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Federico da Montefeltro: A Mercenary Captain’s Journey to Ducal Power

Italian CondottieriFederico da Montefeltro: A Mercenary Captain's Journey to Ducal Power

Condottiero and skilled politician, less cruel compared to other captains in the conduct of conflicts. A student of both Niccolò Piccinino and Francesco Sforza, he combines the strategies and tactics of the two condottieri. Not a mirror of virtue as contemporaries would have it. There is no doubt that Federico himself was the one pulling the strings in the assassination attempt against his brother, the Count of Urbino. A patron of the arts, his library is one of the most important of his time

Indice delle Signorie dei Condottieri: ABCDEFGIJLMNOPQRSTUVZ

Born: 1422 (June)
Death: 1482 (September)

Federico III da Montefeltro, widely known as Federico da Montefeltro, was a preeminent mercenary captain or “condottiero” during the Italian Renaissance, and served as the Duke of Urbino from 1474 until his demise on September 10, 1482. His rule, however, started in 1444. He was celebrated not just for his martial prowess and integrity, but also for his profound contributions to humanistic studies and civic leadership in Urbino. He sponsored the creation of a grand library, second in size only to the Vatican in Italy, employing a dedicated team of scribes to operate in his scriptorium. He also fostered a vibrant court of humanists at the Ducal Palace in Urbino, a splendid structure crafted under the skilled hands of Luciano Laurana and Francesco di Giorgio Martini. His reign and his work remain iconic symbols of the cultural flourish of the Italian Renaissance.

Federico da Montefeltro was born in the castle of Petroio, in the municipality of Gubbio. He held the titles of Count and Duke of Urbino, Count of Mercatello and Massa Trabaria. He was the Lord of Gubbio, Cantiano, Sassocorvaro, Fossombrone, Isola di Fano, Urbania, Cagli, Sant’Angelo in Vado, San Leo, Pergola, Monte Cerignone, Montegrimano, Soanne, Montemaggio, Montecotogno, Montecopiolo, Montegelli, Savignano sul Rubicone, Pietracuta, Casteldelci, Pietramaura, Senatello, Frontone, Montebello, Fenigli, Belvedere, Santa Croce, Lunano, Petrella Guidi, Cartoceto, Macerata Feltria, Sant’Agata Feltria, Maiolo, Sartiano, Torricella, Cavoleto, Monte Benedetto, Pereto, San Donato, Ugrigno, Pagno, Pennabilli, Monte Santa Maria, Pietrarubbia, Montedale, Castellina, Ripamassana, Valle Avellana, San Giovanni, Auditore, Tavoleto, Gesso, Certalto, Mercatello Sul Metauro, Monte Locco, Reforzate, Barchi, Sorbolongo, Sant’Andrea, and Barbara. He was the nephew of Guidantonio, although he was falsely claimed to be his natural son. His father is likely Bernardino degli Ubaldini, who was married to Aura da Montefeltro, an illegitimate daughter of Guidantonio. Federico was the father of Antonio da Montefeltro and Guidobaldo da Montefeltro. He was also a cousin of Guidantonio Manfredi and the father-in-law of Giovanni della Rovere, Roberto Malatesta, Agostino Fregoso, Fabrizio Colonna, and Antonello da San Severino. Furthermore, he was the brother-in-law of Domenico Malatesta and the son-in-law of Alessandro Sforza. He was honored with the Order of the Garter and the Order of the Ermine. He was a Knight of St. Peter.

