The most stupid war in the world began because of a bucket

The most stupid war in the world began because of a bucket

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An ordinary wooden bucket served as a “bone of contention” between the Ghibellines and the Guelphs, who lived in northern Italy in the 14th century. The Ghibellines supported the power of the emperor, who united the German lands and the fragmented feudal principalities, counties and duchies of Bohemia, Burgundy, part of France and northern Italy into a new Holy Roman Empire. And the Guelphs, in turn, remained loyal to the Pope.

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Battles between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, chronicle of Giovanni Sercambi, 14th century

Both of these peoples were divided politically and were in conflict for a long time, which sometimes ended in small skirmishes.

But in 1325 the situation escalated and reached its peak. One night, soldiers from the Ghibelline camp, living in Modena, entered Bologna, controlled by the Guelphs, and robbed several noble houses. Since it was hard to carry the stolen goods, the Modenese put the booty in a wooden bucket, standing at the city well.

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Painting by Luigi Manzini based on the comic poem “The Stolen Bucket” by Alessandro Tassoni

The Guelphs could not stand such impudence and demanded the return of stolen public property. The Ghibellines refused, and the people of Bologna declared war on them.

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The original trophy bucket in Modena Town Hall

The battle took place near the commune of Zapollino – 32 thousand Guelphs against 7 thousand Ghibellins. The Ghibellines won because they were more professional and prepared. About 2,000 people died in the battle, most of them Guelphs. And the Ghibellines took another bucket in honor of the victory, which is now stored in the Modena City Hall.

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