April 3rd, 1077 is an important date for the people of Friuli, since it marks the beginning of the Patriarchal State of Friuli, the institution that until the 15th century would gather Friuli and many other territories in one single State, that at the time enjoyed very advanced forms of civil organization. To provide an overview of the historical moment when this event took place, an excerpt of the "La Nestre Storie" is reported below (Ed. Ass. Storie dai Longobarts, 2009) by Pre Checo Placerean.
"In 1077, during the reign of Henry IV, Friuli came back to life as the" Patria del Friuli". And who was the Count? The Patriarch. But this did not occur overnight. Someone had to prepare for it, he argued.
Before 1077, counts had no power; we were lucky to have first-class people among our Patriarchs, all of which were of German origin. They came from Bavaria or from Carinthia and there was one – that we cannot but recall: his name was Poppo or Popone – in 1031, he built the Basilica of Aquileia. He revived Friuli. Since Patriarch Sigeardo in 1077 was not only a Bishop but also count, the history of the independent State began during the Middle Ages.
Since 1077, Friuli has been a State so independent that it has even had a Parliament. For instance, we have documents dating back to a meeting of the Friulian Parliament 20 years before the summoning of the British Houses. In addition, these settlers had only one function: they made sure that the King did not impose any tax.
That was not our case; firstly, the Patriarch was only the President and was required to comply with the decisions taken by the Parliament. Secondly, our Parliament did not include the Lords only, but also the municipalities – such as Udine, Gemona, Cividale.
Thirdly, no one could have an army without the permission of the Parliament; also the Patriarch could not decide to wage war without its permission. It looked like today's constitutional monarchies! In any case, the Friulian parliament was founded at that time and lasted until 1420 (as part of the independent State, until the beginning of the 800, Editor's note).
From 1077 to 1420, also other notable figures appeared, such as Marquard, who wrote the "Constitutiones Patriae Fori Iulii". Do you know what it stands for? The code of Friuli. The code was used until 1797.
April 3rd is an important moment for the community of Friuli, a festival to remind and rethink modern forms of self-government and representativeness which, for many years, have characterized the Friulian Homeland. The added value of this crucial historical moment is clear if not only the mere philological aspect of the event is taken into account, by focusing on the special features of the land of Friuli, with its Parliament and one of the most advanced States for its time.