From Villani, Giovanni, Selfe, Rose E., translator. Villani’s Chronicle being selections from the First Nine Books of the Croniche Fiorentine of Giovanni Villani. London: Archibald Constable & Co. LTD, 1906; pp. 434-450.
1317 A. D.
viii. John XXII., born in Cahors, of base lineage, occupied the papal chair for 18 years 2 months and 26 days. He was elected on the 7th day of August, 1316, in Avignon by the cardinals, after a vacancy of two years, and after great discord among themselves, forasmuch as the Gascon cardinals, which were a large part of the college, desired the election of one of themselves, and the Italian and French and Provençal cardinals would not consent thereto, so much had they endured from the Gascon Pope. After long dispute, both one party and 435 the other entrusted their votes to the Cahorsine, as a
1317 A. D. mediator, the Gascons believing that he would elect the cardinal of Bésiers, which was of their nation, or Cardinal Pelagrù. Who, with the consent of the other Italians and Provençals, and by the device of Cardinal Napoleone Orsini, head of the faction against the Gascons, gave the chair to himself, electing himself Pope after the manner ordained according to the Decretals. This man was a poor clerk, and his father was a cobbler, and he was brought up by the bishop of Arles, chancellor to King Charles II.; and by reason of his goodness and industry he came into favour with King Charles, who caused him to be educated at his charges, and then the king made him bishop of Frejus; and on the death of his master, the archbishop of Arles, to wit M. Piero da Ferriera, the chancellor, King Robert made him chancellor in his stead; and afterwards, of his care and sagacity, he sent letters as from King Robert to Pope Clement recommending himself, whereof the king, it was said, knew nothing at all, by reason of which letters he, the said bishop of Frejus, was promoted to be bishop of Avignon, and afterwards cardinal by reason of his wit and industry; wherefore King Robert, before he was made cardinal, was wroth with him, and took away the seal from him, forasmuch as he had sealed the said letters in his own favour to the said Pope Clement without his knowledge. This Pope John was crowned in Avignon on S. Mary’s Day, the 8th day of September, 1316. Afterwards he was a great friend to King Robert, and he to him; and by his means did great things, as hereafter shall be narrated. This Pope caused the Seventh Book of the Decretals to be completed which Pope Clement had begun, and set in order the solemnity 436
1317 A. D. and festival of the Sacrament of the Body of Christ, with great indulgences and pardons to whoso should be at celebration of the sacred offices, each hour, and he gave a general pardon of forty days to all Christians for every time that they made reverence when the priest repeated the name of Jesus Christ; this he did afterwards in the year 1318.
In the said year 1317, in the month of August, Uguccione da Faggiuola, with aid from M. Cane of Verona, came suddenly with much people, both horse and foot, into Lunigiana, supported by forces and letters of the Marquis Spinetta, who purposed to come to Pisa on the strength of certain negotiations which he had conducted in the city with men of his faction; which plot was discovered, and there was an outcry of the people, whereof Coscetto dal Colle of Pisa made himself the leader; and by the counsel of Count Gaddo they rushed in fury to the house of the Lanfranchi, which were in league with Uguccione, and slew four of the chief of the house; and others, together with their followers, they banished and set under bounds. When Uguccione perceived that he could not carry out his
enterprise, he returned into Lombardy to Verona. Cast
1317 A. D.ruccio, lord of Lucca, and Uguccione’s enemy, made a league with Count Gaddo and with the Pisans, and with aid of horsemen from them, he went with his host against the Marquis Spinetti, which had given Uguccione free passage, and took from him Fosdinuovo, a very strong castle, and Veruca and Buosi, and drave him from all his towns; and the said Spinetti fled with his family to M. Cane della Scala at Verona.
In the said year 1317, on the 15th day of September, the city of Genoa being under popular government, but the Grimaldi and the Fiescadori and their Guelf party being stronger than the d’Oria and their Ghibellines (on the one hand because King Robert favoured the Guelfs, and on the other hand because the Spinoli, which were of the Ghibelline party, and in exile from Genoa, were enemies of the d’Oria), certain of the house of the Grimaldi, by reason of enmity against the d’Oria, reinstated the Spinoli in Genoa, under pretence that they would abide under their command and that of the commonwealth. When they of the house of d’Oria and their friends perceived this, they feared greatly to be betrayed by the Guelfs and by the Grimaldi; and the city was all in arms and uproar; and the d’Oria not finding themselves powerful, by reason of the opposition of the Guelfs, and also of the Ghibelline Spinoli their enemies, concealed themselves and their friends, and showed no force of arms; by the which thing the Guelfs were encouraged and took up arms, and chose as captains of Genoa, M. Carlo dal Fiesco and M. Guasparre Grimaldi, on the 10th day of
1317 A. D. November, 1317. And when the Spinoli which were returned to Genoa saw that the city was come altogether to the Guelf party, and knew that this was through the care and industry of King Robert, straightway they agreed with the d’Oria and with their Ghibelline friends, and they all departed from the city together, on no other compulsion; whence afterwards ensued great scandal and war, as hereafter will be told, forasmuch as the said two houses of the d’Oria and the Spinola were the most powerful families of Italy on the side of the Ghibellines and the empire.
