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GELFOS Y GIBELINOS: LOS HOHENSTAUFEN EN ITALIA

Age of Dante
JH Moran Cruz

(Traduccin)

La divisin de facciones en Italia entre las fuerzas imperiales y papales comenz ya


en el reinado de Federico I (Barbarroja), que rein desde 1154 hasta 1190, cuando muri en
el sureste de Turqua en su camino a Jerusaln durante la Tercera Cruzada. Frederick,
quien fue el primero en llamarse a s mismo el emperador del Sacro Imperio Romano,
proceda de la familia Hohenstaufen con territorios en Suabia y en Borgoa (es decir, las
zonas del sur de Alemania). Frederick afirm agresivamente sus derechos imperiales en
Italia, respaldado por los recin descubiertos <<corpus de derecho romano>>. Esto
introduce en las tensiones que ya existan entre camarillas gobernantes y familias rivales
en los relativamente nuevos gobiernos comunales del norte y centro de Italia. Frederick,
ofreciendo las cortes imperiales como un lugar para la obtencin de la restauracin de los
derechos, atrajo a un nmero de ciudades y facciones que se hicieron a favor de
Hohenstaufen italianos; que fueron ms tarde para ser etiquetados Gibelinos.
Cuando Federico I muri en la cruzada en 1190, dej a su hijo Enrique VI que
estaba casado con Constanza, heredera de Sicilia. Enrique muri en 1197, dejando a su
viuda (que muri al ao siguiente) y un hijo de tres aos llamado Frederick. Un imperio
alemn que se extendi por toda Italia, con una presencia en el sur de Italia y de los
derechos en todo el norte de Italia, era una clara amenaza para el papado. Pero el Papa que
en 1198 era Inocencio III fue uno de los ms grandes de papas medievales y el arquitecto
de una monarqua papal. Cuando el emperador Enrique VI muri en 1197, Sicilia separada
de Alemania, estaba dbilmente gobernada por Constanza, la esposa de Henry, y su hijo.
Esto a la larga result en el establecimiento de una relacin de vasallaje con el papado tal
que, cuando Constanza muri en 1198, Inocencio se convirti en tutor de Federico. En
teora, por lo tanto, por 1199 el papado estaba en una posicin enormemente fortalecida,
no slo en Sicilia, sino en todo el centro de Italia, donde Inocencio III haba consolidado
un estado papal que le llegaba desde Ravenna a Roma.
Luego, en 1198 en Alemania, hubo una eleccin disputada de emperador. Felipe de
Suabia (un Hohenstaufen y to de la joven hurfano Frederick) y Otto de Sajonia (de la casa
Welf) fueron elegidos por las partes separadas. Karl Hampe, medievalista alemn, llama a
esta infeliz doble eleccin el evento ms mortal en la historia medieval de Alemania.
Intereses papales fueron mejor servidos por Otto, que estaba dispuestos a aceptar las
demandas papales para el territorio en Italia. En 1201 Inocencio escribi a los electores
alemanes que, en virtud de la disputada eleccin, l (como Papa), por la autoridad de Dios
y San Pedro, tena el voto decisivo en cuanto a la eleccin imperial. En este sentido,
reivindic la superioridad espiritual sobre el reino temporal y un derecho apostlico a
juzgar la idoneidad de los reyes y emperadores. Otto se hizo debidamente emperador.
Eventualmente, sin embargo, Felipe de Suabia fue asesinado, y Otto reneg de sus
promesas y procedi a invadir Italia. Inocencio, una vez ms afirmar su autoridad para

deponer a los gobernantes inadecuados, excomulg a Otto, con el apoyo electoral de


Federico y su coronacin en 1215. Frederick prometi Inocencio que, tras su coronacin
como emperador, l renunciara a Sicilia. Inocencio muri antes de que esto se produjera
-y de hecho nunca se produjo.
La divisin entre Otto y Frederick (y luego entre Federico con el papado) dio lugar a
la divisin entre las fuerzas Gelfas y Gibelinas que iba a desgarrar Italia para el prximo
siglo. A finales del XIII y principios del siglo XIV, puede que los italianos ya no supieran
dnde se haba originado esta divisin. Como sabemos, Dino Campagne cree que se
origin dentro de Florencia, con el asesinato de 1.215 Buondelmonte. Saba Malaspina,
escribi su
Historia de Asuntos de Sicilia a finales del siglo XIII ofreci otra explicacin
popular: <<
Hay una tradicin que cuando una mujer de Lombarda fue dar a luz a
Manfred de la simiente de Frederick, las formas de dos mujeres aparecieron en el
nublado cielos de la Toscana y colgaban como una niebla por encima de la tierra, y un
gran trueno golpe como un puetazo, como el eco de una bveda, aparecieron
pronunciar sus nombres juntos. Y se sostiene plausiblemente que - la medida en que
nadie poda decir - uno se llamaba Guelfa y el otro Ghibellina. Lucharon y enfrentaron
sus fuerzas la una contra la otra, mano a mano desde el amanecer hasta el medioda, y
ahora uno y ahora la otra triunfadora y pisoteaban a su enemigo bajo sus pies
.>>
Giovanni Villani, un cronista florentino del siglo XIV seal que, <<
El partido gelfo es el
partido de la libertad, el enemigo de la tirana; de manera que si un gelfo se convierte
en un tirano, por necesidad se convierte en un gibelino.
>> Otros florentinos sugirieron
que Gibellino deriva del latn
Gerentes bellum
(haciendo la guerra a la iglesia) y Gelfos
deriva de
Gerentes fidem (manteniendo la fe con la iglesia)1. Tal vez con mayor precisin,
el noble romano Matteo Orsini lleg a la conclusin de que realmente no entenda lo que
era un gelfo o gibelino, mientras el Papa Benedicto XII (1334-1342) seal, a
propsito de
Guelfism, que <<
la poltica italiana es extremadamente cambiante. Italianos quieren una
cosa un da y otra cosa al otro.
>>
El trmino <<Gelfo>> viene de Welf, la familia noble alemana a la que perteneca
Otto IV, mientras que <<Gibelino>> era una representacin de italianizado
<<Waiblingen>>, el castillo de los duques de Hohenstaufen Suabia. La primera aparicin
de los trminos se produce despus de 1215, cuando Federico II y el papado primero se
enfrentaron. reas de Italia, que se convirtieron en Gelfos se entendan generalmente
como pro-papal; los que se convirtieron en Gibelinos se entendan generalmente como
pro-imperial. Si una ciudad era Gelfa (por ejemplo, Florencia), sus ciudades enemigas
tradicionales (por ejemplo, Arezzo o Pisa) podran convertirse de forma natural en
Gibelinas. Haba una ligera tendencia a que Guelfismo estuviera asociado con un gobierno
popular, pero no siempre (por ejemplo, los Gibelinos de Pisa tuvieron un gobierno
popular; Gelfos de Orvieto fueron gobernado por nobles). Afiliacin se convirti en una
cuestin de costumbre y la tradicin, y algunas ciudades italianas (Venecia y Roma) no se
comprometieron con ninguna de las partes, como fue el caso de algunos papas. Estas
divisiones, sin embargo, poco conocidos o sinembargo generada histricamente, fueron las
que desgarraron Italia hasta bien entrado el siglo XIV.
1

