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  • 5/29/2011

Today in History:

Battle of Legnano (1176)

battaglialegnano

The Battle of Legnano was fought on May 29, 1176, between the forces of the Holy Roman Empire, led by emperor Frederick Barbarossa, and the Lombard League.

The Lombard LeagueThe Lombard League was formed in 1167, largely out of the Veronese League. It was a Union of Lombard cities promising each other unity, against the Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa. The Lombardy cities swore the oath at Pontida, a small village in Lombardy.

After the disastrous defeat of Pope Alexander III at the Battle of Monte Porzio in May 1167 against Imperial forces, the Lombard League remained as the last legitimate fighting force opposing the Emperor and was therefore heavily backed by the Pope.

Frederick's 5th Italian CampaignIn September 1174, Frederick embarked on his 5th Italian Campaign, to quench the constant revolts in Lombardy and his quarrels with Pope Alexander III. Frederick led a force of 8,000 knights  over the Alps and arrived in Piedmont in late September. His cousin Henry the Lion and his forces were once again not a part of the Imperial campaign. Frederick wanted to take revenge on Susa, for its behaviour of 1168, and on the 30 September his forces captured and burned down the town. His next aim was the town of Asti, which he captured after a seven day siege. In October, Frederick finally received the promised Imperial reinforcements from Bohemia. Upon Frederick's rapid and fierce initial success, Margraviate William of Montferrat and the Count of Biandrate abandoned the Lombard League.

Source: encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com


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