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Biographical notes on War Captains and Mercenary Leaders operating in Italy between 1330 and 1550

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Giovanni Acuto: John Hawkwood’s Influence on Italian Military History

He is the most prominent figure in the wars of his time in Italy. A true professional who, unlike his contemporaneous condottieri, is concerned about his military reputation. Proud of his role as a commander, he never refuses to accept money in exchange for abstaining from combat. An effective and prudent strategist, always on the move.

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Last Updated on 2024/03/12

The Life and Myths of Giovanni Acuto: The Cunning English Mercenary in Italy’s History.

John Hawkwood, also known as Giovanni Acuto
Born: 1323
Death: 1394

Born around 1323 and passing away on March 17, 1394, Sir John Hawkwood was a significant English condottiero or mercenary leader in Italy. Owing to the difficulty non-English speakers faced in pronouncing his name, numerous variations of it have been recorded in historical archives. Hawkwood himself often signed his name as ‘Haukevvod’. Italians knew him as Giovanni Acuto, which translates to “John Sharp” or “John the Astute”, signifying his tactical skills and intelligence. The Latinized version of his name, Johannes Acutus, appears in certain documents, alongside other variants such as Aucgunctur, Haughd, Hauvod, Hankelvode, Augudh, Auchevud, Haukwode, and Haucod. Both England and Italy regarded Hawkwood as a figure of intrigue and legend, due to his colourful and eventful career.

Read this article in Italian

Some Florentine chroniclers also referred to him as Giovanni della Guglia, confusing him with another condottiere who also fought in the Hundred Years’ War, Jean de l’Aiguille. (Also known as Giovanni Haucoud, Haucinod, Haucwod, Haukudt, Haukebbode, Aucut, Haukewode, de Hauckwode, de Haukwode). Hawkwood was from Hedingham Sible, near Colchester, in the county of Essex. The youngest son of a well-off tanner, he became the lord of Castrocaro Terme, Bagnacavallo, Cotignola, Conselice, Bertinoro, Faenza, Massa Lombarda, Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna, half of Gazzuolo on the Oglio River (the residence of his wife, Donnina), Montecchio Vesponi, Migliarina, Badia a Ruoti, and Caraglio in Piedmont. For a time, he also owned the great abbey of Sant’Alberto, in Val di Nizza near Pavia. He was the father-in-law of Corrado Prospero and the son-in-law of Bernabò Visconti, having married Visconti’s natural daughter, much like Lucio Lando and Bernardo della Sala. He was also the brother-in-law of Carlo Visconti. He was a baronet.

Year, monthState. Comp. venturaOpponentConductActivity area

Actions taken and other salient facts

1340EnglandFranceArcherFranceHis father Gilbert dies, leaving him an inheritance of 25 pounds in the form of movable goods (wheat, oats, a bed). He goes to London and works for some time as an apprentice with a tailor. He soon leaves England to serve as an archer for King Edward III. He learns the trade of arms from an uncle.
1343EnglandFranceFranceHe fights in Brittany in the Hundred Years’ War under the command of the Earl of Northampton William Bohun (or the Earl of Oxford John de Vere, according to sources).
Aug.EnglandFranceFranceHe takes part in the Battle of Crécy in northern France.

During this period, he attracts the attention of the Black Prince, Edward Prince of Wales, who takes him under his protection. He is probably knighted by the King of England himself following the Battle of Poitiers (September 1356). He is given command of 250 archers.

1359Comp. venturaFrance

He ravages Gascony where he seizes a large booty. He storms Pau, raids Béarn, robs the clergy and leaves the laity in peace.

Oct.Comp. venturaFrance

After the Treaty of Bretigny, he forms the Great Company with other condottieri. The venturers unite in Champagne; they conquer the castle of Jonville, then retreat to Burgundy. The company is strong with 12,000 men, of which 3,000/4,000 are veterans. John Hawkwood leaves Pau and also joins with Bernardo della Sala. He seizes 60,000 francs of booty; his share is recognized (December) as a sixth.

Dec.FranceHe descends the Saone and Rhone valleys with Bernardo della Sala, Robert Briquet, Esprit, John Creswell, Naudon de Bageran, Lamit, Bataillé, Esparre and other English, German and Gascon venturers (Richard Musard and Alberto Sterz). With Séguin de Badefol, they set fire to and sack Chusclan, conquer the village of Codolet. Mid-month, under the command of Walter Lesley, following a night march, they storm Pont-Saint-Esprit, twenty-five miles from Avignon. The inhabitants, taken prisoner, are released upon payment of a ransom of 6,000 florins.
Jan. Mar.Comp. venturaChurchMarshalFrance

He besieges Pope Innocent VI in Avignon; at the same time, he carries out numerous raids in the territory between Avignon, Lyon, Tarascon, and Perpignan. In January, a crusade is organized against the venturers. In February, the Pope sends a letter to 3 captains of the Great Company (the marshal John Hawkwood, remembered as Johann Scakaik,; Richard Musard and the Scottish Walter Lesley, Earl of Ross). In March, the venturers withdraw after the delivery of 100,000 florins, of which 30,000 are paid by the pontificals and the rest by the Marquis of Monferrato to have the company at his service against the Visconti. (10,000 florins is the quota belonging to Hawkwood). The condottiero decides to move to Italy to counter the lord of Milan Bernabò Visconti in the service of the Marquis Giovanni of Monferrato.

Apr. Nov.MonferratoMilan Count of SavoyFrance and PiedmontDuring their march, the mercenaries devastate the territory of Rodez; they then return to Pont-Saint-Esprit to acquire new reinforcements. They finally decide to move; they cross the Maritime Alps, touch Nice and the Vermenagna valley. The villages of Marseille are plundered because the inhabitants have refused to provide supplies to the soldiers. In May, they arrive in Piedmont. The company is commanded by Alberto Sterz; it includes seventeen corporals, most of them of English origin (among them are Roberto Canolles, Andrea di Belmonte and Guglielmo Bosone). The company consists of 5,500 horses and 2,000 infantry. The venturers attack Savigliano with the Monferrini; repelled, they spread in Canavese; they seize Rivarolo Canavese after scaling its walls. The place is sacked; Sterz and Hawkwood aim at Ivrea, capture the city’s bishop Pierre de la Chambre and obtain a rich ransom. From here they return to their base in Rivarolo Canavese. The company stays in the lands of the Count of Savoy Amadeus VI for almost a year. The contract with the Marquis of Monferrato is stipulated in Rivarolo Canavese, at the end of November, and a firm period is planned until July of the following year.
Apr.EnglandFranceFrance/ Piedmont

According to Froissart, in March John Hawkwood leaves the White Company to return to France and, in April, to take part in the Battle of Brignais against the French commanded by James of Bourbon, Count de la Marche. The English are superior in number to their opponents; they manage to hide the real size of their forces from enemy spies and occupy the best positions in the field. The French attempt an assault on the enemy lines but are repelled; they retreat in disorder under the throw of a large number of stones thrown at them with vigor and precision; at the same time, they are attacked on the flank by the English infantry armed with long lances (six feet). Bourbon, seriously wounded, takes refuge in Lyon where he dies a few days later from the wounds received in combat. Subsequently, it seems that Hawkwood left Picardy, crossed the Lyonnais, went up the Rhone to reconnect with the “White Company” after having overcome the resistance of the Savoyard militias commanded by Richard Musard. According to Caferro, it is more likely that the transalpine chronicler was mistaken and that Hawkwood, for the entire period, remained in Piedmont to plunder the territory of Tortona.

Nov.MonferratoCount SavoyPiedmont

Leaves Rivarolo Canavese. With Alberto Sterz, Roberto Canolles and de la Neuf; surprises Count Amadeus of Savoy at Lanzo Torinese: the capture of the latter is followed by negotiations for the ransom of prisoners and the return of Savoyard locations in the hands of the venturers. At their conclusion, they are given 180,000 florins.


He plunders the Alessandrino, the Tortonese and the Novarese; occupies Castelnuovo Scrivia and Romagnano Sesia. He is finally forced by Luchino dal Verme to abandon Piedmont.

Apr.MilanMonferratoPiedmontHe takes part in the battle of the Canturino bridge in which Konrad von Landau (Count Lando) is killed.
Jun.PisaFlorenceTuscanyThe Venetians try to hire 300 Englishmen to send to Candia to quell a local revolt. The negotiations conclude in February of the following year with the departure of 110 English horses. After the occupation of the castle of Pietrabuona by Pisa, John Hawkwood prevents the survivors from taking refuge in Pescia; he chases them to Serravalle Pistoiese; he plunders the Val di Nievole.
Jan.TuscanyHe is granted by the Pisans a personal guard of 2 constables (Simone da Gangalandi, Lodovico di Bernardo da Mocciano) and 38 infantrymen. His company is recognized 10,000/15,000 florins per month. The treasurer is William Turton (Toreton).

He leaves the Pisan area with 1,000 horses and 2,000 infantry and enters Val di Nievole. He tries to surprise Montale, crosses the Pistoiese area and camps not far from the walls of the capital. From here he infests the Florentine countryside with depredations and fires. The Pistoiese, fearful of a possible attack, hire many armed men; they put, among other things, a bell on each of the four city gates to be able to ask for help quickly. They finally appoint Bartolomeo Lazzari as their war captain. John Hawkwood returns to Pisa after suffering some losses due also to bad weather conditions (snow and ice). The pay of his company is raised to 25,000 florins per month.

Mar.TuscanyIn the middle of the month, Hanneken Von Baumgarten (Anichino di Baumgarten) also joins the Pisans.
Apr. MayTuscany

He goes with Anichino di Baumgarten to Val di Nievole in command of 6,500 horses between English and Germans and 1,000 Pisans. He separates from Baumgarten and, through the Val di Marina, arrives in Mugello; he carries out some raids between Laterina and Barberino di Mugello (capture of 100 citizens and raid of a lot of cattle). He places his camp between Scarperia and Borgo San Lorenzo. Pandolfo Malatesta (1,200 horses) comes against him. John Hawkwood contrasts the enemies with small contingents of troops who, for their part, continue to conduct their incursions into the nearby lands. Following a skirmish won by the Florentines, Hawkwood decides to change the route. He eludes the surveillance of Malatesta overnight and leaves Mugello for the Bisenzio valley. He aims at Prato, where Anichino di Baumgarten is already located; he sets fire to the villages he finds on his way, even those spared by his German colleague. He enters Pescia; he besieges the castle of Petraia and devastates the counties of Montughi and Fiesole. At the beginning of May, he moves from the side of Montemorello, aims at the castle of Vincigliata and sets it on fire (on the spot now stands the villa “I Tatti”, once the residence of Bernardo Berenson and bought and rebuilt, in his time, by John Temple-Leader). The Pisans return to Florence the following day; they cross the Arno devastating the villages of Legnaia, Verzaia and Arcetri. They camp in front of the gate of San Frediano. They try in vain to knock it down: repelled, they retreat.

MayGeneral Captain 800 horsesTuscany

He does not associate with Alberto Sterz and Anichino di Baumgarten when they, corrupted by the Florentines through the sending of some flasks of wine full of gold coins, abandon the salaries of the Pisans. He informs the authorities of their intentions to enter the city in order to sack it. He is elected general captain. Most of the soldiers at his disposal are German and Italian. The English captains, Guglielmo Cogno, Robert Astor, William Thornton, Robin Castel, Thomas Berton and William William, are at his side.


He stations at San Savino with 4,000 horses, 6,000 infantry and 500 Genoese crossbowmen. He tries to catch the Florentines camped at Cascina by surprise. The opponents, having laid down their arms, are busy due to the great heat bathing in the Arno or have dispersed in the surroundings in search of food. John Hawkwood promises his men double pay and other incentives. In the march of his, it is noon, he makes sure that they have the wind and the sun behind them. Manno Donati and Bonifacio Lupo notice the advance of the Pisans from the dust raised by the men of Hawkwood; they immediately reinforce the roads leading to the camp by placing infantry and crossbowmen on their sides. Hawkwood is surprised by the prepared fortifications; he is repelled and defeated by the Florentine counterattack carried by Galeotto Malatesta. He manages to save himself at San Savino with a good part of his company as he is at the rear. In the clash (Pisan sources) 30 English and 500 Pisans are killed, many of whom die drowned in the Arno, especially among the wounded who throw themselves into the river to quench their thirst and the burning of the wounds; 200/300 infantry and 600 townspeople are captured; 1,000 are killed and 2,000 prisoners. The Florentine sources, in this regard, have higher values. The prisoners are led bound to Florence with 42 carts; they are paraded in triumph through the city streets to be finally locked up in prison. They will later be used to build the Loggia dei Pisani in Piazza della Signoria.

Jan.RomagnaCrosses the Rimini area.
……………Comp. venturaL’AquilaAbruzzoStops at Amiterno. Attacks L’Aquila.
Jun.Comp. venturaPisaTuscanyReturns to the Pisan territory. He is granted a provision of 600 florins for a year.
Jul. Aug.Comp. venturaComp. venturaSienaPerugia SienaTuscany and Umbria

He penetrates into the Sienese territory and sets the castle of Porrona aflame. He goes to Siena. Urged by the papal authorities (he is handed 3000 florins by Gomez Albornoz), he bursts into the Perugian area. Along with Ugo della Zucca and Andrea di Belmonte, he is attacked at San Mariano by the Compagnia della Stella, led by Anichino di Baumgarten and Alberto Sterz. Defeated, 3000 men die from both sides during the battle. The survivors of the companies of the 3 condottieri lock themselves in the local castle. The heat is atrocious. The besieged lack water and wine; they are forced to quench their thirst by drinking the blood of dead mounts. After 2 days of siege, the surrender occurs. 1500 among English and Hungarians (out of a total of 2024 men) are taken prisoners to Perugia. 300 are incarcerated while awaiting money for their ransom; the others are set free without goods and unarmed. Many of them are killed by peasants. John Hawkwood (Giovanni Acuto) manages to escape capture. With the survivors, he finds refuge in the Val di Pogna, circles around Lake Trasimeno, and takes shelter in the Sienese territory. Within a few days, he organizes the company; he resumes hostilities by setting fire and sword to the surrounding territory. He is trailed by Baumgarten and Sterz, enlisted in those same days by the Sienese. His movements are closely monitored. Isnardo d’Armanno di Rogliano, the conservator of the city, leaves Siena with the city militias. Hawkwood (L’Acuto) is forced to engage in a series of clashes. Put to flight again at Magliano in Toscana, he crosses the Val d’Orcia, reaches San Quirico, and Sant’Angelo in Colle, using the ancient Via Francigena. He moves to the Maremma and goes up along the coast to retreat (in August) into the Genoese territory.

Sep.TuscanyCrosses Tuscany with 2000 horses.
Oct. Nov.Comp. venturaFlorence ; SienaTuscany and Liguria

Joins in Sarzana with the Company of St. George of Ambrogio Visconti. Thus is constituted the largest Comp. ventura ever appeared in Italy, strong of 7000 horses. In mid-October with Giovanni degli Ubaldini and Visconti, he forces the Florentines to recognize him a bounty of 6000 florins in exchange for which he promises not to damage Tuscany for a quadrennium. The treaty is stipulated in the Pisan with the ambassador Doffo Bardi. The agreement is also signed by Thomas Merezal, Ugolino Ethon and 42 other constables. The condottiero breaks into the Sienese from Marmoraia, touches Santa Colomba, San Galgano, Roccastrada and Buonconvento. He plunders the countryside up to Isola d’Arbia and Villa al Piano (Villa). He touches Montalcino. The municipality prepares an army to face him, so the condottiero takes the road to Colle di Val d’Elsa and continues for Sarzana.

Dec.Comp. venturaTarlatiTuscany

Enters Elci, attacks Castagnolo in Val d’Elsa; the prisoners are ransomed with 40 florins. He turns in the Cortonese, takes the way to Arezzo. Harasses the lands of the Tarlati with Niccolò da Montefeltro.

……………Comp. venturaTodi PerugiaUmbriaDevastates the territory of Todi and, with the help of the faction of the raspanti of Perugia, attacks the locality whose defense is the podestà, the Florentine Antonio degli Abati.
Mar. Apr.Comp. venturaSienaUmbria and Tuscany

He leaves Todi and, through Perugia and Montepulciano, re-enters the Sienese territory with Giovanni d’Asburgo at the head of 8000 cavalry and many infantrymen. The Sienese make some gifts to the two captains (supplies with various amounts of confections, wax, fodder, poultry): the mercenaries do not yield, so the inhabitants set fire to the straw to prevent them from lodging in the countryside. Ambrogio Visconti also arrives. Fires, destruction, and devastation follow around the capital within a radius of 20 miles. The Sienese decide to confront the Company of St. George (Compagnia di San Giorgio). The mercenaries engage in several skirmishes at Costalpino and other places; they retreat to San Galgano, ravaging and burning crops and trees. Siena decides to negotiate. At the end of the month, Ambrogio Visconti’s men conduct a further raid at Santa Maria a Pilli, which ends with the seizure of peasants and citizens. Upon hearing the news, popular anger erupts against the company’s negotiators present in the city and the soldiers who happen to be in the city. There are injuries and deaths. The tumults are soon quelled. The negotiations resume and conclude quickly. The Sienese agree to pay the mercenaries 10500 florins (5500 at the end of the month and another 5500 at the beginning of May) with the promise of a rapid departure from the territory. The company requests to be allowed to cross the Sienese territory once a year for 5 years with the promise of not harming the inhabitants. The pact is sealed by William Quarton with the seal of Hawkwood (a roebuck with three shells).


From Buonconvento, he takes the road to Pisa and from there he goes to Lombardy in the pay of Bernabò Visconti.

Jun. -Aug.Comp. ventura, ChurchChurch, PerugiaMarche, UmbriaAt the end of June, Giovanni Acuto (John Hawkwood) is reported in the territory of Città di Castello along with Ambrogio Visconti, Anichino di Baumgarten, and Giovanni d’Asburgo. Niccolò da Montefeltro also joins them. Raids are carried out in the counties of Gubbio and Orvieto. In the last days of July, the commander goes to Perugia to request the release of some English hostages still held by the inhabitants. He receives a refusal; however, he is recognized to receive 1053 florins. In August, the situation changes. The raspanti faction, Ghibelline, expels the people of the papal legate from Perugia. Gomez Albornoz hires Giovanni Acuto and forms an alliance with Assisi, Gualdo Tadino, Nocera Umbra, and Orvieto to reinstate the Guelphs in the city. Acuto demands, and now obtains, the release of English prisoners held at Corbara and that of Branchino Brancaleoni, who had been captured by Ugolino da Montemarte at Castel Durante.
Sept.Comp. venturaTuscany

He prepares to penetrate the Sienese. He sends an ambassador to Cardinal Albornoz to assure him that he would not offend the lands of the Church, nor those of Florence, Pisa, Siena, Grosseto, Arezzo, and Cortona.

Oct.Comp. venturaChurchUmbria

In that month, Pope Urban V (Papa Urbano V) and the Visconti reach an agreement; Ambrogio Visconti returns to the Milanese territory, and the Company of Saint George (Compagnia di San Giorgio) is dissolved. Giovanni Acuto remains in the countryside of Orvieto with a small company comprised of only four condottieri, two English (Ugolino Ethon and Thomas Merezal) and two Hungarians (Michele di Salla and Nicola Unghero). He is attacked and surprised at night at Casaglia, near Orvieto, by Ugolino da Montemarte. In the clash, Ugolino Ethon among his men is captured. At the end of the month, through Niccolò da Montefeltro, an agreement is reached between the parties: Giovanni Acuto commits not to harass for one year the territory of the Papal States and to cross it in a friendly manner (within the term of 6 days), riding at least 10 miles a day. Ugolino Ethon, however, will only be released six months later. This is the first time that a company of mercenaries leaves a territory without obtaining any payment of a levy in return.

Nov.UmbriaCardinal Albornoz pushes him to move against Perugia. The Perugians accuse their general captain Alberto Sterz of being an accomplice of Hawkwood against the commune. The German condottiero is executed. At the same time, Andrea di Belmonte is released from prison, who is offered the place of Alberto Sterz. The Englishman accepts; released, he flees the city and joins Hawkwood.
Dec.Comp. venturaGenoaLiguriaHe heads towards Liguria. Occupies La Spezia and forces the Genoese to an agreement.
Jan. Feb.Comp. venturaSiena, PisaTuscany

Located near Lake Trasimeno (Lago Trasimeno), Giovanni Acuto is repelled by the Perugians and sets his sights on Arezzo. He moves to the Sienese territory, to Badia ad Isola, and other locations, consistently causing serious damage to the territories he traverses. Initially, Siena manages to contain the destruction by supplying his company with provisions. This delay allows the commune to gather troops in the surrounding area to confront him. He faces opposition from Ugolino da Savignano, Rinieri da Baschi, Francesco da Santa Fiora, and Agnolo Vitozzo, with whom he has numerous skirmishes between Casole d’Elsa and Montalcinello. Forced to move away, he transfers to the Pisan territory; he is reached at Bagno a Morbo by Andrea di Belmonte and Giorgino. In February, he retreats towards Chiusi, still closely pursued by his adversaries.

Mar.Comp. venturaSiena, PerugiaTuscany and Umbria

Giovanni Acuto halts at Ilci and continues to plague the Sienese territory. He reaches Casole d’Elsa, Radicondoli, and Belforte. He defeats Ugolino da Savignano, Rinieri da Baschi, and Francesco da Santa Fiora at Montalcinello. From the Sienese, 150 horses are captured along with Savignano, who is then ransomed for 10,000 florins. Via the roads of Vescovado and Buonconvento, he moves into the Perugian area, touching Piegaro and proceeding to San Mariano and San Biagio della Valle, where he sets houses and palaces ablaze and kills men. After 15 days of devastation, he arrives at San Costanzo, crosses the Tiber below Torgiano, and enters the countryside of Assisi; he encamps at Bastia Romanesca (Bastia Umbra). At the end of the month, he defeats the Perugians at Ponte San Giovanni in a three-hour battle where 1500/1800 men are killed on both sides. The opposing captain, Enrico Paher, decides to confront Acuto’s men in their own style; dismounting them, arranging them in three battalions, one under the command of the field master Flach di Risach. Acuto decides to attack the adversaries. The columns led by Enrico Paher and Niccolò da Buscareto withstand the assault, while the third (led by Flach di Risach and the Sienese) flees without even attempting to fight. With this victory, he sets his sights on Perugia, besieging it for 15 days. Through the intercession of Cardinal Albornoz, an agreement is reached. Among the captured adversaries are Paher himself and the Podestà of Perugia, Lamberto da Pietramala; the prisoners are so numerous that the Perugians are forced to take out loans from Venice and Florence to pay the ransom. Acuto imposes a levy of 4,000 florins on the Perugians, plus another 3,500 as compensation for the lost mounts in the battle. The citizens are also obliged to compensate the German mercenaries in their service with another 3,000 florins for their lost mounts. Immediately after, he returns to the Sienese territory to collect the rest of the levy imposed on the commune; he also collects the ransoms of the prisoners, including that of Ugolino da Savignano; he also demands compensation from the Sienese for the mounts he lost both at Montalcinello and Ponte San Giovanni. The second levy is demanded for having sent troops to aid the Perugians in opposing him. During the same period, he is contacted by Doffo Bardi on behalf of the Florentines, who offer him a contract for 150/200 lances to prevent any raids by the troops of Emperor Charles of Bohemia passing through their lands. He commits to the papacy not to damage either the Patrimony of St. Peter or Florentine territories.

Apr.Comp. venturaChurchTuscany

He camps with Ambrogio Visconti between Fossombrone and Urbino. They are confronted by 2000 horses led by Gomez Garcia and Malatesta Ungaro. He separates from Ambrogio Visconti and returns to Val di Chiana to divide the spoils and treat the wounded. The Sienese give him 3000 florins. At the same time, Cardinal Albornoz releases the English prisoners of Casaglia who were held in prison in Orvieto. He then heads towards Pisa. Doffo Bardi gives the venturers 500 florins so that they do not devastate the Florentine in their passage. In Pisa.


At the head of 1000 horses, he goes with Giovanni dell’ Agnello to Porto Pisano to welcome Pope Urban V who is coming from Avignon. The Pope, at the sight of so many armed men on the beach, taken by fear, decides to land at Corneto (Tarquinia).


John Hawkwood lodges in Pisa at the hotel of Martino near the Camperonesi. In the same hostel is also hosted a daughter of Emperor Charles of Bohemia, who arrived in the city with a bishop and an escort of 60 horses.

Mar. Apr.MilanLeagueLombardy

He splits from Ambrogio Visconti and returns to Lombardy: he is reached by the Florentine ambassadors Doffo Bardi and Bono Strada who remind him of the previous commitment not to molest Tuscany. At the beginning of April, he rides towards Mantua with 40 lances; he unsuccessfully attacks Luzzara; he moves under the capital. He has his men dismount from their mounts and attacks Porta Cerese; among the English, six horses are killed, including a relative of his. He retreats and sets fire to the territory up to Borgoforte and Scorzarolo.


In Guastalla with the Lord of Milan, Bernabò Visconti (Bernabò Visconti), a great brawl arises involving German soldiers against Italian ones. There had already been a similar clash three months prior in Parma, quelled on that occasion by Francesco Ordelaffi. Now, the Germans attack their rivals who, caught by surprise, fare worse. Seven hundred leap into the Po River to save themselves. In the end, five hundred Italian corpses are counted. Visconti replaces most of the German troops with the English forces of John Hawkwood, already present in the area. When the news of the massacre reaches Bergamo, forty-five Germans from the local garrison are massacred in turn. Hawkwood attempts in vain to provide assistance with fifteen hundred cavalry to the defenders of the fortress of Borgoforte. The allied army (twenty thousand to forty thousand) is too numerous, forcing the defenders (two hundred cavalry and one thousand infantry) to surrender. John Hawkwood also faces difficulties, blocked by the troops of Emperor Charles IV of Bohemia (Carlo di Boemia), a composite army of soldiers of various nationalities including Bohemians, Croatians, Poles, Spaniards, Bretons, Gascons, Provençals, and Italians. The adversaries break the banks of the Adige River. Hawkwood, in turn, has the same river’s bank cut overnight by his side, by skilled excavators. The waters of the Adige, in this case, reach the tents of the enemy camp, flooding the entire plain towards Mantua, causing the drowning of about a hundred soldiers.

Jun.PerugiaChurch2000 horsesLombardy Emilia, Romagna ; Tuscany

He goes to Pavia and Milan to attend the wedding of Visconti’s niece, Valentina, with the third-born son of the King of England Edward III, the Duke of Clarence Lionel. The condottiero has, moreover, an important role in the prince’s entourage also because of his influence in the foreign policy of the English monarch. The ceremony takes place in Milan in the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Shortly after, he is apparently dismissed by the Visconti; in nine days, under the guidance of Bindo Monaldi, he crosses the Bolognese territory: in his passage he touches Panzano, Corticella, Medicina, Varignana; he runs through the countryside. He penetrates Romagna and Tuscany to aid the Perugians with 2000 horses. Near Arezzo, he is defeated in a night clash by the pontificals led by Flach of Risach, Giovanni di Raten, and Simone da Spoleto.


At Ponte Nuovo, near Deruta, he contacts Raten and Risach and convinces them to desert from the Papal camp and to fight with him in favor of the Perugians. He positions himself with four thousand men beneath the fortress of Viterbo; he shouts threats against Pope Urban V (Urbano V). He is about to organize a contest for prostitutes under the walls; however, the ambassador of the King of Hungary (re d’Ungheria) dissuades him from this plan. He departs, not without having set fire to the surrounding vineyards; he heads towards Montalto di Castro.

Dec.Comp. venturaFlorenceTuscanyAt the end of the month, he is reported in Monterappoli and Montespertoli.
Jan.TuscanyAt the beginning of the month, he reaches the abbey of San Settimo; arrives near Lastra a Signa; then moves to San Donnino and Brozzi; he camps at Peretola; directs the company towards the Ponte Rifredi (Rifredo) on the Polverosa road. He organizes two races and sets many homes on fire.
Jun.MilanChurch400 lancesUmbria and Lazio

He is again sent by Visconti to aid the Perugians with 400 English lances. He puts the whole territory that lies from Rome to Urbino into turmoil.

Aug.PerugiaChurchWar CaptainLazio and Umbria

He camps at Viterbo and besieges the city; returns to Umbria on the payroll of the Perugians; devastates the countryside of Assisi with Flach di Risach and Giovanni di Raten.


He attempts to seize Castiglion Fiorentino with the two German captains; he moves to the territory of Cortona due to the resistance encountered.

Oct.MilanFerraraEmilia and Umbria

He opposes the Estensi; breaks the banks of the Adige and prevents the opponents’ march. Returns to Perugia.

Nov.MilanFlorence500 lancesTuscany

He connects again with Giovanni di Raten. Enters the territory of Volterra and, from there, moves to Pisa, to Laiatico; touches Terricciola and Alica; roams in Valdera with 500 men-at-arms (2000 horses). From the company, 400 horses detach to plunder the territory of Cascina. From Pisa, some ambassadors arrive at his camp to seek his help against the Florentines. Hawkwood also moves to Cascina; his men now desolate the Valdarno countryside up to San Savino: they do not take prisoners, but take possession of everything possible.


In early December, he is reported to be at Ripoli. The Florentines are stationed at San Miniato with 3,000 men, including horsemen and foot soldiers, as well as 400 crossbowmen led by Giovanni Malatacca. The opponents descend from Castel del Bosco towards Pontedera, divided into three groups, with provisions for four days. Acuto clashes with Malatacca at Cascina by the Armonico ditch, also known as Mercato delle Mosche. The opposing captain is compelled to action by Commissioner Filippo Cavicciuli. Acuto feigns a retreat, giving the impression that he intends to cross the Arno River; meanwhile, he sets an ambush with his best troops, ordering them not to move until the entire Florentine army has passed. The opponents ford the river according to his plans and find themselves surrounded. Malatacca is captured along with many of his captains, including Giovanni Mangiadori, and more than 2,000 men are taken prisoner. Acuto’s militias seize the royal banner, which is then sent to Bernabò Visconti. With this victory, he moves onto Montespertoli and Monterappoli, plundering the Valdarno region between San Giusto, Orticaia, and San Marco up to Vettola, stealing fodder, raiding livestock, and destroying numerous homes. Due to the cold, many pieces of furniture are burned. However, he fails to lift the siege on San Miniato, thanks to the resistance offered by Roberto di Battifolle, Bonifacio Lupo, and Francesco dei Rondinelli. At the end of the month, with Giovanni di Raten and 500 horsemen, he is only able to bring a convoy of supplies into San Miniato, including 500 staia of grain and weapons. At the end of the campaign, the mercenaries go to Pisa to resupply with necessities in exchange for arms, mules, and horses acquired with the money from the booty of Cascina.

Jan.Tuscany and Liguria

With the conquest of San Miniato by Giovanni Mangiadori and Roberto di Battifolle, he leaves Empoli to aid Giovanni da Lugnano, besieged in the fortress. Arriving late, he establishes his encampments at Montespertoli; he devastates the countrysides of Poppiano and Lucignano; then moves to Val di Pesa and sweeps up to Ponte a Greve: the damages are valued at 10,000 florins, not including the ransoms imposed on men and women. He proceeds to Rifredi (where he arms 4 knights and holds 2 palio races), touches Peretola, Brozzi, and San Donnino. He fords the Arno, reaches La Lastra and moves into Val di Serchio, looting and setting fire to numerous dwellings. At the end of the month, he takes the road to Migliarino, arrives at Motrone and Massa; passes through Sarzana and heads towards Lombardy.

Feb.-Mar.Comp. venturaChurchMarcheWith the help of the Brancaleoni of Castel Durante (Casteldurante), he attempts to restore the Montefeltro in Urbino. Pandolfo Malatesta comes to the city’s defense, commanding the ecclesiastical militias, who, in turn, are supported by the Brancaleoni of Piobbico and those of the Rocca. The Montefeltro are forced to take refuge in Perugia.
Apr.EmiliaPope Gregory XI (Gregorio XI) describes Giovanni Acuto as a “son of the devil” (figlio del diavolo).
May – JulyExiled from Pisa, MilanPisaTuscany, Liguria, EmiliaSupporting the former Doge of Pisa Giovanni dell’Agnello and the raspanti in their attack on Piero Gambacorta in Pisa, he joins Giovanni di Raten, Andrea di Rod, and the exile Ludovico dalla Rocca on the road to the Val di Serchio. Meanwhile, the Gonfaloniere of Florence, Salvestro dei Medici, sends to Pisa, in defense of the city, 400 cavalry and 200 crossbowmen. The army encamps less than a quarter of a mile from the city walls, at San Michele degli Scalzi and San Jacopo a Orticaia. The Pisans respond to the attackers with some skirmishes. John Hawkwood (Giovanni Acuto) launches his attack mid-month near the Porta della Pace, close to the church of San Zeno. Eighty of his men scale the walls with ladders, while others breach a walled-up small gate. The guards notice the attackers; an alarm is sounded by the ringing of bells. The surprise attack fails. Hawkwood’s men are forced to descend from the walls. There are five dead among the Visconti troops. Two soldiers, taken prisoner, are tortured and eventually hanged. The other prisoners are forced to confess the order received to sack the city and kill men, women, and children. On the same day, the prisoners are placed on a cart, after being seared with hot iron and hanged outside the Porta delle Piagge. The five dead in combat are dragged naked by the cart carrying the prisoners and hanged, finally, by their feet. The Pisans celebrate the averted danger with a general procession through the city and a solemn mass in the cathedral. Hawkwood crosses the Arno, proceeds to Parrana San Giusto, and to Livorno. He robs some Angevin galleys, anchored in the harbor, laden with wine and provisions. He abandons the area with dalla Rocca. He heads to the Maremma with more than 1,000 cavalry and 12,000 infantry. He occupies Montescudaio; lays waste to the entire territory up to Volterra. At the end of May, he rides to Santa Lucia, south of Pontedera, and there raids all the cattle found in the place. In June, he is reported with Giovanni di Raten also at San Regolo, Casciana Terme, Lari, Crespina. He returns to Maremma. Attacks Guardistallo; from there, he heads toward the Caldane of Campiglia Marittima and Piombino. He arrives at Collesalvetti. Upon hearing that the Florentines, Pisans, and Lucchese, under the command of Rodolfo da Varano, have sent him a gauntlet of challenge and have reached Empoli, he crosses the Arno. The adversaries come to Laiatico and enter the Val di Serchio (Montecchio and Calcinaia). Hawkwood decides to retreat, taking the road to Motrone and Pietrasanta. He is forced to fall back to Sarzana. From here, he sets off for new offensive sorties in the plain and the Lucca area. Finally, he heads towards Parma; bursts into the Bolognese territory; encamps at Crespellano from where continuous raids are launched to the gates of Bologna. Giovanni dell’Agnello, abandoned by the Lord of Milan, will die in poverty in Genoa in 1387.
Aug.MilanLeague300 lancesEmilia

Besieges the Gonzagas in Reggio Emilia. Defeated at San Raffaele by the Pontificals, he again takes refuge in Parma with the loss of 200 soldiers among horses and infantry and an equal number of armed men captured by the enemy. He decides to attack the Bolognese, sets up his camp at Crespellano, moves to Zola Predosa at the Reno bridge. Upon learning that the Viscontis are in difficulty due to the actions of Manno Donati and Feltrino Gonzaga, he returns to Reggio.

Oct.EmiliaSurprises the enemies at Mirandola. Among the Florentines, Rosso Ricci and Lucio Lando are captured.
Aug.MilanLeague300 lancesEmiliaHe besieges Feltrino Gonzaga in Reggio Emilia with his company; he has two strong bastions built at San Raffaele, just one mile from the city walls. Defeated nearby by the Papal forces, he retreats to Parma again with the loss of 200 soldiers, both cavalry and infantry, and as many armed men captured by the enemy. He decides to attack the Bolognese territory, sets up his camp at Crespellano, moves to Zola Predosa at the bridge over the Reno. Upon hearing of the defeat suffered by the Visconti at Reggio Emilia by the allied forces led by Manno Donati and Feltrino Gonzaga, he returns to the Reggio area.
Sept. – Oct.Emilia

He stations at Felino and Calestano. In October, he takes his opponents by surprise at Mirandola, where Rosso Ricci and Lucio Lando are captured. He moves to Guastalla, a land under the control of the Marquis of Mantua. His soldiers do not spare the population from their excesses. Ludovico Gonzaga demands compensation for the damages suffered. Hawkwood (L’Acuto) responds that he knows nothing about the plundering by his soldiers. Bernabò Visconti intervenes on behalf of Gonzaga and has him approached by his son Ambrogio. The gist of the conversation is that Hawkwood’s contract has naturally expired and thus he feels free. At the end of the month, his contract is renewed. He also reconciles with Gonzaga; the Marquis of Mantua receives no compensation despite the pressures on Hawkwood by the Milanese ambassador, Filippo da Desio.

MayEmiliaWith Corrado di Rotestein and Giovanni di Raten, he sends the gauntlet of challenge to his enemies.

He joins forces with Ambrogio Visconti; together, the two condottieri defeat Francesco da Fogliano in Rubiera, despite his superior forces. 1000 infantry and 700 cavalry are captured. A new truce follows; Hawkwood remains in the Modena area.

Jul.MilanMonferrat Count SavoyPiedmont

In the Modena area, where he is confronted by the Marquis of Ferrara, Niccolò d’Este. He is challenged to battle by Bartolomeo Cancellieri: some discussions follow to choose the battleground. In reality, Hawkwood is not interested in the matter and keeps changing his opinion until the challenge is no longer mentioned. On the contrary, he is sent by the Visconti, with Ambrogio Visconti and 400 lances, to aid Galeazzo Visconti. He besieges Asti; a bastion is built to hinder the flow of supplies to the defenders. The operations do not go well; there are numerous desertions, including English soldiers, due to delayed pay. After the capture of Jacopo dal Verme at Malemont, he challenges the enemies to battle. This is postponed because the Milanese captains cannot agree on the choice of battleground. Hawkwood pushes the Savoyards beyond the Tanaro River.

Aug.Piedmont Emilia

At the end of his contract, he leaves the camp, cursing the ministers of the Visconti (Stefano Porro and Cavallino Cavalli) who prevented him from attacking the camp of Amedeo di Savoia. He heads towards Parma and Reggio Emilia. He requests an increase of 200 lances and 200 archers to his contract.

Sept.Comp. venturaMilanEmilia

He rides to Reggio Emilia with 300 English lances and 200 archers and sets up camp in Castel San Giovanni. Galeazzo Visconti refuses to recognize his wages for his service under Asti and for the raids carried out by his men. Visconti sends his son Ambrogio to convince him to remain under the wages of the Milanese under the same conditions. The negotiations fail; Hawkwood then heads towards Scandiano, where the camp of the new papal captain general, Amerigo del Pomerio, is located.

Oct.ChurchMilan500 lances and 500 archersEmilia and Lombardy

He reaches an agreement with the papal legate, Cardinal Pietro di Bourges, who grants him a wage of 40,000 florins for a contract of 500 English lances and 500 archers. Among his captains are now many Englishmen, including Giovanni Breccia, Guglielmo Bosone, Richard Ramsey, and Guglielmo Cogno. The Pope also writes to Queen Giovanna d’Angiò of Naples, requesting that his pension, which was granted and later denied, be reinstated. He joins Amerigo del Pomerio in Reggio Emilia and moves to the Milan area. His sons and wife (an Englishwoman) are taken hostage by the Visconti, who, without success, contacts him through his treasurer Massolo della Strada, promising the release of his family members. He is now regarded by the Pope as “a champion of God and a loyal Christian knight.”

Nov.Emilia and Lombardy

He is in the area of Piacenza with Amerigo del Pomerio, crosses the Po near Pavia. The recent rains have swollen the river and prevent the passage of the troops of the Count of Savoy. Hawkwood is able to occupy the territory from Trebbia to Borgonovo Val Tidone and seize this castle. Plundering, rapes, imprisonment of 600 defenders, and imposing ransoms on prisoners are the characteristics of his actions. This treatment frightens the towns along his path. He reaches Voghera, sacks Castelnuovo Scrivia, and forces the surrender of all the hilltop castles from Scrivia to Crostolo. He occupies Broni after a fierce clash and provokes a revolt among the local Guelphs.


He is summoned to Bologna by the papal legate Anglico di Grimoard, who is in dire straits due to a devastating action by Ambrogio Visconti. He stops in the area of Piacenza.


