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Bartolomeo di Iacovo da Valmontone (?), 1357-58

(skip the introduction)

This is a typical medieval chronicle, written by an author who for a long time was referred to as 'the Roman anonymous', but in recent times has been identified as Bartolomeo di Iacovo from Valmontone (a small town 45 km~27 mi southeast of Rome).
It tells about several historical facts, from the appearance of a comet in 1337 up to the coronation of Charles IV of Bohemia as Holy Roman Emperor in 1355; the years, frequently mentioned in the text, allow a precise dating of the chronicle, as well.
Unfortunately, eight chapters out of the original twenty-eight are missing; but over two thirds of the original text is still extant.

Cronica is alternatively known as Vita di Cola di Rienzo ("Life of Cola di Rienzo"), as the second half of the text is a biography of Rome's famous tribune; the longest chapter, the 18th, is completely dedicated to him, but he is often mentioned in the following ones, as well.
Born to a humble family, the son of an inn-keeper and a washerwoman, Cola (Nicola) was bound to become a brilliant man of letters. Moved by a visionary project of reviving the city's ancient glory, he became very popular among the common people, to whom he held speeches against the government's corruption and social injustices, drawing towards himself the hostility of the main aristocratic families (Colonna, Caetani, Orsini, Savelli), who fought each other for power.
During the years of the Avignon papacy, the popes resided far away from Rome, and the city languished because of a real civil war triggered by the aforesaid families, which though affected the whole population. Every day there were fights, thefts, women were harassed or raped, pilgrims were attacked and killed, and even priests acted evily, according to the chronicle.
Cola incited the people to rise up, theorizing the unification of many cities under one national authority. So he stealthily organized a revolt, which took place on May 20, 1347. Together with the legate of pope Clement VI and one hundred men in arms, he marched to Senators Palace on the Capitolium Hill, seizing the city's government, proclaiming a new constitution in fifteen points. He then sent the barrons the order to leave Rome. The aristocrats tried to react, but the forces that Cola had gathered gained the upper hand over their soldiers, most of whom were hung or beheaded. Cola then proclaimed himself and the pope's legate tribunes of the people, and forced the barrons to publicly take an oath of allegiance to his rule.

the medieval house of the Crescenzi, popularly known as
the house of Cola di Rienzo; his actual birthplace stood
nearby, more or less by the present piazza delle Cinque Scole

Initially, Cola's power grew stronger; his good governance appealed greatly to the population, as well as to other cities, and to men of letters, among whom Petrarch.
But within a short time he was compelled to levy incresingly heavier taxes, losing the people's favour. His regime then grew dispotic, at times even murderous. The population also disliked the life of luxury that Cola lived. And in the end, even pope Clement VI, who had endorsed him, accused him of heresy. In December of the same year, realizing that the winds had changed, Cola handed himself over as a prisoner, at Sant'Angelo Castle. Shortly later, though, he managed to escape, and fled in exile.

a fictional portrait of Cola di Rienzo
In 1350 he sought for the help of king Charles IV of Bohemia, claiming to be an ilegitimate son of one of his ancestors; but the king did not trust him, and had him locked up in his prisons. Pope Clement VI demanded Cola's custody, having him moved to Avignon, but he died soon later; his successor, Innocent VI, decided to free him.
Having become again a valuable ally to the pope, in 1354 Cola triumphally returned to Rome, where he was hailed, up to the point of becoming tribune for the second time. But his extravagant and incautios way of ruling the city soon caused once again the need to levy taxes, and the people uprose against him one more time.
The outcome of Cola's story took place on October 8, 1354. The people, in a rage, surrounded Senators Palace, shouting "let Cola the traitor who levied the tax die!", settingfire to the doorways with oil and tar. Uncertain whether to face the revolt as a hero, or to escape, Cola chose the latter solution. He thought of lowering himself from a window, using tablecloths tied together as a rope, but then he decided to disguise himself; after having cut his beard, blackened his face, and worn a commoner's cloak and a blanket to protect himself from the fire, he tried to come out of the building. But having forgot to remove his golden bracelets, he was recognized and captured. In the same square, in front of a raging crowd, he was killed. The people then savaged his corpse, trailing in the street, maiming it, and then leaving it exposed for some days, until his remains were finally burnt, so that no trace of him would be left.
These events are described in Chapter 27 with a richness of detail that only an eye-witness could have been aware of.

