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Cardinals and the War of Ferrara


Stella Fletcher


The bestowal of a red hat can turn even the most humbly born cleric into an ecclesiastical prince, but whereas few cardinals of the modern era have been born princely, most of those created in the Renaissance period could claim to be of noble lineage and a few, from the second half of the fifteenth century onwards, were the sons of ruling princes. Those who were born to fight were obliged to become those who prayed, but where did their allegiances lie when the states of Italy were at war with a belligerent pope such as Sixtus IV? The War of Ferrara (1482–4) presents an opportunity to survey the responses of cardinals from the ruling dynasties of Mantua, Milan, Montferrat, and Naples, together with their counterparts from the republics of Genoa, Siena, and Venice.

How to Cite: Fletcher, S., 2017. Cardinals and the War of Ferrara. Royal Studies Journal, 4(2), pp.64–77. DOI:
Published on 16 Dec 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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