Tuesday, 28 July 2009


The Guelphs were the political opponents to the Ghibellines. They opposed Imperial control in Italy and generally supported the Pope or, later, the Angevin rulers of Naples. As with the Ghibellines, many states changed their allegiance at different times as different parties gained the ascendency. Within a city, different areas could support a different party. This was often the result of following the patronage of a great family although party differences could exist even within families.

This shows a game using my Guelph figures. The cavalry are Mirliton with Black Hat spearmen and peasants.

This shows the main Guelph standard bearer at Montaperti, Jacopo del Nacca, of the house of Pazzi. He was the victim of one of Dante's most damned characters, Bocca degli Abati. I haven't painted this individual for two reasons - one is that his arms aren't very interesting but the other is that I didn't want to put a traitor in the midst of my forces - no point in tempting fate :)
Abati was a Ghibelline from Florence but hadn't gone into exile. He was in the forces facing the Ghibelline from Siena and elsewhere at Montaperti. Once the battle, Abati made his way towards Pazzi and, without warning, struck at his arm holding the banner. The severed hand and Florentine flag fell to the ground; the Guelph cavalry facing treachery and the assault of the Germans, soon broke. The infantry were less able to escape and although they put up substantial resistance the battle ended with thousands dead.
In his poem, Dante was crossing the lowest circle of the Inferno, the circle of traitors, when he accidentally kicked the head of a sinner embedded up to his neck in ice. Dante thought he recognised the face but the traitor refused to give his name, though he alludes to Montaperti. Dante tried to get his name by pulling out the damned man's hair though he only discovered that he had been talking to degli Abati when a neighbouring soul gave away his name.

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