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

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Jacopo Caldora: Mercenary, Leader, and Controversial Figure

Italian CondottieriJacopo Caldora: Mercenary, Leader, and Controversial Figure

Jacopo Caldora was of Marseillaise origin, a strong and magnanimous captain, master in the art of war, of majestic appearance, a man of letters according to some sources; the greatest traitor of his time and more a lover of money than honesty according to others. An Abruzzese, with his company formed almost exclusively of men from his region, his main goal is not to be a mercenary soldier, but rather to conquer a personal lordship.

Indice delle Signorie dei Condottieri: ABCDEFGIJLMNOPQRSTUVZ

Heroic Captain or Mercenary with a Lust for Power?

Jacopo Caldora (Giacomo Candola). From Castel del Giudice near Isernia. Count of Trivento, Duke of Bari, Marquis of Vasto, Count of Monteodorisio. Lord of Pacentro, Atri, Palena, Minervino, Conversano, Agnone, Manfredonia, Aversa, Capestrano, Campo di Giove, Rocca d’Arce, Borrello, Rosello, Civitaluparella, Pizzoferrato, Quadri, Castel del Giudice, Colledimezzo, Vasto, Lettopalena, Taranta Peligna, Montelpiano, Monteodorisio. Father of Antonio Caldora, father-in-law of Francesco Sforza.

