BECK index

Italy and Spanish Rule 1588-1648

by Sanderson Beck

Venice, a Republic, Sarpi and Zen
Milan and Northwest Italy 1588-1648
Florence under the Medici 1588-1648
Popes Clement VIII, Paul V and Urban VIII
Naples 1588-1648
Sicily 1588-1648
Campanella and His City of the Sun
Galileo and Scientific Discoveries

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Venice, a Republic, Sarpi and Zen

Venice 1517-88

      In 1589 the tolerant Republic of Venice was the only state in Italy to recognize the Protestant King Henri of Navarre from the House of Bourbon who became Henri IV of France. By then the Jesuit College in Padua had 450 students. Student riots against that Jesuit College in 1591 have been called the beginning of the culture wars between free thinkers and the Spanish Empire, the Papacy, and the Jesuits. Cesare Cremonino gave a passionate oration to the Senate of Venice defending the anti-Jesuit students, and he taught at the University of Padua from that year until his death in 1631 and was the most popular teacher. In 1592 Galileo Galilei arrived at Padua to teach mathematics. Thanks to funding by Venice the University of Padua had the best professors in Italy. In 1599 Cremonino and Galileo founded the Academy of the Recovered to encourage free discussion. In thirty years the Inquisition would open eighty files to investigate Cremonino.
      Doge Cicogna died of a fever in April 1595 and was succeeded by Marino Grimani. Pope Clement VIII refused to recognize Cesare of Este in Ferrara because of his being born out of wedlock. He sent forces to Ferrara and asked Venice to assist. Venice delayed, and after being excommunicated, Cesare gave in and ceded Ferrara to the Papal States for minor concessions. Pope Clement also criticized Venice for employing the excommunicated Marco Sciarra in the fight against the Uskoks who had raided Istria after the Ottomans invaded Croatia in 1592. The Ottoman Empire limited Venice’s trade. In 1596 Venetian printers and booksellers were given permission to handle books on the Index Expurgatorius. European trade shifted from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean in the 16th century, and between 1600 and 1620 the number of ships trading at Venice was severely reduced. Silk production decreased 25% by the 1620s while the export of cloths diminished by half.
      In 1604 Pope Clement VIII complained that the British ambassador Henry Wotton imported Protestant prayer-books and held Anglican services in a private chapel, but the Venetian Republic replied that they would not search the baggage of the ambassador. Venice was concerned that half the land in the city was used by churches and monasteries and could not be sold to laymen. When Venice’s Patriarch Matteo Zane died in 1605, Clement demanded that his successor Francesco Vendramin come to Rome to be examined. After Camillo Borghese became Pope Paul V on May 16, 1605, Venice pleased him by raising the Borghese family to the nobility. However, they declined to have the new Patriarch tested as Paul V insisted. The monks Scipio Saraceni and Marcantonio Brandolin were accused of serious crimes against relatives including attempted rape. The Venetian Council of Ten conducted an investigation for a trial. The Pope objected and wanted them turned over to ecclesiastical authority. Leonardo Dona was appointed Venice’s spokesman in Rome in December, but before his arrival Pope Paul sent the threat of an interdict on Venice.
      When Doge Grimani died on December 25, Leonardo Dona was elected to succeed him and was recalled. The Senate appointed the theologian Paolo Sarpi, and he wrote a diplomatic reply to the Pope differentiating spiritual divine law subject to the Church from temporal human law under the state’s authority. Sarpi accepted the infallibility of the Pope only on issues of faith while acknowledging that the government of the people has authority from God on secular issues. He believed the state could limit church property because they paid no taxes to the state. On April 16, 1606 Pope Paul V announced that Venice had 24 days to submit. Sarpi advised Venice not to publish the papal bulls and to prepare an appeal to a future Church Council. On May 6 Doge Dona affirmed Venice’s right to govern its people, and he urged the clergy to continue their services. Sarpi persuaded the Doge to banish all Jesuits, Theatines, and Capuchins from the Republic, and the Papal Nuncio was dismissed. Sarpi’s “Treatise on the Interdict” accused the Pope of misusing his power and caused a sensation in Europe. Sarpi’s ideas were similar to those of Marsilius of Padua, Wyclif, Hus, and Luther. Paul V excommunicated the Venetian Senate, the Doge, and Sarpi (burning his writings in Rome), and he banned Church services in Venice with an interdict. Sarpi considered the interdict invalid, and the state followed his advice to ignore it. He wrote many letters, preached, and debated the issues and was summoned by the Inquisition but refused to go. The Senate proclaimed him the “Theologian of Venice.”
      Venice was opposed by Spain but supported by England and Holland. France’s Henri IV offered to mediate, and Sarpi negotiated that Henri would be the one to petition for the ban to be removed. The prisoners were turned over to the French ambassador, but the Jesuits and were not to return until 1657. In April 1607 the interdict was lifted, and the Catholic Church would not impose another major interdict for three centuries. The French gave the prisoners to the Vatican, but Venice reserved the right to try churchmen in its civil courts. In September a plot by three men paid to assassinate Sarpi was discovered, and they were imprisoned. On October 25 five assassins attacked Sarpi, stabbing him twice in the neck and once in the head, but he survived that and two other attempts on his life. The assassins fled to Rome where they were known but never charged with a crime.
      Paolo Sarpi was born in Venice on August 14, 1552 and was raised by a pious mother and his uncle, a priest. Paolo joined the Servite Order in 1566 and was called Fra Paolo for the rest of his life. In 1570 Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga of Mantua appointed him court theologian which allowed him to study Greek, Hebrew, mathematics, botany, and anatomy. In 1579 Paolo became the Provincial leader of the Servites in the state of Venice. He visited Rome several times and moved to Venice in 1588. He lived frugally, ate little meat, and drank no wine until his later years. Sarpi discovered a generation before Harvey that veins have valves and that blood circulates. Sarpi studied magnetism, and as an optician he showed that the pupil of the eye dilates according to light. He was a friend of Galileo and helped him with his telescope.
      Sarpi wrote his “History of the Controversy between Pope Paul V and Venice” in 1608, but it was not printed until 1624. He defended the right of governments to be independent of control by the Church. In 1610 he wrote a “History of Ecclesiastical Benefices,” showing how churchmen had taken vast treasures from civil authority. In 1611 his treatise arguing against the Inquisition was published in Venice. In 1613 he wrote a book questioning the use of sanctuary to protect criminals and a second work challenging the immunity of clergy from state courts. Another book warned against Jesuit education making “sons disobedient to parents, citizens unfaithful to their country, and subjects undutiful to their sovereign.” From 1610 to 1618 Sarpi wrote a detailed history of the Council of Trent (1545-63) and criticized them for not allowing bishops autonomy, for making conflicts with Protestants worse, and for increasing the power of the Patriarchal Curia. In 1619 the English translation of his History of the Council of Trent was published in London under the pseudonym Pietro Soave Polano, and it was put on Rome’s Index of prohibited books. Yet several editions and five translations were published in the next ten years.
      Doge Dona was less popular than his predecessor for being more frugal with Venice’s funds. After a heated debate in the Collegio he collapsed and died at the age of 76 on July 16, 1612. He was succeeded by three nephews; the first two governed for three years each, but the third died after 34 days. In northern Italy the only states willing to fight an army sent by the Spanish governor of Milan were Venice and Savoy’s Duke Charles Emmanuel I (r. 1580-1630) who received subsidies from Venice. In 1613 Uskok pirates decapitated the Venetian admiral Cristoforo Venier. The Venetians asked Archduke Ferdinand of Austria to enforce the law, but he secretly aided the Uskoks. Venice sent a force against the pirates, and in 1617 a peace treaty between Venice, Savoy, and Spain agreed to destroy the fortifications and ships of the Uskoks.
      More European students were going on tour, and Italy and especially Venice were popular. Venice had a spy network and even double agents to disrupt other governments. On May 18, 1618 before the new Doge Antonio Priuli had arrived, two bodies were hanged in the Piazzetta. Rumors spread that Spain was at fault, and people demonstrated outside the Spanish Embassy. The Marquis of Bedmar as the ambassador was suspected of being a leader in the “Spanish conspiracy” along with Duke Pedro of Osuna, the Spanish Viceroy of Naples. Young Balthasar Juven, a Frenchman, discovered the plot and tricked Gabriel Moncassin who saved his life by confessing. The Council of Ten had three men put to death, and eventually about 300 suspects were killed, though Bednar and Osuna survived. In April 1619 Venice made a treaty with Piedmont. The diplomat Antonio Foscarini was twice tried for conspiracy, and the second time he was convicted and executed on April 10, 1622. However, Countess Alatheia of Arundel proved his innocence. The Ten confessed their previous error, and on August 22 they had the three who had accused Foscarini put to death.
      Doge Priuli died on August 12, 1623, and Francesco Contarini was Doge for only fifteen months. During the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48) the Valtelline Valley by the river Adda on the northwestern frontier of Venice was an important route connecting Spaniards ruling Milan and Habsburg Austria. In 1623 Venice formed an alliance with France and Savoy to protect the valley, but Spain transferred the fortifications to Pope Urban VIII. This did not stop Cardinal Richelieu from sending 3,000 French with 4,000 Swiss soldiers and 500 cavalry to the Valtelline in November 1624 to support the Venetians. By the end of the year the papal garrisons had fled to Rome. In early 1626 France made a treaty with Spain at Monçon in Aragon allowing the Valtelline to govern itself. When the fortresses were destroyed, Venice objected.
      Wealthy Giovanni Corner had become Doge in January 1625. Renier Zen was a zealous reformer and in 1621 while serving as ambassador to the Pope had accused the Venetian Cardinal Dolfin of being bribed by the French. Zen became a senior official in Venice but was dismissed and banished for his arrogance and contempt. In 1627 he was pardoned and recalled and was elected to the Council of Ten. He objected that Doge Corner’s son Federico, Bishop of Bergamo, had been appointed a cardinal, violating Venetian law against accepting benefices. The Doge denied the rank was a benefice, and he argued the Senate wanted Venetian cardinals. Then Cardinal Federico accepted the bishopric of Vicenza, and in the summer two other sons of the Doge were elected senatorial zonta which was also against the law.
      Zen had just returned to Venice and in October became one of the three Capi. He summoned the state prosecutors, and they annulled the elections on October 27. Zen also requested records from the Doge related to other infractions; but when Zen demanded that his admonition be published, Doge Corner refused. Zen believed that this would prevent future violations and stop intrigues from Rome. The Corners’ palace was filled with forbidden luxuries. The Doge and the Senate were insulted, and the other two Capi annulled Zen’s admonition and were backed up by the Ten who also over-ruled a fine against the other two Capi. Zen continued to speak out, and on December 30 he was stabbed in the face by masked assassins. The Doge’s son Giorgio was suspected, and he had fled with two kinsmen to Ferrara. On January 7, 1628 they were banished, deprived of their nobility, and had their property confiscated.
      Many people were glad that Zen was fighting corruption and learned that other Corners removed Giorgio’s goods. They believed the Ten were also corrupt. Zen was re-elected Capi in July but found that his authority had been curtailed. On July 23 Zen criticized Doge Corner in the Great Council. Paolo Basadonna accused Zen of trying to overthrow the government. Even though he was not supposed to be present, Doge Corner defended himself. That afternoon the Ten met privately without Zen and ordered his arrest. He was sentenced to exile for ten years and was fined 2,000 lire, and the next day he left Venice. His supporters were angry and formed a reform party, demanding that secretaries not be appointed for life. On August 4 Angelo Corner fired an arquebus at respected Benedetto Soranzo and was not charged for nearly a month during protests. On September 3 a committee of reformers was appointed to report on the Ten. Two weeks later Bertucci Contarini in the Great Council argued that the arrest and exile of Zen was illegal, and by a vote of 848-298 they were nullified. On September 19 a crowd welcomed Renier Zen back to Venice. A few minor reforms were made, but the Ten retained most of their power. Giorgio Corner was killed in Ferrara by an unknown assassin.
      Venice sent an army to aid the Mantuans during a war over its succession 1630-31, during which Venice imprisoned their defeated Proveditor-General Zacaria Sagredo for ten months. The epidemic from Mantua spread through Lombardy and to Venice, which had 46,490 die in the city. Nicolo Contarini had become Doge in January 1630, and he died on April 2, 1631.
      In the election Francesco Erizzo was elected Doge over Renier Zen 40-1. Also in April 1631 a treaty brought peace to Italy that would last for twelve years during Europe’s 30-year war. In 1633 the population of Venice was 102,243. When Pope Urban VIII sent an army to occupy Parma in 1642, Venice made a defensive alliance with Tuscany and Modena. Fighting broke out in 1643, but a peace treaty was signed at Ferrara in March 1644. Crusading Knights of St. John at Malta resented Venice’s peace with the Ottoman Empire, and their attacks on ships sometimes included Christian merchants. Doge Erizzo protested this in September 1644. In early October the Knights’ squadron of six ships captured a Turkish galleon with pilgrims going to Mecca, its Cadi, thirty women from the Sultan’s harem, and about fifty Greek slaves. The Knights went to Crete, where the Venetian governor would not let them land.
      The reclusive Sultan Ibrahim ordered all the Christians in the empire killed but relented. A Turkish fleet of 400 ships was sent to Crete with 50,000 soldiers and attacked Candia on June 25, 1645. Crete was Venice’s best colony with many feudal estates. Venice sent Proveditor-General Andrea Corner with an army of 2,500 men on a fleet of thirty galleys and later a remittance of 100,000 ducats. The Turks captured the St. Theodore fortress after it was blown up by its commander Biagio Zuliani. Candia capitulated on August 22, and its garrison was allowed to depart to Suda. There Admiral Antonio Capello abandoned the town. An allied Venetian fleet that included ships from the Knights, Pope Innocent X, Tuscany, and Naples tried to recapture Candia. In October the allies led by Papal Admiral Nicolo Ludovisi went home. Doge Erizzo was made commander, but he died shortly before his 80th birthday on January 3, 1646.
      The next Doge Francesco Molin was a veteran but suffered from gout. In the spring of 1646 heads of households in Venice gathered to contribute money. Venice sold 43 procuratorships of St. Mark for 3,260,000 ducats. A Venetian fleet temporarily stopped the Turks from passing through the Dardanelles, but a second Turkish fleet made it through to Crete. Captain Giovanni Capello let them enter Candia’s harbor, and they took Rettimo. He was replaced and imprisoned for a year. A young commander was killed in 1647. Suda was blockaded for more than a year and suffered plague along with Candia. The Turks were free of disease and besieged Candia in 1648.

