A history of Verona, by A. M. Allen. Edited by Edward Armstrong, with twenty illustrations and three maps. Page: 47 of 493
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30 A HISTORY OF VERONA
nephew with him, to receive gifts in money or in kind, or
dine with any of the citizens. At the end of the year he had
to remain at Verona for fifteen days to answer accusations
against his personal conduct, or the execution of his official
duties, as a set-off to which it must be remembered that no Podesta
could be sued in a court of law during his term of office.
Any actions brought against an out-going Podesta were heard
by two judges called cercatori. This institution seems to have
been borrowed direct from Roman Law.1 The chief function
of the cercatori was to hold an inquiry into the conduct of outgoing
officials. They possessed the power of life and death,
and no appeal lay against their sentences.2 Instances are not
unknown of the condemnation of a Podesta to death for violating
the laws of a city, though in no case does the sentence seem
to have been enforced. On the other hand more than one
Podesta fell a victim to popular fury.3 Considering all these
prohibitions and risks, one cannot but wonder that any one was
ever found to act as Podesta. Yet the office was rarely refused.
During its early development it was eagerly sought by the most
powerful nobles, and later it became a regular profession among
the lesser nobility, and the class immediately below them,
from which lawyers and judges were drawn, who would pass
their lives acting as Podesta now in one town, now another.
It must be remembered that the salary was exceedingly high,
even after all expenses had been deducted (50 to 100 lire a
year was then considered a fair professional income). The
honour attached to the office and the opportunities it provided
for interesting activities must have been strong attractions,
while it was probably easy to evade some of the harder prohibitions.
For instance it is clear from the list of early Veronese
Podestes, where the same name will appear two or three
times running,4 that the regulation forbidding any man to act
again for three years after he had held office was practically a
1 Pertile, of. cit., vol. ii. pt. x, p. o04.
'Ibid., p. zo6.
' Ibid., pp. xo8-9.
4 Syllabus Potestatum, 1194-1306 A.D. Printed by C. Cipolla, Anticht
Cronache Veronesi, D. V. S. P. Third Series, vol. ii. p. 387.
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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/m1/47/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .