To help me report the facts relating to our city which occurred in the beginning of the sixteenth century, it is essential to recap the history of the fall of the Aragonese Dynasty, and of the way in which this Kingdom passed to Ferdinand the Catholic. When King Ferdinand I of Aragon died on 25 January 1494, his eldest son Alfonso II succeeded him in the Kingdom and was crowned in Naples on 8 May of the same year. Soon burst on his head that storm already prepared that the prudence and dexterity of his parent had kept suspended for some time.
Charles VIII, King of France, waged war on him for the reasons reported by the Historians of the Kingdom, and especially by Giannone in the XXIX book of his Civil History. He was Alfonso generally hated by his subjects. As soon as the troops of Charles VIII showed up on the borders of the whole Kingdom, he was in turmoil. The city of Aquila, and with it almost all of Abruzzo raised his flag. These news discouraged Alfonso, and made him forget the military glory that he had acquired in so many wars at the head of the armies. He realized too late that the greatest strength of a King is the love of his people. He then renounced the Kingdom to his son Ferdinando, a young man of high hopes, and went to seek shelter in Sicily. He landed in Mazzara and then went to Messina, and withdrew to a convent of Friars to lead an austere life.
Ferdinand II tried to reunite the army to oppose the enemy army; he realized, however, that the Nobility and the People persisted in the same hatred against his Father, and that the army lacked good will. He therefore thought it sound advice to leave the Kingdom, and embarking with his uncle Federico and with the old Queen, his grandfather, he left Naples. He stopped first on the Island of Ischia; but on March 20, 1495 he untied the sails, and he too went to Sicily. Having consulted therein with [a171]his father Alfonso decided to turn to Ferdinand the Catholic to recover the Kingdom with his help, a too reckless advice, because he had pretensions about the Kingdom of Naples that he had hitherto deeply dissimulated.
Meanwhile, Charles VIII had entered Naples on 21 February of the aforementioned year not only without resistance; but also widely celebrated and applauded. However, he did not know how to take advantage of these favorable dispositions. He devoted himself to pleasures and amusements, and his officers were devoted to robberies, and to make money. Moreover, with their haughtiness and insolence they disgusted everyone. The celebration then soon changed into aversion and discontent.
In this position of things, Ferdinand the Catholic, who was harboring plans for the Kingdom of Naples, gladly accepted the invitation received. It was not long in sending a brave and skilled man of war to Sicily, namely Consalvo Ernandez Aghilar of Cordova whom the Spanish jattanza decorated with the name of Gran Capitano before his military operations could make him deserving of it. When Consalvo landed with his troops in Calabria, he brought significant advantages over the French.
At the same time a formidable league had formed against Charles VIII between the Princes of Italy, the Republic of Venice, Ferdinand King of Castile, Pope Alexander VI etc. Fearing he would remain cut off here, he determined to leave the Kingdom to return to France with his best troops. However, he agreed to open the way with a fierce battle that he was forced to give to the Venetian troops stationed on the Taro river.
Few troops remained in the Kingdom under the command of Mr. Monpensier of the Bourbon House and of Mr. d’Obignì of the Scottish Nation. Seeing this, the Napolitans secretly sent people to Sicily to urge Ferdinand to return to the Kingdom. He did not take long to execute it, and he presented himself in the Rada of Naples with sixty large woods and twenty smaller ones. Having approached the beach in order to disembark with his troops at the Ponte della Maddalena, Monpensier left the city with the French to oppose the landing.
But the Napolitans took this opportunity, took up arms, occupied the gates, favored the disembarkation, and joyfully introduced King Ferdinand II into the city on July 5 of the said year 1495. After that it cost him very little to go away gradually. the French too weak from the occupied places. He was left only to retake Taranto and Gaeta when he was kidnapped from immature death at the age of twenty-eight on the 8th of October of the year 1496.
Not having left any children and his Father Alfonso being premorted to him, his Uncle Frederick, Prince of rare goodness, of distinguished virtues, and as much loved and venerated by all as his brother Primogenito Alfonso had been hated in the Kingdom. The elevation of him to the throne was of general joy. Even those great ones of the kingdom who had followed the banners of Charles VIII due to particular resentments, joined Frederick with alacrity, and were welcomed by him with the utmost kindness. But the best of the kings of that time was not favored by luck.
Charles VIII, King of France, died in 1498. Returning to his country after the battle of the Taro he had thought of dealing with tournaments and jousting, without having taken more thought of the things of Italy and the Kingdom of Naples. He was succeeded in the Throne by Louis XII, who firmly proposed to conquer the State of Milan and the Kingdom of Naples. So in the year 1500 he came to Italy with a mighty army. He drove him out of his States, and also took the Duke of Milan prisoner. The unfortunate King Frederick saw the storm that was also going to fall on him, and he was forced by necessity to also implore help from Ferdinand the Catholic, despite the just distrust he had of his intentions. But it may well be said that he unfortunately fell the sheep here in the wolf’s mouth.
A secret Treaty had already been concluded between Ferdinand the Catholic and Louis XII, put on the table with Charles VIII, but not yet completed when his death occurred. It had remained with it established that they would both use their tower weapons in Frederick the Kingdom of Naples. The prey was divided as follows. The King of France owed the city of Naples, the Piazza di Gaeta, the [a173]Province of Terra di Lavoro with all of Abruzzo, half of the entry of the Customs of the sheep of Puglia, and ‘the title of King of Naples and Jerusalem. The King of Spain owed the Duchy of Calabria and Puglia, the other half of the entrance to the aforementioned Customs, and the title of Duke of Calabria and Puglia. It was agreed that each of them would wait to win his part with arms, without one being obliged to help the other, and that the treaty concluded would remain in the utmost secrecy.
Given this secret combination, the request of King Frederick was greeted with enthusiasm by Ferdinand the Catholic. He was immediately sent back to Sicily Consalvo di Cordova with troops and corresponding secret instructions. He fell into the baseness of using even a trait of perfidy not worthy of a man of valor. He had several cities in Calabria given by King Frederick under the pretext of wanting them for the safety of the troops he had brought to his aid; but in reality he wanted to place them in his hand to facilitate the conquest of that portion of the Kingdom which, with the secret treaty, had been attributed to the King of Spain. This is how the good King Frederick was stripped of his kingdom, very worthy of a better fate.
However, very soon, and properly in the year 1501, the two kings came to discord with each other, since, as Cornelius Tacitus well observes, Arduum est eodem loci potentiam et concordiam esse  . In the secret dealt with, the divided Provinces had not been well and wisely defined and circumscribed. Given to the King of France the Province of Terra di Lavoro and Abruzzo, and to the King of Spain the Duchy of Calabria and Puglia, to which of the two owed the County of Molise, the Valley of Benevento, Basilicata and the two Principalities? Each party wanted him for himself. But the major altercation was for the Capitanata.
To tell the truth, for the Capitanata the letter of the treaty was neither ambiguous nor obscure, and favored the King of Spain, as this Province has always formed part of Puglia, and was called Puglia Daunia , as demonstrated in Chapter III. But the French too [a174]later they had come to know the importance of it, right or wrong they wanted it for them.
To avoid a breakup, the Barons of the Kingdom made every effort to end it with a friendly combination. They proposed and obtained an interview between the Duke of Némours Viceroy of Louis XII and Consalvo who ruled here for Ferdinand the Catholic. Nothing, however, could be combined, and it was resolved between the two Captains that the determination of the two Sovereigns had been awaited, and meanwhile nothing had been innovated against the state in which things were. But after this the Duke of Némours, who saw himself as far superior in strength, came out of this agreement and ordered war on Consalvo if he had not promptly released the captain.
The threats followed the facts, as the French occupied the Capitanata, the land of Bari, the land of Otranto and Calabria. Few maritime cities could Consalvo preserve. In the land of Bari only two cities remained, namely Barletta and Andria. All the others were occupied by the French. Consalvo with few people, without money and with a very small provision of provisions, it was not the case to be able to prevent it  . This is how the city of Ruvo was also occupied by the French. And since it was nevertheless a strong square, and important for the aforementioned war, it was provided with a good garrison of infantry and horses under the command of Signor de la Palisse , who also had Abruzzo under his orders. Then those events that I pass to expose took place.
Had Louis XII not fallen asleep over these prosperous successes, and had continued to reinforce his army, and push the war forward vigorously, it would have been very easy for him to drive the Spaniards out of the Kingdom of Naples. However, he did not know how to take advantage of this advantageous position, and he gave Consalvo too much time to have reinforcements of troops and money. The usual insolence of the French also gave an opportunity [a175]to an event which became famous, and greatly influenced the encouragement of Consalvo’s army and demean that of his enemies.
In the French Garrison established in Ruvo there was a Knight called Carlo de Togues entitled Signor de la Motte . While he was a prisoner in Barletta he spoke to the leaders of the Spanish army with contempt for the Italian men-at-arms. Ettore Fieramosca Cavaliere Capuano who belonged to a company of Italian men-at-arms under the command of Consalvo, to avenge the insult done to the Italian name he sent that challenge to Signor de la Motte , which was followed by the famous fight between the thirteen French Knights who had come out from Ruvo, and as many Italians who came out of Barletta, which took place in a designated field between Andria and Corato a few miles away from Ruvo.
The outcome of that most glorious battle for Italy made it clear that Pliny said well in the place reported above that Italians were superior to all in terms of ingenuity, language and valor. For eternal memory of that fact of arms, so glorious for us, a very solid monument with a similar inscription was erected on the very site of the fight. I remember it well because I went there several times in my youth to contemplate it with the utmost complacency. But now it is gone.
It is believed that the French made it disappear in the time they occupied those places  . If this is the case, they certainly could not make those books that have handed down the news of that classic event to disappear. But therefore the obscurity of both local and provincial administrative authorities in not having a monument restored so much is not reprehensible. [a176]for glorious Italy. On the contrary, it is astonishing how nevertheless we do not think of this at all!
Francesco Guicciardini, Paolo Giovio, Gio: Battista Cantalicio and others speak of the aforementioned combat. These writers, however, have talked about it a lot in short. The full and minute account of it as well as the entire correspondence of letters between Ettore Fieramosca and the Signor de la Motte is obtained from a little book printed or rather reprinted in Naples in the year 1633. Its author is unknown. The style is not elegant. But whoever wrote it denied having been present at the facts that he faithfully reported.
I received this little book of the ancient edition, which has become rare, from the courtesy and friendship of the excellent and highly cultivated D. Gaspare Selvaggi, Secretary of the Commission for Public Education. I determined to reprint it at the end of my Historique for a double reflection. The first because I do not think it is ever superfluous to multiply the copies of a writing that fully reports all the circumstances of such a glorious fact to the Italian name. The second because the preliminaries of it having taken place in my homeland, it can well be said that they form part of the history of it.
Turning now to the events that followed that fight, how much my soul rejoiced in having commemorated it, it remains saddened and irritated by the new undeserved disasters that came to fall upon my poor homeland. Francesco Guicciardini, after having spoken of the hardships to which the Spaniards imprisoned and besieged in the city of Barletta were reduced with the annoying addition of the plague being introduced there, goes on to praise the virtue and constancy of Consalvo, who tolerated all the privations and encouraging them with his example, he kept them at bay with the hope of nearby help. Then he added the following account, which on the other hand lacks little accuracy in various circumstances which I will not fail to point out.
In this reduced state of the war, they began to be superior to the negligence and insolent bearing of the French [a177]to that day they had been inferior, because the men of Castellaneta, a land near Barletta  , desperate for the damage and injuries suffered by fifty French lancies who lodged there, popularly took up arms, robbed them, and a few days later Consalvo having news that Monsignor de la Palissa, who with one hundred spears and three hundred infantry was staying in the Land of Rubos, twelve miles away from Barletta  he made negligent guards, having left Barletta one night, and led to Rubos, and planted the artillery with great speed, which he had easily conducted with him because of the flat path, he attacked it with such impetus that the French expected any other which, frightened by the sudden attack, made a weak defense, they lost themselves remaining with the other Palissa prison, and the same day Consalvo returned to Barletta, without danger of receiving in retiring from Nemurs, who a few days before had come to Canosa , give some, because his people lodged to keep Barletta besieged on several sides, and perhaps for their greater convenience in several places, could not be in time to congregate.After this he goes on to report the already mentioned famous fight of the thirteen French Knights and as many Italians, and speaks of it as a fact subsequent to the conquest of the said city of Ruvo  .
But here Guicciardini is wrong in three essential things. The first in having said that the French made little resistance, while this was very lively, and the Signor de la Palisse who commanded him does not deserve to be accused of negligence or cowardice, as he was always present in the strongest and in the hotter than the fray, and was also wounded there. The second in saying that our city was conquered when the Duke of Némours had already returned to Canosa, while he had left. [a178]for Castellaneta with the backbone of his troops to avenge the insult done to the French by the inhabitants of that city. Consalvo took advantage of his absence and the long distance from Castellaneta to attempt the coup de hand that succeeded so well on the city of Ruvo.
The third was in having said that the aforementioned famous fight of the thirteen French Knights with the thirteen Italians followed the conquest of our city, while there can be no doubt that it preceded it. It seems that Guicciardini has ignored the circumstance that the thirteen French Knights were chosen by the cavalry that was lodged in Ruvo, which afterwards with the taking of the city remained a prisoner of war, as Guicciardini himself said it. Let us therefore go to rectify these errors with the testimony of other Writers who are better informed of the events which occurred then.
Paolo Giovio in the life of Consalvo, after having spoken of the aforementioned famous fight of the thirteen French Knights with as many Italians, goes on to say that while the Duke of Némours was under the walls of Castellaneta, and not in Canosa as Guicciardini believed, a messenger came to him. Is attulerat Consalvum Barolo profectum Rubos ad opprimendum Paliciam contendisse. Is enim de Namurtii profectione certior factus, ex occasion sumpto consilio, celeriterque expedito, noctu eductis omnibus copiis, tormentisque, ita ut Decuriones Barolitanos non obscuræ fidei obsides futuros secum duceret, Rubos advolavit. Tantaque vi, tormentis admotis, oppugnare adortus est, ut prostrate enormous ruina muro , necked veluti acie dimicaretur, et not one in loco Hispani admotis scalis subire mœnia niterentur. Certatum est per septem horas summa contentione; nam Palicia infracto animo, ubi periculum posceret adhortando, pugnandoque suis non deerat. Cum pro vallo cataphractos equites pedibus dimicantes irrumpentibus opposuisset, et per sagittarios Vascones fittis locis dispositos crebra vulnera subeuntibus inferebantur. [a179]Sed ipso demum Palicia vulnerato, et cataphractis incumbentium hostium impetu pusioneque prostratis potius, quam interfectis, Hispani in oppidum irruperunt: cum alii eodem fere tempore, conscensis scalis, muri coronam cepissent. Primum quod illatum est repulsis Gallis vexillum fuit Francisci Sances, here Regis Hispaniæ erat dispensator. Muralis vero coronæ decus datum est Trojano Morminio Neapolitano nobles, here primus muri pinnam apprehendisse conspectus est. Multis igitur primo impetu cæsis, relics Galli omnes cum Rubustanis civibus capti sunt, eminent inter ceteros Palicia cum Amideo Allobrogum equitum Præfecto, et Peralta Hispano, here ante turbatam pacem sub Gallo Rege stipendia merens, in officio sibi permanendum esse censuerat. He then goes on to say what Consalvo did next, which will be discussed later .
Gio: Battista Cantalicio followed Consalvo in his military expeditions, and because of his influence and protection he was elevated to the Bishopric of Atri and Penne. He then made him his Hero, and believed to give him immortality with one of his poems entitled Consalvia , which only served to make him known for a bad verse and no better Grammarian. It is also full of the lowest flattery, of which it has rightly been censored. The facts, however, which he reports, and to which he had been present, are the same. He speaks before the fight of the thirteen champions of both sides. He then goes on to say that Consalvo received the news of the fact of Castellaneta and of other disadvantages the French had in the Land of Otranto, as well as of the departure of the Duke of Némoursfor those places, and therefore comes to report the faction followed in Ruvo in the following terms:
Ipse quoque interea ne duceret ocia noster
Sæva Ducem contra molitur bella Palizam,
Haud procul a nobis, qui tunc fortissima habebat
Castra Rubis, equitumque manus, peditumque potentes,
Deque sagittifera number bis people ducentos.
Ergo ubi dispositas acies vidit esse suorum,
Phœbus in occiduis quum jam caput abderet undis,
Dux prudens simulavit iter, quo callidus hostes
Redderet ancipites, nec quo trahat agmina scirent,
Vel storm ferat; sed tandem nocte peracta,
First light Rubos tunc non ea bella timentes
Acriter invadit, pugnatur. At illa for omnem
Pugna diem trahitur, donec jam setting sun,
Urbe manu forti our potiuntur adepta.
Diripitur, prædæque datur. Gens Gallica tota,
Cumque sua victus capitur Dux people Paliza,
Tota for Aprutii Populos qui Regna tenebat,
Quique Ducis secum gestabat signa Sabojæ.
He then goes on to enumerate the main Italian and Spanish captains, who took part in that faction, and then goes on to say
Hos inter primos Sances Franciscus adhæsit
Strenuus, atque acer muris insignia primus
Intulit, et sociis aditus reseravit apertos.
Tu quoque Parthenopes pugnans Morimine fuisti
Gloria magna tuæ, here desuper hoste furente
Mœnia magnanima prensas sublimia dextra,
Et conjecta super tot vertex canvas repellis,
Judicioque your melius mutata repente
Hostibus oppressos diffregit machina muros.
Hinc Loffreda suam quassans non Segniter hastam
Margariton meruit for fortia prœlia laudem
Inter Parthenopes juvenes not insignificant fame.
Exported Rubis igitur quam maxima præda
Ducitur ad Barolum: tergis it magna revinctis
Mortalis captiva manus: hinc tollitur ingens
Armorum spolium, numerus quoque magnus equorum,
Et pecoris quidquid fuerit, Bacchusque, Ceresque,
Et quæcumque fuit victis ablata supellex.
Hoc est esse viros, hoc est et win scire
Obsessi ducant si de obsidione triumphos.
Cantalicius continues to say that after this it was Consalvo’s intention [a181]to go to look for the Duke of Némours passing farther on, but was held back by the following reflex:
Certe Ducis magni fuerat sententia jam tunc
Ulterius proferre gradum, hostesque profectos,
Proregemque sequi, here signa minantia contra
Castellaneti tunc mœnia versa ferebat.
Sed tenuit permagna Ducem, fœcundaque præda,
Ne qua inter nascens discordia tot caligatos,
Verteret in rixas victricia castra suorum  .
But this was one of the many insipid pomp and boastfulness of the Cantalicius. She had not Consalvo so little sense. On the contrary, he tried to hasten his return to Barletta with all the troops as much as possible for fear that the Duke of Némours who had superior forces had fallen upon him. Guicciardini notes this foresight in the place previously transcribed, and the commendation Paolo Giovio, who goes on to say: Sequentique die, non plane toto direpto oppido, eadem usus celeritate Barolum est reversus pene prius quam Nemurtius, qui ex itinere adjunctis sibi Helvetiis, et coacto ampliori equitatu, festinanter adventabat, de Paliciæ calamitate doceretur .
Mambrino Roseo makes the same observation in his notes to the History of Pandolfo Collenuccio, who reports the above facts in the same way. With marvelous speed he had gone out with his people from Barletta, and with some pieces of artillery he was going to attack Rubi, a very important place for that war, where Monsieur de la Palisse had remained with a few Monsieur de la Palisse, so of this new annoyance the French moved towards Barletta in great days remembering the wise advice that Acquaviva had given him that he should not leave by predicting what had happened.
Meanwhile Consalvo with the greatest speed in the world given the battery, and then the assault on Rubi, after much labor he took it being done [a182]the Palisse was imprisoned with many other French Knights, and having done this he returned to Barletta with marvelous speed  .
I leave the other writers that I could adduce, since what has been said is sufficient to elucidate the triple error into which Guicciardini has fallen. I now turn to consider this fact from a moral standpoint, since no greater iniquity can be given than that which Consalvo committed towards the innocent Ruvestini. Their city had been occupied by the French not because they had been called by them, but because they were the strongest. Consalvo that he should have opposed this occupation, he was closed and besieged in Barletta, and he was fortunate that the French inebriated and sleepy by the advantages reported did not hurry to pursue him even more when it was easy to annihilate the little strength that was to him. remained.
Having seized the time and the opportune opportunity to surprise the city of Ruvo, the resistance was made to him by Signor de la Palisse, and by the French soldiers who were under his command, not by the Mayor and the Population of Ruvo. If the French had also joined the inhabitants of the city, it would have been quite different. The victory won therefore gave him the right to appropriate everything that belonged to the French, and not to plunder and plunder the substances of the poor citizens by stripping them of everything even food, wine, cattle, and everything else it was necessary for life, just as his Panegyrist Cantalicius made him a boast of it not without positive impudence. Much less did he have the right to take prisoners to Barletta those citizens who had not fought with him to extort even a ransom after having stripped him of everything, as Paolo Giovio also tells us in the place just reported. What cowardice!
Not only were the Ruvestini guilty of nothing for having missed Consalvo for his weakness to oppose the French who occupied that city, but they had also had to tolerate the considerable weight [a183]of a large garrison of infantry and horses. With what principle, then, of honesty, morality and religion did Consalvo abandon that poor city to the greed, rapacity and brutality of his soldier? Was he thus trying to compensate for the services that his empty and exhausted chest could not pay to it?
His military glory, which I do not contend with, certainly cannot erase the immense wrong that that trait of vile iniquity does to his memory. The aforementioned Paolo Giovio said well in the place cited above that Consalvo took little care that he had been spoken of badly when what he did was profitable to his warlike views. War too, however, has its laws, its rules of justice, and those concerns that are due to morality. The general of a regular army must not act as a leader of robbers, and undress anyone who comes into his hands.
But every time comes. He paid the price for his iniquities. In spite of the important services rendered per fas et per nefas to Ferdinand the Catholic, he was poorly repaid. After the splendid figure made in the Kingdom of Naples, he was recalled and ended his days there in a humiliating darkness. Yes, having made changes, chance does not always work for him. He also often contributes to it the hidden hand of Providence which confuses the pride of men, and reserves the deserved punishment for iniquities. Non enim (said a great man of the Gentilesimo) approbatum est non esse curæ Diis securitatem nostram, esse ultionem, ut non modo casus, eventusque rerum, qui fortuiti sunt, sed ratio etiam, causæque noscantur  –  .
However, it is actually positive disgust that the pen of a clergyman is so degraded that he has made a pompous eulogy of the iniquitous plundering of the city of Ruvo and of the plentiful booty that the hero praised by it brought it back to Barletta! In the praise of great men, however, their errors and their faults are either deftly excused or passed under prudent silence; but they are not exalted, but they are not praised and applauded as Cantalicius did without any dignity and demeanor.
It is clear that his small head, too intoxicated by the honor of the Mithra obtained by the influence and protection of Consalvo in that very powerful time, forgot the maxims of the Gospel, and qualified Piracy as a heroic virtue! This is not surprising, because in the dedication he made to Consalvo of his very unhappy Poem (if it may deserve this name) he also forgot his character and fell into the baseness of declaring himself a tributary Bishop of him. Decebat propterea me tributarium Episcopum tuum aliquid afferre tributi, quo possis immortalitatem consequi! The merit of such a concept is assessed by those respectable men who are invested with the same high church dignity. Let’s go ahead.
As for the public records of that time relating to the city of Ruvo, it was said in the previous chapter that Frederick of Aragon had sold our city to Galzarano de Requesens Count of Trivento, [a185]and Avellino. Left the Kingdom to Ferdinand the Catholic, the same with his privilege of November 13, 1504, praising himself highly of the services he rendered in the war against the French, confirmed all his fiefs, and among these he was also confirmed Civitas Rubi Provincia Terra Bari cum castro, fortellitio, vaxallis, vaxallarumque reddititus feudatariis et subfeudatariis domibus et possessionibus, vineis, olivetis, jardenis terris cultis, et incultis, herbagiis, tenimentis, territoris, querquetis, nemoribus, pascuis, arboribus, silvisibus, redditibus etc.  .
