The following curiously unbalanced biographical sketch is from "The Lives and Times of the Popes" by Alexis-François Artaud de Montor, published in translation by The Catholic Publication Society of New York (10 vols., 1911). I present it as a sort of an appendix to my page on the Anisson monument at the church of S. Maria Maggiore in Rome.a
Alexander VII was born at Siena on the 13th of February, 1599, son of Flavius Chigi (who, by his mother, Agnes Bulgarini, was nephew of Paul V) and of Laura Marsigli, daughter of Antonio, lord of Collecchio.º The members of the Chigi family had for five centuries been counts of Ardengesca.
Fabio was held at the baptismal font by the Chevalier Francis Vanni, a very distinguished painter. In his infancy young Chigi had an attack of apoplexy, and his life was so despaired of that preparations for his funeral were actually commenced. Though he did not die, he remained very weak, and it was often necessary to give him strengthening medicines. His mother, Laura, herself taught him to read and write, as well as the first elements of grammar. He then studied the first sciences in his own city. For his masters in philosophy and in law he had Andrew Cardi, John Baptist Borghesi, and Celsus Cittadini, one of the most learned men of that time. When he was eleven years old the precocious boy composed a poem upon the battle of the Pygmies and the Cranes; and when only twelve he maintained philosophical theses in his parents' house; but his delicate health suspended these studies. He resumed, them, however, as soon as his health improved. At twenty years of age he publicly maintained philosophical theses more difficult than his earlier ones; at twenty-one theses of civil law; and twenty-seven he answered all theological questions whatever. He dedicated these last theses to Father Mutius Vitelleschi, general of the Jesuits.
All those cares and labors had a definite object. The young student desired to be favorably received when he should go to Rome, where his name already was honorably known. The great Augustine Chigi, under Pope Julius II, had filled the office of superintendent of the pontifical finances, and he became the most generous Maecenas of the artists who then adorned Rome, and especially of Raphael.
"Business frequently calling him to Rome," says Quatremère de Quincy, "Augustine at length made that city his residence, where he was considered the wealthiest private individual in Italy. The extent of his connections may be inferred from the protests and demands which he addressed to the court of France on the subject of several vessels it had seized from him when the war broke out between Julius II and Louis XII. No wealthy person ever made a better use of riches. His great wealth was derived, it was said, from the mines of salt and alum which belonged to the Holy See, and which were farmed out to him. He might have employed his vast means in ostentation and vain luxury, but his purer taste, better directed by a laudable ambition, inclined him to the more refined enjoyment that is yielded by the works of genius and by the friendship of the most celebrated artists. Those noble sentiments caused his name to be associated with theirs, and his memory to survive together with their masterpieces — benefits which mere opulence cannot secure for those who demand from the productions of mere luxury only the rarity of the material or the costliness of the workmanship. To Augustine Chigi, and to his affection for Raphael, we owe those fine paintings of The Prophets and The Sibyls in the Church of Saint Mary of Peace and the beautiful chapel of Saint Mary of the People, which he designed to be his burial-place."
"Augustine Chigi then desired thus to perpetuate, in a palace appropriate to his passion for the arts, alike his name and his renown which posterity has preserved to him as a man of taste."
"Having acquired a handsome and suitable site in the Trastevere quarter, he selected the celebrated Balthazar Peruzzi of Siena to erect upon that site a residence more remarkable for the elegance of its architecture than for its dimensions."
"Augustine Chigi proposed to himself to gather together in his house all that the genius of the arts could produce of excellence in every style. To that end he brought from Venice Sebastian, surnamed Del Piombo, who, renowned for his coloring, executed in that palace paintings, not equal indeed to Raphael, but of high merit. It seems to have been the design of Chigi to intrust solely to the latter the decoration of the whole exterior as well as all its embellishments: this seems established by the ornamental objects, whether finished or unfinished. On the ground floor, besides the loggia, otherwise called the vestibule, or portico of five arcades, which contain the fable of Psyche, that daughter of an unknown king, that part of the building also contained a gallery of the same length, arranged by the architect for the reception of a series of paintings in compartments. Only one of the paintings was executed, in which we admire the triumph of the celebrated Nereid immortalized by Raphael."
Fortune continued to smile upon Augustine. The relatives of Pope Julius II recognized him as belonging to the Rovereº family, and he consequently placed in his arms the oak of Rovere with the six hills of Chigi.
But all this prosperity seemed to terminate under the reign of Paul III. The Chigi family, surnamed at Rome the Magnificent, as Lorenzo de' Medici had been at Florence, was obliged to return to Siena. The beautiful villa on the Tiber then passed to the house of Farnese, who added it to their adjoining palace, the whole receiving the name Farnesina. The Chigi had to leave that delightful garden which had, at three banquets, been honored with the presence of Pope Leo X, accompanied by all the cardinals present in Rome. After so much magnificence, a first misfortune soon was followed by others. The family no longer possessed great wealth when Fabio was born; but the magnificence and liberality of Augustine were still remembered at Rome, and Fabio hoped to be honorably welcomed. Moreover, some of his relatives, in favor there, were prepared to patronize him.
When Fabio had obtained all the doctorates, he set out for the capital of the Catholic world. He there presented to Urban VIII a memorial, the only petition he in his whole life presented to the Holy See; and Urban appointed referendary of both signatures. After seven months' prelacy, he, for five years, held the office of vice-legate at Florence. As nuncio at Cologne and nuncio extraordinary at Münster, in 1648, Fabio Chigi took part in negotiating the treaty of Westphalia, and preserved to his death the pen with which he signed that treaty. On that occasion many presents were offered to Chigi. He refused them all, and even entreated the pope not to order him to accept them. On the 9th of February, 1652, he was named cardinal.
After the funeral of Innocent sixty-two electors went into conclaveº on the 18th of January, and four more joined it on the 5th of February.
At the outset there were four different factions. The first, andº the most considerable of them, was headed by Cardinal Barberini, consisting of a great many of the creations of Urban VIII.
The second, composed of the adherents of Spain, was ostensibly directed by Cardinal Charles de' Medici, uncle of the grand duke, dean of the Sacred College, and protector of Spain, but really directed by Cardinal John Charles, his nephew, a man of more ready intellect and well acquainted with political affairs.
The third consisted of friends of France, few in number, directed by Cardinal Rinaldo d'Este, brother of the Duke of Modena, and protector of the crown. In this faction was included Cardinal Antonio Barberini, who was generally opposed to the views of his elder brother, the head of the first faction.
The fourth and last faction consisted of cardinals created by Innocent.º Most of them were young, and all the more free to give the tiara because they had the least hope of obtaining it. These last were favorable to Fabio Chigi; and one of them, Cardinal Ottoboni, frankly and plainly proposed him for the suffrages of the cardinals. During some ineffectual ballots another party was formed of what is commonly called the flying squadron. The Duke of Terranova, ambassador from Spain, sided with these cardinals.
They declared that they had in view only the welfare of the Church, without any other thought and without any mental reservation; and that they were, in that sole view, ready to give aid and assent wherever they should in that view be needful. These cardinals formed a party of eleven, that afterwards was joined by two more. Meantime, some desire was felt in other quarters to put forward Cardinal Rapaccioli, who was not considered ineligible on account of a position he held. Every one knew that he was the son of a merchant and had bought the place of head of the pontifical treasury, and that, subsequently, his learning and his prudence had raised him to the purple. But he suffered severely from the stone, and it was evident that he would not be long-lived; besides which, as he was only forty-six years old, he was deemed too young, as there were so many old men who were worthy of the tiara. To these disqualifications was added the exclusion given by France.
The conclave had lasted two months. The electors again thought of Fabio Chigi; but he had had the exclusion of France, because, at Münster, he had freely spoken of Mazarin's little real inclination towards peace. Cardinal Sacchetti wrote a strong letter on the subject to Mazarin, who then retracted the exclusion. The party that had become generally favorable to Chigi became so much increased and strengthened then that the heads of all the factions agreed that on the following morning he should be unanimously elected.
After the ballot of the evening, which was vague and without enthusiasm, the two Medici, the two Barberini, and Cardinal d' Este repaired to the chamber of Cardinal Chigi with that intelligence. Without even returning thanks, he told them that he had many known faults, and also many which were not known; that he advised the cardinals to think further upon a matter of such importance, and to remember that he, Chigi, had ninety relations. Other cardinals arriving, he endeavored to reply rather in words of humility than in terms of courtesy or gratitude.
The morning of the 7th of April arrived. Chigi insisted, before going to the ballot, on saying Mass, as he did daily. On leaving his chamber he was met by Cardinal Homodei, his most affectionate friend, who said to him: "At length that day has come, so desired by me, and so happy for the church!" Chigi, without changing countenance, replied calmly, in these verses of Virgil:
Jamque dies, ni fallor, adest, quem semper acerbum,
Semper honoratum (sic di voluistis) habebo.
With the same gravity and the same modesty he entered the chapel of ballot. Cardinal Caraffa having died, there were only sixty-five electors. At first he had twenty-five votes, forty-three being the requisite number. At the accesso thirty-nine votes were added to the twenty-five. Chigi thus had sixty-four out of the sixty-five, his own being given in the ballot to Sacchetti, and in the accesso to Palotta.
Thus, at the end of eighty days, on the 7th of April, 1655, Cardinal Fabio Chigi, at the age of fifty-six, was elected pope. He then prayed for some time to decide, in his own mind, whether he should accept the heavy responsibility that was laid upon him. Then, remembering to have read in Saint Francis de Sales that "an ecclesiastic ought to ask for nothing and refuse nothing," he accepted the tiara with sign of deep sensibility. The pope gave as the reason for this acceptance the words of Saint Francis de Sales above. At the close of the conclave one of the cardinals laughingly said to him: "What a singular thing! The Spaniards disinterestedly wished you to be pope; the French wished it, though they had at first excluded you; the young men chose a man already aged, and the Barberini a man who was not their own creature!"
After his exaltation he found his chamber completely stripped, in accordance with an abuse then customary, and he was obliged to ask shelter from Cardinal Gabrielli, whose chamber was surrounded by solid walls; and, as it happens on great occasions, everything was in such confusion that when Chigi, overcome with fasting and excitement, begged for food, he could procure nothing better than one egg. He then gave audience to the personages who arrived to congratulate him. Cardinal Barberini and other cardinals advised him to take the name of Alexander, in honor of his fellow-citizen, the third pope of that name. On the 18th of April he was crowned by Cardinal Trivulci, first deacon, on the 9th of May he took possession of Saint John Lateran. That day, the 9th of May, was consecrated by the Church to Saint Gregory Nazianzus.
On the 14th of May Alexander published a universal jubilee, as had been done by Sixtus V, Gregory XV, Urban VIII and Innocent X.
The general subject of conversation in Italy was the Princess Christina Alexandra, the abdicated Queen of Sweden, who chose Rome for her residence. She was introduced to the presence of the pope by two cardinal-legates and four apostolic nuncios who had been sent by the pontiff to meet her. For the entrance of that princess the pontiff had the Flaminian gate (the Porto del Popolo) ornamented by Chevalier Bernini.b
The reception given to the queen was unusually magnificent. The pope received her with every sign of regard. She was to address His Holiness in a speech which she had previously prepared and committed to memory; but the majesty of the escort, and the imposing gravity of the pontiff, so greatly disconcerted the princess that she could not deliver her speech without embarrassment of both words and tones. The pope considerately interrupted her with praises, and commenced a kindly conversation with her, which restored the self-possession she had momentarily lost.
On the 23rd of December the queen made her solemn entry. At the villa of Pope Julius III, Her Majesty mounted a palfry, and, with the two legates on either side, arrived at the Flaminian gate, where the Sacred College, on horseback, wainted to escort her to the Vatican.
Two days afterwards she was conducted to the Vatican Basilica, where the pope gave her confirmation. It was then that she received from the pope her second name of Alexandra, the feminine form of his own.
On the following day she was invited to dine with the Holy Father. The upper table for the pope was somewhat raised above the lower one for his guest, according to custom, but the canopy was equally over both tables. Afterwards the pope, attended by his court and guards, paid an especial visit to the princess.
A vexatious difference had arisen between Pope Alexander and the French government. We have seen that the Archbishop of Paris, John Francis Paul de Gondi — known in history as Cardinal de Retz — had received the dignity of the purple. Cardinal Mazarin, prime minister to the queen regent, deeming Cardinal de Gondi hostile to his policy, ordered his arrest, and kept him in prison on a charge of felony.
The complaints and demands of Innocent X had been unavailing to obtain the liberty of Cardinal de Retz. An agent had been sent from France to explain to the pope the reasons for the conduct of the French government, but that agent had no proofs to support his accusations. Cardinal de Retz, weary of his imprisonment, sent in his resignation of the archbishopric of Paris, where Mazarin considered the promoter of dangerous disturbances.
Innocent would not accept the resignation of the archbishop,º which resignation De Retz, once at liberty, most probably would not have confirmed. Subsequently De Retz made his escape from prison, and his very first act was to revoke his renunciation, as being extorted under duress.
De Retz arrived in Rome previous to the assembling of the conclave, entered it with his colleagues, and was one of the most zealous supporters of Fabio.
After the conclave, accusations were published at Rome against that French cardinal. He was accused of being guilty of rebellion. Ministerial writings were presented to Alexander, but, as before, no proofs accompanied the accusations. Meantime De Gondi addressed threatening letters to the French clergy, and sent into his diocese vicars who were very disagreeable to the court. He also solicited the pallium, which the pope granted to him in private ceremonial. Thence arose fresh complaints against Alexander, as though he had designed to canonize an archbishop dangerous to the kingdom.
The pope then wrote to France, calling to mind that the king ought to have recognized the paternal affection of the Holy See in the silence that it had maintained during the long detention in prison of a cardinal, and the condemnation to which he had been subjected without any reference to a competent judge and without any valid proofs against the prisoner. "The pope," said that letter, "was under great obligation to the cardinal, who, at the cost of personal injuryº [in making his escape he had dislocated a shoulder], had delivered the Holy See from the necessity of employing spiritual arms against the violators of that holy dignity."
The pope could not refuse the pallium to the archbishop. On the present occasion neither the protector of the crown nor any other cardinal had raised any objection after the letter written from France in the name of the king. It was a mere accusation, and His Holiness could not make any use of it, lest he should make public that which the French government had privately communicated.
With respect to the vicars sent into France, and who were stated to be Jansenists, the pope confessed that they were not agreeable to himself, because, after the publication of the bull concerning those questions, they had not given in their adhesion to the condemnation of such doctrines. Moreover, the cardinal himself appeared to retain some remnant of affection, not perhaps for the opinion in itself, but for the party which maintained it. Still, this would not warrant the granting to a secular power permission to depose an archbishop or condemn him, in Rome, on account of merely extra-judicial suspicions. The pope would be glad if the cardinal would recall his vicars, but he had the right to name others agreeable to the king. Those sentiments of the pontiff, and others, replete with gravity, sound reason, and moderation, softened or at least stilled the government of France, which till then had seemed implacable.
Cardinal Mazarin retained all his hostility to De Retz, but was opposed to any judicial action, believing that the accusation of treason would of itself be sufficient to ruin the Archbishop of Paris. In that discussion, Mazarin, minister at Paris, did not abide by the maxims of a cardinal deliberating at Rome. Ought the rancors of the Louvre to prevail against the rights of Rome?
In this state of things, Alexander, unwilling that so important a diocese should be deprived of pastoral care, and foreseeing difficulties pregnant with new troubles, when naming a vicar apostolic, adroitly sent the brief to the nuncio Monsignor Piccolomini, Archbishop of Caesarea, with orders not to deliver it until he was certain of the assent of the assembly of the clergy.
The assembled clergy, learning this determination, exclaimed that such a delegation of power during the life of the archbishop offended the customs of the French Church. Mazarin, seeing this resistance, yielded. De Retz was thus duly recognized as archbishop. The minister then applied directly to Cardinal de Retz, begging him to renew a project of his suggestion, which the French government had refused. That project was that the king should name six from whom Cardinal de Retz should make his own selection of one to be his vicar. The consent should be subscribed by De Retz and sent to Paris, without any intimation to De Lionne, ambassador from France to Rome, a minister disliked by the pope from the character of his despatches and a strong suspicion of Jansenism.
A truce therefore existed between the Holy See and France; but embarrassments and differences arose between the former power and Spain. Innocent had sent Francis Gaetani, cousin of Cardinal Astalli, with the title of nuncio, into Spain, authorizing him to assume the name of Pamphili. But the pope, for several reasons, was not pleased with the services of Gaetani, and sent Monsignor Massimi, clerk of the chamber, a confidant of Donna Olympia and of Cardinal Barberini, to supersede him. At Barcelona, Massimi was met by an order to proceed no further.
Such was the situation of the affair when Alexander ascended the pontifical throne. This pope, jealous of the pontifical authority, disapproved the resistance of Gaetani, who would not leave Madrid, and the pontiff ordered all despatches to be addressed to Massimi, as though he were the recognized ordinary nuncio. At the same time Massimi received a letter from the pope to the king, announcing the pontiff's accession to the throne. That letter the king consented to receive, and welcomed Massimi with great honors, but without giving him the title of nuncio in ordinary.
The Spanish letter, in reply to the notification of the pope's accession, was couched in terms of respect, submissiveness, and more than usual devotion; but the treatment of Massimi, the representative of the Holy See, was thereby only rendered the more insulting. Alexander bitterly complained of this to the Spanish ambassador, and asked him how it was that in a letter from his king that sovereign went so far as to offer his life for the service of the pope, while the pope's nuncio was treated with so much severity, and denied the power to open the tribunal of the nunciature, a right of which no other nuncio had been deprived in Spain. Meantime, Gaetani, returning to Rome, in vain endeavored to obtain an audience of the Holy Father.
At this time the sceptre of Poland had passed toº John Casimir, of the house of Sweden, a prince of delicate constitution and weak understanding, which diminished the esteem that otherwise might have been felt for his person.
This prince had first desired to enter the order of the barefooted Carmelites, and subsequently into the Society of Jesus. He, however, again changed his mind and accepted a cardinal's hat; and, without the approbation of his brother Ladislas, had embraced the cause of the French faction, although he had zealously served the Spanish party. On returning to Poland before the death of his brother Ladislas, Casimir resigned the purple. Having become king by the death of Ladislas, he married that prince's widow, by whom he had no issue. Casimir, disliked by his subjects, found himself involved in frightful wars with the Muscovites in Lithuania, and with the Cossacks, who had become rebels, in Podolia. There were revolts against Casimir, and the pope endeavored to be a mediator between that prince andº his rebellious subjects.
The Catholic cantonsº suffered great injury from the Protestants, who were encouraged by Cromwell. The aid of Alexander was not withheld from the Catholic cantons that implored it. In a very obstinate battle the Protestants were defeated, and the Catholics thanked the pope for the aid he had given them.
