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

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Braccio di Montone: A Condottiero’s Journey to Power

Cruel, eager for glory and power at any cost. Much loved by his soldiers with whom he shares the dangers of combat. A proponent of a tactic aimed at seeking decisive action, as opposed to that of Muzio Attendolo Sforza, a master, instead, in conducting prolonged conflicts to wear down the opponent

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Last Updated on 2023/11/29

Braccio di Montone: A Strategist of the Medieval Era.

Andrea Fortebraccio, widely known as Braccio da Montone, was an iconic Italian noble, mercenary leader, and political figure in the 15th century. Hailing from a noble lineage, he emerged as a formidable military commander and a captain of fortune. His strategic acumen and audacity enabled him to garner significant political influence.

BRACCIO DI MONTONE (Andrea Fortebracci, also known as Braccio da Perugia or Andrea di Montone). Named ‘Braccio’ after his battle cry.

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Originating from Perugia (born in the Porta Sant’Angelo district). Count of Montone and Foggia, Prince of Capua. Lord of Perugia, Todi, Rieti, Narni, Terni, Montone, Città della Pieve, Montecassiano, Ostra, Spello, San Gemini, Gualdo Tadino, Gualdo Cattaneo, Cannara, Nocera Umbra, Sassoferrato, Jesi, Orte, Orvieto, Assisi, Città di Castello, Spoleto, Arcevia, Cingoli, Castel San Pietro Terme, Castel Bolognese, Medicina, Pieve di Cento, Teramo, Capua, Foggia. Father of Carlo di Montone and Oddo di Montone, uncle to Niccolò Fortebraccio, brother-in-law to Cherubino da Perugia (whose sister Isabella della Staffa he married in his first marriage), Berardo da Varano, and Malatesta Baglioni, and nephew to Rinieri da Perugia.

Born: 1368 (July)
Death: 1424 (June)

