martedì, Luglio 23, 2024

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

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Francesco Bussone da Carmagnola: A Renaissance Military Mastermind

Italian CondottieriFrancesco Bussone da Carmagnola: A Renaissance Military Mastermind

Carmagnola (Francesco Bussone da Carmagnola) is extremely eager for honors, possessed by boundless pride, and prone to anger. He embodies all the positive qualities of a soldier. Skilled in the stratagems of war, he employs, according to the situation, sometimes force, sometimes deception, and occasionally even cruelty, earning among his contemporaries the reputation of being the foremost captain of his time.

Indice delle Signorie dei Condottieri: ABCDEFGIJLMNOPQRSTUVZ

The Life and Battles of Francesco Bussone da Carmagnola.

Francesco Bussone, a peasant from Carmagnola, began his military career at twelve with Facino Cane, later serving Duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti of Milan. Commanding Visconti’s forces, he quickly subdued key cities, but was reassigned as Genoa’s governor, causing discontent. In 1425, he switched allegiance to Venice, leading to a drawn-out war with Milan. Despite successes like the Battle of Maclodio, his indecisive tactics and covert dealings with both sides led to his arrest and execution for treason by Venice in 1432.

CARMAGNOLA (Francesco Bussone) from Carmagnola. As a child, he was a shepherd.

Count of Carmagnola and Chiari, Lord of Castelnuovo Scrivia, Casei Gerola, Silvano Pietra, Badia Pavese, Candia Lomellina, Langosco, Sale, Vespolate, Clusane sul Lago, Rudiano, Roccafranca, Casalpusterlengo, Somaglia, Godiasco, Valverde, Valle di Nizza, Borgo Priolo, Gravenago, Sanguinetto, and Castenedolo. Father-in-law of Luigi dal Verme and Bernabò da San Severino.

Born: 1380
Death: 1432 (May)