On the 31st of March, 1656, the pope confirmed a decree of the congregation which approved the immemorial cultus to Blessed Ferdinand III, King of Castile and Leon, called the saint, who was born in 1189, and who died on the 29th of May, 1252. The grant of immemorial cultus is equivalent to a beatification without solemnities.
Alexander had sent for none of his relations, although a year on the throne. Many importuned him to send for his brother Mario Chigi, said to be very well qualified for the management of temporal affairs, having long held high administrative office under the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Alexander turned a deaf ear to all these entreaties, and it was not known that he even exchanged letters with any of his relations.
However, in the consistory of the 24th of April, 1656, he commenced a discourse to the cardinals, prefacing it by requiring from them the most profound secrecy as to what he was about to say. He then proceeded to propose that he should call his relations around him. He asked that each of the cardinals should privately give his opinion, in writing if he preferred that mode, and in but few words. The cardinals soon gave a written consent, with conditions attached in some cases. The pope then addressed a single brief to his brother and two nephews, inviting them to Rome. They were warned that their conduct there must be innocent and holy. The pope's secretary, Jacopo Nini, took the brief to Siena. The Chigi set out immediately and repaired to Castel Gandolfo, where the pope received them with much gravity, allowing them to remain kneeling during the whole of their first audience.
On his return to Rome, the pope ordered his nephews Flavio and Augustine to go and perform the exercises of Saint Ignatius at the novitiate of the Jesuits, where those exercises had been performed by Saint Charles Borromeo, also nephew to a pope. Flavio, destined to the ecclesiastical career, prepared himself to receive holy orders, and obtained the priesthood on the 3rd of June. Alexander had strongly recommended to his relatives that they should accept no presents. But as his brother Mario would be put to greater expense by residing at Rome than at Siena, he thought it right to assist him by making him general of the Holy Church and governor of the Castle of Sant' Angelo. Augustine was named general of the guards. The pope at the same time determined that they should lodge in the apostolic palace, so that they might be constantly under his eyes; and would not allow Flavio to inhabit the apartments usually appropriated to cardinal nephews.
At that time the pestilence appeared in the city of Naples, carrying off more than a thousand persons each day. Mario, who, under similar circumstances, had saved Siena from that scourge, was named general health commissioner, and, with in concert with some prelates, devised means to save Rome and the Papal States from a horrible evil already spreading beyond the vicinity of Naples.
But a fisherman carried the contagion to Nettuno, whence it speedily extended to Rome. The whole of the island of Saint Bartholomew was appropriated as an immense lazaretto. It was encircled by thick walls, and provisions were regularly supplied to the inhabitants, who were not allowed to communicate with the city. Mario continued his vigilant administration. Nor was Cardinal Barberini one of the least careful or the least watchful conservators of the public health; and sanitary regulations were published worthy to serve as models for all places visited by such a scourge. Such cares caused the pestilence to disappear. Alexander and his nephews received public testimonies of the satisfaction of the Romans.
Meantime Queen Christina learned that the Swedes had confiscated all her revenues, in spite of all precautions which, with the aid of able jurists, she had taken against receiving so gross an insult and so cruel an injury. Living in a state of dependence in a foreign land, the Swedes alleged as the reason for their conduct that, as the princess had become a Catholic, she ought to have mentioned that fact in the reports on the administration of her revenues. She resolved to visit some sovereigns to solicit the restitution of her rights, and, without alleging any reason, she asked the pope for the use of his galleys, with the avowed intention of disembarking at Marseilles. The pope did not approve of her request; he feared that the princess would abandon the Catholic religion, and he refused the galleys. The princess then explained herself more clearly, and the pope, thus appeased, consented to her journey.
During her stay at Rome, the princess, ill advised, had indulged in senseless expenses, and was now completely destitute of means. The Holy Father, learning that last misfortune, sent to her by a religious a purse full of gold medals, struck at the commencement of the second year of his pontificate, together with a sum of ten thousand crowns, and an apology for not sending more.
The queen knew how to appreciate the delicacy of that present; for the gift of the medals would alone be publicly known, and the accompanying money would never be thought of.º The princess departed, arrived at Marseilles, and from that city addressed a letter to the pope, expressing the utmost veneration, and promising a speedy return to Rome.
The Venetians had gained over the Turks one of those doubly fatal victories which at once warn the vanquished of his danger, and subsequently entail upon the victorº the most unexpected evils. The republic naturally implored the aid of the pope. The Turk had seen his fleet beaten under the very guns of the Dardanelles, and he meditatedº a speedy vengeance. The pope addressed entreaties to all the Christian princes, but especially to the King of France, for aid to the Venetians.
But in France the pope's nuncio Monsignor Piccolomini found Mazarin at the head of affairs. That all-powerful regulator of the cabinet of France thought the pope ill disposed towards that kingdom, and especially towards its minister. It was especially this affront that Mazarin chose to repel. He constantly felt that Cardinal de Retz, remaining Archbishop of Paris, would succeed in supplanting him, already called "the foreigner," and in depriving him sooner or later of all his power. The pope incessantly endeavored to dispel these suspicions, and, on the other hand, labored like a good pontiff to restore peace between France and Spain. While he gave his attention to such important labors, the Jansenists resisted the censure of Innocent X, maintaining that the Church had in fact been mistaken when imagining that the five known propositions were found in the book of Jansenius.
In September, 1656, the general assembly of the clergy of France declared as a counterblast that "the Church judges questions of fact, inseparable from matters of faith, with the same infallibility which belongs to her when she judges of the faith itself."
At this time Alexander, who in the reign of Innocent X had been cardinal reporter of the whole matter when that pope condemned the five propositions of Jansenius, and who had an accurate knowledge of all the projects of the sectarians and of all that had then been said and done, selected a new congregation, heard its opinion and its desires, and on the 16th of October, by a dogmatic bull which was received by the whole Church, declared that the five propositions that had been condemned by Innocent were really in the book of Jansenius, and that he, Pope Alexander VII, condemned them anew.
The assembly of the clergy received the pontifical bull which the nuncio presented to that body on the 14th of March, 1657; and in February, 1661, the assembly drew up a formula of faith which, for the future, was to be signed by all regulars of both sexes, and by all the secular ecclesiastics, such as doctors, regents, etc. That deliberation was authorized by a sentence of the king's council on the 13th of April in the same year. On the 2nd of May the Sorbonne orderedº all its members to sign the formula, under pain of a deprivation of the doctorate in case of refusal.
In spite of all these precautionary measures, the dissidents would not sign. Subsequently the king, on the 10th of April, 1664, registered a declaration by which he absolutely commanded that signature; and this was the first declaration of the Most Christian Kings presented to the Parliament in support of the decision of a dogmatic bull of the Church of which they had declared themselves the eldest sons.
Alexander, in order to restrain those disobedient Christians, at the entreaty of some French bishops, and on the invitation of the king himself, published, on the 16th of February, 1665, a bull strictly commanding signature to the formula, which was in the following terms: "I submit myself to the apostolical constitution of Innocent X, of the 31st of May, 1653, and to the constitution of Alexander VII, of the 16th of October, 1656, both sovereign pontiffs; and in the sincerity of my heart I reject and condemn the five propositions extracted from the book of Cornelius Jansenius, entitled Augustinus, and in the sense understood and intended by the same author, as the Apostolic See has condemned them by the said constitutions; and this I swear. So God and God's holy Gospels aid me."
The king immediately published a declaration, as forcible as that of the preceding year, and went in person to have it registered by the Parliament, commanding all prelates in his kingdom to sign the pope's formula; and the king at the same time declared that if any bishop for three months should neglect or refuse his signature to it, he should be proceeded against according to the holy canons.
Notwithstanding these orders and declarations, four bishops — Nicholas Pavillon, of Alet; Nicholas Chouart de Bujenval, Bishop of Beauvais; Francis Gaulet, Bishop of Pamiers; and Henry Arnauld, Bishop of Angers — would not obey. On the contrary, by their pastoral letters they protested and declared that, as to the matter of Jansenius, there was due to the Church only a deferential obedience, consisting in the observance of a respectful silence. The king suppressed those pastorals on the 10th of July, 1665; and the pope, by a decree of the Congregation of the Index, condemned them on the 18th of February, 1667. SubsequentIy the pope, at the request of the king, ordered that nine bishopsº should take proceedings against the four refractory bishops; but death prevented him from proceeding in this very delicate business.
At the same period the Holy Father also condemned, on the 24th of September, 1663, twenty-eight other propositions taken from some authors on moral theology. Subsequently, on the 18th of March, 1666, Alexander, by the same censure, condemned seventeen other propositions on the same subject, and thus restored the pure discipline that several writers had either willfully or mistakenly endeavored to corrupt.
In reward of that pontifical zeal, Alexander had the happiness to receive into the Catholic communion Isaac La Peyrère, a Calvinist, and author of a work in which he maintained that Moses gives an account of the origin of Jewish people, and not of that of the human race; and that the earth was inhabited long before Adam, who was the progenitor only of the Israelites. The Parliament of Paris condemned that work to be burned. La Peyrère, having gone to Rome, presented his work to Alexander VII, and with humble submission asked pardon for the errors which he had committed. The pope then offered him some positions, which he respectfully refused.
The Jesuits still remained exiled from Venice, because they had observed the interdict pronounced by Paul V, as related in the life of that pope.
Alexander professed great esteem for them, and endeavored to restore them to their former position, as had been earnestly attempted by Pope Gregory XV, his nephew the Cardinal Ludovisi, and the King of France, Louis XIII, who in that followed the example of his father, Henry IV. By a brief as affecting as complimentary, the pope begged the Venetian senate to restore to the disciples of Loyola the possession of their former houses. The senate complied with that request, and the pope was thereby the more moved to recommend to the Catholic princes the interests of the republic, continually threatened by the Turks. There was on that subject an exhortation especially addressed by the pope to the Roman princes who had received favors from the popes their relatives, in the form of nomination to some other office in the Church. Those worthy Romans, the Prince of Sulmona, the Prince of Piombino, the Prince of Palestrina, and Cardinal Barberini, set a noble example. They fitted out vessels at Venice, and showed themselves zealous defenders of the Catholic interests.
The Sacred College, also, in the moment of peril, was invited to give to the Venetians testimonies of affection and of sympathy. Mazarin alone sent them a hundred thousand crowns. It was easy for that powerful minister to contribute such a sum, but he was outdone in generosity by another Cardinal, of no great wealth. Cardinal Nicholas, of the family of the counts of Guidobagno, sold his furniture, his palace, and the villas that he possessed in the territory of Albano, and thus did in his lifetime all that could be done by the executor to a will, ordering everything to be turned into money. When he had sold all, he realized thirty-eight thousand crowns, the whole of which he immediately sent to Venice, not even retaining anything for his own subsistence.
This cardinal had previously been general of the troops of the Church, and had excited admiration by his magnanimity on all occasions where he had to care for the well-being of his soldiers. He also, with a rare benevolence, cared for the wants of prisoners whom the fortune of war threw into his hands.
Having become an ecclesiastic and a cardinal, he crowned an admirable life by the act just mentioned, which well deserves a place in history. And how many other generous acts did that one generous act call forth! How gladly did those Romans who remained rich rival each other in endeavoring to assist, in their turn, a cardinal whom such a noble cause had reduced to absolute penury!
We have now to contemplate Alexander in connection with his internal government of Rome. From Sicily there had been imported into Rome certain secrets in the art of poisoning, which were hawked about by wicked women. The effect of the poison was so secret and so terrible that it was impossible to be on one's guard against it. It both looked and tasted like pure water, and it killed after an illness of a few days, without any of the symptoms of ordinary disease. The detestable women who vended that deadly poison professed to do so from a feeling of charity towards wives who complained of their husbands. "This," said they, "will deliver you from the intolerable tyranny of your husbands." Other persons were also guilty of the same murderous crime to rid themselves of their enemies; and they did so feeling secure from all danger of discovery. Rome thus was ravaged by another kind of pestilence, the cause of which was as yet hidden from all eyes but those of the criminals. The wretch who directed those frightful women was a Sicilian named Girolama. Hypocritical and cunning, she had succeeded in obtaining the patronage of great personages. Though sometimes called before the supreme authority, Girolama had always found means to exculpate herself.
Meantime the atrocious misdeeds of that silent butchery had strongly excited the attention of the government. At length a woman discontented with her husband had bought a phial of the terrible water, and the husband soon after died. Then the woman told all the particulars of what she had done, and thus unfolded the frightful plot that had already destroyed so many innocent victims. The source of the evil being thus known, Girolama and her accomplices were arrested. The subordinate wretches confessed their guilt, but Girolama persistently refused to do so. Her accomplices, being handed over to the officers of justice, were promptly executed. On that occasion it was that Alexander published the still existing edicts which adjudge the most terrible penalties to all who make, sell, or keep poisons.
