Portal:Italian Wars

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The Italian Wars Portal

Introduction

Battle of Pavia, oil on panel.jpg
The Battle of Pavia. Oil on panel by an unknown Flemish artist, 16th century.
The Italian Wars were a series of conflicts from 1494 to 1559 that involved, at various times, all the major states of western Europe (France, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, England, Scotland, the Republic of Venice, the Papal States, and most of the city-states of Italy) as well as the Ottoman Empire. Originally arising from dynastic disputes over the Duchy of Milan and the Kingdom of Naples, the wars rapidly became a general struggle for power and territory among their various participants, and were marked with an increasing degree of alliances, counter-alliances, and regular betrayals.

Warfare in the Italian Wars was a complicated and ever-changing art. Much of the period saw revolutionary developments in formation, equipment, and tactics as the great powers of Europe attempted to gain a decisive advantage against each other.

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Battle of Pavia
The Italian War of 1521–26, sometimes known as the Four Years' War, was a part of the Italian Wars that pitted Francis I of France and the Republic of Venice against the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Henry VIII of England, and the Papal States. The conflict arose from animosity over the election of Charles as Emperor in 1519–20 and from Pope Leo X's need to ally with Charles against Martin Luther.

The war broke out across western Europe late in 1521 when the French invaded Navarre and the Low Countries. Imperial forces overcame the invasion and attacked northern France, where they were stopped in turn. The Pope, the Emperor, and Henry VIII then signed a formal alliance against France, and hostilities began on the Italian peninsula. At the Battle of Bicocca, Imperial and Papal forces defeated the French, driving them from Lombardy. Following the battle, fighting again spilled onto French soil, while Venice made a separate peace. The English invaded France in 1523, while Charles de Bourbon, alienated by Francis's attempts to seize his inheritance, betrayed Francis and allied himself with the Emperor. A French attempt to regain Lombardy in 1524 failed and provided Bourbon with an opportunity to invade Provence at the head of a Spanish army.

Francis himself led a second attack on Milan in 1525. While he was initially successful in driving back the Spanish and Imperial forces, his disastrous defeat at the Battle of Pavia, where he was captured and many of his chief nobles were killed, led to the end of the war. While imprisoned in Spain, Francis signed the Treaty of Madrid, surrendering his claims to Italy, Flanders, and Burgundy. Only a few weeks after his release, however, he repudiated the terms of the treaty, starting the War of the League of Cognac. Although the Italian Wars would continue for another three decades, they would end with France having failed to regain any substantial territories in Italy.

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But we found that they were as ingenious as ourselves, for behind their first line of pikes they had put pistoleers. Neither side fired till we were touching—and then there was a wholesale slaughter: every shot told: the whole front rank on each side went down.

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Charles V visits François Ier after the Battle of Pavia

Charles V Visits François Ier After the Battle of Pavia. Watercolor on paper by Richard Parkes Bonington, c. 1827.

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Gaston de Foix
Gaston de Foix, Duc de Nemours (14891512) was a French military commander noted mostly for his brilliant six-month campaign from 1511 to 1512 during the War of the League of Cambrai. He was a nephew of Louis XII of France. In 1511, Gaston arrived in Italy as a new commander. Having marched his army to Bologna and scattered the armies of the Holy League, he then went north and defeated the Venetians at Brescia. He then force marched his troops south, intending to besiege Ravenna and force the Spanish into battle. The Battle of Ravenna was fought on April 11, 1512; the Spanish withdrew after suffering tremendous casualties. During the pursuit, Gaston led a cavalry charge against a recalcitrant Spanish infantry unit, and was killed.

Major topics

Events People
Italian War of 1494–98
Battle of Seminara
Battle of Fornovo
Italian War of 1499–1504
Battle of Ruvo
Battle of Cerignola
Battle of Garigliano
Featured article War of the League of Cambrai
Battle of Agnadello
Siege of Padua
Battle of Ravenna
Battle of Novara
Battle of Flodden Field
Battle of Marignano
War of Urbino
Featured article Italian War of 1521–26
Featured article Battle of Bicocca
Battle of the Sesia
Italian campaign of 1524–25
Battle of Pavia
War of the League of Cognac
Sack of Rome
Siege of Florence
Battle of Gavinana
Italian War of 1536–38
Featured article Italian War of 1542–46
Siege of Nice
Featured article Battle of Ceresole
Siege of St. Dizier
First Siege of Boulogne
Second Siege of Boulogne
Battle of the Solent
A-Class article Battle of Bonchurch
Italian War of 1551–59
Battle of Marciano
Battle of Renty
Battle of St. Quentin
Battle of Gravelines
Religious leaders
Pope Julius II
Pope Leo X
Pope Clement VII
Thomas Wolsey
Martin Luther
National leaders
Henry VIII of England
Andrea Gritti
Ludovico Sforza
Maximilian Sforza
Francesco II Sforza
Charles VIII of France
Louis XII of France
Francis I of France
Henry II of France
Ferdinand I of Spain
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Philip II of Spain
Military leaders
Niccolò di Pitigliano
Bartolomeo d'Alviano
Prospero Colonna
Giovanni dalle Bande Nere
Francesco Ferruccio
Pierre Terrail, seigneur de Bayard
Gian Giacomo Trivulzio
Gaston de Foix
Charles III, Duke of Bourbon
Guillaume Gouffier, seigneur de Bonnivet
Anne de Montmorency
Odet de Foix, Vicomte de Lautrec
Piero Strozzi
Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba
Fernando de Avalos
Georg von Frundsberg
Others
Francesco Guicciardini
Michelangelo
Leonardo da Vinci
Armed forces Other topics
Types of units
Gendarmes
Pike and shot
Mercenary groups
Black Bands
Condottieri
Landsknechts
Swiss mercenaries

Franco-Ottoman alliance
Arquebus

Trace italienne