the ancient sculpture that stood on the
Capitolium Hill, by which executions were
carried out, "the place of the lion"

The language of this text is not too different from the one used for Le miracole de Roma, written about one century earlier. We may imagine that whoever published guides and chronichles, i.e. higly cultured authors compared to the great majority of illiterate people in those days, was likely aware of the few works already written in early Italian.
This idiom represents the so-called first phase dialect; despite being still rather different from today's dialect, it does already share with the latter some peculiar aspects. It also features several Latin reminiscences; a few expressions in this work are, in fact, in Latin, and some quotations from classic Latin works are also found, providing one more evidence in favour of the chronicler's cultural level.
The following table shows how some words of this archaic language were already close enough to Rome's modern dialect:

early Italian (14th cent.)
Roman dialect
volenno volenno volendo wanting
essenno essenno essendo being
fonnavano fonnaveno fondavano they founded
Lommardia Lommardia Lombardia Lombardy
calla calla calda warm, hot
lassa lassa lascia leave, let
iva iva or annava andava he/she went
sonata sonata suonata played
perzone perzone persone people
se pozza se pzza si possa it may be done
penzao penz pens he/she thought
Pavolo Pavolo or Paolo Paolo Paul
de fra de fra di fuori outside
robba robba roba things, stuff

Some similarities with the Neapolitan dialect are also noticeable, in particular the change of the stressed vowels E and O with an open sound into diphthongs (respectively, E → IE, O → UO), as in:
grieco for greco = Greek

tiempo for tempo = time

copierto for coperto = covered

uocchio for occhio = eye

puopolo for popolo = people

Campituoglio for Campidoglio = Capitolium
and betacism, i.e. the change of B into V or, much more seldom, vice-versa, as in:
vastone for bastone = stick

vraccia for braccia = arms

vattaglie for battaglie = battles

varva for barba = beard

abocati for avvocati = lawyers

But some words show a connection also with other southern dialects, as the verb forficare (to cut or to cut off roughly, uncarefully), which is still in use in the dialect of the Salento area.

For practical reasons, only excerpts from a few chapters have been chosen and translated. Square brackets [...] indicate missing parts in the text, or parts that have been skipped.
The full edition (without a translation) is available from Medioevo.Roma website.

Prologo e primo capitolo,

dove se demostra le rascione
per le quale questa opera fatta fu.

Dice lo glorioso dottore missore santo Isidoro, nello livro delle Etimologie, che lo primo omo de Grecia che trovassi lettera fu uno Grieco lo quale abbe nome Cadmo. 'Nanti lo tiempo de questo non era lettera. Donne, quanno faceva bisuogno de fare alcuna cosa memorabile, scrivere non se poteva. Donne le memorie se facevano con scoiture in sassi e pataffii, li quali se ponevano nelle locora famose dove demoravano moititudine de iente, overo se ponevano l dove state erano le cose fatte: como una granne vattaglia overo vettoria [...] tristezze, disconfitte inscolpivano [...] e aitri animali in sassi overo iente armata, in segno de tale memoria. E queste sassa fonnavano in quelle locora dove le cose fatte erano, in segno de perpetua memoria. Livro non ne facevano, ch lettera non se trovava appo li Grieci. E questo muodo servaro li Romani per tutta Italia e in Francia e massimamente in Roma; ch, facenno asapere alli loro successori [...] loro fatti, fecero arcora triomfali in soli[i]s con vattaglie, uomini armati, cavalli e aitre cose, como se trova mo' in Persia e in Arimino. Da poi che Cadmo comenzao a trovare le lettere, la iente comenzao a scrivere le cose elli fatti loro per la devolezza della memoria, e massimamente li fatti avanzarani e mannifichi: como Tito Livio fece lo livro dello comenzamento de Roma fino allo tiempo de Ottaviano, como scrisse Lucano li fatti de Cesari, Salustio e moiti aitri scrittori non lassaro perire la memoria de moite cose antepassate de Roma.

Prologue and first chapter,

in which the reasons for which this work
was written are explained.

