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Osprey Men-at-Arms 136 : Italian Medieval Armies 1300-1500

Mercenaries were a common feature throughout most of Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries, and had been known far earlier. But nowhere did such a sophisticated system of hiring, payment and organisation of mercenaries develop as it did in Italy. The importance of the mercenary rose, either as urban militias declined in military effectiveness; or as political aggressiveness led to a need for standing armies; or as political tensions within the towns became painfully reflected in their militias. The condottiere - whose name came from the condotta or contract between himself and his employer - was the result. Whether commander or humble trooper, the condottiere was a complete professional. His skill has never been doubted, but his loyalty and dedication to a particular cause often has. The Italian condottiere's poor reputation was, ironically enough, a result of later criticism within Italy itself. Machiavelli was not the only 16th century propagandist who, harshly judging the political scene in his native land, went on to provide an overstated armchair-strategist's critique of the condottiere system. David Nicolle explores the condottiere; his roles, arms and equipment accompanied by numerous illustrations, including eight full page colour plates by Gerry Embleton.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • Medieval Mercenaries
  • The Great Captains
  • State Armies
  • 'Good War'-'Bad War'
  • Campaigns
  • The Plates

 

Osprey Men-at-Arms


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