Guelphism and Part of the Church Part 2
Under such conditions and with such moods, new ambitions were encouraged outside Italy. The hopes of Alfonso of Castile flourished and warm invocations reached him to free his brother Enrico, an infant of that kingdom, who had fallen prisoner of Charles. Castilian ambassadors were already negotiating with the Marquis of Monferrato in the seventies. And messengers from the Marquis and the Ghibelline exiles from Milan went to Spain. In 1272, the daughter of Alfonso, Isabella, married the marquis and he was made by the king his vicar in Lombardy, while Lombard lords swore allegiance to the king; Buoso da Dovara was placed in command of a body of Castilian militias, which arrived on the galleys of Genoa, also allied to that king; the Ghibelline leaders acclaimed Alfonso as their leader. But even now, the pope said the decisive word. And the pope recognized the Habsburgs: which was nevertheless, he too, a solution not in favor of Angioino. Meanwhile, in 1275, 10 November, Carlo’s serious defeat at Roccavione, due to the united forces of Asti, Monferrato, Pavia, Vercelli, Novara, Genoa, Alessandria. Saluzzo, Savoia and even more, for the moment, Monferrato, with Guglielmo VII, who in 1278 also got himself appointed captain general of Milan, Vercelli, Pavia, Novara, Tortona, Alba, Turin, Como, Ivrea, for 5 years , and in March 1279 he called a parliament where the representatives of all these cities and Genoa, Mantua, Verona, Asti. By now, the various forces of the Piedmont region are all mobilized in various ways within the framework of the general policy of the Po Valley and of Italy. Strengthened by the relations between him and his Castilian relatives, the marquis contracted other bonds with the Aragonese.
Because from Spain, another prince, more daring and luckier than the Castilian king, Peter of Aragon, is coming forward. He is the husband of Constance, daughter of King Manfred; and, after 1266, he has a vengeance to do and an inheritance to reap. And since Constance’s mother is a Beatrice of Savoy, the Aragonese king also has something to do in Piedmont, that is, behind France and the Anjou, with whom he is at war. And he seeks you allies. He must also second the expansive tendencies and the mercantile interests of his Barcelonese and Catalans, who are animated by a great spirit of adventure and conquest, cultivate Sicily and the port of Messina, almost their port, and want, at home, to cultivate a lot. replace the Italians. He therefore awaits at the same time the things of Sicily and those of the Po Valley,
According to TOPMBADIRECTORY, the internal difficulties of Aragon, the enmity with the kingdom of Castile distracted Peter III from Piedmontese things. And then, Sicilian events precipitated. Both the fierce hatred against the French accumulated in the populations, as well as the diplomatic plots that had been weaving around and against the kingdom, defensive and offensive at the same time, bore their fruits. Since Charles had, from his predecessors in the kingdom of Sicily, also collected expansive ambitions towards the East: cumulated with those that, as a vassal of the pope and as a brother of the most Christian king, he carried in his chest and which can be summed up in one word: crusade. For which he was preparing, having as his aim the reconstitution of the Latin empire in the East. And he made an agreement with the lords of Athens and Negroponte; it was agreed with the Venetians that they wanted to return to the state of things established there with the fourth crusade. But Genoa, informed, in turn informed the Greek emperor; the Genoese Benedetto Zaccaria, great lord and Byzantine Ligurian merchant, promoted an alliance between the empire and Aragon and Glovanni da Procida for the Sicilian exiles. The expedition of Venice and Charles was scheduled for 1283.
But on March 21, 1282, there is Vespers, a sudden, spontaneous, popular insurrection. After the plots of the noble Sicilian lords and the Italian Ghibellines with King Peter of Aragon, but without relations with them, here is the bourgeoisie and the petty people, in the midst of which boiled fierce discontent against the French for the serious taxes. Armed nuclei of Palermitani and Corleonesi roused the surrounding region, dragged everyone into revolt, citizens and peasants. Everywhere, rectors and captains were elected to organize the hunt for the French. Then gathered in parliament in Palermo, the insurgents, after invoking the name of the Roman Church, statutum communen firmaverunt . Thus was formed the Communitas Siciliae, to which a large part of rebel Sicily gradually joined, with the center in Palermo. Messina reluctant, with the surrounding lands. The Holy See, to which the rebels offered themselves, also refused. In the difficult situation, there were contacts between the noble conspirators and the people’s revolution. In parliament it was declared that, alone, the rebels could not support themselves. And then, the messengers left for King Peter on April 27. After a few days, Messina joined the Sicilian community: but by now the appeal to Aragon was launched. And yet the Messinesi were always in favor of autonomy, nor did they want to commit themselves to the distant lord. In June he launched the counter-offensive of Charles of Anjou: and fell on Messina which resisted firmly, although the walls were incomplete. With this, the awareness of their strength grew in the people of Messina; more and more they were reluctant to the new yoke. Other cities approached them, especially in eastern Sicily. And soon a new community or federation was born, headed by Messina; and in command Alaimo da Lentini, captain, and a junta of Sicilians. Alaimo returned the city to a papal legate. But the Holy See continued in its rejection: and then, the Messinesi also adhered to the parliament of Palermo and to the call of King Peter.
Thus the eastern plans of Charles of Anjou collapsed. The political credit of Rome and the French influence in Italy received a severe blow, the beginning of serious decline. Aragonese intervention took place on the island and the war of the Vespers, by land and sea, in Sicily and on the continent, especially along the coastal region of Lucania, up to Salerno and Naples. With the treaty of Caltabellotta, the lands beyond the Faro remained to the Aragonese and Spain threw the first pylon of its bridge towards Italy, soon followed by another. Because in 1297, Boniface VIII, in hatred of the Pisans, invested King Alfonso of Aragon in Sardinia, who did not take long to take up arms to conquer the island. Thus the breach, opened in 1266 by the initiative of the popes, widened.