Oddi were forced to abandon Perugia， and the city became a beleaguered fortress under the absolute despotism of the Baglioni， who used even the cathedral as barracks. Plots and surprises were met with cruel vengeance; in the year 1491， after 130 conspirators， who had forced their way into the city， were killed and hung up at the Palazzo Comunale， thirty-five altars were erected in the square， and for three days mass was performed and processions held， to take away the curse which rested on the spot. A nephew of Innocent VIII was in open day run through in the street. A nephew of Alexander VI， who was sent to smooth matters over， was dismissed with public contempt. All the while the two leaders of the ruling house， Guido and Ridolfo， were holding frequent interviews with Suor Colomba of Rieti， a Dominican nun of saintly reputation and miraculous powers， who under penalty of some great disaster ordered them to make peace-naturally in vain. Nevertheless the chronicle takes the opportunity to point out the devotion and piety of the better men in Perugia during this reign of terror. When in 1494 Charles VIII approached， the Baglioni from Perugia and the exiles encamped in and near Assisi conducted the war with such ferocity， that every house in the valley was levelled to the ground. The fields lay untilled， the peasants were turned into plundering and murdering savages， the fresh-grown bushes were filled with stags and wolves， and the beasts grew fat on the bodies of the slain， on so-called ‘Christian flesh.'When Alexander VI withdrew （1495） into Umbria before Charles VIII， then returning from Naples， it occurred to him， when at Perugia， that he might now rid himself of the Baglioni once for all; he proposed to Guido a festival or tournament， or something else of the same kind， which would bring the whole family together. Guido， however， was of opinion， ‘that the most impressive spectacle of all would be to see the whole military force of Perugia collected in a body，' whereupon the Pope abandoned his project. Soon after， the exiles made another attack， in which nothing but the personal heroism of the Baglioni won them the victory. It was then that Simonetto Baglione， a lad of scarcely eighteen， fought in the square with a handful of followers against hundreds of the enemy： he fell at last with more than twenty wounds， but recovered himself when Astorre Baglione came to his help， and mounting on horseback in gilded armour with a falcon on his helmet， ‘like Mars in bearing and in deeds， plunged into the struggle.'
At that time Raphael， a boy of twelve years of age， was at school under Pietro Perugino. The impressions of these days are perhaps immortalized in the small， early pictures of St. Michael and St. George： something of them， it may be， lives eternally in the great painting of St. Michael： and if Astorre Baglione has anywhere found his apotheosis， it is in the figure of the heavenly horseman in the Heliodorus.
The opponents of the Baglioni were partly destroyed， partly scattered in terror， and were henceforth incapable of another enterprise of the kind. After a time a partial reconciliation took place， and some of the exiles were allowed to return. But Perugia became- none the safer or more tranquil： the inward discord of the ruling family broke out in frightful excesses. An opposition was formed against Guido and Ridolfo and their sons Gianpaolo， Simonetto， Astorre， Gismondo， Gentile， Marcantonio and others， by two great-nephews， Grifone and Carlo Barciglia; the latter of the two was also nephew of Varano， Prince of Camerino， and brother-in-law of one of the former exiles， Ieronimo della Penna. In vain did Simonetto， warned by sinister presentiment， entreat his uncle on his knees to allow him to put Penna to death： Guido refused. The plot ripened suddenly on the occasion of the marriage of Astorre with Lavinia Colonna， at Midsummer 1500. The festival began and lasted several days amid gloomy forebodings， whose
deepening effect is admirably described by Matarazzo. Varano fed and encouraged them with devilish ingenuity： he worked upon Grifone by the prospect of undivided authority， and by stories of an imaginary intrigue of his wife Zenobia with Gianpaolo. Finally each conspirator was provided with a victim. （The Baglioni lived all of them in separate houses， mostly on the site of the present castle.） Each received fifteen of the bravos at hand; the remainder were set on the watch. In the night of July 15 the doors were forced， and Guido， Astorre， Simonetto， and Gismondo were murdered; the others succeeded in escaping.
As the corpse of Astorre lay by that of Simonetto in the street， the spectators， ‘and especially the foreign students，' compared him to an ancient Roman， so great and imposing did he seem. In the features of Simonetto could still be traced the audacity and defiance which death itself had not tamed. The victors went round among the friends of the family， and did their best to recommend themselves; they found all in tears and preparing to leave for the country. Meantime the escaped Baglioni collected forces without the city， and on the following day forced their way in， Gianpaolo at their head， and speedily found adherents among others whom Barciglia had been threatening with death. When Grifone fell into their hands near Sant'Ercolano， Gianpaolo handed him over for execution to his followers. Barciglia and Penna fled to Varano， the chief author of the tragedy， at Camerino; and in a moment， almost without loss， Gianpaolo became master of the city.
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