Born: 1369
Death: 1439, November

Year, monthState, Comp. venturaOpponentConductActivity AreaActions taken and other salient facts
1392
Nov.NaplesHe was appointed chamberlain by the King of Naples, Ladislaus of Naples (Ladislao d’Angiò), along with other nobles of the kingdom.
1401BaronsNaplesAbruzzoHe rebelled against the King of Naples. He was readmitted into the king’s favor and had the lands that were previously confiscated from him returned.
1411
…………NaplesAntipope, AnjouCampaniaHe opposed the troops of Louis of Anjou (Luigi d’Angiò). He left Capua. He opposed the militias of Louis of Anjou. He left Capua.
MayLazioHe took part in the Battle of Roccasecca.
1414
Aug.NaplesAntipopeCampaniaUpon the death of Ladislaus of Naples (Ladislao d’Angiò), many men-at-arms joined his company.
1415
…………At court, he supported the favorite of the Queen of Naples, Joanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò).
…………Rebel baronsNaplesAbruzzoHe rebelled against Joanna I of Naples. He besieged L’Aquila.
JuneAbruzzoHe was defeated near the walls of L’Aquila alongside Antonuccio dell’Aquila by Muzio Attendolo Sforza. He reconciled with the sovereign and was appointed governor of L’Aquila for the remaining months of the year.
1416
…………Rebel baronsNaplesAbruzzoA new rebellion was caused by the actions of the husband of the Queen of Naples, James of Bourbon (Giacomo di Borbone), Count of La Marche.
Sept.AbruzzoWith Antonuccio dell’Aquila and Conte da Carrara, he arranged a truce with the Grand Constable of Bourbon, Saligny. He sent his son, Antonio, as a hostage to the court and returned the lands he had seized. In return, his possessions were confirmed, and his brother, Raimondo, was granted command of 50 lances.
…………AbruzzoHe enlisted many men in the Abruzzi. To meet this need, he imposed a tribute on the neighboring feudal lords.
1417
…………NaplesPerugiaUmbriaHe was sent by the Queen of Naples to aid the papal forces at war with Perugia. He served alongside Muzio Attendolo Sforza.
JuneLazioHe arrived at the Abbey of Casamala, near Frosinone, with the Count of Monteodorisio, Perdicasso Barile, and began negotiating with the opposing captain, Braccio da Montone. Sforza, informed of the ongoing negotiations, sent his secretary, Buoso da Siena, to invite him to join him nearby. To dispel any fears, Sforza offered to send his son, Francesco, and his nephew, Marco, as hostages. Caldora was suddenly attacked during the hottest hours of the day and was captured along with Barile. They were taken to Salvaterra by Marco Attendolo.
Sept.CampaniaHe was imprisoned in Naples.
1418NaplesPerugiaCampania, AbruzzoHe was freed in the early months of the year by the Grand Seneschal, Giovanni Caracciolo. He was given money and sent to the Abruzzi with the Count of Monteodorisio to gather militias in support of Joanna I of Naples.
1419
…………Campania, ApuliaHe recaptured Agnone with Marino da Somma and was elected its captain. He was also appointed captain of Minervino Murge and castellan of Manfredonia.
Oct.CampaniaHe was in Naples for the coronation of Joanna I of Naples.
1420
…………NaplesAnjouCampaniaHe opposed the troops of Muzio Attendolo Sforza.
Sept.AnjouNaples, Kingdom of AragonCampaniaHe was besieged in Naples; as the Sforza army approached Porta Marina, he left the city with Bernardino degli Ubaldini della Carda and Orso Orsini. After a four-hour clash, he was forced to retreat towards Porta del Carmine. In the same month, he defected to the opposing camp in favor of Louis of Anjou (Luigi d’Angiò) and returned to the Abruzzi.
1421
JuneNaples, Kingdom of AragonAnjouAbruzzo, CampaniaHe opposed the advance of Braccio di Montone; he fortified his castle in Pacentro, located at the foot of the Maiella, and forced the inhabitants of Sulmona to expel the royal magistrates. With a good number of horsemen and foot soldiers, he moved through the Peligni mountains to block Braccio di Montone’s path. He lost the castle of Campo di Giove and was forced to retreat to Castel di Sangro; this locality also fell into the hands of his adversaries. He withdrew to Terra di Lavoro and soon switched allegiances; he abandoned Sforza and reached an agreement with Braccio di Montone. He joined him in Capua and moved to Santa Maria Maggiore (Santa Maria Capua Vetere), where he defeated the Sforza forces. The battle ended with the capture of Attaccabriga and Giannuzzo d’Itri. In the same month, he entered Naples with Braccio di Montone. The Aragonese fleet arrived in the city’s port.
1422
…………AbruzzoHe participated in the conquest of Montenerodomo and other territories. He followed Braccio di Montone against the Angevin and Sforza forces.
1423
JuneCampaniaHe moved towards Capua with Bernardino degli Ubaldini, Arrigo della Tacca, Riccio da Montechiaro, and Orso Orsini (1,200 horsemen and 1,000 foot soldiers) to assist the troops of Alfonso of Aragon. He crossed the mouth of the Volturno and entered Naples with 600 horsemen.
Oct.CampaniaUpon hearing news of the arrival of Catalan reinforcements from Barcelona, he left Naples and clashed with the Sforza forces at the Sebeto River, near the Maddalena Bridge. He was forced to retreat back into the city. He remained to guard Naples when Alfonso of Aragon departed from the capital with the fleet to head towards Marseille.
…………He was granted lordship over Conversano.
1424
…………CampaniaHe was besieged in Naples with Infante Don Pietro of Aragon, by land from Francesco Sforza and by sea from the Visconti fleet under Guido Torelli. He suppressed an anti-Aragonese uprising in the city; other army captains, such as Ubaldini, made contact with the adversaries.
Mar.CampaniaHe was also suspected of treason. He, in turn, initiated secret negotiations with Torelli. The talks were conducted through Giovanni Caracciolo and his captain Raimondo Anichino, who had been captured by the Sforza forces during the same period.
