Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books


Part 1 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.9 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Etext prepared by John Bickers, jbickers@ihug.co.nz
and Dagny, dagnyj@hotmail.com





With an Introduction by

Professor of Romanic Languages and Literature,
University of Pennsylvania.


This text was typed up from a Universal Classics Library edition,
published in 1901 by W. Walter Dunne, New York and London. The
translator was not named. The book contains a "photogravure" of
Niccolo Machiavelli from an engraving.


Niccolo Machiavelli, the first great Italian historian, and one of the
most eminent political writers of any age or country, was born at
Florence, May 3, 1469. He was of an old though not wealthy Tuscan
family, his father, who was a jurist, dying when Niccolo was sixteen
years old. We know nothing of Machiavelli's youth and little about his
studies. He does not seem to have received the usual humanistic
education of his time, as he knew no Greek.[*] The first notice of
Machiavelli is in 1498 when we find him holding the office of
Secretary in the second Chancery of the Signoria, which office he
retained till the downfall of the Florentine Republic in 1512. His
unusual ability was soon recognized, and in 1500 he was sent on a
mission to Louis XII. of France, and afterward on an embassy to Csar
Borgia, the lord of Romagna, at Urbino. Machiavelli's report and
description of this and subsequent embassies to this prince, shows his
undisguised admiration for the courage and cunning of Csar, who was a
master in the application of the principles afterwards exposed in such
a skillful and uncompromising manner by Machiavelli in his /Prince/.

The limits of this introduction will not permit us to follow with any
detail the many important duties with which he was charged by his
native state, all of which he fulfilled with the utmost fidelity and
with consummate skill. When, after the battle of Ravenna in 1512 the
holy league determined upon the downfall of Pier Soderini,
Gonfaloniere of the Florentine Republic, and the restoration of the
Medici, the efforts of Machiavelli, who was an ardent republican, were
in vain; the troops he had helped to organize fled before the
Spaniards and the Medici were returned to power. Machiavelli attempted
to conciliate his new masters, but he was deprived of his office, and
being accused in the following year of participation in the conspiracy
of Boccoli and Capponi, he was imprisoned and tortured, though
afterward set at liberty by Pope Leo X. He now retired to a small
estate near San Casciano, seven miles from Florence. Here he devoted
himself to political and historical studies, and though apparently
retired from public life, his letters show the deep and passionate
interest he took in the political vicissitudes through which Italy was
then passing, and in all of which the singleness of purpose with which
he continued to advance his native Florence, is clearly manifested. It
was during his retirement upon his little estate at San Casciano that
Machiavelli wrote /The Prince/, the most famous of all his writings,
and here also he had begun a much more extensive work, his /Discourses
on the Decades of Livy/, which continued to occupy him for several
years. These /Discourses/, which do not form a continuous commentary
on Livy, give Machiavelli an opportunity to express his own views on
the government of the state, a task for which his long and varied
political experience, and an assiduous study of the ancients rendered
him eminently qualified. The /Discourses/ and /The Prince/, written at
the same time, supplement each other and are really one work. Indeed,
the treatise, /The Art of War/, though not written till 1520 should be
mentioned here because of its intimate connection with these two
treatises, it being, in fact, a further development of some of the
thoughts expressed in the /Discorsi/. /The Prince/, a short work,
divided into twenty-six books, is the best known of all Machiavelli's
writings. Herein he expresses in his own masterly way his views on the
founding of a new state, taking for his type and model Csar Borgia,
although the latter had failed in his schemes for the consolidation of
his power in the Romagna. The principles here laid down were the
natural outgrowth of the confused political conditions of his time.
And as in the /Principe/, as its name indicates, Machiavelli is
concerned chiefly with the government of a Prince, so the /Discorsi/
treat principally of the Republic, and here Machiavelli's model
republic was the Roman commonwealth, the most successful and most
enduring example of popular government. Free Rome is the embodiment of
his political idea of the state. Much that Machiavelli says in this
treatise is as true to-day and holds as good as the day it was
written. And to us there is much that is of especial importance. To
select a chapter almost at random, let us take Book I., Chap. XV.:
"Public affairs are easily managed in a city where the body of the
people is not corrupt; and where equality exists, there no
principality can be established; nor can a republic be established
where there is no equality."

No man has been more harshly judged than Machiavelli, especially in
the two centuries following his death. But he has since found many
able champions and the tide has turned. /The Prince/ has been termed a
manual for tyrants, the effect of which has been most pernicious. But
were Machiavelli's doctrines really new? Did he discover them? He
merely had the candor and courage to write down what everybody was
thinking and what everybody knew. He merely gives us the impressions
he had received from a long and intimate intercourse with princes and
the affairs of state. It was Lord Bacon, I believe, who said that
Machiavelli tells us what princes do, not what they ought to do. When
Machiavelli takes Csar Borgia as a model, he in nowise extols him as
a hero, but merely as a prince who was capable of attaining the end in
view. The life of the State was the primary object. It must be
maintained. And Machiavelli has laid down the principles, based upon
his study and wide experience, by which this may be accomplished. He
wrote from the view-point of the politician,--not of the moralist.
What is good politics may be bad morals, and in fact, by a strange
fatality, where morals and politics clash, the latter generally gets
the upper hand. And will anyone contend that the principles set forth
by Machiavelli in his /Prince/ or his /Discourses/ have entirely
perished from the earth? Has diplomacy been entirely stripped of fraud
and duplicity? Let anyone read the famous eighteenth chapter of /The
Prince/: "In what Manner Princes should keep their Faith," and he will
be convinced that what was true nearly four hundred years ago, is
quite as true to-day.

Of the remaining works of Machiavelli the most important is the
/History of Florence/ written between 1521 and 1525, and dedicated to
Clement VII. The first book is merely a rapid review of the Middle
Ages, the history of Florence beginning with Book II. Machiavelli's
method has been censured for adhering at times too closely to the
chroniclers like Villani, Cambi, and Giovanni Cavalcanti, and at
others rejecting their testimony without apparent reason, while in its
details the authority of his /History/ is often questionable. It is
the straightforward, logical narrative, which always holds the
interest of the reader that is the greatest charm of the /History/.
Of the other works of Machiavelli we may mention here his comedies the
/Mandragola/ and /Clizia/, and his novel /Belfagor/.

After the downfall of the Republic and Machiavelli's release from
prison in 1513, fortune seems never again to have favoured him. It is
true that in 1520 Giuliano de' Medici commissioned him to write his
/History of Florence/, and he afterwards held a number of offices, yet
these latter were entirely beneath his merits. He had been married in
1502 to Marietta Corsini, who bore him four sons and a daughter. He
died on June 22, 1527, leaving his family in the greatest poverty, a
sterling tribute to his honesty, when one considers the many
opportunities he doubtless had to enrich himself. Machiavelli's life
was not without blemish--few lives are. We must bear in mind the
atmosphere of craft, hypocrisy, and poison in which he lived,--his was
the age of Csar Borgia and of Popes like the monster Alexander VI.
and Julius II. Whatever his faults may have been, Machiavelli was
always an ardent patriot and an earnest supporter of popular
government. It is true that he was willing to accept a prince, if one
could be found courageous enough and prudent enough to unite
dismembered Italy, for in the unity of his native land he saw the only
hope of its salvation.

Machiavelli is buried in the church of Santa Croce at Florence, beside
the tomb of Michael Angelo. His monument bears this inscription:

"Tanto nomini nullum par eulogium."

And though this praise is doubtless exaggerated, he is a son of whom
his country may be justly proud.

Hugo Albert Rennert.

[*] Villari, /Niccolo Machiavelli e i suoi tempi/, 2d ed. Milan,
1895-97, the best work on the subject. The most complete
bibliography of Machiavelli up to 1858 is to be found in Mohl,
/Gesch. u. Liter. der Staatswissenshaften/, Erlangen, 1855, III.,
521-91. See also /La Vita e gli scritti di Niccolo Machiavelli
nella loro Relazione col Machiavellismo/, by O. Tommasini, Turin,
1883 (unfinished).

The best English translation of Machiavelli with which I am
acquainted is: The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic writings
of Niccolo Machiavelli, translated by Christian E. Detmold. Osgood
& Co., Boston, 1882, 4 vols. 8vo.






Irruption of Northern people upon the Roman territories--Visigoths
--Barbarians called in by Stilicho--Vandals in Africa--Franks and
Burgundians give their names to France and Burgundy--The Huns--
Angles give the name to England--Attila, king of the Huns, in
Italy--Genseric takes Rome--The Lombards.

The people who inhabit the northern parts beyond the Rhine and the
Danube, living in a healthy and prolific region, frequently increase
to such vast multitudes that part of them are compelled to abandon
their native soil, and seek a habitation in other countries. The
method adopted, when one of these provinces had to be relieved of its
superabundant population, was to divide into three parts, each
containing an equal number of nobles and of people, of rich and of
poor. The third upon whom the lot fell, then went in search of new
abodes, leaving the remaining two-thirds in possession of their native

These migrating masses destroyed the Roman empire by the facilities
for settlement which the country offered when the emperors abandoned
Rome, the ancient seat of their dominion, and fixed their residence at
Constantinople; for by this step they exposed the western empire to
the rapine of both their ministers and their enemies, the remoteness
of their position preventing them either from seeing or providing for
its necessities. To suffer the overthrow of such an extensive empire,
established by the blood of so many brave and virtuous men, showed no
less folly in the princes themselves than infidelity in their
ministers; for not one irruption alone, but many, contributed to its
ruin; and these barbarians exhibited much ability and perseverance in
accomplishing their object.

The first of these northern nations that invaded the empire after the
Cimbrians, who were conquered by Caius Marius, was the Visigoths--
which name in our language signifies "Western Goths." These, after
some battles fought along its confines, long held their seat of
dominion upon the Danube, with consent of the emperors; and although,
moved by various causes, they often attacked the Roman provinces, were
always kept in subjection by the imperial forces. The emperor
Theodosius conquered them with great glory; and, being wholly reduced
to his power, they no longer selected a sovereign of their own, but,
satisfied with the terms which he granted them, lived and fought under
his ensigns, and authority. On the death of Theodosius, his sons
Arcadius and Honorius, succeeded to the empire, but not to the talents
and fortune of their father; and the times became changed with the
princes. Theodosius had appointed a governor to each of the three
divisions of the empire, Ruffinus to the eastern, to the western
Stilicho, and Gildo to the African. Each of these, after the death of
Theodosius, determined not to be governors merely, but to assume
sovereign dominion over their respective provinces. Gildo and Ruffinus
were suppressed at their outset; but Stilicho, concealing his design,
ingratiated himself with the new emperors, and at the same time so
disturbed their government, as to facilitate his occupation of it
afterward. To make the Visigoths their enemies, he advised that the
accustomed stipend allowed to this people should be withheld; and as
he thought these enemies would not be sufficient alone to disturb the
empire, he contrived that the Burgundians, Franks, Vandals, and Alans
(a northern people in search of new habitations), should assail the
Roman provinces.

That they might be better able to avenge themselves for the injury
they had sustained, the Visigoths, on being deprived of their subsidy,
created Alaric their king; and having assailed the empire, succeeded,
after many reverses, in overrunning Italy, and finally in pillaging

After this victory, Alaric died, and his successor, Astolphus, having
married Placidia, sister of the emperors, agreed with them to go to
the relief of Gaul and Spain, which provinces had been assailed by the
Vandals, Burgundians, Alans, and Franks, from the causes before
mentioned. Hence it followed, that the Vandals, who had occupied that
part of Spain called Betica (now Andalusia), being pressed by the
Visigoths, and unable to resist them, were invited by Boniface, who
governed Africa for the empire, to occupy that province; for, being in
rebellion, he was afraid his error would become known to the emperor.
For these reasons the Vandals gladly undertook the enterprise, and
under Genseric, their king, became lords of Africa.

At this time Theodosius, son of Arcadius, succeeded to the empire;
and, bestowing little attention on the affairs of the west, caused
those who had taken possession to think of securing their
acquisitions. Thus the Vandals ruled Africa; the Alans and Visigoths,
Spain; while the Franks and Burgundians not only took Gaul, but each
gave their name to the part they occupied; hence one is called France,
the other Burgundy. The good fortune of these brought fresh people to
the destruction of the empire, one of which, the Huns, occupied the
province of Pannonia, situated upon the nearer shore of the Danube,
and which, from their name, is still called Hungary. To these
disorders it must be added, that the emperor, seeing himself attacked
on so many sides, to lessen the number of his enemies, began to treat
first with the Vandals, then with the Franks; a course which
diminished his own power, and increased that of the barbarians. Nor
was the island of Britain, which is now called England, secure from
them; for the Britons, being apprehensive of those who had occupied
Gaul, called the Angli, a people of Germany, to their aid; and these
under Vortigern their king, first defended, and then drove them from
the island, of which they took possession, and after themselves named
the country England. But the inhabitants, being robbed of their home,
became desperate by necessity and resolved to take possession of some
other country, although they had been unable to defend their own. They
therefore crossed the sea with their families, and settled in the
country nearest to the beach, which from themselves is called
Brittany. The Huns, who were said above to have occupied Pannonia,
joining with other nations, as the Zepidi, Eurili, Turingi, and Ostro,
or eastern Goths, moved in search of new countries, and not being able
to enter France, which was defended by the forces of the barbarians,
came into Italy under Attila their king. He, a short time previously,
in order to possess the entire monarchy, had murdered his brother
Bleda; and having thus become very powerful, Andaric, king of the
Zepidi, and Velamir, king of the Ostrogoths, became subject to him.
Attila, having entered Italy, laid siege to Aquileia, where he
remained without any obstacle for two years, wasting the country
round, and dispersing the inhabitants. This, as will be related in its
place, caused the origin of Venice. After the taking and ruin of
Aquileia, he directed his course towards Rome, from the destruction of
which he abstained at the entreaty of the pontiff, his respect for
whom was so great that he left Italy and retired into Austria, where
he died. After the death of Attila, Velamir, king of the Ostrogoths,
and the heads of the other nations, took arms against his sons Henry
and Uric, slew the one and compelled the other, with his Huns, to
repass the Danube and return to their country; while the Ostrogoths
and the Zepidi established themselves in Pannonia, and the Eruli and
the Turingi upon the farther bank of the Danube.

Attila having left Italy, Valentinian, emperor of the west, thought of
restoring the country; and, that he might be more ready to defend it
against the barbarians, abandoned Rome, and removed the seat of
government to Ravenna. The misfortunes which befell the western empire
caused the emperor, who resided at Constantinople, on many occasions
to give up the possession of it to others, as a charge full of danger
and expense; and sometimes, without his permission, the Romans, seeing
themselves so abandoned, created an emperor for their defense, or
suffered some one to usurp the dominion. This occurred at the period
of which we now speak, when Maximus, a Roman, after the death of
Valentinian, seized the government, and compelled Eudocia, widow of
the late emperor, to take him for her husband; but she, being of
imperial blood, scorned the connection of a private citizen; and being
anxious to avenge herself for the insult, secretly persuaded Genseric,
king of the Vandals and master of Africa to come to Italy,
representing to him the advantage he would derive from the
undertaking, and the facility with which it might be accomplished.
Tempted by the hope of booty, he came immediately, and finding Rome
abandoned, plundered the city during fourteen days. He also ravaged
many other places in Italy, and then, loaded with wealth, withdrew to
Africa. The Romans, having returned to their city, and Maximus being
dead, elected Avitus, a Roman, as his successor. After this, several
important events occurred both in Italy and in the countries beyond;
and after the deaths of many emperors the empire of Constantinople
devolved upon Zeno, and that of Rome upon Orestes and Augustulus his
son, who obtained the sovereignty by fraud. While they were designing
to hold by force what they had obtained by treachery, the Eruli and
the Turingi, who, after the death of Attila, as before remarked, had
established themselves upon the farther bank of the Danube, united in
a league and invaded Italy under Odoacer their general. Into the
districts which they left unoccupied, the Longobardi or Lombards, also
a northern people, entered, led by Godogo their king. Odoacer
conquered and slew Orestes near Pavia, but Augustulus escaped. After
this victory, that Rome might, with her change of power, also change
her title, Odoacer, instead of using the imperial name, caused himself
to be declared king of Rome. He was the first of those leaders who at
this period overran the world and thought of settling in Italy; for
the others, either from fear that they should not be able to hold the
country, knowing that it might easily be relieved by the eastern
emperors, or from some unknown cause, after plundering her, sought
other countries wherein to establish themselves.


State of the Roman empire under Zeno--Theodoric king of the
Ostrogoths--Character of Theodoric--Changes in the Roman empire--
New languages--New names--Theodoric dies--Belisarius in Italy--
Totila takes Rome--Narses destroys the Goths--New form of
Government in Italy--Narses invites the Lombards into Italy--The
Lombards change the form of government.

At this time the ancient Roman empire was governed by the following
princes: Zeno, reigning in Constantinople, commanded the whole of the
eastern empire; the Ostrogoths ruled Mesia and Pannonia; the
Visigoths, Suavi, and Alans, held Gascony and Spain; the Vandals,
Africa; the Franks and Burgundians, France; and the Eruli and Turingi,
Italy. The kingdom of the Ostrogoths had descended to Theodoric,
nephew of Velamir, who, being on terms of friendship with Zeno the
eastern emperor, wrote to him that his Ostrogoths thought it an
injustice that they, being superior in valor to the people thereabout,
should be inferior to them in dominion, and that it was impossible for
him to restrain them within the limits of Pannonia. So, seeing himself
under the necessity of allowing them to take arms and go in search of
new abodes, he wished first to acquaint Zeno with it, in order that he
might provide for them, by granting some country in which they might
establish themselves, by his good favor with greater propriety and
convenience. Zeno, partly from fear and partly from a desire to drive
Odoacer out of Italy, gave Theodoric permission to lead his people
against him, and take possession of the country. Leaving his friends
the Zepidi in Pannonia, Theodoric marched into Italy, slew Odoacer and
his son, and, moved by the same reasons which had induced Valentinian
to do so, established his court at Ravenna, and like Odoacer took the
title of king of Italy.

Theodoric possessed great talents both for war and peace; in the
former he was always conqueror, and in the latter he conferred very
great benefits upon the cities and people under him. He distributed
the Ostrogoths over the country, each district under its leader, that
he might more conveniently command them in war, and govern them in
peace. He enlarged Ravenna, restored Rome, and, with the exception of
military discipline, conferred upon the Romans every honor. He kept
within their proper bounds, wholly by the influence of his character,
all the barbarian kings who occupied the empire; he built towns and
fortresses between the point of the Adriatic and the Alps, in order,
with the greater facility, to impede the passage of any new hordes of
barbarians who might design to assail Italy; and if, toward the latter
end of his life, so many virtues had not been sullied by acts of
cruelty, caused by various jealousies of his people, such as the death
of Symmachus and Boethius, men of great holiness, every point of his
character would have deserved the highest praise. By his virtue and
goodness, not only Rome and Italy, but every part of the western
empire, freed from the continual troubles which they had suffered from
the frequent influx of barbarians, acquired new vigor, and began to
live in an orderly and civilized manner. For surely if any times were
truly miserable for Italy and the provinces overrun by the barbarians,
they were those which occurred from Arcadius and Honorius to
Theodoric. If we only consider the evils which arise to a republic or
a kingdom by a change of prince or of government; not by foreign
interference, but by civil discord (in which we may see how even
slight variations suffice to ruin the most powerful kingdoms or
states), we may then easily imagine how much Italy and the other Roman
provinces suffered, when they not only changed their forms of
government and their princes, but also their laws, customs, modes of
living, religion, language, and name. Any one of such changes, by
itself, without being united with others, might, with thinking of it,
to say nothing of the seeing and suffering, infuse terror into the
strongest minds.

From these causes proceeded the ruin as well as the origin and
extension of many cities. Among those which were ruined were Aquileia,
Luni, Chiusi, Popolonia, Fiesole, and many others. The new cities were
Venice, Sienna, Ferrara, Aquila, with many towns and castles which for
brevity we omit. Those which became extended were Florence, Genoa,
Pisa, Milan, Naples, and Bologna; to all of which may be added, the
ruin and restoration of Rome, and of many other cities not previously

From this devastation and new population arose new languages, as we
see in the different dialects of France, Spain and Italy; which,
partaking of the native idiom of the new people and of the old Roman,
formed a new manner of discourse. Besides, not only were the names of
provinces changed, but also of lakes, rivers, seas, and men; for
France, Spain, and Italy are full of fresh names, wholly different
from the ancient; as, omitting many others, we see that the Po, the
Garda, the Archipelago, are names quite different from those which the
ancients used; while instead of Csar and Pompey we have Peter,
Matthew, John, etc.

Among so many variations, that of religion was not of little
importance; for, while combating the customs of the ancient faith with
the miracles of the new, very serious troubles and discords were
created among men. And if the Christians had been united in one faith,
fewer disorders would have followed; but the contentions among
themselves, of the churches of Rome, Greece, and Ravenna, joined to
those of the heretic sects with the Catholics, served in many ways to
render the world miserable. Africa is a proof of this; having suffered
more horrors from the Arian sect, whose doctrines were believed by the
Vandals, than from any avarice or natural cruelty of the people
themselves. Living amid so many persecutions, the countenances of men
bore witness of the terrible impressions upon their minds; for besides
the evils they suffered from the disordered state of the world, they
scarcely could have recourse to the help of God, in whom the unhappy
hope for relief; for the greater part of them, being uncertain what
divinity they ought to address, died miserably, without help and
without hope.

Having been the first who put a stop to so many evils, Theodoric
deserves the highest praise: for during the thirty-eight years he
reigned in Italy, he brought the country to such a state of greatness
that her previous sufferings were no longer recognizable. But at his
death, the kingdom descending to Atalaric, son of Amalasontha, his
daughter, and the malice of fortune not being yet exhausted, the old
evils soon returned; for Atalaric died soon after his grandfather, and
the kingdom coming into the possession of his mother, she was betrayed
by Theodatus, whom she had called to assist her in the government. He
put her to death and made himself king; and having thus become odious
to the Ostrogoths, the emperor Justinian entertained the hope of
driving him out of Italy. Justinian appointed Belisarius to the
command of this expedition, as he had already conquered Africa,
expelled the Vandals, and reduced the country to the imperial rule.

Belisarius took possession of Sicily, and from thence passing into
Italy, occupied Naples and Rome. The Goths, seeing this, slew
Theodatus their king, whom they considered the cause of their
misfortune, and elected Vitiges in his stead, who, after some
skirmishes, was besieged and taken by Belisarius at Ravenna; but
before he had time to secure the advantages of his victory, Belisarius
was recalled by Justinian, and Joannes and Vitalis were appointed in
his place. Their principles and practices were so different from those
of Belisarius, that the Goths took courage and created Ildovadus,
governor of Verona, their king. After Ildovadus, who was slain, came
Totila, who routed the imperial forces, took Tuscany and Naples, and
recovered nearly the whole of what Belisarius had taken from them. On
this account Justinian determined to send him into Italy again; but,
coming with only a small force, he lost the reputation which his
former victories had won for him, in less time than he had taken to
acquire it. Totila being at Ostia with his forces, took Rome before
his eyes; but being unable to hold or to leave the city, he destroyed
the greater part of it, drove out the citizens, and took the senators
away from him. Thinking little of Belisarius, he led his people into
Calabria, to attack the forces which had been sent from Greece.

Belisarius, seeing the city abandoned, turned his mind to the
performance of an honourable work. Viewing the ruins of Rome, he
determined to rebuild her walls and recall her inhabitants with as
little delay as possible. But fortune was opposed to this laudable
enterprise; for Justinian, being at this time assailed by the
Parthians, recalled him; and his duty to his sovereign compelled him
to abandon Italy to Totila, who again took Rome, but did not treat her
with such severity as upon the former occasion; for at the entreaty of
St. Benedict, who in those days had great reputation for sanctity, he
endeavored to restore her. In the meantime, Justinian having arranged
matters with the Parthians, again thought of sending a force to the
relief of Italy; but the Sclavi, another northern people, having
crossed the Danube and attacked Illyria and Thrace, prevented him, so
that Totila held almost the whole country. Having conquered the
Slavonians, Justinian sent Narses, a eunuch, a man of great military
talent, who, having arrived in Italy, routed and slew Totila. The
Goths who escaped sought refuge in Pavia, where they created Teias
their king. On the other hand, Narses after the victory took Rome, and
coming to an engagement with Teias near Nocera, slew him and routed
his army. By this victory, the power of the Goths in Italy was quite
annihilated, after having existed for seventy years, from the coming
of Theodoric to the death of Teias.

No sooner was Italy delivered from the Goths than Justinian died, and
was succeeded by Justin, his son, who, at the instigation of Sophia,
his wife, recalled Narses, and sent Longinus in his stead. Like those
who preceded him, he made his abode at Ravenna, and besides this, gave
a new form to the government of Italy; for he did not appoint
governors of provinces, as the Goths had done, but in every city and
town of importance placed a ruler whom he called a duke. Neither in
this arrangement did he respect Rome more than the other cities; for
having set aside the consuls and senate, names which up to this time
had been preserved, he placed her under a duke, who was sent every
year from Ravenna, and called her the duchy of Rome; while to him who
remained in Ravenna, and governed the whole of Italy for the emperor,
was given the name of Exarch. This division of the country greatly
facilitated the ruin of Italy, and gave the Lombards an early occasion
of occupying it. Narses was greatly enraged with the emperor, for
having recalled him from the government of the province, which he had
won with his own valor and blood; while Sophia, not content with the
injury done by withdrawing him, treated him in the most offensive
manner, saying she wished him to come back that he might spin with the
other eunuchs. Full of indignation, Narses persuaded Alboin, king of
the Lombards, who then reigned in Pannonia, to invade and take
possession of Italy.

The Lombards, as was said before, occupied those places upon the
Danube which had been vacated by the Eruli and Turingi, when Odoacer
their king led them into Italy; where, having been established for
some time, their dominions were held by Alboin, a man ferocious and
bold, under whom they crossed the Danube, and coming to an engagement
with Cunimund, king of the Zepidi, who held Pannonia, conquered and
slew him. Alboin finding Rosamond, daughter of Cunimund, among the
captives, took her to wife, and made himself sovereign of Pannonia;
and, moved by his savage nature, caused the skull of Cunimund to be
formed into a cup, from which, in memory of the victory, he drank.
Being invited into Italy by Narses, with whom he had been in
friendship during the war with the Goths, he left Pannonia to the
Huns, who after the death of Attila had returned to their country.
Finding, on his arrival, the province divided into so many parts, he
presently occupied Pavia, Milan, Verona, Vicenza, the whole of
Tuscany, and the greater part of Flamminia, which is now called
Romagna. These great and rapid acquisitions made him think the
conquest of Italy already secured; he therefore gave a great feast at
Verona, and having become elevated with wine, ordered the skull of
Cunimund to be filled, and caused it to be presented to the queen
Rosamond, who sat opposite, saying loud enough for her to hear, that
upon occasion of such great joy she should drink with her father.
These words were like a dagger to the lady's bosom and she resolved to
have revenge. Knowing that Helmichis, a noble Lombard, was in love
with one of her maids, she arranged with the young woman, that
Helmichis, without being acquainted with the fact, should sleep with
her instead of his mistress. Having effected her design, Rosamond
discovered herself to Helmichis, and gave him the choice either of
killing Alboin, and taking herself and the kingdom as his reward, or
of being put to death as the ravisher of the queen. Helmichis
consented to destroy Alboin; but after the murder, finding they could
not occupy the kingdom, and fearful that the Lombards would put them
to death for the love they bore to Alboin, they seized the royal
treasure, and fled with it to Longinus, at Ravenna, who received them

During these troubles the emperor Justinus died, and was succeeded by
Tiberius, who, occupied in the wars with the Parthians, could not
attend to the affairs of Italy; and this seeming to Longinus to
present an opportunity, by means of Rosamond and her wealth, of
becoming king of the Lombards and of the whole of Italy, he
communicated his design to her, persuaded her to destroy Helmichis,
and so take him for her husband. To this end, having prepared poisoned
wine, she with her own hand presented it to Helmichis, who complained
of thirst as he came from the bath. Having drunk half of it, he
suspected the truth, from the unusual sensation it occasioned and
compelled her to drink the remainder; so that in a few hours both came
to their end, and Longinus was deprived of the hope of becoming king.

In the meantime the Lombards, having drawn themselves together in
Pavia, which was become the principal seat of their empire, made
Clefis their king. He rebuilt Imola, destroyed by Narses, and occupied
Remini and almost every place up to Rome; but he died in the course of
his victories. Clefis was cruel to such a degree, not only toward
strangers, but to his own Lombards, that these people, sickened of
royal power, did not create another king, but appointed among
themselves thirty dukes to govern the rest. This prevented the
Lombards from occupying the whole of Italy, or of extending their
dominion further than Benevento; for, of the cities of Rome, Ravenna,
Cremona, Mantua, Padua, Monselice, Parma, Bologna, Faenza, Forli, and
Cesena, some defended themselves for a time, and others never fell
under their dominion; since, not having a king, they became less
prompt for war, and when they afterward appointed one, they were, by
living in freedom, become less obedient, and more apt to quarrel among
themselves; which from the first prevented a fortunate issue of their
military expeditions, and was the ultimate cause of their being driven
out of Italy. The affairs of the Lombards being in the state just
described, the Romans and Longinus came to an agreement with them,
that each should lay down their arms and enjoy what they already


Beginning of the greatness of the pontiffs in Italy--Abuse of
censures and indulgences--The pope applies to Pepin, king of
France, for assistance--Donation of Pepin to the pontiff--
Charlemagne--End of the kingdom of the Lombards--The title of
cardinal begins to be used--The empire passes to the Germans--
Berengarius, duke of Fruili, created king of Italy--Pisa becomes
great--Order and division of the states of Italy--Electors of the
emperor created.

In these times the popes began to acquire greater temporal authority
than they had previously possessed; although the immediate successors
of St. Peter were more reverenced for the holiness of their lives, and
the miracles which they performed; and their example so greatly
extended the Christian religion, that princes of other states embraced
it, in order to obviate the confusion which prevailed at that period.
The emperor having become a Christian and returned to Constantinople,
it followed, as was remarked at the commencement of the book, that the
Roman empire was the more easily ruined, and the church more rapidly
increased her authority. Nevertheless, the whole of Italy, being
subject either to the emperors or the kings till the coming of the
Lombards, the popes never acquired any greater authority than what
reverence for their habits and doctrine gave them. In other respects
they obeyed the emperors or kings; officiated for them in their
affairs, as ministers or agents, and were even sometimes put to death
by them. He who caused them to become of more importance in the
affairs of Italy, was Theodoric, king of the Goths, when he
established the seat of his empire at Ravenna; for, Rome being without
a prince, the Romans found it necessary, for their safety, to yield
obedience to the pope; his authority, however, was not greatly
increased thereby, the only advantage being, that the church of Rome
was allowed to take precedence of that of Ravenna. But the Lombards
having taken possession, and Italy being divided into many parts, the
pope had an opportunity of greater exertion. Being as it were the head
of Rome, both the emperor of Constantinople and the Lombards respected
him; so that the Romans, by his means, entered into league with the
Lombards, and with Longinus, not as subjects, but as equals. Thus the
popes, at one time friends of the Greeks, and at another of the
Lombards, increased their own power; but upon the ruin of the eastern
empire, which occurred during the time of Heraclius, their influence
was reduced; for the Sclavi, of whom we spoke before, again assailed
Illyria, and having occupied the country, named it Sclavonia, after
themselves; and the other parts were attacked by the Persians, then by
the Saracens under Mohammed, and lastly by the Turks, who took Syria,
Africa, and Egypt. These causes induced the reigning pope, in his
distress, to seek new friends, and he applied to the king of France.
Nearly all the wars which the northern barbarians carried on in Italy,
it may be here remarked, were occasioned by the pontiffs; and the
hordes, with which the country was inundated, were generally called in
by them. The same mode of proceeding still continued, and kept Italy
weak and unsettled. And, therefore, in relating the events which have
taken place from those times to the present, the ruin of the empire
will be no longer illustrated, but only the increase of the
pontificate and of the other principalities which ruled Italy till the
coming of Charles VIII. It will be seen how the popes, first with
censures, and afterward with these and arms, mingled with indulgences,
became both terrible and venerable; and how, from having abused both,
they ceased to possess any influence, and were wholly dependent on the
will of others for assistance in their wars.

But to return to the order of our narration. Gregory III. occupied the
papacy, and the kingdom of the Lombards was held by Astolphus, who,
contrary to agreement, seized Ravenna, and made war upon the pope. On
this account, Gregory no longer relying upon the emperor of
Constantinople, since he, for the reasons above given, was unable to
assist him, and unwilling to trust the Lombards, for they had
frequently broken their faith, had recourse to Pepin II., who, from
being lord of Austria and Brabant, had become king of France; not so
much by his own valor as by that of Charles Martel, his father, and
Pepin his grandfather; for Charles Martel, being governor of the
kingdom, effected the memorable defeat of the Saracens near Tours,
upon the Loire, in which two hundred thousand of them are said to have
been left dead upon the field of battle. Hence, Pepin, by his father's
reputation and his own abilities, became afterward king of France. To
him Pope Gregory, as we have said, applied for assistance against the
Lombards, which Pepin promised to grant, but desired first to see him
and be honored with his presence. Gregory accordingly went to France,
passing uninjured through the country of his enemies, so great was the
respect they had for religion, and was treated honorably by Pepin, who
sent an army into Italy, and besieged the Lombards in Pavia. King
Astolphus, compelled by necessity, made proposals of peace to the
French, who agreed to them at the entreaty of the pope--for he did not
desire the death of his enemy, but that he should be converted and
live. In this treaty, Astolphus promised to give to the church all the
places he had taken from her; but the king's forces having returned to
France, he did not fulfill the agreement, and the pope again had
recourse to Pepin, who sent another army, conquered the Lombards, took
Ravenna, and, contrary to the wishes of the Greek emperor, gave it to
the pope, with all the places that belonged to the exarchate, and
added to them Urbino and the Marca. But Astolphus, while fulfilling
the terms of his agreement, died, and Desiderius, a Lombard, who was
duke of Tuscany, took up arms to occupy the kingdom, and demanded
assistance of the pope, promising him his friendship. The pope
acceding to his request, the other princes assented. Desiderius kept
faith at first, and proceeded to resign the districts to the pope,
according to the agreement made with Pepin, so that an exarch was no
longer sent from Constantinople to Ravenna, but it was governed
according to the will of the pope. Pepin soon after died, and was
succeeded by his son Charles, the same who, on account of the
magnitude and success of his enterprises, was called Charlemagne, or
Charles the Great. Theodore I. now succeeded to the papacy, and
discord arising between him and Desiderius, the latter besieged him in
Rome. The pope requested assistance of Charles, who, having crossed
the Alps, besieged Desiderius in Pavai, where he took both him and his
children, and sent them prisoners to France. He then went to visit the
pontiff at Rome, where he declared, THAT THE POPE, BEING VICAR OF GOD,
COULD NOT BE JUDGED BY MEN. The pope and the people of Rome made him
emperor; and thus Rome began to have an emperor of the west. And
whereas the popes used to be established by the emperors, the latter
now began to have need of the popes at their elections; the empire
continued to lose its powers, while the church acquired them; and, by
these means, she constantly extended her authority over temporal

The Lombards, having now been two hundred and thirty-two years in the
country, were strangers only in name, and Charles, wishing to
reorganize the states of Italy, consented that they should occupy the
places in which they had been brought up, and call the province after
their own name, Lombardy. That they might be led to respect the Roman
name, he ordered all that part of Italy adjoining to them, which had
been under the exarchate of Ravenna, to be called Romagna. Besides
this, he created his son Pepin, king of Italy, whose dominion extended
to Benevento; all the rest being possessed by the Greek emperor, with
whom Charles was in league. About this time Pascal I. occupied the
pontificate, and the priests of the churches of Rome, from being near
to the pope, and attending the elections of the pontiff, began to
dignify their own power with a title, by calling themselves cardinals,
and arrogated so great authority, that having excluded the people of
Rome from the election of pontiff, the appointment of a new pope was
scarcely ever made except from one of their own number: thus on the
death of Pascal, the cardinal of St. Sabina was created pope by the
title of Eugenius II. Italy having come into the hands of the French,
a change of form and order took place, the popes acquiring greater
temporal power, and the new authorities adopting the titles of count
and marquis, as that of duke had been introduced by Longinus, exarch
of Ravenna. After the deaths of some pontiffs, Osporco, a Roman,
succeeded to the papacy; but on account of his unseemly appellation,
he took the name of Sergius, and this was the origin of that change of
names which the popes adopt upon their election to the pontificate.

In the meantime, the Emperor Charles died and was succeeded by Lewis
(the Pious, after whose death so many disputes arose among his sons,
that at the time of his grandchildren, the house of France lost the
empire, which then came to the Germans; the first German emperor being
called Arnolfus. Nor did the Carlovingian family lose the empire only;
their discords also occasioned them the loss of Italy; for the
Lombards, gathering strength, offended the pope and the Romans, and
Arnolfo, not knowing where to seek relief, was compelled to create
Berengarius, duke of Fruili, king of Italy. These events induced the
Huns, who occupied Pannonia, to assail Italy; but, in an engagement
with Berengarius, they were compelled to return to Pannonia, which had
from them been named Hungary.

Romano was at this time emperor of Greece, having, while prefect of
the army, dethroned Constantine; and as Puglia and Calabria, which, as
before observed, were parts of the Greek empire, had revolted, he gave
permission to the Saracans to occupy them; and they having taken
possession of these provinces, besieged Rome. The Romans, Berengarius
being then engaged in defending himself against the Huns, appointed
Alberic, duke of Tuscany, their leader. By his valor Rome was saved
from the Saracens, who, withdrawing from the siege, erected a fortress
upon Mount Gargano, by means of which they governed Puglia and
Calabria, and harassed the whole country. Thus Italy was in those
times very grievously afflicted, being in constant warfare with the
Huns in the direction of the Alps, and, on the Neapolitan side,
suffering from the inroads of the Saracens. This state of things
continued many years, occupying the reigns of three Berengarii, who
succeeded each other; and during this time the pope and the church
were greatly disturbed; the impotence of the eastern, and the disunion
which prevailed among the western princes, leaving them without
defense. The city of Genoa, with all her territory upon the rivers,
having been overrun by the Saracens, an impulse was thus given to the
rising greatness of Pisa, in which city multitudes took refuge who had
been driven out of their own country. These events occurred in the
year 931, when Otho, duke of Saxony, the son of Henry and Matilda, a
man of great prudence and reputation, being made emperor, the pope
Agapito, begged that he would come into Italy and relieve him from the
tyranny of the Berengarii.

The States of Italy were governed in this manner: Lombardy was under
Berengarius III. and Alfred his son; Tuscany and Romagna were governed
by a deputy of the western emperor; Puglia and Calabria were partly
under the Greek emperor, and partly under the Saracens; in Rome two
consuls were annually chosen from the nobility, who governed her
according to ancient custom; to these was added a prefect, who
dispensed justice among the people; and there was a council of twelve,
who each year appointed rectors for the places subject to them. The
popes had more or less authority in Rome and the rest of Italy, in
proportion as they were favorites of the emperor or of the most
powerful states. The Emperor Otho came into Italy, took the kingdom
from the Berengarii, in which they had reigned fifty-five years, and
reinstated the pontiff in his dignity. He had a son and a nephew, each
named Otho, who, one after the other, succeeded to the empire. In the
reign of Otho III., Pope Gregory V. was expelled by the Romans;
whereupon the emperor came into Italy and replaced him; and the pope,
to revenge himself on the Romans, took from them the right to create
an emperor, and gave it to three princes and three bishops of Germany;
the princes of Brandenburg, Palatine, and Saxony, and the bishops of
Magonza, Treveri, and Colonia. This occurred in the year 1002. After
the death of Otho III. the electors created Henry, duke of Bavaria,
emperor, who at the end of twelve years was crowned by Pope Stephen
VIII. Henry and his wife Simeonda were persons of very holy life, as
is seen by the many temples built and endowed by them, of which the
church of St. Miniato, near Florence, is one. Henry died in 1024, and
was succeeded by Conrad of Suabia; and the latter by Henry II., who
came to Rome; and as there was a schism in the church of three popes,
he set them all aside, and caused the election of Clement II., by whom
he was crowned emperor.


Nicholas II. commits the election of the pope to the cardinals--
First example of a prince deprived of his dominions by the pope--
Guelphs and Ghibellines--Establishment of the kingdom of Naples--
Pope Urban II. goes to France--The first crusade--New orders of
knighthood--Saladin takes from the Christians their possessions in
the east--Death of the Countess Matilda--Character of Frederick
Barbarossa--Schism--Frederick creates an anti-pope--Building of
Alexandria in Puglia--Disgraceful conditions imposed by the pope
upon Henry, king of England--Reconciliation of Frederick with the
pope--The kingdom of Naples passes to the Germans--Orders of St.
Dominic and St. Francis.

Italy was at this time governed partly by the people, some districts
by their own princes, and others by the deputies of the emperor. The
highest in authority, and to whom the others referred, was called the
chancellor. Of the princes, the most powerful were Godfred and the
Countess Matilda his wife, who was daughter of Beatrice, the sister of
Henry II. She and her husband possessed Lucca, Parma, Reggio, Mantua,
and the whole of what is now called THE PATRIMONY OF THE CHURCH. The
ambition of the Roman people caused many wars between them and the
pontiffs, whose authority had previously been used to free them from
the emperors; but when they had taken the government of the city to
themselves, and regulated it according to their own pleasure, they at
once became at enmity with the popes, who received far more injuries
from them than from any Christian potentate. And while the popes
caused all the west to tremble with their censures, the people of Rome
were in open rebellion against them; nor had they or the popes any
other purpose, but to deprive each other of reputation and authority.

Nicholas II. now attained the papacy; and as Gregory V. had taken from
the Romans the right to create an emperor, he in the same manner
determined to deprive them of their share in the election of the pope;
and confined the creation to the cardinals alone. Nor did this satisfy
him; for, having agreed with the princes who governed Calabria and
Puglia, with methods which we shall presently relate, he compelled the
officers whom the Romans appointed to their different jurisdictions,
to render obedience to him; and some of them he even deprived of their
offices. After the death of Nicholas, there was a schism in the
church; the clergy of Lombardy refused obedience to Alexander II.,
created at Rome, and elected Cadolo of Parma anti-pope; and Henry, who
hated the power of the pontiffs, gave Alexander to understand that he
must renounce the pontificate, and ordered the cardinals to go into
Germany to appoint a new pope. He was the first who felt the
importance of spiritual weapons; for the pope called a council at
Rome, and deprived Henry of both the empire and the kingdom. Some of
the people of Italy took the part of the pope, others of Henry; and
hence arose the factions of the Guelphs and the Ghibellines; that
Italy, relieved from the inundations of barbarians, might be
distracted with intestine strife. Henry, being excommunicated, was
compelled by his people to come into Italy, and fall barefooted upon
his knees before the pope, and ask his pardon. This occurred in the
year 1082. Nevertheless, there shortly afterward arose new discords
between the pope and Henry; upon which the pope again excommunicated
him, and the emperor sent his son, also named Henry, with an army to
Rome, and he, with the assistance of the Romans, who hated the pope,
besieged him in the fortress. Robert Guiscard them came from Puglia to
his relief, but Henry had left before his arrival, and returned to
Germany. The Romans stood out alone, and the city was sacked by
Robert, and reduced to ruins. As from this Robert sprung the
establishment of the kingdom of Naples, it seems not superfluous to
relate particularly his actions and origin.

Disunion having arisen among the descendants of Charlemagne, occasion
was given to another northern people, called Normans, to assail France
and occupy that portion of the country which is now named Normandy. A
part of these people came into Italy at the time when the province was
infested with the Berengarii, the Saracans, and the Huns, and occupied
some places in Romagna, where, during the wars of that period, they
conducted themselves valiantly. Tancred, one of these Norman princes,
had many children; among the rest were William, surnamed Ferabac, and
Robert, called Guiscard. When the principality was governed by
William, the troubles of Italy were in some measure abated; but the
Saracens still held Sicily, and plundered the coasts of Italy daily.
On this account William arranged with the princes of Capua and
Salerno, and with Melorco, a Greek, who governed Puglia and Calabria
for the Greek emperor, to attack Sicily; and it was agreed that, if
they were victorious, each should have a fourth part of the booty and
the territory. They were fortunate in their enterprise, expelled the
Saracens, and took possession of the island; but, after the victory,
Melorco secretly caused forces to be brought from Greece, seized
Sicily in the name of the emperor, and appropriated the booty to
himself and his followers. William was much dissatisfied with this,
but reserved the exhibition of his displeasure for a suitable
opportunity, and left Sicily with the princes of Salerno and Capua.
But when they had parted from him to return to their homes, instead of
proceeding to Romagna he led his people towards Puglia, and took
Melfi; and from thence, in a short time, recovered from the Greek
emperor almost the whole of Puglia and Calabria, over which provinces,
in the time of pope Nicholas II. his brother Robert Guiscard was
sovereign. Robert having had many disputes with his nephews for the
inheritance of these states, requested the influence of the pope to
settle them; which his holiness was very willing to afford, being
anxious to make a friend of Robert, to defend himself against the
emperor of Germany and the insolence of the Roman people, which indeed
shortly followed, when, at the instance of Gregory, he drove Henry
from Rome, and subdued the people. Robert was succeeded by his sons
Roger and William, to whose dominion not only was Naples added, but
all the places interjacent as far as Rome, and afterward Sicily, of
which Roger became sovereign; but, upon William going to
Constantinople, to marry the daughter of the emperor, his dominions
were wrested from him by his brother Roger. Inflated with so great an
acquisition, Roger first took the title of king of Italy, but
afterward contented himself with that of king of Puglia and Sicily. He
was the first who established and gave that name to this kingdom,
which still retains its ancient boundaries, although its sovereigns
have been of many families and countries. Upon the failure of the
Normans, it came to the Germans, after these to the French, then to
the Aragonese, and it is now held by the Flemish.

About this time Urban II. became pope and excited the hatred of the
Romans. As he did not think himself safe even in Italy, on account of
the disunion which prevailed, he directed his thoughts to a generous
enterprise. With his whole clergy he went into France, and at Anvers,
having drawn together a vast multitude of people, delivered an oration
against the infidels, which so excited the minds of his audience, that
they determined to undertake the conquest of Asia from the Saracens;
which enterprise, with all those of a similar nature, were afterward
called crusades, because the people who joined in them bore upon their
armor and apparel the figure of a cross. The leaders were Godfrey,
Eustace, and Baldwin of Bouillon, counts of Boulogne, and Peter, a
hermit celebrated for his prudence and sagacity. Many kings and people
joined them, and contributed money; and many private persons fought
under them at their own expense; so great was the influence of
religion in those days upon the minds of men, excited by the example
of those who were its principal ministers. The proudest successes
attended the beginning of this enterprise; for the whole of Asia
Minor, Syria, and part of Egypt, fell under the power of the
Christians. To commemorate these events the order of the Knights of
Jerusalem was created, which still continues, and holds the island of
Rhodes--the only obstacle to the power of the Mohammedans. The same
events gave rise to the order of the Knights Templars, which, after a
short time, on account of their shameless practices, was dissolved.
Various fortunes attended the crusaders in the course of their
enterprises, and many nations and individuals became celebrated
accordingly. The kings of France and England joined them, and, with
the Venetians, Pisans, and Genoese, acquired great reputation, till
the time of Saladin, when, by whose talents, and the disagreement of
the Christians among themselves, the crusaders were robbed of all that
glory which they had at first acquired; and, after ninety years, were
driven from those places which they had so honorably and happily

After the death of Urban, Pascal II. became pope, and the empire was
under the dominion of Henry IV. who came to Rome pretending friendship
for the pontiff but afterward put his holiness and all his clergy in
prison; nor did he release them till it was conceded that he should
dispose of the churches of Germany according to his own pleasure.
About this time, the Countess Matilda died, and made the church heir
to all her territories. After the deaths of Pascal and Henry IV. many
popes and emperors followed, till the papacy was occupied by Alexander
III. and the empire by Frederick, surnamed Barbarossa. The popes
during this period had met with many difficulties from the people of
Rome and the emperors; and in the time of Barbarossa they were much
increased. Frederick possessed military talent, but was so full of
pride that he would not submit to the pontiff. However, at his
election to the empire he came to Rome to be crowned, and returned
peaceably to Germany, where he did not long remain in the same mind,
but came again into Italy to subdue certain places in Lombardy, which
did not obey him. It happened at this time that the cardinal St.
Clement, of a Roman family, separated from Alexander, and was made
pope by some of the cardinals. The Emperor Frederick, being encamped
at Cerma, Alexander complained to him of the anti-pope, and received
for answer, that they were both to go to him, and, having heard each
side, he would determine which was the true pope. This reply
displeased Alexander; and, as he saw the emperor was inclined to favor
the anti-pope, he excommunicated him, and then fled to Philip, king of
France. Frederick, in the meantime, carrying on the war in Lombardy,
destroyed Milan; which caused the union of Verona, Padua, and Vicenza
against him for their common defense. About the same period the anti-
pope died, and Frederick set up Guido of Cremona, in his stead.

The Romans, from the absence of the pope, and from the emperor being
in Lombardy, had reacquired some authority in Rome, and proceeded to
recover the obedience of those places which had been subject to them.
And as the people of Tusculum refused to submit to their authority,
they proceeded against them with their whole force; but these, being
assisted by Frederick, routed the Roman army with such dreadful
slaughter, that Rome was never after either so populous or so rich.
Alexander now returned to the city, thinking he could be safe there on
account of the enmity subsisting between the Romans and the emperor,
and from the enemies which the latter had in Lombardy. But Frederick,
setting aside every other consideration, led his forces and encamped
before Rome; and Alexander fled to William, king of Puglia, who had
become hair of that kingdom after the death of Roger. Frederick,
however, withdrew from Rome on account of the plague which then
prevailed, and returned to Germany. The cities of Lombardy in league
against him, in order to command Pavia and Tortona, which adhered to
the imperial party, built a city, to be their magazine in time of war,
and named in Alexandria, in honor of the pope and in contempt of

Guido the anti-pope died, and Giovanni of Fermo was appointed in his
stead, who, being favored by the imperialists, lived at Montefiascone.
Pope Alexander being at Tusculum, whither he had been called by the
inhabitants, that with his authority he might defend them from the
Romans, ambassadors came to him from Henry, king of England, to
signify that he was not blamable for the death of Thomas Becket,
archbishop of Canterbury, although public report had slandered him
with it. On this the pope sent two cardinals to England, to inquire
into the truth of the matter; and although they found no actual charge
against the king, still, on account of the infamy of the crime, and
for not having honored the archbishop so much as he deserved, the
sentence against the king of England was, that having called together
the barons of his empire, he should upon oath before them affirm his
innocence; that he should immediately send two hundred soldiers to
Jerusalem, paid for one year; that, before the end of three years, he
should himself proceed thither with as large an army as he could draw
together; that his subjects should have the power of appealing to Rome
when they thought proper; and that he should annul whatever acts had
been passed in his kingdom unfavorable to ecclesiastical rule. These
terms were all accepted by Henry; and thus a great king submitted to a
sentence that in our day a private person would have been ashamed of.
But while the pope exercised so great authority over distant princes,
he could not compel obedience from the Romans themselves, or obtain
their consent that he should remain in Rome, even though he promised
to intermeddle only with ecclesiastical affairs.

About this time Frederick returned to Italy, and while he was
preparing to carry on new wars against the pope, his prelates and
barons declared that they would abandon him unless he reconciled
himself with the church; so that he was obliged to go and submit to
the pope at Venus, where a pacification was effected, but in which the
pope deprived the emperor of all authority over Rome, and named
William, king of Sicily and Puglia, a coadjutor with him. Frederick,
unable to exist without war, joined the crusaders in Asia, that he
might exercise that ambition against Mohammed, which he could not
gratify against the vicars of Christ. And being near the river Cydnus,
tempted by the clearness of its waters, bathed therein, took cold, and
died. Thus the river did a greater favor to the Mohammedans than the
pope's excommunications had done to the Christians; for the latter
only checked his pride, while the former finished his career.
Frederick being dead, the pope had now only to suppress the contumacy
of the Romans; and, after many disputes concerning the creation of
consuls, it was agreed that they should elect them as they had been
accustomed to do, but that these should not undertake the office, till
they had first sworn to be faithful to the church. This agreement
being made, Giovanni the anti-pope took refuge in Mount Albano, where
he shortly afterward died. William, king of Naples, died about the
same time, and the pope intended to occupy that kingdom on the ground
that the king had left only a natural son named Tancred. But the
barons would not consent, and wished that Tancred should be king.
Celestine III., the then pope, anxious to snatch the kingdom from the
hands of Tancred, contrived that Henry, son of Frederick should be
elected emperor, and promised him the kingdom on the condition that he
should restore to the church all the places that had belonged to her.
To facilitate this affair, he caused Gostanza, a daughter of William,
who had been placed in a monastery and was now old, to be brought from
her seclusion and become the wife of Henry. Thus the kingdom of Naples
passed from the Normans, who had been the founders of it, to the
Germans. As soon as the affairs of Germany were arranged, the Emperor
Henry came into Italy with Gostanza his wife, and a son about four
years of age named Frederick; and, as Tancred was now dead, leaving
only an infant named Roger, he took possession of the kingdom without
much difficulty. After some years, Henry died in Sicily, and was
succeeded in the kingdom by Frederick, and in the empire by Otho, duke
of Saxony, who was elected through the influence of Innocent III. But
as soon as he had taken the crown, contrary to the general
expectation, he became an enemy of the pope, occupied Romagna, and
prepared to attack the kingdom. On this account the pope
excommunicated him; he was abandoned by every one, and the electors
appointed Frederick, king of Naples, emperor in his stead. Frederick
came to Rome for his coronation; but the pope, being afraid of his
power, would not crown him, and endeavored to withdraw him from Italy
as he had done Otho. Frederick returned to Germany in anger, and,
after many battles with Otho, at length conquered him. Meanwhile,
Innocent died, who, besides other excellent works, built the hospital
of the Holy Ghost at Rome. He was succeeded by Honorius III., in whose
time the religious orders of St. Dominic and St. Francis were founded,
1218. Honorius crowned Frederick, to whom Giovanni, descended from
Baldwin, king of Jerusalem, who commanded the remainder of the
Christian army in Asia and still held that title, gave a daughter in
marriage; and, with her portion, conceded to him the title to that
kingdom: hence it is that every king of Naples is called king of


The state of Italy--Beginning of the greatness of the house of
Este--Guelphs and Ghibellines--Death of the Emperor Frederick II.
--Manfred takes possession of the kingdom of Naples--Movements of
the Guelphs and Ghibellines in Lombardy--Charles of Anjou invested
by the pope with the kingdom of Naples and Sicily--Restless policy
of the popes--Ambitious views of pope Nicholas III.--Nephews of
the popes--Sicilian vespers--The Emperor Rodolph allows many
cities to purchase their independence--Institution of the jubilee
--The popes at Avignon.

At this time the states of Italy were governed in the following
manner: the Romans no longer elected consuls, but instead of them, and
with the same powers, they appointed one senator, and sometimes more.
The league which the cities of Lombardy had formed against Frederick
Barbarossa still continued, and comprehended Milan, Brescia, Mantua,
and the greater number of the cities of Romagna, together with Verona,
Vicenza, Padua, and Trevisa. Those which took part with the emperor,
were Cremona, Bergamo, Parma, Reggio, and Trento. The other cities and
fortresses of Lombardy, Romagna, and the march of Trevisa, favored,
according to their necessities, sometimes one party, sometimes the

In the time of Otho III. there had come into Italy a man called
Ezelin, who, remaining in the country, had a son, and he too had a son
named Ezelin. This person, being rich and powerful, took part with
Frederick, who, as we have said, was at enmity with the pope;
Frederick, at the instigation and with the assistance of Ezelin, took
Verona and Mantua, destroyed Vicenza, occupied Padua, routed the army
of the united cities, and then directed his course towards Tuscany.
Ezelin, in the meantime, had subdued the whole of the Trevisian March,
but could not prevail against Ferrara, which was defended by Azone da
Este and the forces which the pope had in Lombardy; and, as the enemy
were compelled to withdraw, the pope gave Ferrara in fee to this
Azone, from whom are descended those who now govern that city.
Frederick halted at Pisa, desirous of making himself lord of Tuscany;
but, while endeavoring to discover what friends and foes he had in
that province, he scattered so many seeds of discord as occasioned the
ruin of Italy; for the factions of the Guelphs and Ghibellines
multiplied,--those who supported the church taking the name of
Guelphs, while the followers of the emperor were called Ghibellines,
these names being first heard at Pistoia. Frederick, marching from
Pisa, assailed and wasted the territories of the church in a variety
of ways; so that the pope, having no other remedy, unfurled against
him the banner of the cross, as his predecessor had done against the
Saracens. Frederick, that he might be suddenly abandoned by his
people, as Frederick Barbarossa and others had been, took into his pay
a number of Saracens; and to bind them to him, and establish in Italy
a firm bulwark against the church, without fear of papal maledictions,
he gave them Nocera in the kingdom of Naples, that, having a refuge of
their own, they might be placed in greater security. The pontificate
was now occupied by Innocent IV., who, being in fear of Frederick,
went to Genoa, and thence to France, where he appointed a council to
be held at Lyons, where it was the intention of Frederick to attend,
but he was prevented by the rebellion of Parma: and, being repulsed,
he went into Tuscany, and from thence to Sicily, where he died,
leaving his son Conrad in Suabia; and in Puglia, Manfred, whom he had
created duke of Benevento, born of a concubine. Conrad came to take
possession of the kingdom, and having arrived at Naples, died, leaving
an infant son named Corradino, who was then in Germany. On this
account Manfred occupied the state, first as guardian of Corradino,
but afterward, causing a report to be circulated that Corradino had
died, made himself king, contrary to the wishes of both the pope and
the Neapolitans, who, however, were obliged to submit.

While these things were occurring in the kingdom of Naples, many
movements took place in Lombardy between the Guelphs and the
Ghibellines. The Guelphs were headed by a legate of the pope; and the
Ghibelline party by Ezelin, who possessed nearly the whole of Lombardy
beyond the Po; and, as in the course of the war Padua rebelled, he put
to death twelve thousand of its citizens. But before its close he
himself was slain, in the eightieth year of his age, and all the
places he had held became free. Manfred, king of Naples, continued
those enmities against the church which had been begun by his
ancestors, and kept the pope, Urban IV., in continual alarm; so that,
in order to subdue him, Urban summoned the crusaders, and went to
Perugia to await their arrival. Seeing them few and slow in their
approach, he found that more able assistance was necessary to conquer
Manfred. He therefore sought the favor of France; created Louis of
Anjou, the king's brother, sovereign of Naples and Sicily, and excited
him to come into Italy to take possession of that kingdom. But before
Charles came to Rome the pope died, and was succeeded by Clement IV.,
in whose time he arrived at Ostia, with thirty galleys, and ordered
that the rest of his forces should come by land. During his abode at
Rome, the citizens, in order to attach him to them, made him their
senator, and the pope invested him with the kingdom, on condition that
he should pay annually to the church the sum of fifty thousand ducats;
and it was decreed that, from thenceforth, neither Charles nor any
other person, who might be king of Naples, should be emperor also.
Charles marched against Manfred, routed his army, and slew him near
Benevento, and then became sovereign of Sicily and Naples. Corradino,
to whom, by his father's will, the state belonged, having collected a
great force in Germany, marched into Italy against Charles, with whom
he came to an engagement at Tagliacozzo, was taken prisoner while
endeavoring to escape, and being unknown, put to death.

Italy remained in repose until the pontificate of Adrian V. Charles,
being at Rome and governing the city by virtue of his office of
senator, the pope, unable to endure his power, withdrew to Viterbo,
and solicited the Emperor Rodolph to come into Italy and assist him.
Thus the popes, sometimes in zeal for religion, at others moved by
their own ambition, were continually calling in new parties and
exciting new disturbances. As soon as they had made a prince powerful,
they viewed him with jealousy and sought his ruin; and never allowed
another to rule the country, which, from their own imbecility, they
were themselves unable to govern. Princes were in fear of them; for,
fighting or running away, the popes always obtained the advantage,
unless it happened they were entrapped by deceit, as occurred to
Boniface VIII., and some others, who under pretense of friendship,
were ensnared by the emperors. Rodolph did not come into Italy, being
detained by the war in which he was engaged with the king of Bohemia.
At this time Adrian died, and Nicholas III., of the Orsini family,
became pontiff. He was a bold, ambitious man; and being resolved at
any event to diminish the power of Charles, induced the Emperor
Rodolph to complain that he had a governor in Tuscany favorable to the
Guelphic faction, who after the death of Manfred had been replaced by
him. Charles yielded to the emperor and withdrew his governor, and the
pope sent one of his nephews, a cardinal, as governor for the emperor,
who, for the honor done him, restored Romagna to the church, which had
been taken from her by his predecessors, and the pope made Bertoldo
Orsino duke of Romagna. As Nicholas now thought himself powerful
enough to oppose Charles, he deprived him of the office of senator,
and made a decree that no one of royal race should ever be a senator
in Rome. It was his intention to deprive Charles of Sicily, and to
this end he entered into a secret negotiation with Peter, king of
Aragon, which took effect in the following papacy. He also had the
design of creating two kings out of his family, the one in Lombardy,
the other in Tuscany, whose power would defend the church from the
Germans who might design to come into Italy, and from the French, who
were in the kingdom of Naples and Sicily. But with these thoughts he
died. He was the first pope who openly exhibited his own ambition;
and, under pretense of making the church great, conferred honors and
emolument upon his own family. Previous to his time no mention is made
of the nephews or families of any pontiff, but future history is full
of them; nor is there now anything left for them to attempt, except
the effort to make the papacy hereditary. True it is, the princes of
their creating have not long sustained their honors; for the pontiffs,
being generally of very limited existence, did not get their plants
properly established.

To Nicholas succeeded Martin IV., of French origin, and consequently
favorable to the party of Charles, who sent him assistance against the
rebellion of Romagna; and while they were encamped at Furli, Guido
Bonatto, an astrologer, contrived that at an appointed moment the
people should assail the forces of the king, and the plan succeeding,
all the French were taken and slain. About this period was also
carried into effect the plot of Pope Nicholas and Peter, king of
Aragon, by which the Sicilians murdered all the French that were in
that island; and Peter made himself sovereign of it, saying, that it
belonged to him in the right of his wife Gostanza, daughter of
Manfred. But Charles, while making warlike preparations for the
recovery of Sicily, died, leaving a son, Charles II., who was made
prisoner in Sicily, and to recover his liberty promised to return to
his prison, if within three years he did not obtain the pope's consent
that the kings of Aragon should be invested with the kingdom of

The Emperor Rodolph, instead of coming into Italy, gave the empire the
advantage of having done so, by sending an ambassador, with authority
to make all those cities free which would redeem themselves with
money. Many purchased their freedom, and with liberty changed their
mode of living. Adolpho of Saxony succeeded to the empire; and to the
papacy, Pietro del Murrone, who took the name of Celestino; but, being
a hermit and full of sanctity, after six months renounced the
pontificate, and Boniface VIII. was elected.

After a time the French and Germans left Italy, and the country
remained wholly in the hands of the Italians; but Providence ordained
that the pope, when these enemies were withdrawn, should neither
establish nor enjoy his authority, and raised two very powerful
families in Rome, the Colonnesi and the Orsini, who with their arms,
and the proximity of their abode, kept the pontificate weak. Boniface
then determined to destroy the Colonnesi, and, besides
excommunicating, endeavored to direct the weapons of the church
against them. This, although it did them some injury, proved more
disastrous to the pope; for those arms which from attachment to the
faith performed valiantly against its enemies, as soon as they were
directed against Christians for private ambition, ceased to do the
will of those who wished to wield them. And thus the too eager desire
to gratify themselves, caused the pontiffs by degrees to lose their
military power. Besides what is just related, the pope deprived two
cardinals of the Colonnesi family of their office; and Sciarra, the
head of the house, escaping unknown, was taken by corsairs of
Catalonia and put to the oar; but being afterward recognized at
Marseilles, he was sent to Philip, king of France, who had been
excommunicated and deprived of the kingdom. Philip, considering that
in a war against the pontiff he would either be a loser or run great
hazards, had recourse to deception, and simulating a wish to come to
terms, secretly sent Sciarra into Italy, who, having arrived at
Anagnia, where his holiness then resided, assembled a few friends, and
in the night took him prisoner. And although the people of Anagnia set
him at liberty shortly after, yet from grief at the injury he died
mad. Boniface was founder of the jubilee in 1300, and fixed that it
should be celebrated at each revolution of one hundred years. In those
times various troubles arose between the Guelph and Ghibelline
factions; and the emperors having abandoned Italy, many places became
free, and many were occupied by tyrants. Pope Benedict restored the
scarlet hat to the cardinals of the Colonnesi family, and reblessed
Philip, king of France. He was succeeded by Clement V., who, being a
Frenchman, removed the papal court to Avignon in 1305.


The Emperor Henry comes into Italy--The Florentines take the part
of the pope--The Visconti originate the duchy of Milan--Artifice
of Maffeo Visconti against the family of de la Torre--Giovanni
Galeazzo Visconti, first duke of Milan--The Emperor Louis in Italy
--John, king of Bohemia, in Italy--League against the king of
Bohemia and the pope's legate--Origin of Venice--Liberty of the
Venetians confirmed by Pepin and the Greek emperor--Greatness of
Venice--Decline of Venice--Discord between the pope and the
emperor--Giovanna, queen of Naples--Rienzi--The jubilee reduced to
fifty years--Succession of the duke of Milan--Cardinal Egidio the
pope's legate--War between the Genoese and the Venetians.

At this time, Charles II. of Naples died, and was succeeded by his son
Robert. Henry of Luxemburg had been elected to the empire, and came to
Rome for his coronation, although the pope was not there. His coming
occasioned great excitement in Lombardy; for he sent all the banished
to their homes, whether they were Guelphs or Ghibellines; and in
consequence of this, one faction endeavoring to drive out the other,
the whole province was filled with war; nor could the emperor with all
his endeavors abate its fury. Leaving Lombardy by way of Genoa, he
came to Pisa, where he endeavored to take Tuscany from King Robert;
but not being successful, he went to Rome, where he remained only a
few days, being driven away by the Orsini with the consent of King
Robert, and returned to Pisa; and that he might more securely make war
upon Tuscany, and wrest the country from the hands of the king, he
caused it to be assailed by Frederick, monarch of Sicily. But when he
was in hope of occupying Tuscany and robbing the king of Naples of his
dominions, he died, and was succeeded by Louis of Bavaria. About the
same period, John XXII. attained the papacy, during whose time the
emperor still continued to persecute the Guelphs and the church, but
they were defended by Robert and the Florentines. Many wars took place
in Lombardy between the Visconti and the Guelphs, and in Tuscany
between Castruccio of Lucca and the Florentines. As the family of
Visconti gave rise to the duchy of Milan, one of the five
principalities which afterward governed Italy, I shall speak of them
from a rather earlier date.

Milan, upon recovering from the ruin into which she had been thrown by
Frederick Barbarossa, in revenge for her injuries, joined the league
formed by the Lombard cities for their common defense; this restrained
him, and for awhile preserved alive the interests of the church in
Lombardy. In the course of the wars which followed, the family of La
Torre became very potent in that city, and their reputation increased
so long as the emperor possessed little authority in the province. But
Frederick II. coming into Italy, and the Ghibelline party, by the
influence of Ezelin having grown powerful, seeds of the same faction
sprang up in all the cities. In Milan were the Visconti, who expelled
the La Torres; these, however, did not remain out, for by agreement
between the emperor and the pope they were restored to their country.
For when the pope and his court removed to France, and the emperor,
Henry of Luxemburg, came into Italy, with the pretext of going to Rome
for his crown, he was received in Milan by Maffeo Visconti and Guido
della Torre, who were then the heads of these families. But Maffeo,
designing to make use of the emperor for the purpose of expelling
Guido, and thinking the enterprise not difficult, on account of the La
Torre being of the contrary faction to the imperial, took occasion,
from the remarks which the people made of the uncivil behavior of the
Germans, to go craftily about and excite the populace to arm
themselves and throw off the yoke of these barbarians. When a suitable
moment arrived, he caused a person in whom he confided to create a
tumult, upon which the people took arms against the Germans. But no
sooner was the mischief well on foot, than Maffeo, with his sons and
their partisans, ran to Henry, telling him that all the disturbance
had been occasioned by the La Torre family, who, not content to remain
peaceably in Milan, had taken the opportunity to plunder him, that
they might ingratiate themselves with the Guelphs of Italy and become
princes in the city; they then bade him be of good cheer, for they,
with their party, whenever he wished it, were ready to defend him with
their lives. Henry, believing all that Maffeo told him, joined his
forces to those of the Visconti, and attacking the La Torre, who were
in various parts of the city endeavoring to quell the tumult, slew all
upon whom they could lay hands, and having plundered the others of
their property, sent them into exile. By this artifice, Maffeo
Visconti became a prince of Milan. Of him remained Galeazzo and Azzo;
and, after these, Luchino and Giovanni. Giovanni became archbishop of
Milan; and of Luchino, who died before him, were left Bernabo and
Galeazzo; Galeazzo, dying soon after, left a son called the Count of
Virtu, who after the death of the archbishop, contrived the murder of
his uncle, Bernabo, became prince of Milan, and was the first who had
the title of duke. The duke left Filippo and Giovanmaria Angelo, the
latter of whom being slain by the people of Milan, the state fell to
Filippo; but he having no male heir, Milan passed from the family of
Visconti to that of Sforza, in the manner to be related hereafter.

But to return to the point from which we deviated. The Emperor Louis,
to add to the importance of his party and to receive the crown, came
into Italy; and being at Milan, as an excuse for taking money of the
Milanese, he pretended to make them free and to put the Visconti in
prison; but shortly afterwards he released them, and, having gone to
Rome, in order to disturb Italy with less difficulty, he made Piero
della Corvara anti-pope, by whose influence, and the power of the
Visconti, he designed to weaken the opposite faction in Tuscany and
Lombardy. But Castruccio died, and his death caused the failure of the
emperor's purpose; for Pisa and Lucca rebelled. The Pisans sent Piero
della Corvara a prisoner to the pope in France, and the emperor,
despairing of the affairs of Italy, returned to Germany. He had
scarcely left, before John king of Bohemia came into the country, at
the request of the Ghibellines of Brescia, and made himself lord of
that city and of Bergamo. And as his entry was with the consent of the
pope, although he feigned the contrary, the legate of Bologna favored
him, thinking by this means to prevent the return of the emperor. This
caused a change in the parties of Italy; for the Florentines and King
Robert, finding the legate was favorable to the enterprises of the
Ghibellines, became foes of all those to whom the legate and the king
of Bohemia were friendly. Without having regard for either faction,
whether Guelph or Ghibelline, many princes joined them, of whom, among
others, were the Visconti, the Della Scala, Filippo Gonzao of Mantua,
the Carrara, and those of Este. Upon this the pope excommunicated them
all. The king, in fear of the league, went to collect forces in his
own country, and having returned with a large army, still found his
undertaking a difficult one; so, seeing his error, he withdrew to
Bohemia, to the great displeasure of the legate, leaving only Reggio
and Modena guarded, and Parma in the care of Marsilio and Piero
de' Rossi, who were the most powerful men in the city. The king of
Bohemia being gone, Bologna joined the league; and the leaguers
divided among themselves the four cities which remained of the church
faction. They agreed that Parma should pertain to the Della Scalla;
Reggio to the Gonzaga; Modena to the family of Este, and Lucca to the
Florentines. But in taking possession of these cities, many disputes
arose which were afterward in a great measure settled by the
Venetians. Some, perhaps, will think it a species of impropriety that
we have so long deferred speaking of the Venetians, theirs being a
republic, which, both on account of its power and internal
regulations, deserves to be celebrated above any principality of
Italy. But that this surprise may cease when the cause is known, I
shall speak of their city from a more remote period; that everyone may
understand what were their beginnings, and the causes which so long
withheld them from interfering in the affairs of Italy.

When Attila, king of the Huns, besieged Aquileia, the inhabitants,
after defending themselves a long time, began to despair of effecting
their safety, and fled for refuge to several uninhabited rocks,
situated at the point of the Adriatic Sea, now called the Gulf of
Venice, carrying with them whatever movable property they possessed.
The people of Padua, finding themselves in equal danger, and knowing
that, having became master of Aquileia, Attila would next attack
themselves, also removed with their most valuable property to a place
on the same sea, called Rivo Alto, to which they brought their women,
children, and aged persons, leaving the youth in Padua to assist in
her defense. Besides these, the people of Monselice, with the
inhabitants of the surrounding hills, driven by similar fears, fled to
the same rocks. But after Attila had taken Aquileia, and destroyed
Padua, Monselice, Vicenza, and Verona, the people of Padua and others
who were powerful, continued to inhabit the marshes about Rivo Alto;
and, in like manner, all the people of the province anciently called
Venetia, driven by the same events, became collected in these marshes.
Thus, under the pressure of necessity, they left an agreeable and
fertile country to occupy one sterile and unwholesome. However, in
consequence of a great number of people being drawn together into a
comparatively small space, in a short time they made those places not
only habitable, but delightful; and having established among
themselves laws and useful regulations, enjoyed themselves in security
amid the devastations of Italy, and soon increased both in reputation
and strength. For, besides the inhabitants already mentioned, many
fled to these places from the cities of Lombardy, principally to
escape from the cruelties of Clefis king of the Lombards, which
greatly tended to increase the numbers of the new city; and in the
conventions which were made between Pepin, king of France, and the
emperor of Greece, when the former, at the entreaty of the pope, came
to drive the Lombards out of Italy, the duke of Benevento and the
Venetians did not render obedience to either the one or the other, but
alone enjoyed their liberty. As necessity had led them to dwell on
sterile rocks, they were compelled to seek the means of subsistence
elsewhere; and voyaging with their ships to every port of the ocean,
their city became a depository for the various products of the world,
and was itself filled with men of every nation.

For many years the Venetians sought no other dominion than that which
tended to facilitate their commercial enterprises, and thus acquired
many ports in Greece and Syria; and as the French had made frequent
use of their ships in voyages to Asia, the island of Candia was
assigned to them in recompense for these services. While they lived in
this manner, their name spread terror over the seas, and was held in
veneration throughout Italy. This was so completely the case, that
they were generally chosen to arbitrate in controversies between the
states, as occurred in the difference between the Colleagues, on
account of the cities they had divided among themselves; which being
referred to the Venetians, they awarded Brescia and Bergamo to the
Visconti. But when, in the course of time, urged by their eagerness
for dominion, they had made themselves masters of Padua, Vicenza,
Trevisa, and afterward of Verona, Bergamo, and Brescia, with many
cities in Romagna and the kingdom of Naples, other nations were
impressed with such an opinion of their power, that they were a
terror, not only to the princes of Italy, but to the ultramontane
kings. These states entered into an alliance against them, and in one
day wrested from them the provinces they had obtained with so much
labor and expense; and although they have in latter times reacquired
some portions, still possessing neither power nor reputation, like all
the other Italian powers, they live at the mercy of others.

Benedict XII. having attained the pontificate and finding Italy lost,
fearing, too, that the emperor would assume the sovereignty of the
country, determined to make friends of all who had usurped the
government of those cities which had been accustomed to obey the
emperor; that they might have occasion to dread the latter, and unite
with himself in the defense of Italy. To this end he issued a decree,
confirming to all the tyrants of Lombardy the places they had seized.
After making this concession the pope died, and was succeeded by
Clement VI. The emperor, seeing with what a liberal hand the pontiff
had bestowed the dominions of the empire, in order to be equally
bountiful with the property of others, gave to all who had assumed
sovereignty over the cities or territories of the church, the imperial
authority to retain possession of them. By this means Galeotto
Malatesti and his brothers became lords of Rimino, Pesaro, and Fano;
Antonio da Montefeltro, of the Marca and Urbino; Gentile da Varano, of
Camerino; Guido di Polenta, of Ravenna; Sinibaldo Ordelaffi, of Furli
and Cesena; Giovanni Manfredi, of Faenza; Lodovico Alidossi, of Imola;
and besides these, many others in divers places. Thus, of all the
cities, towns, or fortresses of the church, few remained without a
prince; for she did not recover herself till the time of Alexander
VI., who, by the ruin of the descendants of these princes, restored
the authority of the church.

The emperor, when he made the concession before named, being at
Tarento, signified an intention of going into Italy. In consequence of
this, many battles were fought in Lombardy, and the Visconti became
lords of Parma. Robert king of Naples, now died, leaving only two
grandchildren, the issue of his sons Charles, who had died a
considerable time before him. He ordered that the elder of the two,
whose name was Giovanna or Joan, should be heiress of the kingdom, and
take for her husband Andrea, son of the king of Hungary, his grandson.
Andrea had not lived with her long, before she caused him to be
murdered, and married another cousin, Louis, prince of Tarento. But
Louis, king of Hungary, and brother of Andrea, in order to avenge his
death, brought forces into Italy, and drove Queen Joan and her husband
out of the kingdom.

At this period a memorable circumstance took place at Rome. Niccolo di
Lorenzo, often called Rienzi or Cola di Rienzi, who held the office of
chancellor at Campidoglio, drove the senators from Rome and, under the
title of tribune, made himself the head of the Roman republic;
restoring it to its ancient form, and with so great reputation of
justice and virtue, that not only the places adjacent, but the whole
of Italy sent ambassadors to him. The ancient provinces, seeing Rome
arise to new life, again raised their heads, and some induced by hope,
others by fear, honored him as their sovereign. But Niccolo,
notwithstanding his great reputation, lost all energy in the very
beginning of his enterprise; and as if oppressed with the weight of so
vast an undertaking, without being driven away, secretly fled to
Charles, king of Bohemia, who, by the influence of the pope, and in
contempt of Louis of Bavaria, had been elected emperor. Charles, to
ingratiate himself with the pontiff, sent Niccolo to him, a prisoner.
After some time, in imitation of Rienzi, Francesco Baroncegli seized
upon the tribunate of Rome, and expelled the senators; and the pope,
as the most effectual means of repressing him, drew Niccolo from his
prison, sent him to Rome, and restored to him the office of tribune;
so that he reoccupied the state and put Francesco to death; but the
Colonnesi becoming his enemies, he too, after a short time, shared the
same fate, and the senators were again restored to their office. The
king of Hungary, having driven out Queen Joan, returned to his
kingdom; but the pope, who chose to have the queen in the neighborhood
of Rome rather than the king, effected her restoration to the
sovereignty, on the condition that her husband, contenting himself
with the title of prince of Tarento, should not be called king. Being
the year 1350, the pope thought that the jubilee, appointed by
Boniface VIII. to take place at the conclusion of each century, might
be renewed at the end of each fifty years; and having issued a decree
for the establishment of it, the Romans, in acknowledgment of the
benefit, consented that he should send four cardinals to reform the
government of the city, and appoint senators according to his own
pleasure. The pope again declared Louis of Tarento, king, and in
gratitude for the benefit, Queen Joan gave Avignon, her inheritance,
to the church. About this time Luchino Visconti died, and his brother
the archbishop, remaining lord of Milan, carried on many wars against
Tuscany and his neighbors, and became very powerful. Bernabo and
Galeazzo, his nephews, succeeded him; but Galeazzo soon after died,
leaving Giovan Galeazzo, who shared the state with Bernabo. Charles,
king of Bohemia, was then emperor, and the pontificate was occupied by
Innocent VI., who sent Cardinal Egidio, a Spaniard, into Italy. He
restored the reputation of the church, not only in Rome and Romagna,
but throughout the whole of Italy; he recovered Bologna from the
archbishop of Milan, and compelled the Romans to accept a foreign
senator appointed annually by the pope. He made honorable terms with
the Visconti, and routed and took prisoner, John Agut, an Englishman,
who with four thousand English had fought on the side of the
Ghibellines in Tuscany. Urban V., hearing of so many victories,
resolved to visit Italy and Rome, whither also the emperor came; after
remaining a few months, he returned to the kingdom of Bohemia, and the
pope to Avignon. On the death of Urban, Gregory XI. was created pope;
and, as the Cardinal Egidio was dead, Italy again recommenced her
ancient discords, occasioned by the union of the other powers against
the Visconti; and the pope, having first sent a legate with six
thousand Bretons, came in person and established the papal court at
Rome in 1376, after an absence of seventy-one years in France. To
Gregory XI., succeeded Urban VI., but shortly afterwards Clement VI.
was elected at Fondi by ten cardinals, who declared the appointment of
Urban irregular. At this time, the Genoese threw off the yoke of the
Visconti under whom they had lived many years; and between them and
the Venetians several important battles were fought for the island of
Tenedos. Although the Genoese were for a time successful, and held
Venice in a state of siege during many months, the Venetians were at
length victorious; and by the intervention of the pope, peace was made
in the year 1381. In these wars, artillery was first used, having been
recently invented by the Dutch.


Schism in the church--Ambitious views of Giovanni Galeazzo
Visconti--The pope and the Romans come to an agreement--Boniface
IX. introduces the practice of Annates--Disturbance in Lombardy--
The Venetians acquire dominion on terra firma--Differences between
the pope and the people of Rome--Council of Pisa--Council of
Constance--Filippo Visconti recovers his dominion--Giovanna II. of
Naples--Political condition of Italy.

A schism having thus arisen in the church, Queen Joan favored the
schismatic pope, upon which Urban caused Charles of Durazzo, descended
from the kings of Naples, to undertake the conquest of her dominions.
Having succeeded in his object, she fled to France, and he assumed the
sovereignty. The king of France, being exasperated, sent Louis of
Anjou into Italy to recover the kingdom for the queen, to expel Urban
from Rome, and establish the anti-pope. But in the midst of this
enterprise Louis died, and his people being routed returned to France.
In this conjuncture the pope went to Naples, where he put nine
cardinals into prison for having taken the part of France and the
anti-pope. He then became offended with the king, for having refused
to make his nephew prince of Capua; and pretending not to care about
it, requested he would grant him Nocera for his habitation, but,
having fortified it, he prepared to deprive the king of his dominions.
upon this the king pitched his camp before the place, and the pope
fled to Naples, where he put to death the cardinals whom he had
imprisoned. From thence he proceeded to Rome, and, to acquire
influence, created twenty-nine cardinals. At this time Charles, king
of Naples, went to Hungary, where, having been made king, he was
shortly afterward killed in battle, leaving a wife and two children at
Naples. About the same time Giovanni Galeazzo Visconti murdered
Bernabo his uncle and took the entire sovereignty upon himself; and,
not content with being duke of Milan and sovereign of the whole of
Lombardy, designed to make himself master of Tuscany; but while he was
intent upon occupying the province with the ultimate view of making
himself king of Italy, he died. Boniface IX. succeeded Urban VI. The
anti-pope, Clement VI., also died, and Benedict XIII. was appointed
his successor.

Many English, Germans, and Bretons served at this period in the armies
of Italy, commanded partly by those leaders who had from time to time
authority in the country, and partly by such as the pontiffs sent,
when they were at Avignon. With these warriors the princes of Italy
long carried on their wars, till the coming of Lodovico da Cento of
Romagna, who formed a body of Italian soldiery, called the Company of
St. George, whose valor and discipline soon caused the foreign troops
to fall into disrepute, and gave reputation to the native forces of
the country, of which the princes afterward availed themselves in
their wars with each other. The pope, Boniface IX., being at enmity
with the Romans, went to Scesi, where he remained till the jubilee of
1400, when the Romans, to induce him to return to the city, consented
to receive another foreign senator of his appointing, and also allowed
him to fortify the castle of Saint Angelo: having returned upon these
conditions, in order to enrich the church, he ordained that everyone,
upon vacating a benefice, should pay a year's value of it to the
Apostolic Chamber.

After the death of Giovanni Galeazzo, duke of Milan, although he left
two children, Giovanmaria and Filippo, the state was divided into many
parts, and in the troubles which ensued Giovanmaria was slain. Filippo
remained some time in the castle of Pavia, from which, through the
fidelity and virtue of the castellan, he escaped. Among others who
occupied cities possessed by his father, was Guglielmo della Scala,
who, being banished, fell into the hands of Francesco de Carrera, lord
of Padua, by whose means he recovered the state of Verona, in which he
only remained a short time, for he was poisoned, by order of
Francesco, and the city taken from him. These things occasioned the
people of Vicenza, who had lived in security under the protection of
the Visconti, to dread the greatness of the lord of Padua, and they
placed themselves under the Venetians, who, engaging in arms with him,
first took Verona and then Padua.

At this time Pope Boniface died, and was succeeded by Innocent VII.
The people of Rome supplicated him to restore to them their fortresses
and their liberty; but as he would not consent to their petition, they
called to their assistance Ladislaus, king of Naples. Becoming
reconciled to the people, the pope returned to Rome, and made his
nephew Lodovico count of La Marca. Innocent soon after died, and
Gregory XII. was created, upon the understanding to renounce the
papacy whenever the anti-pope would also renounce it. By the advice of
the cardinals, in order to attempt the reunion of the church,
Benedict, the anti-pope, came to Porto Venere, and Gregory to Lucca,
where they made many endeavors, but effected nothing. Upon this, the
cardinals of both the popes abandoned them, Benedict going to Spain,
and Gregory to Rimini. On the other hand, the cardinals, with the
favor of Balthazar Cossa, cardinal and legate of Bologna, appointed a
council at Pisa, where they created Alexander V., who immediately
excommunicated King Ladislaus, and invested Louis of Anjou with the
kingdom; this prince, with the Florentines, Genoese, and Venetians,
attacked Ladislaus and drove him from Rome. In the head of the war
Alexander died, and Balthazar Cossa succeeded him, with the title of
John XXIII. Leaving Bologna, where he was elected, he went to Rome,
and found there Louis of Anjou, who had brought the army from
Provence, and coming to an engagement with Ladislaus, routed him. But
by the mismanagement of the leaders, they were unable to prosecute the
victory, so that the king in a short time gathered strength and retook
Rome. Louis fled to Provence, the pope to Bologna; where, considering
how he might diminish the power of Ladislaus, he caused Sigismund,
king of Hungary, to be elected emperor, and advised him to come to
Italy. Having a personal interview at Mantua, they agreed to call a
general council, in which the church should be united; and having
effected this, the pope thought he should be fully enabled to oppose
the forces of his enemies.

At this time there were three popes, Gregory, Benedict, and Giovanni,
which kept the church weak and in disrepute. The city of Constance, in
Germany, was appointed for the holding of the council, contrary to the
expectation of Pope John. And although the death of Ladislaus had
removed the cause which induced the pope to call the council, still,
having promised to attend, he could not refuse to go there. In a few
months after his arrival at Constance he discovered his error, but it
was too late; endeavoring to escape, he was taken, put into prison,
and compelled to renounce the papacy. Gregory, one of the anti-popes,
sent his renunciation; Benedict, the other, refusing to do the same,
was condemned as a heretic; but, being abandoned by his cardinals, he
complied, and the council elected Oddo, of the Colonnesi family, pope,
by the title of Martin V. Thus the church was united under one head,
after having been divided by many pontiffs.

Filippo Visconti was, as we have said, in the fortress of Pavia. But
Fazino Cane, who in the affairs of Lombardy had become lord of
Vercelli, Alessandria, Novara, and Tortona, and had amassed great
riches, finding his end approach, and having no children, left his
wife Beatrice heiress of his estates, and arranged with his friends
that a marriage should be effected between her and Filippo. By this
union Filippo became powerful, and reacquired Milan and the whole of
Lombardy. By way of being grateful for these numerous favors, as
princes commonly are, he accused Beatrice of adultery and caused her
to be put to death. Finding himself now possessed of greater power, he
began to think of warring with Tuscany and of prosecuting the designs
of Giovanni Galeazzo, his father.

Ladislaus, king of Naples, at his death, left to his sister Giovanna
the kingdom and a large army, under the command of the principal
leaders of Italy, among the first of whom was Sforza of Cotignuola,
reputed by the soldiery of that period to be a very valiant man. The
queen, to shun the disgrace of having kept about her person a certain
Pandolfello, whom she had brought up, took for her husband Giacopo
della Marca, a Frenchman of the royal line, on the condition that he
should be content to be called Prince of Tarento, and leave to her the
title and government of the kingdom. But the soldiery, upon his
arrival in Naples, proclaimed him king; so that between the husband
and the wife wars ensued; and although they contended with varying
success, the queen at length obtained the superiority, and became an
enemy of the pope. Upon this, in order to reduce her to necessity, and
that she might be compelled to throw herself into his lap, Sforza
suddenly withdrew from her service without giving her any pervious
notice of his intention to do so. She thus found herself at once
unarmed, and not having any other source, sought the assistance of
Alfonzo, king of Aragon and Sicily, adopted him as her son, and
engaged Braccio of Montone as her captain, who was of equal reputation
in arms with Sforza, and inimical to the pope, on account of his
having taken possession of Perugia and some other places belonging to
the church. After this, peace was made between the queen and the
pontiff; but King Alfonzo, expecting she would treat him as she had
her husband, endeavored secretly to make himself master of the
strongholds; but, possessing acute observation, she was beforehand
with him, and fortified herself in the castle of Naples. Suspicions
increasing between them, they had recourse to arms, and the queen,
with the assistance of Sforza, who again resumed her service, drove
Alfonzo out of Naples, deprived him of his succession, and adopted
Louis of Anjou in his stead. Hence arose new contests between Braccio,
who took the part of Alfonzo, and Sforza, who defended the cause of
the queen. In the course of the war, Sforza was drowned in endeavoring
to pass the river Pescara; the queen was thus again unarmed, and would
have been driven out of the kingdom, but for the assistance of Filippo
Visconti, the duke of Milan, who compelled Alfonzo to return to
Aragon. Braccio, undaunted at the departure of Alfonzo, continued the
enterprise against the queen, and besieged L'Aquilla; but the pope,
thinking the greatness of Braccio injurious to the church, received
into his pay Francesco, the son of Sforza, who went in pursuit of
Braccio to L'Aquilla, where he routed and slew him. Of Braccio
remained Oddo, his son, from whom the pope took Perugia, and left him
the state of Montone alone; but he was shortly afterward slain in
Romagna, in the service of the Florentines; so that of those who had
fought under Braccio, Niccolo Piccinino remained of greatest

Having continued our general narration nearly to the period which we
at first proposed to reach, what remains is of little importance,
except the war which the Florentines and Venetians carried on against
Filippo duke of Milan, of which an account will be given when we speak
particularly of Florence. I shall, therefore, continue it no further,
briefly explaining the condition of Italy in respect of her princes
and her arms, at the period to which we have now come. Joan II. held
Naples, La Marca, the Patrimony and Romagna; some of these places
obeyed the church, while others were held by vicars or tyrants, as
Ferrara, Modena, and Reggio, by those of the House of Este; Faenza by
the Manfredi; Imola by the Alidossi; Furli by the Ordelaffi; Rimini
and Psaro by the Malatesti; and Camerino by those of Varano. Part of
Lombardy was subject to the Duke Filippo, part to the Venetians; for
all those who had held single states were set aside, except the House
of Gonzaga, which ruled in Mantua. The greater part of Tuscany was
subject to the Florentines. Lucca and Sienna alone were governed by
their own laws; Lucca was under the Guinigi; Sienna was free. The
Genoese, being sometimes free, at others, subject to the kings of
France or the Visconti, lived unrespected, and may be enumerated among
the minor powers.

None of the principal states were armed with their own proper forces.
Duke Filippo kept himself shut up in his apartments, and would not
allow himself to be seen; his wars were managed by commissaries. The
Venetians, when they directed their attention to terra firma, threw
off those arms which had made them terrible upon the seas, and falling
into the customs of Italy, submitted their forces to the direction of
others. The practice of arms being unsuitable to priests or women, the
pope and Queen Joan of Naples were compelled by necessity to submit to
the same system which others practiced from defect of judgment. The
Florentines also adopted the same custom, for having, by their
frequent divisions, destroyed the nobility, and their republic being
wholly in the hands of men brought up to trade, they followed the
usages and example of others.

Thus the arms of Italy were either in the hands of the lesser princes,
or of men who possessed no state; for the minor princes did not adopt
the practice of arms from any desire of glory, but for the acquisition
of either property or safety. The others (those who possessed no
state) being bred to arms from their infancy, were acquainted with no
other art, and pursued war for emolument, or to confer honor upon
themselves. The most noticed among the latter were Carmignola,
Francesco Sforza, Niccolo Piccinino the pupil of Braccio, Agnolo della
Pergola, Lorenzo di Micheletto Attenduli, il Tartaglia, Giacopaccio,
Cecolini da Perugia, Niccolo da Tolentino, Guido Torello, Antonia dal
Ponte ad Era, and many others. With these, were those lords of whom I
have before spoken, to which may be added the barons of Rome, the
Colonnesi and the Orsini, with other lords and gentlemen of the
kingdoms of Naples and Lombardy, who, being constantly in arms, had
such an understanding among themselves, and so contrived to
accommodate things to their own convenience, that of those who were at
war, most commonly both sides were losers; and they had made the
practice of arms so totally ridiculous, that the most ordinary leader,
possessed of true valor, would have covered these men with disgrace,
whom, with so little prudence, Italy honored.

With these idle princes and such contemptible arms, my history must,
therefore, be filled; to which, before I descend, it will be
necessary, as was at first proposed, to speak of the origin of
Florence, that it may be clearly understood what was the state of the
city in those times, and by what means, through the labours of a
thousand years, she became so imbecile.



The custom of ancient republics to plant colonies, and the
advantage of it--Increased population tends to make countries more
healthy--Origin of Florence--Aggrandizement of Florence--Origin of
the name of Florence--Destruction of Florence by Totila--The
Florentines take Fiesole--The first division in Florence, and the
cause of it--Buondelmonti--Buondelmonti slain--Guelphs and
Ghibellines in Florence--Guelphic families--Ghibelline families--
The two factions come to terms.

Among the great and wonderful institutions of the republics and
principalities of antiquity that have now gone into disuse, was that
by means of which towns and cities were from time to time established;
and there is nothing more worthy the attention of a great prince, or
of a well-regulated republic, or that confers so many advantages upon
a province, as the settlement of new places, where men are drawn
together for mutual accommodation and defense. This may easily be
done, by sending people to reside in recently acquired or uninhabited
countries. Besides causing the establishment of new cities, these
removals render a conquered country more secure, and keep the
inhabitants of a province properly distributed. Thus, deriving the
greatest attainable comfort, the inhabitants increase rapidly, are
more prompt to attack others, and defend themselves with greater
assurance. This custom, by the unwise practice of princes and
republics, having gone into desuetude, the ruin and weakness of
territories has followed; for this ordination is that by which alone
empires are made secure, and countries become populated. Safety is the
result of it; because the colony which a prince establishes in a newly
acquired country, is like a fortress and a guard, to keep the
inhabitants in fidelity and obedience. Neither can a province be
wholly occupied and preserve a proper distribution of its inhabitants
without this regulation; for all districts are not equally healthy,
and hence some will abound to overflowing, while others are void; and
if there be no method of withdrawing them from places in which they
increase too rapidly, and planting them where they are too few the
country would soon be wasted; for one part would become a desert, and
the other a dense and wretched population. And, as nature cannot
repair this disorder, it is necessary that industry should effect it,
for unhealthy localities become wholesome when a numerous population
is brought into them. With cultivation the earth becomes fruitful, and
the air is purified with fires--remedies which nature cannot provide.
The city of Venice proves the correctness of these remarks. Being
placed in a marshy and unwholesome situation, it became healthy only
by the number of industrious individuals who were drawn together.
Pisa, too, on account of its unwholesome air, was never filled with
inhabitants, till the Saracens, having destroyed Genoa and rendered
her rivers unnavigable, caused the Genoese to migrate thither in vast
numbers, and thus render her populous and powerful. Where the use of
colonies is not adopted, conquered countries are held with great
difficulty; districts once uninhabited still remain so, and those
which populate quickly are not relieved. Hence it is that many places
of the world, and particularly in Italy, in comparison of ancient
times, have become deserts. This has wholly arisen and proceeded from
the negligence of princes, who have lost all appetite for true glory,
and of republics which no longer possess institutions that deserve
praise. In ancient times, by means of colonies, new cities frequently
arose, and those already begun were enlarged, as was the case with
Florence, which had its beginning from Fiesole, and its increase from

It is exceedingly probable, as Dante and Giovanni Villani show, that
the city of Fiesole, being situate upon the summit of the mountain, in
order that her markets might be more frequented, and afford greater
accommodation for those who brought merchandise, would appoint the
place in which to told them, not upon the hill, but in the plain,
between the foot of the mountain and the river Arno. I imagine these
markets to have occasioned the first erections that were made in those
places, and to have induced merchants to wish for commodious
warehouses for the reception of their goods, and which, in time,
became substantial buildings. And afterward, when the Romans, having
conquered the Carthaginians, rendered Italy secure from foreign
invasion, these buildings would greatly increase; for men never endure
inconveniences unless some powerful necessity compels them. Thus,
although the fear of war induces a willingness to occupy places strong
and difficult of access, as soon as the cause of alarm is removed, men
gladly resort to more convenient and easily attainable localities.
Hence, the security to which the reputation of the Roman republic gave
birth, caused the inhabitants, having begun in the manner described,
to increase so much as to form a town, this was at first called the
Villa Arnina. After this occurred the civil wars between Marius and
Sylla; then those of Csar, and Pompey; and next those of the
murderers of Csar, and the parties who undertook to avenge his death.
Therefore, first by Sylla, and afterward by the three Roman citizens,
who, having avenged the death of Csar, divided the empire among
themselves, colonies were sent to Fiesole, which, either in part or in
whole, fixed their habitations in the plain, near to the then rising
town. By this increase, the place became so filled with dwellings,
that it might with propriety be enumerated among the cities of Italy.

There are various opinions concerning the derivation of the word
Florentia. Some suppose it to come from Florinus, one of the principal
persons of the colony; others think it was originally not Florentia,
but Fluentia, and suppose the word derived from /fluente/, or flowing
of the Arno; and in support of their opinion, adduce a passage from
Pliny, who says, "the Fluentini are near the flowing of the Arno."
This, however, may be incorrect, for Pliny speaks of the locality of
the Florentini, not of the name by which they were known. And it seems
as if the word Fluentini were a corruption, because Frontinus and
Cornelius Tacitus, who wrote at nearly the same period as Pliny, call
them Florentia and Florentini; for, in the time of Tiberius, they were
governed like the other cities of Italy. Besides, Cornelius refers to
the coming of ambassadors from the Florentines, to beg of the emperor
that the waters of the Chiane might not be allowed to overflow their
country; and it is not at all reasonable that the city should have two
names at the same time. Therefore I think that, however derived, the
name was always Florentia, and that whatever the origin might be, it
occurred under the Roman empire, and began to be noticed by writers in
the times of the first emperors.

When the Roman empire was afflicted by the barbarians, Florence was
destroyed by Totila, king of the Ostrogoths; and after a period of two
hundred and fifty years, rebuilt by Charlemagne; from whose time, till
the year 1215, she participated in the fortune of the rest of Italy;
and, during this period, first the descendants of Charles, then the
Berengarii, and lastly the German emperors, governed her, as in our
general treatise we have shown. Nor could the Florentines, during
those ages, increase in numbers, or effect anything worthy of memory,

Book of the day: