A history of Verona, by A. M. Allen. Edited by Edward Armstrong, with twenty illustrations and three maps. Page: 54 of 493
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36 A HISTORY OF VERONA
appoint the highest magistrate, whether a Podesta or Rector, in
those towns and villages over which its jurisdiction extended.
Any community desiring to have a new Podesta or Rector,
applied to the Podesta of Verona. The Greater Council was then
summoned, and three of its members chosen by lot to appoint
to the office in question, the only qualification being that the
holder must be a native of Verona or its district. All the rural
Communes in the district, however, were not subject to this
statute, for many were still under the private jurisdiction of
the nobles, and in these the lord retained the right to appoint
the Podesta, and other officials. In truth the young community
was only just beginning to measure its strength against the
district nobility. Feudalism was by no means yet extinct.
The code of I228 makes frequent mention of lords, vassals and
fiefs (domini, vassalli and feuda) and land was still held by
personal service, pro servitio. Everywhere, too, the nobles were
freed from paying the hearth-tax, even when they were too
poor to keep the horses and arms for the service of the Commune
which alone secured exemption from that impost in
other classes. But step by step the nobles were being brought
into line. The districts under their jurisdiction were no longer
allowed to remain entirely outside the judicial system of the
Commune. An early statute (No. 30) decreed that nobles must
expel all persons exiled by the Veronese authorities from Communes
over which they exercised jurisdiction. The fief was
ceasing to be regarded as the inalienable property of the lord.
The creditors of a vassal could sell his fief, and take two-thirds
of the price, the rest going to the lord, unless the fief had been
held by personal service, or on any other special condition,
when the lord took the larger share.
This regulation, it may confidently be assumed, was made
not so much in the interest of private creditors, as of the Commune.
Indeed feudalism was fast dying out at this time,
especially as a system of land-holding, the feudal tenures having
already been replaced in many parts by the payment of
rent, both in kind and in money. Simultaneously a great improvement
had taken place in the status of the actual tillers of
the soil, the majority of whom had won their way to some form
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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/m1/54/: accessed February 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .