Valperga, by Mary Shelley

Preface

THE accounts of the Life of Castruccio known in England, are generally taken from Macchiavelli’s romance concerning this chief. The reader may find a detail of his real adventures in Sismondi’s delightful publication, Histoire des Republiques Italiennes de L’Age Moyen. In addition to this work, I have consulted Tegrino’s Life of Castruccio, and Giovanni Villani’s Florentine Annals.

The following is a translation from the article respecting him in Moreri.

“Castruccio Castracani, one of the most celebrated captains of his time, lived in the fourteenth century. He was of the family of the Antelminelli of Lucca; and, having at a very early age borne arms in favour of the Ghibelines, he was exiled by the Guelphs. He served not long after in the armies of Philip king of France, who made war on the Flemings. In the sequel he repassed the Alps; and, having joined Uguccione Faggiuola, chief of the Ghibelines of Tuscany, he reduced Lucca, Pistoia, and several other towns. He became the ally of the emperor Louis of Bavaria, against pope John XXII, Robert king of Naples, and the Florentines. Louis of Bavaria gave him the investiture of Lucca under the denomination of Duke, together with the title of Senator of Rome. Nothing seemed able to oppose his courage and good fortune, when he was taken off by a premature death in 1330, in the forty-seventh year of his age.”

The dates here given are somewhat different from those adopted in the following narrative.

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Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:54