Santagata gives a thorough rendering of the strife between the Guelf and Ghibelline
factions in Dante's Italy, the former the party of the pope, the latter that of the Holy Roman Emperor, the conflict having begun, in Italy, during the reign of Frederick I (1152-1190) of the House of Hohenstaufen.
For American undergrads today, all this stuff is about as remote as Dante's Guelphs and Ghibellines
Patricians and plebeians, slaves and freemen, guelphs and ghibellines
, red roses and white roses, cavaliers and roundheads, liberals and serviles, are only varieties of the same species.
Carlo Carra's stiff figures painted in bleached, frescolike color, for example, affiliate Mussolini's Italy with the Italo-Gothic and early Renaissance of the warring Guelfs and Ghibellines
, a period dominated by Mussolini-esque condottieri.
Those were the peaceful days of fierce controversies which led to feuds as bitter as those between the ancient Guelphs and Ghibellines
, but nearly all of them were welcomed by my parents.
The chronicler Giovanni Villani described two famous episodes of peace-making between Guelfs and Ghibellines
arranged by the church and formalised by notarial acts.
Here are a couple of studies, at each end one: here will I act such a tragi-comoedy between the Guelphes, and the Ghibellines
, Daw and La-Foole--which of 'hem comes out first, will I seize on: (you two shall be the chorus behind the arras, and whip out betweene the acts, and speake.) ...
41 In medieval Italy the Ghibellines
were supporters of Hohenstaufen emperors - what was the name of the rival party which supported the popes?
More importantly, unlike other heterodox groups at the time, such as the fraticelli and the beguines, the Spiritual Franciscans had wide impact, in that they gave doctrinal respectability to the beliefs espoused by the Ghibellines
in challenging papal authority.
This Mosca was a Florentine nobleman who, in political life, was responsible for divisions that led to long lasting feuds between the Guelfs and the Ghibellines
, and eventually, the extinction of families.
While it may not be a replay of the Guelphs and the Ghibellines
, this turf war caused not a few sparks in the year just ending.