The 1508 League of Cambrai and The BRI Today: How Not to Repeat History

By Matthew Ehret

“The nature of the time, most serene prince, requires this, an observance of an old proverb, which enjoins kissing the hand we are unable to cut off”

Sebastien Guistinian, Venetian Ambassador to England’s Henry VIII

The Russia-China alliance has become a powerhouse of visionary infrastructure projects across the Arctic, Eurasia, Africa and Europe exemplified beautifully by the evolving Belt and Road Initiative and BRICS. This cooperative alliance has tapped into a strategic reality of mankind’s genuine common interests which is so powerful that even countries formerly at war with each other and subjects of imperial manipulation have increasingly broken free in order to participate in this new paradigm.

This coalition of nations working with a sense of both the manipulative hand behind the scenes and common focus for future cooperation may be a new phenomenon in our modern age, but it is certainly not without historical precedent. Not only did such an international coalition form in the wake of the 1865 union victory in the Civil War which saw nations like Germany, France, Argentina, Brazil, Russia and Japan form an anti-British Empire alliance for industrial progress and public works, but it also occurred during a peak of the European Golden Renaissance with an alliance known as the League of Cambrai (1508-1512).

However, just as the 19th century coalition of progress was derailed by a wave of assassinations, revolutions and wars, so too was the earlier League of Cambrai sabotaged before its mission to cleanse the world of oligarchism could be consummated.

With the knowledge that history doesn’t repeat, but rather fools repeat history- a brief analysis of the causes of the formation of the League of Cambrai and its ultimate self-destruction under the sophisticated intrigues of Venice (then the seat of an international financier oligarchy) can be best understood, and potentially foolish decisions can avoid repetition. Among the many authors I am indebted to for this research report, includes Gerald Rose, Robert Ingraham and finally Webster Tarpley whose 1981 studies published in Campaigner magazine continue to stand as some of the most thorough analyses available to modern researchers.

Why did the League Arise?

The Golden Renaissance is an incredible singularity in the human experience.

Coming out of a centuries’ long Dark Age, what we today call “the Renaissance” is characterized on first approximation by a spike of human population, longevity and productive capabilities. Rather than treat this anomaly as “proof” that we are simply a cancer infesting the mother Gaia as modern radical ecologists are wont to do, it is more valuable to see it for what it was: The material EFFECT of a blossoming of creative ideas, and discoveries touching all fields of knowledge: medical, artistic, musical, architectural, scientific, and economic. The underlying cause of this was a deeper profound shift in understanding of Natural Law based upon a notion that mankind’s laws were only legitimate if they cohered with the discoverable laws (moral and physical) of nature. This was expressed by early Renaissance philosopher Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa who stated in 1433:

“There is in the people a divine seed by virtue of their common equal birth and the equal natural rights of all men, so that all authority – which comes from God as does man himself – is recognized as divine when it arises from the common consent of all the subjects… This is that divinely ordained marital state of spiritual union based on a lasting harmony by which a commonwealth is guided in the fullness of peace toward eternal bliss.”

This was a profound insight which rejected the popular notion of “man made in the image of mud” that had governed Europe under the feudal structures of oligarchism since the destruction of the Carolingian Empire of Charlemagne.

It took a bit of time for these concepts to become active organizing principles in the formation of the first nation state system of Louis XI of France in 1461, but when they demonstrated their effectiveness at organizing a nation and actualizing the creative powers of the citizens, it spread like wildfire. Louis XI qualified himself as a serious philosopher king which both Plato and Confucius in their times knew was the key for society’s salvation when he said

“When Justice reigns in a kingdom, the common good is well guarded, and so is the particular: Because Justice is such a virtue that maintains human company and common life, providing that everyone makes a wise use of common things as common; and of particular things as particular.”

After re-organizing his nations’ corrupt banking system and taxation system while re-directing the treasuries towards public works and mass education, France under Louis XI grew in power and managed to avoid military enmeshments that characterized Europe for centuries. His success was soon replicated in England as Henry VII of Tudor left France to overthrow the evil Plantagenet dynasty of Richard II in 1485 and followed Louis XI’s example. This “new statecraft” was simultaneously gaining steam across Italy’s city-states of Florence and Milan manifesting with the rise to prominence of such figures as Cosimo de Medici, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Nicollo Machiavelli. Leading humanist Aeneas Piccolomini, a follower of Cusa, was elected Pope in 1460 becoming Pius II which influenced the Holy Roman Emperor Friedrich III to the humanist cause.

Once Machiavelli became 2nd Chancellor of Florence in 1502, he immediately appointed Da Vinci as Chief Engineer to Cesar Borgia and the two worked closely together reforming military practices in defense of Florence for years.

Machiavelli, Leonardo, Borgia (who became the leader of Milan with Machiavelli’s help) understood well the nature of the evil that was trying to undo the new paradigm that they championed. It is here at this moment that it was realized that for the renaissance process to survive, a source of evil that plagued mankind for centuries had to be destroyed. As we shall later see, it was Venice that had been the primary force actively keeping the world at war and the population in the mud for centuries and those leading humanists knew that this force would not rest until the renaissance was undone and humanity was brought under total subjugation. Together they and leading co-thinkers across Italy, France and Spain organized an alliance which nearly wiped this evil from the face of the earth in 1508 called the League of Cambrai.

What Was Venice?

While Venice esteemed itself a republic (literally calling itself “the Serene republic”) it was in all pretenses a total oligarchy. The City-state was founded by leading families of the Roman oligarchy who sought refuge from Visigoths and Huns as the Empire collapsed in 450. It grew as a junior partner to the Byzantine Empire for centuries and formed a unique form of government. A senate amounting to nearly 1500 members of the nobility was formed which itself was headed by a Council of 10. Atop this pyramid was a council of three which utilized the figure of an elected doge to justify itself. The system was so effective that in its 1000+ years, only one attempt was made by a doge to go renegade- a crime for which he was publicly beheaded in 1355.

From below, the population was one of pure cattle living under a continuity of carnivals, prostitution, plague and poverty.

From 1201-1204, Venice had managed to run a coup on the Byzantine Empire with the pillage of Constantinople during the 4th Crusade. This was a masterstroke of evil genius that utilized fanatical European forces from France and the Holy Roman Empire who foolishly thought they were embarking on a Crusade to fight the Turks in the Holy Land. These fools were convinced to first pay debts they owed to Venice (for use of the latter’s transportation ships) by laying siege and looting the Christian City of Constantinople. This duplicitous scheme allowed Venice to not only destroy their older sister, but also took control of all her sea-based trade routes to boot. Venice also received a huge bribe from the Ottoman Empire for having kept Crusaders out of their way- thus freeing the Turks to destroy the remnants of the renaissance-Humanist culture of Baghdad in 1258.

By 1350, Venice had control over world finance through its monopoly of gold and silver bullion, maritime trade and the most sophisticated intelligence network on earth. Venice’s mastery of manipulating wars among potential allies while financing all sides was not limited to Europe. This “new Rome” had even spread its tentacles through Asia gaining a monopoly of trade in Mongol-controlled territories in exchange of offering political intelligence to the Khans whose success penetrating Russia, Kiev, Bulgaria, Hungary and beyond was made possible through such Venetian agents as Marco Polo and his father (Polo even became the Advisor to Kublai Khan).

Venetian Evil Called Out

Cosimo de Medici (sponsor of Cusa and the 1438 Council of Florence) said of the Venetians: 

“Association with the Venetians brings two things which have always been rejected by men of wisdom: perdition and disgrace” and Ludovico Sforza, an ally of Machiavelli said: “Venetians are obstinate and hardened, always keeping their mouths open to be able to bite off power and usurp the state of all their neighbors to fulfill the appetite of their souls to conquer Italy and then beyond as did the Romans, thinking to compare themselves to the Romans when their power was at its apex.”

Another ally of the League, Louis XII of France said the venetians “were traders in human blood, traitors to the Christian faith who have tacitly divided up the world with the Turks and who are already planning to throw bridgeheads across the Danube, the Rhine, the Seine, the Tagu and the Ebro, attempting to reduce Europe to a province and to keep it subjugated to their armies”.

Most eviscerating in his attack was Pope Pius II who said “As among brute beasts, aquatic creatures have the least intelligence, so among the human beings the Venetians are the least just and the least capable of humanity… They are hypocrites. They wish to appear as Christians before the world but in reality they never think of God and except for the state, which they regard as a deity, they hold nothing sacred, nothing holy… All law and right may be violated for the sake of power.”