The honourable and wise Saint Isidore, in his book of Etymology claims that the first man of Greece who could make use of writing was a Greek named Kadmon. In earlier times there was no writing. When something had to be handed down, it could not be written. Therefore, commemorations were made by means of stone sculptures and carvings, that were then placed in famous sites where lots of people lived, or they were placed on the spot where feats had taken place, such as a great battle, or a victory [...] sadness, defeats were carved [...] and other stone animals, or people carrying weapons, as a sign of such commemoration. And these stones were placed where things had happened, as a sign left in perpetual memory. Books were not written, as the Greeks had no writing. And this trend was maintained by the Romans throughout Italy and France, and particularly in Rome; as letting their descendants know [...] their deeds, they built on the spot triumphal arches featuring battles, armed men, horses and other things, as those found today in Persia and in Rimini. Since the time Kadmon could make use of writing, the people began to note down things and their facts, in particular the greatest and most important events, as an aid for a weak memory; as Titus Livius wrote the book of Rome's foundation up to the time of Octavianus, as Lucanus wrote about the feats of the Caesars, Sallust and several other writers did not let the memory of many past facts of Rome be oblivioned.

Della cometa la quale apparze nelle parte de Lommardia e della abassazione de missore Mastino tiranno per li Veneziani.

Currevano anni Domini MCCCXXXVII, dello mese de agosto, apparze nelle parte de Lommardia una cometa moito splennente e bella e durao de tre. In airo puoi desparze. Questa cometa pareva che fussi una stella lucentissima pi delle aitre, e estenneva dereto a s una coma destinta, pezzuta a muodo de una spada, e penneva la ponta sopra de Verona. Questa coma stava da uno delli lati. Non iva n su n io', ma ritta se stenneva como fossi una fiamma de fuoco. Moito commosse la iente ad ammirazione, que voleva dicere questa novitate. Dice Aristotile, nella Metaora, ca questa non verace stella; anche ne una [...] fatta nella sovrana parte de l'airo, e faose de materia umida e calla, la quale salle su e accennese e dura tanto quanto la materia donne se fao. Anche dice ca questa mai non appare, che non significhi novitati granni, spezialmente sopra li principi della terra, e commozioni de reami e morte e caduta de potienti. In bona fe', ca cos fu; ca, como questa desparze, cos per Lommardia se destese la novella che Padova fu perduta.

Chapter 8

The comet that appeared in Lombardy's area,
and the fall of sir Mastino tirant of the Venetians.

In the year of the Lord 1337, during August, in Lombardy region a very bright and beautiful comet appeared, and lasted three days. Then it vanished in the sky. This comet appeared as a much brighter star than the others, stretching behind itself a distinct trail, as pointed as a sword, and its tip pointed down over Verona. This trail was on one of its sides. It did not go upwards nor downwards, but it stretched straight, as if it had been a blazing flame. What this new event could mean considerably stirred the interest of the people. Aristoteles, in his Meteora, claims that this is not a true star; it is also a [...] it takes place in the highest part of the sky, and it is made of warm and humid matter, that ascends high, and burns, and lasts as long as the matter it is made of. He also claims that it only appears when it acts as a sign of great news to come, especially concerning the world's rulers, turmoil in countries, and the death and fall of the powerful. Indeed, this is what happened; no sooner it disappeared, the news that Padua had fallen spread throughout Lombardy.
Cap. IX

Della aspera e crudele fame e della vattaglia de Parabianco in Lommardia e delli novielli delle vestimenta muodi.

Po' questa cometa, della quale de sopra ditto ne, fu uno anno moito umido, moito piovoso. Abunnaro moite reume, moiti catarri nelle iente. E per tre vernate durao tanta neve, che esmesuratamente coperiva le citate. Moite case, moiti tetti in Bologna caddero per lo granne peso chella neve faceva. Anche le estate erano umide, s che omo non poteva essire fra de casa a fare sio mestieri e procaccio. Li campi non fuoro lavorati. Li grani e onne legume che fuoro seminati fuoro perduti, perch se affocavano per la soperchia umiditate, non se potevano procurare. Donne sequitao sterilitate e mala recoita. E per quella mala recoita sequitao la fame s orribile che forte cosa pare a contare, a credere. Questa fame fu per tutto lo munno generale. Lo grano fu vennuto in Roma XXI libre de provesini lo ruio. Currevano anni Domini MCCCXXXVIII. Scrive Tito Livio che nello tiempo fu una fame nella contrada de Roma s terribile che moita iente, presure perzone, 'nanti volevano perdire la vita, che vivere in fame. Donne abolveano lo cappuccio innanti delli occhi per non vedere loro morte e s se iettavano nello fiume de Tevere e l affocati perivano, e collo perire remediavano la fame. In bona fe', questo non viddi avenire in quello tiempo. Ma infinite femine fuoro le quale iettaro loro onore per avere dello pane. Moita iente venno soa franchia per lo pane. Fuoro vennute palazza, possessioni de campi e vigne, e dati per poca cosa, per avere dello pane. Granne era la pecunia che se numerava per poca de annona avere. Moita iente manicava li cavoli cuotti senza pane. La povera iente manicava li cardi cuotti collo sale e l'erve porcine. Tagliavano la gramiccia elle radicine delli cardi marini e cocevanolle colla mentella e manicavanolle. Anche ivano per li campi mennicanno le rape e manicavanolle. Anche fu tale patre che onne dimane a ciascheduno delli figli una rapa per manicare in semmiante de pane daieva.
Chapter 9

