Chap. VI. Progress of Chivalry in Germany and Italy
CHIVALRY may be considered either in a political or a military aspect, either as influencing the destinies of nations, or affecting the mode and circumstances of war. In Germany it offers to us no circumstances of the former class. Germany was connected with Italy more than
CHAP. with any other country of Europe during the VI. middle ages. The wars of the emperors for the kingdom of Italy did not proceed fi'om any principles or feelings that can be termed chivah'ic; nor can any ingenuity torture the fierce contests between the popes and the emperors into knightly encounters. The chivalry of Germany seldom appeared in generous rivalry with that of any other country; and in circumstances which leave no doubt of the issue, if the chivalry of England or France had been engaged, the Imperial knights quailed before partially-disciplined militia. In Italy the power of Milan was more dreaded than that of the Emperor Frederic Barbarossa; and he subdued the northern states rather by drawing their cities to his side, which were jealous of the Milanese authority, than by the force of his chivalry. A few years afterwards the cities of Lam bardy formed a league against him; and when the question of Italian independence was debated in arms, the militia of the cities triumphed over the flower of German chivalry in the battle of Legnano. Nor could Germany ever afterwards thoroughly re-establish her power. Many political circumstances and moral reasons prevented it; but the weakness of her military arm was the chief and prevailing cause.