[BACK]          [Blueprint]         [NEXT]


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. 279-300.


§ 114. — Of a notable thing which came to pass in Florence at this time.

In the said year, M. Matteo da Fogliano di Reggio, being Podestà of Florence, had taken and condemned to be beheaded for murder one Totto de’ Mazzinghi da Campi, which was a great warrior and leader; and as he was on his way to execution, M. Corso dei Donati with his following would have rescued him from the officers by force; for the which thing the said Podestà caused the great bell to be sounded: wherefore all the good people of Florence armed themselves and assembled at the palace, some on horse and some on foot, crying: “Justice, justice.” For the which thing the said Podestà 280
1287 A. D.
carried out his sentence, but whereas the said Totto should have been beheaded, he caused him to be dragged along the ground, and then hung by the neck, and he condemned to a fine those who had begun the uproar and impeded justice.

§ 115. — How the Guelfs were driven out of Arezzo, whence war arose between the Florentines and the Arentines. § 116. — Of a great fire which broke out in Florence. § 117. — How the armada of Charles Martel took the city of Agosta in Sicily, and how their armada was defeated at sea by Ruggeri di Loria. § 118. — How a great fire broke out in Florence at the houses of the Cerchi. § 119. — Of
1288 A. D.
the calling of Pope Nicholas IV., of Ascoli. § 120. — Of a great expedition which the commonwealth of Florence
Inf. xiii.
120, 121.
made against the city of Arezzo, and how as they departed the Sienese were defeated at the Pieve [parish church] at Toppo.

1288 A. D.
§ 121. — How the judge of Gallura and the Guelf party were driven from Pisa, and the Count Ugolino taken prisoner.

In the year of Christ 1288, in the month of July, great divisions and factions having arisen in Pisa concerning
Purg. viii.
the government, for of one party Judge Nino di Gallura de’ Visconti was head with certain Guelfs, and of another Count Ugolino dei Gherardeschi with another party of the Guelfs, and of a third the Archbishop Ruggeri degli
Inf. xxxiii.
Ubaldini with the Lanfranchi, and Gualandi, and Sismondi, with the other Ghibelline houses. And the said Ugolino, in order to gain power, sided with the archbishop and his party, and betrayed Judge Nino, not considering that he was his grandson, his daughter’s son; 281 and they ordained that he should be driven out of
1288 A. D.
Pisa with his followers, or taken prisoner. Judge Nino hearing his, and seeing that he was not well able to defend himself, left the city and went to his castle of Calci, and allied himself with the Florentines and Lucchese to make war against Pisa. Count Ugolino, before the departure of Judge Nino, to the end he might hide his treachery when he had planned the banishment of the judge, departed from Pisa, and went to one of his manors in the country, which was called Settimo. When he heard of the departure of Judge Nino, he returned to Pisa with great rejoicing; and the Pisans made him their lord with great rejoicings and festivities; but he abode only a short time in the government, for Fortune turned against him, as it pleased God, because of his treacheries and crimes; for of a truth it was said that he caused Count Anselm of Capraia, his nephew, his sister’s son, to be poisoned, from envy, and because he was beloved in Pisa, and he feared lest he might rob him of his state. And that happened to Count Ugolino, which a little while before had been foretold him by a wise and valiant man of affairs, named Marco Lombardo; for when the
Purg. xvi.
count was called by all lord of Pisa, and when he was in greatest state and happiness, he prepared a rich feast on his birthday, and invited thereto his sons and grandsons, and all his lineage and kinsfolk, both men and women, with great pomp in dress and ornaments, and preparations for a great festival. The count taking the said Marco, showed him all his grandeur and possessions, and the preparations for his feast; and this done, he asked him: “Marco, what thinkest thou of all this?” The sage answered and said unto him at once: “You are better prepared for evil fortune than any noblemen of 282
1288 A. D.
Italy.” And the count fearing these words of Marco’s said: “Why?” and Marco answered: “Because the wrath of God is the only thing lacking to you.” And of a truth the wrath of God soon came upon him, as it pleased God, because of his treacheries and crimes; for when the archbishop of Pisa and his followers had succeeded in driving out Nino and his party, by the counsel and treachery of Count Ugolino, the forces of the Guelfs were diminished; and then the archbishop took counsel how to betray Count Ugolino, and in a sudden uproar of the people, he was attacked and assaulted at the palace, the archbishop giving the people to understand that he had betrayed Pisa, and given up their fortresses to the Florentines and Lucchese; and being without any defence, the people having turned against him, he surrendered himself prisoner, and at the said assault one of his bastard sons and one of his grandsons were slain, and Count Ugolino was taken, and two of his sons, and three grandsons, his son’s children, and they were put in prison; and his household and followers, and the Visconti and Ubizinghi, Guatani, and all the other Guelf houses were driven out of Pisa. And thus was the traitor betrayed by the traitor; wherefore the Guelf party in Tuscany was greatly cast down, and the Ghibellines greatly exalted because of the said revolution in Pisa, and because of the force of the Ghibellines of Arezzo, and because of the power and victories of Don James of Aragon, and of the Sicilians against the heirs of King Charles.

1288 A. D.
§ 122. — How the Lucchese took the castle of Asciano from the Pisans. § 123. — How the Pisan mercenaries, coming from Campagna, were routed by the Florentines 283 mercenaries in Maremma. § 124. — Of the dash on Lat
1288 A. D.
terina made by the Florentines as an attack on Arezzo. § 125. — How Prince Charles was released from the prison of the king of Aragon. § 126. — Of a great flood of water that was in Florence. § 127. — How the Aretines came and laid waste the territory of Florence as far as San Donato in Collina.

§ 128. — How the Pisans chose for captain the count of Montefeltro, and how they starved to death Count Ugolino and his sons and grandsons.

In the said year 1288, in the said month of March,
1288 A. D.
the wars in Tuscany between the Guelfs and Ghibellines becoming hot again (by reason of the war begun by the Florentines and Sienese against the Aretines, and by the Florentines and Lucchese against the Pisans), the Pisans chose for their captain of war Count Guido of Montefeltro, giving him wide jurisdiction and lordship; and he passed the boundaries of Piedmont, within which he was confined by his terms of surrender to the Church, and came to Pisa; for the which thing he and his sons and family, and all the commonwealth of Pisa, were excommunicated by the Church of Rome, as rebels and enemies against Holy Church. And when the said count was come to Pisa in the said month of March, the Pisans which had put in prison Count Ugolino and his two sons, and two sons of Count Guelfo, his son, as we before made mention, in a tower on the Piazza degli Anziani, caused the door of the said tower to be locked, and the keys to be thrown into the Arno, and refused to the said prisoners any food, which in a few days died there of hunger. And albeit first the said count
Inf. xxxiii.
demanded with cries to be shriven; yet did they not grant him a 284
1288 A. D.
friar or priest to confess him. And when all the five dead bodies were taken out of the tower, they were buried without honour; and thenceforward the said prison was called the Tower of Hunger, and will be always. For this cruelty were the Pisans greatly blamed throughout the whole world wherever it was known, not so much by reason of the count, which because of his crimes and treacheries was peradventure worthy of such a death, but by reason of his sons and grandsons which were young and innocent boys; and this sin committed by the Pisans did not go unpunished, as in due time hereafter may be found. We will leave speaking for a while, of the affairs of Florence and of Tuscany, and will tell of other events which took place in the said times and came to pass through the whole world.

§ 129. — How the Saracens took Tripoli in Syria.

§ 130. — Of the coronation of King Charles II., and how he passed through Florence, and left Messer Amerigo di Nerbona as captain of war for the Florentines.

1289 A. D.
In the said year, on the 2nd day of May, there came to Florence Prince Charles, son of the great King Charles, which was returning from France after he had been loosed from prison, and was going to the court at Rieti where was the Pope; and he was received by the Florentines with great rejoicing, and the Florentines did him much honour and made him many presents; and having sojourned three days in Florence, he departed on his journey towards Siena. And when he was departed, tidings came to Florence that the troops of Arezzo were making ready to go into the country of Siena to hinder or bring shame upon the said Prince Charles, which had 285but a small company of men-at-arms. Straightway the
1289 A. D.
Florentines caused the horsemen of the cavalry to ride forth, wherein were all the flower of the best families of Florence, together with mercenaries which were in Florence, and they were in number 800 horse, and 3,000 foot, to accompany the prince; wherefore the prince took in very good part such honourable service, and speedy and unasked succour of so many good men, though it came not to the pinch of need withal; for the Aretines having heard of the riding forth of the Florentines, did not venture to go out against them; but nevertheless the Florentines accompanied the said prince beyond Bricola to the borders of the territory of Siena and of Orvieto. And when the commonwealth of Florence asked of the prince to appoint them a captain of war, and also that he would grant them to carry forth the royal standard with the host, the prince allowed it, and knighted Amerigo di Nerbona, a man very noble, and brave and wise in war, and gave him to them for captain; which M. Amerigo with his company, about 100 mounted men, came to Florence with the said horse; and the prince came to the court, and was honourably received by Pope Nicolas IV. and by his cardinals; and the day of Pentecost following, on the 29th day of May, 1289, in the city of Rome the said Charles was crowned by the said Pope, king of Sicily and of Apulia, with great honour, solemnity and rejoicing, and many favours and grand presents of jewels and of money were made to him by the Church, with subsidies of tithes to aid him in his war in Sicily. And this done, King Charles departed from the court, and went into the Kingdom.


§ 131. — How the Florentines defeated the Aretines at Certomondo in Casentino.

1289 A. D.
In the said year, and month of May, the horsemen of Florence being returned from escorting Prince Charles, with their captain, M. Amerigo di Nerbona, a host was straightway gathered against the city of Arezzo, by reason of outrages received from the Aretines, and the banners of war were given out on the 13th day of May, and the royal standard was borne by M. Gherardo Ventraia de’ Tornaquinci; and so soon as they were given to them, they bore them to the abbey at Ripoli, as was their wont, and there they left them under guard, making as though they would march by that road upon the city of Arezzo. And the allies being come and the host being ordered, by secret counsel they purposed to depart by way of Casentino, and suddenly, the 2nd day of June, the bells sounding a toll, the ever-prosperous host of the Florentines set forth, and they bore the banners which were at Ripoli across the Arno, and held the way of Pontassieve, and encamped to await the gathering of forces on Monte al Pruno; and there were assembled 1,600 horse and 10,000 foot, whereof 600 were citizens with their horses, the best armed and mounted which ever sallied forth from Florence; and 400 mercenaries, together with the following of the Captain, M. Amerigo, in the pay of the Florentines; and of Lucca there were 150 horsemen; and of Prato, 40 horsemen and foot soldiers; of Pistoia, 60 horse and foot; and of Siena, 120 horse; and of Volterra, 40 horse; and of Bologna, their ambassadors with their company; and of Samminiato, and of Sangimignano, and of Colle, men mounted and on foot from each place; and Maghinardo of Susinana, a good and 287wise captain in war, with his Romagnoli. And the said
Inf. xxvii.
Purg. xiv.
118, 119.
host being assembled, they descended into the plain of Casentino, devastating the places of Count Guido Novello, who was Podestà of Arezzo. Hearing this, the bishop of Arezzo, with the other captains of the Ghibelline party (for there were many men of name amongst them), determined to come with all their host to Bibbiena, to the end it might not be destroyed; and they were 800 horse and 8,000 foot, very fine men; and many wise captians of war were among them, for they were the flower of the Ghibellines of Tuscany, of the March, and of the Duchy, and of Romagna; and all were men experienced in arms and in war; and they desired to give battle to the Florentines, having no fear, albeit the Florentines were two horsemen to one against them; but they despised them, saying that they adorned themselves like women, and combed their tresses; and they derided them and held them for nought. Truly there was further cause why the Aretines should declare battle against the Florentines, albeit their horsemen were two to one against them; for they were in fear of a plot which the bishop of Arezzo had set on foot with the Florentines, and conducted by M. Marsilio de’ Vecchietti, to give over to the Florentines Bibbiena, Civitella, and all the castles of his see, and he to have 5,000 golden florins each year of his life, on the security of the company of the Cerchi. The progress of this plot was interrupted by M. Guiglielmino Pazzo, his nephew, to the end the bishop might not be slain by the Ghibelline leaders; and therefore they hastened the battle, and took thither the said bishop, where he was left dead, together with the rest; and thus was the bishop punished for his treason, who at the same time sought 288
1289 A. D.
to betray both the Florentines and his own Aretines. And the Florentines, having joyfully received the gage of battle, arrayed themselves; and the two hosts stood over against one another, after more ordered fashion, both on one side and on the other, than ever in any battle before in Italy, in the plain at the foot of Poppi, in the region called Certomondo, for such is the name of the place, and of a church of the Franciscans, which is near there, and in a plain which is called Campaldino; and this was a Saturday morning, the 11th
1289 A. D.
day of June, the day of S. Barnabas the Apostle. M. Amerigo and the other Florentine captains drew up in well-ordered troops, and enrolled 150 forefighters of the best of the host, among the which were twenty new-made knights, who then received their spurs; and M.
Cf. Par.
xvi. 65,
Vieri de’ Cerchi being among the captains, and being lame in his leg, would not therefore desist from being among the forefighters; and since it fell to him to make the selection for his sesto, he would not lay this service upon any who did not desire to be chosen, but chose himself, and his son and nephews; the which thing was counted to him as of great merit; and for his good example and for shame many other noble citizens offered themselves as forefighters. And this done, they flanked them on either side by troops of light-armed infantry, and crossbowmen, and unmounted lancers. Then, behind the forefighters, came the main body, flanked in its turn by footmen, and, behind all, the baggage, so collected as to close up the rear of the main body, outside of which were stationed two hundred
Purg. xxiv.
Cf. Par. iii.
106, 107.
horse and foot of the Lucchese and Pistoians and other foreigners, whereof was captain M. Corso Donati, which then was Podestà of Pistoia; and their orders were to 289 take the enemy in flank, should occasion rise. The
1289 A. D.
Aretines on their part ordered their troops wisely, inasmuch as there were, as we have said, good captains of war amongst them; and they appointed many forefighters, to the number of 300, among the which were chosen twelve of the chief leaders, who were called the Twelve Paladins. And each side having given a war-cry to their host, the Florentines, “Ho, knights, Nerbona,” and the Aretines, “Ho, knights, San Donato,” the forefighters of the Aretines advanced with great courage, and struck spur to smite into the Florentine host; and the rest of their troop followed after, save that Count Guido Novello, which was with a troop of 150 horse to charge in flank, did not adventure himself into the battle, but drew back, and then fled to his castle. And the movement and assault made upon the Florentines by the Aretines, who esteemed themselves to be valiant men-at-arms, was to the end that by their bold attack they might break up the Florentines at the first onset, and put them to flight; and the shock was so great that most of the Florentine forefighters were unhorsed, and the main body was driven back a good space, but they were not therefore confounded nor broken up; but received the enemy with constancy and fortitude; and the wings of infantry on either side, keeping their ranks well, enclosed the enemy, and there was hard fighting for a good space. And M. Corso Donati, who was apart with the men of Lucca and Pistoia, and had been commanded to stand firm, and not to strike under pain of death, when he saw the battle begun, said, like a valiant man: “if we lose, I will die in the battle with my fellow-citizens; and if we conquer, let him that will, come to us at Pistoia to exact the penalty”; and he boldly 290
1289 A. D.
set his troop in motion, and struck the enemy in flank, and was a great cause of their rout. And this done, as it pleased God, the Florentines had the victory, and the Aretines were routed and discomfited, and between horse and foot more than 1,700 were slain, and more than 2,000 taken, whereof many of the best were smuggled away, some for friendship, some in return for ransom; but there came of them bound to Florence more than 740. Among the dead left on the field were M. Guiglielmino of the Ubertini, bishop of Arezzo, the which was a great warrior, and M. Guiglielmino de’ Pazzi of Valdarno and his nephews, the which was the best and the most experienced captain of war that there was in Italy in his
Purg. v.
Inf. xxvii.
time; and there died there Bonconte, son of Count Guido of Montefeltro, and three of the Uberti, and one of the Abati, and two of the Griffoni of Fegghine, and many other Florentine refugees, and Guiderello d’Alessandro of Orvieto, a renowned captain, who bore the imperial standard, and many others. On the side of the Florentines was slain no man of renown save M.
1289 A. D.
Guiglielmo Berardi, bailiff of M. Amerigo da Nerbona, and M. Bindo del Baschiera de’ Tosinghi, and Ticci de’ Visdomini; but many other citizens and foreigners were wounded. The news of the said victory came to Florence the same day, at the same hour that it took place, for after their meal, the Priors being gone to sleep and repose, after the care and wakefulness of the past night, suddenly there was a knocking on the chamber door, with the cry: “Arise, for the Aretines are discomfited”; and having risen and opened the door, they found no one, and their servants without had heard nothing, wherefore it was held to be a great and notable marvel, inasmuch as no person came from the host 291with tidings before the hour of vespers. And this was
1289 A. D.
the truth, for I heard it and saw it; and all the Florentines marvelled whence this could be, and awaited the issue in suspense. But when they arrived which came from the host, and reported the tidings in Florence, there was great gladness and rejoicing; and there was good cause, for at the said discomfiture were slain many captains and valiant men of the Ghibelline party, and enemies of the commonwealth of Florence, and there were brought low the arrogance and pride not only of the Aretines, but of the whole Ghibelline party and of the Empire.

