30 August 1597 – 14 October 1599
NE PUERO ARQEBUSUM
Having Bestowed the title of Most Christian Monarchs on the royal houses of Spain and Bohemia in 1530s ultimately backfired. Instead of strengthening the Catholic camp it led to both powers’ attempts at gaining control over the Papacy. And the Spanish failure was the Bohemian success. Jan III had no qualms about taking advantage of the weakened-by-schism Papacy. Before the conclave of 1597 commenced Imperial envoys requested taking Cardinal Campofregoso as a potential papabile into account. It was like a slap in the face for Camerlengo Adria, now the most respected man in the Curia and the most likely pope-to-be. However, so as not to estrange the Emperor, he had to concede; Cardinal Adria was in no position to oppose since too much was at stake.
As a result Camerlengo Adria, to bewilderment of many, solicited for the cardinal-electors’ support for Cardinal Campofregoso’s candidature. He simply realised disobedience would cost the break of the alliance with the Emperor. Jan III, now basking in the glory as the Catholic champion after the victory over the English alliance, made a clear offer: his creature as a Pope. What he promised in return were guarantees from his alliance, Portugal included. This looked like a fair exchange, not that the Curia was left with any other options. The conclave was a farce; the little-known Cardinal Campofregoso, was elected unanimously. (the cunning bishop of Utrecht wiggled out again; a guarantee from Portugal is welcome as I have no navy to speak of, only five cogs, which is ok in peace time but I fear at war I would have trouble transporting troops over my scattered holdings if fighting a naval power)
Cardinal Campofregoso, now Hadrianus VIII, might have been a kind of mystery figure in Rome, but he was not a man out of nowhere. He was the Doge of Genoa’s cousin and an able ecclesiastic renown for his managerial skills, to the point of being perceived as thrifty and avaricious by his enemies. This opinion along with the Genoese connection did not bode well for his reception on the Papal throne (the Doge, being a Papal ally, behaved ambiguously during the schism crisis). Hadrianus VIII’s complete dependency on the Emperor did not win him much love either.
None of the important factions in the Curia were happy with this choice. The ‘Orphans’ feared he might neglect the East; the Venetians feared he would favour Genoese interests; the Camerlengo’s men felt their position was threatened; numerous officials, those working in networks created during ‘del Monte’ Papacy and those recently advanced due to Pizzaro’s reforms, worried their prerogatives might be taken away from them. All these concerns proved well-founded. The situation in Rome quickly grew unbearable, there was a silent opposition, hostility even, between Hadrianus VIII and the few men he brought along and the established Papal institutions. (he seems quite competent with all these modifiers, in other circumstances… this 3 DIP helped make my mind how to portray him; also going from nominal to weak papal authority is no doubt some progress)
The rise of Bohemia (combined with the marginalisation of Spain) and the creeping weakening of the Papal authority (the failure at bringing Austria and France back to light, the disaster of the Schism) created a new dynamic in Europe. The era of Bohemian-Italian link, with the Papacy representing Italian interests, was over. The old alliance was retained but it transformed the Papal States into the Emperor’s junior ally. For security reasons, Hadrianus VIII let Jan III intervene in the matters of Italy, even if it meant accepting subordinate status within the relationship. This was evident from the very onset of the new pontificate. The Siena crisis was handled skilfully by the Pope, the Genoese way as this strategy of short-term concessions for long-term benefits will be called, but nothing would have been achieved without Jan III’s backing. (I believe I this ‘Brewing revolt’ thing was a threat of breaking the vassalage; the ‘Trade for fidelity’ is not so punishing for me; MM vassals are much more dynamic, thank you Ubik (although in my other game the ‘Bankrupt vassal’ thing fired like ten times in a row! I suspect some loop here; there’s also something about HRE vassals, like Emperor demanding their independence, I guess it’s Helius’s SRI)
Hadrianus VIII may not have been that badly prepared to rule the Papal States, in fact many point out to his personal merits and stewardship excellence. However, reconciling the conflicting loyalty obligations proved an impossible task for him to accomplish. The resolution of the Siena crisis favoured Genoese merchant houses (those with connection to the Doge himself profited the most) at the expense of the Papal and Venetian ones. It was also because of the Genoese businesses with infidels and heretics that the Pope took a rather lenient stance in the question of ‘dangerous books’. Seemingly, it was in line with the Papal official policy exemplified by ‘The Recommendation’ of 1533, a peculiar document comprising the list of ‘un-recommended’ books; but it was against the practice, much more restrictive as the aftermath of the schism. Understandably, so as not to alienate any of his protectors in the delicate situation of the post-Schism months Hadrianus VIII took a vague stance in the question of conciliarism, which the Schism had brought to the fore.
His Holiness, understandably, had to comply with his benefactor the Emperor. Ever since his accession Jan III did not conceal one of his goals was to be crowned and anointed in Rome. There was a massive resistance against the idea in the Curia, but Hadrianus VIII was more than obliging and he commenced the preparations. On the more-an-excuse-than condition that the well-trained Dominicans from the East were granted Imperial maintenance (new monasteries and funding) to intensify the conversion efforts in various heretic-dominated regions of the Empire, Hadrianus VIII bestowed on Jan III the title of the Defender of the True Faith (conveniently held, up to then, by his cousin the Doge). This decision, made against the Curia, shows how shrewd Hadrianus VIII actually could be. In one stroke he got rid of dissidents in the East and placated the Emperor. (I’m no longer the Papal controller so it’s for the Genoese AI to decide; this missionary with under 1% chance thing is irritating, especially as Bohemia has Ecumenism and as the Emperor tolerates all confessions; come to think about it, wouldn’t it be better to get rid of missionaries and refine Dharper’s province decisions system, their biggest plus is the conversion may or may NOT succeed, whereas with missionary even at 0.9% chance sooner or later the conversion will take place)
The short pontificate of Hadrianus VIII went from one crisis to another. It took off inauspiciously with the problems in Siena to proceed through more and more serious predicaments to culminate in the unprecedented Pope’s death. If Siena issue was more of a momentarily nature thing, the dissent in the East had already been building for some time during the directionless reign of the misguided Marcellus II. The process took speed with Hadrianus VIII’s election.
The disgruntled rallied around the Patriarch Grado. This respectable figure, who had contributed largely to bringing prosperity to the East, had been loyal to the ever-absent and thus non-obtrusive Marcellus II. He opposed the new Pope though, not only on the grounds of different political views but also because of wounded pride; the Patriarch hoped to have been elected himself. The rich, modernised and invigorated Constantinople on the one hand rivalled Rome in splendour and political sway (the Imperial pressure was far frailer there whereas the Constantinople’s pressure on the regional politics of Asia Minor and Levant was far stronger than that of Rome’s, or Rome’s in Italy for that matter). On the other hand Constantinople, with ambitions of its own, was slipping away from Rome’s control. This process (and the threat of cession) was cut short by the unexpected Patriarch Grado’s death. (my national focus is still in Constantinople, which is good because only the East contributes to my trade income (so canal projects make sense there), the western provs trade through Venice where I’m unable to break in)
There is no proof but the legend lingers, and the slanderous tale was instrumental in building up the anti-Papal atmosphere. The Knights of Saint John with their much-increased presence in Asia Minor responded directly to the Pope. This independence from Constantinople created resentment in the eastern provinces, especially as many, the Patriarch including, questioned raison d'être of the order, now that the whole Levant, and in fact Eastern Mediterranean was in Christian hands. Worse still, many knights turned to pirating or raiding Christian settlements. These controversies were discussed at the meeting between the Grand Master and the Patriarch on 2 March 1598. The latter did not live to see another day. The talk was about poisoned wine and Papal hand; even Italians believed Hadrianus VIII had been implicated.
The succession crisis in Austria had almost certainly nothing to do with Hadrianus VIII. But there is no better fuel for rumours and conspiracy theories than successive mysterious deaths. The heir to the Austrian throne died in a hunting accident, but at the time fingers pointed at Rome. Disregarding the obvious fact that His Holiness had no means to orchestrate and execute such an act, Protestants, devastated and enraged, spread the allegations in the most vicious pamphlets. Their indignation was stimulated by fear; the next in line of succession in case of Franz II’s death was Jan III of Bohemia’s uncle, Jiži. Promised to be made the Duke of Silesia, he readily relinquished his claim to the Emperor himself; this sent shockwaves in Vienna and other Protestant courts of Europe.
Gaston I d’Anjou of the French ruling dynasty, the most powerful Protestant house in Europe, would not have Bohemia, Low Countries and Austria united under one monarch. Planning a response to this threat of potentially powerful Imperial union cost Gaston I many sleepless nights. He had to add an Iberian allies into equation, and in fact Jan III was allied to Portugal (with its claims in Armagnac) and Spain’s stance was at least uncertain (it was a Catholic power after all). The alarming result for France was the danger of encirclement. And France, itself far from being united, could not handle the Empire-Portugal-Papacy alliance, which the disastrous wars of Louis XIV proved painfully enough. Gaston I decided intimidation of the weakest link in this tightening, smothering chain would be the best course of action. He demanded the province of Avignon from Hadrianus VIII. (wouldn’t it be fun to see Austria under PU with Bohemian Emperor controlling Low Countries too and allied with Portugal instead of Spain? so many funny twists when compared to how it was in OTL; I made sure France hadn’t got completely dismantled, should I regret it now? haven’t I spared a monster?)
The French war scare made the atmosphere in Rome even more restless. It exposed Hadrianus VIII’s complete dependency on the Emperor. His Holiness sent a dispatch after dispatch to Prague, each subsequent letter revealing his growing nervousness, asking the Emperor to reaffirm his guarantees. Jan III, calculating it played into his interest, stalled for time. The situation became even more complex for all the parties concerned on 15 October 1599 when Hadrianus VIII expired, not having recovered from his bullet wounds.
Firearms of the late 16th century were unreliable but they could prove deadly at close range. Gregorius Chiogga was one of the younger sons of a Venetian family of entrepreneurs, of mixed converted-Jewish and Greek origin. His family business had gone bankrupt as a result of Siena resolution, his father had failed at attempts of starting anew and had committed suicide. Young Chiogga managed to acquire a post in the Papal chancellery. On a few occasions he accompanied Hadrianus VIII in briefings on fiscal matters, so it was on 14 October, when he reckoned he could come up close enough to the Pope to fire. Both shots hit the Pope’s stomach before in the commotion that ensued the assassin got disarmed and detained.
The Papal spheres of influence at the time of Hadrianus VIII's pontificate
Treasury / yearly income: 466d / 107,47
Merchants: 5 in Thrace: 86.44/557.80 and 5 in Alexandria: 95.48/616.14
Fleet: 5: 5 cogs
Army: 23k Reformed tercio; 7k Gallop cavalry
Manpower / discipline: 36.256 / 115.50%
Army / navy tradition: 44.60% / 0.00%
War exhaustion: 0.00/9