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The return of the Sienese exiles, 1530-1531

Christine Shaw
p. 13-30

Abstracts

The Sienese exiles driven from their city as the losers in bitter struggles between rival political factions in the 1520s, and claiming to be the nobility of Siena persecuted by a popular regime, succeeded in obtaining the support of Charles V, who ordered the commander of his army in Italy to help them return home. The arguments advanced by the exiles and by the Sienese regime that resisted their return, and by the agents of Charles V in their efforts to negotiate the reinstatement of the exiles or to justify the use of force when negotiations failed, raised questions of justice and equality in government, of property rights (determination not to restore the exiles’ confiscated property was one of the strongest motives behind the regime’s refusal to accept them back), and of the rights and powers of the emperor in intervening in and imposing reform on the government of the Sienese republic. For the Imperial agents, the restoration of the exiles became an excuse to take and hold a strategically useful city by force, but they failed to convince the emperor that this was justifiable or expedient.

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  • 1  Simancas, Archivo General (henceforth AGS), Estado 1455, 111: “li Gentilhomini scacciati di Siena” (...)

1The year from May 1530 to April 1531 marked the beginning of the end of Sienese independence. It was during that period that an agent of the Emperor Charles V – an agent of uncertain status, not quite a governor, not quite an ambassador – became established in Siena, together with a garrison of several hundred Spanish troops. This came about in large part because Sienese political exiles appealed to the emperor, when he was in Bologna and Mantua in 1530, to arrange for their return1, and he gave orders to the commander of his army in Tuscany engaged in besieging Florence, to see that they did. The Spanish garrison was supposed to be a guarantee of the exiles’ safety, and of civic peace and goodwill between the factions in Siena. Although the exiles had not been known as Imperial partisans, their return was accompanied by a change in the regime, negotiated by the agenti imperiali. Was the return of the exiles just an excuse for imperial intervention in Siena, with the ultimate aim of establishing direct rule by Charles V there?

  • 2  The effect of the confiscations of property suffered by Noveschi on their wealth relative to that (...)
  • 3  “Popolari” throughout this essay will refer to members of the Monte del Popolo, not to “popolari(...)
  • 4  For the most recent accounts and discussions of Sienese politics in the 1520s, see R. Terziani, Il (...)

2Most of the exiles who looked to the emperor to restore them to Siena were members of the Monte dei Nove, one of the political factions, the monti, which shared political offices among themselves in varying proportions – provided they had not been excluded from the regime altogether by their rivals, as the Nove had been at that time. Pandolfo Petrucci, who had in the early sixteenth century made himself quasi-signore of Siena (he never had any official sanction or title of signoria) had been a member of the Nove. None of the Petrucci who succeeded to his position of dominance after his death in 1512 had his political skills; the last of them, his younger son Fabio, was expelled in 1524. Control of the government was then disputed between the Monte dei Nove, collectively perhaps the most wealthy of the monti2, and the Monte del Popolo, the most numerous. There had been a legacy of bad feeling between these monti since the 1480s, when the Nove had been expelled from the government, and many into exile, during the period of dominance of the Monte del Popolo from 1483 to 1487. In the 1520s the Nove had the support of the Medici pope, Clement VII, and of the French, when Clement was allied with them. But the leader of the Nove, Alessandro Bichi, had been assassinated by some Popolari3 in 1525, and many Nove went into exile. When the Medici were driven from Florence in 1527 the Nove were expelled from the government, and many more became exiles. Before they had turned to Charles V for help, they had appealed to Clement and to the French for support in enforcing their return4.

  • 5  ASG, Estado 1454, 43: “Pareçer del duque de Sessa çerca del govierno de Sena”.

3This enabled the members of the Monte del Popolo who dominated Siena to claim that they were the true Imperiali, and that the exiles were partisans of the king of France. But the claims of the Popolari were dismissed or disregarded by many of the agenti imperiali, not least because they were suspected of having sympathized with, if not having given covert support to, the republicans in Florence who had defied the besieging Imperial forces. On the other hand, the exiles, despite their association with the enemies of the emperor, enjoyed the support and sympathy of some influential agenti imperiali – not least because they had successfully represented themselves as being the nobili, the principali of Siena, despite the fact that the Monte dei Gentiluomini, who had the best claim to being regarded as the nobles of Siena, were part of the regime. The Nove represented their Popolari opponents as ambitious, envious commoners, in league with turbulent plebeians, anxious to keep the Nove in exile and the exiles at bay in order to keep hold of property that had been confiscated from them. This point of view had already been imparted to the Imperial ambassador in Rome, the Duke of Sessa, in the mid 1520s – “de baxo d’este nombre de libertad que han tomado, usan de una licencia tiranica, con que la plebe quiere deshazer toda la nobleza”5.

  • 6  For the career of Lope de Soria in Imperial service, see H. P. Llorente, “Un embajador de Carlos V (...)
  • 7  ASG, Estado 1455, 212: transcription Lope de Soria to Charles V, 12 June (1530).
  • 8  Ibid., 203-204: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 25 September 1530, S (...)
  • 9  Ibid., 226-288: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 19 July 1530.
  • 10  Ibid., 223: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 6 August (1530).
  • 11  Ibid., 205-206: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 6 October 1530, Sien (...)

