A history of Verona, by A. M. Allen. Edited by Edward Armstrong, with twenty illustrations and three maps. Page: 72 of 493
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54 A HISTORY OF VERONA
Ezzelino III. there was no doubt as to which would emerge
triumphant. Ezzelino was forced to give way at first, but while
feigning friendship for the popular organisation, he slowly but
surely absorbed its powers till eventually it seems to have
disappeared without a struggle.
For the three years after its rise, however, the Communanza
was the leading power in Verona and Ezzelino's influence there
sank to its lowest ebb. Meanwhile he employed his energies
elsewhere. In 1227 he helped his brother Alberico to win the
Podestaship of Vicenza. The following year found him at
war with Padua. In I229 the rustics of the Bassanese district,
who belonged to the half-free, half-servile class known as
masnadi, rebelled against Alberico, and Ezzelino helped him
to crush the rising. The friars of the Trevisan Mark, both
Franciscans and Dominicans, were suspected of having instigated
this rebellion. There are no means of proving or disproving
this accusation, but it is certain that the friars regarded
the rebels with no unfavourable eye, and that from this year
dates Ezzelino's implacable hatred for ecclesiastics in general,
and the friars in particular.
In 1230 Ezzelino regained a foothold in Verona. The
Communanza, even though aided by the Montecchi and Quattuorviginti
could not cope with the S. Bonifacio party, and in June
of that year were only saved from a severe defeat by the timely
arrival of Ezzelino. Rizardo di S. Bonifacio and several of the
leaders were captured on this occasion, and the rest of the
party driven into exile. Ezzelino did not accept any official
position in Verona, and the Montecchi and the Communanza
still nominally remained at the head of affairs, but at Ezzelino's
instigation the Podestaship was given to Salinguerra Torelli,
who was completely subservient to him. At first Ezzelino
proposed to kill the Count and his other prisoners by slow
starvation, but was dissuaded from this purpose by his father.
But nothing would induce Ezzelino to release his prisoners, not
his father's prayers, nor the eloquence of the Franciscan Antonio
of Padua, already revered as a saint throughout North Italy,
nor the constant ravaging of the Veronese district by Paduans,
Vicentines and Mantuans under Azzo d' Este.
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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/m1/72/: accessed April 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .