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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

And in 1508 became a party to the League of Cambray


Before

the Diet at Worms adjourned, it agreed to furnish the Emperor with 9,000 men, to be employed in Italy against the French, and afterwards against the Turks on the Austrian frontier. Charles VIII. retreated from Italy on hearing of this measure, yet not rapidly enough to avoid being defeated, near Parma, by the combined Germans and Milanese. In 1496 Sigismund of Tyrol died, and all the Hapsburg lands came into Maximilian's possession. The same year, he married his son Philip, then eighteen years old and accepted as Regent by the Netherlands, to Joanna, the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Castile. The other heirs to the Spanish throne died soon afterwards, and when Isabella followed them, in 1504, she appointed Philip and Joanna her successors. The pride and influence of the house of Hapsburg were greatly increased by this marriage, but its consequences were most disastrous to Germany, for Philip's son was Charles V.

The next years of Maximilian's reign were disturbed, and, on the whole, unfortunate for the Empire. An attempt to apply the decrees of the Diet of Worms to Switzerland brought on a war, which, after occasioning the destruction of 2,000 villages and castles, and the loss of 20,000 lives, resulted in the Emperor formally acknowledging the independence of Switzerland in a treaty concluded at Basel in 1499. Then Louis XII. of France captured Milan, interfered secretly in a war concerning the succession, which broke out in Bavaria,

and bribed various German princes to act in his interest, when Maximilian called upon the Diet to assist him in making war upon France. After having with much difficulty obtained 12,000 men, the Emperor marched to Italy, intending to replace the Sforza family in Milan and then be crowned by Pope Julius II. in Rome. But the Venetians stopped him at the outset of the expedition, and he was forced to return ingloriously to Germany.

[Sidenote: 1508. WARS WITH VENICE AND FRANCE.]

Maximilian's next step was another example of his want of judgment in political matters. In order to revenge himself upon Venice, he gave up his hostility to France, and in 1508 became a party to the League of Cambray, uniting with France, Spain and the Pope in a determined effort to destroy the Venetian Republic. The war, which was bloody and barbarous, even for those times, lasted three years. Venice lost, at the outset, Trieste, Verona, Padua and the Romagna, and seemed on the verge of ruin, when Maximilian suddenly left Italy with his army, offended, it was said, at the refusal of the French knights, to fight side by side with his German troops. The Venetians then recovered so much of their lost ground that they purchased the alliance of the Pope, and finally of Spain. A new alliance, called "the Holy League," was formed against France; and Maximilian, after continuing to support Louis XII. a while longer, finally united with Henry VII. of England in joining it. But Louis XII., who was a far better diplomatist than any of his enemies, succeeded, after he had suffered many inevitable losses, in dissolving this powerful combination. He married the sister of Henry of England, yielded Navarre and Naples to Spain, promised money to the Swiss, and held out to Maximilian the prospect of a marriage which would give Milan to the Hapsburgs.


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