Year, monthState, Comp. venturaOpponentConductActivity AreaActions taken and other salient facts
…………At a very young age, he is initiated into the profession of arms by a mercenary named Tendasco.
…………He serves in the company of Ceccolo Broglia.
1396
…………Comp. venturaRietiLazioHe forms his own company with Riccardo da Pavia. They devastate the territory of Rieti and compel the commune to employ them in its service.
JulyRietiLazio
1398
Apr.RietiLazioHis contract is renewed.
…………He distinguishes himself in the companies of Facino Cane.
1407
Feb.MilanGuelphsLombardyHe takes part in the Battle of Morimondo under the command of Facino Cane. Defeated, he manages to save his company by retreating to Chiaravalle.
1409
Aug. – Sept.MilanFranceLiguriaStill with Facino Cane, he approaches Genoa. In September, he stands out for his courage.
Oct.PiedmontHe clashes with the French between Sale and Frugarolo.
1410
MayPiedmontHe is found in Casale Monferrato.
Dec.CanePaviaLombardyFacino Cane reaches an agreement with Castellino Beccaria to capture Filippo Maria Visconti, who had shut himself away in the Castle of Pavia. On this occasion, Carmagnola assists Visconti when the Count of Pavia is forced to surrender unconditionally.
1412
…………CaneBresciaLombardyHe continues to serve in the companies of Facino Cane alongside Lancillotto and Castellino Beccaria, Giorgio Valperga, Nicolino Marsalia, Perino da Cremona, and Opicino Alciati. He participates in the siege of Brescia.
MayPaviaMilanLombardyFollowing the death of Facino Cane, he remains in the outskirts of Bergamo. According to some chroniclers, he does not accept the offers from Pandolfo Malatesta to enter his service; instead, he offers himself to Astorre and Giovanni Piccinino Visconti, who reject his requests. Other sources claim that along with Secco da Montagnana, he is among the commanders of Facino Cane who favor the marriage between Filippo Maria Visconti and the widow of Facino Cane. Together with Taddeo Marchese, his sworn brother, he fights against Astorre Visconti, who has taken control of Milan following the assassination of Duke Giovanni Maria Visconti. Carmagnola attacks the fortifications built around the castle of Porta Giovia, where the forces of the adversaries are concentrated.
Aug.MilanMonzaLombardyIn the service of the Duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti, he lays siege to Astorre Visconti in Monza.
Sept.LombardyHe is present as a witness in Milan, at the Castle of Porta Giovia, during the conferment of the fief of Gambolò to Antonino Beccaria and the county of Val di Tidone to Filippo and Bartolomeo Arcelli.
Dec.LombardyHe is also present at the signing of the truce treaty between the Duke of Milan and the lords of Crema (Giorgio Benzoni) and Cremona (Gabrino Fondulo).
1413
MayLombardyHe compels the surrender of Monza, which, following the death of Astorre Visconti, is defended by his sister Valentina due to a lack of provisions. At the end of the month, he is noted in the castle of Pavia alongside Petrino da Tortona and Moretto da San Nazaro, attending the enfeoffment ceremony of Bussoleto (Villalvernia) and Carezzano in favor of Guglielmo d’Alvernia, a relative of Boucicaut and Raimondo di Turenna.
…………MarshalLombardyHe is appointed by Visconti as his counselor and marshal (maresciallo).
JulyLombardyAt the beginning of the month in Milan, at the castle of Porta Giovia. Along with Urbano di San Luigi, he is noted as a witness to the confirmation of feudal grants over Rocchetta Tanaro in favor of the Marquises of Incisa.
Nov.LombardyIn Cantù with Filippo Arcelli and Lancillotto Beccaria (3,000 cavalry) to attend the meeting between Filippo Maria Visconti and Sigismund of Hungary, who has come to Italy to defend the rights of Giovanni Piccinino Visconti over that city.
1414
Jan.LombardyIn Milan. At the castle of Porta Giovia, he witnesses the act of donation of Monza by Visconti to his wife Beatrice di Tenda, widow of Facino Cane.
Apr.LombardyHe is still in the castle of Porta Giovia when the Duke of Milan renounces all rights over Verona and Vicenza in favor of the Venetians. Mid-month, he is also documented as a witness to the ratification of certain agreements and conventions made with Valentina Visconti for the cession of Monza.
…………MilanBeccariaLombardyHe fights against Castellino Beccaria, who has rebelled against the ducal authorities in the Oltrepò Pavese area.
Sept.MilanGuelphs, BresciaEmilia, LombardyHe occupies Bobbio and other localities. He opposes the troops of the Lord of Brescia, Pandolfo Malatesta. He attacks his rival in Bergamo; secures Martinengo and lays siege to the provincial capital.
Oct.LombardyAt the end of the month, he is noted in Pavia at the castle of San Pietro al Muro. Along with Filippo Arcelli, he serves as a witness to the enfeoffment of the castle of Vinchio to Oddonino Scarampo.
Nov.LombardyMid-month, in Milan, he is appointed Count of Castelnuovo; his lordship includes not only Castelnuovo Scrivia but also Casei Gerola, which is detached from the jurisdiction of Pavia. Carmagnola is required to swear allegiance to the Duke of Milan and to deliver to him a peregrine falcon as tribute each year. On the same occasion, it is decreed that he may carry the name of Visconti and emblazon his arms with the Visconti viper. Also during this period, he becomes betrothed to Antonia Visconti, widow of Francesco Barbavara and cousin of the Lord of Milan: previously, he had requested (and subsequently rejected under pressure from the same Filippo Maria Visconti) the sister of Bartolomeo and Filippo Arcelli as a wife.
1415
Jan.LombardyHe signs a two-year truce with Pandolfo Malatesta, who is called back to Romagna by the actions of Braccio da Montone. Carmagnola is present at the ceremony in which Gabrino Fondulo is invested with Cremona. In the same days, the Duke of Milan gives him the power of attorney to receive the oath of allegiance from Cristoforo Ghilini for the fiefs held by the latter.
Mar.PiedmontHe concludes a truce with Marquis Teodoro of Monferrato.
Apr.PiedmontHe draws up some agreements with the Lord of Pagliero (San Damiano Macra), Jacopino d’Arpiasco, for the feudal grant of the land of Oviglio to the latter.
Sept.LombardyMid-month, by proxy of Filippo Maria Visconti, he grants to Jacopo da Roncarolo, a citizen of Piacenza, the assets previously granted to that family by Gian Galeazzo Visconti. The ceremony takes place in Milan, at Porta Vercellina, in the parish of San Protaso in Campo, in the palace where the secret council usually meets.
Dec.LombardyIn Milan, first in the palace of Porta Vercellina and then in the castle of Porta Giovia, he is invested by the Duke of Milan with Sale; he is granted certain tolls of Castellazzo Bormida and is also acknowledged as co-lord of Vespolate. Filippo Maria Visconti gifts him in Milan the palace of the Broletto (Broletto Nuovissimo), which he subsequently has enlarged, with an annual income of 40,000 florins exempt from taxes. He is obligated to deliver annually for all his fiefs, as a tribute, one falcon.
1416
Jan.MilanComoGeneral CaptainLombardyIn agreement with the Vitani, he assaults Como, which is controlled by the Rusca family: the attack is repelled by Lotario Rusca. The ladders break under the weight of the attackers: all those who remain on the walls are slain by the defenders. Carmagnola is forced to return to Milan with many losses.
Apr.MilanBresciaLombardyHe seizes Lecco, held by Lotario Rusca on behalf of Malatesta; he lays siege to the castle, which will surrender only the following year.
JulyMilanComoLombardyTogether with Gaspare Visconti, he orders Lotario Rusca to abandon Como. The order is obeyed; at the end of the month, he is noted at the castle of Abbiategrasso where Leonardo Visconti, by proxy of Filippo Maria Visconti, appoints Rusca himself as Count of Como.
Aug. – Sept.MilanLodiLombardyHe pretends to agree with Giacomo da Vignate to hand over the castle of Melegnano: the treaty, organized by Oldrado Lampugnani, turns out to be a trap set for Vignate to capture him. Vignate is taken prisoner; he is delivered to Carmagnola, who waits at the Muzza for the success of the deception. He enters Lodi after Giovanni da Vignate is hanged in Milan with two sons. He has the castle surrendered to him by Luigi da Vignate. In mid-September, finally, the condottiero is present at the act in which Lotario Rusca is also granted the county of Lugano with Pieve di Balerna, and a sum of 15,000 florins.
…………MilanColleoni, BresciaLombardyIn his action to recover the old possessions of the Visconti, he lays siege to the Colleoni at Trezzo sull’Adda. To prevent reinforcements from reaching the defenders from Malatesta, he blocks the river with nets and chains.
Dec.LombardyHe destroys a brick bridge over the Adda, controlled by the enemies. Together with Bernardo di Provenza, he tightens the siege on Trezzo sull’Adda with mangonels and other war machines.
1417
Jan.LombardyHe takes control of a small fort positioned between the Adda river and the walls of Castelvecchio, where he captures Paolo Colleoni. He erects a gallows in front of the ramparts and threatens to hang the prisoner, as well as all the defenders captured by his forces, if Trezzo sull’Adda does not surrender on terms. In the event of surrender, he promises freedom to the Colleoni, life to the inhabitants and soldiers, and a sum of 14,000 florins to the castellan. During the same days, the castle of Lecco also surrenders, allowing him to return to Milan.
Feb.MilanMonferratoPiedmontHe arrives at Alessandria, a city that the Ghibellines have handed over to Teodoro of Monferrato; Carmagnola enters the citadel held for the Visconti by the castellan Giorgio Carcano and convinces the marquis, who is inferior in forces, to withdraw from the locality.
Mar.MilanPiacenza, CremonaLombardy, EmiliaHe concludes a new truce with Teodoro of Monferrato: the marquis cedes Vercelli to the Visconti in exchange for Casale Monferrato, Frassineto Po, and other lands. From Pavia, he bursts into the Piacentino with 4,000 cavalry and 25,000 infantry and begins the campaign against Filippo Arcelli. In the same days in Milan, the fief of Casei Gerola, which had been taken from him for a few days, is reconfirmed to him, with the additions of Silvano Pietra and Caselle (Badia Pavese).
Apr.EmiliaHe devastates the Val di Tidone.
MayEmiliaMid-month, he sets fire to the castle of Corano. He begins the siege of Piacenza.
JuneLombardyHe crosses the Po at Torricella del Pizzo and sets out to damage the Lord of Cremona, Gabrino Fondulo. He pillages the Cremonese territory; for a time, he occupies Soncino.
JulyLombardyHe acquires Casteldidone, Castelponzone, Genivolta (after eight days of siege), Soresina, Luignano, San Giovanni in Croce, Grumello Cremonese; he attempts, unsuccessfully, to take Pizzighettone and Castelleone; with the sappers provided by the Lord of Crema, Giorgio Benzoni, he advances to the walls of Cremona. He then re-crosses the Adda and the territory of Lodi; he is beneath Piacenza; he entrusts the defense of the localities that have come into the hands of the Visconti to Giorgio Valperga and Opicino Alciati.
Aug.MilanBeccaria, Genova, BresciaEmilia, LombardyHe occupies Piacenza and one of the city’s fortresses, which is pillaged. The lord of the city, Filippo Arcelli, withdraws into the other fortress of Sant’Antonino. Carmagnola divides the army, leaving a part under the fortress and with the other moves against the Beccaria. He recovers Voghera and assists Teramo Adorno in actions against the Doge of Genoa, Tommaso Campofregoso.
Sept.Piedmont, LombardyHe engages in various skirmishes in Piedmont. Having returned to Lombardy, at the end of the month in Milan at the castle of Porta Giovia, the fief of Castelnuovo Scrivia is reconfirmed to him, and he is invested with new lordships such as Candia Lomellina, previously belonging to the Confalonieri, Langosco (formerly of the Langosco), and Vespolate. Finally, the properties of Giovanni Pusterla (of Milan and Trezzo sull’Adda) as well as the confiscated assets of Fiorello, Antonio, and Castellino Beccaria, located in Pavia and Casorate Primo, are recognized as his. Casalpusterlengo (once belonging to the Cattaneo), Somaglia (confiscated from the Cavazzi), Godiasco, Monfalcone (Valverde), Oramala (Val di Nizza), Stefanago (Borgo Priolo), and Gravanago (all lands formerly of the Marquises of Godiasco), and Montesegale are other territories granted to him in fief by Filippo Maria Visconti.
Dec.PiedmontHe ambushes at Gavi 600 cavalry and 1,200 infantry led by Bartolomeo and Giovanni Arcelli, returning from some raids conducted in the Tortonese and Alessandrino areas. The two Arcellis are captured.
1418
…………EmiliaTaddeo dal Verme leaves Liguria. For his part, he returns to besiege Piacenza.
Mar.LombardyHe defeats Pandolfo Malatesta at Olginate. He captures 400 horses.
Apr.EmiliaHe assaults Piacenza. He forces Filippo Arcelli to shut himself in one of the two city fortresses or in that of Borgo Nuovo. Carmagnola tries to intimidate the opposing captain and, as at Trezzo on the Adda, declares himself ready to hang his two relatives, captured at Gavi, in case the lord of the city does not submit to the Visconti: in exchange for the surrender of Piacenza, he offers Filippo Arcelli the freedom of the relatives, a command of 400 horses, and a certain sum of money.
MayEmiliaArcelli does not surrender; the son and the brother are hanged in front of the Porta di Borgo Nuovo. Soon after, the condottiero flees from Piacenza and takes refuge in the Venetian territory. Carmagnola again attacks the Beccaria.
JunePiedmontHe conquers Serravalle Scrivia and captures Lancillotto Beccaria: he is taken to Pavia to be executed. He then attacks the Genoese and acquires Gavi, from the castellan who is defending it, for 8000 scudi.
July – Aug.LiguriaIn July, he takes possession of Borgo Fornari. In August, he obtains Ovada. With the exiles, he enters Val Polcevera, overthrows some fortresses, and pushes unsuccessfully to the walls of Genoa.
