Italy Federiciana Part 3
While southern Italy experienced this great unifying phase, and northern and central Italy continued to be divided into dozens and dozens of different centers of power, Germany remained articulated in its great duchies, in some territorial principalities and in the dominions. of a series of archbishoprics and bishoprics. On 9 March 1152, after several years of uncertainty in the succession of the Kingdom, Frederick of Hohenstaufen, or of Swabia, was elected king of Germany, and therefore natural candidate for the crown of Italy and the Empire., who would have said Barbarossa. Assisted by an important circle of faithful and advisers, high prelates and jurists, Frederick wanted to affirm the supremacy of imperial authority over the myriad of powers that had formed within the frontiers of the Western Empire: not only duchies and counties, but the many castle districts dominated by the local nobles, and the autonomous cities that ruled over their counties. The Kingdom of Sicily should also have been effectively brought back under the imperial crown. They were very different scenarios, in which the German emperor moved by reconciling, on the one hand, general affirmations of sovereignty and the idea that every public prerogative should be considered as a feudal benefit granted by the emperor, and on the other capillary and targeted interventions.. In Rome the movement of Arnaldo da Brescia was disavowed and harshly repressed, and with it the prospect of separation between ecclesiastical authorities and political powers. Then the link between Churches and public powers led to a new conflict between the imperial summit and the ecclesiastical summit, and to a struggle between Frederick and Pope Alexander III who intertwined with the very hard struggle that opposed the emperor to Milan and to the other cities of municipal Italy in solidarity with it. When Federico lost the military forces of the German princes, always in an attitude of rebellion against their sovereign, he was defeated on the Italian ground (battle of Legnano, 1176). A process of pacification then began, first of all with Alexander III: the peace solemnly stipulated in Venice in 1177 allowed Frederick to regain control over the German princes and to organize a new Italian policy.
According to Countryvv, a few years later, on 25 June 1183, an act of pacification was stipulated in Constance between the emperor and the cities of the societas Lombardiae driven from Milan. The recognition of an intervention by the imperial authorities in confirming the city government magistrates, the consuls, was balanced by the prospect of a substantial transfer to the municipal cities of the public prerogatives (especially fiscal ones) of which they had taken possession, following a possible procedure of reconnaissance that could have been replaced by a form of monetization. Also on the other side of Federico Barbarossa’s Italian politics, the desire for political control of southern Italy, the attempt to achieve the objective with military force, which had also been considered and prepared, was finally pursued through a diplomatic path, with the marriage between the emperor’s son and the Norman heir of the Kingdom of Sicily,, in 1186. With these arrangements behind him, all of temporary and uncertain effectiveness but still firmly established, Frederick Barbarossa set out on the undertaking that in the ideas of the time now appeared to be the greatest undertaking of royal and imperial sovereignties, the reconquest of the Holy Places ; here he met his death, less than ten years after the political settlement of the affairs of Germany and Italy (1190). Frederick’s successor in the crowns of Germany, Italy and Sicily, Henry VI, immediately found himself engaged in a series of grueling conflicts for the affirmation of his effective sovereignty over all those scenarios.
The tumultuous events of Italy had long since matured, when it was finally Frederick II to assume those crowns, a series of pessimistic stereotypes about quarrelsome and rebellious mores , about the political unreliability of the Italics. In part, the Swabian ruler had to make them his own, from the time of the perilous journey that led him from Lombardy to Germany in 1212, and which he recalled in an encyclical letter of December 1227, up to the denunciation of the mos of disobedience of the Lombards in the epistle to Pope Gregory IX of August 1235 , to reach towards those forties in which the sense of the betrayal of cities and powers grew: thus in Arezzo, in January 1240, Frederick II recited one of his poems against this city, “arca di mèle, bitter as gall” ( Annales Arretinorum, 1909-1912, p. 5). He recited it in Italian, the language he knew and certainly loved, as he loved the cultural and literary climate to which he gave great impetus on his part. Because equally rooted in the negative stereotypes about Italy had been consolidated the admired judgments on the economic and cultural prosperity of a country with a much higher literacy than in the rest of Europe, full of codes and scriptores., the cradle of the legal sciences, all supported by intense social mobility, by dynamic classes of merchants and by the fluid ascents of non-noble men to knighthood and public offices: a country where there were regions “flourishing for wealth and for the value of men”, as the emperor expressed himself in the same encyclical of December 1227 that has just been mentioned.