Warfare in the Italian city of Perugia in 1495

By the end of the fifteenth-century, turmoil gripped the city-states of Italy.  Wars and conflicts surfaced throughout the country, and the city of Perugia was no exception.  In 1495 the city was under the rule of the Baglioni family, while their main rivals, the Oddi family, were in exile.  In the following section, written by Francesco Matarazzo, a professor at the University of Perugia during this period, the exiles and their allies attempt to regain control of the city by force.

And though I must now tell of things which perhaps will not please you, yet I return to my story which I broke off, when I had told you how our exiles had gotten together a great force of men.  Now when the time determined had come, the aforesaid Antonello Savelli appointed to be captain over his men a nephew of his, Troiolo Savelli by name, who he thought would rule his men with prudence. And he laid many charges on him, and lastly he bade him never to be so venturesome for any reason whatsover as to attempt to force his way into Perugia, even if he had certain hope of victory.  So they set out from the city of Foligno and came on their way to Assisi having with them the men of Nicolo Sforza and of the Oddi with certain other of our exiles, whose names I do not remember.  And when His Highness Messer Astore heard this thing he at once raised his camp and came and entered into Perugia, for he misdoubted that they were minded to come up against Perugia, forasmuch as they had a great part of the citizens friendly to them and faithful allies. In the end however they went by the way that leads to la Fratta and they all abode that night in the Abbey of Val de Ponte, and the garden and all the outhouses were filled with their horses. There they kept good ward and the next day they reached la Fratta, and there they abode and their numbers increased, and ever there joined themselves to them soldiers who came from all the bands that were in the country round. Some days they stayed there, and then when their forces were all assembled they went forth from la Fratta, being minded to bring upon us the evil days that were at hand.  And they rode and came towards Corciano, and as soon as men heard of their being on the road it was thought that they intended to capture the town; and forthwith messengers were sent there to beg the men of the town not to yield it up to the enemy.  And because each side had its friends in Corcialio, the exiles I mean and the Baglioni, answer was made that they would never yield it to the exiles. Now they of Perugia could send no aid to that town, for that those in the city doubted greatly what might befall because of the treason that was being plotted within. And to make my story short, as men thought so it fell out, for when Giulio Cesare came to the gates of Corciano he began to say soft things to all the men that were within, entreating them to let him come in, and his words were comfortable to all their friends. After this the rest of the army of the exiles came up, and as soon as the men in the town saw the noble youth Nicolo Sforza they at once opened the gate, though the friends of the Baglioni consented not thereto, and they all entered and quartered themselves in the houses of the friends of the Baglioni, and they did them all the mischief that was in their power.  And they abode in that town with great joy and gladness of heart, for that they had got what no army could ever have captured by force, for you know what is the strength of that town.  And this happened in the month of September.  And to this place all their friends were gathered together so that a large number of fighting men was collected there, for there came thither men sent by the Duke of Urbino, and by the Prefect aforesaid, and by the Lord of Mantelica who was near a kin to them, and by all their other friends.  And at last they moved towards Perugia, for they had an understanding with certain men in the city.  Now he who contrived the plot was Lodovico of the Ermanni of the house of the Staffa.  This Lodovico was differently minded to an elder brother of his called Carubino and belonged to the opposite party. This Carubino was one of the men of high birth who held rule in the city and was well-nigh an enemy to his own brother, because they belonged to opposite parties. This Lodovico it was who plotted the treason in the way in which I will tell you further on.

So, to, return to my story, the day after that the exiles had come into Corciano, they determined to come even to Perugia, moving against it with all their forces.  And in that night there were burned many houses in the country round, for every friend of the exiles took vengeance for injuries done him, burning and spoiling the estate of any man who had ever brought shame on him. Now His Highness Messer Astorrre, as became a man well versed in the art of war, fore–saw that which the enemy would be doing the following day, so that he lay that night perplexed and his mind troubled with deep thought, and when the morning came he rose betimes and ordered that each captain should array his own men and his friends, and set a watch in the city and then bade open the gates, for they had before been shut, for he had allowed none to go forth without his leave. And he went with his soldiers even as far as the Inn of the Elm Tree. And it was told him by his spies and scouts how that the enemy came towards the city with a great company, and he halted as I have told you between the place which is called the Elm Tree and San Manno. Then when he had seen the enemy with his own eyes, for they were close to him, Messer Astorre withdrew himself to the plain of Massiano, which was a place better fitted for the battle, for the army of the enemy was three times greater than his.  And when the enemy saw how that our men had withdrawn city wards they would not advance further, and forthwith turned their horses again and withdrew to the further Inn of the Elm Tree which is called the Inn or Mansion of Francesco d’Oddi.  Here there is a small bridge over which you pass on your way to Corciano.  There they halted and there they abode all that day with helmet on head and lance at side; so likewise on the other side the High and Mighty Messer Astorre and his father Guido Baglione with their brothers and other gentlemen.  And his Highness Guido Baglione rode forward with one follower and went up towards the enemy along the slope of the hill.  There he saw and under–stood how they were arrayed, and what men were with them and how their battle was set and how their captains handled them; so he saw everything and turned back safe, as a wise man and prudent. In this wise both sides stayed that entire day and at evening the one went to Corciano and the other to Perugia to lie that night.  And the night passed and the day came, and about the time of the morning meal news was brought that the enemy had gone forth from the town of Corciano with their army and were going up in the direction of Mantignana, though I do not exactly remem–ber the name of the town to which they were bent.  After that the High and Mighty Messer Astorre set his men in order, and so did the High and Mighty Giovan Paolo, and all gat them on their horses and so did also Girolamo de la Penna and went forth from the city by the gate of Sant Agnolo, and so went on their way towards the enemy. Which when the enemy saw forthwith he turned him again and would not do battle with our men, not –  though he had far more men than we, and all well ordered for battle – for he had traitors within our gates that worked for him. And in the end the enemy returned to Corciano, and our men returned to Perugia in good order, even as in good order they had gone forth to do battle.  So each man laid aside his armour and then waited the event.

Now was come the day and the moment when on Perugia must fall cruel disaster, and the Devil of hell ever urged and persuaded him that was destined to be the cause of all. Now it came to the knowledge of Lodovico degli Ermanni  that all that he had done and the treason which he had long time past plotted must needs come to light, nay had already come to light, and to the knowledge of the gentlemen of Perugia ; so he having true and certain intelligence that the next morning the aforesaid gentlemen were minded to take him and examine him and then put him to death, did not for that lose his courage nor would he leave the city; rather he determined to give execution before its time to the treason he had plotted. Forthwith he sent a messenger to the exiles in Corciano, that they must come that same night because the plot had been dis–covered; and if they did not come then the treason he had plotted could no longer hold and that he himself, lest he be taken, must flee away from Perugia before daybreak; and he advised them of the way and the mode and the manner, and of the signals he would make. So when the letter of the aforesaid Lodovico had been delivered to them the exiles forthwith met in a church outside Corciano, which is called Sant Agostino as I have heard say. There they held a council and to it came Giulio Cesare of the Ermanni, cousin of the said Lodovico who plotted the treason, and every man of the house of the Oddi, and Agamemnone de la Penna elder brother of Jeronimo of the Arcipreti and also every man of gentle birth that was in exile from Perugia. There too came Troilo Savelli who commanded the men of Antonello Savelli his uncle, and the Deputy of the town of Foligno and of the most noble the Duke of Urbino, the Lord too of Mantelica and every other man in their army that was a gentleman and worthy to be present at so great a council. Then it was told how the plot had been discovered and that in that same night they must go in by the Gate of Sant Andrea in the ward of Santa Susanna and how that the traitor would open the gate -so that they might all go up safe into the city. And to this answer was made at large, each man unfolding his own opinion with the reasons thereof. But the allies of the exiles, because they had heard how strong the city was, and that the High and Mighty Baglioni and the others were men of war, and moreover because they had learnt a lesson by the defeat of their two former attempts, and also by the death of so many men, all spoke against this and said that they must not go up against the city to take it, but that, inasmuch as they were in this so strong town, it was better to harry every day all the land even up to the gates of the city, and then return for safety to the same stronghold of Corciano; thus they would keep the city and its suburb in great misery and distress. In reply to these arguments it was urged that all that was done was done and planned in order to enter into Perugia, and great was their hope of success because they had friends within the city, and a yet greater hope because, as could readily be seen, the enemy was compassed about and attacked on every side; seeing that the men of Assisi rode out harrying every hour of the day, as did those of Foligno up to the walls of the ancient town of Spello, which His Highness Morgante Baglione held indeed though he was closely beset. There one day the men of Foligno made an excursion right up to the gate, and With them the exiles of Spello, and when they would enter in at the gate the aforesaid Morgante slew one Mario by name a gentleman of Foligno and one of the great men of that town; and thus every day they rode to spoil the land.