Year, monthStateOpponentConductActivity areaMilitary actions and other facts
1378UmbriaHe is exiled from Perugia along with all the other nobles due to the victory of the populist faction.
1385/ 13869 cavalryApuliaHe initially serves as a page in the company of Guido d’Asciano; later, his presence in the company of Alberico da Barbiano is reported. During this period, he meets Muzio Attendolo Sforza with whom he quarrels over the Romagnolo’s overbearing nature in dividing loot; over time, his aversion towards Sforza transforms into friendship.
1390BanishedPerugiaUmbriaHe breaks into Montone with two of his brothers; he kills two members of the opposing faction, the Raspanti, in the square; he soon after kills a third one when this last one returns from Perugia. For this action, his family calls him Braccio instead of Andrea. He further exhibits his restlessness by leading some locals who kill a passerby from Città di Castello. In addition to demanding from Perugia the punishment of those responsible for the murder, Città di Castello places a bounty on his head. He prudently moves away from Perugia, forms a company of 15 men-at-arms, and enlists in the service of the Montefeltros against the Malatestas.
1391/ 1392UrbinoRiminiMarche, UmbriaWith few men, he attempts to assault the fortress of Fossombrone; while retreating, he falls into an ambush. Wounded multiple times in the chest, he is taken prisoner: to secure his ransom, he has to promise the residents 2000 ducats. In another incident, he is severely wounded at the back of his neck; from these early exploits, he retains a numbness in his left leg, which manifests as a slight limp. In 1392, he can return to Perugia with the other nobles due to a brief and temporary defeat of the populist movements.
1393
JulyBanishedPerugiaUmbriaExiled from Perugia, he becomes the recognized leader of his own faction, the Beccherini. At the head of a few soldiers, he rushes to Fratta (Umbertide) to prevent the location from being ceded by Ciucio/Cencio di Paterno to the Raspanti of Biordo dei Michelotti. Surrounded on the road by many infantrymen of the castle’s lord, he is captured and imprisoned in the fortress. He is only released when his brothers surrender the fortress of Montone to their rivals. Braccio di Montone refuses all requests to serve in the military under the Michelottis.
1395
Apr.NaplesAntipope12 lancesLazioHe leaves Viterbo with a small entourage to return to fighting under the orders of Alberico da Barbiano in the Kingdom of Naples; he meets Sforza again.
1396BanishedPerugiaUmbriaHe aligns with the exiles of the noble party against the opposing faction of the Raspanti.
1397FlorenceMilan30 lancesTuscanyDefeated, he takes refuge in Borgo San Sepolcro (Sansepolcro). He enters into the service of the Florentines; he has command of 30 men-at-arms. He fights under the orders of Crasso da Venosa and Bindo da Montopoli.
1398
Feb.ChurchPerugiaUmbriaAt the end of the month, he supports the papal forces of Malatesta Malatesta and Bartolomeo da Pietramala in the siege of Montone. He roams in the territory of Città di Castello and in the Perugian region.
Mar.UmbriaUpon the killing of Biordo dei Michelotti in Perugia, he again attacks the city with Bartolomeo Oddi and other exiles.
Aug.MacerataMarche
AutumnChurchPerugiaUmbriaHe occupies Montemelino and the castle of Vico; he devastates the area around Assisi with Ceccolo Broglia in a futile attempt to enter the main town.
1400He returns to exile when Perugia aligns itself with the Visconti.
1402
Sept.ChurchMilanUmbriaUpon the death of the Duke of Milan, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, he enters the service of the papal forces against the Visconti who control Perugia. He supports Paolo Orsini, Mostarda da Forlì, and Conte da Carrara, all under the command of the rector Giannello Tomacelli, brother of Pope Boniface IX.
Oct.UmbriaHe raids the countryside along with the papal condottieri and those sent by Florence, such as Crasso da Venosa and Bindo da Montopoli.
1403
Jan.UmbriaHe is defeated under Assisi, in a battle lasting three hours, by 2500 horsemen led by Ottobono Terzi; he does not flee, reconstitutes his ranks with the exiles, and conducts raids in the territory.
SummerUmbriaHe returns to besiege the two fortresses of Assisi and prevents them from being aided by the Visconti. He defeats the opponents at Pieve Caina, conquers more than 50 castles, and threatens Perugia closely, which is now only defended by Ceccolino dei Michelotti, as Ottobono Terzi has been recalled to Lombardy.
Aug.UmbriaPope Boniface IX reconciles with the Ducal powers and acquires Bologna, Perugia, and Assisi: in return, the Raspanti ensure that the exiles not only do not return to Perugia, but also are not allowed to approach it within twenty miles.
1404
……………FlorenceMilanLombardyBraccio di Montone returns to the service of Alberico da Barbiano. His service, like that of Lorenzo Attendolo, is requested in Lodi by the Lord of Cremona, Ugolino Cavalcabò.
……………CunioFaenza
Oct.CunioChurch150 cavalryEmiliaHe fights against the papal forces, always under the command of Barbiano. Upon reaching the Reno river, the troops of the Count of Cunio are surprised by the men of Bernardo della Serra, who are greatly superior in number. Braccio di Montone, who is at the rear guard, repels a first assault; he proposes to his captain to build three pontoon bridges and fortify the camp nearby to allow the troops to cross the river. He positions himself at the defense of the trenches and repels further attacks; finally, he also crosses the Reno and reaches the Fornaci. For his actions, Barbiano knights him, increases his pay, and brings his command to 150 horsemen. He also obtains the privilege to display the insignia of the Count of Cunio as his coat of arms.
……………FerraraVeniceVenetoHe is sent to aid Francesco Novello da Carrara in countering the Venetians. With him are also Lorenzo Attendolo and Rosso dall’Aquila.
1405
……………VenetoThe contention between Braccio di Montone, Lorenzo Attendolo, and Rosso dall’Aquila is intense: the governance of the company is held each month in turn by one of the three captains. In the third month, when the command falls to Montone, the other two refuse to submit to his authority; the soldiers rebel; Lorenzo Attendolo and Rosso dall’Aquila have to yield. Montone is slandered before Barbiano. Barbiano decides to have him killed; the wife of the Count of Cunio warns Montone of the trap, allowing him to escape death by fleeing the camp. Barbiano soon regrets his decision and tries to have him back under his command.
Sept.Lazio, UmbriaHe finds himself in such poverty that he is forced to sell his own clothes. He goes to Rome, devastated by the recent expulsion of Pope Innocent VII, the ambitions of the Orsini and Colonna families, the arms of the King of Naples Ladislaus of Anjou (Ladislao d’Angiò), and popular uprisings. He places himself under the command of Mostarda da Forlì; within two days, the Papal condottiero is killed by Paolo Orsini. He then decides to go to Viterbo with 7 companions and directly approach the Pope. He stops in Foligno; the house where he is staying catches fire, causing him to lose the little he has left. In Viterbo, he is unable to pay the expenses of the inn where he has managed to stay. The innkeeper not only does not want to be paid by him, but gives him 4 ducats and recommends him to his son, who practices the same trade in Bolsena. Years later, Montone will return to Viterbo, search for his old benefactor, pay his old debts, and free him from the prison where he had been imprisoned in the meantime. Lastly, he will admit him to his court and have everyone treat him with generosity.
1406
Jan.Church, BanishedPerugia300 cavalryEmilia, Tuscany, UmbriaHe is granted a short condotta by Cardinal Baldassarre Cossa, the future Antipope John XXIII. He reaches Sansepolcro with 800 horses, mostly made up of exiles; he plunders the countryside of Perugia: confronted by Pietro da Bagno, Ceccolino dei Michelotti, and Orsini, he has to cease operations.
1407
Jan.Comp. ventureEmilia, Romagna, Tuscany
Apr.BanishedPerugiaUmbriaLeaves the Perugian area with Fabrizio da Perugia; damages various countryside regions of Romagna; from there, followed by many adventurers, he moves to Tuscany via the Montecoronaro pass and Pieve Santo Stefano. He stops at Sansepolcro; begins a series of extortionate operations against some small municipalities, which provides him the necessary money to maintain his company, the backbone of which is always formed by exiles from Perugia.
MayComp. ventureFermo, Ancona, RiminiMarcheThe inhabitants of Rocca Contrada (Arcevia) offer him the lordship of the city in order to free them from the siege placed by Ludovico Migliorati, the Marquis of Fermo. Braccio di Montone reaches Arcevia and informs the defenders of his arrival: he is immediately proclaimed lord of the center. Leading 1000 horses and 4000 foot soldiers, he conquers Caldarola and captures 30 guarding soldiers who are looted; the following day he occupies Castiglione, garrisoned by Ranieri Vibi del Frogia; enters Montalto delle Marche, defended by 30 soldiers of Rodolfo da Perugia; he does not allow the town to be sacked. As he approaches, Ludovico Migliorati leaves the field with 1500 horses and 1500 foot soldiers while Angelo della Pergola remains under Arcevia. In an attempt to break the siege, Montone goes to a point with only 100 horses where some mills had been destroyed by the adversaries. He is suddenly attacked by 700 horses of della Pergola. He positions himself on a hill; with some sallies he disrupts the enemy ranks by alternating the men at his disposal in the assaults. After a few hours, della Pergola orders 2 companies of infantry to climb the hill to engage Montone’s squadron on the flanks in order to be able to attack from above. Montone anticipates the enemies, has the top of the hill occupied by 15 horses and repels the attack of the infantry, who are put to flight with some loss. As evening approaches, the fight ends; 12 of della Pergola’s horses are killed, 15 of Montone’s. Almost all his men bear signs of the fray on their bodies: a certain Spinta has 105 wounds and Guglielmo Lancellotti 72. Braccio di Montone, having saved himself from the dangerous situation, attacks della Pergola and forces him to retreat: 300 soldiers are stripped of their weapons and others join his pay. He begins to roam the Marches; tries to obtain Montegiorgio with the help of local Ghibellines; plunders the Ancona area; numerous prisoners are released with the payment of a total ransom of 7000 ducats. He occupies Monte Conero and devastates the territory of Fano, taking some castles as his own. Some inhabitants of Montegiorgio are executed because they planned to let the Perugian condottiero, a Ghibelline, into their city, who was at the moment stationary at Arcevia. Finally, Braccio di Montone reconciles with Ludovico Migliorati.
June – JulyComp. venture, NaplesRecanati, Ascoli PicenoMarcheHe takes rich spoils and imprisons numerous men in the Recanatese; he moves to the Fermano and joins the payroll of Ladislaus of Anjou. On the Tenna, he joins forces with Ludovico Migliorati, who is also on the payroll of the King of Naples. The two condottieri pass under the walls of Fermo and aim for Ascoli Piceno; they appear in Tusino, Cossignano, and Ripatransone. In July, Braccio di Montone sacks Ascoli Piceno.
Aug.ChurchFermoMarcheHe arrives in Fiastra; with Berardo da Varano (1500 horses and 1000 foot soldiers), he supports the vicerector of the Marches, the bishop of Sarzana, against Ludovico Migliorati who has made himself disliked by the pontifical authorities: he camps near Servigliano and within a week takes Belmonte Piceno, Monte San Pietrangeli, Sant’Elpidio a Mare, Monteleone di Fermo, Monte Giberto, and Montottone; following these centers, the rapid fall of Grottazzolina, San Giovanni in Bustio (San Giovanni), and Monte Urano which surrenders on terms. With the arrival of Piero da Parma to defend Fermo, Montone fords the Chienti, seizes the villages of Montecosaro (not the castle) and Montegranaro. Frightened by these successes, the Marquis of Fermo gathers 3000 horses and clashes with Braccio di Montone on the plain of the Chienti at Montecosaro. Ludovico Migliorati is defeated; the lord of Fermo meets with the rival in Cingoli and, through Berardo Varano, swears perpetual peace to him.
1408
Jan. – Feb.CamerinoRimini, Fabriano, San       Severino MarcheMarcheHe forces the Malatestians to leave Castelraimondo and take refuge in Fabriano. The enemies return nearby in order to recover their spoils; their looters are attacked from behind, falling into an ambush prepared in advance by Montone. They capture 200 horses, while the rest of the troops take refuge again in Fabriano. The inhabitants of this center try to block his passage through the Apennines: he anticipates them with the ruse of sending ahead a few mares in heat towards the mountains. These are followed by his horses (males) which, although tired from many exertions, start to chase them. Montone sends his men to winter quarters. He is informed that Martino da Faenza has entered Apiro with 300 horses with the help of Onofrio Smeducci: he attacks the latter and sacks the locality without accepting its surrender on terms. The men-at-arms are plundered. The Cima, lords of Cingoli, give him 5000 ducats for Apiro and for him to abandon their territory. Braccio di Montone also besieges Antonio da San Severino, son of Onofrio Smeducci, in the castle of San Severino Marche: he receives a good sum of money and withdraws. According to legend, a vision of some warrior saints, standing on the walls in defense of the fortress, induced him to come to terms with the current enemy. In any case, he is now able to pay his troops; he fortifies himself near Cingoli.
Mar.MarcheMartino da Faenza leaves Cingoli with 700 horses and 200 foot soldiers: Montone pushes the opponents back within the walls and inflicts significant losses on them. However, he must withdraw; he sacks the county of Fabriano and allies himself with the lord of Sassoferrato.
Apr.NaplesPerugiaMarche, UmbriaHe is contacted in Piceno by Ottino Caracciolo and Mattia Graziani who persuade him to return to the pay of the king of Naples to wage war on Todi and Perugia. He distributes among the soldiers the first salary of 14,000 florins, leaves some garrisons in the Marches, and arrives quickly in Umbria with 1,200 horses and 1,000 foot soldiers. He devastates the lands of the Trinci because the Folignati do not want to supply his troops with provisions; he takes and sacks Verchiano.
JuneUmbriaPerugia surrenders to Ladislaus of Anjou (Ladislao d’Angiò) on the promise that all the exiles would be declared enemies by the Angevin king.
July – Oct.Comp. ventureNaplesUmbria, MarcheHe stops at Todi; Braccio di Montone senses a plot being woven against him by the king of Naples. He sends Guglielmo Lancellotti to Pieretto de Andreis with some gifts and entrusts him with the task of secretly contacting his friend Ottino Caracciolo (who is at the side of the count of Troia) to learn about the real intentions of Ladislaus of Anjou (Ladislao d’Angiò) towards him. Lancellotti carries out his mission and Braccio di Montone has confirmation of his suspicions. Leaving 300 horses guarding Todi, he takes all his forces into the March of Ancona. Summoned by the king to Rome, he refuses to move and declares himself an enemy. In September, he defeats Giulio Cesare da Capua and de Andreis on Promeno; he moves into the Marches, encamping between Senigallia and Montalboddo (Ostra). He seizes Jesi; he is besieged there by de Andreis at the head of 6,000 armed men: the opponent is quickly forced to fall back.
1409
SpringFlorenceNaples1,200 cavalry and 1,000 infantrymenUmbriaHe opposes the King of Naples alongside Paolo Orsini, Malatesta Malatesta, and Muzio Attendolo Sforza. In Città di Castello.
MayTuscany, UmbriaBraccio di Montone, together with Malatesta Malatesta, defends Arezzo from the attacks carried out by Guidantonio da Montefeltro. He fortifies himself in the castles near Cortona and in the Val di Chiana; from here, without accepting any direct confrontation, he surprises the Neapolitan detachments with frequent nighttime attacks on their camps, intercepts their convoys, and kills their baggage handlers.
JuneHe repels an attack on Castiglion Fiorentino by de Andreis.
Sept.Lazio, MarcheHe goes to Arezzo and Montepulciano. He is joined by Ludovico degli Obizzi, Count Francesco da Prato, and Lorenzo Attendolo. The opponents retreat, leaving strong garrisons in Perugia, Orvieto, and the cities of the Marca and the Duchy of Spoleto under their control. Montone heads to Città di Castello where he is gifted with capons, wax, fodder, and various kinds of comfort items; he advances in the Tiber Valley and again defeats Giulio Cesare da Capua in Umbertide who is guarding it with 2000 horses. He captures 50 horses: the booty is divided between Braccio’s soldiers and the citizens of Tifernate. He returns to Città di Castello, touches Orvieto where he joins the Florentines.
Oct.Comp. ventureSan Severino MarcheLazio, MarcheWith the defection of Paolo Orsini to the Florentine side and to that of the antipope, he is able to continue his march and enter Rome. He besieges Castel Sant’Angelo until, with the approach of the cold months, he decides to return to Marche. He takes Apiro from Antonio da San Severino; he returns to Todino to more effectively counter his opponents.
Nov.FlorenceNaplesUmbria, MarcheHe forces Guidantonio da Montefeltro to distance himself from Perugino by exerting pressure on his fiefdom of Gubbio; he occupies, at the expense of the Count of Urbino in Pesaro, the castle of Monte Gherardo.
1410
Jan.UmbriaHalts at Fratticciola Selvatica; seizes Chiugi; in his raids, he captures 80 prisoners and plunders 5000 oxen, 1000 horses, and 10000 smaller animals. Ceccolino dei Michelotti, guarding Perugia with Tartaglia, plans to block his path near Lake Trasimeno. Braccio di Montone dismounts his horses and mixes them with the infantry as he passes under a high hill where his opponents have positioned themselves: they initially remain inactive because they believe his forces to be larger than they actually are. Montone has several skirmishes with the people of Perugia; nothing manages to prevent him from reaching his quarters with his spoils. Each man is entitled to 10 heads of livestock from the booty.
……………Umbria, EmiliaThe exiles remain around Perugia with Giacomo degli Arcipreti; he rushes to Bologna where Cardinal Cossa has just ascended to the papal throne.
Apr.UmbriaHe returns to the Perugian territory following the capture of Giacomo degli Arcipreti by Tartaglia; he scales the walls of Torgiano at night, breaks into Castelleone, and seizes many other castles in the countryside of Todi. He sacks Calonica, Rucellesco, Quadrio, and Titignano.
JuneTuscany, LazioFrom Tuscany, he arrives in Rome; attacks a defensive fort at Prati di Nerone, on a bridge over the Tiber. The defenders repel several attacks by the French forces of Louis d’Anjou and the companies of Paolo Orsini, Lorenzo Attendolo, Malatesta Malatesta, and Muzio Attendolo Sforza: Braccio di Montone has two wooden towers built on wheels and orders his own assault. The men-at-arms are stopped by a hail of stones coming from above; he advances the war machines. The defenders, mostly armed with stones and a few pikes, are hit by arrows launched from a tower whose men are at their same height; the infantry fills the moat with bundles of sticks and grilles; in the subsequent general attack, the troops of Ladislaus d’Anjou are defeated and abandon Rome. He pursues them and intercepts them at Sora, where the opponents barricade themselves on top of a mountain. He attacks their defensive lines; he then orders his men to retreat slowly to induce the enemies to descend towards the plain. The maneuver is successful; Braccio di Montone has the opponents attacked from behind by the rest of the army: the Neapolitans retreat and Sora is sacked.
Aug.UmbriaThe Florentines hand over 14,000 florins to him in the Perugian territory.
Sept.SpoletoTerniUmbriaTogether with Giacomo degli Arcipreti, he is contacted by two ambassadors from Spoleto who propose that he raid the territory of Terni: in exchange, the municipality would have provided him with supplies during the planned punitive action. He awaits the return of Guglielmo Lancellotti to the camp; then with 500 horses, he ravages the Terni area. He attacks the city and sets fire to the Porta Spoletina, from which the large bolt is removed. In the same clash, 2 small bells from the country church of San Paolo del Galleto are also stolen. At the end of the operations, the municipality regains possession of the small border castle Battiferro. Braccio di Montone, during the same days, turns out to be a creditor of many unpaid wages; therefore, he does not move from the Perugian area even though it is requested by Louis d’Anjou.
Oct.UmbriaHe urges the people of Spoleto to send 150 infantrymen for a few days: he needs them for his operations. The Duke of Spoleto, Marino Tomacelli, to avoid antagonizing Ladislaus d’Anjou, prefers to give him 300 florins. Mid-month, the popular assembly of Spoleto decides to grant him, Giacomo, Gentiluomo degli Arcipreti, and Guglielmo Lancellotti the citizenship of the municipality.
Nov.FlorenceNaplesUmbria, TuscanyHe attacks Perugia with the aid of Sforza and Orsini at the head of 3000 infantry and 2000 horses: at night, he brings ladders to the walls that flank the monastery of San Pietro, where a certain Mario Napolitano opens a gate for him; he breaks into the nearby gardens until he reaches the second city wall; he is ready for the final assault. However, he is counterattacked by Tartaglia and many townspeople who throw stones and arrows at the horses that have entered the city streets; even the women do their part by throwing ash and boiling water from the windows at the attackers. At the first light of dawn, Braccio di Montone is forced to retreat; he leaves more than 100 dead on the ground. He moves to Borgo San Sepolcro (Sansepolcro).
1411
Jan.Anjou, Antipope, FlorenceNaplesLazio, TuscanyHe renews the lease. Louis d’Anjou is responsible for paying half of his condotta, to Antipope John XXIII 37%, and to the Florentines the remaining 17%. He leaves Rome and goes to Siena.
Apr.LazioHe accompanies Louis d’Anjou and the Antipope in Rome during their solemn entrance into St. Peter’s. He besieges Giovanni di Sciarra in Civitavecchia who, aided by Tartaglia, defends himself with great valor.
MayLazio, UmbriaHe is forced to lift the siege from Civitavecchia due to the arrival of reinforcements sent by the King of Naples to the city. In a clash, he easily routs the vanguards of Tartaglia; he joins with the allied army and helps defeat the Angevins at Roccasecca on the Garigliano. During his absence, the Perugians try to seize Torgiano; he obtains permission to return to Umbria, reaches the location in two days with Sforza and Orsini and frees the center from the siege set by Tartaglia and Michelotti. He enters Torgiano; 20 horses sortie out, soon followed by others supporting the first in difficulty against the opponents. The Perugians attack his men; however, they soon rout the troops because the Bracceschi either get captured or flee in every direction. Montone then sends out his ranks from two gates who scatter Tartaglia and Michelotti. 600 horses and numerous Perugians are captured, their ransom will be used to pay the soldiers’ wages.
JuneLazio, UmbriaWith the signing of the Peace of San Felice (200 horses), he goes to Rome. Along with Tartaglia, Muzio Attendolo Sforza, and Giovanni Colonna, he attends a grand party organized by Paolo Orsini outside Porta San Paolo, at the Navicella. Then, still with Sforza, he follows John XXIII to Bologna. He returns to Perugia; he gathers many soldiers (4000 horses and few infantry) and, without finding any opposition, he raids the territories of Perugia and Todi; he takes over the castles of Ponte Pattoli, Monte Melino, Santa Giuliana, San Gismondo, and Deruta. He goes up the Tiber and forcefully takes Ponte Nuovo after a bitter two-hour long clash; he loots the territory for several days and turns towards Lake Trasimeno, where the exiles weave a treaty to be able to control Fontignano. After the plot fails, he seizes Castiglione del Lago and Monticelli, where he leaves 200 infantrymen on guard. He is in Coldimancio (Colle), in Cannara; he returns to Torgiano, attacks Casalina.
July – Sept.UmbriaHe now controls the main communication routes towards Perugia, which is now defended by Manfredo da Barbiano, Count da Carrara, and Michelotti with 3600 horses. He tries to conquer Cannara and Casalina, under whose walls (in August) Guglielmo Lancellotti is killed by a cannon shot to a leg. His adversaries try to surprise him at Fratticciola Selvatica, his logistical base in recent operations. He sends a few soldiers out of the castle in a cautious demeanor; the enemies pounce on them as expected, and he is able to strike their accommodations. The two sons of Count da Carrara are captured, who Montone sends back to their father without demanding any ransom.
……………MarcheHe chooses as his general headquarters a site near Marsciano, located on a hill to the right of the lower course of the Nestore stream near the confluence of the Tiber. He fails in his treaty to seize the place; on the same day he arrives in Cerqueto where Count da Carrara is. He wildly plunders the inhabitants who have left the town to graze their animals and collect firewood; Count da Carrara advances with his people to their aid. Braccio di Montone resorts to a tactic used other times and slowly retreats his men towards the plain; then he attacks the opponent with all the troops. Numerous farmers and 80 lances are captured. Still tireless, on the same day, he sweeps up to the gates of Perugia seizing a great booty. In total, his men cover a 40-mile ride. He returns to Fratticciola Selvatica; he organizes a plot to seize Montone that has no outcome; in retaliation, he camps near Umbertide and devastates the surrounding countryside. He also moves to Ponte Pattoli to interrupt the flow of supplies to the capital. He then moves to Marche and provides aid to Berardo da Varano in difficulty due to a revolt of his subjects in Camerino. Having settled things in three days, he harasses the area around Ancona; he only withdraws after receiving 7000 ducats in exchange for the return of the prisoners. He returns to Fratticciola Selvatica.
1412
Jan. – Feb.UmbriaHe moves to Gualdo Cattaneo, which has rebelled against Michelotti; he plunders the 50 men-at-arms who guard it and sells the town to Niccolò Trinci for 4000 ducats.
Mar.UmbriaGualdo Cattaneo is attacked by Antonio da Napoli; Braccio da Montone moves away from Fratticciola Selvatica and enters the town from the opposite side to where the assault was made. He comes out and routs the adversaries; the next day he occupies Ponte San Giovanni, followed by two small castles near Torgiano; Marsciano opens its doors to him. Count da Carrara opposes him, captures some inhabitants, and ensures their cries for help reach Montone. The Umbrian condottiero sends two companies that overwhelm the enemies and capture Obizzo da Carrara with 150 horses. He then pursues da Carrara, fords the Tiber, and catches him unprepared at Coldipepo (Collepepe) near Deruta: the sons of the Paduan condottiero, Obizzo (already released previously) and Ardizzone, are captured again.
Apr.UmbriaBraccio da Montone lays siege to Perugia, where Sforza is now defending, serving in the Angevin camp. He is defeated by Ceccolino dei Michelotti and Nanni di Spinello while he is busy plundering the region of Perugia: many of his followers from Todi, used as sappers, are killed.
MayAnconaComp. ventureMarcheBraccio da Montone is hired by the people of Ancona to counter the company of Martino da Faenza, who is plaguing their territory.
Sept.UmbriaHe is made a feudal lord of Montone by Antipope John XXIII.
1413
Feb.AntipopeNaples, ChurchUmbria , Romagna, EmiliaAntipope John XXIII calls him back to Bologna to fight against the followers of Pope Gregory XII. He leaves Giacomo degli Arcipreti and Berardo da Varano with 800 horses in Umbria at Ponte Pattoli; he reaches Romagna via Rimini and Faenza. He has 800 horses with him. At the bridge of San Procolo, he finds the way blocked with beams and trees. His first attempt to force the passage fails, ending with the capture of 25 infantry and Andrea da Campagna by the Manfredi militias. Montone has a pontoon bridge built at night two miles from the headquarters and crosses the river. He defeats the opponents on the bank; in the clash, 150 infantry and a few horses are killed: moreover, 300 infantry and 200 horses are captured. Micheletto Attendolo, leading an equal number of horses and many more infantry, now comes to oppose him near Imola: he clashes with the new opponents between Imola and Castel Bolognese. After many hours, victory smiles on him; Attendolo is taken prisoner with 400 Sforza horses. Laden with loot, the condottiere reaches Bologna.
Mar.Emilia, Romagna, UmbriaHe doesn’t stay long in Bologna: Arcevia is besieged by his opponents; secondly, the marauders have seized all the castles he recently conquered in Umbria, with the exception of Marsciano and Ponte Pattoli. Montone leaves Romagna and through the Savio valley, he emerges in the upper Tiber valley; he passes through Città di Castello.
Apr.UmbriaHe captures Montone with the help of some members of the noble party.
MayMarche, UmbriaHe liberates Orsini, who is besieged in Arcevia by Malatesta Malatesta, Guidantonio da Montefeltro, and Muzio Attendolo Sforza. He connects with Paolo Orsini in Gubbio and confronts the Angevins with 2,000 cavalry and a few infantry (all veterans), despite the Angevins being strong with 4,000 cavalry and 800 infantry (mostly inexperienced soldiers).
July – Aug.UmbriaBraccio da Montone, together with Paolo Orsini, clashes for forty days at Ponte Pattoli with Ceccolino dei Michelotti, Muzio Attendolo Sforza, Conte da Carrara, Malacarne and Fabrizio da Capua. He chases his opponents into the Todi area, sacks Castelleone and Castiglione, and then heads to Marsciano. He pillages the Perugia region; shortly, his troops reoccupy the castles that Conte da Carrara had recaptured in the previous months. In addition to these, they capture the castles of Prodo and Titignano, which dominate the Paglia valley where the Angevins’ efforts had been concentrated until then. However, soon Braccio da Montone is forced to enclose himself in Todi due to the pressure of his opponents; he leaves the city and retreats to the entrenched camp of Fratticciola Selvatica because many cases of plague are breaking out among his men.
……………UmbriaThe people of Todi secretly negotiate with the King of Naples for the surrender of the city, conditioned on the deployment of 500 horsemen to it. These horsemen behave so licentiously that the inhabitants change their mind and call Braccio da Montone back to the city. Braccio da Montone attacks the enemy camp at night, and with the help of the people of Todi, he puts the Neapolitan forces to flight. After twenty-four days of siege, the Angevin forces retreat.
1414
MayUmbriaMuzio Attendolo Sforza and Paolo Orsini, the latter having returned to the payroll of the King of Naples, move up the Tiber Valley towards Perugia and besiege Todi. Braccio da Montone repels Paolo Orsini; there are numerous skirmishes in one of which 4 royal standard bearers are captured and returned by Ladislaus of Anjou without any ransom being demanded. In the continuation of the clashes, one of Braccio’s men-at-arms is captured by the opponents, who is then freed by the king with the gift of a purple robe. The freed man brings a message from the King of Naples to Braccio, in which a meeting is requested. The two meet during a battle: Braccio da Montone is made great promises. He remains loyal to the cause of the antipope.
June – JulyTuscanyThe conflict ends and he is considered among those recommended by Florence: the alliance is planned for ten years. He passes through Florence and is welcomed into the city with great honors. The Florentines order him to cease all acts of hostility towards the Angevins within three days, to leave the district of Todi, and to stay away from any land associated with the King of Naples, particularly from the area of Spoleto.
Aug. – Sept.Comp. ventureSalimbeniGeneral CaptainTuscany, EmiliaLadislaus of Anjou dies; Braccio di Montone is called by John XXIII to guard Bologna. On his approach march to this location, he devastates the territories of Cocco Salimbeni, guilty of having his 40 horses plundered the previous year; he does not leave the area until he extracts 30,000 ducats from it. In Bologna, he camps his troops outside the walls and enters the city to pay homage to John XXIII. The antipope contemplates imprisoning him and having him killed to save the 80,000 ducats he owes him, also to take possession of the lands that the Perugian condottiero has lorded over in his campaigns. The Perugians also insist on this, promising to submit to the authority of the antipope in the event of Braccio di Montone’s death. The condottiero is informed of the impending danger by John XXIII’s treasurer; he brings a contingent of his troops to a gate of Bologna and reaches it without problems. Soon after, he occupies some castles in the district and only returns them after receiving 80,000 ducats. He soon reconciles with the antipope; he is appointed governor of Bologna with the power to demand the payment of gabelles and various taxes.
Oct.
1415Pope John XXIII (Giovanni XXIII) travels to the Council of Constance. During his absence, Braccio da Montone effectively becomes the lord of Bologna.
Jan.EmiliaHe stays at Castel San Pietro Terme.
Feb.AntipopeRavennaRomagnaBraccio da Montone plunders the Ravenna area.
Apr.AntipopeForlì, ChurchRomagnaBraccio da Montone invades the Forlì area, leading 1500 men including horsemen and infantry, and many Bolognese. He captures 166 peasants; takes possession of 130 carts loaded with wool and other goods to be sold at the market of the capital; he raids 50 pairs of oxen and much other livestock. He sells the spoils in the Faenza area; he returns to Castel Bolognese. He ambushes the defenders of Sadurano; he penetrates this locality; the loot is 600 carts of wheat. He sends some emissaries to Forlì and asks the Ordelaffi for the payment of the census owed to the state of the Church. Having received a refusal, he resumes harassing their territory.
MayAntipopeRavennaRomagnaCrasso da Venosa intervenes to help the people of Forlì. At first, he has some success; he pursues Braccio da Montone’s light cavalry, pushes too far forward, and is caught off-balance: Crasso da Venosa is defeated, with 200 horses and 400 peasants captured. Braccio da Montone now plagues the Ravenna area.
JuneAntipopeCesenaRomagnaBraccio da Montone moves into the Cesena area to the detriment of Andrea Malatesta; he sets fire to the port of Cesenatico, stays in San Martino, and reaches as far as Savignano sul Rubicone. He returns to Ronco with many buffaloes belonging to the Malatesta.
JulyRomagnaHe returns Sadurano to the Ordelaffi: in addition to recognizing the tribute owed to the state of the Church, they must also hand over 5000 ducats to him.
Aug.EmiliaThe Florentines settle the amounts due to him; Pope John XXIII (Giovanni XXIII) is unable to do so and gives him some castles as collateral, such as Medicina, Castel San Pietro Terme, Castel Bolognese, and Pieve di Cento.
Sept.AntipopeRimini, Cesena, PesaroRomagna, Marche, EmiliaHe confronts Carlo, Pandolfo, and Malatesta Malatesta: he invades the countryside of Cesena, Pesaro, and Fano. He gathers all the spoils in the Pesaro area and for the return trip divides his militias into three groups, two in front of the convoy and one at the rear guard. In the Rimini area, Pandolfo Malatesta, with 800 horses, closely monitors his movements from the hills without seeking decisive engagement; he finally decides to attack the rearguard and is repelled by Braccio’s men who also manage to set fire to the port of Cesenatico. The expedition lasts overall five days: in a month, Braccio da Montone’s cavalry travels 120 miles in its raids. The condottiero returns laden with spoils to Bologna; he stops at Galliera castle, where he is admitted by Bisetto Cossa. He quickly frees himself from the castellan and has him locked up in Castel San Pietro Terme.
……………AntipopeSforzaMarcheHe takes Jesi and Arcevia from Micheletto Attendolo, who is guarding them for the Sforzas with 400 horses and 200 infantry. He sends the troops to the winter encampments.
1416
Jan.EmiliaDuring his absence from Bologna, Antongaleazzo Bentivoglio, Battista Malvezzi, and Matteo Canedoli incite the city to rise up and assault the palace where the governor, Bishop Antonio of Siena, is established, with 200 horses. Montone leaves Castel San Pietro Terme with the intention of sacking Bologna: he orders the castellan of Galliera fortress to have part of the walls thrown into the moat at night to ensure the passage of 10 side-by-side horses; he bombards the city and penetrates it through the Market Gate. An agreement with the insurgents is reached immediately. In exchange for 82,000 ducats, to be received within three months, he commits to surrender to the municipality the fortresses in his possession (Castel San Pietro Terme, Castel Bolognese, Medicina, and Pieve di Cento) along with the castle of Galliera: 10 citizens given as hostages endorse the agreements.
Feb.EmiliaHe positions himself in Castel San Pietro Terme and fulfills his obligations. He recruits new troops (for a total of 4000 horses and many infantry), opens false negotiations with the Visconti, and once again turns his attention to Perugia.
Mar.MarcheHe allies with Ludovico Migliorati and the da Varano in Fermo to the detriment of the Malatesta.
Apr.MontoneImola, Cesena, RiminiRomagna, Tuscany, UmbriaHe invades the territory of Imola to get 1500 ducats from the Alidosi; he sets Cesena on fire; he convinces Tartaglia, who is stationed with 600 horses in Frascati, to abandon Sforza and to assist him against the Perugians: he promises him his support in taking some possessions from the same Sforza. He arrives at Sansepolcro, crosses the Tiber on three pontoon bridges, and begins to scour the Perugia area. Mid-month, he arrives at Resina; touches Ponte Pattoli, Ponte Felcino, Val di Ceppi; he extends throughout the countryside; he camps at Bucarelli.
MayMontonePerugiaUmbriaHe joins Tartaglia at Ponte San Giovanni; he attacks the castle of San Fortunato, where Francesco della Mirandola with 100 horses is defending. Due to the resistance encountered, he has the moat filled with bundles and dry wood near the gate where many crossbowmen are posted. Fire is set to everything: the defenders try to extinguish the fire with earth, stones, and the construction of a long wall behind the gate itself. Braccio di Montone decides on a general attack. He has ladders approached from all sides of the fence and orders crossbowmen and archers to prevent the enemy with their shots from appearing on the walls. San Fortunato is stormed and sacked: Francesco della Mirandola is captured with 100 horses. He sends troops towards Perugia; he stops at San Costanzo and takes over many castles of the Tiber Valley to obstruct the flow of supplies to the capital. The Raspanti call back Ceccolino dei Michelotti from Naples, hire Paolo Orsini with 1000 horses and 200 infantry, send ambassadors to Carlo Malatesta to ask for his help. In the meantime, Braccio di Montone and Tartaglia take over Cerqueto, Papiano, Morcella, Marsciano; his militias also enter the monasteries of Monteluce, San Bevignate, and San Giorgio adjacent to Perugia. Two assaults on the city are repelled; the siege operations begin. Other castles like Brufa and Colle surrender without resisting the Bracceschi. In Perugia, Montone takes advantage of the fog and rain to attack the Fontenuovo Gate: his soldiers are still repelled. He divides the ranks into two parts, one of which is to attack the monastery of Santa Giuliana and the Borgna (or Eburnea) Gate as a diversion, and the other to try the Fontenuovo Gate. The defenders head towards the first point, Montone and the exiles attack more forcefully from the second side. The final outcome is no different from the previous ones. He returns to the scorched earth policy, leaves a substantial garrison in the field, and continues to extort nearby towns such as Martignana and Migianella dei Marchesi. Tartaglia is repelled from Corciano; a similar result comes with a first attack on Spina. The next day he forcibly conquers this center at the price of significant losses; now also falling into his power are Sant’Apollinare, San Biagio della Valle, Pieve Caina, Castiglione della Valle, and all the bridges over the Tiber except that of Ponte Pattoli.
JuneUmbriaPaolo Orsini approaches Perugia; Braccio di Montone moves against him to prevent his rejoining with Carlo Malatesta’s troops; he forces him to stop in the countryside of Narni. The Florentines try to dissuade him from continuing the war in Perugia: in response, he occupies Pilo, Deruta (surrendered after three days of siege), Castel del Piano, and Bagnaia. He confronts his opponents in the plain of Veggio, takes Monte Melino, and Castelvieto. Mid-month, he attacks Perugia again towards the Gate of Santa Giuliana: he penetrates it for a while, but his men are again repelled. He returns to his tactics and takes possession of Agello, Paciano, Panicale, Cibottola, Piegaro, Ponte Pattoli, Montecolognola; his commanders such as Cherubino da Perugia, Berardo da Varano, and Micheletto Attendolo (now in his service) operate on Lake Trasimeno and take possession of Passignano, Isola Maggiore, Isola Polvese, Monte Gualandro, and Vernazzano. For his part, Braccio di Montone besieges Antria. Here he is reached by an embassy of the Raspanti (among whom there is also his old uncle, Cinello Ascagnano) who, under the pretext of peace negotiations, try to buy time waiting for the expected reinforcements from Orsini, Michelotti, and Carlo Malatesta. He goes to Torgiano and reinstates the Chiaravalle in Todi; he realizes the true purposes of the peace request and resumes the devastations with greater ferocity. He takes Bastia Umbra and Bettona with the help of the Crispolti; he returns to Bucarelli, attacks San Costanzo; at Corciano. He attacks Michelotti’s infantry; he positions himself between Brufa and Miranduolo. In a few days, 120 castles and 80 villages fall into his hands.
JulyUmbriaHe is still under Perugia; a new assault on the city towards San Lorenzo is always repulsed; disregarding new pressures from the Florentines, with whose ambassadors he has a meeting in Deruta, he quickly moves to Spello before Michelotti can join the Malatestians. He is repelled by the Perugian infantry; he returns to his lodgings on the Tiber. The enemies connect to Assisi. He carefully prepares the final confrontation from a tactical point of view by creating water refreshment points (vats, barrels, barrels) for the fighters who occasionally retreat temporarily from the battlefield to rest; he places the infantrymen in the middle of the horses so that the former can kill the enemies’ steeds; he sends a contingent of troops to Ponte San Giovanni to hinder any possibility of sortie from the walls on the part of the Perugians; he positions the sack bearers on a hill on the Tiber, dressed as men-at-arms, to demonstrate how his camp is adequately protected. He provokes the enemies to clash by passing on horseback in front of their entire front. The battle takes place between Colle della Strada and Sant’Egidio (Umbertide), in the plain between the Tiber and the Chiascio, under a burning sun and in a land dominated by dust; it lasts seven hours. Braccio di Montone divides his army into many small squads (of 150 men) to launch a few at a time into the thick of the fray: he can thus implement a rotation of the forces at his disposal that can take advantage of appropriate breaks to refresh themselves. In this way his maneuver is speeded up and, at the same time, the value of his men is exalted. The troops of Carlo Malatesta proceed in a tight formation, lined up in a large semi-circle to attract the Braccio’s men inside and enclose the adversaries in the middle. Braccio di Montone escapes the maneuver and keeps the enemy line in continuous tension. He orders his men to attack; Carlo Malatesta sends him against Pergola who, at first, seems to have the upper hand. Montone only when he sees the opposing soldiers tired and unable to maintain the cohesion of the units, launches his own reserves, commanded by Cherubino da Perugia. This is how the definitive breakthrough begins. Pergola flees. Among the Perugians, Carlo Malatesta, Ceccolino dei Michelotti, and 3000 horses are captured: the dead in the ranks of the opponents are 300; among the Bracceschi, 180 men-at-arms are killed. The prisoners are taken to Torgiano and Fratticciola Selvatica. With the victory, it is now the Raspanti who send him 8 ambassadors (including Ludovico dei Michelotti) who beg him to accept the lordship of the city. The agreement is reached through Cardinal Capoccia and is signed in the monastery of Montemorcino. He enters Perugia through the Porta di Sant’Angelo and the Porta di San Pietro at the head of many horses and infantry; he is welcomed by the population with palms in hand; the bells ring in celebration and in the evening large fires are lit in his honor. Arriving in the square, he dismounts at the Palace of the Podestà. Even the exiles return to Perugia and take part in a joust organized by Montone. Everyone is forbidden to carry arms; the same condottiero goes around the city with the escort of 80 unarmed horses. He has a council of 17 citizens elected. The nobles are held back in their desire to immediately regain possession of their property before 1393. His men, in the same days, take possession of Civitella dei Marchesi; they capture the lord of the place and kill him by dragging his corpse through the streets of the village; even the latter’s young children are strangled. He obtains Bastia (Bastia Umbra) which he has delivered to Count Guido d’Assisi, to whom Spello and Sigillo are also returned. At the end of the month, he leaves Bastia with his troops and heads to Cannara and Bettona.
