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ITALY, 1313-1414


In the century from the death of the Emperor Henry VII of Luxemburg (1313) to that of King Ladislas of Naples (1414) the Italian nation offers an arresting spectacle. We see, not events of universal import, but strenuous and often blood-stained local dramas, whether staged in a single town or in a province; not supermen endowed with a universal intellect, but the polished and impressionable minds of faction-leaders and of despots busied in creating and consolidating their principates on the ruins of the Commune. There are no longer great political ideals like those which lit up Christendom till the death of Frederick II (1250), and found in Dante their best interpreter, but ideals narrower and more concrete, clinging to the changing daily reality of life; no firm, implacable faiths, whether religious or secular, but constant compromises with God and with men. Few are the saints and few the heretics; more luxuriously soft and refined are the poets and artists. Commerce has become more intense and engrossing, the merchants themselves more modern. The world of business has grown wider, and with its growth the Italians have gained a new prestige. The old medieval world begins to fail, while the new humanistic consciousness dawns. But the more the memory of ancient Rome and of her ecumenic greatness is kindled, the more the life of Italy is shattered into innumerable fragments, because, in fact, the modern State can only arise in Italy by means of the formation of the local Signorie, and these can in no way issue from the limits of city or province. The Angevin kingdom of Naples, which occupied a third of the peninsula, is an exception indeed, but since it had never experienced the communal stage of civilisation, it could never pass through the signorial stage, which was both the epilogue of the Commune and the development of its inner tendencies.

The small State and particularism are therefore the characteristics of Italian history in the fourteenth century. But we may also say that there is a characteristic still more universal: that the age of Petrarch is the age of the Despots, the Signori. The communes are either already vanished, as in the watershed of the Po, in the Veneto, in Romagna, in Piedmont, or are hastening to disappear. Genoa is only a republic in name after the defeat of la Loiera and the surrender to the Archbishop Giovanni Visconti (1353-54), and Venice herself after the Serrata del Maggior Consiglio (1297) and the erection of the Council of Ten (1310) retains only the external features of her ancient republican institutions; in essence she is an oligarchic State near allied and in forms to the Signoria elsewhere. The Commune flourishes still, although infected with incurable organic disease, in Tuscany, more especially in Florence and Siena, and it is slowly dying in Umbria on the confines of the Roman State. Everywhere the Signoria rises and develops owing to the same general causes, not to mention the concomitant and special causes which affect only the history of the single States. In general, we may say that, at the dawn of the fourteenth century, communal institutions no longer met the needs of the life, political, economic, and social, of the Italian cities; they no longer guaranteed the defence of the city-state against internal and external foes; they did not give to the poorer and labouring classes any share in political life; they could only oppress the countryside (where once, between the years 1000 and 1100, there had been a rich growth of free communal formations); and they were not even able to assure to the industrial and commercial classes themselves, who monopolised the local power, that security and prestige of which they stood in need. In sum, the Commune had become a hollow form, a legal survival devoid of real content, “nomc vano senxa soggetto" The Signore, on the other hand, who was not a tool of faction or of class, who needed the concurrence and obedience of all classes both within and without the circle of the city walls, was the centre of the life of his State, its only legislator and commander of its troops. And therefore the Signoria was the logical solution of a tangle of problems which the Commune could not solve.

Among these problems that of the soldiery was peculiarly grave. In the early communal period and during almost all the thirteenth century, the city armies were composed of citizens and especially of the nobles, led by the Podesta or the Captain of the People to the frequent incursions over the lands of the contadox even then in the long and sanguinary contests between commune and commune these forces were always scanty and were little adapted for war. But when the communes attained a wider territorial dominion and the crisis of the subject communities, great and small, was mingled with the internal crises of the city, and when the needs of defence and of the protection of its widening commerce became more engrossing and urgent, the citizen militia became ineffective and often could not even be levied. In fact the popolo minuto could not be armed, for had it been it would have turned its arms against the bourgeois commune; nor could the contadini, for they hated the city which ruled them; the popolani graasi were few, and besides could not leave their manufactures and commerce to take part in war. A citizen army could not really be formed. Further, from the time of the Angevin con­quest of the kingdom of Sicily, and still more after the expeditions of Henry VII and Lewis the Bavarian, and owing to the military operations on a large scale carried on in Lombardy and the Veneto by Matteo Visconti and the Scaligeri, a crowd of adventurers of every nationality wandered over Italy in search of fortune. War gave them what they sought; and so this mixed swarm (Swiss, Germans, Burgundians, Italians), led by men of courage and initiative, offered their services to any commune or insecure signore; war was their trade by which they lived. Thus, Lodrisio Visconti formed an army of 2500 men-at-arms, 800 foot, and 200 cross-bowmen, and, with the secret aid of Della Scala, who was anxious to rid himself of those fierce warriors, threw himself on Milan only to be routed at Parabiago (1337). Again, Werner, Duke of Urslingen, one of the captains in Visconti's pay, formed a new “company” of various adventurers and ravaged Romagna, Emilia, and Tuscany (1342-43), retiring beyond the Alps laden with booty amid the execration of the towns and villages they left drenched with blood. In 1354 and the following years, the territory of Siena was wasted by pitiless and starving mercenaries; and the kingdom of Naples was put to fire and sword by Conrad of Wolfort (Corrado Lupo, “Wolf”), by Conrad of Landau (the Count of Lando), and by Fra Moriale (Montreal) from Narbonne during the tragic years which followed the murder of Andrew of Hungary. The scourge became unendurable even to the employers of these bands; and hence treachery and betrayal appeared in­separable from the conduct of mercenaries. For them peace meant the end of their impunity and of the very reason of their existence.

The communal organisation could not support the weight of such armies. The Signoria was the only form of government which, disciplining each and every subject, levelling citizens and peasants, nobles and non-nobles, could form an army of its own with its own regulations and chiefs, if only because the Signore was himself almost always a soldier who knew the art of war and founded on victory the political fortunes of himself and his State.

The absence of the Papacy from Italy (1305-76) was a potent factor to exasperate the perilous and unstable situation in which Signorie and Communes were plunged. During the exile at Avignon, Rome, in truth, was only one among the Italian cities, and existed in a perpetual state of crisis, social and political, in which over-powerful houses like the Colonna, the Orsini, the Anibaldi, the Savelli, the Gaetani, fought without cessation, each in order to subject to itself the “Roman people,” which, disarmed yet rebellious, was without defence and without any concrete programme whatever. Once, in 1337, the popolo elected the Pope himself, Benedict XII, “Senator, Captain, and Defender of the Republic for life”; and another time, during the sojourn of Urban V at Rome, the Romans (1370) gave help to the Perugians, then rebels against the Church! But doubtless the distance of the Popes from their natural seat kindled cupidities, provoked disorders, justified often the conduct of the Emperors, and weakened the moral influence of the Church. The adventure of Cola di Rienzo is thus explained, as are the pitiful events of which Rome was the scene during the strife between Lewis the Bavarian and John XXII (1327-30). Rome was ever the capital of the Catholic world, and to Rome the glances of the Emperors always turned. What wonder if the City and the Roman State were a prey to perennial anarchy, and that to the eyes of contemporaries the Church seemed to be one of the factors responsible for the unremitting tempests which beat upon Communes and Signorie.

There was indeed one element of order, one centre of activity around which the Italian nation might have been organised, the kingdom of Sicily or rather Naples, i.e, the continental part of the original kingdom, for the island of Sicily had been a separate realm since 1282. This was ruled by the house of Anjou. Its unitary monarchic constitution since the second half of the eleventh century, its wide extent reaching from the southern border of Latium to the Straits of Messina, the illustrious kinships which linked the Angevins to the houses of France and Aragon and to the Kings of Hungary, the very anarchy reigning in the Roman State and over the greater part of the peninsula, and the civil discords in whose fumes the surviving communes, especially in Tuscany, were choking, all these were certainly reasons for the success of the Angevin attempts to unify Italy; and the wav seemed to be prepared by the frequent submissions to the Kings of Naples, to which during the reigns of Charles II (1285-1309) and Robert “the Wise” (1309-43) some communes, such as Brescia, Genoa, and Florence, brought themselves to consent. Petrarch himself believed it possible that sooner or later King Robert might succeed in uniting Italy. But it was a dream. The South of Italy, poor by nature, could not free itself from the feudal system until the dawn of the nineteenth century. It had no manufacturing or mercantile bourgeoisie, and hence no communes. Its population consisted of a minority of barons ever recalcitrant to the reign of law, and in great part poor and turbulent, and of an enormous majority of plebeian townsmen and peasants tormented by poverty and the misgovernment of rapacious officials. To complete the picture of the kingdom, let us add large townships isolated among territories stricken with malaria; little cities many miles apart; champaigns abandoned to forest or pasture as chance would have it, and totally unsafe; bishoprics and abbeys rich in lands and vassals, but poor in revenue and devoid of civilising enterprise, ever at odds as well with barons as with peasants; an amorphous court without men of real eminence or a strong king, and always poor and in debt to the merchants and bankers of the happier Italy to the north; an army and a fleet that a hostile onset or a blast of wind could soon destroy; runaway mercenaries and hired commanders (condottieri) always unequal to the occasion, alike without scruples and without ideals. On this base nothing could be built. Pope John XXII hoped perhaps to make of Robert of Anjou the standard-bearer of the Church and the most powerful sovereign of Europe, but before his death he had found out too surely that his hope was an illusion. Robert was merely a drab mediocrity, a narrow, parched soul, of faded energies and faded policies; and the kingdom was inferior to its king.

