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82                               POLITICAL SCIENCE.
defeat of the former, and they lost their power forever.*
From this time, for the most part only a place in the councils
of the commune was open to them, with such extraordinary
and temporary offices, and such commissions, as would not
arouse 'the jealousy of the people.
After this defeat of the grandi thire were some changes in
the constitution. The priors were made to be eight in num-
ber, two from each of the four quarters into which the city
was now divided; two only were to belong to the seven
upper guilds, three to the people of the middle guilds, three
to the lower, and the gonfaloniere of justice was to come
from each of these parts of the people in turn, A large
number of families of grandi, five hundred and thirty in all,
but not for the most part of the older houses, were allowed
to go down and become incorporated in the guilds, A new
registry was made which we have spoken of elsewhere, and
the ordinances of justice were modified.
The fourteenth century,  besides these revolutions—four
ic leaders governments having succeeded one another in
.        |ess tkan ^ year—was memorable on account of
the bankruptcies of a number of bankers, caused especially
by the failure of Edward III., of England, to pay his debts
(I34S); and then came the great pestilence of 1348^ About
this time the lower guilds, whom the last changes had raised
politically and filled with new hopes, began to aspire after
the government of the state. In the lower guilds there were
persons of foreign extraction who had received citizenship,
to prevent whom from obtaining office a rule was made, in
* Cpmp. Villani, xii., 19-21; Ammirato, i., 455-482, R 9 ; Cap-
pom, i., 221-248. The grandi, says the latter, "were half destroyed
in the oppression of the Ghibellines, half of the rest in the persecu-
tion of the BianchL" Others became popolani: some families died
out                                                               '
f We may mention here that in consequence of the mortality the
twenty-one guilds were for a time reduced to sixteen.