Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/255

This page needs to be proofread.


This belief in the great religious mission of Charles VIII he shared with others. The propaganda of the Anjous had aroused in many sec- tions of the people the hope that like a second Charlemagne the King would renew the Church of Italy and summon a Council to depose the unworthy Pope who was allied with the Turks, The Prior of San Marco could see no other help when he looked about him for some temporal power to ward off the destruction of Rome. Therefore he urged an alliance with France which was soon afterwards brought about by the Borgias themselves. Such a policy was, however, neces- sarily fatal to him as long as the Pope and his allies were pitted against France. Only Florence, under the spiritual compulsion of its prophet, clung to a union with the Valois monarch. But when Charles' cause was lost in Italy, the anger of the isolated city was directed at its spiritual leader. Alexander soon found friends enough on the Arno in order to bring about the fall of the "gossipy monk" whose peniten- tial preachments had long annoyed him. He summoned Savona- rola to Rome to give an account of himself, but the prophet did not go. He forbade him to preach; but Savonarola remained silent only a short while. He excommunicated him; but Savonarola paid no heed to this action, for the sentence seemed to him unjust and un- binding since the Pope was a simonist and an unbeliever meriting re- moval by a Council. Then Alexander threatened the city with the interdict, and the Florentines surrendered their prophet. They even tried him, though the Pope demanded that he be delivered unto him. Imprisoned, tortured, condemned to death, Savonarola remained what he had always been. On the 23d of May, 1498, he was hanged and burned. The monk entered the glory of martyrdom. A statute had destroyed the law, a letter had killed the spirit, and a criminal Pope had triumphed over a saint.

Italy could dispense with Cesare Borgia when Giuliano Rovcic called himself Julius II, in memory of Julius Cscsar (15031513). In youth he had been a Franciscan brother, had then become a bishop and a cardinal, and was the father of a daughter. Worldly to the core, heroic minded, a man of energy who with good reason was termed *'/ tembilc, this raw son of Genoa saved, as has often been said, the honour of the Papacy. He was beginning to grow old, but dur- ing the decade of his rule this titanic man proved himself the most