Para los ejemplos examinados arriba, ver Brian Pullan,


A History of Early Renaissance Italy
, p. 24

El gobernante que galvaniz los gibelinos fue Federico II. Hurfano a los 4 aos,
Frederick haba pasado entre los barones Sicilianos, y creci en condiciones caticas en las
calles de Palermo donde se empap de una mezcla de Musulmanes, Normandos,
Bizantinos y culturas italianas. Su personaje, era una combinacin de determinacin de
acero y la misantropa, fascin a sus contemporneos y sigue fascinando historiadores.
Segn el cronista Mateo de Pars, que se reuni con l, que l era el <<
mayor de los
prncipes del mundo -la perplejidad del mundo y el iniciador de grandes cambios.
>> En
la evaluacin de Frederick, hay que tener en cuenta que las pruebas sobreviven de su
reinado son principalmente propaganda. Pocas crnicas o registros administrativos han
sobrevivido.
Frederick hablaba seis idiomas, devor las ideas, y escribi libros y poesa. Fue uno
de los primeros en utilizar la lengua verncula italiana para la poesa; de hecho, Dante lo
etiquet el padre de la poesa italiana. Su biblioteca tena obras rabes, latinas, griegas,
hebreas, y; patrocinaba abogados, retricos y artistas y promovi la traduccin de textos
rabes de medicina, matemticas, ptica, astronoma y astrologa. Un jinete experto y
experto en armas, Frederick estaba muy unidos a los animales (que tuvo una coleccin de
animales salvajes y escribi un tratado sobre la cetrera). La inclinacin de su mente era
cientfica, dirigida por la razn y buscando pruebas en la naturaleza. Aplic estos
principios a la cra de animales y a la agricultura; mantuvo correspondencia con el
matemtico Leonardo Fibonacci y con los eruditos musulmanes y atrajo el erudito Michael
Scot a su corte. En cuanto a la religin, un comentarista rabe observa que, una vea en la
forma en que l hablaba <<
que era un materialista y que su cristianismo era simplemente
un juego para l.>
>2 Hay una historia, quizs apcrifa, en la que se cuenta que encerr a
un criminal condenado en un barril para que los observadores pudieran detectar como el
alma dejaba el barril cuando l muri. Los resultados llevaron al emperador a dudar de la
existencia del alma. Se aleg que l llam Cristo un impostor junto con Moiss y Mahoma,
y
se le acusa de llamar a la gente los tontos que creen en el nacimiento virginal. Es de
suponer esta reputacin de Federico como materialista (que no crean en un alma
inmortal) que llev a Dante ponerlo en Crculo 6 del Infierno con los herejes.
Frederick era un administrador eficiente que tom un estado previamente muy
sofisticado y centralizado en Sicilia y el sur de Italia, que haba, sin embargo, sido
descuidado durante la regencia papal, y elaborado un programa an ms sofisticada,
imperial y centralizado de gobierno. Nombr a jueces, notarios y abogados, restringe
portar armas, aument los impuestos, impuso monopolios reales, desarroll la burocracia,
afirm un mayor control sobre las ciudades, y luego convoc la gente dos veces al ao para
que pudiera recabar informacin de impuestos y podran expresar sus quejas. Fund la
Universidad de Npoles para educar a los hombres por su servicio, y public un cdigo de
la ley, el
Liber Augustalis
, que exalta la autoridad real.
Federico tuvo menos xito en Alemania. All, a pesar de algunos esfuerzos para
replicar las reformas administrativas de Sicilia, Federico termin ofreciendo concesiones
2

David Abulafia,

Federico II: A Medieval Emperador


(Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 186

masivas a los prncipes alemanes con el fin de obtener su apoyo para sus polticas italianas.
Entonces, cuando el papado lo derroc en 1245, muchos prncipes alemanes se rebelaron
contra l. Bohemia se hizo casi totalmente independiente, mientras que otros prncipes
usurparon lo que pocos derechos imperiales haba all. El gobierno imperial alemn no
tuvo ningn centro administrativo, y el imperio segua siendo una mezcolanza cultural y
lingstica y sin un liderazgo efectivo.
A pesar de la debilidad de su autoridad en Alemania, Federico present como Caesar
Augustus, y tambin como el hijo de Dios, el Mesas, el hijo de la justicia. Sus
propagandistas llaman su reino una nueva Tierra Santa y su lugar de nacimiento, Jesi, la
nueva Beln; su madre era la <<
madre divina [que] le dio a luz
>> Virgilio y su proftica
Cuarta gloga se reform para aplicar al nio nacido 26 de diciembre 1194 en Jesi.
Inicialmente sus padres le llamaron Constantino. Luego lo nombraron Federico Roger,
para simbolizar la unin de Alemania con Sicilia. Las proclamas que salan de la corte
Frederick, eran redactada en elaborados florituras retricas (a menudo escritas por Piero
delle Vigne), proclam que l era la justicia divina, el representante de Dios en la tierra,
cuyo derecho vena de Dios. A travs del matrimonio tambin fue rey de Jerusaln,
coronado en Jerusaln en medio de expectativas generales que tal evento presagiaba
dominio cristiano universal y el principio de una nueva era.
Dada la retrica no es de extraar que tuviera conflictos con el papado, que lo
excomulg en 1227 y 1239, predic una cruzada contra l, y lo depuso en el Concilio de
Lyon en 1245 por perjurio, quebrantamiento de la paz, sacrilegio, y sospecha de hereja.
Papa Inocencio IV (1243-1254) justific esta deposicin dibujando en las ideas de Gregorio
VII e Inocencio III y los ejemplos de sus declaraciones de Enrique IV y Otto IV, pero fue
ms all. Inocencio IV argument que en asuntos morales, y en todos los asuntos en los
que haba defectos, negligencias, ambigedades y las situaciones de emergencia, la Iglesia
tena el derecho de actuar. De hecho, la historia bblica mostr que Dios gobierna al
hombre y que la ley divina requiere el sometimiento de Dios a las personas elegidas al
sacerdocio. Inocencio IV entonces lanz una campaa de propaganda y cruzada contra
Frederick, prometiendo a los soldados la absolucin de sus pecados por su participacin.
Frederick respondi a la cruzada y la campaa de difamacin por matando a parientes y
amigos del Papa e invadiendo el centro y norte de Italia. La lucha termin con la muerte
repentina de Frederick de disentera en 1250.
En una nota final a la historia de la decadencia de Hohenstaufen, Sicilia, por la que
Federico haba luchado tan ferozmente, fue ofrecida por el papado a Carlos de Anjou,
hermano menor del rey de Francia. El ejrcito de Carlos se traslad al sur, derrotando y
matando al gobernante Hohenstaufen (Manfred, hijo ilegtimo de Federico II). Cuando
Conradino, el ltimo de los Hohenstaufen, fue asesinado en la batalla contra el papado en
1268, la familia fue aniquilada, y el trono imperial permaneci vacante hasta que Enrique
VII descendi a Italia en 1311.

(Texto original)

GELFS AND GHIBELINES: THE HOHENSTAUFEN IN ITALY


Age of Dante
JH Moran Cruz
The division of factions in Italy between imperial and papal forces began as early as the
reign of Frederick I (Barbarossa), who reigned from 1154 to 1190 when he died in
southeastern Turkey on his way to Jerusalem during the Third Crusade. Frederick, who
was the first to call himself the Holy Roman Emperor, came from the Hohenstaufen family
with holdings in Swabia and in Burgundy (i.e. the southern areas of Germany). Frederick
aggressively asserted his imperial rights in Italy, backed by the newly discovered corpus of
Roman law. This fed into tensions that already existed between ruling cliques and rival
families in the relatively new communal governments of northern and central Italy.
Frederick, by offering the imperial courts as a venue for gaining restoration of rights,
attracted a number of Italian cities and factions who became pro-Hohenstaufen; they were
later to be labeled Ghibelline. When Frederick I died on crusade in 1190, he left his son
Henry VI who was married to Constance, heiress of Sicily. Henry died in 1197, leaving his
widow (who died the next year) and a three-year old son named Frederick. A German
empire that straddled Italy, with a presence in southern Italy and rights throughout
northern Italy, was a clear threat to the papacy. But the pope in 1198 (Innocent III) was
one of the greatest of medieval popes and the architect of a papal monarchy. When the
Emperor Henry VI died in 1197, Sicily separated from Germany, descending to Constance,
Henrys wife, and their son. This eventually resulted in the establishment of a vassal
relationship with the papacy such that, when Constance died in 1198, Innocent became
Fredericks guardian. Theoretically therefore, by 1199 the papacy was in a greatly
strengthened position, not only in Sicily, but across central Italy where Innocent III had
consolidated a papal state that reached from Ravenna to Rome. Then, in 1198 in Germany,
there was a disputed election for emperor. Philip of Swabia (a Hohenstaufen and uncle to
the young orphan Frederick) and Otto of Saxony (of the Welf house) were elected by
separate parties. Karl Hampe, a German medievalist, calls this unhappy double election
the most fatal event in the medieval history of Germany. Papal interests were better served
by Otto, who was wiling to agree to papal demands for territory in Italy. In 1201 Innocent
wrote to the German electors that, by virtue of the disputed election, he (as pope), by the
authority of God and St. Peter, had the decisive vote with regard to the imperial election. In
this, he asserted spiritual superiority over the temporal realm and an apostolic right to
judge the suitability of kings and emperors. Otto duly became emperor. Eventually,
however, Philip of Swabia was murdered, and Otto reneged on his promises and proceeded
to invade Italy. Innocent, once more asserting his authority to depose unsuitable rulers,
excommunicated Otto, supported Fredericks election and his coronation in 1215.
Frederick promised Innocent that, upon his coronation as emperor, he would renounce
Sicily. Innocent died before this came about and in fact it never came about. 2 The split
between Otto and Frederick (and then between Frederick and the papacy) gave rise to the