Year, monthState. Comp. ventureOpponentConductActivity areaActions taken and other salient facts
Mar. – Dec.MarcheIn March, after becoming a widower, Guidantonio da Montefeltro remarries for the second time to Caterina Colonna. Federico da Montefeltro, the son of the Count of Urbino and a lady-in-waiting of his first wife, Rengarda Malatesta, is prudently sent to the nearby monastery of Gaifa. However, Caterina Colonna is unable to conceive, and thus Federico is summoned back to the court. In December of the same year, he is legitimized as the son of Guidantonio through a papal bull issued by Pope Martin V.
Oct.MarcheThe bishop of Urbino, Giacomo Balardi, issues a dispensation allowing Federico to marry Gentile Brancaleoni, the heiress of the County of Massa Trabaria.
1426MarcheCaterina Colonna is expecting a child, and Federico is entrusted to the care of his future mother-in-law, Giovanna Alidosi, widow of Bartolomeo Brancaleoni, the Count of Massa Trabaria. During this time, Federico suffers from a severe facial skin condition that brings him close to death. After overcoming the illness, he is left with only a wart on his face, which becomes one of the characteristic physical features depicted in his iconography.
Feb.VenetoAccording to the agreements signed in Forlì by Pope Eugenius IV and the Duke of Milan, Federico is entrusted to Andrea Dandolo. As his father is an ally of Filippo Maria Visconti, he is to be handed over to the Venetians, who have acted as guarantors of peace. He remains as a hostage in the territories of the Serene Republic for 15 months. He resides with Doge Francesco Foscari and becomes a member of the Compagnia degli Accesi (Company of the Enraptured).
…………LombardyAn outbreak of the plague occurs in Venice, and Guidantonio da Montefeltro arranges with the Serene Republic for Federico to be placed under the custody of Gian Francesco Gonzaga, the Marquis of Mantua. He resides in Mantua for two years during this period. This allows him to attend Cà Zoiosa, the school of Vittorino da Feltre, where one of his fellow students is Ludovico Gonzaga. The subjects studied include Latin, Greek, arithmetic, and geometry.
Sept.LombardyFederico is knighted in Mantua by the Emperor Sigismund of Hungary.
Jan.MarcheFederico returns to Urbino where his wedding to Gentile Brancaleoni is celebrated. He acquires the lands brought as dowry by his wife, which include Sant’Angelo in Vado and Mercatello sul Metauro. Gentile Brancaleoni will pass away in 1457. Federico serves as a man-at-arms in the companies of Niccolò Piccinino.
Jan.400 cavalryUpon the death of Bernardino degli Ubaldini della Carda, Federico obtains his first command. The Duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti, distributes the contract of this condottiero between Federico da Montefeltro and Ottaviano, the son of Ubaldini.
MayRomagnaHe passes through Forlì on his way to Milan. In the city, he meets with Antonio Ordelaffi, who invites him for breakfast.
Aug.MilanVeniceLombardyHe takes part in the Battle of Rovato, where he inflicts heavy damage on the forces from Bergamo.
Dec.Abruzzo, MarcheSeverely wounded during the siege of Campli, he returns to Urbino for medical treatment.
…………VenetoFederico da Montefeltro is entrusted with the task of escorting the galleons and ducal ships that navigate on the Adige River.
Oct.UrbinoRiminiRomagnaHe provides assistance to Guidantonio Manfredi in Romagna and confronts Pietro Giampaolo Orsini near Forlì with 500 cavalry, forcing him to retreat. In the same month, he returns to Urbino to defend his father against the attacks of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta and Domenico Malatesta, who have seized Casteldelci, Senatello, and Faggiuola.
Nov.MarcheTogether with Baldaccio d’Anghiari, he captures and pillages the castle of Tavoleto.
Mar.MarcheHe conquers the castle of Rupoli near Fano, while Baldaccio d’Anghiari pillages the castle of La Fossa in Montefeltro. In addition, Federico defeats his opponents near Senigallia, where he captures Sacchino.
Apr.MilanFlorenceTuscany, UmbriaThe war comes to an end with the restoration of territories to their pre-conflict state, based on a peace agreement sealed by a promise of marriage between Domenico Malatesta and Guidantonio’s daughter, Violante. Federico da Montefeltro allies himself with the Visconti family. He moves alongside other condottieri towards Florence from Borgo San Sepolcro (Sansepolcro) and Montone, leading 1,000 cavalry and 1,000 infantry. Together with Giovanni da Sesto, Rodolfo Signorelli, Francesco Vibi, Ludovico Gonzaga, and Tartaglia da Torgiano, he raids the region of Perugia, capturing 150 prisoners and seizing numerous heads of livestock. He returns at night near Perugia, lodging in Montecolognola and Pian del Carpine (Magione). The complaints from the local citizens prompt the mercenaries to withdraw, return a portion of the spoils, and retreat to their starting bases.
Jun.TuscanyHe continues his raids and is occupied with transporting artillery pieces in the Casentino region during the same days when Piccinino is defeated in Anghiari.
…………UmbriaWith the advance of the Papal forces in the March of Ancona and Romagna, Federico da Montefeltro retreats to Gubbio. He confronts his adversaries and refuses an offer from Cardinal Legate Ludovico Scarampo to defect from the Visconti camp to the Papal side.
Apr.Milan, PesaroVenezia, RiminiRomagna, MarcheHe supports the Manfredi family in the Ravenna area. Near the capital, at Raffagnana, he falls into an ambush, during which the local inhabitants and the Venetians force him to flee. To save himself, he discards his weapons and rich garments in favor of more humble attire, enabling him to evade capture. He quickly rallies with 200 cavalry and 300 infantry to defend Pesaro in support of Galeazzo Malatesta against the Lord of Rimini.
JulyMilanVenice400 cavalryRomagnaHe is forced to return to Romagna and crosses the region of Forlì with 400 cavalry, joining forces with Francesco Piccinino and the Manfredi troops.
Sept. – Oct.UrbinoRiminiRomagnaHe leaves Faenza with his horses and 200 infantry, employing a stratagem to avoid being attacked by enemies. Under his orders, a soldier pretends to arrive from Urbino, seeking an audience with Federico to inform him that his father has been involved in an accident and his life is in danger. Hours later, two more messengers arrive, confirming the previous news and stating that the count is in critical condition. Alerting his men for an imminent departure, Federico is confident that enemy spies will play their part. He moves along the road towards Urbino but, in the dead of night, reverses his course and crosses the poorly guarded enemy lines. He is welcomed in Cesena by Domenico Malatesta, who escorts him to Montegelli. Indeed, Alberigo Brancaleoni attacks him in the Montefeltro region and captures several fortresses, including Santa Croce and Montelocco. Federico da Montefeltro sets out and, within a day, reaches Urbino. He sacks Santa Croce and besieges Monte Locco. He is given a letter from Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, in which Sigismondo assures him of his neutrality in the matter and pledges his intervention, if necessary, against Alberigo Brancaleoni. Trusting Sigismondo, Federico divides his troops into three camps. However, he is attacked by surprise at night by the Malatesta forces. Surrounded and wounded by an arrow, he is on the verge of being captured. He barely manages to seek refuge in his third camp after suffering significant losses. There, he is joined by Matteo da Sant’Angelo with 3,000 men. The forces from Feltre march against the Malatesta troops, who falter under the assault. Abandoned by his own men, Alberigo Brancaleoni surrenders the castle of Montelocco. Montefeltro continues its offensive and besieges other castles previously held by Angelo d’Anghiari with the use of cannons. They carry out a raid in the territory of San Mauro Pascoli and Rimini (Verucchio, Santa Cristina, and Corpolò), and make an unsuccessful attack on Serravalle. Meanwhile, Matteo da Sant’Angelo performs a daring maneuver and occupies San Leo.
Nov. – Dec.Marche, LombardyHe is forced by Francesco Sforza to reconcile with Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta. In December, he leaves the Marche region to move to Lombardy.
Oct.NapoliSforzaMarche, CampaniaHe serves in the army of King Alfonso of Naples and confronts the forces of the Sforza family on his behalf. He travels to Sassoferrato with Braccio Baglioni and restores the authority of the city to the abbot and Luigi degli Atti. He captures Genga and reinstates the local counts to their rightful place.
Feb.UmbriaInformed about the deteriorating health of his father, Guidantonio, he is able to be present at his passing in the middle of the month. His half-brother Oddantonio succeeds him. Federico returns to the front lines and supports Piccinino against the Sforza forces between Gualdo Tadino and Assisi.
Mar.LazioHe battles against Sarpellione. Three hundred cavalry under the command of Federico da Montefeltro, led by Il Polmone, are defeated along with the inhabitants of Viterbo at the Cadastre, resulting in the loss of ten men-at-arms. He reaches Viterbo eight days after this clash.
SpringLazio, CampaniaHe leaves Viterbo to join Niccolò Piccinino in Terracina, where he attends the meeting between the Perugian condottiero and King Alfonso of Aragon. Federico da Montefeltro travels to Naples, where he is given money for his company. He returns to Viterbo and obtains loans on trust to organize his troops and continue the conflict.
Aug.Marche, RomagnaHe supports Niccolò Piccinino in the siege of Rocca Contrada (Arcevia), which is defended by Roberto da San Severino. Alongside Piccinino and Domenico Malatesta, he conducts several raids in the vicariate of Mondavio, located between Fano and Fossombrone, on the right side of the Metauro River towards Senigallia.
Sept.MarcheFederico da Montefeltro abandons the siege of Fano and crosses the Foglia River, stopping at Montecchio near Tomba di Pesaro.
Nov.MarcheHe operates around Montelauro, providing escort for the baggage trains. Niccolò Piccinino is defeated, and Federico da Montefeltro assists the defeated forces and helps them take refuge in nearby castles. He retreats to Pesaro and from there, with quick sorties and surprise actions, defends the city for several months against attacks by both Sforza and Malatesta.
Jan.MarcheFrancesco Sforza moves away from Pesaro, and Federico da Montefeltro joins forces with Francesco Piccinino to confront Malatesta once again at Monte San Pietrangeli. However, they are forced to retreat after a fierce battle fought under snowy conditions.
JuneMarche, RomagnaHe recovers Montelabbate and Tomba, reclaiming control over these territories. He conducts raids in the areas of Riccione, Scanzano, and Saludecio. Additionally, he successfully obtains Novilara.
JulyMarcheOddantonio da Montefeltro is assassinated in Urbino during the night by followers of the condottiero Piero da Fabriano, Cristoforo dalla Massa, and Pietro Antonio Paltroni. They are connected to the apostolic protonotary Manfredo Pio and Tommaso Guidicino. The assassins break through the palace gate with a beam and make their way towards the duke’s chambers. The first victim is the protonotary Manfredo Pio, followed by Tommaso dell’Agnello, who hides under the bed. The conspirators pull him out and kill him with dagger blows. Awakened by the noise, Oddantonio da Montefeltro attempts to escape but is discovered. He falls to his knees in front of a large crucifix, begging for mercy. Two stabs strike the duke, and a blow from an axe to the head finishes the job. The bodies are thrown out of the palace window. The body of Oddantonio is carried to the town square. As a final insult, his genitals are cut off and placed in his mouth, due to his numerous abuses against married women and innocent maidens. Montefeltro leaves Pesaro and, at daybreak, goes to Urbino. He proclaims himself lord of the city, as well as Cagli, Cantiano, and Gubbio. All participants in the conspiracy are granted amnesty, which leads many contemporaries to believe that Federico is aware of the plot, if not the instigator of the murders. Following the assassination, the sisters of the slain duke, Violante, Agnesina, and Sveva, are compelled to leave Urbino. Violante marries Domenico Malatesta, brother of Sigismondo; Agnesina marries Alessandro Gonzaga, and Sveva is promised to Alessandro Sforza. According to some sources, Sveva is saved from the incestuous advances of her “brother” Federico by her maternal uncle, Cardinal Prospero Colonna. Montefeltro never allows his stepsisters to return to their city, nor does he offer them any compensation. Only Violante, more than twenty years after her brother’s assassination and upon the death of her husband Domenico, receives a sum of 1000 ducats, which she donates to a convent in Ferrara.
Sept.MarcheAt the end of the month, the first rebellion against Federico is incited by Giovanni Gabrielli. He initially loses control of Frontone but manages to regain it. Niccolò dei Prefetti di Vico defects to the side of Malatesta, leading to the rebellion of Casteldelci, Senatello, and Faggiola.
Oct. – Nov.Sforza, Firenze400 lances and 400 infantryMarcheWith the death of Niccolò Piccinino, Federico offers to serve under Pope Eugenio IV but is promptly rejected. He then accepts a contract proposed by Sforza and the Florentines, consisting of 400 lances and 400 infantry during wartime (with a payment of 21,000 ducats) and 800 cavalry and 100 infantry during peacetime (with a payment of 10,640 ducats). The contract, which also receives the prior consent of Pope Eugenio IV, is set for one year with an additional year of respect. His recognized annual income is set at 2,000 ducats. He is regarded as a trusted ally by the Florentines, and their friendship alliance grants him access to credit from the Medici banks and the prominent merchants of the republic. The contract is scheduled to begin in April of the following year. During this period, Federico da Montefeltro arranges the marriage between Alessandro Sforza and Costanza da Varano, daughter of Pier Gentile. The wedding takes place in Girifalco, Fermo.
Dec.RomagnaAs a reprisal against Roberto da Montalboddo, Federico captures 12 citizens of Cesena. These individuals are held captive until the following April. In the same year, he acquires Sassocorvaro.
Jan.MarcheFederico purchases Fossombrone from Galeazzo Malatesta for 13,000 ducats, which are loaned to him by Sforza. Similarly, Alessandro Sforza is able to acquire Pesaro with funds provided by his brother. This intensifies the hatred of Malatesta towards both Federico and Alessandro Sforza. In response to a defamatory letter sent by the Lord of Rimini to Cardinal Ludovico Scarampo, the Lord of Urbino counters with an equally slanderous pamphlet.
Feb.MarcheFederico is challenged to a duel by Malatesta, but the challenge does not lead to any further action.
JulySforzaChurch, NaplesMarcheFederico remains with Alessandro Sforza, leading the army, while Sforza travels to Florence in search of funds. Eugenio IV attempts to intimidate Federico da Montefeltro, reminding him that he is a vassal of the Papal States and orders him to abandon his service under Sforza. However, Montefeltro goes on the offensive with Alessandro Sforza and recaptures Candelara and other castles located between the Foglia and Metauro rivers from their adversaries.
Aug.MarcheFederico launches an assault on Pergola, setting up his camp near the Santa Lucia monastery. He successfully captures the city, which is then plundered. He also conquers Montesecco after three days of artillery fire. The town is spared from complete looting by offering a ransom to the attackers. He remains at the siege of Fano when Sforza, having returned to the Marche, leaves the area with lightly armed cavalry and infantry to provide assistance to Fermo.
Sept.MarcheFederico moves near Macerata and then proceeds to the Potenza River. The mere news of his presence convinces the Aragonese under Giovanni Ventimiglia and the papal forces under Cardinal Scarampo to retreat beyond the Tronto River. He joins forces with Sforza at Montolmo/Pausula (Corridonia) and sets up camp with his captain-general and Alessandro Sforza on the Chienti River to attack Taliano Furlano, who is besieging Civitanova Marche. He negotiates a truce with Carlo di Montone, who departs from Umbria to relocate to Lombardy.
Mar. – JuneMarcheDuring the carnival festivities, a new plot instigated by Malatesta is organized in Urbino. Participants include Antonio di Niccolò del Conte, the uncle of Oddantonio, a chancellor of the assassinated duke, and Francesco di Vico. The plan is foiled at the last moment. The Count of Urbino has three conspirators and a woman, who served as a messenger, beheaded in the public square. Only Antonio di Niccolò del Conte is spared. Montefeltro remains loyal to Sforza and rejects any offers of separate peace made by the papal forces or Alessandro Sforza (who had to surrender Pesaro to Cardinal Scarampo). In fact, he prefers that the war also affect his own territories, so that the enemies waste the favorable season on futile sieges.
JulyMarcheFederico is besieged in Urbino, while the people of Ancona retake Pergola, causing the city to once again fall under the control of Malatesta.
Aug.MarcheMalatesta, at his own expense, also seizes control of Montegrimano and Monte Cerignone.
Sept. – Oct.MarcheA series of fortunate circumstances, such as the Venetians’ victory over the Visconti at Mezzano, the arrival of reinforcements for Sforza from the Venetians and Florentines, and the death of Pope Eugenio IV, turn the tide of the situation. Federico da Montefeltro captures and sacks Pergola and obtains Montesecco. With the fall of Arcevia to the enemy, he leaves Acqualagna, reaches Piandimeleto, and seizes various locations, setting them on fire. The papal forces retreat to Tavoleto, north of the Foglia River. Sforza pursues them, setting up camp a few miles south near Montecalvo in Foglia and provoking them to battle. Montefeltro also challenges Malatesta. The condottiero hosts Sforza’s wife and children in Urbino and, during this time, reconciles the two brothers, Francesco and Alessandro. He joins forces with Alessandro and recaptures lost castles such as Pozzo del Piano and Tomba (which is looted with the capture of Santino da Ripa) and besieges Gradara.
Dec.MarcheAfter 63 days, Malatesta forces him to abandon the siege of Gradara. However, during the same month, Federico’s condotta is renewed, indicating that he continues to serve as a condottiero under a new agreement or contract.
Mar. – MayUnder the pressure of the Sforza, he signs a truce with the Malatesta brothers. In May, he meets with the lord of Rimini at Belfiore.
Jul.MarcheThe new Pope Nicholas V (Niccolò V) lifts his excommunication and, in exchange for the payment of 12,000 ducats, confirms his properties and renews his vicariates of Urbino, Cagli, Fossombrone, Gubbio, and Montefeltro.
Sept.Urbino, FirenzeRimini, Napoli400 horsemen and 800 infantrymenMarcheMalatesta seizes Fossombrone by surprise: Federico da Montefeltro defeats the adversary, introduces many crossbowmen and men-at-arms into the fortress, recovers the city in three days: it is sacked, and in the massacre, both the guilty and the innocent are struck down. He is about to invade Rimini in return when ambassadors from Florence and Venice intervene, pleading with him to abandon any plans for revenge. He is employed by the Florentines for five months and a week to counter the Aragonese in Tuscany.
Oct.Marche, TuscanyHaving gathered his forces at Castel Durante (Urbania) and Sant’Angelo in Vado, he reaches Sansepolcro with 500 horsemen, 500 infantrymen, and 500 Montefeltro crossbowmen; at Arezzo, he reviews his men; from here, he heads towards Pisa.
Nov.UrbinoRiminiTuscanyHe attacks the Neapolitan army and pushes it back towards Volterra, regaining the localities that had fallen into enemy hands. He returns to Pisa for the winter quarters. Concurrently, Malatesta takes advantage of his absence to incite, with the help of Galeazzo Malatesta, uprisings in the populations of Montalto, San Biagio, Casaspassa, Bellaguarda, and Sant’Ippolito. The revolt does not draw Montefeltro away from Tuscany.
Dec.MarcheMalatesta also enters the service of the Florentines; however, this does not cause the lord of Rimini to forget his schemes, as he convinces Alessandro Sforza that Federico da Montefeltro is about to attack Pesaro. At the same time, Malatesta informs Montefeltro that Alessandro Sforza is about to attack Urbino. The two captains decide to join forces against the supposed enemy; however, from certain signs, Federico da Montefeltro realizes the deception and is quick to join forces with Alessandro Sforza in Pesaro and attack Malatesta’s lands in return.
Feb.TuscanyHe leaves Pisa and reaches Florence. Great honors are bestowed upon him.
Mar.The Florentines intervene following his threats to no longer fight in Tuscany; yet another truce is negotiated with the adversary. During the same period, Alfonso of Aragon (Alfonso d’Aragona) has him approached by Raimondo Ortofa, commander of the royal fleet operating in Liguria, who offers him a command on the same terms as the Florentines, with the sole task of launching an offensive in the Malatesta lands. He declines.
Apr.405 lances and 300 infantrymenTuscanyThe Florentines renew his contract for one year (costing 45,000/50,000 ducats, plus a personal provision in his favor). He moves to Volterra territory and as usual regains many castles such as Castelnuovo, Sasso, Monteverde, Castel dei Rossi and Ripamarance (Pomarance) where he captures Raimondo Ortofa; with Arrigo and Fazio della Gherardesca, he seizes Montescudaio, Guardastallo, Bolgheri, Torre San Vincenzo, Riparbella; he camps at Campiglia Marittima.
Jul. – Sept.TuscanyHe concentrates his troops at Campiglia Marittima to protect Livorno and Pisa from the Aragonese. The army positions itself in a marshy place covered with stones and sand, called Caldane due to some hot springs located there: malaria, poor quality water, lack of wine, and continuous deprivation afflict the Florentines, causing large-scale desertions.
Oct.TuscanyHe is tasked with driving the Aragonese out of Castelnuovo in Volterra territory. He hosts the company of Napoleone Orsini in the countryside of Gubbio.
Feb.506 lances and 300 infantrymenHis contract is renewed for the third time, for six months of firm commitment and six months of respect; he is granted two months of service in advance and a monthly provision of 3,000 florins.
SpringTuscanyEstablishing his winter camp at Fucecchio, he resumes operations and recovers all the castles that had fallen into the hands of the Aragonese, with the exception of Castiglione della Pescaia.
Aug.TuscanyAt the end of the firm commitment period, he leaves Tuscany with Napoleone Orsini; immediately, the Florentines acknowledge his six months of respect.
Sept.TuscanyHe is at Staggia; he arrives at Colle di Val d’Elsa and from there sends Francesco da Mercatello to Siena to declare his friendship to the republic. He visits Peccioli, Fucecchio, and monitors the movements of the Aragonese in Siena territory.
Feb.MarcheUpon the expiration of his contract with the Florentines, he returns to Urbino.
Mar.UmbriaAt Gubbio. He hosts Napoleone Orsini.
MayUrbinoMontoneUmbriaHe organizes a tournament in Gubbio; he brings all his men-at-arms to the location; at night, he leaves the city to attack Montone. His men-at-arms are discovered while scaling the walls: the alarm is raised. He is forced to retreat; he takes away with him thirteen high-value prisoners and a large amount of looted livestock.
JulyUrbinoRiminiMarcheMalatesta arrives in Pesaro and sends Gaspare Broglio to urge the aid that Federico da Montefeltro had promised him the previous December for a joint attack on Pesaro. He prevaricates; he enters Pesaro and openly reveals himself as an enemy to the rival, who is obliged to withdraw.
Aug.Milan600 lances and 400 infantrymenMarcheHe attempts to renew the contract with the Florentines on the basis of a salary of 50,000 florins; he reaches an agreement with Sforza, now the Duke of Milan, for 600 lances and 400 infantrymen with a monthly provision of 2,000 ducats in case he remains in his territories; an increase in the monthly provision to 4,000 ducats and service as other captains is foreseen in the event his intervention is solicited within the limits of the Malatesta lands in Romagna, of Anghiari in Tuscany, of Ponte San Giovanni and Foligno in Umbria, and of Fermo to the south towards the Kingdom of Naples. He is promised a superior advance, with an additional pay, in the event of his passage to Lombardy: the firm commitment is set at one year plus one of approval. He commits to oppose all of Sforza’s adversaries except the Pontifical and the Florentines, towards whom, moreover, he claims a credit of 10,550 florins for the period 1448/1449 and 14,500 florins for 1449/1450.
Jan.MarcheHe participates in a joust in Urbino organized in honor of the Sforza. Montefeltro mounts his steed; as his opponent, he chooses Guidangelo dei Ranieri, a young man from Urbino, known in tournaments and who has already won a prize in Florence. In the second fight, he is accidentally wounded by a lance blow that lifts his helmet’s visor, cuts the nasal bone, and embeds itself in his right eye. Pope Nicholas V (Papa Niccolò V) sends one of his squires to his bedside to express his regret for the accident and offers all assistance for the state’s security. Montefeltro is forced to wear a bandage on the injured organ; for this reason, he will always prefer to be portrayed in profile. Later, rumors begin to circulate that the Duke underwent a nasal surgery after the incident to be able to see from his blind spot.
July – Sept.He is informed of the Sforza’s negotiations to hire Malatesta. He complains about it. He breaks with the Duke of Milan because a clause in his contract has been violated.
Oct.Naples600 lancers and 600 infantrymenCampaniaAt the beginning of the month, he travels to Naples and, with the surety of the Venetians, switches to the pay of the Aragonese who recognize him a prestation of 40 florins (a salary of 50,000 ducats, a one-year term and one of approval). He denounces the truce in existence with Malatesta.
Apr.UrbinoRiminiMarcheHe organizes a conspiracy in Fano through Roberto di Misino and Niccolò di Giannino; he approaches the city with his men and takes possession of the Senigallia gate: the Feltreschi burst into the city via Sant’Antonio street. The attempt fails; Montefeltro must return to Fossombrone with nothing accomplished.
MayNaplesFlorenceCaptain GeneralMarcheHe reconciles once more with his rival through the intercession of Pope Nicholas V (Papa Niccolò V): the Aragonese appoint him general captain of the Aragonese troops (11,196 horses and 5,100 infantry) to confront the Florentines in Tuscany. Under his direct command are 2,000 horses and 400 infantrymen.
JuneTuscanyHe besieges the castle of Foiano della Chiana, defended by 200 infantrymen, for thirty-six days. The defenders surrender following the shot of a large bombard.
Aug.TuscanyFederico da Montefeltro defeats Astorre Manfredi near Montepulciano. Mid-month, half his pay is delivered to him.
Sept.TuscanyHe enters Siena and besieges Castellina in Chianti for forty-four days without success.
Oct.TuscanyHe raids as far as Galluzzo, captures 100 high-value prisoners there, and seizes a large amount of livestock. His contract is renewed for another year.
Nov.MarcheForced to withdraw due to heavy rains, he returns to Urbino.
…………PugliaHe meets with the King of Naples, Ferdinand I of Naples (Ferrante d’Aragona), in Foggia.
SpringTuscanyLeaving garrisons at Foiano della Chiana and Rencine, he heads to Castiglione della Pescaia in the Maremma to take advantage of the support of the Aragonese fleet.
Aug.TuscanyHe moves with Everso dell’Anguillara to the siege of Castellina in Chianti. He camps in a place called Tumulo near the Orcia river. Here he and dell’Anguillara are stricken with malaria. The illness threatens his healthy eye; Montefeltro leaves the command to the young Duke of Calabria (Ferdinand of Aragon, Ferrante d’Aragona) and retires to Campagnatico, Pitigliano, and Siena for treatment and a period of convalescence. Once his health is restored, he returns to Urbino.
Sept.General Captain, 700 lancers and 600 infantrymen.MarchePietro Arcangeli stipulates on his behalf new conditions for the upcoming contract (estimated cost, 81,600 ducats). He is still recognized with the title of General Captain despite the criticisms of the barons of the Kingdom of Naples for the substantial failures recorded in the recent campaign against Malatesta. In the spring of the following year, the prestation payment is expected, amounting to 40 ducats per lance and 4 ducats per infantryman (total cost 30,400 ducats).
…………TuscanyHe is reported at the camp in San Quirico where he meets with the Venetian ambassador Francesco Contarini who tries, in vain, to bring him under the payroll of the Serene Republic (La Serenissima).
…………Tuscany, Abruzzo, CampaniaUpon signing the peace treaty with Napoleon and Roberto Orsini, he escorts Ferdinand of Aragon (Ferrante d’Aragona) to the border on his return journey to the Kingdom of Naples: he is received with all honors in L’Aquila and Naples.
Nov.He receives 6,000 ducats from the Aragonese in two installments.
Feb.The King of Naples gives him 2,000 ducats in settlement of the 6,000 ducats related to the previous year.
SpringCampaniaIn Naples to make agreements with Alfonso of Aragon who is reluctant to move due to the economic difficulties that the kingdom is experiencing. Upon returning to the Marches, he would like to go to Milan but is prevented by the plague that is afflicting Italy. The trip will be postponed.
Mar. – Apr.Tuscany, Emilia, LombardyHe vents with small acts of aggression against Malatesta, who responds in kind. Raids, crop burnings, cattle theft, and killings of men are the outcomes of this conflictual situation which, in turn, causes the impoverishment of the territories of the two states. Decided on revenge, he travels to Florence where he is received with all honors. The rectors and many citizens meet him with trumpeters and pipers. He then goes to Bologna to reach, at last, the Duchy of Milan. On the way, he encounters Tristano Sforza and Giovanni da Tolentino, he meets Sforza outside Milan, and has a meeting in Lodi with Galeazzo Maria Sforza. He moves to Mantua where he is hosted magnificently by Ludovico Gonzaga.
MayEmilia, Tuscany, Umbria, MarcheBorso d’Este takes the initiative to try to reconcile him with Malatesta; the meeting between the two antagonists takes place in the villa of Belfiore and ends in a fierce altercation that threatens to conclude with weapons. Federico da Montefeltro takes the route to Casentino, touches Arezzo and Cortona, arrives in Gubbio and Urbino.
June – Oct.UrbinoRiminiCampania, Abruzzi, MarcheHe reaches Naples and stays there for several months. He easily finds an ally in his hatred for Malatesta in Alfonso of Aragon, who is keen to get rid of an equally burdensome figure such as Jacopo Piccinino. Montefeltro persuades the latter to join him in action against the Lord of Rimini, dangling the hope of acquiring a state for himself in the March of Ancona and Romagna; he requests 3 armed fustas to be able to offend the territories of the rival even from the sea; he is given 10,000 ducats to meet the initial war expenses. At the end of October, he begins hostilities with 1,800 horsemen and 4,000 infantrymen; Jacopo Piccinino supports him with a few horsemen and 2,000 infantrymen. The two captains start from Abruzzi, cross the Pescara, get passage through the lands of the Papal States, and take the coast; they head towards Fossombrone. In July, Montefeltro’s wife, Gentile Brancaleoni, dies.
Nov.MarcheHe conquers Reforzate; with little effort, Montalbo, Torsella, Isola di Fano, Casaspessa, Montevecchio, La Valle and a few other castles also come into Montefeltro’s power.
Dec.MarcheFavored by good weather, he positions himself with Piccinino in front of Sant’Ippolito; he plans to seize Fano with the aid of the Aragonese fleet. Despite the continuous disputes between Montefeltro and Piccinino due to the malversations of the bracceschi against the local population, Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta is soon in a difficult position.
Feb.MarcheRoberto Malatesta has been in Naples for months to respond to any diplomatic moves from the Count of Urbino, his adversary. Federico da Montefeltro, in turn, sends his son Bonconte with Bernardino degli Ubaldini. At the same time, he prepares with Jacopo Piccinino to lay siege to Senigallia to maintain sea communications with the fleet.
Mar.MarcheHe scales the walls of the Carpegna castle by night and takes it at the expense of Ramberto Malatesta; he connects with a company of Piccinino and also takes over the Castellaccio where significant amounts of straw, wheat, and provisions are found. He assaults Le Fratte, a castle of the Mondavio vicariate, followed by those of San Vito sul Cesano, Monterolo, and Sassocorvaro.
Apr.Marche, RomagnaAfter the sack of Le Fratte, a dispute arises between the Bracceschi and the Feltreschi that degenerates into a violent melee lasting more than an hour; at the end of it, more than 100 injured and some dead are counted. This is followed by a very heated exchange of words between the two captains who are on the verge of definitively separating and abandoning their common enterprise. In fact, Jacopo Piccinino seems inclined to listen to the proposals of Borso d’Este and Domenico Malatesta, which aim to make him desist from his action in exchange for an adequate compensation. Federico da Montefeltro moves between Rimini, Bellaria, Savignano sul Rubicone, and Santarcangelo di Romagna (capturing 100 ransom prisoners and raiding 1000 cattle heads).
JuneMarcheFederico da Montefeltro’s men and those of Piccinino cause damage to the crops in the territory of Fano and those in the vicariate of Mondavio. This sort of scorched earth strategy is often used in times of war to deny resources to the enemy, but it also severely impacts the local population, causing a lot of suffering.
JulyMarcheInformed of the presence of Antonello da Forlì, Marco Pio, and Giovambattista dell’Anguillara near Carpegna, he leaves Fossombrone. With forced marches, he joins forces with Jacopo Piccinino and defeats the three Malatesta condottieri under the castle walls. The opponents are put to flight and plundered. Upon hearing the news, Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (Sigismund Pandulf Malatesta) in turn heads for Carpegna; Federico da Montefeltro (Frederick of Montefeltro) gathers his men at Belforte all’Isauro, joins forces with six squads of Piccinino, and moves against the adversary. Malatesta lifts the siege and takes refuge in the fortress of Pietrarubbia. During the month, his beloved son Buonconte, designated as his successor, dies in Naples at the young age of 18.
Aug.The nearly simultaneous deaths of Alfonso of Aragon and Pope Callixtus III prompt Jacopo Piccinino to shift his attention towards Umbria.
Oct.He moves under Tavoleto with Jacopo Piccinino, defeats Antonello da Forlì, plunders the castle, and obtains in Montefeltro the conditional surrender of the fortress of Maiolo. Eventually, the harshness of the weather and the cold season force the two captains to their winter quarters. A truce is agreed upon between the contenders.
Jan.MarcheHe rallies the militias at Isauro. He forces Malatesta to abandon the siege of Carpegna.
Feb.ChurchCaptain GeneralUmbriaHe is in Perugia with 70 horses, a guest of Costantino Ranieri, to pay homage to Pope Pius II, who appoints him as his own general captain.
WinterRomagnaTogether with Jacopo Piccinino, he moves rapidly into the Rimini territory and, with incredible speed, destroys anything he finds in his path: 57 castles are conquered by his men and, of these, 37 are looted and set on fire. Malatesta seeks an agreement.
JulyUnder the pope’s pressure, he signs the Peace of Mantova with Malatesta; he recovers Pergola, Sassocorvaro, Pietrarubbia, Certalto, and six or seven other territories previously taken by the rival.
…………He immediately has reason to complain to Francesco Sforza because Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, against the agreements, refuses to surrender Pietrarubbia, Certalto, Morro, San Costanzo, and Montesecco to him; eventually, the agreements are implemented apparently without major problems.
Nov.MarcheFederico da Montefeltro meets Malatesta in Mondavio to agree on a possible plan of action against Jacopo Piccinino, who seems to want to support the cause of Giovanni d’Angiò in the Kingdom of Naples.
Jan.Milan, Church, NaplesAnjouCaptain GeneralHe receives 12,000 ducats from King Ferdinand of Aragon (Ferrante d’Aragona) and enters the payroll of the Duke of Milan, the Aragonese, and the Papal State as general captain. He is granted a provision of 25,800 ducats to be paid half in advance and the rest in monthly installments.
Feb.Marche, TuscanyHe marries Battista Sforza in Pesaro, the daughter of Alessandro and Costanza da Varano, and also the niece of Sforza. The wedding is celebrated in Pesaro by the city’s bishop. He goes to Gubbio and from there reaches Siena where he is received by the pope.
Mar.MarcheHe joins forces with Alessandro Sforza to prevent Piccinino, who is moving from Bertinoro with 7,000 armed men to join Giovanni d’Angiò in the Kingdom of Naples, from advancing. The enemy captain moves to the March of Ancona and sets up camp in Sassoferrato, astride the two roads to Camerino and Loreto: with a diversion, he eludes da Montefeltro’s attention and manages to ford the Cesano. It’s likely that Montefeltro’s inaction, despite having much superior forces (8,000 men against 3,000), is intentional, aiming to divert the war from his territories towards the Kingdom of Naples. He only starts to chase the enemies after they have already passed; he rushes to Serra San Quirico, Jesi, Macerata, Mogliano with the intent to block the road to Camerino; when he is informed that Piccinino, instead of taking the mountain route, has taken the sea route and is heading to Tronto, he and Alessandro Sforza decide to tail him closely.
Apr. – JuneAbruzzoIn Abruzzi with 1,500 horses; he seizes San Flaviano (Giulianova) at the expense of Giosia Acquaviva. He moves to rescue Chieti, where Matteo da Capua is in defense, besieged by Piccinino.
JulyAbruzzoHe plunders San Flaviano; the two camps are separated by the Tordino River. Following one of Zaccagnino’s descents from a hill to water the horses in the river, a battle erupts between the two armies (5,000 cavalry and 3,000 infantry on the Angevin side; 5,000 cavalry and 1,500 infantry on the Aragonese side). Montefeltro is ill; informed that his men are about to be defeated, he has himself armed and throws himself into the battle, partly rebalancing the outcome of the confrontation. The night following the battle, he falls back towards the Tronto, as far as Controguerra, fearing that the enemies might cut off his supply lines from behind.
Aug.AbruzzoBy the end of the month, he is near Albe. He concludes a one-year truce with the inhabitants of L’Aquila and Pietro Lalle dei Camponeschi.
Sept.MarcheHe stops at Grottammare where Cardinal Legate Niccolò Forteguerra hands him 2000 ducats in cash and the same amount in wool cloth to distribute to the soldiers. His contract is renewed not only by the Aragonese but also by the Papal States (a monthly provision of 4300 ducats, a force of 300 men-at-arms and 300 infantrymen; six months of fixed term and six of approval). He is immediately provided with another 10,000/12,000 ducats.
Oct.Umbria, LazioAlong with Alessandro Sforza and Cardinal Forteguerra, he crosses the mountains of Norcia to descend into the Rieti area where he joins the troops of Donato del Conte, Marcantonio Torelli, and other Sforza captains.
Nov.LazioHe reconquers Monteleone Sabino and returns the castle to the Orsini; he lays siege to Poggio Nativo, a fief of Jacopo Savelli, which is sacked after surrendering at the discretion of Roberto da Montevecchio to Antonio Piccolomini, the commander of the ecclesiastical army. Some disorder arises in the camp caused by the Sforza militias; Montefeltro intervenes and has the spoils returned to the castle soldiers; then he moves on to Cantalupo in Sabina. He captures a fortress in which two daughters of Jacopo Savelli are found. The fortress surrenders in a short time; among the attackers, 20 men-at-arms are killed due to the increasingly heated conflict between the pope’s nephew and Montefeltro himself.
Dec.LazioAt the end of the campaign, he quarters his troops in Magliano Sabina.
Jan.LazioHe goes to Rome with Alessandro Sforza. He is welcomed into the city by 600 horses. The following day, he pays a visit to Pope Pius II.
Feb.LazioHe enjoys a monthly provision of 4300 ducats. He is a creditor to the Duchy for a considerable sum of money.
Mar. – MayLazioHis contract is renewed by the three contracting parties under the same conditions: Sforza is the most reluctant to recognize his share. Montefeltro returns to Sabina to further devastate the territories of Savelli. He attacks Cantalupo in Sabina: the inhabitants defend themselves vigorously until the collapse, due to the blows inflicted by the bombardment, of the largest tower of the fortress. The defenders surrender on terms; they must deliver to the winners the provisions and household goods that are collected there, as well as a certain amount of cash. Montefeltro occupies Asolo and captures with war machines the castle of Forano.
JuneLazioPope Pius II confirms him in the vicariates of Urbino, Gubbio, Cagli, Fossombrone, San Leo, Pergola, Montecavallo, and other locations. Still stationed in Sabina, Federico da Montefeltro decides to attack the fortified village of Montorio in Valle, located on a steep mountain. A bombard is transported along paths that climb up cliffs and precipices: resistance is quickly overcome and the town is sacked and set on fire. After letting his troops rest, he sets out to attack Palombara Sabina, which is defended by Silvestro da Lucino and Jacopo Savelli with 400 horsemen and 300 infantrymen: Savelli surrenders as soon as he sees the artillery aimed at the town. Silvestro da Lucino freely returns with his men to Abruzzi.
JulyLazioHe tries unsuccessfully to dissuade the Pope who wants to move his summer residence from Rome to Tivoli; the Pope insists; Montefeltro escorts him from the Aniene to the Lucano bridge with 10 teams of horses. He lays siege to Deifobo dell’Anguillara in Montecelio.
Aug.Abruzzo, LazioHe moves to the Aquila area: he raids a large number of livestock and devastates the crops. 200 are the bounty prisoners; the damage is estimated at 30,000 ducats. He targets Cofligato with 12 teams of horses and 400 infantrymen; with a night march, he surprises Carlo Baglioni; he moves to Fucino and attacks the counties of Albe and Tagliacozzo. At Avezzano, he forces Mariano da Camerino to surrender on terms. He then heads to Albe where Carlo Baglioni is located: he sends in 2 false deserters who throw rubbish and animal carcasses into a well of the castle to poison the waters. These men are discovered, one is hanged and the other manages to escape. Federico da Montefeltro tries to take over a second well that supplies the water needs of the town and has a tunnel dug to intercept its source. The defenders counter with a counter-tunnel; in the ensuing clash, they kill Constable Giovanni Corso and seriously wound Annibale da Cagli.
Sept.Lazio, AbruzzoHe takes advantage of a relaxation of surveillance and seizes the fortress of Albe. He decides to target L’Aquila with Forteguerra: he seizes the entire plain surrounding the city, appropriating the already harvested crops; 400 prisoners are taken and thousands of heads of livestock are raided, including oxen, pack animals, mules, flocks of sheep, and 20,000 chickens. The spoils of the raid are valued at over 15,000 ducats. Having gathered the spoils, he sets up camp at San Vittorino so that the banners of the tents can be seen from L’Aquila. The inhabitants do not come out to fight a pitched battle; he targets Avezzano; he often clashes with the opponents during the march made via steep and rugged paths. He takes first Paterno and then Avezzano on terms; the other castles of the county of Albe and Tagliacozzo are occupied partly by force, partly by agreement, with the exception of those belonging to the Colonna family at the pope’s behest. The inhabitants of L’Aquila obtain a truce; the army returns to the Roman countryside, crosses the countryside, and moves against the Duke of Sora Giampaolo Cantelmi. He concludes a fifteen-day truce with the latter.
Oct.LazioHe lays siege to Antonio Petrucci in Castelluccio. The Duke of Sora receives reinforcements from the Prince of Rossano and Duke of Sessa Marino di Marzano (6 teams of horses), from the Duke of Sermoneta Onorato Gaetani (one team), from Carlo Baglioni (one) and from Antonio Caldora (2). He clashes with them. He captures the fortress following a violent attack: Cantelmi must withdraw and Antonio Petrucci is sent in chains to Urbino. He sets up camp at Isola Liri.
Nov.Lazio, AbruzzoHe enters the district of Sora, captures Campli and Rivisondoli, and takes possession of the fortresses of Fontana on the Garigliano and Casalvieri on the Casina River. A truce is signed between the contenders; Montefeltro moves between Ferentino and Anagni. He continues to Rome.
Dec.CampaniaHe moves to Terra di Lavoro with twelve teams of horses. The Pope grants him the investiture of Pergola, Auditore, and 40 castles in Montefeltro.
…………Lazio, CampaniaHe resumes the campaign against the Duke of Sora and ravages his territories; the same fate befalls those controlled by Onorato Gaetani, Antonio Spinelli, and other Neapolitan barons of the Angevin faction.
AprChurchRiminiLazioHe begins his last dispute with Malatesta. He is in Rome; he does not hide his dissent when his rival is burned in effigy in Campo dei Fiori. He concludes a new truce with the Duke of Sora, which yields him a good amount of money with which he can hire numerous men-at-arms and subtract 600 infantrymen from the Angevins.
MayHis credit towards the Sforzas amounts to 18,000/20,000 ducats.
JulyLazioHe remains steadfast in Lazio. His credit towards the Duke of Milan has now dropped to 11,000 ducats. At the end of the month, he leaves the Roman countryside and sets his sights on the Abruzzo region.
Aug.Abruzzo, MarcheHe asks for money from the Duke of Milan and the Pope to be able to continue the conflict. He reaches the Abruzzo and Piceno regions with a march of thirty miles; from the Chienti river he joins forces with Orsini at the head of 24 squads of horses under Senigallia. Federico da Montefeltro occupies the only ford of the Misa river, a river north of the city, has his sappers cut a road through a forest, repair ruined bridges, raise the banks of the nearby marshes, and place sentinels all around Senigallia where Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta is located. The Lord of Rimini, after an unsuccessful attempt at an agreement, decides to abandon the city and retreat; when Montefeltro is informed by Fantaguzzo of his rival’s intentions, he pursues and intercepts him at the ford of Cesano. He initially has Malatesta attacked by Antonello da Forlì and Corrado d’Alviano; he intervenes at a later stage with Orsini and defeats the enemy; Giovan Francesco della Mirandola is captured in the clash with 500 horses and 150 infantrymen. He attacks Mondavio, defended by Roberto Malatesta with 65 men-at-arms and 120 foreign infantry; he conducts the siege with great skill. Tunnels are dug under the walls; in a few days the main tower, shaken by the bombardments, gives way: the defenders (70 men-at-arms with 4 condottieri and 200 infantry) surrender at discretion; they are stripped of their weapons and mounts; they are released with the commitment not to fight the papal forces for a month. Wine, barley, and wheat are handed over to the soldiers; 3000 florins are also handed over by the inhabitants so as not to suffer the plunder of their other belongings.
Sept.Marche, RomagnaRoberto da Montevecchio (who swears fealty to the Count of Urbino with his brother Luigi for their fiefs), Castruccio Castracani (in charge of the defense of Castelleone di Suasa) and the towns of Isola di Fano, Reforzate, Barni, Barchi, Orciano di Pesaro, San Giorgio di Pesaro, Piagge, Montemaggiore al Metauro, Monterolo, San Longarino, Serrungarina, Montebello, Saltara, Ripe, Tomba, Ripalta, and Pozzuolo all surrender to the Papal forces. He sacks Sorbolongo. Montefeltro penetrates into Romagna with Cardinal Forteguerra; he obtains the surrender of Saludecio and Mondaino. The papal legate gives him 20,000 ducats; Francesco Sforza also gives him 6,000 ducats.
