From Villani, Giovanni, Selfe, Rose E., translator. Villani’s Chronicle being selections from the First Nine Books of the Croniche Fiorentine of Giovanni Villani. London: Archibald Constable & Co. LTD, 1906; pp. -126.
In the time of the said Pope Innocent began the holy Order of the Minor Friars, the founder whereof was
43-117. the blessed Francis, born in the city of Assisi in the Duchy, and by this Pope the said Order was accepted and approved with privilege, forasmuch as it was altogether founded on humility and love, and poverty, following in all things the holy gospel of Christ, and shunning all human delights. And the said Pope saw in a vision S. Francis supporting the Church of the Lateran upon his shoulders, as he afterwards, after the same manner, beheld S. Dominic, the which vision was a figure and prophecy how by them should be supported Holy Church and the faith of Christ.
And still in the time of the said Pope, after the same manner began the Order of the Preaching Friars, the
46-105. founder whereof was the blessed Dominic, born in Spain. But in this Pope's time it was not confirmed, albeit in a vision it seemed to the said Pope that the Church of the Lateran was falling upon him, and the blessed Dominic sustained it on his shoulders. And by reason of this vision he purposed to confirm it, but death overtook 115 him, and his successor, Pope Honorius, afterwards confirmed it the year of Christ 1216. The visions of
1216 A. D. the aforesaid Innocent, concerning S. Francis and S. Dominic, were true, for the Church of God was falling through many errors and many licentious sins, not fearing God; and the said blessed Dominic, through his holy learning and preaching, corrected it, and was the first exterminator of heretics therefrom; and the blessed Francis, through his humility and apostolic life and penitence, corrected the wanton life, and brought back Christians to penitence and to the life of salvation. And truly the Erythræan Sibyl, tracing out these times, prophesied of these two Holy Orders, saying that two stars would arise to illuminate the world.
In the year of Christ 1199, Count Henry della Tosa and his colleagues, being consuls of the city of Florence, the Florentines laid siege to the fortress of Frondigliano, which had rebelled and was making war upon the commonwealth of Florence, and they took it and destroyed it to the very foundations, and it was never built again. And in the same year the Florentines marched against Simifonte, which was a very strong place and
xvi. 62, 63. did not obey the city.
1202 A. D. In the year of Christ 1202, when Aldobrandino, of the Barucci of Santa Maria Maggiore (a very ancient family), and his colleagues were consuls in Florence, the Florentines took the stronghold of Simifonti, and destroyed it, and took the hill into possession of the commonwealth, forasmuch as it had been long time at war with the Florentines. And the Florentines
xvi. 62, 63. gained it by the treachery of a certain man of Sandonato in Poci, which surrendered a tower, and claimed for this cause that he and his descendants should be free in Florence from all taxes; and this was granted, albeit the said traitor was first slain, in the said tower, by the inhabitants, as it was being attacked. And in the said
1202 A. D. year the Florentines went with their army against the fortress of Combiata, which was very strong, at the head of the river Marina, towards Mugello, which pertained to Cattani of the country which would not obey the commonwealth and made war against it. And when the said strongholds were destroyed, they made a decree that they should never be rebuilt.
1203 A. D. In the year of Christ 1203, when Brunellino Brunelli de’ Razzanti was consul in Florence with his colleagues, the Florentines destroyed the fortress of Montelupo because it would not obey the commonwealth. And in this same year the Pistoians took the castle of Montemurlo from the Counts Guidi; but a little while after, in September, the Florentines went thither with an army on behalf of the Counts Guidi, and re-took it, and gave it back 117 to the Counts Guidi. And afterwards, in 1207, the
1207 A. D. Florentines made peace between the Pistoians and the Counts Guidi, but afterwards the counts not being well able to defend Montemurlo from the Pistoians, forasmuch as it was too near to them, and they had built over against it the fortress of Montale, the Counts Guidi sold it to the commonwealth of Florence for
1209 A. D. 5,000 lbs. of small florins, which would now be worth 5,000 golden florins; and this was in the year of Christ 1209, but the Counts of Porciano never would give their word for their share in the sale.
In the year of Christ 1207, the Florentines chose for the first time a foreign magistrate, for until that time the city had been ruled by the government of citizen consuls, of the greatest and best of the city, with the council of the senate, to wit, of 100 great men; and these consuls, after the manner of Rome, entirely guided and governed the city, and administered law and executed justice; and they remained in office for one year. And there were four consuls so long as the city was divided into quarters, one to each gate; and afterwards there were six, when the city was divided into sesti. But our forefathers did not make mention of the names of all, but of one of them of greatest estate and fame, saying: ‘In the time of such a consul and of his colleagues’; but afterwards when the city was increased in inhabitants and in vices, and there came to be more ill-deeds, it was agreed for the good of the commonwealth, to the end the citizens might not have so great a burden of government, and that justice might not miscarry by reason of prayers, or fear, or private malice, or any
other cause, that they should invite a gentleman from
1207 A. D.
105-107. some other city, who might be their Podestà for a year, and administer civil justice with his assessors and judges, and carry into execution sentences and penalties on the person. And the first Podestà in Florence was Gualfredotto of Milan, in the said year; and he dwelt in the Bishop’s Palace, forasmuch as there was as yet no palace of the commonwealth in Florence. Yet the government of the consuls did not therefore cease, but they reserved to themselves the administration of all other things in the commonwealth. And by the said government the city was ruled until the time of the Primo Popolo in Florence, as hereafter we shall made mention, and then was created the office of the Ancients.
The said Otho being the enemy of the Church, and being deposed by the general council of the Empire, the Church arranged with the electors of Germany that they should elect to be king of the Romans, Frederick, the young king of Sicily, who was in Germany, and he won a great victory against the said Otho; and afterwards the said Otho, returning to his duty, went on crusade to Damietta over seas, and there died, and the election 119 was left to Frederick; and afterwards in the time of Pope Honorius III., who succeeded to the aforesaid Innocent, the said Frederick of Germany came to Venice, and then by sea into his kingdom of Apulia, and then to Rome; and by the said Pope Honorius and by the Romans he was received with great honour, and crowned Emperor, as hereafter in treating of him we will make mention. We will leave speaking of the Emperor for a time, and will tell of the doings of the Florentines up to the time of his coronation.
In the year of Christ 1213, there died the Count
1213 A. D. Guido Vecchio, which left behind him five sons; but one died, leaving those who had Poppi as the heirs of his portion, forasmuch as he left no children; and from the other four sons were descended all the Counts Guidi. As to this Count Guido, it is said that in ancient times his
1213 A. D.
64, 98.forbears were great barons in Germany, which came over with the Emperor Otho I., who gave them the territory of Modigliana in Romagna, and there they remained; and afterwards their descendants, by reason of their power, were lords over almost all Romagna, and made their headquarters in Ravenna, but because of the outrages they wrought on the citizens concerning their wives, and other tyrannies, in a popular tumult they were driven out of Ravenna, pursed, and slain in one day, so that none escaped either small or great, save one young child which was named Guido, the which was at Modigliana at nurse, which was surnamed Guido Besangue [drink-blood], through the disaster of his family, as in the story of the Emperor Otho we before made mention. 120 This Guido was the father of the said Count Guido
1213 A. D.Vecchio, whence all the Counts Guidi, are descended. This Count Guido Vecchio took to wife the daughter of M. Bellincione Berti of the Rovignani, which was the greatest and the most honoured knight in Florence, and his houses
37. which were at Porta San Piero above the Old Gate descended by heritage to the Counts. This lady was named Gualdrada, and he took her for her beauty and her fair speech, beholding her in S. Reparata, with the other ladies and maidens of Florence. For when the Emperor Otho IV. came to Florence, and saw the fair ladies of the city assembled in Santa Reparata, in his honour, this maiden most pleased the Emperor; and her father saying to the Emperor that he had it in his power to bid her kiss him, the maiden made answer that there was no man living which should kiss her, save he were her husband, for the which speech, the Emperor much commended her; and the said Count Guido being taken with love of her by reason of her graciousness, and by the counsel of the said Otho, the Emperor, took her to wife, not regarding that she was of less noble lineage than he, nor regarding her dowry; whence all the Counts Guidi are born from the said Count and the said lady after this fashion; for, as aforesaid, there were left four sons which were the heirs: the first was named William, from whom was born Count Guido Novello and Count Simon, who were Ghibellines; but by reason of wrongs which Count Simon endured of Guido Novell, his brother, concerning his heritage, he became a Guelf and entered into league with the Guelfs of
