Simply put, the Guelphs and the Ghibellines were rival parties in medieval Germany and Italy which supported the papal party and the Holy Roman emperors. The names “Guelph” and “Ghibelline” appear to have originated in Germany, in the rivalry between the house of Welf (Dukes of Bavaria) and the house of. Guelphs and Ghibellines (gwĕlfs, gĬb´əlēnz, –lĬnz), opposing political factions in Germany and in Italy during the later Middle Ages [1].

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This was the start of the feud between the house of Welf Guelphthe followers of the dukes of Saxony and Bavaria Henry the Proud, —; later of his son Henry the Lion, —and that of the lords of Hohenstaufen whose castle at Ghibelilnes near present-day Stuttgart gave the Ghibellines their name.

The name may come ultimately from German Waiblingenan estate belonging to Hohenstaufen emperors. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. Essentially the two sides were now fighting either against German influence in the case of the Guelphsor against the temporal power of the Pope in the case of the Ghibellines. A Brief History of Genoa.

In Florence, Guelfs suffered exile in and The Editors of Britannica Encyclopedia. When Frederick conducted military campaigns in Italy to expand imperial power there, his supporters became known as Ghibellines Ghibellini.

Butler The Lombard Communesp. Aristocratic, Contemptuous of the Church, Supported the Emperor Ezzelino da Romano diedwas a leader of the Ghibelline movement. All of Tuscany was in the hands of the Ghibellines except Lucca.

The defeat of Frederick’s grandson, Conradin, at the battle of Tagliacozzo followed by his judicial murder at Naples by the command of Charles, marks the end of the struggle and the overthrow of the German imperial power in Italy for two and a half centuries. Encyclopedia of the Medieval World.

Guelphs and Ghibellines

When the City of Ghkbellines rebelled, the pope backed the Guelphs. As a myth, its source could be unidentifiable. Silvester and the banner to the Emperor Constantineand St.

Internal rivalries led to its dissolution Henry VI ‘The Severe’ — The names “Guelph” and “Ghibelline” appear to have originated in Germanyin the rivalry between the ghibrllines of Welf Dukes of Bavaria and the house of Hohenstaufen Dukes of Swabiawhose ancestral castle was Waiblingen in Franconia. It has been well observed by Grisar, in his recent biography of Pope Gregory the Greatthat the doctrine of two powers to govern the world, one spiritual and the other temporal, each independent within its own limits, is as old as Christianity itself, and based upon the Divine command to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that nad God’s “.


The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. The accusation was just a pretext. In the international sphere, Guelfism constituted a system of alliances among those who supported the Angevin presence in southern Italy—including the Angevin rulers of Sicily themselves, the popes, and Florence with its Tuscan allies.

The struggle between these two forces gave rise to a series of conflicts and alliances among Italian citiessince some sided with the emperor and others with the Pope. He took the opportunity to re-impose imperial rule by establishing viceroyalties in Italy and placing the population under constant surveillance. These two schemes are prevalent in the civic heraldry of northern Italian towns and remain a revealing indicator of their past factional leanings.

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Guelphs and Ghibellines – Wikipedia

Because of the Guelf and Ghibelline competition, Italy became a battle ground for foreign powers. At first Frederick was content with the election since Innocent had relatives in the Imperial camp. However, once in possession of the city, Charles wasted no time in letting his true intentions be known: Ezzelino da Romano diedwas a leader of the Ghibelline movement. Lombard de facto Frankish rule.

They then decided to naturally name the resistance party as Guelfs, ghibeloines Italian for Welf. The names were used to designate the papal Guelph party and the imperial Ghibelline party during the long struggle between popes and emperors, and they were also used in connection with the rivalry of two princely houses of Germany, the Welfs or Guelphs, who were dukes of Saxony and Bavaria, and the Hohenstaufen the name Ghibelline is supposedly derived from Waiblingen, a Hohenstaufen castle.

His reputation for cruelty led to him being called ‘the tyrant’ and he was depicted as a tyrant in Dante’s Inferno. These 2 parties represented the competing interest of the 2 most powerful figures in Medieval European politics — Guelfs or guelphs supporting the Pope and Ghibellines supporting the Holy Guelphx Emperor.


Thank You for Your Contribution! German Emperors continued incursions and Popes resisted and sought assistance from other powers. During this period Florence flourished both economically and politically. The election, favored by the Pope, of Lothair II c. The greatest of the dynasty, almost succeeded in unifying Italy.

Guelf and Ghibelline

The Ghibellines, with the help of Frederick II grandson of Frederick Barbarossa won the first round and banished the Guelphs from the city His advance to Italy gave him his famous Italian nickname inspired by his red beard — Barbarossa. Prehistoric Italy Etruscan civilization 12th—6th c. A few days later, in revenge, the nephew struck the uncle.

When Henry the Lion, Welf, incurred the disfavor of the Holy Roman emperor Frederick Barbarossa, Waiblingen, ghibelljneshis lands were forfeited to a duke of the Wittelsbach family — a dynasty that was to dominate Bavarian history until the end of World War I. None of the early biographers, including Giovanni Villani who belonged to the opposing faction ever believed that Dante was guilty of any wrong doing.

These two divisions, though unpolitical at first, assumed more and more political overtones so that the Black Guelphs remained the pure papal Guelphs, while the White Guelphs became disaffected and eventually threw in their lot with the Ghibellines. Guelphs tended to come from wealthy mercantile familiesgulphs Ghibellines were predominantly those whose wealth was based on agricultural estates.

They waited a long time to no avail. Names adopted by the two factions that kept Italy divided and devastated by civil war during the greater part of the later Middle Ages.

Who were the Guelfs and Ghibellines? | Exploring History

In the middle of the fourteenth century, the jurist Bartolo da Sassoferrato wrote an essay on this issue and said that the two labels were no longer linked to the pope and the emperor so that even an opponent of the Church could define himself as a Guelph and vice versa. The names seem to have been grafted on to pre-existing papal and imperial factions within the city-republics. Neri Blacks and Bianchi Whites.