Venice: November 1529

Pages 234-236

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 4, 1527-1533. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1871.

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November 1529

Nov. 1. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 236, St. Mark's Library. 523. Gasparo Contarini to the Signory.
Sir Gregory Casal does the State most excellent service, and is a very worthy gentleman (bonissimo gentilhomo) his brother, Messer Francesco, being the stipendiary of your Highness, and the Prothonotary, their brother, now negotiating the permanent engagement of Francesco by the Signory. Sir Gregory has requested me to recommend this affair to your Serenity.
Bologna, 1st November 1529.
Nov. 5. Original Letter Book, Letter no. 238, St. Mark's Library. 524. The Same to the Same.
Yesterday morning, on quitting the palace, I met a chaplain in the service of the Bishop of Bari, (fn. 1) the Imperial ambassador, who, through this chaplain, informed me that the Emperor was quite content that I and the Milanese and Florentine ambassadors should go to meet him.
After dinner I went with the ambassadors aforesaid a good distance beyond the Certosa, where the Cardinals awaited the Emperor processionally, we (the ambassadors) halting on the road, a long way in advance of them.
First, besides many baggage waggons and stragglers, there came ten field-pieces, three companies (compagnie) of cavalry (one of men-at-arms in number about 42, and two of Burgundian horse numbering about 150 in all), followed by some 28 to 30 horses, with the Emperor's pages in a livery of yellow and violet-coloured velvet. The pages preceded the Imperial secretaries, councillors, and similar personages, behind whom was the Emperor in person in complete armour, with the exception of his helmet, wearing a surcoat of most costly gold brocade with a raised pile; he rode a dapple-grey, whose furniture was of the same material. On the Emperor's head was a black velvet cap, and in his hand a [gold?] sceptre. (fn. 2)
After his Majesty came the Count of Nassau, the Marquis of Astorga, the Marquises of Villafranca, Arescot, and Monferrat, the eldest sons of the Duke dell' Infantasgo, the Marquis of Vilgena and other grandees (signoroti) followed by other companies of horsemen, so that, as told me by a person who counted them, they numbered 800 horse; after which came the Spanish infantry and Lansquenets, with Antonio da Leva, in number from three to four thousand.
When the Emperor arrived at the spot where we stood, I purposed getting off my horse to pay my respects to him, but his Majesty sent me word through De Praet requesting me on no account to dismount; so I approached and paid him my respects, on horseback, congratulating myself on seeing him again, (fn. 3) safe and sound, in Italy, in these times, which had so much need of his Majesty's wisdom and goodness. He received me most lovingly, as demonstrated both by gesture and countenance, and answered me that he, on his part, would not fail to be the good friend of your Highness; and then he added a few kind words about myself, making so gracious a display, that it was remarked by all the bystanders.
From what was told me,—for I rode on, and could not see,—his Majesty gave very bad greeting to the Milanese and Florentine ambassadors, who accosted him after me; and I and they proceeding in advance of his Majesty, he was met by the Cardinals, on approaching whom, he doffed his bonnet, being received by them, and placed between the two senior Cardinal-Bishops [Farnese and Ancona]; and he remained cap in hand, until all the Cardinals had saluted him.
We then went on to the Certosa, where the Emperor was lodged; and having stopped there at the door, he dismissed the Cardinals, who, one by one, bowed to him.
This morning I went to the Pope, and first spoke to him about the Emperor's arrival and the ceremony of yesterday. I then narrated to him the gracious reception given me by his Majesty, which his Holiness, it seemed to me, did not hear very willingly. (fn. 4)
At the close of my audience, the Pope asked me to dine with him, because we ambassadors were to be at the palace in the afternoon, to accompany his Holiness to the site prepared in front of the principal entry of the church of S. Petronio, there (together with the Cardinals and the Papal Court) to receive the Emperor. After dinner, Cardinal Cibo made a second attack upon me, about Ravenna and Cervia, using very strong language.
To-day, about the 21st hour [3 p.m.], we ambassadors and the Cardinals accompanied the Pope to a stage prepared outside the church of S. Petronio, near the great door on the square of this city. The Pope was apparelled with the mantle and a mitre well ornamented with jewels, and was carried on his throne to the spot, where all were seated in their places; and we awaited the Emperor, who came through the town, preceded by a herald scattering money. The Emperor was in armour, over which he wore a surcoat of gold brocade; he had no helmet, in like manner as yesterday, when he did not wear one. He was accompanied by his retinue and by the men-at-arms and his gentlemen, and he came under the canopy as far as the stage, on ascending which, when in front of the Pope, who was seated on his throne, he did him homage (li fece riverentia) kneeling on the ground, and on drawing near, made him another reverence. Then, when in contact, he kissed the Pope's foot (fn. 5), and on rising, kissed his hand; and after the Pope had raised him with his hand, he kissed his Holiness' face, and gave him “osculum pacis” presenting him with a purse, containing certain gold medals to the amount of about a thousand crowns, amongst which were two large ones, worth 100 crowns each, with the arms of Aragon on one side, and on the other, the heads of his mother and himself; besides which, as seen by me, there were many small medals, with the arms of Castile and Aragon.
Being very near, I heard the Pope's first words, thus,—
“Be your Majesty welcome. I hope in God, that he will have brought you hither fur the general good of Christendom.”
The words uttered by the Emperor, I did not hear, as he usually speaks in a very low tone. His Majesty then insisted on addressing the Pope, on his knees, nor despite the exhortations of his Holiness would he rise from the ground; in which kneeling posture, he said what I did not hear; but Cardinal Cesis, who was the Pope's assistant, told me the speech purported that his Majesty was come to kiss his Holiness' foot, and that such business as it had been impossible to despatch by letter, he would expedite better by speaking to his Holiness. The Emperor then rose, and was placed, standing, on the Pope's right hand, in a very reverential attitude, and at length put on his cap; and all his gentlemen kissed the Pope's foot.
This ceremony being ended, the Pope rose from his throne, and with his own left hand took the Emperor's right, and thus hand-in-hand they came down from the stage, as far as the door of the church, which the Emperor entered; and the Pope having ascended his throne, was carried to the palace, accompanied by us ambassadors resident with him, and by the Cardinals.
The Emperor's own lodging is in the palace, in the chambers adjoining those of the Pope, so that by opening a door, as the Pope showed me this morning, one passes from the chamber of the Emperor to that of the Pope.
The ambassadors from Ferrara tell me that this morning the Pope flew into a very great passion with them, and is extremely harsh about the affairs of their Duke.
Bologna, 5th November 1529.
Nov. 26–29. Sanuto Diaries, v. lii. p. 295. 525. Lodovico Falier to the Signory.
Nothing more is known about Cardinal Wolsey; the Seal was given to Sir Thomas More. In London there is an ambassador from the Emperor, (fn. 6) and one from the King of France.
London, 26–29th November. Registered by Sanuto, 26th Dec.


