According to other traditions, scarcely more his- torical, the first was granted to Siena by Charlemagne, the second the arms of the People by the Emperor Otto. Siena was a place of very small importance during the dark ages. As in the case of its neighbour and rival, Florence, its epoch of greatness begins with the earlier decades of the twelfth century, in the confused period that followed the death of the Countess Matilda of Tuscany.
Throughout the greater part of the twelfth century and at the beginning of the thirteenth, the Republic of Siena was nominally ruled by Consuls, who up to the middle of the twelfth century shared their authority with the Bishop.
They were men of noble rank, usually three or sometimes six in number, elected by the people in the parliament that met either before the then Romanesque Duomo or in the Piazza di San Cristofano, to hold office for one year. At first the nobles were the greater power in the State ; some at least were the descendants of the foreign invaders, the counts and barons of the Prankish and German Emperors, and the result of their prepotency was naturally combined with the territorial rivalry with Florence to make Siena throw in its lot with the Ghibellines, when the great struggle between Papacy and Empire, between republican ideals and feudal traditions, divided Italy.
Gradually five noble families came to stand out pre-eminently as the sch'iatte jnagg'tori, with special privileges from the Re- public and a predominating influence in the State, names that we shall meet with again and again in Siena's story ; the Piccolomini, the Tolomei, the Malavolti, the Salimbeni and the Saracini. The Salimbeni were 2. These nobles were divided against themselves ; there was bitter feud between the Salimbeni and the Tolomei, between the Mala- volti and the Piccolomini. And presently the people took advantage of this to rise and claim their share in the administration of the city, and in the refor- mation of 1 1 47 they obtained a third part of the government.
Gradually the Republic of Siena extended its sway over the neighbouring townlets and over the castelle of the contado, whose feudal lords were forced to reside in the city for some months in the year, to fight for the Commune in war. In spite of internal factions and dis- sensions, the city increased in wtalth and prosperity ; its commerce was largely extended ; fugitives from Milan, flying from the Teutonic arms of Frederick Baibarossa, introduced the Art of Wool ; Sienese gentlemen, led by Filippo Malavolti — a noble whom we dimly discern as a great figure in those far-off republican days — sailed to Syria in Pisan galleys and shared in the capture of Acre.
Notwithstanding its traditional support of the imperial cause, it was in this century that Siena gave to the Church the " great Pope of the Lombard League " — Orlando Bandinelli, who during his long pontificate as Alexander III. And, indeed, the Ghibeliinism ot the Sienese was always of a patriotic Italian type.
In 1 they closed their gates in the face of B. At the close of the century, Siena began to have a Podesta as 5 The Story of Siena chief magistrate, like the other cities of Tuscany, who was probably at the outset an imperial nominee, and the consular government appears to have ceased by about 1 21 2; while the people became associated into Arts or Guilds, somewhat resembling the more famous Florentine associations, whose representatives sat in the councils of the Republic and had their voice in the affairs of State.
A great part of the public authority was now in the hands of the Camarlingo and the four Provveditori di Biccherna, the officials who presided over the finances of the Republic. Though for a few years we still find the names of consuls, the Podesta was from onwards the chief officer of the State; we find in and in that Filippo Malavolti held this office, but after 12 11 it was invari- ably assigned to a foreigner.
In the oldest of the Sienese palaces, the Palazzo Tolomei, was built ; although burned by the people on at least two occa- sions, it still retains not a little of its early mediaeval aspect. Throughout the greater part of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Siena — -usually more or less allied with Pisa, Pistoia and the Conti Guidi — was engaged in a series of wars with Florence, an intermittent struggle alternating with hollow, insincere treaties of peace. Poggibonsi, Colle di Val d'Elsa, Montalcino and Montepulciano — in which right was probably with Siena and might with Florence — were perpetual sources of contention, and the Sienese suffered severe defeats time after time.
Within the city the factions raged furiously. The power of the nobles or gentiluomint was waning, even in Ghibelline Siena. It was laid to their charge that the wars with Florence had taken so unfavourable a turn, that the Florentines were ravaging the contado, had hurled donkeys into Siena with their catapults, and on one occasion had even penetrated into the city itself.
By what appears to have been a comparatively peaceful revolution in , the people obtained an increased share in the government ; a supreme magistracy of Twenty-four was created, elected annually by the General 1 Printed in the Archkiio Storico Itallano, series III. In 1 it came to blood, to adopt the Dant- esque phrase. The Palazzo Tolomei and the Palazzo Malavolti were burned, and after much devastation and bloodshed, when many had fallen on either side, the Twenty-four got the upper- hand, drove out a certain number of the nobles, and appointed Aldobrandino Podesta.
He was a strong and prudent man, who put down disorder with a firm liand, and reconciled many of the leaders of either party. In the comparative tranquillity that followed, the streets and squares of Siena were paved for the first time. But the struggle with Florence proved disastrous. The Sienese were forced to make a disadvantageous peace, and, in , there was an alliance concluded between the rival republics, in the epoch of Guelf predominance that followed the deaths of Frederick II. It was in this brief breathing space, of external peace and internal tranquillity, that a knight of Siena, Messer Folcacchiero de' Folcacchieri, wrote what was once thought to be the earliest extant example of a regular canzone, describing his own hapless plight through love: The four Provveditori di Biccherna with their Camarlingo still administered the revenues of the State, the executive was in the hands of the Podesta and Captain.
Laws were discussed and approved in the General Council of the Campana, composed of " three hundred good Catholics, not excommunicated nor suspected of heresy. But 9 The Story of Siena " the Twenty-four were the informing soul of the con- stitution, and once a month they met in secret council without the Podesta and Captain. Florence was now the pre- dominant power in Tuscany, fiercely democratic and strenuously Guelf ; while Pisa and Siena alone clung to the discredited cause of the Ghibellines, the latter thirsting to recover Montalcino which had been lost in the last war.