Oct.Marche, RomagnaThe Papal forces seize San Giovanni in Marignano, Gradara (after fourteen days), Meleto, Cerreto, Montegridolfo, Montegiardino (set on fire for having resisted), San Clemente, Tombaccia, Gemmano, Castelnovo, Coriano, Mulazzano, Montescudo, Serravalle, and other ten smaller castles in Romagna and Montefeltro. Montefeltro then besieges Montefiore Conca, where Giovanni Malatesta and Suardino da Barignano are located. The inhabitants, following intense artillery fire, negotiate a surrender and let the Papal forces into the town. The defenders withdraw into the fortress and raise the banner of St. Marco; some locals who work there let the ecclesiastics in, who have no problems taking over the town. Federico da Montefeltro spares Giovanni Malatesta’s life and does not hand him over to Cardinal Forteguerra; he instead ensures that he is safely escorted out with his belongings by his own men. In the continuation of the operations, he camps outside Senigallia, which surrenders to him thanks to squad leader Nicoletto da Casona, whose example is also followed by the castle’s castellan, Niccolò da Rimini. During this period, he has 12 squads of men-at-arms under his command, each squad composed of 28 lances.
Nov.RomagnaHe marches against Rimini; waiting in vain for the city’s surrender through a conspiracy that Malatesta discovers and foils. He besieges Verucchio and gains the fortress through a trick: he sends the Castellan Rigo da Ferrara a false letter from Domenico Malatesta warning of the arrival of reinforcements. Sixteen soldiers present themselves at night, capture the Castellan, and open the gates to the Papal troops: the furnishings and all the defensive machines are given to the 16 men. Then, without resistance, Savignano sul Rubicone, Santarcangelo di Romagna, San Giovanni in Galilea, Scorticata, Sestino, Gatteo, Longiano, Bellaria fall: only Rimini, Cesena, and Fano remain to be conquered. The fear of the spread of the plague among the troops, the approach of winter, and the inability to act from the sea due to the Venetian fleet convince him to postpone the final blow. During this period, the Venetians try to enlist him as their general to fight the Turks in Morea. He shows interest in the offer because he has constant liquidity problems due not only to having to keep the troops in order, but also to meet the significant expenses he is encountering for the construction of the palace in Urbino.
Dec.MarcheHe stays in the territory of Fano. In a clash, Malatesta captures 4 squads of his men-at-arms.
Jan. – Feb.RomagnaFeredico da Montefeltro sends Pierantonio Paltroni and Matteo da Sant’Angelo to Venice to request a contract with the Venetians. According to some sources, the contact is of an instrumental nature to push the Serenissima to stop providing aid to Malatesta. On the war front, he orders the destruction of Montegiardino whose inhabitants have rebelled against the state of the Church. In February, he refuses the offer made to him by the Serenissima. For sources linked to Venice, it is the latter who politely refuses his requests.
Mar. – Apr.MarcheHe accepts a renewal of his contract with the Sforzeschi, Aragonese and Papal forces under the same conditions. The payments are delayed (he is still a creditor of 17,000 ducats for wages from the previous year); he remains inactive in Piatracuta until the first installment is collected. Upon receiving part of the money (6,000 ducats from the Papal States and the promise of another 2,000 from the Sforzeschi), he begins operations in Montefeltro.
MayMarche, LazioHe sets up camp in front of Sassoferrato; he doesn’t have a sufficient number of sappers and returns to Pietracuta; he moves to Certalto and obtains the locality on terms in two days; the same fate befalls Macerata Feltria which resists his cannons for almost a day: the citizens are forced to hand over 1,000 florins to him. Sassoferrato, besieged once again, lasts a little longer before it is taken and burned. He returns to Lazio to also end the war with the Duke of Sora: he takes Isola del Liri and forces Arpino and Sora to surrender: Cantelmi surrenders to the Pope.
June – JulyMarcheHe conquers Sassocorvaro. He moves under Fano; he sets up his camp at the Abbey of San Patrignano, a stone’s throw from the walls. He besieges the city with the command of 5,000 men, including 14 cavalry squads. He builds 3 bastions to prevent the defenders from receiving assistance by land. He brings in 3 large cannons and digs some underground tunnels so that his men can reach the walls safely; a galley and 2 fustas arrive from Ancona and Pesaro to monitor the coast. His army is also joined by 10 cavalry squads coming from Forlì and Faenza. He is forced to send troops to Pesaro to protect the peasants engaged in harvesting.
Sept.MarcheHe is still occupied in the siege operations of Fano, vigorously defended by Roberto Malatesta. He carries out a first attack that allows him to penetrate the bastions; he can place the artillery further forward. Their firing opens a second breach; a new assault follows that allows the pontifical forces to enter the square: the citizens surrender. Roberto Malatesta locks himself in the fortress with his mother and sisters: Montefeltro saves all their lives, allows them to leave undisturbed despite the remonstrations of the cardinal legate; he escorts them to the port where a galley is waiting to sail for Ravenna.
Oct.MarcheHe is preparing to conquer the land of Maiolo when the order to cease hostilities comes. Malatesta has surrendered.
Nov.MarcheMany Malatestian locations, such as Macerata Feltria, Sant’Agata Feltria, Maiolo, Sartiano, Torricella, Lebiano, Rocchi, Maiano, Caioletto, Monte Benedetto, Pereto, Scavolino, San Donato, Ugrigno, Pagno, Pennabilli, Maciano, Pietrarubbia, Monte Santa Maria, Montedale, Castellina, Fossa, Ripamassana, Valle Avellana, San Giovanni, Auditore, Sasso, La Torre, Pian di Castello, Tavoleto, Gesso, Petrella Guidi and Certalto are handed over to him behind an annual census of 1340 florins. Also in this month, his claims are partially paid: 4000 ducats in cash and 2500 in bills payable in six months are handed over to him, against his credit of 21000 ducats towards the Sforzas.
Dec.He is in contention with Bartolomeo Colleoni and Carlo di Montone for the command of the Venetian troops in Morea to combat the Turks. The following February he will decide to refuse the offer of the Serenissima, causing the disappointment of Pope Pius II who sees in this renunciation a possibility of redemption for Malatesta (his alternative) as partly happens later. Mid-month, through Cardinal Forteguerra, his contract expired in September is renewed. Clauses: duration six months; compensation 28500 ducats; 300 men-at-arms and 300 infantry (700 men-at-arms in reserve); immediate advance of 12900 ducats by Ferrante d’Aragona and 5000 from the pope.
Jan.MarchePope Pius II grants him the fief of Sassocorvaro.
Apr.The Sforza family is considering renewing his contract at half pay.
MayThe Italian situation has changed, affecting the conditions for the renewal of his contract. The duration is now annual; the compensation is valued at 25,000 ducats; the commitment required of him is for 150 men-at-arms.
JulyUmbria, MarcheFederico da Montefeltro is located in Gubbio and its immediate surroundings. At the end of the month, he meets Pope Pius II in Ancona.
Sept. – Oct.Umbria, Lazio, AbruzzoFederico da Montefeltro travels through Gubbio with 150 horses and reaches Rome to pay homage to the new Pope Paul II. Immediately afterwards, he leaves for the Kingdom of Naples and meets Ferrante d’Aragona in Chieti. By the end of October, he returns to Urbino.
JuneChurchAnguillaraLazioHe fights the sons of Everso dell’Anguillara, Deifobo and Francesco, who have taken possession of the castle of Caprarola. In a few days, with Orsini and Cardinal Forteguerra, he gains possession, without fighting, of thirteen castles including Giove, Capranica, Carbognano, Ronciglione, and Vetralla. The brief campaign brings him a large booty, not to mention the 8000 ducats extra for having moved from his lands as per the terms of his contract. His condotta (contract of service) is renewed.
JulyLieutenant GeneralLazioIn Rome. He is appointed lieutenant general.
Aug.Captain GeneralFerrante d’Aragona entrusts him with the general command of the Aragonese troops.
Nov. – Dec.ChurchCesenaRomagnaIn mid-November, Domenico Malatesta dies; Roberto Malatesta takes over the fortress of Cesena. Gianfrancesco da Piagnano goes to Rome to convince the Pope to leave that state to the son of Sigismondo Pandolfo. All to no avail. Federico da Montefeltro has the task of recovering the locality for the Church state. Pope Paul II gives him 4673 florins (the installment of the contract) and remits the annual census for another 1200 florins. The condottiero leaves Roncofreddo and Longiano and, after a brief difficult siege due to the lack of artillery and inclement weather, forces Roberto Malatesto to give up Cesena and Bertinoro in exchange for the lordship over Meldola and Sarsina.
Mar.Tuscany, LombardyHe passes through Anghiari, where he stays at the house of Gregorio d’Anghiari. He is headed to Milan for the funeral of Sforza. He attends the ceremony in the cathedral. His presence in the city assists the widow Bianca Maria Visconti and discourages any attempt by the opponents of the Sforza name.
Apr. – JuneMilanGeneral Captain with 150 men-at-armsLombardy, Emilia, MarcheHe remains in Milan where he receives from the new Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza the banner and the baton of general captain of the alliance that binds Milan, Florence and the Kingdom of Naples. Alessandro, son of Troilo da Rossano, and Sacramoro Viosconti are present at the ceremony. He leaves the city in June, accompanied by the new Duke for several miles; he visits Cremona, Reggio Emilia, Carpi, Modena, Bologna, and then returns to Urbino. His condotta (contract of service) is renewed for 150 men-at-arms; duration one year; salary of 25,000 florins, of which 12,000 is an advance payment within twenty days and the rest in monthly installments; a bonus of 8,000 florins extra in case of Montefeltro’s intervention outside the Marches or Romagna.
July – Oct.Umbria, LazioHe is in Gubbio and Rome. He returns to his possessions at the end of October. During the year, he begins the renovation of the ancient fortress of Sant’Agata Feltria in order to adapt it to the changing methods of warfare.
Jan.LombardyIn Milan. During a banquet, he is the victim of a prank that forces him to leave the table and change his clothes.
Feb.LombardyHe accompanies the Duke of Milan to Mortara, the castle of Duke Ludovico Sforza, along with Ignazio d’Avalos. Hunting, banquets, and pleasant conversations are the amusements of the company.
Mar.FlorenceVeniceHe consistently refuses an offer from Venice to serve in the pay of the republic. In anticipation of a possible war with the Serenissima, he advances his request for an annual compensation of 60,000 florins. Initially, only the King of Naples supports him, but within a few weeks, all three contracting parties agree to his terms: a one-year contract with 36,000 ducats in peacetime and 60,000 in case of war, along with a personal provision of 6,000 ducats. The cost is to be shared, with 51,660 ducats to be paid by the King of Naples and the Duke of Milan, and 8,340 ducats by the Pope. One-third of the total sum is to be paid immediately, with the deduction of 12,000 ducats received in the previous February for the renewal of his contract. He confronts Colleoni, who acts on behalf of the exiled Florentines, and suspects Astorre Manfredi, ensuring that his men do not stay in the territory of Faenza as requested by the lord of Faenza himself.
Apr.Marche, RomagnaHe gathers his troops at Fossombrone and advances towards Bologna, making a stop at Cosina. There, he lays waste to the territories of Astorre Manfredi, who had shown support for the Venetians. By the end of the month, he finds himself in the Faenza region with 1000 horsemen.
MayCaptain GeneralRomagna, EmiliaHe arrives at Solarolo and then proceeds to San Pietro Terme. From there, he dispatches 700 infantry and 100 horsemen to defend Imola. This move is aimed at countering the movements of Bartolomeo Colleoni and also keeping a close eye on the city’s ruler, Taddeo Manfredi, who is suspected of having some ambitious plans.
JuneEmiliaHe positions himself on the Idice, where he is joined by 42 squads of men-at-arms and numerous infantry led by Galeazzo Maria Sforza and the Aragonese forces (another 2000 horsemen).
JulyEmiliaLeading a force of 7000 horsemen and 3500 infantry, he launches an attack at Riccardina/Molinella against Bartolomeo Colleoni, who commands a counterforce of 7000 horsemen and 6000 infantry. The assault on the enemy camp lasts for eight hours. During the battle, Federico da Montefeltro manages to breach the enemy lines but is eventually repelled by Astorre Manfredi’s squadrons. His capture is narrowly avoided, thanks to the intervention of his loyal knights, though his forces suffer heavy casualties. Following the intense clash, Federico da Montefeltro decides to withdraw into the region of Bologna to await reinforcements, which are promptly sent by the Aragonese. Both armies have incurred significant losses, totaling 600 dead. By the end of the month, he positions himself at Ponte Poledrano (Bentivoglio), where he is joined by the Duke of Calabria, Federico d’Aragona, along with 16 squads of men-at-arms.
Aug.Even the Florentines appoint him as their Captain General.
Sept.RomagnaThe Florentines grant him forgiveness for a previous loan of 3000 ducats. Montefeltro strengthens his position at San Prospero and lays siege to Oriolo (Oriolo dei Fichi) while Bartolomeo Colleoni moves to Piangipane. He enters the Val di Lamone and carries out numerous raids, resulting in the capture of men and the plundering of livestock. The soldiers spare nothing, looting everything from provisions to household belongings.
Oct.Romagna, EmiliaHe moves to the Val di Senio, where he continues his policy of systematic plundering of the inhabitants. From there, he sends his troops to winter quarters in the Bolognese region. In Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza bestows upon him a palace as a sign of his goodwill and high regard.
Nov.Tuscany, MarcheIn Florence, he is accommodated in a palace that once belonged to the exiled Diotisalvi Neroni, and in Lucca, he stays with Roberto da San Severino and the Duke of Calabria. Later, he goes to Urbino.
Jan.LombardyIn the Pavia region, he goes hunting in the Mirabello park together with the Duke of Milan.
Apr.LombardyIn Milan, his contract (condotta) is renewed by the King of Naples, the Duke of Milan, and the Florentines.
MayLombardy, LiguriaIn Pavia, he participates in the ratification of the peace treaty proposed by the Pope. Later, he travels to Genoa to meet the Duke of Milan, who has returned from Amboise, where he married Bona of Savoy. During this time, his contract is renewed under the same terms and conditions.
JulyLombardy, Tuscany, MarcheIn Milan, he pays homage to Galeazzo Maria Sforza and his spouse. Later, he is reported in the Bolognese region and in Pisa, where he has a meeting with the Duke of Calabria. In Florence, he presents a substantial gift of candles, sugared almonds, wines, poultry, various meats, and grains. He is also noted in Urbania, where his wife Battista Sforza joins him. Lastly, he returns to Urbino.
Aug.Marche, UmbriaHe visits Fossombrone, Pergola, Cagli, and Gubbio accompanied by his wife. Everywhere they go, they are received with celebrations and honors.
Sept.MilanDuke of SavoyCaptain GeneralUmbria, Marche, TuscanyFederico da Montefeltro visits Branca, Costacciaro, and Cagli. However, he is called to Piedmont to confront Filippo di Savoia, who is an ally of the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold. While crossing Tuscany, he makes a stop in Anghiari, where he is hosted by Mazzone d’Anghiari, the son of Gregorio, and Francesco Prospero, both captains who had previously served under his command.
Oct. – Nov.Milanda CorreggioPiedmont, EmiliaHe enters the Novara region, crosses the Sesia River, and infests the Vercelli area, occupying some forts. During this time, the peace of Péronne is signed between King Louis XI and the Duke of Burgundy, and Montefeltro returns to Novara. In early October, he moves to the Piacenza region, and subsequently heads to Brescello to besiege the castle held by Manfredo and Niccolò da Correggio. Ludovico Gonzaga supports him in this expedition. However, the troops engage in systematic looting that the commanders struggle to control, leading to a deteriorating situation.
Around mid-November, after fifteen days of siege, Montefeltro initiates a hasty agreement with the da Correggio family, which irritates the Duke of Milan but is not disavowed. After Brescello, the Duke of Milan desires to continue the campaign against rebellious Piedmontese feudal lords and lead the army and cannons to attack Rocca d’Arazzo, a fiefdom of the Cacerani sympathizers of Filippo di Bresse. Montefeltro advises against this action, and the castle is eventually surrendered to the Milanese without resorting to armed operations in the following year.
Dec.He is sent by the Duke of Milan to the Emperor Frederick of Austria but is not received.
Feb.TuscanyHe inspects the border fortresses in Lunigiana on behalf of the Sforza family.
JulyMarcheHe moves to support Roberto Malatesta, who has been attacked in his territories by the papal forces led by Alessandro Sforza and the Orsini family. To finance Milan’s participation in the war in Rimini, nearly 100,000 ducats are withdrawn from the ducal treasury, accounting for the expenses of salaries and the cloth provided to the men-at-arms as part of their payment (in kind).
Aug.MarcheHe receives reinforcements from the Florentines and the Aragonese (18 squads commanded by Alfonso d’Avalos) and leaves Montegrimano to approach Rimini. He occupies Ceresolo and pursues the enemy to capitalize on his numerical superiority. However, the Florentines prevent him from attacking Alessandro Sforza because, as the captain of the league, he is bound to defensive actions only. Federico da Montefeltro positions himself on a hill at Borgazzano and strategically maneuvers to lure the papal cavalry into attacking him. He then artfully retreats, leading the pontifical forces onto the plain, where an ambush has been prepared in collaboration with Roberto Malatesta. Upon the arrival of Roberto Malatesta with 4 squads of cavalry and numerous infantry, the enemy is forced to retreat to their camp. The confrontation takes place at Mulazzano and lasts from dawn to dusk. Alessandro Sforza is defeated, and 300 men-at-arms are captured, including Virginio Orsini, Gian Francesco da Piagnano, and Carlo da Pian di Meleto. The total casualties amount to 300, and the victors seize flags, luggage, carriages, and artillery from the defeated forces.
……….Romagna, MarcheHe shows restraint towards the defeated forces, limiting himself to seizing around thirty castles between Rimini and Fano, which then come under the control of Roberto Malatesta.
Nov.MarcheHe dismisses the army and sends his men to their quarters.
Jan.MarcheHe is accused by the Duke of Milan of being too independent and of opposing Sforza’s interests with his own policies. Furthermore, Galeazzo Maria Sforza delays fulfilling the commitments made to him, such as refusing to send 10,000 ducats as part of their contract payment. Due to this increasingly harsh and intolerant behavior towards him, he sends Antonio da Tolentino to Milan in the middle of the month to return the insignias of the Captain General of the ducal army. This action raises complaints from Naples and Florence. At the same time, he initiates contacts with Lorenzo dei Medici.
Feb.TuscanyIn Florence.
MayMarcheHe was approached by the Venetians, who were in crisis following the fall of Negroponte into the hands of the Turks, near Fossombrone.
JulyHe negotiates with the Aragonese and Venetians on how to counter the Turks, who are threatening Southern Italy.
Sept.Naples, Florence, MilanThings are settling down. All his outstanding debts have been settled, and his contract has been renewed under the same conditions, with an additional annual bonus proposed by the King of Naples.
Mar.Marche, UmbriaIn Urbino, he welcomes Borso d’Este, who is on his way to Rome with a retinue of 500 horsemen, 150 mules, and 100 artisans. He escorts the Duke for a stretch of the road until they reach Gubbio.
MayThe conflict with the Duke of Milan continues. One of his envoys is publicly accused of speaking ill of him. Federico da Montefeltro reprimands his collaborator; however, he still cannot overcome his mistrust.
Aug.The general of the Franciscan Friars Minor, Francesco della Rovere (Sisto IV), ascends to the papal throne. Immediately, Federico da Montefeltro sends his most trusted collaborator, Ottaviano degli Ubaldini, to Rome with his illegitimate son, Antonio, to pay homage to the new pope.
Nov.The Duke of Milan no longer agrees to appoint Montefeltro as the commander-in-chief of his troops.
Dec.UmbriaHe moves to Gubbio with his wife and the entire court. In the following January, Guidobaldo is born.
Apr.MarcheHe receives Cardinal Bessarione, once again in Urbino. To celebrate the guest, he organizes a jousting tournament with his men-at-arms.
MayFlorenceVolterraCaptain GeneralTuscanyIn Anghiari, he is accompanied by three companies of men-at-arms gathered from the surrounding territory: Matteo Taglieschi, Anghiarino, and Iacopo Giusti. Additionally, within a few days, he gathers 5000 infantrymen from the Pisan area and immediately occupies several castles in the region, including Pomarance, Querceto, and Montecatini. By the middle of the month, he reaches Siena, establishes his camp in Mazzolla, and stops in front of the walls of Volterra, hoping to obtain the city through negotiation. With his command, he has 10,000 infantrymen, 2,000 cavalrymen, and 30 constables. He decides to proceed with the siege, repels a sally by the defenders, captures a fortified hill in front of the city, and begins bombarding the area. A battery is positioned in front of one of the gates, and another one near the church of Sant’Andrea located outside the city walls, comprising a total of 8 bombards. He orders the digging of trenches and underground tunnels leading towards the walls.
JuneTuscanyVolterra surrenders on agreed terms after 25 days. The negotiations take place in the church of San Lazzaro. However, before the surrender is fully finalized, some mercenaries in the service of the Volterrans open the city gates and urge the Florentines to plunder the city. The invitation is accepted. Both Federico da Montefeltro and Lorenzo dei Medici do not oppose this situation, but they ensure that the sack lasts only half a day. Nevertheless, the alleged instigators of the incident are hanged in the main square without a trial. Following the events, looting of homes, killings, violence against women and children, thefts, cattle raids, and fires spread everywhere. At the end of the brief conflict, which was more like a police action against Volterra, Federico da Montefeltro is granted a share of the spoils. He is given several farms in Rosciano (acquired by Lorenzo dei Medici from Luca Pitti) and the house of a Jewish man named Menahem ben Aharon. Montefeltro seizes the extensive collection of Hebrew manuscripts from Menahem ben Aharon to create a new section in his library. All this is valued at 100,000 ducats. In addition to granting him Florentine citizenship, the Florentines present him with a banner featuring the lily symbol, 1000 florins, and a silver basin. They also commission a parade helmet in beaten silver adorned with an emerald, depicting Hercules subduing a griffin (the symbol of Volterra). Furthermore, he receives a richly adorned horse as a gift. In honor of Federico da Montefeltro, a speech is delivered by the Chancellor of the Signoria, Bartolomeo Scala. During his stay in Florence (for three days), all the shops remain closed in his honor. The republic gladly makes use of his extensive military experience for the construction of the imposing fortress of Volterra.
Oct. – Nov.He is contacted by the Duke of Milan, who wishes to rehire him into his service. However, he declines the offer, considering that his outstanding credit from the Sforza state amounts to 12,000 ducats, equivalent to nine months of unpaid wages.
MayUmbriaIn Gubbio, he joins Costanzo Sforza and Roberto Malatesta to pay homage to Cardinal Pietro Riario of San Sisto. During this period, he promises Girolamo Riario to lend him 5000 ducats needed to acquire the title of Count of Imola from the Duke of Milan.
MayLazioHe finds himself in Rome as a guest of Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere (the future Pope Julius II) of San Pietro in Vincoli. During this visit, the groundwork is laid for the marriage between his daughter Giovanna and Giovanni della Rovere. Afterward, he travels to Foligno to discuss the outlines of the pontifical policy in Umbria with Braccio Baglioni and Giulio Cesare da Varano.
JulyCampaniaHe is summoned to Naples by Ferrante d’Aragona when his service contract expires. He strengthens his ties with the King of Naples through two family connections: the engagement, later dissolved, between his heir, Guidobaldo, and Lucrezia, Ferrante’s daughter, and the engagement of his daughter Costanza to the Prince of Salerno, Antonello da San Severino. He is honored with the collar of the Order of the Ermine, a title signifying brotherhood with the sovereign.
Aug.ChurchCittà di CastelloGonfaloniere of the State of the ChurchLazio, UmbriaIn Rome, he makes his entrance into the city with 2,000 horsemen and heads to St. Peter’s Basilica. The next morning, he enters the church of San Pietro, where he is surrounded by the college of cardinals and led to the Pope’s chambers. The pontiff places the ducal sword on his shoulders, appointing him Duke of Urbino, and urges him to use it to fight the enemies of the Church, also appointing him Gonfaloniere of the State of the Church. He is knighted as a member of the Order of St. Peter. Girolamo Riario and Giovanni della Rovere kneel before him and place golden spurs at his feet. Federico da Montefeltro takes the sword and brandishes it three times, after which Riario retrieves the weapon, and della Rovere removes the spurs. He is then presented with a robe of golden brocade and a ducal cap, and Pope Sisto IV blesses the kneeling Duke. Federico swears eternal loyalty to the Church and kisses the Pope’s hands. He is embraced by Sisto IV and allowed to sit among the cardinals.
The following day, the engagement between his daughter Giovanna and Giovanni della Rovere is formally announced. Subsequently, he travels to Viterbo and then, at the end of the month, reaches the camp in Città di Castello with 50 horsemen to besiege Vitelli secretly supported by Lorenzo dei Medici. The Duke of Urbino is welcomed by Cardinal della Rovere, and his first action is to inspect the city’s fortifications. In the same month, he receives a bull of subinfeudation for the counties of Sant’Angelo in Vado, Mercatello sul Metauro, Monte Locco, and Sassocorvaro for his faithful ally, Ottaviano degli Ubaldini.
Sept.Umbria, LazioWith the mere appearance of his troops and artillery, he convinces Vitelli to surrender after an 80-day siege. He then travels to Perugia with his opponent, where he is hosted by Berardino Ranieri, and accompanies Vitelli to Rome to present him to the Pope. It is reported that he parades through the streets of Rome, proudly displaying the attire of a member of the Order of the Ermine.
Oct.Lazio, Umbria, MarcheHe sends Pietro Felici as his ambassador to Lorenzo dei Medici in Florence to claim the payment of overdue wages. However, the response he receives is negative. He travels to Gubbio with Niccolò Vitelli, who has been confined there. He helps restore the papal authority in Spoleto and Todi alongside Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere. Immediately after, he accompanies the prelate in taking possession of Senigallia and Mondavio. At the end of the month, he is honored in Urbino with the Order of the Garter bestowed by King Edward VII of England.
Nov.MarcheHe warmly welcomes the son of the King of Naples, Federico d’Aragona, to Urbino with lavish celebrations. The evening before the guest’s departure is marked by a theatrical performance of the poetic opera “Love at the Tribunal of Chastity,” written by Giovanni Santi, the father of Raphael.
Dec.Lorenzo dei Medici asks him for a horse to use in a joust organized in Florence. The Duke of Urbino responds that he has already lent it to a member of the Pazzi family.
Jan.LombardyHe first travels to Mantua to visit Ludovico Gonzaga and then to Milan. At Pizzighettone, he is greeted by Tristano Sforza, and at Lodi, he is welcomed by Filippo Maria Sforza.
Feb.MarcheHe goes on a pilgrimage to Jesi and Loreto.
Mar. – Apr.LazioIn Rome, in the Parrot Room, he is presented with the Golden Rose. In April, he tries to reconcile the King of Naples with the Duke of Milan. However, Galeazzo Maria Sforza becomes annoyed by this attempt.
MayMarcheIn Pesaro, he acts as a witness for the wedding of Costanzo Sforza and Camilla di Marzano d’Aragona.
JuneRomagnaIn Rimini, he attends the wedding of Roberto Malatesta and his daughter, Elisabetta.
Oct.ChurchVitelliUmbriaAlongside Roberto Malatesta and Costanzo Sforza, he successfully repels Niccolò Vitelli’s attempt to reclaim Città di Castello.
Jan.After the assassination of Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza in Milan, he is summoned to the city by Chancellor Cicco Simonetta on behalf of the widow, Bona of Savoy. Lorenzo dei Medici also intervenes and collaborates with the special envoy of the Pope in Milan, Bartolomeo Maraschi, to promote Ludovico Gonzaga as an alternative to govern as the Captain General and Lieutenant General of the duchy.
Apr.LazioIn Rome.
MayUmbriaIn Perugia, he attends the funeral of Braccio Baglioni’s son, Grifone.
JulyUmbriaHe moves against Carlo di Montone.
Aug.UmbriaHe arrives at Pianello, and the territory is troubled by his troops. He then travels to Perugia, where he is welcomed with customary gifts of wax, grain, and confetti. He leads thirty squadrons of cavalry and numerous infantry towards Montone, which is being defended by Bernardino da Montone. Five artillery pieces are used to bombard the castle walls, and the assaults are repeated for thirty days, but the desired outcome is not achieved.
Sept.UmbriaThe defenders of Montone surrender only when Bernardino di Montone is encamped outside the castle, and Roberto Malatesta persuades Margherita, Carlo’s sister and wife, to submit to the Pope and hand over the locality to the papal forces for a sum of 10,000 scudi.
Oct. – Nov.ChurchManfrediRomagna, MarcheHe is sent to Faenza to support Carlo Manfredi in his struggle against his brother Galeotto. Leaving Urbania, he arrives at Forlì and Meldola, where his march is hindered by the flooding of rivers. He decides to halt his advance and is graciously hosted by Pino Ordelaffi in Forlì. In November, he meets with Cardinal della Rovere in Apecchio.
Jan.San MarinoOn the way back, he arrives in San Marino and is accommodated in the castle’s palace. While getting ready for bed, the floor collapses, causing him to break his right heel and sustain severe injuries. He remains critically ill for several weeks, and there are concerns about gangrene and the potential amputation of his left leg. During his convalescence, the government is managed by Ottaviano degli Ubaldini.
Feb.MarcheMid-month, he meets in great secrecy in Urbino with Lorenzo da Castello and is informed about the details of the so-called “Pazzi Conspiracy.” He actively participates in the preparation phase due to his animosity towards Lorenzo dei Medici, who had previously withheld payments related to his service.
Apr.Church, NaplesFlorenceCaptain General, 400 men-at-arms and 400 infantry soldiersHe has his contract renewed by both the Papal and Aragonese forces. Additionally, he is appointed as Captain General in the war against Lorenzo dei Medici’s Florentine forces.
JulyUmbria, TuscanyAfter the recent incident, he leaves Todi in a litter and passes through Pianello with several squadrons of cavalry. He reaches Fratta Todina, continuing to cause devastation to the surrounding countryside with his troops. He then proceeds to Perugia and joins forces with Duke Alfonso d’Aragona’s troops in Chiugi, near Chiana, advancing with the Sienese militias towards Montepulciano. He sends a trumpeter to Florence with a papal brief declaring war. He commands 7,000 to 8,000 cavalry and 4,000 to 7,000 infantry to face the opposing army led by Ercole d’Este. He spends five days trying to capture Rencine, eventually sacking the locality. Together with Orso Orsini, he besieges Castellina in Chianti. Four large bombards are aimed at the location, firing about twenty shots per day. Each bombard fires approximately every two hours, considering the time needed for loading and aiming between each shot. On this occasion, two distinguished engineers lead the defense and offense works: Giuliano da Sangallo for the Florentines and Francesco di Giorgio Martini for the Papal forces. At the same time, Federico da Montefeltro’s troops carry out devastating raids in the Florentine territory, setting mills, farms, and barns on fire, and looting large quantities of livestock.
Aug.TuscanyAfter 24 days, the defenders of Castellina in Chianti surrender on the condition that they will not receive reinforcements within three days. However, the agreed terms are not respected, and the locality is sacked. In retaliation, Federico da Montefeltro orders the hanging of three prisoners taken at Rencine in front of the castle gates.
Now, Montefeltro advances towards Radda in Chianti. After a six-day siege, the town is also conquered. He enters Radda and instructs the inhabitants to take as many belongings as they can and deposit them at his feet. The accumulation is declared to be part of his spoils. He then allows the residents to take another load of their remaining belongings. Radda in Chianti is left to be pillaged, and for a day, the spoils are continuously transported to Siena. Among the loot are included 600 head of cattle and 6000 sacks of wheat.
Sept.TuscanyFederico da Montefeltro conquers and sacks Castello di Brolio and Cacciano. He then sets up camp at Gargonza to besiege Monte San Savino, which is being defended by Bernardino di Montone. He gathers fresh troops and blocks the river Isso to use it as a moat. After a 15-day truce, agreed upon by Virginio and Niccolò Orsini, who are on opposing sides, he resumes the siege with even greater intensity.
Nov.TuscanyHe successfully obtains the surrender of Monte San Savino, partly because Ercole d’Este lacks the courage to confront him despite being nearby. He then stops at Bagni di Petriolo to winter with his troops and recuperate from the rigors of the campaign.
Jan. – Apr.TuscanyDuring his time at Bagni di Petriolo, he faces some disputes with the condottieri of the Duke of Calabria, who mockingly call him “Cain” in reference to the killing of his half-brother Oddantonio. In mid-April, the payment mandates from the Pope and the Aragonese arrive in Urbino. The soldiers’ wages increase from 23 to 30 ducats per lance compared to the previous year (25 in cash and 5 in cloth). However, his own emoluments remain unchanged for the time being.
MayTuscanyIn Siena, he leads his troops through the city and joins forces with Alfonso d’Aragona. He then heads towards Lornano and at the end of the month, sets up camp near Rencine.
JuneUmbriaHe is entrusted with the task of defending Perugia, which is under attack by Carlo di Montone and Roberto Malatesta. He heads to Lake Trasimeno, recaptures Magione, and other locations that were previously taken by Carlo di Montone, forcing the latter to retreat to Cortona. He also conquers Casole d’Elsa and orders the hanging of 2 constables who were suspected of colluding with the enemy.
July – Aug.TuscanyTaking advantage of the internal disputes between the Florentines, he capitalizes on the fact that they are forced to maintain two separate armies—one in the Perugia region with Ludovico Gonzaga and Roberto Malatesta, and the other in the Siena region with Ercole d’Este and Costanzo Sforza. He concentrates his forces at Rigomagno, between Monte San Savino and Sinalunga, awaiting developments in the enemy’s operations. During this time, Ludovico Gonzaga is called back to Milan by the duchess, the widow of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, as her relatives and Roberto da San Severino have conquered Tortona and other places in the Milanese territory. Similarly, Ercole d’Este goes to Milan after leaving his brother Sigismondo in Poggio Imperiale (Poggibonsi). This results in both camps resuming raids and depredations that continue for two months.
By the end of August, Montefeltro is still in the Chiana region. Usual supplies of comfort are sent to him from Perugia, including boxes of cakes, marzipan, wine, wax, and other provisions.
Sept.TuscanyWith the Duke of Calabria and Giulio Cesare da Varano, he decides to attack the Florentine camp at Poggibonsi. 22 elite squadrons leave the camp at Rigomagno, and they are joined by 2,000 infantry and 1,000 Sienese raiders. The combined forces camp undisturbed between San Gimignano and Poggibonsi. A resolute infantry attack, supported by cavalry, allows the Papal and Aragonese forces to seize the enemy’s positions and scatter them. However, Federico da Montefeltro’s action proves inconclusive as he spends time conquering the Abbey of San Lucchese, the city, and the fortress of Poggibonsi. Raids in the Val d’Elsa continue, culminating in assaults on Gambassi Terme and Certaldo (which is set on fire). However, no action is taken against the rest of the Florentine army camped at San Casciano dei Bagni, soon to be reinforced by the militias of Roberto Malatesta. He abandons the idea of advancing towards Florence and instead camps in front of Colle di Val d’Elsa. He concentrates almost all his forces to besiege Colle di Val d’Elsa, which is defended by 500 Venetian infantry. For the siege, he uses five siege bombards, including a colossal one that launches projectiles weighing 380 pounds. Inside Colle Val d’Elsa, there are many small pieces of artillery and two large bombards. Mid-month, his contract is renewed, and his compensation is adjusted. He is granted 50,000 ducats during peacetime and 91,666 ducats in times of war.
Oct.TuscanyThe bombardment of Colle di Val d’Elsa begins, but the first general attack on the walls is repelled with heavy losses. Subsequent bombardments become more accurate, using a greater number of artillery pieces, and three new assaults are launched. Unfortunately, these attacks fare no better than the previous ones. The wounded fill the hospitals in Siena, and seven Florentine infantrymen, who were attempting to bring news to Florence while defending the location, are captured and hanged. The situation remains challenging for Federico da Montefeltro’s forces in their attempt to conquer Colle di Val d’Elsa.
Nov.TuscanyMid-month, he manages to secure the surrender of the defenders of Colle di Val d’Elsa. With the fall of the city, the military operations come to an end. The Papal and Aragonese forces, as well as the Florentines, retire to their winter quarters. A three-month truce is signed. Federico da Montefeltro then travels to Siena with the Duke of Calabria and is welcomed at the archbishop’s residence. The authorities present him with a gift worth 200 ducats. He acknowledges a debt of 2680 florins to the Apostolic Chamber, which corresponds to the tax revenue of two years for the vicariate of Urbino.
Dec.Tuscany, LazioHe is still in Siena and participates in a ball held in the council hall. Afterward, he moves to Viterbo to enjoy the thermal waters and spends Christmas day at the Gatti palace.
Jan. – MayLazio, UmbriaAt the beginning of January, Pope Sixtus IV sends him the ducal sword and hat, which are presented to him in the cathedral of Viterbo. He stays in the city for five months, during which he meets with the Duke of Saxony, whom he invites to Urbino. In March, the Duke of Calabria visits him, but their relationship with the Aragonese deteriorates due to his conduct in the war, perceived as favoring the Medici family. As a result, he is stripped of the overall command of the troops, which is given to Alfonso d’Aragona. Federico da Montefeltro leaves Viterbo and, by the end of May, he arrives in Perugia, where he is welcomed by the governor, Cardinal Giovambattista Savelli. The following day, he returns to his states in Gubbio.
JuneHe is given 12,000 ducats by the Papal authorities.
JulyHis daughter Costanza marries Prince Antonello da San Severino, the Prince of Salerno. Due to his poor health, Federico da Montefeltro is unable to attend the wedding in person and is represented by Ottaviano degli Ubaldini in Naples.
Aug.ChurchOrdelaffiRomagnaFederico da Montefeltro leaves Cesena and fortifies his position on the Ronco River with the Papal army. He defeats the peasants who were fighting in favor of Antonio Maria Ordelaffi. Realizing that the sentiment of the people in Forlì is turning against him, Ordelaffi decides to abandon the city to prevent it from being sacked. Montefeltro, along with Girolamo Riario, enters Forlì and purchases the Ravaldino fortress from Lucrezia della Mirandola, the widow of Pino Ordelaffi, for a substantial sum of money. He appoints Giacomo Feo from Savona as the castellan of the fortress. Afterward, he escorts Lucrezia della Mirandola to Cesena, where she leaves the city with her late husband’s treasure (130,000 ducats) and three hundred twenty carts loaded with furniture. Gian Francesco da Tolentino becomes the new governor of Forlì.
Sept.Sisto IV appoints Girolamo Riario as the Captain General of the Pontifical Army.
Feb. – Mar.The King of Naples requests the dispatch of 3000 infantrymen following the defeat and death of Giulio Antonio Acquaviva. However, Sisto IV prevents him from intervening in the War of Otranto in support of the Aragonese against the Turks. Nevertheless, even from a distance, he contributes to the conduct of the war by sending his experts in military architecture to assist the allies under the command of Scirro Scirri.
JuneHe is reconfirmed in his position. Despite not obtaining any economic improvements, he skillfully contacts the Venetians to enhance his bargaining power.
Mar.Umbria, Tuscany, LombardyHe leaves Gubbio and travels to Florence as a guest of Giovanni Tornabuoni. From there, he proceeds to reach Milan.
Apr. – MayFlorence, Milan, Naples, FerraraVeniceCaptain General, 325 men-at-arms and 325 infantrymenMarche, Lombardy, EmiliaOfficially renouncing the salaries from the Papal State and the King of Naples, he rejects the proposals of the Serenissima and is appointed Captain General of the league against the Venetians. The appointment is valid for three years, with an annual salary of approximately 75,000 florins (60,000 in times of peace). He is not obligated to fight against the Papal militias. He requests 300 infantrymen from the league to be sent for the defense of his territory. The agreement is signed in the Ducal Palace of Urbino, witnessed by Niccolò Brancaleoni, Filippo Gabrielli, and Francesco degli Ubaldini. Out of a total of 260 squad leaders (1500 men-at-arms), 69 come from the territories of Montefeltro (including members of the Ubaldini, Brancaleoni, Lords of Genga, da Montevecchio, da Carpegna, and Olivi families). The other regions are represented by 14 squad leaders from Emilia, 20 from Romagna, 35 from Umbria, 23 from Lazio, 11 from southern Marche, 17 from Lombardy, 8 from Piedmont, 9 from Veneto, and 3 from Trentino. Southern Italy is characterized by the presence of 4 squad leaders from Calabria, 3 each from Sicily, Campania, and Abruzzo, and one from Puglia. The origins of the remaining condottieri are unknown. At the end of April, Federico da Montefeltro sets out for the front. At Anghiari, he meets Lorenzo dei Medici and stops at Ostiglia. There, he diverts the waters of the Tartaro to slow down the march of the Venetian army commanded by Roberto di San Severino. The enemy captain manages to reduce the effect of this measure by cutting another embankment, causing all the waters to flow back into the Po. Montefeltro halts at Ferrara, finding the city filled with discontent and the defensive works neglected and confused. He moves to Stellata and, with his artillery, prevents the enemy fleet from advancing towards Ficarolo. In vain, he sends 1000 cavalry and 1000 infantry to recapture Melara.
JuneEmiliaHe stations at Stellata with 5500 cavalry, 4000 infantry, and 10 Sforza galleons, sending multiple aid missions to Ficarolo through waterways. He orders the cutting of the left embankment of the Mincio to divert San Severino from the siege. Unfortunately, he is struck by a malarial fever.
JulyEmiliaAt Pontelagoscuro, he crosses the Po and halts at the bastion of Punta di Ficarolo to bombard an enemy flotilla, successfully repelling the attack with the assistance of Ercole d’Este.
Aug.EmiliaBy mid-month, it is estimated that during the conflict, 8000 men have already lost their lives, victims of both the battles and the pestilence present in both camps (other sources mention 20000 casualties). He receives reinforcement of 300 infantrymen from the Gonzaga family, and another 300 come from the Duchy of Milan, led by Domenico Doria.
Sept.EmiliaDue to malaria, Federico da Montefeltro passes away in mid-month in Ferrara, attended by his stepsister Violante, a nun in a local monastery. His death occurs in a chamber of the Ducal Palace overlooking the garden towards the chapel of Madonna. Upon learning of the defeat of the Duke of Calabria in the Battle of Campomorto, Federico da Montefeltro remains silent. He is buried in Urbino at the Franciscan church of San Bernardino, in front of his son Guidobaldo’s tomb. His portrait is depicted by artists such as Piero della Francesca (in the dukes of Urbino diptych, Florence, Uffizi Gallery), Giusto di Gand, Pedro Berruguete (with his son Guidobaldo), and Melozzo da Forlì; a miniature by Francesco di Giorgio is also found.
Throughout his palace, he employs architects like Maso di Bartolomeo, the Dalmatian Luciano Laurana, the Sienese Francesco di Giorgio Martini, the Spaniard Pedro Berruguete, the Florentine Paolo Uccello, Joost Van Wassenhove (Giusto di Gand), Braccio Pontelli, Giovanni Sanzio, Bramante Lazzari, and Piero della Francesca. A statue of him, sculpted by Girolamo Campana, is located in the Ducal Palace. Among his protégés is the mathematician Luca Pacioli. He is a friend of Leon Battista Alberti, Lorenzo Lippi, Porcellio, Cantalicio, Jacopo Cornazzano, and Vespasiano da Bisticci. The Florentine humanist Cristoforo Landino dedicates his “Disputationes Camaldulenses” to him, praising the condottiero as a champion of both active and contemplative life, and a master of war aspiring to peace. Pontano, in turn, dedicates a work on Ptolemy to him; Masuccio Salernitano dedicates “Novelle”; the same is done by Francesco di Giorgio Martini with his treatise on architecture, Alamanno Rinuccini with the translation of some works by Aristotle, Pirro Donati with “Cornucopia,” and Pendilacqua with his biography of Vittorino da Feltre. Antonio da Cornazzano, too, dedicates “De re militari” to him, an author previously addressed, though under a different title (“Dell’integrità dell’arte militare”), to Duke Ercole d’Este of Ferrara. Giovanni Santi writes a poem about his court, and Pierantonio Paltroni chronicles the events and narrates the life of the condottiero in a style reminiscent of Julius Caesar’s commentaries. He corresponds with other humanists such as Galeotto Muzzo and Niccolò Perotti. On his behalf, Vespasiano da Bisticci and Federico Veterani establish a highly renowned library (costing 200,000 ducats) containing over 1760 transcribed manuscripts, completed over fourteen years by 30/40 scribes. After the neglect of the library upon the death of his son Guidobaldo, it is acquired by Pope Alexander VII for 10,000 scudi in 1657 and integrated into the Vatican Apostolic Library. Throughout the Ducal Palace, he spreads the symbol of the “Broom” with the motto “Merito et tempore,” similar to that of Francesco Sforza.


