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1 BY THE RIVER OF BABYLON: HISTORICAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND APOCALYPTIC DISCOURSE IN LUIGI GUICCIARDINIS IL SACCO DI ROMA By NICOLE MILANO A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009
2 2009 Nicole Milano
3 To my Mom, who always believed in me
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank the m embers of my supervisory comm ittee, Howard Louthan and Mary Watt, for their constructive critique and helpful guidance. I especially thank my committee chair, Nina Caputo, for her exceptional mentor ing throughout the entire thesis process and my years as a graduate student. Finally, I thank my aunt, Sharon Croke, and other family members for their loving encouragement which gave me strength along the way.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................................6 ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................7 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................................9 2 PRECURSORS TO GUICCIARDI NI: ROME AND ITS CRITICS .....................................13 Roma: Loca Sancta.............................................................................................................. ...13 Analyzing Apocalypticism..................................................................................................... 15 By the River of the New Babylon........................................................................................... 19 3 LUIGI GUICCIARDINI: A MAN OF HIS TIME................................................................. 27 Historical Consciousness and Il Sacco di Roma .....................................................................27 Florentine Context and Political Commentary....................................................................... 31 Apocalyptic Rhetoric..............................................................................................................39 4 EPILOGUE: AN ART HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE........................................................ 51 BIBLIOGRAPHY..........................................................................................................................56 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................62
6 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1 The only known panorama of the Sack of Rom e (c. 1500-1550) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a Protestant from the Netherlands...........................................................................223-1 Giorgio Vasaris Cosimo eletto duca di Firenze (1559) Located in the room dedicated to Cosimo I, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence........................................................... 343-2 Portrait of Luigi Guicciardini, Detail from "Cosimo eletto duca di Firenze"....................344-1 Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Tower of Babel (1563) Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum..............................................................................................................................524-2 Detail from Pieter Bruegel the El ders Panorama of the Sack of Rome............................ 52
7 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts BY THE RIVER OF BABYLON: HISTORICAL CONSCIOUNESS AND APOCALYPTIC DISCOURSE IN LUIGI GUICCIARDINIS IL SACCO DI ROMA By Nicole Milano December 2009 Chair: Nina Caputo Co-Chair: Howard Louthan Major: History Invasions and power struggles marked the It alian peninsula for cen turies prior to the sixteenth century. Specificall y, the city of Rome experienced foreign invasions due to its position as the center of the Chri stian religion and the ancient Roman culture. This paper will examine the paradoxical role of Rome as Ne w Babylon and the New Jerusalem following the sack of Rome in 1527 by the Spanish and German troops of Charles V under the leadership of Charles de Bourbon. Following the event, numer ous accounts and narratives described the horror and the implications on contemporar y Roman society. The destruction gave contemporaries like Luigi Guicciardini an opport unity to formulate a new historiography when comprehending the vast devastation it caused. When explaining the sack, Christian writers borrowed from Biblical imagery and discourse re garding the destruction of Jerusalem and the fall of Babylon, and from medieval millenarian discourse regarding a New Jerusalem. These themes derive from a pan-religious topos that de scribes the fall of a grea t city by the will of a deity, oftentimes to be followed by the rise of a new, improved city. In terms of the sack of Rome, the symbolic and real c ity intertwined in the historic al narratives through the use of biblical topoi.
8 Specifically, this examination will focus on Il Sacco di Roma by Luigi Guicciardini, an informed historical account written shortly after the sack of Rome in 1527. Guicciardinis detailed narrative contains both political commentary and apocal yptic discourse, and is one of the most descriptive and politica lly informed accounts of the sack. The contention of this thesis is that Luigi Guicciardinis Il Sacco di Roma can be seen as an example of apocalyptic discourse somewhat typical of narratives regarding this even t. His work stands as a transitional, early modern history caught between me dieval critiques of religious corruption with their heavily biblical influences, and a more modern discourse of politics that would culminate in later centuries. More specifically, his discourse in Il Sacco di Roma highlights his own position as an educated and politically involved Florentine w hose outlook on Catholicism, politics, and history was strongly influenced by current events and by Girolamo Savonarola and Niccol Machiavelli, other contemporary Florentines.
9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION By the Rivers of Babylon we sat and wept When we rem embered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, For there our captors asked us for songs, Our tormentors demanded songs of joy; They said, Sing us one of the songs of Zion! [Psalm 137: 1-3] 1 O God, the nations have i nvaded your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple, they have reduced Jerusalem to rubble. They have given the dead bodies of your servants as food to the birds of the air, the flesh of your saints to the beasts of the earth. They have poured out blood lik e water all around Jerusalem, and there is no one to bury the dead. [Psalm 79:1-4] On May 6th, 1527, Imperial and German landsknecht troops brutally sacked the city of Rome. Arriving in the thick morning fog without having been paid for nearly eight months, the hungry soldiers wrought havoc on the city and its citizens after their lead er, Charles de Bourbon, was killed in the first hour of battle. The sold iers breached the walls ne ar Santo Spirito in the Borgo, crossed the Tiber River by way of the Pont e Sisto, and devastated the city through rape, plunder, and pillage.2 Bourbons troops ransacked palaces, violated religious tombs, tortured noble citizens for anticipated treasure, and slaughtere d all the orphans of the Piet. According to Luigi Guicciardini, Roman nobles had been cu t to pieces, covered with mud and their own blood on the ground, and children we re seen voluntarily jumping out of windows in order to 1 This paper utilizes the New International Version of the Bible. The exception is the quotation from the Book of Job, which was taken from Luigi Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome Translated and Edited by James H. McGregor. (New York: Italica Press, In c., 1993) All biblical citations will be included in the text and not as footnotes. 2 Francesco Guicciardini, The History of Italy Translated by Sidney Alexa nder. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984) 382
10 escape becoming the living prey of the imperial monsters.3 The sun would rise on the morning of the seventh to a spectacle of destruction, rapine, and murder. The Catholic historian Ludwig Von Pastor describes the morning after as full of the wailings of women, the plaintive cries of childrenthe clash of arms, and the crash of timber from the burning houses. All accountsagree that no age, no se x, no station, no nationalityneith er church nor hospital was spared.4 Citizens of Rome gazed upon the horrific plunder of their holy city, and claimed that Hell itself was a more beautiful sight to behold.5 Yet, this scene of devastation was not en tirely unprecedented for sixteenth-century Italians.6 Italy was a conglomeration of warring city st ates and other political entities during this period, and invasions and power struggles had ma rked the Italian peninsula for decades, making it a battleground for the other polit ical powers in Europe. The centrality of the city of Rome and its physical and spiritual importan ce to Christianity caused contempor aries to view this particular sack as uglier even than hell itself. 7 These images of hell, death, and destruction facilitated the proliferation of apoc alyptic and eschatological discourse as Christians attempted to grapple with the devastation. 3 This paper utilizes the first English-language transl ation by James H. McGregor and the Italian version wrongly ascribed to his brot her Francesco Guicciardini. Il Sacco di Roma: Edizione Seconda (Cologne: 1758) Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome, 98. e molti Nobili tagliati a pezzi, dal fang o, e dal propio sangue ricoperti, e molti mezzi vivi giacer miseramente in terra. Si vedeva an cora qualche volta in quella furia da questa, e da quella finestra saltare per forza e voluntariamente fuori, fanciu lli, uomini, e donne, per non restare vivi, preda di tante efferate nazioni, e crudelmente per le strade poi finire la propia vita. Il Sacco di Roma, 189 4 Ludwig Von Pastor. The History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages .4th Edition, Volumes 910. Ralph Francis Kerr, ed. and trans ( London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1950) 9:387, 399 5 Sanuto, Diarii XLV, p. 219. Taken from Hook, The Sack of Rome, 1527 ( London: Macmillan London Limited, 1972) 167 6 This paper will use the term Italians to describe those living in the peninsula who speak various dialects of what would later become the national language of a unified Italy. Italy at this time was not a unified nation and was a conglomeration of city-states, duchies, and other politi cal entities. Yet for some general aspects of this paper, Italians or Italy will be used for pedagogical simplification. 7 Letter by Petrus de Franciscis, dated May 10, 1527. Quoted in Kenneth Gouwens. Remembering the Renaissance: Humanist Narr atives of the Sack of Rome (Leiden: Brill, 1998) 3
11 This paper will examine the paradoxical role of Rome as Babylon and the New Jerusalem in the Cinquecento, a pivotal period of great religious and cultural change which caused contemporaries to describe their history in term s of apocalyptic discourse. Specifically, this examination will focus on Il Sacco di Roma by Luigi Guicciardini, an informed historical account written shortly after the sack of Rome in 1527. Guicci ardinis detailed narrative contains both political commentary and apocalyptic discourse, and is one of the most descriptive and politically informed accounts of the sack. The destruction gave contemporaries like Guicciardini an opportunity to include a ne w historiography when comprehending the vast devastation it caused. When explaining the s ack, Christian writers borrowed from Biblical imagery and discourse regarding the destruction of Jerusalem and the fall of Babylon, and from medieval millenarian discourse regarding a New Jerusalem. These themes derive from a panreligious topos that describes th e fall of a great city by the will of a deity, oftentimes to be followed by the rise of a new, improved kingdom. Apocalyptic discourse functions as a theodicy for Christians seeking to understa nd death and destruction in light of a greater belief in the good of God. It becomes a vindication of God and an explanation of His plan for the world despite human and material losses. In terms of the sack of Rome, the symbolic a nd real city intertwined in the historical narratives th rough the use of biblical topoi. The contention of this thesis is that Luigi Guicciardinis Il Sacco di Roma can be seen as an example of apocalyptic discourse somewhat ty pical of narratives regarding this event. He draws from medieval biblical typo logies, found in other narratives of the time, but is able to shed new light on the situation through his Machiavellian political views. His work stands as a transitional, early modern hist ory caught between medieval critiques of religious corruption with their heavily biblical influences, and a more modern discourse of politics that would
12 culminate in later centuries.8 More specifically, his discourse in Il Sacco di Roma highlights his own position as an educated and politically invo lved Florentine whose outlook on Catholicism, politics, and history was strongl y influenced by current events and by Girolamo Savonarola and Niccol Machiavelli, other contemporary Florentines.9 8 The use of this terminology is purposeful: there is controversy between the correct period demarcations of medieval, early modern, Renaissance, and other terms, and the use of such terms is often arbitrary in and of itself. Yet, there is a marked change between the eleventh through early fifteen centurie s, and later centuries leading up the Enlightenment when it came to the writing and understanding of history. Early modern historiography was more politically aware and factually correct compared to the medieval period, when history was often viewed without a strong sense of human agen cy, though still not entirel y embodying the modern factual documentation that we are familiar with today. Thus, the term early modern seems applicable for Guicciardini s narrative. 9 Girolamo Savonarola (September 21, 1452May 23, 1498) and Niccol di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (May 3, 1469 June 21, 1527)
13 CHAPTER 2 PRECURSORS TO GUICCIARDINI: ROME AND ITS CRITICS Roma: Loca Sancta Long before the sack of 1527 Rom e was the s ubject of apocalyptic and eschatological discourse. Commentators saw Rome as both the City of God (as depicted by St. Augustine) and the city of sinners (according to many Protesta nt reformers such as Martin Luther), which resulted not only from the citys ties to the Catholic papacy but also from its standing as a major destination for pilgrims. For centuries, people trav eled to the ancient city to worship with the successor of Saint Peter, visit the holy Churches and gaze upon the relics of martyred saints. Following the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity, pilgrims journeyed long distances and through rough conditions to worship the sanctity of the holy places and objects in Rome. Just as pilgrims traveled to the holy city of Jerusalem, the Romipetae (Roman pilgrims) traveled in larger numbers to Rome following the loss of the earthly Jerusalem to the Muslims in 1244. The idea that a Christian could travel to th e New Jerusalem of Rome came to be regarded as a method for achieving heavenly salvation.10 Pilgrimage ad limina apostolorum was desirable due to Romes strong associations with the apostles Peter and Paul, both of whom we re believed to be buried within the city.11 The pilgrims to Rome venerated the relics of the apostles and saints, and the physical objects represented all of the relig ious and magical functions associated with the saints.12 Pilgrim guides such as the Mirabilia Urbis Romai were developed to direct vi sitors to miraculous sites in Rome. The Christian God had succeeded the ancient Roman gods of the pagan religion, and an influx of pilgrims came to Rome over the course of hundreds of years. The sacred 10 Debra J. Birch. Pilgrimage to Rome in the Middle Ages: Continuity and Change (Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 1998) 2 11 Ibid., 6 12 Sabine MacCormack. Loca Sancta: The Organization of Sacred Topography in Late Antiquity. The Blessings of Pilgrimage Robert Ousterhout, editor. (Urbana: University of Illi nois Press, 1990) 7
14 architecture, liturgy, and extensive traffic in objects of devotion all increased the innate spirituality of the holy places in Rome.13 Despite the sacred aspects of the city, some historical re presentations of Rome through the Christian age contain the pres ence of a real and allegorical evil. Mixed attitudes about Rome, and its place in the war between good and evil, date back to the earliest days of Christianity. For example, Augustine of Hippo in his City of God defended Christianity ag ainst those who blamed the conversion of the city from paganism as the cause for its destruction by Alaric and the Goths in the 410. Among other things, Augustine contrast ed the dark era of pagan religion to the light of the blossoming religion of Christianity.14 He discussed the origin, history, and destinies of the earthly and heavenly cities, a nd while he acknowledged the presence of evil he also claimed that it is thoroughly overcome by good.15 The idea that good can arise out of evil is significant, and would permeat e accounts of the later sack of Rome in 1527. Augustines ideas reflect an assumption that Rome is the earthly Je rusalem, converted from paganism and ready to accept its divine calling. Despite the sacred aspects of Christian Ro me, time gave way to a more religiously corrupt city in the eyes of some critics. While not a staunch reformist of the Catholic faith, the twelfth-century Calabrian abbot and hermit Joachim of Fiore developed a new means of understanding the development of Ch ristian history. He described st ages of history (the Father, Son, and Spirit), wherein the final Age of the Spirit would bring about the overthrow of the Antichrist.16 The Joachimite tradition heightened medi eval expectations of an eschatological 13 Ibid., 21 14Peter Bondanella. The Eternal City: Roman Images in the Modern World (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1987) 27 15 Augustine, The City of God (New York: The Modern Library, 1950) 458 16 Cohn, 108-110
15 purification and rene wal of the Church.17 Later, fourteenth-century schisms in the Church led to the medieval Babylonian Captivity, and early diss enters such as John Wycliff saw the sacred aspects of the papacy disintegrate into materialism. In the fift eenth century individuals like Jan Hus sought reform against the growing vanities of the Church, and the Council of Constance that ordered the execution of Hus also ended the Gr eat Schism and brought the papacy back to Rome.18 These critiques gained headway in 1440 when Lorenzo Valla refuted the authenticity of the Donation of Constantine, a fabricated document upon which the papacy and the Roman curia previously relied. Finally, by 1500 Catholic Rome was fittingly described by the Spanish priest Francisco Delicado in a discussion of his encounters with the citys prostitu tes as a cesspool of iniquity, corruption, and rampant sexual immorality.19 By 1650 papal Rome would become one of Europes most developed urban centers due largely to the Span ish financing that had occurred in the previous century, yet in th e sixteenth century it was full of vice and a remnant of its former glory. 20 Analyzing Apocalypticism Num erous studies of millennial and apocalyptic literature from the medieval era through the Renaissance outline typical th emes, including those involving Rome in the paradoxical role 17 John W. OMalley, Giles of Viterbo on Church and Reform. (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1968) 62 18 John Wycliff (c.1330 December 31, 1384), an Oxford graduate of theology, criticized ecclesiastical abuses and obtained a large group of followers called th e Lollards. His ideas on religion were said to have influenced Jan Hus (c. 1372 July 6, 1415), who encounte red Wycliffs writings while at the University of Prague. Hus denounced clerical abuses, and was burned at the stake for his heretical preachings by an order of the Council of Constance (1414-1418). Edward Peters, editor. The Age of Wycliff and Hus. Hersey and Authority in Medieval Europe. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1980.) 265-307 19 Angus MacKay, The Whores of Babylon. Prophetic Rome 223 Beyond prostitution and other service industries, early modern Rome neither produced nor manufactured any materials of importance. Despite this, pilgrimage to Rome remained strong. According to Peter Partner, there were as many as 100,000 pilgrims that traveled to Rome each year, which was a vast amount of people considering the relatively small population of Rome at the time. Renaissance Rome 1500-1559: A Portrait of a Society (University of California Press, 1976) 54 20 Thomas Dandelet, Paying for the New St. Peters: C ontributions to the Construction of the New Basilica from Spanish Lands, 1506-1620. Spain in Italy: Politics, Society, and Religion 1500-1700 Thomas James Dandelet, editor. (The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV, 2007) 182
16 as the New Babylon and New Jerusalem. The collective behavior of contemporary audiences shaped apocalyptic discourse in historical writings, and was not new in early modernity.21 According to Norman Cohn, many of the revolutiona ry movements of the poor from the eleventh century onward drew inspiration from the Sibylli ne or Johannine prophecies concerning the Last Days in their efforts toward economic and social change.22 Cohns characterization of a medieval revolutionary millenarianism and mysti cal anarchism can be applied to early modern eschatological discourse as well. He argues that struggles th at result in apocalyptic or millenarian explanations are different from other historical struggles because they serve as a cataclysm for worldly rede mption and transformation.23 Many leaders throughout history who imagined God on their side in battle or duri ng periods of destruction also believed that good effects followed these necessary evils. In her more recent feminist reading of the Bi ble, Tina Pippin finds that the end of the Bible returns to the beginning with a formless voi d, thus reiterating the idea that a new creation could come about following the Apocalypse.24 Although Pippin does not see this biblical story as liberating, writers of the apocalyptic discour se believed that the new, post-Apocalyptic world would be a better one.25 Catherine Wessinger advances this argument with her claim that millenarian beliefs are an expression of human hope for salvation, a redemption of the violence and destruction they experience on earth.26 Belief in this type of salvation is significant 21 Stephen D. OLeary. Arguing the Apocalypse: A Theory of Millennial Rhetoric (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994) 6 22 Norman Cohn, The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972) 53 23 Ibid., 281 24 Tina Pippin, Apocalyptic Bodies: The Biblical End of the World in Text and Image (London: Routledge, 2002) 77 25 Pippin claims that the Apocalypse is a misogynist male fantasy of the end of time and thus not a liberating story. 117 26 Catherine Wessinger, Millennialism, Persecution, and Violence: Historical Cases. (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2000) 6
17 following the destructive sack of Rome, as it serves as a vindication for G od in light of tragedy caused by Him. The dictum ex malo bonum carried past the late medieval period and found expression in early modern eschat ological literature as well. The intertextuality of biblical literature reinforces the apocal yptic theme of struggle at the will of God in order to produce a greater good. Inherent in the Book of Revelation is the idea of a great battle or struggle following which Christ will reign. Also, the Book of Daniel is described as an early specimen of apocalyptic lite rature. Apocalyptic litera ture was used in late antiquity to explain divine judgment, and provide d a model for later apoc alyptic interpretation by early modernists including Luigi Guicciardini. Lorenzo Polizzotto argues that the belief in a great struggle followed by a renewed city provi ded a foundation for the en tire ideology of the piagnoni followers of Savonarola.27 The program of spiritual and social renovation espoused by Savonarola led the piagnoni to believe that, with prayer, religious dedication, and political upheaval and destruction, the vani ties of evil Florentines would give way to a new and improved Florence. These ancient apocalyptic battles that echoed in early modern historical accounts also tie in with themes of Holy War in eschatological literature. What constitutes a Holy War is debatable, as the phrase has been used to de scribe various events ranging from the Old Testament Holy Wars for Yahweh to the fight ag ainst the infidel Muslims during the Crusades. Yet, the idea of a war fought under Gods will or at his doing has been a theme reiterated throughout history.28 Although the sack of Rome in 1527 was not a war in the traditional sense, many contemporaries viewed the vast destruc tion that resulted as divinely inspired. Judith 27 Lorenzo Polizzotto. The Elect Nation: The Savonarolan Movement in Florence 1494-1545. ( Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994) vii-viii 28 Despite the prevalence of this theme throughout history, the speci fic phrase Holy War does not actually appear in the Bible.