In the end the exiles of Perugia who were in Corciano determined to go up that night against Perugia. And when they had so determined they marshalled their men; and they placed their sentinels on the top of the Monte della Trinita to watch for the signals that should be made. Suddenly they saw the signals which were two little flames of fire hard by Monte Morcino, and to them they made reply. The signal was likewise seen by the sentinels in the city, by the sentinels I say that were stationed on the steeple of San Francesco, and they forthwith carried their news to the house of the Baglioni; but none would believe or hearken to their tidings, nor would any leave his bed at their word; for indeed many and many a time they had received such messages and had thereupon stood to their arms, and nothing had come of it. So they made mock of those sentinels. Then those of the enemy who had seen the signal hastened to Corciano and told everything to those that were there. Wherefore they charged the garrison, before they marched out, to guard them the strong citadel of Corciano, to the end that if they should be broken and worsted in the fight they would be able to return and retire into the citadel of Corciano.  And when they had so done they set out thence and took their way towards Perugia to make a beginning of the evil that was to come.  Yet would they not tell their soldiers that their faces were set towards Perugia, for many of these had declared that thither they would not go.  At last as they rode on their way and had got near to Perugia, Troilo Savelli began to encourage his soldiers, speaking to each one words suited to the occasion.  Likewise every man of the exiles bade them fight stoutly if need should be, though they did not think, as they said, that there would be need, and this time” they said “you shall all be made rich,” and so speaking they explained to them how they were to enter into Perugia. Then they took the road to approach and draw nigh to the gate, riding with their troops in column. Meanwhile Lodovico, he who had this matter in hand, and slept not, and had ready the keys of the gates which he had had made for his use, when he saw the time had come to adventure the great deed, took four of his friends and companions and went to the gate called del Piscinello; and they brought with them two ladders, and they opened the gate. Howbeit the sentinels who were on ward above the gate called to them to know what business they were about, and they answered with a very cunning tale.  And because of the cunning tale they told, and also because that before they opened the gate they called to the watch above it bidding them keep good ward therefore they believed that these men were in truth friends.  Yet they were not altogether persuaded but went to the house of the Baglioni and told how they had seen those five armed men go out of the gate. Then one of the servants of the Baglioni ran quickly to see what the matter was.

Howbeit Lodovico passed out through the gate and there he came to a bastion that held the water of the fountain that flows through that gate, so that there was no thoroughfare for any one to leave the city in that place; and against the wall of it Lodovico placed the ladders that he had brought, one on the inside and the other on the outside; and beyond the wall he found the foot-soldiers that he looked for, and them he bade come in with speed, and by the one ladder they ascended and by the other they descended, and then went in through the gate.  And when he had brought in as many men as he thought fit, he went along inside the walls till he came to the great gate which is called Sant Andrea and this they quickly opened, and when it was opened forthwith the horsemen began to ride in. And they had with them bars of iron and axes, and with these they dashed in pieces the chains that barred the street. And when they had passed beyond San Luca they began to shout out each man the name of his family and his party, for one cried Duke! Duke! and Feltro! Feltro! and another Savel Savelli! another Colonna! Colonna ! others shouted Staffa! and Oddi! Renna! and Ranieri! and many other names. Then because the horses could not readily be brought into the Piazza by reason of the many chains that were stretched across the street, Nicolo de Sforza a young man of high birth was sent hot foot with his infantry to occupy the Piazza and the Hill of the Ward Sole.

