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HUMANIST POPE 231

far deeper impression on Nicholas V than did a conspiracy, organized by Porcaro, a demagogue and a shadow of Rienzi, who paid for his Gesaristic dreams and his attempts on the lives of the Pope and the cardinals with death by hanging.

A troubled Conclave followed the death of Nicholas and chose as Pope a Spaniard who had proved his mettle as a diplomat. He took the name of Calixtus III (14551458). He was descended from the powerful and prominent family of the Borgia of Valencia, and had grown up hating Islam. The war against the Turks became his polit- ical program: he sent men and money to Hunyadi, Regent of Hun- gary; and among the men were the Cardinal Legate Carvajal, the Pope's countryman, and St. Juan Capistrano, a fiery preacher. A fleet was fitted out by the Holy See itself and placed under the leadership of the Cardinal. Hunyadi died victorious after the Battle of Belgrade, 1456, mourned by the Pope who then sent aid to Iscander Beg (Prince George of Albania) who almost single handed kept the field against the Turks. The princes into whose eyes the scimitar did not directly flash looked calmly on at a distance. The Germans muttered against the tithes that were levied for the wars against the Turks; and, their bishops, whom the Concordat of Vienna had not freed from the bur- den of Roman taxation, were lax preachers of the Crusade. For the sake of its eastern trade Venice sought to live on good terms with the conquerors of Byzantium. Only a few understood what had been lost when the ancient bridge between Orient and Occident collapsed, because the fall of the hated Greek Empire overshadowed all else in their minds.

The danger was grave when Cardinal yEneas Silvio Piccolomini re- ceived the tiara as the fitting conclusion of the colourful Odyssey of his life. This noble Siennese, who had known a childhood of poverty, called himself Pius II (1458-1464) , because "Pius" was the adjective coupled with -^Eneas in his beloved Virgil's epic. He was a broad- minded humanist who had manifested the brilliance and richness of a universal mind in writings and addresses. He was known as a charm- ingly libertine story-teller after the manner of Boccaccio, as a defender of the councilar idea, as secretary to an anti-Pope, as a geographer, as the historian of the Council of Basel, and as a diplomat in the Imperial chancellery. When he reached the age of fifty he stripped off a cer-


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