Cesare arrived in Rome on June 13. There was none of the usual pomp on this occasion. He made his entrance quietly, attended only by a small body of men at arms, and he was followed, on the morrow, by Yves d'Allegre with the army considerably reduced by the detachments which had been left to garrison the Romagna, and to lay siege to Piombino.
Repairing to his quarters in the Vatican, the duke remained so close there for the few weeks that he abode in Rome on this occasion 1 that, from now onward, it became a matter of the utmost difficulty to obtain audience from him. This may have been due to his habit of turning night into day and day into night, whether at work or at play, which in fact was the excuse offered by the Pope to certain envoys sent to Cesare from Rimini, who were left to cool their heels about the Vatican ante chambers for a fortnight without succeeding in obtaining an audience.
Cesare Borgia was now Lord of Imola, Forli, Rimini, Faenza and Piombino, warranting his assumption of the inclusive title of Duke of Romagna which he had taken immediately after the fall of Faenza.
As his State grew, so naturally did the affairs of government; and, during those four weeks in Rome, business claimed his attention and an enormous amount of it was dispatched. Chiefly was he engaged upon the administration of the affairs of Faenza, which he had so hurriedly quitted. In this his shrewd policy of generosity is again apparent. As his representative and lieutenant he appointed a prominent citizen of Faenza named Pasi, one of the very members of that Council which had been engaged in defending the city and resisting Cesare. The duke gave it as his motive for the choice that the man was obviously worthy of trust in view of his fidelity to Astorre.
1 "Mansit in Palatio secrete," says Burchard.
And there you have not only the shrewdness of the man who knows how to choose his servants which is one of the most important factors of success but a breadth of mind very unusual indeed in the Cinque cento.
In addition to the immunity from indemnity provided for by the terms of the city's capitulation, Cesare actually went so far as to grant the peasantry of the valley 2,000 ducats as compensation for damage done in the war. Further, he supported the intercessions of the Council to the Pope for the erection of a new convent to replace the one that had been destroyed in the bombardment. In giving his consent to this in a brief dated July 12, 1501 the Pope announces that he does so in response to the prayers of the Council and of the duke.
Giovanni Vera, Cesare's erstwhile preceptor and still affectionately accorded this title by the duke was now Archbishop of Salerno, Cardinal of Santa Balbina, and papal legate in Macerata, and he was chosen by the Pope to go to Pesaro and Fano for the purpose of receiving the oath of fealty. With him Cesare sent, as his own personal representative, his secretary, Agabito Gherardi, who had been in his employ in that capacity since the duke's journey into France, and who was to follow his fortunes to the end.
However the people of Fano may have refrained from offering themselves to the duke's dominion when, in the previous October, he had afforded them by his presence the opportunity of doing so, their conduct now hardly indicated that the earlier abstention had been born of reluctance, or else their minds had undergone, in the meanwhile, a considerable change. For, when they received the brief appointing him their lord, they celebrated the event by public rejoicings and illuminations; whilst on July 21 the Council, representing the people, in the presence of Vera and Gherardi, took oath upon the Gospels of allegiance to Cesare and his descendants for ever.
In the Consistory of June 25 of that year the French and Spanish ambassadors came formally to notify the Holy Father of the treaty of Granada, entered into in the previous November by Louis XII of the one part, and Ferdinand and Isabella of the other, concerning the conquest and division of the Kingdom of Naples. The rival claimants had come to a compromise by virtue of which they were to undertake together the conquest and thereafter share the spoil Naples and the Abruzzi going to France, and Calabria and Puglia to Spain.
Alexander immediately published his Bull declaring Federigo of Naples deposed for disobedience to the Church, and for having called the Turk to his aid, either of which charges it would have taxed Alexander's ingenuity vast though it was convincingly to have established ; or, being established, to censure when all the facts were considered. The charges were no better than pretexts for the spoliation of the unfortunate king who, in the matter of his daughter's alliance with Cesare, had conceived that he might flout the Borgias with impunity.
On June 28 d'Aubigny left Rome with the French troops, accompanied by the bulk of the considerable army with which Cesare supported his French ally, besides 1,000 foot raised by the Pope and a condotta of 100 lances under Morgante Baglioni. As the troops defiled before the Castle of Sant'Angelo they received the apostolic benediction from the Pope, who stood on the lower ramparts of the fortress.
Cesare himself cannot have followed to join the army until after July 10, for as late as that date there is an edict indited by him against all who should offer injury to his Romagna officers. At about the same time that he quitted Rome to ride after the French, Gonsalo de Cordoba landed a Spanish army in Calabria, and the days of the Aragon dominion in Naples were numbered.
King Federigo prepared to face the foe. Whilst himself remaining in Naples with Prospero Colonna, he sent the bulk of his forces to Capua under Fabrizio Colonna and Count Rinuccio Marciano the brother of that Marciano whom Vitelli had put to death in Tuscany.
Ravaging the territory and forcing its strongholds as they came, the allies were under the walls of Capua within three weeks of setting out; but on July 17, when within two miles of the town, they were met by six hundred lances under Colonna, who attempted to dispute their passage. It was Cesare Borgia himself who led the charge against them. Jean d'Auton in his Chronicles of Louis XII speaks in warm terms of the duke's valour and of the manner in which, by words and by example, he encouraged his followers to charge the Colonna forces, with such good effect that they utterly routed the Neapolitans, and drove them headlong back to the shelter of Capua's walls.