Front Page Titles (by Subject) LETTER XXIX. - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
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LETTER XXIX. - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527) 
The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings of Niccolo Machiavelli, tr. from the Italian, by Christian E. Detmold (Boston, J. R. Osgood and company, 1882). Vol. 4.
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Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
I wrote to your Lordships yesterday, and inter cætera stated that the departure of the Pope from here had been fixed for to-morrow. It seems, however, that he has again changed his mind; and there will be a consistory to-morrow, at which the only question to be examined is the manner in which the ecclesiastical censure is to be launched against the Bolognese.
At this moment, it being about the twenty-second hour, the ambassador of the king of Castile has notified the Pope that his Majesty has died, at Burgos, of a malady called in Italy the “Mazzucco”;* and as this death may cause the return of King Ferdinand to Spain, or some other movement, I write to your Lordships in all haste by way of Castrocaro, fearing that your Lordships will not get this news so promptly in any other way. The Pope has to-day engaged Ramazotto with six hundred infantry, and Nanni Morattini with three hundred men, and has taken measures to have some five to six thousand at his option, of which the one thousand men from Feltro constitute a part, as I have before mentioned to your Lordships. The French will bring with them four to five thousand men.
The Bolognese have opened negotiations, and ask that two cardinals be sent there to see and make reforms; but his Holiness persists in his resolution to march upon Bologna. It is said now that he will start to-morrow after dinner, which seems to me difficult; but we shall certainly start the day after for Furli. Valete.
Cesena, 6 October, 1506.
[* ]This event was announced to Machiavelli by Cardinal Soderini, in a letter still extant, and dated at Cesena, 6 October, in precisely the same terms which Machiavelli uses, in writing to the Florentine Signoria, about the nature of the malady of which the Archduke Philip died. Muratori in the Annals of Italy in 1528, speaks of the “Mazzucco” as a pestilential fever which attacks the inhabitants of Padua, rendering them mad and desirous to throw themselves out of the window, or into wells and rivers, and for which medical men have found no remedy as yet. He reports also that in the same year the imperial army was attacked by this epidemic, which caused much suffering and great mortality amongst the troops. It recurred in the years 1414, 1510, 1558, and 1580, in which last year Anne of Austria, wife of King Philip II., died of it. The historian Mariana, Vol. II. p. 225, in speaking of the death of the Archduke Philip, expresses himself as follows: “The King Don Philip was seized with a pestilential fever that carried him off in a few days. Some persons suspected that he had been poisoned, but his own physicians, amongst whom was Louis Marliano, a Milanese, who afterwards became Bishop of Tuy, proved that the real cause of his illness had been too violent exercise.” He adds, that he died on the 25th of September, 1506, at ten o’clock, p. m., at the age of twenty-eight years. In fine, this sickness is a species of catarrh, generally accompanied by high fever, and always with great pain and heaviness in the head, giddiness, etc., etc., also running at the nose, which afterwards goes down into the throat and chest, causing incessant hard coughing and difficulty of respiration, nausea, weakness, and a painful feeling of lassitude of the whole body. This malady is always epidemic, and has several times infected all Europe, passing with great rapidity from province to province. In Italy it has been called, according to the locality, Galantino or Cortesina sickness, or the Mazzucco, or the Mattone or Montone sickness. In France it is called Coqueluche. These notes have been furnished by the celebrated Doctor Giovanni Torgione Tozelli.