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leto, became possessed of the Castle of Este, together with some territories of the ancient Stati-Estensis of Tuscany.
Alberto Azzo, Lord of Canosa, in 956, was a feudatory of the Bishop of Reggio, and was one of the ancestors of Alberto Azzo, and also of the Countess Matilda of Tuscany. By marriage he united the Tuscan Welfen line with the Welfen line of Spoleto, descendants of Pepin. Alberto Azzo rendered great services to the Emperor Otho I, in his conquest and re-incorporation of Italy with the Empire. He was recompensed by being confirmed in the Marquisates of Modena and Reggio. He was the great-grandfather of the Countess Matilda, who bequeathed all her vast estates of Tuscany in sovereignty to Hildebrand and the Papacy.
The vast possessions and power of the Welfs of Altdorf and Ravensburg had been the main support of the last Emperors of the Saxon dynasty. The last of these Welfs, the Duke of Bavaria and Carinthia, dying without posterity, it was decided that all the possessions, honours, and estates should devolve upon Cunegonde, the sister of the last male descendant of the Bavarian and Burgundian Welfs, and that she should marry Alberto Azzo, Podesta of Este, and inheritor of all the Guelph States of Tuscany and Spoleto.
The union of Cunegonde, the last Guelph, and heiress of the Counts of Altdorf, with Alberto Azzo, united the three lines of Guelphs, descendants of Charlemagne :
1st. The Welfen descendants of the Count Warin, probably from Attila's chieftains, through the sister of Charlemagne.
2nd. The direct line from Pepin, the eldest son, through the Dukes of Spoleto.
3rd. The line of the Marquises of Tuscany, from Louis le Débonnaire, to whom became allied the first line of Marquises from Boniface, who was of Bavarian origin, and Isenbart, who was probably allied to Charles him
Alberto Azzo, with his other acquisitions, became Marquis d'Este; and his son, Foulques, by his second wife, inherited the Marquisate, together with those of Milan and Genoa, which were latterly exchanged for the Duke
doms of Ferrara and Modena. So that the Guelphs are the ancestors, not the descendants, of the d'Este family. The main Welfen lines, from Azzo and Cunegonde, had gradually assumed the corrupted Italian designation of Guelphs, and became Dukes of Carinthia, Bavaria, and Saxony, of which the County of Brunswick was a portion only. They held vast Allods between Italy and Germany, and all the great passes of the Alps between the Brenner and the St. Gothard, from the Lake Como to the Lake of Constance (or the Bodensee). Being of Burgundian or Celtic Bavarian origin, they were always opposed to the Teutonic Emperors, and always favoured the Church of Rome in its opposition, enmity, wars, and insurrections, against the Emperor and the imperial power, which generally in Italy assumed the designation of Ghibelines.
The powerful Guelphs were ultimately defeated and crushed by the Ghibelines and the Hohenstaufen Emperors; all their possessions were forfeited and confiscated. The last great Duke, Henry the Lion, was allowed to retain only a remnant of the vast power and possessions of the Guelphs in the County of Brunswick, which was detached from the Duchy of Saxony, and elevated into a dukedom by the favour of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Henry the Lion retired to England, having married Matilda, daughter of Henry II, and sister of Cœur de Lion, whose direct descendant was George I, King of Great Britain. Sophia, his mother, was daughter of Frederick, Count Palatine of the Rhine, and of Elizabeth, daughter of James I of England. Sophia was descended, on her father's side, from the Wittelsbach line of the ancient Dukes of Bavaria, who were allied to Louis the Germanique, consequently to Charlemagne.
Henry the Lion's mother was directly descended from Charlemagne ; and his wife, Matilda, the daughter of Eleanor of Guienne, daughter of Guillaume X (d'Aquitaine), was descended from Louis le Débonnaire and Judith, of the Welfen or the Guelph family.
There is no authority for the statement that Matilda, the wife of Guelph the Lion, was the granddaughter of William V, Duke of Normandy, for it seems probable no such Duke ever existed.
In a visit to Venice by Ernest Augustus, Duke of
Brunswick, in 1685, a genealogy was presented to him by an Abbot of the State, containing some extravagant statements, from which the following is an extract :—
"The first of the Duke's ancestors pretended to be known was Actius Novus, one of the companions of Romulus. His greatgrandson divided a stone with a razor in the presence of the elder Tarquin. In consequence the Actii were enrolled as senators and patricians. In the age of the Antonines they migrated to Este, and about the year 400 Caius Actius, the thirty-third lineal descendant from the companion of Romulus" (in the words of Gibbon), “thus was propagated by modern genealogists a Prince of Este.”
There appears to be no authority for deriving the ancestors of Alberto Azzo from Actius Novus. In his time such a statement would have been considered an insult and an opprobrium to the race of the Guelphs.
The race of Merowig or Merovius (later than any supposed epoch of the fabulous Pharamond) had risen from obscurity by indulgence of the deepest depravity, and at the disappearance of the Merovingians they had presented the darkest picture of murderous atrocities and mutual destruction that the world had ever seen. Guelphs of the British Empire are not descended from the degenerated and depraved Merovingian Franks, but they are from a much nobler race, closely allied to the great Emperor Charlemagne, whose remotest ancestors were even inferior in origin and political importance to those of the Guelphs before the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire.
The authentic genealogical line of the Guelphs, for more than eleven hundred years, has contained all the great landmarks of the annals of moral and spiritual government of mankind, with truth, freedom, and reasonable regard to all relative rights of democracy, aristocracy, or imperial autocracy. A loyal subject of the British Empire need never shrink from tracing the principles of the monarchy to the very earliest sources of law, freedom, and progressive civilisation, and from affirming that these were always manifested by the great Guelph aristocracy, from which the wisdom and patriotism of our forefathers have developed the constitutional form and the sovereignty of the Queen and Empress Victoria.
By adapting the civil laws to the ancient, moral, and
spiritual institutions of the monarchy of Victoria, it has become the only form that can possibly federate and weld the independent states of divers nationalities, colonies, and republics into one British Victorian Empire, which can with faith and courage maintain the unity and community of a British civilisation with the English language, and will lead to a higher sense of political morality and to the blessings of freedom secured to all from end to end of the empire.
"E più saranno ancora, infin che il veltro verrà :