PIUS II
Commentarii Rerum Memorabilium, book 11, 301/38 - 304/16 (edition 1614)


In May 1463 pope Pius II visited Ostia and Portus. Below is his own description, written in the third person.


Ad hoc usque tempus non viderat Pius ostia Tyberina neque id mare, quod litus Romanum abluit. Invitatus a cardinali Rothomagensi, qui Ostiensis esset episcopus, sub monte Aventino navem conscendit, et quatuor cardinalibus comitantibus amne secundo navigationem gratissimam peregit. Ripae fluminis hinc atque inde virebant gramine laeto floribusque variis Maio mense cuncta vestiente, nisi qua veteris ruinae mansere vestigia, quae plerisque in locis tanquam parietes fluminis alveum coercent. Cum ventum est ad Ostiam, septem maximi pisces in litore sunt oblati; nostra aetas 'sturiones' vocat et in pretio habet; vetus nomen non invenimus, nisi 'lupos Tyberinos' hos fuisse vocatos quispiam voluerit; ducentarum et quinquaginta librarum unius pondus esse dixere.

Up to this time Pius had not seen Ostia Tiberina nor the sea which washes the Roman shore. At the invitation of the Cardinal of Rouen, [129] who was Bishop of Ostia, he embarked with four cardinals at the foot of the Aventine and made a most delightful voyage down the river. The banks on both sides were green and the month of May clothed all the country with luxuriant grass and many-colored flowers except where there remained traces of ancient ruins, which in many places hem in the river-bed like walls. When they reached Ostia seven huge fish were presented to them on the shore. These are today called sturgeon and are much prized. We do not know the ancient name, though it has been suggested that they may be the lupi Tiberini. One was said to weigh two hundred and fifty pounds.

Ostiam urbem condidit Ancus, ex priscis Romanorum regibus tertius. Fuisse olim magnam ruinae probant, quae multum agri occupant; mille circiter passibus a mari abfuit. Visuntur dirutae porticus et columnae iacentes et statuarum fragmenta; extant et veteris templi parietes marmore spoliati, qui nobile quondam fuisse opus ostendunt; cernitur et pars aquaeductus, qui ex locis remotioribus salubrem Urbi invexit aquam. Vetustiora urbis moenia et ampliora iam pridem corruerunt, et in angustiorem redacta formam ecclesiam tantum cathedralem et paucas habitantium domos clauserunt, quarum pars in ipsis aquaeductibus fundata fuit; haec quoque nostra aetate Ladislaum Siciliae regem destruxisse ferunt. Aperti sunt magna ex parte muri; aedem sacram, quam non ignobilem fuisse constat, incertum, an vetustas disiecerit, an violentia: pars tantum superior extat, in qua est ara maior. Sub ea Eugenio sedente pleraque sanctorum ossa reperta sunt; inter quae Divae Monachae, Aurelii Augustini matris corpus inventum Romam delatum est, et apud Augustinenses reconditum, cui Maffaeus Vegius poeta marmoreum locellum condidit et versibus adornavit. Domus reliquae dirutae iacent. Palatium episcopale Ludovicus Eugenii camerarius tecto cooperuit et aliquantisper instauravit; neque aliud extat aedificium, quod inhabitare queas, praeter meritoriam quandam tabernam et turrim, quam Martinus Quintus excelsam et rotundam aedificavit ad loci custodiam, ne vectigalia fraudari possent, et quasi speculam, ne hostis ascenderet improvisus. Hanc ferunt - si vera est fama - multo sublimiorem fuisse, quam nunc est; subsedisse agitatam terraemotibus aiunt, et ultra, quam hominis statura est, intra viscera terrae delituisse.

