A History of the Borgias by Frederick Baron Corvo

By Frederick Baron Corvo

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Sample text

P. Ill was a feeble old man of the the age of seventy-seven years. His duties, as Governor of the Bastard of Naples, as Bishop of Valencia, as Orator of King to Pope, as Plenipotentiary between Pope and King, and had as Counsellor of King, as Cardinal-Counsellor of Pope, his ceaseless studies in jurisprudence and canon-law, worn away the bodily strength of him the perishable thin scabbard that hid steel indomitable and keen. Outside the Vatican very diverse opinions were entertained of Him. His long connection with King Don Alonso I.

P. VII (Flavio Chigi), made the Vandyke beard and upturned mustachio the clerical mode; and, later still, the whole face was shaved according to the present rule. But, at the time when the Cardinal of Avignon reflected upon the Cardinal of Trebizond's beard, there appears to have been a distinct prejudice in favour of a shaven, indeed of a shorn, pope. This may be seen in the medals of popes and cardinals of the fifteenth century (when cleanliness was a mark of gentility), where the large tonsure and shaven faces are very noticeable.

He may set him with princes "even with the princes of His people. "That : (Ps. cxiii. 7, 8). "Suscitans a terra inopem: "et de stercore erigens pauperem. "Ut collocet eum cum principibus: "cum principibus populi Sui. (Vulgate, Ps. cxii. 6, 7). P. Ill was not unnaturally popular. It will be readily admitted that the Roman baronial houses of Colonna and Orsini would have been more than human had they not felt some mortifi- caticn at the failure of their conclavial manoeuvres to secure the Papacy for one of themselves.

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