The Romagna campaign of 1494: a significant military encounter

Battle_of_Pavia,_oil_on_panel. - Italian WarsjpgThe Romagna campaign of 1494: a significant military encounter

Cecil H. Clough

The French Descent into Renaissance Italy 1494-95: Antecedents and Effects (1995)

In Baldassare Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier (the second draft transcribed 1520-21, as in the final version), it was given to Count Ludovico Canossa to stress the importance of the literature of Antiquity for the courtier, whose ‘principal and true profession… must be arms’.1  Canossa echoed the theoretical view of Italian humanists who regarded Classical Antiquity as the model to adopt, a model which in the fifteenth century in some measure was consciously manifest in warfare on the Italian peninsula. Vespasiano da Bisticci’s life of Federico da Montefeltro, written by 1498, emphasized that the latter’s military reputation was a direct consequence of his classical studies: ‘the Duke wrought the greater part of his martial deeds by ancient and modem example; from the ancients by his study of history…’2  The recommendation to learn warfare from the ancients is most vividly portrayed in a miniature by Giovanni Pietro Birago, dated about 1490, depicting the successful condottiere Francesco Sforza, who gained the duchy of Milan by military means, listening attentively to such classical commanders as Hannibal, Scipio and Caesar.3Canossa knew his claim had come to be seen as very flawed, for the French were victorious, yet as he admitted had little interest in letters, classical or otherwise; Canossa was forced to concede contrariwise that for all their knowledge of them ‘the Italians have shown little worth in arms for some time’, presumably meaning at least since 1494. He did not elaborate, concluding: ‘it is better to pass over in silence what cannot be remembered without pain’.4


Contemporary Italians were conscious that they fought by their own ‘Italian’ rules, which supposedly could find justification from classical models. These rules meant that a condottiere commander waited for the opposing general to make the first move; battle was rare and usually occurred after a formal challenge given and accepted, when each side judged victory was certain, usually because of a presumed military superiority. As the Florentine Luca Landucci wrote in his chronicle under 1 August 1478: ‘he rule for our Italian soldiers seems to be this: “You pillage there and we will pillage here; there is no need for us to approach too close to one another.” They often let a fort be bombarded for several days, without attempting to succour it’ . Such tactics ensured more pay and less risk for the military involved, as well as giving time for the political masters of the opposed forces to agree terms. Landucci reflected: ‘we require to be taught by the Ultramontanes how to make war.’6 What he had in mind was ‘Continental’ fighting, which consisted of surprise attacks, giving no quarter, and violence against non-combatants. Early in September 1494 in the Romagna campaign there was an occasion when the herald of the Milanese commander in league with the French proclaimed to the opposing Neapolitan general that for his part the fighting would be by ‘Italian’ rules, not ‘a gorgia’, an allusion to Plato’s Gorgias, which denied morality and natural justice.7

In the fifteenth century French romances were popular reading for men in the Italian courts because French chivalry was believed to derive from the warfare of antiquity; for the Italian nobility the French man-at-arms, who epitomized chivalry, represented the living tradition of classical fighting. Yet it was appreciated that the French army as a fighting force was neither chivalric nor did it abide by Italian rules of warfare, but sought to overcome by might and terror. From the very first major encounter during the invasion of the Italian peninsula in 1494 the French army fought the ‘continental’ way and was victorious.8  Marino Sanuto’s contemporary history was concerned exclusively with the initial French invasion, while Francesco Guicciardini and Paolo Giovio, near-contemporaries, covered the first and subsequent Italian wars. All three, like more recent scholars in the field, have sought to explain the overwhelming success of the foreign invaders, focusing either on the malaise of the Italian military, or on the lack of political unity on the Italian peninsula.9

The purpose of this study is to examine one campaign related to the French invasion of 1494: that in the Romagna, which began in July and culminated in the French sack of Mordano on 20 October. It has been neglected by historians of the Italian wars, who either have not considered it coherently as a campaign, or dismiss it in a few sentences, often on the basis of factual errors; their lead has been followed by other historians of the period.l0 Here what is provided is a miniature rather than the large canvas, and an unfinished miniature at that, as further research is needed to fill in some details. At the centre are military circumstances, though in the background are the political issues and the resulting diplomacy. The miniature itself is used to bring into relief the nature of Italian military ineptitude.

To make sense of the Romagna campaign it must be set in the context of the preparatory phase of the French invasion of 1494. An issue of importance was whether Charles VIII, king of France, would come to promote his claim to the kingdom of Naples by military means, as he had threatened. In 1493 there were doubts that Charles would ever invade. This meant that King Ferrante’s preparations, both tangible and diplomatic, were modest, in part because they might prove unnecessary expense (and the kingdom’s resources were limited), in part because by too much activity King Ferrante could stimulate a French invasion as a reaction.11 Fenante died suddenly on 25 January 1494, to be succeeded by his son, Alfonso II, a cultured man who had behind him a long career as a military commander. Initially he took much the same line as his father had concerning military preparations, though his hatred of Ludovico Sforza meant that no last-minute agreement was likely, something King Ferrante had been working towards. For instance, on 15 February Bemardo Dovizi wrote from Naples to Piero de’ Medici in Florence to report that Alfonso did not believe invasion would come, or fear it if it did.12  As it became clearer that Charles would invade, so increasingly the kingdom of Naples’ resources were channelled into the requirements of warfare. Niccollo Orsini, a highly rated, if elderly, condottiere general, was given his condotta in Neapolitan service on 7 February; other generals and captains were recruited subsequently.13  In January 1494 a contract was agreed for a new defensive system for Naples, 60,000 ducats being levied as tax to build it, with work commencing in October. In April, to strengthen the Tyrrhenian coast from French naval attack, the construction of two new forts near Baia in the Bay of Pozzuoli was in progress as in late August, was the strengthening of coastline fortifications of Calabria and Puglia.14 In early August, however, the French king and his main army still had not reached the Italian peninsula and Alfonso claimed the danger was averted for the year, it being too late in the season to embark French troops: after July the Mediterranean was deemed dangerous for galleys to navigate.15

Charles VIII was determined on invasion, and the necessary short-tern arrangements were made on his behalf while he resided mainly in Lyons from March to late July; for example, a letter from Louis, duke of Orleans, reached his fief of Asti on 17 April advising the Astigiani to prepare to welcome the monarch and to provide lodging for his army.16  On 29 July Charles took a boat to Vienne, where he assumed command of his army for its crossing of the Alps by Mount Genevre; Turin, in the duchy of Savoy, was reached on 5 September and Asti four days later. After illness, Charles left Asti in early October and began the march south with the main body of his troops.17  In Lyons the monarch had been visited on 1 June by Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, who stressed the importance of Genoa for the success of the invasion. This port, and the Ligurian territory it controlled, had been occupied for the Sforza of Milan in August 1487. In 1493 Ludovico Sforza, seeking investiture of Genoa from the French monarch, had agreed that the French fleet could enjoy its harbour facilities; from April the following year ships, from galleys to large vessels, began to assemble there, where others were being built to the French king’s specifications. Ships were required to convey supplies for the army and seemingly the French fleet was envisaged as defending the supply route from Marseilles; subsequently it was intended to use it to attack Naples by sea in co­ordination with the French anny.18 Cardinal Della Rovere appears to have warned of an imminent Neapolitan attack on the port of Genoa, and shortly after his visit Milanese troops and Swiss under Antoine de Bessey (bailli of Dijon) were sent to strengthen its defences.19 Ludovico Sforza’s object in facilitating the landing of the French army at Genoa presumably was that the rest of the duchy of Milan would not be touched as it passed south to Naples – this hope proved mistaken.

King Alfonso did indeed determine to strike the first military blow against French invasion plans by sending the Neapolitan fleet carrying a force of infantry to occupy Genoa. Archbishop Fregoso and some Genoese exiled by the Sforza encouraged Alfonso to believe that as soon as his fleet arrived there would be a revolt against Milanese rule within the city. On 22 June a strong Neapolitan fleet with some Neapolitan infantry on board under Federigo, prince of Altamura, the king’s brother, sailed from Naples, reaching safe anchorage in Livorno (the Florentine port conceded for use by Piero de’ Medici, who was allied to the Neapolitan monarch, and where presumably a force of Sienese mercenaries was embarked). After an attempt on Genoa by sea on about 13 July was abandoned because of the arrival of the French fleet, the Neapolitan vessels sailed southwards to near Florentine-held Sarzana, landing some 400 troops at Portovenere (near La Spezia) on 14 July. In seeking to take the town this force was so vigorously repulsed that it re-embarked after five days, the fleet thereafter returning to Naples.20 King Alfonso had not formally declared war, presumably because he deemed his offensive justified in the face of French threats and preparations, and because his ambassador had been ordered from the court of the French king on 14 January 1494. Furthermore, Count Caiazzo, whose fief was in the kingdom, had been summoned to Naples (though had declined), Ludovico Sforza had been deprived forthwith of his duchy of Bari, and by 12 June the king had recalled his ambassadors from Milan; the Milanese ambassadors to the Neapolitan court had left 21 Hence the stage had already been set for war.

Given Alfonso’s notions on the dangers inherent in sailing the Mediterranean after July his authorisation of a second attempt on Genoa marked the monarch’s awareness that Charles VIII with his army actually was crossing the Alps. In late August the Neapolitan fleet again sailed towards Genoa, and on about 5 September a force of 4,000 infantry with some Genoese exiles were landed at the unfortified village of Rapallo, some thirty miles south of Genoa. With the arrival of the French fleet, well-armed with cannon, the Neapolitan vessels withdrew, being carried south off Sestri Levante by contrary winds. Meanwhile on 8 September the flagship of the French fleet bombarded the Neapolitan infantry behind its earth ramparts; a land-force from Genoa joined with the Swiss from the French vessels to assault the invaders from front and rear, resulting in heavy casualties for the Neapolitans; the Swiss even slaughtered the wounded and sacked Rapallo, a foretaste of warfare not according to Italian rules.22

The two Neapolitan strikes by sea were ambitious, intended to deprive the French of their naval base on the peninsula, and also to enable the Neapolitan forces themselves to use it in order to attack the duchy of Milan from the west. The strike was envisaged as one thrust of a pincer movement, and initially was brought to bear following the withdrawal of the Neapolitan ambassador from Milan in early June. Simultaneously with the first sea assault on Genoa, the advance guard of a Neapolitan land-force was moving into position to attack the Parma region in the south of the duchy of Milan by way of the Via Emilia. This latter offensive deteriorated into the stalemate of the Romagna campaign. Had it been correctly timed and successful the pincer movement might have brought about Ludovico Sforza’s overthrow by popular revolt within the duchy of Milan. Certainly when in late August 1494 the duke of Calabria appealed to Caterina Sforza, he claimed the intention of his army was to restore her half-brother, Giangaleazzo, as ruler of the duchy of Milan.23  Who devised the pincer movement remains uncertain, but probably both King Ferrante and his son had a hand in it. There is possible evidence that preparations were under way in 1493, when Ferrante ordered the construction of galleys, perhaps for the attack on Genoa; in that year he made secret alliances with the pope and Piero de’ Medici; their permission was vital for the passage northwards of the land force. The testimony, though, is not conclusive, as these measures may not have originated specifically with the pincer movement. Even so it was reported on 8 February 1494 from Amboise to Ludovico Sforza, that King Ferrante (whose death was not then known there) intended to block the threatened French advance towards his kingdom by sending a Neapolitan force to the Romagna.24

Ferrandino, duke of Calabria, was sent with some 240 cavalry by his father, Alfonso, initially to spearhead the eventual land attack on the duchy. His force left from the Terra del Lavoro north of Naples, reaching somewhere in the Abruzzi by 2 July; it was encamped outside Cesena by 19 July, and perhaps its route was Avezzano, L’ Aquila, Rieti, Terni, Foligno, Perugia, Citta di Castello, San Sepolcro, thence across the Appenines to Bagno and Mercato.25  On 5 August the duke rode to the locality of San Sepolcro to rendezvous with Piero de’ Medici. The secret discussions, extended over four days, concerned the promise made by Piero to send troops and money for the Neapolitan force intent on advancing against the duchy of Milan. King Alfonso had already met the pope on 14 July at the Orsini stronghold of Vicovaro, near Tivoli, when the secret alliance of 3 August 1493 was renewed; seemingly at secret sessions over three days the pope agreed to fund a contingent to be recruited to fight alongside the Neapolitan land force. The pope had taken possession of Ostia but fearing the intentions of the Colonna, and concerned about likely dissension in the Campagna as a French army approached, he requested the immediate military support of King Alfonso, who had been invested with his kingdom by him. Originally the plan had been for the entire Neapolitan army to advance north under King Alfonso; he, however, to satisfy the pope, by late July had detached 30 squadrons of men-at-arms, over whom he remained in command, to be stationed at Tagliacozzo, some 116 miles east of Rome. Moreover Gentile Virginio Orsini, who was appointed Grand Constable on 7 May, with 200 men-at-arms and some light cavalry was sent to the Campagna to overawe the Colonna.26  As a result the duke of Calabria was given command of the army to march north, with the assistance of tried condottiere generals, notably Niccolb Orsini, Giangiacomo Trivulzio and Bartolomeo Alviano.27  In effect, too, the fighting force of some 650 men-at-arms and 2,500 light horse was denied the Romagna army at a crucial time. This was probably the decisive factor in the army’s failure to reach the duchy of Milan, since in August with depleted strength it was in no position to persuade by a show of might such cities as Forli, Imola and Bologna that it was in their best interest to grant it passage through their territories. By the time the Neapolitan army was anything like strong enough, an enemy force had arrived nearby. Indeed Ludovico Sforza had sent Gasparo (Fracasso) Sanseverino with three hundred cavalry (including men-at-arms) to the Sforza fief of Cotignola in the first week of July, even before the duke of Calabria’s advance party reached Cesena, and as will be seen this force steadily increased in size over the following two months.28

In the years immediately prior to 1494 Charles VIII had negotiated with foreign powers to enable him with some security to leave France with a large army. Early in 1494, when final preparations were under way, the king sent envoys to seek safe-passage and provisions for his force as it moved south down the peninsula towards Naples.29 Already in 1493 King Ferrante, aware of the French diplomatic moves, had sought to strengthen accords with the pope and with Piero de’ Medici.30These were to prove inadequate in terms of the Romagna campaign. In July 1494, as the French invasion was under way, the pope’s insistence on protection had serious consequences for the Neapolitan land attack, as has been indicated.31  Piero, for his part, was to hold the Florentine frontier against any force sent by Ludovico Sforza, so as to ensure that the Neapolitan army would not be outflanked as it moved along the Via Emilia. The request made on 4 May 1494 by the French envoys (among them Bernard Stuart d’Aubigny) that Florence grant passage and supplies to the French army as it advanced towards the kingdom of Naples was answered two days later. The special ties with France were recognized, but the Republic could not breach the alliance with Naples promoted by Louis XI of France. This reply resulted in Charles VIII dismissing the Florentine ambassadors from his court in order to put pressure on the Florentine government. On 28 June the French envoys returned and the Florentine response delivered on 14 July was as before, though by then Aubigny, on the orders of his sovereign, had left Florence to raise troops in the duchy of Milan. Already in late June the Neapolitan fleet had been allowed to harbour in the Florentine port of Livorno, where Piero visited it, and early in September Piero committed Florence unequivocally to the cause of Naples by sending troops to join the army of the duke of Calabria in the Romagna.32

The Neapolitan army’s projected route along the Via Emilia involved passage through the territory of Faenza, and while this was a papal vicariate the ruling dynasty of the Manfredi enjoyed Florentine protection. After the assassination of Galeotto Manfredi in 1488 Lorenzo de’ Medici had frustrated Ludovico Sforza’s attempts to extend his influence in the Romagna by ensuring the succession of Astorre III; Piero de’ Medici was informed of all developments in Faenza by his own secret agent.33  On the Adriatic coast to the north of the Via Emilia was the territory of Ravenna, controlled by Venice. The Republic’s declared neutrality in the face of the French invasion was pithily reported by the Florentine ambassador in Venice, writing to Piero on 5 August: ‘the policy is to wait and see’ whatever would be in the Republic’s best interests. Moreover, fearful of troops of the opposed armies pillaging in the territory of Ravenna, the Republic sent her own forces to protect the frontier.34

Immediately to the west and north of Ravenna was territory held by Ercole d’Este, duke of Ferrara and duke of Modena, and this represented an unresolved problem for Neapolitan advance along the Via Emilia. Ercole held the duchy of Ferrara as a papal vicariate, Modena as an imperial fief; Maximilian, king of the Romans, had renewed investiture on 24 April 1494.35 On 30 November 1493 the proxy marriage had taken place between Bianca Maria, sister of Duke Giangaleazzo Sforza, and Maximilian.36 In 1473 Ercole d’Este had married Eleonora, King Ferrante’s daughter, who died on 11 October 1493.37 The couple’s daughter, Beatrice, had marred Ludovico Sforza on 17 January 1491, and five days later Alfonso, Duke Ercole’s heir, married Anna Sforza, daughter of Duke Galeazzo Sforza. Against this background of marriage connections and personal considerations Ercole naturally took refuge in claiming neutrality.38 After the visit of the French envoy on 24-26 April Ercole granted passage through his duchies to forces of Charles VIII’s army, and provisions at a fair price, maintaining this promise despite a papal brief of 25 August ordering him as papal vicar of Ferrara not to do so.39 On 5 June Ercole conferred with Giovanni Bentivoglio, ‘first citizen’ of Bologna, when Bentivoglio agreed to follow Ercole’s example.40  Piero de’ Medici, preoccupied with the accord with Naples and the advent of the French envoys on a second occasion, on 26 June sent envoys to Bentivoglio in an effort to persuade him not to concede passage, but to no avail. On 19 August the pope issued a brief ordering Bentivoglio not to harbour Milanese troops and another on 2 September forbidding him giving passage to the French forces.41

