Co-evolution of social classes in Renaissance Florence

From at least the early thirteenth century Florence’s history was dominated by a competition, more intense and longer-lasting than similar confrontations elsewhere in Italy, between two distinct but overlapping political cultures and classes: an elite of powerful, wealthy families of international bankers, traders, and landowners organized as agnatic lineages [of the male bloodline]; and a larger community of economically more modest local merchants, artisans, and professional groups organized in guilds and called the popolo.