Cesare d'Este, Duke of Modena  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Cesare d'Este (1561 - December 11, 1628) was Duke of Modena and Reggio from 1597 until his death. During his reign, in 1598, the house of Este lost the Duchy of Ferrara.


Born in Ferrara, Cesare was the illegitimate son of Alfonso d'Este, fourth son of Alfonso I d'Este, marquis of Montecchio, and the cousin of Alfonso II d'Este, duke of Ferrara and Modena.
When the latter died without heirs in the October 1597, Cesare received the Duchy. The legitimacy of the succession was recognized by the Emperor Rudolph II but not by Pope Clement VIII: thus, as Ferrara was nominally a Papal fief, the city was returned to the Papal States, despite the attempts of the young duke, who sued for help to the major powers of the time, but obtaining no help.

The capital was therefore moved to Modena where he entered on january 30, 1598. His first years were troublesome: apart from the inadequate residence, he had to face the quarrels between the Modenese and Ferrarese nobles who had come with him, the attempt of independence of Maro Pio of Sassuolo and a war against Lucca for the possession of Garfagnana.

On January 30, 1586 he married Virginia de' Medici, daughter of Cosimo I de' Medici. She however suffered of increasing symptoms of madness, until her death in 1615.

Cesare was a mild and religious man, however lacking of political intelligence. He was succeeded by his son Alfonso.

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