Scenario 1176. A Refusal in Upper Italy

Historical Background.

A long era of co-operation between the Welfen (Guelfs) and Staufer (Ghibellines) came to an sudden end, when in January/February 1176 Henry the Lion (=Heinrich der Loewe) refused to give military support to the Emperor in his war against the Lombard League.

On the feast day of Epiphany the Duke bade farewell to Mathilde at Brunswick (=Braunschweig) and after a long and hard journey on horseback arrived at Chiavenna in Italy near the border of the Swabian tribe in order to meet his cousin, the Emperor. Empress Beatrix and the Guelf bailiff, Count Jordan of Blankenburg were witnesses to the dramatic scene which then followed. Barbarossa's situation was critical. A truce with the Lombard League had ended, and a peace treaty seemed unattainable. The Emperor felt that he had no alternative to leading an army to fight in Lombardy. His only good chance of victory would have been the military support of his mightiest vassal with a Saxon- Bavarian contingent. However, the Emperor's urgent pleas did not change the Duke's posi- tion. In vain, Barbarossa even fell to his knees before Henry. Some historical sources add other dramatic details to the scene: the bailiff, Jordan of Blankenburg is recorded as saying "Let the crown of the Empire lie before your feet, Sire - it will be on your head soon", while Beatrix is said to have helped her husband to his feet with the words "Rise, Sire, and remember this fall. May God remember it too."

It is also said that, Barbarossa handed over the Imperial town of Goslar to the Guelfs, Henry would have agreed to support the Italian expedition.

In Northern and Central Italy during the second third of the twelfth century, a strong movement of rich urban land-owners, merchants, notaries and the urban middle classes rose up against the feudal town governments. In most cases, such governments consisted of Bishops and Archbishops. New, republican constitutions, often directly based upon ancient models (especially upon the classical Roman republican constitution) were proclaimed and installed in many towns.

Emperor Frederic I tried to enforce the traditional imperial rights against such towns. It seems that his first target was the regular payment from the towns with which he would have been able to create a solid financial basic for the Ghibelline Kingship in the whole Holy Empire. In this, he was able to make use of the dissensions and rivalries which existed in each of the towns.

Since his election as German King, Friedrich had made it clear that he regarded himself as having equal status with the Pope. Then, in 1159, there was a controversial Papal election. Barbarossa supported Victor IV. The latter was in favour of the Emperor's postion regard- ing the realtions between lay and clerical power. Opposing this position was the reform Pope, Alexander III, who had been supported by the majority of the Cardinals and the clerics of France, England, Norman-Sicily,. Hungary, Spain, Norway, Ireland, Venice, the Lombard League and the Crusader States.

On the other side were only Germany (2), Bohemia, Burgundy, the Italian towns loyal to the Emperor together with Denmark and Poland whose sovereigns had sworn oaths of fealty to Barbarossa. Barbarossa was remarkably unsuccessful with his anti-Popes. Victor IVdied after a pontificate of only five years, and Pascal III died only four years later. With every death of an anti-Pope, Alexander's prestige grew.

The situation became really dangerous for the Emperor when the hard-pressed North-Italian towns allied with Pope Alexander. This alliance with the Holy See favoured the alliance among the towns and opened the way for international acceptance.

Henry the Lion had always supported the Emperor. In exchange the latter had allowed him a free hand in his duchies. This was a great disadvantage for the nobles and clerics in Saxony and Bavaria, but their complaints about Henry's inconsiderate territorial expansion were made to an Emperor who turned a deaf ear to them.

The Guelf-Ghibelline co-operation seemed so stable that in 1165, an Anglo-German alliance was sealed by a marriage between MAthilde, the daughter of Henry II of England and Henry the Lion, the cousin of the Emperor. It was by this alliance that, for a time, Barbarossa was able to win over the King of England to the party of the anti-Pope(3).