Apr.NaplesKing of AragonGrand ConstableCampaniaHe was given money by emissaries of Duke of Milan Filippo Maria Visconti to cover the overdue wages of his men. He opened the Porta del Mercato to Torelli, allowing the Visconti captain and his troops to enter the city. Following the victory, he was appointed Grand Constable in place of the late Sforza. Arrangements were also made for a dual matrimonial alliance between his family and that of Giovanni Caracciolo. In this context, Francesco Sforza became his son-in-law.
MayGeneral captainCampania, AbruzzoHe joined Francesco Sforza, Micheletto Attendolo, Luigi da San Severino, and Ludovico Colonna, and set out towards L’Aquila to liberate the city from the siege imposed for several months by Braccio di Montone.
JuneAbruzzoHe descended from San Lorenzo towards the plain where the enemies were camped, sending the baggage train ahead. Braccio di Montone relinquished control of the passes, took the initiative, and with 4,000 horsemen attacked the right flank of his army, which consisted of 4,800 horsemen (divided into 16 squads), 300 foot soldiers, and 1,300 men equipped with helmets and shields. Jacopo Caldora retreated in an orderly manner, managing to rotate his squads so that fresh forces were always available for combat. Additionally, on the left, the compact mass of Francesco Sforza‘s companies put the enemy’s flank in crisis. Caldora was able to counterattack the adversaries effectively; Niccolò Piccinino, who was supposed to defend Braccio di Montone’s rear from possible assaults by the inhabitants of the besieged city, left his position to rectify the battle’s course. The Aquilani sacked the Perugian condottiero’s camp, resulting in a total defeat. During the clash, Jacopo Caldora was knocked down and thrown to the ground twice from his mount, once by Braccio di Montone himself, but he always managed to narrowly escape capture. Perugian sources falsely accused him of killing the enemy captain after his imprisonment out of anger for his silence. Following the victory, together with Francesco Sforza, he besieged Piccinino in Paganica and forced the adversary to surrender on negotiated terms: the money found in the castle was divided among the various captains. Caldora then went to Vasto and acquired several localities, including Ocre, while Francesco Sforza headed to Rome.
July1500 cavalryTogether with Giovanni Dentice, he was entrusted by Joanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò) with the task of judging the rebellious barons.
1425
JuneChurchCittà di CastelloUmbriaIn the employ of Pope Martin V (Martino V), he advanced into Umbria, passed through Perugia, and headed towards Città di Castello to seize the locality from the heirs of Braccio di Montone.
JulyChurchAscolo PicenoMarcheTogether with the rector of the Marca, Pietro Colonna, commanding 3,000 foot soldiers and 1,500 horsemen, he moved from Ancarano, forded the Aso River, and attacked Ascoli Piceno with the help of Giosia Acquaviva. He lodged at Passignano, took control of Monteprandone, Spinetoli, Monsampaolo del Tronto, Comunanza, and Mozzano. He then camped at Campo Parignano.
Aug.ExilesPerugiaMarche, Lazio, UmbriaHe secured the surrender of Ascoli Piceno; Obizzo da Carrara also abandoned the fortress to join his brother Ardizzone in Milan. Shortly after, Jacopo Caldora reached Rome with 30 horsemen and was warmly received by the pope. The Florentines offered him a condotta of 500 horsemen for a year with the possibility of extension. However, the pope did not grant him permission to leave his service and ordered him to return to the Abruzzi. Contrary to these orders, Caldora headed towards Perugia with Ludovico dei Michelotti, Ludovico Colonna, and Antonuccio dell’Aquila. He was opposed by Giovanni da Varano, Luigi da San Severino, and Luigi dal Verme. He reached Colfiorito until the intervention of the pope and Count of Urbino Guidantonio da Montefeltro persuaded him to abandon the plan.
Oct.He was offered a condotta of 2,000 horsemen by emissaries of Duke of Milan Filippo Maria Visconti.
1426
July – Aug.ChurchSan Severino Marche1500 cavalryMarcheHe entered the territories of Ascoli Piceno with 1,500 horsemen and 3,000 foot soldiers. He besieged San Severino Marche and stormed inside mid-month through the Porta del Mercato, which was opened for him by the inhabitants. Antonio da San Severino was handed over to him along with his family; the houses of the Smeducci family and their supporters were sacked. Continuing his actions, he captured the fortresses of Bisaccia and La Torre, and camped at Pitino. Apollonio Smeducci, who was defending it, rushed to Rome to implore the pope’s clemency. In mid-July, he passed through the territory of Fermo, occupied Monteprandone, Spinetoli, and Monsampaolo del Tronto; he camped in the suburbs of Ascoli Piceno, in the area of Campo Parignano. The siege was brief, with limited damage more to property than to people. At the beginning of August, Obizzo da Carrara surrendered on negotiated terms; by mid-month, Caldora entered the city with the rector of the Marca, Pietro Formigli, and the treasurer, Astorgio Agnesi. The fortresses of Monte and Porta Maggiore remained in enemy hands, as did all the castles in the territory, which were not conquered by arms but by the power of money.
…………MarcheHe was contacted in the Marche by the Venetian lieutenant Antonio Facino.
Nov.Church
1428
JulyRomagnaHe passed through Fano. The lord of Rimini, Carlo Malatesta, met him and accompanied him to Cesena.
Oct.ChurchBolognaGeneral captainRomagna, EmiliaHe camped at San Martino in the Forlì area, conquered Medicina, moved near Budrio, and raided the countryside up to the gates of Bologna. He captured Casalecchio di Reno and diverted the water from the canal entering the capital, which was used for grinding grain. He built a bastion on the bridge of Corticella.
Nov.EmiliaHe camped at San Martino in the Forlì area, conquered Medicina, moved near Budrio, and raided the countryside up to the gates of Bologna. He captured Casalecchio di Reno and diverted the water from the canal entering the capital, which was used for grinding grain. He built a bastion on the bridge of Corticella.
Dec.EmiliaHe ordered a general assault on Porta Galliera and had a skirmish with Luigi da San Severino. He ambushed 200 foot soldiers who had left the city to set fire to his army’s munitions: the captured soldiers were hanged from nearby trees. He attacked the village of San Giacomo but was repelled. Two of his soldiers, captured by the defenders, were in turn hanged.
1429
Feb.EmiliaHe approached Porta delle Lame and bombarded Bologna with a cannon.
Mar.EmiliaHe launched a new assault on Porta Galliera, where a plot in favor of the papal forces was underway. The conspirators were discovered and hanged by their feet. One of them was quartered, and his limbs were placed at Porta di San Felice. Jacopo Caldora then adopted a strategy of terror, starting to devastate the surrounding territory. He besieged San Lorenzo in Collina and forced Commissioner Antonio Gallucci to surrender. He stopped at Borgo Panigale, sent many men to Santa Maria del Monte, and fortified the church, bombarding the city from its summit. Antongaleazzo Bentivoglio reached an agreement with the people’s standard-bearer, Alberto dal Ferro, who promised to hand over Porta di San Vitale, which he was guarding, to the papal forces. Caldora sent some soldiers to hide in the nearby church of Santi Giacomo e Filippo; at a prearranged signal, they were to seize the gate. However, the plot was discovered; three of its members were tortured with pincers and hanged, and a fourth was quartered.
Apr.EmiliaHe acquired the tower of Buonconvento and that of Ponte Poledrano (Castel Bentivoglio), which belonged to Battista Canedoli; he then moved to Borgo Panigale.
MayEmiliaFrom Borgo Panigale, he moved to Corticella.
JuneEmiliaJacopo Caldora attacks the barracano of the borough of San Pietro; repelled, he positions himself with all his troops at Ponte Maggiore. He deploys his troops up to the Fossa Cavallina and San Ruffillo.
Aug.EmiliaThe Bolognese reach an agreement with the legate Ronaldo da Genazzano.
Oct.Emilia, Romagna, MarcheFollowing the conclusion of a truce, he leaves Bologna; he stops at Bagnacavallo, Carpena, and Cesena, always with the fear of being attacked by Guidantonio Manfredi (with whom he has had a dispute). He travels through the territory of Fermo and camps by the Tenna.
1430
SummerChurchBolognaEmiliaBologna once again rebels against the papal forces, led by the Canedoli. Jacopo Caldora sends troops to the bridge over the Reno and cuts off the water supply to the city aqueducts. He seizes a barracano on the Cavadiccio but is immediately repelled by the inhabitants. Four of his men are captured and hanged. He leaves Corticella and moves to the bridge of Sant’Antonio, opposite San Vitale. A truce is signed between the parties.
………Emilia, ApuliaUpon the resumption of the conflict, he leaves Bologna and returns to the Kingdom of Naples to demand payment of his credits from Joanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò). As compensation for the overdue wages, he obtains the castles of Bari and Carbonara from the grand seneschal Nicola Caracciolo. Jacopo Caldora titles himself Duke of Bari with the consent of the Neapolitan court.
1431
………ChurchColonnaGeneral captainLazioHe serves under Pope Eugene IV against Antonio Colonna. He receives the command insignia in Rome from the pope himself. With 3,000 cavalry and 1,600 infantry, he sets out along the Via Casilina; he captures Ripi, La Banca, Colleferro, Molara, Borghetto, and Montecompatri. He camps near Genazzano with the intention of besieging the town.
………LazioHe is bribed with 13,000 florins by the Prince of Salerno and ceases all operations for a while; the papal forces give him additional money, and he immediately returns to assist them militarily.
1432
Oct.He officially obtains the lordship of Bari and Bitonto from Joanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò).
1433
………NaplesBaronsApuliaHe subjugates Serracapriola and other lands in Apulia belonging to Francesco Sforza.
Nov.ApuliaHe easily overcomes the intrigues of Ruggero and Jacopo Gaetani, as well as the forces of Riccio da Montechiaro and Cicco Antonio de Caris.
1434
………Naples, AnjouTaranto, King of AragonCampania, ApuliaHe opposes the Prince of Taranto, Giovanni Antonio Orsini del Balzo, alongside Baldassarre della Ratta, Marino Boffa, and Urbano Cimino. He occupies Acerra, Montefusco, Vico Equense, and Flumeri. With Louis of Anjou (Luigi d’Angiò), he conquers Capitanata at the head of 14,000 men; he enters Terra di Bari with 4,000 cavalry and many infantry, and obtains Ascoli Satriano, a fief of Gabriele Orsini del Balzo, from Fra Ruffino da Mantova, who is guarding it with 1,000 cavalry and as many infantry. Subsequently, he occupies Andria (by treaty), Bitonto, Ruvo, and Corato; he unsuccessfully besieges Altamura, and with Louis of Anjou, he storms Castellaneta after some furious assaults. He passes through Grottaglie, descends into Terra d’Otranto, and confines Giovanni Antonio Orsini del Balzo in Taranto. After a few days, Caldora leaves the camp; he captures Oria, which is sacked. He besieges Lecce, setting up his lodgings in the nearby Abbey of Saints Niccolò and Cataldo: after eleven days, he withdraws as his relations with the House of Anjou have deteriorated.
Nov.ApuliaLouis of Anjou dies; Jacopo Caldora continues the campaign alone, besieging Gallipoli, Brindisi, and Canosa. Due to the heavy expenses he must bear for the war and for maintaining 12,100 cavalry and 1,400 infantry, he asks for and obtains from the Queen of Naples Ascoli Satriano in Capitanata, Castellana Grotte in Terra di Bari, and Latiano in Terra d’Otranto, all lands that belong to Giovanni Antonio Orsini del Balzo. Additionally, he is enfeoffed with Salpi in Capitanata, Loseto, Valenzano, and Conversano in the Bari area, and Carovigno in the Brindisi area.