division between Guelf and Ghibelline forces that was to rend Italy for the next century. By
the end of the thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth century, may Italians no longer
knew where this split originated. As we know, Dino Campagne thought that it originated
within Florence, with the 1215 murder of Buondelmonte. Saba Malaspina, writing his
History of Sicilian Affairs in the late thirteenth century offered another popular
explanation: There is a tradition that when a woman of Lombardy was giving birth to
Manfred of the seed of Frederick, the forms of two women appeared in the cloudy skies
over Tuscany and hung like a mist above the earth, and a great slap of thunder, as from an
echoing vault, appeared to pronounce their names together. And it is plausibly held that so far as anyone could tell - one was called Guelfa and the other Ghibellina. They wrestled
and pitted their strength against each other and fought hand to hand from dawn to high
noon, and now one and now the other triumphed and trampled her foe underfoot.
Giovanni Villani, a fourteenth-century Florentine chronicler noted that, The Guelf party is
the party of liberty, the enemy of tyranny; so that if a Guelf becomes a tyrant, by necessity
he becomes a Ghibelline. Other Florentines suggested that Ghibelline derived from the
Latin gerentes bellum (making war upon the church) and Guelf derived from gerentes
fidem (keeping faith with the church).1 Perhaps more accurately, the Roman nobleman
Matteo Orsini concluded that he really did not understand what a Guelf or a Ghibelline
was, while Pope Benedict XII (1334-1342) noted, apropos of Guelfism, that Italian politics
are extremely changeable. Italians want one thing one day and one another. The term
Guelf comes from Welf, the German noble family to which Otto IV belonged, while
Ghibelline was an Italianized rendering of Waiblingen, the castle of the Hohenstaufen
Dukes of Swabia. The terms first appear after 1215 when Frederick II and the papacy first
clashed. Areas of Italy that became Guelf were generally understood as pro-papal; those
that became Ghibelline were generally understood as pro-imperial. If a town was Guelf (for
example, Florence), a traditional enemy (for example, Arezzo or Pisa) might naturally
become Ghibelline. There was a slight tendency for Guelphism to be associated with
popular rule, but not always (for example, Ghibelline Pisa had popular rule; Guelph
Orvieto was ruled by nobles). Affiliation became a matter of habit and tradition, and some
Italian cities (Venice and Rome) were committed to neither side, as was true of some
popes. These divisions, however poorly understood or however historically generated, were
to rend Italy well into the fourteenth century. 1 For the above examples, see Brian Pullan, A
History of Early Renaissance Italy, p. 24 The ruler who galvanized the Ghibellines was
Frederick II. Orphaned at age 4, Frederick had been passed around among the Sicilian
barons, growing up under chaotic conditions in the streets of Palermo where he imbibed a
mix of Muslim, Norman, Byzantine, and Italian cultures. His character, a combination of
steely determination and misanthropy, fascinated his contemporaries and continues to
fascinate historians. According to the chronicler Matthew Paris, who met him, he was the
"greatest of the princes of the world--the bewilderment of the world and the initiator of
great change." In evaluating Frederick, keep in mind that the surviving evidence 3 for his
reign is mainly propaganda. Few chronicles or administrative registers survive. Frederick
knew six languages, devoured ideas, and wrote books and poetry. He was among the first
to use the Italian vernacular for poetry; indeed, Dante labeled him the father of Italian
poetry. His library had Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic works; he patronized lawyers,
rhetoricians, and artists and promoted the translation of Arabic texts in medicine,
mathematics, optics, astronomy, and astrology. An expert horseman and skilled in arms,

Frederick was much attached to animals (he collected a menagerie and wrote on falconry).
The bent of his mind was scientific, proceeding by reason and proofs in nature. He applied
these principles to animal breeding and to farming; he corresponded with the
mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci and with Muslim scholars and attracted the polymath
Michael Scot to his court. Regarding religion, one Arabic commentator observed that, one
saw from the way he spoke that he was a materialist and that his Christianity was simply a
game to him."1 There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, that he had a condemned criminal
shut up in a barrel so that observers might detect the soul leaving the barrel when he died.
The results led the emperor to doubt the existence of the soul. It was alleged that he called
Christ an imposter along with Moses and Muhammad, and he was accused of calling
people fools who believed in the virgin birth. It is presumably this reputation of Frederick
as a materialist (who did not believe in an immortal soul) that prompted Dante to put him
in Circle 6 of the Inferno with the heretics. Frederick was an efficient administrator who
took a previously sophisticated and centralized state in Sicily and southern Italy, which
had, however, been neglected during the papal regency, and crafted an even more
sophisticated, imperial and centralized program of government. He appointed judges,
notaries, and lawyers himself, restricted the bearing of arms, increased taxes, imposed
royal monopolies, developed the bureaucracy, asserted greater control over towns, and
then summoned people twice a year so that he could gather tax information and they could
voice their grievances. He founded the University of Naples to educate men for his service,
and he published a law code, the Liber Augustalis, that exalted royal authority. Frederick
was less successful in Germany. There, despite some efforts to replicate Sicilian
administrative reforms, Frederick ended by offering massive concessions to the German
princes in order to gain their support for his Italian policies. Then, when the papacy
deposed Frederick in 1245, many German princes revolted against him. Bohemia became
almost wholly independent, while other princes usurped what few imperial rights there
were. The German imperial government had no administrative center, and the empire
remained a cultural and linguistic hodgepodge without effective leadership. Despite the
weakness of his authority in Germany, Frederick presented himself as CaesarAugustus,
and also as the son of God, the Messiah, the son of justice. His propagandists called his
kingdom a new Holy Land and his birthplace, Jesi, the new Bethlehem; his mother was the
divine mother [who] gave him birth. Virgil=s prophetic Fourth Eclogue was reshaped to
apply to the child born December 26, 1194 at Jesi. Initially his parents named him
Constantine. Then they named him Frederick Roger, to symbolize the union of Germany
with Sicily. The 4 proclamations that issued from Frederick=s court, couched in elaborate
rhetorical flourishes (often written by Piero delle Vigne), proclaimed that he was divine
justice, God=s representative on earth, whose right came from God alone. Through
marriage he was also king of Jerusalem, crowned in Jerusalem amid general expectations
that such an event portended universal Christian rule and the beginning of a new age.
Given the rhetoric it is not surprising that he had conflicts with the papacy, which
excommunicated him in 1227 and 1239, preached a crusade against him, and deposed him
at the Council of Lyons in 1245 for perjury, breach of the peace, sacrilege, and suspicion of
heresy. Pope Innocent IV (1243-1254) justified this deposition by drawing upon the ideas
of Gregory VII and Innocent III and the examples of their depositions of Henry IV and
Otto IV, but he went further. Innocent IV argued that in moral matters, and in all matters
where there were defects, negligences, ambiguities, and emergencies, the Church had the

right to act. Indeed, biblical history showed that God governs man and that divine law
requires the subjection of God=s chosen people to the priesthood. Innocent then launched
a propaganda campaign and crusade against Frederick, promising soldiers absolution of
sins for participating. Frederick responded to the crusade and the defamation campaign by
killing relatives and friends of the pope and invading central and northern Italy. The
struggle ended with Frederick's sudden death from dysentery in 1250. In a final footnote to
the story of Hohenstaufen decline, Sicily, for which Frederick had fought so ferociously,
was offered by the papacy to Charles of Anjou, younger brother of the king of France.
Charles=s army moved south, defeating and killing the Hohenstaufen ruler (Manfred,
Frederick II=s illegitimate son). When Conradin, the last of the Hohenstaufen, was killed
in battle against the papacy in 1268, the family was wiped out, and the imperial throne
remained vacant until Henry VII descended into Italy in 1311. 1. David Abulafia, Frederick
II: A Medieval Emperor (Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 186