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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Siege of Florence
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 and Spanish 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.

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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.

Selected picture

Pavia Tapestry

Part of the Pavia Tapestry by Barnaert van Orley, c. 1531.

Selected biography

Fernando Francesco d'Avalos
Fernando de Avalos, Marquis of Pescara, (14891525), Italian condottiere, was born at Naples, his family being of Spanish origin. As a Spanish general, he participated in the Italian Wars. At the Battle of Ravenna in 1512 he was taken prisoner by the French, but was released at the conclusion of the War of the League of Cambrai. He was the chief commander of the Habsburg armies in Italy during the Habsburg-Valois Wars and defeated the French at Bicocca and Pavia.

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