      Francesco Patrizi of Cherso (1529-97) was born in the Republic of Venice and taught at the University of Ferrara and in Rome. He criticized the philosophy of Aristotle in his Peripatetic Discussions in 1571 and defended Plato in his New Philosophy of the Universe in 1591. This last work described the universe in four parts as Panarchia, Panaugia, Pampsychia, and Pancosmia in reference to principles, light, souls, and cosmic order. The next year the Congregation of the Index condemned this work until it was corrected. Patrizi accepted the “judgment of the Holy Church” and endeavored to make the changes, but on July 2, 1594 the Jesuit Cardinal Toledo persuaded the Congregation to prohibit the entire work. Patrizi was summoned and ordered to hand over all his copies of the book.
      Giovanni Francesco Loredan (1607-61) founded the Academy of the Unknowns (Accademia degli Incogniti) in Venice about 1630. He later served in Venetian government as state inquisitor and on the Council of Ten. Loredan helped get books published by free spirits. In the 1640s the Incogniti supported the opera of the Teatro Novissimo in Venice.
      Ferrante Pallavicino chose to live in Venice. He wrote 26 books and novellas, though he lived less than 29 years. He was Loredan’s secretary. Pallavicino’s novel Diana (1635) criticized the Habsburg Empire. The Post-boy Robbed of his Bag (1641) satirized the Barberini family of Pope Urban VIII and the Roman Curia. The papal nuncio Francesco Vitelli in Venice demanded that Pallavicino be arrested, but after six months in prison Loredan and the Incogniti helped get him released. Pallavicino had to flee from his monastery to Parma before returning to Venice. He criticized the papal war against the people of Castro. In 1643 he wrote The Rhetoric of Whores and the first part of his last work, The Celestial Divorce, which was published in Geneva and described Jesus asking the Eternal Father for a divorce from his bride, the Roman Church, because of her adulteries and vices. St. Paul is sent to investigate Rome and is so horrified that he recommends the divorce. Pallavicino used a pseudonym, but he was lured to France by a papal agent and was imprisoned at Avignon for fourteen months. The papal legate in Venice forced him to admit his authorship, and Pallavicino was beheaded for the crime of lese majesté on March 5, 1644.
      Arcangela Tarabotti (1604-52) was a Venetian nun who defended women against the misogyny of Pallavicino. She was a feminist and published Convent Life as Paradise, Against Female Luxury, Menippean Satire, Anti-satire, Women Are No Less Rational Than Men, and Innocence Betrayed (previously entitled Paternal Tyranny). Her book Convent Life as Hell was circulated as a manuscript but was not published.

