Renaissance Armies in Italy 1450–1550

Renaissance Armies in Italy 1450–1550 cover

Renaissance Armies in Italy 1450–1550

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This engaging study explains and illustrates the organization, equipment, and campaign record of the various armies fighting within Italy during the major wars of the period, which saw trained infantry and firearms challenging the domination of heavy armored cavalry.

While the Italian Renaissance saw religion beginning to lose its primary role in society to science and the arts, it was also a period of political and military turmoil. Many regional wars were fought between the states ruled by Milan, Venice, Genoa, Florence, the Papacy, Siena, and Naples. For more than 50 years starting in 1494, major foreign powers also exploited these divisions to invade Italy, which became the focal point of their rivalries: both France and Spain made temporary alliances with city states to further their ambitions, and early in the 16th century the Emperor Charles V sent armies from his German realms to support the Spanish.

These wars coincided with the growth of disciplined infantry--carrying not only polearms and crossbows but also hand­guns--which proved capable of challenging the previously dominant armored knights in such influential battles as Fornovo (1495), Cerignola (1503), Marignano (1515), and Pavia (1525). All the powers involved made widespread use of professional mercenaries, who were at the forefront of the early development of the “pike and shot” era that succeeded the “High Middle Ages.” During this period, costumes, armor, and weapons all showed great variety, due both to their national origins and to the evolution of tactics and technology.

This masterfully illustrated study offers a fascinating insight into the many armies which fought in Italy during this turbulent period, explaining not only their arms and equipment, but also their structure and successes and failures on the battlefield.

Table of Contents

The Italian States
The Armies: Duchy of Milan
Republic of Venice
Republic of Florence
The Papal States
Kingdom of Naples
Holy Roman Empire
Select Bibliography
Plate Commentaries

Product details

Published Nov 24 2020
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 48
ISBN 9781472841995
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Dimensions 248 x 184 mm
Series Men-at-Arms
Short code MAA 536
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Gabriele Esposito

GABRIELE ESPOSITO is a professor of modern history…


Giuseppe Rava

Giuseppe Rava was born in Faenza in 1963, and took…


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