Front Page Titles (by Subject) THIRD MISSION TO SIENNA. * - The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527)
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THIRD MISSION TO SIENNA. * - 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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THIRD MISSION TO SIENNA.*
Magnificent and Illustrious Signori, etc.: —
I arrived here this evening, and in trying to find out the whereabouts of the Legate, I learn from different sources that his Lordship will be this evening at Acquapendente, and will go to-morrow to Paglia; the day after he may go to Buonconvento, and if he follows this itinerary he will be here on Friday; but how long he may remain here is not known. Whether he will remain over Sunday to see the festivities here, or whether he will leave before, I shall have to find out after his arrival, when your Lordships shall be promptly informed. Now as to his retinue, and the honors which it is intended to show him here, I have talked with the landlords and others of that class with whom persons under similar circumstances are wont to lodge, and they report that the municipality has deputed six persons to receive and do honor to the Legate, and that the following arrangements have been made. The Legate himself, with forty or fifty of his more immediate suite, will be lodged either in the house of Pandolfo or in the episcopal palace, and their expenses honorably paid. The remainder of the retinue, with their horses, will lodge at the hostelries, and the landlords have already been notified to make the necessary provisions. It is not known yet whether the municipality will pay their expenses also, or whether they will be left to pay for themselves, as nothing has been said upon that point to the landlords; but seeing the importance they attach to this Legate, and their desire that he should also protect their interests in Germany, makes these landlords believe that the municipality will pay all. But they know nothing positive about it, nor do they know what is done in this respect in other parts of the dominion, and therefore I can write nothing about it. But I shall be in the same place with the Legate to-morrow, and when I shall have obtained full information upon all these points, I will send you an express. Neither am I able to inform you as to the number of mounted men in the Legate’s retinue, for some say that it is not over one hundred, whilst others put it at two hundred; but the most trustworthy adhere to the smaller number. In short, as I have said above, within forty hours your Lordships shall know exactly the number, the manner in which they will be treated here, and the time when they will arrive on your territory. I shall not ask the Legate’s master of the household for a list of his retinue, for I would not like to incur your Lordships’ displeasure, if you should find yourselves embarrassed by their being in reality more than what the list might have indicated, and therefore I leave this question entirely to your Lordships.
There was a very excited meeting of the Balia here to-day owing to the news from Lusignano, that that borough had determined to keep its gates closed from fear of the men of Val di Chiana. From what I hear, the people of this city will make a great holiday of the Emperor’s arrival, which is desired by all. I mention this to your Lordships, as in matters of this kind the will of the people generally differs from that of its chiefs. Valete!
Sienna, 10 August, 1507.
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
Immediately on my arrival here at Sienna, on the day before yesterday, I wrote to your Lordships all I had learned respecting the Legate, and how they had decided here to do him honor. Hoping that my letter reached you safely, I shall not repeat what I then wrote. As mentioned to your Lordships, the Legate lodged last night at Paglia, but instead of going there I went to San Quirico, thinking that I should see the Legate’s retinue better when they arrive in the evening than when they start in the morning. I passed the night at San Quirico, where the Cardinal’s retinue would have to pass if they were to go to Buonconvento according to the original intention, or in case they were to stop here. But the Cardinal had changed the order of things, going himself with a portion of his suite from Paglia to Pienza, where he was entertained by the Piccolomini, and sending the remainder on to San Quirico. As I wished to know exactly the number of cavaliers which the Legate has with him, and seeing this division arrive here, I sent my courier at daybreak to Pienza to count the number of cavaliers that had gone with the Legate, whilst I remained at San Quirico to count the rest. In fine, my courier returned and reported thirty-nine horse, and that he had remained there ten hours after the arrival of the Cardinal and suite. At San Quirico there arrived fifty-seven, and some ten had passed on towards Sienna, so that putting them all together there may be in all one hundred and ten cavaliers in his suite. I remained at San Quirico until the twenty-second hour to make sure that all had passed, and unless others should have come from Rome, he has no more than the above-stated number of one hundred and ten; although his chamberlains and master of the household say that he has one hundred and fifty, which they do, thinking the greater number more honorable. Besides the above-mentioned number of horse, there are thirty-two sumpter mules which I have counted myself, although the Cardinal’s own people say there are forty; but so far from there being so many, the number is rather less, as I have said. He has about fifty grooms and valets, and as to his courtiers, the most of them look as if they had just come from the Stinche prisons.* These are all the facts I have been able to learn about the Cardinal’s domestic establishment; and believing that I have fulfilled my mission in this respect, I took the post at the twenty-second hour, and came from San Quirico here to Sienna, so as to be able to inform your Lordships of the honors shown to the Cardinal, and of the time when he will leave here.
Finding himself still twenty-three miles from here, the Cardinal will not come to-morrow to Sienna, but defers his entry here until Saturday. The authorities have ordered him to be received with all the ceremony due to a Legate. He will be lodged at the episcopal palace, and all his gentlemen, to the number of about fifty, will be distributed amongst the citizens in such manner as the six deputies may deem best; whilst the whole crowd of menials will go to the hostelries, where their expenses will be paid; although nothing has as yet been said to the landlords upon this point, showing either that but a few will go to the hostelries, or that it will only be persons of low quality. Throughout the entire dominion the Cardinal has paid all expenses, except at Pienza, where he was the guest of the Piccolomini; but he paid the expenses of all who went to Paglia and San Quirico, and will do the same to-morrow, unless he should go with a select few to some private place, of which I am not aware. I shall remain all Sunday here at Sienna to witness their holiday-making. On Monday, or at the latest on Tuesday, the Cardinal goes to Poggibonsi; and if I knew exactly when he leaves here I should have returned and made my report to your Lordships in person; but as I have not been able to find out, I shall remain here until I can give you positive information on that point. And should anything else occur to your Lordships to charge me with, you can still do so. I can only report what I have already said, namely, that at the earliest on Monday, and at latest on Tuesday, the Cardinal will be at Poggibonsi.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Sienna, 12 August, 1507.
I have deferred sending off my express this morning, this being the 13th, to see whether I could forward it without expense; but unable to do so, I have now determined to send him. He will leave at the eleventh hour, and promises to be in Florence at the seventeenth hour.
Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
I wrote to your Lordships on the 12th, and sent it yesterday morning in haste by an express. In that letter I informed you that the Legate would make his entry here to-day, and that throughout the Siennese dominions he had paid his own expenses, and that his retinue consisted of one hundred and ten cavaliers or less, and between thirty and forty sumpter mules, and about forty persons on foot; that he personally would lodge in the episcopal palace with forty or fifty of his cavaliers, and that the remainder would be accommodated in the different hostelries, and their expenses paid by the municipality; and that so far as I could learn he would leave here on Monday or Tuesday. Since then the Legate has arrived, and is lodged as I had written you; instead of paying his expenses, however, they have presented to him in the name of the Signoria all sorts of eatables, as is customary with ambassadors, but in such profusion that it is said they have cost more than one hundred ducats. Beyond this, however, they do not trouble themselves about them, but let them shift for themselves. The said Legate will leave here on Monday morning, and will go to Poggibonsi; on Tuesday he will proceed to San Casciano, and according to what he says himself he expects to reach Florence on Wednesday. Having heard from several persons that the Legate said this at table, I have no reason to doubt it; and as it seems to me now that I have nothing further to do here, I shall leave to-morrow morning, and shall come leisurely but direct to Florence. Should your Lordships think of any other commission to charge me with on the way, you can let me know.
Whilst here, and amongst these Spaniards, I have learned something which I think it would be well your Lordships should know also. It is this. About one month ago two letters were received here from the Emperor of Germany, both to the same effect; namely, one to the Balia, and the other to Pandolfo, informing them of his coming into Italy, and expressing his confidence in the good faith of this city, and advising them to make no further payments to France under their agreement, showing them that, having been made against him, it is no longer valid. The letter to Pandolfo contains, besides the above, many particulars for his instruction, which he has shown to the Balia and others, and of which he is very proud.
I understand that the proposed coming of the Emperor does not please him at all, like one who is well off and sees no advantage in further labors; and speaking the other day with a friend he said to him, “If this Emperor comes, it will benefit no one but the Pisans.” But Pandolfo does not believe in the Emperor’s coming, and relies upon the Swiss and the Venetians, who he thinks will not adhere firmly to him. Nevertheless he goes on making preparations: first, by making every one here believe that the Emperor is his particular friend, so as to deprive the malcontents of the hope of support; and secondly, by doing all he can really to make him so, although up to yesterday morning he had not received any letter from his envoy to the Emperor. I say this because I am told this morning that he received such letters last night, and if I can learn anything of their contents I will inform your Lordships.
In conversing with some of the Legate’s people, and with some persons of intelligence, I learn that the object of his mission is to do all in his power to prevent the Emperor’s coming; and by way of removing the necessity of his coming to Italy to be crowned, the Legate is authorized, jointly with another German cardinal whose name has escaped me, to crown the Emperor at home. But if he sees that the Emperor is resolved anyhow to come down into Italy, then he is to persuade him to come unaccompanied by any armed force; assuring him of the friendship of France, and all the guaranties of security he can ask for. And if all this does not produce the desired effect, and he sees that the Emperor is bent upon coming with an armed force, then he is carefully to find out the Emperor’s resources, and whether they are sufficient to overcome all the obstacles he may encounter, and to report the same; and in such case he is to amuse the Emperor with assurances of the high opinion which his Holiness the Pope entertains of his Majesty.
I mention these things to your Lordships, not as being true, but simply as having heard them from men of serious character; and mainly because I know that it will do no harm that you should know these things, as I said in the beginning.
Whilst writing, the brother of the Cardinal Ceserino arrived at this hostelry, with fifteen horse; he is on his way from Rome to Bologna on some business, and will remain here to-morrow, and then go on to Florence with the Legate. It is thus that the stream is constantly swelling.
I recommend myself to your Lordships, quæ bene valeant.
Sienna, 14 August, 1507, 21st hour.
[* ]When Pope Julius II. heard that the Emperor Maximilian wascoming down into Italy to assume the imperial crown, he resolved to send a Legate to him in Germany, and appointed for this purpose the Spaniard Bernardino Caravajal, “Cardinal of Santa Croce in Jerusalemme.” As this Legate had to traverse Tuscany in going to Germany, the Signoria of Florence, uncertain as to what they ought to do, and uninformed as to the number of persons in the Legate’s suite, and at the same time not wishing either to go too far in showing him too much honor, or to fall short of doing their duty to so illustrious a stranger, resolved to send their Secretary to Sienna, where they knew that the Cardinal would stop a few days, so as to find out and report to them all they wished to know about him. Machiavelli’s letters treat the matter according to his instructions; but it seems that the Ten did not write to him during this mission, as no letters from them on the subject have been found in the archives. — Edition of Machiavelli’s Works by Passerini and Milanesi.
[* ]The prisons at Florence were familiarly called “Stinche,” after a castle by that name in the Val di Greve in Tuscany, the inhabitants of which had rebelled. The Florentines surrounded this castle with a line of palisades, thus converting it into a prison in which all the inhabitants were shut up. By assimilation the new prisons in Florence were afterwards called the Stinche.