The Italian Wars Portal
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
, the Holy Roman Empire
, 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.
The Siege of Florence
took place from October 24, 1529 to August 10, 1530, at the end of the War of the League of Cognac
. A large Imperial
army under Philibert of Châlon, Prince of Orange
surrounded the city, and, after a siege of nearly ten months, captured it, overthrowing the Republic of Florence
and installing Alessandro de' Medici
as the ruler of the city.
The Florentines had thrown off Medici rule and established a republic after the Sack of Rome in 1527; the Florentine Republic had continued to participate in the war on the side of the French. The French defeats at Naples in 1528 and Landriano in 1529, however, led to Francis I of France concluding the Treaty of Cambrai with the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. When Pope Clement VII and the Republic of Venice also concluded treaties with the Emperor, Florence was left to fight alone. Charles, attempting to gain Clement's favor, ordered his armies to seize Florence and return the Medici to power.
The Republic resisted this incursion; but, left without allies and betrayed by many of the mercenaries in her employ, Florence was unable to keep fighting indefinitely. After the capture of Volterra by the Imperial forces and the death of Francesco Ferruccio at the Battle of Gavinana, further resistance became impractical, and the city surrendered in August 1530.
When we heard at Ceresole that M. d'Enghien wanted us, both the Swiss and we Gascons turned toward him—I never saw two battalions form up so quick—we got into rank again actually as we ran along, side by side. The enemy was going off at quick march, firing salvos of arquebuses, and keeping off our horse, when we saw them. And when they descried us only 400 paces away, and our cavalry making ready to charge, they threw down their pikes and surrendered to the horsemen. You might see fifteen or twenty of them round a man-at-arms, pressing about him and asking for quarter, for fear of us of the infantry, who were wanting to cut all their throats.