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THE SACK OF ROME

tain frivolity and became devoted to serious thought. One is re- minded of Heniy V of England's parting from Falstaff in Shake- speare's play when one reads that the Pope in the famous Bull of 1463 told his contemporaries who bade "the new Pius to remember the old ^neas" to "forget ^neas but cling to Pius." He now upheld the Papal system without compromise. Appealing to a Council, no matter in whose name, he termed heresy and lese majeste. The first and last care of his government was to serve the idea of a unified lead- ership of the Christian West and to defend European culture against the attacks of Islam. Summoning all the Christian princes to a Coun- cil in Mantua, he urged them in a brilliant sermon to take up the Cross. He stubbornly insisted that each country pay its church rev- enue, cut off moneys due to humanists and artists, and used the vast sums which accrued to him from the newly discovered mines near Tolfa to arm and equip an army against the Crescent. When vir- tually all the Princes failed him, the Pope himself took command. He was already a dying man when he stood on the cliff of Ancona waiting for his fleet; and with his death the whole enterprise failed.

Paul II (14641471) was no energetic furtherer of his predecessor's policy. This splendour-loving Venetian dwelt within narrower ho- rizons. He was a generous and in spite of his dignity a jovial friend of the Romans, built the Venetian Palace of San Marco for himself, collected masterpieces of plastic art, and also aided the first German printers in Rome. Yet he was decidedly a churchman and this brought him into sharp conflict with the humanists. He discon- tinued the college of the seventy abbreviators who earned their keep in the Papal Chancellery by copying extracts from letters of petition and drawing up suggestions for Curial letters. Likewise he abolished the learned guild of the Roman Academy, wherein the cult of the ancient gods had become more than just a romantic game in the garb of an heroic past. The proceedings of this liberal lodge of cultivated men harboured also the passions of revolutionary demagogues. The sus- picion of having conspired against Paul rested even on Platina, who was made to serve a sentence in a cell at San Angelo. After he had begged his way out in the most self-abasing manner, he became the Plutarch of Papal history. Though his work as a whole is fair, he took revenge on the Pope who had punished him by describing him


NEPOTISM