Leo X

Leo X

(Giovanni de Medici), pope from 1513 to 1521, was born at Florence Dec. 11, 1475. He was the second son of the celebrated Lorenzo de' Medici (born Jan. 31, 1448; died April 8, 1492), surnamed "the Magnificent," and grandson of Cosmo de Medici (born in 1389, died in 1464). From infancy Giovanni had been destined by his father to an ecclesiastical career, for to the lot of Pietro, the elder child, fell the succession in the Florentine government, and, as Giovanni early showed signs of ability, the great aim of Lorenzo was to secure for his house, by his second child, the influence of the Church. At the tender age of seven Giovanni was subjected to the tonsure, and at once presented by Louis XII of France with the rich living of the abbey of Fontdouce, and by pope Sixtus IV himself with that of the wealthy convent of Passignano. Various other rich livings were added to these successively, and in 1488, finally, the youthful ecclesiastic, of but thirteen years of age, was by pope Innocent VIII (father-in-law of Giovanni's sister Maddalena) presented with the cardinal's rank, limited by the condition only that the insignia of this distinction should not be assumed until his studies had been completed at Pisa. Hitherto his education had been entrusted to tutors mainly, and among them were the famous Greek historian Chalcondylas, and the learned Angelo Poliziano; he now set out at once for Pisa, and having there completed his theological studies in 1492, was on March the 9th of this same year installed at Florence into the cardinal's position, and three days after set out for and took up his residence in the Eternal City. Scarce had a month passed his induction to the cardinal's dignity when intelligence reached Rome that Lorenzo the Magnificent was no more, and hastily Giovanni retraced his steps to Florence, to afford succor and support to his weak but elder brother Pietro, upon whom now depended the continuance of the power of the Medici over Florence. In July of this year (1492) Innocent VIII died, and as Giovanni had opposed the election of his successor, Alexander VI, the Medici could no longer hope for support from the papacy. Blindly and madly, amid all these disadvantages, Pietro, unsatisfied with absolute power unless he could display the pomp and exercise the cruelties of despotism, contrived, in the short space of two years, to secure, instead of the love and good will, the hatred of the Florentines. Their enthusiastic devotion to the house of the Medici hitherto alone prevented any attempt to subvert his authority. They remained quiet even in 1494, when Charles VIII of France came into Italy to enforce his claim to the throne of Naples, and when Pietro joined the house of Aragon, instead of becoming a confederate of the French, as his ancestors had always been. But when Pietro, equally presumptuous in security and timid in danger, terrified by the unexpected success of the French, fled to the camp of Charles, and, kneeling at his feet, abandoned himself and his country to his mercy, the indignation of the Florentines could no longer be stayed, and, entering into a treaty with the French, they stipulated especially the exile of the Medici (Nov. 1494). After his capitulation to king Charles, Pietro had returned to Florence, but the enraged populace made his stay impossible, and he quickly fled the city. Giovanni, bolder and more courageous than his elder brother, assisted by a few faithful friends, well-armed, made a last attempt to assert the Medicean authority, and put down the insurrection by a bold exercise of force. It soon, however, became but too apparent to the young cardinal that his hope was all vanity. "The people multiplied themselves against Pietro," as Guicciardini (Storia Fiorentina [Opere inedite]. 3:110) phrases it, and Giovanni, in the disguise of a friar, was glad enough to find himself outside the city gates, and on the open Bologna road, taking the same road as Pietro, followed by their younger brother Giuliano, still a mere lad. They went first to John Bentivoglio in Bologna, but, as they were not received here, went to Castello, and found a refuge with Vitelli. In this and other places, the Medici, the cardinal included, lived for some time, having frequent endeavors made for their restoration. But when Giovanni was finally persuaded that all such efforts were fruitless, he decided to quit his native country, now ravaged by foreign armies, and betrayed by the wretched policy of pope Alexander VI, and he set out on a journey to France, Germany, and the Netherlands. For the assertion that the cardinal undertook this journey for political ends there is not the slightest foundation. While abroad he sought literary associations mainly. He courted the acquaintance of men of learning, and not unfrequently displays his own taste for literature and the liberal arts. In 1503, upon the death of Alexander VI, against whom he cherished a bitter hatred, and on whose account only he had avoided Rome after the expulsion of his family from Florence, he returned to the banks of the Tiber. Pius III, who succeeded Alexander VI, lived only a few weeks, and, upon a further election, the pontifical chair was occupied by Julius II, a friend and admirer of Giovanni de' Medici. Our cardinal's elder brother had died in the mean time (in the battle of Garigliano in 1503), and, no longer distracted by the imprudent conduct and the wild plans of an imbecile, he gave himself up wholly to the interests of his ecclesiastical position. By the friendship of a nephew of the pontiff, Galeotto della Rovere, he was brought into closer relations with Julius II, and, after the latter had entered Perugia in 1506 (Sept. 12), cardinal Giovanni was entrusted with the government of that town, and only a short time after was honored with the appointment of papal field marshal, under the title of "legate of Bologla," to the army against the French. The campaign, however, proved rather unsuccessful, and at the battle of Ravenna the cardinal was taken prisoner and sent to Milan, whence he made his escape while the French soldiers were busy in preparations for their removal to France. 'The cardinal's great aim, now that the French had quitted Lombardy and the Florentine republic, was to re-establish his house in the government of Florence. During the first eight years of their exile the Medici had made four unsuccessful attempts to regain their power; on the failure of their last attempt, their successful opponent. Pietro Soderini, had been chosen gonfaloniere for life: to dethrone Soderini, then, was the great object to be accomplished by the cardinal. The gonfaloniere's reign thus far had been noted for its moderation and benign influence on Florence, and had secured to the country great prosperity; but Soderini's integrity was not unimpeachable to the mind of the Medici, and Giovanni appealed to the Holy League, consisting of the pope, the emperor, the Venctians, and Ferdinand of Aragon, to undertake the restoration of the Medici, on the ground that Soderini showed great partiality to foreigners, and that his government was extremely corrupt. To secure the services of the Holy League no charges against Soderini were really needed, but he brought them, and promptly they replied. A body of 5000 Spaniards, brave to ferocity, were marched under Raymond de Cardona against Florence in August, 1512. On their way they stormed the town of Prato, and massacred the citizens, which so intimidated the Florentines that they immediately capitulated, and consented to the return of the Medici as private citizens. Cardinal de' Medici and his brother Giuliano soon after entered Florence, and, though they had asked only their restoration as private citizens, without any share in the government, they had hardly been readmitted when they forced the signoria, or executive to immediately call a "parlamento," or general assembly of the people, in the great square (September). This general assembly of the sovereign people had repeatedly been used by ambitious men as a ready instrument of their views, and it proved such on this occasion. All the laws enacted since the expulsion of the Medici in 1494 were abrogated. A "balia," or commission, was appointed, consisting of creatures of that family, with dictatorial powers, to reform the state. No bloodshed, however, accompanied the reaction; but Soderini, having been deposed by the establishment of this new form of government, he and other citizens opposed to the Medici were banished, and "thus once again, after an exile of eighteen years, the fatal Medici were restored to Florence; once again fixed their fangs in the prey they had been scared away from, and 'the most democratical democracy in Europe' was once again muzzled and chained. A conspiracy of priest and soldier — that detestable and ominous combination, more baneful to humanity than any other of the poisonous mischiels compounded out of its evil passions and blind stupidities — had as usual trampled out the hopes and possibilities of social civilization and progress" (Trollope, 4:348).

Scarcely had the Medici re-established themselves at Florence when news came from Rome that the supreme pontiff had died. It was on the 20th of February, 1513, that "the furious nature" of his holiness the pope Julius II was quieted forever. Leaving his brother Giuliano, and his nephew Lorenzo, son of Pietro, at the head of the affairs of Florence, "our cardinal posts up in all haste to Rome," says Trollope (4:351), "to see whether mayhap Providence, in the utter inscrutableness of its wisdom, may consider him, Giovanni de' Medici, as the best and fittest person to be intrusted with heaven's vicegerency," accompanied in this excursion to the conclave by Filippo Strozzi-son of the great banker, the founder of the still well-known Strozzi palace, possessor of one of the then largest fortunes in Florence, and "on whose young shoulders was one of the longest heads that day in Florence" — as his friend, companion, and banker. "Especially in this last capacity was Filippo necessary to the aspiring cardinal, so soon to become pope by the grace of God and the capital of Strozzi." The younger members of the conclave had previously decided to elect one of their own age as successor to Julius II, and upon cardinal de' Medici, only thirty-seven years old, fell their choice, influenced, as we have seen by the quotation from Trollope, in a great measure by the exertions of the banker Strozzi. One of the first acts of the new pontiff, who assumed the name of Leo X, was to appoint two men of learning, Bembo and Sadoleto, for his secretaries. He next sent a general amnesty to be published at Florence, where a conspiracy had been discovered against the Medici, for which two individuals had been executed, and others, with the celebrated Machiavelli among the rest, had been arrested and put to the torture. Leo ordered Giuliano even to release the prisoners and recall those that were banished, Soderini among the rest. This accomplished, Giuliano was invited to Rome, where he was made gonfalionere of the Holy Church. "All the rich and lucrative offices of the apostolic court were conferred on Florentines, not a little to the disgust of the Roman world" (Trollope, 4:359). Of course, that Leo should do anything and everything to enhance the dignity and greatness of the Medicean family no one could object to, and, consequently, no one had ought to say when he appointed his nephew Lorenzo, the eldest son of Pietro, a profligate young scape-grace, but the only heir remaining to succeed in the government of Florence, governor of the republic and general in chief, with absolute and supreme authority over all the Tuscan forces contributed by the commonwealth to the armies of a new league formed in 1515 by the emperor, the king of Aragon, the duke of Milan, and the Florentines against France and Venice. To have made Lorenzo, as Leo would have liked to do, sovereign prince, under the title of duke or some other like distinction, would have been premature, but with the appointment as made no one found fault, and it passed generally approved. Nor was any objection raised to Leo's further action in behalf of Florence, constituting it a dependency of Rome, which it continued during the remainder of his life. His cousin Giulio de' Medici, archbishop of Florence, on the decease of Julius II, Leo X at once promoted to the cardinal's dignity, and, in addition, entrusted him with the legateship of Bologna. By these new positions the influence of the Medici had been greatly improved, but the ever-plotting Leo, farseeing as he was, comprehended clearly that still more was needed to secure to his house the throne of Florence. Upon his accession to the pontificate he found the war renewed in Northern Italy. Louis XII had sent a fresh army, under La Trimouille, to invade the duchy of Milan. The Swiss auxiliaries of duke Maximilian Sforza defeated La rimouille at Novara, and the French were driven out of Italy. The Venetians, however, had allied themselves with Louis XII, and Leo sent Bembo to Venice to endeavor to break the alliance. Differences occurred between Leo and Alfonso d'Este, duke of Ferrara, who demanded the restoration of Reggio, taken from him by Julius II, which Leo promised, but never performed; on the contrary, he purchased Modena of the emperor Maximilian, disregarding the rights of the house of Este to that town. The pope held likewise Parma and Piacenza, and it appears that he intended to form out of these a territory for his brother Giuliano, and he made attempts to surprise Ferrara also with the same view. His predecessor Julius had had in view the independence of all Italy, and he boldly led on the league for this purpose — Leo had a narrower object — his own aggrandizement and that of his family, and he pursued it with a more cautious and crooked policy. To secure the adhesion of Louis XII, Leo reopened the Council of the Lateran, which had begun under Julius II, for the extinction of the schism produced by the Council of Pisa, convoked by Louis XII in order to check the power of Julius, who was his enemy. For such proceedings there was now no longer any reason, and Louis XII gladly made his peace with Leo in 1514, renounced the Council of Pisa, and acknowledged that of the Lateran. But in the following year