Dec.ApuliaHe occupies Brindisi and leaves Onorato Gaetani, Count of Morcone, and Menicuccio dell’Aquila to guard it with 1,000 men-at-arms. The city is reclaimed by the adversaries, forcing him to retreat to Bari. Soon, he loses interest in the ongoing conflict and sends a good part of his troops to their quarters.
1435
Feb.Apulia, CampaniaHe falls seriously ill in Andria. With the death of Joanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò), he is called to be part of the Council of the Regency. Despite the plague in Naples, he has himself carried in a litter to the city to follow court affairs related to the succession and to collect 40,000 ducats to settle past credits.
………Anjou, ChurchKing of AragonApulia, CampaniaHe decides to support the cause of René of Anjou (Renato d’Angiò) and the papal forces against the claims of King Alfonso of Aragon and his partisans, among whom the Prince of Taranto stands out. He is given 120,000 ducats to assemble a strong army. Still ill, he stops in Bitonto, leaving his troops (4,000 cavalry and 1,600 infantry) under the command of his sons Berlingieri and Antonio, and Riccio da Montechiaro. His captains are repeatedly defeated in Apulia; he is forced to leave the region and to limit himself to hindering the advance of Giovanni Antonio Orsini del Balzo. He stops in Campania to unite his forces with those of the Angevins.
………CampaniaHe besieges Capua but is suspected of not wanting to proceed with the operations with the necessary diligence because the Angevins have refused him the lordship of the city in the event of its conquest.
Aug.Campania, LazioImmediately after the defeat of the Aragonese at Ponza by the Genoese, he surprises the enemy encampments and seizes a great booty. He drives Cristoforo Gaetani from the county of Gaeta and devastates the plains of Sessa Aurunca.
Sept.CampaniaHe besieges Capua again and constructs a bridge over the Volturno: he positions himself on one bank while Antonio da Pontedera and Micheletto Attendolo take positions on the other side.
Oct.Grand ConstableCampaniaCapua is on the verge of surrendering; Antonio da Pontedera is bribed with 3,000 ducats and abandons the field. Micheletto Attendolo reunites with his men.
1436
Jan.AbruzzoThe siege of Capua drags on while his lands are ravaged by the Count of Sora and the Count of Loreto. He leaves Naples to return to Abruzzo, where he puts the enemies in serious difficulty.
Feb.CampaniaHe joins forces with the papal troops of Cardinal Giovanni Vitelleschi and advances on Capua, where Giovanni Ventimiglia takes up the defense. He attacks the Prince of Taranto in Montesarchio; he is elected General Commissioner of the kingdom and imposes levies and forced payments of collections on the various communities under his control.
Mar.AbruzzoSulmona, Chieti, Città Sant’Angelo, and Penne rebel against him.
Apr.AbruzzoHe besieges Sulmona with the help of the inhabitants of L’Aquila and Battista dei Camponeschi.
MayAbruzzoHe secures the surrender of Sulmona. He then conquers Popoli and Caramanico.
JuneAbruzzoHe assists the people of L’Aquila in conquering Penne. The town is sacked.
JulyApuliaHe directly attacks Orsini del Balzo.
Aug.Basilicata, ApuliaHe occupies Lavello after a thirty-six-day siege; he then unsuccessfully attempts to take Barletta and Venosa, though he plunders their surrounding territories. He is forced to withdraw from the territory of Barletta due to the proximity of an enemy army stationed in Andria. He captures and sacks Ruvo di Puglia (whose lord is Antonello Gesualdo) and Pescopagano. At the end of the month, he camps in Modugno with his son-in-law, Traiano Caracciolo, Count of Avellino, after devastating almond and olive groves.
Sept.ApuliaHe concludes a truce with the Prince of Taranto and returns to Bari.
Oct.Apulia, AbruzzoDue to the levies he imposes on the population to cover war expenses, Sulmona and Penne revolt. Menicuccio dell’Aquila and Riccio da Montechiaro, who serve in the Aragonese ranks, occupy Pescara; Chieti also rises up against Jacopo Caldora. This prompts him to leave Bari, move to Vasto, and from there, unsuccessfully attack Chieti. He devastates its territory and extends the truce with Orsini del Balzo.
1437
………AbruzzoHe besieges Sulmona again; at the Pescara camp, he is approached by Angelo di Monforte, Count of Campobasso, on behalf of the King of Aragon. They promise him and his son Antonio command of 800 cavalry and 1,000 infantry, along with confirmation of all their lordships and positions. Caldora refuses, preferring to remain loyal to the Angevin cause.
June – JulyAbruzzoHe is attacked at night in his Pescara encampments by Francesco Piccinino and Sebastiano dell’Aquila, who capture 200 of his men-at-arms and 600 infantry. Due to this defeat, Sulmona and Chieti once again rebel and return to Aragonese control; many of his captains and constables also abandon him.
Aug.Abruzzo, Molise, CampaniaA truce is established between Antonuccio dell’Aquila, Count of Manoppello, and Battista dei Camponeschi on one side and Sulmona on the other; Caldora can then leave Abruzzo to join the papal troops. The allies defeat and capture the Prince of Taranto between Montefusco and Montesarchio. Upon hearing the news, Caldora camps in Isernia, conquers Longano (after cutting off the town’s water supply), and negotiates the surrender of Roccamandolfi. Repelled from Morcone, he moves to San Giorgio della Molara (San Giorgio del Sannio) with the intention of sacking the town. He camps between Padula and Benevento with 4,000 cavalry and 2,000 infantry; he meets with Cardinal Giovanni Vitelleschi at the bridge of San Valentino. The papal legate arranges for him to reconcile with the Prince of Taranto in exchange for a one-year truce.
………CampaniaIn the continuation of the campaign, Jacopo Caldora is repelled at San Marco; he arrives in Cancello where the Prince of Taranto is freed. He sacks Presenzano and forces Francesco Pandone, Count of Venafro, to surrender. However, he clashes with Cardinal Vitelleschi; he travels to Naples where he has been urgently summoned by the regent Isabella of Anjou (Isabella d’Angiò) for the signing of a truce between the papal forces and the Aragonese.
Dec.CampaniaHe loses Trani but reconciles with Cardinal Vitelleschi in Benevento, thanks to the mediation of the city’s bishop, Astorgio Agnese. On Christmas Eve, he joins the papal forces in Arienzo; with a night march, he reaches Caivano and at dawn surprises Alfonso of Aragon in Giugliano in Campania, whose army is caught unprepared. The king, warned of the threat by a messenger from the Lord of Montesarchio, Giacomo della Leonessa, escapes to Capua, leaving 800 cavalry and supplies in the hands of the adversaries. Immediately, Jacopo Caldora attacks the lands of the Count of Nola until, due to the rain and cold, he leads his men to winter in Aversa.
1438
Jan.Campania, AbruzzoHe is in Naples with Vitelleschi; the latter requests to use Aversa, his fief, until the end of the war. Jacopo Caldora opposes this and persuades Isabella of Anjou (Isabella d’Angiò) to offer the papal forces another logistical base, choosing from Teano, Sessa Aurunca, or Venafro. An open enmity resurfaces between Jacopo Caldora and the prelate, prompting Caldora to prefer returning to Abruzzo.
………ApuliaIn Cerignola, called to Bisceglie by the papal legate, he refuses to oppose the Prince of Taranto due to the truce that Cardinal Vitelleschi had made him sign a few months earlier. The legate flees from Trani to head to Ancona and Venice. Jacopo Caldora instead goes to Bitonto, where he delivers money to Paolo Tedesco and Lorenzo Attendolo. His captain, Marino da Norcia, convinces the papal forces to serve under his command.
Apr.CampaniaJacopo Caldora returns to Terra di Lavoro upon learning that René of Anjou (Renato d’Angiò), after a long imprisonment, has been freed by the Duke of Burgundy.
MayCampania, AbruzzoHe heads to Naples with 3,000 cavalry to welcome René of Anjou (Renato d’Angiò). He meets with the king in Castel Capuano; he then captures Scafati and takes control of the entire Duchy of Amalfi. He asks Micheletto Attendolo to join him in moving to Abruzzo, a region that has rebelled against the Angevins. As Attendolo delays his departure, Jacopo Caldora proceeds alone to Casacanditella, where Alfonso of Aragon has set up his camp.
………AbruzzoSeeing himself outnumbered by his adversaries, he retreats to Pacentro. Vigorously attacked, he loses Sulmona; Jacopo Caldora then contacts the King of Aragon to buy time.
Aug.AbruzzoHe is joined in Abruzzo by René of Anjou (Renato d’Angiò) and Micheletto Attendolo. Now, his army numbers 18,000 men.
Sept,AbruzzoHe attacks Sulmona and Popoli; he challenges his adversaries to a pitched battle, which they accept in Terra di Lavoro. The Aragonese, in reality, prefer to focus on Naples to besiege the capital. Jacopo Caldora lingers around Tussio, where he captures numerous castles.
Oct.AbruzzoHe attacks Penne with the inhabitants of L’Aquila. He then returns to besiege Sulmona.
Nov. – Dec.Campania, AbruzzoHe moves to defend Naples, which is besieged by the Aragonese for thirty-six days. He then returns to Abruzzo.
1439
Jan.AbruzzoHe sends his troops to their winter quarters.
Mar.AbruzzoFollowing the fall of Caivano, René of Anjou (Renato d’Angiò) seeks his assistance.
Apr.AbruzzoHe lifts the siege of Sulmona. Finding himself without money to pay his troops, he asks the Angevin king for the Castle of Aversa as collateral for the necessary funds. René of Anjou (Renato d’Angiò) hands over the castle to his captain Santo da Maddaloni. Jacopo Caldora then sends Paolo di Sangro with two squads to the county of Cerreto Sannita.
AutumnAbruzzoHe stops to besiege Pescara and recaptures the city. Following this, he takes Loreto Aprutino and other lands from Riccio da Montechiaro within three months.
Sept.CampaniaHe advances towards Terra di Lavoro. From Alife, he reaches Ducenta; since his passage over the Volturno is blocked at Limatola, he has a wooden bridge constructed nearby, four miles away. Three hundred infantry cross the river only to be overwhelmed by the enemy.
Nov.CampaniaThe efforts of Jacopo Caldora prove to be in vain; consequently, he changes direction and heads towards Benevento to proceed from there to Naples. He promises his men the sack of Colle Sannita, controlled by Giacomo della Leonessa. He successfully assaults Circello. While riding here with the Count of Altavilla and Cola di Ofieri, he is struck by an apoplectic attack. He is taken to his pavilion and dies within a few hours. He is buried near Sulmona in the Abbey of Santo Spirito al Morcone: all his captains are present at his funeral, among whom his son Antonio, Raimondo Caldora, Lionello Accrocciamuro, Paolo di Sangro, Cola di Monforte, Carlo di Campobasso, Matteo da Capua, Francesco Montagano, Raimondo Anichino, Luigi Torti, and Riccardo da Ortona stand out. His companies retreat to the winter camps with the promise that their back pay would be settled in the following March. He marries Medea d’Eboli in his first marriage (who brings him the county of Trivento as dowry) and later Jacovella da Celano who brings him Capestrano as dowry. He builds the fortresses of Carpinone, Civitaluparella, and Castel del Giudice; he erects a palace in Trivento and another in Vasto. A learned man, he knows almost the entire work of Lucan by heart and delights in quoting its verses at the first opportunity. His coat of arms consists of a quartered shield: the first and fourth quarters in gold; the second and third in blue. He owns three summer residences, in Varo, Pacentro in the Chieti area, and Carpinone in Molise. He marries Medea d’Eboli.