Alongside Dondaccio from Piacenza, he continues his tactics characterized by thefts and assassinations, which encounter no obstacles in the Piacenza area against Corrado Lando and Francesco d’Este. The logistical bases of the two Visconti captains are Rocca d’Olgisio, Gropparello, Valconasso, and Zena. Hawkwood (L’Acuto) lays siege to Bartolomeo di Seccamelica in a bastion near Sarmato: the latter surrenders after suffering the loss of 100 men; he is robbed of money, furniture, and livestock, with a total estimated value of 8,000 florins. Thrown into the depths of his castle’s tower, Seccamelica, despite the very cold weather, manages to escape through a hole dug in one of the fortress’s vaults. Eventually, Hawkwood leaves the Piacenza area with 200 lances and joins his allies. He plunders Savignano and defeats Ambrogio and Giannotto Visconti at Schivardella/Crevalcore who, with 1,000 men-at-arms and 300 archers, are returning laden with booty from a raid in the Bolognese territory. There are 1,000 prisoners among the Visconti (including Giannotto Visconti); many drown in the Panaro River trying to escape capture.

Feb. Mar.Emilia

He plunders Bazzano, Zola Predosa, Canetolo, San Giorgio di Piano, Medicina; he liberates Bologna from the siege. Disorder arises in favor of the pontiffs in Piacenza. Hawkwood returns to that territory. He advances rapidly along a southern route, while Amedeo di Savoia, another papal captain, must carry out a similar maneuver further north. However, the Count of Savoy is late for the appointment, so Hawkwood has to retreat to the Bologna area.

Apr.Emilia and Lombardy

Under pressure from the legate, Cardinal Pietro d’Estaing, the Papal forces organize a new offensive. Giovanni Acuto (John Hawkwood), along with Enguerrand de Coucy and Amerigo del Pomerio, leaves Ferrara and crosses the Po at Stellata. His current objective is Brescia. At the same time, the Count of Savoy moves from Vimercate to Brivio to reach the Adda River and aim for Bergamo.


He commands 600 lances, 700 archers, numerous foot soldiers, and is well-provisioned. He faces 1500 lances of Germans and Hungarians and 4000 foot soldiers. Initially defeated at Montichiari, on the banks of the Chiese River, he, with Amerigo del Pomerio and Enguerrand de Coucy, forces Jacopo dal Verme to retreat towards Cremona. He defeats the Visconti at Gavardo and Montichiari, taking prisoners including Francesco d’Este, Francesco da Sassuolo, and Gabriotto da Canossa along with another 50 Italian men-at-arms. A collective ransom of 100,000 ducats is imposed on them. Anichino di Baumgarten and Gian Galeazzo Visconti take flight. Despite the victory, he chooses not to exploit the success due to the severe losses suffered. He prefers to fall back to Bologna; passing through Parma as he awaits the settlement of his debts, which is the true reason for his inactivity. Financial difficulties persist throughout the summer, causing his company to disband and turn to the pillage of the Mantuan territory.

JuneEmiliaThe Pope grants certain subsidies in favor of his illegitimate son (an ecclesiastical benefit in the Church of San Paolo in London); he is also granted some properties near Bologna.
JulyEmiliaHe is urged to join forces with the Count of Savoy in Lombardy. However, he remains inactive. Amedeo di Savoia is isolated in the Milan area and is forced to retreat towards the Adda River. Hawkwood remains inactive due to the same reason as before: the dire financial situation of the Apostolic Chamber. Finally, from Piacenza, he makes a timid sortie towards Lombardy but is easily repelled.
Aug.EmiliaMutinies and desertions begin in his ranks, followed by new plundering in the Mantua area by his men. He apologizes to the Marquis of Mantua for these actions.
Nov.ChurchMilanLombardy Romagna

He carries out new raids in the Oltrepò Pavese; he occupies the lands of Broni, Stradella, San Paolo, Cigognola, and others in the surrounding area. He then moves to the Bergamo area in support of the local Guelfs. He returns to Cotignola and strengthens its defensive works.

Jan. Apr.Emilia and Piedmont

He conducts further raids in the Parma and Piacenza areas; captures Castel San Giovanni; and sacks several locations near Borgonovo Val Tidone and Colorno. He surprises his opponents in the Bolognese region and defeats them with the aid of the local population; then penetrates again into the Pavese territory and moves to the relief of Vercelli, which is besieged by the Visconti. He sends Giovanni Breccia to Avignon to urge the payment of his company’s emoluments. The pope promises him and Giovanni Tornaberini some lands in the Marche (the castle of Montefortino to Acuto and Montalto to Tornaberini). The proposal is considered unsatisfactory because it does not bring cash into the company’s coffers. At the end of April, after having resupplied with Niccolò d’Este, the castles of the Piacenza area, he breaks into the Reggio territory. He stops at Scandiano where he devastates the lands of the da Fogliano, allies of the Lord of Milan. He then heads to Carpi to punish another ally of Bernabò Visconti, Giberto Pio. Pio’s brother is spared because he is in negotiations with the pontifical side.

MayEmiliaPeace Negotiations Begin. John Hawkwood (l’Acuto) leaves Bologna and stops for 40 days in the territories of Parma (parmense) and Piacenza (piacentino). His soldiers continue to prevent sowing and harvesting with their plundering; they secure the payment of a ransom from Ludovico Gonzaga. The Florentines (i fiorentini) secretly contact Hawkwood, offering him money in exchange for not conducting raids in Tuscany (Toscana). Pope Gregory XI (Gregorio XI), on the other hand, urges him to move in that direction.
JuneLombardy, Emilia, Romagna, Tuscany

The conflict closes temporarily with the signing of a truce for one year. The peace leaves his men without salary. Many armed men gather under his orders. Hawkwood himself is a creditor of a considerable amount of money towards the papal authorities. He rides between Suzzara and San Benedetto Po; devastates the Mantuan territory until money is delivered to him by the Gonzaga after a meeting in San Felice Panaro with Filippo Guazzalotti. In the middle of the month, he leaves Ferrara to prepare to raid in Tuscany: he is accompanied by Giovanni Breccia, Guglielmo Cogno, Giovanni Tornaberini, Richard Ramsey, and other captains, all English, such as John Clifford, John Foy, John Dent, William Tilly, John Coleman, William Best, David Roche, Nicholas Tansild, Filippo Puer, Thomas Beston, the latter already part of the original White Company (Compagnia Bianca). Two contingents of non-English soldiers join as well, led by the German Niccolò di Froia and the Italian Bartolomeo da Gaggio. Thus is born the Holy Company (Compagnia Santa), strong with 1500 horses, 500 archers, and an unspecified number of foot soldiers. They camp in the plain of Imola, cross the Idice, pass the Apennines and reach Fiorenzuola accompanied by Doffo Bardi and Giovanni Ducco. They travel through the lands of the Ubaldini who act as their guides. The company proceeds in three columns: he places himself in the center, while on the flanks are respectively Giovanni Tornaberini and Guglielmo Cogno. He gets in touch with the Tuscan Ghibellines and with the Lucchese exile Alderigo Castracani. They burst into Mugello where the usual devastations take place despite his previous assurances and the promise by the Florentines to provide free provisions to the troops in transit. The new legate of Bologna, Cardinal William of Noellet (Guglielmo di Noellet), urges him to penetrate into the Florentine territory, stricken by a severe famine, in order to burn their crops. Meanwhile, the prelate informs the Signoria of Florence of his imminent arrival in Tuscany; he asks for a loan of 100,000 florins to prevent the arrival of the mercenaries. The Florentines do not accept the proposal. At the end of the month, the leader’s militias are reported in Rifredo. To negotiate the blockade of his company, the Florentine ambassadors Simone Peruzzi and Spinello Alberti arrive at his camp, accompanied by Pietro di Murles, representing the papal legate, and Roger Cane (Ruggero Cane), envoy of the Count of Savoy. The negotiations are crowned with success. Hawkwood accepts the offer of 130,000 florins to not damage the Florentine territory, 40,000 to be paid immediately, and the rest, 30,000 a month by the end of July, August, and September. The commitment includes that for 5 years the adventurers abstain from hostile actions against Florence. The document is signed by Hawkwood himself, by two of his marshals, a constable, and 12 officers. It stipulates that the company may transit through Florentine territory; in such case, the soldiers must pay for the provisions they need except for wine, poultry, and fodder for the mounts. They may also enter Florence, in groups smaller than 100 individuals. Upon the delivery of the first installment, he donates 3,000 florins to Spinello Alberti: he does not accept them and pours them into the coffers of the commune.

July – Aug.Comp. venturaSienaTuscanyIn mid-July, following further negotiations with the new chancellor of the Florentine republic, Coluccio Salutati, John Hawkwood is promised a commission of 100 florins per month (tax-free and payable every July) for as long as he remains in Italy. This agreement is not made public. In return, Hawkwood reveals a conspiracy being plotted in Prato against Florence. While in Prato, he is reached by three messengers sent by Caterina di Jacopo di Benincasa (the future Saint Catherine of Siena), including a former Burgundian soldier and his confessor, Fra Raimondo di Capua. He receives a letter admonishing him for his actions and inviting him to embark on a crusade to the Holy Land. Hawkwood welcomes the messengers but ignores their entreaties. The appeal thus has no effect, as will be the case years later for a similar recall by the Saint to Alberico da Barbiano.
The cardinal legate learns of his pact with the Florentines and writes to him to break it; Hawkwood does not acknowledge this. Free from commitments, he moves to the Pisan territory at San Savino and San Casciano in Val di Pesa. Driven by a lack of provisions, he fords the Arno at Cozzano; raids the counties of Mezzana and Montemagno in Val di Calci. The assaults by his men on that location are repelled. He then sends 800 horsemen to make a long detour to take the valley from above, in the direction where defenses are least prepared. The surprise action succeeds, the valley is conquered, 200 people are captured including men, women, and children, everything possible is plundered, many houses are set on fire, and 1000 heads of livestock are stolen.
Pisa decides to negotiate; through Filippo Agliata and Oddo Maccaione dei Gualandi, they agree to pay the mercenaries 30,500 florins (payable in three installments), of which 3,000 directly to Hawkwood (annual installments of 500 florins), and another 2,500 for each, also in the same installment plan, are intended for Tornaberini and Cogno. The remainder of the payment is scheduled in two installments: half within 10 days of signing the agreement and the rest by the end of September. The act is stipulated in the Franciscan convent of Nicosia, near Calci. It is allowed for 2,500 soldiers at a time, armed only with sword and dagger, to enter the city to buy necessities; they are expected to return to the camp on the same evening. The day after, the company positions itself between Cascina, Pontedera, Ponsacco, and Bagno ad Acqua. All the bakers in Pisa and the countryside are ordered to supply bread to the soldiers at a predetermined price. As with Florence, Hawkwood promises not to harass the Pisan territory for 5 years.
Meanwhile, envoys from Florence arrive at the camp and deliver 40,000 ducats to the company. The money is distributed to the soldiers by four captains, Richard Ramsey, John Foy, Robert Seaver, and William Tilly. Subsequently, he makes an agreement with Lucca (7,000 florins): the inhabitants grant citizenship to both him and Tornaberini. He is also given an annual provision and the ownership of a house in the city. The Lucchese also provide him with 9,800 florins, equal to the balance of a credit Hawkwood has against Alderigo Castracani. To meet this last request, the inhabitants sell some of Castracani’s assets until they reach the expected value. The commander leaves in the city as his proxy Giovanni da Montecatini, who, thanks to his pressure, has been removed from the ban. He leaves Lucca, touches Capannoli, Forcoli, in Valdera, Pomarance, Laterina; always waiting for the completion of payments by the Florentines and Pisans, he devastates the various counties without imprisoning people to collect ransoms.
He reaches Bibbiena; now he advances on Arezzo; another 8,500 florins are promised to him; 13,000 are also recognized by the Pistoiese. He meets in Volterra with ambassadors from Siena: he refuses their offer of 12,000 florins and begins to plunder their territory for a few days. An agreement is reached as with Pisa, for the sum of 30,500 florins. For the payment, three installments are provided: 10,000 immediately and the remaining 20,500 for September and October. Hawkwood also demands from the Sienese that his chancellor be recognized a sum of 120 florins for drafting the act, as well as 19 barrels of wine, 12 sacks of bread, and 60 pounds of sweets for himself and his captains. This means that the total cost of the campaign for the Sienese is 30,799 florins, 19 barrels of wine, 12 sacks of bread, and 60 pounds of sweets.
MayCampaniaIn Capua.
JuneCompany of fortuneMantua FlorencePisa LuccaLombardy Emilia and Tuscany

At the signing of peace between the opposing sides, he finds himself without pay. He enlists many men-at-arms who have fought on both fronts and forms the “Compagnia Santa” with them. He plunders the Modena and Mantua regions between Suzzara and San Benedetto Po. After receiving money from the Gonzaga family (through an agreement with Filippo Guazzalotti), he moves to the Bologna area and stops in the Apennines. The papal legate Guglielmo di Noellet urges him to go to Tuscany and attack the Florentines, who are suffering from an extraordinary famine, in order to set fire to their crops. The people of Pistoia block his path at Sambuca Pistoiese. Ambassadors from Florence, Simone Peruzzi and Spinello Alberti, approach him to negotiate an agreement. The condottiero meets Filippo Guazzalotti and some ambassadors from the Republic of Florence in San Felice Panaro. The Florentines agree to pay the company 130,000 florins in four installments (40,000 in cash and the rest in three monthly installments between July and September). The negotiations are conducted by Pietro di Murles and Ruggero Cane, and the agreement is signed near an old bridge on the Via Emilia. Hawkwood promises not to disturb the lands of the Florentines and their allies for five years. The money is handed over to Spinello Alberti, whom Hawkwood donates 3,000 florins, but Alberti refuses and returns it to his commune. Hawkwood crosses the Idice near Imola, traverses the Apennines, and reaches Firenzuola accompanied by Doffo Bardi and Giovanni Ducco. They pass through the lands of the Ubaldini family, who act as their guides. The company advances in three columns, with Hawkwood in the center and Giovanni Tornaberini and Guglielmo Cogno on the flanks. They enter the Mugello region, and the usual devastation begins despite Hawkwood’s previous assurances and the Florentines’ promise to provide free provisions for the passing troops. They arrive near Prato, where a local monk named Piero da Canneto organizes a conspiracy to hand over the town to Hawkwood. The plot is discovered (it is not known whether with Hawkwood’s assistance), and the conspirators are hanged and quartered; their bodies are set on fire. In Prato, Hawkwood is approached by three messengers sent by Saint Catherine of Siena, including a former Burgundian soldier and Catherine’s confessor, Raimondo da Capua. They deliver a letter in which Hawkwood is reproached for his actions and urged to embark on a crusade to the Holy Land. Hawkwood receives the messengers favorably but ignores their pleas. The appeal has no effect, as will be the case years later with a similar call from Saint Catherine to Alberico da Barbiano. The cardinal legate hastens to write to Hawkwood, urging him to break all agreements, but he does not comply. The Florentines recognize payment for 800 lances, 200 mounted archers, and another 300 men on horseback in his company. Free from obligations, Hawkwood moves to the Pisan area to San Savino and San Casciano in Val di Pesa. Due to a lack of provisions, he fords the Arno at Cozzano and plunders Mezzana and Montemagno in the Val di Calci. He sends 800 men into the valley, and they greatly harm the inhabitants, engaging in robberies, arson of houses, and capturing 200 people, including men, women, and children. They also seize 1,000 head of livestock.

Lug. ago.Comp. venturaArezzo SienaToscana

At the beginning of the month, the people of Pisa recognize 30,500 florins for his men, of which 3,000 are directly for Hawkwood (through annual installments of 500 florins). Another 2,500 are allocated to Tornaberini and Cogno, also with the same installment plan. The remaining amount is to be paid in two installments: half within ten days of signing the agreement and the rest by the end of September. The agreement is signed in the Franciscan convent of Nicosia, near Calci. His men are allowed to enter the city to purchase necessary supplies (2,500 at a time without weapons). The company then positions itself between Cascina, Pontedera, Ponsacco, and Bagno ad Acqua. All the bakers in Pisa and its surroundings are ordered to provide bread to the soldiers at a predetermined price. Just like with Florence, Hawkwood promises not to disturb the Pisan territories for five years. In the meantime, the ambassadors from Florence arrive at the camp and deliver 40,000 ducats to the company. The money is distributed to the soldiers by four captains: Richard Ramsey, John Foy, Robert Seaver, and William Tilly. During the same period, the Florentines also offer him a lifelong pension of 100 florins per month for as long as he remains in Italy. The pension is tax-exempt and payable every year in July. Hawkwood then reaches an agreement with Lucca for 7,000 florins. The inhabitants of Lucca grant him and Tornaberini citizenship and also provide him with an annual pension and ownership of a house in the city. Additionally, the people of Lucca give him 9,800 florins, which corresponds to the balance of a debt owed to him by Alderigo Castracani. To fulfill this request, the citizens sell some of Castracani’s assets until the expected value is reached. Hawkwood leaves Giovanni da Montecatini as his representative in Lucca. He departs from Lucca, passing through Capannoli, Forcoli in Val d’Era, Pomarance, and Laterina while waiting for the completion of payments from the Florentines and the Pisans. During this time, he devastates various territories but refrains from imprisoning people for ransom. He arrives in Bibbiena and then proceeds to Arezzo, where he is promised another 8,500 florins. The people of Pistoia also recognize a payment of 13,000 florins to him. In Volterra, he meets with ambassadors from Siena, but he refuses their offer of 12,000 florins and begins plundering their territory for a few days. An agreement is eventually reached, similar to the one with Pisa, for the sum of 30,500 florins. The payment is divided into three installments: 10,000 immediately and the remaining 20,500 to be paid in August and September. Hawkwood also demands that the Sienese recognize a sum of 120 florins for his chancellor’s work on the agreement, as well as 19 barrels of wine, 12 bags of fresh bread, and 60 pounds of confetti for him and his captains. Including these additional expenses, the total cost of the campaign amounts to 31,000 florins. From the Val di Chiana, he marches to Lucignano, on the border between Siena and Arezzo. During the march, the company sets several houses of Sienese citizens on fire (including a castle belonging to Nicoluccio Malavolti) due to the delayed payment of the first installment of the ransom. They camp in Laterina, where further looting occurs. One of the castles owned by the Ricasoli family is also attacked, leading to complaints from the Florentines. In exchange for the castle and the release of hostages, the mercenaries receive a sum ranging from 8,500 to 13,000 florins. At the Laterina camp, Oddo Maccaione and Piero da Civoli of Pisa deliver 6,500 florins, while the Florentine Spinello Alberti provides an additional 30,000 florins. The Queen of Naples also recognizes the payment of an old ransom owed to him. In total, the company acquires approximately 215,000 florins from their expedition in Tuscany, not including the loot of cattle and other agricultural goods. Hawkwood is now a wealthy man. In August, Florence and Milan form a defensive alliance against the papal forces.

Sett.Comp. venturaToscana

At the end of the month, he is in the Sienese territory with Conrad of Altinberg. He stops for a few days at Poggio Imperiale (Poggibonsi). The Florentines contact him to switch to their service; meanwhile, he is in conflict with the pontifical authorities, who refuse to hand over the promised castle of Montefortino. He spends his time around Arezzo and Siena. At the end of the month, he sets up camp at Badia a Isola (Abbadia a Isola). He pressures the Sienese to respect their obligations; the Florentines deliver the third installment through Spinello Alberti. He is contacted again by them through Giorgio degli Scali.

Ott.Comp. venturaReggio EmiliaTuscany and Emilia

He moves into the Florentine territory to obtain the balance of his dues. The people of Reggio acknowledge a bounty to the company. He rejects the offers of a contract from the Florentines to place himself under the orders of the Abbot of Montmajour, Gherardo di Puy. An annual salary of 30,000 florins is proposed to him, along with the advance of two loans and a payment.

Nov. Dec.ChurchFlorenceLazio and Umbria

In the middle of the month, Francesco di Vico seizes Viterbo with the help of the local Ghibellines. John Hawkwood (Giovanni Acuto) is invited by the pontifical authorities to come to the aid of the Church’s soldiers, who have retreated into the city’s fortress. He bursts into Viterbo with 3,000 horsemen without encountering resistance, through the Santa Lucia gate which had been previously set ablaze. He arrives in the vast square of the fortress; he finds his path blocked by a large number of caltrops (spiked nails). Bombards, ditches, and barricades constructed with intertwined tree branches prevent the advance of his horses. He is attacked by the city’s militias led by Francesco di Vico; he quickly finds himself in difficulty because his cavalry cannot deploy due to the narrow streets and the obstacles in the way. The men of his company begin to scatter; repelled outside the walls, Hawkwood regroups in the nearby countryside and reorders his ranks: many are the dead and wounded among his horses. Only after four days is he able to resume the road to Perugia. He enters with Tornabuoni (Tornaberini) (1,500 lances, 500 archers, and many foot soldiers) into the territory of Città di Castello; the citizens have captured the officials of the Church state and thrown them out of the windows of the town hall; the bodies are hanged on the ramparts of the walls. Hawkwood is tasked with aiding the pontificals who have locked themselves in the fortress due to the revolt of the citizens, assisted by Piero del Verde. He attempts to enter the town through the Santa Maria gate; he connects with the defenders of the first castle who are still holding out; he fails to break into the fortress that leads to the city center. The people of Tifernum (Città di Castello) defend themselves by throwing fire arrows and other combustibles on the bridge that connects with the city. In the end, the English are forced to abandon the assault; a new attempt follows with the same outcome. Hawkwood then continues his journey with 300 lances. Leaving Ponte San Giovanni, he comes to the aid of the pontificals besieged in the fortresses of Perugia where Guglielmo Cogno and Bernardo della Sala with his Bretons are enclosed. The attempts of the inhabitants to stop his march by sending gifts, including a new mount, are unsuccessful. Il Breccia is captured by the besiegers; Hawkwood responds with a raid into the surrounding territory (capturing hostages). The bombardment of the citadel by the Perugians continues. At the end of December, the commander sends his corporal Bartolomeo da Gaggio to negotiate the terms of the defenders’ surrender. He promises to leave the Perugian territory within two days and not to raid it for six months. He is compensated for the damages suffered; Bartolomeo da Gaggio, for his role as mediator in the affair, receives some real estate properties (for an annual income of 200 florins) as a gift. The members of Hawkwood’s company procure horses, weapons, and provisions in the city.

Gen.Umbria and Romagna

He stays at San Martino in Campo to ensure the proper execution of the agreements, escorting the Abbot of Montmajour with Giovanni Breccia and 300 lances. He passes through Assisi, Gualdo Tadino, and Foligno, and then moves to Romagna. He accompanies the prelate to Rimini and hands him over as a hostage to Galeotto Malatesta until his credit (130,000 ducats) is settled. He positions himself between Cesena and Bertinoro.


He is in Castrocaro Terme, which has rebelled against the papal forces, facing Sinibaldo Ordelaffi’s troops. He seizes the location and refuses to return it to the Papal States until his payments are made. Mid-month, he leaves Castrocaro Terme and moves towards Faenza. He camps outside Forlimpopoli and sends 100 lances to Cesena.

Mar. Apr.Romagna

He purchases the locality of Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna from Mucciolo Balacchi with the pontifical placet. He obtains Castrocaro Terme, Bagnacavallo, Cotignola, and Conselice as fiefs from Cardinal Noellet as payment for past wages. During the same period, he rejects an offer from the Venetians, made with Lucio Lando, to devastate the lands of his friend Francesco da Carrara for fifteen days for 30,000 ducats. He seizes Massa Lombarda and sets his sights on Bologna.

Mag.Emilia and Romagna

He leaves Bologna to reclaim Granarolo, which has fallen into the hands of Astorre and Francesco Manfredi. He captures Massumatico. Upon hearing about the rebellion in Bologna led by Taddeo Azzoguidi, he camps in Medicina and harasses the surrounding countryside. He abandons the camp with 400 lances and rides towards the city, reaching the Ponte Maggiore. He sends Tornaberini, Cogno, and Filippo Puer to the city to monitor the situation. 100 horses are captured, including Filippo Puer, Cogno, and the natural sons of Tornaberini and Breccia. One of his own natural sons, Thomas (who will later join the condottieri), is also taken prisoner. The Bolognese imprison all the Englishmen and confiscate their belongings. The papal legate Guglielmo di Noellet, disguised as a hermit friar in the monastery of San Giacomo, and Bishop Enrico da Sesso are also captured. The Bolognese send Roberto da Saliceto to negotiate with Hawkwood to calm his fury. The condottiero demands the release of his men, while the Bolognese demand the surrender of Faenza and Massalombarda, which he has taken. An Englishman acts as an intermediary between the two parties. During the negotiations, Hawkwood launches a brief and ruinous raid into Bologna, capturing three hundred people and plundering countless heads of cattle. An agreement is finally reached through Beltramo Alidosi, the lord of Imola. The English prisoners are released (except for Cogno), and Hawkwood agrees to a sixteen-month truce with the citizens. He returns the prisoners and the plundered livestock. Immediately after, he storms into Faenza, pillaging the city overnight and killing 300 people. His men kill anyone who tries to defend their property, rape women, and desecrate sacred places. In order to settle his debts and by explicit command, he imprisons 300 of the city’s leading citizens and expels another 11,000. During the sack of the city, he encounters two of his constables who are quarreling over the capture of a young nun. With a Solomon-like judgment, Hawkwood decrees, “Half for one!” and cuts the unfortunate woman in two. A violent brawl breaks out among the English soldiers during the division of the spoils. Thomas Belmont, son of Andrea di Belmonte, is injured, as is Breccia. At the end of the month, he is approached by the Venetians, through Niccolò Morosini and Leonardo Dandolo, to fight against Duke Leopold of Austria. They secretly offer him a contract for 1,000 lances and 600-700 archers for four months, along with a sum ranging from 100,000 to 120,000 ducats and a bonus of 10,000 florins. Each lance is promised a monthly salary of 28 ducats, higher than the prevailing market rate. Preliminary negotiations are conducted through his son Thomas and the sons of Breccia and Tornaberini. According to some sources, these negotiations do not conclude due to Hawkwood’s demands, and he is also in contact with other potential “clients,” such as the King of Aragon, who is at war with the King of Castile, the Florentines, and the Visconti, who send Ruggero Cane to Faenza to meet with him.


He leaves Faenza and, with 500 lances, reaches Medicina, near the tower of Mengolo Isolani, where the company of Bretons and Cardinal Roberto di Ginevra are stationed. He has a dispute with the prelate and remains in Romagna. In the same period, his attempts to obtain Granarolo and enter Arezzo through an agreement with Masio da Pietramala fail.

Aug.Romagna and Tuscany

The papal forces give him 13,520 florins. The Florentines hire 700 lances and 300 archers from his companies. Each lance is recognized a monthly salary of 22-24 florins. Caporals who abandon the condottiero (Filippo Puer, John Berwick, and John Gifford) are granted significant loans and advances on their wages. Hawkwood tries to have a meeting with Rodolfo da Varano, a Florentine condottiero, but is defeated by the Bolognese between Faenza and Modigliana (capturing 200 lances from his men). His attempt to enter Forlì with the Bretons also fails. He goes to Pisa with Ruggero Cane to meet with the Cardinal of Amiens, who has been sent by the Pope to seek peace among the warring parties. In Lucca.

Sep.RomagnaHe returns Bertinoro and Castrocaro Terme to the papal forces.
Jan.1000 lances and 700 archersRomagnaRenews the contract with the papal forces.

In Cesena, 3,000,400 Bretons are killed by the inhabitants. John Hawkwood enters the city through the Porta del Soccorso while the Bretons leave the citadel. He joins them in the sack, which ends with the killing of 5,000 people. Chronicles tell of a poor mother: she lowers herself from the walls with ropes, carrying a child in her arms, attempting to cross the moat already filled with corpses floating in stagnant water. In overcoming the obstacle, the child drowns; the woman arrives exhausted on the opposite bank, just in time to see her husband’s body lying on the same moat’s edge. Mad with grief, she places the child on that corpse and throws herself, screaming, into the midst of the Bretons. Episodes like this lead Hawkwood to allow the surviving inhabitants of the massacre to leave the city through Porta Cervese at night: a thousand men and women can thus make their way towards Rimini. Having transported his rich booty to Faenza, the condottiero moves to Fano and Fossombrone.

Mar.RomagnaHe receives a decree from England that absolves him of any wrongdoing committed in the past during the Hundred Years’ War. The same decree of pardon is also granted to his caporale John Clifford. He is in Faenza, where envoys from the opposing league continue to contact him to avail themselves of his services.
Apr.RomagnaHe leaves Faenza, which is transferred from the papal forces to the Este family for 50,000-60,000 florins, and camps in Bagnacavallo.
MayFlorence ; MilanChurch800 lances and 500 archersRomagna ; Lombardy and Emilia

He stays between Cesena and Forlì. At the end of his contract with the papal forces, he agrees for one year with the Florentines through Spinello Alberti and Ruggero Cane. He and his men are promised double pay for the first two months, receiving 5,200 florins per month during that period. Each lance receives 42 florins, and the archers receive a sum based on their seniority, ranging from 16 to 28 florins per month. From the third month, the salaries of his men adjust to market rates. The cost of his company is estimated at 25,200 florins per month. One-third is borne by the Florentines, one-third by the Visconti, and one-third goes to the minor allies (Perugia, Bologna, Siena, Arezzo, Viterbo, Ascoli Piceno, Forlì, Urbino, Fermo, Città di Castello, Ravenna, San Severino Marche, Imola, Camerino). He goes to Milan and on a Sunday morning, he marries Bernabò Visconti’s daughter, Donnina, who brings a dowry of half of Gazzuolo and extensive estates in the Milanese worth 12,000 florins. The ceremony takes place in front of Visconti, his wife Regina della Scala, and their children. The marriage is celebrated according to chivalrous customs and includes a joust; no dances are held because the Lord of Milan is in mourning for the death of a stepsister. After the ceremony, he takes his young wife to the palace previously owned by Gaspare del Conte and the Bishop of Parma. The lunch is held there. Regina della Scala honors the natural daughter of her husband in the best possible way, and the bride’s stepbrothers do the same (a gift of a cup containing 1,000 ducats from the former; rich pearl jewelry worth 300 ducats each from the brothers-in-law Marco and Ludovico). The following Thursday, Hawkwood reaches Parma, from where he proceeds to Cremona, where his company is being assembled. In the letter announcing his marriage to the people of Lucca, he takes the opportunity to request the return to the state of the exile Masseo Padio, a friend of his chancellor Jacopo da Pietrasanta.

Jun.Emilia and Romagna

He crosses the Bolognese territory and inflicts serious damage because the commune refuses to pay its share in the payment for his service. The citizens, in the end, have to acknowledge 30,000 florins to him. He advances on Faenza and attacks the city. His ally on this occasion is Astorre Manfredi. The Bretons leave Cesena to defend Faenza but realize the numerical superiority of the opponents and withdraw. At the end of the month, the condottiero returns to Gazzuolo.


He stations between Panzano and Medicina and aims for Modena, where a treaty in favor of the Visconti is thwarted by the Este family. He assists Astorre Manfredi in his return to Faenza. At the end of the month, he confronts his opponents near Cervia. The Bretons withdraw to Umbria. At the same time, he engages in diplomatic activities on behalf of the new King of England, Richard II, at the court of the Visconti.

Aug-Sep.Romagna, Umbria, and Tuscany

He damages the territory of Ravenna and harasses the retreating Bretons towards the Upper Tiber. He moves to aid the Perugians with 4,000 cavalry, along with Lucio and Everardo Lando. His men plunder the countryside, which causes a reaction from the Perugians who refuse to provide him with any logistical support for the troops. He forces Raimondo di Turenna to leave the Maremma. He advances into the Val di Chiana and camps between Montepulciano and San Quirico d’Orcia. The Sienese honor him greatly, gifting him a horse worth 150 ducats and presenting other gifts of equal value. However, the conduct of his men towards the population provokes protests from the Eight of Balia. The Bretons now head towards the Kingdom of Naples. From the camp in Montepulciano, he begins peace negotiations with the papal forces and various members of the league.

Oct.Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche

From Siena, he goes to Ponte San Giovanni, in the Val di Ceppi, to harass the territory of Foligno. Some of his squads invade the lands of Masio da Pietramala around Citerna. Recalled due to a truce between Perugia and Foligno, he moves to the Marche with Lucio Lando, Azzo da Castello, and Giovanni degli Ubaldini to oppose Rodolfo da Varano, who has switched to the papal camp.


He winters with his men in the Val di Nievole despite the invitations from the Florentines to move to the Marca d’Ancona. Due to strong pressure, he is convinced to establish his winter camp in the Sienese territory at San Quirico d’Orcia. He takes advantage of this phase to develop his diplomatic action, meeting with representatives of the Pope, the Visconti, Florence, and the King of England.

Dec.Lazio, Tuscany, and Romagna

He is in Rome with Ruggero Cane, then he proceeds to Pisa. He visits Florence and is offered a banquet in the Palazzo della Signoria. He returns to his lands in Romagna. From there, he has to return to Fucecchio to join his men due to some disturbances that arose in the camp.

Jan.EmiliaAt Gazzuolo.

At San Quirico d’Orcia, where he is engaged in peace negotiations with representatives of the King of England, Ruggero Cane, and Alderigo Castracani. Also present at the camp are Giovanni Tornaberini, il Breccia, the Breton captain Bernardo della Sala, as well as ambassadors from Milan and the Pope. These discussions lay the groundwork for the peace conference to be held in Sarzana. For this purpose, he refuses to move with the troops into the Perugian territory, also due to the usual delay in the payment of wages.


He leaves the camp at San Quirico d’Orcia and, with Ruggero Cane, escorts the Cardinal of Amiens and the archbishops of Pamplona and Narbonne to Siena, where they receive great honors. He then proceeds to Pisa (where he is a guest of Jacopo d’Appiano), Lucca, and Sarzana.

Apr.MilanVerona, PaduaTuscany and Veneto

He goes to Florence to claim the payment of 10,000 florins, then leaves the Valdarno and spends six months in the service of the Visconti. He enters the territory of Verona and witnesses the ceremony at the city gates where his father-in-law knights his sons Carlo and Rodolfo. He is accompanied by Cogno and Nicholas Sabrahan, an English soldier who fought in France at the Battle of Crécy and in several crusades in Prussia, Hungary, Alexandria, and Constantinople. This warrior is identified by some historians as the soldier who served as a model for a character in the prologue of Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.”


His company is reinforced by that of Lucio Lando. They breach the Scaliger defenses between Villafranca di Verona and the marshes of Povegliano. There is a lack of provisions, causing the dispersal of the soldiers who engage in autonomous initiatives. He crosses the Adige River and sacks the territory up to San Martino Buon Albergo and Caldiero in search of forage. The soldiers’ actions inflict damage on the people of Mantua, leading the Mantuans to retaliate by robbing and killing the soldiers caught alone or in small groups. Sabrahan has his horses and a precious collection of swords and other objects stolen from him near Monzambano. Other soldiers under his command suffer the same fate, such as the Frenchman Allan Donfol, who is robbed while riding near Piubega, and Tiberto Brandolini, who is returning to camp from Bagnacavallo. Hawkwood pays 60 florins for Brandolini’s ransom and works to recover Sabrahan’s belongings. He criticizes Cogno for the pillaging in the territory of Mantua. The Hungarians and the Carraresi, allies of the Scaligeri, force him to retreat with Lucio Lando.


He positions himself between Piadena, Villafranca di Verona, and Monzambano. The enemies have free rein in the territory. During these days, he travels to Milan on behalf of King Richard II of England, along with Ruggero Cane and the Englishmen Walter Thorpe and Geoffrey Chaucer, for a diplomatic mission regarding the possible marriage of the English monarch to a Visconti. He returns to the camp at Monzambano.


A 45-day truce is established between the parties. John Hawkwood then heads to Cavriana and later quarters in Cremona.


At the end of the truce, with Lucio Lando and leading 1,400 lances and many infantrymen, he supports Regina della Scala, wife of Bernabò, in a new attack on Verona.

Jan.Comp. venturaMilanVeneto and Lombardy

He crosses the Adige River without encountering resistance from Giovanni Mangiadori. With Lucio Lando and Giacomo Cavalli, he enters Valpolicella and Valpantena, which are pillaged up to Roncà and Monteforte d’Alpone. Montebello Vicentino and Arzignano are destroyed, and Trissino and Valdagno are also looted. Hawkwood withdraws upon learning of the return of Giovanni di Polisna and the Voivode of Transylvania from Brescia and Verona. He is defeated on the Sebeto River and forced to abandon the spoils after suffering some losses at the hands of the Hungarians. The Visconti suspects that Hawkwood and Lando have been bribed by the Carraresi. Hawkwood and Lando sever ties with their father-in-law Bernabò Visconti, who refuses to pay their wages and seizes the property of Hawkwood’s wife, Donnina. In retaliation, Hawkwood and Lando ravage the territories of Brescia and Cremona. The Visconti complains vehemently to Emperor Wenceslaus about their actions and requests measures against Lando as a German. A copy of the letter is also sent to Leopold of Austria, Stephen of Bavaria, Frederick of Nuremberg, and Robert, Count of the Palatinate. The Lord of Milan offers a reward of 30 florins for every soldier from their companies, whether English or German, who is captured or killed. The Florentines try to reconcile Hawkwood and Lando with their father-in-law to prevent them from turning towards Tuscany with 1,200 lances.

Feb.Lucca, Siena, Perugia, Pisa, FlorenceExilesTuscany

He opposes the exiles from Lucca, Siena, Perugia, Pisa, and Florence who have joined forces with the troops of Charles of Durazzo.

Mar.Comp. venturaEmilia, Lombardy, and MarcheAt Casatico and Borgoforte. The Bolognese already recognize 2,500 ducats. He moves to the territory of Urbino.
Apr. – Jun.Comp. venturaComp. ventura

Città di Castello

Comp. ventura

ChurchFaenza, Ravenna


Perugia, Siena

RomagnaUmbria and Tuscany

Urged on by antipope Clement VII, he initially heads towards the Marche with Giovanni degli Ubaldini and Ramsey. After receiving some bounties from cities controlled by Pope Urban VI, he continues his journey. He stops at Bagnacavallo and harasses the Manfredi family and the people of Ravenna. Alongside Lando, he serves the city of Città di Castello for ten days to counter the local exiles led by Brancaleone Guelfucci. He passes through Fratta Todina and Ponte San Giovanni and receives 4,000 florins from the people of Perugia. In Assisi, he negotiates with the Florentines, through Spinello Alberti, to join their service and that of their allied cities. He then moves to Tuscany (May), where the cities of the region remind him and Lucio Lando of the obligations they undertook during the war of the Otto Santi. Hawkwood and Lando respond that the current company is something different due to the presence of Everardo Lando, who did not sign any such document at the time. He rides through the Val di Chiana, threatens Siena, and unsuccessfully requests 25,000 florins from the Florentines. The Sienese hand over 6,000 florins to him, Lucio, and Everardo Lando. Hawkwood is also given 100 measures of wheat and an additional 2,000 florins for the killing of several horses belonging to members of his company (the value of a war horse is 40/50 florins each). The chancellor of Hawkwood, Jacopo da Pietrasanta, and his assistant Gasparino da Bergamo each receive 78 florins for drafting the document. The Florentines, on their part, recognize 12,000 florins. In mid-June, Hawkwood, Lucio, and Everardo Lando are invited to a grand celebration in Florence to commemorate the agreements reached. The company disbanded shortly after in Gracciano. The city of Siena retains 200 English and German lances in their service until February 1380. Another 1,600 florins are given to Hawkwood and Everardo Lando for this purpose. The Florentines are also forced to hire some of his men.

Jul. – Aug.Comp. venturaFaenza, Ravenna300 lancesRomagna

With Cogno, he returns to Romagna to his lands in Bagnacavallo and Cotignola. Thirteen lances under the command of William Olney escort him. The Florentines are obliged to pay a salary to Olney. He arrives in Bagnacavallo, where Nicholas Clifton is on guard duty. With his arrival, Clifton leaves the city and also joins the service of the Florentines. He confronts threats from the Manfredi family and the da Polenta family. The Lord of Faenza attacks Bagnacavallo, and Hawkwood responds by sending a contingent of 300 lances against Faenza. He also sends 250 lances under Cogno’s command to Forlì to prevent possible attacks from that side and another 100 lances to Bologna for the same purpose. Finally, he positions himself in the defense of Bagnacavallo with 50-60 lances and the militias provided by Giovanni di Alberghettino Manfredi. Florence and Bologna intervene, and Manfredi gives up his objective. At the end of August, his wife Donnina joins him in Bagnacavallo with their daughters Janet and Catherine. Hawkwood dedicates much of his energy to the defense of his Romagnol state and maintains contacts with Gazzuolo. He also invests part of his money in England through the purchase of land and castles in Essex.


He remains in Bagnacavallo. During this period, he assists his ally Giovanni di Alberghettino Manfredi in seizing Marradi.