Now the man of whom I told you, the servant from the house of the Baglioni who ran to see the truth of that which the watch at the gate had told, came and found the enemy at San Luca, and he escaped away and ran and came to the house of his masters and found his Highness Semonetto Baglione, son of Ridolfo, and spoke and said to him, “Go not forth, my Lord, for the enemy are all in the town and have nearly reached the Piazza.” To this he answered and said, ” Rather will I die in this fierce strife than let my enemy drive me out of my house to beg my bread.”  And when he had said this, alone as he was, having with him no companion, with his shirt on his back and his stockings on his feet, with a buckler on his arm and a sword in his hand, he went forth against the enemy; and under the archway of the Court House of their Highnesses the Priori he met the enemy who was just then coming -into the Piazza. Forthwith he set upon the foe and did battle with him bareheaded as I have told you and in his shirt; and no man born of woman was ever seen of so high temper and so brave, and full sure am I that never again in Perugia will be seen a man of such dreadful daring.

He was at the present 18 or 19 years old, he had not as yet shaved his beard, yet so strong he was and so courageous, so fitted for deeds of arms that he was the world’s wonder; and he tilted so gracefully and so bravely as to pass the belief of every man on earth. From morning till night he could have aimed at the bottom of a goblet with his spearpoint and never missed. Peerless was he in all ways, though indeed every man of that house was more worshipful than the other, and they had not their equals for deeds of arms.  He then being but eighteen years old and without armour as I have told-you went out against the enemy and encountered with them in the place I have described. Now the enemy had divided and entered the city in two parties.  The one passing round by the Maesta della Volta came in at the upper end of the Piazza; and went to the door of the cathedral and called to the garrison that was within to open. Now the officer knew nothing of this assault of the enemy, yet like the wise man that he was he would not open.  So that party of the enemy immediately went to the mount of the Ward Sole and there they halted waiting that the horsemen should break into the Piazza. And our valiant Semonetto fought against the other party in front of the Court House of the Priori in his bare shirt, and played the man so wondrously that words fail me to tell of his prowess. There, such was his stern resolve and the hardihood of his mighty arms, he wounded many and many of the foe, and that though he was surrounded by a crowd of three hundred or may be four hundred men. And among others he wounded with his sword a mighty man of arms who came from Fabriano.  Him he maimed of hand and leg. So long and so fierce a fight did he wage with the foe that in the end he had two and twenty wounds on his dainty body, and naught could avail but he must needs fall to earth as if bereft of life, drawing over him his buckler. Thus he lay as lie the dead.

At that moment up rode the High and Mighty Messer Astorre; his horse covered with housings of gold; himself all clothed about in steel, and with a falcon for crest upon his helmet; who well proved himself in look and deed a very Mars. Then spurring his good steed he drove into the midst of the foe nor would one whit delay to succour his cousin Semonetto, who then rose and stood up from earth, and spent as he was with his two and twenty wounds took himself off from that place, for in sooth he could have fought no more.  And he went to San Lorenzo to his brother and there he laid himself down to rest, for by God’s grace not one of all his wounds was mortal.  Meanwhile His Highness Messer Astorre had, as I have told you, come up and had thrust himself into the midst of the foe.  There he wrought like a second Mars. And, as he told me who with his own eyes saw him, the mind of man that but heard the tale told could not conceive the truth of the deeds done had he not with his own eyes seen it all. And men say that no anvil was ever beaten with so many blows as those that fell on him and on his horse; for every man that could come within sword’s reach of his Lordship smote at him, in so much that each hindered each. And, as men say, the many spears and halberds and crossbows and other weapons rang with a mighty din upon his armour, so that above all the clash and voices of battle there were heard those doughty strokes; while he, as became an accomplished knight, thrust his horse in where the throng was closest, pounding men to the right and to the left; so that he always had at the least ten men of the enemy on the earth beneath the feet of his charger, that was a beast of fiercest temper. And thus fighting he gave the enemy no pause nor rest.

Sweat streamed from the limbs of that gentle lord; and heavily they sobbed, he and his horse, for so weary were they that they could not draw breath. And for that they were both so tired and spent he withdrew apart, and there he rested for a time on his charger.  While he rested he saw how the squadrons of men at arms were nearly come into the Piazza and had by dint of blows cut through all the chains save that which was next the last, and this they beat on stoutly to cut it through; for when this were cut they would be able to turn off by way of the Court House of their Highnesses the Priori and of the Podesta, even if they should not be able to cut through the last chain of all which was stretched under the archway of the Court House.  And while then tried to -hew the chain asunder their Highnesses the Priori with their servants set to with might and main and hurled down great stones from the Court House, so that they could not draw near to cut the said chain. So too those of the enemy that were come to the Maesta della Volta were unable to cut through that chain and so open a way into the Piazza. And the very Reverend the Protonotary Baglione made them hurl down enormous javelins from his windows into the arcade, but these did no hurt to the men-at-arms there, for they glanced off from their armour.

And while the High and Mighty Messer Astorre was still resting two men-at-arms of his following came into the Piazza shouting, “Astorre! Astorre!” and when his Lordship saw help come his heart revived and his limbs were strengthened, and forthwith he set spurs to his horse and drove again into the crowded ranks of the foe, and began to do such mighty deeds that panic came upon the foe, and their infantry began to draw out of the Piazza, and they ran for shelter under the arcade. Then a constable of Ascoli, Ciotto by name, who was in the pay of Perugia and was stationed in the governor’s house, when he saw how things went suddenly sallied out with his men and would not suffer the enemy to cut the chain of the Maesta della Volta. At that moment up comes the Noble Marc Antonio Baglione, brother of His Highness Messer Astorre, and at once spurs his horse towards the mount where stood the noble youth Nicolo de Sforza with the footmen; and there they fought the enemy, he and the men that were with him.  And now some of the friends of the Baglioni had put on their armour, and began to come into the Piazza and with them all the other men of that House. There was his Highness Gentile, and Giovan Paolo, and Gismondo and Carlo and Grifone; and Guido Baglione, old and grey-headed; and every other man of that illustrious race, some on foot and some on horseback. And they found Messer Astorre, who was no more able to reach the enemy than they him, by reason of the chains that were between them; and Carlo Baglione who had come on foot charged the enemy with the rest of his friends and with all who were on foot and could thus more readily pass the chains. He was about twenty-two years old; and at his furious onset the enemy began to give way. And the Most Noble Giulio Cesare of the Ermanni cheered on his men to fight stoutly and with his sweet words comforted their spirits; yet were his words of no avail, for fear had fallen upon all and they thought only to flee away; but so great was the number of armed men that had reached Santa Agata, and so closely were they crowded together that they could by no means turn back, so that they who were in front must needs abide the buffetings of Carlo Baglione and of those with him. And at the last they all broke and turned before the stress of those that pressed on them, and Carlo Baglione pursued his enemy.  Then were done marvellous deeds of prowess; and so loud was the clash of arms and the clangor of cruel blows that the tongue of man cannot tell it; and the noise went up to heaven. But of the enemy none were like unto Giacomo and Pantaleone and their bastard brother Giuliano, whose courage and might were beyond those of other men, and these were minded to turn their men again to the battle. Then Pantaleone that noble youth came with a rush on his horse, smiting with the breast of it against a great stone lily, five feet every way, that stood in front of the Madonna of San Luca and cast it to earth. And there with his brother, as I have said, he took his stand and they made trial if haply they might do some deed of arms in the Piazza of San Francesco. But their entreaties were of no avail, and their courage they spent to no purpose, and in vain did they fight in the front rank and endeavour once and again to beat their enemy back again. For by now both divisions of the assailants were turned to headlong flight.

Now as they had come in at the city gate a constable of Perugia, Cecco Mancino was his name, had desired to cast down the gate from its hinges, but Pompeio degli Oddi would not suffer him; which thing now brought misfortune on them; for the first horse that came to the gate to fly out through it struck his breast against the left door, and it closed and the horse fell in the gateway, and on him fell the horse that came after, and upon him the third and the fourth and the fifth; and so great became the pile of horses and men that none could get out; but they were trapped as men that are drowned in the sea. And so there was no help for it, but horses and riders were all taken by their enemy.  But the men on foot fared far better, for they leapt from the walls of the Piazza of San Francesco and of La Cupa and wheresoever else they were able.  And the whole street from the Piazza as far as the gate was strewn with lances, some broken and some sound, and with every kind of harness.