Venice, Milan, and Tuscany 1648-1715

Milan and Northwest Italy 1588-1648

      Spain’s hegemony over northwest Italy was primarily through its governors of Milan such as Pedro Henriquez d'Azevedo, Count of Fuentes (r. 1596-1610), and the complicity of many small states. Many Italian princes served at the Spanish court in Madrid including the Savoy prince, Della Rovere of Urbino, Alessandro Farnese of Parma, and the Medici Prince Don Pietro. In 1588 Savoy’s Duke Carlo Emanuele (r. 1580-1630) annexed the Marquisate of Saluzzo on the Italian side of the Alps, but Henri IV demanded he return it to France in 1598 and occupied it with his army in 1600. Papal mediation of the treaty of Lyons in 1601 enabled Savoy to keep Saluzzo in exchange for two small provinces on the French side of the Alps. In the spring of 1597 Jews were expelled from Milan.
      An alliance with the Swiss Grison League in 1600 gave Spanish forces control of the Valtelline valley to the Austrian Tyrol. Milan had a fortress built on the island of Elba at Porto Longone in 1602 and controlled the Tuscan coast. That year fighting broke out over the border between the Lucca republic and the duchy of Modena. Spaniards protected Lucca, and Milan’s Governor Fuentes mediated a truce. Claudio Monteverdi produced his first opera Orfeo at Mantua in 1607 and Ariadne the next year.
      Conflict erupted again in 1613, and both Lucca and Modena fought with several thousand men until 1617 when Venetian and French envoys persuaded Duke Carlo Emanuele to let Spain occupy Montferrat as they agreed to withdraw from Vercelli. In July 1620 the Italians living in Valtellina gained the aid of Milan’s Governor Feria (r. 1618-25) and attacked the Swiss Calvinists there and fortified towns to prevent control by Venice. Spain enlisted Papal troops to help hold the valley for the Catholic cause. Northern and central Italy had a financial crisis 1619-22.
      Duke Vincenzo of Mantua and Montferrat (r. 1587-1612) submitted to Spanish domination and was succeeded by his sons Francesco IV (r.1612) and Ferdinando Gonzaga (r. 1612-26). On December 26, 1627 Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga died and left Mantua to his cousin, Duke Charles of Nevers and Montferrat to his son Count Charles of Rethel, but they were challenged by Spain. Spain’s governor of Milan already occupied Montferrat; but Savoy’s Duke Carlo Emanuele invaded Montferrat on March 29, 1628 while another force besieged Trino. The Spanish army was depleted, but Genoese bankers agreed to contribute 500,000 scudi in July and 1,300,000 ducats in January 1629. On April 8 Mantua made a six-year defense pact with Venice, France, and Pope Urban VIII. Trino surrendered on May 12, and the Piedmontese army plundered the area and occupied towns. Casale held out and was reinforced by the French led by King Louis XIII in March. The French took over Susa. Duke Carlo attacked Casalmaggiore in Lombardy. Imperial troops entered the Valtelline, but the Venetian Senate refused to go to war against the Habsburg Empire.
      Louis took his army back to France, and the Italian General Ambrogio Spinola mobilized a Protestant army of 40,000 men in Lombardy that included 6,000 Neapolitans, 4,000 Tuscans, and 2,000 Parmans. They besieged Casale in the summer of 1629. Emperor Ferdinand II sent his imperial army of 30,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry to besiege Mantua in August. In March 1630 Venice appropriated 638,000 ducats to support the Duke of Savoy. Tuscans sent 2,000 more men in May while Louis invaded Savoy. However, on May 25 the Venetian army with Mantuans and some French were defeated at Valeggio. Imperialist forces assaulted Mantua on July 18, and 14,000 soldiers looted the city of goods worth 18 million ducats. The city of 30,000 people had only 9,000 survive. Louis XIII returned briefly and was supported by Carlo Emmanuel. When Louis left again, Carlo Emanuele added his 6,500 soldiers to Spinola’s army at Casale, but Carlo died of fever in July 1630. Venetian troops fled during fighting in the fall as the plague devastated Mantua, killing 25,000 people in the city, leaving only 700 soldiers capable of fighting.
      On October 13 the French imposed the peace of Regensburg (Ratisbonne) which recognized Charles Gonzaga-Nevers as Duke of Mantua and Marquess of Montferrat while giving some concessions to Savoy and to Ferrante of Guastalla. Spain’s Olivares felt this was a surrender. Cardinal Richelieu led a French army to Savoy in late March 1631, but Savoy’s army was devastated at Vegliana. Richelieu negotiated the treaty signed at Cherasco in Piedmont on June 19, 1631 which France’s Louis XIII rejected. Vittorio Amedeo I had succeeded his father Carlos Emmanuel in Savoy and gained Trino and Alba in Montferrat while Ferrante’s son Cesare II of Guastalla received Luzzara and Reggiolo. The Austrians evacuated Mantua, and Emperor Ferdinand II recognized the Duke of Nevers. The French gained Pignerol and two other fortresses in Savoy. Emperor Ferdinand II invested Nevers with Mantua and Montferrat. Mantua had been looted and had lost three-quarters of its people to the plague which also infected the Germanic invaders. The devastating Italian plagues in 1630-31 are depicted in Alessandro Manzoni’s novel The Betrothed (I promesi sposi).
      Milan had high taxes, and in 1630 the city of Cremona had to pay 1,359,000 lire. Spain’s prime minister Olivares called for an army of 130,000 men with 16,000 from Naples, 8,000 from Milan, and 6,000 from Sicily. In 1634 the Council of Italy’s Regent Ottavio Villani tried to get the princes of Tuscany, Modena, and Parma to raise 15,000 soldiers for Milan and Germany in exchange for imperial titles, but they all refused. By 1639 Italian princes supported by a few thousand Spanish troops captured all the territory adjoining Spanish Lombardy. Even Turin sent away French troops offering to help. In 1639 Milan declared vacant farms forfeited so that anyone cultivating them could become the owner. From 1637 to 1642 a plague and civil war devastated Piedmont.
      Milan sold noble titles and feudal properties in the 1640s. In 1646 Duke Francesco d’Este of Modena (r. 1629-58) raised an army of 6,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry, and in the summer of 1647 they invaded Lombardy.
      The Republic of Genoa depended on loans from the King of Spain who went bankrupt in 1627, seriously depleting Genoa’s silk industry. In 1647 Genoa purchased Pontremoli from Spain but lost it to Tuscany in 1650.

Venice, Milan, and Tuscany 1648-1715

Florence under the Medici 1588-1648

Italian Wars with France and Spain 1517-29
Italian Wars under Spanish Rule 1530-59