He reveals to the Florentines a treaty against them that he has come to know of. He is given 12,000 florins for his information. Hawkwood names the conspirators with the promise that nothing would be done to harm him. However, six conspirators are executed, and fifty of them are banished into exile with their properties confiscated.

Feb.VenicePaduaCaptain generalVeneto

In the employ of the Venetian Republic. The start of operations is delayed, so command of the operations is transferred to Carlo Zeno.

Mar.FlorenceCaptain general, 200 lances

Florence is threatened by the Company of St. George, led by Alberico da Barbiano, reinforced by numerous exiles. Hawkwood is granted a monthly provision of 1,000 florins for six months. He is accompanied by Richard Ramsey (109 lances) and Giovanni Beltoft (50 lances). The payroll of Florence also includes Facino Cane with a company of ten lances. The cost of the army deployed (500 lances) for six months is estimated at 130,000 florins.

Apr.FlorenceComp. venturaTuscany

In Florence, he enters the city amid the ringing of bells and the sound of trumpets. In mid-month, he is given the insignia of command in the Palazzo della Signoria. He joins forces with Lucio Lando, travels to Staggia, Colle di Val d’Elsa, and defeats the mercenaries at Malmantile.

MayComp. venturaTodiUmbria and Romagna

He assists the Chiaravalle family in reclaiming Todi, from which they were expelled by Catalano degli Atti. He divides his army into four parts and attacks the city. He is defeated in the plain of Sant’Agostino, then moves to San Valentino until the inhabitants surrender 1,000 florins. He returns to Romagna and acts as a peacemaker in the dispute between the brothers Astorre and Francesco Manfredi, alongside Guido da Polenta, Sinibaldo Ordelaffi, and Bertrando Alidosi.

Jul.Comp. venturaMarche

Operates in the Marche region with Everardo Lando. He is contacted by the Duke of Bavaria with an offer to join his service.

Sep.FlorenceComp. venturaTuscany

He is in Montevarchi with 1,200 lances to monitor the movements of the troops of Charles of Durazzo and Alberico da Barbiano, who have halted at Arezzo. He engages in some skirmishes with his opponents. The mercenaries withdraw after receiving 40,000 to 45,000 florins owed to them by the Florentines, which the Republic owed to the Papal States. They return to the Kingdom of Naples. His contract is expiring, and to avoid losing him, the Florentines commit to defending his Romagnol states against the claims of Astorre Manfredi.

Nov.FlorenceCaptain of war, 200 lances

He is reappointed to his position by the Florentines for another six months. During the year, he makes a donation for the construction of a hospital in Rome, dedicated to Saint Thomas Becket, to accommodate English pilgrims in the city.

Jan-FebComp. venturaFaenzaTuscany and Romagna

His conflicts with the Lord of Faenza, Astorre Manfredi, continue. He has 600 horses at his disposal. His allies are Francesco di Dovadola and Giovanni di Alberghettino Manfredi. The Florentines intervene once again to pacify the contenders.

Mar.TuscanyIn Florence, where he negotiates a truce with Manfredi.
Apr.FlorenceCaptain generalRomagna

His contract (appearance) is renewed with 25 lances and 18 archers for seven months. Additionally, a company of 90 lances and archers is hired, which he can use as needed. He also compels the Florentines to hire Cogno, Ramsey, and John Berwick. He is granted an annual salary of 4,000 florins (333.33 monthly, tax-exempt).

MayThe King of England appoints him as his ambassador to Pope Urban VI.
Jul.Comp. venturaFaenzaRomagna

The truce with Manfredi expires, and their conflict resumes. There is a conciliatory ruling by the Bolognese to address his ongoing disagreements with the Lord of Faenza. Unable to effectively defend his Romagnol lordship, he enters into negotiations with Niccolò d’Este in Bagnacavallo to sell the territories he controls to the Lord of Ferrara. The final agreement is reached in Lugo.


He conveys his fiefs of Cotignola, Conselice, and Bagnacavallo to Filippo Guazzalotti, representing Niccolò and Alberto d’Este, thereby extinguishing a previous loan of 60,000 ducats. He requests to be released from his obligations by the Florentines and joins forces with Everardo Lando and Janos Horvath (Giovanni Unghero).

Oct.Comp. venturaFlorenceSienaUmbria and Tuscany

Upon the expiration of his contract with Florence, he forms a new company. He reaches Isola Romanesca (Bastia Umbra) and, together with Corrado Lando and Giovanni Unghero, commits not to harass the Florentines and their allies for three months. The company includes the German corporal Hugo Calesten, who previously served Florence but had to flee the city due to his debts. Through Spinello Alberti, he receives 5,000 florins. He moves to the Val di Chiana, and the people of Siena give him another 4,000 florins (the overall cost of the raid for the state budget, including various regalia, amounts to 5,600 florins). The three condottieri promise to respect the territories of Siena, Cortona, and Montepulciano for three months, thus ensuring free passage on predetermined roads. The people of Perugia, also through Alberti’s intermediation, grant him ownership of a house in the city.

Nov.Comp. venturaFermoMarche

He penetrates the territory of Fermo with Corrado Lando. He stations in the district of Montottone, supports Boffo da Massa in Rotella and Montalto delle Marche. He returns to Montottone, attempts to capture its castle, and proceeds to the Abbey of Chiaravalle. He then moves through the Macerata area and camps at the Ponte di Monastero near Treia.

Dec.FlorenceCaptain general 90 lancesTuscanyHe is hired by the Florentines for six months.
Jan.FlorenceComp. venturaTuscany

Under the pretext of reviewing his troops, he enters Florence to suppress some disorders that have arisen in the city by the followers of Giorgio Scali and Tommaso Strozzi, who have been sentenced to death by the authorities. At the end of the month, he leaves the city with his company, 100 German lances, and another 100 English lances led by Giovanni Beltoft (65) and Berwick (35). He confronts the companies of Alberico da Barbiano, Villanuccio da Villafranca, and Guglielmo Ferrebach. He clashes with Villafranca in Marcialla, and the mercenaries retreat towards San Donato in Collina. Hawkwood pursues them to Castelnuovo Berardenga, recovers a large portion of the loot, and liberates many prisoners. In Florence, he is accused of allowing the opponents to retreat.

Feb.-Mar.Comp. venturaLuccaTuscanyHe devastates Lucca with local exiles. In March, Lucca surrenders and grants him an annual pension of 400 florins for the entire period he remains in Italy. In return, he promises not to infest their territory. Jacopo da Pietrasanta, an exile and secretary, is readmitted to the city upon his request. With the first 400 florins, he purchases several landed properties in Essex, England. Lucca will continue to pay him this pension until 1391, when the city will ally with the Lord of Milan, Giangaleazzo Visconti, against Florence. During this period, Hawkwood’s finances are prosperous, considering that he enjoys an annual income of 1,600 florins between Florence and Lucca. This allows him to lend 400 florins to Guglielmo Bosone and another 100 to the Englishman Robin Corbrigg, who has recently arrived in Italy from England. Both Bosone and Corbrigg will not comply with the repayment terms of these loans. During this period, with the consent of the Florentine authorities, Hawkwood also acquires several properties in the vicinity of the capital.
MayTuscanyThreats from the Compagnia di San Giorgio and the Compagnia dell’Uncino continue. He meets several times in the field with Alberico da Barbiano and Villanuccio da Villafranca, mediated by the Florentine Spinello Alberti. An agreement is reached, and the mercenaries are granted 30,000 florins (20,000 from Florence and 10,000 from Siena), on the condition that the territories of both cities are not subjected to raids for fifteen months as soldiers and eighteen months as a company. At the end of the month, the English crown recognizes 10 marks to John Northwood, his personal chamberlain, who arrived from Lombardy with a message.
……………RiminiComp. venturaMarcheHe defends Fossombrone against the threats brought by a passing Comp. ventura in the region.
Aug.ChurchAnjouCaptain general

Carlo di Durazzo recalls his troops from Tuscany to protect Naples. Siena believes it is entitled to defer the payment of 1,000 florins, but Hawkwood does not accept the situation. He switches to the payroll of Pope Urban VI and receives 14,000 florins.

Oct.Comp. venturaSienaTuscanyHe moves to the territory of Siena, where he gathers troops and requests the sum of 1,000 florins from the city as a settlement of old debts. The Sienese refuse to pay. He plunders the districts of Buonconvento and Torrita di Siena, causing severe damage everywhere he goes, including Abbadia a Isola. In this way, he obtains the payment of a ransom of 14,000 florins. He switches to the payroll of Pope Urban VI because King Richard II supports the cause of Pope Urban VI instead of the antipope Clement VII. The Visconti puts pressure on him to support the Angevin party against Carlo di Durazzo. At the end of the month, he advances towards the Kingdom of Naples with 2,200 cavalry.
Nov.ChurchAnjouUmbria, Lazio, and Campania

He arrives in Perugia and requests 1,000 florins from the city, which are immediately handed over to him. He meets with the pope in Rome and marches on Naples accompanied by Carluccio Brancaccio and Andrea Carafa.


He defeats the troops of Louis of Anjou and captures thirty-seven prisoners for ransom. He tries to collect the corresponding ransoms (10,900 florins). When some nobles, who were previously taken as prisoners and released according to the agreements, fail to keep their word and refuse to honor their commitments, Hawkwood appeals to the King of Naples. He is granted justice, and numerous payment decrees are issued against the defaulters. The case is entrusted to a judge of the royal court, Donato d’Arezzo, who is responsible for enforcing the royal orders. The issue proves difficult to resolve because not all debtors are under the control of Carlo di Durazzo. For example, Ugo da San Severino is outside the Kingdom of Naples, Iacopo da Capri is in prison, Asserello da Capua is still fighting with the Angevins, and Andrea da Messina is far away as he serves another lord. John Hawkwood does not give up and successfully recovers part of the debts. With the money collected, he turns to the Sienese banker Raimondo dei Tolomei, who invests it in the purchase of several estates and the construction of his main residence in Rocchetta sull’Elsa near Poggibonsi. In the middle of the month, he is contacted by Count Amadeus VI of Savoy for a truce.

Jan.Comp. venturaPerugia Siena ; FlorenceUmbria and Tuscany

He leaves the Roman countryside and advances into the territory of Perugia with Giovanni degli Ubaldini and Ramsey. After receiving 15,000 florins, he moves into the Val di Chiana, occupying Fabbrica, attacking Buonconvento, and devastating the Val d’Arbia. When the Sienese oppose him with the help of the Florentines, he moves to the territory of Arezzo. The mercenaries are given 7,000 florins. He negotiates with the envoy from Lucca, Andrea da Volterra, assuring him that he does not intend to raid the territory of that city. At the same time, he urges Ramsey to devastate their lands.

Feb.Vico (Antipope)Church, SienaTuscany

He enters the territory of Chiusi and reveals himself as an enemy of the Sienese. He is surprised near the location by Guido d’Asciano, who captures many of his horses.

Apr.Comp. venturaSienaTuscanyHe joins forces with the Company of Bretons. He attacks the Sienese, now commanded by Tancredi da Modigliana.
Jun.Vico (Antipope)SienaTuscany and Lazio

After receiving 15,000 florins from Prefect Francesco di Vico and Antipope Clement VII, he continues to oppose the Sienese in the Papal States. He defeats Guido d’Asciano and Niccolò Malatesta between San Lorenzo Nuovo and Lake Bolsena, rides to Magliano in Tuscany and Collecchio. The Florentines recognize him with 18,000 florins, and the Sienese provide another 11,000.

Jul. – Sep.Tuscany

He camps in Cortona and forms the Company of the Rose with Ramsey and Ubaldini. He plans to move to Romagna to join forces with Lucio Lando.

Oct.Church, Comp. venturaAnjouCampania, Marche, and Romagna

He confronts his opponents with Alberico da Barbiano. He joins with 300 lances and Lucio Lando and carries out several raids in the Marche and Romagna regions.

Nov.Rimini, Comp. venturaRavenna, PerugiaRomagna and Umbria

He serves Galeotto Malatesta and devastates the territory of Ravenna. In mid-month, he is reported in the territory of Orvieto, where he defeats 1,500 poorly armed men who attempt to oppose him. Perhaps prompted by Rinaldo Orsini, he then targets Perugia. He is accompanied by many exiles from the city. The intimidated municipality offers him a “loan” of 400 florins, while another 1,200 is offered to the members of the company. In total, the Perugians spend 2,000 florins on this occasion. He strengthens his brigades with the arrival of Ramsey. At the end of the month, in the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi, he allies himself through an oath with Ubaldini and Ramsey.

Dec.Comp. venturaSiena, LuccaTuscany and Umbria

He continues with new raids in Tuscany alongside the two condottieri. The Sienese hope to be spared and send three ambassadors to congratulate his arrival. They offer the company 8,000 florins (5,000 officially and 3,000 under the table). Finally, Hawkwood is granted a monthly provision of 100 florins for a year. He threatens Lucca. He camps in Cortona, where he meets with the ambassador of the municipality, Andrea da Volterra, a week after Christmas. The meeting concerns the debts he claims from Alderigo Castracani. He asks for 7,300 florins, and the negotiation concludes with the immediate delivery of 2,300 florins and the remaining 5,000 to be paid in installments over two years. He moves to the territory of Città di Castello with 2,000 horsemen and 1,000 infantry, and the Florentines deliver an additional 20,000 florins on behalf of the pope. He is supplied with provisions from Citerna.

Jan.ChurchAnjou, AntipopeCampania

The Florentines, on behalf of the pope, deliver another 10,000 florins to settle outstanding wages. He leaves Naples. In return, Urban VI lifts the interdict on Florence that had been in effect since 1375. In response to his debts to the condottiero that he cannot settle, Carlo di Durazzo grants him the Casale di Carinaro in Abruzzo and some properties in Capua and Naples.

Feb.TuscanyHe camps between Borgo San Sepolcro and Cortona. He asks the Florentines to pay his debts owed by Carlo di Durazzo but is refused.
Mar.Campania, CalabriaDifficulties in supplies and the death of the Count of Savoy put Luigi d’Angiò’s army in bad condition. Hawkwood stops in the San Severino Valley and also carries out a raid in Calabria to suppress the rebellion of pro-Angevin nobles.
Apr.Comp. venturaCamerinoApulia, Marche,Umbria, Tuscany

He arrives in Barletta and then moves to the Marche region, where he threatens Amandola, which is controlled by Rodolfo da Varano. He attempts to capture the fortress of Spoleto from Rinaldo Orsini with Ubaldini. He then moves to the Pisan territory and joins forces with the Visconti troops due to some riots in Pisa.

MayComp. venturaSiena,Pisa

Lucca, Perugia, Ascoli Piceno

Tuscany, Umbria, Marche

He positions himself near Cortona, causing fear once again in Tuscany. He defeats the Sienese and seizes not only hostages but also a significant amount of ammunition and artillery pieces. The Sienese give him 11,000 florins to appease him (in reality, the total cost of the raid rises to 16,000 florins). The Pisans supply him with provisions, grant passage to his troops, and give him an additional 9,000 florins. The Lucchese also provide him with 4,000 florins. He returns to Umbria, facing futile resistance from the Perugians led by Boldrino da Panicale. He stops in the territory of Montegiorgio to plunder Ascoli, and the inhabitants of Fermo must each pay him and Ubaldini 1,000 florins. At the end of the month, he is reported in Castignano and camps in Sant’Elpidio A Mare with Ubaldini before retreating.


He carries out ineffective actions on behalf of the Perugians along Lake Trasimeno. During this campaign, he seizes the Montecchio Vesponi Castle, which he receives from the Perugians in lieu of a ransom payment. At the same time, he takes control of two other towns near Arezzo, Migliarina and Badia al Pino (Badia a Ruoti), which are also granted to him by the Perugians or perhaps by Carlo di Durazzo. A similar request to the Sienese for Monte San Savino, however, is rejected. He continues to fight alongside Ubaldini in support of Francesco di Vico.

Jul.Comp. venturaFaenzaRomagna

He is engaged in Romagna, where Astorre Manfredi has attacked the stronghold of Sezada. The Florentines intervene, and a renewed two-year truce is established with Manfredi. He can now focus on the events unfolding in Tuscany.

Sep.AnjouNaplesTuscanyHe joins forces with Enguerrand de Coucy and takes part in the conquest of Arezzo.
Oct.FlorenceAnjouTuscanyHe reaches an agreement with the Florentines and opposes Enguerrand de Coucy and the Angevins.
Nov.Comp. venturaChurch, Perugia, SienaTuscany

He resumes his wandering life with Giovanni degli Ubaldini and Riccardo Ramsey. At the end of the month, he heads towards Anghiari and extorts money from the Sienese with Ubaldini, Corrado Lando, and Rinaldo Orsini. Siena still owes Hawkwood a remaining sum of 500 florins from old unpaid debts, and the condottiero collects the amount through his agent, the merchant Vituccio da Pisa.

Jan.FlorenceTarlatiTuscanyHe supports Vanni di Vanni against the Tarlati.
Apr.Comp. venturaPerugia, Lucca, Bologna, Florence, SienaUmbria, Tuscany, EmiliaThe Company of the Rose now consists of 3,000 horsemen and 1,000 foot soldiers. The captains include Hawkwood, Taddeo Pepoli, Giovanni degli Ubaldini, Everardo della Campana, and Boldrino da Panicale. The company extorts money from Perugia and Lucca. They move towards Bologna, but these cities, under pressure from the Florentines and the Sienese, join forces against the company.

He receives a letter from his brother-in-law Carlo Visconti informing him of the capture of his father-in-law Bernabò Visconti by his nephew Gian Galeazzo.

Jun.Comp. venturaBolognaMilanEmilia, Lombardy, Tuscany

He moves into the Bolognese territory with Ubaldini, Boldrino da Panicale, and Taddeo Pepoli. The inhabitants give them 30,000/35,000 florins (officially 15,000). He travels to Lombardy, where his brother-in-law Carlo Visconti seeks his support in liberating their father. He meets with an envoy from the new ruler of Milan in Cavezzo, and Bernabò is abandoned to his fate. Hawkwood is promised a monthly stipend of 300 florins (30 lances) plus a bonus of 1,000 florins. The contract is signed at the company’s camp near Milan. He regains the lands that were previously confiscated from him in Pessano con Bornago, Carugate, Valera, and Santa Maria alla Molgora. The following month, Gian Galeazzo Visconti will also return the Abbey of Sant’Alberto near Pavia to him. At the end of the month, he returns to Tuscany with Coucy and Ubaldini. He stops in the territory of Cortona until the lord of the city, Uguccione Casali, invites him to leave the area.

Jul.Comp. venturaMarche and Umbria

He goes to Rocca Contrada (Arcevia). The Florentines give him 1,100 florins out of the requested 2,000 to prevent damage to their territory. During the same period, Hawkwood supports Guglielmino d’Assisi in his conflict with the capital city and negotiates a two-month truce between the parties.

Aug.Comp. venturaSiena, PerugiaTuscany and Umbria

He is urged by the Florentines to plunder Siena with Everardo Lando and Taddeo Pepoli (2,500 horsemen). The raid is particularly devastating due to the political unrest within the city. He stops in the Val d’Arbia, and the incursions end with the capture of hostages and the looting of livestock, including 600 pairs of oxen and over 8,000 bushels of wheat. The Sienese pay him 15,000 florins, and the Florentines grant him some lands in the Arezzo area. All three condottieri also receive a warhorse, and Hawkwood is additionally given three pieces of silk fabric. He moves into the Perugian territory.

Sep.Comp. venturaPerugiaUmbria

Lucio Lando, Everardo della Campana, Giovanni Beltoft, and Taddeo Pepoli station themselves in the Perugian territory between Papiano, Spina Nuova, and Cerqueto until they are paid.

……………NaplesHungary, Lombardy

He follows Charles of Durazzo to Hungary, where Charles has been appointed king. He returns to Italy following the assassination of Charles. In December, Bernabò Visconti is poisoned and dies in Milan. The King of England entrusts him with an embassy to offer condolences to Gian Galeazzo Visconti.

Feb.His son John Jr., his heir, is born in Florence.
……………AngiòNaplesKingdom of Naples

He has some disagreements over his pay with the young Ladislaus of Anjou, who succeeded his father Charles of Durazzo in the Kingdom of Naples. Consequently, Hawkwood militates with Ladislaus’ opponents, the Angevins.

MayFlorence82 lancesTuscanyHe is hired by the Florentines to counter the venture companies.
Sep.Comp. venturaSiena, FlorenceTuscany, Romagna, Marche, Abruzzo

He forces the Sienese to pay him 800 florins out of the requested 1,000. He visits Siena with an escort of 40-50 horsemen, then moves to Romagna while part of his men continue to harass the Val d’Ambra. He joins forces with Giovanni degli Ubaldini and Giovanni Tedesco da Pietramala. He comes to the aid of Antonio da Montefeltro, who is threatened by the Florentines. He devastates Montefeltro, passes through Colbordolo and Talacchio, and causes unrest in the territory of Fano. The inhabitants of Fano give him 500 florins. Finally, he moves to Abruzzo. Queen Margherita of Anjou, Ladislaus’ mother, orders the people of Chieti to provide supplies for his troops and forage for their horses.

Oct.OutsidePerugiaTuscany and Umbria

He is in the territory of Cortona, causing trouble for Chiugi and threatening the people of Perugia. He is driven away by Boldrino da Panicale.

Dec.RomagnaHe is contacted in Faenza by Giovanni degli Ubaldini. Regarding the wages from the Carraresi.
Jan.PaduaVeronaVenetoAt Montagnana. He enters Padua with Giovanni Tedesco da Pietrtamala, then goes to Monselice.
Feb.Captain of 500 lancesVeneto

He crosses the Adige River, reaches Castelbaldo, and enters the Veronese territory. He is with Ubaldini at Cerea and attacks the Veronese region in hopes of finding provisions for his men and their horses. He is forced to retreat to Bussolengo, where he is blocked for twenty days without receiving necessary supplies. The soldiers are without bread and meat and are forced to eat legumes and turnips. A messenger from the Lord of Verona arrives at his camp to negotiate a truce. Hawkwood’s spies are alert and warn him. The messenger is actually an observer with the task of obtaining information to harm the Paduans. Hawkwood has him captured and confined in a tent without allowing him to speak to anyone.


He goes to Castelbaldo because the passage is blocked by a strong fortress built by Giovanni Ordelaffi at Castagnaro. Before the battle with Ubaldini, he knights Conte da Carrara along with his brother Giacomo, followed by Bernardo Scolari, Pataro, and Francesco Buzzaccarini. Hawkwood divides his troops into eight squadrons and leads the first one with 500 men-at-arms and 500-600 English archers. He pretends to retreat, luring the Scaligeri to pursue him into marshy terrain unsuitable for heavy cavalry combat. He has his men-at-arms dismount from their horses on dry land and advance in tight formations. The opponents move with confidence but are forced to halt in front of a canal and try to cross it. At the same time, the archers, positioned on the flanks, shower the enemy with arrows, creating gaps in their ranks where the dismounted knights insert themselves. Hawkwood then circles around the swamp and attacks the Scaligeri from behind. The victorious soldiers are given double pay and a month’s salary. Hawkwood returns to Padua in triumph.


He returns to the Veronese region via Monselice and Montagnana, overcomes the resistance of the opponents in Soave and Villanova, and brings his devastation to Porta Vescovo in Verona. He sets fire to all the villages along the way to Montorio Veronese. He goes to Padua after a week and serves the Florentines to avoid aiding the Visconti, who have meanwhile allied with the Carraresi.

MayFlorenceCaptain of 500 lances and 1,000 infantryTuscany

In Florence. He is in the service of the Florentines for six months.

Sep.Comp. venturaRiminiMarche

With Giovanni Beltoft, he assists the Petrucci family against the Malatesta. Alongside this condottiero, Ubertinello, and Boccaccino Petrucci, he ambushes Carlo Malatesta in Fratta.

Dec.FlorenceComp. venturaTuscany

He monitors the movements of Bernardo della Sala’s company, which has returned from a raid in the Pisan territory and is heading towards the Perugian region. The people of Siena offer him 4,000 florins to prevent him from attacking their territory.


He joins forces with Alberico da Barbiano and Otto of Brunswick and leaves Capua to support the defenders of Castel Capuano in Naples. He is in Caivano with 4,000 cavalry and 500 infantry.

Feb.CampaniaLuigi di Montjoie leaves Naples with 1,600 cavalry and repels Hawkwood at Aversa.
Mar.CampaniaHe sends 100 lances to aid the Pisans, who are threatened by Beltoft.
MayFlorenceComp. venturaTuscany

At the end of his contract, he leaves the Kingdom of Naples. The Florentines assign him the task of monitoring their borders and dissuading Beltoft from further raids in the Pisan and Lucchese territories.

……………TuscanyIn Cortona with his brother-in-law Carlo Visconti. He convinces some English captains serving in Beltoft’s companies to defect and join the Florentine ranks.
Sep.Comp. venturaFolignoTuscany Umbria and Marche

He stays in his castle in Montecchio Vesponi, where he learns of a conspiracy organized in Cortona by a court physician who was bribed by the Count of Virtù to harm the lord of the city, Uguccione Casali, and Carlo Visconti, who is a guest of the Casalis. Thanks to his information, the plot is foiled, and the physician is dragged through the city and eventually killed. He then enters Chiugi, joins forces with Carlo Visconti (1,400 cavalry), proceeds to Bettona and Foligno, and devastates some territories in Umbria and Marche with 3,000 cavalry. He separates from Corrado Lando, who is followed by 1,000 cavalry. He receives 2,000 florins from the people of Siena out of the initially requested 4,000.

Oct.Bologna1,808 cavalryEmilia

The people of Bologna give him 3,767 florins for one month of his company’s service and recognize an additional 10,000 florins on the condition that they are not harassed for two years.

Nov.NaplesAntipopeUmbria and Apulia

He heads towards Apulia. In Trevi, he negotiates with Beltoft to hire him with 200 lances. The Florentines provide him with 5,000 florins for this operation, of which 1,000 are immediately delivered to his agents Giannichino Trichil and Perotto Fedini. The remaining 4,000 will be disbursed only when Beltoft’s troops have actually joined his men. Finally, he is requested to take action to recover some mules and hides stolen by his soldiers from Florentine merchants.

Dec.UmbriaHe passes through the Perugian region with 1,300 English, German, and Italian lances. Most of his captains are named John: John Wanlock, John Vale, Johnny Butler, John Colpepper, Johnny Svim, Giovanni da Liverpool (John Liverpool), John Lye, and John Balzan. David Falcon, Richard Swinfort, Roger Baker, and Richard Norlant are also part of the company.
Jan.Comp. venturaSienaTuscany

He carries out devastations in the territory of Siena with Corrado Lando and Bernardo della Sala. He asks the commune for ownership of a house within their territory.

Feb.NapoliAntipopeCampaniaHe returns to Aversa.

He stays between Liburna (San Pietro a Patierno) and Afragola. He arrives in Capua with 1,300 cavalry to join forces with the Durazzeschi.


At the beginning of the month, he moves with Otto of Brunswick from San Pietro a Patierno. He clashes with some Angevin soldiers who came out of the center to confront him at Casanova (Casalnuovo di Napoli). The defenders prevail and capture some prisoners. In the middle of the month, he sets out to support the defenders of Castel Capuano. With the help of the Durazzeschi fleet (4 galleys, 6 brigantines, and many light vessels), he positions himself in front of Casa Nova and San Pietro all’Ara. The assailants enter the two locations while 400 armed men come out of Castel Capuano to contribute to the battle. Luigi di Montjoie’s troops are prepared for the impact and, after a long and bloody fight, force Hawkwood and Brunswick to retreat. He returns to Afragola. At the sight of this, the defenders of Castel Capuano surrender, lower the flag of Ladislaus of Anjou and that of Butillo Prignano, the pope’s nephew, from the ramparts.

MayCampania and Tuscany

Having received 3,000 florins, he leaves the Kingdom of Naples with 400 lances and 500 infantry. He tries to persuade Brunswick to follow him in the service of the Florentines. He visits Aversa, Rome, Borgo San Sepolcro (Sansepolcro), and the territory of Orvieto. He goes to Florence, where he is contracted for six months with a monthly salary of 500 florins. His company lodges between Perugia and Cortona, near his castle in Montecchio Vesponi.

Jun.FlorenceMilan Siena;400 lances and 500 infantryUmbria and Tuscany

He is contracted for nine months and receives a monthly provision of 500 florins. He has 500 lances and 500 infantry and crossbowmen under his command. He positions himself initially in the territory of Narni, but the Florentines order him to refrain from causing harm to Perugia. After moving to Tuscany, he penetrates the territory of Siena. He is confronted by Paolo Savelli at Asinalunga (Sinalonga) and is forced to flee after a seven-hour battle.

Jul.Tuscany and Umbria

He reaches his troops stationed between Montone, Fratta Todina, and Borgo San Sepolcro (Sansepolcro) and launches an attack against the Sienese. The Perugians send Antonio da Romignano and Felcino da Perugia to monitor the movements of his company along their borders.


He assists Gaddo da Frosini, who is under siege in his castle. He is at Olmo with Corrado Lando and Carlo Visconti (1,000 lances) and moves to the Val di Chiana. He attacks Poggiolo and, after organizing his men (3,000 cavalry and 1,000 infantry), he advances into La Scialenga in the Val d’Arbia. The Florentines provide him and Lando with an additional 1,000 florins to intensify the devastation of the countryside for a month. He sets fire to San Sano, Montalcino, Camigliano, San Giovanni, Castiglioncello del Trinoro, and Monteguidi. The raid ends with Lando’s injury. Hawkwood withdraws towards Colle di Val d’Elsa, followed as always by Savelli. He reaches San Galgano and the plain of Rosia but fails to obtain 36,000 florins from the Sienese despite his pleas.

Oct.TuscanyThe people of Lucca pay Giovanni Hawkwood and Corrado Prospero a sum of 995 florins as condottieri of the league formed following the recent peace treaty between the Visconti on one side and the Florentines and Lucchese on the other.

He returns to Olmo with the spoils, and there the company disbands. He leaves his salary in Florence to return to the Kingdom of Naples, attracted by the generous offers made by Queen Margherita of Anjou. Efforts by Ghino di Roberto, Giovanni Orlandi, and Piero Baldovinetti, who were sent repeatedly to him, to hire him with promises of money are in vain. They appeal to his pride, rekindling the hatred he has long held towards Gian Galeazzo Visconti.

Dec.NaplesAnjouApuliaIn the service of Ladislaus of Anjou to oppose the Provencal militias.
Mar.Campania and Lazio

He is contacted by the Florentines in Gaeta, along with Carlo Visconti, and definitively joins their service. He leaves Rome and, through Pitigliano, heads to Maremma with 150 cavalry, 300 infantry, and 50 archers, eventually reaching Volterra.

Apr.Florence200 lancesTuscany

He is enlisted for one year of service and one year of respect (200 lances for 500 florins per month). He also commits not to act against the republic for the following two years. He discusses the terms of agreement with Duke Stephen of Bavaria with Carlo Visconti and Francesco Novello da Carrara.


He goes to Bologna and rides through the Modenese region with Giovanni da Barbiano, capturing peasants, plundering livestock, and seizing crops.

Jul.Tuscany and Emilia

He is in Florence to discuss the strategy with the Dieci di Balia (the Council of Ten). The authorities designate him as the “protector of the state.” He reaches the Parmense region with 1,600 lances and refrains from looting to incite the population to revolt. With the defection of Marchese Alberto d’Este, he is initially forced to retreat. However, due to the successful attacks by Francesco Novello da Carrara in Polesine, he can relocate near Reggio Emilia. He uncovers the treachery of a German squad leader who was supposed to desert to the enemy and attack the Florentine ranks from behind. The captain is captured with his men, and the Viscontians withdraw towards Reggio Emilia.


He returns to the Senese region. With Carlo Visconti, he confronts Paolo Savelli in a seven-hour-long battle. Both sides claim victory. He is approached by a hydraulic engineer appointed by the Florentines to divert the water supply to Siena.

Sep.-Oct.Veneto, Emilia, and Lombardy

He decides to continue the war from the Paduan region. He moves through the Vicentine and Veronese regions with 1,400 infantry, mostly crossbowmen, and 2,400 lances from Florence, Bologna, and Carrara. From there, he heads towards the Modenese region with 1,500 lances, devastating the area. He besieges two castles defended by 200 lances, but they attack his camp and are repelled with the capture of 240 horses. Hawkwood ravages the Reggiano and the Mantuan region (Coazze), making significant gains, which are brought to Bologna. He protects the vineyard workers in the Bolognese region. He then moves to the Parmense region and seizes a large booty. On the return journey, his baggage carriers prevail over a strong enemy cavalry contingent (200 lances).

Nov.Emilia and Veneto

He is in Bologna and penetrates the Ferrarese region, forcing the Marquess of Este to change alliances. By the end of the month, he is in Padua, preparing plans with the Carrara family for the upcoming offensive in Lombardy.

Jan.FlorenceMilan Mantua220 lancesVeneto and Lombardy

He leaves Padua in mid-month, at dawn, at the exact hour indicated by the astrologer Alessio Nicolai. He commands 1,400 lances and 15,000 infantry (according to Carrara sources) or 2,000-3,000 lances, 2,000-4,000 infantry, and 500 archers (according to Tuscan sources). Also by his side are Astorre Manfredi, Giovanni da Barbiano, Francesco Novello da Carrara, and Conte da Carrara (the latter with 600 German lances). The Marshal of the army is John Balzan (monthly salary of 50 florins), and Hawkwood also has direct command of John Wenlock and Carlo Visconti. He arrives in Castelbaldo, joins Barbarano with Francesco Novello da Carrara, crosses the Adige River, and occupies Illasi. Overcoming initial resistance from the Viscontians, he focuses on Verona, hoping that the population will revolt in favor of the Scaligeri family. He defeats the enemy once again (capturing 150 prisoners) and settles in the village of Santa Lucia. Finding no signs of rebellion, he enters Valpolicella and Valpantena, then turns towards the Mantuan region, plundering its territory up to four miles from the capital.

Feb.Captain g.le ; 200 lancesVeneto

He is appointed the Captain General of the league. The Florentines grant him an additional annual provision of 2,000 florins, in addition to the 1,200 florins he has been receiving since 1375, to be paid in quarterly installments. He also succeeds in securing money from the Florentines for his daughters’ dowries: Janet (14 years old), Catherine (13 years old), and the youngest, Anne. The city promises to provide each of them with a sum of 2,000 florins as a dowry. On the military front, Hawkwood is forced to return to Padua with Conte da Carrara due to the lack of supplies and the sudden departure of Manfredi from the camp. Manfredi, corrupted by the Viscontis, has made a secret agreement with the enemy to kill Hawkwood and Francesco Novello da Carrara during a war council.

Apr.200 lancesVeneto

He leaves Padua again with 1,500 lances, 1,000 infantry, and 300 crossbowmen, devastating the Vicentine and Veronese regions. This time, he is accompanied by Corrado Lando, Corrado Prospero (100 lances), and other minor captains such as the Germans Albert Coiser (92 lances) and Corrado di Rotestein, and the Englishmen Balzan (still holding the title of Marshal), David Falcan (79 lances and 37 archers), Roger Nottingham (10 lances and 5 archers), and other small contingents under the command of William Cook (son of Cogno) and Richard Croft. Many lances are composed of soldiers from different nationalities, including English, German, Italian, French, and Hungarian. The astrologer Nicolai once again determines the most favorable moment for the army to set off.

May-Jun.Veneto and Lombardy

At the end of the harvest season, he leaves Padua for the third time with 2,200 lances, 1,200 crossbowmen, and a large number of infantry. He heads towards the left bank of the Po River to join forces with Giovanni d’Armagnac, who is planning to invade the Visconti territories from the west. Hawkwood crosses the Vicentine region and defeats several cavalry contingents in Verona twice. In the second encounter, he routs Taddeo dal Verme, who commands 300 lances and a significant number of infantry, capturing 60 men-at-arms and 200 infantry. He crosses the Mincio River and repels 9,000 cavalry and 3,000 infantry who try to block his path. He accelerates his march towards the Oglio River and foils new ambushes set by the enemy (700 cavalry attacking the rear guard during a river crossing). Corrado Lando ambushes Taddeo dal Verme at Civilerghe di Mazzano, allowing Hawkwood to enter the San Martino valley, where he is joined by local Guelf forces. He defeats Jacopo dal Verme and Facino Cane outside the gates of Cologno (Bergamo) in a battle that results in the deaths of 80 men-at-arms and many crossbowmen among the Viscontian forces. During the engagement, 200 Milanese soldiers drown while attempting to cross a river (a total of 4,000 deaths on both sides). Repelled by Bergamo, he passes through Trescore Balneario and Cenate, breaking into Val Cavallina. He clashes with the enemy in Colognola, then passes through Ponte San Pietro, Presezzo, and Bonate Sopra, constantly plundering the surrounding territory. He camps in Mapello but fails to cross the Adda River. With the same swiftness, he takes the road to Brignano Gera d’Adda, Pandino, and Villanova, reaching Ghiaradadda. On the banks of the river, on the day of St. John the Baptist, he holds a horse race. He advances with his raids up to fifteen miles from Milan, always pursued by dal Verme and Ugolotto Biancardo (1,800 lances), who try to cut off his supply lines.

Jul. Aug.Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia, and Romagna

He challenges Jacopo dal Verme to a battle but the outcome remains inconclusive. Hawkwood sends him the traditional bloody glove as a sign of the challenge, but the enemy commander refuses to engage in open battle, abandons the field, and moves to Piedmont to face Armagnac. Upon hearing the news of Armagnac’s defeat and death at Castellazzo, Hawkwood immediately decides to return to Padua. He sets up camp in Paterno in Cremona, with dal Verme in front of him and two large rivers blocking any possibility of retreat. Hawkwood pretends to withdraw and lures the Viscontian forces into a small forest, where they are caught by surprise and defeated by Corrado Lando. In this encounter, 400 horses are killed or drown in the river, and another 400 are captured. Hawkwood manages to ford the Oglio River, passes through Calcinato and Montichiari, crosses the Mincio River (where he arms twenty knights), and the Adige River, losing many of his men who, exhausted and hungry, drown in the river crossings. Dal Verme has the embankments of the Adige River cut, flooding the nearby countryside and Hawkwood’s camp. Many infantry soldiers perish in this event. The opposing captain is so confident of victory that he sends Hawkwood a caged fox. In response, the Englishman says to the herald presenting the object, “I see the animal is not sad, it means it will find its way,” breaks a bar, and sets the animal free. Hawkwood abandons the camp, taking all the tents and equipment to slow down the enemy’s pursuit. He advances to Legnago through the flooded fields and safely reaches Castelbaldo, thus preserving the army entrusted to him for the Florentines. He arrives in Montagnana, and the Viscontians are forced to abandon the pursuit of his troops. He leaves Padua and reaches Bologna, raiding the Romagna region as the Este family changes sides again. He repels the attacks of Ugolotto Biancardo, Antonio Porro, and Antonio Balestrazzo. For his remarkable ability demonstrated during this campaign, the Florentines grant him an extraordinary reward of 1,000 florins, to be paid in two installments, half at Christmas and half at Easter.


He returns to Tuscany with 1,200 lances and 1,000 crossbowmen via the Sambuca route. He passes through Pistoia and San Miniato, where he is joined by Giovanni da Barbiano and Luigi da Capua. He crosses the Arno River and cuts off Jacopo dal Verme’s routes to Siena and Florence. He stops at Montopoli in Val d’Arno, closely monitoring the enemy’s movements with 1,000 lances. He traps his rival between Empoli and Pontormo, crosses the Arno River at Signa, and follows the enemy to Tizzano, constantly disrupting the enemy’s supply lines. Florence sends him reinforcements of 10,000 men, mostly from the militias of the countryside. He arranges his troops in battle formation after realizing that the Viscontians are climbing Mount Albano in an attempt to move into the Val di Nievole. He devises a daring plan, sending 1,000 lances to attack the enemy’s rear guard and infantry through mountain paths, while he follows with the remaining lances and crossbowmen. He destroys the Viscontian rear guard (500 lances) at Uzzano, capturing Taddeo dal Verme, Gentile da Varano, and Vanni d’Appiano. At the same time, the Florentine infantry engages the enemy near Montevettolino and Pieve di Nievole. However, the action is not decisive due to Hawkwood’s hesitation, allowing dal Verme to reach Montecarlo under the cover of night. From there, he can move towards Lucca (where his troops find provisions) and eventually head to Ripafratta, where he fortifies his position. At dawn, Hawkwood reaches Montecarlo, where abandoned enemy supplies are found, including some bombards. After two days of rest in Pescia, he heads to San Miniato, while dal Verme retreats to Cascina.


He moves between San Miniato and Castelfiorentino, constantly monitoring dal Verme’s movements and closely shadowing him in the Val di Nievole. He takes quarters in the castles of that valley, concluding the campaign in this way. He secretly negotiates with the captains of a Breton company that serves in the enemy’s army to incite turmoil among the Viscontian forces. However, the plot is uncovered, and those responsible are executed.


He is sent with Ugo di Monforte to the aid of the Bolognese, who are threatened by the appearance of Ceccolo Broglia’s company, Brandolino Brandolini’s company, and Biordo dei Michelotti’s company in the territory. These companies, apparently dismissed by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, are preparing to enter Florentine territory. Upon hearing of Hawkwood’s arrival, the three condottieri change course and head towards Sarzana.


At the end of the conflict, Hawkwood retires to private life in Florence. He lives between the capital, San Donato in Polverosa (where Villa Demidoff now stands), and Montecchio Vesponi near Cortona. At the end of the month, the council of the Podesta of Florence decides by a large majority to erect a funerary monument for him in the Santa Maria del Fiore church. The tomb must be built of stone and adorned with marble statues.

139325 lancesHe appoints some procurators to settle his real estate assets located in Milan, mostly consisting of his wife Donnina Visconti’s dowry. At the same time, he appoints another procurator to collect the remaining amount owed to him by the city of Bologna. On another front, he faces increasing demands from the Florentine treasury to settle his outstanding taxes amounting to 1834 florins (out of a total of 3000 owed). Hawkwood vehemently protests against the tax office’s claims. He has been given three months to settle his debt, otherwise, a penalty equivalent to a quarter of the debt will be imposed. The Florentines grant him command of 25 lances and a monthly salary of 500 florins.
Jan. Feb.TuscanyIn January, his daughter Catherine marries Corrado Prospero. The son-in-law requests an advance of 1000 florins from the Florentines on his future salaries to cover the extravagant wedding expenses he desires. In the same period, Hawkwood begins to liquidate his assets to return to England. He renounces the castle of Montecchio Vesponi and the properties of Badia al Pino and Migliarino in favor of Florence. He also sells his Florentine properties and those in Poggibonsi.

He asks the city to settle his life pensions and agrees to receive 6000 tax-exempt florins, with 2000 paid immediately and the remainder in several quarterly installments. In addition to this amount, he is given 1000 florins as a farewell gift upon his departure. He dies in mid-March at his home in San Donato in Polverosa. His body is immediately transported to Florence and displayed in San Giovanni on a platform set up around the baptismal font surrounded by candles. The corpse is covered with a golden cloth, and a sword is placed on his chest, while he holds the commander’s baton in his hand. The funeral procession departs from Santa Maria del Fiore, consisting of 200 priests, 300 monks and friars, and numerous knights. When the procession arrives at the church of San Giovanni with the coffin, his body is placed there, and the procession resumes its journey towards Santa Maria del Fiore to accompany him to his tomb. He is followed by his son, daughters, and wife, all dressed in mourning attire paid for by the city. The bishop celebrates the mass. Finally, the body is taken to the sacristy to await burial in the choir near the altar. The cost of the funeral is estimated at 410 gold florins, 1 lira, and 11 soldi. In gratitude for his memory, the Florentines establish a dowry of 2000 florins for his three legitimate daughters and a pension of 1000 florins for his wife Donnina. The following year, at the request of King Richard II of England, his body will be transported to England and buried in the parish church of St. Peter in Hedingham Sible, where it will rest for several centuries before his remains are dispersed and his tomb destroyed. Hawkwood is featured in a novella by Franco Sacchetti, in which two Franciscan friars go to his castle in Montecchio Vesponi to beg for alms. When they greet him with “God give you peace,” the condottiero replies, “God take away your alms,” as he lives by war and peace brings him misery. John Hawkwood is also mentioned in the novel “Cavaliere Errante” by Tommaso III, the Marquis of Saluzzo. As for his funerary monument in Florence, it is still not ready after a year. The city commissions Agnolo Gaddi and Giuliano d’Arrigo to paint his image and that of Piero Farnese in the church for a sum of 30 florins. Lastly, in May 1436, during the renovation of the cathedral, the city of Florence commissions Paolo Uccello to create a fresco depicting Hawkwood, to be placed in the same spot where Gaddi’s work is already present. The condottiero is portrayed on horseback with his armor, commander’s baton, and a hat on his head. Two coats of arms are depicted on the base: a deer and three scallop shells of St. James. The representation is completed by the inscription: “Joannes Acutus Eques Britannicus/ Dux aetatis suae cautissimus et rei/ Militaris peritissimus habitus est.” In 1524, the fresco will be restored by Lorenzo da Credi, including the execution of the grotesque frame. There is also a portrait of him by Cristofano dell’Altissimo in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Biographies of D. M. Manni, Richard Gough, John Temple-Leader, and Friedrich Gaupp have been written about him. William Caxton wrote a biography of him, contrasting him with Roberto Canolles/Robert Knolles, in the translation of the work “Del ordre de cavayleria” by the blessed Raymond Lull. Hawkwood’s amorous adventures are reported by William Winstlay (ca. 1600) and Hubert Cole. Some streets in Villanova di Bagnacavallo (Aguta), Arezzo, Cagliari, Rimini, Padova, and Florence are named after him.


“Inghilese, gran maestro di guerra, di natura..volpigna e astuta.” VILLANI

-“Acuto doveva diventare il personaggio più in vista nelle guerre italiane.. Egli era un soldato duro, un vero professionista che, a differenza dei condottieri suoi contemporanei, pareva preoccuparsi non tanto del denaro quanto della propria reputazione militare. Molti dei successi che arrisero ai suoi soldati possono attribuirsi alla migliore preparazione e al migliore armamento di cui erano provvisti, ma non si può mettere in dubbio che nella sua compagnia egli riuscì a creare tale unità e tale spiriro di corpo quali non si erano mai visti. Inoltre si acquistò fama di essere leale ed onesto, fama che nasceva in certa misura per contrasto con la condotta dei suoi rivali, perché Acuto non era certo uno specchio di virtù. Sebbene fosse orgoglioso della sua autorità di comandante e si appassionasse alla guerra da vero professionista, non ricusò mai di accettare denaro in cambio della rinuncia a combattere e, al pari di tutti i condottieri del suo tempo, non ebbe gran rispetto per la vita e i beni della popolazione civile. Ma quello che nell’ascesa di Acuto risulta chiarissimo è che i giorni della compagnia libera e indipendente si avviavano rapidamente alla fine. Giovanni Acuto ottenne il comando della Compagnia Bianca probabilmente per elezione e nel 1375 quando la sua compagnia convenne di non molestare più Firenze, l’accordo fu firmato da Acuto e da altri quindici ufficiali della Compagnia. Ma col passare del tempo Acuto acquisì sempre più una posizione di preminenza; furono la sua capacità di comando e le sue doti personali, più che la forza numerica e la bravura della compagnia a procurare a questa vantaggiosi contratti.” MALLETT

-” Fu senz’altro un rinnovatore della figura del capitano di ventura, specialmente nell’ergersi spesso ad arbitro delle relazioni tra gli Stati, nel tentativo non azzardato, anche se non condotto a termine, di costituirsi una signoria personale, anticipatrice, anche in questo, dei nostri più famosi condottieri.” RENDINA

-” Era per molte pruove tenuto prode e valoroso della sua persona, astuto in pigliar i vantaggi, e uomo che attendendo il fin delle cose, non pendeva dalla fama degli uomini. Tale era il capitano: e perché questi soldati furono i primi, i quali recarono in Italia il conducere i soldati in nome di lance, e tre per lancia, dove prima si conducevano sotto nome di barbute.. Di questa gente tutti egualmente portavano spade e daghe, ma una parte erano arcieri, gli altri operavano le lance; gli archi erano di nasso e lunghi, le lance sode e di posta. Aveano panzeroni, bracciali, cosciali e gamberuoli di ferro, e dinanzi al petto un’anima di acciaio, le quali armi tenevano in modo pulite, che rilucevano a guisa di specchio. Combattevano il più delle volte a piede, avendo fra due una lancia, la quale tenevano in quel modo che si fa degli spiedi nelle cacce de’ cignali. Ciascuno di essi avea seco uno o due ragazzi, i quali oltre la cura di tener forbite l’armi.. guardavano anche i cavalli quando si combattea; l’ordine loro era tondo, come se fosse uno spinoso assai bene stretto e legato insieme, non si moveano per lo più verso il nemico se non a venti passi, e questo faceano con strida terribili e spaventose; eran pazientissimi del freddo e del caldo, ubbidienti a’ lor capitani, veloci al sangue e alle rapine; portavano scale fatte con grande artificio, il maggior pezzo delle quali non passava tre scaglioni, ma le quali attaccandosi l’una con l’altra superavano ogni grandissima torre. Erano nondimeno negli alloggiamenti per la troppa baldanza non molto cauti, alloggiando sparti e male ordinati,.. riuscirono migliori in cavalcate di notte e in rubar terre, che a combattere a campo aperto.” AMMIRATO

-” Stratega efficace e prudente, sempre in movimento, H. sembra essere stato molto apprezzato dai suoi uomini, che pagava regolarmente e che non si ammutinarono mai. Certo, conobbe delle disfatte, ma ogni volta riusciva a ricostruire i suoi effettivi, facendo appello soprattutto a compatrioti.. Sembra dunque giustificato l’apprezzamento di Paolo Giovio che lo chiamò acerrimus bellator et cunctator egregius. D’altronde H. non riuscì mai a costituirsi una vera e propria fortuna; poco prima di morire aveva persino deciso, per liberarsi dei debiti, di vendere i suoi beni – una villa vicino a Firenze, un castello nei pressi di Arezzo – per ritornare nella madre patria.” CONTAMINE

-“Questi fu famosissimo Capitano, et in Italia con sua gran gloria avea esercitato di molte guerre, et fino a questo dì il comune non avea mai fatto a nissuno cittadino, o forestieri tanto honore (Statua equestre affrescata nel suo sepolcro), quanto meritatamente fece a lui.” RIDOLFI

-“Inghillexe, gran prodromo (uomo prode).. Certamente era lo mazore et el  forastiero che fusse de za dai monti.. Miles anglichus, nobolissimus armorum capitaneus.” CORPUS CHRONIC. BONOMIENSIUM

-“Il quale fu de i più valenti e savi cavalieri ch’avesse la Cristianità de giente d’arme.  A quelo giorno il più famoxo e aventurà capitano che fusse in tuta Itallia, e ‘l più experto e probo in fatti d’arme.” B. GATARI

-“Huomo prontissimo di mano, e espertissimo nell’arme.. Essendo egli per lunga esperienza prattico delle guerre, haveva imparato con grave et spedito ingegno a presentire l’occasioni, a finire i consigli, e prestamente adoperare l’armi, sapendo essere quando egli era bisogno valorosissimo guerriero, e similmente trattenitore honorato.” GIOVIO

-” O de gl’Inglesi, e de l’Italia honore/ Aucutho e dell’Italico paese/ Sostegno: il cui gran seno, il cui valore/ Gran tempo d’ogni ingiuria lo difese:/ Come Fiorenza già con grato core/ Di famoso sepolcro honor ti rese,/ Così la tua virtute il Giovio honora/ D’efficie tal, che sarà viva ogn’hora.” G. Feroldi, da un sonetto raccolto dal GIOVIO

-“Acquistò.. assai celebre nome di Capitano.. Era l’Aucuto di statura più che mezana, di membra forti, di volto rubicondo, d’occhi e di capelli castagnicci.” ROSCIO

-“Egli applicò, nei limiti del possibile, la tattica di combattere evitando la battaglia di annientamento.” ARGIOLAS

-“Qui suis temporibus in Italia tribus et viginti vicibus, capitaneus existens gentium armigerarum, in ordinato bello acie contra inimicos congressus pugnaverat, et semper victoe evaserat, nisi ex illis vice una, qua victus est.” REDUSIO

-“The first real general of modern times.” HALLAM

-“The genius for organisation which enabled him to convert a band of freebooters into something like a regular army, his rude but effective strategy, his energy and resource distinguish him from all his medieval predecessors. He was recognised by his contemporaries as not only the ablest and most intrepid, but also the most trust worthy of condottieri. His fidelity, however, was by no means above suspicion, but to the Florentine government he was uniformly friend.” DICTIONARY OF NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY

-“Corusche fame, timoris orrendi, quod stilus hic memoratu non fraudat. Qui totam Ytaliam lacrimis miscuit hostilibus, qui tyrannorum truces oculos armorum fraudibus humiles mulsit, qui prospera atque industriosa victoria hostium semper arma contrivit.. Augut Johannem Anglicum, armorum decus italicum.. atrocem armis et aspectu ferocem statua veneranda porrigit; porrigit enim spectabilem discipline militaris habitum, porrigit magnifice circumspectorem austutie, porrigit tremende conspectum audatie; quibus per universam Jtaliam se victritium avanorum impigrum, se circunspecta prudentie venerabilem, se temperantie solide admirabilem contemplatorem quibusque periculis expositum compositorem assignat; cuius fama roboat per remitissimos ambitus.” MARZAGAIA

-“Era stato certamente uno de’ più valenti Condottieri, simile però nel carattere e ne’ portamenti agli altri capi di masnade, che infestavano l’Italia, lo scopo principale de’ quali era il guadagno e la conservazione de’ loro compagni assassini, indifferenti a ogn’altro oggetto.” PIGNOTTI

-“Fu questo Capitano molto eccellente nelli stratagemmi; per virtù de’ quali molte volte, o si salvò in qualche improvviso pericolo, o superò il nemico.” PASSI

-“Peritissimus bello dux.. Vir clarus bello, et iam per Italiam notus.. Fuit enim dux rei militaris aetate sua omnium peritissimus. Et erat tunc extrema aetate, quae prudentiam et cautionem augere ducibus solet. Nam iuvenes plerunque servor et autacia praecipites egit.” SANT’ANTONINO

-“Giovanni Acuto, non so se ultimo dei condottieri stranieri, o se primo degli italiani, primo fra cui le fazioni militari con certa scienza e disegnassero e compissero: tennegli poi dietro Braccio e Sforza e le due scuole.” RICOTTI

-“Fu uno dei celebri e valorosi condottieri di masnade che infestassero l’Italia, niente dagli altri infami differente che nel valore e nell’iniquità, con le quali superò tutti.” ADEMOLLO

-“Maestro di scienza militare, superiore ai suoi predecessori per scienza bellica, ma assai poco scrupoloso.” BIGNAMI

-“Who dominated Italian warfare for the last thirty years of his life.” TREASE

-Con Niccolò PiccininoUguccione della Faggiuola, Castruccio Castracani, Lodrisio ViscontiFacino CaneBartolomeo Colleoni ed il Carmagnola “Furono capi notissimi per le loro imprese.” AGOSTINI

-“Di nazione Inglese, e reputatissimo nell’armi.” MACHIAVELLI

-“Fu capitano peritissimo nell’arte militare sopra tutti gli altri de’ suoi tempi.” L. ARETINO

-“Famoso, più per le sue infedeltà, e ruberie, che pel suo valore.” POGGIALI

-“Il quale venuto d’Inghilterra s’era lungamente esercitato nell’armi in Italia, e acquisrato, in molte guerre, ove s’era trovato, assai honore.” MALAVOLTI

-“Era reputato capitano eccellentissimo.” BUONINSEGNI

-“Capitano notabilissimo.” BONIFACCIO

-“Capitano singolarissimo.” BERTONDELLI

-“Egli era il migliore conducitore di gente che avesse allora Italia.” MINERBETTI

-“Quoque rei bellicae peritissimus..Expertae virtutis et fidei..praeclarissimi omnium aetatis suae ducis.” BRACCIOLINI

-“Qui ea tempestate rei militaris peritissimus habebatur, celebri fama vir, imperator delectus” ZENO

“Valde doctus in gueris.” GRIFFONI

-“Huomo vechio et molto sappiente nell’arte della millitia, et molto sagace et esperto.” A. GATARI

-“Inghilese uomo in que’ tempi di grande riputazione nell’armi.” NERLI

-“Solitus milites omnes passim per omnes Italiam sparsos colligens.” PLATINA

-“Il quale per essere stato lungo tempo in Italia fu molto essecitato nelle guerre.” PELLINI

.”In Italia a’ suopi dì non fu mai uomo dotto in fatti d’arme quanto costui.” RINUCCINI

-“Capitano illustrissimo de suoi tempi.” SANSOVINO

-“Sperimentato e valente Capitano.” ROSMINI

-“Uno de’ più valorosi avventurieri che allora militassero in Italia.” LANCETTI

-Con Ceccolo Broglia “Regio genere viri, qui..per multas victorias et miranda facinora summam erant in re bellicam auctoritatem, gloriamque consecuti.” CRIVELLI

-“Longa militia per Italiam assuetus.” MANETTI

-Con Alberico da Barbiano “Huomini valorosi nell’arte militare, quanto altri fossero in quei tempi.” GIORGI

-“Nominatissimo nell’historie di questi dì.” CAMPI

-“Famoso condottiero d’armi inglese, che ebbe tanta fama sullo scorcio del secolo XIV.” CIPOLLA

-“L’inglese italianizzatosi che aveva fama di essere il migliore capitano di ventura d’Europa..Uno fra i più famosi capitani che fossero allora in Italia.” CUTOLO

-“Capitano di grande stima.” GAMURRINI

-“Valorosissimo uomo di guerra.” MAGENTA

-“Notissimo nelle memorie italiane.” LA LUMIA

-“Terribile condottiere inglese.” MESSERI-CALZI

-“Uomo savissimo di guerra e valente.” MONUMENTA PISANA

-“Capitaneus Anglorum homo magnanimus..Vir in Italia magnus.” GAZATA

-“Huomo esercitatissimo nell’armi, e non meno valoroso che prudente.” TRONCI

-“Huomo..di grande esperimento guerriero.” VERDIZZOTTI

-“Valoroso Duce.” VEDRIANI

-“Capitano venturiere e capo di una masnada di Inglesi.” VERMIGLIOLI

-“Coluii che soleva dire doversi fare la guerra per vivere e non per morire.” BELOTTI

-“Molto esperto Capitano.” BIANCOLINI

-“Uomo di grido e di valore.” MAGRI

-“Famo(xo) e proodo englexe.” G. DI M.PEDRINO

-“Celeberrimo per la memoria delle egregie gesta..Uomo di generoso spirito e di lunga esperienza.” VERGERIO

-“Capitano prudentissimo et esercitato nell’arte militare gran tempo.” PORRO LAMBERTENGHI

-“A forza di valore e buona fortuna era divenuto conduttore di uomini d’arme.” CAMERA

-“Latrocinantium copiarum indignem ducem..Insignis sui temporis latronum ductor.” BEVERINI

-“Ebbe un particolare successo la cosiddetta Bianca Compagnia, proprio per la capacità con cui seppe interpretare il nuovo quadro politico: essa era più snelle delle grandi compagnie tedesche, dato che portava con sé pochissimi ausiliari ad affiancare i suoi 3-4000 cavalieri. Sotto la guida del celebre John Hawkwood (noto in Italia come Giovanni Acuto), la Bianca Compagnia si guadagnò presto un’eccellente reputazione, sia per le capacità belliche, sia per l’affidabilità dimostrata, e prestò servizio per molte delle principali potenze italiane dell’epoca quali Firenze, i Visconti, i Carraresi e il papa. Essa non operava semplicemente come un’unità mercenaria a disposizione del migliore offerente, ma seguiva un preciso disegno politico, che la portò a legarsi stabilmente al comune di Firenze, riuscendo così a operare sino alla fine del secolo in un quadro caratterizzato dal progressivo consolidamento dei poteri regionali.” GRILLO-SETTIA

-“Huomo savio di guerra.” ARROSTI

-“Capo di una gran compagnia di masnadieri.” PEZZANA

-“El quale haveva fatte molte magnanime cose et relevate de honore et fama.” MINUTI

-“Gran capitano di quella età.”CIRILLO

-“Tunc primum dux belli..Fuit enim dux rei militaris aetate sua omnium peritissimus; ducis solet, nam iuvenes plerumque fervor et audacia praeciptes agit…Johannes Augus militiae dux Florentiae diem obiit, publicoque civitatis funere elatus est. Fuit autem genere anglicus, sed longa militia per Italiam assuetus in multisque versatus bellis, famam et gloriam rei militaris sibi praecipue comparaverant.” BRUNI

-“Le plus célèbre de tous les condottieri; anglais d’origine, mais devenu Florentin de tout coeur.” DURRIEU

