CARROCCIO, a war chariot drawn by oxen, used by the medieval republics of Italy.
In battle the carroccio was surrounded by the bravest warriors in the army and it served both as a rallying-point and as the palladium of the city's honour; its capture by the enemy was regarded as an irretrievable defeat and humiliation.
The Florentine carroccio was usually followed by a smaller car bearing the martinella, a bell to ring out military signals.
In times of peace the carroccio was in the keeping of some great family which had distinguished itself by signal services to the republic.
Accounts of the carroccio will be found in most histories of the Italian republics; see for instance, M.
To Heribert is attributed the invention of the Carroccio, which played so singular and important a part in the warfare of Italian cities.
A huge car drawn by oxen, bearing the standard of the burgh, and carrying an altar with the host, this carroccio, like the ark of the Israelites, formed a rallying point in battle, and reminded the armed artisans that they had a city and a church to fight for.
Having established Ezzelino in Verona, Vicenza and Padua, he defeated the Milanese and their allies at Cortenuova in 1237, and sent their carroccio as a trophy of his victory to Rome.
In 1325 he defeated the Florentines at Alto Pascio, and carried home their carroccio as a trophy of his victory over the Guelphs.
For the further growth of the commune, the action of the great archbishop, Heribert (1018-1045), the establishment of the carroccio, the development of Milanese supremacy in Lombardy, the destruction of Lodi, Como, Pavia and other neighbouring cities, the exhibition of free spirit and power in the Lombard league, and the battle of Legnano, see the articles Italy and Lombards.
Defeated the Guelph army of the Milanese and captured their carroccio, Pagano della Torre rallied and saved the remnants of the Milanese.