      Spain had garrisons on the Tuscan coast at Piombino, Elba, and the Argentario promontory. Ferdinando de’ Medici was the son of his predecessor Cosimo I and Eleanora of Toledo. He became a cardinal at the age of 14 even though he never was ordained as a priest. The next year in 1563 he went to Rome, where he lived for 24 years. He became an administrator, founded the missionary society for propagating the faith, and collected Roman copies of Greek statues and a few originals which he took to Florence.
      As Grand Duke of Tuscany (r. 1587-1609) Ferdinando made government less corrupt and more efficient, stabilizing finances and allowing trade and agriculture to flourish. Hospitals were built, and a college began at Pisa. He proclaimed Livorno (Leghorn) a free port with religious liberty and amnesty from the penance imposed by clergy. Persecuted Protestants and many Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal came there, helping trade and scholarship to thrive. Ferdinando expanded Florence’s militia of peasants to 10,000 men and strengthened western fortifications against the Spaniards. When the Arno River flooded Florence in the winter of 1589, he had food distributed and used a small boat to reach stranded villages. He changed Florence’s policy of supporting Spain and allied with France instead. Ferdinando supported Protestant Henri IV with money against the Catholic League when he became King of France in 1589, and in 1593 he and the Florentine Pope Clement VIII helped convert Henri to Catholicism. At this time the revenue of Tuscany was at least as large as that of France. Ferdinando’s niece Maria de’ Medici was married by proxy to Henri IV at Florence in October 1600, and her dowry was greater than that of Caterina de’ Medici. In 1604 the Medici acquired the counties of Pitiglano.
      The first all-musical drama, the opera Daphne, with music by Jacopo Peri and Jacopo Corsi and libretto by Ottavio Rinuccini was performed at Florence during Carnival in 1598, but most of the music was lost. Improvements were made, and Peri’s opera Euridice was staged in October 1600. Florence had garrisons of 2,500 men but could raise 40,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry from Tuscan militia, Corsicans, and Romagnoles. In 1607 Ferdinando sent the knights of Santo Stefano against the corsairs at Bona on the Barbary coast. The next year the knights defeated a Turkish fleet, capturing nine ships, 700 prisoners, and jewelry valued at two million ducats.
      Ferdinando’s oldest son Cosimo married the Habsburg Archduchess Maria Maddalena in June 1608, and he succeeded as Grand Duke Cosimo II in February 1609 at the age of 19. He gave Galileo Galilei sanctuary in Florence and appointed him Chief Mathematician with a salary of 1,000 scudi a year. Galileo developed his telescope and discovered the moons of Jupiter, publishing his book Medicea Sidera in 1610. Cosimo II was the last Medici banker as he stopped private trading and closed branches of the family bank. Tuscany had a treaty with Spain and was obligated to send 5,000 soldiers to the Spanish army whenever Lombardy or Naples was attacked. Cosimo II sent 2,000 infantry and 300 horseman to Milan in 1613 against the Duke of Savoy. Florentines also fought at Asti in Lombardy in May 1615 against Piedmont’s forces. Cosimo became very ill in 1614. As an invalid he could do little governing, though he supported art and literature. He died of tuberculosis on February 28, 1621 and was succeeded by his 10-year-old son Ferdinando II.
      Grand Duke Ferdinando II would reign over Tuscany for fifty years, but his mother Maria Maddalena and grandmother Christina of Lorraine ruled as regents for several years. Cosimo II’s will barring the influence of foreigners and private trade by the regents and mandating limited salaries for four councilors was ignored. Dowager Grand Duchess Christina dominated Florence until her death in December 1636. She was zealously religious and relied on clerical counselors and obeyed every order from Pope Urban VIII. The Inquisition held court at Santa Croce. The rich treasury was squandered on corruption and incompetence. In 1630 Ferdinando II and his brothers stayed in Florence to aid victims. He instituted a Board of Health that forced the monasteries to be more sanitary; but the Pope and Christina censured the Board and made its members do penance. Ferdinando II was wedded to 14-year-old Vittoria della Rovere in 1634, but their marriage was not a happy one. She had been heir to the duchy of Urbino from her grandfather Francesco Maria II della Rovere; but when he died in 1631, the Papal States occupied Urbino with troops. In 1640 Ferdinando II initiated the doubling of the Grand Ducal palace.

Venice, Milan, and Tuscany 1648-1715

Popes Clement VIII, Paul V and Urban VIII

Popes Leo X, Clement VII and Paul III
Popes Paul IV, Pius IV and Pius V
Popes Gregory XIII and Sixtus V