There stood Carlo Baglione at the gate of Sant Andrea hauling out from under the bodies of fallen horses men fainting with the weight that lay upon them. Many horses he rescued alive and many men, though five horses died and several men, suffocated by the huge bulk that lay upon them; and as his Lordship drew them forth he sent them away to prison. And the Most Noble Marc Antonio Baglione, who fought on the hill of the Ward Sole, where he strove with the Most Noble Nicolo Sforza, with the help brought him by His Highness Astorre his brother, and by the Most Noble Giovan Paolo and others, routed the enemy, and many leapt down from the wall, each man striving to get in front of each, and before the fight was ended the Most Noble Nicolo Sforza degli Oddi was slain there. And His Highness Messer Astorre desired to follow up his victory and to pursue the enemy, that he should not establish himself again in the strong citadel of Corciano; so he commanded the Ivory Gate to be opened.  But the key of it could not be found; and this, as the gate-ward said, was and is yet a thing to marvel at.  And many entreated His Highness Messer Astorre not to go forth against the enemy, whose army was so great that, though he was not equipped to force his way into the inner city, he had yet been able to reach the Piazza. Nevertheless Messer Astorre was determined to pursue the enemy and made answer to those that said him nay: ” That never any army that had been broken and routed was able to rally and make fresh defence if it were pursued by the enemy.” And in the end the key of the gate was found and he with a few horsemen, four or perhaps fewer, went forth from the gate and rode towards the plain of Massiano.  There he saw a large troop of horsemen above Our Lady of San Manno and he desired to know whether they were enemies, so all alone he went to them, and one of the enemy came to him and spoke: “A terrible mischance it was that this morning we were not able to force the city!”‘ ‘”Even so,” replied His Highness Messer Astorre, and at the word turned him again till he came to a house that stood in the middle of that plain. There he picked up some ten horsemen and with these he rode against that great troop of the enemy. And when they had ridden right up into the ranks of the enemy, who did not recognise them, at once they raised the cry “Bagliona! Bagliona!” and began to smite with their swords. And when the enemy heard that cry they turned to flee, and some of them were killed, and some were wounded, and some yielded them up if so they might escape death.  So they fought, and so they were chased even to the city of Corciano; till they and the pursuers all together poured into the town. And even while his Lordship entered in at one gate the garrison that had been left there fled hot foot out at the other. And great booty was won there, horses and arms and mules with their harness and artillery, and a great wealth of plunder beyond all telling; and whereas at the first the friends and followers of the Baglioni had been plundered, at this time the friends of the exiles were plundered, and so it was that by one side or by the other the whole town was utterly wasted.  Many men were here taken and many were hanged from the walls of the town.  Thus the first of the dead men who fell in this battle lay in the hill of the Ward Sole in Perugia and others lay in the Piazza, and others in the street where they fought even to the gate, and others from the gate of Perugia even to the inner parts of Corciano. And many men were slain and mighty blows were seen; among others one of the friends of Messer Astorre smote a foot-soldier in the Plain of Massiano, as he stood there, on the neck, and cut it sheer through, and that so lightly that the head remained upon the shoulders, and the dead body remained long time standing on its feet, and only when it fell was the head parted from the shoulders. And the High and Mighty Giovan Paolo Baglione found in the town a red banner which had been carried by the deputy of Foligno.

At the last they returned to Perugia with the glory and spoils of victory. And many prisoners were taken and many, as I have said, were slain; among others there was taken and wounded to his death near to Monte Oliveto that Lodovico degli Ermanni who was the cause of all this woe; or if he did not die there he was then wounded so that he died that same day. Moreover near to San Manno Agamemnone da la Penna brother to Jeronimo was slain. He was slain by Francesco dei Barzi, of the family of San Costanzo, captain of horse under Messer Astorre. There too was slain another, as I have told you, even the noble youth Nicolo degli Oddi. The days of his life were but twenty-three years. Fair he was to see and lightly limbed, and for beauty was a second Ganymede. Splendid his horse and his armour richly wrought; his hauberk of chain work was worth sixty ducats, his surcoat too was of great price, as was all the harness that he had.  Then a proclamation went through the city that every man must deliver up his prisoners, or at the least tell who they were that he had, and there was a penalty for any man that did not obey.  And when they heard this every man delivered up his prisoner.  And among others there were given up the three brothers of the Oddi, Giacomo, Pantaleone, and Giuliano, who in this war had wrought and fought more than any other man.     These were brought before His Highness Guido Baglione.  And after them came the Captain Troilo Savelli who in this adventure lost more than he got in many months after.  After him Bontempo of the Bontempi was brought up, and after him Federico of the Bontempi, who was of so great understanding that in counsel he alone weighed more than all the other exiles.  His prudence and his wisdom were beyond all telling, and though not of the most noble blood he was accounted first among the exiles. When the said Federico perceived that he stood before the High and Mighty Guido Baglione, so great rage possessed him, and his heart beat so proudly within him, that blood forthwith gushed out at his ears and his nose and his mouth.  And when His Highness Guido Baglione saw the piteous sight lie handed him his napkin that he might clean his face and then took him to his own house.  Many other prisoners of every degree were sent into safe keeping in different houses; captains of companies, and men-at-arms ; and of others a great multitude. Count Alexander of Assisi escaped but hardly and by great cunning, so too did Giulio Cesare of the Ermanni, and Marcantonio Bontempo was saved by certain friends that. he had, and another brother of Giulio Cesare was in like manner saved by others. These had pity on their prisoners and would not deliver them up; and in this wise many score of the others of baser quality escaped. And that noble youth Carlo, younger brother of Giacomo and Pantaleone, escaped but through much tribulation. He was about nineteen years old, and so pinched by hunger, as the nuns of Monte Morcino told, that he could hardly speak.

Thus were all the men of that noble company defeated and taken. But one who saw them all together said they were about six thousand fighting men; and in all the world you might not hear tell of men more likely or better ordered. There were among them some twenty sets of horse armour all inlaid with gold, and so many banners and other trappings that His Highness Messer Astorre and his father and many others who made it their business to go out to the wars, wherever pay and plunder might be earned, said they had never seen a company so daintily equipped. Wherefore it had seemed well-nigh impossible that they should have been defeated in a war to which they had gone forth in sure and certain hope of victory.  And a proof of this is that Count Sterpeto of Assisi came forth with a great company, hoping to intercept the Baglioni as they fled away and to slay any that he might chance on. As did also Jeronimo degli Crispolti of Perugia, who, as I have told you, came with his company from Bettona to meet them, for he was their enemy. Howbeit he was not a rebel like the others. And when the news of that which had been done was told they turned them home again and were a scorn to all men.  Yet if the exiles had conquered, then if any of the Baglioni had escaped from their hands they must needs, as they fled on the way to their towns, fall in with these, and so they would all have died.

Afterwards it was found that those fires which were the signal for the enemy to come up against the city had flamed up from three piles of gunpowder, of the which two burnt and the third remained. And the end was that the next morning Federico dei Bontempi and Bontempo his brother and Berardino dei Cavaceppi were thrown out from the windows of the Court House of their Highnesses the Priori. This was done at early dawn and then they were brought up to the windows again, and there they were hanged and left for that day.  And the others who escaped returned to la Fratta ; and because the men of that place would not receive them and likewise because they had been altogether broken they departed thence; and the people of la Fratta delivered up that town on terms and conditions to the city of Perugia. Thus did Perugia conquer in that war and recover the strongholds of Corciano and la Fratta at one blow.  And there were slain in the battle a hundred men and more; and of those that died in the plain of Massiano there was filled a very great pit which is above the shrine of Our Lady at the head of the plain beyond the cross–ways. Many were hanged as I have said and of these there were counted hanging on trees more than two hundred, and when the Count of Sterpeto heard this in revenge he hanged forty-four of the friends of the Baglioni.  And the dogs lapped up the blood of many Christians, and a tame bear also ate of the flesh of the dead, a thing grievous to tell of. Howbeit the three sons of Leonello escaped death.  And for that Giuliano the bastard had been a dear friend to Gismondo Baglione in the days before the strife he was had in much honour of Gismondo the son of Guido. Both these men were wondrous lean, and so nimble were they that they were a marvel to all men, and when they went either together or alone no man lived whose ears were so keen that they could hear them walk, for they stepped more lightly than cats. Moreover they rode excel–lently well; for by gift of nature Gismondo when he sat on horseback could make his steed leap without moving hand or foot, and not a man was there but wondered greatly to see this. And I speak to you rather of Gismondo than of Giuliano, for every day I saw him, but not Giuliano. Howbeit I must make an end, for I could never with any words of mine fill up the full measure of his praise.  To end this part of my story, many horses were taken, not less than two hundred, as I am firmly persuaded, and one man had nine; and of the others one was given to His High–ness Giovan Paolo which had belonged to Troiolo Savelli the captain of the exiles; black he was and fashioned in all ways as beseems a perfect warhorse.  His former owner offered for him three hundred ducats of gold if so he could recover his black charger.   Thereafter he was called et Savello.  By what I have said you may judge how beauti–ful he was and excellent, yet he was not very big but seemed compounded of steel and fire.  And of the other horses that were won and of the other plunder I will not tell you.

Now at the first news was brought to Foligno, that their army had broken into Perugia and had won great victory and that all the High and Mighty Baglioni were slain.  Forthwith when they heard these tidings all the men of Foligno rose up and held high festival with much shouting and running to and fro and all cried out, “Let us go to Spello,” and for very joy all the shops were shut. But upon this there came a man-at-arms on foot and he told them how all their men were slain, and broken, and taken prisoners; straightway when they heard these tidings they turned them each man to his own house, very sad at heart, for they looked that there should come upon them woe and tribulation, even such as they would have brought on others. This was told me by one who was at that time in the city of Foligno.  So likewise to Rome and to all other cities there went tidings at the first false, and then the truth. And men reasoned of this thing not only in Tuscany but over the whole of Italy, nay even in Muscovy, as I am well assured, and in other distant regions.

Now these things, that is the assault of Perugia and the great defeat, came about on the 4th day of the month of September, 1495.  So the captain Troilo Savelli was held prisoner many weeks with all courtesy and honour. Highly was he esteemed and great presents were made him both by the governors of the city and by their Highnesses the Baglioni and by other gentlemen, and by citizens of the burgher class. For clothes were given him and money and horses and other gentle gifts, and after certain months he was set free, and he was exchanged for the son of the Lord of Camerino, whose name I do not remember, who was a prisoner.  And the other prisoners who were to be kept in ward were bestowed in the citadel of la Bastia.

After these things, when two or three days had passed, the men of His Highness Messer Astorre and of Giovan Paolo and of their brothers were set in array, and with all the gentlemen that would come they took the road to Foligno, which place the citizens had made as strong as their means allowed. And they went on their way and rode right up to the gates of Foligno and were minded to go into the town, for the gates were open.  But His Highness Messer Guido left no word unsaid to prevent their men from going up to the gate, for he feared that great strength of artillery was mounted there. Nevertheless, they would have entered in spite of all had it not been for a band of the young men of Foligno who had sworn an oath that they would die for their city and their country, and there were fifty of them; yet even so if the old man Guido had allowed it they would, in spite of all, have forced their way into the city. Howbeit there went a cry through the city that the Baglioni were within the walls, and every man turned himself to flee, and already the women went wailing through the streets; but for that time God in his justice hearkened to their prayers.  Many men of Foligno were killed in this affair, and our men rode through all their territory plundering and killing, and burning houses great and small, and all else that came in their way, and every day they went up to the city walls, and if any ventured out he won in again at great hazard; so for many days they kept that city in alarm.

After these things they determined to pitch their camp against Gualdo, and forthwith they encompassed it round about.  And at the last the town was bombarded, for they brought up against it all their artillery, and many men of the army of the Baglioni were slain by artillery and arrow shots.

Then the Baglioni were minded to make an end of the siege, so they took into their pay for a fixed time Virgilio Orsini, for he had with him a body of soldiers newly enrolled, and under good discipline; so he came to that place. To whom a much larger sum of money was offered by the rulers of Foligno, if he would so contrive that the army should depart from the place.   In the end great sums were spent by the besiegers to build wooden towers, and they shot against the city and battered the walls thereof. But Virgilio earned his bribe so well that great store of provisions and a supply of bolts and bows found their way into the town.  Yet the Baglioni before this had assaulted the town and many men were then wounded and killed; among others Girollamo della Penna who was struck by an arquebus shot in his thigh, and other men also. Yet at that time they were not able to take the town, for Virgilio Orsini and his men would not do their duty.  In the end he made terms between those of Foligno and the Baglioni, for he persuaded them by specious arguments, and so he brought them to a truce on certain articles and covenants between the two sides. And a main reason for making this truce was that provisions and artillery had been allowed to enter the town.  So the Baglioni raised their camp and returned to Perugia, leaving the business as I have told you, and they entered into Perugia on the feast of All-Saints of that same year.

This section was from Chronicles of the City of Perugia 1492 – 1503, by Francesco Matarazzo, translated by Edward Strachan Morgan (London, 1905).

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