A history of Verona, by A. M. Allen. Edited by Edward Armstrong, with twenty illustrations and three maps. Page: 94 of 493
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EZZELINO DA ROMANO AS RULER 75
Ezzelino lost what little self-control he ever had. The years
following I249 saw the culmination of that fiendish cruelty
which he had shown to some extent in quite early years, and
which had grown with his growth, and strengthened with his
increase of power. The annalist of S. Giustina may exaggerate
when he says that Ezzelino's victims numbered 50,000, but from
all his cities came the same tale of imprisonment, torture, executions,
robbery of churches and violence of all descriptions.
Hardly a single family in the Mark escaped without the loss of
one or more members, and many were entirely rooted out. No
length of faithful service availed to shield any one on whom
Ezzelino's suspicions fell, nor did Ezzelino's own relatives escape.
His natural brother Ziramonte, his nephew Ezzelino da Egna,
his cousin Guglielmo da Camposampiero, his father-in-law Bontraversio
de' Maltraversi all came to untimely ends. The ordinary
methods of execution no longer sufficed. Men were beheaded,
hung, burnt, torn asunder, hewn in pieces, tortured
or starved to death. For the smallest offences they were blinded
or had hands or feet cut off. Women lost their breasts, noses
and upper lips. The sons of turbulent nobles would be summoned
to one of Ezzelino's castles to emerge later sightless and
horribly mutilated. Very few of those who entered his dungeons
ever came out alive. For Ezzelino's prisons were horrible beyond
description, pitch-dark, absolutely unventilated, and unspeakably
filthy-often the inmates were so tightly packed
that they could not lie or even sit, even when their weak limbs
could no longer support them. Yearly the list of imprisonments
and executions grew longer. It was never known who might
go next, nor who could be trusted, for Ezzelino kept an immense
body of spies and informers, and as the one sure path to his
favour was to accuse others, friend would denounce friend,
brother brother, father son. But at last it became impossible
to endure any longer, ard his victims rose in revolt. The first
city to regain its freedom was Trent, which rose in 1255, and
drove his officials out. Encouraged by this success, the Paduans
resolved to make a bid for liberty. Padua had suffered most
of all from Ezzelino's tyranny. Few of the nobles or wealthier
citizens remained in the town. Those who were neither dead
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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/m1/94/: accessed November 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .