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No more characteristic phenomenon of the prime of the Middle Age can be found than the self-governing town. It existed, more or less fully developed, in the chief countries of the West, and we shall hardly err in attributing its rise and growth to economic causes of equally general prevalence. It was the resurgence of trade, of manufacture for a wide market, after the anarchic, miserable ninth and tenth centuries, which produced town and townsman, merchant and craft. The conditions of the times imprinted on the medieval town other universal characters. Safety and orderly life were impossible save in association, in group life, and the associated burghers replaced or competed with the feudal or kinship groups which preceded them. Local and personal law was the rule, and the law, of merchant and—town took its place by the side of other local and class, customs. Central authority in greater of less degree was shattered, and the town, like the baron, obtained its fraction of autonomy. Whatever the degree of their independence, the shackled English boroughs, the French towns in all their varieties, the republics of Flanders and the Hanse, and the Italian communes, obey the same impulse and bear a family resemblance.

Yet while the medieval towns are obviously akin, the divergences among them in character and history are deep and wide; and most aberrant from the rest, if the most pronounced and perfect of the type, are the Italian city-states. Like their congeners, indeed, they owed their florescence ultimately to geographical factors. Some, like Venice and Pisa, were ports on the sea; others were halting-places at the fords or junction of rivers, like Cremona; others, like Verona, were at the mouths of passes; others punctuated the immemorial roads, like Siena or Bologna; others, perhaps, were merely safe centres in a fertile land, clots of population, which could produce un-bled by feudal tyranny. The whole land, too, had a temporary geographical advantage: Italy was the half-way house between the East (and Constantinople), with its civilisation, its luxury, and its arts, and the West, hungry for these amenities, the most extravagant of purchasers. But, save the last, these advantages of site were old, and the Italian cities, for the most part, were old too, or at least conscious children of the past like Venice, and in their history their inheritance counts for much. Bruges and Bristol were new growths, Padua and Milan started as cities on their medieval career. In the wreck of the Roman Empire, at the coming of the Lombards, they had indeed lost, even in Byzantine territory, the greater part of their city institutions of antiquity. They were transformed beyond recognition perhaps, but not beyond identity. The attempts of historians to shew a continuous existence of the main institutions of civic government from Theodosius to Frederick Barbarossa have failed, though in rare cases an office or a title might outlive the welter; but civic instinct, civic co-operation could survive and blend with new elements under new conditions after centuries of revolution. For the understanding of the new growth it is necessary first to look, though too often by a flickering and uncertain light, at the dubious remnants of the ancient order.

It is natural that the clearest traces of late Roman institutions should be found in those Italian cities which fell into Lombard hands either late or never. A general description of their government before the Frankish conquest has already been given in a previous volume and here it will only be necessary to touch on their organisation in Frankish and post-Frankish times. We find that at Ravenna and Naples the curiales are no longer a governing magisterial assembly, but a college of notaries; in fact the own office-staff had survived the assembly they had served. Ravenna, however, still possessed a Senate of nobles, though it may be questioned if it ever met as an administrative body. Its chief members, the dukes, who belonged to but a few great families, had individually judicial and administrative powers; and its secondary members, the consuls, may have had some functions. At Naples consul was merely a title enjoyed like other Byzantine ranks by many of the nobility, i.e. of the wealthier landowners. At Rome the Senate as an assembly had disappeared, although the title Senator belonged to the greatest noble family. There the consules et duces, a combined title for which that of consules Romanorum was substituted before a.d. 1000, had some of the functions of the Ravennate dukes, while the plain consuls seem merely to hold a title, and possibly might not be of noble birth. The city-militia, ranged in twelve local regiments (numeri, bandi, or scholae), formed the nearest approach to a popular assembly in Ravenna and Rome, while at Naples the milites were more like a warrior caste beneath the nobles. In all three towns there are traces of the ancient trade-corporations (scholae) still subsisting. Alike in all, however, real authority is derived, in Byzantine fashion, from the ruler, the Duke at Naples, the Pope at Rome, and is wielded by his bureaucracy, of which the dukes at Ravenna and the consules et duces at Rome were only subordinate members. The distance of Ravenna from Rome, and the desire of its archbishop to rule it in opposition to the Pope’s rights, may have allowed a Ravennate Senate to continue ; the material power of the great Roman landowners and the local patriotism of the Roman militia may have raised Alberic as their elected prince to exercise the temporal prerogatives of the Popes; but in the tenth century no commune, no republican city, save Venice perhaps, exists in Italy.

The breakdown of the institutions of the ancient Empire was of necessity far more complete in the territory conquered by the Lombards, which accounted for the greater part of Italy. The Lombards came as barbaric enemies of Rome; they replaced Roman organisation by simpler institutions of their own. Here and there so-called curiales or similar officials might exist as petty tax-gatherers and notaries. Here and there might continue a trade-corporation, like the soap-makers of Piacenza who at some time before 744 were paying annually thirty pounds of soap to the king. The number of survivals may be increased by further research. But in general the elaborate Roman administration disappeared. It could hardly be otherwise. Depopulated and in stagnation, with the self­sufficing great estate or curtis as the typical economic unit, with the mass of the population aldii or half-free peasants, with the growing class of Roman freemen in the towns for long officially ignored by the Arian Lombards, only the most elementary and hardiest Roman organisations could be expected to survive. Some such, however, there were, and the course of time increased their importance. From the first the towns could not be deprived of their position as economic centres of their surrounding countryside; the curtis often had surplus produce to dispose of; Roman crafts were torpid, not dead—the Lombard merchant and the Italian shipwright became known abroad. The conversion of the Lombards to Catholicism, and the inevitable intermixture of race, ended in the official recognition of Roman as well as Lombard law by the time of Liutprand (712-744), and the ranking of freemen in the army on a pure property basis by King Aistulf in 750.

It is in close connexion with their ecclesiastical arrangements, them­selves founded oil the civil organisation of the falling Empire, that we find the earliest germs of the later North Italian communes. The diocese corresponded usually with the Roman civitas, the unit of secular administration. The largest subdivision of the diocese was the plebs or pieve, presided over by its archpriest and having its centre in the baptismal church (ecclesia), in which alone for long the chief rites of religion could be performed. The plebs was in its turn subdivided. In the country it was a collection of villages each of which in time had its own oratory (capella) and bore, at least later, some such name as vicinantia. The bishop’s city, however, with its suburb stretching a mile or so beyond the walls, formed a plebs by itself, a fact of which the baptisteries of Italian cities still remind us. Its subdivisions, or parishes in modern language, each with its capella formed the vicinantiae, populi, or contratae of the city. A vicinantia in town or country usually possessed, or had the use of, common lands, pasture and wood, as an economic necessity, and the meeting of the vicini (parishioners, neighbours) perhaps round the village elm or at the door of the capella to arrange such matters can hardly ever have gone out of use. To this day the use of certain Alpine pastures is managed by similar meetings of the hereditary users. Nor in such meetings can the personal status of the vicini have formed a bar to participation. Later under the communes the vicinantiae were to play a part in the city-administration. In the country the plebs had at least its little market for exchange on holy days before its ecclesia, and often, it seems, the use of common lands to manage in customary fashion. But in the towns we see an intermediate and purely secular subdivision, the quarters or gates (portae), going back to Roman times. The first duty of the quarter was the repair and guarding of the walls, or that share of the work (one-third) which did not fall on the State or the Church. The city plebs, too, was not without its assembly and its elementary functions. There were common lands of the city needing some management. There were proclamations to be made, public burdens perhaps to be apportioned, as in the country. As early as Rothari’s time (636-652), strayed animals were cried in the conventus ante ecclesiam. And perhaps there was the election of a bishop or the alienation of church-lands to be formally approved. In Carolingian times we find sure evidence of the existence and occasional activity of this city-assembly in Lombard Italy. About 790 Charlemagne’s son Pepin of Italy forbade the men of Piacenza to receive aldii in the city by their decree; and at Piacenza the general assembly long met in front of the old cathedral of Sant’ Antonino, a proof of the assembly’s existence before the new cathedral of Santa Giustina was built in 877.

Two features with far-reaching effects characterised the assembly. First, it was composed of dwellers within the walls alone. Even if this character does not go back to late Roman times, the fact that in the suburb outside the walls there would be in depopulated Lombard Italy but scattered hamlets at most would sufficiently account for it. Its importance needs no stressing. The walled city, forming a separate plebs, exceptional in population, duties, and power, is the starting-point of the urban Italian commune, cut off from the countryside and, apart from the State-administration, possessing as its ultimate authority a general assembly of the city dwellers. Secondly, there is the close connexion of the city with its bishop. Protector of the plain subject in late Roman times, head of his Catholic flock while the Lombards were still Arian, chief citizen and a public official under the Carolingians, surrounded by a throng of vassals in town and country, it was the bishop, whether much or little privileged, who brought the formless assembly and the elementary machinery of quarters and vicinanze into working order as a substitute for decaying government. How strong the feeling of city unity was, and how intimately linked with the city’s church, is seen as early as 715 when the dispute over the diocesan boundaries of Siena and Arezzo led to armed conflict between the two cities in which the Sienese people appear as a self-acting body.

The effect of the strictly Carolingian period was to intensify the existing current of development. Freemen, whether Frank, Lombard, or Roman, or of some other race or personal law, were privileged according to their rank in society, not by their racial descent, although the offspring of Germanic conquerors were naturally still predominant among them. And a mixed customary law, containing elements both Lombard and Roman, was evidently growing up locally even in the vicinanze, and even among a serf-population. The loci consuetudo had been already acknowledged by King Rothari, and King Liutprand in 727 admitted its mingled, local, and popular character. The development of such local usus terrae in the towns at least must have been assisted, and the training of the notables in law and government must have been increased, by Charlemagne’s institution of the scabini. These law-experts and life ­assessors in judgment, chosen totius populi consensu by the missi, produced a competent professional class of lawyers among the very men who would naturally take the lead in the affairs of the city and its church.

A far more powerful impulse, however, towards city-autonomy, was given by the disasters of Italy during the age of anarchy following the deposition of Charles the Fat in 887. The civil wars, the weakening of the degenerate kingship, the rapid changes among the provincial wielders of the public power, left the state unable to exercise its rights, to levy its dues, or to protect its miserable subjects. Against the Hungarian or Saracen ravagers the only sure defence lay in the guard of the walled towns or castles by their inhabitants. Castra (castclli) began to spring up in the countryside through the unprompted co-operation of the neighbouring population, who would there find a place of refuge for themselves and their property. The cities were similarly a place of refuge, but their defence fell on the permanent inhabitants, whose organisation of quarters (portae) and vicinantiae regained for military purposes its full significance. A song of the city-watch has been transmitted to us from this time, a prelude in Latin of Italian verse.

“Fortis iuventus, virtus audax bellica,

vestra per muros audiantur carmina:

et sit in armis alterna vigilia

ne fraus hostilis haec invadat moenia.”

It was the bishop who appeared at the head of his fellow-citizens (concives) in this work of co-operation and defence. Thus in 904 King Berengar permits Hildegar, Bishop of Bergamo, and his concives to guard against the heathen raids and the oppression of the great nobles by rebuilding the city walls and towers, and in the same diploma to the bishop and his see were granted those walls and the public jurisdiction within them. Other grants of the kind were to follow. Under the Holy Roman Emperors it was the public policy to hand over the comital powers in cities and a radius round them to their bishops. But how much these grants merely ratified an existing or impending situation is seen in Tuscany, where few bishops obtained them yet all were closely concerned with the dawn of city-autonomy. Looking from above, the Emperor let slip powers of his own or of the great vassals into the hands of his own episcopal nominees who could effectively administer them. Looking from below, the city notables obtained a greater voice in the city government through its formal conferment on their episcopal chief, of whom they were the customary and recognised councillors and generally the vassals.

In spite of the disasters of the times, the effort for self-defence and the restoration of the walls, not to mention the acquisition of local State-administrative powers by rulers on the spot, could not fail to promote the prosperity of the cities. Their population, too, must have increased, if only owing to the inrush of refugees who did not always return to their ruined homes in the countryside; while, after the Ottos had excluded heathen ravage, their progress was comparatively rapid. It is natural that we should trace signs of greater cine self-consciousness and self­dependence in the larger and wealthier centres. In Milan this took an ecclesiastical form. The townsmen fought for five years (948-953) in support of the canonically-elected Adalman against the royal nominee Manasse, who was favoured by the nobles of the countryside. The same people c. 980 shew a more pronounced communal spirit when they drove out their archbishop, the tyrannous great noble Landolf II, and only received him again after a battle and a treaty. Considerable must have been the internal cohesion of the city and of its rudimentary organisation to enable its notables to enter even into an informal contract. And their collective character was gaining some sort of recognition too from the royal government. It was to his subjects and inhabitants of Genoa, with no mention of bishop, count, or marquess, that Berengar II in 958 confirmed their local customs and privileges; and when Count Nanno of Verona, acting as imperial missus, tried the case of Ratherius, the saintly and fractious Veronese Bishop, he appealed formally for their opinion to the townsmen (urbani) gathered en masse before him. Their answer, if expressed (so the bishop says) with “porcine clamour,” was articulate and resulted in Ratherius deposition. In both these cases, however, the breach between citizens and bishop remains personal, not constitutional, in its nature, for neither at Verona nor at Milan did the prelate exercise the powers of a count in his city. But a deliberate effort to replace the bishop in some of his governmental rights appears at Cremona, where he was endowed with comital authority over the city and a radius of five miles round it. In 996 the Emperor Otto III granted to the free citizens, “ rich and poor,” the absolute use of their common rights of pasture and of the river-transit in the contado as well as the State rights annexed thereto. The bishop, Ulric, when he heard of the grant, was up in arms, for his were the profitable dues and tolls affected; and soon the unpre­cedented diploma was quashed.

Thus we can sum up the results of the Ottoman peace on the cities. More populous, more wealthy, more secure, their embryonic institutions were allowing them to act collectively, however heterogeneous their population of nobles, great and small, and plebeians might be. As a rule, doubtless, their bishop was still their protector, the nucleus round which their rudimentary assemblies could cohere. At this very time, in the transaction of the bishopric’s secular affairs we find the bishop surrounded by a council which included lay vassals of his and notables, and the steward of his lands, the vicedominus, was in many cases becoming lay and hereditary. But if such incidents as that of Cremona were exceptions which chequered a usually good understanding, they nevertheless go to shew the sense of an independent corporate existence among the citizens, that they were not merely the prolongation of the bishop’s shadow. Pisa, early mature through her shipping, could wage a city-war with neighbouring Lucca in 1004, and in the same year King Henry II was receiving hostages and collective oaths of fealty from the Lombard towns. Communes and consuls there were none as yet, but notables and assemblies could already act in concert, though all the powers of State-government, strictly speaking, still belonged to imperial or feudal officials. The slowness of the change may have been partly due to the fact that some of these officials or vassals were the leading notables of the town.

In fact, the impulse to association and to the formation of local custom was shewing itself even in the feudal countryside, especially in the little towns (castelli) which grew out of the castles of refuge. These were co­operative from the start, in spite of the extreme inequality in the rights and status of their denizens, ranging from few lords to many oppressed serfs. The evidence for them, indeed, mostly dates from a later time, but it still allows us to draw some conclusions as to their earlier existence, and as to the economic necessities which compelled some collective action within them. Like the tiny vicinanze they possessed common rights to pastures and woods ; there was watch to be kept on the walls, and necessary repairs of their fabric; and a chief-watchman (portinarius) to be appointed by common consent of the feudal lord and his subjects of all degrees. In the rare cases when there was no lord or compossessing family of signori, the denizens stepped into his place, as we can see in a unique diploma of Otto II in 983 to the men of Lazise on Lake Garda. These eighteen men, who seem to be merely the chief free men of the castello, receive collectively the right to levy tolls and dues, as if they were feudal magnates. They had outrun their city neighbours in this prophetic grant because no feudal lord stood between them and the Emperor.

A variant of these primitive arrangements of the north Italian towns may be seen in the contemporary institutions of Venice, where the continued connexion with the East Roman Empire led both to the earlier foundation of a republican government and to its retention of a quasi-monarchical administration. In Venice ultimate power resided in the tumultuary mass-meeting of the citizens, the arengo, which elected the Doge, and approved peace and war and the most important State decisions. The Doge (Dux), as befitted the lineal successor of a Byzantine provincial governor, with the aid of his nominees exercised the whole executive, but around him in his solemn court for judgment and consultation gathered the notables, clerical and lay, the maiores, mediocres, et minores citizens. These boni homines, as they were often called, among whom naturally the landowners (at Venice identical with the chief shippers) predominated, formed a kind of representation of the community, and their presence was practically necessary to an act of State.

In every circumscription in the Regnum Italicum, whether plebs, or comitatus, the boni homines, or notables, appear. They were assessors in the courts, witnesses of deeds, arbitrators in voluntary jurisdiction, advisers of the higher authorities, interpreters of local custom. They were not a noble class, but in the city were normally free landholders, preferably of some rank. Among them would be the iudices (the legal experts, earlier called scabini), the holders of curies (manors) within the walls, and a selection of lesser nobles and freemen who had become well­to-do in trade. It was the boni homines, a composite collection of notables long-practised in local affairs, who were to be the animating nucleus of the future commune.

The first movement towards city-autonomy, strictly speaking, seems to have taken place in southern Italy. There, outside the limits of the Regnum Italicum, among warring, fragmentary states and laxly-held Byzantine territories, the notables, with the active or passive assent of the population, could form a more or less comprehensive league of towns­men and extort, or take unheeded, from their sovereign part at least of the functions of government. “Facta est comnmnitas prima” we read in the Annals of Benevento under 1015. The pact of Sergius IV, Duke of Naples, with his subjects, c. 1030, recognises such a sod etas, though per­haps of nobles only, and engages that peace or war shall not be declared, nor customs changed, nor a noble tried, save with the consent of the nobles. Still earlier, during the minority of their Duke Atenolf II, c. 1000, the nobles and boni homines of Gaeta obtained a share in political power. The participation of the wealthy shippers in the government of Amalfi was at least as large. All these towns, however, were the capitals of hereditary princes; and more real communal forms are to be dimly discerned in the restless cities of Apulia under the weak Byzantine rule. Thus at Bari the Fraternitas Sanctae Mariae, headed by the archbishop, appears to have taken a leading part in the faction-fights, defence, and effective government of the town. The city of Troia enjoyed practical autonomy, at the price of a tribute, from its foundation by the catapan Boioannes in 1018. Assembled in the bishop’s court, the chief citizens (seniores and boni homines) chose their judge and turmarch (commander­in-chief) and directed affairs. In these Apulian proto-communes, the scanty evidence gives the impression that they were more strictly oligarchic in character than their congeners in the north. The bishop and the nobiliores homines seem to act for their fellow-citizens with no appeal to a city-assembly. It was a difference more in form than in substance, which was due perhaps to Byzantine, anti-popular influences, and in any case was obliterated by the appearance of an assembly when in the twelfth century the Apulian cities take rank as full-fledged, but definitely subject, universitates under the Norman dukes.

The fact, however, that the Apulian towns fell under Norman rule before their institutions were fully developed, separates them sharply from the city-states of North Italy, which in fact, if not in theory, were in their maturity independent republics. In the eleventh century the northern towns were only in process of attaining internal solidarity and self-government. There it was only gradually, and so to say blindly, through many tentative variations, that the sworn league (coniuratio), which appears perhaps as early as the tenth century among sections of the bourgeoisie, coalesces with the city-assembly in a commune. We may assume, arguing from later custom, that it was probably the city-assembly, the mass-meeting of inhabitants, which took the collective oath of fealty to Henry II in 1004, and at Ivrea to Marquess Ulric-Manfred II of Turin, c. 1016, in terms which hint at the process by which the sworn association long after became identical with the city-state. But the special protection which Henry II granted in 1014 to omnes maiores homines dwelling in the castello (borough) of Savona, and to cunctos arimannos dwelling in the city of Mantua, can only refer to definite classes of the population. Leaving aside, however, such a special kind of landholder as the arimannus of the eleventh century, we find the population of the north Italian cities falling into three main divisions, the capitanei, the valvassores minores or secundi milites, and the plebeians, i.e. roughly speaking, the barons, the knights and squires, and the non-nobles. The two first classes were by no means composed solely of nobles who held manors or fiefs in the city proper. A large number of the countryside nobles resided for a part of the year within the walls. This was an immemorial custom in town­ loving Italy, and had been given a stronger hold by the barbarian ravages of the tenth century. In consequence in the early class-warfare we cannot precisely distinguish in their case between town and country, nor can we indeed draw any hard and fast line of demarcation in later times. The plebeians, however, when town-bred, are townsmen only. A further characteristic of these nobles, and indeed of their times, is the rapid multiplication when once devastation and anarchy had been removed by the Ottonian peace. It was favoured by the room made by previous depopulation, and by the practice of com possession, or at the least of equal subdivision of inheritances, which was all but universal in Italy. Thus the families of capitanei already amounted to a respectable fighting force, especially as they were at the head of numerous masnadieri (to use a later term) or unfree retainers, while the lesser vavassors were naturally very numerous. In the end, indeed, both classes in the countryside were impoverished by their own numerousness. The twelfth-century cattani (capitanei) of Tuscany were often little better than small country squires, and there the term Lombardi occasionally comes to mean groups of freed masnadieri as well as survivors of the older nobility.

The habit of sworn associations among classes of the population first comes clearly to light in the war (1035-1037) between the capitanei of the Milanese province, headed by Archbishop Aribert, and the lesser vavassors, in which the vavassors, partly by the aid of the Emperor Conrad II, finally gained the day. Henceforward the minor nobility had the same security of tenure (i.e. practically the full property) of their fiefs as their privileged suzerains. The opposition, however, remained between the two orders, occasioned by difference of wealth and status, and even of profession, as commerce increased and some minor nobles became traders; and to it was added the enmity between both and the third class, the plebeians, or to use the later vernacular name, the popolani, whose leaders were naturally the merchants, negotiatores. The rise of the plebeians was indeed intimately connected with the increase of population and trade. Italy produced more; her consumption of necessaries, such as salt and cloth, and of luxuries, e.g. silk and spices, was greater. From her seaport towns, along the natural arteries of the Lombard rivers, over the chief Alpine passes, the transport of foreign and native wares grew in volume. Her manufactures, such as they were, began to flourish with the enlarged home and foreign demand, trivial indeed if we compare present-day statistics, but highly wealth-bringing then. There was already noticeable a drift of peasants to the cities where such gains and compara­tive freedom were to be had. We may almost say that these plebeians were recruited for two centuries from the enterprising and adventurous.

The life of the Italian cities, and later of their communes, was almost inextricably intertwined with their church and its head, the bishop. Civic patriotism, religious emotion, and the ordinary transactions of life, the market and the festival, all clustered round the city-saints and their fanes, and it is barely possible to define the relative shares of the religious, the political, or the economic motive. When Aribert was imprisoned by the Emperor Conrad during the war of the vavassors, a mixture of civic, religious, and even national enthusiasm swept over the Milanese. The citizens, with the exception we may assume of the vavassors then withdrawn to the countryside, rushed to arms, were enraptured at their arch­bishop’s escape, and successfully withstood an imperial siege Whether the league on this occasion strictly included more than capitanei may be doubted, but the practical co-operation of the plebeians is none the less clear. It only required the peace between capitanei and vavassors for them to form a party of their own. Already Aribert had invented the standard of the future commune, which became the emblem of civic liberty all over North Italy. Round the carroccio, the ox-drawn waggon with its pole and flag, the citizens henceforth rallied in battle.

Aribert had not long been reconciled with the Emperor Henry III, when the new development took place at Milan. Whatever grudges existed between capitanei and vavassors, they united in insolence to the plebeians. The ancient authority of the Marquess-Count of Milan, an Otbertine, had decayed, the Archbishop was himself the greatest of the capitanei by blood, and the oppression of many noble tyrants became intolerable. In 1042 the explosion came when a plebeian was slain by a knight in a private quarrel. The ever-enduring feuds among the nobles were to be a continual advantage to the popolani, and now the people found a leader in the capitaneus and jurist Lanzo, notary and iudex Sacri Palatii. With slaughter and rapine the whole body of nobles was driven out; Aribert himself, no longer a popular idol, decamped; and a new siege was endured for three years with fierce heroism until weariness, the threatened intervention of Henry III, and the statesmanship of Lanzo led to an accommodation in 1044. The nobles returned under terms of mutual oblivion of the past, but “the state of the city and its Church had been changed.” Henceforward the plebeians form a separate power, and the curious tripartite constitution of the later Milanese commune had begun. Henry III, perhaps, thought to take a middle course when he appointed a vavassor, Guido, to succeed Aribert as archbishop, but neither the fissure between classes was to be healed, nor the instinct for self-government to be conjured, by the fact that the archbishop was not formidable either by birth or character.

None the less, we still find the archbishop taking the lead in the next corporate act of his city, the war of Milan with Pavia in 1059; it needed the convulsion of the religious struggle lasting over twenty years from 1056 to shatter finally the archiepiscopal authority, as that of the marquess, last effectively exercised shortly after Guido’s accession, had long been made obsolete. The strife, however, not only ousted the archbishop from power; it enabled a real commune to be formed by merging class-distinctions in religious factions. If the conservatives, who upheld the autonomy and ancient usages of the see of St Ambrose, included most of the nobles, and the reformers had a majority among the plebeians, especially among the poorest class, from which their derisive name of Patarines, “rag-pickers,” was derived, yet the reforming leaders who led the agitation for clerical celibacy and the abolition of simony belonged to noble houses, and had many associates of their own rank. The greatest of them, the capitaneus Erlembald, taught autonomy to his fellow-citizens. The lean, red-bearded man, with his flashing eyes, could carry with him any assembly, great or small, and dominated the people by his oratory. A council (or was it an executive committee?) of thirty surrounded him, but in these times of revolution the arengo played a part it never did in the settled constitution. When that was really established in Milan we do not know, but in 1097 we find the first mention of the consuls of the city; and the existence of consuls implies that of the commune of which they were the elected rulers.

Every commune had its peculiar features, due to its local characteristics and local history, and Milan was especially marked by the share the nobles of the countryside took in the commune from the start, and  by the strict division of orders in the state. An unusual number of nobles from at least three surrounding counties dwelt partially in the greatest city of the plain; the plebeians rose early to wealth; and the rapid succession of class and religious wars crystallised distinctions of rank at an early date into their final forms. Thus the consuls were carefully divided among the classes; in 1130 seven were capitanei, seven were vavassors, and six plain citizens. It is another aspect of the same circumstances that Milan had little trouble with her dependent contadi, where the feudal lords were her own chief citizens. Her early wars were only with weaker cities such as Lodi and Como, or with rivals like the ancient capital Pavia.

Most northern cities, either by their institutions or by their recorded history, give evidence of class-warfare as one cause of the emergence of the commune, although this was by no means universal. The civil discord, which seems almost invariable, might be due to the dissensions of the nobles among themselves, each faction with their abettors among the plebeians. While at Lucca the people, aided here by the clergy and some nobles, rose against their reforming bishop Anselm and Countess Matilda and established consuls c. 1080, at Pisa we find the popular Archbishop Daimbert, with five colleagues, publishing c. 1090 an award limiting the height of the towers from which the nobles warred on one another. As we might expect in this undeveloped time, the commune colloquium, i.e. the arengo, is the chief constitutional instrument, but something like a council is indicated, and c. 1084 Pisa already had consuls. The commune may have been established by the earlier securitas or award of Bishop Gerard (1080-1085).

All over North Italy, however, at the commencement of the twelfth century, consuls, the indubitable evidence of the full-fledged commune emerging from the semi-autonomy of the eleventh century, were appearing, here earlier, there later, according to the events of local history or the chances of the preservation of the evidence to our days. Thus in Lombardy, consuls are mentioned at Asti in 1093, at Pavia in 1105, at Brescia in 1127, at Bologna in 1123; the first known consuls of Genoa date from 1099; in Tuscany, Siena has consuls in 1125 and Florence in 1138, while in the documents of Arezzo they first appear in 1098. It has become increasingly plain of late years how they arose. During the growth of civic freedom in the eleventh century, the city-notables, the boni homines, like the more numerous notables of the several subordinate viciniae among whom they were also counted, played an increasingly important part. It was the boni homines—mostly greater or lesser nobles, with jurists and a sprinkling of wealthy traders—who advised the bishop in his curia, the count or marquess in his placitum, and took the lead in the commune colloquium, the parlamento or arengo, of the whole city. As the need for a more definite city-executive grew, a commission of boni homines would be appointed, often ad hoc for some special business, but soon permanently with the name of consuls. For instance twelve boni homines represent Siena in business at Rome in 1124, but next year consuls are in office. Occasionally we find the documents allow for the possibility that not consuls but boni homines may be in power in some future year, there being yet no absolute permanency of the office. In Genoa, till late in the twelfth century, the compagna of the citizens, which established consuls and a common government, was renewable every few years’.

This very conservative habit of Genoa emphasises another aspect in the rise of the commune. It was intended to include the whole city; it was established by the commune colloquium, but it was in origin a private sworn association for the maintenance of peace and the common advantage of those who swore to it. It started from the coniurationes we have marked among classes or persons. When the arengo was called upon to swear collectively to such a league, we may say it became a commune. We still find hi 1162 at Pisa, in 1143 at Genoa, a kind of boycott and denial of aid and justice contemplated for such notables as refused to join the league. With the establishment of consuls two oaths were taken in the arengo, the one by each consul binding him to certain duties for his term of office, the other by a representative in the name of the assembled people, which must have included from the first a promise to obey the consul. These oaths which gave definite authority to an elected magistracy could scarcely have been exchanged until such a magistracy was established in the consulate, with which therefore we may date the beginning of the commune proper.

There has been debate on the origin of the new title. It was known, we saw, in North Italy at Ravenna and Rome as a title of dignity, and in eleventh-century Rome the consules Romanorum exercise functions in the city government. These, and the style consul et dux borne by the rulers of Naples and Gaeta, may have suggested or kept alive the title, but it was probably a conscious return to Roman tradition, kept up in so many cities by the schools of grammar, which led men to choose with striking unanimity the classic term for a collegiate republican magistracy. The influence of education is, indeed, not to be disregarded in the formation of Italian communes. Proud of their civic traditions and their Roman past, the city-nobles received a more learned education than the illiterate Transalpines. Besides schools of grammar there existed schools of law, where nobles obtained the legal knowledge necessary for the function of iudices, or jurists, and notaries, to which many of them were addicted almost by hereditary succession. The Pavese jurist, Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury, was no exceptional portent, and the increased study of Justinian’s Code towards the close of the eleventh century synchronises with the emergence of the commune. Thus the adoption of the term consuls for the chief magistracy is more than a choice of words; it symbolises the classic learning, the legal training, the heritage from the ancient world, which made the city-state, so to say, natural in Italy.

If religious, economic, and cultural phenomena all played parts in the birth of the commune, the purely political circumstances of the Holy Roman Empire also had most important effects. The Saxon and Salian Emperors inherited a monarchy already debilitated, and were of necessity absentees. Although Otto the Great might shrewdly balance bishop against marquess, yet in the end his successors could never favour any local magnate in the subject Regnum Italicum without reserve. An archbishop of Milan might be as dangerous to his distant foreign suzerain as a marquess of Tuscany. A feudal monarch was not unnaturally but half a friend to his great vassals. Like Conrad II he might deliberately weaken them at a critical time, and, unlike more lasting kingdoms, in Italy the monarch was seldom present to take their place in government. Hence throughout the eleventh century it is not only the functions of the king that are exercised at spasmodic intervals and wither, but those of the great vassals too, episcopal or lay. The citizens, favoured like the Savonese by Henry II or the Lucchese and Pisans by Henry IV, were quick to take advantage of the weakness of their rulers, whether it was due to revolts, invasions, religious wars, feuds, or the mere break-up of the great fiefs by the practice of compossession, which subdivided for instance the great Otbertine house into five or six numerous branches. In Tuscany, which retained primogeniture, the power of the marquess, although even there endangered, outlasted in the person of Countess Matilda that of all its unwiser compossessing competitors. And the strength and the practical efficiency of the citizens were mounting steadily as those of the official holders of the public power declined. The functions, legal and executive, of these became formal, and the groups of citizens, themselves largely composed of secondary nobles, could by co-operative action and voluntary jurisdiction leave little room for the count, and in the end usurped the undoubted powers of the State. The same decadence of the official government had aided in the establishment of proto-communes in Byzantine Apulia. It was not unanalogous to the genesis of feudalism itself, and an age of feudal lords, of private wars, and of local custom, saw little strange in cities making wars and internal leagues save their odd capacity of acting in concert and enforcing their common regulations.

The usurpation of public functions and attributes by the communes was also rendered easier by the status of some of their members. The branches of the vicecomital house remained the leading members of the compagna of Genoa; the Viscounts (Visconti) of Pisa and Milan, and the Vicedomini (Visdomini) of Florence, were chief clans in their respective communes. Above all the bishops, who even when they had been elbowed out of their comital rights were usually reconciled to the new state of affairs in the first half of the twelfth century, were invaluable allies to their fellow-citizens. They at least held a position of unquestioned legality in the feudal chain; they could, even when not invested with comital powers, yet at least for their episcopal fiefs (episcopium) receive homage and conclude recognised feudal contracts. Thus the Archbishop of Pisa and the Bishop of Siena are all-important for the enlargement and formation of their communes dominion over the contadi (counties) surrounding them. The lords of the countryside, new allies or vanquished enemies, surrendered their lands to the bishop and his city or to the bishop alone, and, by contracts which no feudal lawyer could impugn, became subjects to a private power as yet non-existent or incapable of such action in the eyes of feudal jurisprudence.

The enlargement of the rule of the city-commune over the county (contado) and diocese of which it was the centre was the most natural of developments, an aggression which was barely distinguishable from defence. From the beginning, the city-notables headed by the bishop, and the city itself, had lands in the contado; and these links were rendered more numerous by a process in the countryside too which was in full activity early in the twelfth century. With their multiplication, the nobility did not grow less oppressive to their serfs; in fact, poorer by reason of their numbers, they were the more inclined to heap abuse on abuse (new ex­action, uncustomary, ab usus on their serfs. But these, too, were more numerous and restive, more inclined and able to resist, if their lords were not too great dignitaries. Hence, there is a double stream of immigration to the cities: one of lesser nobles, seeking a new way of livelihood, such as the historic Buondelmonti who thus joined the original city-nobility, the Uberti and others, at Florence; the other of peasants, contadini, lured by the comparative freedom of the town. For some cities this voluntary adhesion of the countryside nobles continued to be the chief means of gaining control of the contado. The greatest lords round Pisa, the Gherardesca and the Upezzinghi, along with a crowd of lesser feudatories, were glad to be enrolled, whether as vassals of the arch­bishop or without an intermediary, as Pisan citizens.

But there were motives which urged the communes to forcible ex­pansion as well. There was the city food-supply to be assured; there was the security of the citizens, new and old, and their lands outside the walls; there were inherited feuds and claims, ecclesiastical and secular; there were the freedom and safety of roads, the abolition of tolls and blackmail, and the exit and entrance of the commerce, which took an ever larger share in the city’s thoughts; there was the independence of the city itself to be preserved from ancient or invented feudal claims. If lesser nobles could be both troublesome neighbours and a tempting prey, it was the surviving greater houses, strong in fiefs and vassals, who were most dangerous. For many years Florence waged war with her neighbours, the Counts Guidi, heirs in some degree of Matilda, and the Alberti of Prato, thus gaining by slow progresses, and the capture of castle after castle, the control of her immediate surroundings. Siena slowly mastered the powerful counts around her in the same twelfth century. One usual condition of peace enforced by the victorious commune was the compulsory citizenship and partial residence within the walls, say for three months a year, of her vanquished enemies. This was only doing by compulsion what so many nobles had done and were doing of their free will, but while it gave the commune a stronger hold on the country­side, it also, as we shall see, intensified the native disorder prevalent among the half-feudal clans of the city.

Thus, as the twelfth century wore on, the great communes were securing control of the greater part of their diocese or contado. It was the commune which superintended in the last resort justice and peace, and levied its vassals for war. There did not thence follow any difference in the status of the serf, who remained subject to his immediate lord, or the city which succeeded him. Nevertheless, a very considerable change was taking place over tracts of the countryside in North Italy. The inhabitants of the castelli or fortified townships, and even of lesser places, were forming communes of their own, arising out of the necessary co­operation between compossessing lords and vicini. As early as 1093 the Counts of Biandrate in Lombardy shared the jurisdiction over their town of Biandrate with twelve consuls of the habitatores, appointed seemingly from the ranks of the rustici, the peasants. They made a separate grant to vassal nobles, milites, but these submitted to the consuls’ jurisdiction. All through the twelfth century we find petty communes arising and developing in Tuscany. They might begin from groups of lesser vassals or freeholders or of freed masnadieri, organised in a community known as Lombards—in this fashion we find the commune of the men of San Gervasio in Vai d’Era assenting to the sale of their castello and curtis by the count whose fief it was to the Bishop of Lucca. They might be similar associations of the villani or serfs of a vicinia or of a whole pieve. The two communities often subsisted together in the same district, but they end in being united as a communis et populus. With an infinite variety of constituents and history, they were approaching throughout the twelfth century a common type, the rural commune of landholders of different status, governed by its elected consuls. It was rather local administration, land-rights, and cultivation, than politics proper which formed the subject of these township-communities. What was in process was the decease of feudalism as an economic and administrative system, and its replacement by co-operative arrangements which drew their origin eventually from immemorial methods of using and sharing the land, all quickened to new growth by a new prosperity.

To sum up this aspect of the theme: towards the close of the twelfth century North Italy was subdivided into a considerable number of city­states, the great communes, for the most part, though not all, ancient episcopal sees. They were rapidly growing in wealth and population, how rapidly may be gathered from the new and wider circuits of walls they were constrained to build. Pisa already had her new walls by 1081, Piacenza before 1158; Florence was building her Second Circle in 1172-4, Modena in 1188, and Padua in 1195; and the fact implies the existence of important suburbs outside the old walls for some time previously. These vigorous towns were in perpetual strife with one another and with the surviving great feudal lords, who like the Pelavicini, the Estensi, the Marquesses of Montferrat in Lombardy, the Malaspina in Lunigiana, or the Aldobrandeschi in Tuscany, held out amid the mountains and the marshes. With these exceptions, they were ruling in various ways and degrees their contado, the county and diocese surrounding them, ruling from one point of view over a strange medley of feudal vassals, freemen, and serfs of all degrees, from another over an assemblage of petty communities, all illustrations of that method of self management by association and league, which was necessary for safety, which was dictated by tradition and material circumstances, and which was provoked by the decadence and abuses of outworn feudalism.

The energies of the communes were far from being wholly absorbed in self-government, in internal production, and in the annexation of their contadi. The inter-city wars went on with unceasing fury from year to year, it might be said from century to century. Not till Siena was an­nexed by Cosimo of Florence in 1557, was their series over. In some degree these conflicts had their rise in sheer antipathy and jealousy. The strongly-marked character of each commune, its intense local patriotism, made its neighbours its enemies. Old disputes over diocesan boundaries, as between Pisa and Lucca, Siena and Arezzo, or over feudal claims of superiority, as between Milan and Lodi, furnished grounds for dispute where sentiment had free play. The moral shortcomings of each Italian town are enshrined in civic proverbs and in Dante. But far more im­portant were the causes of strife which arose from the mutual relations of towns depending on commerce for their prosperity and independence. Geography and trade in combination were the most explosive compound of nature and art. Seaports were rivals in a narrow but profitable market, when piracy and trading went hand in hand. By land there was the outlet to the sea, or a toll-free road by land, as well as rivalry in manufacture, to create discord. Commercial competition for the protection of home-industry or the possession of the carrying-trade was the staple of these city-wars.

Effective though the Crusades were in making the Italian seaports European powers, in increasing their wealth and the scope of their enter­prise, and in enlarging the mental horizon of all Europe, they did not begin the career of the maritime republics. The trade of these was of natural growth, and it was rather in the pre-crusading wars with the western Saracens, in the abolition of Muslim piracy, and in the opening of sea-routes to the Ponent (the West) and the Levant (the East), that they secured their pre-eminence. Venice, by taming the Slav pirates of Dalmatia and defeating the Sicilian Muslims at Bari in 1002, was in a way to become queen of the Adriatic. Pisa, sacked by Saracens in 1004 and 1011, could yet defeat them near Reggio in 1005 and, in concert with Genoa, rescue Sardinia from Mujahid of Denia in 1016. This victory began the long wars of Pisa and Genoa, fought for the trade of the Mediterranean and more especially for the exploitation of Sardinia and Corsica. They were still allies against their common enemy, the Saracens, but their joint capture (1087) of Mahdiyah in Barbary from Tamim the Zairid, and the famous temporary conquest (1113-15) of the Balearic Isles by the Pisans and Christian allies from the neighbouring coasts (with the exception of Genoa), together with the Norman conquest of Sicily (1061-1091), established Christian supremacy in the Ponent. Thereafter, Pisans and Genoese fought one another with little relaxation in East and West. Amalfi, once first in the Levantine trade, faded under its Norman masters, and its sack in 1135 by the Pisans, in the service of Pope and Emperor, hastened its decline. But the bull (1133) of Innocent II which assigned Sardinia and half Corsica to the Pisan sphere of ecclesiastical influence, and the rest of Corsica to the new Genoese archbishopric, only resulted in a truce. The two cities fought for influence in Sardinia, for trade with Sicily and the Ponent, and in the East there was a three-cornered struggle between them and Venice. The strife of Pope and Emperor, the Crusades, were incidents in and opportunities for this civic rivalry. If Pisa at first took the lead and was predominant in Sardinia at the close of the twelfth century, she was, nevertheless, fatally hampered by her open contado and strong Tuscan neighbours. Genoa, once she had subdued her Riviera, was secured by the Apennines from inland rivalry; and during the thirteenth century Pisa slowly lost ground.

The geography of Tuscany was largely responsible for the inland rivalries of the province. Across the encircling Apennines came all-important roads from the north. By the Monte Bardone (now the Pontremoli) Pass came the Via Francigena from Parma (joined by the land-route from Genoa) to Lucca. Then it crossed the River Arno near Fucecchio and struck south to Siena and Rome. From Bologna, the chief junction-city on the Emilian Way, came two roads, one through Pistoia, the other straight across the Apennines to Florence. From Florence again two roads led to Rome, one westerly to Poggibonsi, where it joined the Via Francigena and also a direct route from Pisa, through Volterra, to Siena, and the other, the ancient Via Cassia, easterly, past Arezzo, down the valley of the Chiana, under Montepulciano, to Orvieto and Rome. From Florence, too, flowed the natural artery to the sea, the River Arno, with its port at Pisa. To these trade-route factors should be added finally the lure of fertile stretches of countryside for food, for produce, and for men. Each commune was anxious for trade-outlets under its own control, the power of controlling the outlets of its neighbours, and for a wide subject-territory. Nowhere was the theory of territorial corridors better understood than in medieval Tuscany.

As a result Pisa and Lucca were early mortal enemies. There were disputed tracts of fertile contado. Lucca held both the northern outlet of the Via Francigena and its crossing at the Arno. Pisa held its gate, and that of most Tuscany, to the sea. Pisa fought to gain a footing oil the Via Francigena before it reached Lucca, to control the mouth of the Lucchese river, the Serchio, and to remove Lucca’s grip on the middle Arno at Fucecchio. The Lucchese sought to compel all trade from the north to halt in their city and pay dues there, and to prevent a Pisan wedge intervening between them and Siena. Already in 1003 the two cities, not yet communes, were fighting. Early in the twelfth century, the struggle took a more permanent form, and the Lucchese became the bom allies of the Genoese in their war with Pisa.

While her manufactures, chiefly of cloth, were of small account, Florence was seldom Pisa’s enemy. They were not next-door neighbours and Lucca’s hold on the Arno was vexatious to both. As late as 1171 they allied against Genoa and Lucca, at the price of free trade and equal opportunity for the Florentines in Pisa. But the terras were burdensome to Pisa, and the Florentine advance southward was causing an opposition of interests. Florence was endowed with a large contado and was anxious to extend it, but was also anxious to free her roads to Rome and the west. Thus she was hostile to Arezzo, a backward feudal hill-town, and still more to Siena. Florence wished for the Val Chiana and its road, and for Monte Pulciano, which would give her free exit to Orvieto and Rome. She was also eager to wrest the cross-roads at Poggibonsi from Siena, so as to have a footing on the Via Francigena and the road to Pisa. The wars caused by this enmity, pursued through the twelfth century, led to Florence ousting the Sienese from Poggibonsi in 1208 and repelling them from Monte Pulciano. With these minor communes in the Florentine sphere of influence, with the Florentine acquisition of Empoli on the lower Arno in 1182, with the rapid increase of Florence’s manufacture, wealth, and power, the Pisans could no longer favour their new rival’s prosperity. The Italian communes, no more than ancient Greek cities, were able to live and let live; their passionate patriotism was wholly local; their institutions, sprung from small local units and dictated by local needs, were by nature incapable of territorial extension; their interests were sharply antagonistic. No city could share its freedom with another; rather, full freedom and independence were only obtainable by the depression or even subjection of rivals. Thus we find Pisa, which had of late immensely profited by its services to the Empire, holding aloof in 1197, together with threatened Pistoia, from the Tuscan League of San Genesio, which was led by Florence and promoted by the Papacy so as to reduce the imperial interference, lately made so real by Henry VI, in the province. Rupture and war with Florence did not come till 1218, but it thenceforward continued with intervals till the fall of Pisa in 1405. In the thirteenth century, the foes of Florence are the Ghibelline Pisa, Siena, Pistoia, and Arezzo, those neighbouring communes in fact whose submission was requisite and whose rivalry was to be dreaded for the free development of her commerce. Lucca was a faithful friend, but to Pisa’s enemy.

The circumstances of the central band of Italy, of the Roman Cam­pagna, the Duchy of Spoleto, and the March of Ancona, seem altogether more primitive than those of the great commercial cities of the north. Besides the Tuscan roads to Rome, the chief commercial and military routes were the coast-road (Via Apruntina) past Ancona to the south, and that roughly in the line of the ancient Flaminian Way which crossed the Apennines from Fano and led by two main tracks past a string of cities, like Perugia, to Rome. But these small towns fought rather for land than for commercial supremacy. They were cramped for room in their narrow Umbrian valleys. Yet even in Umbria there appears a tendency for the cities in connexion with the western route to group round its central town, Perugia, in hostility to the cities on the old Roman Way, with their leader, Spoleto.

It was partly disputes over their respective boundaries, partly the desire for free, or rather preferential, outlets for their trade, which made the communes so frequently enemies of their immediate neighbours and allies of the city from which they were divided by those neighbours; and these tendencies were increased by the fact that while a petty commune not unusually accepted cheerfully a great city’s overlordship and pro­tection, those of middle size fought desperately for their full autonomy and all autonomy could give. These characteristics are marked when we turn to the geography and politics of Lombardy and the Romagna.

The whole of Lombardy between the Alps and the Apennines was linked together by its natural artery, the River Po and its tributaries, with the assistance of a few subsidiary streams, like the Adige, to the east. Along these waterways the commerce of the land had arisen; they remained the cheapest form of transit. The commercial outlets to the north were by a series of Alpine passes: the Mont Cenis and Mont Genevre, debouching into the plain at Susa in the territory of the Count of Savoy; the Great St Bernard coining from Savoyard Aosta to Ivrea; the Splugen, the Septimer, and the Stelvio entering Italy at Como; the Brenner, whence routes ran to Verona and Brescia; and the less known Strada d’Alemagna reaching to Vicenza and Padua. To the south the chief outlets were the ports of Venice and Genoa. At Venice was the meeting-place of the trade from the Po and the Brenner and that from the Levant. At Genoa the sea-trade similarly met that from the western Alpine passes, focussed on the way at Asti and Vercelli. But there were also the land-exits to the south. From Piacenza on the Po the Emilian Way went through a series of wealthy cities till it reached Rimini on the Adriatic. Leading from it there were the Via Francigena, branching off at Parma, the roads to Florence, branching off at Bologna, and the Flaminian Way from Rimini to Rome. Favourable positions on all these routes brought wealth and greatness. It was the aim of every city to control as long stretches of them as possible, and if possible to control exits over the mountains and bv the sea.

To the west Genoa was fortunate in an early domination of her narrow Riviera and in the formidable barrier of the Apennines in her rear. Her cue was merely to be sure that trade flowed steadily from the inland emporiums which needed her more than she needed them. Asti was mainly preoccupied in securing free transit from the passes; her chief enemies were the feudal marquesses (the Aleramids of Montferrat, Saluzzo, etc.) who survived in backward Piedmont; it became her ambition to dominate the little communes which sprang up in the twelfth century’ on the routes to the Western Alps, as it had previously been to enlarge her direct contado. Milan, in the centre, was a more potent focus of disturbance. An ancient capital, populous and powerful as the centre of a wide champaign, a seat of manufacture at the meeting-place of almost every route, she had every temptation for aggression. First, she is seen gaining outlets; she conquers and reconquers in 1118 and 1127 Como, which blocked the way to the Alps, and Lodi (1027, 1107-11), which lay between her and the Po. Almost at the same time began her enmity, soon to become traditional, with the other capital, Pavia, and Cremona, rival centres these of the transit commerce, and keys of the Po, no mere entrances to it. Milan’s natural allies were Crema and Tortona, threatened respectively by Cremona and Pavia with the same fate which Lodi and Como had undergone from Milan. By the usual chequer-pattern of these feuds, Brescia and Piacenza were inclined to Milan, Bergamo and Novara to Pavia. The oft-repeated wars were still being waged when Barbarossa entered Italy and by his claims and actions gave rise to the Lombard League.

Along the Emilian Way, for the same reasons, each city was the enemy of its immediate neighbours. Piacenza and Reggio were at odds with Parma, Cremona, and Modena. Through Piacenza and Cremona this southern system was related to the central wars and alliances; through Modena with feuds farther east. For Modena stood in dread of and enmity with Bologna. Docta Bolonia, the centre of legal studies, was great not only through her university but through her crossroads. She was eager to increase her contado, and eventually to dominate the minor Romagnol cities to the coast, an aim which for a while she achieved in her best days in the thirteenth century. This, however, was not yet. She had not even entered on the wars connected with Venetian ambitions, which gave some consistency to the politics of the Trevisan, or Veronese, March. Venice aimed at controlling all exits to the sea from Ravenna northwards at least, if not from Ancona. Against her, but severed by their own disputes, stood Padua, Treviso, Ferrara, and Ravenna. But Padua and Treviso were likewise on uneasy terms with their northern neighbours and outlets, Verona and Vicenza, as well as at some variance with the branch of the Otbertine marquesses who, being eliminated from Milan, had their chief possessions round the small town of Este, and thence were soon to take their title and surname. Mantua, impregnable amid her marshes, was on her side at war with Verona over the important limits of their respective contadi. To sum up, when the Hohenstaufen came, there were systems of alliance and enmity ready-made, to be decorated and in some degree inspired by the contest of Papacy and Empire. It was in spite of these ingrained feuds, and as a testimony to the desire for their city-autonomy and to aversion for an effectual foreign rule, that the Lombard Leagues were made; it was because of them that the Leagues were never complete, and so ready to dissolve.

The communes obtained their jurisdiction in their own cities in some degree by the exercise of functions, like that of arbitration or of garrison, which lay outside the customary sphere of State-authority, but for the most part they occupied or usurped rights which the State-authorities had long neglected or were forced to resign. These regalia or State-rights vested imperatorially in the kings, included both coinage, tolls and customs of all kinds, and the functions of police, justice, and war, enfeoffed to the mostly hereditary marquesses and counts. Large numbers of tolls and the like dues had been granted formally to bishops and lay nobles, and the bishops of many Lombard towns had also received the countship over their city and its environs, or even over the whole contado. Hardly ever had jurisdiction or even tolls been granted to the citizens themselves, and never over the surrounding contadi. The citizens governed themselves in the first instance in the collapse of the kingship during the Wars of Investiture, and gained dominion in the contadi by a series of private agreements with greater or lesser feudatories very commonly made in the name of the bishop. For the first usurpation they could indeed claim the tacit consent of the kings. Henry II, Lothar III, and Conrad III in his rebel days, had acquiesced in the city-communes, and on the rare occasions when they were asked and no bishop’s rights stood in the way had granted vague diplomas, the language of which referred to the “ liberties ” of the Lombard towns in general. But to the alienation of fiefs in the contado to a new suzerain they had never consented; in fact Lothar III in 1136 by a Constitutio forbade the alienation of fiefs by under-vassals without the consent of their lord. This, however, was ineffectual, even when not disregarded, for the tenants-in-chief too could be compelled by the communes to consent to their own spoliation.

With the local holders of public jurisdiction within the cities there were diverse methods of dealing. The marquess or count, if he still existed, was usually simply excluded, which was all the more easy as his chief interests lay in his estates in the countryside. Thus we find Count Uberto of Bologna intervening formally to obtain an imperial charter for the city with whose government he did not meddle. Lucca had revolted from Countess Matilda c. 1080, Mantua in 1091, with the Emperor’s approval. The Counts of Siena play an obscure part in the contado in the twelfth century. But the Counts of San Bonifazio, who, though like so many other “rural counts” they took their title from their chief castle, were Counts of Verona, became citizens of the com­mune, and may have retained some feudal dues thereby.

The viscounts, on the other hand, were mainly city-dwellers and took a large share in forming the communes. Their official rights in the city seem to have slowly merged in the communal jurisdiction. In the case of Pisa, where perhaps at first the viscount was a consul by right of office, he is last known to have exercised jurisdiction in 1116, and after a sanguinary struggle the compossessing house was in 1153 summarily deprived of its financial rights and dues derived from the office of gastald or steward of the royal demesne.

The bishop’s position in the city bore commonly some analogy to the viscount’s. If he held by imperial diploma the comital functions, he would usually enfeoff or merely allow to the consuls a large part of his powers in the city, reserving some profits or functions for himself, reservations it was hard to maintain. Thus at Piacenza in 1162 there was made out a long list of the bishop-count’s prerogatives. The bishop shared, at first at least, in the government of Arezzo and Bologna, nominating one or more of the consuls. Indeed the communes of these towns thus obtained something of a legal status. But disputes were very liable to occur, and the bishop would be made to feel he was a subordinate politically, even with regard to his domains in the contado. In 1154 the Bishop of Treviso was compelled to cede a great part of his feudal rights on his church’s lands. Midway in the twelfth century the communes are ceasing to use their bishop as a legal figurehead for the acquisition of dominion in the contado. Towards its close the bishop is generally an undisguised, if sometimes reluctant, subject of the commune for his feudal estates.

At the base of the commune, thus formed and master in its own house, was the general assembly, the arengo, parlamento, condone. In early days, summoned sonantibus campanis, by its shouts of fiat, fiat, it legislated, declared peace or war, ratified treaties, approved the election of consuls. But these proceedings, save under great excitement, were of a formal character. There was no debate. The generality of citizens were bound more to duties than rights. They were to swear obedience to the consuls and thereby to membership of the commune, to attend the assembly, to serve in the host. And from the mid-twelfth century onwards the mob-like arengo meets more and more rarely, till once a year is usually sufficient for the taking of the usual oaths between rulers and ruled. Frequent meetings become the sign of revolution, for which the arengo provided an apt and legal means.

The true core of the city-state was formed by the magistracy of the consuls. The office was practically the monopoly of those families of notables whose private league had become a State-government. Characteristically, the outgoing consuls had a leading voice in electing their successors. Their office was almost invariably annual. The board varied in numbers not only from city to city, but from year to year in the same city: at Genoa in 1122 there were four, in 1127 six; at Milan in 1130 there were twenty, in 1172 twelve; the more usual numbers ran from four to twelve, and in all cases seem fixed with some regard to the quarters of the city. The functions of the consuls were all-embracing; they led the host, administered the commune, saw to legislation, justice, and order. They inherited the voluntary jurisdiction by arbitration which had always been vested in each body of vicini and naturally included all disputes arising out of the consuetudines of each town, but they did not delay to usurp the public placita of count, bishop, or viscount. Subdivision of duties, however, was soon introduced. At Genoa in 1133 subordinate Consults de placitis were appointed, and shortly after 1150 Consuls of Justice (consules iustitiae) appear in most towns to preside in the tribunals and execute judgment, at first as specialised members of the consular college, later as a separate institution. Their functions and authority varied indeed, but their general character was the same.

Other officials of various titles appear as administering departments under the consuls. The iudices, trained jurists, tried cases under the consuls, and perhaps on occasion by the fact of appointment by some imperial authority provided the formal legal link between the upstart jurisdiction and the old. The notaries were concerned with official documents. For financial officials the most current title was camerarius (chamberlain), but at Siena, for instance, the power of the consuls was early limited by the institution of the Provveditori della Bicchema, to whom the camerarius was subordinated. The boni homines (soon styled consuls) of the portae commanded their quarters in the army, and acted as the lieutenants of the consuls of the commune in the city. The vicinanze (town-parishes) were responsible for the roads, canals, etc. within them. In Bologna they elected their own ministrales contratarum, whose title shews the antiquity of their office.                  .

After the consuls, however, the most essential organ of city-government was the Council, most usually called the Consiglio della Credenza (Council sworn to secrecy), although on occasion it was classically named the Senate, as at Pisa. It was the natural development of the meetings of notables from which the commune sprang, and we may doubt if the consuls had ever acted without the advice of the Wise Men. These meetings were very soon crystallised as a formal council, the parent of all later councils of the commune. Its numbers varied from city to city and from time to time; perhaps from 100 to 150 was the average. Its object may have been partly to check and advise the consuls, but still more to express and collect the opinion of the oligarchy of notable families who ruled the State. This led to complicated developments. At Florence the meeting (pratica) of Sav'd merely invited by the government never went out of use, and was more important for initiative than all the formal councils. In order to be large enough for legislative purposes, the Credenza by the end of the century had become very generally a numerous body, the Great Council of the Commune; in the same way, in order to be small enough for secret business, a certain number of its members had become the Special or Lesser Council of the Commune. The dates, how­ever, of these changes differed greatly from town to town and range over a century. We see a beginning of the process at Piacenza in 1144, when a city-law is passed, not by the arengo, but by the Council in the presence and with the consent of many non-councillors. It was not long, in fact, before the powers of the Council grew, in relation both to the consuls and to the arengo. They legislated, shared in elections, and guided the executive, and thus formulated and possibly accentuated the oligarchic character of the commune. In the late-born commune of Rome even, the Senate of some fifty-six members established by the revolution of 1143 did without consuls, though some of them served as an executive committee, until Innocent III contrived to replace the whole body by one or two Senators, resembling the North Italian podesta.

The law of each commune presented a peculiar mixture, and was en­larged and developed by different concomitant, yet in the end harmonising, processes. Omitting the foreign Germanic codes, which soon became obsolete in Italy, there were two general Laws, the Roman and the Lom­bard. Of these, the Roman, by its intrinsic superiority, by force of sentiment, by the studies of the jurists, kept gaining ground, and was more and more considered the normal law. But the Lombard Law was strongly rooted in family custom ; in some ways its less civilised dicta were more suitable to the early Middle Age ; and its influence was more lasting and wide-spread than would be gathered from contemporary statements. Further, while the Roman Law the jurists spread was that of Justinian’s Code, the traditional Roman Law in the customs of North Italy went back mostly to the times before Justinian, to the Theodosian Law. Thus, the third original element, the local consuetudines or usus, besides being based on local needs and peculiarities, were a blend of Lombard and pre­Justinian Roman Law; they grew, partly governed by local circumstances, partly under the influence of Justinianean jurists. Some of this growth was spontaneous and merely written down in and added to the usus. But local legislation was also a factor in development. Special laws were passed for this or that object in the arengo or the council throughout the twelfth century, edicts might be issued by the consuls as at Genoa, and all became part of the body of local law. Lastly, there were the brevia or oaths of office of the consuls, councillors, and other officials, and the breve communis, by which the citizens annually swore to perform their obligations under the commune and to obey the consuls. Current legislation tended to be taken up into these brevia, dealing with the powers and duties of office, which became longer and longer, till in the thirteenth century they were frequently fused into one multifarious code, the Statute of the Podesta, to which the chief magistrate of the commune swore on his accession to office. The method of growth was characteristic. A board of emendatores, arbitri, or the like, was elected at first annually, later at frequent intervals, and this commission revised the brevia or Statute en bloc. Thus the stable laws of the city were distinguished, at least in theory, from the Provisions of temporary application only, emanating from the councils.

The development of the commune was naturally enough from the simple to the complex. City law and constitution, however, by no means regulated all the activities of the citizens. As their wealth and numbers grew, they more and more found their interest in subordinate associa­tions. Each group in short, as it became strong enough to be self-conscious, formed a petty commune. The impulse spread from above till, so to say, the single-celled state of 1130 became the multiple-celled community of 1250. While in Milan and a few other Lombard towns the older subdivision of the nobles into capitanei and vavassors was pre­served, in most cities we find the inhabitants in the mid-twelfth century more simply divided into milites and pedites. This classification had a military basis in the communal army. Men whose property was estimated at a certain amount were obliged in war-time to attend the levy with horse and knight’s armour; those below the knight’s assessment took the field on foot with a simpler equipment. Roughly speaking, this was a distinction between noble and plebeian, but the dividing line was drawn more according to wealth than birth. It was not only that the non­-noble families who early became rich in a city joined the ranks of the milites without abandoning their merchandise, but many minor or even greater feudal families added trade to their real property. This was early a marked feature of Asti and Genoa and Pisa. The Visconti and other great families never had disdained to arm galleys and combine a carrying-trade with war and piracy. Their shipping gave them a greater hold on their respective communes than their like possessed elsewhere. But this mainly feudal origin gave a definite stamp to the whole class of milites. The persistence of the Germanic kinship, modified in some degree by the Roman patria potestas, was seen in the strict maintenance of the agnatic family groups, linked together by compossession and the duty of blood-revenge (vendetta). A family could increase with extreme rapidity—in a century the agnates descended from one man could number from 50 to 100 men—and further the agnatic group could be extended by voluntary alliance with one or more others. Thus in the noble’s life the consorzeria, the family group, was the leading factor. The consortes placed their houses side by side; if the family was very great, it would have a covered loggia in the midst for festivities and meetings; in any case it would compossess a lofty tower for attack and defence, and thus the Italian medieval town shewed a forest of towers within its walls, the rallying-points of the incessant blood-feuds of the consorzerie. Organisation did not, however, cease here. There grew up leagues of consorzerie, the Societies of the Towers (Societa delle Torri), and in the last half of the twelfth century we find all the milites of a city grouped under consuls of their own, who in treaties are already recognised as state-functionaries. To sum up, by the year 1200, the milites form a sharply separate class, marked off not so much by birth or the source of their wealth as by traditions and habits of life. They, or their principal families, have the chief say in the commune.

The pedites or plebeians appear at first as less organised than the higher ranks, or rather the local organisation of vicinanze and portae was sufficient for them while the volume of trade was still small. Men of the same craft dwelt almost wholly in the same quarter or even vicinanza, and, although in the once Byzantine cities of Ravenna and Rome some ancient gilds (scholae) seem to have continued, it needed a period of prosperity to incite craftsmen in general to tighten their trade, as opposed to their local, inter-connexion. The first to emerge separately were naturally the merchants (mercatores or negotiatores), who for the most part were concerned with import and export and the transit trade. It was for them the profits were largest and the dangers greatest; they most needed corporate action and influence for their wealth and for mere safety in their voyages and journeys. Accordingly, half-way through the twelfth century, we find consuls of the merchants recognised officials in the communes of Pisa, Piacenza, and Milan, and every decade added evidence of their appearance in other cities. The Merchants and Money­changers (campsores, cambiatores), however, were like their allies the Jurists (indices, notarii) largely drawn from the ranks of the milites, the composite nobility of the commune. They form a class through their particular economic interests. More closely connected with the plebeians were the more specialised manufacturing, craft, and retail gilds, which sprang up in their footsteps, and gained at the close of the twelfth century recognition or toleration from the commune. Certain crafts were then outrunning the others in the race for wealth, and beside the Merchants there appear according to the various circumstances of each city such gilds as those of Wool (Arte della Lana), the Apothecaries and Spicers (Speziali), the Furriers (Pellidai). The most common term for them is Art (Arte), although Mestiere (ministerium) and schola are also used. They were organised on the model of the commune, with a general meeting of masters, a council, and consuls and subordinate officials. The community of interest in each Art, its strict supervision of its members, and their close mutual association in daily life, soon made the Arts as a whole the bodies with greatest inner solidarity in the communes.

Both the emergence of new classes, with the reassortment of members of the old, and the exasperation of the inner divisions, partly social, partly merely old blood-feuds, in the ruling oligarchies, seem to have caused the gradual complication and development of the city-constitutions. Thus the consuls of the Merchants and of the Milites become powerful officials of the State; they take part in treaties, perform State functions ; in their wake, eg. at Florence in 1193, we find the chiefs of a federation of more specialised handicraft Arts, whose trade was local, sharing in the government. At Florence the inner feuds of the aristocracy seem to have hastened the movement; in 1177 civil war broke out between the Uberti and the group of consular families then in power. At Milan, and generally in Lombardy, distinctly class warfare was the cause of change. In Milan itself we find the lesser traders, butchers, bakers, and the like, forming a league, the Credenza di Sant’ Ambrogio, which combined with the Motta, or association of the wealthier traders, to wrest a share of power from the Credenza dei Consoli in which the capitanei, strengthened perhaps by the war with Barbarossa, were dominant. The merchants of Milan seem still to have retained their association. Elsewhere, the struggle is between milites, whether traders or not, and the pedites, whose wealth, if yet acquired, was new. The expulsion of the milites from the city, which had occurred in the pre-communal age, began to reappear as a feature of class-warfare.

