A history of Verona, by A. M. Allen. Edited by Edward Armstrong, with twenty illustrations and three maps. Page: 31 of 493
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16 A HISTORY OF VERONA
the fact that the decay of the temporal power of the bishops
coincided with a century-long paralysis of the Imperial authority
must have been one of the strongest and most general
of these causes. By force, by prescription, by purchase, the
cities acquired privilege after privilege, that had formerly belonged
to bishop or Count. As they became richer and more
populous they began to subdue the surrounding districts, to
build castles at important strategical points, to make war on
the nobles or one another, to negotiate treaties of peace or of
commerce-in a word, to behave as independent states.
For a time the new movement continued without encountering
any very active opposition, but it was inevitable that sooner
or later the expansion of the rising Communes should bring
them into collision with older established claims and interests.
The first serious opposition came in the second half of the
twelfth century, from a somewhat unexpected quarter, the
Empire. The Imperial rights in Italy had gradually fallen
into disuse during the eleventh century, and since then had
remained almost entirely in abeyance; for instance, no Count
had exercised authority in Verona as the Imperial representative
after 1073. But in 1152 Frederic of Hohenstaufen, Duke
of Swabia, was elected Emperor, and one of his earliest resolutions
was to revive the Imperial rights in Italy. This was
bound eventually to end in a breach between Frederic and the
young and hot-blooded communities of the Lombard plain, but
when he first appeared in Italy in I154 many of the cities
showed themselves not disinclined to consider his claims. The
Veronese were amongst those who welcomed the Emperor
most enthusiastically, and though he did not enter the city
itself, he remained encamped for some time at Povegliano in
the district On Frederic's return to Germany in the following
year, an untoward incident showed that a different feeling
was springing up among the Veronese. His army crossed the
Adige just above Verona by a temporary bridge of boats, and
directly afterwards the bridge broke. At once a rumour arose
that treachery had been at work. The bridge was said to have
been built badly on purpose, and large bundles of wood collected
above it, to be floated down as the army was crossing,
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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/m1/31/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .