... Very short history (second part)...

"of the Piedmont and its language"

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Notice to be read (in case you didn't)

Political growth in communal experience
We have seen that city Communes quickly reach a considerable weight in the political situation of the moment, able to oppose to Princes and the Emperor. Butr cities are anyway dependent from the surrounding country, first of all for the supply of food provisions, and then for freedom od pass for commerce, defense and so on. Municipal authorities tend therefore to have the control on castles, where the rural nobility lives. There are many citizens who own lands in the country, and who buys a land does not want that a local Lord have jurisdiction on it. Step by step some parts of the land is taken off the jurisdiction of the local Lord.
The city exerts a political and economical pressure, that persuades many local Nobles to adhere at the communal citizenship, to renounce at a part of privileges for obtaining safety. There are examples in which the Lord cedes his castle to the city of which he becomes citizen, and receives it back as a feud.
We have already seen that, in this context, in Piedmont new cities are risen, by groups of persons eluding the lordship of some local Lord, but this mechanism giver rise to many little rural Communes, usually with protection od pressure of the large city Communes. The large Commune buys an area, biltds a village and allowa people to come in from other, not controlled, villages (that disappear). Also, the large Commune rearrange an existing village and extend the citizenship to this village with argeements of alliance and cooperation, granting freedom from any lordship, and joining the inhabitants to rights and duties of citizens.
In this way large Communes become administrators not only of the city, but also of a number of vilages, lands whose Lord has become feudatory of the Commune itself, or he has ceded part rights and jurisdiction. This set is called "citizen district" and tensa to appear like the dominations of Princes and Bishops. With them the Commune is in competition. Communes which assume the jurisdiction over rural communities, in order to assure themselves its fidelity, tends to abolish old privileges of lords, and to do agreements with the community itself. On this framework many communities organize themselves with the aim of obtaining from Lords some exempions and for coding in writing rights and duties, limiting in this way the liberty of the lord himself. The power relations, established in this time, allow to do all that.
In the Communes the "PodestÓ" appears, who arministers the "executive power", in charge only for one year, and he comes from another territory, in order to avoid, as much as possible, conflicts of interest or compromises. In the cities rise mutual benefit societies, having sometimes quite a bellicose character.

The Waldesians in Piedmont
Peter Wald begins his preaching in Lion in the year 1173. At the beginning his preaching is an exhortation at poverty and essentiality, some times vehement. Very soon he finds himself against the Bishop of the city who, three years later, in 1176, expels him outside the Lion's curia with his companions. Peter Wald goes then to Rome and asks for the opinion of the Pope, who says that the possibility of preaching requires permission of the Lion's Bishop. That permission, of course, isn't grant, and Peter Wald continues to preach outside the Church. Up to this point the situation is similar to the ones that happens in many places, included Piedmont, of a strong criticism about morality and coherence of Bishops. But in the meanwhile Peter Wald elaborates his theological theories that in some points cannot match the catholic doctrine (as for example about Confession and Sacerdotal Ordination), and this causes the breaking with Catlolic Church. These theories are declared as heretical by the Verona's Council (Pope Lucius III in 1183) and still by Pope Innocentius III (in 1215). Wald hs many followers, called Waldesians, in particular among simple people, but all the environment is against him and Waldesians. They are outlawed and firstly they kake refuge in Provence and some of them, already few years later, begin to cross the Alps and enter the piedmontese walleys of Pellice and Chisone.
Soon the Provence id upset by the crusade against Albigenses, another group of heretics, in which also Waldesians are involved. These latter look for refuge in a more consistent way on the piedmontese side of Alps, in the walleys of Pellice and Chisone.
Very soon, in France there was a violent reaction against waldesians and other erethics, and they passed in a more massive way in Pellice and Chisone walleys.
At the beginning local Lords were not against Waldesians, and this not for religious reasons, but since Waldesians were strong people, good workers that cultivated wild lands. But already in 1220 started a reaction against the expansion of Waldesians toward the plane, together with an opposition coming from catholic Church.

Charles of Angi˛
We have seen that in Piedmont internal wars are continuous. Some Communes join the Lombard League (the second), but this is defeated by the Emperor Frederick II (27th of november 1237). The Savoy's manage, at the beginning, to obtain some feuds, but they are heavily won by Asti, that is enlarging its dominions, and in 1258 occupies also Alba. The politics and the power of Asti begins to seriously worry the other Lords. This is the period in which the fight between Empire and Papacy is stronger. We have also seen that the forces of the various Lords arevery fragmented and divided into many and many fights and questions, with alliances changing very easily.
In this context appears in Piedmont Charles d'Angi˛, brother of the King of France Louis IX, who married a daughter of the Count of Provence. Charles has acquired, in 1258, the lordships of Tenda and Briga from the Count of Ventimiglia. These lands are at the border South - West of Piedmont and at the border of Ligury. Starting from Nice, along the Roya valley, the Tenda pass and down in the Cuneo's valley, the arrival of Angewins into Piedmont is welcome by people, since it represented a reciprocal advantage. The possibility of having free passage through the Tenda pass is important for Piedmonteses for getting the salt and sell products, and the Nice inhabitants have a new important commercial way toward Piedmont and Lombardy.
In addition to these economical advantages, there is also the fact in the Communes the idea becomes consistent, of the necessity of looking for the support of some Lord and give up a part of the autonomy, in order to warrant development, or even also the survival. All this, accompained by a great diplomatic work in which Angewins manage in presenting themselves as friends, makes it easy the action of Charles d'Angi˛. Indeed the presence of Angewins actually warrants a greater easiness and profitability of the commerce between Piedmont and the coast, with benefits for all. Besides some Communes can obtain protection against the aims of Marquis of Monferrato and of Genoa. At last it seems that Charles d'Angi˛ is the only Lord able to keep the aims of Asti at bay. In sequence the Lordship of Charles d'Angi˛ is recognized by the Communes of Cuneo (in 1259), Alba, Cherasco, Savigliano, the Marquis of Ceva, the Counts of Biandrate and the cities of Bene and Mondový. This expansion happens on expenses of tThe Marquises of Saluzzo and Monferrato, and of Savoy's expenses. These Lords do not have the possibility of stopping the penetration of the Provençals, who already in 1260 manage to defeat the army of Asti. The Marquis William VII of Monferrato perhaps could be in the position of opposing Charles d'Angi˛, but he is engagen in the attempt of conquering Alessandria, and so he prefers a sort of agreement of reciprocal tolerance with Provençals.The Counts of Savoy have some problem of succession (there are three "heirs" Thomas, Amadeus and Ludwig) and are not in the position of intervening.
Then, in 1264, the Pope UrbanIV asks Charles d'Angi˛ to conquese the southern Italy against the Swabians. Charles can establish an agreement of non belligerence with the Marquises of Saluzzo and Monferrato. In southern Italy the Angewins reach a complete victory over Swabians. Following this victory, Angewins obtain a new expansion in Piedmont, and some cities, and among them Turin (1270), Alessandria and Vercelli (1271), pass under the Lordship of Charles d'Angi˛. The politcs of Angewins is very shrewd, and they do not upset the preceding traditions and constitutions, bu leaves Communes and Bishops to continue the administration, limiting as much as possible their interference. As we've seen, it is the politics of mutual advantage, and for this we cannot consider the presence of Angewins as an occupation, since it has the consensus of the people.
The politics of Charle d'Angi˛ worries, instead, the new Pope Gregory X, who feels himself menaced by the Angewin presence in southern Italy, and considers them more dangerous then Swabians. So the Pope manages in organizing a League against Angewins in 1271. Also the Marquis of Monferrato participates in this League. After variou events and some changing in alliances, the League obtains its goal and the Provençals have to leave the Piedmont (years 1275 - 1278). This can be a new occasion for Savoy to reconquere something in Piedmont, but at the same time Marchland of Monferrato is acquiring a relevant power, and extends its influence up to Turin and Ivrea. Asti becomes powerful again.
The Monferrato
The leaving of Charles d'Angi˛ from Piedmont, could be an opportunity for the Count of Savoy for taking back Turin and its territory. But another problem is now the Marquis of Mongerrato William VII who is very skilled in exploiting at his advantage the fights among his allied, and manages to enlarge his dominion or his influence over a large part of Piedmont. He takes possession of Vercelli, Casale, Alessandria, Tortona and Acqui and then, in 1276 arrives to Turin. By forming an alliance with the Ivrea Bishop, he manages to thake possession also of that city. William VII becomes "general captain" of Ghibellines and extend his influence to a part of Lombardy.
The Count Thomas III of Savoy, with a "coup de main", succeeds in capturing the Marquis William VII, and he gets Turin from him in excange for his freedom. It is the year 1280. Thomas III returns in Turin and the Marquis of Saluzzo manages in taking again possession of Cuneo. This latter city very soon falls under the influence of Asti. But the Marquis of Monferrato, as son as is free again, quickly re-builds his power, and in 1283 conqueres also the city of Alba. As it happened at Charles d'Angi˛, some cities look for the protection of the Marquis of Monferrato, who becomes more and more powerful. In front of the danger represented by this expansion, in 1287 a League takes place against him, and also the Count of Savoy Amadeus V takes part in the League.
The city of Alessandria, due to a big deal of money payed by allied to some influent families, revolts against the Marquis. Quichly William VII goes to the city and here, deceived by those families, he is captured. He will dead in prison in 1292. Following this revolution, also Pavia, Vercelli, Novara, Tortona also revolt.
Some time ago the son of William VII, John the first, tryes to reconquere Alessandria, but the city prefers to consign itself to the Visconti of Milan, who has already occupied Casale. From this time on, the Marchland of Monferrato begins to lose his importance in Piedmont. Up to some years before the Monferrato was in the position of of reaching the egemony over Piedmont, but this possibility is now finished for good. At east Novara and Vercelli enter under the influence of Milan, while on the west the Savoy's obtain the lordship of Pinerolo (Pinareul) and Turin.
The contrast between Guelphs and Ghibellines
We have seen that in the century XIII two political lines-up begin to form at an international level, among Lordhips and Cities. From one side a faction supports the Emperor and from another side a faction supports the Church. Between Emperor and Pope, in fact, the divergences are more and more deep, and this not at an ideologic or religious level, but at power level. We can understand this considering that Bishops have also a civil power that the Emperor wants to control by deciding who has to appointed Bishop, and this is not acceptable by the Pope. The two factions are very strong, and the Cities realize that they cannot outlive without taking sides with one of the two parts, and so they are compelled to choose one. This is one of the reasons for the Cities to renounce at their autonomy and find support in one of the two factions. The choice is suggested by the opportunity of the moment, time by time, and this justifies the quick changes in alliances which happen. Princes, Lords and important families taking side with Church assume the name of Guelphs, while the other side is the one of Ghibellines. We meet this subdivision also inside Cities among important families. The choice of the part, that for Lords is suggested by the opportunity of the moment, in the case of the families it is more or less always is produced by the opposition to the adverse families, in the sense that a family is Guelh if the adverse family in Ghibelline. The fight is always very strong attempting to obtain the control of the City. Often it happens that the losing part goes off the City, or is compelled to do this, and retires to castles owned outside in the country. This part is willing to do all in order to obtain again the control of the City. Houses of the defeated enemies are usually destroyed.
It is clear that this situation produces instability and favourites the aims of Lords on the Cities. Lords agree in providing aid to the families in excange for subduing to their power in case of victory. This will be one of the reasons for the fading of Communes and achievement of the Lordships over all the territory.
The Guelph party has as a reference, in Piedmont, the Angewins, while the Gibelline party refers, usually, to the Count of Savoy who supports the Empire and is Vicar of the Emperor.
Savoy and Acaja
In that period complex problems arise of succession for the Savoy House. The Count Thomas III deads in 1282, and the dominions of the Piedmont are assigned to the son Philip, while the title of Count, according to the complex rules of succession, is dued to an oncle who, immediately after, deads. There are three claimants in competition, respectively the son and the two brothers of Thomas III.
For this, the state itself (also in order to avoid a possible civil war) is subdivided into three parts, each of them entrusted to one of the claimants. For doing that on May 24th 1286 an assembly is summoned in Giaveno, little town near Turin, where Lords of Castles, Nobles and Delegates of Communes are collected. In this assembly the decision is communicated taken by Savoy's. Sometimes this assembly is indicated as a first Parliament, but as a matter of facts, the meeting people do not have anything to decide, but only to ear and report. The assembly is made for a prudential reason for avoiding misunderstandings and to remove pretext for possible internal fights.
Savoy lineage is so subdivided into three branches. The first remains Lord of the french Savoy, the second is the one of Vaud (place in Switzerland), and the third obtains the piedmontese territory but Susa and Aoste, which remain under the control of the french part. Piedmontese territories are given as feuds by the Count of Savoy, entrusted of the french Savoy. Holder of the piedmontese territories is Philip of Savoy. His State is very little and actually includes Turin, Pinerolo, Cumiana and the low valleys of Susa and Chisone. The State remains under tutorship of Amadeus, brother of Thomas III, since Philip is under age.
Philip comes of age in the year 1294, and in 1295 he is in Turin. But the City does not seem to Philip to be actually safe, and so he moves his residence to Pinerolo, which is more or less in the center of the little State. During his Lordship the State improves a bit its conditions, although there are some divergences with the Count of Savoy.
In 1301 Philip marries Isabel of Villehardouin, who is titular of a Lordship on Morea and Acaja, that are greek territories. Philip tries to enter actually into possession of these territories, but he does not obtain that the Lordship become effective. It is just a theoretical Lordship, but nevertheless Philip of Savoy takes the appellation of "Prince of Acaja" from the year 1304 up to the extinction of the family.
. Philip, taking advantage of the internal fights between the families De Castello and Solaro of Asti (which we will see below) manages to extend his influence over the Commune of Asti. With this Commune Philip has, in general, a good relationship, and the Commune itself appoints him "Captain of People".The subdivision of the Savoy State is not a weakening, but a rationalization. We will see that after the State will be reunified (1418). The piedmontese part is quite little, as we've seen but also dynamical. Savoy always mantained a predominant role (we remember that Piedmont is a feud given by the Savoy's Count).
Life in piedmontese Communes
The municipality's life brings a renewal in relationships among people, and a sort of "will of life". The vulgar language expandes everywhere, and it enter in use also for public regulations and administrative acts. This tongue (as it is also asserted by Dante Alighieri in his work "De vulgari eloquentia"), is completely different from Italian, with different origins.
Quite a good enhancement of culture bear, connected mainly with provençal and piedmontese poets using the tongue "d'oc". In particular the Marquises of Monferrato protect these troubadours, and have always some of them in their palace, but also the Marquises of Saluzzo and the Princes of Acaja have often at Court some provençal poet.
In the Communes the school begins to be not exclusively controlled by religious teachers. In some municipalities, as in the one of Fossano, the constitution establishes that everybody has right of teaching. There are attempts of starting some Universities, but without success.
It seems that, in this period, piedmontese people don't leave any occasion for doing feasts ( in Turin the celebration of St. John holiday, with traditional bonfire, according to sure news, begins at least in 1325, but certainly it is older). In various cities a contest of horses is run (the "Palio") and the one of Asti becomes celebrated and is run still nowadays. Other "sports" are practiced by people like bowls and skittles. There are races of oxes, horses and many others. Many feasts, due to their content or to their satires, are censured by the Clergy, but they are celebrated just the same. Fraternities arise having a laughing and provocative character. Gambilng with cards and dice is very practiced at all level. Some prohibition tries to put a limit to this vice, but without concrete success, and the problem remains.
It doesen't seem that public morality is so much respected, as it appears from repeated intervention of Bishops for recalling ecclesiastics to a more serious and coherent life style. On the other hand many serious fraternities arise for keeping alive the religious spirit. Superstition is very widespread, and people believe in "masche" (piedmontese word for witches). There is some process in this sense, but mainly the sentence are usually thet the guilty person has to pay some fine. This is usually the final decision in judgements, due to the permanent lack of money of municipalities.
There is a thing which is non so much kept into acconut by people in tis time : it is hygiene. The custom (and the possibility) of washing themselves is limited to few well-off persons. Communal constitutions, anyway, put srtict rules in order to maintain an acceptable hygienic level of the environment, and in pareticular there are very strict rules about the protection of drinkable water.
Communal constitutions then provide for a series of taxes on movable wealth and on real estate, duties on transit of goods, and so on, in order to reach the covering of expenses. Inside each commune and different fron commune to commune, there is distinctions among social groups and classes, and not all have the same rights. It isn't easyt o step the social stair, and this demonstrates that the idea fo democracy is different from the one we have nowadays.
A common feature of Communes, in particular the larger ones, is the subdivision of the most relevant families in Guelfs and Ghibellins. As we have already seen, this was not due to political ideas, but to old fights among families, to some famous support, and so on. This subdivision brings to endless fights, and has an influence on alliances and wars.
IN Asti the struggle is betveen Solaro, bankers and merchants, whose group of families include also the families of Malabayla, Falletti, etc., and the group De Castello with the families of Alfieri, Cacherano, Isnardi, etc.
In Alessandria the Guelphs Dal Pozzo, Guasco, etc. are opposite to the Ghibellines Lanzavecchia, Mercali, etc. In Acqui we find the Blessi against the Belligeri. This is more or less repeated in every Commune. As we have already seen, the losing party some time retires to castles in the country, and some time is driven out the city, and looks for alliances in order to take back the power. They look for these alliances among powerful Lords, and this impairs gradually the capacity of Communes to maintain their autonomy. In this way the Communes fall under the influence of the Lords. People, in general, do not participate at these fights and they are very united, with a little trend to prefer Guelphs.

