1902 Encyclopedia > Rome > Mediaeval Roman History - History of the Roman Republic in the Middle Ages - (c) Roman Commune (1143 A.D.): Arnold of Brescia; Frederick I; Innocent III; etc.

(Part 15)



(c) Roman Commune (1143 A.D.): Arnold of Brescia; Frederick I; Innocent III; etc.

Popular Revolution. Reconstruction of Senate and Republic.

In 1143 the rebellious people rushed to the Capitol, proclaimed the republic, reconstituted the senate, to the almost entire exclusion of the nobles, declared the abolition of the temporal power, issued coin inscribed to the senate, the people, and St Peter, and began to reckon time from the day of the restoration of liberty. Arnold of Brescia was not, as been incorrectly stated, the author of this revolution, for he had not yet arrived in Rome. It was the outcome of an historic necessity—above all of the renewed vigour of the people and its detestation of the feudal aristocracy. This body, besides being divided into an imperial and a national party, had almost excluded from the government the powerful baronage of the Campagna and the provinces. Also, as we have before noted, the Roman aristocracy was by no means an exclusive caste. Between the great aristocrats and the people there stood a middle or new nobility, which made common cause with the people, whose chief strength now lay in the army. This, divided into twelve and then into thirteen or fourteen regions, assembled under its banners all arm-bearing citizens. Thus the exercitus was also the real pojmlus Romanus, now bent on the destruction of the temporal power. This purpose, originating in the struggle of the investitures, was the logical and inevitable result of the proposals of Paschal II., which, despite their rejection, found a loud echo in Italy. Lucius II. (1144-45) tried to withstand the revolution by seeking Norman aid and throwing himself into the arms of the feudal party, but this only precipitated the course of events. The people, after having excluded nearly all aristocrats from the senate, now placed at its head the noble Giordano dei Pierleoni, who had joined the revolutionary party. They named him patrician, but without prejudice to the authority of the empire, still held by them in respect, and also conferred on him the judicial powers appertaining to the aristocratic and imperial office of prefect. The pope was requested to resign the temporal power, the regalia, and every other possession, and content himself with the tithes and offerings of the faithful according to the scheme of Paschal II. He indignantly refused, marched at the head of the nobles against the Capitol, but was violently repulsed, and received a blow on the head from a stone, which is supposed to have occasioned his speedy death on the 15th February 1145. Eugenius III. was then elected (1145-53), but soon had to fly to Viterbo in quest of armed assistance, in consequence of the senate's resolve to forcibly prevent his consecration until he recognized the new state of things in the Eternal City.

Arnold of Brescia

It was at this moment that Arnold of Brescia arrived in Rome. His ideas, already well known in Italy, had inspired and promoted the Roman revolution, and he now came to determine its method and direction. Born at Brescia in the beginning of the 12th century, Arnold had studied in France under the celebrated Abelard, who had instructed him in theology and philosophy, inspired him with a great love for antiquity, and stimulated his natural independence of mind. On returning to his native land he assumed the monkish habit, and proved the force and fervour of his character by taking part in all struggles for liberty. And, together with political reform, he preached his favourite doctrine of the necessary renunciation by the clergy of all temporal wealth. Expounded with singular eloquence, these doctrines had a stirring effect on men's minds, spread throughout the cities of northern Italy, and were echoed on all sides. It seems undoubted that they penetrated to Rome and helped to promote the revolution, so that Arnold was already present in spirit before he arrived there in person. It is known that at the Lateran council of 1139 Innocent II. had declared these doctrines to be inimical to the church and enjoined silence on their author. And, as at that time the party hostile to liberty was triumphant in Brescia, Arnold left his native place, crossed the Alps, and returned to France, where other struggles awaited him. He professed no anti-Catholic dogmas,—only maintaining that when the pope and the prelacy deviated from the gospel rule of poverty they should not be obeyed, but fearlessly opposed. In France, finding his master, Abelard, exposed to the persecutions of St Bernard, he assumed his defence with so much ardour that St Bernard directed the thunders of his eloquence against the disciple as well as the master, saying of the former, " He neither eats nor drinks, suffers hunger, and, being leagued with the devil, only thirsts for the blood of souls." In 1142 we find Arnold a wanderer in Switzerland, and then, suddenly reappearing in Italy, he arrived in Rome.

Three different elements entered into his nature and inspired his eloquence—an exalted and mystic temperament, a great and candid admiration for classic antiquity added to an equal admiration for republican freedom independent of the church and the empire, and a profound conviction, derived from the Vaudois and Paterine doctrines, that the church could only be purified by the renunciation of temporal wealth. Finding Rome already revolutionized in accordance with his own ideas, he immediately began to preach there. His mystic exhortations against the riches of the church had an inflammatory effect, while his classical reminiscences aroused the enthusiasm of the Romans, and his suggestion that they should imitate the republican institutions of Upper Italy met the necessities of the time that had created the revolution. He urged the reconstitution of the ancient senate and senatorial order, which indeed was already partially accomplished, and of the ancient equestrian order, and the reconstruction and fortification of the Capitol. His proposed senate was a body somewhat resembling the communal councils of Upper Italy, his equestrian order a mounted force composed of the lesser nobility, since at Rome, as elsewhere, the lower classes had neither' time nor means to form part of it. All his suggestions were accepted ; the citizens laboured strenuously on the fortification of the Capitol. The pope soon beheld the revolution spread beyond the walls, and several cities of the state proclaimed their independence. The barons of the Campagna profited by the opportunity to act as independent sovereigns. Thus the whole domain of the church was threatened with dissolution. The pope marched towards Rome with his newly gathered army, but hoped to come to terms. The Romans in fact recognized his authority, and he in his turn recognized the republic. The office of patrician was abolished, and seems to have been replaced by that of gonfalonier, and the prefect, answering to the podestà of the other republics, was revived. The senators received investiture from the pope, who returned to Rome at Christmas 1145.

The republic now seems to have been fully constituted. The senate was drawn from the lower classes and the petty nobility, and this was the special characteristic of the new revolution. In 1144 there were fifty-six senators, probably four to each of the fourteen regions, but the number often varied. By the few existing documents of the period we notice that the senators were divided into senatores consiliarii and ordinary senators. The former constituted a smaller council, which, like the credenza or lesser council found in other cities, consulted with the head or heads of the republic on the more urgent and secret affairs of the state. And, conjointly with the rest of the senators, it formed the greater council. Thus classic traditions were identified with new republican usages, and the commonwealth of Rome resembled those in other parts of Italy. But, of course, every republic had special local customs of its own. So the Roman senate had judicial as well as political attributes, and there was a curia senatus composed of senators and legal experts.

As was easily to be foreseen, the agreement with the pope was of short duration. The revolution could not be checked ; the Romans desired independence, and their spiritual lord fled to France, whence, in 1147, he proclaimed a new crusade, while the Romans were employed in demolishing Tivoli, banishing its inhabitants, and waging war on other cities. Giordano Pierleone was gonfalonier and head of the republic, and Arnold, supported by the popular favour and the enthusiasm of the lower clergy, was preaching with even greater fervour than before. But the pope now re-entered Italy, proclaimed Arnold a schismatic, and then advancing to Tusculum assembled an army in order to attack Rome. In this emergency the Romans applied to Conrad III., the first emperor of the house of Hohenstaufen; and their urgent letters are clearly expressive of Arnold's theories and his medley of ancient and modern, sacred and profane, ideas. "Rome," so they said, "is the fountain of the empire confided to you by the Almighty, and we seek to restore to Rome the power possessed by her under Constantine and Justinian. For this end we conquered and destroyed the strongholds of the barons who, together with the pope and the Normans, sought to resist us. These are now attacking us on all sides. Haste to Rome, the capital of the world, thus to establish thy imperial sway over the Italian and German lands."

After long hesitation the king of the Romans at last replied to these appeals, stating that he would come " to re-establish order, reward the faithful, and punish the rebellious." These words promised ill. In fact Conrad had already arranged terms with the pope; but his life came to an end on the 15th February 1152.

Frederick I.

He was succeeded by Frederick I. surnamed Barbarossa, who took no notice of the numerous letters urging him to come and receive the empire from the Roman people, which alone had the right of conferring it. In accordance with his design of subduing all the independent cities, he made an agreement with the pope, in which he vowed to give no truce to the Romans, but subject them to their spiritual lord, whose temporal power should be restored. The pope, on his side, promised to crown him emperor. Thereupon the people again rose to arms, and Arnold broke off all negotiations with Eugenius III. The senate was re-organized, formed of one hundred members, and, according to the old Roman precedent, had two consuls, one for internal and the other for external affairs. Frederick was a daring statesman, a valiant soldier in command of' a powerful army, and was no friend of half measures. Accordingly the nobles ventured on reaction. Finally, to increase the gravity of the situation, an English pope, Hadrian IV., was elected (1154-59), who was also a man of strong and resolute temper. In fact, even before being able to take possession of the Lateran, he requested the Romans to banish Arnold, who, with greater eloquence than ever, was directing his thunders against the papacy. These utterances increased the wrath of Hadrian, who, encouraged by the knowledge that Frederick and his host were already in Italy, at last launched an interdict against Rome. It was the first time that a pope had ventured to curse the Eternal City. The interdict put a summary stop to the religious life of the inhabitants. Men's minds were seized with a sudden terror, and a fierce tumult broke out. Thereupon the senators, whose opposition to the pope was less courageous than that of the fallen magnates, prostrated themselves at his feet and implored pardon. But Hadrian demanded the expulsion of Arnold before consenting to raise the interdict. Arnold was therefore obliged to leave Rome. After having for nine years preached successfully in favour of liberty, after having been the moving spirit of the new revolution, the new constitution, he was now abandoned by all, and forced to wander from castle to castle, in the hope of reaching some independent city capable of shielding him from the fierce enmity of the pope. Meanwhile Frederick I. had achieved his first victories in Lombardy, and, leaving ruined cities and bloodshed in his track, was rapidly advancing towards central Italy. The pope sent three cardinals to him, with a request for the capture and consignment of Arnold, who had taken refuge in the castle or the Visconti of Campagnatico. Frederick without delay caused one of the Visconti to be seized and kept prisoner until Arnold was given up, and then consigned the latter to the papal legates.

Arnold's Execution

The pope in his turn gave the reformer into the hands of the prefect, Pietro di Vico, who immediately hanged his prisoner, burnt his body at the stake, and cast his ashes into the Tiber. The execution took place in June 1155. The exact date and place of it are unknown; we only know that Arnold met his fate with great serenity and firmness.

But the Romans who had so basely deserted their champion would not give up their republic. Their envoys went to meet Frederick near Sutri, and made an address in the usual fantastic style on the privileges of the Roman people and its sole right to confer the imperial crown. But Frederick indignantly cut short their harangue, and they had to depart full of rage. He then continued his march, and, entering Rome on the 18th June 1155, was forthwith crowned in St Peter's by the pope. Thereupon the Romans rushed to arms, and made a furious attack on the Leonine city and the imperial camp. A desperate battle went on throughout the day; and the knights proved that the equestrian order instituted at Arnold's suggestion was no empty sham. About a thousand Romans perished by the sword or by drowning, but their fellow-citizens made such determined preparations to continue the struggle that Frederick, on the 19th June, hastily retreated or rather fled, and was escorted as far as Tivoli by the pope and the cardinals.

The Republic Still Remains

After all, the temporal power of the papacy was not restored, and the republic still survived in the form bestowed on it by Arnold of Brescia. Its existence was in truth favourable rather than injurious to Frederick, whose aim was to rule over Rome and treat the bishops as his vassals. He had not yet discerned that his best policy would have been to use the republic as a lever against the pope. The latter, with keener acumen, while remaining faithful to the feudal party in Rome, made alliance with the communes of Lombardy and encouraged them in their resistance to the emperor. Hadrian IV. died in 1159, and the national party elected Alexander III. (1159-1181), who energetically opposed the pretensions 0f Frederick, but, having to struggle with three antipopes successively raised against him by the imperial party, was repeatedly driven into exile. During these schisms the senate quietly carried on the government, administered justice, and made war on some neighbouring cities and barons. An army comprising many nobles of the national party marched against Tusculum, but found it defended by several valiant officers and a strong band of German soldiery, who, on the 29th May 1167, inflicted on the Romans so severe a defeat that it is styled by Gregorovius the Cannae of the Middle Ages. Shortly afterwards the emperor arrived in Rome with his antipope Paschal IIP, and Alexander had to fly before him to Benevento. Then, at last, Frederick came to terms with the republic, recognized the senate, which accepted investiture at his hands, re-established the prefecture as an imperial office, and bestowed it on Giovanni, son of Pietro di Vico. He then hastily departed, without having advanced outside the Leonine city.

Meanwhile Pope Alexander continued the crafty policy of Hadrian and with better success, for the Lombard cities had now formed a league and inflicted a signal defeat on the emperor at Legnano on the 29th May 1176.