Away in the south, Frederick's heroic son, King Manfred, was upholding the claims of the imperial house of Suabia, and Siena looked to him. A band of exiled Florentines came to Siena in , led by that tremendous Ghibelline noble whom Dante was afterwards to see rising from his fiery tomb as though he held all Hell in scorn, the man whom the triumph of the Guelfs would torture more than all the torments of his burning bed: In spite of the express terms of the treaty, Siena turned a deaf ear to the remonstrance of her nominal ally, and refused to expel the fugitives.
War being now inevitable, ambassadors were sent to Manfred to obtain his aid. The price of the royal assistance was that the Sienese should swear fidelity and obedience to him. This was done, and in May , from Lucera, the King received the Commune under his protection. To a second embassy, praying him to take the imperial crown and to send a captain with an army into Tuscany, Manfred answered that he loved Siena above all the cities of Italy, and that he would shortly send to those parts such a captain of his own blood and so great a force of armed men with him "that he shall make the rough ways smooth, and rule that province in peace.
He at once took the field in the Maremma, where Grosseto and Montemassi had rebelled from Siena, and forced the former town to surrender in February. Hearing that the Florentines were making huge pre- parations, and were sending supplies to Montepulciano and Montalcino, another embassy was sent to Manfred in March, headed by the most influential citizen of Siena, Provenzano Salvani.
No sooner had spring come than the Florentine army, headed by their Podesta, Jacopino Rangoni of Modena, entered the territory of the republic and advanced upon Siena by way of Colle and Montcreggioni, forcing the Sienese to raise the siege of Montemassi, and to withdraw all their troops for the defence of the city. On the morning of May i8th, there was a smart engagement at Santa Petronilla outside the Porta Camollia. A small force of Germans and Sienese made a vigorous sortie, in which the Germans bore the brunt of the fighting, lost the greater part of their number killed, and the royal banner fell into the hands of the Florentines, who retired to their encampment, having suffered severely in killed and wounded.
They broke up their camp and retreated on the 20th, almost simultaneously with the return of Provenzano and his colleagues to Siena followed by a strong force of German and Italian mercenaries from the King. Neither is it a fact that the Sienese were forced to induce the Florentines to resume hostilities because the Germans had been hired for only three months.
Montemassi was taken and Montalcino rigorously blockaded. The critical condition of Montalcino combined with Ghibelline intrigues to bring the Florentines again into the field. Farinata and his fellow exiles gave the anzian't, who then ruled in Florence, to understand that Siena was thirsting for a change of government, for the over- throw of the Twenty-tour, and the banishment of Provenzano, " who was the greatest popolano of Siena," and that the nobles were prepared to sell the city to the Florentines. In spite of the strenuous opposition of Tegghiaio Aldobrandino and the Conte Guidoguerra, the Florentines decided instantly to resume hostilities— nominally to relieve Montalcino, in reality to destroy Siena.
They called the people to arms to follow the standards of their companies, summoned aid from Lucca and Bologna and all the Guelf cities of their league. At the beginning of September the army of Florence with the Carroccio or battle car of the Republic, over which floated the red and white standard of the Commune, entered the Sienese contado, where it was joined by the men of Perugia and Orvieto. Without counting these, there were at least horsemen and more than 30, infantry ; but there were traitors in the army, in secret understanding with the enemy.
From their camp beyond the Arbia, the captain and commissaries of the Florentines sent ambassadors to the Sienese, to demand their instant and absolute submission. There was some wavering at first. The worthy burghers knew nothing of the secret dealings of the Florentine exiles to which, probably, Provenzano alone was privy , but had heard much ot the might and fierceness of the in- 12 The Republic of Siena vading forces, and several of the council urged a com- promise.
At once Provenzano Salvani sprang to his feet and bade them summon the Count Giordano. The Count came and, with the sixteen German constables, his seneschal and an interpreter, stood before the council. There was no thought of surrender then ; the Germans shouted with delight at the prospect of double pay and speedy fighting, and Salimbene Salimbeni at once hurried to his palace and returned with the money, driving through the piazza in a cart covered with scarlet and decked with olive.
Through his mouth the Twenty-four gave their reply to the Florentine herald: While away in the Duomo the Bishop assembled the clergy and religious, with bare feet moving in solemn procession to implore the divine aid against "the impious appetites of the Florentines," the Twenty-four had elected Buonaguida Lucari s'lndaco with full powers — practically Dictator.
Follow me now, all of vou, with purity of faith and freedom of will, to make this offering. There all the clergy met them, and at 13 The Story of Siena the foot of the choir the Bishop and Dictator solemnly embraced, in pledge of the complete union of Church and State, while hereditary foes fell into each other's arms. Then after silent prayer, prostrate before the altar, the Dictator in an impassioned harangue formally made over the city and contado of Siena to the Mother of Heaven, while the Bishop mounted the pulpit and solemnly ex- horted the people to mutual forgiveness and to approach the sacraments.
The next day there was a long pro- cession through the streets, the keys were blessed and given over to the keeping of the Gonfalonieri the elected heads of the three terzi. All night the churches had been thronged by crowds approaching the confes- sionals, by enemies seeking reconciliation with each other, and at daybreak the Twenty-four sent three heralds with the banners of each terzo to call the people to arms in the name of God and of the Virgin Mary, It was Friday, September 3rd.
The whole army con- sisted of a little more than 20, men. There were Germans and other royal horsemen with the imperial banner, under Count Giordano and the Count of Arras ; more horsemen, partly Germans and partly noble Sienese, under the Count Aldobrandino degli Aldobran- deschi of Santa Flora and Niccolo de' Bigozzi, seneschal of the Commune. There were 19, citizen infantry from the three terzi of the city and the contado, under the Podesth, Francesco Troghisio, and their three Gonfalo- nieri, with the Carroccio of the Republic over which floated a white standard "that gave right good comfort, for it seemed the mantle of the Virgin Mary.
The Republic of Siejia spent the day fasting, going in procession from church to church throughout the city reciting litanies and the like. They marched out of the Porta Pispini and oc- cupied the hill of Monteropoli beyond which, in the plain of the Cortine between the Biena and the Malena little streams that join the Arbia , and on the opposite hill of Monteselvoli, lay the Guelf army — its leaders confidently expecting a revolution in Siena in their favour and the speedy surrender of one of the gates of the city.
All during the night the Sienese harassed the Florentine camp, and on Saturday morning, September 4th, the battle began. The Count of Arras, with some horse and foot, advancing along the Biena, moved round Monteselvoli to fall upon the Florentine left tiank ; while the rest of the army left their hill, crossed the Arbia and approached the enemies' position — the Florentines in the valley hastening up their own side of Monteselvoli to join the main body.
The German heavy cavalry commenced the assault, dashing like dragons into the ranks of the men of Prato, Arezzjo and Lucca, horse and men falling in heaps before their terrible lances. The Count Gior- d. The Count Aldobrandino with his cavalry and the eager Sienese followed up the German onslaught ; but the resistance was long and stubborn.
At last Bocca degli Abati, the traitor in the troop of Florentine nobles, host'is e clve factits as Leo- nardo Bruni puts it, struck Jacopo Pazzi with his sword on the arm that upheld one of the standards of the Republic ; a portion of the cavalry went over to the enemy ; the rest, seeing themselves betrayed, took to flight.
Simultaneously the Count of Arras with the re- serve, shouting " San Giorgio! Then came, in Dante's immortal phrase, "the havoc and the great slaughter that dyed the Arbia red. A band of Florentine burghers — the flower of the Prime Popolo — stood to the end in heroic desperation round the Carroccio and the standards, and fell in their places, resisting to the last, embracing and kissing the blood-stained wood of the car as they died. A number of the fugitives took refuge in the little castle of Mon- taperto and held out there till later in the day, when it was stormed and they were all put to the sword.
It was not until evening had come that the Count Giordano and the Gonfalonieri of the Sienese bade that quarter should be given and prisoners accepted. The number of the slain Guelfs probably lies somewhere between 10,, which is the Sienese estimate, and the given by Villani. Twelve thousand prisoners are said to have been taken. Paoii, La Battadia di Monlaperti, already referred to.
About four miles beyond the Porta Pispini we cross the Bozzone, and then, to the left, ascend the long, low hill of Monteropoli. This was the Sienese position before the battle. Opposite is Monteselvoli, and at our feet the Arbia, and between the two long hills the valley. The contadini take an uncanny pleasure in showing us the way, in pointing out and naming the various sites that witnessed the struggle. Away to the left, above the Malena — nearly an hour's walk from the small railway station of Arbia — is the spot where the battle ended.
A steep little hill, the lower part of which is a vineyard, is crowned with olive trees and cypresses, surrounding a pyramid of rough brown stone. The view that it commands is grand and sweeping ; the black and barren hills to the south east ; Santafiore hid in clouds to the south ; and westwards the blood-stained valley of the battle-field, beyond which rises Siena itself with its towers, behind which the sun was already sinking when the Florentines made their last stand.
From the tower of the Marescotti now of the Palazzo Saracini , Cerreto Ceccolini had watched the whole fight, beating his drum in signal to the people in the streets below, telling them of the course of the struggle, bidding them cry to God and the Madonna while the event hung in doubt, to shout in exultation when the day was won.
The victorious army rested that night on Monte- ropoli, with their prisoners and booty. They made their solemn entry into Siena the next day by the same gate through which they had passed out to the war, the Libra di Montaperti, tdheA by Prof.
Paoli Florence, , is "the only official document of Florentine source which remains to us of that war. According to Malavolti, not more than Sienese had fallen on the field of battle, but among them were many young men of the noblest families in the city.
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It is needless to re-tell in this place the familiar story of the triumphant entry of the Count Giordano with the Ghibelline exiles and his German mercenaries into the desolate Florence, and how that short-lived despotism was set up which the people themselves — those strenuous burghers and artisans of the Florentine Guilds — overthrew six years later. Montalcino, the original cause of the war, had sur- rendered to Siena a few days after the battle, and had been cruelly humiliated.
According to the Sienese chroniclers, the people of Montalcino came through the Porta Romana in penitential robes, with halters round their necks, crying rnlser'tcordia, and were forced to go to the field of battle to bury all the abandoned dead. In the following year Provenzano was made Podesta of Montepulciano, and with him went Don Ugo, the Camarlingo di Biccherna, to arrange for the building of a fortress there.
But this epoch of Ghibelline prepotency in Tuscany was brief. The victory of Charles of Anjou over Man- fred at Benevento, in February 1 , was followed by the restoration of the Guelf supremacy in Florence.
Siena and Pisa now stood alone. Siena had not long remained united. There was still a Guelf faction within the walls, headed by the 18 The Republic of Siena Tolomei, and the nobles were daily growing more estranged from the people. There was fighting in the Piazza Tolomei in , when the people fired the palace; and again, in , when, after the fall of Manfred, the Guelfs commenced to raise their heads anew. It was in these years that Provenzano Salvani became the ruling spirit of the State, and, in Dante's words, " in his presumption thought to bring all Siena into his own hands.
Corradino came, a victim marked for the slaughter ; and in August he rode into Siena with his army, and was received with the utmost joy as true Caesar. It was during his stay here that his troops, united with the Sienese, gained a slight victory in the Valdarno, and the prisoners brought into the city seemed to the exulting Ghibellines an augury of the complete triumph of the imperial cause.
