A Sudden Terror: The Plot to Murder the Pope in Renaissance by Anthony F. D'Elia

By Anthony F. D'Elia

In 1468, at the ultimate evening of Carnival in Rome, Pope Paul II sat enthroned above the boisterous crowd, while a scuffle stuck his eye. His guards had intercepted a mysterious stranger making an attempt urgently to exhibit a warning—conspirators have been mendacity in wait to slay the pontiff. Twenty humanist intellectuals have been speedy arrested, tortured at the rack, and imprisoned in separate cells within the damp dungeon of Castel Sant’Angelo.

Anthony D’Elia deals a compelling, superb tale that finds a Renaissance global that witnessed the rebirth of curiosity within the classics, a thriving homoerotic tradition, the conflict of Christian and pagan values, the competition among republicanism and a papal monarchy, and tensions setting apart Christian Europeans and Muslim Turks. utilizing newly found resources, he exhibits why the pope unique the humanists, who have been obvious as dangerously pagan of their Epicurean morals and their Platonic ideals in regards to the soul and insurrectionist of their help of a extra democratic Church. Their fascination with Sultan Mehmed II hooked up them to the Ottoman Turks, enemies of Christendom, and the affection of the classical international tied them to contemporary rebellious makes an attempt to exchange papal rule with a republic reminiscent of the fantastic days of Roman antiquity.

From the cosmetic-wearing, parrot-loving pontiff to the Turkish sultan, savage in warfare yet enthusiastic about Italian tradition, D’Elia brings to existence a Renaissance global filled with pageantry, mayhem, and conspiracy and provides a clean interpretation of humanism as a dynamic communal move.


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Extra resources for A Sudden Terror: The Plot to Murder the Pope in Renaissance Rome

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A zealous imitator of ancient vanitas, you bestow secular games and banquets on the Romans . . so that your pontificate will not fall silent after you. Pardon me, Paul, this is neither true praise nor viewed as a priest’s duty. It is vanity. ”30 Such criticism did not dampen the pope’s enthusiasm for extravagant display—indeed, if anything it prompted him to flaunt his tastes—but it surely contributed to Paul’s animosity toward the humanists. Near the end of his papacy, in March 1471, Paul staged a celebration that surpassed even his earlier extravaganzas, in honor of the arrival of the legendary and magnificent Duke Borso d’Este of Ferrara.

Only the Castel Sant’Angelo held out. There, the papal provost Baldassare Offida withstood all attacks and continuously fired cannons at the republicans, who had built two walls of defense. Offida went on the offensive and tricked the rebels: he had the guards inside the castle call out, “Long live the people and their officials,” open the gates, and invite the Romans to take control of the fortress. Once they had entered, however, the gates closed, and the guards captured eight leaders of the republic.

4 The Colonna were the most powerful family in Rome. They were moreover the mortal enemies of another powerful family, the Orsini. Rome was divided into Colonna and Orsini neighborhoods. The new pope’s family connections helped him get elected and assured a successful reassertion of papal power in Rome. Martin spent his pontificate renovating Rome and enriching the church coffers, but also his family and friends. Pandone dei Pandoni was an unlikely republican rebel. ”5 His long career consisted of an endless series of largely unsuccessful attempts to win patronage for his decidedly mediocre verse.

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