the pope to Rome, had, before dying, suggested his course of action.

Urban V. Begins to Destroy the Republic

Certainly Urban showed much acumen in profiting by the first burst of popular enthusiasm to effect quick and dexterous changes in the constitution of the republic. After naming a senator, he abolished the posts of reformers and banderesi, substituting three conservators, or rather a species of municipal council, alone charged with judicial and administrative powers, which has lasted to the present day. The thirteen leaders of the regions and the consuls of the guilds still sat in the councils, which were left unsuppressed. But all real power was in the hands of the pope, who, in Rome, as in his other cities, nominated the principal magistrates. Thus, by transforming political into civil institutions and concentrating the supreme authority in his own grasp, Urban V. dealt a mortal blow to the liberties of Rome. Yet he felt no sense of security among a people who, after the first rejoicings over the return of the Holy See, were always on the brink of revolt. Besides he felt himself a stranger in Italy, and was so regarded. Accordingly, in April 1370 he decided to return to France; on the 20th of that month he wrote from Viterbo that no change was to be made in the government; and he died in Avignon on the 19th of December.

Re-establishment of the Republic and the Banderesi

The Romans retained the conservators, conferring on them the political power of the reformers; they re-established the banderesi with the Florentine title of executores justitiae and the four antepositi with that of consiliarii. Thus the "Felix Societas Balestrariorum et Pavesatorum Urbis " was restored, and the two councils met as before. The new French pope, Gregory XI. (1370-78), had to be content with obtaining supremacy over the senate and the possession of the Castle St Angelo. It was a difficult moment for him. The Florentines had come to an open rupture with his legates, and had adopted the expedient of inviting all the cities of the Roman state to redeem their lost freedom. Accordingly in 1375 many of them rose against the legates, who were mostly French and regarded with dislike as foreigners. Florentine despatches, full of classical allusions and chiefly composed by the famous scholar, Secretary Coluccio Salutati, were rapidly sent in all directions. Those addressed to the Romans were specially fervid, and emphatically appealed to their patriotism and memories of the past. But the Romans received them with doubt and mistrust, for they saw that the revolution threatened to dismember the state, by promoting the independence of every separate city. Besides, while maintaining their republic, they also desired the pope's presence in Rome. Nevertheless they went with the current to the extent of reforming their constitution. In February 1376 the/ nominated Giovanni Cenci captain of the people, and gave him uncontrolled power over the towns of the patrimony and the Sabine land. The conservators, with their new political authority, the executores, the antepositi, and the two councils were all preserved, and a new magistracy was created, the "Tres Gubernatores Pacis et Libertatis Reipublicae Romanae." This answered to the Eight (afterwards Ten) of War in Florence, likewise frequently called the Eight of Liberty and Peace. It was this Council of Eight that was now directing the war against the pope and braving his sentence of excommunication ; and their fiery zeal had won them the title of the Holy Eight from the Florentines.





Realizing that further absence would cost him his state, Gregory XL quitted Avignon on the 13th September 1376, and, reaching Corneto in December, despatched to Rome three legates, who, on the 21st of the month, concluded an agreement with the parliament. The people gave up the gates, the fortresses, and the Trastevere, and promised that if the pope returned to Rome he should have the same powers which had been granted to Urban V. But, on his side, he must pledge himself to maintain the executores, their council, the Three of War, and allow the Romans the right of reforming the banderesi, who would then swear fealty to him. The terms of this peace and the pope's epistles clearly prove that the two councils still exercised their functions, that the banderesi were still the virtual heads of the Government, and that their suppression was not contemplated. In fact, when the pope made his entry on the 17th January 1377 accompanied by two thousand armed men, he perceived that there was much public agitation, that the Romans did not intend to fulfil their agreement, and that the Government of the banderesi went on as before. Accordingly, after naming Gomez Albornoz, a nephew of the deceased cardinal, to the office of senator, he retired to Anagni, and remained there until November 1377. The Romans presently waited on him with conciliating offers, and begged him to negotiate a peace for them with the prefect of Vico. In fact the treaty was concluded at Anagni in October, and on the 10th November confirmed in Rome by the general council. The meeting was held in the great hall of the Capitol, "ubi consilia generalia urbis fieri solent," in the presence of all the members of the republican Government. But the pope was enraged by the survival of this Government, and, being worn out by the persistent hostility of the Florentines, which reduced his power to a low ebb, had determined to make peace, when surprised by death on the 27th March 1378.

The next pope, Urban VI. (1378-89), a Neapolitan, was the spirit of discord incarnate. His election was not altogether regular: the French party among the cardinals was against him; and the people were ripe for insurrection. But, regardless of all this, Urban threatened the cardinals in his first consistory, saying that church reform must begin with them; and he used the same tone with the people, reproving them for failing to suppress the banderesi. In consequence of this the cardinals of the French party, assembling at Fondi, elected the antipope Clement VII. (1378-94) and started a long and painful schism in the church. Clement resided in Avignon, while Urban in Rome was engaged in opposing Queen Joanna I. of Naples and favouring Charles of Durazzo, who, on conquering the Neapolitan kingdom, was made gonfalonier of the church and senator of Rome, where he left a vicar as his deputy. Shortly afterwards the pope went to Naples, and made fierce war on the king. Then, after many adventures, during which he tortured and put to death several cardinals whom he suspected of hostile intentions, he returned to Rome, where the utmost disorder prevailed.

