shortly after 1500, the Republic of Venice began taking a series of
decisions so wrong-headed that she provoked a military alliance against
her by virtually every major power of Southern Europe -- an improbable
consensus among rulers who seldom agreed on anything.
actions were founded on a unique set of erroneous perceptions about
the world around them, namely:
the quasi-independent cities south of the Veneto in Romagna and the
Marches -- part of the Papal States -- represented a ripe area for
territorial expansion on the Italian mainland.
Papacy could be placated by expressions of allegiance and by the
payment of tribute.
-that if Venice
supported her longtime ally Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere to succeed
Pius III as Pope, then he would be receptive to their territorial
expansion at the expense of his Papal States.
In fact, Cardinal
della Rovere, now Pope Julius II, swiftly and effectively forged an
alliance among all of Venice's neighbors, offering them an opportunity
to avenge their grievances of the past and carve up all of Venice's
territory among themselves.
bargain was sealed in a December 1508 convocation in the French city
of Cambrai; by the following spring Spain, France, the Holy Roman
Empire, the Papal States, Hungary, Savoy, Mantua and Ferrara had all
agreed to send their armies into the field against the mercenary forces
of Venice in a decisive campaign. The
League stated its intention without room for doubt:
. . [W]e have found it not only well-advised and honorable, but even
necessary, to summon all people to take their just revenge and so
to extinguish, like a great fire, the insatiable rapacity of the Venetians
and their thirst for power."