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Alexander II., in the years 1063 and 1064.* Gregory VII. defended himself in the fortress against the Roman partisans of Henry IV., and in this transaction also the Mole appears to have been impregnable. The people and the Germans could not force their way into it, and the only effort made was to prevent Gregory from getting out. He was liberated by the army of Guiscard, but the castle fell into the hands of his enemies. The troops of the Countess Matilda put it in possession of Victor III., whose garrison held it against the partisans of the anti-pope Guibert in 1087. It was attacked by the people, and yielded by Urban II., not, however, in consequence of a violent assault † (A.D. 1091). It was then resolved to level this “ lasting shame” with the ground: but the anti-pope Guibert, Clement III., retained it for his own service, and defended it for seven years against his opponents.
The army of the Crusaders, in 1096, assaulted it in vain. Urban recovered it by composition in 1098. Another anti-pope, Anaclete II., wrested it from the hands of Innocent II., who returning with the Emperor Lothaire III., tried, without success, to recover it. This occurred in 1137, and in the following year, after
* Annali d' Italia, ad an. cit. There is a short history of the castle of St. Angelo in Donatus, lib. iv. cap. vii., which being founded chiefly on Baronius, seems very incorrect, especially as to dates.
† Baronius would make it appear so.—See Annali ad an. 1091, tom. vi. p. 303.
the death of Anaclete and the deposition of Victor IV., Innocent was again master of the Mole.* The Peter Leone family guarded it for the successive pontiffs, Celestine II., Lucius II., and Eugenius III., up to the year 1153,+ when the new senate occupied this and the other fortresses. It stood a siege for Alexander III. against Frederic Barbarossa, in 1167, but fell into the hands of the senate after the retreat of that pontiff.
The subsequent popes, however, seem to have been the nominal masters of it, even when they had lost nearly the whole of the temporal power at Rome, f and after the retreat to Avignon. A legate was governor at the elevation of Rienzi, and after his fall the Tribune remained for a month securely posted in the citadel. Innocent VI., hearing of the death of his Tribune-senator Rienzi, was alarmed lest the barons should seize the Mole, and accordingly delivered it into the keeping of Hugo Lusignan, king of Cyprus, then appointed Senator. On the return from Avignon it received Gregory XI. (1376); but his successor, Urban VI., lost it in the hurry of the election. The opposing cardinals would not deliver it into his hands, and the captain of their anti-pope, Clement VII., defended it, as already described, until 1378, the date of its destruction.
It remained dismantled until 1382, when two Romans
* Annali, tom. vi. p. 461. + Ibid. ad an. cit.
Donatus, lib. iv. cap. vii. p. 890. Script. Rer. Ital. tom. iii.
said to Boniface IX., “If you wish to maintain the dominion of Rome, fortify Castle Saint Angelo.”* He followed their advice, and a great antiquary records the consequence: "Boniface IX., the pontiff, first fortified the Mole of Hadrian, and established the papal power.”+ The people petitioned Innocent VII. to restore to them their liberty, the Capitol, the Milvian Bridge, and the Mole, and seized, for a moment, all but the latter, which they assaulted, but were repulsed by the pontifical troops and totally routed in the gardens of Nero, in the Vatican.
Ladislaus, of Naples, expelled Pope John XXIII., and left the castle in the possession of his daughter, Johanna II. It now stood another siege from Braccio Montoni, # and was soon afterwards delivered to Pope Martin V.
During the reign of Eugenius IV. a plan was laid for murdering the governor, and when that pope was driven from the city, the people attacked it furiously, but were unable to prevail. Sixtus IV. renewed the practice of naming cardinals to the præfecture of the castle. Nicholas V. added something to the fortifications ; but Alexander VI. constructed the brickworks on the summit,
* “ Se tu vuoi mantenere lo stato di Roma, acconcia castel Sant' Angelo."—Steph. Infess. diario, ibid. p. 1115, loc. cit.
+ “ Bonifacius IX. Pontif. max. primus, mole Hadriani munita, Romanorum Pontificum ditionem stabilivit.” – Onuf. Panvinii Descrip. Urb. Romæ, ap. Græv., tom. iii. p. 299.
# The dates will have been seen in previous notice of the destruction of Roman edifices.
and also the bastions in front of the Tiber. These additions enabled it to withstand the Imperialists of Charles V. for seven months; and it was not finally taken by assault, but surrendered, by Clement VII. and his thirteen cardinals, upon terms. Paul III. and Pius IV. adorned and strengthened it; but the great engineer was · Urban VIII. ; he added a mound, a ditch, a bastion, and a hundred pieces of cannon of different calibre, thereby making it evident, as Donatus quaintly observes, that “ his bees (the Barberini arms) not only gave honey, but had stings for the fight."*
Since the modern improvements in artillery, it is clear that the castle, commanded, as it is, by all the neighbouring hills, could never resist a cannonade. It was surrendered during the late war of 1814, after an idle menace from the French captain, that the angel on the top should sheath his sword before the garrison would capitulate.
Yet it has completely answered the intention of Boniface, and the Tomb of Hadrian has served for the basis of a modern throne. This must magnify our conceptions of the massive fabrics of ancient Rome; but the destruction of the memorial would have been preferable to the establishment of the monarchy.
The interior of the castle is scarcely worth a visit,
* “ Nimirum apes non solum mel conficiunt sed etiam aculeatæ armantur ad pugnam.”—Lib. iv. cap. vii. ibid. Books were written to show how it should be fortified ; so the writer found somewhere ; he believes in Guicciardini.
except it be for the sake of mounting to the summit and enjoying the prospect of the windings of the Tiber. The memorials of Hadrian are reduced to a bust, and a copy of it shown in the principal saloon, whose frescoes are very little attractive, after the sight of the masterpieces in that art. The size, however, of the room is so considerable, that a tragedy was represented there under the direction of Cardinal Riario in presence of the whole papal court.* The living still continue to be entombed in the repository of the dead, and the exploit of Cellini, which a view of the fortress makes less surprising, has been repeated by a late prisoner.
* Tiraboschi, Storia, &c. tom. vi. par. iii. lib. iii. p. 816. This was about the year 1492. Innocent VIII. was spectator, and the academicians of Pomponius Lætus were the actors. The plays were performed also in the cardinal's house, and “in media Circi caveâ,” probably the Coliseum.