This section is from the book "The Life Of Cesare Borgia", by Rafael Sabatini. Also available from Amazon: The Life of Cesare Borgia.
It really seemed as if the condottieri were determined to make their scoreasheavyaspossible. For even whilst Paolo Orsini had been on his mission of peace to Cesare, and whilst they awaited his return, they had continued in arms against the duke. The Vitelli had aided Guidobaldo to reconquer his territory, and had killed, in the course of doing so, Bartolomeo da Capranica, Cesare's most valued captain and Vitelli's brother in arms of yesterday. The Baglioni were pressing Michele da Corella in Pesaro, but to little purpose; whilst the butcher Oliverotto da Fermo in Camerino of which he had taken possession with Gianmaria Varano was slaughtering every Spaniard he could find.
On the other side, Corella in Pesaro hanged five men whom he caught practising against the duke's government, and, having taken young Pietro Varano who was on his way to join his brother in Camerino in view of the revolt there he had him strangled in the market place. There is a story that, with life not yet extinct, the poor youth was carried into church by the pitiful crowd. But here a friar, discovering that he still lived, called in the soldiers and bade them finish him. This friar, going later through Cagli, was recognized, set upon by a mob, and torn to pieces in which, if the rest of the tale be true, he was richly served.
Into the theatre of bloodshed came Paolo Orsini from his mission to Valentinois, bringing with him the treaty for signature by the condottieri. Accustomed as they were to playing fast and loose, they opined that, so far as Urbino was concerned, enough changes of government had they contrived there already. Vitelli pointed out the unseemliness of once again deposing Guidobaldo, whom they had just reseated upon his throne. Besides, he perceived in the treaty the end of his hopes of a descent upon Florence, which was the cause of all his labours. So he rejected it.
But Valentinois had already got the Orsini and Pandolfo Petrucci on his side, and so the confederacy was divided. Another factor came to befriend the duke. On November 2 he was visited by Antonio Galeazzo Bentivogli, sent by his father Giovanni to propose a treaty with him this state of affairs having been brought about by the mediation of Ercole d'Este. From the negotiations that followed it resulted that, on the 13th, the Orsini had word from Cesare that he had entered into an alliance with the Bentivogli which definitely removed their main objection to bearing arms with him.
It was resigning much on Cesare's part, but the treaty, after all, was only for two years, and might, of course, be broken before then, as they understood these matters. This treaty was signed at the Vatican on the 23rd, between Borgia and Bentivogli, to guarantee the States of both. The King of France, the Signory of Florence, and the Duke of Ferrara guaranteed the alliance.
Inter alia, it was agreed between them that Bologna should supply Cesare with 100 lances and 200 light horse for one or two enterprises within the year, and that the condotta of 100 lances which Cesare held from Bologna by the last treaty should be renewed. The terms of the treaty were to be kept utterly secret for the next three months, so that the affairs of Urbino and Camerino should not be prejudiced by their publication.
The result was instantaneous. On November 27 Paolo Orsini was back at Imola with the other treaty, which bore now the signatures of all the confederates. Vitelli, finding himself isolated, had swallowed his chagrin in the matter of Florence, and his scruples in the matter of Urbino, abandoning the unfortunate Guidobaldo to his fate. This came swiftly. From Imola, Paolo Orsini rode to Fano on the 29th, and ordered his men to advance upon Urbino and seize the city in the Duke of Valentinois's name, proclaiming a pardon for all rebels who would be submissive.
Guidobaldo and the ill starred Lord of Faenza were the two exceptions in Romagna the only two who had known how to win the affections of their subjects. For Guidobaldo there was nothing that the men of Urbino would not have done. They rallied to him now, and the women of Valbone like the ladies of England to save Cceur de-Lion came with their jewels and trinkets, offering them that he might have the means to levy troops and resist. But this gentle,kindly Guidobaldo could not subject his country to further ravages of war; and so he determined, in his subjects' interests as much as in his own, to depart for the second time.
Early in December the Orsini troops are in his territory, and Paolo, halting them a few miles out of Urbino, sends to beg Guidobaldo's attendance in his camp. Guidobaldo, crippled by gout and unable at the time to walk a step, sends Paolo his excuses and begs that he will come to Urbino, where he awaits him. There Guidobaldo makes formal surrender to him, takes leave of his faithful friends, enjoins fidelity to Valentinois and trust in God, and so on December 19 he departs into exile, the one pathetic noble figure amid so many ignoble ones. Paolo, taking possession of the duchy, assumes the title of governor.
The Florentines had had their chance of an alliance with Cesare, and had deliberately neglected it. Early in November they had received letters from the King of France urging them to come to an accord with Cesare, and they had made known to the duke that they desired to reoccupy Pisa and to assure themselves of Vitelli; but, when he pressed that Florence should give him a condotta, Macchiavelli following his instructions not to commit the Republic in any way had answered " that his Excellency must not be considered as other lords, but as a new potentate in Italy, with whom it is more seemly to make an alliance or a friendship than to grant him a condotta ; and, as alliances are maintained by arms, and that is the only power to compel their observance, the Signory could not perceive what security they would have when three quarters or three fifths of their arms would be in the duke's hands." Macchiavelli added diplomatically that " he did not say this to impugn the duke's good faith, but to show him that princes should be circumspect and never enter into anything that leaves a possibility of their being put at a disadvantage." 1