The immediate result of these broils and social changes, however caused and carried on, was the institution of a new single executive, the Podestà (Potestas). An occasional single ruler, called by the vague title of Rector or Potestas, was no novelty. From 1151 to 1155 Guido da Sasso so ruled Bologna, and during the foundation of the Roman commune Jordan Pierleoni ruled with the title of Patrician. But after Barba­rossa’s institution of imperial Podestas, evidences of a tendency to supersede the board of consuls by a single man multiply. At Pisa a rector is regarded as possible from 1169; at Milan the first known is of 1186, at Florence of 1193. At first an exceptional magistrate, as at Piacenza in 1188, the Podesta grew to be a permanent institution. The consuls who alternated with him were elected more and more rarely, and about the year 1210 he had become the normal ruler in all communes. By then the office had acquired a definite character. Though native Podestas appear and are usually dangerous to liberty, the typical Podesta is a foreigner, i.e. from another city. He must be a knight, i.e. a noble; he brings with him ins familia or household of knights and jurists; he is held strictly to account by a syndicate at the close of his year’s or half-year’s office, and is carefully segregated from the social and faction life of the city. Nor, partly through the natural elaboration of the State, partly from jealousy of power, was he allowed the full functions of the native consuls. He led the army, summoned the Councils, supervised police and criminal justice; but legislation, finance, and foreign policy were withheld from him, while in his own sphere he was surrounded by a Special Council, which often had direct connexion with the Consulate, and he was guided by the Great Council, which had now become the central organ of the commune. Even so the Podesta had to be a man of great natural gifts for rule and of elaborate training in law and affairs. A special tract, the Oculus Pastoralis, was written as a guide to his duties. For a century it was a kind of profession for the ablest city-nobles. They went from commune to commune, administering, warring, judging among an infinite variety of routine, of debate, and of emergencies, and such men as Brancaleone the Bolognese, and Corso Donati the Florentine, give much of its brilliance to Italian history in the thirteenth century.

It has been much debated what party had its way in the institution of the Podesta in the later twelfth century. First of all, undoubtedly the State : for the unity of the executive enabled the commune to survive the feuds and amateurishness and dissensions of the board of consuls; nor was self-government lessened, since the Great Council became the directing body of the commune. Next, we may probably say, the pedites, for affairs were no longer transacted by an oligarchic, quasi-hereditary board, but by the single foreign official and a Council in which the milites were no more than preponderant. It was in fact a step, like the admission of the wealthier Arts to a share in government, towards a wider basis for the State. But it was not a long step; the nobles were still dominant, and their lesser members benefited, perhaps, most by the supersession of the narrow ring of consular families. The further development, by which the non-nobles (popolanif or the people (popolo), erected a fresh organisation, the popolo, and secured power over the State, belongs to a later volume.

The Peace of Constance and the niggardly diplomas of the Emperor Henry VI finally admitted the communes into the feudal chain, and it continued for many generations to be their endeavour to express their relations of territory and dominion according to the reigning feudal law. But this should not conceal the fact that the cities by their very nature were anti-feudal; they and their very nobles were trading, manufacturing, not chivalrous, in a word they were bourgeois. Their trade, as we have seen, long ante-dated the Crusades, which gave it so powerful a stimulus. From the first the exchange of goods between East and West formed a chief part of it. From Constantinople and the Levant the Italians brought the much desired spices, sugar, silk and cotton, rare fabrics, dye-woods, and wine, objects of art and luxury, and soon corn and fish from the Black Sea. From Africa came gold, ivory, indigo, and lead. In return they exported metal and building-woods, furs, linen, cloth, and wool. To the Transalpines they handed on the Oriental and African products, with a slowly increasing quantity of their own cloth, and received cloth, wool, hides, and furs in exchange. The chief manufacture of Italy was to be the finer qualities of dyed cloth. In the later twelfth century the ascetic, half-heretical fraternity of the Umiliati gave a re­markable impulse to the cloth industry in Lombardy, and they and their methods were introduced farther south. In the next century the Art of the Merchants of Calimala in Florence became specialists in dyeing and dressing Transalpine cloth, and in almost every town the Arte della Lana (Gild of Clothmakers) was among the wealthiest.

This trade was vigorously organised. From the seaports caravans (merchant fleets, escorted by galleys) sailed twice a year to the Levant. At Constantinople and the Syrian ports existed colonies of Venetians, Pisans, and Genoese, governed in a fashion we should now call extra­territorial by consuls or baili, with store-houses (fondachi) for wares and ship-tackle. It was the aim of each city to gain exclusive privileges and turn out its rivals, and much of their best energy was spent in these bitterly-fought commercial wars. One rival they overcame; the Byzantines faded from the sea and from their own export-trade. In the West, the merchants trooped by road and river to the great fairs of Champagne, of which six were held in the year. Here, too, men travelled in caravans; but there was no question of extra-territoriality, though trade-concerns might be settled by Law-merchant, the custom of traders. Security and toll-freedom were the things aimed at, if only very partially obtained.

It was the Transalpine trade which gave the Italians their pre-eminence and ill-fame in the thirteenth century as bankers and money-lenders. Merchants whose business stretched from the Levant to England had a natural advantage in the handling of money and the organisation of credit. Partners in a firm would reside for long periods abroad; there was always an agent at least, and money-values could pass from Paris to Siena by note of hand. Almost all the great merchant houses took up 1 Salt was a staple export of Venice. banking and with it usury, from which they reaped in the thirteenth century enormous profits. The levying of the papal revenue fell into their hands. They knew and dealt in the coinage of Europe in all its varieties and degradations. It is a testimony to the inflow of the precious metals into Italy that the Gild of Money-changers (Campsores, Arte del Cambio), who dealt in banking in their native town, was next in wealth to the Merchants. The Italian, or “Lombard,” banker was indeed hated abroad, and often at home, for his usury, both fair and unfair. The risk was great, the monopoly hard to break through, the interest usuriously high. Then, although a logical series of exceptions and relaxations was gradually worked out, the trade of money-lending, the taking of interest, was in principle forbidden by Canon Law. The perplexing limits within which interest could be taken were always being overstepped, and we have the curious spectacle of the merchant-class, the factors of the Papacy, making their living by a mortal sin, as they thought it, and perhaps the more extortionate because a reasonable profit on a loan was in theory forbidden.

The great firms might be either family businesses of many kinsmen, or as time went on more frequently voluntary partnerships. The several partners subscribed the capital, traded, travelled, served in the commune’s army, held state-office, met in their gild and religious confraternity, co-operated in their consorzeria, and in the portae and vicinanze of their city. It was a full life, and, when citizen and commercial organisation grew more complicated in the thirteenth century, it is no wonder that short terms of office and each man taking his turn on council and board of officials were the rule. The drain on the citizen’s time as well as civic and class jealousy made it necessary. But the citizens also knew well that unfettered power made the tyrant. The one true single official, the Podesta, was fettered and supervised in a healthy state. The commune had begun by association and it lived by corporate action and impersonal decisions. Personal fame in it is a sign of disease and decay. At its best we hear only of the commune, the milites and pedites, the consorzeria and the gild.

These collective units, however, gave ample opportunity for broils, which always hampered and eventually wrecked the communes. Class-warfare and its early effects have already been mentioned; it was to transform the commune. But it was partly caused and its method was perniciously affected by the blood-feuds which existed from generation to generation among the consorzerie. The nobles, often of Germanic descent, and always adopting feudal, Germanic traditions, were perhaps somewhat antipathetic to the thrifty Latin plebeians, although this must not be pressed far. But it was their turbulent, tyrannous habits that became ever harder to bear. They rioted in the streets like Capulet and Montague, they fought round their towers, they were fierce and insolent to their inferiors. However given to commerce they might be, the vendetta was a sacred duty, and by its nature it could only end, if it did end, with the extinction of a stock. Thus, whether the milites fought among themselves for power or vengeance, or the plebeians took up arms to tame them, the city was a victim of civil fighting. Now and again the flimsy wooden houses would be destroyed over parts of the city by accidental or wilful incendiarism. And these methods became normal. There was no rage so furious as that of the Italian bourgeois intent on restoring peace and order.

In fact the intensely strong family and group feeling of the citizens is in strange contrast to their European trade and policy. Next to the Roman Curia, they have the widest, most civilised outlook of the Middle Ages. Strangers from all climes jostle in their streets. They themselves have a cult of efficiency and energy. They are the most original devisers of laws and constitutions, the acutest in jurisprudence and organisation, innovators at last in literature and romance. It is hard to exaggerate their devotion to their group or their commune. But on the other side is their narrowness. For his consorzeria the citizen at his best will devote everything; to his gild he will be staunch; to his city, if these allow, well-meaning and fiercely loyal. But these associations are exclusive. City wars down city with relentless rivalry; family, class, and gild struggle mercilessly for dominion within them. It was only the danger to the autonomy of all which produced the Lombard League, and in that perhaps, as in other manifestations, it is the triumphant genius loci, the immediate character and communal will of each city, which dominates medieval Italian politics.