History Of Florence And Italy by Machiavelli Nicolo

By Machiavelli Nicolo

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The Florentines remained for some time in domestic quiet, during which they made war with the Aretins for having expelled the Guelphs, and obtained a complete victory over them at Campaldino. The city being increased in riches and population, it was found expedient to extend the walls, the circle of which was enlarged to the extent it at present remains, although its diameter was previously only the space between the old bridge and the church of St. Lorenzo. Wars abroad and peace within the city had caused the Guelph and Ghibelline factions to become almost extinct; and the only party feeling which seemed occasionally to glow, was that which naturally exists in all cities between the higher classes and the people; for the latter, wishing to live in conformity with the laws, and the former to be themselves the rulers of the people, it was not possible for them to abide in perfect amity together.

This displeased Gulielmo; and, designing by a suitable apology to remove all cause of further animosity, he ordered his son to go to the house of the father of the youth whom he had wounded and ask pardon. " The unfeeling barbarity of this act so greatly exasperated Gulielmo that he ordered his people to take arms for his revenge. Bertacca prepared for his defense, and not only that family, but the whole city of Pistoia, became divided. And as the Cancellieri were descended from a Cancelliere who had had two wives, of whom one was called Bianca (white), one party was named by those who were descended from her BIANCA; and the other, by way of greater distinction, was called NERA (black).

The leaders of the people, in order to restrain this insolence, determined to recall those who had been expelled, and thus gave the legate an opportunity of uniting the city. The Ghibellines returned, and, instead of twelve governors, fourteen were appointed, seven for each party, who held their office one year, and were to be chosen by the pope. The Florentines lived under this government two years, till the pontificate of Martin, who restored to Charles all the authority which had been taken from him by Nicholas, so that parties were again active in Tuscany; for the Florentines took arms against the emperor's governor, and to deprive the Ghibellines of power, and restrain the nobility, established a new form of government.

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