Chapter 12 - A Reclamation Project
If the previous year had been a nightmare for Clement, at least there was a spot of good news in 1530. The page delivered the letter from the Papal officials in Beirut. It was an update of the progress that had been made in Lebanon since the crusades nearly a quarter century before. The important line read as follows... Holy Father, I can report with thanks to God that most of the heathen Mohammedans have recanted their false beliefs and accepted the teachings of the church to save their souls.
The crowd awaiting the announcement of the new pope was not as large as it usually was. Perhaps it was the weather, since the rain was pouring down on them. Perhaps it was the climate of the times. In Rome, the papacy had lost some of its prestige in the years following the events of 1529. Still, there were some like young Antonio, an officer in the papal armies, who still hoped that Rome would reclaim its former glory. And maybe that would be begun by Clement's successor. This was why Antonio waited, and why he was eagerly watching the chimney of the electors' chamber. It was why he was the first to see the white smoke.
A series of religious events I don't really want to write about....
Antonio was disappointed. Pope Paul had done nothing to restore the glory of Rome. He had focussed all his interests on combating the Protestant reformation. Antonio cared about the church, insofar as he entrusted his soul to it, but he longed for the days when the Papal armies marched across distant lands. Why couldn't he have been born 50 years earlier? Perhaps the new Pope would do more. He could hope. Julius had started his papacy by announcing a new Jubilee.
Antonio's dreams were realized, though he did not get his wish to march into battle with the army. Later that year Julius announced that the Duke of Modena and Mantua had both agreed to return to the state they had been in before Charles V's meddling. Tuscany had not yet done so; the Tuscans themselves had swallowed Siena.
However, it would only be two years more before Tuscany did the same.
OOC: I may have to switch this a little more to gameplay and away from narrative than it already is. I'm just too busy with work to have time to do much narrative writing. I'll still try to do some with each update.