-“Federigo..era uscito dalla scuola di Vittorino da Feltre, che era stata aperta a Mantova sotto gli auspici di Gianfrancesco Gonzaga. La scuola di Vittorino può essere indicata come una delle creazioni più importanti del mecenatismo praticato dai condottieri.” MALLETT

-“Il duca d’Urbino..come altri uomini del Rinascimento..è un uomo dalla personalità multiforme, a dispetto del ritratto (di Piero della Francesca) che mostra solo un lato della sua faccia. Federico era un capitano mercenario, un appassionato studioso dei classici e un generoso mecenate, ma aveva anche un “lato oscuro”. SIMONETTA

-“Among the first and most assiduously practical students of ancient warfare was the warlord Federigo da Montefeltro…who won fame as a field commander and spent no small part of his mercenary profits building one of the best libraries of his generation. The Florentine bookseller and biographer vespasiano da Bisticci admiringly compared Montefeltro to two different Roman generals, Scipio Africanus and fabius maximus, and explicity connected the duke’s knowledge of Latin and study of ancient history with his battlefield success.” ARNOLD

-“Era un signore singolarmente abile nel “bilanciare i propri servizi tra le potenze d’Italia” e capace di legare le fortune sul personale del suo piccolo dominio ai successi della sua attività di capitano.” COVINI

-“Se Federico non era tutta luce, Sigismondo Pandolfo non era neppure quel diavolo sotto sembianze umane che numerosi interpreti hanno voluto vedere persino nel ritratto di Piero della Francesca al Louvre. Non sono molti gli indizi per gli omicidi attribuiti al Malatesta, mentre non c’é dubbio che fu il Montefeltro a tirare le fila dell’attentato al fratello. Omicidio e cospirazione sarebbero stati anche in seguito fra le armi politiche usate dal signore di Urbino – si pensi al suo coinvolgimento nella congiura dei Pazzi. La partecipazione di Malatesta a simili imprese, come il tentativo di attentato ad Alessandro Sforza, non è invece stata dimostrata…. Tra i mecenati del XV secolo pochi riuscirono a competere con lui. Negli anni del suo governo, tra il 1444 e il 1482, Urbino, da borgo di montagna ai margini delle Marche, si trasformò in un centro della cultura rinascimentale. La sua biblioteca era una delle più importanti del tempo, non era soltanto un deposito del sapere ma anche una raccolta di preziose opere librarie: manoscritti finemente miniati in rosso carminio, volumi con la rilegatura in argento. Il suo palazzo diventò il modello di residenza per i principi dell’epoca nuova che stava iniziando: sorgeva nel punto più alto della città, era circondato da piazze, con interni ariosi e pieni di luce e senza la sommessa reminiscenza delle disagevoli fortezze dove altri signori del tempo tenevano corte.” BOECK-TONNESMANN

-“Trascorse i primi anni di vita con i monaci dell’abbazia benedettina di Gaifa, nei pressi di Urbino. Questi trasmisero al giovane Federico un marcato senso del sacro. Successivamente venne educato severamente alla condotta religiosa da alcuni precettori personali, appartenenti all’ordine monastico dell’importante abbazia di Fonte Avellana, situata non lontano da Gubbio…Ma l’incontro fondamentale della sua vita religiosa sarà quello con San Bernardino da Siena nel 1435. Durante la permanenza del santo nella terra dei Montefeltro, infatti, Bernardino ebbe la simpatia e la stima di Federico che, frequentemente, fruì della sua direzione spirituale rimanendone segnato nel carattere per tutta la vita.” WIKIPEDIA

-“Libero e schietto di modi, catturava fede alle sue parole colla bontà del suo costume. Nel guerreggiare accorto e spedito, e, come allievo di Francesco Sforza e di Niccolò Piccinino, partecipe della velocità d’esecuzione e della alacrità di pensiero dell’una, e della esattezza e circospezione dell’altra…Sia che passeggiasse a cavallo, sia a pié per le vie, non sdegnava chiamare a sé ora questo ora quel cittadino, e intrattenersi familiarmente delle sue faccende, e sovvenirlo di consiglio e di denaro, e se per caso lo vedesse inteso ad innalzare qualche fabbrica di momento, fermarsi ad esaminarla e profferirgli aiuto per compierla. Insomma Federico conseguì quello che deve essere, ed è il più sovente senza effetto, il desiderio dei principi, di essere cioé venerato come signore, ed amato come uomo.” RICOTTI

-“Dopo il settanta, la fama di Urbino e della sua corte si diffuse per tutta l’Italia e l’Europa. In mezzo ai soldati di mestiere la corte di Urbino era divenuta la più celebre scuola di guerra della penisola: da essa erano usciti uomini famosi nella milizia, come quell’Annibale da Cagli, che verrà celebrato da Sabbadino degli Arienti, quale alunno di quel duca Federico “ne la perizia militare a veruno greco o romano in alcuna parte inferiore, e ne li umani studi quanto altro moderno principe erudito e docto..”; o quel Contuccio della Genga che, più fortunato combatté strenuamente nella giornata di Ceresolo e cadde in campo da prode; o il giovane Gian Giacomo da Trivulzio, maresciallo di Francia infesto alla sua patria, o quel Francesco da Sassatello, capo di squadra animoso e tenace, o quel Matteo Grifoni da Sant’Angelo in Vado, che diverrà capitano generale della Serenissima…Assai spesso nella sua vita egli rivelò una memorabile destrezza nel far coincidere il proprio interesse con una condotta ineccepibile.” FRANCESCHINI

-“Federico intratteneva cinquecento persone: le cariche di corte vi erano complete quanto in qualsiasi delle corti dei maggiori monarchi; ma nulla vi si sprecava, tutto aveva uno scopo, e un severissimo controllo vegliava su tutto. Qui non giuochi, non corruzioni, non dissipazioni, perché la corte doveva essere al tempo stesso una scuola di educazione militare per i figli di altre grandi case..Il palazzo ch’egli si fece costruire, non era de’ più splendidi, ma spirava un’aria di pieno classicismo per la felice sua disposizione: in esso egli raccolse il suo maggior tesoro, la celebre biblioteca. Siccome si sentiva perfettamente sicuro in un paese dove ognuno godeva de’ suoi benefici e nessuno elemosinava, così egli usciva sempre disarmato e quasi senza seguito; e in ciò nessun principe avrebbe potuto certamente imitarlo, sia quando egli s’aggirava pe’ suoi giardini aperti a chiunque, sia quando sedeva ad un banchetto molto frugale in una sala del tutto aperta, facendosi leggere qualche passo di Livio o libri ascetici in tempo di quaresima.” BURCKHARDT

-“Furono in messer Federigo molte singulari virtù, e per uno uomo degno in tutte le specie di virtù, l’età sua non ha avuto il simile. Venendo alla disciplina militare, che è la prima sua professione, egli è stato istrenuo capitano, quanto ignuno che n’abbia avuto la sua età; e in questo ha adoperato la forza, coniuncta con una grandissima inaudita prudenza, e non meno ha vinto col senno che s’abbia fatto con la forza…Fece fare una libraria la più degna che sia mai istata da quello tempo in qua. Non ha guardato a cosa ognuna, e dove egli ha saputo che sia libro ignuno degno, o in Italia o fuori d’Italia, ha mandato per essi. Sono anni quattordici, o più che cominciò a fare questa libraria; e del continovo, ed a Urbino e a Firenze ed in altri luoghi, ha avuti trenta e quaranta scrittori, i quali hanno iscritto per la Sua Signoria.” V. DA BISTICCI

-“Che possiamo chiamare veramente..espugnatore di città; da poiché molte n’espugnò per natura e per arte fortificatissime e inespugnabili; né mai tornò da impresa mal riuscita..Uomo di tanto merito in ogni cosa di guerra, da poter essere paragonato ai più distinti capitani d’ogni età e nazione.” CONTI

-“L’era bone e fidelle cristiano e molte bene governava li soi populi ed era stato uno home de gram iusticia ed era stato molte spirituale; contenuvamente amava al culte devine.” BERNARDI

-“Se tutti i pregi di Federico stessero nella gloria militare, avvegnaché fosse uno dei più valenti capitani di quell’età, quando si fosse paragonato a uno Sforza o a un Piccinino, ciò sarebbe il massimo della lode che gli si potrebbe concedere; giacché l’arte della guerra, come allora esercitavasi, non apriva l’adito ad imprese grandi veramente, siccome avvenne in appresso…Il più celebre capitano d’Italia de’ suoi tempi..Fu valente come guerriero, fu valentissimo come principe..Fu peritissimo negli stratagemmi, negli agguati, ne’ subiti assalti, nelle finte mostre, nel far nascere nuove occasioni o approfittarne, nello stancare il nemico, nello scegliere e fortificare gli alloggiamenti, nell’arte degli assedi, nel buon uso delle artiglierie: ma tutto ciò non sarebbe bastato senza l’arte di affezionarsi i soldati e trasfondere in loro il proprio coraggio..; non ostante amava appassionatamente lo studio e teneva in gra pregio gli uomini dotti, molto del conversare con loro dilettandosi.” UGOLINI

-“Fu prudente, facondo nel parlare, letterato, e amatore de i letterati. Nella guerra fortunato, nella pace amato, da Prencipi d’Italia honorato, e da’ suoi popoli diletto.” ALBERTI

-“Ornato di molta sapienza et molto avveduto nell’essercito militare quanto altro capitano fosse a questi giorni.” GHIRARDACCI

-“Ecce autem inbar ille dicem, pheltrensis hero/ Issus adest, nuper dederit cui signa Secundus (papa Paolo II)/ Ecclesiae nullo Caesar superatus ab hoste/…/Fortunatus quaecumque in prelia victor.” PORCELLIO

-“Condottiero sagace e soldato valoroso, politico abile, che con la sua spada e le sue mediazioni consolidò il suo principato, mecenate fra i più generosi ed illuminati.” ARGIOLAS

-“El quale era vissuto con opttima fama et virtù e masimamente ne li facti d’arme..Anche chostui veramente fu ne li fati d’arme molte eselente et anchora nel suo tenpo era el primo capitanio in Italia e in seschaduna so ispidision sempro fu solicito; oltra de questo de infinito vertù litterato e dotto e prudente et costumato e magnanimo, et senpre de la sua tenera età exercitò li studii et ne le arme.” CORPUS CHRONIC. BONOMIENSIUM

-“Huomo veramente e ottimo et invittissimo..Costui sendo prima tenuto valentissimo soldato e poi singolar Capitan generale, fu talmente ammirato al tempo de’ nostri padri, che meritatamente fu paragonato a quelli antichi Capitani, i quali s’acquistarono opinione e fama di singolar valore: percioché pareva che con argutissimo ingegno egli imitasse certe virtù particolari di ciascuno..Vedevasi in lui a tempo di guerra et di pace un ingegno molto grave, ma però senza severità alcuna, essendo egli piacevole e humano verso ogniuno, senza delicatezza e non mai iracondo, si che facesse villania a veruno. Hebbe eloquenza gagliarda et temperata molto, con la quale non offendendo nessuno insegnava a ognuno modestia e bontà, sena mai riprendere alcuno con aspre parole.” GIOVIO

-“Ben poté ancor l’alta famiglia Sforza/ Con Arte, con consiglio, e con prudenza,/ Ammaestrarti, o Federigo, e poi/ Porti a l’imprese de l’horrende guerre,/ Et così quei che la Fortuna havea/ Privi, sì come te, d’un occhio loro,/ La virtù te gli ha fatto inferior.” Da un sonetto di P.A. BARGEO riportato dal GIOVIO

-“Assunto il dominio, resse con tanta virtù, e prudenza, che corse in grido di raro, e sopra ogn’altro stimato nell’amministratione di vera, e ben’intesa giustizia. nel valore, e peritia dell’ diede a conoscere per uno de’ primi Capitani d’Italia,..Fu dotto, e degli studiosi, e letterati amico, a commodo, e vantaggio de’ quali instituì quantità di libri scielti e peregrini, riputata perciò la prima, e più riguardevole d’Italia.” LOSCHI

-“Oltre alla militare eccellenza, ch’egli haveva, onde fu reputato un de’ maggiori Capitani della età sua, era così di magnificenza, di lettere, e di humanissimi costumi adornato, che in esso per compimento di una suprema virtù non era che desiderasse..Fu anche di non poco splendore a Federigo, l’esser molto magnifico in fabricare diversi nobilissimi edificii: come in Urbino il superbo palagio, con la famosa libraria, piena di scelti libri. Era Federigo di persona alta e forte; di volto bianco, d’occhi azzurri e capelli neri.” ROSCIO

-“Egli amò sommamente gli huomini illustri nelle lettere e nell’ armi, e gli piacquero molto le mathematiche discipline, e ne diede anco segno in un fregio che egli fece fare in una fabrica fuori della corte di Urbino, nel quale fece intagliare in pietra ogni sorta di stromento bellicoso da mare e da terra..Gli scrittori favellando di questo principe dicono, che essendo prima tenuto valentissimo soldato e poi singolar capitano generale, fu talmente ammirato da nostri padri, che meritatamente fu paragonato a quegli antichi capitani, i quali s’acquistarono opinione e fama di singolar valore..Vedevasi in lui a tempo di guerra e di pace uno ingegno molto grave, non però senza severità alcuna: essendo egli piacevole e humano verso ogniuno, senza delicatezza e nom mai iracondo si che facesse villania a veruno. Hebbe eloquenza gagliarda e temperata molto, con la quale non offendendo nessuno, insegnava a ogniuno modestia e bontà, senza mai riprendere alcuno con aspre parole.” SANSOVINO

-“Federico a’ dì suoi fu lume dell’Italia. Non c’era..difetto di testimonianze della sua prudenzia, della umanità, della giustizia, della liberalità, dell’animo invitto e della disciplina militare; della quale precipuamente fanno fede le sue tante vittorie, le espugnazioni di lochi inespugnabili, la subita prestezza nelle espedizioni, l’aver molte volte con pochissime genti fuggato numerosi e validissimi eserciti, né mai esser stato perditore in battaglia alcuna; di modo che possiamo non senza ragione a molti famosi antichi agguagliarlo.” CASTIGLIONE

-“Questo dunque, assunto al dominio, fece spiccare una prudenza e rettitudine tale nel governo, che diede la vera norma a tutti gli altri principi nell’amministrazione de’ loro stati. Nel valore e perizia dell’ rese degno d’essere reputato e stimato uno de’ primi Capitani d’Italia.” GAMURRINI

-“Questi fu quel valoroso Capitano tanto lodato nelle storie de’ suoi tempi, superando col suo merito la fama di tutti i suoi maggiori, ed accrescendo coll’armi non poco il suo dominio..Fu Federico di statura comune e ben compatto, ben formato di sua persona, destro e robusto, paziente nelle sofferenze del freddo, caldo, fame, sete, sonno, fatica in guisa tale che niuna di queste cose sembrava che a lui desse molestia. D’aspetto fu allegro e affabile, ne fanno fede le chiese e i monasteri da lui edificati.” REPOSATI

-“Hic super omnes mortales, omnibus virtutibus praeditus fuit: erat enim vir prudentissimus, in sermone verax, in judicio justus, in consiliis providus, in bonitate conspicuus, in universa morum honestate praeclarus, facundissimus, libenter elemosynas largiens inopi, inaudita aequitate, summa jistitia, singulari fide, divina sapientia, adeo omni genere studiorum eruditus, in adversis patiens, in prosperis modestissimus, strenuissimus omnium imperator.” CIRNEO

-“Fu gran capitano de’ suoi tempi, vale a dire un flagello del genere umano. Gli si fanno però molti elogi per due titoli, il primo, che tra’ condottieri d’armi, fu meno crudele degli altri, giacché si narra che ne’ tanti saccheggi di terre e città, usasse verso gli innocenti abitanti molti riguardi..Il secondo titolo d’elogio è il suo amore per la sapienza. La gloria che sempre ambì di avere presso di sé uomini dotti, e di far fiorire le arti e le lettere, è la vera gloria di un principe, non già quella di forzare in di lui nome gli uomini all’infamia di ammazzare i loro simili senz’averne ricevuta alcuna ingiuria e senza nemmeno conoscerli.” LITTA

-“Pompeux, gras, borgne des suites d’un tournoi, le front fuyant mais noble, satisfait de sa bonne conscience et du bien qu’il prodigue à son peuple, habile à assurer sa propre réclame par le moyen de portraites (Piero della Francesca), de protégés lettrés, historiographes patentés comme Vespasiano Bisticci..De Federico Commynes dira qu’il fut “grant saige homme et bon capitaine”, que lui et ceux de son ecole “prenoyeint toutes les places qu’ils assiégeoient”, car ils étaient, ajoute-t-il, non pour la tactique, mais pour la stratégie et les questions d’intendance, plus habile et savant que lea Français.” LABANDE

-“Imparò egli sotto la disciplina braccesca la velocità delle risoluzioni e la prestezza delle esecuzioni; dalla sforzesca l’essere pesato ne’ consigli e pronto a valersi delle occasioni; la qual mistura di maniere diverse e quasi che contrarie adattata da lui alle opportunità ed a’ tempi, è certo che gli apportò quella gloria, per cagione della quale fra’ capitani grandi del suo secolo meritò d’esser detto simile a Filippo nel prender le guerre con prudenza e nel terminarle con prestezza, ad Annibale negli stratagemmi, ed a Sertorio nel prendere improvvisi partiti ..Era peritissimo negli aguati, nell’ordinare, nell’alloggiare, nel piantare assedi e batterie, nel conoscere quando gli avversari fossero da esser vinti con la lunghezza, e quando con l’arme e con la fame. Era oltre di questo d’ingegno grave e maturo, di costumi piacevoli, temperatissimo nell’ira, efficace nel ragionare, modesto nelle parole, e inimico affatto delle lodi proprie, il medesimo maestro perfettissimo de’ soldati giovani, co’ quali per l’ordinario non usava modi aspri né acerbi, ma dolci e piacevoli, incitando alle azioni onorate i nobili con gli sproni della gloria, con la speranza de’ gradi, e gli altri tenendo svegliati con promesse di premi e con l’emulazione.” BALDI

-“Come ombra si dilegua inanzi al vento,/ Fuggon d’inanzi a te l’emole schiere./ Tu ovunque volgi le pupille altere,/ Porti terror, spavento./ E in chiuso ovil sembri leon feroce/ Quando sul gregge avventa il dente atroce./ Ben sa del braccio tuo l’inclite prove/ Il temerario Sigismondo, e il sanno/ Le genti sue, che con lor aita, e danno/ Volser le piante altrove./ In disperata fuga, e molte volte/ Ingombrarono il suol d’ossa insepolte.” Da un’ode di A. Lupi riportata dal COLUCCI

-“Esempio rarissimo di tutti li principi dell’età nostra non solo di disciplina e scienza militare, nella quale fu sovra modo espertissimo e fortunato, ma d’ogni altra lode e virtù eroica.. Di questo gran principe, ogni scrittore di quei tempi celebra fino alle stelle i meriti gloriosi.” COLUCCI

-“Moribus insignis, militia bonus.” Da un poeme di F. Panfili riportato dal COLUCCI

-“Illustre e provato condottiero di guerra..gran maestro nella strategia di guerra.” CECCONI

-“Federico da Montefeltro has come down to us as the exception that proves the rule: he is the virtuous condottiere, the brave captain, the lover of arts, letters end justice, the devout son of the Church, loved by his people and respected by his nobles peeres in Italy and abroad. In sum, a prince among men. And so he was but..goodness had very little to do with it.  While he was the most brilliant exponent of the princely order of his day, his patronage was not disinterested. Shrewdly, with his eye on the best value for money, Federico invested in tangible things – this because he thought it was fashionable to do so, and because it benefited his dynasty. To which one must add that although Federico became a cultural ideal emulated by other Italian princes, his lifelong ambition was to surpass Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta and what he did once his rival was gone can be seen as continuing competition with the shade of the man he had so throroughly humbled in life.” BICHENO

-Confronto con Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta “Due uomini dal fisico prodigioso, induriti come ferro a tutte le fatiche e ai colpi della vita. Esattamente contemporanei, benché Sigismondo fosse maggiore di cinque anni, ambedue figli illegittimi e tuttavia legittimi sovrani di principati press’a poco uguali e incastrati l’uno nell’altro, e condottieri parimenti ricercati delle stesse potenze in Italia, tutti e due egualmente precoci ed egualmente valorosi; abituati alla dura vita del campo, l’amavano nella stessa misura, nonostante il lusso che si compiacevano di ordinare nei loro palazzi da essi mai abitati; si servivano degli stessi artisti, chiamavano gli stessi dotti, l’uno e l’altro parlavano con facilità e scrivevano con precisione, nutriti di classicità al punto di concepire le cose del loro tempo solo nelle belle forme dell’epoca latina, d’una attività continua e universale e di una curiosità quasi enciclopedica, di stirpi press’a poco simili e continuamente mescolate.. Ebbene due individui siffatti differiscono solo sul piano morale… Piero della Francesca li ha dipinti entrambi di profilo e dallo stesso lato, genuflessi, con le mani giunte, in preghiera: l’uno, Montefeltro, in un quadro sacro oggi a Brera, vicino allo Sposalizio di Raffaello, quadro che aveva comandato per la cappella dei francescani riformati di San Bernardino, nei pressi d’Urbino…Non molto alto, ma ben piantato, robusto, sanguigno, probabilmente gottoso, con la testa grande, il collo corto e vigoroso, non ha la fronte obliqua del sognatore, né il mento rientrante dell’impulsivo. La sua grossa mascella quadrata è la base che s’addice alla perfetta cupola del suo cranio..mentre l’occhio incastonato sotto l’alta volta del sopracciglio emette sulle cose una luce tranquilla e opaca che non le trasformerà ..Ecco un uomo calmo, ponderato, sempre padrone di se stesso, salvo quando riceve un’offesa a bruciapelo, di sangue caldo che ribolle subito, ma sempre attento a tenersi a freno,.. paziente, retto, pio, disciplinato, rispettoso del potere costituito, in cui egli si stabilisce per gradi.., studioso, portato a cercare nell’Antichità esempi di condotta, d’eroismo, d’abnegazione.” DE LA SIZERANNE

-Alla battaglia di Poggio Imperiale “Ma, havendo il duca già distribuiti/ gli ordini al facto d’armem fé montare/ li fanti a piedi, como prodi e arditi,/ per quel ripido monte ad attacchare/ el facto d’arme; e ‘l duca Alfonso (d’Aragona) possa/ fece a le sbarre d’un passo voltare,/ qual, facto havendo cum gran furia mossa,/ combattea lì cum supremo vigore,/ già l’erba incominciando a farsi rossa./ El duca poi, cum terribil clamore,/ entrò pel monte, andando da traverso,/ qual, da’ nemici visto, han gran terrore,/ perché sopra un caval lucente e terso/ quel dì a seder fo visto cavalcare,/ viepiù che mai ad ogni ardir converso.” SANTI

-“In certo qual modo Urbino diventa una scuola.., quasi centro di formazione per quadri specializzati, quasi vivaio di condottieri. Tant’è che per Annibale da Cagli, Contuccio della Genga, Trivulzio, Francesco da Sassatello, Matteo Grifoni e lo stesso genero di Federico Giovanni della Rovere non è improprio parlare di formazione urbinate. E il contado, d’altro canto, è area di reclutamento per la costituzione di bellici contingenti, è costante fornitore di truppe.” BENZONI

-“Federico da Montefeltro, che aveva per lunghi anni militato prima con Niccolò Piccinino erede dei “bracceschi” e poi con Francesco Sforza potrà riunire in sé le strategie e le tattiche delle due scuole mediante una capacità vocazionale che gli è propria fin dall’inizio della sua vita militare. L’esser egli riuscito, del resto, a conservare la sua compagnia di ventura unita ed efficiente per oltre quarant’anni, in un crescendo di valori non soltanto economici, sta a dimostrare quanto veniamo asserendo…Il Malatesta con il suo modo di agire, nel passato, si era alienato la simpatia e la fiducia delle potenze conducenti; Federico vuol comportarsi nello stesso modo ma lo fa ottenendo l’approvazione di chi lo paga. Questa, a nostro avviso, la differenza sostanziale fra i due uomini: l’uno segue il suo impulso senza curarsi di ciò che la sua azione, al di là delle contingenze, potrà procurargli; l’altro riesce a “legalizzare” i suoi interessi particolari, senza, s’intende, portar nocumento a quelli generali di chi lo conduce e lo paga…Uomo di guerra, e da questa attività di uomo d’arme trae i suoi immensi guadagni, egli lavora sempre per la pace. A questo fine il Montefeltro si pone sempre come mediatore che ricerca con la parola e il consenso, di appianare i dissidi e le controversie che muovono l’agitato mondo politico dell’Italia della seconda metà del ‘400..L’altra dimensione umana di Federico, la più celebrata, è quella della sua proverbiale lealtà alla parola data.” TOMMASOLI

-Nel cornicione superiore del palazzo ducale di Urbino compare il seguente elogio delle sue imprese “Federicus Urbini dux, Montis Feretri, ac/ Durantis comes, Sacrae Romanae Eccle/ siae confalonierus, atque Italiae con/ foederationis imperator, hanc domum a/ fundamento erectam gloriae, ac poste/ ritati suae ex aedificavit”. Nel cornicione inferiore compare invece la scritta “Qui bello pluries depugnavit, sexies si/ gna contulit, octies hostem profliga/ vit, omniumque praeliorum victor di/ tionem auxit, Ejusdem justitia, clemen/ tia, liberalitas, et religio pace victo/ rias aequarunt, ornaruntque.”

-Epigrafe sulla sua tomba “Federico Montefeltrio Urbini duci S.R.E./ Vexillifero Italia foederis aliorumque/ Exercituum imperatori praeliorum pas/ sim victori. Numquam victo. Ditionis et/ Bonarum artium propagatori. Celebris/ Bibliotechae et insignium aedificiorum/ Tum ad magnificentiam tum ad pieta/ tem structori. Quem licet aliis praeferas/ Nescias tamen belli aut pacis gloria se/ Ipsum superavit. Obiit A.D./ MCCCCLXXXII. Suo LXV.”

-Con Alfonso d’Aragona “Reputati i più formidabili Comandanti d’Italia.” ROSCOE

-Con Domenico Malatesta “Trai Condottieri più celebri.” TONDUZZI

-“Chiaro in quei tempi per gloria d’armi.” BRUTO

-“Savio e valente capitano.” BROGLIO

-“Esperto capitano.”PAGNANI

-“Eminent condottiere.” TREASE

-“Verzo ma savio capitano.” SANUDO

-Con Roberto Malatesta “generali..prodi e al sommo celebri.” PIGNOTTI

-Campagna di Toscana in 1450 “Iam Federicus adest etruscis laetus ab ores/ Dux belli studio pacis et arte nitens,/ Iamque suas repetit sedes ad tecta cohortum/ Horrida prodit hiems armigerarumque trahit.”LAPI

-“Altro gran generale di quel tempo.”BURRIEL

-“Optimum belli imperatorem.”ALBINO

-“Virum bello ac  pace egregium.” BRACCIOLINI

-“Che era tenuto un de’ migliori Capitani di quella età.” TARCAGNOTA

-“Rei militaris perito.” FACIO

-“Eccellentissimo capitano.” MACHIAVELLI

-“Illustre e virtuoso sopra tutti gli altri regoli di quel tempo.” DELFICO

-“Summae providentiae Ducem: cuius virtus multi iam bellis cogniti erat.” PICCOLOMINI

-“Virum pace ac bello aeque clarissimum.” CAMPANO

-“Grant saige homme et bon capitaine.” COMMYNES

-“Principe di accorgimento e di valore non ordinario per cui da tutti i più potenti sovrani d’Italia, era a gara richiesto per condurre le loro truppe, e accolto co’ più singolari onori.” TIRABOSCHI

-“Eccellentissimo in guerra, e più glorioso per fatti d’arme.” VESI

-“Di grandissimo nome nelle guerre.” DE LELLIS

-“Verum omnibus non solum militari laude, sed etiam imperio dignitateque antecellebat.” FABRONIO

-“Valente e generoso principe fra quanti aveva in Italia a quei dì.”CRISTOFANI

-“Fu quel tanto celebrato Capitano, che per i suoi valorosi pregi ed eccelsi meriti fu di conte creato duca d’Urbino.” GUERRIERI

-“Prode e generoso Capitano..personaggio di tanto valore e di sì gran merito, che questo secolo non contò verun altro uguale a lui.” AMIANI

-“Quae excellentium tum omni genere laudis virorum copia afflexerat, virtutis humanitatis.” SIGONIO

-“Capitano di eserciti, chiarissimo di tutti ne’ tempi suoi; ma chiaro ancora, fra molte egregie virtù, per il patrocinio delle lettere.” GUICCIARDINI

-“Princeps illustris et peritissimus rei militaris.” IVANI

-“Invitto espugnatore di città..che mai tornò da imprese mal riuscite.” CONTI

-“L’ultimo grande condottiero italiano, secondo il comun giudizio.” PIERI

-“Molti storici attribuiscono anche a Federico da Montefeltro.. un ruolo importante nella congiura contro Lorenzo il magnifico..Una lettera in codice del Montefeltrano, risalente a due mesi prima del complotto e indirizzata ai suoi ambasciatori a Roma, documenta il grado di coinvolgimento del duca.” VIROLI

-“States preferred circumspects captains who could keep their armies intact and avoid major losses. In the fifteenth century the careful, if unimaginative, Federigo da Montefeltro was more sought after as a commander than his daring contemporary and rival Sigismondo Malatesta.” CAFERRO

-“Condottiero abile ed esperto… Un soldato sperimentato e di grande spessore.” MORO

-Alla guerra di Ferrara.”Homo vecchio de anni 65 in 70 al parere, et havea lo oglio drito cavato e stropiata la gamba sinistra.” Da una cronaca ferrarese riportata da MORO

-“I particolari sui fasti di questa corte ce li segnala una “Memoria felicissima dello Illustrissimo Signore Duca Federico duca d’Urbino e de la sua famiglia che teneva, opera di Susec antiquo cortigiano”, dalla quale si ricava l’immagine di una Urbino assurta al rango di grande corte principesca, non seconda a quelle di Francia e Inghilterra, con i vari ruoli e gradi gerarchici, da quelli nobili con una schiera di conti, tra parenti e giovani delle più nobili famiglie italiane, al personale subalterno, con maestri di scherma e di ballo, suonatori e cappellani, damigelle, paggi, camerieri, scudieri e staffieri.” RENDINA

-“(Con la sua morte) se ne andava così “el primo capitano de gente d’arme d’Italia”, come assicurò un anonimo cronista volterrano. Formatosi alla scuola di Niccolò Piccinino, continuatore della tradizione braccesca, seppe da essa trarre l’arte del temporeggiare, la cautela nelle decisioni da prendere con la ragione più che con l’istinto. Passato poi a militare con Francesco Sforza erede della tradizione paterna, vide e imparò la tattica e la strategia di un capitano che sulla forza dell’assalto improvviso e intelligente basava il suo modo di intendere la battaglia. Federico andò oltre sviluppando la capacità di fondere le due scuole e di creare un suo modo di combattere che si basava sul cauto temporeggiare della prima scuola e sulla spontaneità guidata della seconda. Forgiò poi il tutto sulla potenza delle nuove armi da fuoco, su cui poggiò la grandezza di un ducato che trasformò in ricettacolo di sapienza, scienza, arte e cultura.” STAFFA

-“Si distinse tra i più grandi combattenti dell’Italia del Quattrocento, prestando la propria abilità e le proprie truppe a molti signori italiani, cui regalò vittorie memorabili.” TANZINI

-“Federico non dimenticò mai gli anni passati alla “Casa zoiosa”: non solo, infatti, quarant’anni più tardi, teneva nel suo studio il ritratto di Vittorino da Feltre, ma aveva nella biblioteca la biografia del maestro insieme con il “De liberis educandis” del Vergerio. Anche quando, solo quindicenne, Federico fu lontano da Mantova, continuò a “cavalcare, armeggiare, giocare di spada” e a praticare esercizi che se imparano per chi vole esercitare l’arte militare” (VERGERIO); un’arte alla quale si mostrava disposto, pur senza cessare di coltivare validamente anche gli studi letterari.” SETTIA

-“Inizialmente commissionato per la camera da letto del duca nel Palazzo Ducale di Urbino, il “Ritratto del duca Federico e di suo figlio Guidobaldo” di Pedro Berruguete (Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino) è una raffigurazione domestica di uno dei più celebri capitani di ventura del XV secolo…Come suggerito dal ritratto del Berruguete, Federico si era guadagnato la reputazione di comandante tra i migliori del suo tempo e non solo, e sembrava riassumere tutto il positivo che poteva esserci in un condottiere del XV secolo. Fin dal 1464 Gianmario Filelfo (figlio di Francesco) l’aveva acclamato “nuovo Ercole” e aveva composto un poema epico, il “Martiados”, per degnamente celebrare Federico in quanto quasi mitico eroe in armatura; un ruolo riproposto con magnificenza stilistica in un’agiografica biografia di Pierantonio Paltroni. Perfino il fiorentino Cristoforo Landino osservò nelle “Disputationes Camaldulenses” che Federico meritava senza dubbio di “esser paragonato ai migliori capitani dell’età antica.”” LEE

-“Oltre alla militare eccellenza, ch’egli haveva, onde fu riputato un de’ maggiori Capitani dell’età sua, era così di magnificentia, di lettere, e di humanissimi costumi adornato, che in esso per compimento di una suprema virtù non era che desiderasse..Era Federigo di persona alta, e forte: di volto bianco: d’occhi azurri: e capelli neri.” CAPRIOLO

-” (Capace) di dichiarare per vero quello che sappiamo esser falso,..Magnifico falsario della politica…Il modo di “vita activa e vita contemplativa” resta irrisolto, e la figura di Federico rimane enigmaticamente sospesa fra l’immagine compiaciuta dell’umanista assorto nella lettura di codici miniati nel suo studiolo, e quella dello spregiudicato condottiero impegnato nella redazione di dispacci cifrati. In altre parole, la doppiezza intrinseca della vita politica non ci permette facili semplificazioni e distinzioni manichee. Il celebre profilo del duca immortalato da Piero della Francesca continua a celare il “lato oscuro” del volto del Montefeltro, solcato di rughe e cicatrici con lo sfondo delle colline e le pianure del territorio da lui dominato…Non fu certo uno stinco di santo, ma non fu mai accusato di violenza contro le donne o di simili turpi azioni. E’ innegabile che l’urbinate vinse (rispetto al Malatesta) la guerra militare (“vae victis”) ma anche la battaglia della propaganda culturale w artistica nei confronti del riminese. Politicamente Federico era più scaltro e spregiudicato operatore, il vero prototipo della volpe machiavellica che non lascia tracce quando compie atti incoffensabili.” SIMONETTA

-“Aveva anch’egli, al pari di Francesco Sforza, un suo Giovanni Simonetta, nella persona del cancelliere Pierantonio Paltroni, autore..dei “Commentari” della sua “vita et gesti”, ma insieme anche raccoglitore autorizzato delle notizie da trasmettere per l’elaborazione letteraria ad altri più rinomati scrittori. A lui fece capo il volonteroso Santi, che gli rende espresso omaggio..grazie al virtuosistico e memorizzabile uso della terza rima, ed insieme a ribadire, dedicando l’opera a Guidubaldo, la continuità di una politica dinastica…L’esaltazione..del principe virtuoso, nella flessibilità retorica tipicamente quattrocentesca, era in pari tempo un modo per giustificare azioni altrimenti imputabili a norma dello stretto diritto: per esempio la liberazione di Giovanni Malatesta – una delle prime manifestazioni del ravvicinamento agli antichi avversari -, compiuta all’insaputa e contro la volontà del Papa (“Invito quoque qui vicem gerebat/ Tunc et pontificis locum latini”), è annoverata dal Cantalicio a modello di clemenza; la difesa di Rimini dell’”usurpatore” (per il Papa) Roberto Malatesta altrove addotta a presidio del buon diritto e quindi anche della giustizia di Dio.” FUBINI

-Confronto con Costanzo Sforza “Federico.. a cominciare dal suo torbido esordio (forse direttamente o indirettamente fautore dell’assassinio del fratellastro Oddantonio).., per continuare con la macchia (se pur non provato il suo diretto assenso) dello scempio compiuto dalle sue armate in occasione della presa di Volterra del 1472 (al servizio dei Fiorentini), per finire alla sua partecipazione, altamente sospettabile, alla congiura dei Pazzi, consegnò alla storia come campione di lealtà, di saggezza e di misura.” TOCCI

-“Il ruolo più cospicuo della costruzione del suo mito, .. è affidato alla scrittura di cronache e panegirici in versi e in prosa, in un contesto retorico nel quale i vari generi si contaminano, volutamente, l’uno con l’altro e i cui risultati affollano gli scaffali della sua biblioteca. Il registro delle moltissime composizioni che lo celebrano è ovviamente vario, ma alcuni punti attraversano con costante riproposizione, più o meno tutte le opere (almeno quelle principali): la sua competenza militare, pari (anzi: superiore) a quella di Cesare, Alessandro e degli altri condottieri dell’antichità; la sua grandezza d’animo, la sua conclamata strabiliante capacità di conquistare senza devastare né saccheggiare, un tema che lascia trasparire, in più di un’occasione, la volontà di sbianchettare la memoria della drammatica sorte di Volterra che, bene o male, ha gettato una mai cancellata ombra di infamia e di mancata volontà (o incapacità) di mantenere la parola data a chi si era arreso.” BALESTRACCI


-B. Baldi. Vita e fatti di Federigo da Montefeltro duca d’Urbino.

-B. Boeck – A. Tonnesmann. Federico da Montefeltro. Arte, stato e mestiere delle armi.

-F. Filelfo. Vita di Federico d’Urbino.

-G. Muzio. De’ fatti di Federico di Montefeltro duca d’Urbino.

-G. De’ Rossi. Vita di Federico da Montefeltro.

-G. Santi. La vita e le gesta di Federico da Montefeltro duca d’Urbino.

-R. de la Sizeranne. Federico da Montefeltro, capitano, principe, mecenate (1422-1482)

-W. Tommasoli. La vita di Federico da Montefeltro. 1422-1482

-D. Balestracci. Il duca. Vita avventurosa e grandi imprese di Federico da Montefeltro

Topics: Renaissance Condottiero in Italy, Federico da Montefeltro’s Battle Tactics, Italian Renaissance Military Leadership, Mercenary Captain during the Renaissance, Federico’s Military Innovations

Featured image source: wikimedia

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