1077: born of Patrie dal Friûl


The third of April ten seventy-seven, birth of the Land of Friuli, is an important day for the Friulian people who, under the control of the Patriarch of Aquileia, were reunited until the fifteenth century, with other people of different territories, in a unique body in a State having a very advanced civil  organization not common at that time.

To give an outline of that particular event and that historical moment, we are proposing a passage taken from 'La nostre storie' (Our History) published in 1990 (ed.ass. Storie dei Longobarts) which collects the conferences held by Pre Checo Placerean in the winter of 1978 on the history of Friuli.


"In 1077, during Henry VII's Empire, Friuli, whose  nine hundredth centenary we celebrated last year, was brought back to life with the name 'Land of Friuli'.  But who was the Count? The Patriarch was. However, this did not happen all at once. It had to be prepared, someone had to support it. 


Before 1077 the counts had no power, we were lucky to have first class men among our patriarchs, all of German origin. They came from Bavaria or Carinthia and one of these- called Poppo or Popone - had the Basilica of Aquileia built, later named after him, at the centre of which he is now buried. He changed the fortune of Friuli. He was Carinthian, the brother of the Count of Carinthia, Popone, from Treffen, a village near Villach. The history of the medieval Independent State of Friuli began when Patriarch Sigeardo was both Bishop and Count. 


From 1077 on Friuli was so independent that it even had it own parliament. We have documents of a parliamentary meeting that date back to twenty years before the constitution of the English Parliament. The main function of the latter was to control the King's not levying taxes without the Lords' approval on who should pay them. Nothing else.


It was different with us. First of all the Patriarch was not like the King of England that ruled over Parliament, the Patriarch was only the President and was compelled to obey parliament's decisions. Secondly, our Parliament was composed not only of lords but also of free communities, the communes, like that of Udine, of Gemona, of Cividale,  equal to the lords. Thirdly, nobody could have an army without parliament's permission while the Patriarch could not declare war  without its permission either. A serious thing! It was like today's constitutional monarchy!


Anyway, the Friulian Parliament was founded in that period and lasted until 1420 (in the Independent State until the beginning of 1800). But other leading figures emerged from 1077 to 1420. One of these is Bertrando. He arrived in 1334 at the age of 74 but in 1350 he was killed on the plain of Richinvelda by the Friulian Lords and the Canons of Cividale. Patriarch Bertrando is the person that built a church on Mount Saint Simeon and the one who lived through one of the worst earthquakes ever  in our history (...). We had other prominent figures as well, like Marquardo from Ausburg. He was an intelligent and cultured man, one of the greatest lawyers in his century, he left us the 'Constitutiones Patriae Fori Iulii'. Do you know what it means? The Codex of Friuli. With this Codex we came to 1797.