to revolts and fighting in the streets. On the Ligurian coast, the Republic of Genoa stepped in, took advantage of these civic broils, and, by plausible assurances of good government under her strong hand, managed to get nearly the whole seaboard, with its towns, under her protection. The protection Genoa afforded soon turned to exaction and interference with the liberties of the towns she protected. Thenceforth ensued a series of revolts.
Ventimiglia, which was a place under the rule of its count, was taken and sacked by the Genoese in 1140, and its count constrained to make submission. The mouth of the Roya, with its harbour, excited the jealousy and ambition of Genoa, as did in like manner Nice and Villefranche; for Genoa desired to monopolise the whole of the trade of the Mediterranean along the Ligurian coast and Corsica. Allies and friendly towns could traffic freely with Genoa; but the ships of independent states were taxed, and their freights almost crushed by onerous duties, before they could enter the port. The sea-coast towns like Ventimiglia and Villefranche, not under Genoese control, were a hindrance to the control and monopoly of the entire trade by the grasping Republic, consequently the Genoese were persistent in their attempts to force them to submission.
In 1196 the count and the Genoese combined against the city of Ventimiglia, and failing, in spite of a siege of two months, to capture the town, they organised a league of the whole of Liguria against the gallant and resolute place. The allies established their camp on the Cape of S. Ampelio and ravaged the country, but could not reduce Ventimiglia. Then the Genoese spread a report that a large Ventimiglian galley which had been cruising off the Spanish coast had been captured, and