New form of government in Florence—Military establishments—The greatness of Florence—Movements of the Ghibellines—Ghibellines driven out of the city—Guelphs routed by the forces of the king of Naples—Florence in the power of the king of Naples—Project of the Ghibellines to destroy Florence opposed by Farinata degli Uberti—Adventures of the Guelphs of Florence—The pope gives his standard to the Guelphs—Fears of the Ghibellines and their preparations for the defense of their power—Establishment of trades’ companies, and their authority—Count Guido Novello expelled—He goes to Prato—The Guelphs restored to the city—The Ghibellines quit Florence—The Florentines reform the government in favor of the Guelphs—The pope endeavors to restore the Ghibellines and excommunicates Florence—Pope Nicholas III. endeavors to abate the power of Charles king of Naples.
Being united, the Florentines thought the time favorable for the ordination of a free government, and that it would be desirable to provide their means of defense before the new emperor should acquire strength. They therefore divided the city into six parts, and elected twelve citizens, two for each sixth, to govern the whole. These were called Anziani, and were elected annually. To remove the cause of those enmities which had been observed to arise from judicial decisions, they provided two judges from some other state,—one called captain of the people, the other podesta, or provost,—whose duty it was to decide in cases, whether civil or criminal, which occurred among the people. And as order cannot be preserved without a sufficient force for the defense of it, they appointed twenty banners in the city, and seventy-six in the country, upon the rolls of which the names of all the youth were armed; and it was ordered that everyone should appear armed, under his banner, whenever summoned, whether by the captain of the people or the Anziani. They had ensigns according to the kind of arms they used, the bowmen being under one ensign, and the swordsmen, or those who carried a target, under another; and every year, upon the day of Pentecost, ensigns were given with great pomp to the new men, and new leaders were appointed for the whole establishment. To