Count of Pisa, deserted his party the Ghibellines, and with the hope of usurping supreme power in Pisa formed an alliance with Giovanni Visconti, the head of the Guelphic party, who promised to supply him secretly with soldiers from Sardinia. The plot was found out, and both were banished. Giovanni died, but the latter joined the Florentines, and forced the Pisans to restore his territories. In 1284 Genoa made war against Pisa, and Count Ugolino treacherously deserted the Pisans, causing their total overthrow. At length a conspiracy was formed against him, and in 1288 he was cast with his two sons and two grandsons into the tower of Gualandi, where they were all starved to death. Dante, in his Inferno, has given the sad tale an undying interest.
N.B. Count Ugolino was one of the noble family of Gheradesca, and should be styled Ugolino Count of Gheradesca.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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