Petrarch's Eight Years in Milan

By Ernest Hatch Wilkins | Go to book overview
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1354 From the Advent of the Empaw to the End of the Year

On the death of the Archbishop the Milanese succession passed to his three nephews, Matteo, Bernabò, and Galeazzo, in accordance with the provisions of a decree that had been made in 1339 by the Milanese General Council. Matters of general policy were dealt with by all three brothers, but the city of Milan and the many cities now subject to Milan were divided among the three brothers. Cities to the southeast were assigned to Matteo, cities to the northeast to Bernabò, and cities to the west to Galeazzo. There appears to be no record of the division of Milan itself, beyond the fact that two of the gates of the city were assigned to each of the brothers. Presumably the southeastern gates were assigned to Matteo, the northeastern gates to Bernabò, and the western gates to Galeazzo. In this case Petrarch's house close to Sant'Ambrogio would have been in the portion of the city assigned to Galeazzo. Matteo and his brothers followed the precedent set by their uncle in honoring Petrarch and allowing him his desired freedom.


From October 1354 to June 1355 the main new element in the life of Italy was the presence of the Emperor, Charles IV, who had left Nuremberg on 26 September and reached Gemona, on Italian soil, on 13 October. He came not with an army, as the Venetians had hoped, but with a bodyguard; and his chief purposes were to reëstablish the prestige of the Empire in Italy and to receive the imperial crown in Rome from a representative


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