The Cardinal's Hat: Money, Ambition and Housekeeping in a Renaissance Court

By Mary Hollingsworth

Son of Lucretia Borgia and brother of the Duke of Ferrara, Ippolito d'Este turned Archbishop of Milan on the age of nine yet needed to wait one other two decades sooner than he bought his coveted cardinal's hat. This honour was once the path to strength and wealth in sixteenth-century Europe - it had little to do with piety. Ippolito used to be no religious cleric: he loved playing, searching, tennis and girls. this is often the tale of the 5 years it took to accomplish his ambition, a narrative concerning kinfolk squabbles and personal feuds, and the political agendas of the Pope, the Emperor and the King of France. Ippolito spent a lot of this era on the French court docket, sampling the sophistication of Paris, the luxuries of Fontainebleau, the pleasures of looking within the Loire valley, the thrill of conflict in Picardy, the glamour of a world peace convention at great, and the intense discomforts of mountain shuttle. The Cardinal's Hat relies totally at the account books and letters preserved within the files at Modena, in which Ippolito emerges around the centuries with notable readability. The records additionally supply glimpses into the lives of normal humans, not only his chefs and strong boys, yet shopkeepers, developers, bargemen, peasants or even beggars. principally, they supply a distinct perception into lifestyles in sixteenth-century Europe.

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Ippolito’s allowance from Duke Ercole and the tax on reside animals getting into Ferrara either arrived in Ferrarese coinage, however the butchers’ tax from Reggio was once paid in neighborhood ducats (worth �3 13s each). Fiorini additionally obtained Italian scudi from Brescello (worth �3 10s each one) and funds from Milan, which occasionally got here in lire imperiali (exchanged at �5 11s to a scudo) but in addition in quite a few forms of scudi (Milanese and Genoese, or even French). Transporting funds in sixteenth-century Europe used to be an important yet dicy company. Fiorini most well liked to settle money owed without delay with Ippolito’s collectors, yet he usually needed to pay those money owed to their servants or kin – and he used to be cautious to notice exactly the dating among the creditor and the recipient in his ledgers. On one social gathering he relied on a barge boy with the wage Ippolito owed to the chaplain at Bondeno, yet this was once strange. The source of revenue from the estates used to be carried by way of Ippolito’s brokers, or reliable substitutes, at the fairly brief trips around the Este duchy and brought to Fiorini in weighty leather-based pouches. the risks have been higher outdoor the duchy. Paulo Albertino infrequently despatched money from Milan yet deposited Ippolito’s source of revenue with Ferrarese bankers within the urban who then despatched credits notes to Fiorini which he might alternate in Ferrara. there has been absolute confidence of sending quite a lot of cash to Ippolito in France. Ippolito acquired via over 7,000 scudi in the course of 1537, which he withdrew as he wanted from the Lyon agent of his sister-in-law, Renée of France, who was once then reimbursed in Ferrara through Fiorini. Ippolito’s estates within the Este duchy the rural estates at Bondeno, Fóssoli and Pomposa along with his estate within the Romagna made Ippolito a considerable landowner. Bondeno, which he had inherited in 1520, was once a small parish with wealthy farming land approximately 20 kilometres west of Ferrara. the large property of Pomposa, previously connected to the abbey of Pomposa, gave Ippolito land east of Ferrara around the fertile soils of the Po delta to the Adriatic coast. within the Romagna he owned woods and 3 hugely ecocnomic turbines at Lugo, Bagnacavallo and Consélice. Fóssoli, the smallest of the estates, lay eighty kilometres west of Ferrara. It were a part of the previous imperial fief of Carpi until eventually 1530, while Charles V had evicted the Carpi kin and given the country to Duke Alfonso – Ippolito’s possession of Fóssoli can't have performed a lot to enhance his dating with Cardinal Carpi. The estates have been all controlled through neighborhood brokers. The agent at Bondeno used to be Palamides de’ Civali, who administered not just the farm but in addition the church, the place he paid salaries to the clergymen and bell-ringers. Palamides pronounced on to Fiorini however the males operating the opposite estates have been supervised via Ippolito’s land agent, Bigo Schalabrino. The identify Bigo was once the neighborhood method of shortening the identify Ludovico, or Lewis – his identify interprets as Lew Sly, an interesting moniker for a guy whose task was once to maintain a watchful eye at the bailiffs. Pomposa was once so huge that it required 3 bailiffs, established at all of the major cities of the property, Baura, Migliaro and Codigoro.

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