[MR] Wikipedia:

Garth Groff via Atlantia atlantia at seahorse.atlantia.sca.org
Sun Sep 4 04:04:56 PDT 2016

Noble Friends,

On this date in 1260 the Sienese Ghibellines, supported by the forces of 
Manfred, King of Sicily, defeated the Florentine Guelphs at Montaperti. 
OK, I see frequent references to the Guelphs and Ghibellines in books 
and such, but other than having funny names, who were they and why were 
they at each others' throats?

During the 11th and 12 century power struggle (1075-1122) in Italy 
between the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, the Guelphs were partisans 
supporting the Papacy while the Ghibellines favored the Emperor. Sounds 
pretty simple doesn't it? When the Pope and the Emperor made peace, the 
Guelphs and Ghibellines went right on fighting for the next 300 or so 
years. The war devolved into city states fighting each other, depending 
on which nobles of one side or the other were in power. Often the cause 
was territorial expansion or trade rivalries. A number of cities changed 
sides, and the distinction between Guelphs and Ghibellines became more 
or less meaningless by the early 16th century. Here's a summary article 
about the factions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guelphs_and_Ghibellines

Many of these wars were fought using mercenaries like the English 
captain John Hawkwood and his famous White Company. Hawkwood fought for 
whichever city paid him the most, and frequently switched sides: 

Assisi was a Ghibelline city, and the future Saint Francis fought in 
three Ghibelline armies between 1201 and 1204. These may have 
contributed to his taking up the religious life: 

Connections, connections! Isn't history fun?

Yours Aye,

Lord Mungo Napier, That Crazy Scot

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