The Sack of Rome 1527

22 Feb, 2024 940 History of Europe

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the infamous assault of an army of the Holy Roman Emperor on the city of Rome in 1527. The troops soon broke through the walls of this holy city and, with their leader shot dead early on, they brought death and destruction to the city on an epic scale. Later writers compared it to the fall of Carthage or Jerusalem and soon the mass murder, torture, rape and looting were followed by disease which was worsened by starvation and opened graves. It has been called the end of the High Renaissance, a conflict between north and south, between Lutherans and Catholics, and a fulfilment of prophecy of divine vengeance and, perhaps more persuasively, a consequence of military leaders not feeding or paying their soldiers other than by looting.

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  • Stephen Bowd No other episodes
    Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Edinburgh
  • Jessica Goethals No other episodes
    Associate Professor of Italian at the University of Alabama
  • Catherine Fletcher 4 episodes
    Professor of History at Manchester Metropolitan University

Reading list

  • Renaissance Mass Murder: Civilians and Soldiers during the Italian Wars
    Stephen Bowd (Oxford University Press, 2018) Google Books →
  • Autobiography
    Benvenuto Cellini (Penguin Classics, 1999) Google Books →
  • My Life
    Benvenuto Cellini (trans. Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella) (Oxford University Press, 2009) Google Books →
  • The Sack of Rome 1527
    Andre Chastel (trans. Beth Archer) (Princeton University Press, 1983) Google Books →
  • The Beauty and the Terror: An Alternative History of the Italian Renaissance
    Catherine Fletcher (Bodley Head, 2020) Google Books →
  • The Pontificate of Clement VII: History, Politics, Culture
    Kenneth Gouwens and Sheryl E. Reiss (eds) (Routledge, 2005)
  • The History of Italy
    Francesco Guicciardini (trans. Sidney Alexander) (Princeton University Press, 2020) Google Books →
  • The Sack of Rome
    Luigi Guicciardini (trans. James H. McGregor) (Italica Press, 2008) Google Books →
  • The Sack of Rome
    Judith Hook (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) Google Books →
  • Emperor: A New Life of Charles V
    Geoffrey Parker (Yale University Press, 2019) Google Books →

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Auto-category: 945.5 (Italy and adjacent territories)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, in 1527, an army of the Holy Roman Emperor broke through the wars of the Holy City of Rome, bringing death and destruction on a wholly epic scale.