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1110 The Lombard town of Lodi is destroyed by Milan1118-1127 Milan defeats Como, thereby controlling access to the mountain passes connecting Milan to the Swiss cities.Italian Culture Notes 32
1130 Milan conquers the town of Crema.1158 Milan assumes leadership of the Lombard communes seeking independence from the Holy Roman Emperor, but is defeated in battle.1161-1162 The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa tries to reassert his claim to Lombardy by capturing and destroying Milan.1176 The Lombard League (Lega lombarda) is created and defeats Frederick Barbarossa at the famous battle of Legnano. With the Peace of Constance, six years later,Frederick formally acknowledged the independence of Milan and the other communes of the Lombard League.1198 The increased activity of merchants and artisans fosters the creation of the Council of Beliefs (also known as Credenza di Sant’Ambrogio) that allowed for self-governance. The old aristocracy, on the other hand, was organized around the Motta. The tension between aristocracy and middleclass brought about a monarchic government known as a signoria (seigniory) in which a lord (signore) ruled the town and surrounding territories.1259 Martin della Torre becomes seignior of Milan.1277 Otto Visconti becomes seignior of Milan. In the decades that followed, the Torriani family, representing the Guelf cause (pro-Papacy), struggled for power against the Visconti family, representing the Ghibelline cause (pro-Holy Roman Emperor).1260 New city walls expand the size of Milan to 200 square hectares, making it one of the biggest cities in Europe, with a population of over 100,000 inhabitants.1288 The poet Bonvesin de la Riva writes about the greatness of Milan (De magnalibus urbis Mediolani) praising its inhabitants, its vigorous economic activity (especially in the textile trade), and its splendid churches and palaces.1311 Matteo Visconti consolidates his family’s power over the city.1329 Azzone Visconti consolidates the neighboring towns under Milan’s hegemony. This will eventually create the State of Milan (Stato di Milano). Under the reign of the Visconti, class struggles cease, and most of the republican institutions that existed under the commune are abolished. The various classes that participated in the administration of the commune are now replaced by a closed patrician class.1386 Gian Galeazzo Visconti begins the construction of the Duomo (cathedral) of Milan, the largest Gothic cathedral in Europe, and the third largest church in the world. Although not completed until the end of the 18th century, this building will become an important center of industry for Milanese craftsmen and architects in the centuries that followed.1447 Filippo Maria Visconti dies without heirs, and the republican cause is revived. With the support of the people and the most important Milanese families, the Ambrosian Republic is created.