At Rome itself there arose an ineffectual portent of the coming Renaissance. Cola di Rienzo, born in 1313 of very humble parentage, was an imaginative and fiery spirit. After an unhappy and meditative youth, he came suddenly to the forefront in Rome at the beginning of the pontificate of Clement VI, equipped with a considerable knowledge of the classics and longing to bring into actual politics a programme which was ill-contrived indeed but yet a grandiose conception. In sub­stance, he wished to destroy the omnipotence of the Roman nobles by the aid of the people; and in a kind of diseased enthusiasm, recalling to life the phantoms of imperial Rome, to subject the Empire, and to make the Eternal City once more the capital of the world, now illuminated by the light of Christianity. He was sent with a few others by the Romans as ambassador to Clement VI at the close of 1342 and the beginning of 1343, and obtained from the Pope the nomination as notary of the “Camera urbana.” This office he used to prepare the revolution, whose necessity seemed to his excited mind more and more compelling, even though the course it must take seemed obscure. In the spring of 1347 the propitious moment appeared to have come, and on the morning of 20 May the “Roman people’’ assembled on the Capitol amid pompous ceremonies in which sacred and profane rites were fused in an unprecedented symbolism, conferred on its hero the widest dictatorial powers, and received from him—as from a new Moses—new civic institutions. Soon after, on 1 August, the dictator was dubbed knight; and on 15 August, amid a crowd collected from all parts and including representatives from friendly cities, he assumed the crown of “Tribune of the People” with an evident tendency to madness or at least to baseless dreams.

The Pope, who at first watched benevolently the plebeian ennobled by his Latin learning, soon saw that his theories attacked the foundations of the Church’s power, and from September 1347 began to oppose him. The Colonna revolted, but were overthrown at Porta San Lorenzo on 19 November. Yet this was an ephemeral victory. Less than a month later, while the Cardinal Legate launched a charge of heresy against the Tribune, the Colonna rose again unsubdued; the people abandoned its idol; discouraged and afraid, Cola abdicated on 15 December, and fled towards the mountains of Abruzzo.

There in a Franciscan convent he passed two years in solitary meditation; and then with no clear plan of action he set out for the court of Charles IV. At Prague he was held in honourable imprisonment for two years, but Charles did not know what to make of so abnormal a man and at last sent him to the Pope. Clement VI condemned him to death, but happily for him died before the sentence was carried out, and the new Pope Innocent VI set him free. Cola was dispatched with Cardinal Albornoz to Italy to aid in pacifying the Papal States. On 1 August 1354 he re-entered Rome with the title of Senator, and immediately after, with the troops of two brothers of Fra Moriale, attacked Palestrina, the stronghold of the Colonna, to avenge the disaster of 1347 and to  begin anew his interrupted schemes. But he had lost the sense of proportion and reality; he had given way to luxury and debauchery, and the excessive cruelty of his government offended the sense of justice which is deeply rooted in popular sentiment. On 8 October 1354 an overwhelming revolt of the people took him unawares. He strove to flee, but was recognised and slaughtered at the foot of the Capitol by a multitude frantic for vengeance and blood.

Finally, the Empire contributed as it might to this age of crisis. The Germanic Emperors had never understood and could never understand that the rise of the communes, the formation of a great monarchic State in the South, and the States of the Church in the Centre, rendered the continuance of the imperial authority in Italy impossible. Henry VII had believed that he could sit as arbiter between the city factions and reduce republics then still in their prime to the level of his German towns; but he encountered insurmountable difficulties, brought war and slaughter instead of peace, and was defeated by the same townsfolk who had discomfited Barbarossa and Frederick II. Lewis the Bavarian grafted Henry’s policy on the Franciscan schism, elected an anti-Pope, Nicholas V (22 May 1328), in astonished Rome, declared himself Defender of the Faith against John XXII, the legitimate Pope who was orthodox and acting in the Church’s interests, threatened Robert of Naples as Henry VII had done, troubled Lombardy, Tuscany, and Emilia, but was defeated by the united forces of the Church and the Guelfs, and repassed the Alps not to return. The enterprise of Charles IV was not more fortunate; it became a shameless farce. On the other hand, by the Golden Bull the same Emperor (1346-79) snapped the bonds which had linked Papacy and Empire since the days of Charlemagne, and with them fell to the ground the motives for imperial intervention in Italy. The Empire became ever more completely a German State, with which it was profitable and prudent to keep on terms of good neighbourship; but the utopia of Dante vanished for ever, and in the Renaissance fortunately men spoke no more of a universal monarchy or a Church that crowned the Kings of the Romans. In fact Signorie and Communes had left off doing so from the death of Henry VII, being well aware that the Empire had no mission in Italy, and that its intervention invariably aroused hatreds and feuds.

At the death of Henry VII Italy seemed freed from a heavy incubus, but in fact until the close of the enterprise of Lewis the Bavarian the land found neither peace nor truce. The centres of commotion were Tuscany and Lombardy, but their repercussions were felt in every region of the peninsula. In Tuscany, first Uguccione della Faggiuola, lord of Pisa (1316-17), and then Castruccio Castracani, lord of Lucca (1318­28), continued the Ghibelline offensive of the Emperor; and the Guelfs, led by Florence and Robert of Anjou, suffered two severe defeats, at Montecatini on 29 August 1315 and at Altopascio on 23 September 1325. The Guelf arms had no better fortune immediately afterwards when King Robert’s son, Charles Duke of Calabria, was proclaimed Signore of Florence (21 December 1325) at a time when, through the defeat of the Bolognese at Zapolino (25 November 1325), it seemed that the Guelf cause was about to collapse for good throughout North and Central Italy. The Duke of Calabria was not a capable general, and the Florentine constitution did not permit an organised and effectual military effort. It was at this moment that Lewis the Bavarian descended into Italy, and everywhere the Ghibellines raised their heads. The Emperor, calculating on the incurable discord between Florence, Pisa, and Lucca, and on the traditional solidarity in policy of Florence and the Neapolitan court, aimed at striking a decisive blow at the allied republic and kingdom by means of Castruccio, whom he declared Vicar of the Empire in Tuscany; and since John XXII openly condemned his enterprise, he leant on the Franciscans against whom the Pope for some years had employed every weapon at his command, and whom he had impelled into open schism. But in 1328, within a few months, Castruccio (3 September) and the Duke of Calabria (11 November) both died prematurely. The papal legate in upper Italy, Cardinal Bertrand du Pouget, took energetic action, the anti-Pope returned penitently to the fold of the Church, and the war clouds seemed to lift for an instant from the banks of the Arno.

In Lombardy and the neighbour lands events had taken a no less momentous course. For five years (1317-22), till the day of his death, Matteo Visconti, the lord of Milan, who had been named Vicar of the Empire by Henry VII, had struggled tireless and invincible against papal excommunications and the forces of the Guelfs; but a crusade was proclaimed against his heirs and adherents, and Cardinal Bertrand began a series of coups-de-main, battles, and intrigues which, with alternations of defeat and victory, led him to the capture of Modena (25 June 1326), Parma (30 September 1326), Reggio (4 October 1326), and Bologna (8 February 1327). Fora few years the Visconti saw their fortunes depressed, while above them rose those of Mastino della Scala of Verona. In a brief space of time he could extend his dominion over Feltre and Belluno, Brescia, Vicenza, Parma, and even Lucca (1337), founding a formidable State which reached from the eastern Alps to the River Serchio, and obstinately defending it against the fierce coalition of all whom it threatened—Guelfs and Ghibellines, lesser Signorie, and free Communes. The struggle lasted till 1341, and ended as was inevitable with the decay of a State too heterogeneous and too wide, suddenly put together and unorganised as it was, and with the victory of the hostile coalition. The Della Scala only retained Verona and Vicenza, while the Archbishop Giovanni Visconti of Milan, regarded by his contemporaries as the most powerful man in Italy, began methodically and boldly to carry out the very programme in which they had failed.

After the death of his brother Luchino Visconti, Archbishop Giovanni was freed from all trammels (January 1349). He had been appointed archbishop in 1343. Handsome and generous—so the Milanese chroniclers described him—diplomatic and intensely ambitious, he was immediately invested with the Signoria by the General Council of Milan, and in order to avoid the family friction which would have been fatal to him, he sum­moned back his nephews Matteo, Galeazzo, and Bernabd, sons of his brother Stefano, all of whom the jealous Luchino had exiled. Lord as he was of Milan, Brescia, Bergamo, Como, Lodi, Cremona, Vercclli, Novara, Alessandria, Tortona, Alba, Asti, Bobbio, Parma, and many lesser towns, truly “regulus super Lombardis’ (as the Chronicon Placentinurn calls him), the archbishop conceived the bold design of penetrating into Romagna and thence extending his dominion into Tuscany. In this he was aided by the treaty of friendship which Luchino had concluded in 1347 with Taddeo Pepoli, despot of Bologna, and indirectly by the in­discipline of the troops of Astorge de Durfort, nephew of Pope Clement VI and his representative in Romagna. Soon the incompetent and weak sons of Taddeo sold Bologna to Giovanni (16 October 1350), and a few days after, on 23 October, Galeazzo Visconti with 1200 horse entered the city, while the troops of the Church dispersed. Ill-paid and out of hand, they were taken into Visconti’s service in February 1351. The Pope protested, threatened excommunication, and deprived the archbishop of all powers, spiritual and temporal; but afterwards, following a long diplomatic struggle at Avignon in which Florence vainly attempted to deal a mortal blow to Visconti’s omnipotence, Clement VI recalled the thunderbolts he had launched (27 April 1352) and made peace with his warlike foe. Bologna returned indeed to the Church, but the Church appointed Giovanni its vicar there for twelve years.

The end of the Visconti enterprise in Tuscany was not so happy. From the time of Henry VII, Florence, to defend herself and her allied or subject communes, had invoked and obtained the costly protection of the Angevins; and had shown her internal discord and profound external weakness in the throes of the war for the subjugation of Lucca by offer­ing the Signoria to Walter of Brienne, Count of Lecce, the husband of a niece of King Robert (1342). Now, scarcely was Robert dead (13 January 1343) when she resumed her traditional policy in Central Italy with greater liberty of movement. On her Romagnol frontier Giovanni de’ Manfredi made himself master of Faenza (17 February 1350); the Malatesta enlarged their dominions towards the March of Ancona; the Ordelaffi gained possession of Cesena, Bertinoro, and other towns; and Durfort underwent irreparable reverses. The liberty of Florence was clearly exposed to the gravest danger, which came steadily nearer and grew more stifling as the Visconti’s hold on Bologna grew stronger, while with regard to Pisa and Siena there reigned the old doubts and peril. The Visconti must be fought, and since Pope Clement Vi’s conduct could not be called the most straightforward, Florence effected an understanding with the Roman King Charles IV, forgetting her constant aversion to the Empire and the permanent enmity of the Italian Ghibellines to herself (1351). Visconti tried to paralyse the republic in a net of enemies, rousing against her the most turbulent nobles of her contado, but when the moment came for a decisive stroke, neither they nor Pisa shewed the expected zeal. The fortress of Scarperia, at the entrance of one of the most vital parts of the Florentine territory, made a stout defence, and on 17 October 1351 Giovanni Oleggio, the captain of Visconti’s forces, raised the siege and two days later re-entered Bologna. The state of things in Tuscany underwent a speedy transformation: the troublesome nobles were brought to account; the rival cities found themselves deserted; and the Pope himself strove to bring about a peace between Milan and Florence. The peace, in spite of the reluctance felt at first by Siena, was made on 31 March 1353 at Sarzana; but, as a treaty never by itself annuls profound divergences of interest by which wars are fed, this peace of Sarzana was but ephemeral. Soon it was seen that the archbishop, by acquiring Genoa and maintaining unchanged his formidable position in Emilia and towards Romagna, was planning a new attack; and so on 15 February 1354 Florence, together with Siena and Perugia, prepared for the inevitable fresh struggle by a new league, to which in April Venice, alarmed at Visconti’s success, asked admission. Meanwhile Charles IV announced his imminent descent into Italy, feeling sure of gaining considerable advantages from the internal dissensions of Florence and Siena and the troubled and threatening aspect of Italian politics. Thus in the spring of 1354 from the Alps to the Arno and from sea to sea war was in agitation, and certainly it would have broken out had not the death of Giovanni Visconti on 5 October deferred its advent.

But the unstable equilibrium of Italy did not allow of peace. The Church wished to re-acquire the towns of the March of Ancona and of Romagna, and Pope Innocent VI felt himself in a position to embark on an organised enterprise on the great scale which was necessary. He possessed an able and obedient instrument in Egidio Albornoz, who had obtained the cardinal’s hat on 17 December 1350 in reward for his excellent service in the long and bitter struggle against the Moors of Andalusia. On his nomination as papal legate in Italy on 30 June 1353, he at once perceived that it was necessary to begin his task with the States of the Church, and further with the separation at least for a time of the Visconti from the motley coalition arrayed against the Papacy. On his side, the Pope launched an excommunication against the Mala testa, who were guilty of seizing the chief towns of the March, such as Rimini, Pesaro, Fano, Fossornbrone, Jesi, Osimo, Ascoli, and Recanati, and had refused to listen to the moderating counsels and commands which came from Avignon. Albornoz acted with tact and firmness, both during Charles IV’s brief Italian expedition (October 1354-April 1355) and afterwards. For that matter indeed, the Emperor had been merely intent on selling as dearly as he could more or less effective privileges, and titles of Imperial Vicar which no longer increased anyone’s prestige. In result, the Legate obtained in a few months the surrender of the Malatesta, the condemnation of Gentile da Mogliano, lord of Fermo, who was exiled and lost his signoria, and the submission of Ancona (24 June 1355), which was of special importance for the subjection of the March. There was the resistance of Francesco Ordelaffi, lord of Forli and Cesena, still to be overcome, and the affairs of Bologna, then governed for the Visconti by Giovanni Oleggio, to be watched. The Legate was well aware of the support given by Bernabò Visconti to Ordelaffi, and was all the speedier in his action. Cesena, held by Ordelaffi’s wife, Marzia degli Ubaldini, was forced to surrender (21 June 1357),and Forli was besieged; but Innocent VI was persuaded by the astute policy of Visconti to negotiate over Bologna, and wished his legate to allow for this separate programme, which could have been suitably deferred. The cardinal, however, did not believe it to be in the interest of his mission to couple things that were independent, and he continued to act as if the Pope's views were quite unknown to him. Naturally, the Pope thought of his recall and replacement by a more docile personage readier to obey than to issue commands.

Accordingly, on 28 February 1357, Innocent VI wrote to Albornoz that Androin de la Roche, Abbot of Cluny, was coming to communicate to him most important instructions. The Legate received the letter at Ancona on 17 March, but only met the abbot on 1 April at Faenza when the operations against Ordelaffi were in full swing. He at once said that to give Bologna to Bernabò would be a grave mistake, and asked to be relieved of his office. However, whether the Pope had become better informed or felt that he had gone too far, he now insisted that Albornoz should not quit his post till Ordelaffi was vanquished, and the Legate submitted for a while. Meanwhile he promulgated at Fano (29 April 1 May 1357) the famous Egidian Constitutions which with but slight later modifications remained the law of the States of the Church till early in the nineteenth century. On 28 June, on his own authority, he joined the league against the Visconti made two years earlier by Mantua and Ferrara. Then on 9 September he left Cesena for Avignon. But his successor the abbot was the most unassuming of men and of no political ability, and the enemies of the Church, like Giovanni di Vico in the Campagna and Ordelaffi, quickly became formidable. The Pope saw his error in conciliating the Visconti, recalled the abbot, and sent out Cardinal Albornoz once more (18 September 1358).

The Cardinal's second period of office lasted five years. On 4 July 1359 Ordelaffi capitulated, and the Patrimony of St Peter was soon freed from disorders. Next year Albornoz snatched the opportunity provided by the attempt of Giovanni Oleggio of Bologna to make himself independent of the Visconti. He occupied Bologna, and conferred on Oleggio the office of papal Vicar of Fermo and Rector of the March of Ancona, while his own nephew Blasco Fernadez was made Vicar of Bologna. Bernabò Visconti used every means of defence; he plied the Pope with letters, and set his envoys at Avignon to work with the most ingenious diplomacy. He was not discouraged by the repulses of Innocent VI, and after continuous negotiations and warfare succeeded in the pontificate of Urban V by the aid of a strong group of cardinals in obtaining afresh the recall of Albornoz (26 November 1363) and the reappointment of the Abbot of Cluny whose first Italian mission had been so unsuccessful. With Albornoz departed it was easy for Visconti to reach the goal of his long efforts; and on 3 March 1364 there was published at Bologna the treaty of peace, by which Bernabò restored to the Church the fortresses in the Bolognese and Romagna in return for an indemnity of 500,000 florins. It was certainly a strange treaty in that it burdened the Church, whose strength in Italy had never been greater, with a charge only to be justified by defeat.

While the State of the Church was thus defended with varying success, and that of the Visconti was consolidated by the successors of Matteo, the Savoyard dynasty was developing methodically that comprehensive policy which was to lead it later to a height unguessed at in the fourteenth century. At the close of the thirteenth century, and during the expedition of Henry VII, the house of Savoy was not considered really Italian; it was occupied beyond the Alps and only in some degree within them in forming a State independent of Emperor, Pope, and King of France alike, in which aim it employed war and treaties, endless astuteness and sudden bold strokes. The very division of the house into three branches, Savoy, Vaud, and Piedmont, facilitated its variable attitude, even when it appeared and was in fact profoundly disunited by fatal jealousies. The Piedmontese branch of the Princes of Achaia (so named through the marriage of Philip of Savoy with Isabella de Villehardouin, the claimant of that Greek principality) displayed in the early fourteenth century a great activity in rivalry with the county of Savoy, but during the joint lives of Philip and Count Amadeus V their disputes were accommodated by arbitration and provisional arrangements. In the time, however, of Amadeus' sons, Odoardo and Aymon (1323-43), the conflict between Savoy and Achaia became steadily more pronounced, so that by intermarriages and alliances the two branches seemed to pursue completely different systems of policy. The Counts of Savoy seemed ever more foreign to Italy, while the Princes of Achaia—once their vanguard towards Piedmont and the valley of the Po—assumed the attitude of an Italian dynasty hostile both to the Angevins in Piedmont and to the county of Savoy.

Amadeus VI, the “Green Count” (1343-83), was the true founder of the greatness of Savoy. Well educated in a court which did not lack minstrels and poets—a characteristic of all Italian courts in that dawn of the Renaissance—he could carry to completion a unifying policy which would have been impossible half a century earlier. The marriage (1350) of his sister Bianca to Galeazzo, nephew of the Archbishop Giovanni, connected him with the Visconti; he settled the ancient controversies with the Dauphins and the French Kings; he annexed the Valais, Geneva, and Lausanne (1359-65); and finally he succeeded by war and diplomacy in overcoming the resistance of his cousins of Achaia (1359-60). Yet it was only on his return from crusade eight years later that Philip II of Achaia was definitely beaten. Galeazzo Visconti aided his brother-in-law, while no one moved to defend Philip, who underwent a formal trial at Avigliana and disappeared mysteriously—perhaps he was put to death—at the end of 1368.

Amadeus VI had gained his end, but he had for some time been aware that the effort at unification would remain unfruitful without a solemn recognition by the Empire, and had therefore courted Charles IV. The Emperor was won over, and at Chambery, as the count’s guest on his way to Avignon, he appointed his host (11 May 1365) Vicar of the Empire in Savoy and in the dioceses of Sion, Geneva, Lausanne, Ivrea, Aosta, Turin, Maurienne, Tarantaise, and Belley. None among the Italian Signori now possessed more prestige than the Green Count. His unification of the Savoyard lands, his bold and generous crusade in the Levant, his imperial vicariate, all subserved excellently his dynastic policy; and so it was no wonder that Genoa and Venice, after a long and desperate war, had recourse to his arbitration as the most enlightened and respected that they could find. Genoa had been for many years torn by civil discord, which had led to her falling under the signoria of Robert of Naples (1318-34); and in 1339 a movement of the popolo, supported by the sailors who had fought for France against England, had resulted in breaking the power of the nobles and in proclaiming a Doge, Simone Boccanera, nephew of that Boccanera who seventy years earlier had ruled the republic This revolution brought a profound change over the ancient form of government of the commune, and the dogeship it established lasted almost without interruption till 1528. Almost immediately Genoa resumed the policy of expansion suspended by the long internal crisis, and took up anew the penetration of the Levant with the reconquest of Chios and Samos and the re-establishment of her power in the village of Pera (1344-48). Venice on the other hand had neither endured foreign rule nor experienced the fatal civil dissensions which had everywhere rendered the fall of communal liberty inevitable. Rather, the reform of 1297, carried farther in the early decades of the fourteenth century, had allowed her after the death of Doge Giovanni Soranzo in 1328 to take an active share in the politics of the mainland from which she had long held aloof. This meant for Venice the creation of a secure bulwark for the life in the Lagoon and tended to make convenient and regular the natural routes of her food-supply and of her commerce with the flourishing Lombardo-Venetian territories and the lands beyond the Alps. Naturally, it did not prevent Venice from continuing her preoccupation with the Levant or from considering the safety and development of her sea-power as the essential condition of her independence and her life. When therefore Genoa renewed her Levantine advance, Venice, who had important estab­lishments in the Black Sea, could not but be alarmed, and of these alarms the war that broke out was the natural consequence.

From 1350 to 1355 fighting went on with various success. Genoa was defeated on 29 August 1353 near Alghero on the shore of La Loiera in western Sardinia, but the conspiracy of the Doge Marin Faliero against the patricians, which was immediately discovered by the Council of Ten and repressed with the execution of the old doge (17 April 1355), had the effect of a defeat for Venice. And so the two parties came to a peace on 1 June 1355 under the arbitration of the Visconti, since the Archbishop Giovanni was then, as we have seen, Signore of Genoa. But his death and the peace favoured the revival of the popular movement led once more by Simone Boccanera, who held power for seven years (1356-63) after driving out the Visconti. To him succeeded Gabriele Adorno and Domenico Fregoso; but, as was to be expected, an alliance between Venice and the Visconti came about, for the causes of enmity between the two sea-powers could not be annihilated at a stroke. Their partisans in the Levant fought without truce, and a chance occasion brought on a new and murderous conflict. Andronicus, son of the Emperor John Palaeologus, had been excluded from the succession to the Eastern Empire, and was at war with his father. He was favoured by Genoa, while Venice supported the Emperor. That was enough, but further in reward for their assistance the two republics were each given the island of Tenedos as an apple of discord (1376). For five years the most furious war of the fourteenth century was waged between them. Aided by the King of Hungary and the Da Carrara, lords of Padua, the Genoese forced their way to Chioggia and Grado, thus threatening Venice at home; and the Venetians in the greatest alarm, under the command of Vittor Pisani and the Doge Andrea Cortarini, besieged the invaders at midwinter. The Genoese captain, Pietro Doria, was slain in the fighting on 3 February 1380, and his forces were compelled to surrender with 38 galleys on 22 June of the same year.

But this did not end the war. The remaining Genoese forces kept up the fight by land and sea, and Venice was compelled to cede Treviso to Duke Leopold of Austria, being unable to defend it longer against Francesco da Carrara. Capodistria, too, was burnt. It was useless to continue the war now that both adversaries were so greatly exhausted, and the Peace of Turin was made on 8 August 1381 under the mediation of Amadeus VI. The losses of Venice included Dalmatia and Trieste, while Genoa did not acquire her expected gains, and even Amadeus VI did not achieve the greater scope of action for which he looked. In fact, the republics came half-ruined from an adventure in which they had squandered vast resources and had lamed without hope of speedy revival their fleets and the very social forces which had fed the long struggle.

However, Venice could recover more quickly than Genoa, both because of her more healthy internal condition and because the sources of her prosperity had not in essentials been affected. On his side, the Green Count directly after the Peace of Turin had arranged an alliance of Venice, Genoa, and Savoy, evidently aimed against the Visconti with whom he was in seeming on the best of terms; and he was preparing to intervene as a pacificator in Genoa (whence ambassadors reached him in the first half of 1382), when the Neapolitan expedition changed the course of affairs. The ostensible object was to maintain the rights of the pretender Louis of the younger line of Anjou, the real motive to conquer by a fortunate stroke an incontestable primacy in northern Italy.

At Naples there had happened startling events, which through their political importance and their nature had aroused universal attention. King Robert had been succeeded in 1343 by his grand-daughter Joanna I, who for dynastic reasons was married to her cousin Andrew of Hungary. On the night of 18 November 1345 King Andrew was cruelly murdered as a result of a conspiracy, to which public report immediately declared the youthful queen was privy; and, as was to be expected, her brother-in-law King Lewis of Hungary immediately began a ruthless war of vengeance which lasted till the end of 1350. Queen Joanna fled to the papal court at Avignon, and there begged and obtained from Clement VI both pardon and the solemnisation of her second marriage with another cousin, Louis, Prince of Taranto. When a peace had been concluded with Lewis of Hungary, and she herself had been crowned, along with her new husband, at Naples in the presence of papal legates, the queen felt and acted as acquitted of all guilt and absolute ruler of her realm. She reigned for a decade in quiet with the aid of the counsel of the Florentine Niccolò Acciaiuoli, her friend and indeed her paramour, whom she made Grand Seneschal, a man with an extraordinary talent for affairs, without scruples or hesitations; he was the enemy of the insolent barons, and defended both the royal authority and the independence of the kingdom from all foreign intervention. But the death of Louis of Taranto at the age of forty-two on 26 May 1362 raised the problem of the succession to the throne. Next year Joanna married again, this time James (IV) of Aragon, the exiled and beggared heir of Majorca; but, while the King of Hungary renewed his claims to the succession which he had never explicitly renounced, this marriage too was childless. The situation grew worse, for Acciaiuoli died on 9 November 1366,and King James left the kingdom, always striving and always unable to recover his paternal inheritance.

Joanna, however, accomplished one thing of importance: she assented to the definitive agreement (1373) with the Aragonese Frederick III, King of the island of Sicily. This treaty had been already approved and in a sense desired by Pope Gregory XI (27 August 1372); and it constituted the island a separate kingdom in legal form under the name of Trinacria and with the obligation of paying 15,000 florins yearly to Joanna and her successors.

The Great Schism, which broke out on the death of Gregory XI (27 March 1378), a year after he had brought the Papacy back to Rome, dragged the kingdom of Naples into a new series of misfortunes. The queen, after the death of her third husband, had married a fourth, Otto of Brunswick (1376), and she adhered now to Pope Clement VII against Pope Urban VI in the hope that the pontiff of Avignon would speedily extinguish the Schism. But Urban excommunicated her, calling on her cousin Charles, Duke of Durazzo, to combat her as a schismatic, while Joanna on her side declared her heir to be Louis (I), Duke of Anjou, the brother of King Charles V of France. War could not be avoided. Charles III, of Durazzo, was recognised as king by the Roman Pope on 1 June 1381, and immediately afterwards defeated Duke Otto at Anagni, entering Naples victoriously on 26 July. The queen held out in the fortress of Castelnuovo, but Otto’s attempt to rescue her did not succeed, and she surrendered. She was imprisoned at Muro in Basilicata in March 1382, and was soon put out of the way; perhaps she was strangled. Louis of Anjou now made ready; he had succeeded to the county of Provence. After long negotiations with Amadeus VI of Savoy, a great expeditionary force, blessed by Clement VII, started from Pont Saint-Esprit and Carpentras in the spring of 1382, and having joined the Savoyard troops moved south on 8 July. It was a veteran army favoured by the Pope, the King of France, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, and some of the most powerful princes of Italy; but, whether it was due to the incompetence of Louis (I), or to Amadeus' illness at the critical moment, or to the good generalship of Charles of Durazzo and the famous condottiere Sir John Hawkwood, who fought in his service, the expedition attained none of the ends to which it was directed. Louis himself died at Bari on 22 September 1384. As for Amadeus VI, he had already died in the Molise, at Santo Stefano near San Giovanni-in-Galdo, on 1 March 1383 at the age of forty-nine, and his schemes vanished with him.

With Amadeus VI dead, Venice and Genoa at peace, Charles III firmly seated on the Neapolitan throne until his acquisition of Hungary (1385), the Church split by the Great Schism which was so destructive to the power of the Papacy in Italy and Europe, there appear upon the scene two personages of marked individuality, Gian Galeazzo Visconti and King Ladislas of Naples; both of them nourished vast schemes and immoderate ambition and perceived the possibility and the necessity of uniting the whole peninsula in a single State under a single master. At the same time, in Florence and the greater Tuscan communes the crisis of republican institutions clearly takes shape, and it becomes obvious that the Signoria is not far off. At Florence and Siena more especially, the insurrection of the town proletariat, led by men of the Lesser Arts hitherto excluded from power, shews that the Commune has been captured by a populace unprepared for the task of governing it, and hence that first the bourgeois reaction and then the Signoria will be able to solve a problem otherwise insoluble.

The history of republican Florence from the death of Dante to the close of the fourteenth century presents characteristic features of profound interest. As we have said, for defence against Henry VII she had given herself to the Signoria of King Robert; later for defence against the Tuscan Ghibellines to that of the Duke of Calabria; and finally, to prosecute the war against the Pisans for the acquisition of Lucca, she had created Signore Walter of Brienne, Duke of Athens and Count of Lecce, the nephew of King Robert (1342). In actual fact no political faction and no stratum of society desired the tyranny; but the magnates, always oppressed by laws of exception and restive under the rein of the Ordinances of Justice(1293), after having attempted a coup d'état in October 1341, hoped that the condottiere suddenly exalted to the Signoria would wreak revenge for them on the popolani, both grassi and minute, the Priors of the republic, hesitating and surprised by events, were unable to arrest his course towards the Signoria; and the popolani minuti, always excluded from the government but ever more aggressive and numerous owing to the natural increase of industrial production, blindly acclaimed Walter as they had Corso Donati in open strife with the Commune forty years before. Thus on 8 September 1342, supported by his soldiers and by the enthusiasm of the popolani minuti, and urged on by his ambition and the incitements of the magnates, the Duke of Athens was proclaimed Signore. But he could only pursue his private interests, for he had neither statesmanship nor generosity, while those who had aided him expected some­thing very different. The magnates saw themselves betrayed; the popolani minuti found that they had been cheated; and the ancient possessors of power, the popolani grassi, prepared for a reaction. On 26 July 1343 there broke out a general and furious insurrection, and in a few hours the duke's power was gone. On 1 August he renounced the Signoria and on the night of 5-6 August, escorted by a band of Sienese troops, he left the city for ever. The brief adventure was ended; the Commune was restored in its traditional form, and the social conflict recommenced with savage violence.

From the fall of the Duke of Athens to the outbreak of the revolt of the Ciompi the constitutional crisis grew worse and became steadily more complicated with fresh factors. The traditional classes were profoundly transformed; Guelfism and Ghibellinism lost their ancient meaning and were made the pretext for mutual accusations and reprisals. The Greater Arts, i.e. the industrial and mercantile associations which since the Peace of Cardinal Latino (1280) had monopolised political power, had been inwardly transmuted and refined in measure as the ever richer manufacturers and merchants entered into closer multifarious relations everywhere in Italy and abroad, adopting the life of grands seigneurs and shewing marked tendencies to oligarchy. Lastly, the popolo minuto did not participate in politics save very indirectly in the train of the Lesser Arts, themselves always in the background and always longing to regain a share of power. The question of the proletariat attained greater dimensions daily. According to Giovanni Villani the Arte della Lana alone employed 30,000 persons, and the dependants of the other arts were many in number. Certainly, the figures of the chroniclers are not to be trusted, and the most recent studies on the statistics of population have not reached concrete results; but it is clear all the same that c. 1350 the workmen of each Art had become exceedingly numerous, and could not but be a permanent danger to the safety of the State. They had no right of self-organisation in any way, and since the unorganised are outside the State and lienee its enemies, the workmen felt, no allegiance to the old republic which meant for them the most degrading of servitudes. How could they fight with legal weapons when legal weapons were notallowed to them? Only revolt remained; and in 1345, led by an ardent and genuine proletarian, Ciuto Brandini, the Florentine proletariat made its first attempt at revolution. The agitator naturally was put to death, and the crowd which eagerly sympathised with him had not the power to snatch him from the hangman. The Priors imagined that they had extinguished with one man’s voice the discontent of which he was the spokesman; but the problem only became more urgent and complex.

The Black Death of 1348 strikingly diminished the city’s population and did not spare the smaller neighbour towns or the countryside; but when the scourge was past the pulse of Florence soon regained the fevered beat now habitual to it. Two nuclei of forces formed in mutual opposition and prepared for civil war: the Parte Guelfa and the popolo minuto. The Parte Guelfa had arisen as an association of injured faction partisans when the Guelfs were for the first time driven from the city in February 1249; it had gained possession of the Ghibellines’ property in consequence of the Guelf reform of 1266-67; and little by little, even when the memory of those times had faded, it had become a most power­ful society, both economic and political, with rich revenues, with its own statutes and officials, often a creditor of the republic for large sums, and always the vigilant guardian of the political interests of the popolo grasso and of those magnates who had succeeded in entering the governing class in the first decades of the fourteenth century. After the Black Death the prepotency of the Parte Guelfa increased, and culminated with the laws of 27 August 1354 and 24 April 1358, under which on any kind of suspicion of Ghibellinism the most terrible persecutions were possible and the very lives of thousands of citizens of every rank could be and were at the mercy of the Captains of the Parte. It was in truth an intolerable situation, against which there was a reaction in Provisions (3 November, 8 December 1366, and 26 March 1367) intended to wrench the dreaded weapon of “admonition” for suspicion of Ghibellinism from the hands of the Parte Guelfa. No one could feel safe from the blows of the Parte, and many of those whose interests seemed involved in its predominance were among the authors of the Provisions which limited its omnipotence.

The popolo minuto on its side had been fatally favoured by the violence of the plague, since the shortage of labour had markedly increased, and wages had risen sharply; but then the rise in the cost of living had annulled this transitory advantage and had aroused in the minds of the working folk the most evil designs. In August 1368, in consequence of one of the frequent dearths which during the last forty years had afllicted not only Tuscany but a great part of Italy, the popolani minuti rioted furiously in the corn-market and then rushed into the Piazza dei Priori with shouts of “Viva il Popolo!”. Soon after, the resistance of the employers and the demands of the workmen met at an impasse: the masters declared that they could not raise wages, and the workmen insisted on a large increase. There resulted a real strike, for the dyers refused to work in the hope of forcing from the Arte della Lana the rise in wages hitherto asked in vain. In 1371 the same thing happened at Siena, where the workmen threatened to massacre the masters, a palpable sign that the evil lay in the foundations of the economic system of the commune, and that the commune-Slate had not succeeded in finding a remedy. In Florence the Parte Guelfa took measures of defence by forcing through the law of 27 January 1372, which tended to make any democratic reaction extremely difficult. For six years each side strengthened itself in unconscious preparation for the explosion of 1378. The Lesser Arts won some successes, such as the entry of two of their representatives into the tribunal of the Mercanzia (1372), and in carrying about the same time a severe inquest into the finances of the commune and the conduct of their administrators. Lastly, the creation of the Ten of Liberty (1372)—composed of two magnates, two popolani minuti, and six popolani grassi homini that the offensive of the Parte Guelfa had encountered obstinate and unforeseen obstacles.

The “War of the Eight Saints” quieted for a time the civil strife. The relations between the Church and Florence had become very strained when Cardinal Guillaume de Nollet during the dearth of 1374-75 had impeded the exportation of food-stuffs from Romagna into Tuscany, and had become extremely bad in June 1375 when the company of Sir John Hawkwood, following the truce concluded in Bologna between the Church and Bernabò Visconti, fell upon the Florentine contado. It was necessary to pay the condottiere 130,000 florins to evacuate Florentine territory; and partly to prepare for the conflict which all thought imminent, partly owing to the disturbances in the States of the Church, and partly owing to the misconduct of the papal legates so vigorously condemned by St Catalina of Siena (1347-80), the Florentines created a special magistracy, the Eight of War, who were called later in mid-conflict the Eight Saints, in defiance of their excommunication by the Pope. On 4 January 1370 by order of the Florentine Priors an epistle was sent by the chancellor, Coluccio Salutati, to the Romans in order to induce them to rebel; on 19 March the Bolognese revolted and drove out the papal troops; on 31 March Pope Gregory XI launched an excommunication against Florence. He expelled ruthlessly from Avignon some 600 Florentine merchants as a reprisal, and sent a new Legate into Italy, Cardinal Robert of Geneva, at the head of 4000 horse and 6000 foot. Contemporaneously, whether for political reasons or moved by the fiery letters of St Catherine, he came himself, landing at Porto Pisano on 7 November 1376; but his presence only added to the ferment. The revolt of Cesena owing to the oppression exercised by the cardinal’s soldiers, and the horrible butchery that followed (3 February 1377)—in which 2000-3000 citizens were killed—were the signal for a violent anti- papal movement in Florence and her allied towns; and since Bologna, contrary to the alliance and the demands of the Eight Saints, made a truce with the enemy, and the league threatened to dissolve, the republic resolved at all costs to detach Hawkwood from the Church; and it gained its point, (April 1377). But then the Florentine captain, Rodolfo da Varano, angry at this transfer and allured by the Pope's promises of the vicariate of Tolentino and Sanginesio, abandoned the republic and in the Pope's service took command of the Company of Bretons still reeking with the blood of the Cesenese. The Eight Saints took the boldest measures: in October 1377 they violated the interdict, reopening the churches and ordering the clergy to resume their functions. The Pope replied with new severities, and the Parte Guelfa, playing their own game (which was that of a reactionary circle of magnates) against the war party, dared to domineer in the city so far as to admonish seventy citizens in one year. But all were weary of a war that was a stalemate, and the mediation of Bernabò Visconti was accepted by both sides; early in March 1378 a peace congress was opened at Sarzana. The negotiations, interrupted by the death of Gregory XI (27 March), were gladly resumed by the Florentines directly a new, Italian Pope was elected in Urban VI, and led to the peace of Tivoli on 28 July.

But by the time that the peace with the Church was concluded, a real revolution had for some days broken out in Florence. Already in April 1378 the Parte Guelfa had dared to touch one of the Eight Saints, Giovanni Dini, a spiccr, substituting for him an extreme Guelf, Niccolò Giani; and immediately afterwards, in May and June, its opposition to Salvestro de Medici, the Gonfalonier of Justice, assumed an aspect and meaning definitely adverse both to the popolo grasso and to the popolo minuto rather than to the long war with the Church. Hence on 22-23 June both sorts of popolani were at one in taking the offensive against the Parte Guelfa, and many houses were burnt in a riot. On the 23rd an extraordinary Balia of eighty citizens was appointed and took office, and began to draft reforms which should restrain the excesses of the Parte Guelfa and disarm the popolani in revolt; and when the new Priors (Signoria in Florentine parlance) entered office, with Luigi Guicciardini as Gonfalonier of Justice, on 1 July 1378, it seemed that tranquillity would soon return. But there followed continuous mutual accusations and suspicions. The magnate groups feared the meetings of popolani minuti which were being secretly held here and there; the popolani accused the Parte Guelfa of trampling underfoot the reforms of the Eighty; the Priors were uncertain and unready. At last it became known that the “subjects” of the Arts, that is the workmen, were gathered at Ronco outside the gate of San Pier Gattolini in contravention of the statutes and the unbroken tradition of centuries, and that they had taken dangerous resolutions. It seems that Salvestro de’ Medici supported them with wise advice. In this crisis the Priors decided to act and mobilised the citizen forces, i.e. the few armed men at their disposal, for 20 July with the view of intimidating the popolani and arresting the ringleaders. But all was upset by an unforeseen revolutionary tornado, for the Ciompi, i.e. the populace and the poorest workmen, led by a wool-carder, Michele di Lando, attacked the Palazzo of the Commune and scoured the city burning and destroying. From 21 to 24 July the republic was in the hands of the insurgents; Michele di Lando was Gonfalonier of Justice; and the Signoria was driven from office. Between 24 July and 8 August three new Aids (the Dyers, the Jerkin-makers, and the so-called Ciompi) were officially recognised, each with their own consuls and banners, like the seven Greater and fourteen Lesser Arts; Michele seemed master of the situation. But a few days sufficed to shew the workmen and the mob that they had won a nearly barren victory; they desired absolute con­trol of the commune, and they were not content with their chief. On 27 August they assembled in the Piazza San Marco to the number of 3000-5000 to enforce revolutionary measures on the new Signoria, which elected in a riot and by rioters was afraid of not seeming revolutionary enough; and either just before or just after, in a solemn meeting in Santa Maria Novella, they elected the “Eight of Santa Maria Novella” and swore to be “a single body and a single will”; they were famished, for the shops were closed, and there was no work to be had; and hunger inspired violence.

Thus at the end of August a new flood threatened to submerge the commune. The crowd rushed furiously to the houses of the magnates, to the palace of the Priors, to the shops, without definite aim or policy; and on 31 August two envoys of the Eight of Santa Maria Novella came to the Signoria to impose new conditions. The terrified Priors would perhaps have agreed to anything, but Michele di Lando, in whom a few weeks of government had developed a sense of responsibility and proportion, drove out the envoys, put himself at the head of the armed force, and immediately scattered the insurgents. The revolution was over. The two Arts of Dyers and Jerk in-makers sought their safety, the rebels were pitilessly hunted down, and, without gaining any thanks for his services either first to the popolo minute or later to the State, Michele di Lando shortly afterwards vanished from Florentine history. Naturally the victory had been due to the coalition of all the threatened interests, and therefore the government which followed, and in spite of frequent difficulties ruled the destiny of the commune for three years, was a coalition government, in which the strongest element was formed by the Lesser Arts including those two new Arts which had escaped the ruin of the Ciompi. The laws of 11 and 18 September provided for the reorganisation of the State put out of gear by the revolt: the Parte Guelfa lost its ancient prestige and power, the popolo grasso was compelled to make the hardest terms in order not to be excluded from the new regime. This situation lasted till early in 1382, when the popolo grasso succeeded in recovering power, pro­fiting by the effeteness of the democratic government and by the economic crisis which afflicted city and contado. Salvestro de' Medici and Michele di Lando were driven into exile; the two Arts of the popolo minute were abolished; the exiles were recalled; the Priorate was made up of four members of the Greater Arts and four of the lessor; in all offices of the commune the Greater Arts were given a majority; and the Parte Guelfa could reconquer the ground it had lost. The laws of 27 February and 15 March 1382 consolidated the new regime, and opened officially the period of about forty years which slowly rendered inevitable the Signoria of the Medici. It is the time of the oligarchy, when a few rich and aggressive families domineered over the commune. One of them, the Medici, in the person of Cosimo the elder (1389-1464), was to control completely the republic, and with that the commune of Florence really ended.

Events at Siena, had the same import in that latter half of the four­teenth century which for long fixed the destiny of the provinces of Italy. There the government of the Nine had lasted from 1280 to 1354; it was a typical government of merchants, i.e, of a very limited group which naturally was opposed by both nobles and popolani, In fact, during the first half of the fourteenth century both nobles and popolo several times tried vainly, sometimes together and sometimes apart, to overthrow the regime of the Nine. But the Arts of Siena had always been less developed than those of Florence, and consequently there was lacking a numerous and aggressive middle class able to restrain the Nine and to balance their power. In 1355, however, nobles and popolo profited by the arrival of the Emperor Charles IV in the city to rise in revolt (25 March), and won the day at a moment when the commune was in extreme difficulties owing to the raids of the Free Companies. The result was the government of the Twelve. Supported by the armed citizen companies and the renewed and increased power of the Captain of the Popolo, this time not a foreigner but a citizen, it lasted till 1369, amid the opposition and risings of the nobles and the dispersed and humiliated faction of the Nine. In 1371 it was altered in a popular direction after a strike by the workmen of the Arte della Lana, and demagogues ruled until 23 March 1385, harassed indeed by the external war with the Free Companies and by the plots of those excluded from the government. On that day the nobles, scouring the city and promising peace and plenty, succeeded in overthrowing the democratic government; they acted probably in understanding with the Florentine oligarchs, and were aided by a part of the popolo which was most severely hit by the unceasing war and by the economic crisis which continually grew worse. Exile and persecutions diminished the citizens, and the republic lost its energy in regard to both friends and enemies. As in Florence, the fall of communal institutions was not distant.

