Sack of Rome (1527)

Sack of Rome (1527)

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{{refimprove|date=May 2011}} {{Campaignbox War of the League of Cognac}} {{Campaignbox Italian Wars}} The '''Sack of [[Rome]]''' on 6 May 1527 was a military event carried out by the mutinous troops of [[Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor]] in Rome, then part of the [[Papal States]]. It marked a crucial imperial victory in the conflict between Charles and the [[League of Cognac]] (1526–1529) — the alliance of [[Kingdom of France|France]], [[Duchy of Milan|Milan]], [[Republic of Venice|Venice]], [[Republic of Florence|Florence]] and the [[Papal States|Papacy]]. [[Pope Clement VII]] had given his support to the [[Kingdom of France]] in an attempt to alter the balance of power in the region, and free the Papacy from what many considered to be 'Imperial domination' by the Holy Roman Empire (and the [[Habsburg dynasty]]). The [[Imperial Army of the Holy Roman Empire|army of the Holy Roman Emperor]] defeated the French army in [[Italy]], but funds were not available to pay the soldiers. The 34,000 Imperial troops mutinied and forced their commander, [[Charles III, Duke of Bourbon]] and [[Constable of France]], to lead them towards Rome. Apart from some 6,000 Spaniards under the Duke, the army included some 14,000 [[Landsknecht]]s under [[Georg von Frundsberg]], some Italian infantry led by [[Fabrizio Maramaldo]], [[Sciarra Colonna]] and Luigi Gonzaga, and some cavalry under [[Ferdinando Gonzaga]] and [[Philibert of Châlon|Philibert]], [[Princes of Orange|Prince of Orange]]. Though [[Martin Luther]] himself was not in favor of it, some who considered themselves convinced followers of [[Lutheranism|Luther's Protestant movement]] viewed the Papal capital as a target for religious reasons, and shared with the soldiers a desire for the sacking and pillaging of a very rich city that appeared to be an easy target. Numerous bandits, along with the League's deserters, joined with the army during the march. The Duke left [[Arezzo]] on April 20, 1527, taking advantage of the chaos among the Venetians and their allies after a revolt which had broken out in [[Republic of Florence|Florence]] against the [[Medici]]. In this way, the largely undisciplined troops sacked [[Acquapendente]] and [[San Lorenzo alle Grotte]], and occupied [[Viterbo]] and [[Ronciglione]], reaching the walls of Rome on May 5. ==The Sack== [[Image:Sack of Rome 1527.jpeg|thumb|left|Sack of Rome. May 6, 1527. By [[Martin van Heemskerck]] (1527).]] The troops defending Rome were not at all numerous, consisting of 8,000 militiamen led by [[Renzo di Ceri]] including 2,000 Papal [[Swiss Guard#Pontifical_Swiss_Guard|Swiss Guard]] and 2,000 of Giovanni de' Medici's Bande Nere. The city's fortifications included the massive [[Aurelian Walls|walls]], and it possessed a good artillery force, which the Imperial army lacked. Duke Charles needed to conquer the city hastily, to avoid the risk of being trapped between the besieged city and the League's army. On May 6, the Imperial army attacked the walls at the [[Gianicolo]] and [[Vatican Hill]]s. Duke Charles was fatally wounded in the assault, allegedly shot by [[Benvenuto Cellini]]. The Duke was wearing his famous white cloak to mark him out to his troops, but it also had the unintended consequence of pointing him out as the leader to his enemies. The death of the last respected command authority among the Imperial army caused any restraint in the soldiers to disappear, and they easily captured the walls of Rome the same day. [[Philibert of Châlon]] took command of the armies, but he was not as popular or feared, leaving him with little authority. One of the [[Swiss Guard]]'s most notable hours occurred at this time. Almost the entire guard was massacred by Imperial troops on the steps of [[St Peter's Basilica]]. Of 189 guards on duty only 42 survived, but their bravery ensured that Pope Clement VII escaped to safety, down the ''[[Passetto di Borgo]]'', a [[secret passage|secret corridor]] which still links the [[Vatican City]] to [[Castel Sant'Angelo]]. After the brutal execution of some 1,000 defenders of the Papal capital and [[shrine]]s, the pillage began. Churches and monasteries, as well as the palaces of prelates and cardinals, were looted and destroyed. Even pro-Imperial cardinals had to pay to save their properties from the amok soldiers. On May 8, Cardinal [[Pompeo Colonna]], a personal enemy of Clement VII, entered the city. He was followed by peasants from his fiefs, who had come to avenge the sacks they had suffered by Papal armies. However, Colonna was touched by the pitiful conditions of the city and hosted in his palace a number of Roman citizens. After three days of ravages, Philibert ordered the sack to cease, but few obeyed. In the meantime, Clement remained a prisoner in Castel Sant'Angelo. [[Francesco Maria I della Rovere|Francesco Maria della Rovere]] and [[Michele Antonio of Saluzzo]] arrived with troops on June 1 in [[Monterosi]], north of the city. Their cautious behaviour prevented them from obtaining an easy victory against the now totally undisciplined Imperial troops. On June 6, Clement VII surrendered, and agreed to pay a ransom of 400,000 [[ducato (coin)|ducati]] in exchange for his life; conditions included the cession of Parma, Piacenza, Civitavecchia and Modena to the Holy Roman Empire (however, only the latter could be occupied in fact). At the same time [[Venetian Republic|Venice]] took advantage of his situation to capture [[Cervia]] and [[Ravenna]], while [[Sigismondo Malatesta]] returned in [[Rimini]]. ==Aftermath== Emperor [[Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor|Charles V]] was greatly embarrassed and powerless to stop his troops, but he was not displeased by the fact that they had struck decisively against Pope [[Clement VII]] and imprisoned him. In actuality, Charles was partially responsible for the sack of Rome, because he expressed his desire for a private audience with Pope [[Clement VII]] and his men took action into their own hands. Clement VII was to spend the rest of his life trying to steer clear of conflict with [[Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor|Charles V]], avoiding decisions that could displease him. Without any qualms and without conditions, Clement VII agreed to cede the worldly and political possessions of the [[archbishopric of Utrecht|bishopric of Utrecht]] to the Habsburgs. This marked the end of the Roman [[Renaissance]], damaged the papacy's prestige and freed [[Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor|Charles V]]'s hands to act against the [[Protestant Reformation|Reformation]] in [[Germany]] and against the rebellious German princes allied with Luther. Nevertheless, [[Martin Luther]] commented: "Christ reigns in such a way that the Emperor who persecutes Luther for the Pope is forced to destroy the Pope for Luther" (LW 49:169). In commemoration of the Sack and the Guard's bravery, recruits to the Swiss Guard are sworn in on 6 May every year. ==In fiction== * The sack is recounted in the final part of ''[[La Lozana Andaluza]]'', a Spanish novel by [[Francisco Delicado]] describing the adventures of an Andalusian prostitute in the corrupt city. * The sack is also described in the early part of ''Ines of My Soul'' (2006) a historical novel by [[Isabel Allende]], from the point of view of [[Pedro de Valdivia]], as a captain in the attacking army who tried to keep the troops from mutiny. (Spanish Original: ''Ines del Alma Mía'') * Finnish writer [[Mika Waltari]] included a chapter regarding the sack of Rome in his historical novel ''[[The Adventurer (novel)|The Adventurer]]'' (Finnish original: ''Mikael Karvajalka''). * It is also part of the novel ''De scharlaken stad'' by Dutch writer [[Hella S. Haasse]]. * These events form the background to chapter 42 of [[Stephen Baxter]]'s 2003 science fiction novel ''[[Coalescent]]''. * [[Sarah Dunant]]'s novel, titled ''[[In the Company of the Courtesan]]'', begins with the sack of Rome and a graphic depiction of rape and pillage that continued unabated for months on end. *'' [[Testaclese and ye Sack of Rome]]'', a comedy in one act performed by Sound & Fury (Richard Maritzer, founder and troupe leader), has played at various [[Renaissance fair]]s. *The 1527 Sack has an important role in the early episodes of comics series ''[[Dago (comics)|Dago]]''. *The Sack of Rome is discussed in [[Richard Powers]]'s novel Operation Wandering Soul. *[[Ferruccio Cerio]]'s ''The Barbarians'' (1953) starring [[Pierre Cressoy]] *[[Amin Maalouf]]'s 1986 novel, [[Leo Africanus (novel)|Leo Africanus]] * In his Prologue to ''Hecatommithi'' (1565), [[Giambattista Giraldi]] draws on the sack of Rome. *''[[Rinascimento privato]]'' by [[Maria Bellonci]] features the life of [[Isabella d'Este]] including witness to the sack of Rome. * [[Q (novel)|''Q'']] , a novel by [[ Luther Blissett]] that deals with the [[protestant reformation]]. * The 1527 Sack of Rome is discussed as an important event within "True Love" E06S01 of ''[[The Tudors]]'' TV series ==External links== {{commons|Category:Sack of Rome (1527)|Sack of Rome (1527)}} * [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4630898.stm Pope's guards celebrate 500 years], [[BBC News Online]]; dated and retrieved 22 January 2006 * [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4980362.stm Vatican's honour to Swiss Guards], [[BBC News Online]]; dated and retrieved 6 May 2006 {{coord missing|Italy}} {{DEFAULTSORT:Rome 1527}}