France's ally against Naples, he opened a route through Italy for Charles VIII, the French king whose diplomats had won him over to their side while he was still a cardinal. Negotiations between the Pope and Naples met with temporary success. Charles recognized the legitimacy of the Pope's election, the dubiousness of which had been a trump card in the hands of the Rovere, broke the Cardinal (Giuliano) and his party, and as a result induced Alexander to sever that tie with the Aragon prince of Naples which Cesare Borgia had just previously sealed by effecting the coronation of Alfonso II. There- with the French were free to attack Naples. When a league was formed to drive the conquering Charles out of the country, the Pope reversed his policy and joined it. He now also broke off his alliance with the house of Milan and brought about the divorce of his daughter Lucrezia, whom he had married at the age of thirteen to a Sforza. This year, 1497, in which the tragedy of Savonarola, the great casri- gator of Florence, neared its end and during which the Pope's son Juan was slain, possibly by Cesare, amidst a chaos of family scandals, was followed (1498) by a sharp change in the Borgia policy. Cesare himself now took control and proved firm, lucid and merciless. Every- one knows the unrelenting methods by means of which this ruthless man during a full five years carried out his will to power in a way that delighted Machiavelli. He dominated the Pope, his family, the Curia, the Sacred College, and the Roman nobility, and nowhere met resistance.
After the death of Charles VIII in 1498, Louis XII became King of France. In order to secure the Pope's assent to his divorce he offered him an alliance. Cesare accepted. He surrendered his spiritual ride, journeyed to France in order to induce Louis to take the field against Italy, and strengthened his position by marrying a French princess. The new allies moved on from victory to victory. Milan was oc- cupied, the seigniories of the Papal states and the Romagna were over- thrown, and all resistance in Rome was put down tyrannically during a speedy campaign in which the Pope himself took a part. Meanwhile Lucrezia conducted the business of the Curia. The power of the Colonna was broken, their fortresses were captured, and the heads of the family were slain. Suddenly Cesare appeared to be on the brink of danger his condottieri deserted him. But the horrible blood