The harsh and cruel famine, the battle of Parabianco in Lombardy and the new trend of clothing.

Following this comet, mentioned above, it turned out a very humid, very rainy year. Rheumatic and catharral diseases were reported in great number by the people. And for three winters there was so much snow that the cities were exaggerately covered with it. In Bologna, many houses, many roofs collapsed due to the great weight that the snow exerted upon them. Also summers were humid, at the point that men could not leave their houses to go to work and earn enough to cover thein needs. The fields were not cared for. Wheat and all the legumes that had been planted went lost, as they drowned in the excess of water, and could not be obtained. Thus, barrenness and a poor crop followed. And due to the poor crop, such a terrible famine, that is hard to describe and to believe, lasted for a long time. This famine occurred everywhere in the world. In Rome, wheat was sold for 21 pounds of provesini the rubbio [weight measure for cereals, equivalent to about 200 kg]. It was the year of the Lord 1338. Titus Livius wrote that in the past Rome's neighborhood suffered from such a terrible famine that many people preferred to lose their lives rather than to keep living in hunger. Women wrapped their hoods in front of their eyes not to see their own death, and they threw themselves into the river Tiber, where they drowned, and in dying they put an end to their hunger. To be honest, I did not witness these facts in those times. But there were a great number of women who gave away their honour in order to obtain some bread. Many people sold their family privileges for bread. Buildings, land and vineyard estates were sold, given away at ridiculous prices, to obtain bread. The amount of money needed to obtain some provisions was great. Many people ate cooked cauliflowers without bread. The poor ate cards, cooked with salt and herbs on which the pigs feed. They cut the weeds and the small roots of the sea-cards, they cooked them with mint and they ate them. They also went in the fields, begging for turnips, and they ate them. There was a father who every day gave each of his children a turnip to eat, as if it had been bread.

Delli granni fatti li quali fece Cola de Rienzi,
lo quale fu tribuno de Roma augusto.

Cola de Rienzi fu de vasso lenaio. Lo patre fu tavernaro, abbe nome Rienzi. La matre abbe nome Matalena, la quale visse de lavare panni e acqua portare. Fu nato nello rione della Regola. Sio avitazio fu canto fiume, fra li mulinari, nella strada che vao alla Regola, dereto a Santo Tomao, sotto lo tempio delli Iudei. Fu da soa ioventutine nutricato de latte de eloquenzia, buono gramatico, megliore rettorico, autorista buono. Deh, como e quanto era veloce leitore! Moito usava Tito Livio, Seneca e Tulio e Valerio Massimo. Moito li delettava le magnificenzie de Iulio Cesari raccontare. Tutta de se speculava nelli intagli de marmo li quali iaccio intorno a Roma. Non era aitri che esso, che sapessi leiere li antiqui pataffii. Tutte scritture antiche vulgarizzava. Queste figure de marmo iustamente interpretava. Deh, como spesso diceva: "Dove soco questi buoni Romani? Dove ne loro summa iustizia? Pterame trovare in tiempo che questi fussino!" Era bello omo e in soa vocca sempre riso appareva in qualche muodo fantastico. Questo fu notaro. Accadde che un sio frate fu occiso e non fu fatta vennetta de sia morte. Non lo poto aiutare. Penzao longamano vennicare lo sangue de sio frate. Penzao longamano derizzare la citate de Roma male guidata. Per sio procaccio go in Avignone per imbasciatore a papa Chimento de parte delli tredici Buoni Uomini de Roma. La soa diceria fu s avanzarana e bella che sbito abbe 'namorato papa Chimento. Moito mira papa Chimento lo bello stile della lengua de Cola. Ciasche de vedere lo vole. Allora se destenne Cola e dice calli baroni de Roma so' derobatori de strade: essi consiento li omicidii, le robbarie, li adulterii, onne male; essi voco che la loro citate iaccia desolata. Moito concipo lo papa contra li potienti. Puoi, a petizione de missore Ianni della Colonna cardinale, venne in tanta desgrazia, in tanta povertate, in tanta infirmitate, che poca defferenzia era de ire allo spidale. Con sio iuppariello aduosso stava allo sole como biscia. Chi lo puse in basso, quello lo aizao: missore Ianni della Colonna lo remise denanti allo papa. Tornao in grazia, fu fatto notaro della Cammora de Roma, abbe grazia e beneficia assai. A Roma tornao moito alegro; fra li dienti menacciava. Puoi che fu tornato de corte, comenzao a usare sio offizio cortesemente; e bene vedeva e conosceva le robbarie delli cani de Campituoglio, la crudelitate e la iniustizia delli potienti. Vedeva pericolare tanto Communo e non se trovava uno buono citatino chello volessi aiutare. Imperci se levao in pede una fiata nello assettamento de Roma, dove staievano tutti li consiglieri, e disse: "Non site buoni citatini voi, li quali ve rodete lo sangue della povera iente e non la volete aiutare". Puoi ammono li officiali elli rettori che devessino provedere allo buono stato della loro romana citate.
bust of Cola di Rienzo
Chapter 18

