When Pietro, cardinal of San Marco, heard about the conspiracy of the French, he despaired of getting the papacy himself. Then, spurred equally by patriotic fervor and hatred of Rouen, he went round all the Italian cardinals, urging and cajoling them not to abandon their country. He did not rest till he had gathered all the Italians, except Colonna, in the cell of the cardinal of Genoa. There he revealed the conspiracy made in the latrines. If Rouen obtained the papacy, he said, the Church would be ruined and Italy a slave forever more. He implored each and every one of them to act like men, to protect the interests of Mother Church and miserable Italy, to put aside their rivalries and make an Italian pope, and not a foreigner. What was more, if they cared for his opinion, they should prefer Aeneas over any other. Seven cardinals were present: Genoa, Orsini, Bologna, San Marco, Pavia, Siena, and Sant'Anastasia. They all accepted Pavia's plan except Aeneas, who thought himself unworthy of such an honor. Then they went to mass. Once that was finished, they began the scrutiny. A golden chalice was placed on the altar and three cardinals were appointed to watch over it to prevent any fraud. These were the bishop of Kiev, the presbyter of Rouen and the deacon Colonna. The other cardinals took their seats. Then, rising in order of rank and age, each approached the altar and deposited in the chalice a ballot on which he had written the names of his choices for pope. When Aeneas came up and tried to cast his ballot, Rouen blanched and trembled and cried out, "Aeneas, look! I commend myself to you." It was a rash thing to do at this point, when no one was allowed to alter the choice he had made. But ambition overcame prudence. Aeneas replied, "You commend yourself to a worm like me?" and, without another word, dropped his ballot in the cup and went back to his seat. When every vote had been cast, a table was set up in the middle of the room and the same three cardinals emptied the chalice full of ballots onto it. Then they read the ballots out, one after another, noting down the names written on them as they went. And there was not a single cardinal who did not likewise make notes of those named, so there could be no possibility of fraud. This proved to be to Aeneas's advantage; for when the votes had all been counted, Rouen, who was the teller, announced that Aeneas had eight. The rest said nothing about another man's loss, but Aeneas did not lot himself be cheated. "Look more carefully at the ballots," he said to the teller, "for I have nine votes." Then the others agreed with him. Rouen said nothing, as if he had merely made a mistake. The ballots looked like this: each wrote in his own hand, "I, Peter (or John or whatever his name was) elect as pope Aeneas, cardinal of Siena and Jaime, cardinal of Lisbon." It is permitted to submit one or two or even more names, on the understanding that the one first named is the one preferred, but if he should not get enough votes to be elected, the next is to be counted in his place. This way a consensus can be more easily reached. But some people will exploit a useful device for their own advantage, as Latino Orsini did that day. He wrote down seven names in the hope that those he named would be swayed by the favor, either to accede to him in that scrutiny or to vote for him in another. But cheap tricks don't do much for one who is known as a cheat. When the results were read out it was ascertained, as we have said before, that nine cardinals had voted for Aeneas: Genoa, Orsini, Lerida, Bologna, San Marco, Santi Quattro Coronati, Zamora, Pavia, and Portugal. The cardinal of Rouen had only six votes, and the rest far fewer. Rouen was petrified when he saw himself so far outstripped by Aeneas. All the rest were amazed, for no one in living memory had ever polled as many as nine votes by scrutiny. Since no candidate had a clear majority, they decided to resume their seats and try the method that is called "by accession," to see if they just might elect a pope that day. And here again Rouen indulged in empty hopes.Next: the denouement, or Pius Aeneas.
Then, at first light, Aeneas met the vice-chancellor, Rodrigo, and demanded to know whether he had sold himself to Rouen. "What would you have me do?" he replied, "The thing is settled. A lot of the cardinals met in the latrines and decided to elect him. There's no point remaining with the minority and out of favor with the new pope. I've considered my interests and I'm joining the rest. I won't lose the chancellorship; I have a note from Rouen promising me that. If I don't vote for him, the others will elect him anyway and I'll lose my post." Aeneas said to him, "Young fool!"Rodrigo Borgia was twenty-seven years old at this time. For my gentle readers' future use, the Latin here is, "O stulte iuvenis!"