The city of Ostia was founded by Ancus, the third king of Rome. The extensive ruins show that it was once large. It lay about a mile from the sea. Ruined porticoes, prostrate columns, and fragments of statues are still visible. There are also the walls of an ancient temple, stripped of their marble, which show it was once a noble work. You may see also part of an aqueduct which brought sweet water from a distance to the city. The older and more extensive city walls long ago fell in ruins and the circuit was narrowed to enclose only the cathedral church and a few dwelling houses, some of which were built directly on the aqueduct itself. They say that even these structures were destroyed in our time by Ladislas, King of Sicily. [130] The walls are leveled for the most part. The church, which must have been of some distinction, has been destroyed by age or violence. Only the upper part with the high altar still stands. Under the altar during the pontificate of Eugenius were found many bones of saints, among them the body of Santa Monica, mother of Aurelius Augustinus, which was taken to Rome and buried in the convent of the Augustinians. [131] The poet Maffeo Vegio erected a marble tomb and adorned it with verses. The other buildings of Ostia lie in ruins. The episcopal palace was roofed over and partially repaired by Eugenius's chamberlain, Lodovico, [132] but there is no other habitable building except a sort of public tavern and a high, round tower built by Martin V to guard the place, that the harbor dues might not be evaded and to serve as a watch-tower to prevent an enemy making a surprise landing. This, if report is true, was originally much higher than it is now. They say it has settled under the shock of earthquakes and is underground more than a man's height.

Huiuscemodi hodie Ostia est, cuius magnum fuit apud antiquos nomen; piscatores pauci inhabitant e Dalmatia profecti et turris custodes. Ager, in quo iacet, triangularis est; partem mare abluit per duo milia passuum, nec minorem partem circuit Tyber, reliquam claudit stagnum, in quo sales fiunt. Aquaeductus olim per medium stagnum aedificatus hodie pontis usum praebet, et per ipsum ab Ostia rectum iter ad Urbem pedibus patet. Olores in ripa et herba palustri ova ponunt et pullos alunt, quorum greges visere atque audire suave est. Stagnum vix passibus quinquaginta abest a Tyberi, ita, ut facile sit ex peninsula veram insulam facere. Ubi latius stagnum cernitur, stadio patet, nec altitudine hominis profundius est. Coangustatur, cum mari appropinquat, et formam canalis habet hinc atque inde arboribus saeptum, in quis dulce modulantur aves. Mari haudquaquam coniungitur nisi tumescente pelago; tunc enim harena, quae inter stagnum et mare litus efficit, undis tegitur, et stagnum inflatum cum mari idem efficit corpus. Tota peninsula graminea est et utilis pecori, quamvis plerisque in locis et praesertim circa mare harenis abundat.

Such today is Ostia whose fame was great in antiquity. Only a few fishermen from Dalmatia and the guards of the tower live there. It lies on a triangular tract cut off along two miles by the sea and encircled by the Tiber for an equal distance. The rest is bounded by a lagoon where there are saltworks. An aqueduct built in antiquity through this lagoon serves today as a bridge and over this a footpath leads straight from Ostia to Rome. Swans lay eggs and rear their young on the bank and in the marsh grass and it is delightful to see and hear the flocks. The lagoon is hardly fifty feet from the Tiber so that it would be easy to turn the peninsula into a real island. At its widest point the lagoon is a stade across and it is no deeper than a man's height. It narrows toward the sea and is like a canal hedged on the sides with trees in which birds sing sweetly. It is not connected with the sea except when the ocean swells and then the sandy shore between the lagoon and the sea is covered with water and the lagoon thus enlarged becomes one with the sea. The whole peninsula is covered with grass and is suitable for cattle although in many places and especially near the sea it is very sandy.

Ostium ipsum Tyberis maius triremes admittit et naves onerarias non admodum magnas, verum cum periculo, quia non amplius tribus cubitis super harenam efferri aquam ferunt, et harenam ipsam saepe mutare locum. Ob quam rem magistro opus est, qui loci naturam noverit: pedotam vocant, eumque mercede conducunt; si quis neglexerit, avaritiam naufragio punit. Huic ostio obiectam fuisse Carthaginem tradunt, nec plus quam quingentis milibus passuum abfuisse, advectasque ficus recentes inde Romam, propter quas argumentum Cato sibi assumpserit delendam esse urbem, quae hostis populi Romani potentissima tam propinqua esset.

The actual mouth of the Tiber is larger and admits galleys and moderate-sized freighters, though not without some danger as there are said to be only three cubits of water above the sand and the sand itself is continually shifting. On this account they have to have a steersman who knows the nature of the place (he is called a pilot) and they have to hire him. If anyone omits to do this, his stinginess is punished with shipwreck. They say that Carthage was directly opposite this mouth not more than five hundred miles away and that fresh figs were brought from there to Rome. It was on this account that Cato argued that an enemy of the Roman people so powerful and so near ought to be utterly destroyed.

Iohannes cardinalis et episcopus Portuensis, ubi accepit Pium Ostiam petivisse, ad eum navigans rogavit suam quoque ecclesiam visitari; nec negavit pontifex. Ingrediuntur cardinales et papa navigium unum, et amne adverso trahuntur. Vix stadia duo adnavigaverant, cum orta est de palatio quodam non parva contentio, in partene Ostiae situm esset, an in insula Ostiae obiecta. Pontifex Ostiense palatium esse aiebat et Gregorius Lollius, ceteri contra sentiebant. Interrogati Romani, qui locorum gnari credebantur, et nautae in insula situm asserebant. Inter Gregorium et vicecancellarium poena stipulata est, cum alter alteri esset adversus: victum sturione mulctandum eius staturae, quae maior esset. Res usque ad reditum varia contentione et spe dubia ducta. Perplexos animos dissonasque sententias flexus fluminis varius et humilitas fecit, quae inter insulam et palatium quasi prata continuarentur; nihil aquae procul inspicientibus ostendebat. Adeoque anceps decertatio fuit, ut equitantes per insulam versus Ostiam, quamvis prope palatium ad tria circiter stadia profecti essent, adhuc tamen coniunctum insulae palatium crederent, donec cursores iussi palatium petere flumine impediti victorem Lollium retulere; et mox res ipsa subiecta est oculis.

Juan, Cardinal and Bishop of Porto, [133] when he heard that Pius had gone to Ostia, sailed over to ask him to visit his church too and the Pope accepted. With the cardinals he went on board and was towed up stream. They had scarcely gone two stades when a heated dispute arose as to whether a certain palace was in Ostia or on the island opposite. The Pope said it was in Ostia and so did Gregorio Lolli; the rest held the other view. The sailors and Romans supposed to be familiar with the region were questioned and they said it was on the island. Gregorio and the Vicechancellor, who were on opposite sides, agreed that the loser should pay a forfeit of the largest sturgeon. The subject was continued till their return with various arguments and no results. Their perplexity and uncertainty was caused by the fact that the river was very winding and the ground, which was practically a continuous meadow between the island and the palace, was so low that from a distance no water could be seen. The question was so difficult to settle that men who rode across the island toward Ostia to within about three stades of the palace still thought it was connected with the island until runners sent to reach the palace found their way blocked by the river and reported Lolli the victor. Afterward all were able to see the topography for themselves.

Supra Ostiam miliario secundo Tyber in duas partes scinditur. Pars maior, et quae multo superat alteram, ad sinistram decurrit Ostiam versus; pars minor ad dexteram flectitur, et in occidentem vergit - sive natura id iter invenit, sive humana vis effodit. Insulam haec duo Tyberis brachia non parvam efficiunt pascuosam et bubulis apprime gratam. Ecclesia Portuensis in ea iacet detecta; parietes tantum extant et turris campanaria sine campanis non ignobilis. In insula nullum eminet aliud aedificium, verum ubicunque effoderis, marmora invenias et statuas et columnas ingentis magnitudinis. Marmora huc advexisse e Ligusticis montibus mercatores ferunt, atque hic Romanis exposuisse venalia; quorum frusta multa iacent scabra et impolita, litteras numerales duobus in lateribus habentia, quarum unis docente Plinio pondus lapidis, alteris missorum a mercatore frustorum ordinem significari constat. Universa fere supercrescente terra obruta iacent. Insula plana est et herbosa, ambitus decem milium circiter passuum, tempore pacis armentis plena.

Two hundred [jthb] miles above Ostia the Tiber branches; the larger part, which is much the wider, runs to the left toward Ostia, the smaller bends to the right and flows toward the west, whether because such is its natural course or because man has so diverted it. [134] These two arms of the Tiber encircle a good-sized island with abundant pasturage which is excellent for cattle. On it is the church of Porto. [135] It is unroofed and only the walls and the fine bell-tower without its bells are standing. There is no other building on the island, but wherever you dig you find pieces of marble, statues, and huge columns. They say the marbles were brought here from the Ligurian mountains and other regions by traders and offered for sale to the Romans. Scattered about are many rough and unpolished fragments marked on two sides with numerals which, according to Pliny, indicate the weight of the stones, but according to others the order of the pieces sent by the merchants but almost everything has been covered by the rising soil. [136] The island is level and grassy, about ten miles in circumference. In time of peace it is full of herds.

In parte Thusciae, qua minor Tyberis pars Tyrenum influit pelagus, Claudius imperator portum extruxit circumdato dextra sinistraque brachio, et ad introitum profundo iam salo mole obiecta; quam quo facilius fundaret, navem ante demersit, qua magnus obeliscus ex Aegypto fuerat advectus, congestisque pilis superposuit altissimam turrim in exemplum Alexandrine Fari, ut ad nocturnos ignes navigia cursum dirigerent. Turris adhuc extant vestigia, quae procul in mari cernuntur; reliqua funditus periere.

At the point in Tuscany where the smaller branch of the Tiber enters the Tuscan sea the Emperor Claudius built a harbor protected right and left by jetties, with a mole at the entrance where the sea is deep. To facilitate the building of this mole he first sank the ship in which the great obelisk had been brought from Egypt and built on it a lofty tower supported on piles after the manner of the Pharos of Alexandria, that ships might steer by its light at night. There are still traces of this tower which can be seen from far out at sea. Everything else has perished utterly.

Huic propinqua urbs Portuensis a portu nomen sortita, sive Claudii fuerit opus sive Traiani. Ruinae tantum visuntur: extat porta urbis nudata marmoribus et pars murorum corrupta; cernuntur et gentilium templorum vestigia et Christianarum ecclesiarum cadavera. In medio navale fuit, quod Traiani opus dicunt - et vulgo pro Traiano Troianum vocant -, multarum triremium capax; nunc stagni formam habet oppletum caeno. Olim canale per duo milia passuum a mari portuque naves eduxit, et salsam dulci miscuit aquam. Circa stagnum columnarum ordines nondum omnes cecidere, quibus alligari naves consueverunt. Prope assunt fornices ad servandas merces apti et ampliora officinarum loca ad struendas reparandasque naves idonea. Pamachius patricius Romanus hoc in loco xenodochium aedificavit, quem Divus Hieronymus commendat; cuius rei nullae visuntur reliquiae. Urbs olim destructa fuit, postea in formam castelli redacta; et id quoque inhabitatum cernitur.

The neighboring city of Porto gets its name from the harbor. Whether it was built by Claudius or by Trajan only the ruins are now to be seen. There is the city gate stripped of its marbles and part of the ruined walls. Traces too can be seen of the pagan temples and the corpses of Christian churches. In the center was a dock said to be the work of Trajan and vulgarly called Trojan instead of Trajan's. It was capable of accommodating many galleys but now it is choked with mud and looks like a lagoon. Once a canal two miles long brought ships from the sea and the harbor and mingled the salt and sweet waters. Of the rows of columns around the lagoon, to which ships used to be moored, some are still standing. Nearby are arches very convenient for storing merchandise and larger workshops suitable for building or repairing ships. A Roman named Pamachius built an inn here, which St. Jerome commends, but no traces of it are to be seen. The city was once destroyed and then reduced to a mere fortress. This also is now uninhabited.