The great feats of Cola di Rienzo,
who became venerable tribune of Rome.

Cola di Rienzo was of humble origin. His father was an inn-keeper, named Rienzi. His mother was called Magdalen, and worked as a washerwoman. He was born in Regola district. His house was close to the river, among the mill workers, in the street that goes towards Regola, behind St. Thomas' church, by the Jewish synagogue. In his youth he fed on the milk of eloquence, he was a good grammarian, an even better rhetorician, a good writer. Oh, how fast he was as a reader! In particular, he read Titus Livius, Seneca, Tullius and Valerius Maximus. He loved to tell others about the greatness of Julius Caesar. He spent the whole day looking at the marble reliefs that lie around Rome. Only he was able to read the ancient inscriptions. He translated into Italian all the ancient writings. He interpreted correctly these marble figures. Oh, how often he said: "Where are these good Romans? Where is their supreme justice? If only I could live in the times they lived!". He was a handsome man, and a wonderful laughter was always seen on his face. He was a notary. One of his brothers happened to be killed, and his death was not avenged. He could not help him. For a long time he thought of avenging his brother's blood. He thought for a long time of making the ill-governed Rome become a honest city. He travelled to Avignon for his own work, as an ambassador of pope Clement VI on behalf of the thirteen Governors of Rome. His eloquence was of such high level, and so nice, that he immediately ingratiated himself with pope Clement. The pope indeed admired the beautiful style of Cola's speech. He wanted to meet him every day. So Cola opened out to him, telling him that Rome's barons were thieves: they tolerated murders, thefts, adultery, every kind of evil; they wanted the city to be left abandoned. He strongly convinced the pope about the misdeeds of the noble. Then, following the instigation of cardinal sir Giovanni della Colonna, he fell in disgrace, in great poverty, in serious illness, he almost ended up in a hospital. He stayed under the sun wearing his jacket, as a water snake. Who made him fall, also made him rise again: sir Giovanni della Colonna rehabilitated him to the eyes of the pope. He enjoyed again his favours, he was appointed notary of Rome's Council, his luck was in, and had many benefits. He returned to Rome in high spirits; he kept uttering menaces. Once again a member of the court, he began to use his position with a noble heart; he knew well and was aware about the stealing that the wicked administrators did, the cruelty and the iniquity of those who held the power. He saw the Municipality in great danger, and there were no good citizens ready help him. Therefore, once he stood up in Rome's assembly, where all the councillors were, and said: "You are not good citizens, you, who suck blood from the poor people, and do not want to help them". He then exhorted the officers and the rectors to take measures in order to restore righteousness in Rome, their own city.

Como missore Nicola de Rienzi tornao in Roma e reassonse lo dominio con moite alegrezze e como fu occiso per lo puopolo de Roma crudamente.