i.-iii. Florence; and from this Simon was born Count Guido of Battifolle; the second son was named Roger, from whom were born Count Guido Guerra and Count 121 Salvatico, and these held the side of the Guelfs; the
xiv. 43-45. third was named Guido of Romena, whence are descended the family of Romena, which have been both Guelfs and Ghibellines; the fourth was Count Tegrimo, whence are the family of Porciano, which were always Ghibellines. The aforesaid Emperor Otho gave the said Count Guido the lordship of Casentino. We have spoken at such length of the said Count Guido (albeit in another place we have treated of the beginning of his race), forasmuch as he was a man of worth, and from him are descended all the Counts Guidi, and because his descendants were afterwards much mixed up with the doings of the Florentines, as in due time we will make mention.
In the year of Christ 1215, M. Gherardo Orlandi being Podestà in Florence, one M. Bondelmonte dei Bondelmonti, a noble citizen of Florence, had promised
136-144.. to take to wife a maiden of the house of the Amidei, honourable and notable citizens; and afterwards as the said M. Bondelmonte, who was very charming and a good horseman, was riding through the city, a lady of the house of Donati called to him, reproaching him as to the lady to whom he was betrothed, that she was not beautiful or worthy of him, and saying: “I have kept this my daughter for you;” whom she showed to him, and she was most beautiful; and immediately by the inspiration of the devil he was so taken by her, that he was betrothed and wedded to her, for which thing the kinsfolk of the first betrothed lady, being assembled together, and grieving over the shame which M. 122 Bondelmonte had done to them, were filled with the
1215 A. D. accursed indignation, whereby the city of Florence was destroyed and divided. For many houses of the nobles swore together to bring shame upon the said M. Bondelmonte, in revenge for these wrongs. And being in council among themselves, after what fashion they should punish him, whether by beating or killing,
136-138. Mosca de’ Lamberti said the evil word: ‘Thing done has an end’; to wit, that he should be slain; and so it was done; for on the morning of Easter of the Resurrection the Amidei of San Stefano assembled in their house, and the said M. Bondelmonte coming from Oltrarno, nobly arrayed in new white apparel, and upon a white palfrey, arriving at the foot of the Ponte Vecchio on this side, just at the foot of the pillar where
145-147. was the statue of Mars, the said M. Bondelmonte was dragged from his horse by Schiatta degli Uberti, and by Mosca Lamberti and Lambertuccio degli Amidei assaulted and smitten, and by Oderigo Fifanti his veins were opened and he was brought to his end;
xvi. 128. and there was with them one of the counts of Gangalandi. For the which thing the city rose in arms and tumult; and this death of M. Bondelmonte was the cause and beginning of the accursed parties of Guelfs and Ghibellines in Florence, albeit long before there were factions among the noble citizens and the said parties existed by reason of the strifes and questions between the Church and the Empire; but by reason of the death of the said M. Bondelmonte all the families of the nobles and the other citizens of Florence were divided, and some held with the Bondelmonti, who took the side of the Guelfs, and were its leaders, and some with the Uberti, who were the leaders of the 123Ghibillines, whence followed much evil and disaster to our
1215 A. D.city, as hereafter shall be told; and it is believed that it will never have an end, if God do not cut it short. And surely it shows that the enemy of the human race, for the sins of the Florentines, had power in that idol of Mars, which the pagan Florentines of old were wont to worship, that at the foot of his statue such a murder was committed, whence so much evil followed to the city of Florence. The accursed names of the Guelf and Ghibelline parties are said to have arisen first in Germany by reason that two great barons of that country were at war together, and had each a strong castle the one over against the other, and the one had the name of Guelf, and the other of Ghibelline, and the war lasted so long, that all the Germans were divided, and one held to one side, and the other to the other; and the strife even came as far as to the court of Rome, and all the court took part in it, and the one side was called that of Guelf, and the other that of Ghibelline; and so the said names continued in Italy.
