Bentivoglio family

The foundations of their power in Bologna were established by Giovanni I who, amid the faction-conflicts of the commune, declared himself signore in March 1401 - but was murdered by the city mob 15 months later. His son, Anton Galeazzo, a lecturer in law, made a brief coup d'état (1420), was rapidly dispossessed, became a condottiere, and was killed by papal officials. Annibale, his putative son (his mother was said to be uncertain of the boy's paternity and the matter was decided by dice), was pre-eminent in Bologna's revolt against the Papacy in 1438, but was assassinated in 1445. His place as party leader was taken by Sante, an apprentice of the wool guild of Florence and putative bastard of the family (though again whether in reality a Bentivoglio is uncertain). Sponsored by Cosimo de' Medici, Sante dominated the government of Bologna to his death (1463). He was succeeded by Annibale's son Giovanni II, who controlled the commune for the following 43 years. With no formal position as signore, but holding power as 'first citizen', Giovanni resisted the designs of Cesare Borgia but fled before the attack of Julius II (1506) and died in exile. His son, Annibale II, made a brief return to Bologna in the rebellion against Julius (1511-12).


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