The profits of his inroad were reaped by despots, who used the Ghibelline prestige for the consolidation of their own power.
They gradually entered into the spirit of their age, assumed the style of despots and made use of the humanistic movement, then at its height, to place themselves in a new relation to Italy.
Having become despots, the popes sought to establish their relatives in principalities.
When they might have won national independence, after their warfare with the Swabian emperors, they let the golden opportunity slip. Pampered with commercial prosperity, eaten to the core with inter-urban rivalries, they submitted to despots, renounced the use of arms, and offered themselves in the hour of need, defenceless and disunited to the shock of puissant nations.
Henceforth it was impossible to publish or to utter a word which might offend the despots of church or state; and the Italians had to amuse their leisure with the polite triflings of academics.