A history of Verona, by A. M. Allen. Edited by Edward Armstrong, with twenty illustrations and three maps. Page: 53 of 493
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THE SELF-GOVERNING COMMUNE 35
proctors, too, who collected the heavy fines imposed for blasphemy
and swearing, and prevented the playing of all games
in the city. Games were always a terrible bugbear to the
mediaeval Italian authorities on account of the gambling to
which they led, and their extraordinary vitality, for no sooner
was a game suppressed under one name, than it would reappear
under another. The one game in favour of which an exception
was made was chess, and later on even that was prohibited.
Although the majority of the social and economic postal of
the code of 1228 were concerned with the more material side of
life, the intellectual side was not entirely neglected. No university
in the modern sense of the word yet existed in Verona,
but one statute ordered that a good master of medicine was to
be engaged at the very respectable salary of 200 lire a year, to
teach the principles of his art, and the Commune also retained
the services (though what they were is not stated) of a certain
Jacobo da Minerbe for an annual sum of 50 lire. Moreover
another statute directed that every PodestA should spend 500
lire during his term of office on the upkeep of the amphitheatre,
a considerable amount of money to be devoted every year by
a small city to antiquarian purposes. It is hardly probable
that this regulation was always carried out, but it is worthy of
note that in spite of a good deal of injury caused by earthquake
and flood the Veronese amphitheatre is one of the best preserved
in the world. Later the care of it was handed over to the
Other statutes show how the Commune was gradually
strengthening its hold over the surrounding territory, subduing
the local nobility on one hand, and the peasantry and smaller
towns on the other. It was a great step gained when the more
important castles of the district, such as Ostiglia and Gaiba on
the Po, Rivole in the Brenner, and Garda on the lake, were
placed under the command of castellani, who were appointed
annually by the Commune, and who took an oath to surrender
the castles in their charge to the PodestL whenever called upon
to do so. During the twelfth century the rural Communes had
elected their own officials, but in the early part of the thirteenth
century the Commune of Verona established its right to
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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/m1/53/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .