domenica, Luglio 14, 2024

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

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Bartolomeo Colleoni: The Strategic Brilliance of a Renaissance Condottiero

Italian CondottieriBartolomeo Colleoni: The Strategic Brilliance of a Renaissance Condottiero

Bartolomeo Colleoni's fundamental contribution is the emphasis he places on the role of the infantry. He is a specialist in mountain warfare. Considered in his time the best tactician for utilizing not only the infantry but also (as the first) the field artillery on the battlefield

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Bartolomeo Colleoni’s Influence on Renaissance Warfare Tactics.

In the 15th century, Bartolomeo Colleoni (1395, Solza – 3 November 1475, Malpaga) emerged as a renowned Italian condottiero and military leader, ultimately rising to the position of captain-general for the Republic of Venice. Colleoni earned recognition as a distinguished strategist and a strict disciplinarian, solidifying his reputation as a leading figure in the art of warfare during his era. Additionally, he is acknowledged for his efforts in restoring the Roman baths at Trescore Balneario.

BARTOLOMEO COLLEONI (Bartolomeo Coglione) of Solza.

Lord of Calcinate, Cologno al Serio, Martinengo, Malpaga, Romano di Lombardia, Covo, Antegnate, Urgnano, Castell’Arquato, Cavenago d’Adda, Mornico al Serio, and Solza. He is the son-in-law of Leonardo da Martinengo; and the father-in-law of Gaspare da Martinengo, Gerardo da Martinengo, Giacomo della Motella, and Niccolò da Correggio.

Born: 1395
Death: 1475 (november)

