Barely eight months after GianBattista Rinuccini's departure from Ireland, the Cromwellian conquest began. In some respects, it is ironic that neither the nuncio, nor Owen Roe O'Neill, the two figures of this time easiest to portray as Catholic crusaders, directly engaged in the struggle against God's Englishman. That conflict between the Catholic population of Ireland and the saints of the English revolution was certainly harsh enough to qualify as another outcrop of the ferocity of the European religious wars, and it distinguished the Irish experience of the interregnum from anywhere else in the archipelago. Rinuccini was not the only papal nuncio retreating to Italy in the late 1640s following the collapse of his mission. Fabio Chigi, the papal delegate at Munster, had endured a similar fate following the Treaty of Westphalia. Both the Chigi and the Rinuccini nunciatures were creations of the period covered in this book and their frames of reference were remarkably similar.
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