Charles II of Angi˛ and the XIVth century
With the internal fights in the City of Asti, between the families of Solaro and De Castello, and at the same time with problems of succession in the Marchland of Monferrato (as we will see), where also the Marquis of Saluzzo remains entangled in a useless war, Charles II of Angi˛ (son of Charles I) sees the opportunity of re-entering the Piedmont again. Still in the region there is a situation of internal rivalities that favours him.
In the City of Asti, at the beginning of the century XIV, the Solaro, Guelphs, have conquered a supremacy, and they are expelling the De Castello, but, in 1303 the same De Castello ask for help to the Marquises of Monferrato and of Saluzzo, in order to re-obtain thew control of the city of Asti. In this way they manage to reconquere the City and expell on their turn the Solaro. These latter families take refuge in Alba, and here they manage to take possession of the City, and then, for obtaining Asti again, they reach an agreement with Charles II d'Angi˛, they submit to him, and have back Asti. The Solaro, as a warranty for maintaining the power, look for the support of Philip d'Acaja.
In this atmosphere Charles II d'Angi˛, who now is Count of Provence and King of Neaples, again easily obtains the Lordship over many lands, and the first of them is the city of Alba (in the year 1304 with the mechanism we've seen). Also in that second time the Lordship of Angevins is not based on a strong army (this latter, in Piedmont is indeed very little) but on a government in general good, that helps commercial exchanges that is what piedmontese Cities need, and mainly on the fact that there are not actual opponents. For these reasons Angevins have many allied in Piedmont, and occupies large areas of the Cuneo's territory and Cuneo itself in 1305. Charles II tries also to improve the life conditions of populations, and during famine of 1306 he provided commodities making them to come from France, and this always in the politics of reciprocal advantage.
Later the son of Charles II, Robert of Angi˛ manages to extend again his Lordship on Asti. In fact Philip d'Acaja has been compelled to leave his hope on the City, since he is not supported by the Asti's people. In 1310 also the City of Alessandria enter the Angewin area, thanks to the Guelph of the City who are looking for support against Ghibellines.
In the meanwhile, in the Marchland of Monferrato the Aleramic dinasty extinguished. So a parliament of Nobles and Representatives of Communes meets in 1305 and decides of offering the Marquisate's government to Theodor Paleologo, son of the Emperor of Bisantium, and Jolanda, sister of the dead aleramic Marquis.
In order to have an idea on the complexity of situations in XIVth century, we can see what are the actors on the scene. The Savoy, who intervene in many situations. The Princes of Acaja, who try to enlarge their territory and gain relevance. The Angevins, who triy to extend their Lordship. The Marquis of Monferrato, who tries to maintain and enlarge the territory. The Marquis of Saluzzo, who tries to survive. Some Cities as free Communes, more or less independent, that need some alliance for surviving. Some important and rich families, who try to obtain or defend rights. Some old, little feuds, not subjected to any Lordship. The Visconti, Duke of Milan, who tries to expand the Dukedom in Piedmont. No one of these actors can impose himself over the others, but all of them have importance enough for not being neglected. In this context plots and wars are assured for a long time, even if the Emperor Henry VII intervenes, trying to bring order and peace.
In Piedmont some Lords an cities are Ghibellines and support the Emperor (whose the reference is Amadeus V of Savoy who is imperial vicar) and Lords an cities Guelphs, represented and supported by Angewins.
Philip of Acaja is agitated and impetuous, he starts various wars trying to take advantages from all the figts around. Thegether with Amadeus V of Savoj occupies Ivrea, then he looks for an agreement with the Visconti of Milan, tries to occupy Savigliano, wins against Angewins, but he understand that the Visconti are becoming dangerous allied, and then he tries to approach the Angewins, and so on with this politics (that is the politics of this time) untill, after having changed party too many times, he finds himself isolated.
Philip of Acaja intervenes with his army in the problems of succession in the Marchland of Saluzzo, but he has to fight against Robert of Angi˛, without obtaining anything, not able to take advantage from the complex situation. In Piedmont wars continue among the subjects named above, and the Princes of Acaja, in spite of all, cannot increase their importance. The same Philip manages to bafle a conspiracy against him, that comes from some families of Turin, in accordance with Marquises of Monferrato and Saluzzo.
In the year 1343 a very difficult situation happens for Savoy and Acaja. The Marquis of Saluzzo gives his Marchland to the Dauphin, of whom he became Vassal, in change of a lot of money. Few time later, the Dauphin, due to the sudden untimely death of his son and unique heir, gives all the Dauphinate to the heir to the throne of France, becoming his Vassal. The Delphin, few time before has strengthen his position on Alps, in high piedmontese valleys, by occupying the territory of Bardonecchia. So, Aimone of Savoy and James of Acaja find themselves in direct contact with the powerful France, that has acqired also a more or less indirect control of lands (Saluzzo Marchland) in Piedmont.
In the same year Robert of Angi˛ deads and his heir is the daughter Jane. The Angi˛, the Acaja and various Cities, in 1345 organize against Thomas II of Saluzzo, John II of Monferrato and Luchino Visconti. Of course, in every Cities there is a party supporting one of the two parts and a party supporting the other. The Angewins obtain some first success. But in this period Savoy and Acaja are often fighting one against the other. The Savoy's obtain the direct control of some piedmontese lands and not asllow James of Acaja to fight against the Monferrato. Already in 1346 the Angewins are defeated. In this permanent fight , the upset of front and the changes od flag are very common and frequent. The Princes of Acaja lose many of their importance, the Angewins are defeated again, the Visconti manage to enlarge their occupations, while the Counts of Savoy, starting from Amadeus VI, said "the Green Count", gain a new importance, often in an open competition and at the expenses of the Acaja. In Europe the war of hundred years is fighted, which will be followed by the wars between France and Spain, and these wars will heavily involve the piedmontese lands.
The Counts of Savoy have tried to extend their influence toward France and Switzerland, but they have had to realize that this way is precluded by Lords more powerful than them, and so they come back to cultivate their aims on Piedmont, where the Acaja are a sort of outpost. As a matter of facts Amadeus VI has deprived the Acaja of power, who remain Lords only in a formal way.
In Savoy the power of Counts is well deep-rooted, as it is in Susa valley. This is not in Aoste valley, where local autonomies are very alive. In the Cities there are oppositions, and some feudal families come from before the Savoy family, and are not tied to the Counts by particular obligation of vassalage. The politics of the Green Count is to find compromises and agreements among Angewins, Visconti, Monferrato and Saluzzo, and this bring to increase his importance. In 1382 the Count manages to obtain the city of Cuneo.
In this perion the City of Asti falls under the influence of the Visconti, who are allied of the Monferrato Marquis, in the year 1377. Ten years later, in 1387, Asti passes under the Lordship of Duke of Orleans, given as marriage settlement of Valentina Visconti Wife of the Duke. The city will actually be occupated by Charles d'Orlens in the year 1447.
The politic and military successes of Savoy are in contrast with the social situation of the Piedmont. Starting from 1348 in Piedmont the plague becomes recurrent, with four epidemics, whose the first eliminates about one third of the inhabitants. There are recurrent famines and the beggars' number becomes higher and higher. The preceding demographic growing in the countries leaves now many farm labourers without ground, and farmers with too little properties. Agricultural production is badly organized. While cultivation of products destined to well-off persons, like vines, are developped, production of cereals cannot cover the need. The citizen middle-class, which has become rich, begins to invest money by buying cultivated lands, and the large properties starts to arise, though this phenomenon is less than in other parts of Italy outside Piedmont. This fact tends to worsen the life conditions of farmers.
All the Cities are indeed very little, Turin has about 4500 inhabitants, Chieri, which is one of the largest, has about 6500 inhabitants. Poverty is very widespread, if life in the country is extremely difficult, the Cities do not offer much more to poor people. Commerce is slack or is shrinking. The roads of communication are few and in very bad conditions. From people's point of view, the situation is certainly very bad.
Amadeus VII, called The Red Count, in the year 1388 manages to acquire Nice and its surroundings. Then he extends his Lordship over all the lands and villages of the walley from the Tenda pass to Cuneo. That is an important acquisition for the Savoy's family. The Count also manages to obtain from the Emperor an official investiture for his lands. But in the year 1386, in the area called Canavese a revolt takes place that will last five years. The reasons of this revolt are social spurs coming from poverty and destructions produced by gangs of brigands and wars. Beyond that revolt there is the Marquis of Monferrato who foments and helps it in order to produce trouble to the Savoy. This revolt is called of "Tuchini", and Amadeus VII could solve the problem only in 1391.
The Red Count rules the State, for explicit will of his father, together with his mother Bona. In effects the Count is a scapegrage quite irresponsible, who wastes large amounts of money at gambling. When he is without money then sells jewels, he applies to usurers and sells appointments and duties.
The Red Count deads in 1391, probably for tetanus, but in this time the hillnes is not yet described as such, and so someone sustects the mother Bona for having made poison the son. The heir is still under age, and then the situation brings fights. The mother is Bona of Borbone and the widow is Bona of Berry. Dukes of Borbone and Dukes of Berry have the possibility, in this way, of heavily interfering in the Savoy's questions. And also Acaja are now against Savoy's.
A muddled, not declared war arises, carried on by bands which appear to act on their own initiative, but it is clear that the Visconti, the Marquis of Monferrato and the Marquis of Saluzzo are paying for that. Things change whent Amadeus VIII of Savoy comes of full age.
In this century the war, which has always accompained the Piedmont during all the Middle Age, becomes much more destructive for populations, much more "bad", and so it will remain for long time. Besides a general decline of rules of chivalry or simply moral, more or less legendary, the Lords make use of mercenaries often foreign who, without any scruple, devastate and sack wherever they pass, without bothering at who is the owner of the lands, if friend or enemy. Their violences, of any type, are without any restraint, and often they continue afer when the war is ended. In fact groups of stragglers remain, and also large groups, wandering in the territory, and they ariive to occupy villages and castles. There is not, as a matter of fact, an upper power able to enforce the respect of laws, ant the same laws are often absent. Never has been more appropriate than in this century the invocation of people in their religious processions: "a peste, fame et bello libera nos Domine".

