Dante Alghieri (1265-1321)La Politica di Firenze:
The terms Guelph and Ghibelline appeared in Florence around 1240. They then spread to Tuscany and throughout Italy.
The term “Guelph” originally referred to the Welfen dynasty, Dukes of Bavaria and Saxony. The term “Ghibelline” referred instead to the Hohenstaufen, Dukes of Swabia and lords of the Weiblingen castle.
At that time, Europe was impacted by an ideological, economic, and political conflict between the Empire—incarnated by Frederick II of Swabia and his successors—and the Church, incarnated by Pope Gregory IX and later by Pope Innocent IV.
We have to remember that Frederick II was King of Sicily (1198–1250), as well as King of Germany from 1212 and then Holy Roman Emperor. The title of Holy Roman Emperor was held in conjunction with the rule of Germany and northern Italy.
Both Frederick II and the Pope wanted universal power.
The Guelphs sided with the Church, while the Ghibellines sided with the Empire.
The struggle between these two forces gave rise to a series of conflicts and alliances among Italian cities, since some sided with the emperor and others with the Pope.
The same city often changed sides, depending on who took power. Members of the opposing faction were also often exiled after a revolution of power, just like Dante.
Sometimes, there could also be different Guelf and Ghibelline factions in the same city.
For example, in Florence after the fall of the Ghibellines, the Guelphs divided into the White Guelphs and Black Guelphs. Dante belonged to the White Guelphs.La Commedia Divina (The Divine Comedy)i nove circhi dell'inferno:1. Limbo (limbo) - the guiltless damned; the non-baptised and virtuous pagans who did not know of or accept ChristPunishment:Include: wise men of antiquity, Virgil, Homer, Avicenna, Julius Caesar)2. Lust (lussuria/desiderio) - their appetites sway their reason; punishment: blown by the wind of unrest (Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, Paris, Achilles and:Dante is told by Francesca da Rimini how she and her husband's brother Paolo Malatesta committed adultery, but then died a violent death, in the name of Love, at the hands of her husband, Giovanni (Gianciotto). Francesca reports that their act of adultery was triggered by reading the adulterous story of Lancelot and Guinevere (an episode sculpted by Auguste Rodin in The Kiss). Nevertheless, she predicts that her husband will be punished for his fratricide in Caïna, within the ninth circle (Canto V).3. Gluttony (ingorgida/gola/avidità)4. Greed (avidità)5. Anger (rabbia)6. Heresy (eresia)7. Violence (violenza)8. Fraud (frode/truffa/imbroglio)9. Treachery (tradimento/slealtà)