      Pope Sixtus V (1585-90) funded a campaign in Flanders. He improved the supply of fresh water in Rome and had the Pontine marshes drained to reclaim 9,600 acres for farming and to reduce malaria. He spent large amounts on public utilities and to beautify Rome. To help pay for his projects he increased the sales tax on food, and annual revenues increased from 1,746,814 scudi to 2,576,814. In the spring of 1589 Rome suffered from a famine. By that year Sixtus had introduced eighteen new taxes including a heavy tax on wine. He was prepared to go to war against Henri IV but relented, hoping he would become a Catholic. Sixtus had pagan statues removed or altered, and he topped the columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius with statues of Peter and Paul, showing that the Renaissance was over. Sixtus V was not popular, and after his death a mob demolished his statue on the Capitoline Hill. Spanish towns celebrated, and they opposed Cardinal Montalto, the nephew of Sixtus V. After Pope Sixtus V died in August 1590, the publishing of the Index was suspended.
      On September 15, 1590 Giovanni Battista Castagna was elected Pope Urban VII. He began by donating much of his wealth to the poor Romans, and he banned the use of tobacco in churches; but he died of malaria twelve days later. About 15,000 bandits roamed the Papal States and in the early 1590s were hunted by 2,600 Roman and Corsican soldiers who also pillaged. The robber Marco Sciarra led raids on walled towns with hundreds of men.
      The cardinals chose Niccolo Sfondrati to be Pope Gregory XIV on December 5. He excommunicated France’s Protestant King Henri IV on March 1, 1591. Bread riots erupted early in that year as people blamed the Spaniards. Grain shipments had been held up to force the Pope to renew the gracias, and after the arrival of grain a few weeks later he renewed those grants. Gregory XIV pledged 200,000 scudi and 6,000 infantry, 500 cavalry, and 500 pikemen to the Catholics in the French League. Spaniards still dominated the papal court. Gregory XIV appointed five new cardinals including his nephew Paolo Emilio Sfondrati. On April 18 the Pope ordered the liberation of all slaves in the Philippines and decreed that Catholics must pay reparations to the natives who had been enslaved by Europeans. He died on October 16, 1591. Aloysius Gonzaga was born in northern Italy. He came to Rome and took care of those suffering from the plague which took his life on June 21, but he was later canonized as a saint.
      Giovanni Antonio Facchinetii was 72 years old when he was chosen to be Pope Innocent XI on October 29, but he also suffered from malaria and spent most of his time in bed inciting war against Henri IV and sending money for the effort. One of the two cardinals he appointed was his great-nephew, and Innocent died on December 30.
      Ippolito Aldobrandini was elected Pope Clement VIII on January 30, 1592. He was a Florentine and had served as a diplomat in Spain. He fasted often and confessed and celebrated Mass every day, meditating and praying at certain times. Although he was a compromise candidate, he supported Felipe II’s French policy by giving 50,000 scudi to the Holy League. In early 1593 Clement granted 200,000 ducats to Felipe II from the Order of Santiago’s benefices. Pope Clement in February revived the edict banning Jews from the Papal States that Pope Sixtus had cancelled in 1586. Then he expelled Jews from Bologna, accused them of usury, and condemned reading of the Talmud. Cardinals in Rome received pensions from Spanish realms, and this was resented in Spain. Clement called for a new league against the Turks, and they raised a fleet of 47 galleys with 5,000 Spanish and 6,000 Italian soldiers. After Henri IV converted to Catholicism, Clement absolved him in 1595.
      In May 1596 Clement VIII approved a completely revised Index of prohibited books. The Inquisition banned works by Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and other Protestants; translations of the Bible into any vernacular language for public use; lascivious and obscene material except in classics; and treatises on the occult arts. After the death of Alfonso II d’Este on October 27, 1597 Emperor Rudolf II recognized Cesare d’Este, but Henri IV helped the Pope regain the fiefdom of Ferrara, though it was still ruled by the Este family. Clement took possession of Ferrara in person on May 8, 1598. That month Spain and France signed a treaty that Clement had helped mediate. During the summer of 1599 the congregation of cardinals decreed that each new king of Spain had to do homage and pledge fidelity to the Pope in order to be invested with feudal rights. The Duke of Sessa negotiated that 100,000 scudi had to be paid as feudal dues. After a trial lasting seven years on January 20, 1600 Clement VIII declared Giordano Bruno a heretic, and the Inquisition burned him at the stake on February 17. The Accademia dei Lincei was founded in Rome in 1603. Clement suffered from gout and died on March 3, 1605.
      The Sacred College had 69 cardinals (56 Italians, 6 French, 4 Spaniards, 2 Germans and one Pole). A two-thirds majority was needed to elect a new Pope, and they elected Alessandro de’ Medici on April 1, 1605. The 72-year-old Pope Leo XI had agreed to support the imperial army fighting the Turks in Hungary and pleased Romans by reducing taxes; but he caught a cold and died on April 27.
      In the next election Cardinal Camillo Borghese emerged as a compromise candidate and became Pope Paul V on May 16. He was only 52 years old and was healthy, exercising every day. The French were concerned because Paul had a pension of 2,000 scudi from Spain. Borghese had served as an envoy to Felipe II and was appointed vicar of Rome in 1603. As Pope Paul V he promoted the study of Oriental languages, had books printed in Arabic, and improved the Vatican library. He was economical and provided money for the poor. Yet his nephew Cardinal Scipione Borghese quickly increased his income and property. The Papal States had more territory than the Republic of Venice and about the same number of people. Rome had 115,000, Bologna more than 80,000, and Ferrara a declining 60,000. Banditry caused much land to be uncultivated. In addition to helping the poor, Paul made sure prisons were inspected monthly to prevent illegal detention. The Pope’s controversy with Venice that led to an interdict in 1606 is discussed above. Paul denied having anything to do with the physical attack on Sarpi. In 1608 Pope Paul V sent Cardinal Bonifacio Caetani as legate to Romagna and the Genoese Benedetto Giustiniani as legate to Bologna. He ordered shipping improvements in the Tiber River and had an aqueduct restored to supply water. Paul appointed 46 cardinals, mostly Italians but including Hungary’s Archbishop and Chancellor Francis Forgacs, Bishop François de Rochefoucauld of Clermont, Felipe III’s favorite Duke of Lerma, Bishop Henri de Gondi of Paris, and Spain’s 10-year-old Prince Ferdinando. In 1615 the Jesuits had 372 colleges.
      Alessandro Ludovisi studied law at the University of Bologna and became Archbishop of Bologna in 1612 and a cardinal in 1616. He was elected Pope Gregory XV on February 9, 1621. He suffered from poor health and appointed his nephew Ludovico Ludovisi a cardinal and his secretary of state. Ludovico’s brother Orazio was made Captain General of the papal army, and both gained dukedoms. Ludovico gained rich estates and collected art. Gregory XV supported Emperor Ferdinand II and the Catholic League with a million gold ducats for the war against the Protestants. The Pope also aided Poland-Lithuania’s King Zygmunt III against the Ottoman Empire. Gregory reformed papal elections by making balloting secret, but no one was allowed to vote for himself. In January 1622 he created the Congregation of cardinals for the Propagation of the Faith to administer foreign missions. In March he canonized as saints Teresa of Avila, Francis Xavier, Ignatius of Loyola, Filippo di Neri, and Isodore the Farmer. On March 10, 1623 Gregory published the last papal ordinance on magicians and witches and limited punishments and the death penalty to those who had made a compact with the devil and committed murder. Gregory XV died on July 8, 1623.
      Maffeo Barberini was from a Florentine family and was brought up by his mother and uncle Francesco Barberini in Rome. Maffeo earned his doctorate in law from the University of Pisa 1589. He became papal legate to France in 1601 and nuncio in 1604 and was appointed a cardinal in 1606. With inherited wealth from his uncle he bought a luxurious palace in Rome. From 1617 as papal legate he governed Bologna in the Papal States. In August 1623 he was elected pope when only 56 and chose the name Urban VIII to please the people of Rome. He was healthy and survived a case of malaria. He granted many favors to his Barberini family. Urban appointed two nephews and a brother as cardinals and made his nephew Taddeo Barberini the Prefect of Rome. During his 21 years in the papacy his family acquired more than 100 million scudi. Urban wrote Latin verse and composed hymns. In 1624 he banned tobacco from churches and other holy places. In 1627 Urban founded the Collegium Urbanum to educate missionaries for foreign service, and in 1633 he opened China and Japan to all missionaries, not just Jesuits. He was a friend of Galileo and in 1623 gave him permission to write about Copernican theory as a hypothesis, but in 1632 the Pope was offended by Galileo’s Dialog on Two Chief Systems of the World which had Urban’s argument for God’s omnipotence spoken by an Aristotelian. After that he refused to pardon Galileo. In March 1642 Urban condemned the “Augustinus” of Bishop Cornelius Jansen.
      Pope Urban VIII continued the Catholic Church’s support for the long war against the Protestants in Europe but sometimes sided with the French against the Habsburg Empire of Spain and Austria. His large military expenditures and building projects increased the debt from 16 million scudi to 35 million by 1640 when 85% of revenue went to pay the interest. When the plague was devastating Italy in 1630, he took special precautions to prevent malnutrition by distributing alms and by cleaning streets, canals, and prisons. Urbino was bequeathed to the Pope in 1626, and the Papal States annexed it in July 1631. In 1636 a Spanish faction of cardinals conspired to make Laudivio Zacchia pope, but Urban returned to Rome and ordered the cardinals who were also bishops to go to their churches in accordance with the Tridentine reforms. In 1638 Urban VIII issued a papal bull prohibiting slavery in the Jesuit communities in South America. He patronized the arts, notably the architecture and sculptures of Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini. Portugal rebelled against Spanish domination in 1640, and both Pope Urban VIII and Pope Innocent X refused to recognize bishops nominated by Joao IV of Braganza.
      In October 1641 a Papal army besieged and captured with 6,000 soldiers and 900 cavalry the small town of Roncilgione in the duchy Castro north of Rome. Duke Odoardo Farnese of Parma (r. 1622-46) ruled Castro and gained Tuscany, Modena, and Venice as allies on August 31, 1642. Odoardo gathered 3,000 horsemen while Pope Urban VIII mobilized an army of 15,000 men. The Pope imposed a head tax and collected silver from the wealthy. Raimondo Montecuccoli led the cavalry against the Papal army at Nonantola on July 19, 1643 while the allied armies besieged Forte Urbano. About 6,000 Papal forces crossed the Po River north of Ferrara in Venetian Polesine. A Venetian army of 9,000 attacked the fort in September but were repelled. Tuscany raised an army of about 10,000 men. A Papal army of about the same size fought in Umbria, but they were defeated at Lagoscuro on March 17, 1644 and surrendered. The Castro War was very unpopular in Rome, and the bellicose Pope Urban VIII died on July 29.
      Giovanni Battista Pamphili was also trained as a lawyer and served as papal nuncio in Naples and Spain. He was elected Pope Innocent X in September 1644 at the age of 70. Innocent X was a compromise Spanish candidate and began by prosecuting for misusing public funds Urban’s nephews Francesco, Antonio, and Taddeo Barberini who fled to Paris. In February 1646 Innocent issued a bull that cardinals leaving the Papal States without the Pope’s permission could lose their benefices, and Antonio was deprived of his Protectorate in France in October. The French Parlement nullified the papal ordinance, and Cardinal Mazarin prepared to send French troops into Italy, In September the Pope pardoned the Barberini, and Mazarin began cooperating with Innocent who made his brother Michel Mazarin a cardinal in October.
      During the English Civil War (1642-49) Pope Innocent X sent Archbishop Rinuccini of Fermo to Ireland as nuncio in 1645 and provided much money and arms for the Catholics in Ireland. Fabio Chigi attended the peace talks in Westphalia as the Pope’s nuncio and protested the agreements made in 1648, and on November 26 Innocent nullified articles of the treaty he considered harmful to the Catholic religion.

Popes from Innocent X to Clement XI

Naples 1588-1648

Naples and Sicily 1517-88

      Naples suffered a famine in 1590-91, but in 1592 Rome received the largest shipments of grain from Naples and Sicily. That year Neapolitan and papal troops drove the bandit Marco Sciarra out of the region into Venetian territory. In May 1600 the Viceroy of Naples, the 6th Count of Lemos, arrived at Rome with forty bishops and prelates to render homage to Pope Clement VIII for his kingdom.
      In 1600 Italy had about 13.3 million people, and Naples was the largest city with 250,000. By then the province of Apulia had about 2.4 million sheep; but the cold winter of 1611-12 reduced the herds by half, and by 1650 the herds stabilized at a half million sheep. Less wool depressed Italian cloth manufacturing. The population of Naples increased to a half million by 1650. Naples spent about a third of its revenues on the military averaging about 800,000 ducats a year. These also paid for garrisons in Lombardy and on the Tuscan coast. In 1612 the kingdom of Naples had 27 companies of Spaniards with about 3,500 soldiers.
      In 1613 the mercantilist economist Antonio Serra wrote A Short Treatise on the Wealth and Poverty of Nations about the economics of the Neapolitan kingdom but was suspected of conspiring with Tommaso Campanella to liberate Calabria from Spanish oppression and imprisoned. Serra explained that the coin shortage in Naples was caused by a deficit in the balance of payments, and he suggested that increasing exports would be a remedy. After four years he was given an audience with Viceroy Osuna, who considered his ideas “inconclusive” and sent him back to prison where he died.
      Giambattista Marino was born in Naples in 1569 and lived there until 1600. He wrote the epic poem L’Adone, which was published at Paris in 1623 and was about the love of the goddess Venus for Prince Adonis. Marino was one of the most popular of the baroque poets with a flowery style that was called Marinism and later Mannerism. Il Pentamerone is a collection of fairy tales written in Neapolitan by Giovanni Bastiste Basile (1575-1632) and published a few years after his death. The fifty tales include early versions of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and Hansel and Gretel.
      The 3rd Duke of Osuna was Viceroy of Naples 1616-20 and raised 12,000 soldiers and 2,000 seamen to incite Spain into war; but after losing some ships to Venice in 1619 and raiding the Dalmatian coast, in 1620 Spain’s Felipe III imprisoned Osuna for disobeying orders and getting Spain into a war against Venice. The lawyer Giulio Genoino was his chief advisor and minister, and in 1620 he suggested they reform the city government by giving equal representation to nobles and the people in the Municipal Council, noting that it was 300,000 against 1,000. The Viceroy agreed, but orders from Madrid also condemned Genoino to prison. A famine in 1621 led to riots, and ten leaders were tortured to death. Genoino would be one of the leaders in the revolt of 1647. The number of peers in Naples went from 161 in 1613 to 271 in 1631 and to 341 by 1640. In 1634 a retired judge wrote a book listing hundreds of cases of feudal abuses that were not punished.
      The debt of Naples went from 10 million ducats in 1612 to more than 50 million in 1646. While nobles in Europe were falling into poverty, tax contractors, grain exporters, bankers, and merchants were prospering. Many of these were Genoese, and in Naples some called them “Jews.” Lawyers were also doing well and became politicians and judges. In the kingdom of Naples the titles of nobility proliferated in the 17th century to 119 princes, 156 dukes, 173 marquises, and several hundred counts, but instead of a fief they were associated with farms. Naples contributed money and soldiers to Spain during the Thirty Years’ War and to fight the Dutch in Brazil between 1625 and 1641. Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 1631 destroying several towns, though Naples was spared.
      During the viceroyalty of Manuel de Acevedo, the 5th Count of Monterey (1631-37), Naples contributed 30 million ducats to Spain. In 1637 he reported that after raising 50,000 men between 1630 and 1635 only a few nobles could raise any more, though according to Sommaria accounts Antonio Calabria believed that Naples had provided or paid for 10,000 infantry and 1,000 horsemen between 1631 and 1643. By 1640 many of the recruits were pardoned bandits. Taxes were contracted to collectors, mostly Genoese. Neapolitan nobles and 8,000 soldiers helped defend the city of Venice when it was attacked by a French fleet in 1640. New taxes for the wars were so hard to collect that the effective interest rate increased to 70% a year. Naples had 10,000 Muslim slaves about 1640.
      A Spanish fleet operating from Naples drove the French out of the western Mediterranean in 1642. After that year the Parliament of Naples no longer met, but contributions were approved by the nobles elected to the city sedili who were corrupted by the viceroys. Barons were resented and had to compete with the communes, which to remain free often incurred heavy debts, leading to legal battles. Taxes were increased on salt, wine, and flour.
      The Duke of Arcos became Viceroy in 1646 and put a new tax on fruit which was the primary food of the people during the summer. Most of the Spanish and Austrian troops usually in Naples had been sent north to fight invading French forces. On July 7, 1647 a dispute over who was to pay the tax on figs, the dealer or the seller, escalated to throwing things and fighting with the officials. Tommaso Aniello called Masaniello, who sold paper for wrapping fish, happened to be leading the Alarbi armed with sticks in Eastern costumes. They began destroying the gabelle (tax) houses. The Prince of Bisignano promised to abolish all taxes. Masaniello led a procession to the Viceroy’s palace, and they demanded their privileges granted by Charles V be restored. Viceroy Arcos fled to a nearby convent.
      On July 9 Genoino and others drafted 22 articles previously granted in city charters. These included ending excise taxes on food, making the tax burden on the capital equal to the provinces, and letting the assembly elect a leader of the people. The Archbishop Filomarino mediated the abolition of taxes, but rioting spread. Prisons were opened; houses of tax collectors were burned; and shops were looted. They made a list of houses, and forty were burned. The rebels found arms and distributed them, and the garrison of thirty Spaniards surrendered. Five hundred outlaws attacked people in the Piazza del Mercato and were defeated. Masaniello met with the Viceroy who swore to the terms. Masaniello became drunk with power and was shot to death on July 16.
      Francesco Toraldo, Prince of Massa, tried to command the people and was killed and replaced by the lawyer Gennaro Annese. By the end of the year the rebellion had spread to more than a hundred towns in the kingdom of Naples. On October 1 Felipe IV’s son Juan of Austria arrived with 9,000 Spanish troops and began bombarding the city, but the city militia and artillery forced them to withdraw and agree to a truce. Annese issued a proclamation on October 17 repudiating Spanish sovereignty over Naples, and five days later he became the people’s generalissimo. In December the bakers were ordered to reduce the loaf of bread from 40 to 24 ounces and to supply the militia first, and this angered the people. Arson and bombarding had damaged property valued at six million ducats, and more than 10,000 people had died or fled.
      French warships arrived at Naples which proclaimed a republic and invited the Duke of Guise to rule in February 1648; but the barons would not support a republic, and the only one to support him was Giovanni Sanseverino, Count of Saponara. Those upset by the disruption of commerce looked to the Spaniards. The barons hired armed bands to fight for Spain. The new Viceroy, the 8th Count of Oñate, arrived with 500 soldiers in April, and the Spanish army suppressed the revolt. They attacked the gangs of bandits and punished the barons who harbored outlaws on their estates. Bad weather ruined the harvest of 1648, and the price of grain went up fourfold in Naples.

      Lorenzo Scupoli (1530-1610) was from Otranto in Apulia and joined the Theatine Order. He is known for writing The Spiritual Combat and published it at Venice in 1589. The book was immensely popular with hundreds of editions over the next century or so and was translated into twelve languages. He advised against the severe penance of mortifying the flesh by long vigils, fasting, scourging, and wearing hair-shirts, though he believed in moderate devotions. For Scupoli the real struggle is between selfishness and God’s will, and he recommended the four steps of self-denial, complete faith in God, surrendering one’s will, and silently praying to the God of love. Personal desires should be transformed by charity and sacrifice. He emphasized the goodness of God and urged people to listen to their conscience and improve their virtues.
      Torquato Accetto was born in Naples and wrote On Honest Dissimulation in 1641, advising that knowing when to conceal one’s opinions and emotions or reveal them can avoid causing harm and protect one’s privacy. He even advised people to hide things from themselves and forget about unfortunate experiences, for on the pilgrimage of life it is best to reduce suffering.

Sicily, Naples, and Vico

Sicily 1588-1648

Naples and Sicily 1517-88

      On the island of Sicily the large cities of Palermo and Messina expanded in the 16th century, and new towns developed. In western and central Sicily fertile soil produced the highest yields of wheat and barley in Europe, and Palermo primarily exported grain. In the east Messina produced and exported mostly silk but needed to import bread. More people and American silver in the Spanish empire increased prices and depreciated currency. Coins were clipped until they were unrecognizable. Laws were passed limiting each person to one silver plate and spoon. In 1591 Sicily’s Viceroy Diego Enriquez de Guzman, Count of Alba de Liste, could not borrow on any terms. By then the wealthy merchants of Messina controlled municipal revenues and held a monopoly on silk exports. In 1598 Viceroy Maqueda appointed a commission to administer the property of the barons with the most debt while allowing them limited funds, running their estates more efficiently and paying the interest on their debts and their arrears. Tax on cereals was the main source of revenue, increasing the price of food. In 1607 Sicily requested more silver from Spain, and the new Viceroy Escalona, Marquis of Villena, replaced the coins by forcing the bank of Palermo to pay 500,000 scudi. He borrowed from the city to pay Spanish soldiers and introduced rationing of bread. In 1608 he sent silver back to Spain for the tax.
      Sicily was oppressed by the Spanish Inquisition rather than the Italian one. In 1605 the distinguished church historian Cardinal Caesar Baronius published the 11th volume of his Annales ecclesiastici, challenging the legitimacy of Spain’s rule over Sicily. His comprehensive 12-volume history of the Church was later extended to 38 volumes by scholars. In 1610 Spain’s imperial government in Madrid ordered all copies of this book in their empire confiscated.
      Pedro Téllez-Giron, 3rd Duke of Osuna, was Viceroy of Sicily 1611-16. He found that many carried weapons, and murders were common; bribing officials was normal. He banned forty suspects from Palermo and imprisoned or expelled others from Sicily. Licenses to carry arms were cancelled, and he formed a confraternity to stop family vendettas. Bandits were pardoned for turning in other bandits. He traveled around the island and organized committees to care for orphans and schools. The theater of Tasso was permitted to perform in Palermo with women on stage. He noticed that 200,000 scudi a year had been spent on soldiers and 130,000 on galleys while the annual interest on the government’s debt was 250,000. In 1612 the Parliament doubled the donativi tax, but barons were exempt. They and the Church made loans and had first call on money. New taxes were put on silk, exports, fire-arms, and hunting licenses. Government credit was restored, banks re-opened; but those in Messina protested the silk tax.
      Spain’s participation in the Thirty Years’ War put fiscal demands on its empire. Sicily was required to send 70,000 scudi per year to support the Habsburg Emperor in Hungary, and in 1620-21 a million scudi was sent to Germany. Sicily also provided soldiers and warships with large quantities of food to feed Spanish and Habsburg armies in Lombardy and Alsace. Messina had to make large grants to King Felipe IV for the years 1621-23 even though they had spent two million scudi for the privilege of not paying that tax. Palermo suffered an epidemic of the bubonic plague in 1624 after Christian slaves were released from Tunis; Viceroy Emanuel Filibert of Savoy was among the many who died. Wheat could not be exported, and taxes were not collected. In 1629 Sicilian bishops protested the way the Spanish rulers were interfering with their pastoral work. In the 1630s public works and spending on the police were cut, and the Viceroy commented it was not safe to travel without an escort of at least twenty men. The silk tax was increased. Twice in 1639 parliament was called on to raise money, and they imposed extra stamp duties on documents and 2% tax on leases and sale contracts. However, the rich with lawyers and clergy had them repealed. Towns paid their taxes by borrowing from the rich barons who were not taxed. Another source of revenue was the selling of customs and treasury offices. In 1641 the English ambassador told Spain that the French were helping the Sicilians to overthrow Spanish rule.
      A tax in 1642 on olives, mulberries, and vines could not be collected from the landlords. Viceroys fixed prices and distributed money to the poor, but unemployment increased. In 1643 Felipe IV ordered Spain’s ministers to increase revenues for his foreign wars, and in the next four years the tax burden on Sicily nearly doubled. In 1644 Sicily had a bad wheat harvest. In 1645 Venice went to war against the Ottoman Empire over Crete, and Messina’s silk exports fell by a quarter. From September for a year rain drenched Sicily, wiping out winter crops and devastating the summer harvest in 1646 and lowering the quality of bread in Palermo. Too much food had been shipped to Spain, Venice, Crete, and other places. With the highest wheat prices ever the Messina Senate ordered bakers to reduce the standard loaf of bread by 10%, and as prices continued to rise, they did that again three weeks later. Messina blockaded the straits and impounded food ships, and so did Syracuse. In February 1647 heavy rain rotted the seeds, and sowing had to be repeated; but severe heat in March and April and a drought devastated the annual crop. In the countryside people could eat wild plants, but in Palermo thousands of beggars slept outside. Disease spread, and dozens died of starvation each day.
      On May 19, 1647 a ship brought grain to Palermo, but royal orders forced the bakers to reduce the loaf size by 15%. A procession of women marched to the cathedral and laid the smaller loaves on the altar. People gathered outside city hall and shouted, “Big loaves, no excise” and “Bread, bread.” The Viceroy shouted from his palace window that he would cancel the food tax; but people opened the prisons and freed a thousand inmates, and they destroyed the excise offices. The Archbishop of Monreale armed the clergy. A few nobles threw money at the mob while most fled to their country estates. The escaped murderer La Pilosa emerged as a leader and promised to distribute money from the Jesuits and the bank to the poor. Viceroy Velez left the leather and fish guilds in charge as he fled.
      The people imposed taxes on luxuries such as balconies, windows, carriages, tobacco, snuff, wine, and beef. The goldsmith d’Alesi had also escaped from prison and was made chief (Capopopolo) of the city. After people burned more than forty buildings, he tried to stop rioting by confiscating stolen weapons, banning fire-arms in the city, and punishing looting with the death penalty. Finally he asked the Viceroy to return, and money was spent to incite the fishermen in a vendetta against the other guilds who had supported d’Alesi. The Viceroy promised reforms, and the rebellion faded. On Assumption Day (August 15) people in a procession shouted that they wanted the Spanish government thrown out, and the Viceroy fled with his guards. One week later fishermen led by nobles and followed by a mob killed d’Alesi, the consul of the leather workers, and eleven supporters. Bakers were given a subsidy of 1,200 ducats per day, and by November the city owed nearly 150,000 ducats.
      In September the revolution ended as people welcomed Spanish troops returning to Palermo. The Archbishop absolved the people for revolting. Cardinal Trivulzio became Viceroy, and the unemployed and visitors were expelled to save food. Games and masks were prohibited. Cannons were aimed at the city; a curfew was imposed; and arms had to be surrendered. The Viceroy allowed the nobles to hire bands to garrison Palermo. Messina had provided money to help put down the revolt at Palermo, adding to their civic debt, though Spain enlarged their suffrage temporarily.
      The Spanish Inquisition was instituted in Sicily and Sardinia. Sardinia’s contribution to Spain was 15,000 ducats in 1613, but by 1626 it had multiplied by nine. In 1638 Sicily’s Interim Viceroy Montalto had reported that no more soldiers could be raised. Yet Sardinia recruited about 9,000 soldiers between 1628 and 1650. Sicily had a feudal aristocracy. The Parliament had feudal lords, the church, and the royal officials responsible for voting on taxes.

Sicily, Naples, and Vico

Campanella and His City of the Sun

      Tommaso Campanella was born on September 5, 1568 at Stignano in Calabria on the southern tip of Italy. At the age of 14 he became a Dominican. In 1588 he was influenced by the natural philosophy of Bernardino Telesio that challenged Aristotle’s ideas, and he wrote a defense of Telesio’s philosophy. Campanella left isolated Altomonte without permission and went to Naples where he lived in a convent. He got his book Philosophia sensibus demonstrata published, but his next two books were seized by the Holy Office of the Inquisition. Having studied magic and opposed Aristotelian Catholic theology, he was imprisoned in San Domenico and tried on various charges. In August 1592 he was ordered to go back to Altomonte, but he went to Florence instead and then to Padua where he became friends with Galileo and Sarpi. Campanella wrote Apologia pro Telesio and Rhetorica nova; but in 1594 the Inquisition confiscated his manuscripts and tortured him twice but could not get him to confess. He was transferred to Rome, and in May 1595 he was tortured again and did confess. He was sentenced to live in a monastery. There he wrote his Dialogue against Lutherans, Calvinists and Other Heretics. On March 5, 1597 a Calabrian bandit about to be hanged testified against Campanella who was detained for several months. Then he returned to his native Stilo in 1598. Concerned about the poor, he criticized Church and Spanish rule, and he wanted radical reforms.
      On September 6, 1599 Campanella was arrested with 150 others and was accused of leading a revolutionary conspiracy in Calabria. Inspired by the prophecies of Joachim of Fiore, his purpose was to establish a community of goods before the Age of Spirit was to begin in 1600. He was taken to Naples, and in late 1602 the Inquisition sentenced Campanella to imprisonment for life. Aware that canon law would not allow the execution of an insane person, on Easter Sunday in 1601 he started a fire in his cell and pretended to be insane for fourteen months even under painful torture. In 1604 he was transferred to Castel Nuovo, but after an attempted escape he was shackled hand and foot in the underground dungeon of Castel Sant’ Elmo for four years. Then for six years he had better quarters where he could write and receive visitors. In 1614 he was sent back to the dungeon where he worked on his Theologia, Apologia pro Galileo, and books on rhetoric, poetics, medicine, philosophy, and astrology. Transferred from the dungeon again in 1618, Campanella wrote many letters asking powerful people to help him. In 1626 he was released and sent back to the monastery at Altomonte, but a few weeks later he was imprisoned once more for three years.
      Finally in 1629 Campanella was freed for the last ten years of his life in the custody of the Dominicans. In Rome he was employed by Pope Urban VIII for his astrology and magic. After Galileo was charged again in 1633, Campanella came to his defense. In 1634 he went to Paris. His faith that the Church and the Spanish Empire might realize his dreams had faded, and he transferred his hope to the French. Campanella wrote about a hundred books before he died on May 21, 1639 in the Dominican monastery in Rue St. Honoré.
      Campanella wrote The City of the Sun: The Idea of a Philosophic Republic in Italian in 1602, and manuscripts were circulated. In 1613 he translated it into Latin, and this was published at Frankfurt in 1623 in his collection Philosophia realis.
      In the dialog a Knight Hospitaller questions a Genoese who had sailed with Columbus and has gone around the world. South of the equator the Genoese was taken by a company of people to the City of the Sun which has seven circles and is more than two miles in diameter. In the center is a hill and a large temple. On the altar is a celestial globe showing the heavens and a terrestrial globe, and there are forty clergy. The Hospitaller asks about the government. The Prince Prelate is called the Sun or the Metaphysician, and the other princes are Power, Wisdom, and Love. Power administers war and peace, Wisdom all the sciences and arts, and Love healthy breeding and the care and education of children. These four princes discuss things, and the Metaphysician decides.
      All things are held in common, and there are no separate homes for parents and their children. Self-love is destroyed for the sake of the community which they are taught to love. No one has more than one deserves, and everyone has all one needs. Friendships develop during war, in sickness, and while learning together. Officials representing the virtues watch to see that no one harms another. Both sexes are educated and are taught language and crafts, then natural science, followed by mathematics, medicine, and other sciences. Those who learn the most skills are considered noble. One must know the history of all peoples and astrology to be elected the Sun. The Sun knows too much to be cruel or tyrannical. The three officials of Power, Wisdom, and Love must also be philosophers, historians, naturalists, and humanists.
      People sleep in common dormitories. Men and women do the same work, and women can be artists and musicians. However, the men handle more strenuous jobs while women make clothes and prepare food. Only boys and girls wait on tables. The young are required to help those who are over forty. They eat in silence while someone reads aloud. Clothes are changed at the beginning of each season when festivals also occur. New moons and full moons are also celebrated. Water is collected in cisterns, and people wash often. Wise elders insist on cleanliness. Women do not conceive children until they are 19 and men at 21. Sodomy is punished. Men and women are matched in order to produce well balanced children. The mother nurses her child for two years, but after weaning teachers take over. All adults are considered fathers and mothers while all the children are their sons and daughters. Exercise keeps people healthy and better looking. Campanella noted that in Naples 50,000 of the 300,000 people do not work while others work long hours; but in the City of the Sun no one works more than four hours a day. Campanella believed that poverty creates liars and criminals while wealth makes people insolent, ignorant, and treacherous. Public ownership avoids those two extremes, and they can live like true Christians.
      The City of the Sun sends out people to study other nations and bring back information. Boys and girls are taught to use weapons so they may defend the city in war. Everyone believes that the soul is immortal and after death goes to the place merited. At first they thought it cruel to eat higher animals, but then they decided to eat plants and animals. Children have four meals a day and adults two. They drink wine moderately. No one is put in prison except a captured enemy. Only a serious crime like treason is punished by death. They honor the sun and the stars, but only God is worshipped. The three aspects of God are Power, Wisdom, and Love. Their most holy laws are the golden and silver rules of treating others as one would like to be treated and not doing what one would not like. The author noted that more books were written in the last century than in the previous 5,000 years. The Solarians have learned how to fly and are working on a glass to see hidden stars and on a device to listen to the music of the spheres. The Genoese also notes that their era has seen several women rulers including England’s Elizabeth, France’s Catherine, Scotland’s Mary, and Spain’s Isabel. Solarians also believe in free will but that those subject to their senses rather than reason are more influenced by the stars.

Galileo and Scientific Discoveries

      Galileo Galilei was born on February 15, 1564 at Pisa. His father Vincenzo Galilei was a famous musician, and, concerned that studying mathematics did not pay, in 1581 he enrolled his son Galileo in the University of Pisa to study medicine. Noticing a swinging lamp in a cathedral, Galileo discovered the temporally steady motion of the pendulum and used that to make a machine for measuring the pulse. Lack of money caused him to leave school in 1585, but he continued his investigations and wrote an essay on hydrostatic balance. He was acclaimed for a treatise on the center of gravity in solids. After struggling financially Galileo was hired by the University of Pisa to lecture on mathematics in 1589. He conducted experiments on falling bodies and angered Aristotelian faculty by showing that heavier bodies did not fall faster, though scholars doubt the legend that he dropped things off the leaning tower of Pisa. He resigned in 1591 and soon gained a position at the University of Padua where he taught for 18 years. His lectures were very popular, and he taught in a large auditorium holding two thousand people. He invented a machine for raising water, a geometrical compass, and an air thermometer. In 1597 he wrote Kepler that he accepted the sun-centered Copernican theory as more reasonable than the earth-centered Ptolemaic system using complicated epicycles to explain the apparent retrograde movement of the planets.
      In 1609 Galileo learned that the Dutch were manufacturing magnifying glasses, and he put them together in a telescope enlarging sights three times but soon increased it to a power of 32 times. This enabled him to see that the moon has mountains, that the Milky Way is actually many stars, and that the planet Jupiter has at least four satellites (moons) which he called “Medicean stars” in honor of Grand Duke Cosimo II of Tuscany. The telescope also enabled him to offer more proof for the revolutionary system of Copernicus. Yet he somehow missed or ignored Kepler’s theory explaining the elliptical orbits of planets and continued to believe that their orbits are circles. In September 1610 Galileo went to Florence to be chief mathematician and philosopher for Cosimo II. He visited Rome in the spring of 1611, and that summer he began disputing with Aristotelian philosophers over floating bodies. In 1613 Galileo wrote how sunspots show that the sun rotates, helping to prove the theory of Copernicus.
      In December 1614 the Dominican preacher Tommaso Caccini attacked Galileo for his revolutionary ideas. A year later Galileo went to Rome to defend the Copernican theory, but in February 1616 the Catholic Church condemned two of his propositions in On the Sun Spots. Cardinal Robert Bellarmine warned him to consider it only as a hypothesis, and the book by Copernicus was put on the Index on March 5. Galileo argued that the Church should continue to interpret scripture allegorically when it conflicts with scientific truth as it had done in the past. He improved his telescope for use at sea. Galileo suffered from arthritis and worked on understanding comets. He was criticized by Jesuits in 1619 and answered them in 1622. The next year he published The Assayer (Il Saggiatore) to challenge the views of the Jesuit Orazio Grassi on comets, and he dedicated it to the new Pope Urban VIII. In the spring of 1624 he visited Rome and had six audiences with Pope Urban. That summer he made improvements to the compound microscope.
      After being seriously ill in 1628 Galileo completed his Dialog on the Two Chief World Systems and obtained permission before publishing it at Florence in 1632. In August the Catholic Church ordered the printer to stop selling the book, and in October they charged Galileo for teaching the Copernican theory as a truth. Galileo went to Rome in February 1633 and was examined by Inquisitors in April. Pope Urban ordered a thorough examination in June, and threatened with torture Galileo recanted and was sentenced to imprisonment which the Pope commuted to indefinite house arrest. He was put under the custody of the Archbishop of Siena and allowed to live at his home in Arcetri near Florence for the rest of his life. In 1637 he went blind, and in 1638 his great work, Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Relating to Two New Sciences, was published at Leyden. In his last years he worked on applying the pendulum principle to develop a clock which was accomplished by the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens in 1656. Galileo died on January 8, 1642. Pope Urban VIII forbade honoring him with a monument, and his body was buried in the chapel of Santa Croce in Florence. Galileo did much to pioneer the modern scientific method of experiments. He argued that science must be based on observation and not on authority and that scientific understanding can be most precisely understood using mathematics.

Copyright © 2015 by Sanderson Beck

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EUROPE & Reform 1517-1588

Germanic Empire and the 30-Year War
Eastern Europe 1588-1648
Scandinavia 1588-1648
Netherlands Divided 1588-1648
Spanish and Portuguese Empires 1588-1648
Cervantes, Lope de Vega & Calderon
Italy and Spanish Rule 1588-1648
France’s Henri IV, Richelieu & Mazarin
Vincent, Descartes & Corneille
England, Ireland & Scotland 1588-1625
Britain of Charles and Civil War 1625-49
Shakespeare’s Plays
English Theater 1588-1642
Summary and Evaluation


Chronology of Europe 1588-1648
World Chronology

BECK index