Historians and other writers have often assumed that the brak between the Emperor and the Duke had been planned for a long time by Henry the Lion. If so, he would have conspired agaisnt the Emperor together with his parents in law ever since his visit to England in 1168. During a visit to Byzantium in 1172 (4) he would have sounded out the possibilities for a broad, anti-imperial secret alliance. Henry the Lion would have preferred a Guelf-Norman-Angevin empire to a (south-)German-Italian-Burgundian one.

In this scenario, the Emperor does not have the option of comint o a compromise with the Lombard League and with Pope Alexander. (The game also assumes that Welf VI supports henry the Lion. In fact history indicates that this would have been unlikely to have happened (5).)

End of the Game/Victory Conditions. The Guelf player has won, if a Guelf prince has been crowned German King at Aachen and if he has also been crowned Burgundian King. The Ghibellin player has won, if he prevents a Guelf coronation in Burgundy by the coronation of the Staufer (Ghibelline) King of Burgundy and if he occupies Aachen. If neither player is succesful in doing this by the end of IV/77, the players compare strength points (6)

Setting up the Game.

The player with the higher die-roll result takes the Guelf (Welfen).

The cards 1, 5,7-16, 18-26, 28-55, 57, 60-83, 85-89, 91-97, 104 and 110-112 are used in this scenario.

Ghibelline (Staufer) Faction.

Army Group "Staufer I"

1 Friedrich Barbarossa with 1, 75, 77, 78, 86, 94, 111 and 112 Counter "Staufer 1"

7 Archbishop of Mainz

9 Archbishop of Trier

12 Archbishop of Magdeburg

38 Bishop of Munster

82 Markgrave of Monferrat

The counters "Staufer 3", Beatrix of Burgundy, 7, 9, 12 , 38 and 82 form the army group "Staufer I" . The counter is placed in the area Mark Ancona. (Fate "D" means that a noble or cleric is placed in the area "Patrimonium Petri".

8 Archbishop of Koln

52 Count of Andechs

The counters 8 and 52 are placed in Mailand L5. They are prisoners of the Lombard League.

92 Konrad the Pfalzgraf (Count Palatine) Counter "Staufer 2"

93 Friedrich V. of Schwaben (Swabia) with 72 and 73 Counter "Staufer 3"

32 Bishop of Wurzburg

50 Count of Sulzbach with 66

81 Askanier

Guelf Party (Welfen)

88 Heinrich der Löwe with 61 and 63 Counter "Welfe 1"

11 Archbishop of Bremen

20 Pfalzgraf (Count Palatine) of Sommerschenburg

31 Landgrave of Thuringen

41 Bishop of Halberstadt

53 Count of Schauenburg

83 Count of Fulc-Este

89 Count of Savoyen

The following nobles and clerics will support Heinrich der Löwe, because they are supporters of Pope Alexander. They enter the game if the Guelf player declares his loyalty to Pope Alexander.

10 Archbishop of Salzburg

37 Bishop of Passau

5 Welf VI. Counter Welfe 2

In 1176 already founded towns:

related to card 88 (Welfe 1) Luneburg B6 , Landsberg I7 , Munchen I7 , Lubeck A6

related to card 24 Leipzig D8 (Wettiner)

related to card 1 Hagenau H4, Ulm H6 (both are imperial towns)

related to card 8 Andernach F4 (Staufer),

Gelnhausen (imperial town, Staufer marker)

Ghibelline (Staufer) castles: Nimwegen (D2) , Havelberg (B7) and Brandenburg (C8)

Guelf (Welfen) castles : Ratzeburg (A6), Werle (A7) and Schwerin (A7)

In 1176 destroyed fortresses: Spoleto (O 9), Mecklenburg (B 8), Susa (L4)

The following "heraldic cards" are set apart from the others and are placed face-up on the table (see Additional Rule "L" ):-

20 Babenberger, Duke of Osterreich (Austria) with 67

13 Premyzlids with 60 +

25 Traungauer with 62 and 64 Graz is marked as a town

Special Succession Rules.