Bologna was the key to the Via Emilia, as both protagonists were aware. Charles VIII at Chambery (the capital of Savoy) in August, just prior to crossing the Alps, was reported as recognizing this, as King Alfonso certainly did on 9 October, when the Romagna campaign had been at stalemate for over two months.42  In April 1494 Bentivoglio’s reply to the French request for passage and supplies had been non-committal though, as mentioned, in early June he was swayed by Ercole d’Este to grant the request.43  Bentivoglio was married to a Sforza and owed much to his connection with the family; in 1493 he was appointed Governor-General of the Milanese armies, a post he retained in 1494 (but because of arrears of pay he excused himself from active service).44 From his correspondence of 1494 it is evident that he was aware of the dangers to the entire peninsula of a French invasion, yet self-interest rather than statesmanship prevailed. Seemingly he allowed himself to be won over by Ercole so as to have a bargaining counter with the pope, from whom he ardently sought a cardinal’s hat for his son Antongaleazzo; when on the pope’s list of 27 October his son’s name did appear, it was too late to influence in any way the Romagna campaign.45  Bentivoglio’s eldest son, Annibale, had a condotta with Florence, and Piero calculatedly put him in command of the Florentine contingent sent to assist the Neapolitan army in the Romagna; Bentivoglio carefully avoided showing his son and the latter’s force any favour, presumably in part because he did not want to weaken pressure on the pope in his bid for the cardinal’s hat.46 On 3 November Annibale and his contingent left for Florence under the terms of that city’s submission to Charles VIII as arranged by Piero de’ Medici, who on 9 November left Florence for exile.47

On 15 April 1494 Ludovico Sforza wrote to his niece Caterina Sforza, who ruled the papal vicariates of Imola and Forli as regent for her sons. He informed her that the king of France was coming to dispossess King Alfonso of the kingdom of Naples by military means, and he sought her assurance that she would allow passage to the French and allied army, through the territories she controlled and sell it provisions. Her reply appears lost, but was probably non­committal.48 On 30 June Cardinal Raffaello Riario, her deceased husband’s nephew, visited her to seek to align her with the pope and Naples, as the Neapolitan land-force was being formed and its route was to be the Via Emilia. She gave him no assurances, claiming neutrality.49 Two days previously Ludovico Sforza had written to state that he knew she had contact with King Alfonso; this she admitted in her reply of 1 July, saying that she had to do the best she could, since he had sent her no tangible assistance.50 On 30 July the cardinal returned again seeking to influence her in favour of the Neapolitan allies, including the pope, whose vicariates her sons held.51 To counter this Ludovico Sforza sent his envoy on 8 August, offering her eldest son a Milanese condotta.52  In the past Ludovico Sforza had provided her some protection if only out of self-interest, but she also enjoyed cordial relations with the Medici; Lorenzo had supported her in several clashes of interest with neighbouring states in the Romagna, and in 1489 had helped promote the marriage of her daughter Bianca to Astorre III Manfredi of Faenza.53 Her situation was analogous to that of Giovanni Bentivoglio, since she had connections with both sides and her territories, like Bologna, straddled the route likely to be taken by the opposed armies, and to concede passage to one would surely earn the enmity of the other.  Procrastination was the safest policy until it was clearer which force was the more powerful.  Ludovico Sforza, aware of these issues, on 13 August had decided not to waste time but wrote to tell her that he had ordered Count Caiazzo and his forces to occupy her territories.54 This did not mean the force could enter her walled towns, and since there was the Neapolitan army nearby, it drove Caterina to look to that as a counter to maintain her interests.

Historians of late have tended to put emphasis on the procrastinations and vacillations of both Caterina Sforza and Giovanni Bentivoglio, judging these individuals as the prime cause of the Neapolitan army’s failure in the Romagna campaign.55 This neglects the military situation. It has been indicated above that the duke of Calabria’s advance-force of cavalry reached Cesena on 19 July and that previously in the first week of that month Ludovico Sforza had sent a force of cavalry to Cotignola.56  To reiterate the point already made: the stalemate in the Romagna developed because the duke of Calabria was unable to establish quickly enough a sufficiently powerful army to overawe the rulers of the Romagna, and pass through their states, before the arrival of the enemy in sufficient strength to deter the rulers from granting passage. Having said that, it is also true that the Neapolitan army was too slow in reaching sufficient strength to warrant its advance towards the duchy of Milan. This latter aspect, hitherto overlooked, will now be examined. First the strength of the force under the duke of Calabria as it fluctuated between mid-July and late October will be considered, then that of the army under Count Caiazzo and Bernard Stuart d’Aubigny for much the same period. Thereafter the interaction between the two forces will be analysed briefly.

The strength of the two opposed forces cannot be given precisely but, as the vagaries in the statistics appear broadly true for both, comparison seems possible. In most instances muster rolls do not exist, and contemporary figures from other sources are subject to notable variations.57 Detachments of troops came and went continually. Moreover, terminology is a problem, as a term may have been used loosely and inconsistently. Here for the Italians a squadra is taken to comprise the normal 20 lanze; however, according to Dovizi writing on 4 September to Piero de’ Medici, many squadrons in the Aragonese camp had as many as 30, and a few not20.58 By 1490 on the Italian peninsula the formation known as a lanza, or lance, usually meant four mounted men: one was a man-at-arms in heavy armour; there was his page with a change of horse and spare arms, and two more lightly armed men bore lances as the man-at-arm’s bodyguard.59 In a squadron of 20 lances broadly speaking there were 60 fighting men, of whom 20 were heavily armed and 40 more lightly armed, and the two together formed the cavalry. Here reference to a specific number of ‘men-at-arms’ is usually taken to refer to lances; in battle formation, though, the heavily armed usually formed a corps and most likely the ‘men-at-arms’ specified meant precisely that. There was also light cavalry comprising among others Levantine stradioti, as well as mounted crossbow-men (who also had a javelin) and mounted archers 60  Often, but not invariably, in the case of the French a lance consisted of six men, of whom two were heavily armed and four more lightly armed; however generally two servants were included in the statistics, and in this case the force of lances was reduced effectively as a fighting force by a third. Here it is assumed that a French lance had twice the number of heavily armed men as the Italian, and two lightly armed mounted soldiers. Since usually it is not specified whether Italian sources adopted six or four when referring to a French lance, figures provided here for the French are taken essentially from French sources, those for the Italians from Italian ones. Whenever possible statistics as to the strength of the forces are taken from letters, official bulletins and similar lists rather than from chronicles. Whatever the source, the information may have been consciously distorted, quite apart from merely being inaccurate, but by and large the figures given in chronicles appear reported guesses. The same official and semi-official sources for the Romagna campaign provide details of the movements of the two forces, and of skirmishes between the two.61

The advance-force under the duke of Calabria at Cesena by 19 July consisted of some 240 cavalry.62 The main force of Neapolitan cavalry reached camp there before 10 August. Emilia Pio, familiar from Castiglione’s Courtier and related by marriage to Count Caiazzo, commander of the Milanese force in the Romagna, wrote a letter on 10 August to her brother, joint-ruler of Carpi, providing the details he requested of the Neapolitan force; she sent a man specifically to the camp to get them.63  In total there were 2,480 cavalry, of whom 560 were men-at-arms, and there were 200 infantry, her letter mentioned 25 contestabili seeking to recruit companies of infantry in the Romagna and the Marches for a muster on 16 August. The infantry in the duke’s force was not from the kingdom but locally recruited and on short-term contracts, for it was assumed fighting would cease with the winter season from early November at the latest. The letter mentioned a further 26 squadrons of lances expected to arrive by the muster date, as was a papal contingent – some of this latter was still awaited a month later.64  She concluded by writing that eventually there would be 80 squadrons of men-at-arms. In the event recruitment proved slow. When on 2 September Dovizi reached camp near Cesena (presumably as agreed at the meeting between Piero de’ Medici and the duke of Calabria near Borgo Sansepolcro in early August), he reported to Piero that there were 55 squadrons of men-at-arms, perhaps reaching 70 within days (the squadrons including some 500 mounted crossbow-men) and 100 stradioti; there were 1,000 infantry (soon to be 3,000) and 500 foot-soldiers with crossbows under the duke of Urbino, engaged on a renewable fifteen-day contract.65  On 4 September part of the promised Florentine force, whose absence embarrassed Dovizi, reached Forli and comprised Annibale Bentivoglio’s 10 squadrons of men-at-arms.66  Infantry captains with soldiers arrived to offer their services; these included Dionigi and Vincenzo Naldi of Brisghella in the Val di Lamone above Faenza, briefly in camp from about 18 September, and Ramazotto with a force of 600 infantry had arrived by 11 September.67 Probably Pietro dal Monte’s infantry, paid for by Florence, had arrived by 15 September, bringing the entire strength of the infantry in camp at that time to some 4,000.68 Giovanni Sforza and Giampaolo Baglioni with 9 squadrons of men-at-arms, part of the papal contingent, were expected on 12 September.69 It had taken some two months to increase the force’s size from 240 cavalry to 4,200 cavalry and 4,000 infantry. Figures for the artillery do not exist, but by 2 October Dovizi judged there was plenty.70  When on 2 September Dovizi had first reached camp the strategy had been explained to him: the duke of Calabria had anticipated that he would advance against the duchy of Milan with a force of some 14,000 men, but could not dare do so with less than 10,000. Quite apart from difficulties with poor weather and supplies, at no stage did he have this strength, and this was the fundamental reason for the delay in advancing.71  By mid-September, when the peak was reached, troops were complaining because they had not been paid or provided with provisions; an infantry force was detached to assist with the garrisoning of Caterina Sforza’s fortresses. News of the defeat at Rapallo so reduced morale that some troops were unwilling to fight, not being assured of victory.72  It is worth remarking that enormous requirements of food for men and horses of the two camps caused grave problems for the Romagna and increasing hostility from the local population. Pillaging by troops brought famine particularly to the towns. Until its retreat in late October the Neapolitan army enjoyed a much better reputation in this regard than the opposing force, and certainly the duke of Calabria had sought to maintain strict discipline and ensure provisions were paid for.73

Ludovico Sforza, aware of the arrival near Cesena of the advance force of cavalry under the duke of Calabria, on 27 July appointed Count Caiazzo commander of the Milanese force to counter the new threat by going to the Romagna; his brother Gasparo Sanseverino with 300 cavalry, who had been sent to Cotignola early in the month, was to assist him.74 Count Caiazzo left Milan on 28 July, and on his way south recruited infantry. By 2 August Caiazzo’s force had passed through the territory of Ercole d’Este, where on its way to encamp near Bologna it grossly maltreated peasants, presumably by pillaging.75 By then the combined force of the two Sanseverino brothers was some 900 ‘men-at-arms’ (supposedly 225 heavily armed and 450 lightly armed cavalry), to be joined later by 3,000 infantry, probably some of whom were Swiss.76  Charles VIII writing from Lyons on 1 July ordered Bernard Stuart d’Aubigny, then his ambassador in Florence, to put himself at the head of a French force (presumably landed at Genoa) under the orders of Ludovico Sforza n The latter sent him with his troops to reinforce the Milanese force in the Romagna under Count Caiazzo who apparently remained supreme commander, at least initially. By 23 August d’Aubigny had reached Parma; his force’s arrival in camp on 29 August was recorded in a letter to Ludovico Sforza, where it was indicated as comprising sixty to seventy ‘men-at-arms’ (which I suppose in this case to be French lances: 120 heavily armed and 120 lighter armed cavalry), some 220 mounted crossbow-men under Antoine de Ville, lord of Domjulien, 60 mounted (Scots) archers, 40 stradioti.78  When the main French army had crossed the Alps a force of 400 lances and mounted archers under Gilbert, count of Montpensier, was detached and sent to support the troops in the Romagna, though in the event it remained near Parma until 20 October, when Montpensier took his troops across the Cisa pass into Tuscany.79 Gasparo Sanseverino wrote from Parma on 22 and 23 September concerning the recruitment of 200 men-at-arms; 10 Milanese squadrons reached camp in early October and the infantry with the Franco-Milanese force in the Romagna likewise steadily increased from September. On 2 October Dovizi estimated the opposing force numbered some 9,000 to 10,000 men, about the same as that of the Neapolitan army when he had first arrived in camp a month before. The Franco-Milanese force had 18 or perhaps 22 pieces of artillery.80

On the basis of the above information in early August the duke of Calabria’s cavalry was some 2,180 against the Milanese 675, but his infantry was but 200 as against 3,000. A month later after the arrival of d’Aubigny’s troops, the Neapolitan army comprised some 3,900 cavalry and 1,500 infantry against 1,230 mounted troops of various kinds and 3,000 infantry. By mid-September the numerical odds in favour of the Neapolitan army had increased to almost two to one. Given the latter’s considerable superiority of some three to one cavalry it is not surprising that the Franco-Milanese force encamped behind ditches in boggy terrain.81 It is equally understandable why the Franco­Milanese refused the challenge to battle, remaining behind entrenchments protected by cannons.82 Thereafter the Neapolitan army gave way to inertia: money was lacking, provisions failed; news of the defeat at Rapallo and of Charles VIII’s arrival at Asti with a large army (he reached Pavia on 14 October) further demoralised it. The news considerably encouraged the enemy, whose troop-numbers steadily increased until there was almost parity with the Neapolitan camp. From late September Neapolitan advance against the duchy of Milan was impossible unless the Franco-Milanese army in the Romagna could be entirely routed, and by then that force lacked the will to fight.83

The sack of Mordano marked the Franco-Milanese force’s seizure of the initiative with comparable numbers; since it did so effectively the result was the end of the campaign. On 19 October a force of 2,000 infantry, comprising 300 Milanese, 300 Swiss, 200 Scots, 1,000 French archers, supported by artillery (the chronicler of Forli, Bernardi, thought a force of 14,000) advanced to Mordano in the territory of Imola. This fortress was defended according to Bernardi by a force of 200 (the French Bulletin claimed 1,500), half being from the duke of Calabria’s army, the rest paid for by Caterina Sforza, and it was packed with the inhabitants of the place and its neighbourhood. The army of the duke of Calabria was some seven miles distant yet, when requested, made no move to assist the besieged. The following day Gasparo Sanseverino sought surrender on honourable terms. This was refused and Sanseverino gave dire warning that no mercy would be shown to the defenders as the French fought like ‘mad dogs’. After a three-hour bombardment by cannon the wall was breached and the force entered, most within being slaughtered.84  On 25 October Caterina Sforza agreed terms with the Franco-Milanese army.85  Thereafter condottieri captains, including some of those sent by the pope, sought licence to leave the Neapolitan camp, and the Florentine contingent was recalled. On 30 October the Neapolitan force withdrew to Cesena, where it remained until 26 November, when the withdrawal south began.86

Initially the duke of Calabria’s force had insufficient strength to attack the duchy of Milan. By mid-August it was strong enough to have obtained passage along the Via Emilia, but was still under strength for an attack on the duchy of Milan. Then, too, Count Caiazzo’s force could not be ignored, as it was likely to attack the rear of the Neapolitan army should it advance. Stalemate while both sides sought to increase their strengths was the inevitable consequence, and it was at this stage that the understandable procrastinations of Giovanni Bentivoglio and Caterina Sforza came into play. By late August it was probably too late anyway, since Charles VIII with his main army was crossing the Alps. From the Neapolitan point of view the basic weakness of the campaign was that from the very start the force had insufficient troops to undertake the expected thrust into the duchy of Milan.

Machiavelli’s Florentine History provides the well-known caricature of mercenaries engaged in fighting in 1440, when according to Machiavelli at the battle of Anghiari the two opposing forces fought some four hours, and the only man of importance to die did so in consequence of falling off his horse.87  The soldiers of the Neapolitan army in the Romagna campaign were mercenaries. It was the Milanese commander Caiazzo, likewise a mercenary, who in early September undertook to fight by Italian rules.88  By mid-October the Ultramontanes in the Franco-Milanese force were sufficiently in evidence to fight a gorgia at Mordano. Machiavelli, like Landucci, was well aware of the Ultramontanes’ success in fighting, and went into the causes as Canossa did not, roundly blaming mercenaries and, by implication, the Italian rules of fighting. His professed solution would have won Canossa’s approval, as he urged invitation both of the strategies of the generals of Antiquity and of the classical techniques of warfare, ignoring that these were the very sources of inspiration for such successful mercenary leaders as Francesco Sforza and Federico da Montefeltro.89 There was a difference: the Roman soldier, Machiavelli believed, was a citizen, fighting for his country, a model of sobriety and discipline, unlike the contemporary mercenary.90 Yet the duke of Calabria, who had been tutored by the humanist Gabriele Altilio, sought to conduct his camp and campaign on classical lines.91 Initially his encampment had strict discipline and prostitutes were confined to a locality outside camp (however eventually to while away dull moments the duke on occasion left camp to visit his mistress).92 Dovizi stressed how admirably turned out the troops were, and how alert the camp guards.93 The duke’s strategy, for which he had the support of three Italian generals who were distinguished mercenaries, was conceived as a set-battle, much as that fought in 1453 is described by the marquis of Mantua in a letter to his wife.94 The duke of Calabria preferred the Italian way of fighting, man-at­arms against man-at-arms, as lauded by Luigi da Porto in his Lettere storiche, written about 1522, and by Castiglione in his Book of the Courtier.95 Quite apart from the Milanese contingent in the Romagna, the French army there included Bernard Stuart d’Aubigny with Scots who were foreign mercenaries as well as a sizeable company of Swiss, all from beyond the Alps.96  Hence it was not so much that Italian military ineptitude lay in the employment of mercenaries, as Machiavelli claimed.97 Leaving aside the obvious lack of political unity on the peninsula and the self-interest that took its place, the issue was that the French army was not trammelled by the imitation of supposed classical models and the associated chivalry; the French fought to win at all costs with utter ruthlessness.98 For the French warfare was something other than a spectacle in the form of a diverting echo of Antiquity.

End Notes 

1. For the courtier’s profession see B. Castiglione, La seconda redazione del ‘Cortegiano’, ed. G. Ghinassi (Florence, 1968), Bk. I, xx, 28, and for the date of the second draft see C.H. Clough, The Duchy of Urbino in the Renaissance (London, 1981), item XVI, 24. The same passage is in the final version, see B. Castiglione, IILibro del Cortegiano, ed. B. Maier (Turin, 3rd ed. rev., 1981), 112; trans. C. Singleton (Garden City, NY, 1959), 32. For the importance of letters see note 4 below.

2. V. da Bisticci, Le vite, ed. A. Greco (Florence, 2 vols., 1970-76), vol. 1, 379, cf. 399; trans. W.G. and E. Waters (London, 1926), 99, cf. 105.

3. Florence, Uffizi, one of nine cut-out miniatures, numbers 4423-30 and 843, see Arte Lombarda dai Visconti agli Sforza (Exhibition Catalogue) (Milan, 1958), 141-2, item 453, plate CLXXVIII.

4.Castiglione, La seconda redazione, 57-9; the same sentiments are in the final version, 163-6; trans. Singleton, 68-70. The contemporary Italian view of Charles VIII was that he was a warrior but uncultured, see C. De Frede, “‘Piu simile a mostro the a uomo”: la bruttezza e 1’incultura di Carlo VIII’, Biblioteque d Hurnanisme et Renaissance, 44 (1982), 582-4.

5. L. Landucci, Diario fiorentino dal 1450 al 1516, ed. I. del Badia (Florence, 1883), 24-5; trans. A de R. Jervis (London, 1927), 22.

6. Landucci, 25; Jervis, 22.

7. B. Dovizi, Epistolario, ed. G.L. Moncallero, 2 vols. (Florence, 1955-65), vol. 1, 99, letter dated September 1494 to Piero de’ Medici. The distinction in fighting methods was made, for instance, by the near-contemporary historian F. Guicciardini, Storia d’Italia, ed. C. Panigada, 5 vols. (Bari, 1929), cap. 73-4; by such recent historians as J.S.C. Bridge, A History of France from the Death of Louis XI, 5 vols. (Oxford, 1920-36), vol. 2, 118-19, and Anne Denis, Charles VIII et les Italians: Histoire et Mythe (Geneva, 1979), 87-8

8. For the Italian nobility’s attitude to the French man-at-arms and chivalry see C.H. Clough, ‘Love and War in the Veneto’, in War, Culture and Society in Renaissance Venice, ed. D.S. Chambers, C.H. Clough and M. E. Mallett (London, 1993), 108-9; for the belief that chivalry derived from Classical times see C. H. Clough, ‘Chivalry and Magnificence in the Golden Age of the Italian Renaissance’, in Chivalry in the Renaissance, ed. S. Anglo (Woodbridge, 1990), 38-9.

9. M. Sanuto, La spedizione di Carlo VIII in Italia, ed. R. Fulin (Venice, 1873-83) (supplement to Archivio veneto, series 1, 5-6, 9-23), 63-70, 71-83, 92-8 (a chronicle based on official dispatches and on letters sent to Venice); Guicciardini, Storia d’Italia, xiv, I, 58-60, 85-6 (entirely lacks dates and is disjointed); P. Giovio, ‘Historiarum’, 3 vols. (ed. D. Visconti and T.C.P. Zimmermann), vol. 1 (1957), in P. Giovio, Opera (Rome, 1956 – in progress), 3, Bk. I, 32, 37-9, Bk. 11, 46 (drawing on Dovizi’s letters to Piero de’ Medici, when he was able to consult material subsequently lost, cf. Dovizi’s Epistolario; trans. L. Domenichi (Venice, ‘Al Segno della Concordia’, 2 parts, 1608), vol. 1, Bk. I, 32, 37-40, Bk. II, 48-50. More recent work includes that of L. von Ranke, History of the Latin and Teutonic Nations (1494-1514), trans. G.R. Dennis (London, 1909), 6 (only two sentences relate); H.-F. Delaborde, L expedition de Charles VIII en Italie (Paris, 1888), 369-70, 372, 384-5, 430-31; Bridge, A History of France, vol. 2, 126-9, 143, 154-5 (disjointed and poorly documented); P. Pieri, Rinaseimento e la crisi militare italiana (2nd ed., Turin, 1952), 236-7, 329-31 (poorly documented); Y. Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII et son milieu (1470-1498) (Paris, 1975), 259-60, 271, 280, 285-6 (disjointed and poorly documented); I. Cloulas, Charles VIII et le mirage italien (Paris, 1986), 60-61 (very brief and essentially erroneous).

10. The exception is G.L. Moncallero, Documenti inediti sulla guerra di Romagna’, in Rinascimento, 4 (1953), 233-61, 5 (1954), 45-79, 6 (1955), 3-74 (which draws heavily on Dovizi’s Epistolario). For the histories of the wars see note 9 above; for a history in this area cf. L. Pastor, The History of the Popes, 40 vols., London, 1891-1953), vol. 5, ed. F.I. Antrobus (1898), 430-31.

11. Cf. Pieri, Il Rinascimento e la crisi militare italiana, 325.

12. For Ferrante’s death see G.A. Summonte, Dell’historia della Cittd e Regno di Napoli, 4 vols. (Naples, 1675), vol. 3, 481. For Alfonso II’s culture see G.L. Hersey,Alfonso II and the Artistic Renewal of Naples, 1485-1495 (New Haven, CF., 1969), and E. P6rcopo, ‘La vita di G. Pontano’, in Archivio storico per le province napoletane, 41 (1936), 192-3. For the letter of 15 February see Dovizi, Epistolario, 43.

13. Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 229-30 (no source).

14. For the defences of Naples see Hersey, Alfonso II and the Artistic Renewal, 88-9; for the coastline defences see I. Mazzoleni, ‘Gli apprestamenti difensivi dei castelli di Calabria ultra’, Archivio storico per le province napoletane, n.s. 30 (1947), 132-44and cf. Summonte, Dell’ historia della Cittd e Regno di Napoli, vol. 3, 495.

15. Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 230. The ‘Autumn voyage’ for pilgrims from Venice to Jaffa ceased about 1450 because storms tendered it unpopular, cf. M.M. Newett, Canon Pietro Casola’s Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the year 1494 (Manchester, 1907), 78, 92.

16. For Charles’ residence in Lyons see the testimony of his letters, Charles VIII, Lettres, ed. P. Pelicier, 5 vols. (Paris, 1898-1905), vol. 4 (1903), 23 onwards, the source for Labande­Mailfert, Charles VIII, 267-8. F. Gabotto, La vita in Asti al tempo di Gian Giorgio Alione (Asti, 1899), 12-14.

17. For Charles taking a boat to Vienne see Charles VIII, Lettres, vol. 4, 80-81; for the king reaching Turin, his illness in Asti and departure for the south see Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 278-83; for his arrival at Asti see Delaborde, L expedition de Charles VIII, 399.

19. C. Shaw, Julius II: The Warrior Pope (Oxford, 1993), 96-7. For Sforza seeking the investiture of Genoa see P. de Commynes, Lettres et ndgociations, ed. J.M.B.C. Kervyn de Lettenhove, 3 vols. (Brussels, 1867-74), vol. 2, 97. For the fleet in Genoa see the ‘Instructions’, 4 May 1494 issued by Charles in P. de Commynes,Memoires, ed. L.N.E. Dupont, 3 vols. (Paris, 1840-47), vol. 3, 370-75, doc. XL, and cf. Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 243 and C. Kidwell, Marullus: Soldier Poet of the Renaissance (London, 1989), 210-11.

19. Delaborde, L expedition de Charles VIII, 384; cf. Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 218, where it is suggested the cardinal divulged the enemy’s secrets to the king.

20. For Pontano urging the expedition see J.H. Bentley, Politics and Culture in Renaissance Naples (Princeton, NJ, 1987), 192 (the letter’s date 11 July appears erroneous). Notar Giacomo, Cronaca di Napoli, ed. P. Garzilli (Naples, 1845), and G. Passero, Storie in forma di giornali, ed. M.M. Vecchioni (Naples, 1785), 62-3 (a critical edition of this compilation is much needed) for the naval expedition; cf. Delaborde, L expedition de Charles VIII, 369, 384-5 (without distinguishing two naval expeditions, and Pieri, Il Rinascimento e la crisi militare italiana, 325-6, and by Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 274For the force of mercenaries see F. Guicciardini,Storia d7talia, ed. C. Panigada, 5 vols. (Bari, 1929), 1, Bk. 1, chap. viii, 57: ‘per soldave insino al numero di Quattromila fauti, ne’ porti somesi… ; cf. Delaborde, 369errs in giving 5,000 from this source. For news of the defeat 1n a letter of 20 July see C. de’ Rosmini, Dell’istoria intorno alle militari imprese e alla vita di C. J. Trivulzio, 2 vols. (Milan, 1815), vol. 2, 202, doc. 32.

21. Delaborde, L’expedition de Charles VIII, 299-300, 368-9; cf. Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 274who misunderstands with ‘Sans declaration d’hostilite, Frederic… a tenth, le 16 [juillet] un coup de main sur Genes…’

22. Delaborde, L’exp6dition de Charles VIII, 400-8; Pieri, Il Rinascimento e la crisi militare italiana, 327-8, and Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 279 (and see there note 395 for a view opposed to Pieri regarding the importance of cannon fire). Giovio, trans. Domenichi, vol. 1, Bk. I, 34-7 wrongly indicates that the Rapallo landing followed immediately that at Portovenere. For a letter with news of the defeat, dated Rapallo, 8 September, see De’ Rosmini, Dell’istoria… di G. J. Trivulzio, vol. 2, 202, doc. 33. Charles VIII, Lettres, vol. 4, 89-93, no. DCCC. For the Swiss killing the wounded and sacking Rapallo see Giovio, Bk. I, 36-7, perhaps from Sanuto, La spedizione di Carlo VIII, 84.

23. A. Bernardi, ‘Cronache forlivesi’, ed. G. Mazzatinti in Monumenti istorici pertinenti alle provincie della Romagna, series 3: Cronache, Deputazione di Storia Patria, 2 vols. (Bologna, 1895-97), vol. 1, part 2, 13; E. P6rcopo, ‘La vita di G. Pontano’, 197.

24. Bridge, A History of France, vol. 2, 126-7, states categorically the scheme was devised by Ferrante and inherited by his son, but gives no evidence. For the building of the galleys see Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 230. For the secret alliances see Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 229, without a source, and see Delaborde,L’expedition de Charles VIII, 341 for an accord of 1 April 1494.

25. For the force in the Abruzzi see C. Kidwell, Pontano: Poet and Prime Minister (London, 1991), 245; for its size as ‘4… squadre’ see Bernardi, ‘Cronache forlivesi’, vol. 1, part 2, 11, which also provides the date of arrival at Cesena. The likely route is on the basis of Giovio, trans., vol. 1, Bk. 1, 32This advance force is not mentioned by Delaborde, L expedition de Charles VIII, 395. Kidwell, Marullus, 215, mentions the Neapolitan force advancing up the Adriatic coast to the Romagna, without a source.

26. For the meeting between the duke and Piero see Sanuto, La spedizione di Carlo VIII, 67, the source for Delaborde, L expedition de Charles VIII, 369-70the source for Pastor, The History of the Popes, 430 and for Bridge, A History of France, vol. 2, 127-8; that the meeting was for days is indicated by Summonte,Dell’historia della Ciud… di Napoli, vol. 3, 496For the secret alliance see note 24 above, and for the appointment of the Constable see Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 230, without a source. For the pope obtaining Ostia on 24 May see Pastor, The History of the Popes, vol. 5, 424-5, and Shaw, Julius II, 97 without a source.

27. L. Cobelli, ‘Cronache forlivesi’, ed. G. Carducci, E. Fand and F. Guarini, in Monuments istorici, ser. (Bologna, 1874), 356; Dovizi, Epistolario, 89 for Alviano.

28 Letter of 7 July from L. de’ Medici to the Otto di Pratica, Florence, relating to Sanseverino’s transit to Cotignola with 300 men through the territory of Faenza without permission, see G. Donati, La fine della Signoria dei Manfredi di Faenza (Turin, 1938), 90­91; cf. also the letter of 9 July from Cotignola mentioned by V. Adami, Il carteggio di un capitano di ventura: Gasparo San Severino (Venice, 1930), 13.

29 For the negotiations see Delaborde, L’expedition de Charles VIII, 358-67, and Labande­Mailfert, Charles VIII, 227-9; for particular requests for passage and provisions see below at notes 32, 39, 43, 48.

30. See note 24 above.

31. See the text above note 26.

32. Delaborde, L’expddition de Charles VIII, 364, 367; F. Cordero, Savonarola, 3 vols. (Bari, 1986-88), vol. 1, 294-7; G. Guidi, Cid the accadde al tempo della Signoria di novembre-dicembre in Firenze, l’anno 1494 (Florence, 1988), 14-15.

33. The issues are documented by Donati, La fine della Signoria dei Manfredi, cf. also G.B. Picotti, ‘Caterina Sforza e la Romagna alla calata di Carlo VIII’, in Atti del convegno di studi per il V centenario della nascita di Caterina Sforza (published in Atti e Memorie della Deputazione di Storia Patria per le provincie di Romagna,series 5, 15-16, 1967) (Bologna, 1967), 176.

34. Delaborde, L’expedition de Charles VIII, 372.

35. A. Frizzi, Memorie per la storia di Ferrara, ed. C. Laderchi, 5 vols. (2nd ed., Ferrara, 1847-48), vol. 4 (1848), 176.

36. C. M. Ady, A History of Milan under the Sforza (London, 1907), 148-9.

37. L. Chiappini, Eleonora d’Aragona’, in Atti e memorie della Deputazione di Storia Patria, n.s. 16 (1956), 95, and as a monograph (Rovigo, 1956), with the same pagination.

38. J. Cartwright, Beatrice d Este (London, 1899), 65, 70.

39. For the late-April visit see Frizzi, Memorie per la Storia di Ferrara, vol. 4, 176; Delaborde, L’expedition de Charles VIII, 362 and E.G. Gardner, Dukes and Poets at Ferrara (London, 1904), 250; for the brief see Picotti, ‘Caterina Sforza’, 177 without a source.

40. Frizzi, Memorie per la storia di Ferrara, vol. 4, 176.

41. Frizzi, vol. 4, 176, for the meeting on 26 June; for Pontano sent by the king of Naples for a meeting see C.M. Ady, The Bentivoglio of Bologna (Oxford, 1937), 112For the brief see Pastor, The History of the Popes, 431 note.

42. Ady, The Bentivoglio of Bologna, 111.

43. For the non-committal initial reply see G.B. Picotti, ‘La neutralitit bolognese nella discesa di Carlo VIII’, in Atti e Memorie della Deputazione di Storia Patria per le provincie di Romagna, series 4, 9 (1919), 176-8. Cfalso Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 286 n. 406, citing P.A. Berselli, L’atteggiamento di Bologna durante la calata di Carlo VIII, which I have been unable to trace.

44. Ady, The Bentivoglio of Bologna, 111-12.

45 Ady, The Bentivoglio of Bologna, 114.

46. Ady, The Bentivoglio of Bologna. 115-16.

47. For the departure of Annibale Bentivoglio see note 86; for Piero de’ Medici see Delaborde, L’expidition de Charles VIII, 434-9, 443-4, Guidi, Cid the accadde, 16-17, 34-8, Cordero, Savonarola, 303, 310-12.

48. P. D. Pasolini, Caterina Sforza, 3 vols. (Rome, 1893), vol. 3, 203, doc. 514 (synopsis).

49. E. Breisach, Caterina Sforza: A Renaissance Virago (Chicago, 1967), 153, 312 n.3.

50. Pasolini, Caterina Sforza, vol. 3, 208-9, doc. 525.

51. Ibid., vol. 3, 210 doc. 530 (synopsis); Bernardi, ‘Cronache forlivesi’, vol. 1, part 2, 12. 52. Pasolini, Caterina Sforza, vol3, 210-11, doc. 531.

53. For relations with Ludovico Sforza see Breisach, Caterina Sforza, 141-4, and for relations with Lorenzo de’ Medici see Donati, La fine della Signoria dei Manfredi, 40-43, and for both see also P. Zama, ‘Caterina Sforza e gli ultimi Manfredi Signori di Faenza (1488­1500)’, in Atti del convegno di studi per il V centenario della nascita di Caterina Sforza, 123­34.

54. Pasolini, Caterina Sforza, vol. 3, 212, doc. 532 (synopsis), for the document’s location see Breisach, Caterina Sforza, 313 n. 13.

55. Cf. Bridge, A History of France, vol. 2, 128 referring to events before 8 August 1494: Terrantino moved forward slowly, and presently found his progress stopped entirely by continued difficulties with regard to Imola, Forli and Bologna; Pieri, II Rinascimento e la crisi militare italiana, 326: [the Neapolitan forces remained inactive] ‘sia perch6 bisognose di reordinamento, sia perch6 incerte del contegno di Caterina Sforza a Forli e di Annibale [sic for Giovanni] Bentivoglio a Bologna’. The contemporary Cobelli, ‘Cronache forlivesi’, 356, stated categorically that it was Caterina Sforza who delayed the advance of the two forces, and this is paraphrased by Pasolini, Caterina Sforza, vol. 1, 336.

56. See above, note 28.

57. An example is given below to illustrate this in the text at note 84.

58. For the normal 20 lances (often termed ‘men-at-arms’) in a squadra see Dovizi, Epistolario, 107, and for the variations in actuality see 95; cf. Delaborde, L expedition de Charles VIII, 395 n.3, where the term ‘men-at-arms’ is used incorrectly.

59. For the lanza see M.E. Mallett and J.R. Hale, The Military Organization of a Renaissance State: Venice c.1400 to 1617 (Cambridge, 1984), 70-72, 367; Delaborde,L expedition de Charles VIII, 324 notes 3 and 4 citing two contemporary sources. Pieri, Il Rinascimento e la crisi militare italiana, appears to calculate the Italian lance as an effective fighting force of 4, which over-estimates by a quarter, cf. 331: ’70 squadre, ossia 1400 lance (5600 cavalli)’.

60. For mounted crossbow-men see Mallett and Hale, Military Organization, 71-2.

61. F. Lot, Recherches sur les effectifs des armees francaises des Guerres d’Italie aux Guerres de Religion, 1494-1562 (Paris, 1962), 16-7 for the French lance comprising 6 men, of whom 2 were men-at-arms, 2 mounted archers, 2 servants (an ecuyer or varlet and a page) and see pp. 15-21 for a consideration of the problems involved in interpreting the evidence concerning the size of the French army; Delaborde, L’expedition de Charles VIII, 324 n. 3 cites a contemporary source for the lance comprising 6 men, but mistakenly assumes this was an effective fighting force; Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 257 n. 355 states the number should be 3 men for a lance, which distorts in the other direction.

62. See note 25 above.

63. De’ Rosmini, Dell’istoria di GJ. Trivulzio, vol. 2, 202-3 doc. 34; for Emilia Pio’s marriage connection with the Sanseverino family see C.H. Clough, ‘Catering Sforza, Gasparo Sanseverino e Il Cortegiano del Castiglione’ in Atti del convegno di studi per il V centenario della nascita di Catering Sforza, 188-9. Her husband was Count Antonio da Montefeltro, Duke Guidobaldo’s half-brother; she was writing from the fief of Sant’Agata Feltria (held by Agostino Fregoso, who had married Gentile, half-sister of Duke Guidobaldo). The town was near the Neapolitan encampment.

64. Dovizi, Epistolario, 95, 99.

65. For the meeting near Borgo Sansepolcro see the text above at note 26Dovizi, Epistolario, 82, 88 (the latter corrects the previous reference to the duke of Urbino’s crossbow-men as being mounted). Duke Guidobaldo was under arms by 12 August and reached Pennabili on 14 August; see Sanuto, La spedizione di Carlo VIII, 67.Apparently the duke’s condotta was from King Alfonso and for 200 men-at-arms with the annual pay of 24,000 ducats (presumably Neapolitan ducats); see J. Dennistoun, Memoirs of the Dukes of Urbino, 3 vols. (London, 1851), vol. 1, 334, without a source. According to Sanuto on 14 August he had squadrons (the implication is lances), and a further 10 were to join him; this would have been 280 lances, or an effective fighting force of 840 cavalry, of whom 280 were men-at-arms. Hence the 500 crossbow-men mentioned by Dovizi appear to relate to a separate condotta.

66. Dovizi, Epistolario, 82, 84, 88, 93, 96, 98, 104; cf. Bernardi, ‘Cronache forlivesi’, vol. 1, part 2, 14, which perhaps indicates the same day for Annibale’s arrival in Forli, but gives only ‘about 6 squadrons’.

67. Dovizi, Epistolario, 83, 105, 116, 129, 132, cf. 218. Donati, La fine della Signoria dei Manfredi, 92.

68. For the strength of the infantry in camp on 15 September see Dovizi, Epistolario, 107; see 88 for 1,000 from Florence, perhaps dal Monte’s force, since he certainly was there on 29 September, see 143.

69. Dovizi, 99, 105, 149; for papal briefs of 22 and 29 July summoning Giovanni Sforza to arms, see Pastor, The History of the Popes, vol. 5, 431 note.

70. Dovizi, Epistolario, 147: ‘per la molta artigleria the ci P et viene, di mano in mano…’

71. For the strategy see 83, letter of 2 September; for rains and consequently mud see 82, 92, 147 and Sanuto, La spedizione di Carlo VIII, 95. Some provisions were sent from the kingdom by sea, see Dovizi, 92, Sanuto, 94, but most was provided locally, see Dovizi, 96, 166, Sanuto, 79.

72. For the need for money and the dissatisfaction of troops see Dovizi, Epistolario, 105, 143, 192; the problem was not limited to the Neapolitan force, but was true on occasion in the Milanese camp, see Sanuto, La spedizione di Carlo VIII, 76; the French troops appear to have been well paid, see same source. There were celebrations in the Franco-Milanese camp to celebrate the victory at Rapallo, see Dovizi, 109, letter of 15 September. For the refusal of Neapolitan forces to fight see Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 280. For forces sent to Bubbano, Mordano and Bagnara see Dovizi, 186, letter of 11 Otober and for Mordano see the text below at note 84.

73. For scarcity of food in Faenza, for instance, see Donati, La fine della Signoria dei Manfredi, 93. For the Neapolitan force normally paying for provisions see Pasolini, Caterina Sforza, vol. 1, 340 n.l, Bernardi, ‘Cronache forlivesi’, vol. 1, part 2, 14 for Caterina selling the force food and 16 for its general good conduct in this regard, though both sides fired standing crops. The Neapolitans and Milanese pillaged the territory of Ravenna, see Sanuto, La spedizione di Carlo VIII, 78 and Bernardi, 23. The Neapolitan army did pillage when it began to withdraw but less than was expected, see Cobelli, ‘Cronache forlivesi’, 358-9. There was a dearth of provisions in the French camp, at least initially, see De’ Rosmini, Dell istoria di C. J. Trivulzio, vol. 2, 204 doc. 39 and 40; cf. Dovizi, Epistolario, 108, 130.

74. For Caiazzo as commander see Sanuto, La spedizione di Carlo VIII, 54; for Gasparo see the text above at note 28.

75. For Caiazzo’s departure from Milan and his recruiting forces see Pieri, Il Rinascimento e la crisi militare italiana, 226without a source; for his troops pillaging the Ferrarese see Gardner, Dukes and Poets in Ferrara, 250citing a letter of August.

76 For 600 Italian ‘men-at-arms’ see Giovio, trans. Domenichi, vol. 1, Bk. I, 38; Commynes, Memoires, vol. 2, 334 gives 500, perhaps the source for Gardner, Dukes and Poets at Ferrara, 250. The letter of August cited by Gardner referred to other forces as being expected to arrive; Giovio specified 3,000 ‘soldati vecchi’ (meaning experienced) infantry with Count Caiazzo; Sanuto, La spedizione di Carlo VIII, 68 mentioned 1,500 infantry present by 18 August. Charles VIII, Lettres,vol. 4, 73-4, letter of 1 July refers to Swiss infantry reaching the duchy of Milan.