In the said year, in the month of December, the said M. Cane with his forces led his host against the Paduans, and took Monselici and Esti and a great part of their castles, and brought them so low that the following February, not being able to oppose him, they made peace according to M. Cane’s pleasure, and promised to restore the Ghibellines to Padua; and this they did.
1318 A. D. In the year 1318, when they of the houses of d’Oria and of Spinola with their following were in banishment from Genoa, and by reason of their power maintained themselves on the Riviera of Genoa on their estates, they sent ambassadors into Lombardy and made a treaty and league with M. Maffeo Visconti, captain of 439 Milan, and with his sons and with all the Lombard
1318 A. D. league which were Imperial and Ghibelline. For the which thing M. Marco Visconti, son of the said Maffeo, came from Lombardy with a great army of soldiers, Germans and Lombards, on horse and on foot, and with the said exiles from Genoa laid siege to the said city on the side of Co’ di Fare and of the suburbs; and this was on the 25th day of March, 1318; and a few days after they of the house of d’Oria, with the aid of the others, led another army against the city of Albingano, on the Riviera of Genoa, and this they took, under conditions, in a few days. Afterwards, while the said host was still at Genoa, M. Edoardo d’Oria made a compact with the Abao [chief magistrate] of the people of Saona, and entered into the said city of Saona by night secretly, and straightway, with the aid of the Ghibellines of the city (for the greater part thereof were of the Imperial party), caused the said city to rebel against the commonwealth of Genoa in the month of April; for the which thing the forces of the exiles from Genoa
49. increased greatly, so that well-nigh all the Western Riviera was under their lordship, save the strongholds of Monaco and Ventimiglia and the city of Noli; and in the Eastern Riviera they held Lerici.
In the said year, at the end of May, the said exiles had besieged the city of Co’ di Fare for two months, and it was bravely held by them within by means
1318 A. D. of a cunning device of ropes which kept the tower in communication with a vessel in the port of Genoa, and by this means they were supplied and provisioned in spite of all the host; wherefore the said exiles took counsel how they might dig and cut away the ground under the said tower. They within, fearing that it might fall, surrendered it on condition that their lives should be spared, and some said for money; and when they had returned into Genoa, they were condemned to death, and were cast down from a height. While the refugees were busied with the said siege, they continually attacked the suburbs of Prea, which are without the Oxen Gate; and fighting manfully, they took the place on the 25th day of June in the said year, whereby they advanced greatly, and the inhabitants of Genoa lost in like measure; for the host without increased, and gathered in the suburbs, and took the mountain of Peraldo and of S. Bernardo above Genoa, and surrounded the city; and above Bisagno they pitched another camp, so that the city was all besieged by land, and by sea it suffered great persecution from the galleys of Saona, and from the exiles, which had the lordship over the sea.
In the said year 1318, the Guelf party being thus besieged in Genoa by sea and by land, they sent their ambassadors to Naples to King Robert, who had been the cause of the whole disturbance in Genoa, that he should succour them and aid them without delay; and if he did not do this, they could not hold out, so straitened were they by the siege and by want of victuals. For the which thing King Robert straightway raised a great
fleet of forty-seven transport vessels and twenty-five light
1318 A. D. galleys, and many other boats and craft laden with provisions; and he in person, with the prince of Taranto, and with M. John, prince of the Morea, his brothers, and with other barons and with horsemen to the number of 1,200, departed from Naples on the 10th day of July, and came by sea, and entered into Genoa on the 21st day of July, 1318, and was honourably received by the citizens as their lord, and heartened the city, which could scarce hold out for lack of victuals. Immediately when the king was come to Genoa, the exiles broke up the camp which they had in Bisagno, and withdrew to the mountains of San Bernardo and of Peraldo, and to the suburbs of Prea towards the west.
