The Triple Crown: An Account of the Papal Conclaves
[p. 16] THE death of Nicholas V in 1455 found the Papacy definitely settled in Rome. Both the great schism and the titanic struggle with the Germanic Empire were at an end. No longer would the emperors have to journey to Rome to be crowned, for Nicholas V had bestowed the imperial dignity on Frederick III and his descendants as a hereditary right, and whatever claim the Emperor may have had to be represented at the Popes coronation was now a thing of the past. But the Holy See was not yet to enter on an era of peace. For another sixty years or so it would be at war with the other Italian States either in the field of battle or of diplomacy, in a grim contest to secure its own establishment and to maintain an equilibrium between all the small States that fractioned Italy. By the mere force of circumstances, having dominions the pope must protect them, and even add to them if possible, thus laying aside the crook for the sword. Consequently the conclaves, during the period of papal history covering the second half of the XVth century, are mostly swayed by local ambitions and intrigues and are of less general interest than they became later on. It has seemed advisable therefore to give a very summary account of them. The stage set against the same invariable background, and the identical protagonists reappearing so often under similar circumstances, of too restricted an appeal, would make monotonous and wearisome reading.