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Update your profile Let us wish you a happy birthday! Make sure to buy your groceries and daily needs Buy Now. At the beginning of the 13th century, Philip of Swabia , a Hohenstaufen, and his son-in-law Otto of Brunswick , a Welf, were rivals for the imperial throne. Philip was supported by the Ghibellines as a relative of Frederick I, while Otto was supported by the Guelphs. Philip's heir, Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor , was an enemy of both Otto and the Papacy, and during Frederick's reign the Guelphs became more strictly associated with the Papacy while the Ghibellines became supporters of the Empire, and of Frederick in particular.
Pope Gregory IX attempted to stop the invasion with diplomacy but failed. He then laid siege to Brescia but was forced to lift it.
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He was then excommunicated by the Pope, and in response expelled the friars from Lombardy and placed his son Enzo as Imperial vicar in Italy, he quickly annexed Romagna , Marche , and the Duchy of Spoleto as well as part of the Papal States. In the meantime Frederick marched through Tuscany hoping to capture Rome , however he was forced to retreat, sacking the city of Benevento. Soon however the Ghibelline city of Ferrara fell and Frederick once more marched into Italy capturing Ravenna and Faenza.
The Pope called a council but an Imperial-Pisan fleet defeated a Papal fleet carrying Cardinals and prelates from Genoa in the Battle of Giglio and then Frederick continued marching towards Rome. However Pope Gregory soon died and Frederick, seeing the war being directed against the Church and not the Pope, withdrew his forces, releasing two cardinals from Capua, although Frederick did again march against Rome over and over throughout and A new Pope Innocent IV was elected.
At first Frederick was content with the election since Innocent had relatives in the Imperial camp. However the new Pope immediately turned against Frederick. When the City of Viterbo rebelled, the pope backed the Guelphs. Frederick immediately marched to Italy and besieged Viterbo. The Pope signed a Peace treaty with the Emperor, relieving the city.
However, after the Emperor left the Cardinal Raniero Capocci , as the leader of Viterbo, had the garrison massacred. The Pope made another treaty but he immediately broke it and continued to back the Guelphs, supporting Henry Raspe, Landgrave of Thuringia as King of the Romans and soon plotted to have Frederick killed.
When the attempt failed the Pope fled to Liguria. Soon the tide turned against the imperial party as the Lombard city of Parma rebelled and Enzo - who had not been present - asked his father for help. However the imperial camp was ambushed by the Guelphs and in the ensuing Battle of Parma the imperial party was routed, losing much of their treasury. Frederick retreated and gathered another army but the resistance of Parma encouraged other cities to rebel and Frederick was powerless to do anything.
Things became worse for the imperial party as the Ghibellines were defeated in the Battle of Fossalta by the Bolognese, at which Enzo was captured and imprisoned until his death.
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Although the Ghibellines did start recovering, defeating the Guelphs in the Battle of Cingoli , Frederick by then was ill. Before he died much of his territory was recovered by his son Conrad, King of the Romans , thus leaving Italy at peace for a very few years. After the Hohenstaufen dynasty lost the Empire when Charles I executed Conradin in , the terms Guelph and Ghibelline became associated with individual families and cities, rather than the struggle between empire and papacy.
The division between Guelphs and Ghibellines was especially important in Florence , although the two sides frequently rebelled one against the other and struggled for power in many of the other northern Italian cities as well. Essentially the two sides were now fighting either against German influence in the case of the Guelphs , or against the temporal power of the Pope in the case of the Ghibellines.
They also adopted peculiar customs such as wearing a feather on a particular side of their hats, or cutting fruit a particular way, according to their affiliation. The struggle between Guelphs and Ghibellines was also noticeable in the Republic of Genoa , where the former were called " rampini " lit.: While Genoa was often under Guelph rule in the early years of the 13th century, in , Ghibellines Oberto Spinola and Oberto Doria managed to revolt against Guelphs and started a dual government which lasted a couple of decades.
In the meanwhile, Guelph families fled to their strongholds east Fieschi and west Grimaldi , but were forced to cease their resistance with several military campaigns, which ended with their readmission to the Genoese political life, after paying war expenses.
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