  • 1. Stefano Gabriel Merino, a Spaniard, Archbishop of Bari.
  • 2. In the original, “una bachetta,” in Sanuto's Diaries, vol. lii. p. 134, and following, “una bacheta d'oro.”
  • 3. Gasparo Contarini had resided during four years and four months at the Imperial Court He quitted Toledo on his return home A.D. 1525, August 11. (See “Venetian Calendar,” vol. iii. p. 470.)
  • 4. In the despatch sent to the Senate the words in italics were ciphered, but in the letter hook they are written thus, “Il che mi parse non fusse udito molto volentieri da Sua Santità.”
  • 5. This contradicts Burnet, who says:—“When the Tope and he [the Emperor] first met, the ceremony of kissing of the Tope's foot was much locked for, and the Emperor very gently kneeled to pay that submission, but the Tope (whether it was that he thought it was no more seasonable to expect such compliments, or more signally to oblige the Emperor) did humble himself so far as to draw in his foot and kiss his cheek.” (Burnet's Hist. Ref., vol. i. p. 147, ed. London, 1865.) In the original Italian, the words are, “li fece riverentia cum li zenochij in terra, et accostatosi, li fece un' altra riverentia, poi appropiquatosi, basò il piede a Sua Beatitudine,” etc.
  • 6. Eustace Chappuis.