Aug. Sept.PerugiaRimini, Church, Naples, San Severino MarcheLazio, Umbria, MarcheHe expands his sphere of influence and in a short time Rieti (fined 6000 ducats for the killing of some of his men), Narni, San Gemini, Gualdo Cattaneo, and Terni come into his power; he moves to the Marche of Ancona: Sassoferrato, Montalboddo (Ostra), Scapezzano, Morro, Massaccio (Cupramontana), Maiolati Spontini open their gates to him; Orvieto submits to him by the work of Carlo Monaldeschi della Cervara who leads a revolt against Count Carafa, the viceroy of Joanna of Anjou. Montone takes on the title of Defender of this location and sends Ruggero d’Antignola as his viceroy. He camps at San Severino Marche. Berardo da Varano and Migliorati also join his forces with 500 horses and 2000 infantry. About 10,000 armed men pitch their tents beyond the Potenza, in the district of Campo Rotondo, towards the bridge of the Intagliata. In the middle of the month, he attacks the city from the side of the church of Santa Maria del Mercato (today San Domenico). The lord Antonio da San Severino surrenders to him in two days; he recognizes 4000 ducats to him and promises him the delivery of the castle of Gagliole. It is also established that all decisions regarding the ongoing disputes between Antonio da San Severino and the Varano family would be put into the hands of Braccio di Montone (through his representative Ruggero Cane Ranieri). In the same days (August), Orsini is treacherously killed at Colfiorito by Tartaglia, Ludovico Colonna, and Cristoforo d’Agello.
Oct.Marche, UmbriaMontegiorgio and Recanati surrender to him under agreements. Corinaldo closes its gates to him; Montone is forced to move away from this territory due to the arrival of Pandolfo Malatesta and Martino da Faenza. He is recalled to Umbria due to some riots that have arisen during his absence in Orvieto, Todi, and Perugia where the noble party, under the guidance of his uncle Ranieri Montemelini, has expelled some representatives of the raspanti faction from the city.
Nov. – Dec.MarcheHaving restored calm, he returns to his troops in the Marche region. He moves to Arcevia; he is attacked by Gian Francesco Gonzaga whose attempt to besiege him is repelled. In December, he is reached in this location by Florentine ambassadors Angelo Pandolfini and Piero Guicciardini who, along with Guidantonio da Montefeltro, urge him to free Carlo and Galeazzo Malatesta, who were captured at Sant’Egidio.
1417
Apr.PerugiaChurch, NaplesUmbriaA peace agreement is signed with Carlo Malatesta based on an arbitration by Bartolomeo Bonetti, the ambassador of the Council of Constance. The condottiero demands a ransom of 80,000 florins for the release of the lord of Rimini. Pandolfo Malatesta immediately recognizes the sum of 30,000 florins (borrowed from Venice); for another 30,000 florins, payment is scheduled at 10,000 florins per year, while the balance of the ransom (20,000 florins) is covered with the delivery of Jesi. Braccio di Montone leaves Perugia (where Menguccio da Firenze remains as his lieutenant), goes to Todi and from there reaches his camp in Fratta Todina. He moves towards Spoleto and Norcia, laying waste to their territories.
MayUmbriaHe finds himself at Santo Chiodo near Spoleto; he encamps in Busano with 500 horses and quickly reaches an agreement with the inhabitants of Spoleto and Norcia who pay him the 10,000 ducats necessary for his soldiers’ wages. At the end of the month, he moves into the Narni area.
JuneLazioHe heads to Rome, unsuccessfully besieges Tivoli, travels the Salaria road to stop in the territory northeast of Rome. He first waits at Castel Giubileo and then near the church of Sant’Agnese outside the walls: he conducts numerous raids in the surroundings that end with the capture of many peasants. These people are locked up in the church. Cardinal Giacomo Isolani of Sant’Eustachio bravely leaves the city to ask him the reason for his arrival: the prisoners are freed and Braccio di Montone can enter Rome through the Porta Appia; he lodges in the church of Santa Maria del Priorato on the Aventine. He is triumphantly welcomed at the Porta Appia by Cardinal Stefaneschi and the main Roman authorities. Mid-month, Cardinal Isolani locks himself in Castel Sant’ Angelo with the senator of Rome, Giovanni Alidosi. The condottiero begins to besiege the fortress; he blocks the bridge of San Pietro with a wall; he proclaims himself “Almae Urbis Protector et Defensor”, appoints Ruggero d’Antignola senator of the city while Cardinal Pietro Stefaneschi assumes the title of apostolic vicar. He also sends an embassy to Peniscola, which includes Giovanni Vitelleschi, to propose to the antipope Benedict XIII, Pietro di Luna, the installation in San Pietro.
JulyLazioHe abandons his residence at Santa Maria del Priorato and moves to the papal palace near San Pietro to better follow the siege of Castel Sant’ Angelo and the Meta, a pyramid-shaped building at the beginning of the old portico of San Pietro; he recalls Ruggero Cane Ranieri and Berardo da Varano from the Marca d’Ancona who join his troops with 800 horses; Tartaglia also arrives in Rome with a good body of cavalry and many infantrymen.
Aug.Lazio, UmbriaSeveral Angevin condottieri move against him, including Sforza, Conte da Carrara, and the Count of Tagliacozzo Gian Antonio Orsini. Sforza sends him a bloody glove as a challenge and leaves Ostia: Montone does not dare to accept the confrontation and holds his militias in the space in front of the Lateran. The opponents cross the Tiber on a bridge of boats, make a wide circle towards Monte Mario, and descend on Castel Sant’ Angelo. Due to the plague that has decimated his ranks, Montone decides to leave the city after seventy days through the Porta Viridaria. He has Ponte Milvio and Ponte Salario demolished; he frees more than 100 Roman citizens previously incarcerated. He retreats to Palestrina and Zagarolo with 400 horses; he settles in Perugia and organizes some festivities to commemorate the date of the battle against Carlo Malatesta. Ambassadors from Orvieto, Todi, Rieti, Terni, Narni, San Gemini, Gualdo Tadino, Nocera Umbra, Cesi, Monterotondo, Cannara, Spello, Città della Pieve, Jesi, Montalboddo (Ostra), Arcevia arrive in Perugia with rich gifts. Francesco and Bertoldo Orsini send 2 precious silver vases to his lieutenant.
Sept.Umbria, MarcheMontone signs a truce with Sforza; he has to return to the Marches due to the revolt in Sassoferrato, which ends with the demolition of the homes of his opponents.
Oct.LazioHe acquires Rieti. At the end of the month, he joins forces with Tartaglia at Montefiascone (2,000 cavalry and 1,000 infantry).
Nov.Lazio, UmbriaRome rebels against Sforza’s presence and calls both Montone and Tartaglia back to the city. The Count of Tagliacozzo, Gian Antonio Orsini, and Francesco Orsini manage to calm the rebels. Soon a new six-month truce with Sforza is arranged in Montefiascone. Braccio di Montone sends Costanza Berardo da Varano and Matteo Baldeschi to pay homage to the new Pope emerging from that council, Martin V; he goes to Terni and imprisons some citizens who are confined in the fortress of Narni. In the same year, he commissions a translation into the vernacular of Vegetius’s “Epitoma” from the chancellor of the commune of Perugia, Venanzio di Bruschino di Camerino.
1418
Feb.The Perugians send ambassadors Menguccio da Firenze, Berardo da Varano, Gentiluomo della Penna, and Matteo Baldeschi to Constance, where the Pope is currently located. Their task is to have the Pope recognize Braccio di Montone’s rule over Perugia. On the contrary, Martin V reprimands the condottiero for his thirst for domination to the detriment of the Church State; any decision is deferred until his return to Italy.
Mar.PerugiaMontemarte, Naples, SalimbeniTuscanyHe extends his raids to much of central Italy with 2,500 cavalry and 500 infantry. He forcefully takes Cetona and its castle from the Count of Corvara under the pretense that two of his sons had abandoned the Bracceschi army before their service term had ended: he sells the location to the Sienese for 9,000 florins (of which 5,000 are in cash and 4,000 in the form of a salt supply). With Sienese militias, he moves to Acquapendente, captures Micheletto Attendolo, and imposes a ransom; similarly, he attacks some of Cocco Salimbeni’s castles in Val d’Orcia, who must pay a new ransom to recover the wheat in his own warehouses. He makes a stop at Monteriggioni and continues to Castelfiorentino: the Sienese provide him with twenty-four sacks of bread, wines, confections, and other goods.
Apr.PerugiaFermoMarcheHe returns to the Marca d’Ancona with 2,000 to 4,000 cavalry, takes possession of some castles near Sassoferrato; he encamps between San Severino Marche, Petriolo, Mogliano, Loro Piceno, and Massa Fermana. Antonio da San Severino once again hands over a large sum of money; Ludovico Migliorati, however, refuses to recognize the 4,000 ducats that are due to Montone for the ransom of prisoners in the previous conflict. He occupies the abbey of Chiaravalle di Fiastra: overcoming the resistance of the monks, he loots the church along with all associated buildings. Part of the vault is collapsed, and the cloister is torn down. The nearby castle of Villamagna is leveled. His soldiers devastate the neighboring territory and that of Petriolo.
MayMarcheHe continues to ravage the Fermano area. Braccio di Montone attacks Ludovico Migliorati in the castle of Falerone. He captures 300 horses in a sortie; he conquers the castle and sacks it, imprisoning all the defenders. Among others, Ludovico Migliorati himself is captured who, for his release, must acknowledge to the Lord of Perugia a debt of 9,000 ducats, payable in three installments of 3,000 ducats per year. Following this event, Montone can say, “Because Ludovico did not pay what he owed, he was obliged to pay what he did not owe.”
June – JulyPerugiaOrsini, Salimbeni,
Lucca, San Severino Marche
Lazio, Umbria,  Tuscany, MarcheHe is injured in an action at Mugnano; he bends Ulisse Orsini’s resistance; he returns to Castiglione del Lago, and Cocco Salimbeni, Lord of Chiusi, has to acknowledge another 4,000 ducats owed to him. He moves with his men near Siena and marches with great speed in Valdarno; he enters Lucca almost simultaneously with Ludovico degli Obizzi. At the end of June, perhaps instigated by the Florentines, he heads to Castel Pisano where he plans to surprise the Lord of Lucca, Paolo Guinigi. He targets the city; places his camp at Nunziata and Sant’ Andrea, not neglecting to plunder the nearby territory. Approached by Guido da Pietrasanta, he demands the release of his captured men on one hand, and imposes a ransom on the captured Lucchese on the other; he retains the loot; to depart, he asks for 35,000 florins (of which 10,000 are in silk cloths). The first installment, consisting of 13,000 florins (and the silk pieces), must be paid at the beginning of July; the remaining part within two months. The raid costs the Lucchese more than 50,000 florins in ransom and the cost of troop recruitment for their defense: other damages, such as prisoner ransom and crop destruction, are estimated at an additional expense of 25,000 florins. On the return journey, Braccio di Montone delves into Sienese territory; he stops near the Ovile Gate in Siena and lodges at Cuna on the Arbia. He is then reported in Lucignano and Monte San Savino where he meets with Bartolomeo da Pietramala; he continues into Umbria, stops at Città di Castello, and heads to Perugia. During the same period in Todi, he strengthens the defenses of Montesanto, Monte Cristo, and Santa Maria Maddalena hills. He attacks Sassoferrato again; he camps with 2,000/4,000 horses under San Severino Marche. Antonio da San Severino concedes, concluding a peace agreement in which he acknowledges a significant ransom to the condottiero and agrees to integrate his troops with those of the Lord of Perugia.
Aug.PerugiaNorciaUmbriaHe besieges Norcia. The city must acknowledge a ransom of 8,000 ducats to him (initial request, 14,000).
Sept.MarcheHe sets the castle of Castagna on fire. He enters Pergola; he winters in Jesi.
1419
Jan. – Feb.PerugiaChurch, UrbinoUmbriaHe tries to regain favor with Martin V; he sends Ruggero d’ Antignola, Gaspare di Pietro, and Matteo Baldeschi as ambassadors; he welcomes the Pope’s brother, Giordano Colonna, with all honors in Perugia. All proves useless; he is instead attacked by Sforza. He then asks Guidantonio da Montefeltro for the delivery of 12,000 ducats to balance the payment of the ransom of Carlo Malatesta, for which the Lord of Urbino has become guarantor.
Mar.Marche, UmbriaHaving received a dilatory response from Montefeltro, he moves from the Marche region with Ruggero Cane Ranieri and Malatesta Baglioni; he attacks Gubbio where an attempt led by Ruggero Cane Ranieri is unsuccessful; rebuffed, he damages the surrounding countryside. He transfers to Gualdo Tadino and Assisi, whose fortresses surrender to him, one in 4 days (the smaller one) and one in 10 days (the larger one). He conquers Bastia Umbra: in the city, he is joined by the usual Florentine ambassadors who want to mediate between Braccio da Montone and the Pope. He pays the soldiers, gathers 2,000 horses and many foot soldiers to start a new campaign.
Apr.UmbriaHe flies to Spoleto and camps at Busano, near Ponte Bari with a guard of 150 men, among horses and foot soldiers (among whom there are also some exiles from the city). The municipality sends him a gift of wines, grains, sweets, wax and capons: Spoleto, after tense negotiations, surrenders to him without problems. In the middle of the month, 500 foot soldiers enter the location, settle in the convent of San Simone of the Conventual Friars and prepare to besiege the Papal forces in the fortress. The following day, Easter, he also makes his entrance, greeted by the festive population: he takes lodgings in the bishopric. His men climb the bell tower of Santa Maria, break the door, and on his order, throw out the 3 guards. He besieges the fortress and is seriously wounded in a foot by a verrettone while personally trying to conquer a tower across the bridge near the mill of Monteluco. The verrettone sticks in his right foot between the toes. The wound keeps him immobile for the rest of the month and requires the intervention of doctors brought from Perugia and Foligno. On this occasion, the municipality of Spoleto, to alleviate his pain, sends him two boxes of pinocchios, a load of spelt, and two barrels of wine.
MayUmbriaHe continues the siege of the fortress of Spoleto; he now lodges his men in the houses of the Collegiate Church of San Pietro; he also has a mangonel with him. He builds a bastion at the moat of Santa Chiara; a foot soldiers’ attack fails; another 1000 foot soldiers come to his aid from Perugia. Mid-month he manages to occupy an outpost of the fortress, the tower of San Marco, which from then on will be called the tower of Braccio. A few more days and the approach of Sforza persuades him to a truce with the lord of Urbino (who nevertheless pays him the 12000 ducats). He leaves the Perugian foot soldiers to the siege and with the rest of the troops moves to Todi with the intention of joining Tartaglia on Lake Bolsena.
JuneLazioHe intercepts and captures in the Viterbo area, between San Giovanni and San Vittore, 500 infantrymen who, commanded by Giovanni Gatti, are to join the forces of Sforza; he moves to Castel Cardinale near Tuscania; the opponents retreat from Montefiascone to Viterbo. He takes advantage of the disarray in the enemy ranks when Niccolò Orsini and Petrino da Siena leave the lineup to enter Viterbo ahead of the other companies. Montone attacks; Sforza is pursued right up to the gates of Viterbo; 2300 horses are taken prisoner, of which 1300 will manage to escape later. Out of spite, Braccio di Montone confines the remaining condottieri in his hands to the island of Lake Bolsena. He lays siege to Viterbo; he places himself with Tartaglia in front of the Gate of Santa Lucia; he repels a sortie of his rival. He lodges in the valley of Sant’Antonio; he unsuccessfully attacks the Gate of Salciccia; he is defeated near the city by Micheletto Attendolo and Francesco Sforza. He returns to Perugia.
JulyUmbriaAt Todi and Spoleto.
Aug.Umbria, LazioExcommunicated by Martin V, he returns under Gubbio; unexpectedly shows up at Montefiascone with Tartaglia; is again under Viterbo. He has the vines of the surrounding countryside cut by the inhabitants of neighboring communities. He is repelled by Riccio from Viterbo and Petrino from Siena.
Sept.Lazio, UmbriaMuzio Attendolo Sforza arrives at Canepina; Tartaglia leaves Braccio di Montone to serve under the Church State. The lord of Perugia falls back to Todi, surprises some of Sforza’s soldiers on the Paglia River while they are rustling cattle in Chiugi; quickly returns near Assisi; attacks Gubbio; sets fire to Giommei. From Assisi he moves to San Gemini; he controls all the river and mountain passes so that Sforza and Tartaglia are unable to provide aid to Spoleto. Martin V excommunicates him. In those same days, Montone has Ceccolino and Guido dei Michelotti, his prisoners, killed in the fortresses of Narni and Fratta Todina.
Oct.UmbriaAssisi falls into the hands of the adversaries; Braccio di Montone moves away from San Gemini where he is with 800 horses and few infantrymen; he calls back the men involved in the siege of Spoleto’s fortress; he gets from the lord of Foligno, Niccolò Trinci, 400 infantrymen and others from many Umbrian towns. To block Muzio Attendolo Sforza’s advance, he resorts to a stratagem, sending a messenger to the captain Matteo di Provenza in Todi. In the city, at his command, the recovery of Assisi is to be celebrated (as if it had happened) with the ringing of bells and the lighting of fires on the walls. This move causes confusion and a slowdown in the action of the enemy army. Braccio di Montone can thus supply troops to the fortresses of Assisi still in his power. He attacks the city from Spello and Santa Maria degli Angeli: the cavalry crosses the walls through a breach made in the circuit that joins the two fortresses, the infantry attacks the defenders of the city from the side and the back. After five hours, the adversaries flee down the Chiascio valley in the direction of Gubbio: 200 are killed and another 400/700 are captured. The city is subjected to a brutal sack that spares no churches or monasteries (including all the sacred furnishings of the basilica, valued at 10,000 ducats). Forty exiles from Perugia and as many from Assisi are made prisoners and all are beheaded; another 400 are taken to Perugia. The friar who opened a small door between the basilica and the convent gardens to the defenders, during the city’s recapture by the papal forces, is thrown from the highest window of the Podestà’s Palace and his body is left on the pavement for a few days. Braccio di Montone heads to Spoleto, which returned to the ecclesiastical field during his absence. He furiously assaults the city, defended by Rinaldo Orsini. He attacks Amelia; here he is reached by a message from Malatesta Baglioni, who he appointed to guard Orvieto. He is informed that a resident of the city has made contact with Tartaglia with the aim of opening a door to him. He leaves the field of Spoleto; arrives at Orvieto with 800 horses; the traitor is forced, to save his life, to send a message to the enemy captain stationed at Montefiascone, inviting him to move and enter the city, now freed from the Bracceschi. Tartaglia approaches Orvieto with 300 horses and as many infantrymen; prudently he does not position himself at the vanguard but away with 15 horses waiting for any news. Braccio di Montone attacks him; Tartaglia manages to escape to Sovana; he pursues and besieges him in this castle. A heavy storm and the lack of infantry force him to retreat after three days.
Dec.UmbriaHe returns to Todi; he takes 60 citizens as hostages from Orvieto. He sends Matteo Baldeschi to the Pope; he seizes, near Gubbio, the Serra di Sant’Onda whose inhabitants have to give him 2000 ducats to redeem themselves. He recovers Serra Partucci, near Umbertide. He stays in Perugia. He vents his hatred on all the Michelotti (men and women) who have the misfortune to fall into his power.
1420
Jan.UmbriaWith Niccolò Piccinino, he attacks Gubbio at the head of 1000 horsemen and 2000 infantry, of which only a small part is composed of veterans. Bernardino degli Ubaldini della Carda, Pietro da Bagno, Ludovico dei Michelotti, Perugino dal Lago, and Ludovico d’Assisi are defending the city. His supporters open a gate, through which a squad commanded by Ruggero Ranieri della Fratta enters the city. The gate is closed behind them. Three hours of fighting follow in the suburbs. Piccinino positions his soldiers in the cloister of the hospital opposite the church; he also manages to seize the gate of San Francesco. The defenders react strongly; Piccinino himself is captured along with 4 soldiers. Braccio di Montone manages to free them and enter Gubbio in turn. Another 3 days of clashes follow, at the end of which the Perugians are still blocked in the lower part of the city. Braccio di Montone then decides to retreat after setting fire to the Porta Marmorea borough and the Santa Lucia borough. He returns to the vicinity of Spoleto, which has once again passed under the control of the Papal State.
Feb.TuscanyHe signs a truce with the Papal States. He goes to Florence with Muzio Attendolo Sforza to pay homage to the Pope: he is accompanied by 400 horsemen and 40 infantrymen (including the commanders Gattamelata, Brandolino Brandolini, Cherubino da Perugia, and Fioravante Oddi), all magnificently equipped; he is also followed by many gentlemen from Perugia, Assisi, Todi, Orvieto, Narni, and Rieti, as well as the lords of Foligno, Camerino, and Fabriano. As soon as he arrives in the district of Cortona he is welcomed by 4 nobles who escort him to Florence; he crosses the Arno and near the capital is received by the relatives of the cardinals; crowds of street children chant his name in the streets of Florence, especially under the windows of the Pope’s apartments in the convent of Santa Maria Novella. “Pope Martin/ lord of Piombino, count of Urbino/ isn’t worth a penny./Brazo the brave, our relative, defeats every people”. The mockery arouses the jealousy of the Pope. Braccio di Montone kisses the slipper of Martin V and is embraced by him: he is freed from excommunication and all ecclesiastical censure. From the conversation he emerges with 52000 ducats: to pay the salaries and provisions due to him he is thus authorized to collect, up to this amount the sums owed to the Apostolic Chamber by some pontifical vicars, among whom Conte da Carrara stands out. He also obtains the title of pontifical vicar of Perugia, Assisi, Todi, Cannara, Spello, Jesi, Gualdo Tadino, Città della Pieve, Ostra Vetere, Arcevia, San Gemini, Staffolo, and the castles of Terre Arnolfe behind the annual census of 5000 florins; however, he must return Rieti, Narni, Terni, Orvieto, Magliano Romano, Otricoli, and Orte to the Papal State; he also commits to not wage war against the Papal State and to maintain at his own expense for three months 300 lances in the March of Ancona and 500 horsemen for two months in the Maritime Campaign. He also reconciles with Montefeltro to whom he cedes, recognizing Assisi, the castles of San Gemini, and Porcaria. In the twenty days he stays in Florence, there are numerous jousts: in a tournament, 120 men-at-arms participate and 6000 lances are broken.
Mar.ChurchBolognaCaptain GeneralUmbria, EmiliaHe is welcomed with great celebrations in Perugia: he frees the prisoners of Assisi and invests part of the proceeds from the raids in public works and in the regulation of the waters of Trasimeno. He allows all the raspanti to return to the city. He leaves for Bologna to submit the city to the dominion of the Papal State. He crosses the Apennines, enters the Bolognese area where he is joined by Angelo della Pergola (700 horses) and Ludovico Migliorati.
Apr. – MayEmiliaHe camps five miles from Bologna; he approaches the Crusaders’ bridge with 80 horses and 100 infantrymen; he stops to inspect the city fortifications and approaches the moat. Luigi dal Verme exits the gate with 300 horses. Montone receives reinforcements and repels the adversaries capturing 80 horses; another 30 are wounded. He moves to Casalecchio di Reno and deprives the city of water by diverting the course of the river.
JuneEmiliaAt Medicina; nearby, he surprises a convoy escorted by 400 infantry and 300 cavalry: other troops emerge from the center to support the action of the Bolognese sackmen; Gabrino Fondulo is defeated and 180 horses with 8 captains are captured. Braccio da Montone obtains Medicina, Crespellano, Oliveto and Bazzano on terms; he loots Montebudello, Piumazzo, San Giovanni in Persiceto. He besieges the capital ever more closely.
JulyEmilia, TuscanyThe inhabitants of Bologna revolt. Antongaleazzo Bentivoglio must surrender to the Pope; the condottiero enters Bologna through the Porta Maggiore with Migliorati and the Cardinal Legate Gabriele Condulmer; he goes to Florence with Antongaleazzo and Cambio Bentivoglio for the acceptance of the terms of surrender.
AutumnUmbriaIn Perugia, to oversee the progress of the work he initiated in the city.
Dec.UmbriaIn Perugia, he marries Nicolina da Varano, sister of Berardo. Federico and Guido di Matelica are present at the wedding. In the same year, he gives Ruggero Cane Ranieri the lordship of Montalboddo (Ostra).
1421
Jan.PerugiaNocera UmbraUmbriaIn Todi, to settle some disputes that have arisen among the citizens. He is informed by Corrado Trinci that his brother-in-law, Berardo da Varano, has been captured by the castellan of Nocera Umbra, Pietro di Rasiglia, who has also killed Bartolomeo and Niccolò Trinci (the latter for having seduced his wife). Braccio di Montone goes to Nocera Umbra and besieges the fortress in which Pietro di Rasiglia has taken refuge for three days: a mine made at the base of the keep allows Braccio’s men to penetrate. About 300 people are captured, including men, women, and children: all are killed by Trinci. Their corpses are loaded onto 36 donkeys and paraded through the streets of Foligno. When the fortress is already consumed by flames, Rasiglia throws himself from the top of the walls into them with his wife and children.
Apr.NaplesAnjouUmbria, MarcheHe is hired by the Queen of Naples, Giovanna d’Angiò; he is advanced 200,000 ducats, which are delivered in Florence to his emissary Matteo Baldeschi with the surety of some merchants of the city. He is promised the lordship of Capua (with the title of prince), that of L’Aquila and Teramo in Abruzzo, and he is assured the title of great constable. Having prepared the army in the bases of Fratta Todina, Jesi, and Spello, he leaves Umbria with 3,000 horses and 1,000 infantrymen. He enters the Marche of Ancona and heads for Ascoli Piceno: he forcefully convinces Conte da Carrara to abandon the camp of Luigi d’Angiò and the Pope, towards which he leans; he also forces him to give his son Ardizzone as a hostage.
MayMarcheHe passes through Porto d’Ascoli with 5,000 men. He heads towards the Kingdom of Naples.
JuneAbruzzo, Molise, CampaniaHe occupies Teramo, one of the cities assigned to him; as his governor, he appoints Giacomo Monaldi from Perugia. He enters the Pescara Valley and seizes Castiglione after a brief siege; he compels the Counts of Popoli and Loreto, who had attempted to block his path to Naples, to return to their allegiance to Queen Joanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò). Similarly, Pacentro, Sulmona, and Campo di Giove, the fiefdom of Jacopo Caldora, surrender. The latter is conquered with the killing of all its defenders. He takes possession of Castel di Sangro, where Caldora has fortified himself. He crosses the mountains of Sannio and arrives in the district of Venafro; he seizes Calvi on agreed terms after a day and from there quickly enters Capua. In the city, he is joined by Caldora (who in the meantime has switched sides): together they defeat the Sforza captains Attaccabriga and Giannuzzo d’Itri at Santa Maria Maggiore (Santa Maria Capua Vetere). He attacks a tower whose defenders refuse to heed his demands for surrender: he requests a parley and orders his crossbowmen to target those who present themselves on the walls for the discussion. The remaining defenders surrender at discretion: among them are two men from Perugia who are strangled. He similarly secures the tower of the Hermitage by cunning: he hides 20 soldiers in the nearby orchards. 2 unarmed boys run towards the tower; they ask the sentinels for the road to Maddaloni after pretending to have deserted from the Braccesco camp. They are mistaken for thieves rather than fleeing soldiers. Some guards leave the fort to arrest them: the Bracceschi, lying in ambush, emerge from the orchards and capture them. The prisoners are brought to Montone; they are threatened with death if they fail to persuade their comrades still in the tower to lay down their arms. He plunders Marcianise. He approaches Naples and camps at the Church of Sant’Antonio awaiting the troops of King Alfonso of Aragon (Alfonso d’Aragona) coming from Procida and Trapani; he heads to Castel dell’Ovo and facilitates the allies’ landing. His cavalry positions itself near the Carmine Gate. From the shore to the bridge of the flagship, a bridge of boats is placed upon which Montone, kneeling, pays homage to the Aragonese sovereign. Alfonso of Aragon lifts him from the ground and embraces him; one of the planks gives way and the king falls into a boat full of water. This is followed by their joint entry into Naples through the Capuana Gate and a visit to the remains of Cuma and Baia.
July – Sept.Campania, Basilicata, Lazio, Molise, AbruzzoIn Naples. Three days of festivities mark the stay in the city of the condottiero and the sovereign. Muzio Attendolo Sforza is forced to barricade himself in Aversa. Braccio di Montone is given the promised position of Grand Constable; he is granted the county of Foggia and the principality of Capua. He resumes the offensive, breaks into the Terra di Lavoro where he occupies Angri, Pagani, and Marigliano; devastates the lands of the abbot of Montecassino, Pirro Tomacelli; seizes Fratte; secures San Pietro, San Vittore del Lazio, Piedimonte San Germano on agreed terms; crosses the Liri and conquers Frattamaggiore, Castelnuovo Parano, Vallefredda, Sant’Andrea, Sant’Apollinare, Sant’Ambrogio sul Garigliano and Vandra. He hands these castles over to Ruggero Gaetani. He then moves with many lances and crossbowmen on Castellamare di Stabia, also targeted by Sforza and Tartaglia. He fords the Sarno and scales its city walls, kills the sentinels, tears down the gates and has the trumpets sounded at night: the city is plundered. The following morning, many soldiers return to Naples laden with loot (part of the spoils are 20,000 barrels of wine and large quantities of salt). Montone is confronted by Sforza and Tartaglia (12,000 men between horses and footmen) on the Sarno: for eighteen days only small skirmishes occur. The Umbrian condottiero moves to the plains. To divide Sforza from Tartaglia (knowing the two don’t get along) he adopts a different policy towards their soldiers who fall into his captivity: those who serve Tartaglia are released with arms and horses; those serving Sforza are sent to row in the Aragonese galleys. The disputes between the two captains thus facilitate his chances of leaving the Sarno unscathed; he takes the road to Aversa, sacks the countryside of Atella and leads the army back to Capua to force the reluctant queen to comply with his promises. He leaves a good garrison there and sets his sights on Abruzzi: on the way he loots Mignano Monte Lungo; he bursts into the Aquilano; Castelnuovo and Santa Lucia are given over to the soldiers. The pope, frightened, asks him for the possession of locations not far from the Abruzzo border. Braccio di Montone accommodates him and receives Città di Castello in return.
Oct.CampaniaHe meets with the Florentine ambassadors, Michele Castellani and Rinaldo degli Albizzi, who unsuccessfully propose themselves as peace mediators. He encounters Sforza and Tartaglia who are moving in the territory of Sessa Aurunca. Braccio di Montone fords the Garigliano and sweeps through enemy territory with all his men. Of the loot, each soldier is entitled to 50 scudi; meat prices drop by half in Naples and Capua; part of the plundered livestock must be sold in Basilicata and Terra d’Otranto. He tries to occupy Nocera; he is preceded by Micheletto Attendolo and Buzino da Siena with 400 horses who reinforce the garrison. He returns to Capua and has the lower fortress handed over by the castellan; the one of the upper fortress, named Pagano, demands a reward of 20,000 ducats. In reality, the latter has no desire to surrender because he had to deliver his wife and children as hostages to Sforza. Braccio di Montone begins to besiege the fortress; he has two trenches dug around it to prevent possible assistance to the defenders. A Capua blacksmith shows him how to penetrate through an old aqueduct leading to a cistern surrounded by a high wall. At this point, the sappers detonate a mine so that the soldiers can enter the castle. Pagano retreats to the upper part from where he can cause significant losses to the Bracceschi; Montone has a lot of combustible material collected at the foot of the tower to suffocate the defenders with smoke. With the surrender, the castellan must abandon the riches he has accumulated and leave with only a barrel of wine and a bushel of wheat. The condottiero returns to Aversa; he resorts to some ingenious stratagems that allow him to seize several other castles. He defeats Sforza at the Casolla bridge and also captures 200 of his horses. Tartaglia leaves Aversa to confront him and catch his men while they are engaged in looting: he falls into an ambush and is forced to make a hasty retreat.
Nov.CampaniaHe joins forces with 1500 cavalry and 1500 infantry from the Aragonese troops: together the allies besiege Acerra for 25 days. Santo Parente and Giovan Paolo Origlia defend the town with 4 bands of cavalry and 4 of infantry. Braccio di Montone has 2 external bastions built; he demolishes the walls of the fortress with cannons. A sudden attack by Perino and Bettuccio Attendolo with Santo Parente puts the cannons out of action and burns the bastions. Alfonso of Aragon accepts the residents’ request for a truce and Braccio di Montone returns to Naples with the King of Aragon. By the end of the month, Acerra surrenders into the hands of a Spanish cardinal who delivers the city to the sovereign.
Dec.Campania
1422
Apr.Campania, Abruzzo, MarcheBraccio di Montone can now focus on resupplying Capua, which has been reduced to poor conditions by the actions of Sforza. Around the same time, he hangs Giannuzzo d’Itri, who was guilty of having deserted from his ranks to those of the Sforza. From Naples, a column of 200 unarmed carriers advance, transporting wheat to Capua. The condottiero anticipates that Muzio Attendolo Sforza will do everything possible to intercept the column. He sets up an ambush and catches the opponents off guard, capturing 400 horses. He returns to Capua with 400 horses and distributes the rest of the heavy cavalry among the nearby castles.
MayMarcheHe makes camp between Montolmo (Corridonia) and San Giusto.
JuneUmbriaHe travels to Città di Castello: the inhabitants offer him 5000 florins, equivalent to a year’s taxes, in exchange for the right to choose the two captains of the fortress. He refuses.
JulyPerugiaCittà di CastelloUmbriaHe begins to besiege Città di Castello, approaching from the Porta Romana; he has two bastions built, one at the Cavalcanti mill against the bridge of Porta Prato, the other in front of the Giulianelle tower. He begins to bombard the city with four large pieces of artillery and smaller ones from the Trastevere monastery; two more trebuchets are put into operation, one at the Porta di Sant’ Egidio and the other at Santa Maria. He also has a large, very tall wooden tower built, in which veterans and crossbowmen are placed and is equipped with 2 other pieces of artillery. Operations continue with the occupation of the countryside, with the exception of Celle, San Giustino, and Ghironzo, and the halt of field work. The people of Città di Castello unsuccessfully request aid from the Florentines.
Aug.Florence1000 lances and 300 infantrymenHe is contracted by the Florentines to appear with 1000 lances and 300 infantrymen: the term is set for two years; he is granted a monthly provision of 2000 florins: of the total cost, 50% is borne by the Florentines, 25% by the Sienese, and the remaining 25% by the people of Lucca.
Sept.UmbriaThe city of Castello is forced to surrender, and Braccio di Montone takes possession of it. He returns to Perugia where Francesco Salimbeni is elected governor, with a garrison of 1000 soldiers.
Dec.UmbriaIn Perugia, he welcomes Leonello d’Este and Nanne Strozzi.
1423
Jan.PerugiaChiaravalleUmbriaUpon the request of Alfonso of Aragon, he sends Niccolò Piccinino with 400 horsemen to the Kingdom of Naples. He remains in Umbria for the moment, protecting Todi from the Chiaravalle raids; he seizes their castle of Canale, which he gives as dowry to a niece, who is to marry Niccolò Piccinino. He orders the demolition of many houses in Todi to allow for the construction of the fortress. His domains in the Marches are expanded to include Cingoli, Castreccioni, Colognola, Sant’Angelo, and Staffolo.
Feb.UmbriaIn the grand hall of the palace in Perugia, the Lord of Foligno, Corrado Trinci, crowns him as Prince of Capua and L’Aquila, commissioned by the Queen of Naples and Alfonso of Aragon: the ceremony is attended by the ambassadors of Naples (who present him with a gold necklace) and of Florence, as well as the lords of Fabriano and Camerino. Before heading towards Abruzzo, under the pressure of the Florentines, he opens negotiations with Pope Martin V (Martino V).
Apr.UmbriaHe breaks any delay, gathers the troops in Fratta Todina (3200 knights and 6000 infantrymen).
MayKing of AragonNaples, ChurchUmbria, AbruzzoIn Narni, his attempt to take control of the fortress of Spoleto is unsuccessful; he sends 400 horsemen to aid the Florentines under the command of Fioravante Oddi and other captains; he suggests to them that in their fight against the Visconti they should seek the services of Carlo and Pandolfo Malatesta. He then moves towards Abruzzo. He is forced to stop in front of L’Aquila, where the inhabitants, incited by Joanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò) who is now opposing the king of Aragon, resist him. Conversely, Montone remains loyal to the sovereign. Within a few days, the entire Aterno valley from Pizzoli, to Poggio Picenze, Assergi, Carapelle Calvisio, Fossa, Paganica (which he conquers in ten days), Navelli, and Barisciano, falls into his control. The last place is taken in four days of siege using a tunnel beneath the walls. The inhabitants are killed and the town is sacked; the women are sent half-naked to L’Aquila. However, the assaults on the center’s walls prove to be futile; the siege intensifies. The Aquilans often break through the encirclement with furious sallies to procure necessary supplies. The governorship of Abruzzo is revoked from him by the queen and the pope declares war on him: Pietro Navarrino comes against him trying to assist L’Aquila by introducing a large supply convoy. Braccio di Montone ambushes him and captures him near Stiffe. Irritated by the decision of the queen of Naples, he oppresses the inhabitants of Teramo by revoking their previously granted tax privileges from the Angevins.
JuneAbruzzoHe is so deeply involved in the struggle in Abruzzo that he refuses to march north to assist his Florentine allies; at the same time, he refuses to join forces with the Aragonese when Louis of Anjou (the new heir chosen by Joanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò)) arrives in Aversa; instead, he sends 1200 horsemen and 1000 infantrymen under the command of Jacopo Caldora, Bernardino degli Ubaldini della Carda, Arrigo della Tacca, Riccio da Montechiaro, and Orso Orsini. Braccio di Montone orders a general assault on L’Aquila, which is repelled by Antonuccio dell’ Aquila. He leads his men against Porta Barete; the adversaries divert the waters of the Aterno to make the passage more difficult for his cavalry.
JulyAbruzzoHe occupies Ocre; confident of the eventual success, he sends another 400 horsemen and some infantry companies to Florence, which are used to oversee Piombino. He returns to besiege L’Aquila; he attempts to divide the defenders; he bribes many citizens to aid him in his endeavor. Twelve of them are discovered and strangled, two are torn to pieces near the Porta Paganica. Only a few manage to escape to his camp. Therefore, he continues with his tactics; he occupies Tussio, San Pio, and Caporciano where Castellano della Rosa dies. He is excommunicated once more.
Sept.AbruzzoBernaino Fornaino surrenders Manoppello to him.
Oct.AbruzzoFresh troops arrive from Umbria to aid him, led by Carlo Baldeschi; Pietro Giampaolo Orsini also joins his men. With them, he takes control of other centers such as Monteodorisio; he expands his victorious campaign beyond the Pescara river with the conquest of San Valentino in Abruzzo Citeriore, Lanciano, Francavilla al Mare, and Chieti.
Nov.AbruzzoHe moves to Bucchianico to curb the advance of Muzio Attendolo Sforza.
Dec.AbruzzoHe fortifies himself in Chieti.
1424
Jan.AbruzzoHe reaches the Aquilan valley at a forced march; he strengthens the blockade of the capital with the help of Niccolò Terzi. He mourns the death of Sforza, who drowned in the Pescara river; he seems to contemplate his own fate as well, since the astrologers have predicted that his death would occur shortly after that of his rival. Having recovered, he resists the pursuit of the fleeing opponents towards Aversa; conversely, he tries to take control of Ortona by treaty through the Count of Sant’Angelo. Having returned to L’Aquila, he fortifies the churches of San Lorenzo on Monte della Serra and that of Sant’ Antonio outside Porta Lavareta. He diverts the waters of Sant’Anso to prevent the flow of that river from reaching the city.
Feb.AbruzzoHe doubles his efforts to seize L’Aquila (attack on Sant’Annese); his attempts do not yield the desired effects. In reality, some of his men manage to penetrate L’Aquila; the gates close behind them, and most of them are killed. Many, in their attempt to escape, die by throwing themselves off the walls. The mothers, wives, and daughters of the exiles are driven from the city; the women take the path to San Lorenzo; they are blocked and forced to return to the capital. Some are able to save themselves with the help of their relatives. During the same period, Braccio di Montone is appointed by the Florentines and Sienese as their general captain with a contract for 1000 lances and 300 infantrymen: the term is set for nine months. However, he cannot accept the invitation to move to Romagna to counter the Visconti because of his situation in Abruzzo.
Mar.AbruzzoHe retakes San Pio, which has rebelled against him. The castle is sacked and demolished.
Apr.AbruzzoHe receives 15,000 florins and is able to send Ardizzone da Carrara with 400 horsemen to aid the Florentines. He besieges Tussio, which suffers the same fate as San Pio; he again occupies Barisciano. The women of this latter castle are expelled and forced to parade naked around the walls. The following day, Easter, all the prisoners are taken to Teramo. He reaches Civita di Bagno with his troops. He divides the army into 15 squads. He camps under L’Aquila and waits in the vineyards of Pettino. The rest of the troops are led into the valley of Santa Lia and are gathered into two ranks under the command of Niccolò Piccinino (who camps in the vineyards) and Pietro Giampaolo Orsini, who moves to the Icon of the Tower Road and Bazzano. He heads to Stiffe and besieges the center for fifteen days. He returns to Fossa, Ocre, and Civita di Bagno, which he controls; he places his infantry in Luco dei Marsi. After a week, he takes the road to the Serra di San Lorenzo and positions his troops near the bridge of Collemaggio. He returns to Santa Lia.
MayAbruzzoHe is opposed by Jacopo Caldora (who has left his ranks) and Francesco Sforza: he does not accept the plan proposed by Gattamelata, which involves attacking the adversaries while they are crossing a difficult mountain pass in the Aterno valley; he prefers to wait for them in the Aquila basin, contenting himself with occupying the passes of the Ocre hills with 2,000 infantry. He orders not to harass the adversaries during their approach march.
JuneAbruzzo

Sources

-“Questo è colui che con mirabile arte e industria risuscitò et fece molto honorata la gloria dell’arte della guerra, la quale era quasi spenta in Italia.” DOMENICHI

-“Costituì il suo esercito attorno a un limitato gruppo di esuli perugini, e pertanto collaudò un metodo di combattimento che gli permetteva di ottimizzare l’esiguità iniziale delle sue forze. Le sue squadre, al massimo di centocinquanta cavalieri appoggiati da un adeguato numero di fanti, venivano fatte ruotare nel corso delle battaglie in modo da mantenere sul nemico una costante pressione, attendendo che fosse indebolito abbastanza prima di lanciargli contro le riserve.” N. CAPPONI

-“Lo nome suo dirò con lieta faccia/ Chiamossi Braccio dalle forti braccia./…/ Signuri ho letti molti libri, e ho/ De’ fatti d’arme ognun più pellegrino;/ Odiste le battaglie di Teseo/ Dove tremava l’aero, e lo terrino,/ E li gran fatti, che fece Pompeo/ Con Cesare, che fu no paladino;/ Non fu simile a questa, como io parlo,/ Che fece el signor Braccio, el signor Carlo./…(In occasione della sua morte) “El medico si fece presto venire,/ Feli bentare ciascuna ferita,/ Tucta soa posta lu volea guarire/ Et returnarelu di morte a vita./ El Conte Francisco sci li ebbe a sentirlo,/ Quilla persona Mangna a tanto ardita,/ Colle soi mani scillo medicone/ Et poco stette che Braccio Spirone.” CIMINELLO

-“Mise a punto un tipo di fante più mobile, armato di spada e scudo, che fece la sue prove partecipando nel 1416 all’assalto dato a Perugia..Si trattava di fanti armati alla leggera, mobilissimi e addestrati al combattimento aggressivo del corpo a corpo. MALLETT

-“Aveva una sua mazza, di metallo/ Armato tutto, e nelle soprabande/ Portava il monton nero in campo giallo./ Braccio primo fu questo, che per forza/ Si fa Signor col senno e con la spada,/ C’amaro fu per lo valente Sforza./ Assai fece costui su l’ampia strada/ D’onore al mondo: poi la morte ria/ Il tolse, come a fortuna empia aggrada./…/ Non sia verso di lui l’animo vostro/ Ingrato a torto, ben che morto sia,/ Ché non è morta la penna e l’inchiostro./ Sentendo io la virtù che illuy fioria,/ duolmi ch’ançe gram tempo non fuy nato,/ ché tardo fu per luy la vita mia./ E ben ch’io non vedesse quillo ornato/ corpo in tante virtù, sua fama sforça,/ ch’io l’ami morto e così l’abbia amato.” Lorenzo Spirito riportato da FABRETTI

-“..Braccio/..che per tutti ancora/ Con maraviglia e con terror si noma.” MANZONI

-“Il valore e la perizia militare di Braccio tutti gli storici magnificarono: furono alcuni che lo diffamarono come fosse uomo di perversi costumi, di nulla religione, anzi di cose divine sprezzatore, machinatore d’inganni, crudelissimo e senza misura ambizioso. Forse costoro esagerarono. Questo fermamente crediamo ch’ei fosse abbastanza crudele, e assai cupido di gloria e di potenza. Macchiò la sua spada nel sangue di magnanimi popolani perché indocili al giogo patrizio; osteggiò, vinse e dominò i suoi concittadini… Alto della persona, robusto delle membra, valoroso del braccio, fervido della mente, audace dell’animo, nacque per la gloria delle armi italiane, e fra le armi visse e morì. Finché fu giustamente severo co’ soldati, e fé senno del consiglio de’ suoi duci ebbe a compagna la vittoria in ciascuna battaglia: all’ Aquila divenne feroce, inumano per la ostinazione di quel popolo risoluto, di non piegarsi al giogo braccesco; non curò gli avvertimenti de’ suoi condottieri; e toccò sconfitta e morte.” FABRETTI

-“Fu Braccio di aspetto prestante, benché impedito dal lato sinistro; la sua parola era dolce e carezzevole; aveva però un temperamento crudele al punto di ridere mentre ordinava di torturare la gente e di straziarla con atroci supplizi, e di dilettarsi a gettare dei poveretti da alte torri. A Spoleto diede ordine di precipitare giù da un ponte un messaggero che gli aveva portato una lettera ostile. Ad Assisi gettò tre uomini da una torre che si innalza nella piazza principale. Nel convento dei frati Minori diede ordine di punire diciotto monaci che avevano sentimenti a lui ostili, pestando e spappolando i loro testicoli sopra un’incudine. A Viterbo fece immergere un prigioniero in una sorgente d’acqua bollente che si chiama Pelacano.. Braccio non credeva né al paradiso né all’inferno, era nemico della Chiesa e della religione e assolutamente indegno di ricevere esequie religiose.” PICCOLOMINI

-“Brillar vidi il ragghio delle spade./ Il mio Sogno di re nell’occhio regio/ Di Braccio Fortebraccio di Montone.” D’ANNUNZIO

-“Niun Capitano d’essercito, di qual si voglia tempo, fu mai più caro a suoi soldati di lui, percioche con la natural piacevolezza del parlare adornava mirabilmente la maraviliosa grandezza dell’animo suo; niun fu mai che più piacevolmente ragionasse co’ suoi soldati, niuno che castigasse più gentilmente nelle cose mal fatte, né che con più ardire gli eccitasse a combattere. Egli non mandava i soldati ne’ pericoli, ma v’andava con esso loro in persona, e non meno di loro si sottometteva alle fatiche, alla fame, e alle vigilie, data tuta la preda a’ suoi, solo per sé la gloria, e l’imperio..Era in Braccio una non finta, e simulata, una grave, e semplice soavità di parole, venutagli più tosto da natura, che acquistata con artificio, quantunque non senza qualche poco d’industria. Niuno mitigava più gentilmente gli animi adirati, e niuno con più veemenza, e ardore gli essortava, e infiammava alla battaglia. Era benigno co’ soldati, e con gli altri, ne rigido, ne dispiacevole, havea congiunto con la severità militare una certa modestia civile, e cortegiana.. Nella guerra nessuno era più rapace di lui, nella pace, nessuno maggior mantenitore di giustizia, e d’equità..Egli hera huomo più che di mediocre statura, di viso lungo, e spesso alquanto rossore, che gli rendeva grandissima maestà, non havea gli occhi negri, ma ben vivi, e pieni in un tempo di non so che di gravità, e allegrezza, a cui corrispondevano tutte l’altre membra, eccetto quelle, ch’erano fatte deforme, e brutte dalle cicatrici. Era finalmente di aspetto, hora piacevole, hora severo, secondo che richiedeva il tempo, ma però sempre di maniera signorile.” CAMPANO

-“Brazo fu eretico poco credente a Dio, mai messa ne altro officio volse audire. Et si abbetteva quando si cellebrava l’officio divino, sence voltava le spalle; fo molto crudelissimo, et una delle volte fo gittare uno corriero intra lo pellicano de viterbo, quillo se ricomando a messer santo antonio et mergendo gio suso sopra fo subbito in sito fora senza nullo male; lui comando fosse butatto dentro da piede, et disse io vo vedere se santo Antonio lo potra agiutare, e’nsì questa altra fiata fo fora libero et ancho lo fe minare un’altra fiata dentro biastemando.. questa terza volta quillo povero homo..fo libero, volendo pure farlo buttare dentro a pregheri de tanto gento, l’era presente a vedere tanto miraculo; confuso de brigogna (vergogna) li perdona: una altra fiata sei frati minori stando a cantare suso ad uno campanile la zolfa (battendo cioé il tempo), di sdegno vedendoli li fe gittare in terra, et così captivamente moreno..: vero nel mestiere fo liale.” MONTELEONE

-“Eo tempore belli ducem in Italia insignem.” G. SIMONETTA

-“Appartiene al novero di quei condottieri che cercarono, guidando un forte strumento militare, di costituirsi un dominio territoriale personale ponendosi in lotta..contro regni e governo.” ARGIOLAS

-“Vedevasi in Braccio un’ardente forza d’astuto et gagliardo ingegno..Capitano in quel tempo famosissimo.” GIOVIO

-“L’imagin, che tu vedi, o forestiero,/ E’ di Braccio famoso Capitano,/ Che spesso ruppe il suo nemico altero;/ Et perseguì il Pontefice Romano:/ Ch’ebbe di molte terre ingiusto impero,/ Et occupò con gli altri il Vaticano:/ Che fu terror di Re, giusti e tiranni,/ Et diede a le Città d’Italia affanni.” Da un sonetto di G. Feroldo riportato da GIOVIO

-“Passai già vincitor mille perigli/ Che né ferro, né muro il mio ardir tenne,/ Perché la mia virtù tutto sostenne,/ Armandomi di forze e di consigli.” Da un sonetto di L. Aretino riportato da GIOVIO

-“Vir prudens ac strenuus..Ipse tunc magnus profecto vir erat, nam et dux rei militaris peritissimus habebatur, et magnitudine animi consilioque pollebat, et aderat ei multa adumbrata quaedam civili moderatione honestas. Hic ex oppido Montone perusini agri, nobilibus admodum parentibus ortus, statim ab adolescentia rei militari se tradidit, multisque vulneribusque peritiam tandem auctoritatemque boni ducis consecutus est..Ipse vero dominus perusine urbis a populo simul nobilitateque delectus.” SOZOMENO

-“La cui riputazione nel mestier dell’armi era celebre in questi tempi per tutta l’Italia..Personaggio diffamato da alcuni Scrittori per uomo di poca Religione, di molta crudeltà, e di ambizione smoderata, che in questi ultimi tempi era anche peggiorato ne’ costumi, col divenire più aspro del solito, e sprezzatore d’ogni consiglio. Ma certo non gli si può negar la gloria d’essere stato insigne nel mestier della guerra, e forse il maggior generale d’Armata che allora avesse l’Italia.” MURATORI

-“Hic ex oppido Montone perusini agri nobilibus admodum parentibus ortus, statim ab adolescentia (rei) militari se tradidit, multisque vulneribus atque laboribus peritiam tandem auctoritatemque boni ducis est assecutus” BRUNI

-“Malgrado il sommo suo valore poco poteva lo Sforza guadagnare contro un uomo che poteva essergli maestro nell’arte delle battaglie. Braccio, amato dai suoi soldati, temuto dai suoi vicini, fedelmente obbedito dai suoi sudditi, trovavasi sempre in propria casa in qualunque paese facesse guerra. Egli conosceva e prevedeva tutti i movimenti dei suoi nemici mentre che i suoi erano da loro ignorati; pareva ch’egli tutto vedesse senza essere veduto.” SISMONDI

-“Homo de grande auctoritate et audacia.” CAGNOLA

-“Maneggiò l’armi sempre con gran gloria..Certamente fu questo capitano da paragonare con quei valorosi, et eccellenti capitani de’ Romani, et de’ Greci.” ALBERTI

-“Guerriero valorosissimo di quei tempi.” CHIAVENNA

-“Grandissimo Capitanio de gente d’armi.” P. DI MATTIOLO

-“Fu Braccio di statura alta, il volto hebbe rubicondo, gli occhi e capelli castagnicci.” ROSCIO

-“Gran capitano e valoroso soldato..Braccio fu dei più valorosi soldati, che habbia havuto mai, non solamente Perugia, ma da i Cesari in poi tutta Italia..Huomo nel mestier dell’armi famosissimo.” PELLINI

-“Valoroso Capitano..Condottiero illustre del tempo suo” SANSOVINO

-“Essendo egli uomo sopra tutto feroce e d’animo oltre ogni credenza grande, né all’audacia sua la virtù, né la fortuna mancando.” SPINO

-“Valorosissimo Capitano del suo tempo..Egli haveva Braccio un animo così generoso, che aspirava al regno di Napoli, e ne haveva già incominciato a dare a’ suoi dissegni qualche principio.” TARCAGNOTA

-“Illustre condottiero d’armi di quel secolo,famoso Capitano di quei tempi.” UGOLINI

-“Eccellente capitan di guerra.” BIONDO

-“Erat..vir in primis ferox, et supra humanam fidem magnanimus, nec ejus audaciae virtus aut fortuna deficiebant… (Suo schieramento in battaglia) “In cunei Braccio el suo campo distinse./ Per la paucità soa con gran rebello./ Quando in sul Tybri in selva arme si cinse/ Victorioso el stil mutando fello:/ Anzi mettean tre schiere, e raro altre ale./ Hor tiensi el modo suo per lo più bello./ E così ognun del suo studio si vale.” (Alla battaglia di Sant’Egidio) “La gente del nimico era digiuna,/ Dal canto estremo e de la polver grande,/ maledicendo el sole, e la fortuna./ Per sete a breve dire per vivande/ Gli più da i men d’insieme si straccaro,/ E ciascun ritornò da le sue bande./ E per l’affanno che in l’elmo portaro/ Credean gli hosti così far gli bracceschi/ Et a cibarsi tutti dismontaro./ Senza steccato o forse posti a deschi,/ Braccio che mai di sella era disceso/ Esce con tutti i suoi cibati e freschi./ Fui entro a padiglioni corse disteso,/ Piglia, saccheggia, amaza, el duce inerme/ Col pane a i denti sul mangiar fu preso.” CORNAZZANO

-“Condottiero famosissimo.” SPRETI

-“Uno dei più grandi condottieri del secolo XV.” BOSI

-Con Muzio Attendolo Sforza “Erano i più insigni capitani del tempo.” GOTHEIN

-“Magnae axistimationis Dux.” BACCI

-“Terribili illius aevi duce.” MARCHESI

-“Fu..valorooso Capitano de’ suoi tempi.” M. MONALDESCHI

-“Capitano avventuriere.” BULGARINI

-“Vir Perusinus genere nobilis, ceterum vehementis animi, et ingenii calidissimi.” CRIVELLI

-“Pronto, audace, impetuoso.” AMBROGETTI

-“Gran capitano..(lasciò) fama di fierezza, di crudeltà, di poca religione, ma al tempo stesso di grande valentia nelle armi, unica lode che generalmente può darsi ai venturieri fortunati di questi tempi che, non curando diritti o ragioni, usurpavano quelli d’altri.” BALAN

-“Celebre generale del secolo 14°..(Dimostrò) in ogn’incontro quei talenti che lo resero..il primo generale dei suoi tempi.” PAOLINI

-“La sua strategia e la sua tattica hanno dimostrato di sovrastare a tutte quelle dei capitani suoi contemporanei compreso lo Sforza il quale, come dice il Sismondi, “poco poteva guadagnare contro un uomo che poteva essergli maestro nell’arte delle battaglie.”.” PASQUALI

-“Clarissimum ea tempestate belli imperatorem.” F. ADAMI

-“Bellicis artibus jam inde claro.” BRACCIOLINI

-“Vir animo consilioque excellens..Militaris institutis ornatus.” FACIO

-Confronto con Muzio Attendolo Sforza “Erant hi clarissimi ac praestantissimi ejus tempestatis copiarum duces. Braccius quidem genere opibusque illustrior; caeterum scientia rei militaris, animi magnitudo et auctoritas in utroque propemodum pares, non solum aemulationem inter illos accenderant, sed etiam graves inimicitias perpererant, adeo ut non veluti hostes, sed tanquam inimici invicem bellum gererent: alter alteri semper adversi infestique.” FACIO

-“Vir omnium fere hac aetate armorum incomparabilis, nec minus astu quam viribus potens, animus illi multo super genus fortunamque immensus, omnium fere inter Perusiam ac Romam dominus et ipsi Romae imminebat.” BILLIA

-“Ea tempestate copiarum ducem egregium.” G. CAPPONI

-“Huomo prestante nell’arte militare.” PLATINA

-“Condottiero, il più celebre della sua età.” PIGNOTTI

-“Suis fortunatus temporibus ultra quoslibet Italiae Capitaneus.” REDUSIO

-Con Muzio Attendolo Sforza “Huomini per opere d’arme ecelenti.” MUZIO

-“Ecco quel altro, il qual par che ruine/ per troppo ardir della fortuna, e tanto/ paion la luce sue quasi divine./ Braccio dei Fortebracci, el cui gran vanto/ un giorno sol del mondo via ne tolse,/ tal che Roma ne fé mirabil conto.” SANTI

-“Fu nel mestiere dell’armi Capitano di chiaro grido: uomo venale, avido di estorcere in larga copia oro ed argento.” TALLEONI

-“Tunc temporis magnus habebatur. Nam et dux rei militaris peritissimus, et magnitudine animi consilioque pollebat et aderat ei quaedam civili adumbrata moderatione honesta..Bellicoso duci.” SANT’ANTONINO

-“Rinomato capitano, che aveva l’occhio per tutto e le mani lunghe.” VARIALI

-All’assedio dell’Aquila “El singior Braccio per certo fo’ un drau; Di far battaglia multo se nne gode/ Con cinquecento disiuso et vau,/ Onne giorno l’sciva et davali inciampu: S’avesse gente, lie lla farria in campu.” VALENTINI

-“Condottière remarquable.” LABANDE

-“Uno dei più illustri capitani d’Italia.” SARDI

-“Or credi a me come al sacro evangelio/ Che Braccio vinse e prese tanto e tanto/ Simile a channa el doloroso prelio./ E d’altra gloria ancor vo che si vanti/ Bench’io nolle distingua a verbo a verbo/ Braccio fu pur l’onor di tutti quanti./ Sforza Magno da lui presso a Viterbo/ E in più luoghi fu rotto e sconfitto/ E non ti paja el mio parlar superbo/ Gloria d’italiano Cesare invicto/…/O quante inespugnabili fortezze/Aspre e superbe per forza e per pacti/Aquistò questo fior de gentilezze.” Cambino Aretino riportato da FABRETTI

-“Amator di virtù, maestro in guerra/Braccio son io tra i miei quasi l migliore;/La fama mia ogni altra quasi serra./La spada e ‘l senno mi fè grande essere,/Degno Signor mi fè della mia terra.” Da un epitaffio del Matarazzo, riportato da FABRETTI, sotto il suo ritratto un tempo collocato a Perugia nel palazzo di Braccio Baglioni.

