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1115) the city played a prominent part; it was precisely to this conflict that the republic owed its wonderful development.
During this period Florence stood always for the papacy, knowing well that it was thus ensuring its own liberty.
The nobles (magnates, grandi ), forced to become citizens, were not slow in creating disturbances in the town by their rival factions, and in hindering the work of the consuls who chanced to be displeasing to them.
In this way there was endless friction an strife, and thus was laid the foundation of the two great parties that for centuries divided the city, Guelphs and Ghibellines.
The people were deprived of their rights, but they assembled on 20 October, 1250, in the church of Santa Croce and deposed the podestà and his Ghibelline administration.
The government was then entrusted to two men, one a podestà , the other a Capitano del Popolo (captain of the people), both of them outsiders; besides these the six precincts of the town nominated each two anziani, or elders.
About the same time they helped the Pisans in the conquest of the Balearic Isles (1114) asking no other reward than two porphyry columns for the great central doorway of the Baptistery (San Giovanni).
By 1155 they had grown so powerful that they dared to close their gates against Frederick Barbarossa .
These nobles were all obliged to take up their residence in the town, and spend there at least three months of every year.In 1113 the Florentines, never partial to the German Emperors, rose against the imperial vicar in Florence.The first public meeting of the townsfolk which paved the way for the establishment of the "Commune" was convened by Bishop Ranieri in 1105.Siena, Volterra, and Pisa were then constrained to accept peace on severe terms, and to expel the Ghibellines.In 1255 it was the turn of Arezzo ; Pisa was once more defeated at Ponte Serchio, and forced to cede to Florence the Castello di Mutrone, overlooking the sea.
Sulla destroyed it because it supported the democratic party at Rome. It served then as a military post and commanded the ford of the Arno.