The imperial throne had been vacant since the death of the Emperor Ferdinand III, in 1657. Alexander ordered his nuncio in Germany to see to it that the successor of Ferdinand should be Leopold, King of Bohemia and Hungary, eldest son of the last emperor. Intrigues were on foot to place the crown on another head; but Leopold was elected in 1658, and he hastened to thank the pope for the effectual cares he had bestowed upon the insuring of that election, thus securing the satisfaction of the legitimate desires of Leopold.
Saint Pius V had constituted a new college of penitentiaries in the Basilica of the Vatican. The previous college had been composed of both regular and secular members, and it was impracticable for them all to live under the same discipline, because they were all subject to various laws and customs.
Then Saint Pius V gave the office of penitentiaries to the Jesuits exclusively, being rightly convinced that, as they were subject to a uniform rule, they would compose that college in a perfect agreement of spirit and intention.
But, as Saint Pius had not published the bull, Alexander confirmed it. He gave directions for everything concerning the habitation, the number, the government, the importance, and the privileges of the penitentiaries. At that time they inhabited the former college situated near the Vatican Basilica, in the place where the fountain of the square is, on the left sideº opposite to the basilica. The pope thought of having the buildings erected which were later seen towards the colonnade; he therefore had the college pulled down, and removed the residence of the penitentiaries to the square of the church called Coxa Cavalla.c
On the 9th of March, 1661, Cardinal Julius Mazarin died, after much suffering, and before he had time to enjoy the glory of the Peace of the Pyrenees.
Rome had reason to complain of some of the stipulations of that treaty relative to the duchy of Castro. The pope even, instead of restoring that duchy to the Duke of Parma, declared that it remained incorporated with the possessions of the Church, and was, consequently, subject to the action of the bulls which forbade the alienation of the property of the apostolic chamber.
Many authors have traced the portrait of Cardinal Mazarin. The President Hénault speaks of him thus:
"This minister was as gentle in manner as Cardinal de Richelieu was violent. One of the greatest talents of Mazarin was his knowledge of mankind. The characteristic of his policy consisted rather in finesse and patience than strength. He thought that force should only be employed when other means were lacking, and his intellect supplied him with courage suitable to the circumstances — bold at Casale, tranquil though not inactive in his retirement at Cologne, enterprising when it was necessary to arrest the princes, but insensible to the satires and jokes of the Fronde, despising the bravados of the coadjutor, and listening to the murmurs as one hears from the shore the voices of the ocean waves. There was something greater in the character of Richelieu, something loftier and less concerted; and in Mazarin more address, more moderation, and less error. The one was hated, the other satirized; but both alike were masters of the State.
"Armand and Julius both amassed money; but Armand cared for money only as an instrument of power for himself and of utility to the country. He had gained openly, and by the highest posts and the richest benefices had accumulated the income of a king, which he dispensed in kingly fashion. Mazarin, on the contrary, loved gold for its own sake, with that foresight which smacks somewhat of the financier, though mingled, in his case, with some elevation of soul. From year to year he heaped up miserly treasure. Nevertheless, he sometimes made a noble use of it. He ordered the foundation of the College of the Four Nations, devoted to the gratuitous education of sixty noble youths or citizens' sons of the four provinces united to France by the treaties of Westphalia and the Pyrenees–Artois, Roussillon, Alsatia, and the district of Pignerol. In addition, Mazarin bequeathed his library to that college, on condition that all literary men should have access to it. Not content with that act of generosity, he gave to the crown, to the two queens, and to the king's brother, diamonds and valuable objects of art. Nor did he forget the city of Rome, to which he owed so many obligations. Rome had some reason to reproach Cardinal Mazarin. He knew all the secrets of government, of administration, of all those political mysteries, incessantly tending, however, towards peace, which were in the possession of Rome, and which, under the reign of nepotism, she was obliged to confide to men who were at once without the pontifical power and without the virtues and the loftiness of soul that the pontifical power impresses upon the holy intentions of the aged pontiffs."
We have now arrived at the period of the sad quarrels about the franchises or privileges claimed by some of the ambassadors.
The sbirri, or police, endeavored to arrest for a debt of ten crowns an artisan who resided in the palace of Cardinal d'Este, protector of the crown of France. The cardinal's servants prevented the arrest. In the evening the barigel, or chief of the sbirri, arrived with a stronger guard, but was also forced to retire. Then Don Marius Chigi ordered the Corsican guard to assist the police, and arrest not only the debtor, but also the cardinal's servants who had opposed his arrest. The cardinal's household, indignant, took up arms and were powerfully aided by other ambassadors' servants, and by Romans who were attached to France. The order of Marius was not then executed, but Rome was full of armed men. Barricades were thrown up and troops posted at important points. Meanwhile the numbers of the self-appointed defenders of the cardinal increased. Men spoke loudly of those franchises respected from time immemorial by successive pontiffs. A serious convulsion threatened. When the pope was aware of the importance of the affair, he requested the diplomatic body to quiet men's minds. Rome then recovered its former tranquillity, but new embarrassments resulted, to the great annoyance of the pope, as they tended to create a breach between Rome and France.
Alexander meanwhile devoted himself to his duties as supreme pastor and universal judge of the Church. By his bull of December 1, 1661, drawn up by his own hand, and kept for several days under the consecrated stone of the domestic chapel while he celebrated Mass, he renewed the decrees of his predecessors, particularly of Sixtus IV, Gregory XV, and Saint Pius V, in favor of the opinion which affirms that the soul of the Blessed Virgin, at its creation and its union with the body, was filled with the Holy Ghost and freed from original sin. At the request of the king and bishops of Spain, Alexander by another bull, of December 1, 1661, renewed these decrees. Philip IV ordered the Bishop of Piacenza, his ambassador at Rome, to return his warm thanks to the Holy Father for his decrees in honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin.
The best understanding at this time prevailed between France and Rome, but the insult offered in 1662 to the Duke de Créquy, an avowed enemy of the clergy, and a man by no means conciliatory, brought on troubles which attracted the attention of all Christendom.
Since the resistance of Cardinal d'Este, complaining of the violation of the franchises of his palace, an ill feeling had prevailed between the domestics of ambassadors and the police.
The servants of the Duke de Créquy were occasionally guilty of acts of insolence which he neglected to repress.