77. Charles VIII, Lettres, vol. 4, 73-4.

78. As in previous note; and cf. Cobelli, ‘Cronache forlivesi’, 356, who implies this. For d’Aubigny and his force at Parma see Ady, Milan under the Sforza, 151; for its arrival in camp on 29 August see De’ Rosmini, Dell’istoria… di G. J. Trivulzio…, vol. 2, 203-4 doc. 37, 38; Bernardi, ‘Cronache forlivesi’, vol. 1, part 2, 12 provides 27 August. For the size of the force see De’ Rosmini, vol. 2, 204 doc. 38 (Cotmnynes, Memoires, vol. 2, 346 gives 150 to 200 men-at-arms and an unspecified number of Swiss).

79. Adami, Il carteggio di un capitano, 13, 51-3, letters 35 to 38. Delaborde, L’exp6difon de Charles VIII, 430; Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 287.

80. For Gasparo Sanseverino recruiting see Adami, Carteggio di un capitano, 52-3, letters 37, 38. For the arrival of 10 Milanese squadrons see Dovizi, Epistolario,150; for infantry joining the camp see Dovizi, 175 and Sanuto, La spedizione di Carlo VIII, 82, 92. For the estimate of 2 October see Dovizi, 149, and for the increase in size thereafter Dovizi, 180. For the artillery see the Bulletin, assigned to early November, reprinted in Lot, Recherches sur les effectifs des arnu£es frangaises, 194, but cf. Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 260 n.360 for 22 pieces. The maximum strength of the Franco-Milanese army in the Romagna is difficult to estimate. Labande-Mailfert, 259 appears to depend on the numbers in the Bulletin, but misreads them; for instance she gives ‘2,400 cavaliers’ for the 1,200 ‘lances ytaliennes’ with Aubigny (as against French lance) with 1,200 men-at-arms, but effective cavalry 3,600. This latter, with her figure of 1,600 mounted crossbow-men (arrived at by adding all the rest of the forces of the Bulletin) gives 5,200 rather than her figure of 5,100; cf. Lot, 18, and that of Delaborde, L’exp9dition de Charles VIII, 395. While Dovizi’s estimate of 2 October may exaggerate, that of the Bulletin, seemingly of November, appears to me to under-estimate. It appears significant that Dovizi’s confidence in the outcome waned as the strength of the enemy increased, until on 27 September (135) he confessed the Neapolitan army might either have to withdraw or strengthen the encampment for fear that it would be attacked.

81. Dovizi, Epistolario, 111.

82. Dovizi, 111; seemingly another challenge was made on 29 August: see Pieri, Il Rinascimento e la crisi militare italiana, 330 n. 2 (where the date of 19 August in Sanuto, La spedizione di Carlo VIII, 82 is corrected). Cf. also the commanders who were with the duke of Calabria (apart from Pitighano) urging battle; see Giovio, trans. Domenichi, vol. 1, bk. 1, 39-40; Sanuto, 77-8 indicates the challenge to battle of 16-17 September, and 79 again on 21 September.

83. For the defeat at Rapallo see the text above at note 72; for the king reaching Asti see the text above at note 17, and for him reaching Pavia see Labande-Mailfert,Charles VIII, 284.

84. For the size of the Franco-Milanese force see the Bulletin, reprinted in Lot, Recherches sur les effectifs des armees francaises, 194; for the defenders see Bernardi, ‘Cronache forlivesi’, vol. 1, part 2, 17-19, and cf. the Bulletin in Lot, 193. Labande-Mailfert, Charles VIII, 286 follows the Bulletin; Pieri, Il Rinascimento e la crisi militare italiana, 330-1 gives few defenders, following Bernardi. The attack and fall of Mordano was on 20 October (not 19 as in Labande-Mailfert) and see Bernardi, where Sanseverino’s demand for surrender is indicated, and also see Cobelli, ‘Cronache forlivesi’, 358 (under 27 October), Sanuto, La spedizione di Carlo VIII, 95-6; cf. Briesach, Caterina Sforza, 156. For Caterina’s request for help see Pasolini, Caterina Sforza, vol3, 218-19, 221, doc. 546, 547. The duke of Calabria was encamped under the walls of Imola; the Bulletin gives the distance as ‘due petites lieues’, followed by Labande-Mailfert. For Pieri, 331, there was nothing new in the encounter in terms of artillery, or tactics, simply Franco-Milanese superiority in numbers and greater cruelty than usual in the sack.

85. Pasolini, Caterina Sforza, vol3, 222-3, doc. 552 (synopsis); Briesach, Caterina Sforza, 157.

86. The Neapolitan army withdrew to Cesena on 30 October, see Cobelli, ‘Cronache forlivesi’, 359, and only retreated towards Rome on 26 November, see Bernardi, ‘Cronache forlivesi’, vol. 1, part 2, 35; when it reached Rome on 10 December it supposedly comprised 55 squadrons of cavalry and 500 infantry, see Delaborde,L’expedition de Charles VIII, 286, which errs giving 8 October for the withdrawal towards Rimini and Urbino. Giovanni Gonzaga and his force asked permission to leave on 25 October, see Delaborde, 432, and for Gonzaga’s condona see Sanuto, La spedizione di Carlo VIII, 97. Annibale Bentivoglio left shortly after the move to Cesena, see Bemardi, vol. 1, part 2, 22, cf. Ady, The Bentivoglio of Bologna, 117 stating he was recalled and left on 3 November, without a source. For the duke of Urbino and Giovanni Sforza asking to leave see B. Baldi, Della vita e de’ fatti di Guidobaldo I da Montefeltro, ed. C. de’ Rosmini, 2 vols. (Milan, 1821), vol. 1, 1324. Dovizi was recalled shortly after 25 October, see Dovizi, Epistolario, 235-7, letter LXXXI.

87. N. Machiavelli, ‘Istorie fiorentine’, in Tutte le opere, ed. G. Mazzoni and M. Casella (Florence, 1929), bk. 5, section 33, 528; N. Machiavelli, The Chief Works,trans. A. Gilbert, 3 vols. (Durham, NC, 1965), vol. 3, 1279-80.

88. See the text above at note 7.

89. Machiavelli, ‘Arse delta Guerra’, in Turte le opere, bk. 1, 270-71; trans. vol. 2, 573-6. The issues are considered by M.E. Mallett, Mercenaries and their Masters(London, 1974), 231-60, with a somewhat different emphasis to that proposed in this paper.

90. Machiavelli, ‘Ante de lla Guerra’, bk. 1, 271-83; trans. 576-83.

91. For the tutor, G. Altilio of Caggiano (province of Salemo) see J.H. Bentley, Politics and Culture in Renaissance Naples (Princeton, N], 1987), 192, and M.E. Cosenza, Dictionary of the Italian Ilumanists, 1304-1800, 6 vols. (Boston, MA, 1962-67), vol. 5, 18 nos. 62, 63a.

92. For discipline in camp and a bordello outside see Dovizi, Epistolario, 91, letter of 3 September. For the mistress of the duke of Calabria, Caterina, daughter of Giorgio Gonzaga of Novellara, see Dovizi, 155-60, letter of 4 Dc tuber; for her see Dovizi, 161 n.1, 86 n. l. She had been the mistress of Piero de’ Medici and was to be of Charles VIII, cf. Picotti, ‘Caterina Sforza e Ia Romagna , 182-3, and C. De Frede, “‘Piu simile a mostro the a uomo”‘, Bibliothhque d’Humanisme et Renaissance,44 (1982), 571.

93. For the troops so alert a false call to arms was made see Dovizi, Episrolario, vol. 1, 98; for the well-turned out force see 91 (the duke of Urbino’s men), 98 in general ‘vi dico the troviamo questo esercito essere una bella cosa’.

94. For the challenges to battle see the text above at note 82. For the letter o£ the marquis see C.H. Clough, ‘Love and War in the Veneto’, in War, Culture and Society in Renaissance Venice, ed. D.S. Chambers, C.H. Clough, and M.E. Mallett (London, 1993), 108-9.

95. For Luigi da Porto and Castiglione see Clough, ‘Love and War’. For challenges to combat man to man in the Romagna campaign see Dovizi, Epistolario, 152, 179, Sanuto, La spedizione di Carlo VIII, cited in note 9, 78.

96. For Scots and Swiss at Mordano, for instance, see the text above at note 84.

97. This point is made by Mallett, Mercenaries and their Masters, 208-11, 231-2.

98. Witness the butchery at Rapallo, Fivizzano and Mordano. It might be argued that the French were more brutal since they were operating in ‘hostile’ territory, so with a different outlook on cruelty to civilians and devastation, cf. Mallett, Mercenaries and their Masters, 191-2.

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