The Success of the League

The League of Cambrai was established on December 10, 1508 uniting the highly corruptible Pope Julius II, the Holy Roman Empire Maximilian, France of Louis XII and Ferdinand I of Spain under the common cause of crushing this “new Rome” out of existence. Machiavelli was the driving force behind the league putting the project into motion in 1507 when he arranged for Maximilian to get on board with the agreement that Florence and Milan would finance the cause and provided strategic intelligence throughout.

Utilizing hired mercenary armies, the Venetians were unable to defend themselves against the onslaught that fell upon them. Venetian-controlled territories like Padua and Pisa were won by Florentine Citizen-soldiers organized by Machiavelli, Da Vinci and Borgia and with the decisive victory of France at Agnadello, the Venetian armies were obliterated on May 14, 1509. The Doge messaged the Pope begging for mercy and Machiavelli celebrated the victory writing that in one day, the Venetians “lost what it had taken them 800 years’ exertion to conquer.”

The Venetians were as good as finished… with no army left to defend themselves and the most powerful coalition of powers united together with all the capabilities to finish them off… so what happened?

The Failure of the League

Utilizing the weakest link in the coalition, Pope Julius II, the Venetians pulled off a secret bribe offering all of Rome’s lost territories and more to the Pope as well as a promise to buy alum from Papal territories at inflated values rather than with the Turks. This bribe turned the pope, and accordingly Maximilian against France and Florence as the League was left to disintegrate and a new Venetian-controlled alliance was created in 1512 called the Holy League which soon included England’s Henry VIII and Ferdinand I of Spain. Louis XII’s armies were decimated at the Battle of Ravenna in 1512 forcing a retreat to France and leaving Florence to be soon defeated. Machiavelli’s citizen army was promptly slaughtered, and the great leader tortured and exiled while Da Vinci evaded death by fleeing to Rome and later France.

The moment of great potential had collapsed an age of turmoil and war was unleashed which wouldn’t see a major respite until the establishment of the 1648 Peace of Westphalia (itself sabotaged by the same Venetian forces who by this time were in the midst of moving their center of power to the more strategic location of England and the Netherlands).

In the 2008 manuscript The Modern Anglo-Dutch Empire: It’s Origins, Evolution and Anti-Human Outlook, historian Bob Ingraham recounts in sordid detail how the leading families of Venice moved their operation out of the lagoons during the 17th century in order to become the Anglo-Dutch Empire. This valuable research recounts the creation of a new system of private central banking innovated by Venice’s Banco della Piazza di Rialto of 1587 which morphed into the Bank of Venice in 1619. This new banking paradigm created the model that was used in the creation of the Bank of Amsterdam in 1609 and later with the Bank of England in 1694 after the Venetian Party of England orchestrated a coup known as the “Glorious Revolution”.

This financial innovation was based on the realization that it is better to control a nation’s issuance of banknotes and bills of credit while masquerading a private corporation as a national institution rather than simply attempting to impose simple usury on a nation as had been previously done for centuries.

How Not to Repeat History

While the 1648 Peace of Westphalia saw a re-activation of the renaissance principle enunciated by Cusa, Europe soon fell back into organized warfare leaving the beautiful principles of the treaty mere words on parchment. While the 1776 American Revolution again saw a re-activation of this principle, its spread throughout Europe and beyond was also crushed with the perversion of the French revolution which turned into an irreparable bloodbath by 1791. While the 19th century alliance of sovereign nations adopting Lincoln’s system also nearly resulted in a new age of progress and win-win cooperation, it too was destroyed by small-minded fools falling prey to short-term games and their own egos.

Today, 135 nations have been brought into solidarity with the Russia-China’s alliance and this new momentum for progress and cooperation has inspired a renewed nationalism across even the Trans-Atlantic Community which had fallen so deeply under Anglo-Dutch financial control throughout the 20th Century that few had believed hope could still exist.

With nearly 8 billion souls on the planet and the power of the atom at our fingertips, the stakes have never been higher and the liberty to act the fool in the face of Venetian evil never so intolerable.

Featured Image: Flag of the Republic of Venice


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