In the month of August three soldiers on patrol entered a shop where a French fencing-master and some of his comrades were seated. Without even the shadow of an excuse, for the place in which they were seated was certainly no privileged one, these men disarmed the soldiers and expelled them with insulting language.
The governor of Rome, after making formal inquiry into that affair, condemned to exile, with the sentence of death in case of return to Rome, the insolent fellow who had struck the soldiers and led the attack upon them; and Frenchmen who had come to Rome with no good intentions showed a determination to take vengeance.
On the twentieth day of this same month the ambassadors' servants sought a pretext for quarrelling with the Corsican soldiers of the pope's guard.
Those Corsicans were exceedingly courageous men and strongly inclined to make their uniform, their rights, and their orders respected. The Corsicans disarmed by the Duke de Créquy's people threw off all subordination to their own commander, and with drums beating advanced to revenge the insult that had been offered to them. They killed several Frenchmen, and pursuing others even to the Farnese Palace, then occupied by the French ambassador discharged firearms at the very windows. All subordination was now cast aside by those soldiers, who would have listened to reason if the government had offered timely interference, while the soldiers had assembled only in so small a number that they could have been effectually and promptly dealt with. But at that juncture no one did his duty. On the night between the 21st and the 22nd of the same month, the Corsicans met the carriage of the ambassadress, fired at it, cruelly killed one of the pages of the duchess, and compelled that lady to take refuge in the palace of Cardinal d'Este.
The affair now became serious and threatening. The ambassador sent to Paris an account of all that had taken place, expressed offence at a visit of apology paid to him by the pontiff's nephew, Cardinal Chigi, and retired into Tuscany, together with all the cardinals attached to the French crown. From Florence the duke returned to France; and Louis immediately ordered the nuncio, Piccolomini, to be taken under an escort of fifty soldiers from Paris to the frontiers of Savoy. The king at the same time demanded proper satisfaction, seized upon Avignon, and put his troops in motion to intimidate the pope. The whole year 1663 was consumed in negotiations. The pope was ready to take all measures calculated to restore peace, and to do on the instant everything that was just and proper. Accordingly, he frequently sent to the Most Christian King and to the principal personages of the French court briefs that most touchingly expressed his regrets; but still without success. Then he convoked a consistory in which he exposed the severity of the King of France and asked the advice of the cardinals.
Some were of opinion that the dignity of the Roman court should be supported, even if it were necessary to resort to arms. The pope had recourse to the mediation of the King of Spain, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the republic of Venice, and other Italian powers, entreating them to cause a treaty to be concluded, establishing the innocence of the pontiff, who ought not to be blamed because some members of his government had not been sufficiently watchful over the public tranquility.
Alexander at length deemed it proper to send into France Caesar Rasponi, an able and prudent prelate. But that envoy was not received into the kingdom. However, he succeeded in getting an interview with the Duke de Créquy at Pont de Beauvoisin, on the French frontier. There, in virtue of the mediation of the ambassadors of Spain and Venice, the principal points were settled that were needed for the re-establishment of concord. But France still more prominently brought forward pretensions offensive to the pope; the meeting of the ambassadors was broken up, and it was not until the following year that the King of France returned to more moderate sentiments.
To settle this quarrel, in which it is only justice to say that neither the pope himself nor the Chigi family could at all fairly be blamed — the Corsicans having, at their own impulse, taken up arms and caused all the trouble — it was resolved, at some conferences held at Pisa between Caesar Rasponi and Bourlemont, auditor of the Rota and absolute plenipotentiary of the Most Christian King, that the pope should send into France his nephew, Cardinal Chigi, in quality of legate a latere. His errand was to testify that neither the pope nor any of his family had had any part in the insult offered to France. He was also charged to arrange that Don Mario Chigi, nephew of the pope, should leave Rome, and should not return thither until the king gave audience to the legate; that Cardinal Imperiali, then governor of the city, should go to France to justify himself; that Don Antonio Chigi, another nephew of the pontiff, should present himself to the Duke de Créquy when that ambassador returned to Rome, and that the former should assure the latter of the pope's regret at the affront offered to the ambassador's wife; that Corsicans should no more be admitted into the service of the States of the Church; and, finally, that a pyramid should be erected at Rome, bearing an inscription which should describe both the offence and the punishment of the Corsicans. All those conditions faithfully fulfilled, a good understanding was thus restored between Rome and the crown of France, the latter restoring Avignon to the former.
Under the following pontificate the French government, regretting the intemperate length to which it had gone in humbling the sovereign pontiff for a matter to which the pope was not a party, asked, for its own credit, that the pyramid should be removed. The pontiff, further, named a nuncio extraordinary to France, Monsignor Charles Robert de Vettori, who had, as secretary, accompanied into France the cardinal-legate Fabio Chigi. This nuncio was despatched to present the consecrated clothes intended for the dauphin, the king's son.
Alexander, on the 19th of April, 1665, solemnly canonized Saint Francis de Sales, born on the 27th of August, 1567, of one of the noblest families in Savoy.
By a brief of the 6th of July, 1648, Innocent X had founded at Ravenna a college for the Maronites; it was now suppressed, and its possessions granted to the Propaganda in order that the latter might receive a greater number of pupils of that nation.
As the vast erudition of Alexander had in his youth procured him the favor of Urban VIII, who was a great lover of letters and patron of those who cultivated them, Alexander in like manner constantly promoted the sciences and their distinguished professors.
The building of the University of Rome, known as the Sapienza, had been commenced by Eugene IV, and resumed by Leo X. Alexander modernized it and finished the chapel of Saint Yves, founded by Innocent X. He also gave the university a library of six thousand volumes, collected by Father Constantine Gaetani, and fourteen thousand other books, left by Francis Maria II, Duke of Urbino. Alexander obtained from the community of Urbino the large collection of manuscripts bequeathed by the duke to the city for public use; this collection Alexander did not give to the university, but placed in the Vatican Library.
We must enter into some detail as to the sumptuous buildings of every kind which Rome owed to Alexander VII. In the foremost rank we place the imposing portico of the Vatican Square. It consists of three hundred and twenty-four columns of extraordinary dimensions, and adorned by a hundred and thirty-six fine statues of the saints and of founders of religious orders and congregations. All those were executed after designs of John Laurence Bernini. The designs were preserved in the library of Prince Augustine Chigi.