In the utter overthrow of these aspirations on the disastrous field of Tagliacozzo, " where without arms the old Alardo conquered," a friend of Provenzano's had fallen into the hands of the Angevin victor, who set a heavy ransom as the price of his life. Then was it that Provenzano appeared in the guise of a supplicant in the Campo, as Dante tells us in the Purgator'w, begging money of all that passed by, till the sum was made up "to deliver his friend from the torment that he was suffering in Charles' prison.
More than a thousand Sienese fell. Provenzano himself, to whom before the battle it had been foretold that his head should be the highest in the field, was taken prisoner, and murdered in cold blood by Cavolino Tolomei, who rode through the host with his head upon the point of his lance. Among the Guelf exiles in Colle was a noble lady named Sapia — the wife, it is said, of Ghinibaldo Saracini — who waited in agonised suspense in a tower near the field, declaring that she would hurl herself down from the window if her countrymen were victorious. VVhen she saw them routed, and watched the furious Guelf pur- suit, she broke out into the paroxysm of delight re- corded by Dante, " crying to God, Henceforth I fear thee no more.
In the following year Guy de Montfort, as vicar of King Charles, forced the Sienese to take back their Guelf exiles, who soon drove out the Ghibellines. Instead of the Twenty- four, the chief power was now vested in a Thirty-six, who included both nobles and popolani. The long struggle with Florence was over for the present, Siena being forced to join her rival in the Guelf League under the suzerainty of the Angevin king. And as was inevitable when the Guelfs got the upper hand in an Italian state, in the nobles, or gentUuomin't, were excluded from the Government, which was now put into the hands of the "Fifteen Governors and Defenders of the Commune and People of Siena.
In the Fifteen were reduced to Nine, the famous magistracy of the Signori Nove, " the Lords Nine, the Defenders of the Commune and People of the city and district of Siena, and of the jurisdiction of the same," in which no members of noble houses could sit though still eligible for the other offices of the State, such as those of the Provveditori di Biccherna. Their term of office was two months, during which they lived at the expense of the State in one or other of the palaces of the city, rented for the purpose, until the present Palazzo Pubblico was built.
Throughout the story of Siena we find the word Monte used to denote the faction or order that held sway, and this was the beginning of the Monte del Nove, whose adherents were afterwards known as the Novesch'i. The Siena of this epoch of Guelf predominance is that luxurious city of the gente vana, the "vain folk," that Dante knew, the city whose paths he trod in the early days of his exile. Senseless extravagance reigned side by side with hectic devotion and mystic enthusiasm.
Typical, indeed, of this time are two figures of whom we read in the Dtv'ina Commedia ; the young nobleman, Lano Maconi, who, having squandered all his substance in riotous living, joined in the unsuccessful expedition of the Siencse and Florentines against Arezzo in , and, when the Sienese fell into an ambush at the ford of Pieve del Toppo, instead of saving his life by flight, dashed into the middle of the Aretincs and found the death he sought ; Pietro Pettignano, Franciscan tertiary and combseller of the Terzo di Camollia, who saved 21 The Story of Siena the soul of Monna Sapia by his prayers, saw visions and wrought miracles, and after a life of humility and righteousness died in , and was venerated as a saint.
More characteristic of Siena is Cecco's contemporary ; Folgore da San Gimignano, in his corona of fourteen sonnets addressed to the hrlgata nolile e cortese, a club of twelve extravagant young Sienese nobles.
Month by month through the year he sets forth a round of pleasures of every kind, feasting and hunting, music and jousting the latter, in spite of a reference to Camelot, of a very harm- less, carpet-knight description , dallying in pleasant places with lovely women.
Symonds 22 The Republic of Siena Each one, if need should be, with lance in hand, Would fight in tournament at Camelot. Until the advent of that terrible pestilence of , the epoch of the supremacy of the Nine is the brightest in the history of Siena. Trade flourished, the university prospered; the Republic remained Guelf, though it retained a certain Ghibelline element within its core that kept it from an aggressive policy, and led the more strenuous Florentines to a proverb touching their neighbour: La lupa puttaneggia, "the she-wolf plays the harlot.
Henceforth, to their mocking neighbours, they became the "vain folk that hopes in Talamone," upon which they spent enormous sums of money with no result, owing to the unhealthiness of the situation and the impossibility of keeping the harbour clear. A little later, when Uguccione delia Faggiuola was upholding the imperial cause, Sienese cavalry and 3COO infantry were in the Guelf army that was annihilated at Montecatini in 5. But in , when Duke Charles of Calabria came to Siena on his way to Florence, and demanded the lordship of the former city as well, they rose in arms against him, barricaded the streets with chains, and forced the proud Guelf prince to accept their terms.
The Duke of Athens, in , having made him- self tyrant of Florence, attempted to get Siena into his hands, by stirring up the nobles against the Nine ; the Nine retaliated by arranging the conspiracy that caused his overthrow and his expulsion from Florence. Within Siena itself the harmony was by no means unintermittent. A passage that we read in the Cromca Senese under the year is only too typical: In S the Tolomei, with certain of the Fortcguerri and other nobles, plotted with the notaries and butchers and a number of artisans, to overthrow the Nine ; but the attempt was easily repressed.
A pro- longed vendetta between Salimbeni and Tolomei kept the whole city disturbed between and , while similar feuds, accompanied by ferocious murders and sanguinary riots, between the Malavolti and Piccolomini, Saracini and Scotti, enlivened the two following decades of the century. In , a section of the Tolomei, allied with the popolo ni'tnitto, attempted a rising in the contrada of the Porta Ovile ; several of their plebeian adherents were hanged, but the Captain of War was afraid to lay hands upon the nobles.
