History ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-31-1952


On the twentieth of September, 1524, Hugo de Moncada, a general of the Holy Roman Empire, launched a surprise attack upon the Sacred City of Rome. The assault was an important episode in a rivalry that had dominated the European scene during the early part of the sixteenth century--that of the Holy Roman Empire, Charles V, and "The Most Christian King," Francis I. The success or failure of the attack was bound to be important to all of Europe, yet the most significant outcome was unforeseen and had the most far-reaching consequences. The success of Moncada symbolized the downfall of the reputation for inviolability that the Roman Catholic Church had enjoyed among the Christian nations throughout the Middle Ages.

This study is primarily concerned with the raid on Rome in 1526. Responsibility for the raid is established by coordinating the opinions of the leading authorities. An analysis of the Pope's decisions concerning the defenses of Rome is made to determine, if possible, the reasons for the success of the raid. Before these points can be made, the background of the Spanish-French rivalry in Italy must be explained, in order to understand the role of the Papacy. In discussions of this period, historians are usually prone to place all their emphasis on the sack of 1527 and to regard the initial raid as unimportant. This is justifiable only if an authority on the period is examining the results without due regard for causes. If the raid of 1526 had not been successful, the sack in the following year may have never taken place. The raid revealed weaknesses in the temporal fabric of the Papacy which caused the Holy See to lose its protective prestige.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

John Edward Longhurst

Second Committee Member

James Spencer Russell

Third Committee Member

Leighton Henry Johnson




Hugo de Moncada, Holy Roman Empire, Sack of Rome, Sack of Rome 1527, Papacy, Sixteenth Century European History

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