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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

CONSTITUTION OF FLORENCE.                        69
was most severely punished at  Malaperti two years after-
wards (1260).
After  this  great defeat,   Count Guido Novello acted as
podesta for king Manfred at Florence, and the
The thirty-six.       >,,,                .            .        ,,        i-   -, ^        ~
Guelphs were in a miserable plight, all Tuscany
being in their enemies' hands. The nobility were scattered,
but the citizens showed a disposition to resent the exactions
of the Count and his German cavalry. Accordingly, a mid-
dle course was pursued, in the appointment to the office of
podesta, of two members of a religious order of cavaliers,
called the cavaliers of St. Mary, but known to the people as
frati godenti, on account of the life of luxury and idleness to
which the order was addicted. They pretended to belong,
one of them to the Guelphic, the other to the Ghibelline party,
and received the sanction, if not the express commandment
of Pope Clement IV.* They appointed thirty-six "good
men " of both parties and both classes to assist them with
their counsel, and to provide for the expenses of the com-
mune. That the meetings of the thirty-six were held daily
in the buildings of the consuls of the art or guild of Calimala
shows that the principal merchants took part in their delibera-
It was during the official sway of these thirty-six good men
that the first known organization of the seven
The arts or guilds.                                               ...                       .                 c          ,
greater arts or guilds, or, at least a formal
recognition of them, took place. Guilds or " schools" appear
in Ravenna almost three centuries before the middle of the
thirteenth century ; they had ere this been founded in many
parts of Europe, and may have flourished at Florence long
before they acquired a legal standing. The organization
consisted in giving them heads (capitudini), afterwards called
consuls, with assessors (collegi), and captains of military com-
panies, and the right to have gonfalons or banners of their
own with special armorial bearings. By these means they
were united together for the defence of the city, and their
* Comp, Capponi, i., 57.