18 Hook goes so far as to say the sack was an opport unity for religious vende tta on the part of the Lutheran soldiers involved. While this may be slightly overstated, Luther had indeed predicted the devastation of Rome due the lack of religiosity on the part of the papacy. 29 Additionally, the figure of the Antichrist is prom inent in apocalyptic discourse, as well as rhetoric regarding th e 1527 sack of Rome.30 According to Stephen D. OLearys Arguing the Apocalypse: A Theory of Millennial Rhetoric, in which he searches for an understanding of the need for and tradition of apocalyptic discourse in rhetoric, the popul arity of this Antichrist figure throughout history stems from a human im pulse to personify and understand evil.31 Many of the New Testament Christian prophecies dealing with the theme of apocalypticism stem from the Johannine tradition which tells of an arch-enemy of God who will arise as the Antichrist prior to battle.32 This figure, often used in discourses of Holy War as well, had roots in Joachim of Fiores concept of history, and continued am ong Fraticelli circles in later centuries.33 The figure of the Antichrist was countered with that of the Holy or Angelic Pastor. This figure was popular even among early modern humanis ts, who believed that the classical themes of a coming golden age resonated with the Biblical topos of the Angelic Pastor who would lead the Church into a new era.34 Lutherans of the period saw Pope Clement VII as the Antichrist, and consequently viewed the actions of Charles V s troops as divinely inspired and as heralding a new age of the Church. The sixteenth century brought a time of dest ruction and change, and individuals of the period hoped for an Angelic Pastor and the coming of a new era. According to 29 Judith Hook, The Sack of Rome 1527. (London: Macmillan London Limited, 1972) 172 30 This was especially due to the Lutheran view of th e pope as Antichrist, as expressed in several of his writings. 31 OLeary, 81 32 Cohn, 33-34 33 The Fraticelli followed the beliefs of St. Francis (c. 1182-1226) after his death. The group was persecuted in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries by the Catholic Church. Peters, The Spiritual Franciscans and Voluntary Poverty, 235-250 34 Gouwans, Remembering the Renaissance 3
19 Marjorie Reeves, the abundance of this apoc alyptic theme in proph ecy and literature was unprecedented before the early sixteenth century.35 Furthermore, Nelson H. Minich implies that the Fifth Lateran Councils limitations on prophecy, including those detailing the Antichrists imminent arrival, demonstrates that apocalyptic prophecy must have been abundant in this period.36 From the spiritual battles of Savonarola against the vanities of Renaissance Florence to the physical battle of the Armada between Elizabeth I of England and Philip II of Spain, Gods good was believed to follow the destruction of evil. By the River of the New Babylon The use of Babylon as a code word for Rom e dates to the Book of Revelation or Apocalypse of the New Testament. According to Bernard McGinn, in the Apocalypse of John the ancient city of Rome is not explicitly named but instead was referred to by its code name of Babylon.37 This literary tradition of comparing Rome to Babylon continued into the sixteenth century. The Antichrist figure and consequently echoes of a New Babylon and New Jerusalem were used in descriptions of the Eter nal City. Contemporaries drew parallels between the ancient devastation and destruction of Jerusalem and that of Catholic Rome.38 An entirely new generation of writers utilized themes from the Book of Revelation in comparisons of Rome with Babylon.39 35 Marjorie Reeves, The Medieval Heritage. Prophetic Rome in the High Renaissance Period. Marjorie Reeves, editor. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992) 21 36 Nelson H. Minich, Prophecy at the Fifth Lateran Council (1512-1517). Prophetic Rome, 64 37 Bernard McGinn, Notes on a Forgotten Prophet: Paulus Angelus and Rome. Prophetic Rome. 189 38 Ibid., 321 39 Despite claims made by Irena Backus, who argues that the canonical status of the Apocalypse was fragile in the sixteenth century to scholars like Erasmus, the sack itself was described and depicted in numerous contemporary literary sources, including humanist writings that utilized the typologies found in traditional apocalyptic literature. Even Erasmus, who earlier challenge d its place in the New Testamen t because of its doubtful apostolic origins, later accepted the Apocalypse due to its historical value. This type of Christian prophetic tradition thrived in sixteenth century Rome among contemporary Italians and other Europeans. The Church Fathers and the Canonicity of the Apocalypse in th e Sixteenth Century: Erasmus, Fran s Titelmans, and Theodore Beza. Sixteenth Century Journal Vol. 9, No. 3 (Autumn 1998) 651-652
20 Contemporary writers compared Rome to Ba bylon in order to make sense of what appeared as an incomprehensible devastation. Luigi Guicciardini suggests a divine presence behind the human devastation of the sack, thus drawing on traditional apocalyptic themes to partially explain sixteenth-century events. He sought to displace blame from God to man in some areas of Il Sacco di Roma by interpreting the sack as divine judgment for egregious human misbehavior.40 Guicciardini refers to the the culture of lust, greed, and ambition of the papacy and Romans caused the just wr ath of God that came thr ough the sacking of the city.41 As such, his work was part of a l ong tradition associating Rome with apocalyptic and eschatological discourse, a tradition that w ould reecho in narratives re garding the sack in 1527. By the sixteenth century, Rome revolved ar ound the grandiose court of the Pope, and by this time there was a large papal family of nearly 700 people living in the Vatican.42 The city became a reflection of the ostentatious and c ourtly life of the popes, especially under Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503). The Borgia pope Alexander VI was disliked by many contemporaries both within and outside of Rome. He fathered the infamous and violent Cesare Borgia who tried to carve out sections of Italy for the Papal States through his various military ventures. According to Francesco Guicciardini at the death of Rodrigo Borgia the Roman people rejoiced in the streets and lined up to see the black, swollen, and hideousdead body of Alexander in St. Peters.43 The Borgia family fell subject to criticism by a growing number of reformers, who used the vanities and luxuria of Roman life to highlight the need for reform and change within the Church. From Luther in the north to Savonarola within Italys borders, many 40 Partner, 32. Partner is not specifically referring to Guicciardini in his work on Rome in the Renaissance, but rather is referring to many others who wrote about the events in an attempt to understand the sack. 41 The Sack of Rome, 106, 60 si mantengono nella lasciva, avara, ed ambiziosa potenza and la giusta ira di Dio Il Sacco di Roma, 206, 110 42 Partner, 47-48 43 Guicciardini, The History of Italy 165-166
21 influential figures used criticism of Rome as a microcosmic example of why Rome needed to be changed. These early modern critics inher ited the medieval apocalyptic eschatology and compared the corruption of contemporary Rome to that of ancient Babylon. They argued that the city must be destroyed in order to build the New Jerusalem in the historical discourse, and thus it became necessary to first destroy Babylon. Historians commonly used the symbol of Babylon to describe both preand postChristian Rome. The Great Whore described in the Book of Revelation is historically identified with Babylon, and the fall is pa ralleled by the establishment of the New Jerusalem. Babylon, the mother of prostitutes [Rev. 17:5] sits upon s even hills [Rev. 17: 9]. As the center of Christianity some dissenters viewed Rome as the mother of prostitutes. The seven hills of Revelation are equated with the seven famous hills of ancient Rome: the Aventine, Caelian, Capitoline, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal, and Vimi nal Hills. Vatican Hill and the construction of the new St. Peters Basilica could compare to the new Mount Zion for Catholics (after 1517), thus continuing the comparisons to a New Jerusa lem. On the other hand, the indulgences that were sold to support the rebui lding of the new Basilica caused the Protestants to compare Vatican Hill to Babylon rather than Jerusalem. Another biblical comparison originates in the biblical mother of prostitutes, who has the blood of prophets and holy ones running through her tainted body [Rev. 18:24]. This descrip tion was compared allegorically to Rome, the location of the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul (the prophets of holy ones) and numerous other saints of the Catholic faith. The relics of th ese venerated saints were deposited in various churches in the city in the centuries following the conversion to Christianity, and the pilgrims who partook in the dangerous journey to Rome e xperienced liminal moments at these holy sites. For Protestants, these holy relic s of St. Peter and other saints were corrupted by the vices and
22 Figure 2-1. The only known panorama of the Sack of Rome (c. 1500-1550) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a Protestant from the Netherlands. frivolities of the Roman Curia and the Pope (hen ce the mother of prostitutes), which had given in to a more materialistic lifestyle. Similar to th e biblical prostitute, the city of Rome needed to be purged in order to liber ate the holy relics contai ned within its walls. According to some sixteenth-century historical narratives, these evils inherent in the city of Rome led to its destruction at the hands of Spanish and Imperial troops, who, according to this understanding, acted as agents of God. 44 For example, the Spaniard Alfonso de Valds, secretary to Emperor Charles V, claimed that th e actions of the imperial troops fulfilled Gods judgment on the corrupt city. The figure of Lactantio in Valdss Dialogue of Lactancio and An Archdeacon claims that the Pope should be a livi ng example of all Christian virtue, and because Clement VII and the Roman Curia we re not virtuous they brought the sack upon 44 Modern historians debate the impact of the sack on sixteenth-century mentalities. In Renaissance Rome Peter Partner emphasizes Romes economic and cultural rec overy after 1527, while Kenne th Gouwans declares that humanists in Rome saw the end of their Renaissance patronag e. While Gouwans statement is true in most respects, some humanists also wrote about an incipient golden age that would be heralded by an angelic pastor who would lead Christendom into the new age. Gouwans, Remembering the Renaissance, 3
23 themselves.45 Despite numerous wars on the Italian pe ninsula and attacks on other Italian cities in the early sixteenth-century, the sack of Rome provoked a wide variety of responses from contemporary Italians.46 Some tracts lamented the devastati on of the Eternal City while others praised it. The Spanish priest Francesco Delica do, who was living in Rome at the time of the sack, gave thanks to God for the divine judgment involved in the destruction of Rome in the Epilogue of his novel La Lozana Andaluza .47 In four orations written between 1527 and 1528 the humanist orator Pietro Alcionio furthered th is judgment when he combined criticism of Clement VIIs political mistakes with optimism about Romes potential for recovery following the sack. Alcionio saw the sack as divine punish ment against Clement VII for his inappropriate military adventurism, which provoked the mo st monstrous barbarians to enter Rome.48 Although Alcionio did not specifically voice millenni al expectations, he di d express hope that Rome would return to greatness. Both Alcionio and Delicado believed the sack was a purge that would lead to a fresh revival. Rome as the New Babylon occupied the mi nds of the religious Catholics as well as those renouncing certain aspects of the Church.49 One of the faithful Italians who included apocalyptic discourse in his wr itings about the sack of Rome was the Augustinian Giles of Viterbo.50 Elected prior General of the Augustinia n order in 1507 by Pope Julius II, Giles of 45 Alfonso de Valds. Dialogue of Lactancio and An Archdeacon. Alfonso de Valds and the Sack of Rome: Dialogue of Lactancio and An Archdeacon. (Albuquerque: The University of New Mexico Press, 1952) 31, 64 46 Charles L. Stinger. The Renaissance in Rome (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985) 323 47 MacKay, 225 48 Gouwans, Remembering the Renaissance, 49 49 Marjorie Reeves, A Note on Prophecy and the Sack of Rome (1527). Prophetic Rome 272 50 Despite the traces of religious eschatology in his wr iting, Giles is also viewed as a humanist by modern scholars due to his veneration for classi cal authors. He endeavored to bring into harmony with orthodox Christian dogma all that he felt was good in non-Christian thought. He searched for concordia of religious ideas of the past with those of the present. Giles especially found a source of genuine spiritual enlightenment in Virgil, whom he considered a prophet for the gentiles. As for the an cient Greeks, he believed they had corrupted the sacred literature they received. He sought a re turn to the original Chri stian dogma, and believed that the reform of the Church and learning the Scriptures in a more profound way through more ancient languages were coinciding ideals.
24 Viterbo was made bishop of Viterbo in 1523 by P ope Clement VII. Giless writings reflect a mystical vision of Christianity which was inspired by traditional Western Neo-Platonism as well as the Jewish kabbala, specifically in its messianic and apocalyptic speculations.51 In addition, Giles turned to Augustin e and other philosophers and Church scholars for his understanding of the Church in history. Though he rejects Joachim of Fiores speculation on the divine essence of the Trinity, his ideas seem compatible with othe r Joachimite ideas, including the expectation that a new era was due to begin.52 Despite his position in the Cat holic Church, Giles was awar e of the problems in the Church and stressed reform in his writings. He believed that the Church was condemned to a course of decline the further aw ay it was from the age of Ch rist, and described contemporary Rome as another Babylon.53 He was critical of the Roman pe ople and their reluctance to listen to sermons, and was even more critical of the Bo rgia Pope Alexander VI, who abused his seat of authority for materialistic ventures Even before the sack of Rome his writings stressed that a greater purgation would need to take place before Church renewal could begin.54 Specifically, he wanted a return to the ancient laws of th e Church, a process that could only be accomplished with the purgation resulting from a dramatic event. The combination of both a metahistory and rhetoric of decline created an imminent sense of messianic religious tension for Giles.55 His rhetoric of decline was similar to Joachim of Fiores sense of an immediately impending Giles was a humanist who, due to his position in the Augustinian order, had both the desire and opportunity to reform the Catholic Church.50 OMalley Giles of Viterbo 19, 31, 9 51 Partner, 208 52 OMalley, Giles of Viterbo, 61 53 Ibid., 132 54 Ibid., 111 55 Ibid., 184
25 religious crisis that would accompany the advent of the Antichrist.56 Giles incorporated his own eschatological interpretation in his linear history an era of decline which he believed would culminate in a religious renewal. According to Marjorie Reeves, th is medieval belief in a linear history met the Renaissance cyclical concept of a returning sequence of ages in his writings, and thus for Giles a renewal of Rome as the Ne w Jerusalem could be rhetorically possible.57 Religious tension and a desire for reform culminated in 1530 in his only published workthe Scechina a full length apology for the kabbal istic interpretation of Scripture.58 According to Marjorie Reeves translation the title means habitation of God with men, and is significant in terms of describing the earthly Jerusalem of his time.59 Despite being commissioned by Clement VII, it was dedicated to the emperor Charles V, the new Cyrus.60 In this dedication, Giles utilized the historic representa tion of Cyrus as a figure who would punish the church before a return to the golden age (or New Jerusalem of Rome) could be fulfilled.61 In biblical literature, Cyrus was used to subdue nations for the Lord a nd rebuild his city after the fall of the biblical Babylon [Isaiah 45:112] Similarly, the new Cyru s, in the guise of Charles V, would help to rebuild the formerly corrupt city of Rome. Despite the respect Giles had for Clement VII (evident in the use of his own finances in order to attempt a rescue of the pope from his virtual imprisonment in the Castel Sant Angelo directly following the s ack), Giles believed Charles V 56 Richard J Payne, editor. Apocalyptic Spirituality: Treatises and Letters of Lactantius, Adso of Montieren-der, Joachim of Fiore, the Spiritual Franciscans, and Savonarola. (New York: Paulist Press, 1979) 98; Joachim of Fiore, Book of Figures, The Fourteenth Table, The Seven-Headed Dragon. Apocalyptic Spirtuality. 136 57 Marjorie Reeves, Cardinal Egidio of Vite rbo: A Prophetic Interpretation of History. Prophetic Rome 93 58 By the time he wrote the Scechina Giles had completely dedicated himself to the task of investigating the meaning of Scripturethat all other intellectual interests were consciously absorbed into it. He had obtained a level of fluency in Hebrew and Greek, and his knowledge of sources ranged from patristic and ancient sources to Jewish kabbalism. Most importantly, however, he was a Christian theologian, and of all the sources upon which he drew, Scripture held the primacy. Giless inte llectual efforts culminated in the writing of the Scechina where his hope for religious reform of the Catholic Church coincided with his hope that the evils that led to the sack of Rome would be amended. OMalley, Giles of Viterbo, 70, 66 59 Reeves, Cardinal Egid io of Viterbo. 104 60 OMalley, Giles of Viterbo, 116 61 Partner, 209
26 was the divinely appointe d purger of the of the Roman Catholic Church.62 Charles V was the new messianic agent for Gods final purpose, a renewal of the Golden Age in Rome.63 The city of Rome played a significant role in his writings, and he stressed the importance of the Apostolic succession following Peter to the history of Christianity. Giles believed that Rome had been destined to be the center of Chris tianity, from as early as the time of the Etruscans. He claimed that Janus, the founder of the Etruscan religion, and namesake of the Janiculum Hill, heralded a true religious tradit ion. He even went so far as to compare the Janiculum, near the Vatican, to Mount Zion.64 Giles, like Luigi Guicciardini, believed that the New Saint Peters Basilica, which was under constr uction in his time, would be the new Temple of the New Jerusalem.65 In all his writings, but especia lly in his vigorous opposition of the Peripatetics, Giles stressed the importance of divine providence. Hi s conviction that God continued to intervene in history is important in his apocalyptic beliefs regarding the sack of Rome. In this new and different era of history Jerusalem would be cr eated by God with the destruction of the old city of Rome. Yet, the citizens of Rome disappointed him following 1527, as they refused to mend their harmful ways. Simi lar to other critics of the Roman curia at the time, and others like St. Augustine from an earli er time, Giles believed there would be further destruction before the dawn of a new era could occur. 62 OMalley, Giles of Viterbo, 116. Giles expressed other apocalyptic beliefs in his texts, and according to OMalley, the Apocalypse of John was among his favorite writings of the New Testament (71). 63 Reeves, Cardinal Egid io of Viterbo. 104 64 OMalley, Giles of Viterbo, 122-123 65 Ibid., 135
27 CHAPTER 3 LUIGI GUICCIARDINI: A MAN OF HIS TIME Historical Consciousness and Il S acco di Roma One of the most vivid and politically informed accounts of the sack comes from the Florentine Luigi Guicciardinis (1478-1551) Il Sacco di Roma, a detailed narrative of events that contains both political commentary and apocalyptic discourse. Guicciardini is ab le to bring these together to form a new kind of apocalyptic di scourse. Though his account has been largely ignored by modern historiogra phy, it is a useful pedagogical t ool for anyone studying early modern Rome and its environs. Due to his extens ive political career, Gui cciardini portrayed the sack with a keen eye for detail despite not havi ng witnessed the events in person. While there are many contemporary accounts that utilize apocalypt ic rhetoric when describing the events of 1527, only Guicciardini presents this discourse from a specifically Florentine viewpoint supported by well-informed political commentary and an in-depth account of events. He perceives humans as active agents in their own hi story while also viewing the process of history as cyclical and repetitive. Guicciardinis narrative breaks from purely medieval historical thinking by highlighting political motivations and consequences, while still retaining a sense of apocalyptic and bibli cal representation. Luigi Guicciardinis Il Sacco di Roma contains a dedicatory letter followed by two narrative sections. The dedication to Cosimo deMedici at the be ginning rhetorically alludes to Guicciardinis political sentiments at the time of publication. Libro Primo recounts the events throughout Italy that led to the sack of Rome and reflects the authors extensive knowledge of contemporary events. This narrative includes information from the formation of the League of Cognac through the French attack on Milan, and even to the Florentine tumulto del venerd uprising prior to the Imperial army s descent to Rome. It conclude s with the army of Charles de
28 Bourbon sacking Laterina and Rondine on th eir way to Rome. The last narrative, Libro Secondo is significant because the author recounts the approach of Bourbons army and the destructive events of May 6th in explicitly apocalyptic terms. The apocalyptic discourse used by Guicciardini functions as a rhetor ical solution to the problem of th e evils he laments in his world, which are described in the narra tives of his text. Gu icciardini recounts the events of 1527 using biblical typologies a nd comparisons while still maintaini ng a historical consciousness and a desire to insert his own political comme ntary. His style of writing history marks Il Sacco di Roma as an early modern historical text. Paul Oskar Kristeller claims that this very development of a true historiography is what distinguishes Renaissance from Medieval writings.66 In this light, while Guicciardini recounts the historical events of the sack, he also refl ects a strong apocalyptic mentality, which could be perceived as medieval by historians who es pouse the notion that the Renaissance was the cradle of modernity. On the other hand, Randolph Starn questions these methodological divisions when he claims that the distincti ons between Renaissance and Medieval are actually quite blurry in Italy at this time.67 Eric Cochrane also c ounters this Renaissance as modern notion when he describes the Renaissance writers as indebted to their medieval predecessors despite their cons cious rebellion against them.68 Cochrane acknowledges a change in Renaissance historiography, but does not completely divorce the literature of the Renaissance historians from that of the medieval writers. He even specifically refers to Luigi Guicciardini as a chronicler, which he describes as histor ians who follow a medieval 66 Cochrane, Historians and Historiography in the Italian Renaissance. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1981) xiii 67 Randolph Starn, Whos Afraid of the Renaissance? In The Past and Future of Medieval Studies. John Van Engen, editor. (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994) 133 68 Cochrane, xv
29 model.69 Yet, Cochranes judgment of Guicciardi nis work seems passive and limited. His description of Renaissance historiography applies to Guicciardini s narrative as well as the medieval chronicler method of historiography. Guicciardini utiliz es the eschatological discourse so often found in medieval texts (hence the medieval model), while also allowing for a sense of human agency (through effective lead ership) amidst these Divine events. Although the use of historical period construc ts seems at times diachronic and arbitrary (and often is), it is still a useful tool in highlighting tran sitions in specific categories.70 In this case, the term early modernity exemplifies th e evolving way that indi viduals perceived the world around them while placing themselves into a greater historical narra tive. Guicciardinis continuation of the apocalyptic notion in a secular sense also shows the changing historiography of the period. In his assessmen t of the development of Renais sance historiography, Marvin B. Becker claims that while medieval writers also appreciated the secular struggles of man, the Renaissance writers furthered this context by elevating the terrain on which it was to transpire.71 Although Beckers study concludes in th e early Quattrocento, his assessment can apply to the history of Guicciardi ni as well. The Renaissance hist orians placed their literature in the real world, in comparison to the metaphysical or moral landscape of medieval writers like Dante. In Guicciardinis text, hi s apocalyptic rhetoric is not morali stic or contrived; rather, he is describing actual events composed of real people with human agency. In his analysis of the understanding of the end of times in literature, Frank Kermode 69 Ibid., 190, xvi 70 Because of these reasons, this paper will use the less arbitrary term early modern. For more information on the justification of this term usage, see OMalley, John W. Trent and All That: Renaming Catholicism in the Early Modern Era. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2000) 1-15 71 Marvin B. Becker, Towards a Renaissa nce Historiography of Florence In Renaissance Studies in Honor of Hans Baron. Anthony Molho, editor. (Dekalb: Illinois University Press, 1971) 145-6
30 states that in recreating old structures writers te nd to use old patterns and adapt them to the new world.72 Such a reuse of old pa tterns is apparent in Il Sacco di Roma. Guicciardini viewed the process of history as cyclical a nd repetitive, specifically in hi s view on the extreme lows of destruction as turning points.73 This is exemplified in Libro Primo when he uses the example of the destruction of the ancient city of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 BC by the Roman Emperor Titus. Guicciardini uses this well-known exam ple to show that even while the Jews were the victims of such devastation, they still gained gr eat respect from the Romans for their strength and tenacity. 74 Thus, the Romans should also be able to turn this destruction into something positive, if they correct the lasciviousness that caus ed the sack. Another example of this cyclical history is apparent in the dedi cation. Guicciardini claims that human undertakings tend to oscillate between one extreme and the other; and ultimately nothing changes but names and places.75 This clearly shows his belief that human history is repetitive throughout time, and the same patterns found in the sack of 1527 can be seen in previous examples, such as the earlier sack of Rome in 410. This cyclical aspect come s through his use of biblical typologies in his narrative, such as the repetitive th eme of the suffering of humans due to their excessive vanities. He took the old patterns of bib lical comparisons, and applied them to volatile situation of his time. 72 Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction. The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967) 58 73 McGregor, xxiii 74 Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome 7 E bench la popolosa, e fortissima Gerusalemme fosse desolata, ed arsa da Vespasiano, e Tito Imperatori, nondimeno provarano in quattro anni con mille difficolt, e mille pericoli, la virt, ed ostinazione de Giudei. Il Sacco di Roma, 2 75 Ibid., 3. Canciossiacosach con questi diversi, ed appositi costumi, di necessit le umane imprese da questo a quello estremo (con poco riposo e meno salute di ciascuno) continuamente girando, e ritornando, non mutano altro, che luogo, e nome. Il Sacco di Roma, xv
