Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Guglielmo Boccanegra: Captain of the People

Genoa, 1490
Guglielmo Boccanegra made a name for himself in Genoese politics of the 13th century. After being an experienced official from a non-aristocratic family, Boccanegra ruled over prosperous yet a divided Genoa. He came to power as Captain of the Popolo or the People elected by the people. His government presided over financial reforms and achieved considerable diplomatic developments. Although his rule was short, he made an impact to the political life of Genoa for centuries.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Who were the Guelfs and Ghibellines?

Guelf and Ghibelline Factions fighting in Bologna
Dante and Petrarch had many commonalities – they were great literary figures, they contributed to the development of Italian literature, and they both experienced the political divide between Guelfs and Ghibellines. The rivalry between Ghibellines and Guelfs led to the expulsion of Dante and Petrarch’s family as they sided with the Guelfs. But this rivalry between Ghibellines and Guelfs not only created an impact on the lives of this 2 figures, but also created a mark in the political history of Italy.

What were the Guilds?

The Syndics of the Draper's Guild by Rembrandt
“Bird of the same feather, flock together.”

A common saying but same can be said in the Medieval Age when men of the same crafts come together to form an organization called a guild. A guild was a community of craftsmen (e.g. masons, butchers, tanners, blacksmiths, etc.) from the same field or merchants that provided mutual assistance and protection, governed by laws and a strict hierarchy, and maintained standard quality of goods and services as well as market stability.