A History of Verona Page: 83 of 493
RISE OF EZZELINO DA ROMANO 65
citizens, and deliberately laying himself out to win the hearts
of his new subjects. But when an attack on Montagnone, one
of the Estensi castles in the Euganean hills, failed, he attributed
it to treachery amongst the Paduan levies; and completely
changed his attitude, treating the Paduans with the utmost
harshness. Twenty of the leading nobles were seized as hostages
and sent to distant fortresses. In June Fra Giordano, the
Prior of the Benedictine monastery, was sent into exile. This
roused the most furious indignation, for the Paduans revered
and loved the Prior as a father. The bishop of Padua rebuked
Ezzelino to his face for this deed, but Ezzelino, who never
allowed any man to reproach him, least of all an ecclesiastic,
fined the bishop 2000 marks and imposed silence upon him.
In consequence most of the Paduan clergy fled from the city,
including Arnaldo, the saintly Abbot of S. Giustina. In justice
to Ezzelino it must, however, be owned that Fra Giordano was
accused of plotting to betray Padua to Azzo d' Este. At this
time many of the crimes laid to Ezzelino's charge were in reality
excessively severe penalties for wrongdoing. At this period
of his life he only occasionally displayed that savage delight in
cruelty for its own sake which was to increase with his increasing
years till it became mania.
In July, 1236, Ezzelino again took the field. His objective
was the Castle of S. Bonifacio. It was too strong to storm, so
Ezzelino set down to blockade it, and for some months carried
on the siege, in spite of its evident hopelessness. Rizardo di S.
Bonifacio and Azzo d' Este meanwhile did all they could to drive
Ezzelino off, but nothing would move him. When, however,
Frederic again entered Italy in September Rizardo and Azzo,
rather than see S. Bonifacio fall into the hands of their hated
foe, made their submission to the Emperor, whereupon Frederic
ordered Ezzelino to rais the siege. Ezzelino obeyed, but with
the utmost reluctance. (The sullenness which he displayed on
,this occasion betrayed his real attitude towards the Emperor.
Here and everywhere Ezzelino's first motive was his own interest.
In Frederic's absence no one was a more fervent
Ghibelline than Ezzelino. But the presence of the Emperor
in the Mark led not infrequently to the clashing of his and
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Allen, A. M. A History of Verona, book, 1910; New York. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1025/m1/83/ocr/: accessed May 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .