chapter  10
18 Pages

The Italian City-states

In his letter of 1157 describing the first five years of his reign, Frederick Barbarossa had laid great stress on the results of his intervention in Lombardy, which he presented as a rebellious land now restored to its proper position of imperial subordination. But in fact the letter represented wish rather than reality, and his continuing attempts to reshape the Italian political structure into the imperial mould became a major preoccupation of his reign. In taking on the Italian cities, Frederick had come up against one of the most dynamic forces of twelfth-century Christendom, that of the communal movement which, far more than anywhere else, manifested itself in Lombardy and Tuscany.