Giovanni Bentivoglio - Encyclopedia

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GIOVANNI BENTIVOGLIO (1443-1508), tyrant of Bologna, descended from a powerful family which exercised great influence in Bologna during the 15th century, was born after the murder of his father, then chief magistrate of the commune. In 1462 Giovanni contrived to make himself master of the city, although it was nominally a fief of the church under a papal legate. He ruled with a stern sway for nearly half a century, but the brilliance of his court, his encouragement of the fine arts and his decoration of the city with sumptuous edifices, to some extent compensated the Bolognese for the loss of their liberty. Cesare Borgia contemplated the subjugation of Bologna in 1500, when he was crushing the various despots of Romagna, but Bentivoglio was saved for the moment by French intervention. In 1502 he took part in the conspiracy against Cesare, but, when the latter obtained French assistance, he abandoned his fellowconspirators and helped Borgia to overcome them. During the brief pontificate of Pius III., who succeeded Alexander VI. in 1503, Bentivoglio enjoyed a respite, but the new pope, Julius II., was determined to reduce all the former papal states to obedience. Having won Louis XII. of France to his side, he led an army against Bologna, excommunicated Bentivoglio and forced him to abandon the city (November 1506). The deposed tyrant took refuge with the French, whom he trusted more than the pope, and died at Milan in 1508.

BIBLIOGRAPHY.-P. Litta, Le Famiglie celebri Italiane, vol. iii. (Milan, 1834); P. Villari, Machiavelli (Eng. trans., London, 1892); M. Creighton, History of the Papacy (London, 1897); A. von Reumont, Geschichte der Stadt Rom, vol. iii. (Berlin, 1868). (L. V.*)

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