Aeneas said to him, "Young fool! You'll put an enemy of your country in the Apostle's chair? And put your faith in a note from a faithless man? You'll have the note; the chancellorship will go to Avignon. What you've been promised, he's been promised, too, and he's had confirmation. Will Rouen keep faith with him or you? Will a Frenchman be a better friend to a Frenchman or a Catalan?"Huh? Catalan? you may be asking. But the Borgia family -- originally, de Borja -- were from the Valencia area, and as a cardinal Pope Calixtus III was called 'Il Valentino'.
Will he care more about a foreigner or his fellow countryman? You inexperienced boy! You fool! Take care! Even if you think nothing of the Church of Rome, even if you have no regard for the Christian religion and despise God -- whom you'd provide with such a vicar -- at least take thought for yourself, for you will find yourself among the last and least, if a Frenchman becomes Pope." The vice-chancellor listened patiently to the words of his friend and then reversed his decision completely.Um, OK. Thirty-four years and several infamous children later, Rodrigo Borgia would be elected Pope Alexander VI. The legend that he bought the papacy with four muleloads of silver is apocryphal.
After this, Aeneas saw the cardinal of Pavia and said to him, "I hear you too have fallen in with those who are going to lect Rouen. Is it true?" He replied, "You've heard correctly. I've agreed to give him my vote so as not to be left by myself. The matter's already decided, you see. So many cardinals have declared for him."
I'm sure he ate some of it too. Before you freak: it's home-made Play-doh. Flour, salt, oil and food coloring. Now I need to find more food coloring in Bucharest. Any ideas?
This is only one of the thousand little requests the Secret Service had of the German government to secure Mr. Bush's person. Others were that citizens living along the official traveling route were asked to remove their mailboxes if they exceeded a certain size. It was rumored that the mobile phone net in Mainz was going to be turned off for a day (which was denied, then cautiously de-denied). House owners needed special permits to enter their homes and were kindly informed not to go on their balconies. (I wonder, are there any snipers posted to deter the bold and uncooperative?) The university hospital is not accepting any normal patients today (other than in the internistic department), being "on hold" for Bush and his team. The schools are closed. Public transport is largely suspended. Streets are closed off. Shipping on the Rhein is discontinued. The garbage is not collected and the streets are not being cleaned. The underground parking lots are closed. The Opel plant in Rüsselsheim stopped production for the day since they anticipated supply problems (all those blocked roads and bridges and cancelled trains). Employees and workers in the area have been asked to take a day off since the anticipated chaos on the streets would only bring them in very late anyway. Etc. Etc. Mind you, these are not voluntary measures by the Germans. These are imposed restricitions from the US side. (Makes me wonder about the independence of my country, frankly.) Since this is paid for by the German taxpayer (which we are), and the trip is being paid for by the American taxpayer (which we are), Mr. Bush's visit to Germany is suddenly heavily sponsored by our family. I'm not sure I'm liking this thought.
