Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/302

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Feltre, and consequently the passes; she had removed Visconti from the immediate neighbourhood of the Lagoons; and replaced him by a Carrara whom dread of Visconti would certainly keep submissive to his protector. But in 1402 Gian Galeazzo died suddenly, and the whole aspect of the situation underwent a change. The reason for Carrara's loyalty to Venice, his dread of Visconti, disappeared. The value of Carrara to Venice, as a buffer between herself and Visconti, no longer existed. The moment had arrived for Venice to consolidate her landed possessions by the absorption of Padua. The pretext was soon found. The Visconti possessions were now held by his Duchess as regent for Gian Galeazzo's infant children. The Duchess was weak. Gian Galeazzo's generals began to divide their late master's dominions. This dissolution of the Visconti duchy roused the cupidity of Carrara. He claimed Vicenza and had an eye on Verona. He sat down before Vicenza; but the people, weary of the uneasy, shifting rule of these personal Lords, Scala, Visconti, Carrara, declared that if they must yield to some one, they would hand their city over to Venice. Moreover the Duchess had already invited Venice to hold Carrara in check and the Republic had demanded as the price of her interference Bassano, Vicenza, Verona. The Duchess consented. Armed with this double title, Venice requested Carrara to raise the siege of Vicenza. He refused, and mutilated the Venetian herald by cropping his ears and slitting his nose. War was declared. Carrara was gradually beaten back into Padua. A long siege followed. Carrara held out with great courage, hoping that aid might come from Florence, and that his partizans in Venice might succeed in carrying into effect a plot which they had concerted in that city. But the plague and the fury of the populace broke down his pertinacity. The Venetians delivered an assault and with the help of the people they entered the town (November 17, 1404). Francesco and his son were taken to Venice, where they were tried and condemned to be strangled.

As the defeat of Genoa secured Venetian maritime supremacy, so the fall of the Carraresi consolidated her mainland possessions. She now held Treviso, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, and their districts. The boundaries of the Republic were, roughly speaking, the sea from the mouth of the Tagliamento to the mouth of the Adige, the river Tagliamento to the east, the Alps to the north, the Adige to the west and south. This territory she retained with brief exceptions, down to the League of Cambray. She now entered the community of Italian States and enjoyed all the prestige, but also confronted all the dangers, of an Italian principality.

On the sea the Turk was already in sight; on the mainland the Visconti of Milan, with their claim to Verona and Vicenza, had to be faced. But before proceeding to narrate the history of the full-grown Republic during the period of her greatest brilliancy, we must consider