Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Sack of Rome of 1527

From Stephanie Mann:
On May 6, 1527, troops loyal to Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor, attacked Rome and the Vatican. As the Swiss Guard website describes the event:
On the morning of 6 May 1527, from his headquarters, the monastery of S. Onofrio on the Giancolo, Captain-General of Bourbon gave the signal to attack. Near the "Porta del Torrione" he was mortally wounded, as he prepared to storm the ramparts. After some hesitation, Spanish mercenaries broke through the "Porta del Torrione", while the soldiers invaded the "Borgo Santo Spirito" and the "Borgo San Pietro". The Pontifical Swiss Guard which had assembled near the obelisk, which then stood near the "Campo Santo Teutonico", and the few Roman troops fought a futile battle. The commander Kaspar Röist was wounded and later brutally massacred in the quarters by the Spaniards, right before the eyes of his wife, Elizabeth Klingler. Of the total of 189 Swiss Guards only 42 survived, who, under the command of Hercules Göldli, accompanied Clement VII to his retreat, Castel Sant'Angelo.

The others fell heroically before the high altar of St. Peter, along with 200 others who had fled into the church. The rescue of Clement VII and his people was made possible through a secret escape passage, the so-called "Passetto", which Alexander VI. had created on the wall that leads from the Vatican to Castel Sant'Angelo. The savage horde was in a hurry, because it feared that its retreat would be cut off by the league. Soldiers and Spaniards poured over the "Ponte Sisto" and into the city for eight days, spreading terror and violence, looting, murdering and transgressing. They even broke the tombs of the Popes, including the one of Julius II. The death toll is estimated at 12,000 and the bounty amounted to ten million ducats.
(Read more.)

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