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Carolus VIII, commoto in Alexandrum animo, Urbem ingreditur. Cum multa audisset agi quae minus Pastoris sancti officio convenirent, ducitur in hortum Rex ad Pontificem, quem quum positis humi genibus orantem invenisset, ipse cum proceribus, quibus stipatus ibat, attoniti facti, quem prius oderant, statim amare, observare et venerari coepere, falsis in eum calumniis se deceptos rati.

Aegidius Viterbiensis, Hist. XX Sæc.

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PREFACE

A mountain of literature, both manuscript and printed, bearing upon the history of pope Alexander VI has gradually been built up, and is rising still year after year. A hundred writers have contributed to its formation. That not a few of them were biased by passion, private interests or hostile creeds, has sufficiently been proved by modern research, slowly but steadily eliminating one slander after another which, for centuries, darkened the memory of the maligned Pontiff. Many, unconscious of a historian's first duty, have almost entirely neglected the narrative of his momentous and indefatigable activity, and filled his strenuous life of seventy years with minute discussions of adventures and crimes. unwarranted, or morally impossible.

No wonder if the excesses of Alexander's literary enemies should have aroused the love of truth in the hearts of a few recent historians, even among Protestant scholars, and spurred them on to earnest labor, in order to lift a portion of the veil concealing his glorious deeds, and to wipe away much of the mud under which he lay besmirched.

Emboldened by these results of painstaking inquiry into historical facts, one or another apologist has ventured of late to take a further step towards the justification of Alexander VI, by imagining untenable theories and romances, which, eventually, proved to be more injurious than useful to his laudable object; and has complicated, rather than solved, the doubts that hover still on important particulars of the Pontiff's history.

Should we concede equal authority to all those writers, we would after months of reading, find ourselves utterly

Alexander VI 1.

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