[*] A lean peace is better than a fat victory.
Origin of the animosity between Sixtus IV. and Lorenzo de’ Medici—Carlo di Braccio da Perugia attacks the Siennese—Carlo retires by desire of the Florentines—Conspiracy against Galeazzo, duke of Milan—His vices—He is slain by the conspirators—Their deaths.
The pope, anxious to retain the territories of the church in obedience, had caused Spoleto to be sacked for having, through internal factions, fallen into rebellion. Citta di Castello being in the same state of contumacy, he besieged that place; and Niccolo Vitelli its prince, being on intimate terms with Lorenzo de’ Medici, obtained assistance from him, which, though inadequate, was quite enough to originate that enmity between Sixtus IV. and the Medici afterward productive of such unhappy results. Nor would this have been so long in development had not the death of Frate Piero, cardinal of St. Sixtus, taken place; who, after having traveled over Italy and visited Venice and Milan (under the pretense of doing honor to the marriage of Ercole, marquis of Ferrara), went about sounding the minds of the princes, to learn how they were disposed toward the Florentines. But upon his return he died, not without suspicion of having been poisoned by the Venetians, who found they would have reason to fear Sixtus if he were allowed to avail himself of the talents and exertions of Frate Piero. Although of very low extraction, and meanly brought up within the walls of a convent, he had no sooner attained the distinction of the scarlet hat, than he exhibited such inordinate pride and ambition, that the pontificate seemed too little for him, and he gave a feast in Rome which would have seemed extraordinary even for a king, the expense exceeding twenty thousand florins. Deprived of this minister, the designs