Currevano anni Domini MCCCLIII[I], lo primo de de agosto, quanno Cola de Rienzi tornao a Roma e fu receputo solennissimamente. Alla fine a voce de puopolo fu occiso. La novella fu per questa via. Puoi che Cola de Rienzi cadde dallo sio dominio, deliverao de partirese e ire denanti allo papa. 'Nanti la soa partita fece pegnere nello muro de Santa Maria Matalena, in piazza de Castiello, uno agnilo armato coll'arme de Roma, lo quale teneva in mano una croce. Su la croce staieva una palommella. Li piedi teneva questo agnilo sopra lo aspido e lo vasalischio, sopra lo lione e sopra lo dragone. Pento che fu, li valordi de Roma li iettaro sopra lo loto per destrazio. Una sera venne Cola de Rienzi secretamente desconosciuto per vedere la figura 'nanti soa partenza. Viddela e conubbe che poco l'avevano onorata li valordi. Allora ordinao che una lampana li ardessi denanti uno anno. De notte se parto e go luongo tiempo venale. Anni fuoro sette. Iva forte devisato per paura delli potienti de Roma. Go como fraticiello iacenno per le montagne de Maiella con romiti e perzone de penitenza. Alla fine se abiao in Boemia allo imperatore Carlo, della cui venuta se dicerao, e trovaolo in una citate la quale se appella Praga. L, denanti alla maiestate imperiale, inninocchiato parlao prontamente. Queste fuoro soie paravole e sio loculento sermone denanti a Carlo re de Boemia, nepote de Enrico imperatore, novellamente elietto imperatore per lo papa: "Serenissimo principe, allo quale conceduta la gloria de tutto lo munno, io so' quello Cola allo quale Dio deo grazia de potere governare in pace, iustizia, libertate Roma ello destretto. Abbi la obedienzia della Toscana, Campagna e Maretima. Refrenai le arroganzie delli potienti e purgai moite cose inique. Verme so', omo fraile, pianta como l'aitri. Portava in mano lo vastone de fierro, lo quale per mea umilitate convertiei in vastone de leno, imperci Dio me hao voluto castigare. Li potienti me persequitano, cercano l'anima mea. Per la invidia, per la supervia me haco cacciato de mio dominio. Non voco essere puniti. De vostro lenaio so', figlio vastardo de Enrico imperatore lo prode. A voi confugo. Alle ale vostre recurro, sotto alla cui ombra e scudo omo deo essere salvo. Credome essere salvato. Credo che me defennerete. Non me lassarete perire in mano de tiranni, non me lassarete affocare nello laco della iniustizia. E ci verisimile, ca imperatore site. Vostra spada deo limare li tiranni. Vedi la profezia de frate Agnilo de Mente de Cielo nelle montagne de Maiella. Disse che l'aquila occiderao li cornacchioni".