In the said year, on the 27th day of July, the captains of Genoa and the Abao of the people, and the Podestà in full parliament, renounced their jurisdiction and lordship, and with the consent of the people gave the lordship and care of the city and of the Riviera to Pope John and to King Robert for ten years, according to the constitutions of Genoa, and King Robert took it for the Pope and for himself, as one who had long desired it, thinking when he should have got the lordship of Genoa quietly in his hands, to be able to recover the land of Sicily, and overcome all his enemies; and it was for this purpose that, long ere this, he had stirred up revolution in the city; so as to drive thence the Spinoli and the d’Oria, forasmuch as ofttimes whilst they were lords of Genoa, they had opposed King Robert and King Charles, his father, and had helped
1318 A. D. them of Aragon which held the island of Sicily, as before we have made mention.
The host without Genoa was not weakened by reason of King Robert’s coming, but was largely increased by the aid of the lords of Lombardy, which held with the Imperial party; and they renewed their league with the emperor of Constantinople, and with King Frederick of Sicily, and with the Marquis of Monferrat, and with Castruccio, lord of Lucca, and also secretly with the Pisans. And whilst they were at the siege, they were continually making strong and fierce assaults upon the city, hurling things against it from many engines, and attacking it in many places by day and by night — being men of great vigour — in such wise that King Robert with all his forces could gain nothing against them in any part. Rather by digging underground they undermined a great piece of the wall of Porta Santa Agnesa, and caused it to fall, and some of them entered by force into the city. Wherefore the king in person armed himself with all his followers, and they met one another with great vigour upon the ruined walls with swords in hand, but the great barons and knights of the king drove back their enemies with great loss both to one side and to the other, and they rebuilt the walls with great labour in a short time, working both day and night. The king and his followers being thus besieged and attacked in Genoa, sent for aid into Tuscany, and received it from many quarters: from the Florentines, 100 horse and 500 foot, all with lilies for their device, and the same number from Bologna, and likewise from Romagna, and from
many other places, and they went to Genoa by sea by
1318 A. D.
152. the way of Talamone; so that when his allies were come to him, the king was supported in Genoa on the first day of November of the said year by more than 2,500 horse, and by footmen without number. Without were more than 1,500 horse, and the captain of the host was M. Marco Visconti of Milan, and they held the hill fortresses round about in such wise that the king could not go afield; and thus abode the said hosts in close war and skirmishes, hurling and shooting at one another all the said summer, and also the winter, forasmuch as neither one side nor the other could get the advantage. And thus abiding, M. Marco Visconti was so presumptuous as to request King Robert to fight with him in single combat, and whichever was victorious should be lord, which put the king into great scorn.
In the said year 1318, after that King Robert had been besieged in Genoa for more than six months, as already narrated, he bethought him that he could not crush his enemies without unless he could land his army between the suburbs and Saona; and he raised a fleet of sixty galleys and transport vessels, and assembled 850 horse, and of foot full 15,000; and together with them were some Florentines and other Tuscans, and Bolognese and Romagnese; and they departed from Genoa on the 4th day of February, to bring the said people into the
1318 A. D. country around Sesto. And when the exiles and those without heard this, straightway they sent thither of their people on horse and on foot in great numbers to dispute the shore with King Robert’s host, to the end the king’s people might not come to land. Which people arrived on the 5th day of February, and with great travail, pushing empty casks before them, fought hand to hand with the enemy, the chief of them being Florentines and other Tuscans, which first descended from the galleys under the protection of the bowmen of the galleys which were by the shore; and by force of arms they landed, and broke up an discomfited the forces of the exiles upon the shore of Sesto, and many thereof were slain and taken prisoners; and they which escaped fled into the
Carmen v 29. suburbs and to Saona, and the night following all the host which were in the suburbs and in the mountains of Paraldo and of San Bernardo departed and went towards Lombardy, and left all of their baggage without having been pursued, forasmuch as the king would not that his people should follow after them because of the dangers of those mountains. Afterwards they of the city of Genoa recovered the suburbs of Prea and Co’ di Fare and all the forts outside the city.
In the said year 1319, when the exiles from Genoa heard of the departure of King Robert, they equipped in Saona twenty-eight galleys, whereof M. Conrad d’Oria was admiral, and sent into Lombardy for aid, and
assembled 1,000 and more horse, whereof the greater
1319 A. D. part were Germans, and a great number of common folk; and on the 27th day of July of the said year they returned with their army to Genoa, and set up their camp in Ponzevera, and on the 3rd day of August following they drew nigh to the city, attacking the suburbs in many places by land from the side of Bisagno; and the said galleys entered the port and strongly attacked the city, but gained nothing. And on the 7th day of August following there was a great battle in the plain of Bisagno between the exiles and those within the city, with great loss both to the one side and to the other, without either party having the honour of the victory, for those without retreated to the hill, and those within returned into the city; and afterwards they fought continually by day and by night against the city by sea and by land.
In the said year 1319, in August, M. Cane della Scala, with the exiles from Padua, whom the Paduans would not restore to the city according to the compact made by M. Cane, came with an army against Padua, with 2,000 horse and 10,000 foot, and took the suburbs, and set up there three camps in order the better to besiege it.
In the said year 1320, M. Cane della Scala, lord of Verona, had besieged the city of Padua with all his forces continually for more than a year, and having taken from that city well-nigh all its territory and strongholds, and having defeated them many times, had so crushed the city that it could hold out no longer, forasmuch as he had surrounded it entirely with ramparts occupied by his men, so that no provisions could enter therein. The said Paduans, well-nigh despairing of any escape, turned
to the duke of Austria, king elect of the Romans, which
1320 A. D. sent to their succour the count of Görtz and with the lord of Vals, with 500 steel-capped horsemen, and they suddenly, and as it were in secret, entered into Padua with these their followers. The said M. Cane, by reason of his great confidence and pride in his victories, and the great number of horse and of foot which were in his army, cared little for the Paduans, and by reason of the long siege, being too secure, had his troops in ill order. It came to pass that on the 25th day of August, 1320, the said count of Görtz, with his Friolese and Germans, and with the Paduans, sallied forth suddenly from the city, and vigorously assailed the host. M. Cane, with some of his ill-ordered horse, thinking to beat them back, gave battle, and by the count of Görtz and the Paduans was discomfited and unhorsed and wounded, and scarce came off with his life by the help of his followers, and escaped on a horse to Monselice; and his host was all routed, and many of his followers were slain or taken prisoners, and all their belongings lost; and thus by want of foresight the good fortune of this victorious tyrant changed to bad. At this siege of Padua died Uguccione della Faggiuola at Cittadella [al. In the city of Verona] of sickness, being come to aid M. Cane. He was the other great tyrant, which so persecuted the Florentines and Lucchese, as before we made mention.
1321 A. D. In the said year 1321, in the month of July, Dante Alighieri, of Florence, died in the city of Ravenna, in Romagna, having returned from an embassy to Venice in the service of the lords of Polenta, with whom he was living; and in Ravenna, before the door of the chief church, he was buried with great honour, in the garb of a poet and of a great philosopher. He died in exile from the commonwealth of Florence, at the age of about fifty-six years. This Dante was a citizen of an honourable and ancient family in Florence, of the Porta San Piero, and our neighbour; and his exile from Florence was by reason that when M. Charles of Valois, of the House of France, came to Florence in the year 1301 and banished the White party, as has been afore mentioned at its due time, the said Dante was among the 449 chief governors of our city, and pertained to that party, albeit he was a Guelf; and, therefore, for no other fault he was driven out and banished from Florence with the White party; and went to the university at Bologna, and afterwards at Paris, and in many parts of the world. This man was a great scholar in almost every branch of learning, albeit he was a layman; he was a great poet and philosopher, and a perfect rhetorician alike in prose and verse, a very noble orator in public speaking, supreme in rhyme, with the most polished and beautiful style which in our language ever was up
Inf. i. 87. to his time and beyond it. In his youth he wrote the book of The New Life, of Love; and afterwards, when he was in exile, he wrote about twenty very excellent odes, treating of moral questions and of love; and he wrote three noble letters among others; one he sent to the government of Florence complaining of his undeserved exile; the second he sent to the Emperor
viii. Henry when he was besieging Brescia, reproving him for his delay, almost in a prophetic strain; the third to the Italian cardinals, at the time of the vacancy after the death of Pope Clement, praying them to unite in the election of an Italian Pope; all these in Latin in a lofty style, and with excellent purport and authorities, and much commended by men of wisdom and insight. And he wrote the Comedy, wherein, in polished verse, and with great and subtle questions, moral, natural, astrological, philosophical, and theological, with new and beautiful illustrations, comparisons, and poetry, he dealt and treated in 100 chapters or songs, of the existence and condition of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise as loftily as it were possible to treat of them, as in his said treatise may be seen and understood by whoso has subtle 450
1321 A. D. intellect. It is true that he in this Comedy delighted to denounce and to cry out after the manner of poets, perhaps in certain places more than was fitting; but may be his exile was the cause of this. He wrote also The Monarchy, in which he treated of the office of Pope and of Emperor. [And he began a commentary upon fourteen of his afore-named moral odes in the vulgar tongue, which, in consequence of his death, is only completed as to three of them; the which commentary, judging by what can be seen of it, was turning out a lofty, beautiful, subtle, and very great work, adorned by lofty style and fine philosophical and astrological reasonings. Also he wrote a little book entitled, De Vulgari Eloquentia, of which he promises to write four books, but of these only two exist, perhaps on account of his untimely death; and here, in strong and ornate Latin and with beautiful reasonings, he reproves all the vernaculars of Italy.] This Dante,
58-63. because of his knowledge, was somewhat haughty and reserved and disdainful, and after the fashion of a philosopher, careless of graces and not easy in his converse with laymen; but because of the lofty virtues and knowledge and worth of so great a citizen, it seems fitting to confer lasting memory upon him in this our chronicle, although, indeed, his noble works, left to us in writing, are the true testimony to him, and are an honourable report to our city.