Source: Süddeutsche Zeitung
I've tried to put this tactfully before, Carlos. The fact is, there are *limits* to cynicism.I have my doubts. Via Matthew Yglesias comes this sparkling transcript of an open online chat with Newsweek's Baghdad bureau chief, Rod Nordland. Some excerpts:
London, England: Divide and rule is what the simpleton Americans use to control other weaker nations. What a pathetic, bullying, ruthless, cowardly lot you are! Rod Nordland: E tu madre. Grand Rapids, MI: If WMDs don't exist in Iraq, where are the destroyed ones? Rod Nordland: I think they're in Atlantis. Lenore, WV: I have a question. Why don't you liberals join the American side on this matter? Rod Nordland: I'm not a liberal, sorry. You must have me confused with someone else. Hellowell, ME: why does Bush care so much about what happens in Iraq when there are so many poor, sick, poverty-stricken people in the U.S.? Rod Nordland: Who said he cares? Irvine, CA: Newsweek has joined Ted Kennedy as the pro-insurgent party. Rod Nordland: Another reader who has comprehension problems on the primary-school level. Bucharest, Romania: Hi! Do you really think that democracy is the best thing for Iraq? I mean it's obviously the best thing for some countries (like the U.S.), but is it the best thing for others? Maybe democracy and voting just doesn't fit them, just as royalty for example wouldn't fit U.S. And is that what democracy is all about: who isn't like us is against us, therefore we should try to impose democracy everywhere (by force!)? Rod Nordland: We're going to invade Romania next, so just watch out.
It was past midnight when the cardinal of Bologna rushed into Aeneas's cell and roused him, saying, "Aeneas, what do you say! Don't you know we've already got a pope? A group of cardinals met in the latrines and decided to elect Guillaume. They're only waiting for morning. I think you should get out of bed and offer him your vote before he's elected, for if he makes it without your support he'll never let you forget it. I'm not falling into that trap again. I know what it means to have the pope against you -- I endured the reign of Calixtus, who never gave me so much as a friendly look, and all because I hadn't voted for him. It's best to curry favor with a future pope well in advance, it seems. I'm giving you the advice I'm going to take myself." Aeneas replied, "Away with you, Filippo, and your advice! No one's going toget me to vote for a man I think totally unfit to follow Peter. Far be it from me, such a sin! If the others want to elect him, let them look to themselves. My hands will be clean of the crime, my conscience won't prick me. You say it's hard to have the pope against you. I'm not worried about that. He won't murder me because I didn't vote for him, that I know. 'But,' you say, 'he won't be kind to you, he won't give you presents, he won't show you favor. You'll feel the pinch of poverty.' Poverty isn't hard for one who's known it well. I've been poor in the past, what does it matter if I die a poor man? He won't take my muses away, and they are all the sweeter when fortunes are low. "Still I can't believe God would let the Church, his bride, perish at the hands of the cardinal of Rouen. What could be further from the preaching of Christ than a vicar enslaved to simony and lust? Divine Mercy will not turn this palace, the house of so many holy fathers, into a den of thieves or a whoring brothel. The apostleship is bestowed by God, not men. They are men who conspire to commit the papacy to Rouen; and human thoughts are but a breath -- who doesn't know that? It was well their conspiracy was made in the latrines; their plots will go down the drain! Like the Arian heresy, these most foul machinations will have a very filthy end."(I am not making this up. The Latin is: in loco foedissimo finem accipient iniquissima machinamenta.)
"Tomorrow it will be clear that the bishop of Rome is chosen by God, not men. As for you, if you are a Christian, you will not promote to be Vicar of Christ a man you know is the arm of the devil!" Hearing these words, Filippo was too frightened to accede to Rouen.Next: part 6, Aeneas gets Chicago on cardinal
A large group of cardinals gathered in the latrines. Here, as if in a secret, private meeting place, they worked out a plan to elect Guillaume pope, binding themselves with oaths and written pledges. Guillaume felt he could rely on their support and within no time was promising benefices, offices and positions of power, and dividing provinces among them. A perfect place to elect such a pope: where better to strike a filthy bargain than in the latrines! The cardinals who had definitely decided for Guillaume included the two Greeks, Genoa, San Sisto, Avignon, Colonna, Pavia, and the vice-chancellor.This is rather an unholy coalition. Alain of Avignon we have already met. The two Greeks are Alain's previous nemesis John Bessarion, and the cardinal of Kiev. (Yes, Kiev.) Pavia has already made his play for the papacy in the accession phase. And the vice-chancellor is Rodrigo Borgia, the late Pope Calixtus III's nephew.
Orsini and the cardinals of Bologna and Sant'Anastasia were wavering and it seemed the slightest pressure would make them accede.And it gets more complicated. The Colonna family and the Orsini family were two of the leading names in Rome, and they got along about as well as you might expect. Think Montagues and Capulets, or Hatfields and McCoys. Also, the Orsinis did not much like the interloping Catalan Borgia family; after Calixtus died, the Orsinis drove out his other nephew, whom Calixtus had made Captain-General of the Church, from Rome to Civitavecchia, where he died of a fever. We've already encountered Filippo, cardinal of Bologna. A little unsteady, our friend Filippo.
Already Rouen felt his hopes were practically assured of success. And now, as it seemed they had eleven men confirmed on their side, they were certain they would get a twelfth straight away. For when it gets to this point in the process, someone is always ready to jump up and say "And I make you pope," to win the favor those words always bring. So they thought the matter settled, and were just waiting for dawn so the vote could be taken.Next: part 5, a late night encounter.
It was the custom for the cardinals to sit and talk together after the result of a scrutiny had been announced, in case anyone wished to change his mind and transfer his vote from one to another. This is the method called "by accession," for it is an easier way to reach an agreement. This procedure was not used after the first scrutiny, for those who had received no votes objected, for they could not now be candidates for accession. They adjourned for lunch, and then a great many private conferences took place. The richer and more influential members of the college summoned others to their presence. Seeking the papacy for themselves or their friends, they begged, made promises, even tried threats. Some threw all decency aside, spared no blushes and pleaded their own cases, claiming the papacy as their right. Among these were Guillaume, cardinal of Rouen; Pietro, cardinal of San Marco; and Giovanni, cardinal of Pavia; nor did the cardinal of Lerida neglect his interests. Each had a great deal to say for himself. Their rivalry was extraordinary, their energy unbounded. They neither rested by day nor slept at night. Rouen, however, feared these men less than Aeneas and the cardinal of Bologna, for he saw that the majority of the votes were tending toward them. But he was especially afraid of Aeneas, for his silence, he was sure, would prove far more effective than the snarling of the rest. And so he would summon now some, now others, and berate them: "What's Aeneas to you? What makes you think he deserves the papacy? Will you give us a pauper and a cripple for a pope? How will a destitute pope restore a destitute church, or an ailing pope a church that is sick? He's only just come from Germany -- we don't know him! What if he transfers the Curia there? And look at his writing! Shall we set a poet in Peter's place, and administer the Church by pagan laws? Or perhaps you think we should choose Filippo of Bologna instead? A stiff-necked fellow, without the wit to rule himself nor listen to those who counsel right? I'm the senior cardinal. You know I'm not stupid. I'm trained in pontifical law and I can boast of royal blood. I have many friends and great resources I can draw on to relieve the Church of her poverty. What's more, I have quite a few church benefices, which I'll distribute among you and the others, when I resign them." Then he would pile on appeals or, if they had no effect, resort to threats. If anyone brought up his past record of simony, suggesting that in his hands, the papacy would be for sale, he would admit that his earlier career had been tainted with that stain, but would swear that in future his hands would stay clean. He was supported by Alain, cardinal of Avignon, a reckless, grasping character who lent him every assistance, not so much a Frenchman aiding a Frenchman as a man who expected, at Guillaume's election, to obtain his house in Rome, the church of Rouen and the vice-chancellorship. A good number of cardinals were swayed by Rouen's splendid promises; like flies, they were victims of their own appetites. And the tunic of Christ, without Christ, was being sold.Incidentally, according to Pius, Alain, cardinal of Avignon, was the fellow who prevented Bessarion, cardinal of Nicaea -- a Byzantine humanist whose life's dream was healing the schism between the Orthodox and Catholic churches (preferably on his own terms), who helped kickstart the Italian Renaissance by sponsoring Greek scholarship there -- from becoming Pope. Instead, the Church got a Borgia. Next: part 4, a fine and private place.
Filippo, cardinal of Bologna, was spending the hot days of summer at Bagnoregio when he heard the news. He went to Viterbo and from there traveled with Aeneas to Rome for the election of the next pope. As they approached the city together, they found the entire Curia and most of the populace waiting to meet them outside the walls. All agreed that one of them would be elected pope. Every other cardinal within a hundred miles of Rome also returned, making nineteen in the city. In the course of the funeral ceremonies, however, the cardinal of Fermo came down with a slow fever. He had aspired passionately, excessively even, to follow Calixtus, and so he did -- to the grave. This was a man who could have been a model of virtue, had he not let ambition and a violent temper master him. His life was pure, his learning and experience great, but he was too fierce a partisan of the Ghibellines. Ten days after Calixtus's death the other eighteen cardinals entered the conclave. The whole city awaited in suspense for the outcome; but it was common talk that Aeneas of Siena would be pope. No one was held in higher esteem. On the conclave met in the apostolic palace at St. Peter's, where two halls and two chapels were cordoned off for the purpose. In the larger chapel they constructed cells where the cardinals would eat and sleep; the smaller, called the chapel of St. Nicholas, was reserved for deliberations and voting. The halls were places where all might walk about freely. The day they entered, they did nothing about the election. The next day they issued certain capitulations which all agreed should be observed by the new pope. Each swore that he would abide by them should the lot fall to him. On the third day, after mass, they took a vote and found that Filippo of Bologna and Aeneas of Siena had received an equal number of votes, five apiece. No one else had more than three. On this ballot, whether from strategy or dislike, no one voted for Guillaume, the cardinal of Rouen.We will see more of this Guillaume d'Estouteville, Cardinal of Rouen, in the next installment. The magic number of votes is twelve.
Our landlord is hidden behind the vine in the front, and another neighbor is behind that pick-up truck. There are more outside the picture - it was quite a mass digging.
While taking the baths, he began his History of Bohemia, which he dedicated to Alfonso, king of Sicily and Aragon -- inauspiciously, as it turned out, for the king died before it was finished. He had fallen ill of a slow fever while Aeneas was at the baths and lingered forty days between hope of life and fear of death. Finally he paid his debt to nature, having designated as his heir his illegitimate son, Ferrante, whom Popes Nicholas and Eugenius had declared eligible to rule. The king died in sanctity, for he confessed his sins like a Christian and received the sacraments before he passed to the other life. He charged his son to give the Pope 60,000 gold ducats toward the crusade against the Turks and left large legacies to pious causes. He directed that his bones should be taken to Aragon. The carrying out of these instructions however was hindered by the outbreak of war; for although at Alfonso's death all the princes and states of his realm acknowledged Ferrante as their sovereign and swore allegiance to him, Pope Calixtus transferred the hatred he had felt for Alfonso during his life to his son and declared that the kingdom of Sicily had reverted to the Church of Rome. It was common talk that he intended to put his nephew, Borgia, on the throne. But what is more uncertain than the plans of men? While Calixtus was unduly elated at the death of his royal enemy and thought that now everything was going to be easy for him, he himself fell ill and being weakened by extreme old age died within forty days. Giovanni Caimo, the envoy of Francesco Sforza, duke of Milan, who was passing through Viterbo, went to see Aeneas there and in the course of conversation said he had been sent to Calixtus to tell him it was not acceptable to Francesco that Ferrante should be deposed from his father's throne; if the pope had any such intention, he should know that the duke of Milan would oppose him. Hearing this, Aeneas cried, "Your message will be the death of him!" And so it was, for when Calixtus heard that Francesco opposed him in the matter of the kingdom, he soon fell ill with the disease that killed him. His nephews buried him in the basilica of St. Peter in the chapel known as St. Mary of the Fevers, which was once a temple of Apollo. He died on August 6 in the year of our Savior 1458. As is the custom, the cardinals staged a magnificent funeral.Next: part 2, the conclave.