Sept.MilanBresciaLombardyHe crosses the Apennines again and moves to the Adda to repel the initiative of Malatesta, who is attempting to come to the aid of the Genoese by invading the duchy from the east. He fords the river without delay at Torricella del Pizzo, and within a few days takes possession of Castelponzone, Casteldidone, and San Giovanni in Croce; he threatens Cremona. He goes up the Po river to Spinadesco; from there he advances to Acquanegra Cremonese, Grumello Cremonese, and Farfengo. He rejoins the column of Opicino Alciati, occupies several lands, and forcefully acquires (after eight days of siege) the castle of Genivolta. He has some bombards transported from this location that were stored there and sets off for Pumenengo. He crosses the Adda and the territory of Lodi; returns to Piacenza.
Oct.LombardyIn Pavia. With Guido Torelli, he holds the reins of the mount of Pope Martin V, just elected pontiff by the Council of Constance.
Nov. – Dec.Liguria, LombardyUpon the departure of the pontiff for Brescia, he resumes hostilities against the Genoese. He forces Doge Pietro Fregoso to come to an agreement.
1419
Feb. – MayLiguria, LombardyThe first negotiations with the Genoese begin. These conclude in May with a peace that also includes the Marquis of Monferrato. At the end of February, he is noted in Milan at the palace of Porta Vercellina where the secret council is held: he participates as a witness in the investiture of Castelnuovo Calcea in favor of the brothers Giovan Francesco and Pietro Francesco Guttuari.
Apr.MilanCremonaLombardyAt the end of the month, he leaves Milan, accompanied for a stretch of road by Filippo Maria Visconti; he reaches his troops assembled between Crema and Lodi. He divides his army into three corps: Luigi dal Verme is on the left wing, Arrigo Zambra in the center, and Carmagnola positions himself on the right.
MayMilanBrescia, Pallavicini, RossiLombardy, EmiliaHe captures the fortress of Pizzighettone, loots Piadena, and from there extends his conquests throughout the province. He does not seek open battle with his opponents; he prefers a scorched earth policy, devastating the vineyards and crops around Cremona for several days. He then turns towards the Mantuan territory and loots Pieve Delmona, Castelnuovo Gherardi, Castelnuovo del Zappa, and Grumello Cremonese; he takes Binanuova from Antoniolo and from Cristoforo Cortesi. He joins forces with Luigi dal Verme and lays siege to Castelleone: the town surrenders at discretion and is stripped of its goods. Many of the defenders are hanged. Malatesta comes to meet him, breaking the truce made with the Visconti; the lord of Brescia sends two of his captains, Niccolò da Tolentino and Biancarello, to help Fondulo with the justification that Malatesta has acquired Cremona. For his part, Carmagnola receives the oath of allegiance from the communities of Pizzighettone, Maleo, and Castelnuovo Bocca d’Adda; he has Borgo San Donnino (Fidenza) delivered to him by Rolando Pallavicini. The Rossi are also forced to hand over some castles they occupied in the Piacenza area. Having received considerable reinforcements (1000 men among men-at-arms and crossbowmen and 300 horses from the Marquis of Monferrato), with Luigi dal Verme and Arrigo Zambra he returns to the siege of Castelleone. He faces the Brescian militias under the orders of Biancarello and Niccolò da Tolentino, as well as 2000 men from the rural militias of the Cremonese countryside. He attacks the opponents and puts them to flight: two-thirds of the enemies manage to save themselves beyond the Oglio, and one-third suffers heavy losses among the dead and wounded. The garrison of Castelleone surrenders: he has the city looted; many military and civilians, found with weapons, are hanged from the gutters of the houses where they were captured; their bodies are left dangling for several days. He calls to himself Olciati, crosses the Oglio above Pumenengo, and enters the Bergamo area. He obtains Martinengo after paying 12000 florins to the castellan, goes up the Adda, enters Lecco, and in Valsassina obtains the submission of the local Ghibellines. He then moves under Bergamo and lays siege to the city.
JulyLombardyHe defeats the militias of Val Seriana, who came to help Bergamo, at Alzano Lombardo; he obtains the castle of Morengo from Giovanni Suardi (to whom 4000 ducats are handed over in exchange for back pay and the delivery of munitions) and from the Rimini natives Cecco and Antonio Guastafamiglia, the fortress of Cappella of the same capital. In this case, they are allowed to keep the arms and munitions present in the castle, and they are promised the delivery of 3 mounts, one of which belongs to Belmamolo. The chapters of surrender are countersigned by the Duke of Milan the following month. At the end of the month, Bergamo surrenders; in two days, the defenders of the citadel also surrender. Carmagnola is appointed captain-general of the city.
Apr.LombardyHe bursts into the Brescia area, bringing terror: soon Montichiari, Carpenedolo, Calcinato, and Castel Goffredo fall into his hands.
Sept.LombardyHe enters Orzinuovi, vilely abandoned by Andrea da Lecco and Bernardo Bellamusa; he also takes possession of Orzivecchi, Palazzolo on the Oglio, Pontoglio, and Pisogne.
Oct.LombardyHe obtains Rovato with the promise to the inhabitants of 15000 ducats and the reconstruction of the walls knocked down by his bombards. He protects the Visconti partisans everywhere; he brings Val Camonica to terms; then, he turns towards the Cremonese area, and into his power fall Binanuova, Volongo, Fontanella Grazioli, Casalmorano, and Remedello (which surrenders on terms after three days of siege).
Nov.LombardyHe takes possession of Asola; the entire Val di Sabbia is given to him, including the fortresses of Sabbio Chiese and Vobarno. He lays siege to Gabrino Fondulo in Cremona.
1420
Feb.LombardyHe returns to Milan, receives new honors such as exemption from paying taxes. With the surrender of Fondulo, he goes to Cremona where he is received with great magnificence.
Mar.LombardyCarmagnola can now concentrate all his forces against Malatesta alone; he penetrates once more into the Brescia area and ravages the countryside. He recovers the fortresses of Sabbio Chiese and Vobarno; he besieges Galvano della Nozza in Nozza and forces him to surrender along with Giovanni Avogadro.
Apr.LombardyHe camps near the church of San Faustino in Sarezzo and from there he moves under Brescia. In one of such actions, conducted with 300 horses, he is wounded in the neck near the Porta di San Giovanni by a crossbowman named Piloso. He is forced to entrust the command of the troops to Gaspare Visconti and to go to Milan for treatment.
July – Aug.LombardyHaving recovered quickly, he stays in Flero and is noted, above all, for some acts of gratuitous cruelty: he kills with dagger strokes twenty-seven inhabitants captured near the Porta di San Nazzaro, as well as some women found in Flero and accused of espionage; he has the hands cut off two of Malatesta’s archers found outside the walls; he hangs their limbs from their belts and sends them back to Brescia. At the end of August, he is in Pavia where in the city’s main church, Visconti invests Filippino Cane with the county of Biandrate.
Sept.LombardyNiccolò da Tolentino preempts his action with a bold sortie from Chiari.
Oct.LombardyAt the head of 5000 horsemen, he routs 3300 horsemen and 1000 foot soldiers led by Ludovico Migliorati at Montichiari. He divides the army into three parts; Secco da Montagnana and Guido Torelli are initially repelled by the enemy; however, Carmagnola intervenes and puts the enemies to flight, capturing 2500 horses and all the foot soldiers. After the victory, he attacks Nave, Concesio, and lays a stronger siege to Brescia.
Nov. – Dec.LombardyMid-month, he is in Milan, at the castle of Porta Giovia, to witness the delivery of the ducal proxy to the secretary Giovanni Corvini, which authorizes the latter to negotiate with Niccolò d’Este the handover of Parma and Reggio Emilia to the Duke of Milan. Subsequently, Carmagnola, still between November and December, subdues Val Trompia to the ducal dominion. Pandolfo Malatesta continues to resist in Brescia.
1421
Feb.LombardyPandolfo Malatesta surrenders. He cedes Brescia in exchange for 34,000 florins.
Mar.LombardyCarmagnola enters Brescia, provides for the fortification of the city and the castles damaged during the conflict. He returns to Milan where he receives greater riches.
MayMid-month in Milan, his feudal investitures are renewed.
JuneMilanGenoaLiguriaHe attacks the Genoese with Guido Torelli. He moves up the Val Bormida; he pushes into the Riviera di Ponente via Voltri; mid-month, with the favor of the Spinola and del Carretto families, he occupies Albenga. He encounters resistance in Savona.
Sept.LiguriaOnly the blockade from the sea by the Aragonese fleet induces the Genoese to surrender to the ducal forces.
Oct.LiguriaWith Guido Torelli, he begins peace negotiations with the Genoese; these conclude at the beginning of November.
Nov.LiguriaDoge Pietro Fregoso retreats to Sarzana with the promise of receiving 30,000 florins. Carmagnola can thus attack Spinetta Fregoso, who in the previous months has self-proclaimed as the lord of Savona. He takes possession of the castle of Quiliano, sets fire to houses and vineyards, imprisons women and children. The defenders surrender in 15 days; they open the gates to him in exchange for the sum of 15,000 florins.
Dec.LiguriaHe enters Genoa amid the jubilation of bells and trumpet blasts at the head of 3000 infantry and 600 cavalry in an apparently enthusiastic city. He suggests to the citizens to freely give themselves to the Duke of Milan, assuring them that they would benefit more from it. He also persuades the Genoese to recognize for his governance a salary of 8000 Genovese lire and to accept the annual payment of another 24000 lire for the salary of 4 Visconti rectors.
1422
Feb.LombardyHe returns to Milan to assume command of the army against the Swiss. The government of Genoa is entrusted to Urbano di San Luigi.
Mar.LombardyHe is present at the ceremony in which 24 Genoese ambassadors surrender the city to the Duke of Milan unconditionally.
Apr. – MayMilanSwiss CantonsGeneral Captain, 500 lancesSwitzerlandThe Duke of Milan (Il duca di Milano) proposes to the inhabitants of the cantons of Uri and Unterwalden to sell back to him the city and fortress of Bellinzona, which they had acquired in 1419 from the lords De Sacco. Carmagnola occupies Bellinzona (of which he is elected governor) with a surprise attack; partly with arms and partly through agreements, he recovers the Val d’Ossola, Maggia, Verzasca, the Riviera, and the southern part of the Val Levantina. He pushes as far as the San Gottardo. The Swiss begin negotiations for the return of Bellinzona. Carmagnola does not acknowledge this and continues his expansionist policy.
JuneSwitzerlandThe militias of Uri and Unterwalden (4,000 men) invade a good part of the Val Levantina, reaching Bellinzona. They are followed by the troops of Zug and Lucerne: all together, they eventually place their encampments in front of the city under the command of Ulrich Welker. Carmagnola crosses the mountains that divide Moesa from Ticino, surprises the opponents, and takes their supplies; commanding 2,000 lances and 3,000 infantrymen, he faces them with Angelo della Pergola on the plain of Arbedo. Della Pergola, with his men-at-arms, clashes with the square of pikemen. When Carmagnola sees him in difficulty, he decides to change tactics: he sends the crossbowmen to the flanks of the enemy square to attack from behind; like della Pergola, he has the men-at-arms dismount from their steeds, whose lances are longer than the opponents’ halberds. Della Pergola’s attack is decisive. After a few hours, the Swiss try to retreat towards Monte Arpino, where they find the path blocked by the ducal infantry. Many enemies throw themselves into the Ticino. The fight resumes with the arrival of 600 infantrymen, who had remained in the Mesocco valley searching for forage. He gives no quarter to the enemies, even when they are disposed to surrender. He sends his men along the Val Levantina towards the Gotthard Pass, stopping only in front of the Piottino gorge, where he fears an ambush. He returns to Bellinzona. On the ground remain 3,000 Swiss (of whom 1,133 killed in the clash) and 1,000 Visconteans (400 horses of Angelo della Pergola’s company and 600 men from the other 3 squadrons). The booty consists of 1,200 mules. Of the 7 boats that had transported the Swiss contingent to Fluelen, only 2 return with the flags not fallen into the hands of the Visconteans. At the end of the month, Carmagnola returns to Milan. He appears as head in the palace of the secret council, located at Porta Vercellina, for the enfeoffment of Caorso in favor of the heirs of Ottone da Mandello.
July – Aug.LombardyHe stays in Milan for the period of July-August. At the end of August, with Francesco della Mirandola, he acts as a witness in the secret council’s headquarters during the act of enfeoffment of Mulazzo and Rocchetta di Vara in favor of Tommaso Malaspina.
Sept.Lombardy, LiguriaMid-month, he leaves Milan and goes to Liguria to take up the post of sole governor of Genoa. During this period, his income in the duchy amounts to 40,000, 50,000 florins a year.
Dec.LiguriaHis dispatch to the Ligurian capital is interpreted as a punishment, a kind of exile imposed by a circle of courtiers like Zanino Riccio, Oldrado Lampugnani, Sperone da Pietrasanta, and perhaps Guido Torelli, all envious of the fortune of the condottiero. In Genoa: the 4 Visconti governors (Torelli, the Bishop of Novara Pietro de Giorgi, Pietrasanta, and Franchino Castiglione) leave the city without waiting for his arrival. He immediately has his prebends increased by another 5,500 Genoese lire, in addition to the 8,000 that have already been assigned to him.
1423
…………MilanFlorenceRomagnaHe faces (it is uncertain) the Florentines in Romagna for some time.
…………LiguriaThe duke orders him to prepare a fleet in Genoa to oppose the Aragonese one in the Kingdom of Naples. Carmagnola convinces the city senate to allocate 200,000 Genoese lire for this purpose.
Nov. – Dec.LiguriaIn November, 13 ships and 13 galleys are ready. Contrary to his expectations, the command of the fleet is assigned to his rival, Guido Torelli.
1424
Sept.He remains in Genoa without accomplishing anything notable. In September, his governorship ends, and he is recalled to Milan.
Oct.Liguria, LombardyHe leaves Genoa; he is replaced in his role as governor by the Cardinal of Sant’Eustachio, Giacomo Isolani. He is hopeful that he will be entrusted with the general captaincy to counter the Aragonese in the Kingdom of Naples. However, the expedition is cancelled, and he must dismiss the militias he had already gathered.
Nov.Lombardy, PiedmontHis difficulties at court increase, where he has numerous enemies, including the ducal counselors Giovanni Corvini, Giannino Riccio, Oldrado Lampugnani (a friend of Guido Torelli), and Sperone da Pietrasanta. He is ordered to dismiss the 500 lances of his company. Disregarding the order, he goes to Abbiategrasso, where he vainly tries to have a meeting with Visconti to make him change his mind. The duke refuses to receive him and sends him back to Giannino Riccio. He inveighs against his slanderers and reproaches Visconti, whom he glimpses from a distance, for his ingratitude and treachery. Furious, he rushes out of the castle, pursued for some time by Oldrado Lampugnani with a few horses. He leaves his wife and daughters in Sale; crosses the Ticino, Agogna, Sesia, and Dora rivers, and takes refuge in the Marquisate of Saluzzo.
1425
Jan.Piedmont, Switzerland, Austria, Trentino, VenetoHe goes to Ivrea to Duke Amedeo of Savoy, to whom he offers his services. Rejected, he crosses the Pennine Alps, Switzerland, and Tyrol, and arrives in Trento. From this city, with 30 armed attendants (and a lot of money), he passes through Pergine Valsugana, Feltre, Quero, Treviso, and arrives incognito in Venice. The Duke of Milan immediately confiscates all his possessions in the Milanese territory in favor of Carlo Malatesta.
Feb.Venice300 lancesVenetoThe Venetians, albeit with some hesitation, grant him a contract: an advance payment for the lances is given to him, and 2,000 ducats are lent to him. An annual provision of 6,000 ducats is recognized for him.
Apr.VenetoHe swears allegiance to the Serenissima (the Venetian Republic). He establishes his residence in Treviso, in the episcopal palace.
Aug.VenetoHe falls badly from a horse and suffers an attack of jaundice. In Treviso, Gerardo da Rubiera, a familiar of the duke, is arrested; he, along with the Milanese exile Giovanni Aliprandi, was tasked by Visconti with poisoning Carmagnola. The conspirators are executed. Carmagnola is reported convalescing in Padua; he then returns to Treviso.
Sept.VenetoHe hosts the Marquis of Este in the episcopal palace of Treviso, who is passing through on his way to Udine.
Nov.VenetoHe advocates for an alliance between the Venetians and Florentines against the Visconti.
1426
Feb.General captain, 333 lancesVeneto, LombardyHe is granted a monthly salary of 1,000 ducats. In Venice, in St. Mark’s Square, the doge personally presents him with the insignia of command. It is said that during the festivities, Carmagnola encounters his father dressed in humble attire. He wants him by his side throughout the day, honoring him with love. The Serenissima (Venetian Republic) makes available to the condottiero an army of 16,000 cavalry and 8,000 infantry. Carmagnola sets off for Mantua with the two general providers, Marco Dandolo and Giorgio Corner.
Mar.LombardyHe is near Brescia, relying on the Guelph party led by the Avogadro family, who have rebelled against the oppressive government of Lampugnani and Jacopino da Costioli. Following talks with Galeazzo Porcellaga and Lorenzo Boni, the city gates are opened to him: only the citadel and other fortresses continue to resist the Venetians. He maintains strict discipline among his men-at-arms and conducts continuous skirmishes to weaken the resistance of the opponents. Great festivities take place in Venice to celebrate the fall of Brescia.
Apr.Lombardy, VenetoHe captures Quinzano d’Oglio; falling ill, he goes to Verona. He asks the Senate for permission to go to the Caldiero baths for treatment. He leaves command to Gian Francesco Gonzaga.
MayVeneto, LombardyIn Venice, he is honorarily inscribed into the Major Council. The Senate also promises him some fiefs beyond the Adda river. Mid-month, he returns to the field and intercepts in the Brescia area 160 loads of flour and a convoy carrying bombardment powder, escorted by 150 horses, intended for the defenders of the Brescia citadel. He is unable to prevent Francesco Sforza from exiting the citadel; he pursues and harasses him during his retreat. There is a clash between the two condottieri at Montichiari.
June – JulyLombardyHe positions the bombards and persists in striking the fortresses of Brescia. Niccolò da Tolentino suggests digging a double moat around the city, fortifying it with embankments and towers, thereby closing off any external relief routes to the besieged. The work will take four months, partly due to his disagreements with Tolentino, as he is intolerant of ideas and projects that do not align with his own. The Duke of Milan sends two Venetian prisoners and some of his attendants to his camp to inform him that he is being tasked with negotiating peace. Carmagnola informs the Senate; this leads to some discussions, conducted by Corradino da Vimercate and Moretto da San Nazaro. The negotiations are prolonged, as their purpose is to buy time for the ducal forces.
Aug.LombardyAfter a fierce struggle, he conquers the fortress of Porta Pile and that of Porta Gazzetta in Brescia.
Sept.LombardyHe repels an attack led by Niccolò Piccinino and Guido Torelli with 4,000 cavalry, 3,500 infantry, and many Genoese crossbowmen, aimed at relieving the defenders of the Brescia citadel. The clash occurs between the Porta di Torrelonga, Porta Sant’Alessandro, and the “Prato del vescovo”; the Visconteans are driven back with the capture of 350 horses and 200 infantry. The opponents fall back to Montichiari. The citadel also falls into the hands of the Venetians; the only resistance is now concentrated in the castle, guarded by Antonio da Landriano. Carmagnola, who is bound by an old friendship with this captain, tries to bribe him. Meanwhile, he wishes to move to Chiari, whose defenders ask for his presence to surrender. At the last moment, heeding the advice of Niccolò da Tolentino, he sends numerous saccomanni in the vanguard, and they foil an ambush set against him.
Oct.Lombardy, VenetoHe occupies Montichiari, Carpenedolo, and other small territories; he is given permission to leave the field to go to the baths of Abano Terme.
Nov.Lombardy, VenetoThe Florentines send him reinforcements of 4,000 cavalry and 2,000 infantry, so that Carmagnola now commands almost 30,000 men (10,000 infantry, 14,000 cavalry, and 5,000 archers) against the 23,000 of the ducal army (8,000 infantry, 10,000 cavalry, and 2,000 soldiers defending the castle of Brescia). Antonio da Landriano is forced to surrender; Carmagnola can then go to Venice and meet with the Florentine ambassador Rinaldo degli Albizzi and several Visconti ambassadors engaged in peace negotiations. He returns to the field and distributes the army into winter quarters in the Brescia area. He obtains permission to live in Brescia: initially, he takes up residence in the apartments formerly of Malatesta in the Broletto; later, he purchases a palace from Gaspare Malvezzi in the Sant’Agata district. He establishes his headquarters in the city, which from this point on is destined to remain as the base of the general captain of the Serenissima.
Dec.LombardyUpon the conclusion of peace, he exacts personal revenge by forcing the former governor of the city, Oldrado Lampugnani, to lay down his arms before him. In Milan, his wife and daughters are released; all his possessions in the duchy are returned to him.
1427
Feb.LombardyHe is in Brescia. He does not go to Venice when summoned there to express his opinion on a potential new war with Visconti.
Mar.VenetoHe is in Abano Terme for medical treatment.
Apr.VeniceMilanGeneral captainVeneto, LombardyHe goes to Mantova, where strong pressure is exerted on him to move to the aid of Casalmaggiore. He refuses any action, considering it irrelevant to the conflict. The locality surrenders at the end of the month, and Fantino Pisani, who is in charge of the garrison, is recalled to Venice to be severely punished.
MayLombardyHe leaves Castenedolo with 16,000 cavalry and wins over several castellans guarding the ducal fortresses to the Venetian cause. He ravages the countryside and easily occupies Calvisano, Quinzano d’Oglio, Longhena, Orzivecchi, Cadignano, Maclodio, Pompiano, Verola. Highly centralized in his approach, he complains about the conduct of his condottieri who sometimes act impulsively against his orders, in his view of the art of war. Despite their victory over the Visconteans led by Petrino da Tortona and Alberico da Barbiano, he reproaches them. Carmagnola approaches Gottolengo, preceded by Niccolò Piccinino who strengthens its garrison. Unaware of this, Carmagnola carelessly sets up camp near the castle, allowing his soldiers to rest in disarray. Angelo della Pergola, Guido Torelli, Francesco Sforza, and Niccolò Piccinino launch a surprise attack on Ascension Day, capturing 1,500 of his horses. He is saved from defeat only by Gian Francesco Gonzaga’s intervention, which somewhat rebalances the battle. He finds a scapegoat in one of his men-at-arms who, having fled the battlefield, had convinced Gonzaga of his defeat, causing a delay in Gonzaga’s movements. The man-at-arms is hanged. The Venetians encourage Carmagnola and send him 1,000 ducats to distribute to the soldiers to re-equip themselves. The enemies halt their march, allowing him to recover Remedello, Visano, Gambara, Isorella. He then targets Binanuova while Francesco Bembo’s fleet ascends the Po and moves from Brescello to Casalmaggiore. He occupies, loses, and reconquers Binanuova: in one such engagement, Francesco Sforza throws some Venetian soldiers into the Oglio; Carmagnola does the same to the Sforzians when he retakes the center. He heads towards the castle of San Giovanni in Croce, attacking it after demanding its surrender: he captures and loots it, imprisoning the men.
JuneLombardyHe is injured in an attack at Palazzolo sull’Oglio; fords the river, enters the Cremonese territory, and subdues Piadena, Isola Dovarese, and other lands such as San Lorenzo and Robecco d’Oglio. He is ordered to target Pizzighettone; Giacomo Barbarigo informs him of the dispatch of 25,000 ducats and the strengthening of the fleet. Despite commanding 22,000 cavalry, 8,000 infantry, and 6,000 cernite at this time, he does not attempt to cross the Adda, but wastes time on futile diversionary initiatives. He heads towards Cremona, hoping for the support of the Cavalcabò and the Guelph faction to take the city: he stops at Soncino while the Ghibellines from the countryside enter Cremona in his defense. He seeks open battle; his challenge is not accepted.
JulyLombardyHe is attacked near Pizzighettone, at Castelsecco, by Angelo della Pergola, Guido Torelli, and Francesco Sforza, who penetrate his fortified camp. Carmagnola organizes his militias and strengthens the moat with infantry to give the men-at-arms time to prepare for the clash. He also places 8,000 men armed with crossbows and lances in a nearby forest. Injured, dismounted, and then remounted on his horse, he is once again saved by the timely arrival of Gonzaga. The dust raised by the horses makes the outcome of the battle uncertain. After four hours, the Visconteans are repelled (500 Milanese prisoners; 700 Venetian horses lost); they fall back to Cremona. Carmagnola reinforces the army of the Po and recaptures Casalmaggiore, guarded by Antonio da Pontedera.
Aug.LombardyHe arrives at Sommo with the providers Silvestro Morosini and Tommaso Michiel: Rolando Pallavicini is accepted as recommended by the Serenissima. Following Francesco Brembo’s naval victory, he re-crosses the Oglio; returning to the Brescian area, near Pralboino, Sforza and Piccinino, during his absence, had managed to reclaim several centers for the Visconteans. He again conquers Binanuova and Quinzano d’Oglio; meanwhile, the Senate is restless due to his substantial inactivity. With Gonzaga, he defeats Carlo Malatesta near Gottolengo and captures the center.
Sept.LombardyHe starts discussing moving troops to winter camps; the Senate opposes his plan and sends new general providers to his camp, namely Leonardo Mocenigo and Fantino Michiel. Although slowly, he strengthens the defensive works of Binanuova and marches with the entire army along the left bank of the Oglio, entering Urago. He fails to take the castle; he aims for Montichiari and prepares to besiege the town. Now, the first negative rumors about him arise, fueled by the providers and Gonzaga himself.
Oct.LombardyHe is reassured and shifts his responsibilities onto the commanders accustomed to warring in the Kingdom of Naples, who are therefore used to moving into winter quarters in autumn. He requests more money to increase the pay of his men and keep them in the territory; 32,000 ducats are sent to him. He reaches an agreement at Montichiari and unexpectedly arrives at Maclodio, on the road from Brescia to Orzinuovi, near the enemy camp. He lures Carlo Malatesta, Piccinino, Sforza, Angelo della Pergola, and Torelli onto a bank, around which – amidst marshes – rise thicket patches where he lays archers and crossbowmen in ambush. Simultaneously, he sends Bernardino degli Ubaldini and Niccolò da Tolentino to occupy a forest at the head of a bridge leading to the bank and retreats his men behind the bridge on the bank. Everything proceeds according to plan: the Visconteans (18,000 cavalry and 8,000 infantry) are attacked from behind and on the flanks by the Venetians (12,000 cavalry and 6,000 infantry). The battle ends with the capture of Carlo Malatesta and 10,000 men, who are almost immediately released according to the customs of the time. Milanese sources tend to downplay both the number of casualties and captured commanders, while Venetian figures are likely exaggerated. The victory proves futile because Carmagnola does not pursue the ducal army to its annihilation and fails to prevent the fugitives from taking refuge in Soncino. The Senate urges him to be more active: he enters the Orzinuovi countryside and spreads his troops from Ovanengo to San Giacomo. He begins bombarding Orzinuovi; after sixteen days, he negotiates the surrender of the fortress, defended by Cristoforo Corniano and Giacomo Rodengo. The locality agrees to pay a large ransom to the Venetians and contribute numerous carts of wine and wheat for the provisioning of the militias.
