Warfare between Bologna and Faenza in 1275

Salimbene de Adam, a Franciscan, produced his Chronicle in the 1280s. He left one of the most interesting and wide-ranging histories of the Middle Ages, in which he covers a variety of matters, from the political maneuvers of the Italian city-states to the practical jokes that his fellow monks played upon each other. In this section, Salimbene writes about the attack of Bolognese forces upon Faenza.

The siege of Faenza in this year.

In this year Faenza was besieged by the Bolognese Church party and a number of knights, infantry, and archers from the cities of Modena, Reggio, Parma, and Cremona. And the surrounding areas of the city were laid waste and destroyed. I was living at that time in Faenza, and I saw and experienced all these things.

In this year the Imperial and the Church parties clashed twice and the Imperial party always held out.

On April 24, 1275, Indiction III, the Bolognese army, alone without their allies, under the leadership of Niculuccio Balugani, podesta of Bologna and citizen of Jesi, and Lord Malatesta de Virulo of Rimini, captain of the people, marched against the Faenzans and the exiles from Bologna, who were at Faenza. And while they were before the gate of Faenza, the Faenzans and the Bolognese exiles marched against certain castles held by the Bolognese. And on their return to Faenza they met the Bolognese army and, caught in such a dangerous situation, they fought against them valiantly. And it pleased God that the Bolognese army was conquered and put to flight, with many being killed, captured, and mortally wounded. This battle took place near the bridge of San Proculo, which is two or three short miles from Faenza.

On Thursday, June 13, of that same year, the Bolognese enlisted the aid of the Lombards and marched against the forces of Faenza and Forli, seeking to destroy them. And the Bolognese army was made up of knights and archers from Ferrara, Modena, Reggio, and Parma. And they made camp at the bridge of San Proculo, which, as noted above, was only two or three miles from Faenza. In this army there was an infinite number of knights and foot soldiers. And when this army crossed the bridge to lay waste to Faenza, Count Guido da Monte Feltro, captain of the forces of Faenza, Forli, and the Bolognese exiles sent word to Lord Malatesta, the Bolognese captain, that he was fully ready for the encounter. And Lord Malatesta did not hold back. And so the Faenzans went forth with all their allies and readied their forces for battle, and Malatesta did the same. When all was in readiness, Count Guido rushed upon the Bolognese powerfully and skilfully, conquering, pursuing, killing, and capturing. And when all the knights had been put to flight, cut down by the sword, or taken prisoner, Guido turned his attention to the common soldiers, more than four thousand in number, who were grouped in a single mass about the carroccio. But they immediately surrendered to the Count without a battle, and they were taken into the city’ amid cries of victory and triumph and cast into prison.

The men of Faenza and Forli take the spoils of war from the defeated Bolognese army. The number of those who were killed in the battle.

The Faenzans went to the place where the Bolognese army had camped and took all the food, pavilions, tents, wagons, and everything remaining. Many noble and powerful knights had been killed in that battle: Lord Nicholas de Bazaleri, Arriguccio de Galluzzi of Bologna, and, in addition, more than 3225 knights and foot soldiers from Bologna. From Reggio, the following men were killed: Lord John Rossello de Roberti, the captain of the knights of Reggio; Lord Princivallo de Menozo; and Guido Briga, son of the late Lord Bernard Conrad. And their bodies had been carried to Reggio in a coffin. And the first two had been buried at the same time in the convent of the Preachers. They lay in state in the church of St. Barnabas outside Porta San Pietro. And the whole city went outside the gate to pay them respect on Saturday, June 15. But Guido Briga was carried for many days after his death in a coffin and was taken to the church of the Friars Minor where he was buried. Also killed in that battle was Nicholas, son of the late Bishop Philip, who had been one of the judges in the entourage of the podesta of Bologna, and his body could not be found on that battlefield. This victory for the Faenzans and slaughter for the Bolognese took place on the feast of St. Anthony [June 13] of the Order of the Friars Minor; thus the Bolognese would not allow St. Anthony’s name to be spoken in Bologna. The year before on the vigil of St. Francis, the Bolognese had lifted their siege of Faenza out of weariness. Thus the Faenzans had avoided great evil through St. Francis, and received great good through St. Anthony.

This text was first published in The Chronicle of Salimbene de Adam, translated by Joseph L. Biard (Binghampton: Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, 1986). This work is part of Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies. We thank the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies for allowing us to republish this text.

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