4Lope de Soria, the man sent to Siena from the Imperial camp in Tuscany on the orders of Charles V to negotiate the return of the exiles in 1530, was also convinced by these arguments6. The Nove were “toda la nobleza”, he reported to the emperor7; all the nobility of Siena were in exile – “toda la nobleza estan desterrados, y govierna el populo”8. Apart from one or two individuals who did want to be “tiranos” and would want to take revenge on their enemies, the exiles’ only fault was that they were members of Monte dei Nove, who had always been noble and held prominent positions in the city: “han sido siempre casas nobles y tenido preminencias en la ciudad”9. It seemed wrong, he argued, that so many worthy citizens should be kept out of their homes and their property, simply because they had wanted to avoid being killed and because they had tried to come home. If they had used force in their efforts to return, this was understandable because it had been the only means open to them10. They would make terms with the Turk if that would secure their return, he stated – not condemning them for this11.

  • 12  Ibid., 213-215: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 28 May 1530, Siena.

5Soria was much less inclined to make any excuses for the regime in Siena, which he did not like at all. The Sienese were the craziest people in the world (“la gente d’esta ciudad es la mas vana y loca del mundo”), he wrote to the emperor; they paid no respect to anything except their own desires. It was pitiful to see how badly the city was governed; all was injustice and confusion12. One confusing element was that several of the small group of men who dominated the government were close relatives of Cardinal Giovanni Piccolomini and his brother Alfonso Piccolomini, the Duke of Amalfi, who Soria identified as having great influence over the regime. How did these genuine nobles come to be associated with the Popolari?

  • 13  See C. Shaw, Popular Government and Oligarchy in Renaissance Italy, Leiden, Brill, 2006, p. 39-56.
  • 14  R. Cantagalli, “Mario Bandini, un uomo della oligarchia senese negli ultimi tempi della Repubblica (...)

6Their links dated back to the pontificate of Pius II, Enea Piccolomini, when his closest relatives had been made members of the Monte del Popolo as a compliment to the pope, for at that period, in the mid fifteenth century, as Gentiluomini they had been excluded from most political offices. Hopes that the pope would be satisfied by the admission of his own relatives to the regime and would not press for the inclusion of the rest of the Gentiluomini had been disappointed, but although the others were excluded again soon after the pope’s death, the Piccolomini were not. Even after the Gentiluomini were permanently admitted to be full members of the reggimento in the 1480s, these branches of the Piccolomini had remained members of the Monte del Popolo. Pius’s nephew Andrea Todeschini Piccolomini and his brothers Cardinal Francesco (later pope Pius III) and Jacopo had been greatly respected figures in Sienese politics, generally using their influence for moderation, not personal aggrandizement13. Cardinal Giovanni was the son of Andrea14, while Alfonso was the grandson of another of Pius’s nephews, Antonio Todeschini Piccolomini, who had married a natural daughter of King Ferrante of Naples and been created Duke of Amalfi.

  • 15  ASG, Estado 1455, 213-215: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 28 May 1530, Siena.
  • 16  Ibid., 212: transcription Lope de Soria to Charles V, 12 June (1530).
  • 17  Ibid., 226-228: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 19 July 1530.

7Lope de Soria had been ordered to take the advice of Cardinal Piccolomini and the Duke of Amalfi on his arrival in Siena in May 1530, about how to broach the question of the exiles. They advised that he should only speak of the matter privately to a few individuals. All those he spoke to were determined that no exiles should return, and that none of their property should be restored15. Soria quickly became suspicious of the cardinal and the duke, who he believed liked the Popolare regime in Siena because they had such influence with it. Some of the cardinal’s relations were living off the property of the exiles, while the Duke of Amalfi was captain-general of the republic. If their advice was followed, the exiles would never be brought back, was his conclusion16. Although the cardinal pretended to have no part in the government, nothing was done without consulting him17.

  • 18  Ibid, 203-204: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 25 September 1530, Si (...)
  • 19 Ibid., 226-228: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 19 July 1530; 203-204: transcription coded passages fro (...)

8What the two Piccolomini really wanted, was that Charles V should order them to take the government into their own hands. The remedy for Siena’s ills, according to the duke, was for the emperor to commit the government of the city to Cardinal Giovanni, and to order the duke to take control of all the arms and military forces there; then the government could be reformed, and the exiles brought back. Soria did not think that this would be a good scheme: the exiles did not trust either of them, he said18. In fact, the exiles’ distrust of the Duke of Amalfi was one of the most persistent problems to complicate the negotiations for their return. By contrast, the scheme of giving the cardinal charge of the government of Siena never seems to have been considered a serious option. Reports from Soria that Cardinal Piccolomini’s Popolari relatives were not only among those who held the lion’s share of the exiles’ property, but were also among those who intimidated, with threats of violence, citizens who might otherwise have spoken in favour of bringing the exiles back, would not have made the cardinal appear to Charles V and his advisers as the man best suited to bring about a peaceful solution to the political problems of Siena19.

  • 20  He discussed the problem in his first despatch from Siena: Ibid., 213-215: Lope de Soria to Charle (...)
  • 21  Ibid., 203-204: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 25 September 1530, S (...)
  • 22  Ibid., 205-206: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 6 October 1530, Sien (...)

9Time and again, Soria identified the property of the exiles as being a key issue20. Although this frequently was a crucial problem in the restoration of exiles to Italian cities, he seems to have been basing his judgement on his own observation of the particular situation in Siena in 1530. Any Sienese who spoke of restoring their property to them was threatened, according to Soria. Exhortations were pointless, he said; those in power who had it in their possession would not relinquish it of their own volition21. They declared that they had gained the property through force of arms, and would not give it up for words alone – “dizen que lo han ganado con las armas y que no entienden dexarlas por palabras”22.

  • 23  Ibid., 203-204: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 25 September 1530, S (...)
  • 24  Ibid., 213-215: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 28 May 1530, Siena.
  • 25  Ibid.
  • 26  ASG, Estado 849, 59: Giovanni Antonio Muscettola to Charles V, 5 October 1530, Siena.
  • 27  ASG, Estado 1455, 205-206: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 6 October (...)

10Soria was as consistent in his representations of the exiles and of the need for their return, as he was in his criticism of the regime. Securing their return would be as charitable an act as if Charles had converted many infidels, he assured the emperor23. It would be to the service of God, as well as to the service of the emperor, and be to the good of the city. Most of the exiles were peaceful men; it was pitiful to see them reduced to beggary, far from home24. Their opponents, on the other hand, described them as rebels, enemies of the republic, violent men who had tyrannised over Siena in the past and who would do so again if they were allowed to return25. When pressed, however, the government did admit that in fact only about ten of the four hundred or so exiles were officially rebels26. Soria and other agenti imperiali, such as the Neapolitan lawyer Giovanni Antonio Muscettola who was sent to Siena to take part in the negotiations, were prepared to concede that a few exiles, notably Francesco Petrucci, did aspire to dominate Siena, to be tyranni. These, they suggested, could be kept in exile, but they should have their property restored to them and they should be allowed to draw the income from it to support themselves and their families27.

  • 28  Ibid., 205-206: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 6 October 1530, Sien (...)

11If the exiles were to return, it was clear that the restoration of their property would not be the only troublesome issue. There was also the question of the restoration of the Monte dei Nove to a share in the government, from which all the Nove – those who had stayed in the city as well as those in exile – had been excluded. While Soria recognized this as one of the obstacles to their return, he put rather less emphasis on this point than on the question of the exiles’ property. He did not propose any definite solution, either that the Monte dei Nove should be given a share in the reggimento, or that all the monti should be merged into one and the Nove be given a share in that. He was even ready to listen to the suggestion that many exiles would be content to return and recover their property, without the Nove being restored to government28. Anyone with more experience of Sienese politics could have told him that that was not a likely prospect.

  • 29  “[E]s justo se tenga respecto a esta republica para que en efecto no reçiban danos ni disfavores p (...)
  • 30  ASG, Estado 1455, 216-217: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 1 July 1530, Siena.
  • 31  Ibid., 226-228: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 19 July 1530; 203-204: transcription coded passages fr (...)
  • 32  Ibid., 226-228: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 19 July 1530.
  • 33  Ibid., 220-222: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 24 August 1530, Siena; 205-206: transcription coded pa (...)

12Soria and the other agenti imperiali were really more concerned with the need for a substantial reform of the government of Siena, not just the share in it that the Nove should have. Although they were not recommending that Charles should simply take over the government of Siena – it was just that the republic should be respected, argued Soria, so that Siena’s status as an Imperial city should not be prejudicial to it29 – one option they favoured was that the emperor should appoint a governor. If he did not reform the government, he was warned, Siena could not be of service to him, nor could it maintain its libertà: any neighbouring power would be able to take it easily30. Florence, or the Florentine pope Clement VII, were the powers that were suspected of having designs on Siena. There was some concern among the agenti imperiali that if Charles did not act to settle the situation, either the regime or the exiles might turn to Florence or the pope for support, and be willing to compromise Sienese independence in order to obtain it31. A Sienese would sell his soul to the devil (let alone the pope) in order to have revenge on the rival faction, said Soria32. But if the emperor was to intervene effectively to bring about a lasting settlement that would ensure Siena could be of some service to him in the future, he must act while the Imperial army was still in Tuscany. Force or the threat of force would be needed to bring about an agreement33.

13What did the emperor himself want? This period, the early 1530s, was one in which Charles V and the agenti imperiali can be seen to be testing the limits of his power in Italy, finding out how much influence, even control, he could have over cities, over states such as Florence, Genoa, Lucca and Siena, that could be classed as Imperial cities, but which were not under his direct rule. Charles would have learned much from his stay in Italy in 1529-1530, but he would still be reliant on information from the agenti imperiali in forming his judgements. In their correspondence with the emperor and his closest advisers, the agenti imperiali in Italy habitually made suggestions about what policy, what aims, Charles should pursue, what orders he should issue. These suggestions were by no means accepted automatically, and his wishes and orders concerning Siena were not determined by the advice he received from his agents there. From their comments and self-justifications, it is clear that he wanted the exiles to be returned to Siena, and he wanted a peaceful government there, but he did not want force to be used to achieve this. Nor was he as hostile to the regime in Siena as was Soria or Ferrante Gonzaga, the commander of the Imperial army that had moved to Sienese territory after the conclusion of the siege of Florence.

  • 34  Ibid., 229-230: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 19 October 1530, Pienza.
  • 35  ASG, Estado 1456, 66-77: Fortunato Vecchi to Ferrante Gonzaga, 18 February 1531, Siena.
  • 36  Ibid., 195-201: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 2 February 1531, Siena; 46-48: Lope de Soria to [Franc (...)

14While both Soria and Gonzaga were becoming increasingly exasperated by the resistance of the regime to the return of the exiles, and saw the presence of the army in Sienese territory as essential to ensuring that the exiles would eventually return, they did not want too swift a resolution to the problem. An excuse was needed to keep the army in Sienese territory, because Gonzaga did not know where else he could take the troops for the winter. Evidently, Charles had not wanted the army to be taken there in the first place: Soria explained to the emperor that the army had to be lodged in Sienese territory, despite his orders. Gonzaga had promised the pope and the Florentines that he would move his men out of Florentine territory, and he had promised the troops that they would be moved to billets where there were people. Sienese territory was, they claimed, the only option. Soria explained that, to excuse the presence of the troops, he and Gonzaga had thought it should appear that the army had come to ensure an agreement was reached between the Sienese regime and the exiles34. Without this need to billet his troops in Sienese territory, it may be doubted whether Gonzaga would have been so persistent in his own support of the exiles. But their presence there created other complications. The damage they caused in requisitioning food and lodging aroused great resentment, and stiffened resistance to the demands of the agenti imperiali. So extensive was that damage, however, that eventually the leading figures in the regime came to feel that there was little more that could be done, and they were confident that sooner rather than later the army would have to move to exploit fresh ground35. Ideally they wanted to delay accepting the exiles back until the army had to move away, but at least, if the exiles had returned, they wanted to be in a position to expel them again36.

  • 37  Ibid., 28-33, 195-201: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 17 January, 2 February 1531, Cuna; 41-43: Ferra (...)
  • 38  ASG, Estado 1455, 232: petition from Noveschi exiles to agenti imperiali, no date.

15The agenti imperiali were aware of this. Soria, Muscettola and Gonzaga all regarded it as essential that there should be a garrison of several hundred Spanish troops, paid for by the Sienese, left in the city after the army finally moved on. Without such a garrison, they argued, the exiles would not return, because they would not feel secure. A garrison would also be needed to keep the peace between the factions and ensure the reform of the government37. They did not say whether they regarded this as a temporary or a permanent measure. Quite likely they believed that, once established in Siena, the garrison should become a permanent fixture. That opinion could be fostered by the request of the Nove exiles for imperial troops to be stationed there so that both sides could live in peace after their return. At least three hundred infantry and one hundred and fifty horses would be needed, they suggested, under the command of agenti imperiali sanza interesse particulare (by which they meant, not the Duke of Amalfi)38.

  • 39  Ibid.

16Naturally, the petition of the exiles, dating from mid-October 1530, in which this request was made also specified that all their property should be restored to them. Any claims on them could be settled afterwards, through judicial process. They also wanted the Nove to have what they regarded as their rightful third share in public offices, that “si facci uno governo dove habbiamo de participar per terzo”, because their monte had many more “huomini de governo” than the others had. All exiles should return, without exception. If these terms were agreed, the exiles would offer the emperor and his agenti 30,000 scudi, to be paid within nine months by the new government. As the exiles had been excluded from their property, they suggested the payment should be made by “chi ha il modo” (presumably meaning those who had been in the city enjoying their property), and the exiles would then pay for their share within a year, according to the share they would have in the government39.

  • 40  Ibid.: marginal comments by Soria on the exiles’ petition.
  • 41  Ibid., 241-242: Ferrante Gonzaga to Charles V, 19 October 1530, Pienza.
  • 42  Ibid., 232: marginal comments by Soria on the exiles’ petition.

17Inclined as he was to take the side of the exiles, Soria did not think this last proposal just. Those inside the city should not have to contribute to this payment; reasonable terms would be made to allow the exiles to pay as they could, but they would have to give good security from banks40. Ferrante Gonzaga also believed that the exiles should be liable for the whole sum; it would not be good if it appeared that Charles, in insisting on their return, was motivated by a desire for money: “che più li havesse stimulato il desiderio del denaro, che non la reformation de la città”. The sum of 30,000 ducats had been his suggestion, but the exiles argued it was excessive unless all the city joined in contributing to it. He would get as much as he could from them, he wrote to the emperor41. As for the share in government they demanded, Soria recommended “que quando sean dentro hayen su portion del govierno como los otros ordenes que al presente goviernan”, without advising the emperor what he thought that share should be. Whether any exiles should be left outside the city, and whether there should be a Balia of eighteen, which was another of their demands, were questions that should be left to the decision of the emperor or whoever he should send, “como convenga al bien universal dela ciudad”. Even on the matter of their property, Soria did not endorse the exiles’ demands without reservation. They should be put back in possession of what was obviously theirs – “que hayan lo que claramente es suyo e de su patrimonio” – but anything they had held ‘tirannicamente sin justo titulo’ should return to its rightful owners, and in order to avoid stirring up trouble, there should be no question of the restoration of any “bienes muebles”42.

  • 43  Ibid., 253-255: terms agreed on 30 October 1530.

18Soria’s reservations about some of the points advanced by the exiles may help to explain why he put his name to terms that were less favourable then they would have liked43. He was only one of a commission of six that drew up these terms, the other five being Cardinal Piccolomini, the Duke of Amalfi, and three elected representatives of the regime, Gianbattista Piccolomini, Giovanni Palmieri and Antonio de’ Vecchi; there were no representatives of the exiles on the commission, and presumably Soria would have had to put their case for them. Matters he had thought should be left to the decision of the emperor were dealt with by the commission, including the share in the government that the Nove were to have. The choice of those who were to stay in exile was to be made by the Sienese government, not by the emperor or his representatives. There were detailed provisions about the return of the exiles’ property: any they had held “con iusto titulo ... inanti la rebellione et exilio loro, et che non siano stati per loro levati de facto dal pubblico o lochi pii o d’altra comunità, salvo iure tertii” would be restored to them. Such a formula was evidently suggested by the Sienese on the commission, not by Soria, and given the dubious means by which many of the Nove of the previous generation had acquired much of their property, ample grounds were left for future disputes. The Nove were to have only a fourth share “del regimento et stato, de’ honori et utili”, not the third the exiles claimed; there was to be a Balia of 20, with five members from each monte (Popolo, Gentiluomini, Riformatori and Nove), and the Sienese, not any representative of the emperor, would decide how the offices were to be distributed. All Sienese forces in the city and its territory were to be under the command of the Duke of Amalfi as captain-general of the republic, “sino a tanto che la Cesarea Maestà altro in contrario ordinasse”. On the day that the Consiglio del Popolo ratified the terms, the Imperial army was to leave Sienese territory.

  • 44  Ibid., 186: instructions from Ferrante Gonzaga to Giraldo Raset, 4 November 1530, Pienza.
  • 45  Ibid., 252: “Copia de quello han resposto li exuli”.
  • 46  Ibid., 186: instructions from Ferrante Gonzaga to Giraldo Raset, 4 November 1530, Pienza.
  • 47  Ibid., 256-258: Ferrante Gonzaga to Charles V, 10 November 1530, Pienza.

19Consiglio duly confirmed these terms on 6 November, yet the army did not leave. If they were to come into force, they also had to be ratified by Ferrante Gonzaga, and it did not suit his purposes to do this quickly. Some objections advanced by the exiles helped to furnish him with grounds for suggesting amendments44. On the whole the exiles accepted the terms concerning property, “intendendose che quelli beni che sono stati posseduti più tempo pacificamente se intendino titulati si come di ragione se sogliano et debano intendere”, but they raised objections about withholding some places claimed by the Petrucci that the regime maintained belonged to the comune. No exile should be excluded from the general permission to return to Siena. Instead of four monti they suggested there should only be one, and that council seats and offices should be distributed equally among qualified citizens from the three geographical divisions of the city, the terzi. Objections were raised to the Duke of Amalfi as captain-general because of his connections with the present regime; the exiles suggested the agenti imperiali “se provedesse d’uno Capitano, quale senza alcuna inclinatione di qualsevoglia parte tenghi le forze et l’armi ad instantia deli magistrati per custodia dela cità, et affreno deli insolenti et mali citadini”45. Gonzaga sent an envoy to the city to state his reservations about the terms, mentioning the exiles’ objections to the duke, and endorsing the proposal that there should be a single monte. Fewer than four exiles should be excluded, he suggested, and they should be allowed to stay nearer the city46. The main difficulties, Gonzaga wrote to the emperor, were the nomination of the commander and the Petrucci properties; the other objections of the exiles “non son cose di momento”, he said47. Like Soria, he underestimated the significance to the Sienese of the question of the distribution of political offices among the monti; that was the heart of the matter, not an inconsequential detail.

  • 48  ASG, Estado 1464, 77-79: copy of terms agreed 30 October and 22 November 1530. This oath-taking is (...)

20When Gonzaga and Soria agreed on 22 November, with the same three Sienese envoys as had been on the commission that drew up the terms of 30 October, modifications and additions to these terms, the exiles’ suggestion of a single monte was set aside. The soldiers to be garrisoned in Siena were to be “appresso et in mano” of Soria as the emperor’s representative, “per quiete et pace di quella Magnifica città et per sicurtà e diffensione del suo libero stato, et de tutti li cittadini, et così le debba tenere oltra alla difensione del Palazzo Pubblico a obedienza et ogni richiesta deli Illustrissimi Signori di Balia et Conservatori della Libertà di detta repubblica”. They were to be paid by the Sienese, and were to remain “per quello tempo che serà di bisogno a quella città, e fino a tanto che parrà al Consiglio del Popolo” or to the Balia – or to Charles V. Obviously, this gave the emperor or the agenti imperiali grounds to keep the garrison there, even when the Sienese might declare that it was no longer needed or wanted. To keep the peace between the citizens there was to be no settling of old scores, against the exiles or anyone else. Rather, there was to be a general absolution of every penalty for “tutti li homicidii et altri dellitti proceduti per dirretto o indirretto per causa statuaria”. All the citizens, or at least representatives of all the monti, were to promise Soria “in nome di Sua Maestà et del [sic in this copy – for “al”?] Magnifico Signor Capitano di Popolo della detta Repubblica di viver civilmente e attendere la quiete di quella et di tutti li cittadini”48.

  • 49  Ibid.
  • 50  Siena, Archivio di Stato, Consiglio Generale 243, ff. 145v-146v, 9 January 1530 (1).

21Following this new agreement, the exiles at last returned to Siena. Offices began to be divided among the four monti, with the Nove getting their share. But there was still much bad blood between the Nove and the Monte del Popolo. Some of the Nove behaved very arrogantly, reinforcing fears that they intended to claim a dominant position in the government, and would not be content with a quarter share. Soria was seen as being partial to them, especially when he sanctioned their bringing into the city from Florence hundreds of weapons, on the grounds that the Popolari had kept their arms while those of the Nove had been taken away. Soria told the Balia that he needed two hundred more troops, but the Balia replied that the Sienese could not afford this. The Popolari leaders of the former regime were planning to expel the exiles again as soon as the army left, Soria claimed. It was they, according to him, who started the serious fighting throughout the city (and that the Spanish garrison did not hinder) between the Nove and the Popolari on 2 January 1531, leaving five former exiles and one Popolare dead49. Many citizens, former exiles or those who just wanted to escape the violence, fled the city, and Soria himself left for Gonzaga’s camp50.

  • 51  ASG, Estado 1457, 103-104: “Para consultar con Su M.ad sobre lo de Sena...’, Brussels, 16 January (...)

22A memorandum prepared for a consultation with Charles V about the situation in Siena, and approved by the emperor on 16 January 1531, was critical of Soria’s role in recent events. Errors laid to his charge included his allowing former exiles to import weapons and soldiers into the city, and his own departure from it. Soria was to return to Siena and behave impartially; if the Sienese would not accept him, another man should be sent. Force should not be used. If Siena was sacked, it would cause great scandal in Italy, and lead to a costly war, and a loss of reputation51.

  • 52  ASG, Estado 1456, 41-43: Ferrante Gonzaga to Charles V, 17 January 1531.
  • 53  Ibid., 28-33: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 17 January 1531, Cuna.
  • 54  R. Cantagalli, “Mario Bandini”, op. cit., p. 66.

23Meanwhile, however, Soria and Gonzaga had been making matters worse. Rather than behaving impartially, they had arrested and imprisoned some of the Sienese envoys who had come to negotiate with them, Mario Bandini, Achille Salvi and Sozzino Saracini. Gonzaga justified the arrest of the envoys by accusing them of being the “motori” of the fighting in Siena in early January, and of the Sienese defiance52, while Soria described them as “los principales que tienen alterada y tiranizada aquella ciudad”. Holding them had seemed to Gonzaga and to him a good way to reach the settlement the emperor desired53. Such high-handed behaviour, unsurprisingly, had the opposite effect. Mario Bandini – who was a nephew of Cardinal Piccolomini – escaped, using a rope of knotted sheets, from the tower where he was being held, and returned to Siena where he encouraged resistance to the demands of the agenti imperiali54.

  • 55  ASG, Estado 1456, 41-43: Ferrante Gonzaga to Charles V, 17 January 1531, Cuna.
  • 56  Ibid., 202: copy Cardinal Pompeo Colonna to Lope de Soria, 23 January 1531, Naples.
  • 57  Ibid., 69: Cardinal Pompeo Colonna to Miguel Mai, 30 January 1531, Naples.
  • 58  Ibid., 70: Cardinal Pompeo Colonna to Otto della Pace of Siena, 30 January 1531, Naples.

24Gonzaga was also laying plans to put the Spanish soldiers who remained in the city into a monastery adjacent to the city walls, so that they could introduce a thousand or more extra troops into the city under the cover of darkness; then they could disarm all the Sienese, and punish the troublemakers. Having devised this stratagem, he wrote to the emperor, he remembered that Charles had forbidden the use of force against Siena without his express orders. As it would take too long to receive this authority from the emperor, Gonzaga had consulted Cardinal Osma and the other agenti imperiali in Rome. Their advice had been to introduce troops paid by Charles into Siena, in order to circumvent Sienese objections to paying any more themselves, and if discussion reinforced by the presence of these soldiers did not bring the Sienese to reason, then they agreed that force should be tried55. Not all of the agenti imperiali in Italy approved of the tactics employed by Gonzaga and Soria, however. Cardinal Pompeo Colonna, the acting viceroy of Naples, was highly critical. The Sienese were Imperial partisans, and the city and the Ghibelline faction should be fostered; Soria was more “passionato” than any Sienese, and would bring Siena to ruin, he told him56. He wrote to the Imperial ambassador in Rome and to the emperor to criticize the attitude of the agenti imperiali there towards the Sienese57, and he assured the Sienese themselves that “questi modi non procedono de mente dela Maestà Cesarea”58.

  • 59  Ibid., 28-33: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 17 January 1531, Cuna.
  • 60  Ibid., 206-209: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 20 February 1531, Cuna.
  • 61  Ibid., 46-48: Lope de Soria to [Francisco de Cobos?], 1 March 1531, Cuna.
  • 62  Ibid., 28-33: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 17 January 1531, Cuna; 41-43: Ferrante Gonzaga to Charle (...)

25Soria himself continued to blame the leaders of the Popolari, those who held the exiles’ property and did not want to give it up, for the impasse obstructing agreement with the Sienese. He still urged that force or the threat of force was required to make them do what was necessary for the good of the city59. Unless the exiles returned, Siena would be destroyed, he argued, and while those inside the city said they wanted them to come back, they were threatening former exiles who had remained there, and they had closed the city gates to prevent any more leaving. Without the protection of Soria or another Imperial representative in the city, the exiles would not risk returning60. Charles had ample justification for punishing the Sienese – “con estos yerros que han cometido y considerado su mal govierno pareçera licitto a todo el mundo qualquier castigo que Su Magestat les de”. Indeed if he did not reform the government, the pope or the Florentines would soon use the exiles to take over Siena61. Both Soria and Gonzaga recommended disarming all the Sienese, and sending some into exile62.

  • 63  For the negotiations following the arrival of the Marchese del Vasto, see G. A. Pecci, Memorie sto (...)
  • 64  ASG, Estado 1456, 26-27: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 14 April 1531, Pienza.

26These justifications and recommendations did not meet with the emperor’s approval. Ferrante Gonzaga was replaced as commander of the army by the Marchese del Vasto, who was the brother-in-law of the Duke of Amalfi. Soria was to be replaced as Imperial representative in Siena, for he was no longer acceptable to the Sienese, but before he left he took part in the successful negotiation of a new agreement in April 153163. Essentially, this confirmed the terms agreed in November 1530. It was agreed that all citizens could choose whether or not they wished to stay in Siena. At least the principal exiles would not return because they would not feel safe, Soria persisted in asserting, although he allowed that some would go back when the garrison of Spanish troops was installed in the city. He also insisted that the city would not remain at peace unless at least a dozen men drawn from all the factions were exiled. But the Marchese del Vasto and Pedro de la Cueva, who had been sent to Tuscany to take part in negotiations, took a different view. They felt that the most fitting way to maintain the authority of the emperor in Siena was to facilitate a general peace, so that the exiles could return, with a garrison of 350 Spanish troops to guarantee the security of all, and a government in which all parties would participate64.

27Siena’s political problems were, of course, far from over. After del Vasto finally took the army from Tuscany, the Duke of Amalfi came to Siena as the republic’s captain-general, and effectively as the Imperial representative, taking over from Pedro de la Cueva. The duke remained associated with the leading Popolari and distrusted by the Nove. Ill-feeling between Noveschi and Popolari persisted, and would lead to further violent clashes and further expulsions of the Nove in the 1540s, offering further opportunities for intervention by the agenti imperiali in the government of Siena. These culminated in the scheme by Diego Hurtado de Mendoza to build a fortress in the city, and the subsequent, ill-starred rebellion of the Sienese, and resulted eventually in the end of the Sienese republic and the loss of Sienese independence.

  • 65  Ibid., 46-48: Lope de Soria to [Francisco de Cobos?], 1 March 1531, Cuna.

28In 1530, the efforts of the agenti imperiali to carry out Charles V’s orders to restore the exiles to Siena soon turned into plans to put a Spanish garrison in the city, and to reform the government. Soria encouraged Charles to appoint a governor for Siena, not an ambassador. This was not just for the benefit of the exiles, to ensure their return and their safety once they had returned. Both Soria and Gonzaga evidently became angered by the persistent opposition to the return of the exiles, and securing their return seems to have become almost a matter of personal honour for them. But the Spanish garrison, the Imperial governor, were also intended to ensure that Siena would be “of service” to the emperor. If it was well-governed, Siena could yield 100,000 ducats a year, Soria estimated, optimistically. It was situated in the middle of Italy, and on the Sienese coast there were ports, mid way between Naples and Genoa, which could be very useful to the emperor65. For Soria and Gonzaga, assuring the return of the exiles did become an opportunity to take over the city, with or without the consent of the Sienese.

  • 66  ASG, Estado 1457, 103-104: “Para consultar con Su M.ad sobre lo de Sena...”, Brussels, 16 January (...)

29Charles and his close advisers were also aware of the strategic potential of Siena. It could be a bulwark for the kingdom of Naples, an observation post “de donde se puede tener ojo a todas las otras cosas de Italia”, according to the memorandum of 16 January drawn up for the emperor. But, as they saw it, Charles could become “absoluto señor” of Siena by keeping the devotion of Sienese, not by using force against them66. Charles wanted the exiles to return, but he was not planning to restore them to Siena in order for them to lead a pro-imperial regime there. He wanted them to have a share in a peaceful and just government, under the benevolent, impartial watch of an Imperial representative. The emperor’s support for the return of the Sienese exiles did not begin as an excuse to take direct control of Siena, and if some of the agenti imperiali came to see it that way, Charles V – at least in 1530-1531 – did not.

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Notes

1  Simancas, Archivo General (henceforth AGS), Estado 1455, 111: “li Gentilhomini scacciati di Siena” to Charles V, 6 October 1530, Colle.

2  The effect of the confiscations of property suffered by Noveschi on their wealth relative to that of the other monti is not known.

3  “Popolari” throughout this essay will refer to members of the Monte del Popolo, not to “popolari” as a social or political category.

4  For the most recent accounts and discussions of Sienese politics in the 1520s, see R. Terziani, Il governo di Siena dal Medioevo all’Età moderna. La continuità repubblicana al tempo dei Petrucci (1487-1525), Siena, Betti Editrice, 2002; M. Mallett, “Siena e le Guerre d’Italia”, in M. Ascheri and F. Nevola (eds), L’ultimo secolo della Repubblica di Siena. Politica e istituzioni, economia e società, Siena, Accademia Senese degli Intronati, 2007, p. 95-106; Juan Carlos D’Amico, “Nemici e libertà a Siena. Carlo V e gli Spagnoli”, in ibid., p. 107-139.

5  ASG, Estado 1454, 43: “Pareçer del duque de Sessa çerca del govierno de Sena”.

6  For the career of Lope de Soria in Imperial service, see H. P. Llorente, “Un embajador de Carlos V en Italia: don Lope de Soria (1528-1532)”, in Carlos V y la quiebra del humanismo político en Europa (1530-1558), 4 vol., Madrid, 2001, IV, p. 119-155.

7  ASG, Estado 1455, 212: transcription Lope de Soria to Charles V, 12 June (1530).

8  Ibid., 203-204: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 25 September 1530, Siena.

9  Ibid., 226-288: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 19 July 1530.

10  Ibid., 223: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 6 August (1530).

11  Ibid., 205-206: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 6 October 1530, Siena.

12  Ibid., 213-215: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 28 May 1530, Siena.

13  See C. Shaw, Popular Government and Oligarchy in Renaissance Italy, Leiden, Brill, 2006, p. 39-56.

14  R. Cantagalli, “Mario Bandini, un uomo della oligarchia senese negli ultimi tempi della Repubblica”, Bullettino senese di storia patria, 71, 1964, p. 57.

15  ASG, Estado 1455, 213-215: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 28 May 1530, Siena.

16  Ibid., 212: transcription Lope de Soria to Charles V, 12 June (1530).

17  Ibid., 226-228: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 19 July 1530.

18  Ibid, 203-204: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 25 September 1530, Siena.

19 Ibid., 226-228: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 19 July 1530; 203-204: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 25 September 1530, Siena.

20  He discussed the problem in his first despatch from Siena: Ibid., 213-215: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 28 May 1530, Siena.

21  Ibid., 203-204: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 25 September 1530, Siena.

22  Ibid., 205-206: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 6 October 1530, Siena.

23  Ibid., 203-204: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 25 September 1530, Siena.

24  Ibid., 213-215: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 28 May 1530, Siena.

25  Ibid.

26  ASG, Estado 849, 59: Giovanni Antonio Muscettola to Charles V, 5 October 1530, Siena.

27  ASG, Estado 1455, 205-206: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 6 October 1530, Siena; 223: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 6 August (1530); 229-230: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 19 October 1530, Pienza.