Nov.LombardyOrzinuovi swears solemn allegiance to the Serenissima in the hands of Carmagnola himself, with Belpetro Manelmi, Orso Orsini, and Antonio da Martinengo present. Together with Niccolò da Tolentino, he easily conquers Pontoglio (where he defeats Niccolò Piccinino), Castrezzato, Roccafranca, Chiari, Lovere, Pisogne, and other castles in the Iseo countryside. He unsuccessfully assaults Palazzolo sull’Oglio and sends troops to plunder Cividate Camuno; he initiates negotiations for the surrender of numerous territories in the Val Camonica under the control of Giacomo Barbarigo. Furthermore, in agreement with the Senate, he initiates discussions to persuade Lorenzo Attendolo to leave Visconti’s service; many men-at-arms and broken lances from the companies of Angelo della Pergola and Niccolò Piccinino are also convinced to do the same. However, commanders reluctant to obey him are removed from their positions.
Dec.LombardyHe moves against Bergamo and is repelled; however, he manages to take control of much of the Seriana, Brembana, Valsassina, Cavallina, and San Martino Valleys. The war increasingly devolves into small raids and ambushes, serving only to keep both armies constantly vigilant.
1428
Jan. – Feb.LombardyIn Brescia. Peace negotiations between the contenders begin. Visconti sends his ambassadors to Carmagnola to request his intervention for this purpose.
Mar.VenetoHe requests a leave to undergo medical treatment in the Paduan area.
Apr.General captainVenetoUpon the conclusion of the Peace of Ferrara, he is welcomed in Venice with great celebrations and is reconfirmed in the command of the troops. He is gifted a palace in the city on the Grand Canal near Sant’Eustachio, previously granted to and then taken from Pandolfo Malatesta. He is granted an annual annuity of 2,000 ducats and is invested with Castenedolo at the expense of Brunoro Gambara.
JuneLombardyHe establishes his residence between Castenedolo and Martinengo. Once more, he is contacted by Filippo Maria Visconti.
Aug.Lombardy, Emila, TuscanyThe Duke of Milan fully absolves him from all bans and reinstates him in his allodial properties and in the rank he held before his flight. Carmagnola travels to Bologna, Bagni di Petriolo, and San Filippo with his escort of 300 infantry and 60 lances. He stays in Siena for a few days, arousing some suspicion in the city with his presence. He then travels to Florence.
Sept.LombardyIn the Brescia area. Visconti continually tries to lure him away from the Venetian payroll.
1429
Jan. – Feb.500 lancesLombardy, VenetoHe requests leave from the Senate; the Republic does not accept his request for a period of rest and reflection. He asks for a contract of 1,000 lances but receives a counteroffer of 500. He is again reconfirmed as the general captain; a monthly provision of 1,000 ducats is granted to him in wartime and 500 in peacetime. The term is set for two years, with an additional two years of respect. In Venice, the doge names him in St. Mark’s Square as the Count of Chiari and Roccafranca, including the territories of Clusane on the Lake and Rudiano, which bring an annual income of 12,000 ducats.
Apr. MayTuscanyAccompanied by his personal escort of 60 lances and 300 infantry, he travels to Tuscany for treatment at the Bagni di Petriolo; on his return, he stops in Florence. He undertakes a spying mission against the Sienese, reporting to the Florentines on the state of the fortifications of their rival city.
JuneVeneto LombardyLocated in Venice and Chiari, reached by new messengers of the Visconti, Carmagnola always keeps the Senate informed about the related contacts.
…………FriuliIn Cividale del Friuli.
Dec.VenetoIn Venice.
1430
Jan.Veneto, LombardyMeets in Venice with a Florentine embassy. Returns to the Brescian area. The Duke of Milan resorts to his mediation to resolve the conflicts arising from the harassments of the ducal forces towards the Marquis of Mantova.
Mar.VenetoHas permission to go to Venice: presents to the Signoria the latest message received from the Visconti; asks for instructions on this matter. It is advised to abstain from such practices and to make this clear to the duke.
…………Lombardy, VenetoAs a result of the victories of the ducal forces over the Florentines in the war of Lucca, Carmagnola enlists Guidantonio Manfredi. He is recalled from Brescia to Venice to confer personally about the conduct of the war.
1431
Jan.VeniceMilanLombardyThe conflict resumes without an explicit declaration from the two contending states. Carmagnola asks the Senate that, in case of victory, part of the duchy be assigned to him: he receives a partly positive response.
Feb.LombardyNegotiates with Soncino Vistarini and tries to seize Lodi. The Duke foils the plot, forcing him to retreat from the Lodi area; he settles for devastating its countryside with 5000 men, including cavalry and infantry. Attempts to engage in other secret practices, including that of bribing the castellan of Soncino, Filippo Lampugnani, a relative of Oldrado.
Mar.LombardySupera l’Oglio e si presenta sotto Soncino con 3000 cavalli e 2000 fanti: viene colto in un’ imboscata nei pressi di Azzanello dalle milizie di Francesco Sforza e di Niccolò da Tolentino (il condottiero ha mutato bandiera) nascoste nelle macchie vicine. La battaglia dura accanita fino a notte;  ripara a  Brescia con soli sette cavalli. Le sue perdite ascendono a 1000/1500 cavalli ed a 500 fanti; i fuggiaschi si rifugiano ad Orzinuovi ed in altre terre vicine.
Apr.625 lancesLombardyI veneziani mettono a punto la flotta sul Po e gli accrescono la condotta di altre 125 lance. Alcuni cittadini veneziani criticano in modo aspro il suo modo di condurre le operazioni;   si offende ed il Senato è obbligato ad inviargli Fantino Michiel per rabbonirlo.
MayLombardyGli è consegnato nel duomo di Brescia dai provveditori  fantino Michiel e Paolo Corner il gonfalone di San Marco. Ha a disposizione 12454 cavalli e numerosi fanti. Esce da Orzinuovi e per la via di Calcio, Covo e Fontanella punta su Soncino.
JuneLombardyIs repelled from Soncino by Sforza; 500 horses are captured from him. He ravages the territory, turns south, and sets up his camp between Sesto and Uniti and Spinadesco, intending to force the crossing of the Adda. Appoints as his field marshals Guidantonio Manfredi, Luigi dal Verme, Luigi da San Severino, and Lorenzo Attendolo. Decides to approach Cremona while Niccolò Trevisan’s fleet sails up the Po. Faces Francesco Sforza, Niccolò Piccinino, and Niccolò da Tolentino; on the river, the Visconti fleet led by Giovanni Grimaldi and Pasino degli Eustachi. Carmagnola is deceived by two false Milanese deserters who inform him of an imminent ducal assault on his camp; hence, he decides not to move to the aid of Trevisan’s fleet when it is attacked by land and water by the enemies. Only 5 or 6 galleys (out of 28) survive the defeat: among the Venetians, 1500 are killed, with another 400 wounded dying in the hospital in Cremona. The prisoners number about 4000; among them are Niccolò Trevisan and the provveditor Marino Contarini. The defeat costs the Serenissima 600,000 florins in lost military material. Carmagnola quarrels with the provveditor Paolo Corner, who urges him to cross the Adda and occupy Brivio with the fortress of Airuno, which are promised to him by Giovanni di Brianzo. His view to focus once again on Soncino prevails.
JulyLombardyObtains Fontanella in exchange for the payment of 1000 ducats. His action is always characterized by slowness.
Aug.LombardyConsiders the campaign finished. The Senate and the provveditor Daniele Vitturi try in vain to dissuade him from this resolution.
Sept.LombardyHis troops remain idle in the Brescian area while the Savoyard marshal Manfredi di Saluzzo, camped with the ducal forces between Bergamo and Treviglio, seizes Morengo, Bariano, and Fontanella to the detriment of the Venetians.
Oct.LombardyThe Visconti forces invade Monferrato, forcing the Marquis to take refuge in Venice. In the camp, Carmagnola is constantly in dispute with some condottieri who accuse him of lack of vigor: among these are Pietro Giampaolo Orsini and Gonzaga. Also, an epizootic, which kills more than 8000 horses, and his fear of Piccinino, contribute to his substantial inactivity: the troops are sent to winter quarters. In the same days, moreover, Bartolomeo Colleoni and Guglielmo Cavalcabò take possession of the Porta di San Luca in Cremona by night and ask for support in their initiative. Carmagnola moves with 800 horses only after two days to avoid any ambush, enters Bordolano and Torricella del Pizzo; he eventually desists from operations.
Nov.Lombardy, Veneto, FriuliHe is urged by the Podestà of Padua, Paolo Corner, to move away from Lombardy with 2000 cavalry and 1000 infantry to oppose the invasion of the Hungarians of Emperor Sigismund of Hungary in Friuli. He wastes time and informs the Senate that he has been approached by a relative of the Duke, Damiano da Imola, who has proposed him as a mediator of peace between the two parties. Finally, he departs for Friuli with 4500 cavalry, reaches Conegliano, and arrives at Rosazzo only after the adversaries have already been defeated.
Dec.Veneto, LombardyIn Venice to be consulted on the strategy to follow. His companies return to their quarters in the Brescian and Veronese areas. He too returns to the Brescian area: suspicions about his behavior grow stronger; Paolo Corner is the new provveditor in the field.
1432
Jan.LombardyPressure is again applied for an immediate crossing of the Adda. The Duke of Milan, for his part, continuously has him contacted by his trusted men for alleged peace offers and negotiations.
Feb.LombardyThe Senate, informed of his continuous privileged relations with Filippo Maria Visconti, forbids him to pursue this direction; however, Carmagnola does not comply with the ban, which is reiterated to him. His inertia is increasingly criticized, especially because the army under his command amounts to 9600 cavalry, 8000 infantry, 800 crossbowmen, 6000 cernide, and other auxiliary militias. He does not respond to the urgencies: instead, he induces the inhabitants of Bordolano to surrender to Piccinino without any resistance; he does not even consider the information provided by Gonzaga about enemy raids in the county of Asola. He also refuses to turn to Soncino upon hearing of the collapse of part of the city walls. His correspondence is intercepted by order of the Council of Ten.
Mar.LombardyThe accusation of treason is discussed by the Council of Ten. Carmagnola is summoned to Venice, through the messenger Giovanni d’Imperio, along with Gonzaga: the reason given is to provide the Senate with some strategic indications.
Apr.Lombardy, VenetoLeaves Brescia and arrives in Venice where, at the beginning of the month, he is greeted by eight nobles who escort him to the Doge’s Palace. After dismissing the escort, he is informed that the doge, being unwell, cannot meet with him that evening. Upon leaving the palace, he is arrested along with his chancellor Giovanni de Moris; his wife and family members are imprisoned, first in Verona and then in Venice, where they are brought with shackles on their feet. The trial against him begins immediately; the judging panel consists of twice the number of members than usual under normal procedure. The trial drags on for almost a month. Many official documents, including the confession, have now disappeared. It seems that many of these contained sufficient evidence to convince the court of the validity of the charges. Subjected to torture, Carmagnola confesses everything.
MayIn early May, after a ten-day suspension for Holy Week and Easter, the investigative commission presents its report, along with a detailed confession of treason. He is judged with 26 votes in favor and only one against. However, there is some division among the judges regarding the death sentence. The proposal for life imprisonment, put forward by Doge Francesco Foscari and three of his advisors, receives 8 votes against 19 for the death penalty. That same evening, he is brought to the scaffold, between the two columns of Saints Theodore and Mark in St. Mark’s Square, with a bar in his mouth (a gag) to prevent him from speaking to the crowd. Three axe blows are needed to behead him. His assets, valued at 300,000 ducats, are confiscated; his wife is confined in Treviso with an allowance of 10,000 ducats; each unmarried daughter is promised a dowry of 5,000 ducats. Under the escort of 24 men with torches, the body is taken to San Francesco della Vigna for burial. Since his last wish, as reported by the confessor, is to be buried in the church of Santa Maria dei Frari, he is buried in the cloister of the Cà Granda. Later, his body is transferred to Milan at the request of his wife to be entombed in a marble tomb in the chapel of the Conception of the church of San Francesco Grande. His remains were lost when the church was demolished in 1813. It was said that his remains were brought back to Venice to the Frari and placed in a wooden sarcophagus above the door, in the south nave leading to the cloister. In 1874, this tomb was opened; examination of the bones reveals no trace of spinal column cuts. Of his four daughters, Margherita marries Bernabò da San Severino, Elisabetta with Francesco Visconti, Luchina with Luigi dal Verme, and Antonia with Guarnieri da Castiglione. Alessandro Manzoni draws inspiration from his figure for his first tragedy “Il conte di Carmagnola”. An ode by Guarino Guarini in his honor is contested by Pier Candido Decembrio. Portraits by Bramantino and Ferramola; he is also depicted by Jacopo da Bassano in the ceiling of the hall of the Maggior Consiglio in Venice, and later by Hayez. Recently, an episode from the life of the condottiero was revisited in Claudio Uberti’s docu-fiction “Francesco di Bussone. Il conte di Carmagnola. La battaglia di Maclodio”.

Sources

-“Il Carmagnola era soldato di fortuna ed il più esperto milite di Facino (Cane).” DAVERIO

-“Viene indicato come promotore di una scuola di guerra, ma le cui capacità militari, pur notevole, sono state ampiamente enfatizzate dalla mitografia.” BALESTRACCI

-“Guerriero..di straordinario valore, di stratagemmi militari fecondo, cauto nel divisare i consigli e pronto nell’eseguirli, e oltreacciò amato dalle milizie, e ubbidito e rispettato dagli ufficiali.” FABRETTI

-“Vedi ‘l gran Carmagnola che s’accolse/A sua obedienza Italia e l’arme,/E ‘l degno onor s’accumulò e volse./Di quanti eccelsi ho scritto, costui parme/Più franco, più temuto ed onorato,/ E guidò meglio un esercito d’arme./E quando recitassi il magno stato/E l’opre singular che gli altri avanza,/Tu rimarresti oppresso ed insensato.” Cambino Aretino riportato da FABRETTI

-“In realtà la vicenda del Carmagnola si rivela istruttiva qualora si guardi da vicino a tutto il suo retroterra e soprattutto al lungo dissidio che turbò i rapporti tra le autorità della Serenissima e il condottiere durante il periodo in cui, dal 1426 al 1432, egli rimase al loro soldo. Uno dei punti che suscitava i maggiori dissapori era quello relativo al periodo di tempo in cui l’esercito doveva restare attivo..Le autorità veneziane desideravano tenere l’esercito in attività e unito il più a lungo possibile, per avere il miglior frutto dal danaro speso ed essere difese da eventuali attacchi. Era però abituale, soprattutto al sud, che si facesse una campagna attiva soltanto in due periodi relativamente brevi dell’anno, la primavera e l’inizio dell’estate e poi l’autunno…In ognuno degli anni in cui rimase al servizio di Venezia come capitano generale il Carmagnola ebbe a litigare con le autorità per l’interruzione di agosto. Il timore delle autorità venete non era solo che così il loro territorio restasse scoperto, dato che nulla assicurava che il nemico milanese avrebbe fatto lo stesso, ma anche che non si riuscisse poi agevolmente a radunare l’esercito per la campagna d’autunno. Il Carmagnola obiettò che era arduo svolgere operazioni belliche nel pieno dell’estate e che a Napoli era normale, in quel periodo dell’anno, disperdere l’esercito e interrompere le operazioni. Ovviamente la risposta veneziana fu che la Lombardia non era il regno di Napoli…(Inoltre) il Carmagnola era uno che combatteva..con più vigore degli altri condottieri, ma pure con più rigore osteggiava l’uso delle ispezioni. L’usanza di moltiplicare le ispezioni all’esercito operante era reputata oltremodo irragionevole da parte dei condottieri. Costoro preferivano rimandare il conto delle perdite in uomini, cavalli e armamenti (dato di base per la valutazione delle paghe effettivamente riconosciute) al momento in cui avessero fatto ritorno nelle loro basi e questa loro preferenza non era dettata dal desiderio di intascare anche il denaro dei caduti, bensì dall’intenzione dettata dal desiderio di comprare cavalli e armamenti  a prezzi più stabili e di avere più agio nel reclutamento (dei rimpiazzi)..Era una sorta di circolo vizioso e, mentre i suoi capitani ricorrevano ad ogni specie di sotterfugi per ingannare gli ispettori, il Carmagnola venne ai ferri corti con le stesse autorità della Serenissima….Uno dei soldati più prestigiosi d’Italia..Nessuna delle prove raccolte dai Dieci ci è stata conservata, ma in un certo senso la cosa è non rilevante. Una volta presa la decisione di arrestare il Carmagnola rimanevano ben poche alternative a una soluzione definitiva. Incarcerare o esiliare un uomo di quella fatta avrebbe provocato soltanto problemi e pericoli politici a non finire; l’esecuzione pubblica presentava il grande vantaggiodi costituire un avvertimento salutare per i suoi colleghi ed eventuali successori.” MALLETT 

-“Opinione comune a quanti scrissero di lui è ch’egli fosse d’animo superiore alla propria condizione, avidissimo di onori, d’una superbia senza limiti e così facile all’ira da lasciarsi andare a una straordinaria improntitudine di linguaggio. Testardo fin da ragazzo, pochissimo paziente, precoce nel discorso, il genere di vita cui s’era dato non doveva avere spuntati certi spigoli della sua indole né addolcite certe rigidezze irritanti. ..Se ebbe merito di esperto e prudente nelle arti della pace, merito ben più grande..ottenne come capitano. Nato e fatto per l’armi a queste principalmente attese, trascurando lettere e studi di cui anzi fu tanto ignorante da non conoscere nemmanco i segni dell’alfabeto. E di soldato ebbe tutte le qualità, tolleranza della fame e della sete tanto da resistere anco tre giorni al digiuno, operosità, risolutezza, coraggio a tutta prova, acutezza di mente e quella intuizione di discernere di primo sguardo le condizioni e le circostanze del momento e trovare tosto l’espediente più opportuno..Era inoltre abile negli stratagemmi di guerra e sapeva negli accidenti nuovi pigliare nuovi partiti. Quanto a scienza militare ne’ suoi primi tempi era solito fare assegnamento specialmente su piccole colonne di cavalieri bene esercitati e bene armati; ma siccome questi non potevano resistere a lungo in battaglia ove, più che a colpire il nemico, si badava a far dei prigionieri,..abbandonò questo sistema..Egli tenne un pò del metodo di Braccio e un pò quello di Attendolo Sforza, accrescendo come il primo il numero degli uffiziali per rendere più rapide e agevoli le evoluzioni, e imitando il secondo nel combattere con grandi masse piuttosto che con drappelli separati. L’esperienza poi lo rese cauto nelle marce e nel porre gli accampamenti e nell’assicurarli.” BATTISTELLA

-“Il più accreditato Capitano, che si avesse allora l’Italia, ma famoso ancora per la sua superbia.” MURATORI

-“Accoppiò alla valentia, alla scienza militare gran dovizia di politici accorgimenti; usò, secondo l’occasione, ora la forza, ora le vie coperte e gl’inganni; talora anche la crudeltà; ed acquistò fama di primo capitano dell’età sua.” CIBRARIO

-“Capitano a’ suoi dì celeberrimo.” POGGIALI

-“Vincere scis, carmagnola; victoria uti nescis aut non vis.” BIONDO

-“El quale non obstante fosse de bassa condicione, niente de manco fu homo excelente ne l’arte militare, et de tanto animo e sapere che, mentre fu con Felipo (Filippo Maria Visconti), sempre vinse.” CAGNOLA

-“Gran Capitano.” CAVALCANTI

-“Fuit..vir crudelis, et ex vili genere ad summam fortunam evasit preter quam ad finem, in quo colligitur felicitas.” ANNALES FOROLIVIENSES

-“Capitano di valore, e di savia direzione.” DIEDO

-“Buon soldato, buon comandante, uomo destro, ed astuto, nato agl’intrighi, d’un carattere fiero, inflessibile, ed orgoglioso; cattivo politico, che disertò dal primo suo Principe, che tradì il secondo, non conoscendo bene né l’uno, né l’altro.” BROGNOLI

-“Famoso capitano de quei tempi.” GUALDO PRIORATO

-“Molto patiente nella fatica, et pronto, et ardito ad essequire tutte le fattioni importanti.” GIOVIO

-“Ben fu degno d’hor l’atto gentile,/ Che verso il padre tuo mostrasti, alhora/ Che colmo di pietà dentro, e di fuora/ D’ire abbracciarlo non havesti a vile./ Fu questo ufficio d’animo virile,/ Et più che le tue prove assai t’honora:/ Talche perciò sia vivo, e chiaro ogn’hora/ Il nome illustre, onde non hai simile./ Da si bella pietà merti più lode,/ Cha da mille atti d’armi, e di valore,/ Da quali ancor la tua memoria gode./ Sopra ciò non potrà l’empio furore/ Del tempo, non l’invidia che si rode:/ Quella che già ti spinse a l’ultime hore.” A. Fumano. Da un sonetto in suo onore raccolto dal GIOVIO

-“Dalla condizione di semplice contadino erasi innalzato col suo valore e buona condotta alli primi gradi della milizia.. Carmagnola aveva una franchezza e quell’elevatezza di sentimento, che le persone qualificate caratterizzano per orgoglio in un uomo di fortuna..Fu uno de’ maggiori Capitani del suo secolo, né uomo alcuno seppe meglio di lui mantenere in un’armata la disciplina e subordinazione. Aveva la bravura del soldato, e la qualità del comandante.” LAUGIER

-“Famosissimo Capitano.” PELLINI

-“Capitano senza paura.” SERCAMBI

-“Era il carmagnola di giusta e quadrata statura; assai forte, di carnagione rubiconda, di capelli e d’occhi castagnicci.” ROSCIO

-“Allora condottieri di gran nome..Capitano valoroso, e sollecito oltre modo.” SABELLICO

-“Divenuto chiarissimo tra tutti..i capitani.” SERRA

-“Nam militari se tam clarus illustrisque..In nullo fortuna magis lusisse videri potest, quam in hoc ipso Francisco.” EGNAZIO

-In uno scontro con Francesco Sforza “El Carmagnola vien con la sua gente/ Come gli vide al dato ordine eguali/ ma poi che su le porte el fu presente/ El gran Sforzesco fece eruttione,/ Et di gran strage lo lassò perdente.” CORNAZZANO

-“Erat..vir quo nemo in participandis honoribus avarior.” CORNAZZANO

-Alla battaglia di Maclodio “S’ode a destra uno squillo di tromba;/ A sinistra risponde uno squillo:/ D’ambo i lati calpesto rimbomba/ Da cavalli e da fanti il terren./ Quinci spunta per l’aria un vessillo;/ Quindi un altro s’avanza spiegato;/ Ecco appare un drappello schierato;/ Ecco un altro che incontro gli vien.” MANZONI

-“Dux sagax..Justitia in eo, summaque severitas vigent. Latrocinia furtaque in castris acerrime vindicavit; praedonibus infensus, honoris vero cupidus multorum supplicio vias tutas a latronibus etiam inter arma reddidit. Venetorum mores pertaesum, a fide prolapsum dicunt. Quidam nulla culpa mortem meruisse tradunt, sed ejus superbiam in cives Venetos contumeliosam, exosamque omnibus, praebuisse causam necis. Quod verisimile ferunt, cum ejus adeo obductum fuerit, cum duceretur ad poenam, ut ne verbum quidem proloqui potuerit, neque ulla mortis causa sit prolata. Utamque sit, dux belli suae aetatis praecipius fuit, et obscuris ortus parentibus propria virtute ad maximam gloriam, et summum imperium evectus; dignusque qui majoribus illis sine dubio rei militaris scientia comparetur.” BRACCIOLINI

-“Apud Venetos gloriosus, in totaque Italia solus et videbatur illustris.” BILLIA

-“Valorosissimo guerriero ed uno dei più famosi capitani del secolo XV. ” BOSI

-“(Il) più valoroso capitano che fosse allora forse in Italia.” ROSMINI

-“Il Carmagnola fu uno dei più abili condottieri del XV secolo. Atteggiamenti vendicativi, durezza di comportamento in taluni fatti bellici, ambizione smisurata, desiderio senza limiti di ricchezze fanno crescere le incertezze sulla sua lealtà.” ARGIOLAS

-“Uno di quei soldati che da un umile stato allora salivano al comando per circostanze fortunate.” BALAN

-Con Jacopo Piccinino “Egregii sua aetate duces expectaverant.” BEAUCAIRE

-“Viri non obscuro modo, ed etiam sordido loco nati, adeo ut etiam porcorum greges puer paverit, literarum ita prorsus, ut primas figuras non cognosceret, verum forma ac viribus corporis, fide, aliisque virtutibus digne memorabilis; rei vero militaris peritia usque adeo praecellentis, ut bellorum arbiter videri posset.” FOGLIETTA

-“Valoroso guerriero e d’animo invincibile.” MORIGI

-“Cujus arma, et magnitudo nominis toti Italiae formidolosa erant..et qui magnis rebus bello gestis, multisque subactis urbibus illustrem sibi (Filippo Maria Visconti) famam et auctoritatem comparaverat.” CRIVELLI

-“Vir magnae praestantiae, gloriaeque rei militaris non absimilis cunctis Capitaneis gentium armigerarum, qui ab ineunte aevo usque in diem hodiernam in Italia armorum facta tractaverint, quosve si non excessit, neque ab ullo illorum superatus est.” REDUSIO

-“Famoso generale della repubblica veneta” LANCETTI

-“Soldato educato sotto la disciplina di Facino Cane, e uno de’ più illustri generali del suo tempo.” PIGNOTTI

-“Svariate e belle azioni di valore gli valsero..un grado ragguardevole nella milizia, nella quale dette saggio altresì di rari talenti militari.” PAOLINI

-“Fortissimo capitano del duca (di Milano).” SARDI

-“Vir potens, se animi et gestu altum reputans rerumque satis expertus et precipue bellicarum.” STELLA

-“Virum tum bello ea tempestate clarissimum..Fuit bello praedari, quem ex fortuna humili virtus ad summum provexerat. Iustitia severitasque in eo summa viguit, latrocinia furtaque ab eo in castris acerrime vindicata, praedonib. infensus, honoris cupidus, multorum supplicio vias tutas a latronibus etiam inter arma reddidit.” SANT’ANTONINO

-“Gran Capitano nell’arte militare.” VERDIZZOTTI

-“La sua opera militare è notissima ma la sua figura morale resta ancora enigmatica..Il Carmagnola non è dissimile dagli altri facinorosi condottieri del suo tempo; audace, astuto, avido di denaro e di gloria, rotto a ogni intrigo per le sue personali cupidigie, amorale, vanitoso, tipo vero e perfetto del capitano di ventura che non conosce una patria, un affetto, un ideale.” GUERRINI

-“Vrai Duguesclin milanais.” LABANDE

-“Uno homo del quale tutta la dita Talia e più che Italia de questo homo ave amiraçione e faxeane conto. I(n) gle fatti de le arme è temudo molto da’ sui e da altri teribilemente crudele e de naçione vile molto e de siençia nudo salvo che di fatti de l’arme. Molto al mo(ndo) famoxo fo el detto nominado Carmignola..(fu giustiziato) e per questo modo fo pagado de el suo malvaxe vivere.” G. DI PEDRINO

-Con Angelo della Pergola “Esperti nella guerra moderna.” ROVELLI

-“Guerriero di esimio valore.” V. DE CONTI

-“Celebrato Capitano di quei tempi.” DE LELLIS

-“(Al governo di Genova) con maturità prudencia humanità et iusticia et may volse pigliare né grande né minimo dono per conservare la iusticia et era veridico et faceva ogni mese satisfare la gente sua.” NOTAR GIACOMO

-Con Nicola da Tolentino “I più famosi capitani del secolo.” PECORI

-“Rinomatissimo Capitano.” G. ROVELLI

-Con Angelo della Pergola “Esperti nella guerra moderna.” ROVELLI

-“Uomo di tanto coraggio e di tanto intelletto.” A-VALLE

-“Uno dei migliori generali del tempo.” PERRIA

-“Uomo tenuto in quelli tempi nella guerra eccellentissimo.” MACHIAVELLI

-“El feroce conte Carmignola fo suo aderente (di Ceccolo Broglia)/ et così sona li lor nomi per ogni rivera./………..  Illustrissimo capitano.., che fo lui quello che fece le leggie sopra l’arte militaria, e alzò l’onore italicho e fo el primo capitano, da cento anni in qua, che governasse e regiesse grandissimo exercito..Mirabilissime cose fece alli suoi dì; fu teribillissimo homo e alquanto crudele, pieno di tristitia; triste quello che avesse contraffatto alli suoi bandi e mancati..Il quale fo el primo Taliano che conducesse grandissimo exercito nelle parte di Italia, né con magiore hordine governare et neanque con magiore tementia..Costui fo el più temuto capitano che avesse mai l’Italia; e morì vitoperosamente, per invidia e suspetto..Illustrissimo, savio, prudente e temuto capitano quanto l’Italia avesse avuto gran tempo.” BROGLIO

-“Al Carmagnola viene attribuito il merito di aver saputo ripristinare la disciplina nell’esercito.., insegnando ai capitani l’arte delle fortificazioni militari e l’arte di porre assedio a rocche e città fortificate.” BIGNAMI

-“Became a great condottiere.” TREASE

-Con Niccolò Piccinino, Uguccione della Faggiuola, Castruccio Castracani, Lodrisio Visconti, Giovanni Acuto, Facino Cane e Bartolomeo Colleoni “Furono capi notissimi per le loro imprese.” AGOSTINI

-“Con Guido Torelli “Uomini presso al duca di grandissima autorità sì di consiglio come nelle armi. NUBILONIO

-“C’è tutta una storia da raccontare che vede in primo piano questo individuo dalla faccia rotonda, dalle labbra piccole e piene, a cuore, gli occhi rotondi e spalancati nel fare tipico dell’ipocrita e del mentitore di professione. Il naso lungo e sottile, poco rilevato, termina sul labbro come un punto esclamativo; i suoi biografi vi vedono il simbolo dell’acume e di una perfidia senza eguali. Tutto, secondo loro, denoterebbe in quel volto ambizione sfrenata, inganno, crudeltà. Nulla a che vedere con il ritratto abbondantemente romantico che ne fa il Manzoni. Francesco Bussone è infatti un perfetto prodotto di una delle epoche più realistiche che si siano affacciate alla ribalta della storia. Nulla, nelle imprese di questo condottiero, è chiaro. Nessuna azione riflette un programma preciso che vada dritto allo scopo. Tutto è tortuosità, doppiezza, calcolo. Tutto è concepito in funzione del guadagno, dell’arrivismo. Indubbiamente è un mercenario esemplare, che assomma in sé tutte el qualità negative della categoria.” ADAR

-“Diventò celebre con il nome della sua città natale, Carmagnola.” SCARDIGLI

-“Il più brillante condottiero dell’Italia settentrionale..Fu un capo severo e un organizzatore efficiente, ma non contribuì in nessun modo.. alla formazione di una scuola o allo sviluppo di nuove tecniche militari. Fu altresì vero che raggiungeva il successo adattandosi alle circostanze e ponendo grande attenzione ai dettagli, ma è inconfutabile che le sue più grandi vittorie ad Arbedo e a Maclodio furono ottenute dalla concentrazione di forze preponderanti dispiegate su un terreno attentamente scelto.” STAFFA

-“He became by degrees not only the head of Visconti’s army but the prime minister of his dominions…Materials do not exist for determining the guilt or innocence of Carmagnola, we know, however, that the judgment of the Council of Ten was not given without careful inquiry and long deliberation.” BROWNING

-“On Tuesday evening, May 5, after Vespers, Carmagnola was taken from his prison, halting and stumbling because of the burns on his feet. Both arms – one broken – were tied behind his back. In his mouth was a large wooden gag. He was followed by his favourite dog, an old hound which some friend had sent to be the companion of the last hours of this, the forty-second year of his life. His clothes were his best, not prison garb. He was wearing long hose (tights) of scarlet, a tunic of crimson with full sleeves, a cloak of scarlet, and on his head a velvet beretta an angle – after his own fashion. Accompanying him were Venetian officials, the “bastoni” of office in hand, and a line of priests bearing the Cross and chanting funeral hymns. His wife and children were not among those who marched behind him. The vast piazza before the Cathedral was filled with silent, expectant people. With slow steps the prisoner was led to the executioner’s block between the two columns of St. Mark, and given last rites. On signal he was forced to his knees. A trumpet sounded. He bowed. The heavy axe flashed and struck. But the executioner had faltered. Three blows were required to sever the muscular neck of Francesco Bussone. The dog in bewilderment ran barking after his master’s head as it rolled from the trunk, then licked the bloody face. And flocks of St. Mark’s pigeons, startled, rose suddenly into the sky, beating their wings..Some eighty years later, Machiavelli wrote Carmagnola’s epitaph in the Prince: “For, seeing that he was very powerful after he had defeated the Duke of Milano, and knowing, on the other hand, that he was but lukewarm in this war, the Venetians considered that they could not make any more conquests with him; and they neither could nor would dismiss him, for fear of losing what they had already gained. In order to make sure of him were obliged to execute him.” Manzoni, in his tragedy, put these words into Carmagnola’s mouth during the final interrogation: “..Voi risolveste, il vedo,/ La morte mia; ma risolvete insieme/ La vostra infamia eterna.” DEISS

-“Magnifica figura del più celebrato condottiero del momento.” NORWICH

-“Fu reputato come il più valoroso capitano del suo tempo…La morte del Carmagnola è per universale consenso riputato uno de’ colpi di stato i più barbari che mai facessero i Veneziani.” LEO

-“Nella storia dei capitani di ventura troviamo parecchi nomi più o meno illustri di condottieri morti sotto la scure del boia..Quel continuo passare da un campo all’altro, accettando gli inviti di chi pagava meglio, non era sempre una cosa senza rischio..Il caso del Carmagnola è stato il più famoso della storia…Fu proprio la sua fine miseranda ad accrescere presso i posteri la fama del Carmagnola, il quale fu certo un grande condottiero ma non tale da paragonarsi minimamente a un Niccolò Piccinino, o un Bartolomeo Colleoni, o un Francesco Sforza… Alessandro Manzoni nella sua tragedia “Il Conte Carmagnola” ne sostenne l’innocenza, e ne fece un personaggio generoso e magnanimo. Chissà perché. Sappiamo invece che fu un uomo avido, crudele, e senza scrupoli.” MONTELLA

-“Uno de’ più famosi capitani de que’ giorni.” REBUSCHINI

-“Fu prima valoroso guerriero indi gran Capitano.” RECCHO

-“Il tristissimo fine di questo famoso condottiero di eserciti fornì il soggetto di una tragedia al celebre Manzoni, il quale rendette anche un grande tributo di riverenza e di affetto all’eroe Carmagnolese, chiarendolo innocente.” CASALIS

-“Era il Carmagnola di statura giusta, e quadrata, e forte assai: la carnagion hebbe rubiconda: gli occhi castagnicci: e così i capelli.” CAPRIOLO

-“L’esercito milanese, nelle abili mani del Carmagnola, si rivelò una macchina militare particolarmente efficiente, in grado di tenere in rispetto tutti i principali avversari. In particolare il Carmagnola sembra aver avuto la capacità di utilizzare sapientemente la fanteria e i tiratori a fianco delle sempre predominanti forze di cavalleria pesante.” GRILLO-SETTIA

“Valoroso Capitano, & uno de’ quattro primi del suo tempo, cioé Braccio, Sforza e Piccinino.. Oltre la bellezza, e dispositione del corpo, dimostrò ferocità terribile, ingegno, patienza nelle fatiche, e prontezza nell’eseguire fattioni importanti.” LOSCHI

-“Condottiero di chiara fama.” BECI

-“Abilissimo stratega militare.” GIANELLI

-“Maximus rebus gestis, magnam sibi auctoritatem magnamque gloriam comparaverat.” G. SIMONETTA

-“Celebre condottiero.” MORO

-“Sebbene il comportamento dopo Maclodio avesse fatto sospettare qualche oscuro abboccamento tra il Carmagnola e il Visconti, Venezia concesse al suo generale notevoli munificenze. Già quando si trovava al servizio di Filippo Maria, il Carmagnola era stato colmato di dono tanto che “in tempo del suo generalato arrivò all’acquisto di sì grandi ricchezze, che l’entrate de’ suoi beni allodiali e feudali ascendevano a quarantamila fiorini ed in Milano si fabbricò un palazzo sì bello che tutti gli altri superava in larghezza, magnificenza e spesa.” (Sulla Contea di Chiari) FUSARI

-“La tragedia e il mistero in cui restò avvolto questo processo sollecitarono la fantasia di studiosi e letterati. Sommo fra tutti il Manzoni, che su quel fosco episodio dispiegò il contrasto fra politica e morale. Il Carmagnola è per lui il condottiero leale e generoso che intoppa incautamente nelle maglie tesagli dai sospettosi politici veneziani.” VALERI

-“La sua gloria, pari alla luna, fu ora serena, ora fosca, ora crescente, ora in diminuzione, ora coronata di luce, ora del tutto eclissata..Dimostrò grande pazienza negli assedi, ardire nelle battaglie, celerità negli altri esercizi..Stava sempre in atteggiamento fiero, per ispirar timore ai nemici. La sua lancia non portò mai edera, com’era costume di molti; la sua celata non olezzava di profumi;né egli fu mai donnaiolo, tanto era persuaso, e con ragione, che chi si abbandona alla voluttà, non raggiungerà mai la grandezza. Sdegnava i beoni, e i mangiatori insaziabili, perché era d’avviso che il troppo bere e il soverchio mangiare generan lussuria.” LO MONACO

-“Avea calze di scarlatto, beretta di velluto alla Carmagnola, il giuppone di cremesino e veste di scarlatto con maniche, cinto di dietro. Lo precedeva la Croce, e gli stavano intorno i confratelli di Santa Maria Formosa. Salito sul palco, piegò il capo sul ceppo: ” e in tre colpi gli fu spiccata la testa.” Poveri sogni di Signoria! I capretti che l’antico pecoraio aveva messo nello stemma, non potevan di certo cozzare col superbo e fiero leone che Venezia levava sulla propria bandiera, monito solenne per chiunque osasse attentare alla sua incolumità e alla sua potenza.” PORTIGLIOTTI

-“Un ritratto, ritenuto del Bussone, opera del Ferramola, ora alla fondazione Ugo da Como a Lonato, mostra un uomo grosso e pesante di media altezza. Le grosse, corte dita, il viso accuratamente sbarbato, la faccia collerica con il labbro inferiore sporgente, gli occhi fieri, il naso piatto costituiscono una fisionomia attendibile di questo forte e spietato comandante assurto dal popolo al supremo comando militare. Di temperamento irascibile, brusco nel parlare e di indubbio coraggio, egli aveva spiccate doti naturali di condottiero, di capo severo e di organizzatore efficiente, ma non contribuì in nessun modo, per quanto ne sappiamo, alla formazione di una scuola, o allo sviluppo di nuove tecniche militari… I piani (delle sue campagne) mostrano scarsa originalità, ed egli (come, d’altra parte, molti condottieri del suo tempo) non sapeva sfruttare le sue vittorie. Il Decembrio sostiene.. che i primi successi del Bussone furono dovuti specialmente al genio di Filippo Maria Visconti; il giudizio è forse attribuibile al desiderio del Decembrio di adulare il Visconti, ma è indubbio che dopo che il Bussone abbandonò il servizio del Visconti declinarono anche le sue doti di condottiero… Il Bussone fu un buon soldato: ma la reputazione che acquistò nei primi tempi della sua carriera esagera alquanto la sua reale capacità di condottiero.” BUENO DE MESQUITA 

Sul suo sepolcro è inscritto il seguente epitaffio “Militia princeps, bellorum maxime victor/ Francisce armipotens, si fata extrema tulisti/ Impia: latetur animus bene conscius acti/ Imperii: quod fata iubent id ferre necesse est,/ Epitaphium invictissimi imperatoris bellorum/ Comitis Francisci Carmagnolae Vicecomitis,/ Qui obiit in venetiis die V mensis maii/ Ann. MCCCCXXXII”

Specific Biographies

-C. Assum. Il conte di Carmagnola.

-A. Battistella. Il conte Carmagnola.

Featured image: Beni Culturali
Other images: source 1, source 2

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