Urban VI. Undertakes the Destruction of the Republic

The conservators and the banderesi were still at the head of the Government, and, the pope speedily falling out with them, a riot ensued, after which he excommunicated the banderesi. These at last made submission to him, and Urban VI. became master of Rome before his death in 1389. He was succeeded by Boniface IX. (1389-1404), another Neapolitan, but a man of greater shrewdness and capacity. His first act was to crown Ladislaus king of Naples, and secure the friendship and protection of this ambitious and powerful prince. In all the principal cities of the state he chose the reigning lords for his vicars. But he allowed Fermo, Ascoli, and Bologna the privilege of assuming their own vicariate for twenty-five years. And, as these different potentates and Governments had only to pay him an annual tribute, all parties were satisfied, and the pope was able to bestow at least an appearance of order and unity on His state. But fresh tumults soon arose, partly because the conservators and banderesi sought to govern on their own account, and especially because the pope seems for a time to have omitted naming the senator. Boniface was a prudent man; he saw that events were turning in his favour, now that throughout Italy liberty was tottering to its fall, and bided his time. He was satisfied for the moment by obtaining a recognition of the immunities of the clergy, rendering them solely amenable to ecclesiastical tribunals, and thus distinguishing the powers of the church from those of the state in Rome. The republic also pledged itself neither to molest the prelates nor to levy fresh contributions on them towards repairing the walls, to aid in recovering the estates of the church in Tuscia, and to try to conciliate the baronage. This concordat, concluded with the conservators and banderesi on the 11th September 1391, was also confirmed on the 5th March 1392 by the heads of the regions, together with a fresh treaty binding both parties to furnish a certain number of armed men to combat the prefect of Vico and the adherents of the antipope at Viterbo. With the exception of this city, Orchi, and Civita Vecchia, all other conquered territory was to belong to the republic. But the Romans soon discovered that they were playing into the hands of the pope, who kept everything for himself, without even paying the troops. Upon this a riot broke out; Boniface fled to Perugia in October 1392, and resolved to exact better terms when next recalled to Rome. Meanwhile the Romans subdued the prefect, captured Viterbo, and, being already repentant, handed it over to the pope and implored his return.

Boniface IX. Continues the Destruction of the Republic

He then proposed his own terms, which were approved, not only by the conservators, banderesi, and four councillors, but also by the special council and by the unanimous vote of a general assembly composed of the above-mentioned authorities, heads of regions, other officials, and a hundred citizens (8th August 1393). These terms prescribed that the pope was to elect the senator, and that, on his failing so to do, the conservators would carry on the government after swearing fealty to him. The senatorial function was to be neither controlled nor hampered by the banderesi. The immunities of the clergy were to be preserved, and all church property was to be respected by the magistrates. The expenses of the pope's journey were to be paid, and he was to be escorted to Rome in state. Boniface tried to complete his work by abolishing the banderesi, the last bulwarks of freedom; but the people, although weakened and weary, made efforts to preserve them, and, although their fall was inevitable, the struggle went on for some time.

During the spring of 1394 the banderesi provoked an insurrection in which the pope's life was endangered; it was only saved by the arrival of King Ladislaus, who came from Naples with a large force in the early autumn. But for the Neapolitan soldiery Boniface could not have withstood the long series of revolts that continually exposed him to fresh perils and the anxiety caused by the persistent schism of the church. The death of Clement VII. in 1394 was followed by the election of another antipope, Benedict XIII. But a new jubilee was in prospect for the year 1400, and this was always an efficacious means of bending the will of the Romans.

Fall of the Banderesi and the Republic

Depending upon this and the assistance of Ladislaus, Boniface not only demanded full powers to nominate senators (none having been recently elected), but insisted on the suppression of the banderesi. Both requests were granted; but, directly Angelo Alaleoni was made senator, a conspiracy was hatched for the re-establishment of the banderesi. However, the pope felt sure of his strength; the plot was discovered and the conspirators were beheaded on the stairs of the Capitol. This proved the end of the banderesi and of the liberties of Rome. The government was again directed by an alien senator together with three conservators, but the latter were gradually deprived of their political attributes, and became mere civil officers. The militia, regions, guilds, and other associations now rapidly lost all political importance, and before long were little more than empty names. Thus in 1398 the Romans submitted to the complete sway of the pope, and in July of the same year the senator chosen by him was Malatesta dei Malatesti of Rimini, one of a line of tyrants, a valiant soldier, who was also temporal vicar and captain general of the church. Boniface continued to appoint foreign senators during the rest of his life; he fortified Castle St Angelo, the Vatican, and the Capitol; he stationed galleys at the mouth of the Tiber, and proved himself in all things a thoroughly temporal prince. He aggrandized all his kindred, especially his brother, and, with the aid of his senator, his armed force, and the protection of Ladislaus, succeeded in keeping down all the surviving nobles. In 1400, however, these made an attempt to upset the Government. Niecolo Colonna forced his way into the city with cries of " Popólo, popólo ! death to Boniface !" But the Romans had grown deaf to the voice of liberty; they refused to rise, and the senator, a Venetian named Zaccaria Trevisan, behaved with much energy. Colonna and his men had to beat a swift retreat to Palestrina. A charge of high treason was immediately instituted against him, and thirty-one rebels were beheaded. The pope then proclaimed a crusade against all the Colonna, and sent a body of two thousand men and some of the Neapolitan soldiery to attack them. Several of their estates were seized and devastated, but Palestrina continued to hold out, and on the 7th January 1401 the Colonna finally made submission to the pope. Nevertheless they obtained advantageous terms, for Boniface left them their lands, appointed them vicars of other territories, and made similar agreements with the Gaetani and Orsini. In this way he became absolute master of Rome. One chronicler remarks that "Romanis tanquam rigidus imperator dominabatur," and the same tone is taken by others. But he did not succeed in putting an end to the schism of the church, which was still going on when he died in the Vatican on the 1st October 1404.


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