28  Ibid., 205-206: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 6 October 1530, Siena.

29  “[E]s justo se tenga respecto a esta republica para que en efecto no reçiban danos ni disfavores por el nombre que tiene de ser Imperial”: ibid.

30  ASG, Estado 1455, 216-217: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 1 July 1530, Siena.

31  Ibid., 226-228: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 19 July 1530; 203-204: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 25 September 1530, Siena.

32  Ibid., 226-228: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 19 July 1530.

33  Ibid., 220-222: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 24 August 1530, Siena; 205-206: transcription coded passages from Lope de Soria to Charles V, 6 October 1530, Siena.

34  Ibid., 229-230: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 19 October 1530, Pienza.

35  ASG, Estado 1456, 66-77: Fortunato Vecchi to Ferrante Gonzaga, 18 February 1531, Siena.

36  Ibid., 195-201: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 2 February 1531, Siena; 46-48: Lope de Soria to [Francisco de los Cobos?], 1 March 1531, Cuna.

37  Ibid., 28-33, 195-201: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 17 January, 2 February 1531, Cuna; 41-43: Ferrante Gonzaga to Charles V, 17 January 1531, Cuna; ASG, Estado 849, 59: Giovanni Antonio Muscettola to Charles V, 5 October 1530, Siena.

38  ASG, Estado 1455, 232: petition from Noveschi exiles to agenti imperiali, no date.

39  Ibid.

40  Ibid.: marginal comments by Soria on the exiles’ petition.

41  Ibid., 241-242: Ferrante Gonzaga to Charles V, 19 October 1530, Pienza.

42  Ibid., 232: marginal comments by Soria on the exiles’ petition.

43  Ibid., 253-255: terms agreed on 30 October 1530.

44  Ibid., 186: instructions from Ferrante Gonzaga to Giraldo Raset, 4 November 1530, Pienza.

45  Ibid., 252: “Copia de quello han resposto li exuli”.

46  Ibid., 186: instructions from Ferrante Gonzaga to Giraldo Raset, 4 November 1530, Pienza.

47  Ibid., 256-258: Ferrante Gonzaga to Charles V, 10 November 1530, Pienza.

48  ASG, Estado 1464, 77-79: copy of terms agreed 30 October and 22 November 1530. This oath-taking is not mentioned by the most authoritative early historians of this period of Sienese history, Giugurta Tommasi and Orlando Malavolti. Lope de Soria referred in a despatch to Charles V to the Sienese making a “paz general los unos con los otros y juradola todos en mis manos representando la Imperial persona de Vuestra Majestad y del Capitan del Populo y Señoria de aquella ciudad prometiendo per aucto publico de no ofenderse por via directa ne indirecta y mantener toda paz y concordia para siempre”, but again it is not clear whether he was representing the Capitano del Popolo as well as the emperor, or whether the oath was taken before the Capitano, representing the Sienese communal government, as well as before Soria: ASG, Estado 1456, 28-33: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 17 January 1531, Cuna.

49  Ibid.

50  Siena, Archivio di Stato, Consiglio Generale 243, ff. 145v-146v, 9 January 1530 (1).

51  ASG, Estado 1457, 103-104: “Para consultar con Su M.ad sobre lo de Sena...’, Brussels, 16 January 1531.

52  ASG, Estado 1456, 41-43: Ferrante Gonzaga to Charles V, 17 January 1531.

53  Ibid., 28-33: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 17 January 1531, Cuna.

54  R. Cantagalli, “Mario Bandini”, op. cit., p. 66.

55  ASG, Estado 1456, 41-43: Ferrante Gonzaga to Charles V, 17 January 1531, Cuna.

56  Ibid., 202: copy Cardinal Pompeo Colonna to Lope de Soria, 23 January 1531, Naples.

57  Ibid., 69: Cardinal Pompeo Colonna to Miguel Mai, 30 January 1531, Naples.

58  Ibid., 70: Cardinal Pompeo Colonna to Otto della Pace of Siena, 30 January 1531, Naples.

59  Ibid., 28-33: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 17 January 1531, Cuna.

60  Ibid., 206-209: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 20 February 1531, Cuna.

61  Ibid., 46-48: Lope de Soria to [Francisco de Cobos?], 1 March 1531, Cuna.

62  Ibid., 28-33: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 17 January 1531, Cuna; 41-43: Ferrante Gonzaga to Charles V, 17 January 1531, Cuna.

63  For the negotiations following the arrival of the Marchese del Vasto, see G. A. Pecci, Memorie storico-critiche della Città di Siena, 2 vol., reprint, Siena, Edizioni Cantagalli, 1997, of edition of 1755-1760), vol. II, Part III, p. 56-62.

64  ASG, Estado 1456, 26-27: Lope de Soria to Charles V, 14 April 1531, Pienza.

65  Ibid., 46-48: Lope de Soria to [Francisco de Cobos?], 1 March 1531, Cuna.

66  ASG, Estado 1457, 103-104: “Para consultar con Su M.ad sobre lo de Sena...”, Brussels, 16 January 1531.

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References

Electronic reference

Christine Shaw, « The return of the Sienese exiles, 1530-1531 », Laboratoire italien [Online], 14 | 2014, Online since 21 November 2014, connection on 25 April 2017. URL : http://laboratoireitalien.revues.org/764 ; DOI : 10.4000/laboratoireitalien.764

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Christine Shaw

University of Oxford

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