The town was independent in the 13th century, but in 1353, owing to the dissensions of the Salvucci (Ghibellines) and Ardinghelli (Guelphs), it fell into the hands of Florence.
In 1307 the city became a lordship for Giberto da Correggio, who laid the basis of its territorial power by conquering Reggio, Brescello and Gaustalla, and was made commander-in-chief of the Guelphs by Robert of Apulia.
Already in 1218, the Guelphs of Lombardy had resuscitated their old league, and had been defeated by the Ghibellines in a battle near Ghibello.
Here in the year 1300 new factions, subdividing the old Guelphs and Ghibellines under the names of Neri and Bianchi, had acquired such force that Boniface VIII., a violently Guelph pope, called in Charles of Valois to pacify the republic and undertake the charge of Italian affairs.
The period we have briefly traversed was immortalized by Dante in an epic which from one point of view might be called the poem of the Guelphs and Ghibellines.
The Ghibelline honestly believes that the Guelphs will reduce society to chaos.
The captain of the people, acting as head of the ascendant Guelphs or Ghibellines, undertakes the responsibility of proscriptions, decides on questions of policy, forms alliances, declares war.
The Estensi made themselves lords of Ferrara; the Torriani headed the Guelphs of Milan.
In I309 Robert, grandson of Charles, the first Angevine sovereign, succeeded to the throne of Naples, and became the leader of the Guelphs in Italy.
To the Holy See (1277), diminished Charles's power, for the new pope set himself to compose the difference between Guelphs and Ghibellines in the Italian cities, but at his death Charles secured the election of his henchman Martin IV.
But the struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines in Bologna itself soon followed, and the commune was so weakened that in 1337 Taddeo de' Pepoli made himself master of the town, and in 1350 his son sold it to Giovanni Visconti of Milan.
Conradin's first invitation to Italy came from the Guelphs of Florence, by whom he was asked to take arms against Manfred, who had been crowned king of Sicily in 1258.
Discord among the great families broke out again, and the attempt to put an end to it by a marriage between Buondelmonte de' Buondelmonti and a daughter of the Amidei, only led to further strife (1215), although the causes of these broils were deeper and wider, being derived from the general division between Guelphs and Ghibellines all over Italy.
But, although greatly strengthened, the Guelphs, who now may be called the democrats as opposed to the Ghibelline aristocrats, were by no means wholly victorious, and in 1251 they had to defend themselves against a league of Ghibelline cities (Siena, Pisa and Pistoia) assisted by Florentine Ghibellines; the Florentine Uberti, who had been driven into exile after their plot of 1258, took refuge in Siena and encouraged that city in its hostility to Florence.
A Florentine army assisted by Guelphs of other towns was cunningly induced to believe that Siena would surrender at the first summons; but it was met by a Sienese army reinforced by Florentine exiles, including Farinata degli Uberti and other Ghibellines, and by the cavalry of Manfred of Sicily, led by Count Giordano and the count of Arras, with the result that the Florentines were - totally routed at Montaperti on the 4th of September 1260.
Cardinal Latino to some extent succeeded, and was granted a kind of temporary dictatorship. He raised the 12 buoni uomini to 14 (8 Guelphs and 6 Ghibellines), to be changed every two months; and they were assisted by a council of loo.
In this same year Henry of Luxemburg was elected king of the Romans and with the pope's favour he came to Italy in 1310; the Florentine exiles and all the Ghibellines of Italy regarded him as a saviour and regenerator of the country, while the Guelphs of Florence on the contrary opposed New both him and the pope as dangerous to their own liberties and accepted the protection of King Robert of Naples, disregarding Henry's summons to submission.
The Pisans, fearing the vengeance of the Guelphs now that Henry was dead, had accepted the lordship of Uguccione della Fagginola, imperial vicar in Genoa.
The priori and other officers were drawn by lot from among the Guelphs over thirty years old who were declared fit for public office by a special board of 98 citizens (1329).
The rout of the Tuscan Guelphs on the field of Montaperto (1260) restored the fortunes of Pisa.
He had become the virtual head of the republic, and, in order to preserve its independence and his own sway, inclined to the Guelphs and the popular party, in spite of the Ghibelline traditions of his race.
She had lost her dominion over the sea, and the Tuscan Guelphs again joined in attacking her by land.
After further struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines, the Manfredi made themselves masters of the place early in the 14th century, and remained in power until 1501, when the town was taken by Caesar Borgia and the last legitimate members of the house of the Manfredi were drowned in the Tiber; and, after falling for a few years into the hands of the Venetians, it became a part of the states of the church in 1509.
Was appointed papal vicar in Romagna to resist the imperialists; thenceforth he became the recognized leader of the Guelphs or papal faction in Italy and took part in all the wars against the Ghibellines.
In spite of his power and influence, his position as a leader of the Guelphs was greatly shaken during the latter years of his reign, while at home he was never able completely to subjugate his rebellious barons.
In 1868, however, on account of his continued hostility to Prussia, the Prussian government sequestrated this property; and, known as the Welfenfonds, or Reptilienfonds, it was employed as a secret service fund to combat the intrigues of the Guelphs in various parts of Europe; until in 1892 it was arranged that the interest should be paid to the duke of Cumberland.
He is well known to Dante students by his Dante; Life and Works (1891), and to the study of Italian history he has contributed Guelphs and Ghibellines (1903).
Alsatians, Guelphs and Danes i8 5
Of these the most important were the so-called Guelphs (Welf en), described by themselves as the Hannoverische Rechtspartei, member of the old Hanoverian nobility who represented the rural districts of Hanover and still regarded the deposed King George V.
Alsatians and Poles, Guelphs, Clericals and Radicals were joined in a common hostility to the government.
An attempt was made to reconcile the Guelphs, and even the Poles were taken into favor; Windthorst was treated with marked distinction.
The pope bestowed this title upon the emperor, the emperor upon the pope, the Guelphs on the Ghibellines and the Ghibellines on the Guelphs.
(His eldest son had predeceased him, leaving a son, Charles Robert, or Caroberto, at this time king of Hungary.) Robert now became leader of the Guelphs in Italy, and war between Naples and Sicily broke out once more, when Frederick allied himself with the emperor Henry VII.
It became involved, however, in the disputes of Guelphs and Ghibellines, and was frequently at war with Perugia.
In the middle ages Tortona was zealously attached to the Guelphs, on which account it was twice laid waste by Frederick Barbarossa, in 1155 and 1163.
In the wars between Guelphs and Ghibellines the Carraresi at first took the latter side, but they subsequently went over to the Guelphs.
They seem to have always been Guelphs, and in the civil broils of Orvieto they sided with the Monaldeschi faction against the Ghibelline Filippeschi.
During the absence of the papal court in Avignon it was a prey to the struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines, until in 1354 Cardinal Albornoz brought it once more under the authority of the Church.