It is incorrect, however, to suppose that St Anthony took any part in the creation of the flagellant fraternities, which were the result of spontaneous popular movements, and later than the great Franciscan preacher; while Ranieri, a monk of Perugia, to whom the foundation of these strange communities has been attributed, was merely the leader of the flagellant brotherhood in that region.
About 1259 these fraternities were distributed over the greater part of northern Italy.
Their fraternities or societies may be divided into three classes: religious or benevolent, merchant and craft gilds.
The laws of Ine speak of gegildan who help each other pay the wergeld, but it is not entirely certain that they were members of gild fraternities in the later sense.
To the first half of that century belong the statutes of the fraternities of Cambridge, Abbotsbury and Exeter.