Year, monthState, Comp. venturaOpponentConductActivity areaActions taken and other salient facts
……………LombardyAt a very young age, his father Paolo is killed by his cousin Giovanni Colleoni in an attempt to seize control of the lordship of Trezzo sull’Adda; his mother, Riccadonna dei Valvassori, is instead imprisoned by the same relative. When his brother Antonio is also killed by the cousin, fearing retaliation, the latter has Colleoni arrested by the lord of Crema, Giorgio Benzoni. Benzoni also has his stake in the matter: he wants to recover advances of pay he had made in favor of the deceased brother. The condottiero is only freed when his mother manages to ransom him by parting with some of her dowry properties.
1410EmiliaIn Piacenza, he serves as a page for the city’s lord, Filippo Arcelli.
1418PiacenzaMilanEmiliaHe battles against the Visconti forces led by Carmagnola.
1419NaplesHe serves in the Kingdom of Naples under the companies of Braccio di Montone.
Oct.NaplesChurchCampaniaHe distinguishes himself during the siege of Acerra: he attempts to enter the city through a tunnel. Recognized by the guards, he evades capture amidst a barrage of arrows; he’s wounded at the back of the neck by a mace blow during an assault on the walls using ladders.
……………CampaniaHe doesn’t receive the compensation he expected. He asks for permission to leave from Braccio di Montone and heads to Naples.
1423Francia, CampaniaHe sets sail for France in search of earnings. Captured by some corsairs near Marseille, he manages to avoid imprisonment and makes his way back to the Neapolitan region.
……………NaplesKingdom of Aragon20 cavalryCampaniaHe approaches Jacopo Caldora, becomes the lover of Queen Joanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò), and is given a command of 20 horsemen, which quickly increases to 35.
June50 cavalryAbruzzoHe takes part in the Battle of L’Aquila. He stands out in combat when, with only a few forces at Collemaggio, he blocks the cavalry squads of Gattamelata.
1425ChurchHe is noted to be a part of Micheletto Attendolo’s company.
1428VeniceMilan40 cavalryLombardyHis general captain is now Carmagnola.
……………LombardyIn the Cremona region, he ambushes Sarpellione, who is leading 60 horsemen towards Crema. He returns to Bergamo with the spoils.
Dec.FlorenceTuscanyHe takes part in the Battle of Serchio. He fights in the front line under the command of the lord of Faenza, Guidantonio Manfredi. Along with Papa Camuso, he is tasked with preventing Niccolò Piccinino‘s troops from crossing the river. Alberico da Barbiano confronts him. He is taken prisoner, while Papa Camuso is severely injured in the head by a blow from an iron mace.
Oct.LombardyHe supports Guglielmo Cavalcabò and Moccino da Lugo in the occupation of the San Luca fortress in Cremona. He infiltrates the fortress, killing the guards and capturing some prisoners. Carmagnola decides not to intervene with the rest of the troops as previously planned, so Colleoni is forced to retreat at the end of the third day.
Apr.80 cavalryLombardy
……………300 cavalryLombardyAt first, his command comprises 100 horsemen. Soon, this number rises to 300 horsemen.
Nov.LombardyHe is defeated by Niccolò Piccinino and Guido Torelli at Delebio, where the general provider Giorgio Corner is captured. He manages to save part of the troops.
Apr. – Aug.LombardyAfter the Peace of Ferrara, he is given some properties confiscated from Antonio Suardi and Carabello Poma, located in the district of Bottanuco. He only has the obligation to present a sparrowhawk to the podestà of Bergamo. In Bergamo, he resides in the current Casa della Pietà, confiscated from the same Suardi.
1435NaplesKing of AragonAbruzzo, CampaniaHe supports Jacopo Caldora once again against the Aragonese.
Apr.VeniceMilan700 cavalryLombardyHe follows Gian Francesco Gonzaga in his offensive action against Milan, which initially involves crossing the Adda river. He is positioned at San Carpoforo, ready to cross the river and take control of Trezzo sull’Adda.
Sept. – Oct.LombardyHe supports Gonzaga and Gattamelata on the Oglio against the ducal forces led by Niccolò Piccinino. He’s involved in the defeat at Calcinato sull’Oglio. Initially, he opposes the retreat to Pontoglio (and the sending of carriages to Palazzolo sull’Oglio to lure the adversaries to that target) desired by the general captain of the Serenissima. Colleoni moves to defend Bergamo with his men-at-arms and 300 infantrymen. He reaches the city by night. Piccinino tries to seize Costa di Mezzate: in the end, the Visconti captain must re-cross the Serio due to a flood that hinders the flow of supplies to his troops. In October, Colleoni repels an assault by Piccinino on the Bergamo fortress. When the latter withdraws to head towards the Parmesan region, Colleoni harasses the Visconti rearguard, preventing the adversaries from finding secure lodgings.
Dec.LombardyHe continues to support Gattamelata. His men, like those of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, damage the crops in the district of Gorle. The damage is estimated at 225 florins. The Doge Francesco Foscari expresses his displeasure at the actions of the two condottieri.
……………LombardyHe opposes Piccinino in the Bergamo region; pushed back from Palazzolo sull’Oglio, he retreats to Pontoglio. He enters Bergamo in its defense with his horsemen and 300 infantrymen.
JulyLombardyHe returns to Palazzolo sull’Oglio when Gattamelata is forced to retreat to Brescia. Along with Antonio and Leonardo da Martinengo and Paride di Lodrone (with 300 horsemen and 2,000 infantrymen), he moves to Val Camonica to block Antonio Beccaria’s path. Beccaria is defeated and captured along with 1,500 men, among whom Daniele Malacrida stands out. He attacks the fortress of Gardone Val Trompia and forces the surrender of the two constables, Piero Bruno and Andrea da Treviso; he releases them after stripping them of their weapons and horses.
Aug.General Captain of infantry with 800 horsemen and 150 foot soldiersLombardyHe leaves Palazzolo sull’Oglio and relocates with 130 horsemen to Brescia. He first camps at the Pile village and then within the city walls. The Senate increases his command by another 100 horsemen and gives him command of the infantry.
Sept.Lombardy, Trentino, VenetoHe collaborates with Gattamelata in his famous retreat from Brescia to Verona through Val Sabbia, the Chiese valleys, and Rovereto. When the way is blocked by adversaries on the Sarca, Colleoni fords the river with his companies and engages the enemies in a skirmish, thereby allowing the Venetians to reach the other bank.
FebThe Venetians gift him a house in Padua; he is also granted a monthly allowance of 20 ducats to maintain his wife in the city.
……………VenetoHe is tasked with protecting the transport by carts of the Venetian fleet (6 galleys and 25 eight-bench boats) over Monte Baldo and from there to Torbole.
MayVenetoHe is elected governor of Verona: he defends the city from the attacks of Piccinino; he constantly engages in skirmishes where he raids horsemen and takes numerous prisoners.
JuneVenetoHe is able to leave Verona as troops led by Francesco Sforza and Gattamelata approach. He spies on the construction of two bastions built by Niccolò Piccinino in Soave, which hinder the Venetians’ passage; he reaches the two captains’ camp and reports to them the results of his reconnoitering. He immediately returns to Verona afterwards. With 1,000 horsemen, 1,500 foot soldiers, and numerous partisans from the Brescia and Bergamo areas, he assists the Sforza forces in their attack on Soave.
Nov.VenetoVerona falls into the hands of Niccolò Piccinino due to a surprise action carried out by Piccinino himself, Gonzaga, and Luigi dal Verme. Immediately, Bartolomeo Colleoni isolates the entire Val Lagarina, forcing Francesco Piccinino to retreat; he reunites with Sforza and Gattamelata, and together they storm into Verona through the San Felice castle.
Jan.LombardyHe reclaims the Valley of San Martino with Diotisalvi Lupi.
Feb. – Mar.LombardyHe takes part in the liberation of Brescia from the siege by the duke’s troops.
Apr.LombardyHis contribution to the victory at Castel Giovanni alla Ragna on Lake Garda is significant.
JuneLombardyHe participates in the Battle of Soncino.
Nov.LombardyHis wife, Tisbe, is able to leave Padova and join her husband in Bergamo.
Jan.LombardyHe leaves Martinengo and once again occupies the Valley of San Martino, bringing it under Venetian control. His command of 200 lances and 150 infantry is reaffirmed.
Feb.Veneto, LombardyHe goes to Venice for the celebrations related to the wedding of the son of Doge Francesco Foscari; he returns to Val Camonica where he tries to resist the advance of Piccinino. He then retreats and moves to the defense of Brescia.
Mar.LombardyHe unsuccessfully requests that his command be increased to 1,000 cavalry and 200 infantry. He is welcomed in Brescia with great celebrations by Sforza.
Apr.800 cavalry and 200 infantryLombardyThe Venetians grant him the castle of Romano di Lombardia and those of Covo and Antegnate, confiscated from Giovanni and Pietro da Covo, declared rebels by the Serenissima. His command of 200 lances and 200 infantry is renewed until October. According to the agreements, by that date, he should be rehired for one fixed year and one of respect, with the additional provision of 200 cavalry.
MayLombardyHe defends Brescia alongside Diotisalvi Lupi. There is a palpable fear of an imminent offensive by Niccolò Piccinino.
JuneLombardyHe occupies Pontoglio with Tiberto Brandolini; there, he captures Moretto da San Nazaro with 40 cavalry. He then joins forces with Sforza and Micheletto Attendolo to attack Piccinino in the fortified camp of Cignano with considerably superior forces (10,000 cavalry and 6,000 infantry). He sets up camp at Martinengo. The Venetians are defeated. Bartolomeo Colleoni protects the retreat and prevents the fleeing troops from scattering.
Jan.1,000 cavalry and 200 infantryLombardyHis contract is confirmed for six fixed months and one of respect.
MayLombardyHe is granted real estate properties previously owned by Count Giovanni da Covo. Since these have already been purchased by Diotisalvi Lupi, Bartolomeo Colleoni is granted state-owned properties valued at 5,000 ducats. The lands are located in the territories of Cenate, Trescore Balneario, Zandobbio, Chiuduno, Grumello del Monte, and Entratico.
Oct.LombardyAt the end of the conflict, the commissioner Gerardo Dandolo unilaterally decides to reduce his command from 1,000 cavalry to 400 and from 200 infantry to 150. He is outraged by this action, especially since his outstanding pay has risen to 34,000 ducats.
……………Milan1,000 cavalry and 400 infantryLombardyOn the payroll of the Duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti.
Jan.LombardyVisconti welcomes Bartolomeo Colleoni in Milan at the Porta Giovia castle; he is granted the Adorno castle in the Pavia region as a fief. Jewels and other ornaments are given to his wife, Tisbe da Martinengo. The Venetians declare him a traitor and rebel.
Mar.EmiliaBartolomeo Colleoni enters Val Nure with numerous infantry and cavalry to demand from the inhabitants the money due to him for the horse tax. He retreats after just three days with the loss of many men, both dead and wounded. However, the expedition is not a failure, because in the end he manages to obtain, through an agreement, the requested money to be paid in installments.
……………RomagnaHe is sent to Romagna by the Duke of Milan with the purpose of maintaining a balance between Sforza and Piccinino, who both operate in the region with different objectives.
Jan.MilanSforzaRomagnaHe crosses the Forlì region with Carlo Gonzaga at the lead of 2,000 cavalry and 1,000 infantry; during the march, they pass through Villafranca, Ronco, Fornovo, Carpena, and Magliano. He subsequently moves to the Cesena area, consistently supplied with provisions by the lord of Forlì, Antonio Ordelaffi.
Feb.RomagnaHe passes through Lugo and Bagnacavallo. He reaches Rimini with his company. He stops at Coriano.
Mar. – Apr.MarcheIn March, he is reported in the Pesaro region. On Easter Eve (April), he leaves Senigallia to conduct a raid in the Pesaro area. He captures 500 men who are taken to Senigallia. The Duke of Milan intervenes, releasing the prisoners upon the payment of a ransom.
JuneMarcheHe contacts Niccolò Piccinino and tries to convince him to come to an agreement with Francesco Sforza.
JulyLombardyHe is at the siege of Cremona; with 5 squads, he sets up his camp at San Lazzaro. When attacked by Giacomo da Salerno, he is put to flight with about twenty casualties, the capture of 9 horses, and 140 infantrymen.
Aug.LombardyHe operates near Castelleone with Luigi da San Severino and Luigi dal Verme.
Sept.MarcheIn Recanati. The inhabitants refuse to let him enter the city due to a lack of fodder for his cavalry.
JulyMilanBolognaEmiliaHe arrives in the Bologna region with Guglielmo di Monferrato to aid the exiles against the militias of the Bentivoglio: he seizes several castles and engages in numerous skirmishes at the bridge of Casalecchio di Reno.
July – Aug.MilanSforzaEmilia, LombardyHe is recalled to Lombardy, returning to the siege of Cremona. He directs 5 squads of cavalry to San Lazzaro to arrange their lodgings. Caught off guard by a sudden attack led by Giacomo da Salerno, he has to retreat to the Po River. In August, he reinforces his position at Castiglione with Luigi da San Severino and dal Verme. Around the same time, he is suspected of wanting to make a deal with the Venetians to become the lord of Piacenza; it’s believed that his envoy, Rasmino, is in negotiations with Giovanni Filippo dei Migli. Similar warnings come from Torchio da Citerna and Ludovico Gonzaga. Due to the suspicions amassed against him, Francesco Piccinino orders him to move to the Piacenza region to seize Pontremoli to the detriment of Sforza.
Sept.Emilia, LombardyHe crosses the Po River; he rides surrounded by his chancellors and secretaries when, at the end of the month, he is suddenly attacked at Pontenure, near Piacenza, by Niccolò Terzi. He is captured along with his nephew, Cimatta, and 4 secretaries. He is imprisoned in chains in Piacenza at the Sant’Antonino castle; from there, he is taken to Milan.
Oct.LombardyHe is confined in the Forni of Monza: his soldiers refuse to fight for the ducal forces, under the command of Terzi, against the troops of the Serenissima (Venetian Republic).
Aug.LombardyFilippo Maria Visconti dies. Bartolomeo Colleoni takes advantage of the turmoil and makes a daring escape from the castle after bribing the castellan, Giorgetto Poma, who distracts the guards with a pretext for some time. Colleoni descends from the windows using sheets and, together with Poma, reaches his troops waiting for him at Landriano. From there, he goes to Pavia and frees his wife and daughters.
Sept.MilanOrléans1000 cavalryLombardyHe serves under the pay of the Ambrosian Republic; he confronts the forces of the Duke of Orleans with Astorre Manfredi. From Pavia, Sforza orders the return of the assets that were once seized from him by the Viscontis. He sets up camp in the Mirabello park.
Oct.Lombardy, PiedmontHe crosses the Ticino and the Po, entering Alessandria. He drives out the supporters of the Guelph party, especially the Guasco family, who have allowed the French to occupy the fortress of Bergoglio. He captures the castle and orders its destruction. He then confronts the enemies, led by the governor of Asti, Rinaldo di Dresay, stationed at Bosco Marengo in the plain called Frascata. In the clash, Bartolomeo Colleoni abandons his usual tactic, which involves wearing down the enemy by continuously rotating teams of horses for attack. The teams of Giovanni Bono Trotti (with 400 dead) and another of 1,500 foot soldiers led by Angelo da Lavello suffer defeats among the Milanese. Instead, Colleoni, with Astorre Manfredi, chooses to launch all his forces in a devastating charge shouting “carne, carne” (meat, meat), in contrast to the French battle cry of “à la gorge” (to the throat). At the same time, Campanella emerges from the castle with its defenders to hurl themselves against the French, equal in the number of horsemen to the Milanese, but fewer in infantry. 2,000 dead remain on the field, three-quarters of whom are French; 300 horses are captured, including Dresay himself. Colleoni orders him to be taken to Romano di Lombardia and only releases him after receiving a ransom of 14,000 crowns. The French retreat to Castellazzo, losing their camp and wagons. The following day, many of the enemies who have surrendered at discretion are killed by the inhabitants of Alessandria, against the wishes of Governor Pietro Pusterla.
……………MilanVenicePiedmont, LombardyHe reaches Tortona and roams its countryside; he sets up camp outside the walls, causing significant damage nearby. The inhabitants abandon their allegiance to the Sforza and return to the rule of the Ambrosian Republic. Later on, Bartolomeo Colleoni crosses the Adda at the Brivio bridge and moves against the Venetians. Having received significant infantry reinforcements, he aims to occupy a bridge on the Adda near Lecco. However, he is forced to retreat due to the arrival of a substantial troop contingent sent by Micheletto Attendolo for the Bergamo area and the Valley of San Martino.
Apr.LombardyAt Sant’Angelo Lodigiano. On the orders of Francesco Sforza, he crosses the Adda with Astorre Manfredi.
MayLombardyLeading 4,000 men, he retakes Mozzanica, Vailate, Treviglio, Cassano d’Adda, Melzo, and Pandino. He then sets his sights on Lodi.
JuneVeniceMilan1,500 horsemen and 400 infantryLombardyHe sets up camp at Cassano d’Adda and occupies the location after a few days. He is bribed by the general overseer Giacomo Antonio Marcello and returns to the service of the Venetians with a contract for 500 lances and 400 foot soldiers for a fixed year and another year at discretion. In Milan, he is proclaimed a traitor, and a bounty of 10,000 ducats is offered for his live capture, and 4,000 if he is dead. The Venetians, by special decree of the Senate, return to him the fiefs of Romano di Lombardia, Covo, and Antegnate.
SpringLombardyHe allies with Micheletto Attendolo.
Sept.LombardyHe occupies Mozzanica in three days: the center is set ablaze. He then moves to relieve Caravaggio from Sforza’s siege. Initially, he agrees with the cautious viewpoint of Micheletto Attendolo, who is reluctant to engage in battle. However, after an inspection by Tiberto Brandolini, who personally assesses the Milanese army’s positions in disguise, he becomes convinced that they can launch an attack through a forest turned swamp. The decision is made to assault.
Bartolomeo Colleoni is left in charge of defending the camp with numerous horsemen and foot soldiers; the Venetians, supported by his artillery, break into the Milanese camp from its weakest side. He positions several cannons on a bank and repels the assaults of the Sforza troops: this act is deemed a violation of the laws of war because it’s one of the first instances in military history of his time where artillery is used directly against ground troops.
Despite the situation, Francesco Sforza reacts quickly; he reorganizes the faltering wing of his army facing the Venetians and sends numerous cavalry to the flanks of the opponents to encircle them. The Venetian cavalry becomes bogged down in the woods; some units manage to carve a path for their escape, but a significant portion of the army is captured. Colleoni himself is forced to flee under the pressure of Francesco Sforza and Francesco Piccinino: he first takes refuge in a nearby forest and then makes his way to Bergamo through hidden and challenging paths. Of the 3,000 foot soldiers and 12,500 horsemen that make up the Serenissima’s army, only 1,500 horses escape capture.
Jan.EmiliaIn the autumn, Francesco Sforza draws closer to the Venetians with the intention of jointly fighting against the Ambrosian Republic. Bartolomeo Colleoni is sent to the Parma region with 1,200 horsemen to assist in the efforts of Alessandro Sforza and Pietro Maria dei Rossi.
Feb.EmiliaHe enters Parma.
Apr.PiedmontHe is dispatched against Duke Ludovico of Savoy-Acaia to monitor the advancement of the Savoyards, who are coming to aid the Ambrosian Republic. He ravages the district of Vercelli but, in line with Senate orders, does not cross the Sesia river. The lord of Gruffy, Giovanni di Campeys, fords the river leading 6,000 horsemen, among which many are Picard archers, and attacks the Venetians. Bartolomeo Colleoni counters the Transalpines with a tactic tailored to the Italian style. The opposing captain crosses the Sesia, challenging him to battle. Colleoni lets him advance; they first clash at Romagnano Sesia, where he captures between 300 to 400 enemies, including Campeys himself.
Gaspare di Varax, in turn, crosses the Sesia with 3,500 horsemen without infantry support, hoping to seize Borgomanero through a treaty. However, this plan proves flawed. The Savoyard captain orders a retreat and heads back towards the river. On the same day, Colleoni, along with Sforza condottieri Corrado da Fogliano and Giacomo da Salerno, departs from Novara to attack the castle of Carpignano Sesia. The battle of Borgomanero is fierce.
The Sforza line falters; the right wing, cut off from the rest of the troops, is driven back and finds refuge in Novara. Colleoni holds the field, supported by Corrado da Fogliano and Giacomo da Salerno. The Savoyard horsemen, fearing an ambush, form a circle. Mounted archers dismount and position themselves in front of the men-at-arms, sticking sharp stakes into the ground to create a makeshift barricade, firing arrows at the Venetians and Sforza forces. The opponents stand still. Gaspare di Varax sends half his forces to attack the squadron led by Giacomo da Salerno. The latter initiates a cavalry charge, soon joined by the other two units. The defensive line of the Savoyards shatters; their ranks become disarrayed: they suffer 2,000 dead and 1,000 captured, including all their captains such as Giacomo di Challant, Giacomo Albonato, and Gaspare di Varax; while the Venetians lose 600 men.
MayPiedmontHe is granted a renewal of his contract by the Venetians for another year.
JunePiedmontHe halts in the Novara region and is summoned by Sforza to the siege of Vigevano. He captures the city and begins to devastate the crops in the Milanese territory.
Sept.LombardyAnother reversal of alliances occurs. The Venetians, in turn, draw closer to the Milanese. For this reason, Bartolomeo Colleoni does not join Sforza in accordance with the initial plans for a nighttime assault on Milan, to be carried out at a defensive embankment located between the districts of Porta Orientale and Porta Comasina.
Nov.VeniceSforzaLombardyHe is paid 14,000 ducats to settle previous credits (7,000 in property and 7,000 in cash). He then moves against Sforza, who has now become his adversary. He crosses the Adda at Trezzo on a specially constructed bridge and proceeds to Como with ample supplies of grain to link up with Jacopo Piccinino. Jacopo is serving the Ambrosian Republic with the aim of providing assistance to the Milanese who are suffering from famine.
Dec.LombardyHe relocates to Valsassina after crossing the Valle di San Martino, descends towards Lake Como, passes through Valle Imagna, crosses the mountain known as “la Culmine,” and enters the valley above Introbio. He conquers Mandello del Lario, Bellano, and Varenna. He sails on the lake using boats provided by Giovanni della Noce, the governor of Como, and reaches Bellagio. He captures the fortress of Pizzo and captures Onofrio Rufaldo, who commands two squadrons of horsemen there. He also persuades Jacopo Piccinino to focus their efforts on Como, and the two captains combine their forces.
Jan.LombardyHe defeats Giovanni Sforza at Asso and routs Carlo Gonzaga at Erba. He recaptures Monte Barro, which is guarded by Ruggero Galli. From the highlands of Brianza, he sends a supply column to Milan. However, he loses valuable time, and Giovanni Sforza manages to block his advance on the shores of the lake.
Feb.LombardyMilan opens its gates to Francesco Sforza, and Bartolomeo Colleoni withdraws.
Apr.LombardyHe stations himself in the Brescia region with 1,500 horsemen and 400 foot soldiers.
JuneLombardyHe is reconfirmed in his contract for six months of active service and another six months of respect. He is also assured of a prompt settlement of his outstanding credits amounting to 14,000 ducats.
……………VenetoHe and his men are noted in the Verona region. However, his company becomes involved in frequent brawls, leading to their swift relocation to less densely populated areas.
Apr.VenetoThe Venetians choose Gentile da Leonessa as their Captain General. Bartolomeo Colleoni, feeling slighted, refuses to accept this decision and does not want to attend the ceremonies in Brescia where the command insignia is handed over to Gentile da Leonessa. His companies are stationed in the Verona region and their behavior leads to numerous disturbances.
MayMilan2,000 horsemen and 500 foot soldiersVeneto, LombardyHe requests permission from the Venetians to leave their service. In anticipation of his possible defection, the Venetian Senate decides to have him killed by Jacopo Piccinino, who had switched to serving the Venetians with the end of the Ambrosian Republic. Piccinino assembles his squads in the Brescia region and, at the end of the month, along with Gentile da Leonessa and Tiberto Brandolini, attacks Bartolomeo Colleoni’s camp at Isola della Scala, looting it. The horses are plundered, some foot soldiers manage to escape to Legnago. Among the soldiers, some are massacred, some are dismissed, and others are rehired or incorporated into the companies of other condottieri. The damage suffered by Colleoni and his men is estimated to be between 80,000 and 100,000 florins. A defamatory letter is also sent to all states, the Pope, and the cardinals, tarnishing his reputation.
Upon hearing of the attack, Bartolomeo Colleoni flees from Montichiari. Along the way, his horse dies from the exertion, and he continues his escape only thanks to a mule lent to him by a peasant. He reaches the Mantuan territory via Nogara and the Tartaro bridge, where he is hosted by Ludovico Gonzaga. He then goes to Milan and joins Sforza’s payroll, who has become the Duke. He is granted a contract for 2,000 horsemen and 500 foot soldiers, and he is also promised that his wife and daughters will be ransomed from the enemy. The Venetians bring his relatives to Venice and seize all his assets.
JuneMilanVeniceLombardyAt Quinzano d’Oglio, he forms an alliance with Bartolomeo Quartero and Giacomo da Salerno. With six squadrons of horsemen, he confronts Jacopo Piccinino and Tiberto Brandolini, who have 40 squadrons of horsemen. They easily put him to flight at Genivolta, capturing 160 of his horses. Seven of his baggage carriers are killed by the peasants of San Zenone, and an eighth has an eye gouged out and his hand severed. Bartolomeo Colleoni takes command of 4,000 horsemen, devastates the Brescia region, and disrupts the harvest. He advances to the walls of the provincial capital, reaching the Gates of San Nazzaro and Sant’ Alessandro. He takes 400 prisoners from San Zenone and raids 2,000 head of livestock. In retaliation, the Venetians launch a raid in the territory of Covo and destroy his assets. After being repelled in Ghedi by Gentile da Leonessa and Jacopo Piccinino, he assaults Orzinuovi.
JulyLombardyHe defeats Tiberto Brandolini at Genivolta, inflicting heavy losses on the Venetians who attacked the Sforza camp. In the clash, four captains are killed, and Corrado Laviceno and Roberto d’Atene are captured.
Oct.LombardyHe launches a nighttime attack on the enemy encampments but is easily repelled by Jacopo Piccinino. He clashes with Carlo Gonzaga near Leno and sustains a minor injury from an arrow. He halts Piccinino’s advance and forces him to withdraw to Bagnolo Mella.
Nov.LombardyHe once again defeats Jacopo Piccinino and Gentile da Leonessa near Asola. After a challenging start for the Sforza forces, he emerges with his men from nearby woods and pursues the retreating enemies, whose withdrawal is protected by the infantry of Matteo da Sant’Angelo and Giovanni Pazzaglia. In the same month, he clashes with Tiberto Brandolini between Gottolengo and Iseo and supports Sforza in Montichiari when the Venetian troops are challenged to a pitched battle by the Sforza forces. With 100 foot soldiers and three squadrons of horsemen, he repels another attempt by Piccinino to occupy Calvisano.
Dec.LombardyAlongside Alessandro Sforza and Roberto da San Severino, he captures the fortified abbey and the bridge over the Adda near Abbadia Cerreto. Many defenders are killed, many drown in the river, and the remaining are taken as prisoners.
MayLombardyHe participates in the defense of Quinzano d’Oglio. However, the town is recaptured by the Venetians at the end of the month.
Aug.MilanMonferratoLombardyHe takes part in the Battle of Ghedi, where he attempts to breach the enemy’s position but loses his horse in the process. He is tasked with restoring Bixio Andrea Doria to his possessions. He moves to Piedmont and threatens the Duke of Savoy to secure passage for Renato d’Angiò’s militias, who are in the service of Francesco Sforza. With 500 horsemen from Rinaldo di Dresay, he recaptures Pozzolo Formigaro and opposes Guglielmo di Monferrato in the region of Alessandria. Along with other condottieri, he refuses to obey the governor of Alessandria, Andrea da Birago, who wants to launch an expedition into Monferrato. Francesco Sforza disapproves of Birago’s actions.
Sept. – Oct.LombardyHe forces the surrender of Soncino, Rovato, Orzinuovi, and Romanengo. He then turns his attention to Acquanegra sul Chiese, attacks Asola unsuccessfully, and plunders its surrounding countryside.
Nov.LombardyHe winters in the Bergamo region with his men and establishes contact with members of the Guelph faction. He leaves Urgnano and enters Iseo, then follows the shores of Lake Sebino despite the harsh winter conditions. He traverses the entire Bergamo region, with the exception of Val Seriana. The Venetians release his wife and daughters in exchange for the release of Giovanni Conti and other captains.
Dec.LombardyHe moves to Franciacorta, advances into Val Camonica, and halts in Darfo. There, he leaves the infantry behind and travels along the snow-covered banks of a stream to set an ambush for Pietro Brunoro. The attempt is unsuccessful, but he manages to obtain the fortress of Breno through negotiations. He descends to Lovere, reaches Gandino, captures and plunders Comenduno, Desenzano, and Albino, and then marches toward Bergamo. Ludovico Malvezzi, Giorgio Benzoni, Antonio Benzoni, Roberto da Rimini, and numerous residents of the valley move against him.
Jan.LombardyHe defeats the Venetians near Alzano Lombardo. Finding the road blocked by heavy cavalry, Bartolomeo Colleoni orders some of his foot soldiers to climb the nearby mountains, gather large stones, wrap them in snow, and roll them down the slope as soon as they sense the battle has begun. These stones are hurled from above onto the adversaries who are in a confined location. At the same time, they are harassed by Gaspare da Martinengo, who crosses the Serio with two squadrons of men-at-arms, and by many crossbowmen on the other bank of the river who precisely target the Venetians. With this victory, Colleoni continues his march to Nembro, Alzano Lombardo, Pradalunga, and Cornale, which falls to his soldiers. The loot and ransom from the prisoners amount to 6,000 ducats. Additionally, the inhabitants of Nembro give him 1,500 ducats to prevent the Serio’s course from being altered.
Feb. – Apr.VeniceMilanCaptain General
3,000 horsemen
LombardyFrancesco Sforza promises him the fief of Chiari and appoints him as the Ducal Lieutenant for Bergamo. He besieges the capital until April. He is approached by Andrea Morosini and his friend Andrea Zulian. Unable to resist the temptation, he returns to the service of the Most Serene Republic with the title of Captain General. He is granted a contract for 3,000 horsemen for two years of service and one year of respect, along with an annual salary of 100,000 ducats. He is also promised the fiefs of Trezzo sull’Adda, Mozzanica, and Fontanella, which previously belonged to Luigi da San Severino. In Milan, he is considered a major traitor. He receives the baton of command in Brescia. At the same time, the authorities reprimand the provveditore of Bergamo, the architect of the assassination attempt on him in Isola della Scala three years earlier.
May – JuneVenetoHe travels to Venice, where he is welcomed in Marghera by a flotilla of boats, including three bucintori. He is escorted along the Grand Canal to the monasteries of San Giorgio and San Marco, where the symbols of his office are ceremoniously handed over to him.
Aug.LombardyThe Signoria recognizes his possession of Martinengo, Urgnano, and Cologno al Serio, as well as Calcinate, Ghisalba, and Mornico al Serio, subject to an annual fee of two candles, each weighing fifteen pounds, to be delivered to Venice on the day of San Marco. He is also granted the properties formerly owned by Minolo de Federici, Micheletto Attendolo, Isabella (wife of Micheletto Attendolo), and other rebels from Bergamo and Brescia, in exchange for an annual income of 1000 florins.
Nov.Captain GeneralHe accepts a reduction in his annual stipend from 100,000 ducats to 60,000 ducats. He is promised the appointment as Captain General upon the expiration of Jacopo Piccinino’s contract.
WinterLombardyHe offers himself in vain to the Florentines to counter the advance of Jacopo Piccinino’s company in Tuscany.
Mar.LombardyThe Serenissima confirms his appointment as captain general.
MayLombardyTwo Venetian nobles, Giovanni Moro and Paolo Barbo, present him with the symbols of command in the main square of Brescia. Around the same time, the Sienese request his services to fight against Piccinino: the Venetians hesitate to grant his request for leave, and the Sienese make other arrangements.
Apr.LombardyHe purchases the Malpaga castle at auction for 100 ducats.
MayVenetoIn Venice, he and his family members are enrolled in the Major Council. On this occasion, he organizes a tournament to which all captains are invited. The central event of the celebrations is a battle between two teams of 70 armed men each, who fight to take control of a wooden bastion erected near the Ducal Palace. He returns to Malpaga.
JuneVenetoThe Doge Pasquale Malipiero reconfirms him as captain general. The ceremony takes place in Venice. He stays in the house of his friend Paolo Morosini.
Apr.LombardyIn Asola.
Jan.LombardyHe lies gravely ill, so much so that in Milan his death is considered certain.
MayLombardyHe is granted jurisdiction and the revenues of Calcinate, Mornico al Serio, and Ghisalba. He visits Forlì, where he is the godfather at the baptism of Antonio Maria Ordelaffi.
Oct.LombardyHe is approached by emissaries of the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, to serve in France. However, he does not obtain permission from the Serenissima.
Dec.LombardyPope Pius II urges him to leave the employ of the Venetians to take command of the papal troops and wage war against Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta.
Jan.LombardyStefano Trevisan comes to visit him. He is persuaded not to leave the employ of the Venetians.
JuneHe purchases numerous mounts for his company at the Antwerp fair.
Mar.LombardyHe shows signs of discontent. Pope Pius II again urges his intervention in the Kingdom of Naples; he receives another prohibition from the Venetians, and they renew his contract for another six months.
Nov.LombardyThere is talk of possibly employing him as captain general in the war that pits the Venetians against the Turks in Morea. A similar plan is discussed in December of the following year.
JuneLombardyHe lies ill in Malpaga.
Nov.LombardyHe shows renewed signs of unrest. He wants to be freed from his contract with the Venetians. At the same time, he proposes to Ludovico Gonzaga to enter the service of the Serenissima.
Mar. – MayLombardyThe Venetians exempt him from the annual presentation of two candles as a sign of tribute, which implies freedom from all servitude and vassalage. Around the same time, he sends his own emissary, Domenico Correr, to Ludovico Gonzaga to reiterate the proposal for the Marquis of Mantua to enter into a contract with the Venetians.
………….LombardyHe then begins to associate with the Florentine exiles hosted in Malpaga, who hope for his help to expel Piero dei Medici from Florence. He liaises with Giberto da Correggio and has contacts with Giovanni d’Angiò (John of Anjou).
Oct.LombardyIn Crema with 200 horses. He spends time there with the chief magistrate, Francesco Contarini. [Then he is] in Brescia.
Nov.LombardyHe meets again in Brescia with some Venetian gentlemen; he constantly reviews his men and receives the Florentine exiles in Malpaga.
Dec.LombardyHe spends Christmas Day in Brescia, busy organizing and preparing various materials necessary for the onset of a conflict.
……………LombardyThe Senate accepts the proposals of the Florentine exiles and gives Bartolomeo Colleoni carte blanche for an upcoming expedition. Using partly his own funds, partly those of the exiles, and partly those from the Serenissima, he gathers his old followers.
Mar. – Apr.VenetoHe meets in Legnago with Alessandro Sforza and the Florentine exiles. By April, the army is assembled.
MayVeniceFlorence, Milan, NaplesLombardy, Veneto, Emilia, RomagnaGiovanni da Tropea defects from his ranks with 100 horses. However, he does not secure any contract with the Sforza forces. In any case, at the beginning of the month, Bartolomeo Colleoni leaves Brescia. He surpasses Valeggio sul Mincio, Villafranca di Verona, and Castagnaro; enters the Ferrara region; and passes through Trecenta, Ficarolo, Bondeno, and Argenta. In the latter place, he stops for lunch with Duke Borso d’Este. He breaks into the Imola territory and ravages the area with the help of Astorre Manfredi, leading 5,000 cavalry and 6,000 infantry. He seizes the castles of Bubano and Bagnara di Romagna to the detriment of Taddeo Manfredi; he relieves Mordano from the siege laid by the Sforza forces. He camps outside Imola: repelled by its defenders, he strengthens his position between Faenza, Cotignola, and Castel Bolognese. He aims towards Solarolo, Faenza, and Castrocaro Terme due to the approaching ducal troops and those of Federico da Montefeltro. A series of marches and skirmishes ensues; he moves away from Castel Guelfo di Bologna and advances as far as Dovadola, aiming to relocate to Tuscany. That same month, Renato d’Angiò (René of Anjou) grants him the privilege to add the d’Angiò surname to his own, along with the insignia and coat of arms of his house.
JuneRomagnaHe moves between Castel Bolognese and Faenza. He reaches Cesena and Faenza.
JulyRomagna, EmiliaHe stops on the banks of the Senio with Alessandro Sforza and Silvestro da Lucino. On the opposite bank are representatives of the Duke of Milan, Federico da Montefeltro, and the Florentine commissioner Angelo della Stufa. A series of challenges follows. He then pursues his adversaries. He reaches Cantalupo Selice and raids the territory of Medicina; he moves to Mezzolara. The decisive clash takes place at Molinella/Riccardina, following an attack by Montefeltro. Fighting on Colleoni’s side are 7,000 cavalry and 6,000 infantry, and on the opposing side, an equal number of cavalry and 3,500 infantry. In this battle, he also uses spingarde (early guns) equipped with mobile carriages. The fight lasts eight hours: at one point, he finds himself in a tough situation, surrounded by enemies. The cavalry of Ercole d’Este intervenes, preventing his men’s defeat. As night approaches, Bartolomeo Colleoni and Federico da Montefeltro meet, and the battle ends: the outcome is highly uncertain, although to the Florentine chroniclers, it seems favorable to Montefeltro. The casualties are numerous, with estimates ranging from 600 to 1,400 cavalry and 500 infantry; among the Venetians, those wounded include Ercole d’Este, Marco Pio, Deifobo dell’ Anguillara, Costanzo Sforza, Silvestro da Lucino, and Giovan Francesco della Mirandola.
Aug.EmiliaHe crosses the Modena region, aiming to get closer to Parma where civil strife has reignited. The ducal forces position themselves at Ponte Polledrano (Bentivoglio). By the end of the month, he falls seriously ill in camp (possibly quartan fever?) and is transported to Argenta. The command is taken over by Alessandro Sforza, who moves to Mordano.
Sept.RomagnaHaving recovered, he positions himself between Russi and Villafranca. He sends Astorre Manfredi to counter the adversaries in Val di Lamone.
Oct.RomagnaAt Villafranca: he provides Emperor Frederick of Austria, en route to Rome, with a safe conduct pass for the crossing of Romagna. Meanwhile, his soldiers begin to grow restless; General Proveditor Girolamo Barbarigo intervenes, and tensions ease. The army under his command decreases to 3,000 cavalry and 3,500 infantry. Colleoni feigns a retreat and gathers supplies at Santa Maria in Porto, outside Ravenna.
Nov.RomagnaHe bombards the fortress of Modigliana, which surrenders to him; in the following days, he also secures Dovadola, perhaps due to an agreement with a Florentine constable. Alfonso of Aragon and Roberto da San Severino, coming from Pisa, move against him.
Dec.RomagnaHe attacks Castrocaro Terme, bombarding it for several days after having constructed some fortifications around it. He takes measures to reinforce the fortress of Forlì and stops there with Pino Ordelaffi, Gaspare da Martinengo, Gerardo da Martinengo, Costanzo Sforza, Marco, and Cola da Sermoneta, accompanied by 800/900 men-at-arms, albeit somewhat disorderly in terms of armament.
Jan.RomagnaIll, he departs from Forlì.
Feb.The Pope convinces him to lay down his arms; he is promised a stipend of 100,000 ducats, recognized by all the Italian states to wage war in Albania against the Turks. The contributions are as follows: the Church, the Kingdom of Naples, Venice, and the Duchy of Milan each give 19,000 florins; Florence provides 15,000; Siena, 4,000; Ferrara, 3,000; Mantua, 1,000; and Lucca, 1,000.
Apr.The peace is ratified by the warring states. Bartolomeo Colleoni returns Dovadola to the Florentines and Bubano, Mordano, and Bagnara di Romagna to Taddeo Manfredi.
……………Paul II fails to have his judgment accepted, with the only exception being the Venetians for the part regarding his appointment as general captain. Nonetheless, this situation does not harm his reputation. The King of France, Louis XI, through his ambassador Ludovico Valperga, offers him to serve under his command to fight against the rebellious nobles. He proposes a command of 1,000 horses and a salary of 125,000 crowns. Moreover, he promises him the title of lieutenant and general governor, as well as some lordships in France. Bartolomeo Colleoni declines the offer because the king’s foreign policy is contrary to that of Venice and supports the Duke of Milan in Italy.
AutumnLombardyHe is reported to be at Malpaga; his men are staying in the Padua area. He sends Feracino, Guido, Zuccone from Faenza, Riccio from Visso to purchase mounts all over Europe.
Aug.LombardyBartolomeo Colleoni’s hatred for the Duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza, intensifies to the point that the latter sends his emissaries to Malpaga with the intention of setting fire to Colleoni’s stables. However, the plot is uncovered. As a result, the Venetians step up their surveillance measures to ensure Colleoni’s safety.
MayVenetoHe is registered with the Venetian nobility. In the same year, he restores the thermal baths of Trescore Balneario.
JuneLombardyHe is put on alert regarding the Ducal forces when they favor the rise to power of Niccolò d’Este over Ercole d’Este.
Sept.The ambassadors of the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold (Carlo il Temerario) – Guglielmo di Rochefort and Antonio da Lignana – contact the Venetians to have Colleoni released from his contractual obligations. They are refused due to the ongoing war with the Turks.
Oct.LombardyHe challenges the Duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza, to a duel.
Jan.LombardyHe offers Taddeo Manfredi 100,000 ducats in exchange for the transfer of Imola in favor of the Venetians.
MayLombardyGaleazzo Maria Sforza hatches a plot to poison him. The assassin, an official who has been in the service of the condottiero for ten years, is discovered. Even though the Marquis of Mantua, Ludovico Gonzaga, intervenes on his behalf, Ambrogio Vismara is quartered in May, and his limbs are displayed in various locations, in Malpaga, Romano di Lombardia, and on the streets of nearby villages. His son, Francesco, is hanged in Martinengo.
Jan.LombardyThe Duke of Burgundy, who has already allowed Bartolomeo Colleoni to add the title of “Burgundy” to his family name, advances a proposal through Troilo da Rossano and Guglielmo di Rochefort. He offers to make Colleoni the captain and lieutenant general of the duchy for three years: with a salary of 150,000 ducats per year and a troop allowance of 1,000 men-at-arms and 1,500 infantrymen. Colleoni signs the contract, hoping to invade the Duchy of Milan. However, the Venetians obligate him not to honor the commitments made. The Senate sends Giorgio Corner to meet him in Malpaga. In the end, even the Duke of Burgundy believes it’s right to withdraw his offer after a discussion with Ambassador Bernardo Bembo.
……………LombardyHe is granted Cavenago as a fief.
Nov.LombardyHe expresses his grievances to the Venetians over the formation of a league in which the Duke of Milan is also a member.
Jan.Romagna, MarcheHe stops in Rimini, where he is welcomed by Roberto Malatesta, passes through Ancona with 100 horses, and heads to Loreto on a pilgrimage. He receives donations from the people of Recanati.
Feb.LombardyThe Signoria imposes on him not to disturb the state of Milan in any way, even though in the previous month, the Duke had once again attempted to have him killed through assassins. Colleoni has these assassins executed.
Mar.LombardyHe hosts King Christian I of Denmark and his sizable entourage at the Castle of Malpaga.
Aug. – Sept.LombardyHe falls seriously ill.
Jan. – Feb.Lombardy, MarcheHe meets with the Marquis of Mantua, Ludovico Gonzaga, in Cavriana. He goes on a pilgrimage to Loreto.
……………LombardyHis relations with the Duke of Milan improve to the extent that Galeazzo Maria Sforza gives him a mule as a gift during one of his journeys. In return, Colleoni sends him some falcons.
May – Oct.LombardyHe returns the insignias of the general captain to the Venetians, sending his chancellor and eight condottieri from his companies to Venice in two separate occasions. His resignation is declined. In September, he agrees to sign a new contract, which will be executed the following month, securing Cividate and San Nazzaro as fiefs. In mid-October, he falls ill and drafts his own will.
Nov.LombardyHe passes away in the early days of the month at his palace in Malpaga, surrounded by daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren, and soldiers. In the town, the bells toll the mournful chimes, echoed by cannon salutes fired in Pontoglio, Brescia, Verona, Vicenza, and Arcole, and also in Venice. His body, drawn by two black horses, reaches Bergamo. The city’s inhabitants pay their respects to him for three days at the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore, where his body is displayed before being interred in the so-called Colleoni Chapel. In January 1476, in the same church (with the completion of the ark intended to hold his remains), new funerary rites are celebrated with prayers by Guglielmo Pajello and Michele Carrara.
In the same month, the Venetians make an inventory of his assets (216,000 ducats in cash and other valuables such as jewelry, furniture, armor, and horses worth a total of half a million ducats). They execute his will only in those parts accepted by the College of Pregadi. Meanwhile, Bartolomeo Colleoni renounces the outstanding salaries and leaves 100,000 ducats to the Serenissima for the war against the Turks, as well as the debts he is owed by the Marquis of Mantua and the Duke of Ferrara (another 10,000 ducats).
The Serenissima spends substantial sums on top of the funeral expenses for his family’s legacies, dowries for his last two unmarried daughters, and to settle arrears owed to the company’s troops. Only 2 out of his 10 fiefs pass to his heirs, despite all of them having been granted in perpetuity. Formally, this is justified by the alleged desire of the local population.
In gratitude, the Venetians erect an equestrian monument in his memory, created by Andrea Verrocchio (completed by Alessandro Leopardi), not in Piazza San Marco as he had requested, but in the square overlooking the Scuola Grande di San Marco in the Campo dei Santi Pietro e Paolo. The monument features three human testicles on its base. Another equestrian statue depicting him is located in the Colleoni Chapel, a golden wooden sculpture created by the sculptor Sisto Frey from Nuremberg.
Known for his strong religious devotion, he has the bones of Saint Mary Magdalene transported from Senigallia to the Church of Romano di Lombardia and the relics of Saint Lazarus to the Church of Covo. In Bergamo, he founds the “Luogo Pio della Pietà Istituto Bartolomeo Colleoni” to provide dowries for poor and legitimate girls born in the Bergamo region, guaranteeing an annual sum of 2,000 ducats for this purpose.
He has the Church and Monastery of the Dominicans in Basella, near Malpaga, rebuilt, where initially the ten-year-old daughter Medea was buried in 1470. In 1842, this tomb was transferred to the Colleoni Chapel, built by him in Upper Bergamo near the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, a work by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo. In Martinengo, he commissions the construction of the Church of Sant’Agata in Lombard Gothic style (designed by Tonino da Lumezzane). In Martinengo as well, he establishes two Franciscan convents, the first (dedicated to Saint Clare) for the Observant Friars and the second (outside the walls, San Francesco) erected in memory of his wife Tisbe da Martinengo and the Poor Clares.
He also restores the Church of San Pietro in Romano di Lombardia and rebuilds the castles of Malpaga and Solza. The walls of the former castle are adorned with frescoes by masters from the French and Burgundian schools, along with some frescoes attributed to Romanino. The halls of the Castle of Malpaga host Borso d’Este, the sons of Francesco Sforza, the Duke of Burgundy Charles the Bold, and King Christian I of Denmark.
He repairs the thermal baths of Trescore Balneario, which are intended for his wounded soldiers. He improves the irrigation system by having the Canal della Misericordia dug from Fara Olivana, which reaches Fara Gera d’Adda. He also constructs another canal through the expansion of the intake mouths of the Serio (called Borgogna in honor of Duke Charles the Bold) and the Curna and Coleona canals near Bergamo.
A friend of Cola da Montano, Mario Filelfo, Ludovico Foscarini, Jacopo Tiraboschi, Giovanni Michele Carrara, Pagello, and Antonio Cornazzano, who dedicates a biography to him (Commentarium liber de vita et gestis invictissimi belli principis Bartholomei Colei) and writes numerous works in Latin, Italian, prose, and verse.
A drawing of him by Leonardo da Vinci is found in the Uffizi collection in Florence; he is portrayed by Girolamo Romanino in various frescoes in the Castle of Malpaga, and by Giovan Battista Moroni (his likeness is captured on a medal). There is also a painting of him in Bergamo, under the loggia of the old square, depicting a battle.
Renato d’Angiò grants him the right to add the title Angiò to his surname and provides him with the coat of arms of his house. Regarding the use of artillery, he is attributed with the invention of “orecchioni” and the “incavalcamento” of artillery pieces on wheeled carriages.
Bartolomeo Colleoni is also the name of a cruiser sunk in July 1940, off Cape Spada, by British torpedo bombers after being intercepted by an Australian cruiser and 5 destroyers (121 sailors killed and 525 taken prisoner).


-“Insigne Capitano di questi tempi.” MURATORI

-“Di bell’aspetto, come fu in ogni età della sua vita, di smisurata statura, saldo e quadrato, col capo fieramente eretto sul largo collo, asciutto in volto, con gli occhi chiari, fissi e penetranti, forti il naso e le narici, grande, vigorosa e imperiosa la bocca, sporgente il labbro inferiore, in atteggiamento di prepotenza soldatesca, egli veramente sembrava impersonare il tipo classico del condottiere…Specialmente Francesco Filelfo, nell’”Oratio parentibus de divi Francisci Sphortiae Medio. ducis felicitate”, descrisse il bergamasco quale traditore, ed anzi quale traditore abituale, come nella “Oratio in funere divae virginis” Bianca Maria, vedova di Francesco Sforza, lo chiamò poi “numquam sua sorte contentus”, di insaziabile avarizia, “cui auri congerendi satis esse nil poterat”, vecchio quasi decrepito, “senem iam prope decrepitum”, e tornato malamente dalla guerra di Romagna, colla quale sembrava voler soggiogare mari e monti…Specialmente negli ultimi anni della sua vita, nel Colleoni il soldato è sopraffatto dal politico, dall’ansioso possessore e dal provvido amministratore di una immensa fortuna, dall’inquieto e deluso aspirante a una sognata signoria, sicché appunto quegli anni suoi sono scontenti. E altrettanto è certo, almeno a nostro avviso, che le considerazioni di questi vari aspetti della figura del condottiere, più che a una vita eroica, richiama a una di quelle maschie e gagliarde ma egoistiche vite italiane, che sono particolari caratteristiche del quattrocento…Egli conobbe tutte le avidità del suo tempo. Ebbe l’ardore dei sensi: e per ciò si disse di lui che fosse estremamente inclinato alle donne, anche in età avanzata..Il Colleoni ebbe pure l’avidità delle ricchezze.. Così accumulato una grande fortuna, della quale si valse per far prestiti a condottieri, a principi, come quello di Modena e quello di Mantova, e perfino a pontefici, e dalla quale poi poté avere ristorno l’erario di uno stato..Finalmente il Colleoni ebbe uno sfrenato desiderio di gloria e di grandezza, come in genere gli uomini del tempo suo: e in gran parte riuscì a sodisfarlo, ancorché..gli ultimi ani della sua vita diano l’impressione di un malinconico tramonto.” BELOTTI

-“Gran conducitor di genti d’arme.” CAVALCANTI

-“Princes and captains begged immortality..with bronze equestrian sculptures, such as Verrocchio’s magnificent memorial sculpture of the great venetian captain Bartolommeo Colleoni.” ARNOLD

-“A fare ombra alla fama di Colleoni era…la sua proverbiale mancanza di lealtà. Cambiava spesso fronte, smuoveva cielo e terra pur di strappare condizioni migliori per le sue condotte…La sua avidità era leggendaria. Machiavelli lo cita come primo esempio nella filippica contro la specie esecrabile dei condottieri, prima di Roberto Sanseverino e del conte di Pitigliano (Niccolò Orsini).” BOECK-TONNESMANN

-“…..l’alto condottiere,/ benigno a’ suoi ed ai nemici crudo/../Stretto nel pugno il folgore di guerra,/ I fanti contro Galeazzo ei sferra,/ Tonando col mortaio e la spingarda/ Arcato il duro sopracciglio, ei guarda/ Di su la manca spalla irta di pietra; E, bronzo in bronzo, nell’arcion s’incastra.” D’ANNUNZIO

-“Il Colleoni fu senza dubbio una figura eccezionale. La sua statura imponente e il suo fisico robusto costituirono un vantaggio naturale nella sua carriera militare. Sembrò che in lui si combinassero le qualità della tradizione della scuola sforzesca e di quella braccesca, ambedue caratteristiche dell’arte militare  italiana del XV secolo. Molte delle sue grandi vittorie si dovettero alla rapidità e ferocia dei suoi attacchi; eppure egli poteva, quando le circostanze lo richiedevano, rivelarsi estremamente cauto e fu sempre capace di mantenere la disciplina. Il suo contributo fondamentale fu l’enfasi che egli pose sul ruolo della fanteria, le sue compagnie includevano sempre grossi corpi di fanteria ed egli stesso preferiva marciare a piedi coi suoi uomini. Come specialista della guerra di montagna e con un senso chiaro anche se non eccezionale dell’importanza dell’artiglieria, egli fu particolarmente consapevole della crescente importanza del ruolo della fanteria sul campo di battaglia. Considerato da un punto di vista più ampio, egli fu certamente ambizioso e non abbandonò mai il desiderio di crearsi un proprio solido stato indipendente. Ma nello stesso tempo seppe adattarsi in grande misura al sistema istituzionale veneziano, divenendo il classico esempio di condottiero feudatario, installato sulla frontiera in qualità di difensore permanente dello stato. In realtà, il suo ruolo nel Bergamasco non fu tanto lontano da quello di un principe indipendente, cosicché si potrebbe affermare che egli riuscì a uscire fuori dal sistema veneziano, soprattutto nei momenti in cui Venezia si venne a trovare in difficoltà finanziarie e dovette adattarsi alla coesistenza con Milano in Lombardia.” MALLETT

-“Fu temperante ne’ cibi, ma proclive all’amore ed al piacere delle donne; alto di statura e di gran forza, colorito in volto, azzurri gli occhi e nero il pelo.” MUONI

-“Personaggio influente, pratico della guerra, egli godeva di una grandissima autorità nell’esercito.” GREPPI

-“Huomo peritissimo nella militia.” ALBERTI

-“Spertissimo dell’arte militare e illustre per fama di fortezza e di senno.” BRUTO

-“In quel tempo eccellentissimo Capitan di guerra.” MARCELLO

-“Si dice, ch’egli fu il primo che con barbarico costume adoperò l’artiglierie, con le quali prima si solevano battere le mura della città, in battaglia a ferire i soldati, e a rompere le schiere, contra l’usanza di guerra, ch’era in Italia.” GIRALDI

-“Costui diligentissimo osservatore in un grandissimo tempo della disciplina Sforzesca, et Braccesca, et con molti valorosi fatti, s’acquistò fama di valente, e animoso Capitano. ” GIOVIO

-“….la nobil Brescia a gara corre/ Col tuo Bergamo illustre a forti honore,/ Sforzandosi il tuo nome a morte torre,/ E i padri Vinitiani, il cui valore/ Honora Italia, e l’empio giogo sdegna/ D’ogni straniero, e barbaro signore./ Tu l’alma lor vittoriosa insegna/ Lungo tempo reggesti in guerra invitto,/ Ond’è d’honor la tua memoria degna:/ Tal che hor di bronzo, e d’oro eterno e ritto/ Sopra cadente destrier dinanzi al Tempio/ Ricevi il guiderdone e è ben dritto./ D’haver dato di te sì chiaro essempio.” Da un sonetto in suo ricordo di A. Cocciano raccolto dal GIOVIO

-“Aveva dalla sua prima gioventù marciato sulle traccie di que’ felici soldati di fortuna, che fecero tanto rumore in Italia nel decimoquinto secolo. Nato suddito de’ duchi di Milano, sommesso poi al dominio de’ Veneziani per la conquista, ch’essi fecero di Bergamo sua patria, li servì e tradì a vicenda con l’idea di avanzare più rapidamente negli onori militari. I suoi talenti per la guerra, e il bisogno che avevasi de’ suoi servigi, impegnarono queste due potenze a rapirselo vicendevolmente.” LAUGIER

-“Famoso capitano.” BROCCHI

-“Celebrem rei militaris Ducem.” PICCOLOMINI

-“Era Bartolomeo di persona alta, e di gran forza; il volto hebbe colorito; gli occhi azzurri, chiari, e il pelo nero.” ROSCIO

-“Allora eccellente Capitano.” SABELLICO

-“Famoso Capitano di quei tempi.” VIANOLI

-“Militari laude insignis Venetorum imperator hinc creatus, tanta cum fide tanta constantiaque et gloria militaris disciplinae perpetuo excellit..Qui sua virtute militarique scientia, ac faelicitate tantum apud Venetis valuit, ut illum gratissimi patres patritio donarint ordine, semperque propter egregiam eius fidem in magno pretio habuerint.” EGNAZIO

-“Non ti dovrà parer soverchie, o false/ Darsi lode a costui lettor gentile;/ Se guarderai dal fondamento umile,/ All’altezza de’ gradi, ov’egli salse:/ Che assai fè, e sofferì, ch’ei sudò, ed alse/ Né già si perdé in piuma, od ozio vile;/ Chi a Fortuna, ed Invidia (un par simile/ Di nimiche potenti) ancor prevalse./ Però se cavalier di livor tinto,/ L’appella Capitan del tempo antico;/ E le sue guerre un gioco d’arme finto;/ Più volte, ei può ben dir, vid’io ‘l nemico;/ E più giornate ho combattuto, e vinto; Che tu spada non hai cinto, e discinto.”    “Dalle immondizie (per così dire) domestiche, per li gradi della propria virtù ascendendo, a tanto d’altezza ei pervenne, che presso a’ potentissimi signori Veneziani la maggioranza suprema dell’imperatoria potestà nell’armi egli ottenne..Sopra tutt’i Capitani de’ suoi tempi, di tutte le cose ad avvenire possibili, la prudenza ebbe sempre fida rivelatrice ed interprete ..Capitano d’inclito nome per tante vittorie..Fu questo Capitano adunque, né letterato molto, né eziandio senza lettere..Egli nondimeno fu de gli uomini scienziati e dotti amantissimo..Fu presso a principi e re nostrali e stranieri, in tanta opinione e credito di scienza e di potenza nell’armi, ed oltre a ciò d’incorrotta integrità e costanza che egli ne conseguì non solo i più illustri titoli ed eccellenti gradi, che né prima né poscia alcun altro mai Capitano di guerra..Egli non si dilettò gran fatto del parlare straniero: ma usando per il più la sua propria e naturale favella, fu nelle risposte e ne’ motti pronto, grave ed arguto.. Egli fu di vigoria di corpo e d’agilità e destrezza sommamente mirabile..Fu d’alta, ritta e ben compressa statura, e di proporzionata e ben rispondente unione e collegamento di membra. Fu di pellagione alquanto più al fosco che al chiaro tendente: impresso tuttavia di una carnagione sanguigna e vivace. Ebbe occhi neri nella guardatura ed acutezza del lume, penetranti e terribile. Nei lineamenti del naso e di tutta la faccia, egli rappresentava una certa viril nobiltà, accompagnata da bontà e prudenza.” SPINO

-“Bartholomaeum Colemu omnium ducum aetatis nostrae facile principem..Haec profecto omnia hi praestantissimi duces Philippus Arcellas, Otto Tertius, Bracchius Perusinus, Sfortia Cotognolus, Jacobus Candolus, Franciscus Carmignolus, Nicolaus Picininus summa cum laude et gloria effecerunt, quos omnes ipse vidit, ac non solum vitae magistros elegit, verum etiam clarissimas eorum imagines ante oculos habere voluit, sed horum alius eritruit in bello, sed obsolevit in pace.” Dall’orazione funebre del Pajello riportata dallo SPINO

-“Famoso Capitano di quella età.” TARCAGNOTA

-“Uno de’ più grandi condottieri del suo tempo.” UGOLINI

-“Clarum in primis et singularis opinionis ducem.” F. CONTARINI

-Alla battaglia di Molinella “Qui se vedea le squadre insiem urtarse,/ Bartholomeo i suoi va confortando, s’alcun fugia, ai nemici apresentarse.” SANTI

-“Clementiam et bonitatem habuit tantam, ut hoc unum illi vitio daretur a pluribus. Cum fiducia naturae ejus, nihil ulciscentis, etiam minimi in maximis illum rebus, et saepe periculo capitis, offenderint; ab ejus enim lenitate nihil magis abhorrebat, quam caedes extra praelium, et humani sanguine effusio, atque adeo numquam de inimicis, etiam quando excusatissimus saepisse potuisset, supplicium sumere laetatus est: quinimo nonnumquam illorum perfidiam, et malignitatem beneficio, ac charitate superavit..Virtutem igitur re magis quam verbo colebat, e fortitudinem consilio, magis quam peruculo ostendebat: eam tamen, ubi necessitas exigeret, habuit animositatem et robur, quam maxime omnes admirari, nulli aequa satis laudis quae aut tollere.. Tantae et peragendis in rebus fuit celeritas, et diligentiae, ut omnes nostrorum duces illi sine controversia concesseverint.” CORNAZZANO

-“Celebre condottiero del secolo XV.” BOSI

-“Fu certamente uno dei più famosi condottieri, affermatisi per capacità militari di tattico e di stratega, per valore personale, per fedeltà e lealtà nei riguardi di chi lo volle e lo tenne al suo servizio.” ARGIOLAS

-“Quello tanto illustra huomo e al tempo suo veramente principe nella scienza dell’arte militare.” BELLAFINO

-“Ille notus adhuc, et per feria, per jocos ob militarem gloriam simul et cognomenti ludum frequens in ore famae.” RIPAMONTI

-“Vattene nella lombardia/ la romangnia e lla toschana/ bartolomeo cavalcha via/ la champangnia è tutta piana./ E ti parrebbe chosa istrana/ l’armeggiare in tua vechiezza/ perché in tua giovanezza/ tu non fusti mai gagliardo./ Salvalaglio è risuscitato/ tutto il mondo vuole fare tremare/ questo chapitano pregiato/ a lui si vuole assomigliare./ E ti chonverrà or altro fare/ che di gridare choglione/ perché e’ t’a preso el lione (di San Marco)/ e terratti pel ciuffetto.” Da una poesia politica raccolta da NOVATI-PELLEGRINI

-“Quidem militari scientia et magnanimitate probantissimus.” PORCELLIO

-“E’ il primo che, intuendo con acuta genialità militare come con l’artiglieria sia cominciata una nuova epoca nella pratica della guerra, pensa subito trarne il massimo vantaggio..Egli monta le bombarde e le spingarde su carretti mobili con le fanterie, trasformando cioé in cannone da campagna il vecchio carro da battaglia; alla battaglia di Molinella..usa con grande vantaggio dei veri e propri cannoni montati alla leggera.” MONTU’

-“Magnus armorum capitaneus..Potens armorum Imperator.” RIPALTA

-“Generale illustre del 15° secolo..Colleoni passava per il miglior tattico dei suoi tempi, come quegli che per primo avea fatto uso dell’artiglieria di campagna e muniti di affusti i cannoni. La sua versatilità e le depredazioni dei suoi soldati, lo resero temibile anche da coloro che serviva. Senz’aspirare ad alcuna sovranità, come tanti generali ad esso contemporaneo, intese ad accumulare tesori.” PAOLINI

-“Provecta in armorum exercicio experiencia, prudencia et strenuitate informati sumus.” Da una lettera del duca di Borgogna Carlo il Temerario ad Antonio da Lignana, riportata dal SESTAN

-“Soggetto molto stimato.” VERDIZZOTTI

-“Illustrissimo capitano.” BROGLIO

-“Nobilissimus sane Dux..Gloriae avidissimus.” FABRONIO

-Figura del Colleoni da come risulta dalla statua del Verrocchio “Sous le casque Colleoni, lui, offre un facès brutal, contracté, des sourcils froncés, les narines sont tuméfiées, les veines du cou gonflées par la colère.” LABANDE

-“Uno de’ suoi (Francesco Sforza) più saggi e valenti capitani.” BIFFIGNANDI

-“Avea ottenuto fama di forte ed esperto in guerra.” VESI

-“Celebre Capitano.” TENTORI

-Con Francesco e Jacopo Piccinino “Tutti e tre capitani valentissimi.” A-VALLE

-“Era magnifico..nutriva odio verso i malvagi e le spie, e puniva i ladri in modo esemplare. Nella tattica e nella strategia di quei tempi seppe eccellere tanto da sorprendere il nemico per la celerità delle mosse delle sue schiere e per la loro disposizione. Pretendeva la disciplina più rigorosa, indispensabile nerbo degli eserciti, e dava esempio di coraggio ai soldati che amava, tanto che tutti i suoi uomini erano entusiasti di lui ed erano sempre pronti ad ogni suo cenno.. Fu sobrio nei cibi, ma era molto lussurioso..Era dotato però di sentimenti buoni, proclive alla pietà ed era molto osservante delle pratiche religiose…Spirito bizzarro e tenace, nacque per la guerra e per la conquista..Era di carnagione bianca, sanguigno, aveva occhi grigi, vivaci e penetranti; sopracciglie molto inarcate; era di alta statura e molto aitante nella persona.” BIGNAMI

-“Famous condottiere.” TREASE

-“Coleonus gelidus stat Bartholomeus in centro,/ Dux Venetorum, bello invictus, pacisque magister. Aemiliam quassavit atrox: gallosque superbos/ ter cepit: tenet ossa lapis, mens sydera lustrat.” da un’epigrafe di M. A. Carrara, riportata dal BELOTTI

-“Fu vero lume d’Italia, né mancano testimonianza della sua prudenza, della umanità, della giustizia, della liberalità, dell’animo invitto, e della disciplina militare, della quale precipuamente fanno fede le sue tante vittorie, le espugnazioni di luoghi inespugnabili, la subita prontezza nelle espedizioni, e nell’eseguire tutte le fazioni della milizia, l’aver molte volte con pochissima gente fugato numerosi eserciti, di modo che possiamo a molti famosi antichi eguagliarlo.” ROCCHETTI

-“Fu tra i più celebri capitani di ventura italiani del Rinascimento, epoca in cui le Signorie si affidavano a essi per abilità e preparazione, tanto da riuscire a sconfiggere spesso i più efficienti eserciti stranieri.” BEONIO BROCCHIERI

-Con Niccolò Piccinino, Uguccione della Faggiuola, Castruccio Castracani, Lodrisio Visconti, Facino Cane ed il Carmagnola “Furono capi notissimi per le loro imprese.” AGOSTINI

-“Il Colleoni fu certamente un personaggio degno di rappresentare il suo tempo. Nel suo animo si ritrovarono virtù e mancanze tipiche dei suoi contemporanei: egli…fu bramoso di ricchezze, avido di potere e di gloria, e fino alla più tarda età non cessò di indulgere ai vizi della carne. In più occasioni fu accusato di aver tradito chi lo aveva assunto …Ma il Colleoni fu anche un geniale stratega e un innovatore in campo militare, un tattico brillante, un padre amorevole, un uomo che si prodigò instacabilmente nella costruzione di infrastrutture e opere pubbliche.” CRISTINI-RADAELLI

-“Il capitano generale era morto ed entrava nella leggenda; ci sarebbero voluti cinque secoli per ritrovarne la salma, nel 1969, con ancora intatti il bastone di comando e la spada. I suoi resti sono ora dentro il mausoleo che l’Amaseo completò due anni dopo la sua morte, nella cappella a Bergamo.” RENDINA

