A history of Verona, by A. M. Allen. Edited by Edward Armstrong, with twenty illustrations and three maps. Page: 88 of 493
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RISE OF EZZELINO DA ROMANO 69
Azzo went in terror of his life. As he was accompanying the
Emperor to Verona, one of the Imperial retainers, with a
meaning look at him, drew his hand across his throat The
hint was enough. Azzo fled to Count Rizardo at S. Bonifacio.
Frederic accepted the situation. Henceforth it was to be war
to the death in the Mark between the supporters of the Empire,
headed by Ezzelino, and the party of the Count and Marquis.
The Emperor strengthened the garrisons of the Chiusa fortresses,
Rinaldo and Adelalta were sent to a distant prison in Apulia,
and on I3th June the Count and Marquis and their followers
were placed under the ban of the Empire. The war which now
began lasted twenty years, though, as was usual in Italy, the
fighting was very intermittent and did not often rise above the
level of guerilla warfare. The balance of success in the first
year lay with Azzo and Rizardo, who in the summer of 1239
captured all the castles which Azzo, when he was restored to
Padua, had been constrained to hand over to the Emperor.
In September a plot to kill Ezzelino was discovered in Padua.
It was followed by ruthless reprisals. Eighteen citizens were
executed for having been in communication with Jacobo da
Carrara, and a knight was beheaded on the mere suspicion of
having sent a letter to a rebel. This vindictiveness marks a
fresh stage in the development of Ezzelino's ferocity, and to
some extent justifies those who hold that he underwent a sudden
change of character in 1239.'
During the winter of 1239-40 Ezzelino remained strictly on
the defensive, being unable to trust the Paduans. On Ist June
Ferrara, after a heroic defence of four months, surrendered to
the combined forces of Azzo, Rizardo di S. Bonifacio, the
Legate, the Mantuans and Venetians, and Salinguerra Torelli,
despite his eighty years, was carried off to Venice and kept in
prison till the end of his life. In the absence of all support
from the Emperor, Ezzelino had never once ventured forth to
help Ferrara, and now wrath and mortification heightened his
cruelty to frenzy. If the original offenders were out of his
reach he wreaked his vengeance on their friends and relations.
In the same month that Ferrara fell Ezzelino's cousins, the
1 Gittermann, op. cit., p. 8i.
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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/m1/88/: accessed March 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .