[[File: Sack of Rome Two.jpg |thumbnail|left|
300px|Portrait of Emperor Charles V, 1527]]
The Sack of Rome was the capture and Rome's destruction by the mutinous troops of Emperor Charles V. It caused widespread outrage at the time, and it shocked Europe. The Sack destroyed much of Rome, and it is widely seen as ushering in a new era in Italy's history. This article will discuss the impact that the Sack had on Italy and its development.
The commonly held belief is that the Sack of Rome ended the Renaissance in Italy. The Sack of Rome in 1527 was of critical importance in the history of Italy. It guaranteed Spanish supremacy in Italy, led to increasingly religious orthodoxy, and destroyed Rome's economy. It was not the Sack itself, but the effects of the Sack that contributed to the ending of the Renaissance.
==Why did the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V's army invade Italy in 1527?==
Since the 1490s, France and Spain (and briefly the Swiss) had fought in Italy for control of the peninsula. The various Italian city-states and the Papacy were divided, and they were often allied to the Hapsburgs, Spanish, and the French.<ref> Lopez, Robert Sabatino, <i>The Three Ages of the Italian Renaissance</i> (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1970), p. 89 </ref> The struggle for Italy had entered a new phase during the reigns of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and his great rival Francis II of France. In 1527 Italy was the scene of the War of the League of Cognac, and this involved France and the Papacy on one side and the Holy Roman Emperor, Spain, and her allies on the other. Pope Clement VII supported the French Monarch, Francis I, to protect the independence of the Papacy.<ref> Lopez, p. 112</ref>
The soldiers attacked the cardinals and stole their wealth. The ordinary Romans also suffered greatly. Countless were robbed, murdered, and raped. Many were tortured in macabre ways so that they would divulge the location of their wealth. The mutineers stayed in the city for some months, continuing to terrorize the inhabitants, and they only left after eight months because of the plague and the hefty bribe they were paid by the Pope.
==Aftermath====[[File: Pope Clement VII.jpg|thumbnail| 200px|left|Pope Clement VII in 1528]]
Emperor Charles V was deeply embarrassed by the actions of his mutinous army. However, Charles knew that the Pope was in a weak position, and he saw it as an opportunity to extend his control over the Papacy.<ref> Chastel. p. 212</ref> Successive Popes, eager to preserve Italian independence and their own, had allied themselves with the French to prevent Charles from upsetting Italy's balance of power.
The Pope's insistence on religious orthodoxy meant that freethought and secular values were increasingly challenged in the aftermath of Rome's Sack. The Inquisition became more active, as the Pope sought to stamp out every sign of free thought or ideas contrary to the teachings of the Church. The growing fear of Protestantism was also instrumental in the new climate. Still, the fear of the Emperor after the Sack and the Spanish meant that the Inquisition became all-pervasive in Italian society. This was to have a devastating impact on the Renaissance. This cultural flourishing was premised on an attempt to reproduce the classical world. It was mostly humanistic, secular, and often overtly pagan, and this was no longer possible in the aftermath of Rome's capture in 1527.
It became increasingly difficult for the humanist who was once so influential
in expressing their views , and instead of studying the ancient classics, they were expected to study religious works.<ref> Burckhardt, p. 120</ref> No longer could they think and write freely as by the mid-1500s they were intimidated by the Inquisition. The new emphasis on religious orthodoxy meant that many noble patrons were unwilling to subsidize humanists' works who expressed ‘pagan’ ideas.
The Popes had long opposed the Holy Roman Emperor's ambitions, and the Spanish, whom they believed correctly, wanted to dominate Italy.<ref> Duffy, Eoin, <i>History of the Popes</i> (London, Penguin, 2005), p. 267</ref> The Papacy was pivotal to the Italian resistance to the ambitions of the Spanish. This changed after the Sack of Rome in 1527. The Pope was cowed and, to an extent, meekly followed the policies of Charles V. They also ceased resisting his growing control. After the death, this enabled Charles V’s, heir to established de-facto control over Italy, except for Venice. The Pope had bankrolled the armies that had been pivotal to the Italian resistance to outsiders, and after 1527, this was no longer possible.
had practically bankrupted the Papacy and no longer could offer the financial support needed by the City-States to recruit armies, which were mainly composed of mercenary soldiers. By 1550 the Spanish Monarch, Phillip II, was the dominant influence in Italy and not the Pope. Spanish controlled to a loss of political and individual freedom. This dealt a blow to the Renaissance as increasingly artists and thinkers could not create the work they wanted or freely express their ideas and opinions.<ref> Burke, Peter. <i>The Italian Renaissance: Culture and Society in Italy Princeton</i> (Princeton University Press, 1999) p. 6 </ref> <div class="portal" style='float:right; width:35%'> ====Related DailyHistory.org Articles==== *[[What was Pope Julius IIs contribution to Renaissance Italy?]] *[[How did the Bubonic Plague make the Italian Renaissance possible?]] *[[What was the role of the Popes in the Renaissance?]] *[[What were the causes of the Northern Renaissance?]] *[[How did the Renaissance influence the Reformation?]] *[[What was the Borgias contribution to Renaissance Italy?]] </div> ==== The End of Renaissance Rome ====
[[File: Papacy 2.jpg|thumbnail|350px|left|St Peter’s Basilica]]
Before 1527, Rome had become arguably the center of the Renaissance. Milan had been devastated by successive military occupations, while Florence had been destabilized and impoverished by twenty years of internal conflict. Apart from Venice, only the Pope had the means to sponsor and commission works of art. The Papal Court was extremely wealthy, and the Pope became the patron of many of the greatest artists, such as Michelangelo and Raphael. This was especially the case after the 1500s because of a dramatic change in the economy.
After Columbus discovered America in 1492, the Italian economy went into a gradual but steep decline, which was noticeable by 1527. New trade routes were established in the Atlantic, and the trade of the Mediterranean dropped off. This led to less money being spent on art in Italy.<ref> Burke, p. 113</ref> The Papacy had could continue to support artists and writers, as its main revenue streams were from pilgrims and Church taxes,
which Popes such as Clement VII, continued to spend on commissioning great works of art or on architecture, such as the ‘rebuilding of St Peter’s Basilica.'<ref>Burke, p 119</ref>
Rome's capture and the Imperial army's occupation caused massive economic dislocation
, and much of the city’s wealth was spent on ransoms or stolen. Rome was devastated by the Sack and its aftermath. The city population fell dramatically; it was approximately 55,000 before 1527 but was only estimated to be 10,000 the following year. The city’s economy was in ruins , and the Colonna family revolted in the Papal States and established a virtually independent principality. Following the end of the occupation of Rome, a plague decimated the survivors. Rome was in a state of collapse, and the Sack had set the city back by a century. The Pope could no longer afford to pay artists and writers, and they gradually drifted away from the city. The capture of Rome in 1527, ended the Renaissance in Rome which had become the one of the last centres of the great cultural flourishing in Italy.<ref>Ruggiero, Guido. <i>[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0521719380/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0521719380&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=099fc32a1ba347508fdb90b622912ce0 The Renaissance in Italy: A Social and Cultural History of the Rinascimento]</i> (Cambridge University Press, 2015), p. 648 </ref>
The Sack of Rome is often considered the end of the Renaissance. The brutal seizure of the Eternal City and the subsequent eight-month occupation by a band of rebellious soldiers changed the Papacy and Italy. The Papacy was no longer able to resist Spanish domination, and it increasingly followed the policies of first Charles V and later Phillip II. This led to increasing efforts by the Pope, through the Office of the Inquisition to enforce Religious Orthodoxy. The Sack of Rome shattered the city’s economy, and no longer was the Pope’s ability to spend lavishly on buildings, books, and works of art. These factors changed Italian society.
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