House of Grimaldi

GrimaldiGrimaldi familyMonegasque princely family
During this period, both the Guelphs and Ghibellines took and abandoned the castle of Monaco, which was ideally located to launch political and military operations against Genoa. Therefore, the tale of Francis Grimaldi and his faction — who took the castle of Monaco disguised as friars in 1297 — is largely anecdotal. In the early 14th century, the Aragonese raided the shores of Provence and Liguria, challenging Genoa and King Robert of Provence. In 1353, the combined fleet of eighty Venetian and Aragonese galleys gathered in Sardinia to meet the fleet of sixty galleys under the command of Anthony Grimaldi. Only nineteen Genoese vessels survived the battle.


Castruccio Castracani, Lord of Lucca (1281–1328). Cangrande della Scala (1291–1329). Montréal d'Albarno (c. 1315–1354). Walter VI of Brienne (c. 1304–1356). Konrad von Landau (died 22 April 1363). Albert Sterz (executed 1366). John Hawkwood (Giovanni Acuto, c. 1320–1394). Giovanni Ordelaffi from Forlì (1355–1399). Astorre I Manfredi (1345–1405). Alberico da Barbiano (1344–1409). Johann II (Habsburg-Laufenburg) (c. 1330–1380). Facino Cane de Casale (c. 1360–1412). Angelo Broglio da Lavello, also known as Tartaglia (1350 or 1370–1421). Andrea Fortebracci, better known as Braccio da Montone (1368–1424). Muzio Attendolo, also called Sforza (Strong) (1369–1424).


San Martino al CiminoSan MartinoViterbe
Frederick II drew Viterbo to the Ghibelline side in 1240, but when the citizens expelled his turbulent German troops in 1243 he returned and besieged the city, but in vain. From that point Viterbo was always a loyal Guelph city. Between 1257 and 1261 it was the seat of Pope Alexander IV, who also died there. His successor Urban IV was elected in Viterbo. In 1266–1268, Clement IV chose Viterbo as the base of his ruthless fight against the Hohenstaufen. Here, from the loggia of the papal palace, he excommunicated the army of Conradin of Swabia which was passing on the Via Cassia, with the prophetical motto of the "lamb who is going to the sacrifice".

Battle of Campaldino

Campaldinodefeat at Campaldino
The Ghibelline cavalry and infantry were thus of higher quality than their opponents, with Villani describing them as "the flower of the Ghibellines of Tuscany, of the March, and of the Duchy, and of Romagna" who were "practised in weapons and in war". The Ghibelline infantry consisted of fewer spearmen, pavisiers, crossbowmen than its Guelph counterparts; instead, it relied on offensive close-quarters combat with swords and bucklers. Despite this, many Ghibelline fiefs were rather poor, and both their cavalry and infantry were probably less well equipped than the Guelphs.

Charles I of Anjou

Charles of AnjouCharles I of NaplesCharles I of Sicily
The new pope was determined to put an end to the conflicts between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. While in Rome Charles met with the Guelph leaders who had been exiled from Genoa. After they offered him the office of captain of the people, Charles promised military assistance to them. In November 1272 Charles commanded his officials to take prisoner all Genoese within his territories, except for the Guelphs, and to seize their property. His fleet occupied Ajaccio in Corsica. Pope Gregory condemned his aggressive policy, but proposed that the Genoese should elect Guelph officials.

Fieschi family

FieschiFerrero FieschiHouse of Fieschi
Guelphs and Ghibellines. The Fieschi Letter. Schiller's play Fiesco. Verdi's opera Simone Boccanegra, including a "Fiescho".

House of Spinola

SpinolaSpinola familyCaterina Spinola
The Spinola were generally Ghibellines and in league with the Doria Family. The next Spinola to come to prominence after Guido was Oberto. In 1266 Oberto lead the Genoese fleets in a victory against the Venetians. In 1271 he joined forces with Oberto Doria to drive the foreign Podestà of Genoa from power and reform the government. They managed to have the Podestà removed and replaced by two captains of the people, elected for 22 years, with Oberto Spinola and Oberto Doria being the first two elected to this office. How long Oberto Spinola remained as Captain of the people is not clear. However, Tommaso Spinola was a leading admiral in the Genoese war with Pisa.

Siege of Viterbo

besiegedbesieged the cityViterbo
Guelphs and Ghibellines. History of Viterbo.

Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor

Henry VIIEmperor Henry VIIHenry VII of Germany
As he crossed the Alps and travelled into the Lombard plain, nobles and prelates of both Guelph and Ghibelline factions hastened to greet him, and Dante circulated an optimistic open letter addressed to the rulers and the people. As Emperor, Henry had planned to restore the glory of the Holy Roman Empire, but he did not reckon on the bitterly divided state that Italy had now become. Decades of warfare and strife had seen the rise of dozens of independent city-states, each one nominally Guelph or Ghibelline, backed by either urban nobles supporting a powerful ruler (such as Milan), or the rising non-noble merchant classes embedded in oligarchic republican states (such as Florence).

Siege of Faenza

another long siegebattle of ''FavenzFaenza
Emperor Frederick II laid siege to the Guelph-controlled town of Faenza and successfully captured it.

Doria (family)

DoriaDoria familyDoria princes
Percivalle Doria, who died in 1275 fighting for the Ghibelline, was an infamous warlord and a well-known Provençal poet. Also a poet, Simon Doria was podestà of Savona and Albenga. The brothers Oberto Doria and Lamba Doria were naval commanders and politicians: Oberto was Captain of the People in Genoa and led its naval forces in the victory of La Meloria against Pisa in 1284 while Lamba won a major battle against Venetian Andrea Dandolo at Curzola in 1298. Tedisio Doria (or Teodosio) financed the expedition of Vadino and Ugolino Vivaldi in 1291. Branca Doria is mentioned by Dante in the Divine Comedy because of his treacherous murder of Michele Zanche, his father-in-law, in 1275.

Battle of Cingoli

The Battle of Cingoli was fought in 1250 between the forces of the Holy Roman Empire and the armies of the Guelphs and the Papal States, the area being so notable due to its nickname as "The Balcony of Marche". The Imperial forces inflicted a crushing defeat on the Pope's factions. After the battle, Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor was smitten with leprosy, and Pope Innocent IV declared the illness to be an act of God. This was most probably due to the Emperor's excommunication; a common threat and practice for subduing overconfident Catholic leadership.

Italian city-states

city-statescity statesItalian
Guelphs and Ghibellines. Italian Renaissance. San Marino. Vatican City. "Background to the Italian Renaissance", Washington State University. "The Rise of the Italian City-States". "Italy's City-States", End of Europe's Middle Ages, University of Calgary. "City-states in Italy", Web Gallery of Art.

Siege of Brescia

This article is about the siege in 1238. For the siege in 1512, see Sack of Brescia.

Oberto Doria

He was born at Genoa, a member of the powerful Ghibelline family of the D'Oria, and the brother of Lamba Doria. On 28 October 1270, together with latter, as Capitano del Popolo he started a joint dictatorship which ruled Genoa for twenty years. His moves aimed to defend the Genoese Republic's integrity against the Guelph Fieschi, who wanted to create a personal seignory in the Levante Ligure, and the Grimaldi, who had usurped part of the Ponente. He personally moved against Nicolò Fieschi in 1273, storming his capital La Spezia, while his brother Jacopo, at the same time, warred victoriously against the Grimaldi.

Battle of Zappolino

a battleZappolino
The Battle of Zappolino (also known as the War of the Oaken Bucket) was fought in November 1325 between forces representing the Italian towns of Bologna and Modena, an incident in the series of raids and reprisals between the two cities that were part of the larger conflicts of Guelphs and Ghibellines. The Modenese were victorious. Though many clashes between Guelphs and Ghibellines loomed larger to contemporaries than to historians, in this unusually large encounter between 4000 estimated cavalry and some 35,000 foot soldiers, 2000 men lost their lives.

Oberto Spinola

Born in Genoa, he was a member of the Ghibelline Spinola Family. In 1270 he started a co-dictatorship with Oberto Doria, also a Ghibelline. His son Corrado fought in the successful Battle of Meloria (1284) which destroyed the power of Pisa, then Genoa's main in the Mediterranean Sea together with Venice. In 1275 he was capitano del popolo in Asti, and perhaps he took part in the battle of Roccavione of the same year, which marked the end of the Guelph-Angevine party south of Piedmont. He also directed the construction of San Damiano d'Asti, a new city built by the Asti people. In 1291, Spinola started the construction of the Ducal Palace in Genoa.