Cardinalis Portuensis super ruinis dirutae urbis tentoria fixit, et tabernacula ex ramalibus erexit, atque in his Pium pontificem excepit vultu hilari et alloquio blando multa de Traiano locutus, cui successisset Hispanus Hispano.

The Cardinal of Porto spread canopies over the ruins of the destroyed city and erected arbors of branches where he received Pope Pius with smiles and flattering words. He talked a great deal about Trajan, saying that he was succeeding him as one Spaniard another.

Reversus Ostiam Pius reperit piscatores delphinum quendam permagnum cepisse, quem Gallici cardinalis Rothomagensis domestici multis modis coctum avide commederunt, quod id genus piscis in Oceano captum laudatissimum habeant, et inter munera regum existimant; Italici exhorruere sive ob tetramodorem commota nausea, sive quod ad crapulam usque sturionibus saturati fuissent. Delphini captura signum futurae tempestatis habitum. Nocte, quae secuta est, decimo octavo Kalendas Iunii hora circiter tertia mare, quod superioribus diebus semper inquietum atque intractabile fuerat, longe plus solito conturbari coepit. Tempestas exoritur valida; auster ab imis sedibus pelagi aquas evolvit, fluctus immensi everberant litora; audisses quasi gemens et ululans mare. Vis tanta ventorum fuit, ut nihil ei resistere posse videretur. Saevire inter se ipsos, et alter alterum nunc fugare nunc fugere, silvas et obstantia quaeque subvertere; coruscare crebris ignibus aether, intonare caelum, et fulgora e nubibus terrifica ruere, ex quis unum turrim percussit et propugnaculum quoddam, simulque campanam deiecit in terram; parumque abfuit, quin monachum quendam opprimeret somno vinoque sepultum. In proximo armenta bovum stabulabantur, et vaccae fetae pro vitulis anxiae horribilem mugitum emittere: sive tonitrua vererentur, sive lupos in tenebris formidarent. Nox obscurissima, quamvis crebri micarent ignes, terrorem ingeminavit; et tanta vis aquarum e caelo cecidit, ut iam non pluvias, sed diluvium diceres, tanquam statuisset orbis Conditor humanum genus iterum aquis involvere.

When Pius returned to Ostia he found that fishermen had caught an enormous dolphin which the servants of the French Cardinal of Rouen had cooked in many different ways and devoured greedily, as they prize very highly this sea fish and consider it one of the sovereign's perquisites. The Italians were disgusted either because of the foul odor or because they had gorged themselves stupid on sturgeon. The catching of a dolphin is said to be the sign of a coming storm. The next night, May 15, the sea, which during the last few days had been continuously disturbed and rough, became much wilder than usual. A violent tempest arose, a south wind churned the waters to their very depths, huge waves lashed the shore, and you could have heard the ocean groaning and shrieking. The force of the winds was such that it seemed nothing could withstand it. They fought savagely together and seemed now to rout, now to flee from one another. They tore down forests and everything in their path. The sky flashed with repeated fires, the heavens thundered, and terrible bolts shot from the clouds. One of them struck the tower bringing down a buttress and a bell which came near crushing a monk who was lying there buried in wine and sleep. Herds of cattle were stabled nearby and heifers that had just calved bellowed horribly in their anxiety for their young, either because they were terrified at the thunder or because they were afraid that wolves might attack them in the dark. The utter blackness of the night (though there were frequent flashes of lightning) doubled the terror and such sheets of water fell that you would have said it was not rain but a deluge, as if the Creator had resolved once more to drown the human race.

