First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

The marquises of Este, who exercised lordship over Ferrara for the benefit of the church, and subdued Modena and Reggio after the year of the Jubilee, became so mighty that Charles (Carolus) the Second, the Neapolitan king, espoused Beatrice, his daughter, to Azzo, then marquis of Este. But Azzo did not avail himself of the honors and joys of this marriage for long; for in the first year of the marriage, Friscus, his youthful son by a strange woman, caused him to die in prison By the favor of certain Ferrarians and the bishop, this youth secured the lordship of the cities of Ferrara, Modena, and Reggio. And there, at his request, the Venetians assisted him with their ships; for the castle, called Thealdum[Probably Tedaldo.], lay by the bridge giving passage from the city over the river Po toward Bologna. But Friscus did not dare to take this castle without ships, a fact known to Cardinal Pelagura, whom the pope had sent to Bologna; and so he commanded the Venetians, under threat of an interdict, to withdraw from the Ferrarian affair, and to depart from there with their men and ships. But the Venetians continued their warfare against the castle, set fire to all the ships of the Ferrarians, and took possession of the portion of the city adjacent to the bridge. Before the command and order of the papal legate became known, the Venetians had burned and destroyed the bridge, and taken possession of the castle. Meanwhile Friscus, assisted by Rinaldus, captain of the expedition, set half the city of Ferrara on fire. When the commotion caused by the Venetians had somewhat subsided, the Ferrarians surrendered to them. Then Pope Clement publicly interdicted the Venetians at Avignon, and ordered that wherever Venetians might be found, they were to be seized and sold as slaves; and so many of their estates in Flanders and elsewhere were taken and confiscated.

The Marquises of Este constituted one of the oldest reigning houses of Italy. The house is in all probability of Lombard origin. The lordship of the town of Este was first acquired by Alberto Azzo II, who also bore the title of Marquis of Italy. In 1097, the house divided into a German and an Italian branch. The former was founded by Welf IV, who was made duke of Bavaria by the emperor Henry IV in 1070; and from him are descended the Este-Guelph House of Brunswick and Hanover, and the sovereigns of Great Britain. The Italian branch was founded by Welf’s brother, Fulco I. As heads of the Guelph party, the princes of the house of Este received, at different times, Ferrara, Modena, Regio, and other fiefs and territories. Obizzo I, son of Fulco, was the first to bear the title of marquis of Este. He entered into the Guelphic league against the emperor Frederick I, and was comprehended in the treaty of Venice of 1177 by which municipal podestas (foreigners chosen as heads of cities to administer justice) were instituted. In 1184, he was reconciled with Frederick, who created him marquis of Genoa and Milan. By the marriage of his son Azzo to the heiress of the Marchesella family, he acquired great influence in Ferrara. But he was opposed by the hardly less powerful house of Torelli. Obizzo died in 1194 and Azzo V, having predeceased him, the marquisate devolved on his grandson, Azzo VI (1170-1212), who became head of the Guelph party, and to whom the people of Ferrara sacrificed their liberty by making him their first lord in 1208. But during his lifetime, civil war raged in the city between the Este and the Torelli, each party being driven out again and again. Azzo (also called Azzolino) died in 1212 and was succeeded by Aldobrandino I, who, in 1213, concluded a treaty with Salinguerra Torelli, the head of that house, to divide the government of the city between them. On his death in 1215, he was succeeded by his brother, Azzo VII, surnamed Novello, but Salinguerra Torelli usurped all power in Ferrara, and, in 1222, expelled Azzo. In 1240, Gregory IX determined it wise to begin by crushing the chief Ghibelline houses. Thus Azzo found himself in league with the pope and various Guelph cities in his attempt to regain Ferrara. After a four-month’s siege the two surrendered, Salinguerra was sent to Venice as a prisoner, and Azzo ruled in Ferrara once more. The Ghibelline party was annihilated, but the city enjoyed peace and happiness within, although her citizens took part in the wars raging outside. The Guelph cause triumphed, Frederick being defeated several times, and, after his death, Azzo helped in crushing the terrible Eccelino da Romano, who upheld the imperial cause at the battle of Cassano, in 1259. He died in 1264 and was succeeded by Obizzo II (1240-1293), his grandson, who, in 1288, received the lordship of Modena, and that of Reggio in 1289. Obizzo died in 1293 and was succeed by his son, Azzo VIII, but the latter’s brothers, Aldobrino and Francesco, who were to have shared in the government, were expelled and became his bitter enemies. The misgovernment of Azzo led to the revolt of Reggio and Modena, which shook off his yoke. He died in 1308 and left a disputed succession. The history of the house now becomes involved and of little interest until the time of Nicholas III (1384-1441), who ruled Ferrari, Modena, Parma, and Reggio, waged many wars, was made general of the army of the church, and, in his later years, governor of Milan, where he died, not without suspicion of poison. The history of the house of Este from this time forward is beyond the scope of the present account.

The city of Ferrara, capital of the province of the same name, is situated on a branch of the Po, thirty miles northeast of Bologna. The most prominent building is the square castle of the house of Este, in the center of the town. It is a brick building surrounded by a moat with four towers. The origin of the city is uncertain. It was probably a settlement formed by the inhabitants of the lagoons at the mouth of the Po. It appears first in a document of Aistulf of 753 or 754 as a city in the exarchate of Ravenna. After 984 we find it a fief of Count Tedaldo of Modena and Canossa, who was a nephew of the emperor Otho I. It afterwards made itself independent, and, in 1101, was taken by siege by the countess Matilda. At this time it was mainly dominated by several aristocratic families, among them the Adelardi. In 1146, the property of Guglielmo Adelardi passed, as the dowry of his niece Marchesella, to Azzolino d’Este. His grandson, Obizzo II, succeeded him, and the pope nominated him captain-general and defender of the states of the Church; and the house of Este was from henceforth settled in Ferrara.

Robert, son of Charles (Caroli) the Second, king of Sicily and Apuleia, reigned there for 33 years after the death of his father. He was a noble king, and a son endowed with every virtue. He was highly praised by many orators and poets, and was renowned, not only for his knowledge and experience in military affairs, but esteemed among his contemporaries for his ingenuity and wisdom in the Holy Scriptures, philosophy and medicine. In his old age he expressed a wish to hear Francis Petrarch the poet. Robert was crowned by the pope at Avignon, according to the usual custom. Afterwards he dispatched his brother John (Iohannem) against the emperor Henry (Heinricum) at Rome; but Henry deposed Robert. However, Pope Clement would not consent to this. Later on Robert subjugated the city of Genoa. On his deathbed he provided that his grandson Andrew (Andream), king of Hungary, should succeed him, Robert having no son of his own.[Robert (1275-1343), king of Naples, was the son of Charles II, duke of Anjou and king of Naples, whom he succeed on the throne in 1309. He was crowned by Clement V at Avignon, and appointed papal vicar in Romagna to resist the emperor Henry VII and the imperialists. Henceforth, Robert was recognized as the leader of the Guelphs or papal faction. On various occasions he obtained for himself or his sons the suzerainty over Rome, Florence, and other cities, and was regarded as the most powerful Italian prince of his day. He was a man of learning, a generous patron of literary men, and a friend of Petrarch. He died in 1343.]


Canis Della Scala (Scaliger), being a man of stern disposition, was surnamed the Great. He assumed the lordship of Verona, and for fully twenty years governed with such righteousness, wisdom and justice, that by his kindness rather than by the sword, he reduced the district of Romaniola to submission. He was a just prince, gracious and kind, and specially loved and esteemed the learned. After he had made the city of Verona renowned for its great buildings, he died in the Year of the Lord 1329 on the 22nd day of July without male issue, leaving the government to his cousins, the brothers Alberto and Mastino. He was mourned by every man, and his remains were buried with great pomp in the church by the market place of the city. His magnificent tomb, with his statue and an inscription, may be seen at the church door.[The Scaligers or Lords della Scala: In the Middle Ages Verona grew in size and importance, though, like other cities of northern Italy, it suffered much during the Guelph and Ghibelline struggles, rising to a foremost position under its various rulers of the Scaliger or Della Scala family. The first prominent member of this family and founder of his dynasty was Mastino I, della Scala, who ruled over the city from 1260 until his death in 1277. Alberto della Scala, who died in 1301, was succeeded by his eldest son, Bartolomeo, who was confirmed as ruler of Verona by the popular vote, and died in 1304. It was in his time that Romeo and Juliet are said to have lived. Alboino, the second son, succeeded his brother, and died in 1311, when the youngest son of Alberto, Can Grande, who, since 1308, had been joint-lord of Verona with his brother, succeeded to the undivided power. Can Grande (Francesco della Scala) was the best and most illustrious of his line. He died in 1329. The dynasty lasted for more than a century. In 1387, a duke of Milan conquered Verona, and, soon after his death, the city fell by treacherous means into the hands of Francesco II, di Carrara, lord of Padua. In 1404-5, Verona, together with Padua, was finally conquered by Venice, to which it remained subject until the overthrow of the Venetian republic by Napoleon in 1797, when it was ceded to the Austrians with the rest of Venetia.]

Louis (Ludovicus), son of King Philip of France, reigned for two years as his father’s successor. He was a lover of the Christian faith and the clergy. When he learned that the cardinals in various cities of France had become dispersed and so remained for a long time because of dissensions, and that two cardinals had been slain, he reassembled then under summons to appear at Lyons for the election of a pope. They obeyed him and elected Jacobus the bishop of Porto. In the year this pope was elected Louis fled, leaving a child, John (Johanne), who reigned only twenty days.[Louis X (1289-1316), king of France and Navarre, called le Hutin (‘the Quarreller’), was the son of Philip IV whom he succeeded in 1314. Need of money inspired one famous ordinance of this reign: in 1315, the serfs of the royal domains were invited to buy their civil liberty—an invitation which did not meet with great enthusiasm, as the freed man was merely freed for further exploitation, and Philip V was obliged to renew it in 1318. Louis X died suddenly in 1316. His first wife, Margaret, died a prisoner in the chateau Gaillard. He left a posthumous son, King John I.]