Autor: Conrad von Bolanden

Wydawnictwo: Endymion Press

Towards the middle of the 12th century, Milan had conquered for herself a powerful supremacy throughout all of Upper Italy, and with the exception of the proud Genoa and the maritime Venetian republic, all the cities of Lombardy acknowledged her sovereignty. Lodi, Pavia, and some few of the neighboring towns, had made bold attempts to assert their rights, but all their efforts were unsuccessful; and had only resulted in riveting more tightly their fetters, while the pride of the Milanese, and a desire for more extended power, increased in proportion to the failing strength of their adversaries. The majority bore in silence the yoke which they could not shake off preferring the advantages secured to them by prompt submission to the danger of losing in the unequal struggle every vestige of their former independence.Lombardy, it is true, was an appanage of the Germanic empire, but the sovereignty of the Emperor was almost nominal, and only acknowledged by the turbulent Lombards, when forced so to do by his victorious arms; and whenever a war broke out between the Monarch, his great feudatories, or the Church, the smouldering embers of rebellion at once burst forth into open insurrection.Scarcely had Frederic the First, of Hohenstauffen, mounted the throne, when his attention was attracted to Italy by an event of grave and unusual importance.In 1158, whilst Barbarossa, as the Emperor was usually surnamed by the Italians, was presiding over a High Court of Justice at Kossnitz, and listening to the various cases submitted for his decision, two men, wearing upon their backs a wooden cross as a symbol of their misfortune, presented themselves before the throne with a long list of grievances against the Milanese, by whom, they alleged, the city of Lodi had been destroyed after the pillage and the exile of its citizens. They had come now to implore the intervention of the Emperor, whose power alone, they urged, could check the tyranny of the Milanese and save from utter ruin the other cities of Lombardy...
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