Diet of Roncaglia
The Diet of Roncaglia was held in 1158 near Piacenza
Piacenza is a city and comune in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Piacenza...

 as a general assembly of the nobles and ecclesiasts of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 and representatives of each of the fourteen Lombard League
Lombard League
The Lombard League was an alliance formed around 1167, which at its apex included most of the cities of northern Italy , including, among others, Crema, Cremona, Mantua, Piacenza, Bergamo, Brescia, Milan, Genoa, Bologna, Padua, Modena, Reggio Emilia, Treviso, Venice, Vercelli, Vicenza, Verona,...


It followed a series of raids carried out by the forces of Frederick Barbarossa in Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, which forced the submission of the leading city of Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

. The Emperor wished to establish his rights as feudal sovereign in the face of the growing independence of trading cities, which had won charters of municipal privilege during the earlier periods of strife between Papacy and Empire.

The determination of the respective rights of the parties was left to four jurists from Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

, the home of the great law school founded in 1088. The lawyers' decision favored the emperor, judging that his rule was by divine right
Divine Right
Divine Right may refer to:* The Divine right of kings, the doctrine that a monarch derives his or her power directly from God* Episcopal polity, the doctrine that is required in the church jure divino, i.e...

, thus restoring the Imperial rights established since the period of nascent trade under rule of Emperor Otto
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
Otto I the Great , son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda of Ringelheim, was Duke of Saxony, King of Germany, King of Italy, and "the first of the Germans to be called the emperor of Italy" according to Arnulf of Milan...

. The lawyers proceed to define taxes, tolls, and exactions of various kinds to be imposed on trade.

The Lombard cities would not accept the verdict, and it had to be enforced by war. Imperial forces dominated prior to the true unification of the Lombard League, and the city of Milan was razed to the ground in 1162. But the cities came to understand the value of a proper alliance post destructionem Mediolani ("after the destruction of Milan"). The decisive battle in the continuing struggle was the Battle of Legnano
Battle of Legnano
The Battle of Legnano was fought on May 29, 1176, between the forces of the Holy Roman Empire, led by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, and the Lombard League.-The Lombard League:...

in 1176, where Frederick was defeated, and later forced to renege his rights of sovereignty.


  • SALVADOR CLARAMUNT. Dietas Imperiales de Roncalia
  • W. FINSTERWALDER, Die Gesetze des Reichstags von Roncalia von 11 November 1158, «Zeitschrift dei Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte» LI (1931).
  • A. SOLMI, Le diete imperial¡ di Roncaglia, ¡I diritto di regalia ecclesiastica, en Studi storici sulla proprietá londiaria nel Medio Evo, Roma 1937.
  • P. BREZZI, Le relazioni tra i Comuni italiani e Ilmpero, en Questioni di storia metlievale, Milán 1951.
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