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army was reduced and dispirited, was very willing to temporise till such time as he could recruit his forces.*
To suppose that either party was really affected by fear, or made a base submission, is impossible for any one who considers well the character of the persons concerned. Frederic, more decidedly outnumbered than he was on the present occasion, had
* It is curious to remark how the prejudices of historians affect their sincerity, even when they have no intention of perverting the truth. In everything where the papal jurisdiction was concerned, the tumid and somewhat vapid account of the Mr. Berington, whom we have before spoken of, displays an extraordinary instance of prejudice assuming the tone of candour. In relating the events connected with the siege of Alexandria, he suppresses many facts which are necessary to guide our judgment; and by not giving all which is told even by the papal scribes themselves, he raises into a miracle the resistance of the inhabitants, and the magnanimity of the Lombards. Thus he declares that Alexandria was surrounded only by a deep ditch, and concealing altogether that some contemporary authors assure us the walls were exceedingly strong, and that almost every other historian alludes to those walls more or less, he declares that the besieged presented nothing “against the Emperor's machines but the noble spirit of freemen.” All this is very silly and very wrong, for undoubtedly the Emperor did not make use of his catapults against a spirit. Mr. Berington also conceals the fact, that the mine fell in and crushed a number of the imperial soldiers; and he suppresses altogether the strong motives that we have for supposing that Frederic, instead of marching direct to Pavia, sought the Lombard forces with a view of giving them battle. All these things should assuredly have been told by an historian affecting sincerity.
before attacked and defeated the force of the papal partisans, in the neighbourhood of Rome; and Eccelino himself had gained undying renown in the crusade of the Emperor Conrad. Thus much is to be said in favour of the Lombards, however, that they were undoubtedly sincere in their expressed desire of peace, while Frederic, on the contrary, was apparently playing a more deceitful game, and only seeking to gain time, in the hope of obliterating his late defeats by fresh efforts and fresh success.
It is true, that during the rest of the year 1175, negociations were carried on between the Emperor and the Pope, as well as between Frederic and the Lombard states, with a view of effecting some arrangement by which the general pacification of Italy might be secured; and in justice to Frederic I am bound to say, that he himself sought to treat with Rome, and displayed great courtesy and kindness, both to the Papal and Lombard envoys, collected round him at Pavia. Nevertheless, we find that, in the course of the year 1175, Frederic vehemently urged his chief supporters in the empire to give him aid in carrying on the war; and although it was very necessary that he should be prepared against an unfavourable termination of the negociation with the Lombards, yet there was a degree of eagerness and haste in his levies at this time, that spoke unfavourably for his sincerity. The Pope and the confederates, at the same time, declared his demands to be exorbitant, and at the conclusion of that year it had become evident that hostilities would be soon renewed.
Many of the princes of the empire hastened to obey the Emperor's summons; but William the Lion of Saxony refused his presence, and did not send his troops. A large army, however, was collected, and prepared to march early in the year 1176; and immediately after Easter it set out, under the command of the Archbishop of Magdeburg and the Archbishop of Cologne. Tidings of the approach of the imperial army soon reached Italy, and both parties in that country instantly flew to arms. The people of Milan, Brescia, Piacenza, Novara, and Vercelli, with the inhabitants of several other places, hastened to defend the liberties of their country, while the Marquis of Monferrat and the citizens of Pavia, as well as those of Como, prepared to join the standard of the Emperor.
As soon as Frederic, who had remained at Pavia, heard that his army had advanced into the defiles of the Alps, he hastened to put himself at its head, and met the two Archbishops in the neighbourhood of Belinzona, at the top of the Lago Maggiore. He then proceeded slowly down towards the south, by the course of the Ticino, and then between the lakes, till he reached the city of Como, where his career was destined to be arrested by that fatal battle which broke the sceptre of his sway in Italy.
I have mentioned that at the first news of the march of the imperial army, the cities of Lombardy began to arm in their own defence; but the Prelates of Magdeburg and Cologne, notwithstanding the early season of the year and the difficult passes which they were obliged to follow, had made so much haste that the Emperor was marching down in force upon Italy before several of the confederates had time to join their allies. The citi. zens of Milan, however, with those of Brescia, Piacenza, and three other cities, advanced at once to meet the Emperor, ere he could effect his junction with the forces which were advancing to support him from the side of Monferrat and Savoy. As in the case of the famous battle of the standard in England, in order to give the vigour of religious enthusiasm to the troops, the sacred banner of Milan, elevated upon a car, called the Carroccio, was borne in the midst of the Lombard army; and as the whole force, we have reason to believe, was composed of tried and chosen soldiers, confidence and determination reigned throughout the host. Advancing with great rapidity, the Lombards soon arrived within a short distance of the imperial camp, and finding that the Emperor was marching down the course of the Ticino, they halted, and drew up their army in battle array between that river and Legnano, near the small town or village of Busti, a little to the right of the road leading from Domo d'Ossola to Milan. The little river Olona was to their
right, and not far in advance the rivulet of the Lombard Arno: the Ticino was at some short distance on their left; and thus it was well nigh impossible for the Emperor to escape them had he been so inclined.
Such was not the case, however; but, on the contrary, he marched forward with a bold face, throwing out a body of three hundred German knights to reconnoitre the country in advance. On the part of the Lombards, seven hundred horse were dispatched to ascertain the movements of the enemy; and on the 29th of May 1176, these detached parties encountered each other, it being the day of the Saints Alexander and Sisinnius. Though the German knights, who first commenced the battle, were so much inferior in number to the body of Lombards opposed to them, they did not give way, but maintained the fight boldly, till the army of Frederic approaching, the seven hundred Lombards retreated to the main body of their forces; and the Emperor marched on without pause or hesitation to attack the enemy.
The first shock was tremendous, but the result here also proved favorable to the imperial arms. The people of Brescia, who composed the vanguard of the Lombard host, offered a desperate resistance, but in the end their phalanx was broken, and they were put to flight. A number of Frederic's horsemen now inconsiderately left their ranks to pursue the fugitives, although the