-“Uno dei miglior e più temuti capitani di quei giorni.” CECCONI

-“Uno de’ migliori capitani di quell’età.” COLUCCI

-“Delle sue proprietà della sua borsa Giovanni Acuto si mostra un attento amministratore, che non perde d’occhio il proprio interesse. Se c’è un’immagine che assolutamente non s’attaglia a quest’uomo è lo stereotipo del  soldataccio predatore e dissipatore di tutto ciò che riesce ad arraffare.  Al contrario, l’inglese si dimostra un oculato e parsimonioso investitore dei suoi guadagni, sempre pronto a trovar pretesti per non dover spendere e, invece, tenace e irremovibile quando si tratta di crediti da riscuotere….L’Acuto (che pure è descritto a tinte fosche dalle cronache di quelle città che l’hanno sempre avuto come nemico) viene..definito come cavalleresco, disinteressato ( e se mai c’è stata una qualità che l’Acuto non ha conosciuto è stata davvero questa): Cherubino Ghirardacci racconta di un’improbabile impresa che lo vede portare a salvamento un intero esercito sorpreso di notte dall’allagamento del campo ad opera dei nemici che tagliano gli argini e mettono a repentaglio con la furia delle acque (in pieno luglio!) la vita dei soldatyi; Andrea Gatari lo trasforma in un taumaturgo, capace di risanare gli uomini e di bonificare le acque grazie al corno di un unicorno (che il cronista asserisce di aver visto con i propri occhi) e il vino attossicato, grazie a un anello magico.” BALESTRACCI

-“John Hawkwood.. lived by war, and no one was more successful at it. From modest roots in England, he rose to become the premier mercenary captain of his day, achieving fame on the battle fields of Italy, where he served for more than thirty years of his career.. The portrait of John Hawkwood is on an extraordinary military leader, if not always an admirable human being. More than any other, he developed the skills of a great military strategist and inspired in his fellow soldiers an unrivaled loyalty.. He could be cruel and savage but also conciliatory. He retained a close connection with his home in England and a keen sense of his English identity. He served king Richard II as an ambassador and slowly built a patrimony in his native Essex on which he hoped to retire.. Whatever Hawkwood lacked in formal educational training and eloquence, he made up for by character. By all accounts he was an imperious man who did not suffer fools gladly. He frequently displayed contempt for the machinations of politicians.. No one sought money energerly, no one was more effective at acquiring it.. He received higher pay than any other soldier on the Florentine payroll , though his brigade was one of the smallest.. Hawkwood’s salary constituted only a part of his earnings. During the summer of 1375, Hawkwood extorted more than 200000 florins in bribes, a sum exceeded the annual revenue of whole cities, like Siena, Perugia, and Pisa. He also amassed jewels, silver plates, and expensive baubles, which deposited in Bologna, Milan, Venice, and other places. He diversified his financial portfolio. He had shares in the public debt in Florence and as one point purpotedly had more than 100000 ducati in Venice.. He was the craftiest soldier of his day. His tactics included feigned retreats , ambushes, and the dissemination of false information.. Hawkwood established the best network of spies and informers in Italy. He derived much of this information from petty nobles and exiles who owing to the fractions  nature of local politics, existed in copious numbers in the Italian countryside.. Hawkwood’s primary allegiance was and always remained to his native England. He identified with his home and always intended to return to his native Essex, to live af a landed lord off his Italian profits.. Villani called Hawkwood an “old fox” and portrayed his vulpine qualities as being native to the English race….The greatest mercenary of his day, is credited with prompting the Italian proverb “Un inglese italianato è un diavolo incarnato.” ….(Attestazioni di stima da parte di autori fiorentini nei suoi confronti) The merchant of Prato, Francesco Datini, made regular reference to Hawkwood in his correspondance with his friend, Lapo Mazzei. “Is it not true”, Lapo wrote to Datini soon after Hawkwood’s death, “that John Hawkwood himself was worth 500 lances?”” Giovanni Cavalcanti (d. 1451) described Hawkwood in his “Trattato politico-morale” as an excellent man, outstanding captain” and a paradigm of “prudence”. The humanists Leonardo Bruni (d. 1444) and Poggio Bracciolini (d. 1459) though they disliked mercenaries in general, admired Hawkwood in particular. They portrayed him in their histories of Florence as an effective soldier. Leonardo Bruni said of Hawkwood’s retrait that “no other captain..would have been able to save army from such difficulty,” Bracciolini described Hawkwood in several places as a “wise leader.””CAFERRO

-“(Was) the most spectacularly successful member of a class of soldiers whose advent  brought devastation and social dislocation wherever they passed – dislocation that made the ravages of war a factor of social and economic importance at the very best comparable to the effect of plague in the later Middle Ages.” Keen. Riportato da STONOR SAUNDERS

-“Knight  or robber? Hawkwood’s career brings into sharp relief the difficulty of distinguishing between the two, of “applying any  touchstone in order to distinguish the gold from the base metal in chivalry,” which idealized the freelance fighting man and encouraged him to seek out wars.” STONOR SAUNDERS

-“Hawkwood has always been heartily disliked in some quarters. Towns which he had sacked or preyed on had no reason to think highly of him. The English were so unpopular in Pont-Saint-Esprit after the sack of 1360 that there was a riot there two years later, when seven German or Flemish pilgrims were mistakenly thought to have come from England. Filippo Villani, who wrote in Florence in the 1360s, called the English who sacked Figline “cruel and bestial men who enriched themselves at our expense”. Sacchetti, who wrote at a time when Sir John became a favourite son of Florence, nevertheless criticized him bitterly in poetry and short stories. Men and women in holy orders looked at the world in biblical terms and, in the letter she wrote to him, St. Catherine of Siena accused Hawkwood of doing the Devil’s work. It is easy why later generation concluded that Sir John was the origin of the Italian proverb, “Inglese italianato, diavolo incarnato” – “an Italianized Englishman is the Devil incarnate”… He lived a long life and did not suffer a decline in later years.. He was a commoner and a younger son who left home and became a knight, whereas his elder brother and namesake – who stayed at home in Essex – always remained “Hawkwood the elder”. He served the king of England as well his Italian masters and he lived to see the daughters married, though his son was only made a knight after his death. He progressed from being captain of an English brigade to holding the highest office in the Florentine army and, like Little Meschin before him, defeated some of the greatest noblemen in Europe. Unlike Knollys in 1370 was never criticized for being promoted beyond the station. Hawkwood’s successes in Italy filled many Englishmen with deep pride – even monks, servants of God who looked at the world through the prism of religion. News of his adventures had filtered back home as early as 1369, when the coninuation of Murimuth’s chronicle records that “In that time, the Englishman Sir Hawkwood rose to prominence (floruit). He had the White Company with him, and fought now against the Church, now against the lords of Milan, and he did many extraordinary things, really marvellous things, the like of which no one had heard of before (mirabilia inaudita)”. ” COOPER

-“Oriondo d’una barbarica isola, colla sua prudenza e col suo valore giunse a sì alti onori, che persino un Visconti, signor di Milano, gli fidanzò la figliuola sua, e la Repubblica Fiorentina lo colmò di ricchezze, e, lui morto, ne magnificò la memoria con una statua equestre che si vede ancor oggi nel Duomo di Firenze.” VON PLATEN

-“A man with a bloody reputation for over-fulfilling his contracts.” CROWLEY

-“Compie una sorta di sovvertimento nella milizia; ha perfettamente compreso che non si può continuare ad aumentare all’infinito lo spessore e la lunghezza delle corazze onde resistere alla sempre maggiore perfezione delle armi (si pensi, ad esempio, all’innovazione della spada alla francese, tagliente dai due lati, lunga e sottile). I cavalieri sempre più bardati di cotte, maglie e corazze richiedono cavalli sempre più pesanti e poco adatti alla corsa; tutti i movimenti sono impacciati ed è sufficiente una caduta per portare al disastro. Giovanni Acuto decide quindi di ridurre l’armamento individuale in funzione di una maggior leggerezza e di una più efficace manovrabilità. Ordina che i cavalieri, avvicinatisi al nemico, scendano da cavallo a piedi creando una selva di lance…Un’altra innovazione del combattimento è quella che applica l’abile condottiero britannico nei confronti di un nemico attaccante in forze; è l’evoluzione delle teorie già seguite da Castruccio Castracani. Dove il nemico abbia superiorità numerica è meglio temporeggiare, logorarne le forze con scaramucce seguite da repentine fughe e rimandare l’attacco al momento in cui le forze avversarie si trovino svantaggiate dai luoghi o stanche per quella guerra che si disperde in minutissimi rivoli e battagliole senza costrutto.” ADAR

-“Era stato non soltanto un condottiero, ma anche un abile diplomatico al quale la repubblica fiorentina aveva affidato la soluzione di molte controversie.” GAZZARA

-“Listed among the English army in France in the 1350s, Hawkwood was “still a poor knight who had gained nothing but his spurs” when he joined the Tard-Venus after Brétigny…He commanded the White Company..On their first appearance in Lombardy they spread terror by their fury and license, and as time went on, “nothing was more terrible to hear than the name of the English”. They gained the reputation of perfidi e scelleratissimi (perfididous and most wicked), although it was conceded “they did non roast and mutilate their victim like the Hungarians.” TUCHMAN

-“Il personaggio decisivo nell’evoluzione del mercenario verso la figura del capitano di ventura fu John Hawkwood, detto Giovanni Acuto. Agli inizi della sua carriera la Compagnia bianca, di cui faceva parte e che poi comandò, si distingueva dalle altre per organizzazione, disciplina e capacità militari..La sua compagnia fu quella che si avvicinava maggiormente all’idea di buon investimento per raggiungere un fine. Solitamente rispettosa dei patti sottoscritti (o più rispettosa della concorrenza), efficace in guerra e ben commandata, era la soluzione ideale per il problema militare.” SCARDIGLI

-“Tattico e prudente, sempre in movimento, che si preoccupa del consenso, usa il codice cavalleresco ed è sensibilissimo all’iniziativa strategico-diplomatica in perfetta sintonia con Firenze.” BARLOZZETTI

-“Si ritrovò..a essere il capitano di ventura più richiesto in Italia, ammirato oltre che per la sua capacità di mantenere la coesione fra le sue truppe, anche per la perizia con cui manovrava gli eserciti sul campo, sapeva ottenere informazioni e liberarsi dai nemici diffondendo informazioni sbagliate. Se da un lato l’inglese si preoccupava di mantenere alta la sua reputazione di capo militare, dall’altro si rivelò degno figlio di suo padre, affinando costantemente il proprio fiuto negli affari che gli permise di accumulare così terre e benefici che lo trasformarono in uno dei maggiori possidenti del suolo italiano.” STAFFA

-“The funeral, at civic expense, was one of the most splendid ever seen in Florence; the Commune almost seemed to be rejoicing that fate had prevented his loss to them. At civic expense, handsome black clothing was provided for his widow, his son and daughters and all his household. The Commune sent a hundred large wax candles, banners with the arms of the Commune, shields and a helmet crested with a golden lion clutching a red lily in its claw. The Guelf party sent twenty wax candles, a pennon with the Guelf arms, and an eagle-crested helmet. The soldiers of Hawkwood’s own guard marched with fourteen  caparisoned horses, bearing flags and pennons with his arms, his sword, his shield, and his crested helmet. The bier was richly draped with cloths of crimson velvet and gold, and displayed in the Piazza Signoria, where the funeral procession formed. All the priests in the city marched with the chief cavaliers of Florence. The bier was placed in the Baptistry, where the women wept. Then the body was carried into the Duomo for the final requiem. At the end, the sarcophagus was temporarily interred in the choir. Thus John Hawkwood, English countryman turned Italian knight, after a long and vigorous life of successful violence, received the highest honours of the Florentine state. And so impressed were the English by his name and his fame – though they never had the privilege of suffering from his sword – that like honours were accorded. King Richard II requested that his body be returned to his native soil, and in parish church a memorial was constructed.” DEISS

-“Combattente valoroso, abile stratega, era soprattutto espertissimo gestore dei propri mezzi politici nel complicato teatro italiano, l’Acuto emerge come una figura dal profilo ben diverso rispetto alla torva grandezza di un Conte Lando. Non mancarono certo nella sua carriera episodi di crudeltà, e neppure i suoi più entusiasti biografi sono riusciti ad assolverlo del tutto dall’accusa di aver partecipato a massacri indiscriminati di popolazione civile; né del resto l’intelligente politica delle relazioni con i vari signori può nascondere il suo cinico desiderio di denaro e di potere, che più di una volta prevalse senza troppi scrupoli sulla fedeltà ai suoi committenti.” TANZINI

-“Giovanni Acuto fu, a giudizio unanime degli storici, il maggior condottiero del suo tempo. La sua valentia di capitano era superiore a quella di tutti gli altri capitani dell’epoca. Servì sempre con onestà coloro che richiedevano i suoi servigi. Anche se la strage di Cesena è una brutta macchia sul suo nome, va ricordato che in quella crudele vicenda egli fu costretto ad obbedire ad un ordine impartitogli dall’alto, e che per parte sua si adoprò a riaparmiare come poté una parte della popolazione dell’infelice città.” MONTELLA

-“Il quale fu il capitano di ventura che più di ogni altro durò in arme in Italia, giacché vi stette anni sessanta.” CASALIS

-“Era l’Aucuto più che di mediocre statura, e di forti membri: il volto havea rubicondo: gli occhi, e capelli castagnicci.” CAPRIOLO

-“Forse il migliore condottiero dell’epoca.. L’inglese non è solo il generale ideatore della trappola di Castagnaro che rovescia l’andamento di un’intera guerra ma, con ogni probabilità, uno dei migliori tattici europei del momento.” MORO

-“Questo eccellente uomo le più mattina andava a praticare co’ Dieci (della Guerra); e le non meno volte erano quelle che il detto Capitano dava avviso a’ Dieci che non erano quelle che i Dieci avvisavano lui. Questo non interveniva se non a colui ch’era sollecito per la nostra salute.” CAVALCANTI

-“La sua persona, la sua vita e le sue guerre rappresentano il modo migliore in cui, nel contesto italiano della seconda metà del Trecento, un condottiero potesse non solo farsi un nome con le sue abilità guerresche, ma anche arricchirsi incredibilmente grazie alla capacità di giostrarsi tra un sapiente uso delle alleanze, della politica e dell’astuzia. “Acuto”, che non è una storpiatura del nome causato dalla lingua come spesso si è penato, ma un soprannome attribuitogli per un aspetto del suo carattere, della sua intelligenza e della dua furbizia.” SGAMBATI

-“Fulmine di guerra.” LO MONACO

-“Acuto, comme les Italiens appelaient Hawkwood était, selon Matteo Villani, grand homme de guerre, de sa nature rusé et habile, comme les Amglais le sont, et sa Compagne blanche avait une réputation aussi noire qu’une autre.”. COLISON-MORLEY

-“Fu uomo di guerra, famoso e celebre ai suoi tempi. Ebbe una grande esperienza ed un alto valore, quale condottiero. Molto spesso, in circostanze sfavorevoli, capovolse situazioni che gli erano contrarie. Una grande audacia, un sesto senso, gli facevano valutare se il rischio dovesse o no essere affrontato…Fu severo ed umano con i suoi soldati: severo nei successi, umano nei pericoli. Ma, se questi elementi depongono in suo favore, non ne mancano altri, che gettano un’ombra molto oscura, e non tanto facilmente obliabile sul suo operato…I grandi, inutili e malvagi sacrifici di vite umane, le distruzioni di case e di beni, stanno a provare un’altra faccia della sua poliedrica e non sempre umana personalità. Né si deve dimenticare la sua grande venalità.” TABANELLI

-“Era il miglior stratega del suo tempo.” LOMBARDI

-“L’inglese fu veramente uni straordinario uomo di guerra, ed è curioso che quello che oggi definiremmo un “falco” si chiamasse realmente “Falcone di bosco” come dice il Villani. In pratica L’Hawkwood passò più di cinquant’anni della sua vita a cavallo, impegnato a lancia e spada in qualche zuffa. Per lui non ci furono le normali stagioni, ma le “campagne”: campagna primaverile, campagna estiva, campagna autunnale, campagna invernale. Percorse la penisola in lungo e in largo, non restò mai fermo in un luogo, non prese mai le ferie e si rallegrò solo all’annuncio di nuove guerre che per lui erano il lavoro, il pane e la vita.” BATINI

-“Il condottieri inglese John Hawkwood è un modello esemplare della “prima generazione” di stipendiari stranieri in Italia, le “pellegrine spade” di petrarchesca memoria. Mercenario, lo diciamo noi ed è parola che il campo semantico immediatamente rinvia alla vita economica e al commercio, con un’immediata per quanto indiretta accezione svilente. Del resto, lo stesso accade per la parola “soldato”. Ma lui messer Giovanni, e con lui tanti altri stipendiari tedeschi, francesi, catalani, non lo pensava affatto a quel modo. Per lui la guerra era era l’espressione al tempo stesso funzionale e onorevole dell’esistere e il denaro che egli ne ricavava, era feudo, era riconoscimento apprezzato.” CARDINI

-“Il sarcofago che fa da base al monumento equestre presenta una scritta sulla parte superiore: “Ioannes Acutus Eques Britannicus Dux Aetatis Suae Cautissimus Et Rei Militaris Peritissimus habitus Est.” Sotto invece si legge la firma dell’artista: “Pauli Ugielli Opus”… La figura di Giovanni Acuto è ispirata alla statua di epoca romana che ritrae l’imperatore Marco Aurelio a Roma. Questo monumento fu infatti la principale fonte iconografica delle statue equestri del Rinascimento. In seguito Donatello con il Monumento al Gattamelata e Andrea del Verrocchio, grazie all’utilizzo di tecniche appropriate stabilirono nuovi canoni rappresentativi.” www.analisidell’

Giovanni Acuto in Populat culture

  • The English saying “Italianized devil incarnate” is believed to have originated from Giovanni Acuto, infamous for his violence, a trait common among the soldiers of mercenary companies.
  • In Domenico Giuliotti’s “Raccontini rossi e neri” (Vallecchi, 1937), particularly in “The Nun of Faenza,” Giovanni Acuto is depicted making a Solomon-like decision in a dispute between two soldiers over a young nun. He dramatically raises his sword and splits the young woman from head to pelvis, then declares with a laugh, “The cause of your quarrel is now ended. Take half each, and enjoy.”
  • Giovanni Acuto features as a main character in Mino Milani’s historical novel “Efrem, Soldier of Fortune,” published as a volume in 1972.
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The White Company,” serialized in 1891, loosely draws upon the adventures of John Hawkwood.
  • Marion Polk Angelotti wrote the novel “Sir John Hawkwood: a tale of the White Company in Italy” in 1911, followed by eight Hawkwood stories in “Adventure” magazine between 1911 and 1915. These were compiled together for the first time in 2010.
  • Hubert Cole authored a trilogy about John Hawkwood’s adventures: “Hawkwood” (1967), “Hawkwood in Paris” (1969), and “Hawkwood and the Towers of Pisa” (1973).
  • Gordon Dickson’s “Childe Cycle” series, including “The Final Encyclopedia” (1984) and “The Charity Guild” (1988), references Hawkwood.
  • Hawkwood is a character in Cassandra Clark’s “The Red Velvet Turnshoe” (2009), part of the “Abbess of Meaux” series, published by John Murray.
  • “Hawkwood” by Jack Ludlow (pseudonym of David Donachie), published in 2016 by Allison & Busby, is a novel incorporating known facts about Hawkwood’s life.
  • Christian Cameron’s knightly series features John Hawkwood as the protagonist.
  • Tommy Ohtsuka’s manga “Hawkwood,” partially based on John Hawkwood, borrows his name, profession, and military acumen.


D. Balestracci. Le armi, i cavalli, l’oro. Giovanni Acuto e i condottieri nell’Italia del Trecento.

W. Caferro. John Hawkwood. An English mercenary in Fourteenth-Century Italy.

S. Cooper. Sir John Hawkwood. Chivalry and the art of war.

F. S. Stauners. Hawkwood. Diabolical Englishman.

J. Temple Leader – G. Marcotti. Giovanni Acuto.

E. J. Crockett. Condottiere. A knight’s tale

M. Tabanelli. Giovanni AcutoCapitano di ventura

Featured image source: wikipedia

Topics: John Hawkwood’s impact on Italy, Giovanni Acuto English Mercenary, John Hawkwood’s role in Italian history, Giovanni Acuto and his Italian adventure, English influence on Italian military history, The story of Giovanni Acuto

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Roberto Damiani
Roberto Damiani
Roberto Damiani è l'autore del sito Condottieri di ventura e Corsari del mediterraneo.