Ezzelino da Romano [key], 1194–1259, Italian Ghibelline leader (see Guelphs and Ghibellines) and soldier. After 1232 a faithful supporter of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II against the pope, he held Verona, Vicenza, Padua, and other cities. When Frederick defeated (1237) the Lombard League at Cortenuova, Ezzelino became the greatest power in N Italy. He married (1238) an illegitimate daughter of Frederick. Continuously at war with the Guelphs, he was excommunicated (1254) by Pope Innocent IV, and a strong alliance was formed against him. Ezzelino lost (1256) Padua, but in 1258 he took Brescia. After an attempt to conquer Milan he was defeated and wounded at Cassano and died in prison. Placed by Dante in the Inferno, he is remembered as a cruel tyrant.
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