-“..quel possente Braccio,/Che degnamente sua fama onora.” Lorenzo Spirito, riportato da FABRETTI

-“Grande Capitanio et credo el magiur de Italia.” ZAMPOLINI

-“Uno de’ più celebri Guerrieri del suo tempo, che non fu mai superato se non in morte.” COLUCCI

-“Anch’esso comandante di grido e della scuola del grande Alberico.” G. BONOLI

-“Ejus aetatis clarissimi ducis.” BEVERINI

-“Que era muy excelente capitan, y fué estimado de la nacion italiana, y muy tenudo de los de reino.” ZURITA

-“Fortissimo capitano.” BALDI

-“Condottiero d’altissima fama..Caposcuola della milizia italiana.” CRISTOFANI

-“Fu uno de’ primi, che illustrasse la militia Italiana.” CRISPOLTI

-“Fra i condottieri de gente armata in questi tempi fu uno dei più celebri Braccio Fortebracci pel valore e per la fortuna.” G. MUZZI

-“Gran capitano.” GRANATA

-“Forte e guerresco condottieri de ventura.” TOSTI

-“Gran Capitano.” TONDUZZI

-“Valente condottiero d’armi.” ZAZZERI

-“Altro famoso capitano di ventura.” PERRIA

-Con Muzio Attendolo Sforza, il Tartaglia, Paolo Orsini, Conte da Carrara e Martino da Faenza “Al tempo di costoro non avivano in Italia pari e pochi delli altri erano nominati.” BROGLIO

-“Uno dei più terribili e spregiudicati capitani di ventura.” PAGNANI

-“Assai feroce e famoso Capitano.” AVICENNA

-“Uno dei più grandi capitani che abbia prodotti l’Italia.” SISMONDI-FABRIS

-“Valente ma iniquo Guerriero.” PALMA

-“Vero e proprio caposcuola per molti condottieri della prima metà del Quattrocento.” SALETNICH

-“Prode capitano.” CECCONI

-“Braccio aveva saputo creare un forte sentimento di appartenenza e di dedizione fra i suoi uomini, finalizzato a garantire la saldezza della compagnia, sentimento che finì per diventare una forma di identità condivisa.” FERENTE

-“Diva vides, atrox obsessam Braccius urbem/ Martem premit; quatiunt muros tormenta ruantes,/ Frugiferosque cremant inimica incendia campo.” GRIFIO

-Con Muzio Attendolo Sforza “Huomini per opere d’arme eccellenti.” MUZIO

-Alla battaglia dell’Aquila “Sicuramente il Fortebracci aveva sottovalutato la tenacia degli Aquilani, la superiorità numerica, la direzione strategica, l’ostinazione dei collegati, ciascuno fortemente motivato alla sua distruzione. Cause prossime, relativamente sicure, della sconfitta campale possono ritenersi l’ingenuità del piano strategico noto in anticipo agli avversari che, fidando nella promessa del Fortebracci, scesero nel piano da un’altura conducendo a mano i cavalli; il mancato utilizzo della fanteria, non si sa per quale motivo rimasta in attesa di ordini, mentre quella nemica faceva strage dei cavalli dei bracceschi; la collocazione, per altro non scrupolosamente rispettata forse per smania di bottino, di Niccolò Piccinino con un numero eccessivo di uomini a tutela dell’accampamento e ad argine degli Aquilani; le defezioni all’ultimo momento di Giampaolo Orsini e di Antonio Cantelmo con le rispettive compagnie; la riluttanza di alcuni capitani bracceschi ad impegnarsi per una vittoria che avrebbe eliminato ogni ritegno allo spirito tirannico del Fortebracci; la determinazione della compagnia degli esuli perugini sul fronte opposto al comando di Lodovico Michelotti.” FALASCHI

-“With the condottiere’s demise, the organization he had created collapsed immediately, as its “raison d’etre” lay entirely with his personality and power. Nonethless, much of what he did survived: the works he completed in his homeland, as well as his military innovations with the creation of a strategy – the scuola Braccesca.” REGNI

-“Uno dei più grandi capitani dei tempi suoi…I suoi contemporanei lo tacciarono di smoderata ambizione, di soverchia indulgenza colle sue bande, d’odio e di crudeltà contro il clero. Asseriscono non aver egli creduto né a Dio né a’ Santi; essersi vantato di non aver messo piede in trent’anni in una chiesa; e una volta aver fatto persino gettare da un campanile sei francescani che vi cantavano le loro salmodie.” VON PLATEN

-“L’offensiva (portata dal papa Martino V) contro lo stato braccesco presentò..la natura di un conflitto dettato dalla ragione di stato e riguarda gli interessi del pontefice come sovrano di un dominio territoriale. la campagna venne combattuta attingendo alle risorse fiscali del papa in quanto signore di un proprio dominio territoriale, che con le sue rendite permise l’ingaggio di soldati professionisti, mandati a combattere contro altri soldati professionisti. Non si ebbero in questo caso le modalità di allestimento consuete alla guerra santa, ossia la predicazione e i voti: l’iniziativa presentò le caratteristiche di un’operazione bellica simile a quelle effettuate dagli stati italiani coevi. Nondimeno i toni della propaganda non furono molto lontani dalla crociata.” PELLEGRINI

-“Fa uscire da una dura quotidiana esperienza la tecnica della guerriglia, del colpo di mano a largo raggio, della sortita a raggio limitato, della ritirata strategica e dell’attacco alla retroguardia nemica.” ADAR

-“Tra i più apprezzati capitani del tempo.” GAZZARA

-“E’ figura di alto rilievo nella storia italiana del XV secolo e se il suo Stato, mancata la virtù che lo tiene unito si dissolve con la sua morte, di Braccio resta una scuola d’arte bellica che da lui prende nome e ne continua le gesta.” BASSETTI

-“Prode capitano.” GIUBBONI

-“Era uno dei capitani di ventura più celebri, temuti e crudeli della sua epoca.” PACIARONI

-“Brillante capitano e fondatore di una scuola militare, agì sempre in vista di un predominante scopo politico, il controllo di Perugia; per lui comandare delle milizie significava assecondare un progetto eminentemente politico, conseguire certe ambizioni signorili…Fu uno dei grandi condottieri del suo tempo e fondatore di una scuola rinomata; le biografie coeve, in particolare la notevole “Vita” di Giovanni Antonio Campano, lo celebrano soprattutto per il suo profilo eroico-militare, del resto corrispondente ai canoni anticheggianti della nuova storiografia umanistica, ma oggi i biografi sottolineano la rilevanza della dimensione politica del suo agire, “quella di un principe che, costituitosi uno stato e un proprio esercito sul territorio della Chiesa e in opposizione alla Chiesa, mira a ingrandirla e ad estendere la propria sfera d’azione su gran parte dell’Italia” R. Valentini riportato da COVINI

-“Mercenario, sì, ma con un amore smisurato per la sua città e una volontà inflessibile di farvi ritorno…Puntava sulla divisione dell’esercito in squadre che si alternavano all’assalto per tenere sotto pressione il nemico. Era..assertore di una condotta aggressiva.” SCARDIGLI

-“Una efficace sintesi iconografica della sua vita ce l’offrono quattro affreschi in una sala del Palazzo comunale di Perugia; l’autore è mediocre pittore, il Papacello, ma di mestiere, appropriato ad una eroica esaltazione. Nel primo affresco, Braccio riceve da Giovanni XXIII il bastone di comando dell’esercito pontificio; nel secondo, riceve dagli ottimati di Perugia la signoria della città; nel terzo, dignitari di Alfonso d’Aragona gli recano il titolo di principe di Capua; nell’ultimo, è la morte nella battaglia dell’Aquila. Quattro momenti fondamentali di un’esistenza che fu a tratti mitica.” RENDINA

-“Quantus Alexander, quantus vel Caesar in orbe,/tantus est in Latio Brachius iste fuit./Non contra reges, populi, non Roma, nec urbes,/vix contra soli prevaluere dei./Invictus semper prostravit cuncta, nec uni/ Francisco pudeiit succubuisse duci.” Versi di Michele Forno riportati da M.G. BLASIO

-“Chiarissimo capitano del suo tempo.” MUGNOS

-“Braccio (approfitta delle pause della guerra) per dedicarsi a opere civili destinate a eternare il suo nome e a giustificare..la signoria esercitata su Perugia. Le eleganti logge sulle quali è ancora visibile lo stemma della sua casata diverranno sede dei numerosissimi mercanti capaci di rendere sempre più fiorente la città. Le unità di misura incise su quelle pietre testimoniano che quel luogo era “giuridicamente legittimato” alla compravendita delle famose “tele perugine” ricercate in tutta Europa. Senza contare la sistemazione della piazza del Sopramuro, con le avveniristiche strutture portanti chiamate “briglie” a sostegno delle antiche mura etrusche o la regolamentazione delle acque del Trasimeno, ottenuta grazie alla “cava del lago”, una struttura con volta a mattoni che permetteva il defluire del flusso idrico tracimante verso un emissario.” STAFFA

-“His reputation as a mercenary general was only second to that of Sforza  .” BROWNING

-“Uno dei protagonisti della politica di inizio secolo: la sua carriera grandiosa e tragica di condottiero si intrecciò con le lotte che fin da giovane dovette ingaggiare con la parte avversa dell’agone politico, i Michelotti..La vicenda di Braccio appare segnata da disgrazie e fallimenti, tanto da dare alla sua figura un carattere oscuro e maledetto, che per giunta si sarebbe riprodotto nella vicenda umana dei suoi successori, gravando il nome dei “bracceschi” di un misterioso alone di sventura..Combattente indomito ma spietato, Braccio viene ricordato dalle fonti papali per la sua inaudita crudeltà contro i nemici e i rivali. Secondo la leggenda non avrebbe mai ascoltato una messa in vita sua, aggiungendo così la fama di bestemmiatore con dovizia di particolari truculenti.” TANZINI

-“Braccio non si avventurò che due volte a nord dell’Appennino. Poté così continuare a tener d’occhio ciò che succedeva nella sua città natia, Perugia, da dove la sua famiglia era stata cacciata dai Raspanti nel 1393, insieme con altre grandi famiglie della nobiltà cittadina.. La sua progressione nella carriera fu.. tutt’altro che fulminea ed è solo a partire dal 1410, ossia dopo più di trent’anni di mestiere, che Braccio fu riconosciuto come uno dei due o tre più importanti capitani di guerra operanti in Italia.” VIGUEUR

-“Per il suo biografo (il Campano), Braccio è un homo novus cui non è necessaria alcuna originaria nobiltà, e la sua “virtù”, anch’essa nuova, si identifica con la stessa arte militare: i rischi della “fortuna” vengono superati dalla prontezza e dalla capacità dei combattenti ben scelti e addestrati; l’imprevisto viene ridotto al minimo dalla celerità e dalla preveggenza; la prudenza evita ogni temerità e la capacità di simulare fa sì che i pochi possano prevalere sui molti.” SETTIA

-“Spericolato, ricco d’intuizioni geniali, avventato, violento.” MONTELLA

-“Fu Braccio di statura alta: il volto hebbe rubicondo: gli occhi, e capelli castagnicci. Si fé  egli Signore di gran parte della Marca, e di tutta l’Umbria, e di assai luoghi di Toscana: oltre alle Città, ch’hebbe nel Regno di Napoli.” CAPRIOLO

-“Felicissimo Capitano.” D. CALVI

-“Ideatore di nuove tattiche di combattimento basate sull’uso di fanteria mobile, armata alla leggera di spada e di scudo, e di piccole veloci squadre che si alternavano nel corso della battaglia frastornando il nemico e privandolo di punti di riferimento.” RIGON

-“Ben più che un semplice capitano riottoso (allo stato della Chiesa) – era stato il fondatore del regime dei nobili di Perugia depositario delle autonomie cittadine, con saldi legami di amicizia e complicità nell’oligarchia fiorentina, e con un non meno intrinseco collegamento con Alfonso d’Aragona, pretendente alla successione nel regno di Napoli.” FUBINI

-“La sua fu comunque una morte esemplare. Il suo comportamento poté servire da modello di dignitosa morte militare da trasmettersi, come uno dei canoni essenziali distintivi degli appartenenti alla sua scuola. Così non teme la morte Nicolò della Stella Fortebracci, suo nipote..Neppure lui parlò, né volle essere medicato.” ZUG TUCCI 

-“Andrea Fortebracci fu un illustre condottiero che ha influito notevolmente nella strategia da guerra dell’Italia del XV secolo. La sua strategia si basava sul ritiro delle truppe in aperta battaglia tendendo una trappola al nemico per poi accerchiarlo con la cavalleria. Tagliava ogni via di fuga al nemico dividendo lo schieramento in due parti. Presso la sua scuola si formarono Angelo Tartaglia, Niccolò Piccinino ed Erasmo da Narni detto il Gattamelata. La scuola “Braccesca” era basata sulla mobilità e sulla velocità delle ali esterne dello schieramento i cui contingenti a rotazione erano lanciati contro il nemico in modo tale che il continuo alternarsi consentisse il riposo e quindi la continua disponibilità di forze fresche. Le imprese del condottiero erano l’unica scuola per apprendere il mestiere delle armi. Un buon soldato ne apprendeva gli accorgimenti, gli ordini, le mosse più particolari, il modo di armare e schierare i soldati.” BIONDINI-SANGIORGIO

-Fiorì in una regione cui..il delitto era fondamento alla grandezza; fiorì in tempi nei quali gli animi erano rosi dalla rabbia delle fazioni, consumati dal veleno dell’ambizione, infetti dalla pestilenza del mal costume civile; sicché, non avendo potuto dirigere al bene la sua immensa attività, la diresse al male.” LO MONACO

-“Tra il rugghio delle spade (brilla un)/ sogno di re nell’occhio regio/ di Braccio Fortebraccio di Montone.” D’ANNUNZIO

-” “Tutto dava ai suoi: solo per sé la gloria e l’imperio.” Campano. Accanto al Condottiero c’era infatti in lui, in formazione, il Principe. Irruente sui campi di battaglia, era in pace vigile e guardingo. Magnifico nel donare, acuto scrutatore d’ogni vicenda, aspettava in silenzio l’ora propizia per cogliere in qualche terra d’Italia una Signoria, che gli permettesse d’aprire le ali a più gran volo. Aveva l’eloquio facile e ornato, al quale sapeva infondere nobiltà e grazia di colpire vivamente l’animo di chi lo esaltava…Braccio esalta..la milizia italiana, come la sola che della guerra abbia fatto non un sanguinario “furore”, bensì un’arte. Ma per giungere a far un’arte della guerra, non semplice, né breve il cammino: arduo e lungo l’allenamento delle bande, ferma e diuturna oculata e difficile la scelta dei capi.” PORTIGLIOTTI 

-“Reputato  il maggiore condottiero italiano, che era “atrocissimo inimico di Sforza.” CARIDI

-“(Nella cultura di massa) Nel 2016 è stato sviluppato il gioco di carte “Fortebraccio”, che consente di ricreare le battaglie medievali ai tempi di Braccio di Montone. Inoltre è stato prodotto dalla Acies e commercializzato dalla White Ship Games il gioco da tavolo di strategia “Braccio di Montone”, che permette di simulare le due principali battaglie combattute dal condottiero perugino: quella di Sant’Egidio e quella dell’Aquila.” WIKIPEDIA

-Sulla sua tomba è riportato il seguente epitaffio “Anno Domini MDV/ Exciderat Latijs bellandi gloria terris,/ Nec pedes ad pugnam, nec fuit aptus eques/ Pro scelus, externo populi duce bella gerebant,/ Atq.; erat externi militis illud opus,/ Ereptum Italiae reddit decus inclytus armis/ Braccius; et cives restituit patriae./ Dum Capuae princeps regia signa gerit./ Tristia sic semper miscet fortuna secundis,/ Hic patriae pietas ossa revecta locat.”

BIOGRAFIE SPECIFICHE

-AA.VV. Braccio di Montone e i Fortebracci.

-G. A. Campano. L’historia et vita di Braccio Fortebracci detto da Montone.

-G. Milli. Andrea Braccio Fortebraccio conte di Montone.

-F. Pasquali. Braccio di Montone.

-M. Rufini. Braccio di Montone. Vita d’un capitano di ventura.

Featured image source: wikimedia

Topics: Braccio di Montone’s life, Braccio di Montone’s battle strategy, Italian Condottieri of the Middle Ages, Influence of Braccio di Montone, Legacy of Braccio di Montone

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