In that same year 1302 in which the aristocratic party of the neri (Blacks), having seized the government of Florence by force, exiled Dante and other middle-class bianchi (Whites), the triumphant oligarchy indicted a White lawyer, Ser (i.e., Messer or Master) Petracco on the charge of having falsified a legal document. Branding the accusation as a device for ending his political career, Petracco refused to stand for trial. He was convicted in absence, and was given the choice of paying a heavy fine or having his right hand cut off. As he still refused to appear before the court, he was banished from Florence, and suffered the confiscation of his property. Taking his young wife with him, he fled to Arezzo. There, two years later, Francisco Petrarca (as he later euphonized his name) burst upon the world.
- From The Renaissance by Will Durant