The Ciompi: the Littler Guys

The Ciompi revolt happened in 1378 was the little guy fighting the bigger guy who used to be the little guy.

External image

In the late 14th century, the Arte della Lana (Wool Guild) was running the show in Florence. After the rise of the popolo in the Commune revolution, the “workers” of the guilds (by modern day union standards these guys would be laborers and the guilds men would be journeymen and masters) revolted against their bosses.

In the summer of 1378 these workers, after unsuccessfully petitioning for better pay and guild membership, took over the government in Florence. They placed Michele di Lando (pictured above), who worked under the Arte della Lana in charge.

Unfortunately the Ciompi did not remain in power for long. The guilds struck back, the butcher guild (Arte de’ Beccai*), known for their skill with sharp stuff stepped in and…well…they got butchered, literally and figuratively.

Of course labor struggles continue to go on all over the world, but the tale of the Ciompi, in my humble opinion, is one of the most interesting. (It’s also Renaissance related!)

* correct me if I’m wrong about the spelling, or language of this, please.