By reason of the said division these were the families
1215 A. D. of the nobles which were at that time and became Guelfs in Florence, counting from sesto to sesto, and likewise the Ghibellines. In the sesto of Oltrarno, of the Guelfs were the Nerli, gentlemen, who dwelt at first in the
115. Mercato Vecchio; the family of the Giacoppi, called Rossi, not however of great antiquity of descent, but they were already beginning to be powerful; the Frescobaldi, the Bardi, the Mozzi, but of small beginnings; 124 of the Ghibellines in the sesto of Oltrarno, among the
104. nobles, the counts of Gangalandi, Obriachi, and Mannelli. In the sesto of San Piero Scheraggio, the nobles which were Guelfs were, the house of the Pulci, the Gherardini, the Foraboschi, the Bagnesi, the Guidalotti, the Sacchetti, the Manieri, and they of Quona, fellows to them of Volognano, the Lucardesi, the Chiaramontesi, the Compiobbesi, the Cavalcanti, but these were descended recently from merchants. In the said sesto of the Ghibellines were, the family of the Uberti, which was the head of the party, the Fifanti, the Infangati, and Amidei, and they of Volognano, and the Malespini, albeit afterwards by reason of the outrages of the Uberti their neighbours, they and many other families of San Piero Scheraggio became Guelfs. In the sesto of the Borgo of the Guelfs were the family of the Bondelmonti, and they were the leaders of the party; the family of the Giandonati, the Gianfigliazzi, the family of the Scali, of the Gualterotti and of the Importuni. Of the Ghibellines of the said sesto, the house of the Scolari which were by origin fellows to the Bondelmonti, the house of the Guidi, of the Galli and of the Cappiardi. In the sesto of San Brancazio of the Guelfs were the Bostichi, the Tornaquinci, the Vecchietti. Of the Ghibellines of the said sesto were the Lamberti, the Soldanieri, the Cipriani, the Toschi, and the Amieri, and Palermini, and Migliorelli, and Pigli, albeit afterwards some of them became Guelfs. In the sesto of the Porte del Duomo, of the Guelf party in those times were the Tosinghi, the Arrigucci, the Agli, the Sizii. Of the Ghibellines of the sesto were the Barucci, the Cattani of Castiglione and of Cersino, the Agolanti and the Brunelleschi; and afterwards some of them became Guelfs. In the sesto 125 of the Porte San Piero of the Guelf nobles were the Adimari, the Visdomini,
104. 101. the Donati, the Pazzi, the della Bella, the Ardinghi, and the Tedaldi which were called della Vitella, and already the Cerchi began to rise in condition, albeit they were merchants; of the Ghibellines of the said sesto were the Caponsacchi, the Lisei, the Abati, the Tedaldini, the Giuochi, the Galigari. And many other families of honourable citizens and popolani held some with one side, and some with the other, and they changed with the times in mind and in party, which would be too long a matter to related. And for the said cause the accursed parties first began in Florence, albeit before that there had been a division secretly among the noble citizens, whereof some loved the rule of the Church and some that of the Empire; nevertheless they were all agreed as to the state and well-being of the commonwealth.
In the year of Christ 1218, when Otto da Mandella of
1218 A. D.
56, 57. Milan was Podestà of Florence, the Florentines caused all the dwellers in the country around to swear fealty to the commonwealth, seeing that before that time the greater part had obeyed the rule of the Counts Guidi, and of them of Mangone, and of them of Capraia, and of Certaldo, and of many Cattani which had taken possession of the lands by privileges and some by force of 126 the emperors. And in this year the building of the bastions of the Carraia Bridge was begun.