A history of Verona, by A. M. Allen. Edited by Edward Armstrong, with twenty illustrations and three maps. Page: 27 of 493
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12 A HISTORY OF VERONA
latter river to the plain of Lombardy. A few miles above the
spot where the Adige emerges into the plain, it passes through
the celebrated Chiusa, a narrow defile flanked by precipitous
limestone cliffs, which at one point approach the river so closely
on both sides that there is barely room for the road, and here a
large army could easily be held up by quite a small force. The
Chiusa lies in Veronese territory, being not much more than
ten miles from Verona. Hence any one holding Verona had
almost complete control of the Brenner Pass, for though a road
diverges at Trent, a good many miles north of the Chiusa, and
goes off eastward down the Valsugana to Bassano, it was not
practicable for an army during the Middle Ages, and the paths
which led westwards to the shores of Lake Garda were still
more difficult. For a century and a half after the accession of
Otto I., then, it was the mission of Verona to act as an outpost
of the Imperial authority in Italy, and to keep the road
open for the passage of the Emperors and their armies,1 and
faithfully did the city perform her charge.
It was at Verona that Otto I. held the Imperial diet of 967,
in which he inaugurated the policy of granting the temporal
power over the towns of North Italy to the bishops. Singularly
enough the bishop of Verona alone received no authority over the
chief city of his diocese. Possibly Otto did not altogether trust
the versatile Ratherius, who had been reinstated for the second
time a few years before, possibly he felt that the exceptional
development, both judicial and executive, of the Veronese Mark
made it wiser not to risk any undue ecclesiastical interference.
Otto II. held a still more important diet at Verona in 983,
when he induced the assembled princes to elect his three-yearold
son, Otto, King of Germany and Italy. Barely nineteen
years later those escorting the dead body of Otto III. from
Paterno to Germany found themselves for the first time among
friends when they reached Verona. So, too, the Veronese
showed themselves loyal to Henry II. and Conrad the Salic,
while in the struggle over the Investitures they were almost
always to be found on the Imperial side. This can hardly
have been unconnected with the fact that in the eleventh cenI
Verona, C. Cipolla, p. 69.
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Allen, A. M. A history of Verona, by A. M. Allen. Edited by Edward Armstrong, with twenty illustrations and three maps., book, 1910; New York. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1025/m1/27/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .