The Swabian Sunset Part 2

In the other corner of the peninsula, to the north-west, Thomas II of Savoy, who grew up a lot in the Frederick era, grew up again in the anti-Federician era that followed. He approached Innocent IV, who acquitted him of the censorship, married a Fieschi niece of the pope, obtained a diploma from William of Holland, ephemeral emperor and king, confirming that received by Frederick, and the diplomatic intervention of the king and of the pope with lords and bishops and municipalities, so that they would obey him, in defense of the new possessions, against Chieri, Alba, Asti. These Savoy were useful allies, now that the curia has turned westward and is looking for help in Flanders, England and France to fight the Swabians and new kings to oppose them. Also useful for kings or greats from beyond the Alps who are beginning to have ambitions in Italy. That Savoyard history is taking shape which grows in importance as the links between the peninsula and the monarchies of north-western Europe grow. The star of Asti in Piedmont is about to set: and with it all the Piedmontese communal life, of which Asti was the greatest champion.

Even Ezzelino and Pelavicino not only remained in the saddle after 1250, but continued to grow for some time. Pelavicino, all gathered in the Po valley, had his main base in Cremona, with the title of podestà. Beside him, but in a subordinate order, another Ghibelline and common chief, Boso da Dovara, from a large local family, as  potestas mercatantiae: a sign that in Cremona the merchant class is at the center of the party of the nopolo, as it does not go for everything, even though there are guilds and trades everywhere. Pelavicino’s task is to insure the people’s party from any possible return of the opposing party, which has escaped. And from Cremona, he gathers partisans from Pavia, Bergamo, Lodi, Parma, etc., with all the local leaders of the people’s party. Since now almost every city has, almost gentlemen: in Milan, the Torrians; in Lodi, the Vastarini; in Parma, Giberto di Gente etc. Even in Genoa, Guglielmo Boccanegra, almost a lord for many years, is raised on the shields as “captain of the people”. In 1254, Pelavicino was elected mayor of Piacenza. It is in this quality that he has 14 and more castles in the mountain destroyed: hence the exaltation that the people make of him. The possibility of living and trading was, for the people, true and substantial freedom. In 1254 he was mayor of Pavia and Vercelli. Lord, in short, of a lordship made up of vicarial rights and podesterie freely conferred on him, of territories and partisans scattered even where he has no effective command. And lordship for life: although the heirs, among those to whom this authority is conferred, are also explicitly beginning to be understood. Lord of Piacenza and Cremona, Pelavicino dominates the river navigation of the middle Po, the passage of the river, the crossroads of the roads that from Lombardy (therefore also from Germany) and Piedmont (therefore also from France) go to Romagna and Tuscany and Rome. An inconsistent unity, that vast and varied territory that had in Cremona and Piacenza, knight of the middle Po, its center, I will say, political and Busseto the patrimonial center, the one which, after the collapse of the dominion, will remain the capital of the Pallavicino state. And this unity is sustained, first of all, by virtue of a man. But one glimpses – and proof of this is, among other things, the monetary policy of Pelavicino also a subtle web of common interests and common sentiments which will then thicken and give consistency to the renewed political unity.

More or less, it can be said that the lordship begins to be born by serving, against the factions, which are also the prevalent work of the nobility and the upper classes, against “politics”, the interests of “work” or the tendencies of those middle classes and minors who essentially attended to their trades and trades, taking little part in the bubbling of hatred around and above them. They were also these new managers or gentlemen linked to a part, children of a part. But they also represented the tendency to dissolve from the parties, to become independent from the parties. This tendency that comes from below, merging with the interest of the lords and of every ruler of state, against the raging of the parties, explains the policy of those lords, already very visible right now, in the relations of the parties themselves. The state of the city begins to be resolved into its elements:

According to itypeauto, Pelavicino is closely connected with the Da Romano and their city and in ’54 it received insurance of help for itself and its cities and its partisans, against anyone, even against those who come in the name of kings or emperors. In 1258, both leaders also rushed to the rescue of the unsuccessful Brescia Ghibellines, occupied the city and jointly took over the government. But here, contacts become too close, points of friction created, solidarity ceases. Ezzelino, who arrived in Brescia, looks even further: “he says he wants to do in Lombardy, greater things that have not been done since Charlemagne onwards” (Muratori,  SS. XII, c. 6). It is a sketch of a Po Valley kingdom, how will it then become colored before the eyes of the ruling lords here, in the center of the great valley? Of course Ezzelino looked to Milan, the hub of the region, a great attraction for everyone. And also for the Pelavicino. And when a coalition was formed against Ezzelino in June 1259 in which Azzo d’Este, the count of S. Bonifacio, Verona, Padua, Mantua, Ferrara, etc., all on the Guelph side, also joined the coalition. Ezzelino bet on Milan: but in Cassano sull’Adda he was won by Pelavicino. Who then entered Brescia, had it given the podestà, and placed a nephew as his vicar. After these first contacts with the Guelphs, Pelavicino made an agreement with the Torrians, who were also Guelphs. Martino mayor of the people, to guard against a possible return of the Ghibellines and the Visconti leaders, he had Pelavicino given the office of captain general of Milan for 5 years. In 1260 he bought Alexandria. In 1263, the Parma people who had driven out, not without his hand, their Ghibelline leader Giberto da Gente, made hateful for his taxation, forced themselves to do military service with Pelavicino. Parma was strongly coveted by him. And now he is at the peak of his ascent. In various ways, but especially through the podesterie, most cities obey him, from Alessandria to Brescia, to Modena, to the Ligurian Sea. Since on the Apennines it has Pontremoli, which dominates the pass; and from the Malaspina it was given castles in the maritime Lunigiana. And Val di Taro and Val di Magra were also areas for the recruitment of infantry, which were very popular at the time.

The Swabian Sunset 2