Influence on language
We have seen before that an old form of piedmontese is used in XII century for writing texts, mainly religious in character. We have already seen that during the Communes period, piedmontese is used for regulations, statutes and other similar documents. Certainly French and Provençal languages, in the Angewin period have way of influencing the tongue of Piedmont. The same happens in the area of Saluzzo, when the Marchland becomes a Feud of France. In any case this influence is only on piedmontese lexicon, and it is only marginal on the structure. In fact we can note some influence on syntax, but grammar remains quite original, with particularities that are not present in French and in Provençal, and of course, not in Italian. In that period, piedmontese Courts give hospitality with pleasure to provençal poets. A further French and Provençal influence there is when Waldenses are compelled to leave France and take refuge in piedmontese alpine valleys. Still nowadays, in Piedmont, waldesian valleys are of French mother tongue. Finally we don't have to forghet the French origins of Savoy House. Beyond piedmontese, (and provençal on mountains), in Piedmont french language is more used than italian, in this period. French and provençal culture heavily influence the piedmontese culture, which in any case remains original.

The idea of Piedmont as a Savoyard State
Lordship in the Savoy branch is taken by Amadeus VIII in the year 1391. Since he is still under age, the regent is the grandmother up to 1398. Then he is a very skilled Lord. He ask the Emperor for a formal investiture of Feuds and a confirmation of Rights, and he obtains this. With the support of the Emperor he tries to neutralize his hostile neighbours. He makes a wise cooperation politics with Acaja. The major enemy is always the Marquis of Monferrato who has at his service a skilled and strong Captain : Facino Cane. In this period Ludwig of Acaja conqueres Pancalieri. Nothing of relevant from an historical point of view, but we tell about the fact since it is occasion for a modest song in piedmontese which is one of the oldest documents that we have nowadays.
Thanks to this politics, In 1416, on July 10th, the Savoy is elected as Dukedom by the Emperor Sigismond, and the Count Amadeus VIII becomes Duke of Savoy. In the year 1418 the brach of princes of Acaja ends, since there are not legitimate heirs, and the Duke of Savoy re-obtains the related territories. From that moment on the first-born of the Dukes of Savoy acquires also the title of "Prince of Piedmont".
At the beginning of the century the Visconti (of Milan), who has the support of an adventurer known as Count of Carmagnola, manages to conquere some lands in Piedmont. In the year 1424 The Carmagnola leaves Milan and passes at the service of piedmontese Lords. An alliance against Milan is then organized, but Amadeus VIII makes a double-crossing and obtains from the Visconti the city of Vercelli. Then the Visconti ss defeated by the alliance the 12 ottobre 1427. The allied army ss under the command of Count of Carmagnola. An italian writer (Alessandro Manzoni) composed a tragedy on the Count of Carmagnola, putting in light the dreadful aspect of wars between italians, but at that time differences among the various italian states were quite deep.
Amadeus VIII is at this point aware that a savoyard Piedmont was becoming to exist, in spite of the other Lords at that moment in the region who are the Marquis of Monferrato, the Marquis of Saluzzo, the Visconti in the eastern part of the region (Vercelli, Novara, Alessandria, Tortona), and the city of Asti that is not under his control. As a Duke, he can have more influence in the region, even if the goal is still quite far away, and the Dukedom will still risk to disappear.
Amadeus VIII is very skilled in deceptions and blackmailings. With these systems he manages to obtain some Monferrato's territories in 1435.
Under this Duke, firm in his project of expansion, the State becomes more modern following to a series of organization's reforms. Chambery and Turin become the two most important cerntes of the State. The Dukedom has some constitutions regulating some of the most important matters. A structure is defined for the Magistrature and some rules of procedure are established, some of then devoted to avoid conflicts of interest. Around the end of the XV century, the rice cultivation is introduced into Piedmont in the Vercelli area, but in general the agriculture is not improved so much. Industrial activities are even more suffering of backwardness.
The appearence of cities, on the contrary, becomes much better. From the beginning of the XV century Turin has its University, realized by Ludwig of Acaja who has asked for authorization the Emperor and both Popes (we are in the period of the schism, with a Pope in Rome and a Pope in Avignon). The University will be then moved to Savigliano, and then again in Turin. In Turin are also based the deputies of the Duke and the cisalpine Council, which operates as an organ of government and law-court of Appeal for all the savoyard dominions in Piedmont. This court is much more large of the corresponding court in Chambery. Turin becomes the main savoyard City in Piedmont. At the end of the century specific piedmontese character arise in architecture and in figurative arts, with some relevant artists (Martino Spanzotti, Defendente Ferrari, Gaudenzio Ferrari, etc.). All this is pushed by the idea of Piedmont as a national state under the Savoy dinasty, while the axis of the State is moving slowly from Chambery to Turin.

The second half of century XV
Starting from the year 1427, in which the Visconti gives Vercelli to Savoy Dukes, these latter Lords acquire the supremacy on the region, while the Visconti (and after the Sforza) maintain an important presence. On the contrary, the Marchlands of Monferrato and Saluzzo are reduced to have a little importance. The Savoy's manages (with Charles I) in 1487 to occupy the Marchland of Saluzzo, stealing it to the Marquis Ludwig II, but they have immediately to give it back thanks to the french support of Ludwig.
After Amadeus VIII, under Ludwig of Savoy, the State loses again a good deal of the conquered prestige, maintaining anyway the territory. The Duke prefers to leave the problems of power to his wife Ann of Lusignano, who grants favours to a number of her favourites, producing inner discontent and loss of prestige abroad.
In Milan the family Sforza takes the place of the family Visconti. The Duke Ludwig of Savoy intervenes in this question trying to obtain some lands of Visconti, but he ends the question in loss. He, indeed, obtains some little lands in Novara area, but the Sforza con occuty Alessandria. Also the acquired lands are soon lost. Also the Monferrato cannot achieve any advantage.
In this period the Savoy's become relatives of the King of France. Louis of Orleans, who will become Louis XI, marries Carlotte, daughter of the Duke Ludwig of Savoy, while Amadeus, son of Ludwig and Prince of Piedmont, marries Jolanda who is sister of the future Louis XI. The new King Louis XI, begins to interfere in the piedmontese matters, and his aim is to reduce the Piedmont to a base of his for military operations. The fourth son of Ludwig, Philip of Bresse, reacts to this situation of french interference inside the Dukedom, and comes to participate to a sort of conspiracy, probably without being aware of the fact, that has been plotted by the Sforza. Philip, with a "coup de main" eliminates influent pro-French fellows, and among them the Chancellor of Savoy. The french aims on Piedmont fail, but Louis XI manages in isolating Philip, to arrest him and put him in prison for about two years (we are now in the year 1464).
The successor of Ludwig, Amadeus IX of Savoy is not skilled at all for the power, and is ill. The wife Duchess Jolanda, is instead very skilled and supports her husband in the government. She will substitute him, assuming the regency in the year 1469. The vicissitudes of the politics of Jolanda are various and unlucky. She tries to keep away the State from the french influence, but without a big success. The french influence is heavy and there are strong wrangles between Piedmonteses and Savoyards. The Piedmonteses think that the State is too much influenced by Savoyard, while the Savoyard do not want to fight for a state that tries to expand toward Lombardy.
Philip of Bresse becomes pro-French, and accuses Jolanda of looking for an alliance with Venice against France. Persuaded by Louis XI, Philip organize to march against the Savoy's but these latter make him good offers and Philip changes party. Always under the direction of Louis XI, the Sforza, the Marquis of Monferrato and the Marquis of Saluzzo move against Savoy. The situation is not clear at all, and the war is quite strange. In 1647 there is the peace, with nothing done for both the parts.
The first born of the Duke deads when he is fifteen, and the two brothers Philibert and Charles are still children. A period follows very confused, in which Jolanda tries to maintain the State among the Sforza, the King of France, the Duke of Burgundy. Philip of Bresse tries to move Jolanda to the french part but he fails since Jolanda manages not to accept. The Swiss go into war against Burgundy and Savoy, after various events the lands near the lake of Geneva will be lost for Savoy. The Duke of Burgundy, being afraid that Savoy could leave the alliance, makes capture Jolanda. This is according to the aims of Louis XI of France, who now can take the tutorship of the Prince Philibert. In this context Philip of Bresse becomes lieutenant in the Dukedom of Savoy. Jolanda will be set free in 1476 and will dead in 1479.
Even when Philibert reaches the full age is not in the position of governing the State, which remains in the control of high french officiers, untill Philip of Bresse becomes, in practice, the Lord. He is appointed Governor of Savoy and his brother, Bishop of Geneva, becomes Governor of Piedmont. But immediately after Philibert deads and the succession in the Dukedom passes to his brother Charles I. We are in the year 1484.
The century finishes with the war between Savoy and the Marchland of Saluzzo, that we have already seen, and with the attempts of Savoy to expand in Monferrato. Carlo I deads very young, but he has managed to obtain title and rights on the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Cyprus, obtained as a present from the aunt Queen Carlotte, widow of Ludwig of Savoy, and deaded without heirs. The title, without any practical implication, will be claimed by Savoy's up to nowadays.
The heir of Savoy is only eight months, and the regency is up to his mother Bianca, before Bianca of Monferrato and now Bianca of Savoy. The situation becomes difficult, and in 1490 Bianca has to leave the territories of Saluzzo, conquered by Charles I, to Ludwig II of Saluzzo who is supported by French and the Milanese (Ludwig the Moro). Now the King of France is Charles VIII who means to go down in Italy and to take again the Kingdom of Sicily, as inheritance of the Angi˛. The French are in Piedmont, which maintain a neutrality (at least Savoy and Monferrato, since Saluzzo supports the French), and fight against a league anti-French, in which there are Venice and Milan, and others. The savoyard Piedmont has to provide resources to French.
In the meanwhile the heid of Savoy deads, and the Dukedom passes to Philip of Bresse, last heir of Ludwig of Savoy, unscrupulous and intriguer as a young (as we have seen) but now more responsible. The regent Bianca leaves the scene. At the death of Philip of Bresse Philibert II becomes Duke. First he is compelled to agree with the french politics, but then he starts to go away from France and approach the Austria, with his marriage. Philibert II will dead in 1504 without heirs.
The century XV, in Piedmont as in all Europe, is characterized by a very frequent recurrence of the plague. In this century the plague appears in Turin seventeen times, but it is reported in various piedmontese places at least fifty times. From time to time the plague becomes less virulent, also because people naturally immunized grow. The population which has decreased in the first half century (in the first years of '400 Turin has, perhaps 3000 inhabitants) starts to grow again in number. In the countries, anyway, the little villages disappears and inhabitants tend to collect in more large villages. In the whole Piedmont the growing of wheat decreases, and the forage is improved. The reason is that it becomes dangerous to transfer animald on mountains during the summer, and therefore there is a larger request of forage in lowlands. The silk industry starts, and this allows the farmens to earn some more money breeding silkworms. The wool industry has already started.
In this period the municipal autonomies are nearly disappeared, and Princes have consolidated their power enough to be able to intervene as arbiters between rural communities and local Lords when fights happens if the Lord exaggerates with demands, and this everywhere in the Domain. The State has now well equipped judicial organization, and the reduction of the rural nobles power is also in the interest of the Prince who, bwaides, can appear as a protector of people. On the other hand now communities are in the position of providing themselves with law experts, and afford long and expensive prosecutions. Fighting in this field is very spreaded. There are cases, expecially in eastern Piedmont, of communities able to overtake the Feudatory and deal directly with the Duke about their tax duties.

A new nobility - The three states
We have seen that in the Communes the most important families built castles and bought lands and Lordships from rural Lords. Now in the cities there are families of bankers which have accrued a remarkable richness, and have at their disposal large liquidity. On the other hand the Lords, including the Savoy, Saluzzo, Monferrato, have always need of money, and in some case urgently, in order to finance their exploits and stipulate their contracts. Financing of Lords becomea a great business, but not always the Lords are in the position of returning ready cash, and so they pay their debts with concession of titles and rights, that on one side allow the banker to become part of the nobility, and on the other hand can return also much money. Among the Lordships acquired in this period by bankers there is, for example, the one of the Cacherano, a family native of Asti, who become Counts of Bricherasio. We will see a Count Cacherano of Bricherasio at the Assietta battle in 1747, This means that some of these Lordships will last for long time. Other Lordships, on the contrary will fade soon.
On the other hand, important families of the citizen Communes who had acquired properties and castles from rural Lords, not dependent from the main Lords, and the same rural Lords still independent, are compelled to submit to one of the main Lordships (mainly Savoy and Monferrato). These two Lordships tend to occupy all the territory, eliminating zones in which they have not power.
This achievement of the central power is welcome by population, who has always problems with the local Lord due to his pretensions. In this way people have the possibility, when the lord's pretensions are too high, of appealing to the Prince. This is also an interest of the Prince (as we have seen) in imposing "his justice", and confirm himself as Ruler of the territory and of all, acquiring prestige.
In the meanwhile, already starting from '300, in Piedmont an instance happens which is not present in other parts of Italy. In order to discuss some questions related to the management of the State, the Prince (we refer to Savoy, Saluzzo and Monferrato) summons delegates of Vassals and of the various communities, in order to inform or discuss some question. This meeting is called "of the three states", since it is referred to nobles, clergy, and bourgeoisie, even if the clergy expresses only a quite marginal participation.
In Savoy's territories these meetings have usually in the agenda financing of the State. The Duke (or a deputy of his) have to explain why the State needs money (the Duke is bound to maintain himself with his own money and not with money of the State) and he have to persuade (sometimes with some present) the deputies to accept. Then the discussion passes on how to subdivide the burden, which is called "subsidy". The summon of this meeting is quite frequent.

Documents of the period in piedmontese language
In this period becomes quite common an holy composition in poetry, so called piedmontese "lauda" (Holy Praises) having a franciscan style, which has modifications in the time up to become completely piedmontese. We still have now some of these "laude". Also diffused are works for theater on holy subjects and figured processions, which make use largely or exclusively of the piedmontese language. One of these, the "Gelindo", that uses Italian for noble characters and Piedmontese for popular ones. Among administrative documents there is a legal sentence, (sentence of Rivalta) dealing with a wedding promise, issued by the vicary of the Rivalta monastery, written in a good, clear piedmontese, in the year 1446. Towards the end of the century the literary works appears of Gian Giorgio Allione, that writes in french, piedmontese and "macaronic" Latin.

The first '500, a difficult half a century
In the year 1497 the Duke of Orleans, who is the Lord of Asti, becomes Louis XII King of France. Philibert II of Savoy has been compelled to an alliance with France, which now occupies also Milan. This in the year 1499. Philibert has not obtained anything but ravages brought by the french army in its passage. As we have already quickly seen, Philibert ties to disengage himself from France, with his marriage with Margaret of Austria, but he deads, as already seen, in 1504 without heirs. In Dukedom of Savoy succeedes to Philibert II his brother Charles II, who wouldn't want to be Duke being not skilled at all for that job.
The French, in their war of Italyt, continue to cross enf ravage the Piedmont, while Charles II of Savoy cannot intervene. He do not acheve any advantage, not even with the following peace in Noyon and then in Cambrai, where the powerful States find an agreement for dominating Europe, spoiling the Savoy.
Now the situation is the one of the war of France against Spain, Charles I of Spain becomes the Emperor Charles V at the death of Massimilian, in 1519. Charles V claims for the Empire the Burgundy and the Dukedom of Milan. A very powerful Empire and the France, come in Piedmont to fight one against the other. Piedmont, indeed, thanks to its position, is strategical for both the contenders. The Duke Charles II tries to maintain his State, but now the Savoy's Dukedom is more or less a bother for both the contenders.
The French and the Spanish try to gain the strongholds of Piedmont. The Duke Charles II find himself in an embarrassing situation when, after having obtained the Marchland of Saluzzo for his brother Philip, Marchland that the Emperor has declared as forfeited, Philip suddently passes to France, and so the business fades. In 1528 Philip marries Charlotte of Orleans and is entrusted Duke of Nemours.
The winner of the war is the Emperor Charles V and, relying on the compromise politcs carried on, Charles II of Savoy hopes to obtain some advantage, but he obtains only promises. His wife Bianca manages anyway to have from Charles V, the cities of Asti and Ceva, which become savoyard.
In this period (in the year 1533) in the Monferrato Marchland the dinasty of Paleologos extinguish. It is up to the Emperor do decide on this Marchland, and Charles II of Savoy, in spite of his attempt, finds himself out of the game. He is without any diplomatic skill, and at last he is too isolated. Also the claims of the Saluzzo Marquis have no effects. The Marchland of Monferrato, with an imperial award, is assigned to the Duke of Mantua. In Monferrato the Duke of Mantua is considere a foreigner.
The social and economical situation in Piedmont is dreadful everywhere. The Duke of Savoy is unsuccessful in trying to improve the situations since there are not resources, due to continuous wars. In the Marchland of Monferrato the Duke of Mantua, the Gonzaga, is just robbing and spoiling, and not even in Marchland of Saluzzo things are going better. Also in this latter Marchland there are problems and fights of succession, and the France's King is in the position of deciding about (Saluzzo is always tied to France), without any possibility for Charles II of Savoy.
In addition to these problems, in this period the plague appears again. It was aldeady appeared in Turin in 1493, but now ir is much more virulent. The Piedmont is also run by gangs of disbanded who sometimes declare to be French ans sometimes to be Spanish, but always they put to sack and make violences. They are well organized and certaily they have important and certain protections.
In the year 1536 the French go down again to occupy the Piedmont, Turin is in the hands of French and Charles II of Savoy retires into Vercelli. In the following years he moves from one place to another among Vercelli, Nice, Milan, in order to avoid French and waiting to can have back his territories, which now are reduced at few lands, while Piedmont, in practice, is nearly all french.
Always in this period, there is an approach of Waldesians to the Reformation of Luther and Calvin. Waldesians begin to receive help from nations of Protestant religion (and in particular from England and Switzerland). In addition to the wars thet we have seen, there are now religious wars and persecutions, which we will see more in deep. In the meanwhile, following to a first reaction of Charles II against Waldesians, there is a period more quite, due to the fact that some of the commanders of the French who have invaded Piedmont, are themselves Protestants, and one of them is, in practice, governor of the Waldesian valleys.
A large part of Piedmont was considered practically french for 27 years. In 1548 also the dinasty of Saluzzo's Marquises extinguish, and the Marchland, already a french feud, afrer some fights among relarives of the family who claim rights, is directly annexed to France. Anyway the France is not occuying the whole region, since the southern Piedmont is still with the Empire. In this period the Piedmont tskes the risk of being eliminated and subdivided between France and Spain (which dominates in Milan). The son and successor of Charles II, Emanuel Philibert, goes to fight for the Empire and has important successes (1552 in Piedmont and then in Flanders, where defeats the french army in a resolutive battle).

The second '500, Emanuel Philibert and Charles Emanuel I
At the end of the french-spanish war (treaty of Cateau-CambrÚsis in 1559) Emanuel Philibert, now Duke of Sav˛y re-enters into possession of his lands, but not completey. Some cities, and among them Turin and Pinerolo remainsd as french strongholds, while Asti and Vercelli are still occupyed by the Spanish, and Alssandria remains under Milan.
The Duke Emanuel Philibert has to realize that any possibility of expansion toward France or Switzerland is over, and only he will have, in the future, the possibility of enlarging his territory toward Italy. But the main problem, at the moment, is to acquire some political weight and make it stronger the State. Indeed the Sate is very vulnerable and, in case of a new war, it could be eliminated in just one day.
Emanuel Philibert works a lot for giving a new and modern organization to the State. After years of wars and disbandment, it is compulsory to re-create a moral sense and a state's sense. To this job Emanuel Philibert works with authority and determination. His absolutism centralizes very much the power at a detriment of preceeding feudal benefits and this, for the common people, turns to be an advantage.
He negotiates the exit of the French from Piedmont and he has back Turin in 1562. Turin is choosen as the capital city of the State, foreseeing a future expansion toward Italy, and also since Chambery, the old capital, is too exposed to France. First of all Emanuel Philibert, who will be called "Iron Head (Testa 'd Fer)", attends to the rebuilding of the army, persuaded that the State has to rely on its own significant forces in order to survive and strengthen. In the Duke's planes the army shouldn'be mercenary any more, but a national force based on soldiers than do their service for their own land. So the Duke potentiates and restructures the country troops, of which local nobles become responsible. An offer made to nobles, that in practice can not be given up, is to serve as officers in the army, the only way for obtaining later improvents in their position. Many efforts are invested in discipline and conviction of the army, putting the basis of what will become the myte of the piedmontese army, always litte but extremely valid and determined. The military style is exported also in civilian life.
In the second half of the XVIth century a large part of the Piedmont is still occupied by the Spanish, the French, the Duke of Mantua, with fights in Monferrato and in the Saluzzo Marchland, at this moment directly controlled by France. In the Monferrato the Duke of Mantua attempts to eliminate the Communal institutions in the city of Casale. The Commune reacts and the Duke carries out a brutal repression. Many lands of the Monferrato are sold by the Duke as feuds. Emanuel Philibert, attempting of obtaining some advantage, proposes himself as protector of the city of Casale. In the Monferrato the Duke of Savoy gets a lot of support and becomes popular. His politics is absolutistic in the same way, but at least he is not considered a foreigner as the Duke of Mantua. Besides, the habits of government in the Savoy's States, do not allow the savagery operated by the Duke of Mantua.
The city of Casale is compelled to surrender to the Duke of Mantua, and so it loses its municipal freedom, we are in the year 1568, without the possibility for Savoy to intervene. Many inhabitants of the Monferrato emigrate in the Dukedom of Savoy or in the Marchland of Saluzzo. In this latter State internal fights for controlling the Marchland are interlaced with religion's wars. When the lineage of Saluzzo's Marquises extinguishes, the State is dministrated by french Officers, who are fighting among them. Also in this case Emmanuel Philibert tries to propose himself as a mediator in order to obtain some advantage. As a matter of fact, the big States have no interest in a strengthening of the Savoy's Dukedom. In 1571 the little piedmontese navy, having base in Nice, participates with honour to the battle of Lepanto. In the year 1575, anyway, the Duke obtains to have back the french strongholds of Pinerolo, Savigliano and Perosa, and then the soanish ones of Asti and SanthiÓ. He deads in 1580. He has not achieved large territorial advantages, but he has transformed the State inside, leaving it well organized and more solid. He will be mentioned with favour by Piedmonteses who now feel themselves a "nation".
About the end of '500, the Dukedom includes, beyond the Savoy in France, all the Piedmont with the exception of the eastern zones (Novara, Tortona, Alessandria), of the Marchland of Monferrato, still under the power of Gonzaga of Mantua, and of the previously Marchaln of Saluzzo, now french territory. The Delphinate still includes the high valleys of Susa and Chisone.
Another characteristic of this period are the fights against Waldesians, with alternate results, that bring to a first "tolerance treaty", that for the moment gives a certain recognition to Waldesians, who anyway have to remain in their valleys. But also in this field, wars begin again very soon, and bloody events happens in both of the two parts, on the Mountains of Susa and Chisone valleys, as we will see.
Charles Emanuel I succeedes the father Emanuel Philibert. The politcs of the new Duke is adventurous and unscrupulous, trying to grasp any opportunity of obtaining advantages for the Dukedom. Where he cannot arrive with diplomacy (and deception) he tries with war. So there is an alternation of fights and agreements (some of them secret) with France and Spain, looking for support by Venice and England. The main targets of the Duke are the lands of Saluzzo and the Monferrato, but also Genoa and territories on the Geneva lake. He is engaged on all military and diplomatic fronts, since he is aware that only in this way he can compete with the big european nations and preserve the independence (or the survival itself) of the State. As far the organization of the State is concerned, he follows the father's politics, and with his absolutist power, he wants to reduce privileges and strenght of nobles classes, putting them in the context of the administrative and military organization of the State, at the same time helps the development of the middle class and attempts to improve the level of the popular classes.
Wars require money, and so in Piedmont taxes are incremented, wars bring destructions and dead, and the Piedmont pays a high price in this sense. In spite of this the Duke manages in completing the work of his father in attract his subjects, who in this period are proud of being Piedmontese and to belong to the Savoy Dukedom, as it os also noted by foreing diplomats in their reports.
Also Charles Emanuel I works in improving the life conditions in Piedmont, he thinks at culture, he himself writes (also in Piedmontese), enlarges Turin, but mainly he enhances the defensive potential of the State. Military expenses become higher and higher.
Religion wars and inner wars in the Saluzzo lands, give a pretext for attacking and taking Saluzzo in the year 1588. A true "coup de main" that produces a negative reaction in all the Europe and in the other italian States, which do not approve a strenghtening of Piedmont. Unavoidable the war with France. Alternate military and diplomatic events with France and Spain, bring to the Lion treaty in the 1601, with which the Saluzzo lands becomes Savoyard in excange for some lands beyond Alps, and a lot of money. The final balance is in favour of the Dukedom of Savoy.
The state is anyway in deadful conditions, not only for the wars, but also for the plague that falls on Piedmont in the years 1598 and 1599, followed by a serious famine in 1602. There are many problems,and Charles Emanuel starts some reforms in various fields. Turin assumes its role of Capital city, it is embellished and artists and literates start to come in Turin.

The Holy Shroud in Turin
We have pieces of information about the Holy Shroud starting from the VIIth century, and we know that in the Middle Age there were many "shrouds". The one of Turin is the one having the highest probability of being authentic, even if with many questions. In the 1204 appears for the first time to the crusaders entering Constantinople, and it is described by Robert of Charny. They told it has been brought in France and held by Templars. When the order of Templars is suppressed, the Holy Shroud would have been entrusted to Charny's family.
The first reliable date for the Holy Shroud of Turin is the 1353, when it is in Lirey. The bishop of Troyes forbides the ostension of the Shroud in the year 1389, due to the superstitions that, in this time, it produces. Margareth of Charny entrusts the Holy Shroud to Ann of Lusignano, wife of Ludwing of Savoy, maybe in 1453, while a document of 1464 certifies that the Holy Shroud is property of the Savoy. In 1502 the Holy Shroud is in Chambery, held in the Sainte Chapelle.
Anthony of Lalaing, lord of Montigny, assertes of having been witness of a "God Judgement" on the Holy Shroud, that is boiled in oil and lye, in order to verify if the image disappears, as it would have happened if the image itself had been a paining. In the 1532 it is partly damaged by a fire, and then repaired by Minoress.
When Charles II has problems with the Savoy State, invaded by the French, he is afraid that the Holy Shroud could be stolen and so he carries it to Milan, to Nice, to Vercelli. Here, when Charles II deads it is adventurously rescued from french pillage, by the canon Costa. Then it goes back to Chambery.
In the 1578 since the Cardinal Borromeo of Milan has expressed the wish of visiting the Holy Shroud, Emanuel Philibert makes carry it in Turin, in order to avoid that the Cardinal has to cross Alps (not an easy thing in these times). The Holy Shroud do not go back to Chambery. It remaines in Turin and in 1694 is brought in the Guarini's Chapel, where it stayed up to the last fire that risked of destroying it. Now is protected in premises of the Turin's cathedral, kept in artificial atmosphere in order to avoid further oxidation..

Religion war on Alps
From 1532 the Waldesians join the Reformation of Luther and Calvin, as we've seen, and can rely on some international support. In the Piedmont occupied by the French (first part of the century XVIth), the Waldesians has some initial advantage at a loss of local Lords. But soon the persecutions starts again, in particular on high valleys of Susa and Chisone, that are belonging to Dauphinate. Many Waldesians are compelled do emigrate in Switzerland (in Geneva there is a large piedmontese colony).
In the 1557 the new king of France, Francis II, organizes at once an expedition against the Waldesians. Many of the french Waldesians take refuge in the Pinerolo's valleys and in high valley of Chisone. But at this point the Waldesians decide to equipe themselves for defending with weapons not only their religious freedom but also their lands.
When Emanuel Philibert has the power, he finds himself in a difficult situation. He needs internal peace for his reforms, and so he wouldn't want any war against the Waldesians, but on the other hand he is tied to the principle established in Augusta in 1555 asserting that the people has to follow the religion of the soverein. Even more, the Waldesians are supported by Geneva, the city that the Reformation has subtracted to Savoy. After some attempts of solving the question without weapons, in the year 1560 the war starts. An expedition against the Waldesians is organized, that don't get any result, but only obtains an alliance between Waldesians of Piedmont and Waldesians of Dauphinate. The war continues without conviction and without success for the ducal army, in front of an enemy not easy to find, able to hit and disappear.
But, in France Catherine de Medici becomes regent, and she does a politics of tolerance for the Reformation, and so also Emanuel Philibert thinks at the peace, that is necessary for reforming the State. In the city of Cavour, in 1561 a peace treaty is done which, even if with many limitations, it is the first "tolerance treaty" in Europe, a new principle. This solves for the moment the problem in Savoy Dukedom, but not in the Dauphinate. (we remember that the piedmontese high valleys of Susa and Chisone are part of the Dauphinate in this time). Here the war continues for other two years, with violences and destructions by both the parts. In 1563 Catherine de Medici does an edict that grants the religious freedom to all the Reformed.
But the war goes off again in 1569 with a "coup de main" of the Waldesians, at the orders of the Captain Nicolas Colombin, who attacks and occupies the fortess of Exilles. The Catholics have La Casette as a commander, who quickly retakes the fortess. Colombin assertes that a foreign state has offered money for obtaining the fortess. It is probable that beyond the"coup de main" there is the action of Emanuel Philibert.
Afret ther night of Saint Bartholomew in Paris, the Waldesians starts again their incursions in 1572 and then for some years there is war again.

The '600, the Monferrato's question. Madama Cristina, the french intrusion
Charles Emanuel I tries to take some advantage from inheritance problems in the Monferrato Marchland pretending some rights. The diplomatic play does not give any result, so Charles Emanuel I chooses the use of the force and the war starts again. He relies on a french support that is not effective, and after various events, big damages and a lot of money spent, all finishes into nothing. The only result is that the Duke has the fame of being able to fight against the Spanish. Also the popularity of the Duke of Savoy, in Monferrato, disappears.
The thirty years war begins. The Duke Charles Emanuel I has ambitious projects, and takes part at an alliance with France and Venice in 1623, and in the same time, in France the Cardinal Richelieu becomes the minister of the King and, as a matter of fact, the holder of the power. Scope of the Duke of Savoy is to enlarge the Dukedom toward Genoa. after some success the Duke thinks at an expansion in Lombardy, but suddenly the Frech leaves the alliance (no more in line with their targets, since they only needed a diversion).
Then Charles Emanuel I goes back to his project on Monferrato, and for that he looks for an agreement with the Spanish, about a subdivision of the Monferrato itself, and he begins the war in 1628. According to the agreement the Spanish sould occupy Casale, while Charles Emanuel I quickly occupies Alba, Trino, and other lands. Spanish actuates the siege of Casale. The French try to avoid the fall of Casale, the Piedmontese opposes to the transit of French, but in secret they carry out all what is possible for avoiding the Spanish to conquere the city. There is a fight against France (probably only simulated) where the France appears to be the winner. Then an agreement is reached in Susa (in the year 1629) in which the fall of Casale is avoided and Charles Emanuel I obtains a little enlargement in the Monferrato. The french - spanish war starts again and Charles Emanuel I, in a first moment neutral, passes with Spanish, while the French are again in Piedmont. In the year 1630 the big problem becomes the plague, the Piedmont is invaded by the French and Charles Emanuel I deads.
The plague ravages the Piedmont. Before the epidemic there are years of famine and floods. Exchanges stops, and a background grows of criminality, people that take advantage from the situation. But also skilful and obstinate persons appear that fight against adversities in favour of their community. One of them is the Major of Turin Francis Bellezia. The medical capabilities of this time cannot avoid that complete villages are deserted by the epidemic. In Turin the level is reached of 150 deaded per day (over a total population left of 10 or 12 thousand inhabitants, since the others have gone outside the city.
After Charles Emanuel I the Duke is Victor Amadeus I, who marries Cristine, strongly tied to France, being the sister of the french King Louis XIII. The Duke tries an approach toward France, under the wife's influence but, on the contrary, his brothers the Prince Thomas of Carignano and the Cardinal Maurice are against this politics. Indeed the politcs of Victor Amadeus I becomes an enslavement at France. The Duke obtaines to be recognize as King of Cyprus, (the title was already owned, but also "in theory") and his wife becomes His Royal Highness or Royal Madam (title without kingdom that in Europe produces some hilarity). In Piedmont she has the name Madama Cristina.
Victor Amadeus is passively involved in the strategy of the Cardinal Richelieu, who is probably thinking at enclosing the Savoy Dukedom to France. The pro-French politics of the Duke, often conditioned by his wife, put the basis for the incoming civil war. The Duke, encouraged by France, tries to conquere Milan, but the french support is very soon retired, since the France only wanted a diversion in its war against Germany. Without any possibility of winning in Lombardy, the Duke attempts then an expansion toward Genoa, but he deads in 1636.
The son Francis Giacinto is few years old, and the Regency is up to the mother Madam Christine. The first born will deadvery young, and the succession will pass to the brother Charles Emanuel II, So the period of Madam Christine regency becomes long. Two parties arise, fighting against each other, whose the first is called "Madamists" (Madam Christine - France) and the second is called "Principists" (Prince Thomas - Spain and Empire). The Prince Thomas, supported by the Spanish arrives to put the siege to Turin, but also in this case the support of Spain is soon withdrown, and the Prince has to go back. Anyway Prince Thomas and the Cardinal Maurice obtained to be appointed by the Emperor tutors of the young Charles Emanuel II, and also the regency of the State. In this way the civil war becomes official, with one part supported by France and the other supported by the Empire. Christine's signature is "Christine of France", and the Cardinal Richelieu plans to annex the Piedmont definitively to France.
Christine gives some piedmontese strongholds to France, and this produces many supports to the Princes Thomas and Maurice in many piedmontese cities, that passes into the Principists' party. In the meanwhile the war continues against Spain, with an ambiguous position of France, that don't have any interest in a strong Piedmont. The city of Vercelli is occupied by the Spanish and the politics of Richelieu becomes deceitfully dangerous. In spite of all Christine is able to avoid the main traps.
Madam Christine doesn't enjoy a good reputation, but it is not possible to know the truth about, since calumny is very used in this period. In 1642 there is a first, but useless, peace treaty (we remember that the war is the one between Franche Spain). In 1648 there is the peace of Westfalia, and with this treary the french presence in Piedmon remains heavy (Pinerolo and other strongholds). What remains of the Monferrato passes to Savoy, but Casale remains to the Duke of Mantua.In the meanwhile Charles Emanuel II takes the government of the Dukedom, drafting at the beginning the mother. He has back Vercelli in 1660 by occupying it. Madam Christine deads in 1662. One of the sons of Prince Thomas, named Eugene of Savoy - Carignano passes with the Absburg and he will re-appear in the Piedmont's history, as we will see.
Charles Emanuel II, as other preceeding Dukes, tries to expand his territory toward Genoa (year 1672), but he doesn't succed. He deads in 1675, when his son Victor Amadeus II is still a child. There is a new Regency of the mother Mary Johanna Baptist of Savoy - Nemours. Also in this period the Piedmont has to suffer an heavy french intrusion (The french King is now Louis XIV). The region becomes, in practice, a french province, where Franche controls also the budget.
In this period there is an armed resistence of people to the tax on salt, in the region of Mondový, between 1680 and 1699, and the war against Waldesians, dicided for subjection to France (we will see this below). Victor Amadeus has the power only in 1684. The Duke begins immediately to take distance to France and approach the cousin, the Prince Eugene, who militate in the adversary field of the France, i.e. for the Austria.

The absolutism and the end of communal freedom
Along all the '500 and '600 there is, in Piedmont, a progressive establishing of the ducal absolutism, both in the States of Savoy and in the Monferrato of the Duke Gonzaga. Step by step all the remainings of the communal freedom and rights, acquired in the preceeding centuries, are progressively eliminated. We have already seen that the Duke of Mantua suppressed the freedom of Casale in a brutal way. Something similar happens in the Mondový (Monvý) area, already mentioned. This is the last piedmontese area in which communal liberties still survive at the end of the XVII century. Local people has always managed the tax on salt by themselves. They don't accept the decision of the Duke on this matter, and the repression is brutal. These are two limit cases, that demonstrate the increased power of central governments. In the meanwhile the Dukes reorganize the States which become more efficient and bureaucratic, and the tax load increases, which is imposed to the local communities. These latter find themselves without resources, and so they try to obtain favours for reducing the tax load. A sort of patronage system rises which in fact eliminates the residual freedom.
The Duke is now in the position of being able to impose rules and taxes without consulting anymore the three states assembly (that is no more summoned). The Duke can now eliminate, at central level all the representative apparatus. This is valid not only for civilian citizens , but also for nobles, who are put at the service of the State (that means "of the Duke"). The Duke takes all the decision by himself or, maybe, asks for suggestion some reliable adviser.
In this period the State has an increasing need of money, for the Court expenses, for the bureaucracy (very enlarged in the period), for building palaces and churches (it is the period of "piedmontese barocco"), But mainy money is required by the army and military works, which in the perion are having deep changes.
Provinces are established in which, initially there is an officer having a role of judge of Appeal, but quickly it becomes a control apparatus of the Duke on the territory. In Turin the municipality loses its meaning, and the Coutr takes all the jobs, including the organizing the procession of Corpus Christi, and leaves to the city lonly the duty of organizing the St'Johan feast (at this feast the Court does not participate).

The evolution of military organization
The new artillery, which are part of all the armies, make it useless old castles, that are characteristics of the piedmontese landscape. Also the city walls as they were useful in the Middle Age, are then useless at the same time. New war techniques require armies composed by a large number of soldiers. Ther is the need of building fortess and fortiying the cities with ramparts and strongholds provided with earthwork in front of enemy. New fortesses are needed in strategic points of the territory. The siege, requiring a lot odf soldiers, becomes more important than the open field battle. All these works have a very high cost by themselves, and besides they require a large arm, able to perform long range operations. We have seen that, starting from Emmanuel Philbert, the guideline is to eliminate mercenary armies engaged on the need, and to provide a national army, based on professional soldiers and soldiers enroled with mandatory conscription. The need appears of having a ready and available aemy also in time of peace, but maintaining this army is expensive.

The social situation in Piedmont in the '600
In the period we have, alternatively, phases of development and phases of crisis. In intervals between wars or epidemies there is a quick growth of the Piedmont, and this demonstrates an high productivity of the region, whose economy continue to be based mainly on agriculture, at least in the first part of the period. When Emmanuel Philbert takes the power, the region is in a very poor condition, but after twenty years only, the region is described as a rich and opulend land, whose agriculture feeds export, markets and fairs. Since the richess of Piedmont is based mainly on agriculture, this one suffers less than others of international economical crises, but it is more sensitive to the wars fighted on the territory. The quiet period of the Emmanuel Philbert reign produces a good growth.
The last wars of Charles Emmanuel I, and the subsequent plague, are the starting point of a deep crisis, and a general involution. In the period of the two regencies there is an improvment of the nobles' privileges, since the two regents have given them in change of support. At the same time the contentiousness increased, and also criminality among the noble classes. There were homicides, violence and quarrels between families and inside families of the piedmontese aristocracy. Also the clergy is not a good example, and among people the religious sense is often substituted by superstition and folklore.
The brigandism is very present, and often not punished, since brigands can easily obtain freedom by paying an amonut of money, whose the State has always the need. The wars and the plague are accompained by famine, and the countries lose a lot of the population, but also the cities are losing inhabitants. Only Turin continue to increase, and it is very much larger than all the others. . Poverty is largely grown and the diseases make slaughters. Infant mortality in the first year of life in some places reaches the 50%. Some cities are half ruined. Industrial and artisan activities are hindered by lack of communication ways, taxes and duties, and by military actions, always destructive. The roads are ruined and the spreaded brigandism dissuades from using them.
Taxes are very high in order to support military and Court expenses. The system of taxation is organized badly and is heavy. There are taxex on incomes and on properties, but also on the same activities independently from the income produces, so that it can happen to have taxes higher than the earnings. Each Commune is governed with its own rules and its own privileges. The Justice is administered with extreme severity, and the capital punishment is often used, and not only for big crimes. Prisons are absolutely inhuman, and torture is a common judicial practice. Only in the second half of the century things startsd to go a bit better. The improvment is quickly important.
The population starts again to grow, and in spite of the increment of workers in the countries, the agricultural salaries are increasing as well. This is a sign of the improvement of the situation. Production of valued cereals is increased while the one of poor cereals is reduced. The mais coming from America, is grown mainly for feeding animals. The production of rice is increasing as well, while the breeding of cattle substirutes partially the breeding of sheeps.
The silk industry requires a greater production of silkworms, and then mulberry-trees are incremented. The silk industry has reached a good quality level, and soon the piedmontese silk becomes the best in Europe. Good cotton and wool industries make available products not particularly high in quality. Military requirements make it grow also the siderurgy, associated to mining. The army is what continues to be enlarged and organized, with introduction of various specialities, and rules for the subdivision into regiments. The artillery is organized and improved, and a lot of care is devoted to the project and construction of defensive works.
The State lottery (Lotto - L˛t) is introduced in Piedmont (Dukedom of Savoy), firstly it is given in concession after payment of a rental, then it is prohibited, and then still it is given in concession. Finally, considered its profitability, it becomes directly managed by the State. Something similar happens for the sale of tobacco.
The sale of feuds, with associated titles, continues with mechanisms and clauses that on one hand seem to slow down the centralization of the power, but on the other hand give to the Duke or the Marquis (according to the places) tools for having a nobility more tied to him. A true market arise, which is controlled by the Lord, and ehich becomes at once very profitable. By the way, the family Benso buy the County of Cavour only in 1649.
At the end of '600 Turin is largely the piedmontese city more populated, with 44'000 inhabitants. Asti, which is the second, has only 8'000 inhabitants..

The waldesian question
The period is characterized by violences between Catholic and Waldesians. Waldesians are in expansion, due to many arrivals from nations where they are persecuted, and they go downt to plane from the valleys in which ther are allowed to profess their religion (even if with some limitations). The Dukes of Savoy, who had shown a certain tolerance, are now very dependent from the french humours. Anyway some accident happens, due to the hostility between the two religions. Also on mountains weighty events happens, and in one of them the parish priest of Oulx is killed (year 1650 in territory of Delfinate).
In the year 1655 the ducal government imposes at Waldesians to leave the plane and go to their valleys, and then the Duke prepares an expedition into the waldesian valleys. Ducal soldiers make slaughters in waldesian villages, and for that Piedmont finds itself isolated in Europe, in particular the Protestant one, mainly Switzerland and England, with the exception, of course, of the France. Switzerland and England organize themselves in order to bring help to the waldesian valleys. A new agreement is reached of "cohabitation", that re-establish the rules of the Cavour treaty, but this agreement is fated to a short life. In fact the fights continues, and in 1685 the King of France Louis XIV, starts again the war, taking away, as a matter of fact, any freedom to Waldesians. The King tried to push the Duke of Savoy to do the same. Victor Amadeus II at a first time exitates, and then he realizes of not having other alternative and follows Louis XIV.
Waldesians rejects impositions and organizes their defence, even if in between the two enemies, under the guide of Henry Arnaud. The defeat of Waldesians is unavoidable, the deads are many and many are put into prison, while a guerilla continues, carried on by little groups. The guerilla is extremely tenacious, up to become legendary. Still under pressure of Switzerland and England, the surviving Waldesians are allowed to take refuge in Switzerland. From here the Waldesians plans their re-entry into their lands. The political situation passes in favour at Waldesians when in Europe the Great Alliance is constituted, with William of Orange, who leads it and becomes the protector of of Protestantism.
In 1689, under the guide of Arnaud, Waldesians go back to their lands in Pellice valleys with a long march from the Geneva's area, opening their way with astuteness and force. Against Waldesians there are the French and the Savoy's Duke. This latter tries to procrastinate the action and, at the end, he does the peace with Waldesians, breaking the alliance with France (always a dangerous neighbour). Waldesians are allowed to live in peace in the valleys of Pellice and Chisone (the piedmontese part). This still is not a recognition of a religious freedom, but it is better than nothing. The year is the 1690. From that moment on, the volunteer Waldesian soldiers will always be found whith the Piedmontese in any war against France.

The point on piedmontese tongue
The '600 is the century in which the piedmontese tongue is completely formed and mature. In practice it is the same Piedmontese that is spoken nowadays. Literary production, starting from this period, becomes abundant. In spite of the presence of local variants (what happens in all languages), the piedmontese is spreaded over the entire region, even if this is still subdivided into different States. It is understandable from what we have seen above that the french and provençal influence has been strong. Also the Spanish gives a contribution, but nevertheless this does not influence the structure of the piedmontese language ant its particularities. We can conclude that piedmontese lexicon has been enriched with words coming from different languages (mainly french and provençal).
In this period the influence of the italian language is still very limited. The Italian itself is used in a waynot natural, and it is limited to official acts (when tey are not in French), and it is known by few persons. The main nucleous is constituted by words directly coming from Latin, according to derivation rules that are quite similar to the ones related to all the neo-latin tongues of the western group (while the italian belongs to the eastern group). Grammar and Syntax maintains their own characteristics, with significant differences with respect the other near tongues. Officially the French is used, at least in the Savoy Dukedom and in the piedmontese part of the Dauphinate (where the current language is Provençal), or the Italian (only for official acts) and the use of Latin is more and more reduced. The Piedmontese is, anyway, the only language spoken by the totality of the population in Piedmont, without any difference among social classes. Also the written use of Piemontese is quite diffused.
At the end of the XVII century the comedy "Ël Cont Piolet" appears, written by the Count Tana.is a satire about who has acquired a "fraction of nobility".

casa indice

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