§ 132. — How the Florentines besieged the city of Arezzo, and laid waste the region round about.

After the said victory of the commonwealth over the
1289 A. D.
Aretines, the trumpet was sounded for the return from pursuing the fugitives, and the Florentine host was marshalled upon the field; and this done, they departed to Bibbiena, and took it without any resistance; and having plundered and despoiled it of all its wealth and much booty, they caused the walls and the fortified houses to be destroyed to the foundations, and many other villages round about, and they abode their eight days. Whereas, if on the day following, the Florentine host had ridden upon Arezzo, without doubt they would have taken the city; but during that sojourn they that had escaped from the battle returned thither, and the peasants round about took refuge there, and order was taken for the defence and guard of the city. The host of the Florentines came thither after some days, and laid siege to the city, continually laying waste the region round about, and taking their fortresses,292
1289 A. D.
so that they gained them nearly all, some by force, and some on conditions; and the Florentines caused many thereof to be destroyed, but they kept possession of Castiglione of Arezzo, and Montecchio, and Rondine, and Civitella, and Laterina, and Montesansavino. And with the host there went two of the Priors of Florence as inspectors; and the Sienese came in a body, with much force of horse and foot, after the defeat, to regain their lands taken by the Aretines, and they took Lucignano of Arezzo, and Chiusura of Valdichiane, on conditions. And the said Florentine host being at Arezzo, in the old
Inf. xxii.
4, 5.
palace of the bishops, for twenty days, they laid waste all round about them, and they ran their races there on the
Cf. Par.
xvi. 42.
feast of S. Giovanni, and erected there many engines, and hurled into the city asses with mitres on their heads, in contempt and reproach of their bishop, and raised many wooden towers and other works to attack the city; and a fierce battle ensuing, a great part of the palisade (for there was not then any other wall in that part) was burnt and laid low; and if the captains of the host had made the besiegers fight lustily, they would have taken the city by storm; but where they should have fought, they caused the retreat to be sounded, wherefore they were held in abomination, forasmuch as this was done through greed of gain; for the which cause the people and the combatants, losing heart, were slack in skirmishing and on guard; wherefore the night following they of Arezzo issued forth and set fire to many wooden towers, and burnt them, with many other works. And this done, the Florentines lost hope of taking the city by battle, and the better part of the host departed, leaving the aforesaid strongholds guarded, to the end they might continually harry the city; and the host returned 293to Florence on the 23rd day of July with great
1289 A. D.
rejoicing and triumph, and there came to meet them the clergy in procession, the men of birth jousting, and the populace with the standards and ensigns of each of the Arts, with its company; and they set a canopy of cloth of gold over the head of M. Amerigo di Nerbona, borne upon pikes by many knights, and likewise over M. Ugolino de’ Rossi of Parma, which was then Podestà of Florence. And note that all the expenses of the said host were furnished by our commonwealth by a tax of six and a quarter per cent., which raised more than 36,000 golden florins, so well ordered were then the registers of the city and country; and the other affairs and revenues of the commonwealth were equally well ordered. True it is that after the return of the said host the popolani began to suspect the magnates, through pride of the said victory, might lay burdens on them beyond accustomed usage; and for this cause the seven greater Arts drew to themselves the five lesser Arts, and made ready among themselves arms, and shields, and certain standards, and this was in a sense a beginning of the Popolo, which afterwards took the form of the Popolo of 1292, as hereafter we shall narrate. From the aforesaid victory the city of Florence was much exalted, and rose to good and happy state, the best which it had seen until these times, and it increased greatly in people and in wealth, for every one was gaining by some merchandise, art, or trade; and it continued in peaceful and tranquil state for many years after, rising every day. And by reason of gladness and well-being, every year, on the first day of May, they formed bands and companies of gentle youths, clad in new raiment, and raised pavilions covered with cloth and silk and with wooden 294
1289 A. D.
walls, in divers parts of the city; and likewise there were bands of women and of maidens going through the city dancing in ordered fashion, and ladies, by two and two, with instruments, and with garlands of flowers on their heads, continuing in pastimes and joyance, and at feasts and banquets.

1289 A. D.
§ 133. — Of a fierce and violent battle between the duke of Brabant and the count of Luxemburg. § 134. — How Don James came from Sicily into Calabria with his armada, and there received some loss, and afterwards laid siege to Gaeta. § 135. — How Charles Martel was
Par. viii.
crowned king of Hungary. § 136. — How they of Chiusi were routed, and the Guelf refugees restored. § 137. — How the Lucchese, with the forces of Florence, marched upon the city of Pisa. § 138. — Of an expedition that the Florentines made wherein they should have had Arezzo yielded up to them. § 139. — Of a great fire that broke out in Florence in the house of the Pegolotti. § 140. — How the Florentines and their allies made a third expedition against Arezzo. § 141. — How Porto Pisano was taken and laid waste by the Florentines and Genoese and
Purg. vii.
iv. 11: 126.
Lucchese. § 142. — How the marquis of Montferrat was taken prisoner by them of Alexandria. § 143. — Of a great miracle that came to pass in Paris concerning the body of Christ. § 144. — How they of Ravenna seized the count of Romagna, who was there to represent the Church.

§ 145. — How the soldan of Babylon conquered by force the city of Acre, to the great hurt of the Christians.

1291 A. D.
Cf. Inf.
xxvii. 89.
In the year of Christ 1291, in the month of April, the soldan of Babylon [Cairo] of Egypt having first garrisoned 295and provisioned Syria, traversed the desert and
1291 A. D.
came into the said Syria with his host, and laid siege to the city of Acre, which of old was called in the Scriptures Ptolemais, and now is called Acon in Latin; and the soldan had with him so much people, both foot and horse, that his host stretched over more than twelve miles. But before we tell more of the loss of Acre, we will tell the reason why the soldan came to besiege it, and took it, as it was related to us by trustworthy fellow-citizens of our own, and merchants which were in Acre at that time. It is true that, because the Saracens had in foregoing times taken from the Christians the city of Antioch, and of Tripoli, and of Tyre, and many other towns which the Christians held on the seashore, the city of Acre had greatly increased, both in folk and in power, forasmuch as no other city was held by the Christians in Syria; so that the kings of Jerusalem, and of Cyprus, and the princes of Antioch, and of Tyre, and of Tripoli, and the Orders of the Templars and the Hospitallers, and other Orders, and the Pope’s legates, and they which had gone over seas from the kings of France and of England, all gathered at Acre, and there were there seventeen hereditary lordships, which was a great confusion. And at that time there was truce between the Christians and Saracens, and there were there more than 18,000 pilgrims who had taken the cross; and their pay not being forthcoming, and because they could not get it from the lords and states which had sent them forth, part of them, which were wild and lawless men, scrupled not to break the truce, and to rob and to slay all the Saracens which were in Acre, under the security of the truce, with their merchandise and victuals; and in like manner they went through many villages round about Acre, robbing 296
1291 A. D.
slaying the Saracens. For the which thing, the soldan holding himself much aggrieved, sent his ambassadors to Acre to those lords, demanding compensation for the wrongs that had been committed, and that for his honour and the satisfaction of his people, there should be sent to him as prisoners some of the chiefs and leaders of them which had broken the truce, to the end that he might execute justice upon them, the which requests were denied him. Wherefore he came with his army, as we have said, and because of the multitude of his people, by force they filled up part of the moats, which were very deep, and took the outer circle of the walls; and the next circle they caused in part to fall by the aid of mines and engines; and they took the great tower, which was called Accursed, because it had been foretold that by it Acre should be lost. But with all this they could not take the city, for albeit the Saracens broke down the walls by day, by night they were repaired and stopped up with planks, or with sacks of wool and of cotton, and vigorously defended on the day following, by the wise and valiant brother, Guillaume de Beaujeu, master of the Temple, which was captain-general of the war and of the defence of the city, and had, with much prowess and foresight and care, vigorously defended the city. But as it pleased God, and to punish the sins of the inhabitants of Acre, the said master of the Temple, lifting up his right arm in the combat, was shot by a Saracen with a poisoned arrow, which entered into the joints of his cuirass, by the which wound he shortly after died; and because of his death the whole city was moved and put in fear; and by reason of the confusion of so many lords and captains, as we before said, all fell into disorder, and there was discord in the guard and 297 defence of the city; and each one who could gave heed
1291 A. D.
to his own safety, taking refuge in ships and in other vessels which were in the port. For the which cause the Saracens, continuing the attacks by day and by night, entered the city by force and traversed it, robbing everywhere and slaying all who came in their way, and the young men and maidens were carried off as slaves; and there were of slain and prisoners, men, women and children, more than 60,000; and the loss of goods and booty was infinite. And having collected the booty and treasures, and carried away the prisoners out of the city, they broke down the walls and strongholds, and set fire to them, and destroyed all the city, whereby Christendom sustained very great hurt, for by the loss of Acre there remained in the Holy Land no city pertaining to the Christians; and never again was any one of the good trading cities, which are on our sea-shores and borders, worth one-half of its former profit in merchandise and arts; because of the loss of the city and port of Acre, by reason of its good situation right on the brow of our sea, and in the midst of Syria, and well-nigh in the midst of the inhabited world, seventy miles distant from Jerusalem, a magazine and port for all merchandise, both from the East and from the West; and all races of men in the world met there to barter merchandise; and there were interpreters there of all the languages of the world, so that it was like one of the elements of the world. And this disaster was not without the great and just judgment of God, for that city was more full of sinful men and of women of every kind of abandoned vice than any other Christian city. When the sorrowful tidings came to the West, the Pope proclaimed great indulgences 298
1291 A. D.
and pardons to whosoever should give aid and succour to the Holy Land, sending word to all Christian lords that he purposed a general crusade; and he forbade, under pain of severe judgments and excommunications, that any Christian should go to Alexandria or the land of Egypt with merchandise, or victuals, or wood, or iron, or should give aid and favour there in any wise.

§ 146. — Of the death of King Rudolf of Germany.

1291 A. D.
In the said year 1291, King Rudolf of Germany died, but he never attained to the honours of the Empire, because he was always intent upon increasing his state
Purg. vi.
and lordship in Germany, leaving the enterprises of Italy that he might increase land and possessions for his sons; who, by his energy and valour, from a small count rose to be Emperor, and gained for himself the duchy of Austria, and a great part of the duchy of Suabia.

§ 147. — How King Philip of France caused all the Italians to be taken prisoner, and then ransomed. § 148. — How the Pisans recaptured the fortress of Pontadera.

§ 149. — How the city of Forlì in Romagna was taken by Maghinardo da Susinana

In the said year all the county of Romagna, being obedient to Holy Church, and under the care of the bishop of Arezzo, which was count thereof for the Pope, Maghinardo da Susinana, with certain nobles and great men of Romagna, took the city of Forlì by theft, and in it they took the Count Aghinolfo of Romena with his sons, which was brother to the said count bishop of Arezzo; and they besieged the said count bishop in Cesena; whence arose great war in Romagna. The said 299 Maghinardo was a great and wise tyrant, holding many
1291 A. D.
castles between Casentino and Romagna, and having many followers; and he was wise in war and very fortunate in many battles, and in his time did great things. He was a Ghibelline by race and by his works, but with the Florentines he was a Guelf and the enemy of all
Cf. Inf.
their enemies, whether they were Guelfs or Ghibellines; and in every expedition and battle which the Florentines undertook, whilst he was alive, he was with his people in their service as a captain; and this was because, when his father died, which was called Piero Pagano, a great nobleman, leaving the said Maghinardo, a young child with many enemies, to wit, the Counts Guidi and the Ubaldini and other lords of Romagna, this said father left him to the care and tutelage of the people and commonwealth of Florence, him and his lands; by the which commonwealth his patrimony was benignly increased and guarded and improved, and for this cause he was grateful and very faithful to the commonwealth of Florence in all its needs.

§ 150. — How the Florentines took the castle of Ampinana. § 151. — How Pope Nicholas, of Ascoli, died.
1292 A. D.
§ 152. — How the whole city of Noyon, in France, was burnt. § 153. — How Adolf was elected king of the Romans. § 154. — How the Florentines marched upon the city of Pisa. § 155. — Of the miracles which were manifested in Florence by S. Maria d’ Orto San Michele.





[BACK]          [Blueprint]         [NEXT]

Valid CSS!