Talk:Guelphs and Ghibellines

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Does anyone think this should be split into two articles? I was going to do it that way originally, but all the info about them is usually found together rather than split apart. The French wikipedia has Guelfes and Gibelins though, so it could be done...(or the French ones could be joined, I don't know). Adam Bishop 01:36, 29 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Makes more sense together. But shouldn't there by a x-ref to Dante? orthogonal 11:09, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)

There is - "Dante was among the supporters of the White Guelphs, and in 1302 was exiled when the Black Guelphs took control of Florence." Dante also links here, although via two redirects from separate Guelphs and Ghibellines links. Adam Bishop 21:00, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Need to clean those contact lenses, sorry. orthogonal 22:39, 16 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Elf, Goblin[edit]

I have read elsewhere (sources can be found if needed) that 'Guelph' and 'Ghibellin' led to the terms 'Elf' and 'Goblin', as names for evil spirits. ("Elf" as in pre-Tolkien Elves of the Shakespeare (or Edda for that matter) variety, and "Goblin" before Tolkien popularized their identification with 'Orcs'.) I don't really feel this belongs with a historical article, but if someone disagrees drop a note here and I'll look for my sources to back this statement up so it can be added. — Jor 03:23, Jan 14, 2004 (UTC)

Those aren't the etymologies according to, at least...Guelph comes from Welf, and Ghibelline comes from Waiblingen, while elf comes from a common Indo-European root pertaining to craftiness, and goblin comes from the same root as cobalt. "Elf" and "Goblin" deriving from these sounds a little too convenient to me. Whenever something sounds linguistically convenient, it's probably wrong :) Adam Bishop 03:25, 14 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Yes, I am aware this is probably folk-etymology. Yet it does seem a tad possible to me that Guelphs and Ghibellines were referred to as Elfs and Gobelins (Fr. and OE form of Goblin)—by people who saw the entire faction was as dangerous. It is not dissimilar to Republinazis or DemocRATS ;).

Guelph-Elf and Ghibellin-Goblin was apparently the etymology used by Johnson of the famed first English dictionary: [1] (I am unable to verify or deny that as I cannot find a free copy of this on-line). — Jor 03:37, Jan 14, 2004 (UTC)

Yes, well, I refer you to this:
"Pastern: The knee of a horse. (This is wrong. When Johnson was once asked how he came to make such a mistake, Boswell tells us he replied, "Ignorance, Madam, pure ignorance.")
So, yeah :) Adam Bishop 03:42, 14 Jan 2004 (UTC)
I run (the source for the pastern extract), and have a reprint of Johnson's Dictionary (1755). His etymology for "Elf" is tied to 'eilf' [Welsh] and he cites "Baxter's Glossary." I do not see 'guelph' in the listing under elf -- but under 'goblin' there's more. At "goblin," he cites the French 'gobelina,' and while he mentions that "some derive from the Gibellines, a faction in Italy; so that elfe and goblin is guelph and gobeline, becaus ethe children of either party were terrified by their nurses with the name of the other; but it appears that elfe is Welsh, and much older than those factions. 'Eilff Uylbom' are 'phantoms of the night,' and the Germans likewise have long had spirits among tham named Goboldi, from which goblin might be derived." This, Johnson mentions these hypotheses, perhaps out of a desire for completeness, but doesn't sound like he endorses Guelph for elf: he didn't use it at elf, and under goblin repeats the Welsh theory to counter Guelph. -- Frank Lynch
Cool, thanks! Adam Bishop 16:51, 15 Jan 2004 (UTC)

It's in Edmund Spenser (see article page now...). AnonMoos 14:40, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Guelph, Ontario[edit]

Wasn't "Guelph" the maiden name of Queen Victoria? Therefore wouldn't the Guelphs survive down to this day, as the Windsors? There is a city in Canada named Guelph, and I thought it got its name from this connection.

It's not really her "maiden name", but she belonged to the Hannover-Welf-Este dynasty, so the word "Guelph" (i.e. Welf) could be used as a tribute to the 1714-1901 British monarchy... AnonMoos 14:48, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Comments on the article[edit]

So which parts come from the EB 1911, & which from the Catholic Encyclopedia? (I ask because, all else equal, I'm more likely trust the EB on its facts than the Catholic Encyclopedia.) Has there been any important research on this aspect of Italian history since the early 20th century? -- llywrch (talk) 00:21, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

more references[edit]

most parts of the article are not referenced, and it would be good to provide at least some few works covering the topic. -- (talk) 16:45, 18 February 2009 (UTC)


Someone who knows should add the IPA pronunciations of the words, though I'm assuming that the Gs are both silent.--Scottandrewhutchins (talk) 04:26, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Both "hard" (IPA [g]), rather... AnonMoos (talk) 13:31, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Another Italian family coat of arms with Guelph-style heraldic "chief"[edit]


Might be a better example, because the color of the chief and the main color of the field are different... AnonMoos (talk) 17:01, 8 June 2012 (UTC)