Louis XII died, and his successor, Francis I, among other titles assumed that of duke of Milan. Under him a new Italian war opened. The Venetians joined Francis I, while the emperor Maximilian, Ferdinand of Spain, duke Sforza, and the Swiss made a league to oppose the French. The pope did not openly join the league, but he negotiated with the Swiss by means of the cardinal of Sion. and paid them considerable sums to induce them to defend the north of Italy. The Swiss were posted near Susa, but Francis, led by old Trivulzio, passed the Alps by the Col de l'Argentier, entered the plains of Saluzzo, and marched upon Pavia, while the Swiss hastened back to defend Milan. The battle of Marignano was fought on the 14th of September, 1515. The Swiss made desperate efforts, and would probably have succeeded had not Alviano, with part of the Venetian troops, appeared suddenly with cries of "Viva San Marco." which dispirited the Swiss, who believed that the whole Venetian army was coming to the assistance of the French. The result was the retreat of the Swiss, and the entrance of the French into Milan, who took possession of the duchy. Leo now saw clearly that the salvation of his house lay in a union with France, and at once made proposals to Francis, who, in turn, eagerly embraced the proffered aid of the Church. It was on the 21st of October, 1515, that news reached Florence of this new alliance concluded by the holy father and the French king Francis I for the mutual defense of their Italian states, the king obliging himself specially to protect the pontiff, Giuliano and Lorenzo de' Medici, and the Florentines, and that both Lorenzo and Giuliano should receive commissions in the French service, with pay and pensions. If there had been danger to the Medici government in Florence, it threatened from the side of France, but that danger they escaped by this new alliance, brought about, in a great measure, by the sympathy which the two parties felt for each other.

At a meeting which these new allies subsequently held at Bologna (December, 1515) a marriage was agreed upon between Lorenzo, the pope's nephew, and Madeleine de Boulogne, niece of Francis de Bourbon, duke of Vendcme, from which marriage Catharine de' Medici, afterwards queen of France, was born, and thus the union of the French and Florentine interests became more closely cemented. But in ecclesiastical affairs also new measures were taken by a concordat, only abrogated by the French Revolution, which regulated the appointment to the sees and livings in the French kingdom. Instead of capitular election, the king was to nominate, the pope to collate to episcopal sees. Annates were restored to the pope, who also received a small stipulated patronage in place of his indefinite prerogative of reserving benefices. It is true the Parliament and University of Paris both opposed this concordat, but the king and the pope each secured what they desired. To the king thus fell the real power and the essential patronage of the Church; by the pope the recognition of his own authority was obtained. The two, as Reichel (See of Rome in the Middle Ages, p. 538) has aptly said, by this new measure, "shared between them the ancient liberties of the Gallican Church. The rising freedom of the laity was thereby crushed; the pope recovered most of his ancient power." Nothing could seem brighter now than the Medicean prospects and the future of the papacy. There was only one more thing to be immediately accomplished — to make Lorenzo a sovereign prince "by grace of God, or, at all events, clearly by grace of God's vicegerent on earth." Upon the most flagrant of pretenses, the duke of Urbino, Francesco Maria della Revere, was deposed, and upon Lorenzo fell the mantle of the duchy's sovereignty, and at last the measure of Leo's ambition was nearly full. (In 1519, upon the death of Lorenzo, the duchy of Urbino was added to the territory of the Church.) This family ambition, however, by no means found pleasure in the eyes of the Roman people, while the Florentines were flattered by the advance of their "first citizens" to the position of prince and pope. Prominent among the enemies of the Medici was the house of Petrucci, headed by the cardinal of that name, who was led into a conspiracy to murder the pope by the latter's expatriation of his brother from Sienna. Not satisfied with the acquisition of the duchy of Urbino, Leo longed also for the possession of the free state of Sienna, lying between the territories of the Church and those of the republic of Florence, and to this end sent Borghesi, its governor, into exile. At first Borghesi's brother, cardinal Petrucci, formed the mad design of stabbing Leo on their first meeting, but he finally abandoned this enterprise as too daring, and a conspiracy was formed instead to cause the death of Leo X by poison. Fortunately for Leo, the plot to take his life was timely discovered, and the cardinal expiated the intended crime with his life by secret strangling, while many others of like social standing suffered abasement and other punishment. To secure himself against a second attempt of the kind, Leo now (in 1517) created a whole host of able and experienced Florentines cardinals — no less than thirty-one of them altogether.

It was about this time also that the Lateran Council approached its close, and that the measures were inaugurated which resulted so unfavorably to the cause of the papacy and the Church of Rome, and have made the year 1517 forever memorable in the ecclesiastical annals for the foundation and commencement it gave to the revolution in the Church, commonly known by the name of the Reformation (q.v.). One of the greatest desires of Leo X, as pope of Rome, was the continuation of the incomplete structure commenced under Julius II — the building of St. Peter's church. Leo, who had made for himself a name as the protector and patron of art, and had well-nigh revived the Periclean age of the Greeks, could not brook the thought that, while he was pontiff within the walls of the Eternal City, this great enterprise, likely to immortalize the name of its patron in the annals of art, should be passed over, and, finding the coffers of the papacy drained by his predecessor, saw only one way in which to secure the necessary funds for so stupendous an undertaking — the sale of indulgences (q.v.), securing to the contributor for this object forgiveness of sin in any form (comp. Mosheim, Eccl. Hist. 2:66, note 6; Bower, Hist. of Papacy, 7:409 sq.; Robertson, Hist. of Reign of Charles V, Harper's edit., p. 125 sq., especially the footnotes on p. 126). Such utter disregard of the essence of religion resulted in one of the boldest assaults on the Romish Church that it had ever sustained. The very thought that forgiveness of sin was to be offered on sale for money "must have been mortally offensive to men whose convictions on that head had been acquired from contemplating the eternal relation between God and man, and who, moreover, had learned what the doctrine of Scripture itself was on the subject" (Ranke, Hist. Pap. 1:66). In Saxony, especially, men of piety and thought generally commended the interpretation which Luther gave to this subject. They all regretted the delusion of the people, who, being taught to rely for the pardon of their sins on the indulgences which they could secure by purchase, did not think it incumbent on themselves either to study the doctrines of genuine Christianity, or to practice the duties which it enjoins. Even the most unthinking were shocked at the scandalous behavior of the Dominicans — John Tetzel (q.v.) and his associates, who had the sale of indulgences entrusted to them — and at the manner in which they spent the funds accumulated from this traffic. These sums, which had been piously bestowed in hope of obtaining eternal salvation and happiness, they saw squandered by the Dominican friars in drunkenness, gaming, and low debauchery, and all began to wish that some check were given to this commerce, no less detrimental to society than destructive to religion" (Robertson, p. 126). Indeed, even the princes and nobles objected to this traffic; they were irritated at seeing their vassals drained of so much wealth in order to replenish the treasury of a profuse pontiff, and when Luther's warm and impetuous temper did not suffer him any longer to conceal his aversion to the unscriptural doctrine of the Thomists, or to continue a silent spectator of the delusion of his country, from the pulpit in the great church of Wittenberg he inveighed bitterly against the false opinions, as well as the wicked lives, of the preachers of indulgences (see Löscher's Reformationsakten, 1:729). "Indignation against Roman imposture increased; universal attention and sympathy were directed towards the bold champion of the truth" (Gieseler, Eccles. Hist. [Harper's edit.] 4:33). On Oct. 31, 1517, finally, to gain also the suffrage of men of learning, Luther published ninety-five theses against the traffic in indulgences, setting forth his objections to this abuse of ecclesiastical power. Not that he supposed these points fully established or of undoubted certainty, but he advanced them as the result of his own investigation, and as subjects of inquiry and disputation unto others, that he might be corrected if his position could be impugned. He sent them to the neighboring bishops with a petition for the abolition of the evil if his views were found to be well grounded, and appointed a day on which the learned churchmen might publicly dispute the point at issue, either in person or by writing; subjoining to them, however, solemn protestations of his high respect for the apostolic see, and of his implicit submission to its authority. Many zealous champions immediately arose to defend opinions on which the wealth and power of the Church were founded; in especial manner the opposition of the Dominicans (q.v.) was roused, for the spirit of this order had become peculiarly sensitive on account of some recent humiliations, particularly by the fate of Savonarola (q.v.), the events at Berne, and by the still surviving controversy with l'euchlin (q.v.), aside from the fact that the different mendicant orders cherished constant jealousy against each other. (The conjecture of some that the jealousy of the Augustine monk was apparent in Luther's attack on Tetzel because to the Dominicans had been entrusted the indulgence traffic is too ridiculous to need repetition here. Comp. however, Gieseler, Eccles. Hist. 4:25, note 17; Mosheim, Eccles. Hist. bk. 4, cent. 16, sec. 1, ch. 2, note 18.) In opposition to Luther's theses, Tetzel himself came forward with counter theses, which he published at Frankfort-on-the-Oder. Prominent among others also were Eck (q.v.), the celebrated Augsburg divine, and Prierias (q.v.), the inquisitor general, who both replied to the Augustine monk with all the virulence of scholastic disputants. "But the manner in which they conducted the controversy did little service to their cause. Luther attempted to combat indulgences by arguments founded in reason or derived from the Scriptures; they produced nothing in support of them but the sentiments of the schoolmen, and the conclusions of the canon law, and the decrees of popes. The decision of judges so partial and interested did not satisfy the people, who began to call into question even the authority of these venerable guides when they found them standing in direct opposition to the dictates of reason and the determination of the divine law" (Robertson, p. 128). SEE LUTHER; SEE REFORMATION.

At Rome these controversies, though they had become a matter of interest to all the German people, were looked upon with great indifference. Leo judged it simply a wrangling of two mendicant orders, and he was determined to let the Augustinians and Dominicans settle their own quarrels. The adversaries of Luther, however, feared for their cause, and they saw no other way by which to secure anew peace to themselves, and the respect of the people, than by a wholesale slaughter of the Reformer and his friends. The solicitations of the Dominicans at the Vatican became daily more frequent and urgent; and when at last it became necessary for Leo to take some decided action, he simply commissioned his cardinal legate Cajetan (q.v.) to bring the Augustinian friar to his senses, and Luther was summoned to and promptly appeared at the Diet of Augsburg, in October, 1518. If Leo ever committed a blunder, it was done in this instance by appointing to the task of converting Luther a monastic of the very order he had so seriously attacked for its complicity in the indulgence traffic. If Luther was ever so much inclined to yield, a Dominican was certainly not the proper agent to accomplish such a purpose. Cajetan, moreover, treated Luther rather imperiously, and peremptorily required him to confess his errors, before the least attempt had been made to reply to his arguments, and of course our Augustinian, high-spirited as he was, turned away in disgust, and appealed a papa non bene informato ad melius informandum; and afterwards, when the whole doctrine of indulgence, as it had been developed up to the present time, was confirmed by a papal bull, the new heretic appealed from the pope to a general council (at Wittenberg, Nov. 28, 1518). By this time, however, the strife had assumed more gigantic proportions; around Luther were now gathered the great, and the strong, and the learned of the Teutonic race. A special helpmeet he had found in his colleagues of the lately founded high school of learning at Wittenberg; and as in the 13th century from Oxford and Prague had proceeded the action against the Latin system, so it now proceeded from Wittenberg, until it terminated in the Reformation. When too late, the Roman court realized the mistake it had committed in entrusting Cajetan with the settlement of this difficulty, and another legate, the pope's own chamberlain, Charles of Miltitz (q.v.), was dispatched in December (1518) to give assurances to the electoral prince Frederick, by the valuable present of the consecrated golden rose (q.v.), of the good intentions of pope Leo towards Saxony, and at the same time, if possible, to conciliate Luther, in whom was now seen the representative of Wittenberg University, and at whose back stood one to whom even his enemies confess but few men