Agreement between the Republic and the Pope

One of the results of this battle was the conclusion of an agreement between the pope and the emperor, the latter resigning his pretensions on Rome and yielding all that he had denied to Hadrian. And by the treaty of Venice (1st August 1177) the antipope was forsaken, Alexander III. recognized and hailed as the legitimate pontiff, and the prefect of Rome again nominated by the pope, to whom the emperor restored the temporal power, acknowledging him the independent sovereign of Rome and of the ecclesiastical state, from Acquapendente to Ceprano. Frederick's troops accompanied the pope to Rome, where the republic was forced to make submission to him. But, proudly conscious as it still was of its strength, its surrender wore the aspect of a voluntary concession, and its terms began with these words—"Totius populi Romani consilio et deliberatione statutum est," &c. The senators, elected yearly in September, had to swear fealty to the pope, and a certain proportion of nobles was included in their number. On his return to Rome, Alexander received a solemn welcome from all, but he had neither extinguished nor really subdued the republic. On the contrary, men's minds were more and more inflamed by the example of freedom displayed in the north of Italy. He died on the 30th August 1181. The fact that between 1181 and 1187 there were three popes always living in exile proves that the republic was by no means crushed. During the same period another blow was inflicted on the papacy by the marriage of Henry VI., son and successor to Frederick I., with Constance, sole heiress of the Norman line in Naples. For thus the kingdom was joined to the empire and the popes were more than ever in the latter's power. On the 20th December 1187 Clement III. (1187-91), being raised to the pontificate, made a solemn agreement with the Government of the Capitol before coming to Rome. And this peace or concordia had the air of a treaty between potentates of equal importance. Rome confronted the pope from the same standpoint from which the Lombard cities had confronted the emperor after Legnano. This treaty, the basis of the new constitution, was confirmed on the last day of May 1188 (Anno XLIV. of the senate). It begins with these words: —" Concordia inter Dominum Papam Clementem III. et senatores populumque Romanum super regalibus et aliis dignitatibus urbis." The pope was recognized as supreme lord, and invested the senators with their dignity. He resumed the privilege of coinage, but allowed one-third of the issue to be made by the senate. Almost all the old pontifical rights and prerogatives were restored to him. The pope might employ the Roman militia for the defence of his patrimony, but was to furnish its pay. The rights of the church over Tivoli and Tusculum were confirmed ; but the republic reserved to itself the right of making war on those cities, and declared its resolve to dismantle and destroy the walls and castle of Tusculum. In this undertaking the pope was to co-operate with the Romans, even should the unhappy city make surrender to him alone.

Rome Independent of the Empire

From all this it is clear that the church had been made independent of the empire, and that the republic, despite its numerous concessions, was by no means subject to the church. The pope, in fact, had obtained liberty of election, and Frederick I., by resigning the investiture of the prefect, had virtually renounced his claim to imperial power in Rome. The republic had no patrician nor any other imperial magistrate, and preserved its independence even as regarded the pope, who merely granted investiture to magistrates freely chosen by the people, and had no legislative nor administrative power in the city. His temporal dominion was limited to his great possessions, to his regalia, to a supreme authority that was very indefinite, and to a feudal authority over the barons of the Campagna and many cities of a state that seemed ever on the point of dissolution. The senate continued to frame laws, to govern, and to administer justice. The army carried on the wars of the republic, as we see by the tragic fate of Tusculum, which was razed to the ground on the 19th April 1191. Thus the powerful counts of Tusculum disappeared; they sought refuge in the Campagna, and according to all probability the no less potent family of the Colonna sprang from their line. In consequence of these events, the nobles realized that the papacy sought to reduce them to vassalage.

The Nobles Re-Enter the Senate

And, seeing that the republic remained firmly established and able to help them, they began to adhere to it and succeeded in obtaining admission to the new senate. In fact, whereas since 1143 plebeians and petty nobles had prevailed in its ranks, nobles of ancient descent are now found outnumbering the knights and burghers.

Popular Revolution and Counter-Revolution of the Aristocracy

But in 1191 this state of things caused a sudden popular outbreak which abolished the aristocratic senate and gave the headship of the republic to a single senator, summus senator, named Benedetto "Carissimus" or "Carus Homo" or "Carosomo," of unknown, but undoubtedly plebeian, origin. During the two years he remained in office this personage stripped the pope of his revenues, despatched justitiarii even to the provinces, and with the aid of the parliament and other popular assemblies promulgated laws and statutes. But he was overthrown by a counter-revolution, and Giovanni Capoccio of the party of the nobles became senator for two years, and had been succeeded by one of the Pierleoni when, in 1197, a fresh revolution re-established a senate of fifty-six members, chiefly consisting of feudal barons in high favour with Henry VI., who had revived the imperial faction in Rome. But this emperor's life ended the same year as the pope's, in 1198, and the new pontiff Innocent III. (1198-1216) began to make war on the nobles, who were again masters of the republic. Their leader was the prefect Pietro di Vico. Owing to the revolution of 1143 most of the prefectorial attributes were now vested in the senate; nevertheless Pietro still retained a tribunal of police both within and without the city.

The Office of Prefect Becomes Hereditary

But his main strength was derived from the vast possessions of the Vico family, in which the office of prefect now became hereditary. Very soon, however, these prefects of Vico were chiefly regarded as the great feudal lords of Tuscia, and the independent municipal office lost its true character. Then the popes made a point of according great pomp and dignity to this nominal prefect, in order to overshadow the senator, who still represented the independence of the republic and had assumed many of the attributes wrested from the prefect.

