If Venice was jealous and hostile in the north, Florence was scarcely less so in mid-Italy though perhaps with rather more justification, for Cesare's growing power and boundless ambition kept the latter Republic in perpetual fear of being absorbed into his dominions into that kingdom which it was his ultimate aim to found. There can be little doubt that Francesco da Narni, who appeared in Tuscany early in the March of that year, coming from the French Court for the purpose of arranging a league of Florence, Bologna, Siena, and Lucca the four States more or less under French protection had been besought by Florence, to the obvious end that these four States, united, might inter defend them selves against Valentinois. And Florence even went so far as to avail herself of this to the extent of restoring Pandolfo Petrucci to the lordship of Siena preferring even this avowed enemy to the fearful Valentinois. Thus came about Petrucci's restoration towards the end of March, despite the fact that the Siennese were divided on the subject of his return.
With the single exception of Camerino, where disturbances still continued, all was quiet in the States of the Church by that summer of 1503.
This desirable state of things had been achieved by Cesare's wise and liberal government, which also sufficed to ensure its continuance.
He had successfully combated the threatened famine by importing grain from Sicily. To Sinigaglia his latest conquest he had accorded, as to the other subjected States, the privilege of appointing her own native officials, with, of course, the exception of the Podesta (who never could be a native of any place where he dispensed justice) and the Castellan. In Cesena a liberal justice was measured out by the Tribunal of the Ruota, which Cesare had instituted there, equipping it with the best jurisconsults of the Romagna.
In Rome he proceeded to a military organization on a new basis, and with a thoroughness never before seen in Italy or elsewhere, for that matter but which was thereafter the example all sought to copy. We have seen him issuing an edict that every house in the Romagna should furnish him one man at arms to serve him when necessary. The men so levied were under obligation to repair to the market place of their native town when summoned thither by the ringing of the bells, and it was estimated that this method of conscription would yield him six or seven thousand men, who could be mobilized in a couple of days. He increased the number of arquebusiers, appreciating the power and value of a weapon which although invented nearly a century earlier was still regarded with suspicion. He was also the inventor of the military uniform, putting his soldiers into a livery of his own, and causing his men at arms to wear over their armour a smock, quartered red and yellow with the name Cesare lettered on the breast and back, whilst the gentlemen of his guard wore surcoats of his colours in gold brocade and crimson velvet.
He continued to levy troops and to arm them, and it is scarcely over stating the case to say that hardly a tyrant of the Romagna would have dared to do so much for fear of the weapons being turned against himself. Cesare knew no such fear. He enjoyed a loyalty from the people he had subjected which was almost unprecedented in Italy. The very officers he placed in command of the troops of his levying were, for the most part, natives of the Romagna. Is there no inference concerning him to be drawn from that ?
For every man in his service Cesare ordered a back and breast and headpiece of steel, and the armourers' shops of Brescia rang busily that summer with the clang of metal upon metal, as that defensive armour for Cesare's troops was being forged. At the same time the foundries were turning out fresh cannon in that season which saw Cesare at the very height and zenith of his power, although he himself may not have accounted that, as yet, he was further than at the beginning.
But the catastrophe that was to hurl him irretrievably from the eminence to which in three short years he had climbed was approaching with stealthy, relentless foot, and was even now upon him.