The Sforza dukes presided over their court, one of the most magnificent in Europe, at the Castello Sforzesco in the heart of Milan. The dukes were great patrons of the arts, founding churches and building grand castles in neighboring Pavia and Vigevano, as well as in Milan. At their suggestion, the French, under Charles VIII, first entered Italy in 1494—it was a disastrous invitation, ultimately leading to the loss of Milanese independence. In 1499, Louis XII drove out the Sforza duke Ludovico. Milan and its territory fell definitively under imperial domination following the Battle of Pavia (1525), which Francis I lost to the Habsburg emperor Charles V. Although Francesco II Sforza was made duke, it was at Charles’s sufferance, and after Francesco’s death in 1535 the city was ruled by Spanish governors. These political twists and turns had a major impact on the local community of artists. More Lombard School
Pope Saint Gregory I (c. 540 – 12 March 604), commonly known as Saint Gregory the Great, was pope of the Catholic Church from 3 September 590 to his death in 604. Gregory is famous for instigating the first recorded large-scale mission from Rome to convert a pagan people to Christianity. Gregory is also well known for his writings, which were more prolific than those of any of his predecessors as pope. He is also known as the Great Visionary of Modern Educational System, for his writings and contribution to the school system of education instead of apprenticeships based learning. The epithet Saint Gregory the Dialogist has been attached to him in Eastern Christianity because of his Dialogues. For this reason, English translations of Eastern texts will sometimes list him as Gregory "Dialogos" or the Latinized equivalent "Dialogus".
Although he was the first pope from a monastic background, his prior political experiences may have helped him to be a talented administrator, who successfully established papal supremacy. During his papacy he greatly surpassed with his administration the emperors in improving the welfare of the people of Rome. Gregory regained papal authority in Spain and France, and sent missionaries to England. The realignment of barbarian allegiance to Rome from their Arian Christian alliances shaped medieval Europe. Gregory saw Franks, Lombards, and Visigoths align with Rome in religion. More Pope Saint Gregory I