31 Florentine Context a nd Political Commentary Despite the acute political aw areness and attention to de tail displayed in his book, for most histo rians Luigi is the forgotten Guicciardini brother.76 Francesco spent two years as a Florentine ambassador in the court of Spain, a nd then served under the Medici family following their return to power in Florence. A faithful servant of the Medici family despite his desire for a republic, Francesco penned the Florentine History and several other tracts before his final and most famous work Printed in nearly one hundred editions in Italian and translated into French, Latin, Spanish, German, Flemish, and English wi thin a century of its original publication, The History of Italy (published posthumously in 1561) describe s the events of the Italian peninsula between 1494 and 1534.77 In his study of the Guicciardini family dynamic, Randolph Starn claims that it was a great family but they were all eclipsed by a great manFrancesco.78 The legacy of Luigis younger brother Francesco, pr aised for his extensive knowledge of Italian political events, overshadows the rhetorical merits of Luigi Guicciardini among historians.79 For Roberto Ridolfi, Francesco is most remembered for his assistance in the production of an intellectual history of contemporary events.80 Luigi Guicciardini also had a vast knowledge of 76 Although Luigis account of the Sack was more deta iled, Francescos shorter version seems to be cited more often in modern accounts. For ex ample, Andr Chastels art historical account of the sack mentions and cites Francescos numerous texts, but not Luigis. The Sack of Rome, 1527. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977) 77 Sidney Alexander, Introduction. In Guicciardini, The History of Italy xxv. 78 Randolph Starn, Francesco Guicciardini and His Brothers. Renaissance Studies in Honor of Hans Baron. (Dekalb: North Ilinois University Press, 1971) 412 79 An example comes from the printe r of the 1758 Cologne edition of Il Sacco di Roma asserts that the text was written da Francesco Guicciardini, thus attributing th e authorship to the Francesco rather than Luigi. (Il Sacco di Roma descritto in due libri da Francesco Guicciardini Guicciardini, Il Sacco di Roma. i) There is no modern debate over who actually wrote the text, but due to the limited editions printed of Luigis text (in comparison to the many editions of Francescos texts), the eighteenth-centu ry German printers seem to have confused the two and favored the more well-known brother. 80 Roberto Ridolfi, Studi Guicciardini. (Firenze: Leo S. Olschki Editore, 1978) 21
32 contemporary events, yet according to Starn ma ny of his numerous other writings remain unpublished in archives in Florence, insuffi ciently explored if not entirely unknown.81 Prior to composing Il Sacco di Roma Luigi Guicciardini had an active political career in the city of Florence. He came from a patrician family, part of the ottimati who partially controlled the government in Florence Luigi was the eldest of five sons of Simona di Bongianni Gianfigliazzi and Piero Guicci ardini, and he married Isabella Sacchetti in 1502. Luigi, Francesco, and his other brothers were active in the political scen e of Florence. Known for his notorious rigidity and self-ri ghteousness, Luigi held his first political office in 1514 as console del mare and advanced to several other positions in the next few years. 82 In March and April of 1527 (just prior to the sack of Rome in May) he was appointed as the gonfaloniere di giustizia the supreme executive office in Florence. Unde r Pope Clement VII (Giu lio deMedici), who was Pope at the time of the sack, the Florentines were at the height of their wealth and influence in Rome.83 Consequently, the sack delivered a severe albeit relatively quick, blow to Florentine power in the Holy City. Due to his brothers pos ition as lieutenant general of the papal army and the long-standing family ties to the Medici rule rs, Luigi Guicciardini was well-informed about the activities in the government of the Papal States at the time of the sack. 81 Starn, Francesco Guicciardini and His Brothers. 433 Furthermore, before James H. McGregors English translation in 1993 a new edition had not been published (in Italian or English) since 1867, and many other tracts by Luigi Guicciardini have not been widely published nor translated into English. This includes Il Dialogo del Savnonarola and Il Dialogo di Francesco Cappoini e Piero Vettori disputanti del governo di Firenze both from 1530. 82 Starn, Francesco Guicciardini and His Brothers. 427 83 Partner, 79-80. Even before Clement VIIs papacy, Lorenzo deMedici enlisted the aid of the governor of the Medici bank in Rome, Nofri di Niccol Tornabuoni, along with other ambassadors sent for the specific purpose of obtaining papal favors. The efforts of Tornabuoni and the other Florentine ambassadors to Rome, such as Niccol Michelozzi, took the Medici financial concerns into the heart of the Vatican. Melissa Meriam Bullard. Hammering Away at the Pope: Nofri Tornabuoni, Loreze no DeMedicis Agent and Collaborator in Rome. Florence and Beyond: Culture, Society, and Politics in Renai ssance Italy. Essays in Honour of John M. Najemy David S. Peterson, editor. (Toronto: Publications of the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2008) 386
33 Guicciardini used his description of the sack in order to represent his own political commentary on the ineffective leadership in contem porary Florence and other Italian cities.84 Writing became a way to publicize political ideas, an d often a way to please the patron.85 Patronage of Renaissance writers by wealthy citizens allowed this to occur, and writers often sought to please their patron through embellished dedicatory lett ers and texts. This is exemplified by Guicciardinis dedication of his work to Lord Cosimo deMedici, the Most Illustrious Second Duke of the Florentine Republic, who began ruling the city around 1537 at the young age of seventeen.86 Cosimo was the son of Maria Salviati and Giovanni deMedici, more famously known as Giovanni delle Bande Nere, a skilled mili tary leader in Floren ce who was killed in battle just prior to the sack. The political climate of Florence had been volatile for many decades prior to 1537. The Medici had b een expelled several times while citizens attempted to establish a Florentine Republic. Following his release fr om imprisonment after the sack, Clement VII worked with Charles V to reestablish Medici power in the city. In 1531 by imperial decree Alessandro deMedici was installed as head of the government of Florence and was declared Duke in 1532. Unfortunately for Alessandro, his cousin, Lorenzino deMedici opposed the idea of a Florentine Duchy and as part of his pl an for a republic, assassinated the young Duke in 1537.87 Many of the ottimati of the city, including Francesco and Luigi Guicciardini, gathered together following the assassina tion to elect Cosimo I as the new Duke despite Lorenzinos hopes for a Republic. 84 James H. McGregor. Introduction. In Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome xxi 85 John Najemy claims that writing in the Renaissance was an extremely popular outlet in expressing thoughts, persuasions, and political sentiments. Between Friends: Discourses of Power and Desire in the MachiavelliVettori Letters of 1513-1515 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993) 86 Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome, 1. Illustrissimo. Il Sacco di Roma x 87 For more information on the struggle for power, see John Najemys monumental work A History of Florence: 1200-1575. (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2006)
34 Figure 3-1. Giorgio Vasaris C osimo eletto duca di Firenze (1559) Located in the room dedicated to Cosimo I, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. Figure 3-2. Portrait of Luigi Guicciardini, Detail from "Cos imo eletto duca di Firenze"
35 In the dedicatory letter, Gu icciardini emphasizes his conviction that Cosimo would provide stability in a time of political turmoil by claiming that some new legislator or monarch (like those w ho have arisen in past centuries in similar disasters) might have the power and sense of justice to restrain and chase back to hell the unbridled and diabolical Furies that have in recent years swept violently through every land.88 This praise, obviously directed to Cosimo, serves as an outlet for Guicciardini to express his political sentiments. At the time of the sack while he was gonfaloniere di giustizia Guicciardini was a moderate supporter of the Medici family, and had even assisted in th e decision to exile the family that same year. Yet, this support change d amidst developments in Florentine politics in 1537 engendered by the assassination of the D uke Alessandro deMedici. According to twentieth-century historian and family descende nt Paolo Guicciardini, Guicciardini abandoned his moderate tendency and wholeh eartedly supported the ascendency of Cosimo deMedici as Duke.89 Renaissance and early modern dedicatory lett ers were imbued with a direct intent on the part of author, or a specific reason for writi ng, which included efforts to please their patron.90 The 1537 dedication of Il Sacco di Roma to a member of the Medici family who were once again in control of Florence illustrate s Guicciardinis pro-Medici stan ce at the time of publication, in 88 Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome, 2. se gi tosto, come n passati secoli in tanti aniversati frangenti e successo, non sorger qualche nu ovo legislatore, o nuovo Monarce, per la po tenza, e giustizia del quale non solo si raffrenierio e si rimettano nel centro della Terra tante sfrenate e diaboliebe Furie, quante si veggono in questi ultimi anni quasi in ogni Porvin cia crudelmente scorrere. Il Sacco di Roma xiii 89 Dei Medici era stato sempre un fautore, ma della tendenza pi moderata, and Aveva abbandonato la tendenze moderata: egli voleva, cos insinua maliziosamente il Varchi,
36 contrast to his belief in the ineffec tive leadership at the time of the sack. 91 In addition to the brutal wars and unheard-of famine in Flor ence, Guicciardini presents the ineffective leadership that plagued his and other Italian cities as a nother catastrophic event in Libro Primo of his narrative.92 Here he describes the events leading up to the sack in Florence, Milan, and other Italian cities, and how ine ffective leadership led to defeat in many of these places. The eternal discord within unhappy Italy is detailed in Guicciardinis de scriptions of leaders such as the Medici in Florence, who caused many Flor entines to favor war over peace if it meant liberation from Medicean servitude.93 The Italian soldiers were overwhelmed and beaten down, not because of poor ability on their part but rather on the part of their leaders who could not mold them and bring out their natural, age-old aggressiveness.94 These comments reflect Guicciardinis disapproval of much of the politic al and military leadership in the year 1527. Interestingly, his praise was reserved for Gi ovanni delle Bande Nere, father of Cosimo I, the recipient of the dedicatory letter of Il Sacco di Roma. According to Guicciardini, the Black Bands were brave enough to meet their enemies f ace to face thanks to the skill and courage of 91 Despite the ten-year gap from the sack to the dedication, McGregor has argued that the text itself was written in 1527 directly after the sack. This argument seems convincing, as Guicciardini describes events in the text as if they had not yet reached a conclusion. For example, the author narrates the popes virtual imprisonment inside Castel SantAngelo and claims to have little knowledge of wh at was going on inside due to the fact that they were completely surrounded and very carefully watched by their enemies. Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome, 115. The pope was inside the Castel SantAngelo for several months after the attack, but by 1537 he had been free for many years. Guicciardinis claim regarding the popes condition seems to imply that he was writing his account while the pope was still captive in 1527, and had he written the text in 1537 would have certainly included information on the popes whereabouts. Yet, McGregor lacks a full explana tion of why the dedication was written so many years later, if the text was truly written directly after the sack. 92 Guicciardini is referring to the numerous wars that had been fought on Italian soil in previous decades, as well as a series of plagues that hit cities of Italy. In Rome, there was a severe plague in 1522 followed by several renewed outbreaks in later years. Partner, 54 93 Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome, 12. LUniversale di Fiorenza is qu esto tempo, per trovarsi malissimo contento del Governo de Medici, desiderava pi la guerra, che la pace, stimando per quella potere facilmente nascere occasione da liberarsi dalla Medico [ sic] servit. Il Sacco di Roma, 12. 94 Ibid., 18. E bench a tempi nostri si vegga sba ttuta, e sbiogttita, non procede tanto dall avere smarrita la buona educazione militare, quanto per no n trovarsi sotto Capitano, che la inst ruisca, e gli faccia di nuovo mostrare la sua naturale e autica ferocia. Il Sacco di Roma, 25