Sources

-“Il più potente barone e condottiero del regno.. Capitano forte e magnanimo, di aspetto maestoso, di bella statura; e parlava con grazia anzi con facondia più che militare, né mediocremente amava e professava le lettere..Del resto sia per cagione della sua fama, sia per cagione della sua potenza, ebbe il Caldora una fiorita scuola di capitani non solo valorosi, ma nobili e potenti in denaro ed in signorie, un Antonio e un Raimondo, l’uno figliuolo, l’altro consanguineo suo, un Paolo di Sangro, un Raimondo di Anichino, un Carlo di Campobasso.” RICOTTI

-“Sommo tra essi era quel Jacopo, vincitore di Braccio di Montone, e valente astuto e magnanimo, ..recava per motto:”Coelum coeli Domino, terram dedit filiis hominum e signore di più ducati e contee, non volle per sé altro titolo che quello nudo e orgoglioso di Jacopo Caldora. CROCE

-“Il più grande fra i traditori del suo tempo.” PICCOLOMINI

-“Costui fu huomo che sempre più prepose la pecunia alla honestà.” CORIO

-“Uno de’ più sperti Capitani del Regno di Napoli..Finì i suoi giorni con fama d’essere stato prode Capitano, ma colla macchia di poca fede, e di molta avarizia.” MURATORI

-“Abruzzese, capitano insigne, che si segnalò tra tutti gli altri perché la sua Compagnia, formata quasi totalmente di robustissimi figli della sua terra, non ebbe per programma servizi mercenari, ma una grande e forte autonomia tendente alla conquista d’una potenza personale…Fu uomo di singolare valore, scevro di personali vanità, maestro nell’arte della guerra, temprato a tutte le fatiche, sia nella buona come nell’avversa fortuna.” ARGEGNI

-“Uomo da commemorare tra li buoni capitani, se tanta fede e constanza avesse avuto, quanta arte e perizia militare teneva.” COLLENUCCIO

-“Era il Caldora un regnicolo ma di origine Marsigliese. Venuto in tempi torbidi e di avventure, si fece fama d’uomo agguerrito, e pigliando parte (siccome era solito ai capitani di ventura) si rese temuto da ognuno. La sua fama militare fu oscurata da spavalderie indecorose. Rubacchiò molte terre delle quali si credeva padrone.. Giunse.. a portar scritte sui carriaggi di guerra le parole del salmista: coelum coeli Domino; terram autem dedit filiis hominum.” PALUMBO

-“Famisissimo Capitano di quell’età.” SUMMONTE

-“Capitano di gran nome, se havesse la gloria dell’armi accompagnata con la costanza, e con la fede.” BUONFIGLIO

-“Era tenuto il maggior capitano d’Italia.. Era riputato per tutta Europa padre di soldati e capitano grandissimo.. Era di statura bellissima ed accomondata all’arte militare, e d’una faccia che dimostrava maestà e grandezza d’animo, parlava con grandissima grazia e con eloquenza più che militare, perché era più che mediocremente letterato.. Fu magnanimo, e mai non volle chiamarsi né principe né duca..ma gli parea che chiamandosi Giacomo Caldora superasse ogni titolo: ebbe cognizione di lettere, ed amava i capitani letterati più che gli altri.” DI COSTANZO

-“Huomo ..di gran nobiltà e potentia.” CAMPANO

-“Uomo fra i capitani d’Italia molto celebrato.” GIUSTINIAN

-“Fu stimato il più famoso, e più potente Capitano dell’Italia…Usava portare scritto nelle selle quelle parole “Coelum Coeli Domino, Terram autem dedit filjs hominum”…Gloria, ed ornamento della milizia italiana.” CIARLANTI

-“Capitano di gran nome.. Huomo di gran nome fra principi Napolitani.” FOGLIETTA

-“Capitano famoso in quell’età, e nell’armi vigilantissimo.” PONTANO

-“Huomo di gran nobiltà, e potenza.” PELLINI

-“Guerriero distinto.” LITTA

-“Eccellente Capitano di guerra.” SPINO

-“Capitano di molta sperienza e valore.” TARCAGNOTA

-“Fuit hic certe praestanti vir ingenio, a literarium studiis haud abhorrensi: et in primis rei militaris peritus. Is enim sub Bracio (Braccio di Montone) stipendia fecerat: atque iis artibus natura praeditus, quae ad conciliandos militum animos valent. Siquidem facundus et prudens existimatus: et si constantia usus esset, inter illustres sui temporis duces numerandus.” FACIO

-“Egli ebbe riputazione del più esperto e più avido capitano de’ suoi tempi; possedeva ancora una grande facondia, e quella fina coltura, che s’impara soltanto dai libri. Non usò mai del titolo di duca, che gli fu conferito. Sulla bardatura de’ suoi cavalli e sulle coperture dei cocchi leggevasi il motto: Coelum coeli Domino, terram autem dedit filiis hominum.” VON PLATEN

-“Vir bello insignis accipiens.” CORNAZZANO

-“Celebre capitano del secolo XV, pel di cui valore era talmente temuto dai potentati d’Italia, che molti di loro per farselo amico fecero a gara di regalarlo di larghi stipendii.” BOSI

-“Grande capitano di ventura.. Uomo d’arme di chiarissima fama.” CUTOLO

“Magnanimo e strenuo nelle guerresche imprese, costante nel consiglio, ponderato nell’eloquio, nelle deliberazioni provvido, nel condurre le guerre circospetto…Grande intelletto e gran cuore di capitano fu Giacomo, e se non meritò intera lode, fu la grande libidine di guadagno, che facealo or all’uno or all’altro partito gittare.” PETRONI

-“Che non ha paro…” Alla battaglia de l’Aquila. “Misser Jacobu fo misso per terra, /Si’ na vasca del campo l’infrattaro/ Dove so’ le banere, el dir non erra,/ Sì erano ben guardate senza fallo,/ Misser Jaco fo remisso a cavallo.” CIMINELLO