Investiture Controversy

lay investitureInvestiture ConflictInvestiture Crisis
However, the dispute did not end with the Concordat of Worms in 1122; future disputes between popes and Holy Roman Emperors continued until northern Italy was lost to the empire entirely, after the wars of the Guelphs and Ghibellines. Emperor Otto IV marched on Rome, and commanded Pope Innocent III to annul the Concordat of Worms, and to recognise the imperial crown's right to make nominations to all vacant benefices. The church would Crusade against the Holy Roman Empire under Frederick II. As historian Norman Cantor put it, the controversy "shattered the early-medieval equilibrium and ended the interpenetration of ecclesia and mundus".


ForliForum LiviiForli, Italy
At this time the city was allied with the Ghibelline factions in the medieval struggles between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, partly as a means of preserving its independence – and the city supported all the Holy Roman Emperors in their campaigns in Italy. Local competition was involved in the loyalties: in 1241, during Frederick II's struggles with Pope Gregory IX the people of Forlì offered their support to Frederick II during the capture of the rival city, Faenza, and in gratitude, they were granted an addition to their coat-of-arms -the Hohenstaufen eagle.

War of the Bucket

the War of the Bucket
From the late Middle Ages until the Renaissance, northern Italy was divided between factions supporting the rival political claims of the Holy Roman Emperor ("Ghibellines") and the Pope ("Guelphs"). Modena was Ghibelline; Bologna was Guelph. This political difference exacerbated the natural conflicts over border territories. In 1176, Frederick Barbarossa was defeated at the Battle of Legnano by the Lombard League, which supported Pope Alexander III. This was the start of a protracted period of conflict in Medieval Italy between the Guelphs and Ghibellines. From that year, the two opposing factions warred with each other.

Vitaliano I Borromeo

Vitaliano BorromeoVitaliano Vitaliani
Vitaliano I Borromeo (died 1449) was an Italian Ghibelline nobleman from Milan, first Count of Arona. His father was Giacomo Vitaliani, ambassador of Padua to Venice, and his mother Margherita was of the prosperous family of Borromeo. He married Ambrosina Fagnani, and his only son was Filippo Borromeo. Many of his descendants took his name. The events of Vitaliano Borromeo's youth and earlier life are unknown. According to one story, as a young man he was running out of money, and sold all his possessions to buy donkeys with covers embroidered with a camel sitting atop a basket, symbolizing his poverty.

Manfred, King of Sicily

Manfred of SicilyManfredKing Manfred
In that year Manfred supported the Ghibelline communes in Tuscany, in particular Siena, to which he provided a corps of German knights that was later instrumental in the defeat of Florence at the Battle of Montaperti. He thus reached the status of patron of the Ghibelline League. Also in that year Innocent died, succeeded by Alexander IV, who immediately excommunicated Manfred. In 1257, however, Manfred crushed the papal army and settled all the rebellions, imposing his firm rule of southern Italy and receiving the title of vicar from Conradin. On 10 August 1258, taking advantage of Conradin's rumoured death, Manfredi was crowned King of Sicily at Palermo.

Holy Roman Emperor

EmperorHoly Roman EmperorsImperial
The Holy Roman Emperor, officially the Emperor of the Romans (Imperator Romanorum), and also the German-Roman Emperor (Römisch-deutscher Kaiser), was the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire (considered by itself and by the Roman Catholic Church to be the successor of the Roman Empire) during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. The title was, almost without interruption, held in conjunction with title of King of Germany (rex teutonicorum) throughout the 12th to 18th centuries.


Conradin of HohenstaufenConrad III of JerusalemConradin of Swabia
Conradin's first invitation to Italy came from the Guelphs of Florence: they asked him to take arms against Manfred, who had been crowned king of Sicily in 1258 on a false rumor of Conradin's death. Louis refused this invitation on his nephew's behalf. In 1266 the count Charles I of Anjou, called by the new pope Clement IV, defeated and killed Manfred at Benevento, taking possession of southern Italy: envoys from the Ghibelline cities went then to Bavaria and urged Conradin to come and free Italy. Count Guido de Montefeltro representing Henry of Castile, Senator of Rome, offered him the support of the eternal city.

Dante Alighieri

Dante, like most Florentines of his day, was embroiled in the GuelphGhibelline conflict. He fought in the Battle of Campaldino (June 11, 1289), with the Florentine Guelphs against Arezzo Ghibellines; then in 1294 he was among the escorts of Charles Martel of Anjou (grandson of Charles I of Anjou) while he was in Florence. To further his political career, he became a pharmacist. He did not intend to practice as one, but a law issued in 1295 required nobles aspiring to public office to be enrolled in one of the Corporazioni delle Arti e dei Mestieri, so Dante obtained admission to the Apothecaries' Guild.