-“Un personaggio che fu in grado di padroneggiare l’arte militare al punto di comprendere quanto il mutato spirito dei tempi enfatizzasse il ruolo delle fanterie e dell’artiglieria, due ingredienti che non mancarono mai nelle sue milizie e nelle sue tattiche. Sebbene fosse ambizioso, non abbandonando mai il desiderio di crearsi un proprio solido stato indipendente, egli seppe adattarsi al sistema istituzionale veneziano, divenendo il classico esempio di condottiero feudatario installato sulla frontiera in qualità di difensore permanente dello stato. Un pregio che la Serenissima gli riconobbe, eternandolo con una statua equestre commissionata al Verrocchio seppur riserbandogli l’ultimo oltraggio: il marmo, che il condottiero voleva eretto in piazza S. Marco, fu invece allocato nella secondaria piazzetta dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo.” STAFFA

-“The life of that of an honourable man – the last of the “condottieri”, but also the best, – one who did not seek to make himself a prince or duke, but who sought a comparatively modest patrimony as a reward for his labours and studied to surround himself with the grateful participants of his beneficence and good fortune. The closer examination of his life will show he is more intimately connected with the art of his time. ” BROWNING

-“Fu probabilmente Bartolomeo Colleoni ad intuire quanto i fanti potessero essere fondamentali nella tattica di battaglia, e non solo come complemento della cavalleria. Non a caso, le fonti attribuiscono proprio a Colleoni i primi esperimenti dell’uso dell’artiglieria come armamento da campo, da usare direttamente contro i nemici e non solo contro le mura dei loro castelli..Fu per molti aspetti il modello dell’azione politica e delle capacità di governo di sé che i più grandi signori delle armi seppero mostrare all’Italia del tempo..Molti ritengono Colleoni il più grande condottiero del Quattrocento, il vero artefice di una grande sintesi tra le due scuole braccesca e sforzesca.” TANZINI

-“ più grande (condottiero al servizio dei veneziani). Più abile e più leale del Carmagnola, più sagace e più sottile del Gattamelata, aveva servito sotto entrambi in Lombardia. Aveva avuto la disgrazia di nascere una generazione dopo e di avere così minori opportunità per mettersi in luce come comandante militare.” NORWICH

-“Era il condottiero più famoso del suo tempo, il capitano di ventura più celebre del Quattrocento, legato a Venezia da un lungo rapporto fatto di odio e amore. L’uomo resta diviso tra la ricerca del riconoscimento alle proprie notevoli capacità e la gratitudine che prova per la Repubblica che lo ha reso ricco.” E. e G.N. PITTALIS

-“E’ veramente singolare, e quasi malinconica, la sorte di questo grande capitano che, arrivato al massimo del suo potere, è costretto ad una tormentosa inoperosità..Con Bartolomeo Colleoni si chiude praticamente un’era: l’era dei grandi capitani di ventura e con essa lo splendido Rinascimento italiano.” MONTELLA

-“Secondo la leggenda popolare, Bartolomeo Colleoni era afflitto dalla patologia nota come poliorchidismo, ossia la presenza di un testicolo soprannumerario, ma non ci sono valide prove che attestino quest’anomalia, in quanto fa sempre parte del folklore popolare, come il detto attribuitogli erroneamente “Ci vogliono tre coglioni per fare la guerra”. Già nel Trecento, ben prima della nascita di Bartolomeo, lo stemma della famiglia raffigurava tre testicoli.” BIONDINI-SANGIORGIO

-“Era Bartolomeo di persona alta, e di gran forza: il volto hebbe colorito: gli occhi azurri, e il pel nero. Introdusse egli con grandissima sua lode l’uso dell’Artiglieria in Campagna ne gli eserciti.” CAPRIOLO

-“Viene sempre citato dagli storici moderni con il cognome Colleoni, ma nei documenti del XV secolo che si riferiscono a lui o alla sua famiglia appare come Coglioni. Il letterato Antonio Cornazzano, che dimorò presso la corte di Bartolomeo a Malpaga e ne scrisse la biografia in latino, lo chiama Bartholomeus Coleus cioè testicolo. La stessa forma venne usata da Guglielmo Pagello nell’orazione funebre alla morte del condottiero. Un documento del 1423 cita il padre Paolo detto Poy come “de Colionibus” e lo stesso Bartolomeo si firmava “de Colionibus”. Ancora in un documento dell’Archivio Storico di Brescia, delle “Provvisioni” in data 30 agosto 1438, appare come “Cojoni” e anche nel quattrocentesco Stemmario Trivulziano, lo stemma gentilizio della famiglia, raffigurante tre testicoli, porta la didascalia “de Collionibus”.” PREDONZANI

-“Il condottiero era talmente orgoglioso del proprio cognome da farne il temuto grido di guerra “Coglia, Coglia”, cioé “Coglioni, Coglioni” e da continuare a rappresentarli, con realismo, nel suo stemma anche quando gli fu concesso di aggiungere i gigli d’oro dello stemma dei d’Angiò e le fasce di Borgogna. Era il condottiero stesso che precisava in un atto pubblico che la sua arma gentilizia era quella che esibiva.. Secondo alcuni vecchi autori Bartolomeo Colleoni era affetto della patologia nota come poliorchidismo, ossia la presenza di un testicolo soprannumerario; secondo altri ciò fa sicuramente parte della leggenda, visto che Bartolomeo di questa anomalia non ebbe mai a  vantarsi. ” WIKIPEDIA

-“Il più glorioso guerriero vedesse l’Italia, il più valoroso duce inclinasse l’Europa, il più intrepido, e fortunato generale ammirasse il mondo.” D. CALVI

-“La guerra colleonica (1467-68) fu essenzialmente un nuovo, più coperto ma anche più insidioso episodio della volontà irriducibile della casa d’Angiò di far valere le proprie prerogative sulla corona di Napoli, ma non senza una più ampia sfera di interferenza nelle questioni d’Italia, dove potevano contare sull’appoggio di un vero e proprio partito, erede del tradizionale guelfismo (basti per tutti ricordare gli Este di Ferrara).” FUBINI

-“Bartolomeo Colleoni fu uno dei personaggi che più influenzarono lo scenario bellico italiano del Quattrocento. La natura gli diede una statura imponente ed un fisico robusto che gli permisero di sostenere come nessun altro le fatiche della vita militare. Era un uomo intelligente ed un eccelso stratega: riuscì infatti a far sue le scuole militari più efficaci dell’epoca, la sforzesca e la braccesca, e a rielaborarle a suo piacere, affinché si adeguassero alle necessità della guerra. La rapidità, la ferocia e la disciplina furono le qualità preminenti della sua “maniera” di far guerra, ma, se le circostanze lo avessero richiesto, poteva rivelarsi estremamente cauto e razionale. Egli si dimostra consapevole della crescente importanza dell’impiego della fanteria sul campo di battaglia, infatti le sue compagnie erano costituite in gran parte da grossi corpi di fanteria. Bartolomeo Colleoni stesso era solito marciare a piedi al fianco dei suoi uomini. Intuì inoltre il ruolo fondamentale che stava acquisendo l’artiglieria, decidendo di inserire nel suo esercito un corpo d’artiglieria esperto e all’avanguardia..Fu un uomo ambizioso e passò l’intera durata della sua vita a cercare di creare un proprio “Stato”. Seppe però adattarsi al sistema istituzionale veneziano, divenendo un condottiero feudatario, difendendo la frontiera occidentale del Dominio di Terraferma.” ZENNARO

-“Detto l’”invincibile” passerà alla storia come il condottiero più famoso del secolo, uno dei capitani di ventura più intraprendenti del sec. XV, il tipo classico del condottiero spavaldo, audace, dominato dall’ansia di raggiungere la celebrità.” DISTEFANO

-Con Niccolò Piccinino “Esi non capitanarono grandi eserciti, non smembrarono regni, non sottomisero popoli, non ottennero famose vittorie; ma la loro vita è inyessuta di scorrerie, prede, uccisioni, miseri assedi, piccoli fatti d’arme, minime beghe, desideri, speranze.” LO MONACO

-Sul monumento del Verrocchio compare la seguente epigrafe “Bartholomaeo Collaeono Bergomensi ob militare imperium optime gestum. S.C. Sul lato destro della sua tomba, opera dell’Amaseo, è riportata un’iscrizione riguardante la sua attività guerresca “Bartholomeus Coleonus de Andegavia virtute immortalitatem adeptus/ usque adeo in re militari fuit illustris, ut non modo tunc/ viventium gloriam longe excesserit, sed etiam posteris spem/ eum imitandi ademerit, multoties enim a diversis principibus,/ deinde ab illustrissimo venetorum senatu accepto imperio,/ tandem totius christianorum exercitus sub Paulo II pontifice/ maximo delectus fuit imperator, enim acies quatuordecim annis/ ab eius obitu, sub solo iam defuncti imperatoris tamquam/ vivi nomine militantis iussa cuiusquam alterius contempserunt.” Sul lato sinistro, vi è invece un’esplicazione delle sue opere di pace “Et in iis, quae in paces fiunt, neque principibus ipsis concessit,/ si quidem per id temporis aquas ad publicos usus derivavit,/ balnea restituit, arces aedificavit, coenobia et templa magnifice/ extruvit, splendideque dotavit, atque perpetuam in collocandis/ virginibus pauperibus pecuniam constituit. Obijt anno Domini MCCCCLXXV, quarto nonas novembris et hic iusserat sepultus est.”


-B. Belotti. La vita di Bartolomeo Colleoni.

-A. Cornazzano. De vita et gestis Bartholomai Colei, principis bello invictissimi commentarium.

-M Frigeni. Il condottiero. Vita, avventure e battaglie di Bartolomeo Colleoni.

-P. Operti. Bartolomeo Colleoni.

-G. Rosa. Bartolomeo Colleoni da Bergamo.

-P. Spino. Istoria della vita, e fatti dell’eccellentissimo capitano di guerra Bartolomeo Colleoni.

Topics: Bartolomeo Colleoni’s impact on Renaissance military, Innovations in warfare by Bartolomeo Colleoni, Strategic genius of Renaissance condottiero Colleoni, Colleoni’s unconventional military tactics, Renaissance battlefield visionary: Bartolomeo Colleoni, Legacy and influence of Bartolomeo Colleoni, Italian condottiero’s contributions to military strategy, Colleoni’s rise from obscurity to military mastery, Tactical brilliance of Bartolomeo Colleoni, The mind of a Renaissance military strategist: Colleoni

Featured image source: Wikimedia

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