Cosmo, in reply, pointed out, that to lend assistance to the count would be highly beneficial both to Italy and the republic; for it was unwise to imagine the Milanese could preserve their own liberty; for the nature of their community, their mode of life, and their hereditary feuds were opposed to every kind of civil government, so that it was necessary, either that the count should become duke of Milan, or the Venetians her lords. And surely under such circumstances, no one could doubt which would be most to their advantage, to have for their neighbor a powerful friend or a far more powerful foe. Neither need it be apprehended that the Milanese, while at war with the count, would submit to the Venetians; for the count had a stronger party in the city, and the Venetians had not, so that whenever they were unable to defend themselves as freemen, they would be more inclined to obey the count than the Venetians.
These diverse views kept the city long in suspense; but at length it was resolved to send ambassadors to the count to settle the terms of agreement, with instructions, that if they found him in such a condition as to give hopes of his ultimate success, they were to close with him, but, if otherwise, they were to draw out the time in diplomacy.
Prosecution of the war between the count and the Milanese—The Milanese reduced to extremity—The people rise against the magistrates—Milan surrenders to the count—League between the new duke of Milan and the Florentines, and between the king of Naples and the Venetians—Venetian and Neapolitan ambassadors at Florence—Answer of Cosmo de’ Medici to the Venetian ambassador—Preparations of the Venetians and the king of Naples for the war—The Venetians excite disturbances in Bologna—Florence prepares for war—The emperor, Frederick III. at Florence—War in Lombardy between the duke of Milan and the Venetians—Ferrando, son of the king of Naples, marches into Tuscany against the Florentines.
The ambassadors were at Reggio when they heard that the count had become lord of Milan; for as soon as the truce had expired, he approached the city with his forces, hoping quickly to get possession of it in spite of the Venetians, who could bring no relief except from the side of the Adda, which route he could easily obstruct, and therefore had no apprehension (being then winter) of their arrival, and he trusted that, before the return of spring, he would be victorious, particularly, as by the death of Francesco Piccinino, there remained only Jacopo his brother, to command the Milanese. The Venetians had sent an ambassador to Milan to confirm the citizens in their resolution of defense, promising them powerful and immediate aid. During the winter a few slight skirmishes had taken place between the count and the Venetians; but on the approach of milder weather, the latter, under Pandolfo Malatesti, halted with their army upon