In , the Pope's legate and the Nine succeeded in reconciling the Piccolo- mini and the Malavolti. The terrible pestilence, known as the Black Death, that swept over Europe in , devastated Siena for nearly six months. Even when we remember Boccaccio's pages, we still read the account in the Cronica Scnese with a fresh thrill of horror. Men and women felt the fatal swelling, "and suddenly, crying out, they died. The father hardly stayed to see his son ; one brother fled the other ; the wife abandoned her husband ; for it was said that this disease was caught by looking, and in the breath.
No sooner was a man's breath out of his body, than his friends took him to the church and buried him, without any funeral service, as best they could. Huge trenches were dug in different parts of the city, and the dead thrown in, indiscriminately, in great heaps. And also there were some that were so badly covered up that the dogs dragged them out, and ate many bodies in the city.
No bells tolled, and no one wept at any misfortune that befel, for almost every person expected death ; and the thing went in such wise that folk thought that no one would remain on live, and many men believed and said: This is the end of the world. Here no physician availed, nor medicine, nor any defence ; rather it seemed that the more pre- caution a man took, the sooner he died. While the pestilence raged most fiercely, Bernardo Tolomei and his white robed Olivetani came down from their cloistered retreat to tend the stricken people of their native city, and almost all, including Bernardo, died with them.
In the following year the Sienese who survived gave themselves up to feasting and riotous living. They all behaved for a while like brothers and relations, says the chronicler; each one felt as though he had won back the world, and no one could settle down to doing anything. The Emperor elect, Charles IV. With a thousand knights and barons, the Emperor and Empress entered Siena on March 25th, each under a baldacchino gorgeous with gold, with music playing and banners flying, and were greeted with enthusiasm.
No sooner had the Caesar dismounted at the palace of the Salimbeni, than a cry arose throughout the city: When night fell, on the 26th, the chains of the city were cut, and the keys brought to the Emperor; the Nine, helpless and terrified, lurked in the Palace of the Commune, while the people sacked and burned their houses. The next day all Siena was in arms. The Emperor rode through vast acclaiming throngs in the Campo to confer with the Nine in the Palace, while louder and louder rose the deafening roar, " Eong live the Emperor and death to the Nine!
In the Palace the Caesar received the abdication of the Nine, forced them to renounce all the privileges he had granted them, to annul the oath he had sworn to their ambas- sadors — while the younger nobles, shouting and cheering, led the populace to sack the palaces of the Provveditori di Biccherna and Consoli di Mercanzi. Tiie books of con- demnation, the papers of the Nine, were burnt before the Emperor's eyes in the piazza, and their official chest was dragged through the city at the tail of an ass.
Though Charles had sufficient decency to refuse to sur- 27 The Story of Siena render the persons of the Nine to the fury of the mob outside, he let the nobles and populace avenge themselves on their houses and property, and it was not until the evening had come that he sent his soldiers to guard the Dogana del Sale, and to order every one to lay down their arms. But such was the general alarm that no one would receive any of the adherents of the luckless Nine; their servants deserted them, the very priests and religious shrank from them as though they had the plague.
The Emperor caused a certain number of citizens to be elected — -twelve nobles and eighteen of the popolo mitiuto to " reform the government," and went on his way leaving his vicar, the Patriarch of Aquileia, in charge. A supreme magistracy of twelve popolani was elected, henceforth known as the Stgnori Dodici, four from each terzo of the city, holding office for two months, one of them to serve as Captain of the People ; there was further to be a kind of subsidiary council of six gent'iluom'm'i, who were not to reside with the Signoria in the Palazzo, but without whom the Twelve could undertake nothing of importance nor open letters that concerned the state.
When the Emperor returned from Rome at the beginning of May and passed through Siena again, he was received with great honours and renewed acclamations, as the Deliverer of the People, and made about sixty knights, nobles of Siena and plebeians alike — many of the latter carried bodily to him on the shoulders of the populace and knighted, amidst the wildest clamour and confusion, against their own will and to the great disgust of the imperial barons.
Hardly had the Emperor left the city than the six nobles — with the consent of their leader, Giovanni di Agnolino Salimbeni, who appears prominently during these years as a powerful influence in the Republic on the side of peace and moderation — were forced to lay down their office. The whole government now remained in the 28 The Republic of Siena hands of the Twelve, who were mostly petty tradesmen and notaries, and whose rule was corrupt and incapable. A number of the subject towns refused to acknowledge them ; Montepulciano gave itself to Perugia, and the Sienese, in revenge, persuaded the governor of Cortona to revolt against the Perugians.
A fierce war between Siena and Perugia followed. The Sienese gained a creditable victory outside the walls of Cortona. The light armed cavalry of Perugia harried the Sienese con- tado, and even approached the gates of the city itself, and the Sienese retaliated by taking the mercenaries of Conrad of Landau into their pay — who were, however, intercepted and severely cut up by the Florentine mountaineers of the Val di Lamone — and ravaged the Perugian territories up to the walls of Perugia.
Peace was made at the end of , much to the advantage of Siena, who kept Cortona, while the Perugians had to set Montepulciano free at the end of five years. At the beginning of the latter town made Messer Giovanni di Agnolino their Podesta, and returned to the obedience of Siena. During these years of the rule of the Twelve, the contado was perpetually threatened by wandering bands of mercenaries — the Compagnia Bianca, mainly English- men, but led by German captains ; the Compagnia della Stella ; the Compagnia del Cappello of Italians, under Niccolo da Montefeltro ; the Compagnia di San Giorgio, which is associated with the great name of John Hawkwood.
These had to be compounded with, to be guarded against by enrolling other mercenaries, to be played off against each other. In October , the Sienese, led by their Conservatore or War-Captain, Ceccolo di Giordano Orsini, and stiffened by a strong force of Germans and Hungarians, overtook the Com- pagnia del Cappello, which was devastating the contado, in the Valdichiana, and gained a complete victory, taking its 29 The Story of Siena captain and other leaders prisoners.
But when, in March , they tried to play the same game with John Hawkwood and his company of Englishmen, near Montalcinello, there was a very different tale to tell ; the Sienese were driven back to Siena in headlong rout, their Conservatore was taken prisoner, and peace had to be purchased at a goodly rate of golden florins. Within the city there was restless plotting against the Twelve, followed by banishments and executions — for this govern- ment was by no means so reluctant to lay hands upon the nobles as the Nine had been.
Realising that the feeling of the city was turning against them, the Twelve sent a splendid embassy to receive Pope Urban V. The Twelve had split into two factions — the " Canischi " and the " Grasselli. The Emperor was expected in Tuscany, and the most honoured citizen of Siena, Giovanni di Agnolino Salimbeni, had come from Montepulciano to head the embassy that went from Siena to greet Caesar in Lombardy. Although even the magistrates in the Signoria were at daggers drawn, Giovanni's in- fluence had delayed the catastrophe ; but, on his return from the Emperor, he was killed by a fall from his horse on the way from Siena to Rocca d'Orcia.
A new magistracy ot thirteen consuls was established ; one from each of the five Greater Families, five represcntativevS of the lesser nobles, three to repre- sent the Nine. An embassy was dispatched by this new government to the Emperor ; but, in the meanwhile, the Salimbeni had made common cause with the adherents of the Twelve, and sent ambassadors on their own account. On September 24th the Salimbeni, shouting for the People and the Emperor, rushed out of their palace and gardens in arms, joined forces with the Twelve, broke open the Porta di San Prospero, and admitted Malatesta de' Malatesta, the imperial vicar, who with horse had been lying in wait.
From street to street the people and nobles struggled desper- ately with each other ; during the three weeks of their rule, the latter had fortified their houses and enrolled soldiers for this emergency, which enabled them to hold their own at first even against the trained cavalry of the imperial vicar, while their overbearing and tyrannous conduct had exasperated the people to mad- ness.
A last stand was made in the Campo round the Palazzo, where there was a grim struggle, grande e aspra battaglla, until Malatesta carried the place by storm, and the populace, rushing in after the imperial soldiery, sacked it. The nobles fled from the city with their fiimilies, carrying with them all the goods that they could save from the wreck.
The same proportion of the three 31 The Story of Siena orcl'in'i or Monti was to hold in the general council of popolant. The Emperor came back to Siena on October 12th, with the Empress. He entered at the Porta Tufi, where the Twelve and the Salimbeni met him, all crowned with flowers and bearing olive branches. He alighted at the Salimbeni palace, while his followers were quartered in the deserted houses of the exiled nobles.
The next day, after Mass in the Duomo, he knighted Reame and Niccolo Salimbeni — "and very little pleasure did any one take in that," says the Sienese Chronicle grimly. An enormous present of money was made to him and the Empress, as also to Malatesta, and when the Emperor left on the 14th, the Empress remained behind for some days to induce Siena to redeem the imperial crown which had been pawned in Florence. In the meanwhile the nobles were making alarms and excursions in the contado, almost up to the gates of the city.
There was another revolution in December.
The lowest portion of the populace, or at least lower than those hitherto repre- sented in the administration — " verily plebeians and entirely new men," as Malavolti has it — assailed the Palazzo, forced their way in, hunted out the representa- tives of the Twelve and Nine alike. Finally by a sort of general compromise a council of r'lformatori was appointed, who reformed the State by the creation of a supreme magistracy of Fifteen Defenders, composed of eight of the popolo m'lmito, four of the Twelve, three of the Nine. He dismounted as before at the Palace of the Salimbeni.
The nobles were still ravaging the contado and, by means of the Marquis of Montferrat, Charles made some sort of attempt to effect a reconciliation between them and the people, which was cut short by the intrigues of the Salimbeni and Dodicini, who had gained the shallow Caesar's ear. The arrival of a papal legate, the Cardinal of Bologna, with armed men at the end of the month increased the general alarm: The Emperor demanded the surrender of the fortresses of Massa, Montalcino, Grosseto, Talamone and Casole, and implied that he meant to reform the State ; the Fifteen summoned a general council of more than citizens, and returned an absolute refusal.
Then the Salimbeni thought that the time had come to strike. On January iSth, Niccolo Salimbeni rode furiously through the street with armed followers, shouting " Long live the People! Down with the traitors who want the nobles back! Instantly the alarm was sounded from the Mangia Tower. The armed forces of the people poured into the Campo, and their captain, Matteino di Ventura Menzani, with the gonfalone in his hand, led them against the foreign cavalry.
The ' Malavolti, ii. With the Salimbeni and a long train of horsemen he was making his way to the Palazzo, when the victorious people, having routed Malatesta, burst upon him at the Croce del Travaglio. The imperial banner was struck down and the imperial forces broken. At the Palazzo Tolomei "there was an incredible battle," the imperial escort lighting desperately to cover the Caesar's retreat.
One of the Salimbeni, with an olive branch in his hand, came into the Campo in the name of Caesar to implore the Captain to grant a cessation of hostilities, but was promptly sent about his business. By the time that the unfortunate Emperor got back to the Salimbeni Palace, he had lost more than killed — including two of his nephews — and all the hospitals were full of his wounded. Before the fight had ended the Defenders sent a solemn procession to bring back the three of the Nine who had left the Palace ; " with a goodly company, preceded by the trumpets, with garlands on their heads and with olive branches in their hands ; they put them back in the Palace in their place, embracing them and kissing them with the greatest tenderness and craving pardon.
The people stared at him ; he wept and made excuses, embraced and kissed every person that went to him, and said: He made the Defenders his vicars in perpetuity, granted the Sienese all conceivable privileges, pardoned everybody everything, accepted a handsome sum of money, and went.
Many of the Salimbeni and others tried to escape disguised among the knights of his train, but several were detected and handed over to the Captain of the People. It was said that there had been a conspiracy to make over the lordship of Siena to Mala- testa with an annual tribute to the Emperor, to give the Salimbeni and the Dodicini two days of complete venge- ance over their foes, to allow the soldiers three days' sack of the city. But the matter was hushed up and the prisoners released, to the indignation of the populace.
A few months of anarchy followed. The Salimbeni and the Dodicini were at the throats of the Noveschi in the city, while the banished nobles maintained a state of war in the contado. The Defenders and the Council of the Riformatori appointed an esecutore to maintain order and execute justice, and formed a new association known as the Casata Grande del Popolo, with the white lion for arms, to preserve the popular constitution of the State.
In July, , by arbitration of the Florentine Republic, peace was at last made, and the six exiled families — Piccolomini, Malavolti, Saracini, Tolomei, Forteguerri, Cerretani— were reconciled with the Republic and restored to their country, with the right of sitting in all the magistracies of the State, saving only those of the fifteen Defenders, the three Gonfalonieri, and the Councils of the Riformatori.
The treaty was received with universal satisfaction — but the peace was of brief duration. Although the SaHmbeni had previously made terms with the other nobles, they continued to hang the banner of the People out of their windows " come consorti del Popolo. In July 1 37 1, induced partly by hunger, partly by the oppression of the Masters of the Arte della Lana, a number of them rose, took grain by force from the houses where it was stored, and made a disturbance in the Campo.
The Senator as the Conservatore and Capitano di Guerra was now called arrested three of their ringleaders, put them to the torture and sentenced them to death. They were wool-combers of the Art, all belonging to the asso- ciation. At once the whole Compagnia rose in arms, and with tremendous uproar, on July 14th, assailed the Palace of the Senator, demanding that the three should be released or else they would burn the place down. Hearing this, the Captain of the People, Francesco di Naddo, left the Palazzo del Commune with the gon- falone and the trumpets before him, and forced his way up to the Senator's Palace.
He induced the Senator to surrender the three prisoners — with the sole result that the whole Compagnia, roaring " Out with the Nine and the Twelve," " Long life to the People," led by a certain Ferraccio swept through the streets, tore down the banner of the People from the Salimbeni palace, seized the gonfaloni of the terzi, drove headlong before them a band of nobles who had tried to stay their march, and finally — with the aid of the greater part of the popu- lace — captured the Palazzo and expelled the four of the Twelve and the three of the Nine from the Signoria, substituting seven of the " Popolo del Maggior Numero.
But in the meanwhile the leaders of the Dodicini, with some of the Salimbeni and others of the people who misliked what had happened, gained over the Captain 38 The Republic of Sietia and the three Gonfalonieri to their side. It was arranged that the Captain should secretly introduce armed men into the Palazzo, that each Gonfaloniere should secure his own terzo, and that the Salimbeni should march in from the contado with all their forces and seize the city gates, after which there should be a general massacre of all their opponents and the whole State should be re- formed.
The plot was to take effect on August ist ; but some inkling of what was intended reached the Signoria. Many arrests were made, and the conspirators resolved to precipitate matters. But on the night of the 29th, hearing the clash of arms in the Captain's apartments, the Defenders were put upon the alert, and succeeded in taking the Captain red-handed in the act of opening the gate. When day broke, the whole city was in an uproar. The three Gonfalonieri and the Dodicini had armed their adherents to the number of nearly two thousand men ; they had occupied the mouths of the Campo and the Croce del Travaglio.
A horrible massacre commenced in the quarters of the carders' association. The conspirators, armed with crossbows, lances and swords fell upon the unarmed populace, hunting them up and down the narrow lanes along the Costa d'Ovile, breaking into the houses, murdering men, women and children alike. Then they turned to assail the Palace. But the shrieks and the cries for aid of the fugitives had roused the nobles and certain of the Noveschi, who armed themselves and moved to the support of the Signoria. There was fierce fighting in the Campo and at the foot of the Palace, and in each terzo ; but at last the victory was complete on the side of the government, and the soldiery of the Salimbeni only moved up from the contado to find that all was over.
There was a large number of executions. On the 1st of August, the day on which the conspiracy was to have taken eflfect, the Captain of the People him- self, dressed in scarlet, was led out into the Campo and 39 The Story of Siena solemnly beheaded upon a scaffold covered with scarlet cloth. The Gonfaloniere of the Terzo di Citta was taken in hiding near San Donienico, and executed at the Porta Salaia ; his two colleagues, who had escaped, were declared rebels, with many others.
The government of the Riformatori lasted till It was practically a government of artisans ; though patriotic and energetic, their rule was extremely oppres- sive, and burghers and nobles alike murmured. There were continual plots, followed by banishments, torturings, executions. The Salimbeni were expelled in , their houses and possessions wasted ; but they gathered together in the contado, captured many castles, and carried on a formidable war against the State.
In the stormy years that followed the return of the Popes from Avignon and the consequent schism in the Church, Siena suffered greatly from the bands of mercenaries who appeared at intervals in the territory of the Republic, ravaging the country with great damage. In June the army of the Sienese, engaged in a war in the Papal States against the Prefetto di Vico and Hawkwood, was completely defeated, and the Riformatori compelled to purchase an ignominious peace.
This shook their power. Shortly afterwards a futile attempt to get possession of Arezzo by purchase from Enguerrand de Courcy, who had occupied it for Louis of Anjou— in which they were forestalled by the diplomatic skill of the Florentines — brought things to a climax. The Malavolti with the Piccolomini, Cerretani, and other nobles joined the Salimbeni in arms, and made war upon the Republic, 40 The Republic of Siena cruel reprisals being committed on either side, men's tempers embittered ; the Riformatori, in despair, were ready to admit the Dodicini and Noveschi and all the people into their order.
The Florentines secretly fanned the flames. By the beginning of March the Riformatori no longer dared to leave the city, while the nobles threatened the gates of Siena itself. On March 23rd, , certain of the Dodicini forced the Bargello to release a prisoner whom he had arrested near the Porta Salaia. This was the occasion of the rising. The Riformatori called their partisans to arms, while the Dodicini and Noveschi, led by the Saracini and Scotti, assailed them furiously in the Campo. For the greater part of the day the struggle raged through Siena.
The masses of the people were desperately excited, but divided and disposed to support the Riformatori. Then said a Jew to one of the Saracini: Now cry, Vma la Pace! And at that word all the people will hold with you. Caterina Benincasa, now more generally known as St Catherine of Siena. She was born on March 25th, , the youngest of a large family of sons and daughters that Monna Lapa bore to her husband, Giacomo Benincasa, a dyer of the con- trada of Fontebranda.
The family of the Benincasa belonged to the Monte de' Dodici. Until the death of Giacomo in , his children all lived together with him in the house still shown — one of the most revered sanctuaries of Siena — in the valley below San Donienico. In her childhood Catherine began to see visions, to practise almost incredible austerities.
Her talk already seemed full of a wisdom and a prudence not her own. Her father especially, who had seen a white dove hovering over her head while she knelt at prayer, was convinced that she was acting in accordance with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and bade the others leave her in perfect liberty to live as she chose. At the age of sixteen or seventeen she took the habit of the Dominican Sisters of Penance — the 43 The Story of Siena white robe of purity and the black, mantle of humility in which we still see her clad on the walls of so many of Siena's churches and palaces.
She still remained in her flither's house, though for the next three years she lived apart from her family and utterly severed from the outer world: In her visions Christ stood continually by her side ; with Him she walked familiarly ; with Him she talked as friend to friend, or recited the psalms in her little room, as one religious is wont to do with another. At last the divine voice spoke in her heart: She chose for herself all the menial offices of the house, was assiduous in the service of the poor and in tending the sick.
She became, to adopt her own phrase, serva e sch'iava de serv'i di Gesu Cristo. She sought Him then in the streets and broadways of her native city, and she found Him in the hospitals of the lepers, and wherever sickness had assumed its most terrible and repulsive forms. The Benincasa were prosperous then, and her father allowed Catherine to dispense to the poor, at her own discretion, all that was in his house.
But Giacomo died in , and in the revolution of the following year his family suffered heavily. The three sons only saved their lives by the intervention of their sister, who led them in safety, through an armed mob of their enemies, to take refuge in the Spedale on the opposite hill. Shortly after, the three left Siena for Florence, where they became Florentine citizens. I think that this author unquestionably deserves to be called the best of Catherine's modern biographers ; but the reader must be warned against her historical inaccuracies and her treatment of some of the Saint's political letters.
Meditating upon the Passion, she began to endure in her body and in her soul what Christ had endured for man. A little later she seemed to be dying, or actually dead. In this suspension of her life or mystical death — call it what you will — she beheld the spiritual lives of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, and was bidden to return to the world, to convince it of sin and error, to warn it of impending peril.
No longer shalt thou have thy cell for dwelling- place ; nay, thou shalt go forth from thy own city for the utility of souls.
I shall guide thee, and lead thee. Thou shalt bear the honour of My name, and shalt give spiritual teaching to small and great, to the laity no less than to clerics and re- ligious ; for I shall give thee such speech and wisdom that no one shall be able to resist. I shall bring thee even before Pontiffs and before the rulers of the Church and of the Christian people, to the end that, as is my wont, I may by means of the weak confound the pride of the strong.
When the pestilence raged in Siena in and many fled the city, Catherine was foremost in tending the stricken, in encouraging the dying, preparing them for death, even burying them with her own hands. At first these were mainly Dominican friars, headed by Frate Tommaso della Fonte, her confessor and a friend of her father's family, and Frate Tommaso Nacci Caffarini, who wrote the beautiful book known as the L. There were devout women too, who robed themselves in the same black and white habit of penance, some of them from the noblest families of Siena: Alessia Saracini and Francesca Gori, the two whom we see with her in Bazzi's frescoes ; several of the Tolomei ; and, later, Lisa, the widow of Catherine's brother Bartolommco.
Presently there were added to these several young men of noble birth, who acted as her secretaries and legates, united to her by what seems a wonderful blending of religious enthusiasm and spiritual- ised affection: Neri di Landocciode' Pagliaresi, a scholar and poet ; Francesco Malavoiti, a somewhat unstable youth who at first relapsed at times into his former worldly life, and whom she recalled to herself in one of her sweetest and most affectionate epistles, addressing him 47 The Story of Siena as " carissimo e sopracarissimo figliuolo in Cristo dolce Gesil ; " Stefano Maconi, who headed a furious feud of his family against the Tolomei and Rinaldini, until con- verted by her to be the most beloved son of all her spiritual family, and ultimately the sainted prior of the Certosa of Pavia.
One famous episode of this epoch in her life has been perpetuated in a letter of Catherine's own, that is one of the masterpieces of Italian literature, and in a famous fresco of Bazzi's. A young nobleman of Perugia, Niccolo di Toldo, attached to the household of the Senator of Siena, was sentenced to be beheaded for some rash words against the government of the Riformatori. Contro il Notaresco i bianconeri incassano — per la prima volta al Manuzzi- due gol, ma riescono anche a farne tre. Domenica si va dall'ultimo della classe, il Castelfidardo.
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