If Friedrich Barbarossa (1) dies, Henry VI (card 99) is the heir. He had already been elected and crowned in 1169 and receives all cards except No. 86. Instead of the counter "Staufer 1", the counter of Beatrix as Regent is used. She starts in whatever her husband has died. If the empress is Regent, she is treated as a knight and in case of combat, her fate has to be decided.

If Bearix is no longer in the game, Friedrich V. (card 93) is the heir. The cards 75, 77 and 78 have to be surrendered.

If Friedrich V dies, "Konrad der Pfalzgraf " (=Conrad the Count Palatine card No 92) is the heir.

If "Konrad der Pfalzgraf" dies before Barbarossa, Beatrix or Friedrich V., the coutner is replaced and the card 92 is treated as a fief/standard card and is to be assigned to another noble or cleric.

If Henry the Lion dies, Henry of Brunswick is the heir with Mathilde as Regent. In this case instead of the counter "Welfe 3" the princesses counter is moved (the same conditions as for Beatrix are valid). If Welf VI. dies, Henry the Lion or his heir will inherit the possessions of Welf VI.

Additional Rules for the Scenario 1176.

The scenario is played with the additional rules F, G, J, L, Q and R (optional Rules: B and C with I)

Q. Lombard League (Lega Lombarda).

The Emperor's army is in Central Italy. It has been defeated and the Emperor has been weakened. During game turn 1 (June) only card 1 is assigned to the counter "Staufer 1" (the others 75, 77 etc are placed face-down). After finishing game turn 1 he may activate one of these cards. (As well as after each of the following game-turns).

The members of the Lombard League and the Veronese League are marked on the map with the flag of the Lega Lombarda (red cross on white)(8). The counter "Lega Lombarda" (representing the army of the Lombard League consisting of the contingents of all members) is placed in the open terrain near Mailand (L5/6).

If any other counter enters the area where the "Lega Lombarda" counter is placed, the Guelf (Welfen) player may move the counter and carry out an action. The strength of the "Lega Lombarda" counter is 2000 plus the intrinsic strength of all Lombard League fortresses in the area. The strength of this counter decreases if any Lombard League fortress in any area ist captured or destroyed (For any city, - 300; for any town, -200, for the castle of Garda, - 150.) Under no circumstances may the "Lega Lombarda" counter enter any region other than those of "Lombardei", "Mark Verona" and "Romagna", and they are not allowed to move into the alpine mountains on the road to Chiavenna.

The Ghibelline (Staufer) may engage parts of the Lombard League army if they move forces on the alpine road immediately south of Chiavenna. For any Ghibelline strength point the "Lega Lombarda" counter is reduced to a realtion of 2 :1. (200 Ghibelline strength points south of Chiavenna lead to a reduction of the Lombard League counter of - 100). If the Ghibelline army group has fought the "Lega Lombarda" counter and already occupies the area, other Ghibelline counters may enter the area.

The Lombards are allies of the Guelf (Welfen)(9). The Guelf may reinforce the "Lega Lombarda" counter if they move their own counters into the area (such reinforcement counters are stacked together with the "Lega Lombarda" counter, and of course, they have free passage through the fortresses controlled by the Lombard/Veronese League). If the Guelf have reinforced the "Lega Lombarda" counter, they can control the counter (movement and action).

Pavia, Genua, Pisa, Ravenna and Florenz (Florence) are allied with the Ghibellines and are marked accordingly.

R. Schism.

All clerics cards which are not already mentioned above are separated from the "neutrals card deck and form a special "clerics" card deck. If the Guelf (Welfen) player so wishes, he may declare support for Alexander III. The Guelf than receive the cards 10, 37 and 5 and 1x D6 is rolled for each card from the "clerics" deck by each player.The player rolling the higher number wins the card. In the case of tie, the Guelf player gets the cleric's support.

Starting the game The Guelf player is the first to place all his counters on the board. From July 1176, the Guelf may attack the Ghibellines. The Ghibellines may attack the Lombard League even in June. The Guelf player rolls the dice to determine whether the passes are open or not.