Innocent III. Elects the Senate

But Innocent III., dissatisfied with this state of things, contrived by bribing the people to arrogate to himself the right of electing the senator, who had now to swear fealty and submission to the pope, and also that of nominating the provincial justitiarii, formerly chosen by the Government of the Capitol. This was a deadly blow to the republic, for the principal rights of the people, i.e., the election of pope and emperor, prefect and senate, were now lost. The general discontent provoked fresh revolutions, and Innocent III. employed all his political dexterity to ward off their effects. But shortly afterwards the people made a loud outcry for a senate of fifty-six members; and the pope, again making a virtue of necessity, caused that number to be chosen by twelve mediani specially named by him for the purpose. Even this did not calm the popular discontent, which was also stirred by other disputes. The consequence was that when, six months later, the pope again elected a single senator the Romans rose to arms, and in 1204 formed a Government of Buoni Uomini in opposition to that created by the pope. But an amicable arrangement being concluded, the pope once more nominated fifty-six senators; and when, soon after, he again reduced them to one, the people were too weary to resist (1205). Thus the Capitol was subdued, and Innocent III. spent his last years in tranquillity.

On the 22d November 1220 Honorius III. (1216-27) conferred the imperial crown on Frederick II., who confirmed to the church the possession of her former states, of those bequeathed to her by countess Matilda, and even of the March of Ancona. But it was soon seen that he sought to dominate all Italy, and was therefore a foe to be dreaded.

The Republic Regains Independence

The successor of Honorius, Pope Gregory IX. (1227-41) was speedily insulted and put to flight by the Ghibelline nobles, whose courage had revived, and the republic began to subdue the Latian cities on its own account. Peace was several times made and unmade by pope and people; but no enduring harmony was possible between them, since the former wished to subject the entire state to the church, and the latter to escape from the rule of the church and hold sway over " the universal land from Ceprano to Radicofani" formerly belonging to the duchy. Accordingly the Roman people now appointed judges, imposed taxes, issued coin, and made the clergy amenable to secular tribunals. In 1234 the senator Luca Savelli published an edict declaring Tuscia and Campania territories of the republic, and sent judges thither to exact an oath of obedience. He also despatched the militia to the coast, where it occupied several cities and erected fortresses; and columns were raised everywhere inscribed with the initials S. P. Q. R. The pope, unable to prevent but equally unable to tolerate these acts, fled from Rome, hurling his anathema against Savelli, " et omnes illos consiliarios urbis quorum consilio," &c. The Romans sacked the Lateran and the houses of many cardinals, and marched on Viterbo, but were driven back by the papal troops.

The Republic Submits to the People

When Savelli left office and Angelo Malabranca was elected in his stead, the people made peace and submission in 1235, and were obliged to give up their pretensions of subjecting the clergy to ordinary tribunals and the urban territory to the republic. Thus matters were virtually settled on the footing established by Innocent III., thanks to the aid given to the pope by Frederick II., who had been one of the promoters of the rebellion.

It may appear strange that, at this period of their history, the Romans, after showing such tenacious adherence to the republic and senate, should have accepted the rule of a single senator without rushing to arms, and passed and repassed from one form of government to another with such surprising indifference. But on closer examination it is plain that these changes were greater in appearance than reality. We have already seen, in treating of Carosomo, how the single senator convoked the people in parliament to pass sanction on the laws.

Formation of the Greater and Lesser Councils

But, whenever there is only one senator, we also continually meet with the expression " consilium vel consilia urbis." It is evident that when, instead of laws to be approved in parliament by a simple placet or rejected by a non-placet, matters requiring consideration had to be discussed, the senator convoked a much smaller council, consisting only of the leaders of the people. These leaders were the heads of the twelve or thirteen regions, of the guilds, now becoming organized and soon to be also thirteen in number, and of the militia. As in the other Italian republics, all these associations had been formed in Rome.

The senator therefore held consultation with the leading men of the city ; and, although, especially at first, these meetings were rather loosely organized, it is clear that they took the form of two councils—one numerous (consiglio maggiore), the other limited (consiglio minore or speciale), co-operating with and forming part of the first. Such was the prevailing custom throughout Italy at the time when Roman institutions most nearly resembled those of the other republics. We already know that, from the date of Arnold's reforms, the senate, with its junta of, counsellors, had been divided into two parts, forming when united a species of greater council. Therefore the transition from a senate divided into two parts to the greater and lesser councils must have been very easy and natural. And, seeing that later, when the nomination of a single senator had become a constant practice, the meetings of tho two councils are frequently mentioned without the slightest remark or hint as to their origin, it is clear that they had been gradually formed and long established. Not long after the revolution of 1143 the grandees sought to re-enter the senate; and the popes themselves, partly from dread of the people and partly to aggrandize their own kindred, contributed to build up the power of a new and no less turbulent nobility. This class, arising between the 12th and 13th centuries, was composed of families newly created by the popes, together with remnants of the old aristocracy, such as the Frangipani, Colonna, etc. These nobles, regaining possession of the senate, so completely eliminated the popular element that, when the popes again opposed them, and, obtaining from the parliament the right of electing the senators, adopted the expedient of appointing one only, the senator was always chosen from the ranks of the nobles. And then the people, unable and unwilling to renounce republican forms, replaced their suppressed senate by a greater and a lesser council. This was an easy task—a natural consequence of the fact that the people now began to constitute the real strength of the republic. Later, with an increasing detestation for their nobility, the Romans decreed that the single senator should be of foreign birth, and, as we shall see, chose Brancaleone in the middle of the 13th century.

Thus, after a long series of frequent changes and revolutions, the Roman republic became a commonwealth, with an increasing resemblance to those of the other Italian cities. The people were organized and armed, the guilds almost established, the two councils gradually constituted, and the aristocracy, while retaining special local characteristics, assumed its definitive shape.

The Roman Statutes

It is not surprising to find that Rome, like other Italian cities, now possessed statutes of its own. There has been much controversy on this point. Certain writers had alluded to a statute of 1246. As no one, however, could discover any statute of that date, , others decided that it had never existed. A statute of 1363 was recently published by Professor Camillo Re, who asserted it to be the first and most ancient that Some had possessed. But the still more recent researches of Messrs La Mantia and Levi prove that Professor Re's assertions were somewhat too bold. There is certain evidence of a statutmn senatus existing between 1212 and 1227, of a statulum vel capitulare senatoris vel senatus of 1235, followed in 1241 by a statutum urbis. This brings us very near to the statute of 1246 mentioned by Vitale and others. So it is well ascertained that, in the first half of the 13th century, Some possessed statutes at large composed of older limited statutes. The consuls of the trade guilds were from 1267 regular members of the councils; and the merchants' guild held general meetings in 1255. Its statutes were confirmed in 1296 by the senator Pandolfo Savelli, and the compilation of these, published in 1880 by Signor Gatti, refers to 1317.

Frederick II. and the Pope

Meanwhile the struggle between Frederick II. and the pope was once more renewed. The former sought to dominate Italy, separate the state from the church, and repress the republics. The latter, although really hostile to the Roman free Government, joined it against the emperor, who on his side favoured the republic of Some and the nobles most adverse to the pope. Thus the new nobility, composed, as we have seen, of two different elements, was again split into a Guelf party headed by the Orsini and a Ghibelline party under the Colonna. And in 1238 it was deemed advisable to elect two senators instead of one, in the hope of conciliating both factions by simultaneously raising them to power. Afterwards one only was elected, alternately an Orsini and a Colonna, then again two, and so on. But all these changes failed in their aims, since the struggle between emperor and pope exasperated party feeling in Rome. The political genius of Frederick might have wrought great harm to the city had not his mind teemed with contradictory ideas. Although desirous to emancipate the state from the church, he was opposed to the communal democracy, which was then the chief strength of the secular state in Italy. While combating the church and persecuting her defenders, he yet sent heretics to the stake ; although excommunicated, he undertook a crusade ; he feasted at his table philosophers, sceptic and atheist poets, bishops, and Mussulmans ; he proclaimed anti-Christian the possession of wealth by the church, yet made lavish gifts to altar and monastery. Thus, although he had a strong party in Rome, it seemed to dissolve at his approach, inasmuch as all feared that he might abolish the statutes and liberties of the commune. It fact, when he advanced towards Rome on the death of Gregory IX. in 1241 he was energetically repulsed by the people, and later even by Viterbo, a city that had always been faithful to him. But after he had withdrawn his adherents gained strength and put to flight his opponent, Innocent IV. (1243-54), the newly elected pope, who then from his asylum in France hurled an excommunication against him. Frederick's death in December 1250 determined the fall of the Ghibelline party and the close of the imperial epoch in Italy. The pope instantly returned to Rome with the set purpose of destroying the power of the Hohenstaufens. This was no longer difficult when, by the decease of Conrad IV. (1254), the child Conradin became the last legitimate representative of that line, and negotiations were already on foot for placing the Angevins on the Neapolitan throne.

The republic meanwhile preserved its independence against the pope, who, among other concessions, had entirely given up to it the right of coinage. Nevertheless, being much harassed by the factiousness of the nobility, it was obliged in 1252 to decide on the election of an alien senator armed with ample powers, precisely as other communes gave the government into the hands of a podestà.

Brancaleone degli Andalò, the First Foreign Senator

Accordingly a Bolognese noble, Brancaleone degli Ándalo, count of Casalecchio, and a Ghibelline of much energy and talent, was invited to Rome. But before accepting office he insisted on making definite terms. He desired to hold the government for three years ; and this, although contrary to the statutes, was granted. Further, to ensure his personal safety, he demanded that many scions of the noblest Soman houses should be sent as hostages to Bologna ; and to this also the republic consented. Then, in August 1252, he came with his judges and notaries, made oath to observe justice and the laws, and began to govern. He was head of the republic in peace and in war, supreme judge and captain in chief. He nominated the podestàs of subject territories, despatched ambassadors, issued coin, concluded treaties, and received oaths of obedience. The pope, who was then at Perugia, was greatly afflicted by the arrival of this new master, but, despairing of aid from any quarter, was forced to make a virtue of necessity. Thus Brancaleone was able to seize the reins of power with a firm grasp. The parliament still met in the square of the Capitol, and the greater and lesser councils in the church of Ara Cceli. There were besides frequent assemblies of the college of Capitoline judges or assectamentum. Unfortunately, no records having been preserved of the proceedings of the Soman councils and parliament, little can be said of the manner in which affairs were conducted. Certainly Brancaleone's government was not very parliamentary, lie convoked the councils as seldom as was possible, although he frequently assembled the people in parliament. The chief complaint made against him was of undue severity in the administration of justice. He rendered the clergy amenable to secular tribunals, subdued the neighbouring cities of Tivoli, Palestrina, &c, and commanded in person the attacking force. But his greatest energy was directed to the repression of the more turbulent nobles who were opposed to him; and ho soon made them feel the weight of his hand by hanging some, banishing others, and persecuting several more. But he too recognized the expediency of winning the popular favour. He was the first senator to add to his title that of captain of the people (" Almae Urbis Senator Ill: et Romani Populi Capitaneus "). He befriended the people by promoting the organization of guilds after the manner of those of his native Bologna. There were already a few in Rome, such as the merchants' guild and that of the agriculturists, Bobacteriorum or Bovattari, who must have resembled the so-called mercanti di campagna or graziers of the present day, since no peasant guild existed in Italian republics. The merchants' guild, definitely established in 1255 under Brancaleone's rule, had four consuls and twelve councillors, held meetings, and made laws. The other guilds, thirteen in all, were organized much on the same plan. The admission of their heads into the councils of the republic in 1267 shows how efficaciously their interests had been promoted by Brancaleone.

The death of Innocent IV. and the election of Alexander IV. (1254-61), who was milder and less shrewd than his predecessor, were favourable events for Brancaleone; but he failed to check the growing discontent of the clergy and the more powerful nobles, who had received deadly injuries at his hands. And when, on the expiration of his three years' term of office, his re-election was proposed, his enemies rose against him, accused him before the sindacato, threw him into prison, and vehemently protested against the continuance of "foreign tyranny." His life was only spared on account of the hostages sent to Bologna. The next senator chosen was a Brescian Guelf, Emanuele de Madio, a tool of the nobles, who were now masters of the situation. But soon afterwards, in 1257, the guilds rose in revolt, drove the nobles from power, put the pope to flight, and recalled Brancaleone for another three years' term. He ruled more sternly than before, hung several nobles, and made alliance with Manfred, the representative of the Swabian party in Italy. This rendered him increasingly odious to the pope and procured his excommunication. But, disregarding the thunders of the church, he marched against Anagni, the pope's birthplace, and Alexander was quickly obliged to humiliate himself before the senator of Rome. Brancaleone next set to work to destroy the fortified towers of the nobility, and in razing them to the ground ruined many of the adjacent dwellings. Accordingly, a considerable number of nobles became homeless exiles. In 1258, while engaged on the siege of Gorneto, Brancaleone was attacked by a violent fever, and, being carried back to Rome, died on the Capitoline Hill. Thus. ended the career of a truly remarkable statesman. He was succeeded by his uncle, Castellano degli Andalo, who, lacking the political genius of his nephew, only retained office until the following spring (1259), in the midst of fierce and perpetual disturbances. Then the people, being bribed by the pope, joined with the nobles and drove him away. His life too was saved by having followed his nephew's shrewd plan of sending hostages to Bologna. Two senators of Roman birth were next elected; and on the death of Alexander IV. a French pope was chosen, Urban IV. (1261-64), thus giving fresh predominance in the church to the anti-Swabian policy. But the internal disturbances of the city soon drove Urban to flight.

At this period the fall of the empire had induced many Italian republics to seek strength by placing their governments in the hands of some prince willing to swear respect to their laws and to undertake their defence against neighbouring states and the pope. In Rome the Guelfs and Ghibellines proposed various candidates for this office, and after many fierce quarrels ended by electing a committee of boni homines, charged with the revision of the statutes, reorganization of the city, and choice of a senator.

Charles of Anjou, senator

This committee sat for more than a year without nominating any one, so, the Guelf party being now predominant, and all being wearied of this provisional state of things, the majority agreed on the election as senator of Charles of Anjou, who, at the pope's summons, was already preparing for the conquest of Naples. He would defend Rome against the pope, and the pope would defend Rome against him. By thus taking advantage of either's jealousy the citizens hoped to keep their republic intact. In fact, although Urban IV. had incited Charles to attack Naples, he was by no means willing to see him established as master in Rome. He accordingly declared that, if Charles really wished to obtain the Neapolitan crown, he must only accept the offered dignity pending the conquest of that kingdom. And he must likewise promise to recognize the supremacy of the pope over the senate. Charles soothed him with the amplest verbal promises, but in fact accepted the senatorship for life. In 1265, when Urban was succeeded by Clement IV. (1265-68), who as a Provencal was a subject of Charles, the latter entered Rome and was immediately made senator. Seven days later (28th June) he received the investiture of the Neapolitan kingdom, and in the following January its crown. On the 26th February 1266 the battle of Benevento was fought, and, the valiant Manfred being killed, the triumph of the Guelf Angevins in Italy was assured. Then, at the urgent command of the pope, Charles was forced to resign the senatorship in the May of the same year. Two Romans were elected in his stead, but soon fell out with the pope, because the Guelf nobles again tried to exercise tyranny. The people, however, profited by these disturbances to rise on its own account, and formed a democratic government of twenty-six boni homines with Angelo Capocci, a Ghibelline, as its captain.

Don Henry of Castile, senator

By this government Don Henry, son of Ferdinand III. of Castile, was elected senator; and he came to Rome for the purpose of promoting a Ghibelline and Swabian policy in favour of Conradin, who was preparing for conflict. The rule of the new senator was very energetic, for he kept down the clergy, subdued the Campagna, jiersecuted the Guelf nobles, made alliance with the Tuscan Ghibellines, forcibly drove back the troops of King Charles, who was advancing towards Rome, and gave a splendid reception to Conradin. But the battle of Tagliacozzo (23rd August 1268), followed by the murder of Conradin, proved fatal to the Ghibelline party. Charles was re-elected senator immediately after the battle, and the pope confirmed his powers for a term of ten years, after having already named him imperial vicar in Tuscany. On the 16th September Charles for the second time took possession of the Capitol, and ruled Rome firmly by means of vice-governors or vicars.

The Swabian line was now extinct, and in Charles's hands the Neapolitan kingdom had become a fief of the church. The empire had fallen so low as to be no longer formidable. Now therefore was the moment for treating with it in order to restrain Charles, and also for making use of the French king to keep the empire in check. And this was the policy of Nicholas IIP (1277-80), who hastened to extract advantageous promises from Rudolph of Hapsburg, the new candidate for the imperial crown. In 1278, the ten years' term having expired, he deprived Charles of the senatorship and appointed Rudolph vicar of Tuscany. After declaring that he left to the people the right of electing the senator, he promulgated a new constitution (18th July 1278) which, while confirming the rights of the church over the city, prohibited the election of any foreign emperor, prince, marquis, count, or baron as senator of Rome. Thus the Colonna, Savelli, Orsini, Annibaldi, and other Roman nobles again rose to power, and the republic was again endangered and plunged in disorder.

The Senate in the Hands of the People

The Romans then gave the reconstitution of the city into the pope's hands by yielding to him the right of nominating senators, declaring, however, that this was a personal concession to himself, and not to the popes in general. So Nicholas proceeded to name senators, alternating a Colonna with an Orsini, or simultaneously choosing one of each faction. The same power over the senate was granted with the same restriction to Martin IV. (1281-85), and he at once re-elected Charles of Anjou. Thus, greatly to the disgust of the Romans, the Capitol was again invaded by French vicars, notaries, judges, and soldiery. But the terrible blow dealt at Charles's power by the Sicilian Vespers (31st March 1282) resounded even in Rome. The Orsini, backed by the people, rose to arms, massacred the French garrison, and quickly re-established a popular Government. Giovanni Cencio, a kinsman of the Orsini, was elected captain and defender of the people, and ruled the city with the co-operation of the senator and a council of priors of the guilds. This Government was of brief duration, for, although the pope had professed his willingness to tolerate the experiment, he quickly arranged fresh terms, and, forsaking Charles of Anjou, again nominated two Roman senators. Pope and king both died in 1285, and Nicholas IV. (1288-92), also holding sway over the senate, favoured the Colonna in order to curb the growing mastery of the Orsini. But thus there were two powerful houses instead of one. In fact Giovanni Colonna, when elected senator, ruled from the Capitol as an independent sovereign, conducted in person the campaign against Viterbo, and subjected that city to the republic on the 3d May 1291.

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