The destiny of the Pisan republic was not different. Exhausted by the war with Genoa which was decided at Meloria (1284), constantly plotted against by Florence which needed an outlet on the sea, torn within by the implacable dissensions of classes and factions, Pisa had already fallen in the first decades of the fourteenth century into the hands of Iguccione della Faggiuola and Castruccio Castracani, remaining a republic only in name. Later, racked by the discord of the Borgolini and the Kaspanti, she submitted in August 1365 to the dictatorship of Giovanni del Agnello; but that “Doge” was overthrown in September 1368 with the aid of the members of the Arts and many of his previous supporters. A few months after, in February 1369, there returned from exile Pietro Gambacorta, who had made his first attempt at government fifteen years earlier, and had shewn his deep knowledge of the passions of the mob and the interests of the republic. Within a year he was master of the State and felt secure in a city which the war between Florence and the Visconti had reduced to a wretched condition. The general reform of 27 October 1370 was the basis of his government and was maintained almost without change till his fall (21 October 1392). He had pursued a pro-Florentine policy which had angered all classes of citizens; and then Gian Galeazzo Visconti had skilfully undermined his power with eventual success, l’isa continued to struggle in the talons of domestic despotism and that of the Visconti for a little over ten years, and then ended under the dominion of Florence (1406).

When, therefore, Gian Galeazzo Visconti—called the Count of Virtu from the fief of Vertus in Champagne which was the dowry of his wife Isabella of France—began his brief and crowded career, the political situation of all Italy was peculiarly favourable for the boldest schemes. He was twenty-five when he succeeded his father Galeazzo II (4 August 1378) in his share of the Visconti dominions as partner of his uncle Bernabò, who continued his cruel tyranny over Milan and his other possessions. Most accomplished in feigning and dissembling, subtle and receptive, immoderately and insatiably ambitious, he began to spread his net for his uncle and cousins, and on 6 May 1385, under pretext of greeting Bernabò during his pilgrimage to the Madonna del Monte near Varese, he succeeded in capturing him and his sons Lodovico and Rodolfo. A few months later, in December, Bernabò died, it may be by poison, in the castle of Trezzo d'Adda. Gian Galeazzo was absolute master of all the Visconti territory, and immediately gave thanks to heaven by laying the foundations, in 1386, of Milan cathedral, lie quickly showed his determination to exploit circumstances to the utmost by intervening in the war between the Scaligeri and the Da Carrara, at first as a mediator and then almost at once as an impatient and greedy enemy; and he succeeded in seizing Verona, Vicenza, and Padua (1386-88). Thence, like the Archbishop Giovanni Visconti, he aimed at the rich plain of Emilia, at Romagna and Tuscany; and seeing that Siena, after the occupation of Arezzo by Florence (20 November 1384), was in continual dread of her too- powerful rival, Gian Galeazzo fanned the flame with a view to war. And a murderous war broke out from Bologna and extended over all parts of Tuscany; but Florentine gold and Hawkwoods generalship ended in carrying hostilities into Lombardy, the Veneto, and even Piedmont, and in straining severely the resources of Visconti. So a peace was made in January 1392 which seemed to dissipate his dreams. He consoled himself by provoking the fall of Pietro Gambacorta and then that of Giacopo d'Appiano, tyrants of Pisa, and a little later, in September 1395, bought for 100,000 florins the title of Duke of Milan from Wenceslas, King of the Romans.

The duke could now aim higher, but to prevent any possible opposition from France he abandoned Genoa to her. Like Florence, Siena, and all the surviving communes, the republic of St George was racked with intestine discords and by the revolt of the poorest classes. Defence against both sorts of enemies, those within and without, was impossible; and therefore when the Duke of Orleans, called in by a group who forgot their patriotism in the violence of faction hatred, occupied Savona, promising the town very liberal municipal reforms and complete independence of Genoa, the Genoese Doge Antoniotto Adorno was caught between two fires—the French pressure and the civil war carried on with mad fury by two fallen Doges, Antonio di Montalto and Antonio di Guarco. He thought that only a foreign Signore could save the city from disaster; nobles and people ended by accepting his view, and on 25 October 1396 the republic gave itself to the King of France. Gian Galeazzo hid his wrath at so unwelcome an event, and turned towards Tuscany. He knew well that the possession of Tuscany would open his way to the States of the Church, torn by chronic anarchy and the Schism as well, and from Rome no one could hinder his march on Naples. It was a mirage; perhaps he dreamed of the crown of Italy. The "Viper" first struck at Pisa. Gherardo d'Appiano, son of Giacopo, sold him the city for 200,000 florins, and on 31 March 1399 the Pisan banners were bowed before him in the castle at Pavia. A few months after (November)civil strife and the fear of Florence gave him Siena, which he had long coveted, and the same deep-rooted general causes made Perugia follow Siena's example (January 1400). Assisi and Spoleto could not resist him, and Paolo Guinigi, Signore of Lucca, proclaimed him his protector.

Who could check the Duke of Milan on his determined road? Venice was anxious over the Levant, and loath for war in Italy; Naples was a prey to the troubles which preceded and followed the coronation of Ladislas; the Bentivoglio and the Gozzadini fought over Bologna; the Papacy was timid and decadent; the house of Savoy was hampered by the minority of Amadeus VIII and the long conflict with the princes of Achaia. Only Florence could make an effort not to lose independence and liberty, and she took for her ally Rupert, Elector Palatine, who had been elected King of the Romans on the deposition of Wenceslas (20 August 1400). Florence promised 200,000 florins down, and the same amount after Rupert had warred for four months in Visconti's dominions. The king descended into Italy, but; was defeated under the walls of Brescia on 14 October 1401, and loitering by Padua and Venice (always negotiating for the balance of florins) he returned to Germany. There was still Bologna to defend; but Gian Galeazzo launched against her the veteran troops of Jacopo dal Verme and Alberico da Barbiano, and the Florentines and Bolognese suffered a bloody defeat at Casalecchio (26 June 1402). Bologna surrendered, while the Sienese Simone Sordini (called the Saviozzo da Siena) in very passable verse urged the duke to make himself master of Italy. Gian Galeazzo needed no urging. Florence seemed lost, and as was to be expected rebellion and treason muttered and ripened in the oppressed contado. Sir John Hawkwood was dead; the army was scattered and dispirited; the treasury exhausted. But sudden and incredible came the news that on 3 September 1402 the duke had expired at Melegnano, a few days after leaving Milan where the plague was spreading. With him vanished his “Italian” dream.

But it found a new dwelling in a bold and adventurous spirit, King Ladislas of Naples. When Charles of Durazzo was murdered in Hungary on 7 February 1386, he left behind him at Naples his widow Margaret and two young children, Joanna born in 1371 and Ladislas born in 1376. Margaret declared her son king, but the party of Louis II of Anjou, the incurable anarchy of the barons, the pro-Angevin policy of the Pope at Avignon, and the very ambitions of the Roman Pope, Urban VI, on the South caused the loss of Naples in 1387 and the flight of Margaret with her children first into Castel dell' Ovo and then to Gaeta. After Urban's death(15 October 1389), however, and the election of the Neapolitan Pietro Tomacelli as Pope Boniface IX, the young king was solemnly crowned at Gaeta (1390) by the Pope's wish. It seemed that victory was near, but it was only obtained nine years later in consequence of one of those profound revulsions of public opinion which often take place in poor and disorganised lands. Naples was retaken, many barons abandoned Louis II, and in a few months the Angevin was compelled to return to France. The year before, Boniface IX had succeeded in subduing the republican government of Rome. Thus, when Gian Galeazzo died, Ladislas had already established his authority in his kingdom, a success all the more important because, in consequence of the duke's testament, a rapid dissolution began of the State which with such boldness and good fortune he had raised. On the other side, the Schism had thrown Western Christendom into indescrib­able confusion, and most of all Rome itself, where there was a veritable revolt against the new papal domination on the death of Boniface IX (1 October 1404) and the election of Innocent VII.

Ladislas saw that it was possible to intrude himself astutely into Roman affairs as arbiter between the Romans and the Pope, and that even if the immediate results of his intervention were not brilliant, it would increase his prestige, and would give him useful connexions in the pursuit of his policy. After the death of Innocent VII (6 November 1406), the rival pontiffs were Benedict XIII of Avignon and the new Roman Pope Gregory XII (the Venetian cardinal Angelo Correr); and since their mutual suspicions prevented them meeting at Savona, as was pro­posed, or elsewhere, Benedict sent some galleys to the mouth of the Tiber, while Gregory XII was residing at Lucca. Ladislas then executed his long-planned stroke: he swiftly occupied Latium and Umbria. Since Gregory XII could not defend his State, still less reconquer it. he took the most singular resolution: to sell the States of the Church to Ladislas for 125.000 florins, and to further his designs (1409). But in these months the Council of Pisa deposed both Popes and elected a third, Alexander V (26 June 1409). The new pontiff could not but see the meaning of the king's actions, and he therefore urged a new invasion by Louis II of Anjou and followed blindly the advice of the Cardinal-legate of Bologna, the condottiere Baldassare Cossa. Ladislas, however, was not disturbed; he actually chose this moment to make an unsuccessful bid for the crown of Hungary, as if to show his enemies that they could not hamper any audacity of his.  nt Caesar aid n-ullus was his motto, and arms, capacity, and boldness were its natural concomitants.

But fortune did not favour him. At first, when Genoa revolted from France (3Septemlx'r 1409), it seemed as if the coalition of the Pope, the Angevin Louis II, and the Tuscan cities, aided by the forces of the most eminent condottieri of the day, could do nothing against him. But the treachery of Paolo Orsini at Rome, and the unwearied activity of Florence and Siena overturned his dominion in the States of the Church (October 1409). The death of Alexander V (3 May 1410) did not help him, for the new Pope, John XXIII, elected by the cardinals at Bologna, was his deadly enemy Cossa, who, the rumour went, had poisoned Alexander. The war blazed up again and on 9 May 1411 Louis II won a great victory at Roccasecca in the Terra di Lavoro. Ladislas escaped with difficulty, but then came better hopes: Bologna rebelled against the papal Vicar, the Prefect di Vico seized Civitavecchia, and the condottiere Muzio Attendolo Sforza changed over to the side of the King of Naples. John XXIII hastened to make peace with him (1412) and pretended to be engrossed in combating the heresy of Wyclif, convoking a council and hoping for the alliance of Sigismund, King of the Romans (3 March 1413). Ladislas, on his side, feigned adherence to this pacific policy; but when he thought he was ready, he began a violent offensive against the States of the Church. It was the first move to fresh conquests. Pope John was helpless: he had no troops, and was abandoned by Louis II, who, himself luckless and deserted by his friends, had returned to France. The Pope could only cling to Sigismund’s alliance, and accepted his demand that Constance should be the place of assembly of the General Council. Meanwhile, Florence could give him no help, nor could the Duke of Milan. Florence was rent by discord and threatened with imminent ruin. Amid perils of every kind Filippo Maria Visconti, the younger son of Gian Galeazzo, was securing the heritage of his elder brother Giovanni Maria, who had been poniarded in the church of San Gottardo on 16 May 1412. Ladislas could therefore dream of making the possession of Rome the first step to the con­quest of Italy; and in fact his treaty with Florence on 22 June 1414 seemed to protect his Hank in the enterprise he had begun a few weeks before it. The little local tyrants, the republics, Pope John XXIII, King Sigismund, were all anxiously awaiting events when the news came that Ladislas, attacked by syphilis in his camp at Narni, had been carried to Naples and had there died on 6 August 1414.

The Italian powers seemed to awake from a nightmare. At Florence men felt in the felicitous words of Machiavelli that “death was the best friend of the Florentines and stronger to save them than any powers (virtù) of their own. Now John XXIII could more calmly await the meeting of the Council of Constance on 1 November 1414, while Naples under Joanna II fell back into the anarchy from which only a strong policy of expansion in Italy could have saved her. Amadeus VIII of Savoy was still a minor, and even later had no power to tread in the footsteps of Ladislas. The Church was only reunited, at least officialIy, by the elec­tion of Martin V (11 November 1417) to be followed by the recrudescence of schism when the Council of Basle deposed Eugenius IV in January 1438. Venice was preoccupied with the new Muslim peril of the Ottoman Turks in the Levant, and the Visconti could not renew the designs of Gian Galeazzo. Thus, if for a moment, a century before Machiavelli invoked a Prince to free Italy, the unification of the peninsula seemed possible, the possibility soon disappeared and for many years no one could think of it again. The fifteenth century is the time when the Signorie become ordinary principates, the time of the splendour of the Medici (not to be wholly quenched for three centuries), and the time when the geographical discoveries fatally diverted the stream of commerce from the Mediterranean and brought on Italy a long and painful economic crisis without remedy and without the possibility of compensating ad­vantages.

In 1414 the signs of decadence were still far off. The bourgeois class was then in its highest prosperity and for that very reason tended to quit the commune for the “principate”. The fourteenth century was the golden age of merchants, manufacturers, speculators, and bankers. The Arts, which in the thirteenth century had long fought to enter the government and drive thence the magnates, in the fourteenth reached the apogee of their power both economic and political. Production, which at the dawn of the commune had been circumscribed by the city walls, reaching only over an insignificant radius without, had in the fourteenth century assumed the character of “great industry," and had made an ad­vance in technique and internal organisation only surpassed by modern times with the extensive introduction of machinery. Strictly protectionist as they were, the Arts everywhere, in Lombardy, in Tuscany, in the Veneto, and in Emilia, wherever in fact they developed freely, succeeded in producing, without set-backs and without ruinous crises; they per­formed miracles of ability and resource in a time of political instability and danger, and in face of endless difficulties, such as more especially the supply of food and raw material and the formation of bodies of skilled craftsmen. By controlling the quantity and the quality of the output, the cost of production and the selling price, they ended, even when breaking the immutable economic laws of production, in transforming the dead little towns of the feudal age into powerful living organisms, since their innate protectionism and particularism were natural con­sequences of the constitution of the commune, and were weapons of offence and defence. Round about the year 1400 the original organisation of the Arts was attacked in many vital points bv germs of deadly disease, but it had been able to overcome the perils of social and political transformation, and, at least in Tuscany and the regions where the Commune was longest lived, it still shewed a surprising durability.

Commerce by land and sea had developed on parallel lines. We need only think of the radius of the influence of the Pisan, Genoese, Venetian, Florentine, Sienese, and I bombard merchants to reach unexpected con­clusions. They frequented every corner of the then known world: the fairs of Champagne, the markets of the Netherlands, Germany, England, Africa, and the East knew and valued their methods, felt the influence of their law and policy, and added to their wealth. For Venice, Florence, and Genoa commerce was an affair of State, the most delicate and fertile affair of State, so much so that their legislation, voluminous as it was, was inspired by mercantile interests; and these were so closely connected with the interests of politics and manufacture that no uncertainty of methods and aims seemed possible. For this reason Venice encountered Genoa in the Levant, and Florence aimed at the conquest of Fisa and the annihilation of Siena in order to open the roads to the sea and to Rome and the South, just as the policy of the precocious communes of the Po valley had been determined by the needs of traffic. The merchants were the first and ablest diplomatists, the first ambassadors at Naples, at Rome, in France, in England, in the Levant. Merchants were the founders of the most eminent families, the favourites of Popes and kings, the first ancestors of a new’ aristocracy which in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was to live in splendid pomp amid the delicate refinements of courts and academies. It was merchants who amassed that surplus capital which fed the most varied forms of speculation at home and abroad.

But what most captures the historian’s attention is that these mer­chants were bound in powerful associations which were perfectly elastic and responsive to their varying task in the world. The mercantile societates—the Companies of Florence, Siena, Perugia, the Veneto, and Lombardy—can bear comparison even with the most powerful organisa­tions of today. Arising at first round the nucleus of some bold and fortunate family, they gradually became true joint-stock companies with directors and agents, with audited balance-sheets, with numerous share­holders all eager for speedy and large profits. They dealt in every kind of goods, and passed from the food supply of their city and its neighbour­hood to the purchase of raw material, from ship-building to the great commerce of all the Mediterranean lands and the northern seas. Hence they speculated on prices of cost and of sale, on the exchange-rates of the varied coinages, on the frequent dearths, on destructive wars and recuperative peace, with attitudes and feelings which stood aloof from the habitual manifestations of the little city life, with its quarrels and narrowness. Often a wave of adversity submerged famous firms which had operated for years in foreign lands, and then there was a crisis both for men and property, which had its repercussions in private fortunes and the policy of the republic. But then the rift was closed, the wounds were healed, and the socictatcs returned to the old paths or sought out new with indefatigable energy.

Such a dizzy movement of merchandise and capital would naturally not have been possible without adequate institutions of credit. Religious and economic prejudices and the deplorable insecurity of political institutions had for centuries condemned credit in its characteristic and spontaneous forms. But the Church itself, which in the most impecunious periods of medieval and modern history had the largest financial resources, and later the most powerful sovereigns also were forced to recognise, in however decorous and veiled a way, that without credit commerce and production were impossible. And credit grew organised, reaching in Italy in the fourteenth century the form of the private bank, the first foundation of all State banks. Thus the traffic in money could be controlled legally and technically in so complete a way that modern times have been able to add, in substance, but few vital elements. The Bank of San Giorgio at Genoa and the Bank of San Marco at Venice have a history which has lost none of its interest. But since credit tends to become inflated, the Italian mercantile companies used and abused it till they were pledged within and without Italy for immense sums, and often could not avoid the consequence of too wide liabilities. There was the crisis and bank­ruptcy of the Bardi and Peruzzi in the years 1339,1343, and 1346. They were excessively involved with Edward III of England, and with the wars in which Florence was engaged from 1332 until the signoria of the Duke of At hens. So the unsuccess of Edward’s early French campaigns and the panic of their creditors at the first rumours of their insolvency were enough to provoke the painful crisis which Giovanni Villani endured as an investor and vividly described as a historian. These were incertitudes common to all speculations and deserve no more tears than other misfortunes. The fact remains that, wherever and however they began, institutions of credit had their greatest development in Italy, and that they meant the complete triumph of capitalistic economy over feudal, and also the social and political maturity of the early Italian bourgeoisie between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance.