A member of one of the two great political factions in Italian medieval politics, traditionally supporting the Holy Roman Emperor against the Pope and his supporters, the Guelphs.
- The Italians fought endless civic wars under the banner of Guelph or Ghibelline, Pope or Empire, but they were little more than pretexts for strife.
- The Italian nation was split between the Guelf party, who theoretically supported Papal supremacy, and the Ghibellines, who backed the Emperor.
- Since the early thirteenth century two great factions, the Guelfs and the Ghibellines, had competed for control of Florence.
From Italian Ghibellino, perhaps from German Waiblingen, an estate belonging to Hohenstaufen emperors.
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