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- tions. 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.