What did really happen after the battle of Legnano?

Like most twelfth century battles fought between Christian powers, this was not one which resulted in the complete destruction of the defeated side or which left them with only the option of unconditional surrender. The Emperor was able to retreat and to rally the remainder of his forces. However, the defeat made Friedrich I realise that he had to seek a compromise with the Italians. It is possible that he thought that he might be faced with an alliance between the Guelf, the Lombard League and Pope Alexander. To the surprise of his contemporaries, his first treaty with Pope Alexander III was signed in November 1176 at Anagni. Barbarossa agreed to forsake the anti-Pope and to renounce all Italian possessions which were claimed by the Pope (i.e. Romagna, Spoleto, Ancona, Toscana and the non-feudal possessions of Matilda of Canossa). He was also obliged to end the war with the Lombard League. Pope Alexander released him and all his partisans from excommunication and recognized him as Emperor and his son Henry VI as Emperor-designate. What is more, the Pope even accepted all clerics who had been partisans of Emperor and the anti-Pope(10).

Friedrich Barbarossa stood his ground on the matter of the Lombards. This forced the Pope, who had been the ally of the Lombard League, into a compromise: 15 years truce. In order to gain the Emperor's consent, Alexander himself had to offer to renounce the revenues from the Matildan possessions for these 15 years. The treaty was signed on 1st August 1177. The Emperor remained in Upper Italy for a long time, finally moving on to Burgundy in 1178 where he was crowned King of Burgundy in Arles. It was not before October 1178 that he returned to Germany.

It was there that Henry the Lion was in conflict with Bishop Ulrich of Halberstadt and Archbishop Philipp of Koln (Cologne). When these two clerics formally accused him before the Emperor, the latter allowed the complaint to take its course. Henry the Lion refused to recognize the often repeated and prolonged citations, obviously because he trusted in his powerful position and because he could not imagine the possible consequences. He was condemned to the ban of the Empire because he refused to pay a fine of 5.000 marks. Barbarossa inaugurated the feudal law court procedure. Henry continued to refuse to defend himself in court, and he had been condemned to the loss of all his imperial fiefs. In April 1180 at the Imperial Diet of Gelnhausen, Henry's imperial fiefs had been distributed to other nobles.

Bavaria had been reduced and had been handed over to the Wittelsbacher, Styria (Steiermark) became a new duchy, the counts of Andechs received the Duchy of Croatia, Damatia and Merania (more of a title, than real territorry).

Westfalia was separated from Saxony (Sachsen) and the Archbishop of Koln (Cologne) became its Duke. The youngest son of the Ascanian Albrecht der Baer (Albert the Bear) became Duke of the rest of Saxony. By this -with the exeption of the Ghibellin Swabia (Schwaben)- all the old tribal duchies had been split and weakened. The number of dukes in Germany had nearly doubled in the period from the era of the Ottonians and Salians to the beginning of the Hohenstaufen dynasty. No longer would a single duke be able to wield sufficient power to challenge the authority of the Ghibelline (Staufer) King or Emperor.

In June 1180 -as the law required- one year after the imposition of the ban of the Empire, Henry was condemned to the "upper-ban of the empire", and he was legally dispossessed of all his properties. Immediately after this sentence had been passed, an imperial army expedition (Reichsheerfahrt) marched to execute its terms. This lasted for over a year, but the military initiative was always on the side of the Ghibellines. In November 1181 the defeated Henry the Lion attended the Imperial Diet at Erfurt and submitted to the Emperor. The family properties in the area af Brauschweig and Luneburg were restored to him on the condition that he leave the empire for five years of exile at the court of his father in law in England.

(1) From a historical perspective, this Northern and Central Italian communal movement, which later spread to southern Burgundy, had been the origin and first climax of political and social urban movements in the Middle Ages. These later included the Rhinean League, the Hanseatic League, the Swabian League and the iuration (="swearing an oath") communities, especially the Swiss Confederation. The Upper Italian communes were the model for later self-governing towns with republican constitution in the north.

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