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CONSTITUTION  OF FLORENCE.                       6l

and there remain the officers chosen by the town under the
acknowledged supremacy of the emperors. This supremacy
was in theory always admitted at Florence until the empire
expired; the Guelphs and the Guelphic towns did not deny it in
their strenuous resistance to the emperors and the Ghibellines.
As late as 13 54, when Charles IV. (of Luxemburg) made
in theory subject his Italian expedition, the commune and peo-
tot e emperor. p|e Q- piorence appointed syndics who should
acknowledge him in their name as king of the Romans, and
their true lord, and in their name take the oath of fealty to
him. It was understood that the commune was bound to
nothing else save that to which, with other communes of
Tuscany and Lombardy, they had been bound of old ; that the
priors and gonfaloniers should be his vicars and no one else,
that the commune and people should be exempt from all
taxes, all ancient fines and the like, as well as from all juris-
diction but their own within their territory, etc. This was a
kind of compromise ; but the theory of the Guelphs, as we
understand it, was that the Roman people created the empe-
rors of old, and, acting through the church, conceded the
election to the seven princes of Germany. "The" liberty of
the Roman people was in no way subject to the liberty of
the empire nor tributary, like the other nations who were
subject to the people and senate and commune of Rome, and
by the said commune made subject to their emperor." *
Florence was in fact free and had room to expand itself
and to perform various acts of sovereignty, nearly as much
as if there were no suzerain over it at a distance. It appears
with substantial liberty, first :
Under the magistracy of consuls, a name which some of
Consuls at Fio-    ^e towns  in the Roman times gave to their
rence-                    chief municipal officer but which  came in no
direct tradition from the ancient consuls of the city.    These
* See Capponi, Stor. d' Ital., i., append, v,, where the capitula-
tion between Charles IV. and Florence is given with some remarks
of Matteo Villani and of the author. The words cited are M. Villani's,
iv , 77, in Muraton, JR.. I. Script., xiv., 291.