37 Signor Giovanni [de lle Bande Nere].95 Kenneth Gouwans convincingly argues that Il Sacco di Roma is tailored with certain embellishments to fit the desires of Cosimo I. This is exemplified through the previous example th at highlighted the skills of Giovanni deMedici despite Guicciardinis belief in ineffectiv e leadership on the part of others.96 This tailoring is also achieved by his failure to attribut e any significant blame to Charles V, who officially recognized Cosimo deMedici as Duke of Florence in June of 1537 and thus solidified the restoration of Medici power in the city. Tradit ionally, Florence had been pro-Fr ench in its foreign sentiment, but following an agreement between Pope Clemen t VII and the Emperor Charles V in June of 1529, and especially following the re turn of the Medici in 1530 afte r the failed Second Florentine Republic, the official sentiment was more favorab le to the Spanish hegemony that had taken over the peninsula. Thus, because the text was written to honor the new pro-imperial Duke, it not surprising that Charles V would be viewed in a mo re favorable light rather than if it had been written in 1527 directly after his troops passed a fearful Florence. Moreover, Guicciardini demonstrates a Machia vellian influence when he states in his dedicatory letter that it is a historians task to teach advisers of republics and princes how to live by using the true examples of others.97 Both Machiavelli and Luigi Guicciardini used political commentary when writing history in order to narra te contemporary events and inform political leaders of their day. While M achiavellis political commentary may be better known to modern students, Guicciardini also used this commentary to reinforce his critique of ineffectual political 95 Ibid., 26. Solo la Banda Nera, cos nominata dal colore dellinsegne sue, per la virt, e per lanimo del Signor Giovanni, essendo da lui gui, data, e disciplinata, mostr continuamente vedere volentieri il nemico in viso. Il Sacco di Roma 42 96 Kenneth Gouwans, Review of The Sack of Rome. Renaissance Quarterly Vo. 48, No. 2 (Summer, 1995), 375-376 97 Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome 5. che qualunque verissima Istoria, e non simulanti adulazioni vuole scrivere, sia abbligato con sincero animo narrarla, non tant o per insegnare col vero esem pio daltri certe regole a coloro, che sono preposti a consigliare le Repubbliche, e li Principati. Il Sacco di Roma xix-xx
38 leadership.98 Machiavelli, often considered Europes first political scientist, was a close friend of both Luigi and Francesco Guicciardini, and so me of the epistolary exchanges between them still exist.99 Despite the late publication of The Prince it seems reasonable to assume that Luigi Guicciardini was exposed to many of Machiavellis political and religious sentiments due to their friendship. Both Guicciardini brothers belonged to the same Florentine school of political thought as Machiavelli, and resemblances in th eir text commentary reflects similar outlooks on politics.100 In addition to his praise fo r Giovanni delle Bande Nere (who would not have proved inferior to Alexander, or Hanniba l) Guicciardini stated that th e wisest councilors of Florence did not believe their city shoul d do anything to opposed the empe ror since they stood to gain nothing from the attack on Rome.101 In this case, he is referring to himself as gonfaloniere di giustizia at the time while also giving his own pers pective on political ma neuvers prior to the sack. Florence stood in the face of possible destru ction at the hands of the imperial troops in 1527. Thus, many Florentines considered the ex pense of opposing the emperor too great and preferred not to assist the Pope. Guicciardini also a dvises his reader not to leave fate only to God. He claims that the wise give up hope and join the ignorant when they believe there is no 98 Machiavelli wrote many brief essays and sketches in addition to his longer works, many of which were printed in the first decade of the sixteenth century. The Prince was composed in 1513, although it was not published until 1532. Similarly, The Discourses, less famous but also important in te rms of reflecting the authors political stance, was composed between 1513-1515 and later published in 1531. Luigi Guicciardinis belief in the ineffectiveness of the Italian leadership at the time of the sack, which is similar to Machiavellis critique of contemporary military tactics (with th e exception of Cesare Borgia.) 99 For more information on this epistolary exchange between Machiavelli and the Guicciardini family, see Machiavelli and his Friends: Their Personal Correspondence, James B. Atkinson, editor. Dekalb, Ill: Northern Illinois University Press, 1996. Similarly, John Najemy has shown that Francesco Vettori made use of his epistolary exchange with Machiavelli to encourage him to rethink assumptions about language and writing that he brought to the practice of political discourse in letters and The Prince. Between Friends xi 100 Felix Gilbert, Machiavelli and Guicciardini. Journal of the Warburg Institute, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Jan. 1939), 265 101 Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome 36 and 41. senza dubbio non sarebbe stato n ad Alessandro, n ad Annibale. Il Sacco di Roma, 61
39 way to head off scourges se nt by the wrath of God.102 While simultaneously critiquing the military leadership who fought for the Pope, Gui cciardini also implies that men can play an important part in their own destiny. Apocalyptic Rhetoric In addition to his belief in individual m en as active ag ents in historical change, Guicciardinis narrative also reflects a strong sense of religio us purpose. The Guicciardini children were raised very piously by their father, Piero, and the influence of this education is evident in his reliance on this in Guicciardinis historical writing. Guicciardini uses eschatological discourse and apocalyptic topoi as a symbolic theodicy, an explanation of heavenly events to his reader. His apocalyptic topoi include a belief in divine justice for wrongdoing, which is shown through his reasoning for writing his narrative: As I wrote during those terrible days [directly following the sa ck], it was not my intention to derive pleasure from revisiting with the pen the scene of so many and such pitiable cruelties. I wanted instead to keep conti nually before my eyes a strong example of the great evils that arrogance and immoderate ambition cause and of the need for erring men to anticipate and to fear divine justice.103 Guicciardinis generalization of er ring men who should expect to f ear divine justice implies that the 1527 sack is not the first event to feel the repercussions of divi ne justice. This apocalyptic discourse of divine justice, combined with a sens e of cyclical history and a mastery of political commentary throughout the narrative, work together to produce a very early modern text. 102 Ibid., 62. che i Savi si abbandonino, e con glignoranti affermino, non restare a noi rimedio alcuno, per provvedere a tanto flagello della giusta ira di Dio, e che per i nostri gravissimi errori meritiamo tanto male, e peggio. Il Sacco di Roma, 114 103 Ibid., 3. bench in quelli in felicissimi giorni del sacco di Roma scrivessi, no n feci questo per pigliare allora piacere, con la penna discorrend o fra tante e tante miserabili crudelt, ma per aver continuamente avanti agli occhi miei un manifesto esempio di quanto male sia cagione la superba e la immoderata ambizione, e quanto temere si debba, gravamente errando, la divina Giustizia. Il Sacco di Roma, xiv
40 Guicciardinis apocalyptic rhetoric served as a technique for advanc ing his interpretation of history and swaying his contemporary readers. 104 As described earlier, Guicciardini structured his dedication to specifically prai se the illustrious new Duke. This dedication precedes narratives in which he argues that bad l eadership and corrupt cities lead to destruction, thus allowing the reader to understand why hi s dedication contained numerous references to hopeful political improvement. In addition to bad leadership, other evils of Guicciardinis time included the followers of Luther to the north and the consistent interference of the number of foreigners who come through miserable Italy assaulting and sacking cities on a continual basis.105 Contemporary Italians only needed to consider the excessiveness of the ridiculous ceremonies, the lascivious and idle pl easures of the most reverend cardinals, prelates, and courtiers of the Roman cu ria. Then let him see that because of such despicable frivolity, they are at present mo re miserable and unfortunate than any other mortals. 106 For Guicciardini, the idle pleasures of the corrupt Roman curia contributed to the causes of the sack of Rome. In his view, the lasciviousness wa s sufficient cause for God to inflict his Divine justice and destroy the city. 104 OLeary, 3-4. Although OLeary does not discu ss Luigi Guicciardini (nor specifically early modern texts), his interpretation of apocalyptic rhetoric can be applied to Il Sacco di Roma. 105 Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome 62. in questa infelice Italia. Il Sacco di Roma, 114 106 Ibid., 8. in Roma erano eccessive le vane, e ridicole pompe, con i lascivi, ed oziosi delizii de Reverendissimi Cardinali, Prelati, e Cortegiani della Romana Corte, essendo al presente per tanto vilissimo ozio, sopra gli altri mortali, miseri, ed infelici. Il Sacco di Roma, 3-4 This attitude toward the papacy was espoused by Machiavelli as well, who claimed that the court of Rome had lost all its devotion and religion due to the frivolous and secular aspects they displayed. Niccol Machiavelli. The Discourses. The Portable Machiavelli 212. Although Machiavelli is often seen as a religious skeptic to modern historians due to his influence on political science and his strong opinions on military matters, he considered religion an essential foundation for any health y political structure. (Machiavellis views on religion are complex. For more information, see David S. Peterson, Machiavelli and the Petrine Succession. Florence and Beyond 435-456.) He did not necessarily agree with the Petrine Succession of the Roman Catholic papacy, and wondered how the Church had arrived at such power in controlling the growin g territories of the Papal States. Niccol Machiavelli. The Prince. The Portable Machiavelli 113. Yet, he still recognizes the importance of religion in society, and uses the example of the Samnites, who turned to religion in order to encourage their soldiers. This action was exemplary, and proves how much confiden ce faith can inspire. Machiavelli, The Discourses, 218. Machiavelli fused together his reflections on the importance of religion with his commentary on the politics of his time, something Guicciardini did in his less-famous text.
41 Guicciardinis ability to combine his commentary on contemporary society with apocalyptic discourse reflects another Florentine tr adition, espoused years earlier by Girolamo Savonarola, who believed that Florence could b ecome the New Jerusalem through sudden and universal reforms and an elimination of the existing political hierarchy.107 Writing under this influence, Guicciardini laments the continuous assault on Florence by bad city leaders and foreign invasions. He saw a greater future for hi s city despite the foreign powers that ravaged the peninsula in recent years. The use of apocal yptic discourse and the belief in the assault on the Italian peninsula and other evils in th e world ran through Savonarolas millenarian predictions, which rose in popularity followi ng the French invasion of 1494. Savonarola believed that since the city of Florence had b een divinely chosen by God, those who sought to destroy the city would receive harsh divine treatment. His Compendium of Revelations, written in defense of a concerted ecclesiastical campa ign against him in 1495, developed this argument in detail. Though Savonarola was burned at the stake in 1498, his ideas would live on through the work of his followers, especially the Piagnoni.108 Medici devotees feared that the fanatical priest would carry on his mission without him, especi ally during the shortlived Second Florentine Republic when the Medici were expelled from the city. In April of 1527 the Piagnoni once again exerted a significant influence in Floren tine affairs when they helped encourage the tumulto del venerd This event involved a group of youths who gath ered in the Piazza della 107 Polizzotto, 96 108 In light of these fears, the Medici symbolically removed the bell from the convent of San Marco (which the priest had used to call people to service) and exile d it to the rival convent of San Salvatore al Monte. Furthermore, many former Savonarolan followers such as Marsilio Ficino abandoned their support in favor of a safer reform sentiment. Yet, Piagnoni were able to carry on his apocalyptic beliefs, and in the writings of Girolamo Benivieni (also a friend of Giulio deMedici), he used the biblical metaphor of an old, ravaged Jerusalem whose walls needed rebuilding. Ibid., 170, 156
42 Signoria demanding the expulsion of the Medici and the formation of a citizen militia.109 Luigi Guicciardini as gonfaloniere tried unsuccessfully to dissuade the rioters. Nearly a month later the situation was repeated and the Medici family left the city, which encouraged the rise of apocalyptic beliefs among the people of Florence. One of the most significant indications of these beliefs was the Signorias addition of the Cr own of Thorns to the main emblem of the city, which marked the beginning of the new Elect Nation of Florence.110 Savonarolas beliefs influenced Guicciardini from his childhood because of his fathers staunch support of the millenarian preacher.111 Savonarola believed that due to the vanities and excesses of the world, all of Italy and especial ly Rome would be dest royed, thus making way for the New Jerusalem in Florence.112 Although Guicciardini does not seem to describe an expected millennial kingdom following the destru ction (nor uses the specific phrase New Jerusalem), he does suggest th e rise of a new and improved er a when he claims that human affairs begin to ascend the scale of happine ss following the lowes t rung of misery. 113 Furthermore, his dedicatory letter is a good indication of his hope fo r Florence as the leading city following the catastrophic destructio n. When he addresses the new legislator or monarch who will have the power...[to] chase back to hell the unbridled and diabolical Furies that had traversed Italy, he is referring to Duke Cosimo deMedici. He expected the Florentine leader would effectively lead Italy, and chase out th e foreign power who s wept violently through 109 Ibid., 335 110 Ibid., 367 111 Alexander, xx 112 Savonarola, Compendium of Revelations Apocalyptic Spirituality. 202 113 Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome 63. quando le azioni umane sono ridotte all infinito grado del male, non potendo pi declinare, cominciano di nuovo a poco a poco, spornate dalla necessit, madre della virt, a falire per la scala della felicit. Il Sacco di Roma 116
43 their lands.114 His religious convictions and his politi cal expectations re inforce each other throughout his entire narrative. Savonarola was not his only in fluence; there was a rise in prophetic preachers throughout Italy in the early decades of the century, many of whom Guic ciardini would surely have witnessed in the streets of Florence. There was a larger number of preachers who criticized the papacy around the time of the Council of Pisa from 1511-1513 and traversed the streets heralding the imminence of divine retr ibution or the dawn of a new age.115 Prophetic inspiration found an outlet in preaching, and in the weeks preceding the sack anti-Roman preaching became increasingly more explosive. 116 These romiti were erratic preachers who often moved from town to town to avoid pe rsecution by local authorities. However, one apocalyptic preacher in particular had a strong impact during his long stay in pre-sack Rome. This preacher, Brandano da Petroio, reproached much of the clergy a nd directed threatening comments toward the pope. He arrived in Rome in the year before the sack and declared there would be an imminent punishment on the city befo re climbing a statue in St. Peters Square in order to turn and scold Pope Clement VII, for the scarce piety in Rome.117 Similar to the apocalyptic preaching of Savona rola and Brandano da Petroio, Guicciardini describes unusual occurrences and portents of doom that heralded the destruction of the city. Most interestingly, he describes a man resembli ng a prophet who appeared in Rome several days 114 Ibid., 2. la quale similmente (per esser la natura del male di andare sempre, come il fuoco nella disposta maceria crescendo, ed ampliando, quando non con prestezza annullato, e spen to) sar in breve ridotta allultimo suo esterminio, se gi tost o, come n passati secoli in tanti anni versati frangenti successo, non forger qualche nuovo legislatore, o nuovo Monarca, per la potenza, e giustizia del quale non solo si raffrenino, e si rimettano nel centro della Terra tante sfrenate, diaboliche Furie, quante si veggono in questi ultimi anni quasi in ogni Provincia crudelmente scorrere. Il Sacco di Roma, xiii 115 Aldo Landi, Prophecy at the Time of the Council of Pisa (1511-1513). Prophetic Rome 53 116 Ottavia Niccoli, High and Low Prophetic Culture in Rome at the Beginning of the Sixteenth Century. Prophetic Rome 120 117 Giampaolo Tognetti, Sul Romito e Profeta Brandano da Petroio. Rivista Storica Italiania. Vol. 7, 1960. Durante la Settimana Santa proclam la punizion e imminente sulla citt and s i scagli dallalto di una statua contro il papa benedicente, rimproverandogli la poca piet che scorgeva nei Romani durante quelle giornate. 32
44 prior to the sack. This prophet publ icly predicted that the destru ction of the priests and of the entire city was certain and that a renewal of the Church was at hand.118 It is significant that Guicciardini includes this man in his text, as his apocalyptic prophecy would in fact occur. This preacher was most likely Brandano da Petroio, and Guicciardinis inclusion of Brandano reinforces his belief in the apo calyptic renewal of the city. In addition to the itinerant preachers, numerous pamphlets had appeared both before and after the sack that included phenomena such as a celestial hand holding a dagger in the sky and a shower of weapons and severed heads. It was even said that the come t that appeared before the sack in 1527 was the same one that had been seen before both the destruction of Jerusalem on AD 72 and the first sack of Rome by Alaric and the Visigoths in 410.119 This claim suggests a parallel between the 1527 sack and that of the anci ent city of Jerusalem and with the earlier sack of Rome that St. Augustine refers to in his City of God Guicciardini alludes to these portents as he cautions his reader that G od warns mortals with divers and terrible signs before their punishment. One of these signs included a light ning bolt that lifted a st atue of the baby Jesus from the arms of Mary in the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere, subs equently breaking it to pieces.120 These portents of doom and the prophecy of the romito who called for the destruction of the corrupt papacy described in Il Sacco di Roma are significant because they mirror Guicciardinis hope for better leaders and a mo re noble Church in the city of Rome. 118 Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome, 85. non lascer in dietro di narrare, come molti giorni avanti, uno di vilissima condizione del Contado di Siena, det matura, di pelo rosso, nudo, e macilento, e, per quanto si dimostrava allora, molto religioso, aveva pi volte predetto a tutto il Popolo Romano la rovina certa dePreti, e di tutta la Citt, con la rinovazione della Chiesa Il Sacco di Roma, 162 119 Reeves, A Note on Prophecy. 276 120 Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome 86. che voglia istruire i mortali innanzi al flagello con diverse, e spaventevoli dimonstrazioni, per tentare prima di ridurre con tali terrori pi tosto, che con la giustizia, le umane menti a miglior vita and aver levato dal braccio di una pi etosissima Nostra Donna, collo cata nella Chiesa di Santa Maria Transpontina, il suo bambino, ed averne fatti molti pezzi. Il Sacco di Roma, 163-4
45 Hundreds of years af ter St. Augustines City of God Guicciardini felt compelled to once again explain the destruction of Rome. Although th e vast devastation of a sacking was similar in these two cases, historical circum stances were not. Augustine us ed the 410 sack as a vehicle for expressing the merits of a new religion, while Guicciardini used the 1527 sack in order to critique the political stru cture of the church. Guicciardinis language echoes that of the biblical destruction of Jerusalem, thus making a compar ison between the biblical city and Rome during the sack. The holy temple that is defiled in th e ancient city in Psalm 79 is Guicciardinis holy church of St. Peter, which was vandalized by in vading troops. The most important buildings of the center of Christianity, the holy churches of Peter and Paul, the pr ivate chapel of His Holiness, the Sancta Sanctorum, and the other holy places, once fu ll of plenary indulgences and venerable relics, now became the brothels of Germ an and Spanish whores...[who] committed shameful acts on the altars and in the most sanctified places. 121 While St. Peters and other churches were indeed affected by the sack, Guicciardinis emphasis on the barbaric acts of rape in such sanctified pl aces is indicative of his respect for the Catholic faith, though he took use with the vanities of curre nt leadership.122 Guicciardinis vivid description of holy objects lying among the dung of men and animals, is bound to evoke disgust on the pa rt of a contemporary Catholic reader.123 Additionally, Guicciardini describes the dead, unburied bodies around the city following the sack as similar to the loyal servants who became carrion for wild beasts in Psalm 78.124 This can 121 Ibid., 114. Vedevansi allora li sontuosi Palazzi essere al presente stalle de Cavalli, postribolo di Concubine Tedesche, e Ispane...e far spesso molti atti diso nesti, e nefandi in dispregio della Cattolica Religione. Il Sacco di Roma, 223 122 Numerous other accounts of the period describe the rape of women in the streets, and nuns in their convents. According to Thomas Dandelet, all contemporary accounts agree that the pillaging, looting, and rape were epic in scale. Thus, Guicciardinis observa tions on the acts of the i nvading forces are correct. Spanish Rome 1500-1700, 37 123Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome 115 124 Due to the lack of an effective government in the city following the sack, remains of the extreme looting and decaying bodies did indeed lie in the streets following the sack. (Hook, 180)
46 also be compared to the Book of Revelation, wher e following destruction, the bodies will lie in the street of the great city. [Rev. 11:8] Th ese similarities are profound. While makes no direct millennial reference, his style reflects that of the apocalyptic biblical texts, which would be familiar to literate Florentine at the time. Guicciardini also drew attention to corruption with the papacy in Il Sacco di Roma .125 He incorporates references to divine judgment of these vanities, but also shows Machiavellian influence in terms of critique of the contemporary political structure. Despite lamentations over the ruin of sacred Roman places, Guicciardi ni declares that the Divine Majesty had intended that Rome should be prey to the impe rial army, which he also refers to as a diabolical force. This statement implies hi s hope for a new and im proved city after the divinely inspired destruction, and follows tradit ional biblical typologies reflecting the Book of Revelation by insinuating Gods inte nt. Furthermore, Guicciardini claims in his dedication that God favors the worthy and humane undertakings of the emperor; and...that He has designated him monarch of the universe. 126 Despite the Petrine Succession the papacy had become corrupt and thus God had chosen a new leader in Charles V Implicitly, Guicciardini claims that the papacy (though not mentioning it directly) ama sses wealth under the banner of Christian piety.127 This critique fuses his condemnation of the vanities of the Roman Curia with his belief that the destruction was di vinely inspired, and also fits into traditional biblical (and apocalyptic) literature on Babylonian corruption before the fall. La ter, he describes the immense wealth of the Romans when he claims that 125 Lutherans criticized the papacy for (among other thi ngs) the sale of indulgences for the building of new St. Peters, and also for the carnal desires of popes like Alexander VI. Similarly, non-Lutherans such as Erasmus criticized the papacy for unreligious acts as well, though not calling for a complete reform of the Church. 126 Ibid., 4. perch volendo la Divina Maesta, che la famosa Roma fosse preda delli Cesarei, visognava, che di tante eccelenti virt, non con umana, ma con diab olica forza...ed oltre a questo, pu lEccellenza vostra, leggendo, comprendere quanto Iddio favorisca le debite imprese dello Imperatore, e a poco a poco scuopra a ciascuno averlo disegnato Monarca dellUniverse. Il Sacco di Roma, xvii 127 Ibid., 81. sotto la piet della Cristiana Religione. Il Sacco di Roma, 153
47 The immense riches of the Roman nobility, preserved in their families for many centuries, were destroyed in an hour. The incredib le profits that had been accumulated and multiplied unjustly and dishonestly through years of usury, theft, simony, and other immoral means by courtiers and merchants fell in an instant into the hands of these barbarians.128 This critique highlights his belief in the excessive vanities of the Roman curia, and coincides with his praise for Charles V, and indicates his belief that he was sent by God to destroy Babylonian-like Rome in order to make way for a new Italy. Guicciardini furthers this comparison when he recalls the luxuries of Babylon described in the Book of Revelation in his de scription of the pre-s ack luxuries of Rome and the Curia. He uses Charles de Bourbon, leader of the imperial troops, as a vehicle for inserting Babylonian comparisons and apocalyptic sentiment into his narra tive. This is exemplified when he describes Bourbon as claiming that there were no virtuous men in Rome, and that they were all immersed in lustful and effeminate pastimes, and totally committed to amassing silver and gold fraudulently.129 Similarly, the Whore of Babylon who was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls in the Book of Revelation was accused of committing adultery with the kings of the earth. [Rev.17:1-4]. Guicciardini refers to the physical pleasure and material wealth of the Roman Curia, implicitly invoking the bibl ical Whore of Babylon. Renaissance Rome had many immigrant Andalusian women who, after es caping the Spanish Inquisition, made a living as prostitutes.130 In pre-sack Rome prostitutes walked freely in the streets and were not confined 128 Ibid., 113. O quante immense ricchezze delli nob ili Baroni di Roma, pi secoli nelle loro famiglie riserbate, in unora rovinarono! O quan ti incredibili guadagni, in giusti, e in onesti, in molti anni per usure, rapine, simonie, e con altri crudeli, e nefandi modi, moltiplicati da Cortigiani e Mercanti, in un istante furono di quelle inumane nazione! Il Sacco di Roma, 219-20 129 Ibid., 81. in Roma ora sono rinchinsi non uomini giusti, n virtuosi...ma tutti immersi in efemminatissimo e libidinoso ozio e tota lmente dediti a ragunare con fraude, ra pine, e crudelt...largento, e loro di ciascuno. Il Sacco di Roma, 153. There is no proof that Bourbon uttered these specific words, and thus Guicciardini is inventing a dialogue to fit his purpose. Bourbon fought for the imperial army due to his arguments with the King of France, not for the religious vendetta Judith Hook claims motivated the Lutheran soldiers. Hook, 58, 180 130 MacKay, p. 232
48 to brothels.131 This allusion to the Whore and the riches of Babylon in Il Sacco di Roma is significant, for Guicciardini effectively recalls th e biblical typologies wh en describing pre-sack Rome while also justifying the destruction wi th the comparison of Rome to the Babylonian Whore. Furthermore, Bourbon claims that the just G od has inflicted a scourge on the Romans for their evil acts and irreligi ous lives. In Revelation 18, Babyl on is referred to as a city of power rather than the personified Whore, and its citizens lament the gre at wealth that has been brought to ruin with th e destruction of the city [R evelation 18: 9-17]. In Il Sacco di Roma, Bourbons speech recalls the wealth of the Curia and their lack of religiosity, traits similar to those of Babylon before its destruction in Revelation. Whether or not Bourbon truly uttered these words is not important for Guicciardinis purpose. Guicciardinis Bourbon is effectively implying the similarities of ancient Babylon with pre-sack Rome, thus continuing the storys biblical typology. Gu icciardinis Bourbon goes on to say that [The Romans] expect, and with good reason, from the great and most just God (since they have been abandoned by their own army) th e punishment and scourge that their evil customs and irreligious lives have deserved fo r so long. With the greatest justice this punishment has been postponed until this blesse d day and left to the Spanish and German nations by Him who gives all things being and maintains them in motion. 132 Here, Bourbon realizes his purpose as the divi nely-appointed purger of Rome, the city of excessive licentiousness. The f act that Guicciardini included this long speech indicates his own belief that Bourbon was in fact intended by God to destroy the Babylon of Rome. In his Compendium of Revelations, Savonarola claims that the Almighty God saw the sins of Italy multiply, especially in her ecclesiastical and secu lar princes and soon sent a great scourge to 131 Partner, p. 99 132 Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome, 80. quanto per aspettere, e meritamente, del magno, e giustissimo Iddio (venendosi dal proprio [ sic] esercito abbandonati) quella punizione e quel falgello, che i loro pessimi costumi, ed irreligiosa vita, hanno tanto tem po fa meritato, riserbato nondimeno infino a questo felicissimo giorno alla Tedesca Nazione con fomma giustiziada colui, che a tu tte le cose dona lessere, e mantiene il moto. Il Sacco di Roma, 152
49 cleanse the church.133 Guicciardinis Bourbon recalls the apocalyptic predictions of Savonarola that a scourge from God will clean se the city. Thus, due to the lack of true piety, it seems justified that the city would be destroyed in orde r to make way for a new, more holy city, similar to the millenarian predictions in The Compendium of Revelations Guicciardini also uses the figure of Pope Clement VII to reinforce this typology at the very end of his account. The Pope was imprisone d in the Castel SantAngelo for several months following the sack, and although it is likely that he was dismayed by the events, there is no record of his response. Guicci ardini, however, envisions a scene for his reader wherein the Pope, though he enjoyed great honors and sweet pleasures in the past, now paid for them with humiliation and pitiful distress. This vision is obviously fictional, yet its purpose in the narrative is profound. The Pope ques tions the reason for the sack and Guicciardini is able then to provide an answer. Guicciardi ni describes this imagery by cl aiming that we could easily imagine that following the sack Clement VII wo uld look toward the heavens and ask God: Wherefore, then, hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh, that I had died, and no eye had seen me! [Job 10:18]134 The use of this biblical passage is significant, for the story of Job questions the suffering of innocent people. G od wounds but his hands give healing [Job 5:17-18]. Similarly, God destroye d the old, corrupt Rome, but also left room for a new Rome. Savonarola also used the book of Job when descri bing the coming scourge of Italy. He claimed that God would blind the Italians while depr iving them of strength and good sense, as is written in Job.135 After the destruction, th e city of Florence would be reborn for the better 133 Savonarola, 195 134 Guicciardini, The Sack of Rome 116 135 Savonarola, 206
50 and would become more glorious than ever before.136 Guicciardini also uses this biblical book to make clear that like Job, Christianity, Rome, a nd Florence would be restored for the better. This adaptation of historic literary and reli gious references helps to shed light on what Guicciardini perceived to be the significance of the event. The destruction of the old Rome in order to make way for a new Rome, the allegorical new Jerusalem, is once again reiterated in a historical narrative. Yet, Gui cciardinis account differs from that of Augustine, or even his contemporaries. He gives agency to individual men from Cosimo I through Pope Clement VII in his insistence that good leadership and effec tive governments can change or improve the outcome of events. Rather than treating individuals as passive spectators in the course of history, he suggests that the actions of men can significantly determine th e path of history. Yet, in addition to this political comme ntary, Guicciardini laces an eschatological and apocalyptic discourse throughout the entirety of his narrative. Specifically in Libro Secondo, the presence of a divine judgment permeates the political discourse and thus shows Guicciardinis belief that the dawn of a new era was approaching. Though Gui cciardini could not completely foretell the changes that would come with the Counter-R eformation, he understood that a change was necessary and inevitable, and with certain impr ovements on the political and religious situation of the Italian peninsula during his time, that change could occur. 136 Ibid., 207
51 CHAPTER 4 EPILOGUE: AN ART HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE The legacy of Rom e and its mythical posi tion as the early mode rn Babylon captured the imagination of contemporaries outside of the Ca tholic faith for decades after the sack. The Protestant painter and printmaker Pieter Bruegel the Elder of the Netherlands illustrates the Rome as Babylon theme through his 1563 panel of the Tower of Babel (see Figure 4-1) in addition to his Panorama of the Sack of Rome.137 The visual narrative figures Rome and its environs as Babylon, as the spir aling Tower in the image is st rikingly similar to the Roman Coliseum. Bruegel lived in Rome for several years until 1555 and would likely have seen the ancient ruins. While in Rome, he also became the acquaintance of Giulio Clovio, a miniaturist employed by Cardinal Campeggio. Clovio was held prisoner during the Sack and it is reasonable to assume that Bruegel would have heard stories of the devastation through his new acquaintance. More important, however, was Br uegels relationship to the printmaker and publisher Hieronymus Bock, whose concentration on Roman ruins in several of his prints influenced Bruegels later paintings Classical architecture, both in a ruined and completed state, was a prominent influence on Romanist pain ting in the Netherlands at this time.138 Although well known for his affinity for landsca pes, Bruegels biblical allegories cast light on the northern response to th e issues affecting the city of Rome. Bruegel dedicated three paintings to the story of the Tower of Babelthe aforementioned Vienna image, the Tower of 137 M. Destombes attributes the Panorama of the Sack of Rome to Pieter Bruegel the Elder rather than Pieter Bruegel the Younger due to its use of perspective an d elliptical shapes based on the surveys of Leon Battista Alberti. Destombes A Panorama of the Sack of Rome by Pieter Bruegel the Elder Imago Mundi Vol. 14, 1959. 64-73 138 Jane ten Brink Goldsmith, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and the Matter of Italy. Sixteenth Century Journal. XXIII, No. 2, 192. 206-214
52 Figure 4-1. Pieter Bruegel the El der, The Tower of Babel (1563) Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum Figure 4-2. Detail from Pieter Bruegel the Elders Panorama of the Sack of Rome
53 Babel painted between 1564 a nd 1568 in Rotterdam, and a mini ature on ivory (now lost) inventoried in the collection of Giulio Clovio. In his study of these images, S. A. Mansbach claims that this preoccupation with the Tower of Babel attests to the importance of biblical imagery in his works.139 Bruegel was not the first to represen t Rome in such as a way; the story of the Tower of Babel as an allegory for Rome wa s also used in the sixteenth century by Martin Luther. In the Bible, the Tower of Babel was built to reach the heavens. [Genesis 11: 4] Allegorically, this represented Catholic Rome to Martin Luther and other Protestants, who viewed the new St. Peters Basilica as a repres entation of unnecessary Ca tholic wealth. Thus, the destruction of the Tower of the Church would represent the end of unnecessary luxuries afforded the papacy in previous centuries. G od destroyed the Tower of Babel as a result of hubris and then confused the language of the whol e world [Genesis 11: 9] Similarly, Latin, the unifying language of Roman Cat holicism, would no longer be the sole language of Luthers Bible following the success of his Reformation .140 The use of this story by Pieter Bruegel following his visit to the devastated city attests to its importance as a reflection on the divinely-inspired events.141 The Coliseum is often used in visual narratives to represent ancient political power in Rome, despite the fact that its upkeep was largely ignored in this period.142 Bruegel combined the political and biblical traditions in his illustration, as the Tower of Babel is clearly mean t to represent the crumbling Coliseum in his Vienna panel. Zygmunt Wa bi ski argues that the depiction of a round tower within an urban context is significant, since it can be used to represent the urba n city of early modern Rome, 139 S. A. Mansbach, Pieter Bruegels Tower of Babel. Zeitschrift fr Kunstgeschichte 45 Bd, H. 1, 1982. 43 140 Pippin, 56 141 Visual representations of the Tower of Babel can be traced to the twelfth century, but scholars still debate the abundance of these depictions in the early modern period. Mansbach believes that from the early sixteenth century depictions of the Tower of Babel increas e dramatically in number, va riety, and inventiveness, while Goldsmith claims that illustrations of th is subject were consid erably rare 43, 209 142 Pippin, 55
54 though not directly reflecting the words of the biblical passage.143 The rounded arches of the top of the Tower of Babel image reflect those on th e Coliseum in Bruegels Panorama of Rome (see Image 2). Both Wa bi ski and Mansbach claim that this image represents the concept of a Babylonian occidentalist, first used analogically by St. A ugustine as a means of censuring Rome.144 Clearly, Bruegels vision of Rome as th e New, Western Babylon continued even after the sack, probably due to the Spanish Catholic imperialism that oppressed the Netherlands at this time. 145 Thus, this depiction of Rome as the We stern Babylon in the early modern period was reflected in visual narrativ es as well as the literary. Sixteenth-century intellectuals like Bruegel sought to explain their teleological position in history in terms of biblical and apocalyptic discourse, both literary and visual. For early modern interpreters of the apocalypse and other biblical books, it was clear that the Bible laid out a plan for the future that would become progr essively more recognizable with time. 146 With its vast importance as the physical and spiritual center of Christianity, the city of Rome was a frequent subject for this apocalyptic expression from the time of St. Augustine and the first sack by Alaric in the fourth century until mode rnity. The 1527 sack of Rome initiated drastic social, political, and cultural changes as the Spaniards and their l eaders, both Charles V and later with Philip II, occupied and informally imperialized the city. Rome was once again a s ubject for eschatological 143 Wa bi ski also argues that this representation attests to Bruegels growing concerns with contemporary urban projects, while also affirming his fascination with ideal and utopian programs. Mansbach, 45 144 Mansbach, 45 145 Similar to the Bruegels Netherlands, Rome also experienced an era of informal Spanish imperialism after the year 1527. The Sack ushered in an era of specifically Spanish political dominance and cultural influence. More predominant in the Netherlands, however, formal ra ther than informal Spanish imperialism dominated the political scene. Bruegels attention to religious narratives may help to shed light on the sentiments of Reformist intellectuals under the Spanish hegemony of the period. The Netherlands were under strict Spanish control at this time, and many citizens were outraged by King Philip IIs increase of Inquisito rial power in this area in 1556. The regal figure depicted in the lower left area of the Tower of Babel panel could represent either Charles V, whose troops brutally sacked the Babylon of Rome, or his son Philip II, who kept a firm grip on his provinces in the Netherlands. Though the figure does not mirror the portra its of either king, the political implications of implying a Hapsburg monarch would be effective at the time, as se veral of Bruegels associates were persecuted under the increasing Spanish power. Mansbach, 43, 46 146 Malcolm Bull. Seeing Things Hidden: Apocalypse, Vision, and Totality (London: Verso, 1999) 120
55 discourse and was described in apocalyptic terms relating to thos e found in the Book of Revelation and other biblical passages. The conception of Catholic orthodoxy itself in the sixteenth century constantly demanded modifi cation and nuancing due to the complicated political and religious events of the time. C ontemporary Catholics sough t explanations for the destruction of their holy city amidst the complexiti es of their time, and tu rned to the apocalyptic discourse for their narratives. Rome had its ow n place amid the sixteenth century literature of disillusion about their times.147 Luigi Guicciardini and others found answers for their contemporary crisis and disillus ionment in the Bible. Desc ribing the sack in terms of Babylonian and apocalyptic themes allowed these individuals to express hope for political issues destroying their peninsula, religi ous reform, and the future success of the Eternal City in their timeall the while placing themselves into a greater historical and biblical context. 147 Partner, 202
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62 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Nicole Jeanne Milano was born in Belleville, New Jersey, to Karen and Robert Milano. Nicole grew up in Belleville and moved to Cape Coral, Florida where she graduated from Cape Coral High School in 2001. She earned her B.A. in History, with minors in Sociology and Criminology, from the Univers ity of Florida in 2005. Upon graduating, Nicole became a sixthand seventh-grade teacher for Introduction to Foreign Languages in Fort Myers, Florida, and th en moved to Italy as an English tutor and aupair for a family in Rome the following year. Upon her return to graduate school she became a Teaching Assistant for HIS 3033. History of th e Holocaust in 2008, and became a University Writing Program instructor for two semester s for ENC 1102: Introduction to Argument and Persuasion. Nicole presented a paper on Spanish influence in sixteenth-century Ro me at the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Conference in Saraso ta, Florida, in March of 2008, and the Dante Society of Gainesville in Novemb er of 2008. While in graduate school she also worked for the University of Florida Special Collections archives and the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art. Nicole will graduate with her Master of Arts degree in History in December of 2009. Upon completion of her M.A. program, Nicole w ill be attending graduate school at New York University for a program in P ublic History and Archives.