Rienzi's power, however, was recognized in Naples, whence both Queen Joanna and her bitter foe, King Louis of Hungary, appealed to him for protection and aid, and on the 15th of August he was crowned tribune with great pomp, wreaths of flowers being placed on his head.
Rienzi obtained aid from Louis of Hungary and others, and on the 20th of November his forces defeated the nobles in a battle just outside the gates of Rome, a battle in which the tribune himself took no part, but in which his most distinguished foe, Stephen Colonna, was killed.
He was commonly compared to Olympian Zeus, partly because of his serene and dignified bearing, partly by reason of the majestic roll of the thundering eloquence, with its bold poetical imagery, with which he held friend and foe spellbound.
Damiani was a determined foe of simony, but his fiercest wrath was directed against the married clergy.
Nor were the people only enfeebled for resistance to a real foe; the whole political spirit of the race was demoralized.