Puoi che deliverao per meglio de volere vivere per qualunche via poto, cercao e trovao lo muodo ella via, muodo vituperoso e de poco animo. I li Romani aveano iettato fuoco nella prima porta, lena, uoglio e pece. La porta ardeva. Lo solaro della loia fiariava. La secunna porta ardeva e cadeva lo solaro ello lename a piezzo a piezzo. Orribile era lo strillare. Penzao lo tribuno devisato passare per quello fuoco, misticarese colli aitri e campare. Questa fu l'uitima soa opinione. Aitra via non trovava. Dunque se spogliao le insegne della baronia, l'arme puse io' in tutto. Dolore ne de recordare. Forficaose la varva e tenzese la faccia de tenta nera. Era l da priesso una caselluccia dove dormiva lo portanaro. Entrato l, tolle uno tabarro de vile panno, fatto allo muodo pastorale campanino. Quello vile tabarro vesto. Puoi se mise in capo una coitra de lietto e cos devisato ne veo ioso. Passa la porta la quale fiariava, passa le scale ello terrore dello solaro che cascava, passa l'uitima porta liberamente. Fuoco non lo toccao. Misticaose colli aitri. Desformato desformava la favella. Favellava campanino e diceva: "Suso, suso a gliu tradetore!" Se le uitime scale passava era campato. La iente aveva l'animo suso allo palazzo. Passava la uitima porta, uno selli affece denanti e sllo reaffigurao, deoli de mano e disse: "Non ire. Dove vai tu?" Levaoli quello piumaccio de capo, e massimamente che se pareva allo splennore che daieva li vraccialetti che teneva. Erano 'naorati: non pareva opera de riballo. Allora, como fu scopierto, parzese lo tribuno manifestamente: mostrao ca esso era. Non poteva dare pi la voita. Nullo remedio era se non de stare alla misericordia, allo volere altruio. Preso per le vraccia, liberamente fu addutto per tutte le scale senza offesa fi' allo luoco dello lione, dove li aitri la sentenzia vodo, dove esso sentenziato aitri aveva. L addutto, fu fatto uno silenzio. Nullo omo era ardito toccarelo. L stette per meno de ora, la varva tonnita, lo voito nero como fornaro, in iuppariello de seta verde, scento, colli musacchini inaorati, colle caize de biada a muodo de barone. Le vraccia teneva piecate. In esso silenzio mosse la faccia, guardao dell e de c. Allora Cecco dello Viecchio impuinao mano a uno stuocco e deoli nello ventre. Questo fu lo primo. Immediate puo' esso secunnao lo ventre de Treio notaro e deoli la spada in capo. Allora l'uno, l'aitro e li aitri lo percuoto. Chi li dao, chi li promette. Nullo motto faceva. Alla prima moro, pena non sento. Venne uno con una fune e annodaoli tutti doi li piedi. Dierolo in terra, strascinavanollo, scortellavanollo. Cos lo passavano como fussi criviello. Onneuno nesse iocava. Alla perdonanza li pareva de stare. Per questa via fu strascinato fi' a Santo Marciello. L fu appeso per li piedi a uno mignaniello. Capo non aveva. Erano remase le cocce per la via donne era strascinato. Tante ferute aveva, pareva criviello. Non era luoco senza feruta. Le mazza de fra grasse. Grasso era orribilemente, bianco como latte insanguinato. Tanta era la soa grassezza, che pareva uno esmesurato bufalo overo vacca a maciello. L penno di doi, notte una. Li zitielli li iettavano le prete. Lo terzo de de commannamento de Iugurta e de Sciarretta della Colonna fu strascinato allo campo dell'Austa. L se adunaro tutti Iudiei in granne moititudine: non ne remase uno. L fu fatto uno fuoco de cardi secchi. In quello fuoco delli cardi fu messo. Era grasso. Per la moita grassezza da s ardeva volentieri. Staievano l li Iudiei forte affaccennati, afforosi, affociti. Attizzavano li cardi perch ardessi. Cos quello cuorpo fu arzo e fu redutto in polve: non ne remase cica. Questa fine abbe Cola de Rienzi, lo quale se fece tribuno augusto de Roma, lo quale voize essere campione de Romani.

statue of Cola di Rienzo on Capitolium Hill

Chapter 27

How sir Nicola di Rienzo returned to Rome and seized power again with many celebrations, and how he was brutally killed by the people of Rome.

It was in the year of the Lord 1354, on the first day of August, when Cola di Rienzo returned to Rome, and was very solemnly welcomed. Then, the raging crowd killed him. This is how things went. After Cola di Rienzo had fallen from his ruling position, he decided to leave, to go and see the pope. Before his departure he had an armed angel with Rome's insignia, holding a cross, painted on the wall of St.Mary Magdalen's church, in piazza Castello. On the cross was a dove. The angel rested his feet on a snake and a basilisk, on a lion and a dragon. Once it had been painted, Rome's thugs threw mud on it, in contempt. One night Cola di Rienzo secretly came without making himself be recognized, to see the image before his departure. He looked at it, and he became aware that the thugs had not honoured it. So he ordered a lamp to be kept burning in front of it for one year. He left at night-time, and stayed away for a long time. They were seven years. He usually travelled very stealthily, fearing Rome's men of power. He went around disguised as a friar, sleeping in the mountains of the Maiella range with hermits and repentants. Finally he went to Bohemia, to emperor Charles, whose coming has been previously mentioned, and found him in a city whose name is Prague. There, in front of his imperial majesty, he knealt and spoke without delay. These were his words, and his eminent speech in front of Charles king of Bohemia, nephew of emperor Henry, recently appointed emperor by the pope: "Honourable monarch, to whom the glory of the whole world is granted, I am that Cola whom God bestowed with the power of ruling Rome and its district in peace, justice and liberty. Tuscany, Campania and the Maritime regions were under my rule. I restrained the arrogance of the men of power, and I straightened many iniquities. I am but a worm, a fragile man, a plant, as any other. I carried an iron staff, that I replaced with a wooden one to be more humble, and God punished me for this. The men of power persecute me, they want my soul. They chased me away from my dominion out of envy, out of conceit. They don't want to be punished. I belong to your same lineage, as I am an ilegitimate son of emperor Henry the brave. I seek refuge by you. I resort to your wings, under whose shade and shelter a man must be safe. I believe I am now safe. I believe that you will defend me. You will not let me die by the hand of the tyrants, you will not let me drown in the lake of injustice. And this is the truth, as you are the emperor. Your sword must give tyrants their due. I witnessed the prophecy of friar Angelo di Mente del Cielo in the mountaiins of the Maiella range. He said that the eagle will kill the crows".

Having decided for the best that he wanted to live in any possible way, he sought and found how to do so, a shameful and coward manner. The Romans had already set fire to the first doorway, with wood, oil and tar. The door was burning. The ceiling of the loggia was flaring up. The second door burned and the ceiling was falling with its timber, piece by piece. The roaring [of the crowd] was terrible. The tribune thought of passing that fire in disguise, mingle with the others, and make his way out. This was his last decision. He could not find any other escape route. So he took off any sign of his baronship, and he lay down any weapon. It is painful to remember. He cut off his beard and blackened his face. Nearby was a small room where the porter used to sleep. He entered the room and took a cloak of simple cloth, in the fashion of the shepherds from Campania. He wore that cloak. Then he covered his head with a bed blanket, and disguised in this way he went downstairs. He passed the burning doorway, he passed the staircase fearing that the ceiling would fall down, and he freely passed the last door. The fire did not touch him. He mingled with others. In disguise, he altered his way of speaking. He spoke in Campania's dialect, and said: "Get him, get the traitor!" Had he passed the last staircase, he would have made it. The people's attention was drawn by the palace. He was passing through the last door, when a man stepped in front of him and recognized him, he seized him and said: "Stop. Where are you going?" He took the hat off his head, and he could be told especially by the glow made by the bracelets he wore. They were golden; they did not look as a commoner's object. So, having been discovered, the tribune openly revealed himself: he showed who he really was. He could no longer run away. There was nothing else to do but to remain exposed to the mercy, to the will of the others. Taken by the arms, he was driven free along the staircase, up to the place of the lion 1, where the others were awaiting for the judgement, the spot where he had sentenced others. Once taken there, the crowd made silence. Nobody dared to touch him. He stayed there for ess than an hour, the well-trimmed beard, his face as black as that of a baker, his green silk jacket, lowered, with golden accessories, with pale blue stockings in the fashion of a baron. He kept his arms crossed. In the silence, he moved his face, looking here and there. Then Francesco del Vecchio took hold of a sword, and pierced his belly with it. He was the first one. Immediately after, notary Treio followed him, and hit him in the head with his sword. Then either of the two and the rest of the people beat him. Some hit him, some others uttered threats. He did not say a word. He died of the first blow, and did not feel any pain. A man came with a rope and tied both his feet. They threw him on the floor, and trailed him, stabbed him. They pierced him as he had been a sieve. Everybody teased him. They behaved as if they were following a gay procession. In this way he was trailed up to San Marcello's church. There he was hung by his feet to a small balcony. He had no head. Pieces of skin lay in the street along which he had been trailed. He had as many open wounds as a sifter. No part of his body was free from wounds. His fat bowels hung outside. He was horribly fat [swollen?], as pale as milk, covered with blood. His fatness was so great that he looked like a huge buffalo, or a slaughtered cow. He remained hanging there for two days and one night. The young boys threw stones at him. On the third day, by order of Giugurta and Sciarretta della Colonna, he was trailed to the field of the Tomb of Augustus. There all the Jews gathered in flocks: none of them refrained from going. A fire with dry cards was made there. He was placed on that fire of cards. He was fat. Due to the great amount of fat he easily burned by himself. The Jews there were very busy, very over-heated. They poked the cards, for the corpse to burn well. So that body was burnt, and turned into ashes - not the smallest piece of it was left. This was the end of Cola di Rienzo, who proclaimed himself venerable tribune of Rome, who wanted to be the hero of the Romans.

1. - on the left side of the ancient Senators Palace was a hall where trials were held; by this hall, stood a sculpture that features a lion attacking a horse (today in the Capitoline Museums): this was known as 'the place of the lion' and executions were carried out there.

Meo Patacca, by G.Berneri