Alexander rebuilt, with increased magnificence, the Scala Regia, which, from the portico of Saint Peter's, leads to the royal hall of the palace. In the Basilica Vaticana itself he had the chair of Saint Peter placed, supported by four doctors of the Greek and Latin churches — Saint Athanasius and Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Ambrose and Saint Augustine.
That chair, which had been used by Saint Peter, and had been the gift to him of the Senator Pudens, in whose palace Saint Peter lodged at Rome, was venerated in many parts of the Church, and was presented to the people at the grate of the choir on Saint Peter's day, the 18th of January, 1666. The pontiffs had been accustomed to sit in it at the ceremony of their enthronization up to the time of Clement V, who was crowned at Lyons. When the popes returned to Rome after their sojourn at Avignon, they no longer used it, but contented themselves with exposing it to the veneration of the people.
This pope also erected the mint, close to the garden of the Vatican. For the greater convenience of the pontifical service, Alexander erected a long extension of the Quirinal towards the Porta Pia.
He also ordered paintings for the long gallery of the palace, used as a promenade by the pontiffs, imprisoned thereº by their sovereignty.
The supervision of those paintings was intrusted to the celebrated Pietro da Cortona. The pope also embellished the Strada del Corso, where, at the corner of the street, that pope's armorial bearings are still to be seen, as one goes from the Venetian square to Saint Romualdo. Saint John Lateran was ornamented with bronze decorations by the same pope; the gallery especially was perfected in a style which is admired to this day.
In that gallery, as Benedict Millini states, there are mosaic representations of the Saviour, appearing to the Roman people under Constantine the Great, and the apostles; and the figures, in miniature, of Nicholas IV, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Saint Anthony of Padua. Boniface VIII disapproved of this close proximity of modern saints to the apostles, and he ordered that, at least, the figure of Saint Anthony should be removed and replaced by that of Saint Gregory the Great.
A mason got on the scaffold where the workmen were engaged in executing the orders of the pope, but at the first blow of his pickax upon the hood of the saint, such strength of resistance seemed to proceed from the image that both the mason and his fellow-workmen fell terrified on the scaffold. The pope, informed of that occurrence, ordered the work to be suspended, and the image remained, marked by the blow of the pickax, until the reign of Alexander VII, who ordered its restoration, as may be seen in the new mosaic, differing in design from the original.
The palace of Castel Gandolfo was enlarged. A church was built at Ariccia, a fief of the Chigi family. Civita Vecchia was provided with an arsenal, and a double mole protected the ships within against the storms that are so common in that part of the Mediterranean. In front of the rotunda of the Pantheon, the ground was levelled, and the front of that noble work of the Romans could be more easily viewed, the columns being freed from the earth in which they had long been buried.
An antique obelisk, on a marble elephant, was erected in 1667, in front of the Minerva. The Church of Saint Mary of the People and several others attest the zeal and the liberality of Alexander VII. The cathedral of Siena, the native placeº of the Chigi, owes part of its magnificence to Alexander. Addison, in his Travels, says that that cathedral and its dependencies were, after Saint Peter's, the most magnificent structures he saw in Italy.
After another pestilence, in which the zealous cares of Alexander were as constant as under the former scourge, the senate, notwithstanding the objection of the pontiff, erected a bronze statue to him in the Capitol.
About the middle of 1667, Alexander, who was afflicted with the stone, began to suffer under the most severe agonies. He had always suffered with an incredible patience, but the spasms now became so violent that all hope of the recovery of his health was abandoned.
Alexander now seriously thought of death. He summoned the cardinals, and showed them a cypress coffin prepared when he became pontiff, and addressed them in a Latin discourse explanatory of his whole pontifical conduct. "We never aspired to the tiara," he exclaimed, "nor took any steps to reach it. We have employed the moneys of the apostolical chamber solely in the service of the Catholic religion, and the embellishment of Rome and the building of churches. We were a whole year pontiff before we summoned any relative of ours to Rome, and we only at length did so because the Sacred College vanquished our unwillingness. We exhort you to elect a successor qualified to repair any errors we have committed in our pontificate."
Soon afterwards, weakened by persistent fever, he had the confession of faith read according to custom, gave his papal benediction to the cardinals who were present, and died on the 22nd of May, 1667, at the age of sixty-eight years, having governed the Church twelve years, one month, and fifteen days.
He was buried at the Vatican, in a tomb which was the highly esteemed work of Bernini, towards the close of his career. Among the figures that adorn this monument was naked Truth; but Innocent XI ordered Bernini to cover it with a drapery of metal colored white.
To an admirable eloquence, gravely and majestically pronounced, Alexander added a graceful Sienese accent, of which the most painful infirmities never deprived him. People were never weary of listening to him; his words and the expression which accompanied them, the harmony and purity of his beautiful Latin or Italian phrases, delighted not only foreigners but even the Romans themselves.
During the period of the disputes with France, one of Alexander's chamberlains said to a Frenchman: "If the pope could be his own nuncio to Paris and speak for a while with the king, the monarch would forget all quarrels; but, also, the king would be very likely to keep the pope with him, to our great grief and loss."
In private life Alexander was cheerful, full of anecdote as Pius VII; he liked his company to be gay in reason, and to seem to enjoy his intercourse. His company habitually consisted of Allacci, Herbstenius, the Jesuit Pallavicini, Bosca and Roncati of the Cistercian order, Rondinini, secretary of the briefs to princes, and Nerli, Archbishop of Florence. And when the conversation ceased to be familiar, he would quietly speak upon literature, ecclesiastical history — so well understood at Rome — and upon the sacred sciences.
Modest, he always spoke of himself with candor. All the virtues and talents of Alexander were not constantly recognized by the Romans, who reproached him with nepotism; yet they had themselves tormented him into sending for his nephews.
In 1656 there was published at the Louvre a folio volume of poems written by Alexander in his youth; they are entitled "Philomathi Musae Juveniles." He composed them with much ardor while he was a member of an academy at Siena.
A worthy great-nephew of Augustine Chigi, Alexander VII, like his ancestor, loved the arts, patronized the place of his birth, which cultivated the arts, and was one of the greatest benefactors of Siena.
a My source for the text was a webpage, no longer online, once at St. Michael's Call. That webpage was not well proofread, and I've made a number of corrections; but not having seen the original printed text, I can't vouch for the accuracy of all the proper names and the dates. I also modernized one or two spellings.
c Coxa Cavalla is a garble — whose, I could not say — for S. Giacomo Scossacavallo; the church is no longer extant.
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