Cum non essent in episcopali palatio neque in turri diversoria, quae omnem pontificis cardinaliumque familiam capere possent, multi sub tentoriis iacuere, et pars in navibus quietem quaesivit; inter quos cives Romani fuerunt et nonnulli ex familia pontificis et dispensator domus Rothomagensis. Ii tempestate oborta, cum ventus navim agitaret, et pluvia carinam impleret, metu attoniti, quid agerent, nesciebant. Et dispensator quidem aquam fugiens in aquam se proiecit, parumque ab summersione abfuit; forte fortuna proximus ripae funem apprehendit, et auxilium implorans tandem adiutus flumen madidus ac semimortuus exivit. Unus ex familia papae apprehenso lumine, quod unicum erat in navi, prosiluit in terram. Tum Romani in tenebris relicti alter amplexari alterum, rogare, ne relinquerentur; miseros se dicere, quibus sine lumine pereundum esset; suam fortunam lugere amarissime, diem ultimum advenisse non dubitare, atque ita complexi madidique rei exitum expectare.

Since there were not accommodations in the episcopal palace or the tower for all the attendants of the Pope and the cardinals, many lay under tents and some had gone to bed in the ships. Among the latter were Roman citizens, some of the Pope's household, and Rouen's steward. When with the rising storm winds buffeted the ship and rain filled the hull, in their fear and dismay they did not know what to do. The steward to escape from water plunged into water and nearly drowned. Being by good luck near the bank he seized hold of a rope and when he shouted for help was finally rescued. He emerged from the river dripping and half dead. One of the Pope's household took the only light in the ship and leapt with it to land. Then the Romans, left in darkness, embraced one another and prayed that they might not be abandoned. They cried that theirs was a most miserable fate if they must die in the dark; they bitterly bewailed their lot and never doubting that their last day had come, entwined in each other's arms and soaked to the skin, they awaited the outcome.

Tentoria ventus cuncta deiecerat; duo erant extra muros oppidi, in quibus familia vicecancellarii decubuerat; haec violentus turbo cum arripuisset, obtruncatis funibus perfractisque malis prorsus dilaceravit, et malorum alter prope iacentis viri tibiam casu percussit ac pene disrupit. Fugere omnes tentoriis disiectis, nec per tenebras licebat iter cernere. Vis nimbi inter carduos, qui multi locum obsederant, nudos impulit, et spinis vulneravit asperioribus. Miserabile visu: cruenti tandem et gelu rigentes ac propemodum stupidi ad vicecancellarium pervenere in palatio iacentem et horridae tempestatis impetum formidantem. Qui ubi suos vidit relictis tentoriis advenisse nudos, non salvine omnes essent, sed ubi posuissent argentum, interrogavit - tanto est maior auri, quam hominis cura -, nec unquam consolatus est, nisi postquam salvum esse argentum didicit. Tremere in palatio cuncti, nemo suae vitae non timere praeter eos, qui (cum) in cena plus solito adbibissent, et in cubiculis humilioribus collocati fuissent, altissimo sepulti somno nihil audivere.

The wind had torn down all the tents. Outside the wall were two tents where the household of the Vicechancellor [137] were lodged. These were caught up in a violent whirlwind which snapped the ropes, splintered the poles, and slit the canvas to ribbons. One of the poles fell on the leg of a man lying close by and came near breaking it. Everyone fled from the ruined tents but in the dark they could not see the way. The violence of the storm drove them naked as they were among the thistles with which the place was overgrown and they were wounded by the sharp prickles. Finally a pitiful sight, covered with blood, stiff with cold, and almost dazed, they reached the Vicechancellor who was lying in the palace terrified at the fury of the dreadful storm. When he saw his men had left the tents and come there naked, he did not ask whether they were all safe but where they had left the plate (gold is so much more regarded than a man) and he refused to be comforted till he learned that it was safe. Everyone in the palace was in a panic. There was no one who did not fear for his life except those who had drunk more than usual at dinner or had been lodged in the lowest rooms. These were sunk in deep sleep and heard nothing.

Pius in cubiculo suo pro consuetudine dictare aliquid coeperat Augustino Patritio scribente, et iam quasi horam nihil motus tempestatem parvi faciebat. At cum increbuisset nimborum violentia, et venti muros quaterent, nutarentque parietes, totaque domus tremeret, et in tecto versae tegulae huc atque illuc raperentur, timere periculum coepit, et aspiciens parietes ac laquearia, cum vetusta omnia cerneret, verereturque, ne putrefacta corruerent, iussit Augustinum surgere, atque accersire cubicularios; quibus advenientibus: "Afferte" - inquit - "vestimenta, ut domum exeam!" Negabant illi utile consilium esse, quia nec foris tuta mansio esset in pluvia vehementi, nec in palatio locus tutior cubiculo suo. At pontifex: "Minime" - inquit - "sapitis. Ferenda est magis pluvia, quam ruina domus. Vestite me cito, sub divo tegar melius! Muri fatiscunt, et in cubiculo confiditis?" Oboediunt cubicularii. Cum semivestitus esset Pius, tempestas illico sedata est, et omnes venti quieverunt, tanquam pontifici veriti fuissent incommodum afferre; nec aliud auditum est, quam pluvia. Et Pius mutato proposito in lectulo suo quievit.

Pius in his room had begun, as was his custom, to dictate to Agostino Patrizzi [138] and for almost an hour thought little of the storm and felt no alarm. But when the fury of the rain increased and the wind buffeted the walls and made them quake and the whole house shook and the roof tiles were torn off and sent flying hither and yon, he began to fear there was danger and when he looked at the walls and ceiling and saw they were all very old, fearing that they might be rotten and collapse, he bade Agostino get up and call the servants. When they came he said, "Bring me my clothes so that I may go outside." They said that would be unwise because it was not safe to stay outside in the furious rain and in the palace there was no safer place than his room. But the Pope answered, "You don't know what you are talking about! The wind is easier to bear than a falling house. Dress me at once. I shall have better protection under the sky. The walls are cracking and do you put confidence in a room?" The servants obeyed but when Pius was half dressed the storm suddenly abated and all the winds subsided as if they had been afraid to cause the Pope inconvenience.

Parem tempestatem perpessus est eadem nocte cardinalis Portuensis in urbe sua commoratus; qui ruente tentorio atque disiecto sub divo relictus vestimentis sese operuit, atque ita pluviam et noctem evasit periculosam. Fuerunt et Romae tonitrua non minora, quam Ostiae. Pontifex sequenti die domum rediit non sine laetitia expectantis populi, qui Tybur petitum credebat et ibi per aestatem mansurum praesulem.

The Cardinal of Porto, who had remained in his own city, passed a similar night. When his tent collapsed and was torn to pieces, finding himself out in the open air he covered himself up with his clothing and so got through the storm and that dangerous night. At Rome too there were thunderstorms as severe as those at Ostia. The next day the Pope returned home to the delight of the expectant people who supposed the pontiff had gone to Tivoli for the summer.

[129] Guillaume d'Estouteville.
[130] King of Naples, who invaded the papal states in 1413.
[131] Sant' Agostino.
[132] Scarampo.
[133] Carvajal.
[134] I.e., in downstream terms.
[135] Cathedral of Santa Rufina.
[136] Pius uses Biondo freely here; the italicized passage is taken almost verbatim from the Italia Illus., - Opera, p. 54. He is silent meanwhile in regard to the more immediate purpose of the visit to Ostia. Ruthe Rubinstein, in an unpublished thesis entitled Pius II as Patron of Art, with Special Reference to the History of the Vatican, Courtauld Institute of Art, London University, 1957, p. 200, has shown that the Pope had already engaged Silvestro di Giuliano di ser Roberti and others to procure marbles from Ostia and Porto for the Pulpit of Benediction then under construction at St. Peter's. The pillaging of classical marbles had already called forth a papal bull of prohibition (April 28, 1462). As one of the offenders himself a year later, Pius understandably omits any reference to this.
[137] Rodrigo Borgia.
[138] Friend of Pius' student days, now reader and secretary. He was made abbreviator and master of ceremonies under Paul II and was the author of a ceremonial notebook as well as of a number of historical works.

Translation: The Commentaries of Pius II; translation by Florence Alden Gragg, with historical introduction and notes by Leona C. Gabel, 1957, pp. 750-755.