of any age can be compared, either for learning and knowledge of both human and divine things, or for richness, suavity, and facility of genius, or for industry as a scholar — Philip Melancthon (q.v.). Unfortunately for the cause of the Dominicans, this very elector of Saxony, who had identified himself with and become the champion of the cause of. the Wittenberg reform movement, was now, upon the death of Maximilian I, made regent of the empire in northern Germany (Jan. 12, 1519), and Miltitz saw only one way in which to settle the controversy-by appeasing the wrath of Luther. He accordingly flattered "the friar of Wittenberg," as he was contemptuously called at Rome, by all manner of kindness, assured him that his case had been misrepresented to Leo, and actually succeeded in inducing Luther to promise, not, indeed, recantation, as he desired, but a promise to be silent if his opponents were silent, and an open declaration of obedience to the see of Rome: thus the whole matter apparently had reached its end. The opponents, however, were not silent; the controversy was renewed with greater animosity than before. SEE CARLSTADT; SEE ECK; SEE LEIPSIC DISPUTATION. Luther was forced to reply; the primacy of the pope and other questions became involved, which obliged additional research and study on the part of the reformers, and "in this way Luther gained so thorough an insight into the errors and corruption of the Roman Church that he gradually began to see the necessity of separating himself from it. He felt himself called as a soldier of God to fight against the wiles and deceit of the devil, by which the Church was corrupted" (Gieseler, 4:42). This he did hereafter, fearless of consequences, by both his pen and tongue. Luther's was a nature that recoiled from no extremity. The result was "the bull of condemnation," issued June 15, 1520, which brought about the formal abjuration of the papacy on the part of Luther by the public burning of the bull, together with the papal law-books, Dec. 10 of this very year. January 3, 1521, came the bull of excommunication, and a demand for its execution by the Diet of Worms, the body to which Luther appealed. SEE REFORMATION.

While these religious disputes were carried on with great warmth in Germany, and threatened the very existence of Romanism, pope Leo was much more concerned with what occurred around him in Italy. A politician of the best sort in the affairs of his native country, ever solicitous for its welfare, he saw greater danger calling for prompter action on the political horizon than any that had yet appeared, in his estimation, on that of ecclesiasticism. Leo, indeed, trembled for Florence at the prospect of beholding the imperial crown placed on the head of the king of Spain and of Naples, and the master of the New World; nor was he less afraid of seeing the king of France, who was the duke of Milan and lord of Genoa, exalted to that dignity. He even foretold that the election of either of them would be fatal to the independence of the holy see, to the peace of Italy, and perhaps to the liberties of Europe. But June 28, 1519, the king of Spain was elected successor to Maximilian. This was, indeed, an event calculated to cause a series of infinite perplexities to God's vicegerent on earth. So the important decision was taken, a secret league, offensive and defensive, signed with the new Caesar on July 8, 1521, by which it was stipulated that the duchy of Milan was to be taken from the French and given to Francesco Maria Sforza, and Parma and Piacenza to be restored to the pope. Leo subsidized a body of Swiss, and Prospero Colonna, with the Spaniards from Naples, joined the papal forces at Bologna, crossed the Po at Casalmaggiore, joined the Swiss, and drove the French governor Lautrec out of Milan. In a short time the duchy of Milan was once more clear of the French, and restored to the dominion of ftorza. Parma and Piacenza were again occupied by the papal troops. At the same time Leo declared Alfonso d'Este, a rebel to the holy see for having sided with the French, while the duke, on his part, complained of the bad faith of the pope in keeping possession of Modena and Reggio. The news of the taking of Milan was celebrated at Rome with public rejoicings, but in the midst of all this Leo fell ill on Nov. 25, and died Dec. 1, 1521, not without reasonable suspicion of poison, though some have maintained that he died a natural death. (See Trollope, Hist. of Florence, 4:385 sq., who quotes strong proof in favor of the assertion that Leo X died of poison.)

Personally Leo was generous, or rather prodigal; he was fond of splendor, luxury, and magnificence, and therefore often in want of money, which he was obliged to raise by means not often creditable. He had a discerning taste, was a ready patron of real merit, was fond of wit and humor, not always refined, and at times degenerating into buffoonery: this was, indeed, one of his principal faults. His state policy was like that of his contemporaries in general, and not so bad as that of some of them. He contrived, however, to keep Rome and the papal territory, as well as Florence, in profound peace during his reign — no trifling boon — while all the rest of Italy was ravaged by French, and Germans, and Spaniards, who committed all kinds of atrocities. He was by no means neglectful of his temporal duties, although he was fond of conviviality and ease, and many charges have been brought against his morals. He did not, and perhaps could not, enforce a strict discipline among the clergy or the people of Rome, where profligacy and licentiousness had reigned almost uncontrolled ever since the pontificate of Alexander VI. It is to be regretted, however, that any one should have been able to say of a pope so distinguished as a patron of learning as Leo X that in his splendid and luxuriant palace Christianity had given place, both in its religious and moral influence, to the revived philosophy and the unregulated manners of Greece; that the Vatican was visited less for the purpose of worshipping the footsteps of the apostles than to admire the great works of ancient art stored in the papal palace (comp. London Quart. Rev. 1836, p. 294 sq.; Taine, Italy [Rome and Naples], p. 185). As a pontificate, that of Leo X, though it lasted only nine years, "forms one of the most memorable epochs in the history of modern Europe, whether we consider it in a political light as a period of transition for Italy, when the power of Charles V of Spain began to establish itself in that country, or whether we look upon it as that period in the history of the Western Church which was marked by the momentous event of Luther's Reformation. But there is a third and a more favorable aspect under which the reign of Leo ought to be viewed, as a flourishing epoch for learning and the arts, which were encouraged by that pontiff, as they had been by his father, and, indeed, as they have been by his family in general, and for which the glorious appellation of the age of Leo X has been given to the first part of the 16th century" (Engl. Cyclop.). The services which Leo rendered to literature are many. He encouraged the study of Greek, founded a Greek college at Rome, established a Greek press, and gave the direction of it to John Lascaris; he restored the Roman University, and filled its numerous chairs with professors; he directed the collecting of MSS. of the classics, and also of Oriental writers, as well as the searching after antiquities; and by his example encouraged others, and among them the wealthy merchant Chigi, to the same, he patronized men of talent, of whom a galaxy gathered round him at Rome. He corresponded with Erasmus, Machiavelli, Ariosto, and other great men of his time. He restored the celebrated library of his family, which, on the expulsion of the Medici, had been plundered and dispersed, and which is known by the name of the Biblioteca Laurenziana at Florence. In short, Leo X, if not the most exemplary among popes, was certainly one of the most illustrious and meritorious of Italian princes. See Guicciardini, Storia d'litalia; Roscoe, Life and Pontificate of Leo X (Lond. 1805, 4 vols. 4to); Farroni, Vita Leonis X (1797) Audin, Leon X (1844); Giovio, Vita Leonis X (1651); Artaud de Montor, Histoire des Souverains papes, vol. 4. For the bulls and speeches of pope Leo X, see Fabricius, Bibliotheca Latina Medaic et Infirme E Statis; Sismondi, Hist. des Republiques Italiennes; Ranke, Hist. of the Papacy, vol. 1, ch. 2; Schröckh, Kirchengesch. 32:491 sq.; 34:83, 91; and his Kirchengesch. s. d. Ref. 1:76 sq., 314 sq.; 3:207 sq., 211 sq.; Raumer, Gesch. der Padaclogik, 1:54 sq.; Bower, Hist. of the Popes, 7:400 sq.; Trollope, History of Flaorence (Lond. 1865, 4 vols. 8vo), especially vol. 4, book 10; Leo, Gesch. Italiens, vol. 5, ch. 3. (J. H. W.)

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