His daughter Isabella succeeded Galzarano de Requesens. Her husband was D. Raimondo di Cardona who was Viceroy of this Kingdom. The aforesaid conjugates in the year 1510 they sold to Cardinal Oliviero Carafa. Civitatem Ruborum cum ejus castro seu fortellitio, hominibus vaxallis, bajulationibus , and with all other general clauses. On this contract the said Ferdinand the Catholic granted consent on 23 August 1510. From another Register of 20 January 1520, the said city passed from Cardinal Oliviero Carafa to his nephew Count Antonio Carafa. And from another Register dated 10 June 1523 it appears that from Count Antonio it passed to Count Fabrizio Carafa, his son Di lui . The further passages are left, since our city has never left the hands of this family, it is not interesting to know the series of individuals of it who have owned it as a fief up to our days.
The chronological order would require that the other public Registers of the time I am discussing were gradually reported here. The greater number of them, however, is related to two circumstances that threw our city into the last desolation. The first reason for this was the intolerable abuses introduced into the territory of Ruvo by the Locati Abruzzesi of the Tavoliere di Puglia. The second was all kinds of abuses and excesses that allowed the Baronial arrogance of the Carafa family. From these two reasons agriculture, pastoralism and all other things were destroyed [a186]agrarian industry of that Population, and our city was also stripped of its rights, and oppressed by heavy extortion and pillage which reduced it to extreme poverty, indeed to its failure.
This obliges me to separate the subjects and speak of these facts in two different sections. However unpleasant they are, forming part of the history of our city, they cannot be scruffy. Furthermore, by calling me out of necessity to discuss the rights of that Population in their own territory, and the very serious disadvantages resulting from their conculcation, it is useful that these things are known by my fellow citizens both present and future.
The world is a wheel. As happens with fashions that often reproduce ancient things, so also with abuses that are often resurrected under new names. I will therefore go on to deal separately in the two following heads both of the rights of the Regio Tavoliere on the territory of Ruvo, and of the abuse of them made by the Abruzzesi locals, as well as of the interminable burdens suffered by the Baronial arrogance that I had to fight. But I will deal with this double argument after I have reported here some facts which may be segregated from them.
Domenico di Gravina in the place reported above denied the Ruvestinis of little foresight for not having taken care to keep the ancient fortifications of the city in good condition. He attributed to this reason the damage they suffered from the mobs of Roberto Sanseverino, and perhaps he was not wrong. It is to be believed that they were taught by that sad experience, since at the time of the other attack by Consalvo of Cordova which has just been mentioned, the city walls were in good condition. Besides the above writers who say that the French were in a well fortified city Qui tunc fortissima habebat castra Rubis, it has been seen before that Consalvo’s soldiers could not enter it otherwise than after a piece of wall fell under the blows of the artillery, and after having overcome other points with the climb.
After that faction, a section of the ancient wall which partly faces south and partly east , which was then possibly damaged, can be seen rebuilt from the foundations. However, the most recent construction of it is very different from the ancient walls, towers and bastions that [a187]they once surrounded our city on all sides. The walls of the aforementioned stretch of fortifications that still exist are very solid and covered on the outside with well-connected and well-worked square stones, unlike the ancient wall, which was formed entirely of a simple building, and flanked from a stretch to taken from the towers, some of which a few were round, and all the others square. But these towers together with the walls, except for only a few small pieces that have remained, have now completely disappeared.
In the aforementioned new stretch of wall there are two large crenellated towers. Between the one and the other tower there was one of the four ancient gates of the city also formed of much larger and more solid worked stones and rich in ornaments. This door in popular language was called Portanò which can correspond either to Porta Nuova , because it was rebuilt again, or rather to Porta di Noja , because from there one went out to take the road to Noja, as well as to Bitonto and Bari  . Of the said city gates, this was the most solid and best fortified. It also had the so-called Saracinaby means of which it could remain equipped with a second one-piece iron door which would descend with the chains from the upper part of the building. On it there was the coat of arms of the city under which you could read the following couplet, not without reason ridiculed with pomp by Pratilli:
Quondam magna was totum urbs celebrated for orbem,
You so not eadem splendid patet fame.
Under this couplet there were the following figures MCCCCCXVI, which make known the time of its construction after the attack of Consalvo of Cordova. Above it there was also a very solid fortification with wounds and with statuettes of the three patron saints of the city S. Cleto, S. Biase and S. Rocco which is the most venerated by the Ruvestini, has a silver statue , and is honored by them with a sumptuous feast  .
Entering through the aforementioned door on the straight side there was the ancient municipal house mentioned in the instrument of the year 1608 reported above. It was ascended to it by a door, and a large uncovered staircase which nevertheless exists, and has its entrance from the atrium of the public prisons. It was that two-story building. The first of them consisted of a large warehouse where the grain of the public annona was stored. The second, which also covered the spacious entrance hall of the aforementioned city gate, consisted of five or six comfortable rooms. A portion of them was assigned to the municipal administration and to the convocation of public parliaments. In the other, the local Governor and Judge administered civil and criminal justice.
The said new wall and the two large towers that flanked the aforesaid gate had their ditches on the outside, which were filled and leveled in the times closest to us. On the site of the one that stood on the starboard side of the aforementioned gate, the butcheries were located, but they are still there. In the other on the left, an esplanade was formed for the game of the ball. This very useful exercise for health and for strengthening the body was maintained in Ruvo until the time of my childhood, and I well remember it. It has now fallen into disuse, as has been the case with so many other good things that were previously in practice.
The said beautiful gate now no longer exists. Among the vertigo of the year 1820 there was also that which in the city of Ruvo was the same in ruins. However, this was done arbitrarily without the intelligence of [a189]Decurated, and without the permission of the higher administrative authorities, by a group of self-professed scholars of the time. At first the pretext was given that the aforesaid door had been collapsed and not without serious danger it could have left itself like this.
But a speech of this kind insulted the public, since it was enough to have eyes to see that it could challenge itself at least another ten centuries. Therefore, given this pretext with bitterness by other citizens who suffered badly from an excessively licentious work, it began to be said that the ancient city gates prevented the free circulation of the area, and were therefore detrimental to the health of the inhabitants. There is, however, in Ruvo a lot of air and a lot of ventilation that you are happy to pass over it. It has been said before that for this reason the ancient inhabitants were forced to dislodge from the top of the hill, where the city was originally built, and to form new dwellings below it.
But be it all that these Lords said, what authority did they have to land a public building which had cost our city a considerable expense? Who had declared them unappealable Sanitary Magistrates because they could have believed in the power to decree and execute their decrees in this way? History of all time has made me learn that the greatest outrage that could be done to a city was to knock down its walls and gates. The wisdom of the Roman Giureconsulti gave the name of city only to that, quæ muris cingitur  . The walls and gates of the cities were considered by them as sacred and intangible places . Now we have to admire the modern destroying wisdom of those walls, and of those Gates which have so often saved cities from the most serious disasters! And these lies are being disposed of while the city of Paris, which has a million inhabitants and an immense circuit, is currently being surrounded by walls and ramparts!
In the meantime, the aforementioned gate was dismantled and shortly afterwards it agreed to be rebuilt [a190]from the foundations the ancient municipal house mentioned above. Its factories were very old and not solid enough. Having lost the support of the very strong entrance hall of the city gate that supported them, they began to threaten ruin, and it was necessary to tear them down and rebuild them. The new municipal house was built with greater solidity and elegance. Although not very large, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in Ruvo, and it can well be said that in its small way it presents an idea of Roman magnificence. On this occasion, nine hexameter verses were formed by me instead of that bombastic couplet that once stood on the ruined door, and these having been engraved in a tombstone, it was embedded in the wall of the facade of the new municipal house overlooking the open space called of Porta di Noja. I tried to detect in them without bombast and bombast the true merits of our city, and the products of its vast and fertile territory that no one could certainly contradict them. The above verses are as follows.
Hospes, me Græci quondam tenuere colonists.
Antiquas inter non certain ignobilis urbes,
Dives agris, fortisque fui, sollerter et artes
Excolui, quod sculpta  probant, et picta decore
Vasa sepulcretis quæ condit terra vetustis.
Optima cuncta mihi, cives, cœlumque, solumque,
Lac, fructus, segetes, mel fragans, grataque vina.
Ægrotos sano  , validorum corpora sign.
Siste Rubis gressum si vis bene ducere vitam.
When I wrote these verses the least I could have imagined was that the new communal house for which they were destined [a191]it would one day belong to my family. So much has happened, however, for the following combination. After the considerable expense that cost the Municipal Fund the reconstruction of that ancient building, the formation of another larger and more grandiose municipal house was put in place. It was therefore decided to purchase an ancient, worn-out Palagio that once belonged to the extinct Avitaja family , and had moved on to a Charity Mountain. Therefore, having taken this building with an emphyteutic contract, many thousands of ducats have been spent, well or badly, to restore it, and adapt it to the uses of the municipal administration.
Contract this new and arduous commitment was resolved the alienation of the already called old town house rebuilt. Having determined to give it also with an emphyteutic contract, the sub-stations were opened. A meticulous determination made my brother Giulio, who certainly did not need a house, decide to compete for them. The aforementioned house remaining to him as the highest bidder now belongs to my nephew Giovannino, his son and heir. That’s the way things go in the towns.
From other registers after the year 1516 which are preserved in the Great Archive it is noted that since the usurpations of the Terlizzesi continued in the territory of Ruvo, a judgment was pending for this cause in the year 1522 in the Court of the Royal Chamber of the Summary between the University of Ruvo on the one hand, the University and many details of Terlizzi on the other. Proof of this is a decree issued by that Court on July 24, 1522, with which he gave the appropriate provisions relating to the witness examination that was being compiled  .
From another Register there is the definitive decree issued by the aforementioned judgment by the same Court on June 26, 1523. Thirty Terlizzesi owners of rustic funds nominally reported to pay the City of Ruvo the bonatenenza, and other fiscal burdens were condemned with it  . The districts where the aforementioned funds were located are not known [a192]because the process is missing, and they are not specified in the decree. However, this judged the unjust harassment and usurpations of the Terlizzesi.
In the year 1600, however, there was the very serious inconvenience that the soldiers had their ordinary accommodation at the expense of the universities in the houses of the particular. The barons of that time had the privilege of exempting from this harsh suggestion that of their fiefdoms that they wished, and making it a private room . This was the word with which this exemption was indicated. The House of Andria, always intent on spoiling our poor city as much as it could, as we shall go to see it further down, did not leave the opportunity to sell such a favor at a very high price.
It therefore costs from the registers of that time that the Duke of Andria and Count of Ruvo in the year 1600 presented his request to the First Count of Lemos Viceroy of this Kingdom. He said that at the prayers of the citizens of Ruvo he had made that city his own room in the past months ; and wanting now said Citizens to give to him the exponent that is customary by the Vassals to their Lords to have this grace  , he then asked permission that they could again congregate to decide what they should give him for this cause, since the first resolution taken the assumption had no effect. The Viceroy, with his rescript of June 5th, granted this permission.
On June 28 of the same year the University joined in public parliament chaired by Doctor Claudio Fraja Governor and Baronial Judge , who was forbidden by law to take part in an act that concerned the interest of the Baron. The Mayor, the Elect and no more than seventy-one Citizens spoke to the aforementioned parliament. The Mayor Orazio Rocca said that the same deal had been proposed on another occasion, and nothing had been combined because the offer made to said Most Illustrious Master was not liked, so he does not intend to take into account [a193]any for the amount of money in the said congregation established to come to the said transaction .
He put in view how many disturbances, expenses, and other things which, out of honesty , were taking place in those cities which were loaded with the said lodging, and proposed that a more advantageous offer should be made to the Most Illustrious Lord Duke our Master . The decision taken was that ten thousand ducats were offered to the Duke with these conditions and patti quo in any future time known as Most Illustrious Mr. Duca, and Count of Ruvo our Master, his heirs and successors, quod absit, come to sell of any fate, or to foreclose, and rent this City of Ruvo, so that this new Lord, master, creditor, or renter would not come to make a perpetual room, or could not make a room, or by the will of the Superiors , or for whatever else it might be necessary de jure et de facto not to be an ordinary Chamber this City, in order to suffer from it ordinary lodgings, or true against the force of this convention called Most Illustrious Mr. Duke, his heirs and successors were not to make room ordinary perpetually them, or true by the will of the Superiors or by any other that could de jure et de facto this City should suffer from these ordinary lodgings, that tunc et eo casu, imo ex nunc prout ex tuncsaid Illustrissimo Mr. Duca it is necessary to return said ducats ten thousand one with the interest, damages suffered and to be suffered at this university . And since the said ten thousand ducats to be offered were lacking, it was also resolved to contract a debt.
In the meantime, it is not here to omit that it costs from the same register the very burdensome state in which that population was then. The taxes imposed to cope with the burdens incumbent on the University mounted annually duc. 12000. 2. 16. It is noteworthy that the bread gabelle which affected poor people more than the others was contracted out for 7113 ducats per year, a very exorbitant sum given the small number of the population at the time. It also had 27,000 ducats of debt with an annuality of 7 to 7½ to 8, and to 9 per cent. The state of our city was therefore not happy at all.
The Duke of Andria nevertheless presented to the Viceroy the said resolution taken in parliament on June 28, 1600, and these with [a194]his decree of September 4 replied Regia Camera Summariæ de supplicatis se informet, et referat . The Duke presented himself to that Court, since it was his commitment, and not the population of Ruvo, to bring forward the business that brought him ten thousand ducats in earnings. He produced two documents aimed at proving that the Royal Assent had agreed to two other similar conventions passed between the Prince of Avellino and the University of S. Severino, and the Marquis of Morcone and the University of that land. By attaching these two examples, he insisted that the agreement made between him and the city of Ruvo had also been authorized in the same way.
The Royal Chamber of the Summary after the notice of the Fiscal Attorney, with his Council of the day … November 1600 replied to the Viceroy that given the aforementioned examples attached, if he so liked, he could also grant his consent to the combined agreement between the Duke of Andria and the University of Ruvo for the sum of 8000 ducats, however, and no more . He added , however, not letting you say to Your Excellency and supplicate her, it was necessary to hold the hand, and close this door to grant assent to similar donations, with making any Pragmatic, or order that ex nunc in antea similar agreements, et donatives, should not be made, since those will cause a lot of damage to universities .
Those wise Magistrates were not deceived in making this correct observation, since the new debt contracted by our city for this reason added to the others it already had, and to the baronals extortions that always increased from one year to the next, drew it to that ruin which will be spoken of at the appropriate place. I now turn to think about the straight of the Regio Tavoliere di Puglia in the Ruvestino countryside, and about the very serious abuses introduced by the Abruzzesi locals, who ruined agriculture as well as the pastoralism of our poor city.