-“Il tipo del condottiere italiano…Il Caldora superava gli altri per fama di spirito cavalleresco e di magnanimità. Certamente non avea bisogno.. di procacciarsi la sussistenza, militando sempre ora per questo ora per quello stato; avendo per eredità una grande potenza – la sua casa era la più considerevole negli Abruzzi – poté fin da principio fare una politica propria. Diventò col tempo un forte guerriero, e, condottieri della sua scuola si sparsero e si fecero onore in tutta l’Italia; ma non condusse quasi mai una guerra che non fosse di suo interesse immediato,  e che quindi non si combattesse a Napoli o ai suoi confini. Ciò non ostante la maggior parte degli stati gli mandarono stipendi regolari nel suo paese, solo per non essere attaccati da lui.” GOTHEIN

-“Egli si acquistò gran nome e fu in sommo credito.” PAOLINI

-“Educato alla scuola di Braccio e dello Sforza acquistò fama di condottiero eccellente e grande riputazione; e quando superò Braccio nella memorabile battaglia dell’Aquila, fu tenuto il primo capitano d’Italia, onde principi e signorie di studiavano d’averlo amico e gli davano stipendii, acciocché non pigliasse partito contro di loro, e contenesse la sua gente d’arme nei confini del regno. Non soffriva, che altri lo avanzasse e fu perciò inimicissimo del principe di Taranto, e lasciò andare in rovina il cardinale Vitelleschi.. Fu reputato avaro e certo molto acquistò per sé, ma il denaro gli occorreva sopra tutto per le paghe, onde spesso incrudelì con scorrerie e con saccheggi; taglieggiò terre amiche e nemiche; talora per utilità sua  e parzialità non condusse alcune imprese colla nota virtù e la diligenza di condottiero sperimentato..In un’età, nella quale con facile e lecito mutare parte, acconciarsi, come meglio tornava comodo ed utile, tradire, messer Jacopo restò costantemente fedele alla parte angioina, né lo mosse colle promesse di premi, ricchezze e grande stato il re Alfonso d’Aragona. Barone di molte terre, castelle e città, duca di Bari, non volle altro titolo che il nome: Jacopo Caldora. Era avidissimo di signorie, e diceva, che la terra era di chi se la pigliava onde tolse per sé il motto “Coelum coeli Domino, terram autem dedit filiis hominum”..Messer Jacopo Caldora era uomo di lettere: aveva mandato a mente quasi intera la Farsaglia di Lucano, e spesso soleva recitarne i versi. Bel parlatore, accendeva l’animo dei soldati..Giovane, aitante e fortissimo, non incontrava uomo, che potesse stargli a fronte, vecchio, per la maestà della persona, da tutti era rispettato e ubbidito. Lasciò un tesoro di vasellame di argento, di gemme e di oro, che il figliuolo raccolse nel castello di carpenone. Molti ed eccellenti capitani furono educati nella disciplina di lui…Era in lui orgoglio di barone ed indole di capitano di ventura, nessuno nel regno lo avanzava per l’esperienza dell’arte militare e come quasi tutti i signori abruzzesi era di parte angioina.” FARAGLIA

-“Messer Jacopuzo otenute le terre del Abruzo ordinò si bene quelle contrade, che ne trasse 11 mila ducati tra esse e li 11 mila ducati la segnoria de Venetia al ano li dava de provisione, et la doana dele pecore per li soi herbatizi che a lui tuto li rispondeva conveniente modo haveva de pagar la sua zente,” DI LELLO

-“Vir providus cupiens hostem acerrimum, ac tota Christianitate famosissimum.” FONTICOLANO

-“Misser Jacobo Candola ch’n’à pari.” VALENTINI

-“Capitano di buon nome.” BELOTTI

-“Il quale havea un desiderio insatiabile d’haver dominii e vassalli.” BEATILLO

-Con Arrigo della Tacca, Bernardino Ubaldini della Carda ed Orso Orsini “Muy famosos capitanes de su (Braccio di Montone) escuela.” ZURITA

-“Così famoso e celebre Capitano de suoi tempi.. e signor de sì gran stato che occupava buona parte del regno.” DE LELLIS

-“Fo prestantissimo nelle arme.” NOTAR GIACOMO

-“Nel reame el principale (capitano) che levò nome.” BROGLIO

-“Un avventuriero di buone qualità militari.” PERRIA

-Con Lorenzo e Micheletto Attendolo, Muzio Attendolo Sforza, Pieretto de Andreis, Fabrizio da Capua “Capitani e condottieri di esserciti in quei tempi molto famosi.” CIRILLO

-“La cui fama di capitano di ventura è di gran lunga oscurata da quella di uomo avidissimo e paurosamente venale.” ADAR

-“Gran Capitano..così noto nell’historie..Huomo così grande, e uno de’ più grandi Heroi di questo Regno..Celeberrimo Guerriero..per il valore, e scienza nell’armi, gloria, e ornamento dell’Italiana militia, e un de’ maggiori Signori, che fossero stati al suo tempo.” RECCHO

-“Conduttier di quei tempi molto stimato.” INTERIANO

-“Abile condottiero.” LOPRIORE

-“Vedi quel Caldoresco in questa danza/Di fama adorno e di riputazione:/Jacopo, cavalier di gran costanza.” Cambino Aretino riportato da FABRETTI

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