«Bon Fiol di questo Stado». Borso d'Este, Venice, and pope Paul II: explaining success in Renaissance Italian politics


  • Richard M. Tristano Saint Mary's University of Minnesota



Parole chiave:

Borso d'Este, Ferrara, Politica estera, Venice, Papa Paolo II


Despite Giuseppe Pardi’s judgment that Borso d’Este lacked the ability to connect single parts of statecraft into a stable foundation, this study suggests that Borso conducted a coherent and successful foreign policy of peace, heightened prestige, and greater freedom to dispose. As a result, he was an active participant in the Quattrocento state system (Grande Politico Quadro) solidified by the Peace of Lodi (1454), and one of the most successful rulers of a smaller principality among stronger competitive states. He conducted his foreign policy based on four foundational principles. The first was stability. Borso anchored his statecraft by aligning Ferrara with Venice and the papacy. The second was display or the politics of splendor. The third was development of stored knowledge, based on the reputation and antiquity of Estense rule, both worldly and religious. The fourth was the politics of personality, based on Borso’s affability, popularity, and other virtues. The culmination of Borso’s successful statecraft was his investiture as Duke of Ferrara by Pope Paul II. His success contrasted with the disaster of the War of Ferrara, when Ercole I abandoned Borso’s formula for rule. Ultimately, the memory of Borso’s successful reputation was preserved for more than a century.




Come citare

Tristano, R. M. (2020). «Bon Fiol di questo Stado». Borso d’Este, Venice, and pope Paul II: explaining success in Renaissance Italian politics. I Quaderni Del m.æ.S. - Journal of Mediæ Ætatis Sodalicium, 18, 121–158. https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.2533-2325/11827