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

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A Life in Arms: Jacopo Piccinino

Jacopo Piccinino is known for being extremely ambitious and greedy for money. He is a shrewd condottiero, so much so that some contemporary writers define him as a "Thunderbolt of war." However, he is a condottiero very much in line with those present in Italy at the end of the 1300s and the beginning of the 1400s, devoted to raiding and devastating rather than following true war plans

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Last Updated on 2023/10/16

Strategies and Betrayals: The Complex Story of Jacopo Piccinino.

Born in 1423 and passing away in July 1465, Jacopo Piccinino was a nobleman and condottiero from Italy, and the offspring of renowned military commander Niccolò Piccinino.

JACOPO PICCININO of Perugia. Count.

Marquis of Borgonovo. Lord of Sulmona, Sterpeto, Assisi, Chieti, Città Sant’Angelo, Francavilla al Mare, Varzi, Fiorenzuola d’Arda, Rezzano, Bucchianico, Guardiagrele, Caramanico Terme, Atessa, Fidenza, Pandino, Penne, Borgonovo Val Tidone, Castell’Arquato, Frugarolo, Borgo Val di Taro, Somaglia, Pellegrino Parmense, Compiano, Candia Lomellina, Solignano. Son of Niccolò Piccinino, brother of Francesco Piccinino, father of Giovanni Giacomo Piccinino, son-in-law of Francesco Sforza.

Born: 1423
Death:
1465 (July)

Year, monthState. Compagnia di venturaOpponentConductActivity areaActions taken and other salient facts
1440
Mar.MilanFlorence30 lancesEmiliaHis father leaves him in Bologna as his lieutenant, replacing Francesco Monaldeschi. He receives a monthly salary of 400 pounds and commands 30 lances. The city’s elders welcome him, accompanied by Cervato da Caravaggio.
JuneTuscanyHe takes part in the Battle of Anghiari.
Nov.EmiliaHe returns to Bologna mid-month and transfers his lieutenant duties to Cervato da Caravaggio. His father, Niccolò, calls him back.
1441King of AragonChurchLazioHe clashes with the forces of Everso dell’Anguillara in the Roman countryside.
1442
JuneKing of AragonAnjou, SforzaCampania, MoliseHe enters Naples. He defeats Angevin and Sforza forces at Carpinone, commanded by Antonio Caldora and Giovanni Sforza.
1443
Feb.CampaniaJacopo Piccinino is in Naples for the solemn entrance of King Alfonso of Aragon into the city. On this occasion, he is granted the fief of Bisaccia, confiscated from Giacomo della Marra.
Apr.Apulia, MarcheDispleased with not being highly regarded at court, nor sufficiently compensated, he leaves Trani without asking for permission. Within fourteen hours, he crosses the borders of the Kingdom of Naples and reaches his father in the Marche of Ancona by sea. Alfonso of Aragon sends his own ambassador to Niccolò Piccinino, complaining about Jacopo’s behavior and asking for the men-at-arms of his company to return to the kingdom. The father, in turn, deplores the royal complaints; he responds that just as he had once helped Alfonso of Aragon secure the Kingdom of Naples, he can now also make him lose it. In June, Niccolò Piccinino sets out for Terracina to meet with the sovereign.
Nov.ChurchSforzaMarcheHe is defeated alongside his father at Montelauro by Francesco Sforza, Alessandro Sforza, Sarpellione, and Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta.
1444
JuneUmbriaAlong with Carlo di Montone and Braccio Baglioni, he leaves Montecchio and arrests Antonello della Torre at Sterpeto, accused of wanting to kill his father Niccolò or, at the very least, intending to capture him to hand him over to the Sforzas.
Aug.MarcheHe is again defeated by the Sforza forces along with his brother Francesco at Montolmo (Corridonia): he escapes, first taking refuge in Recanati and then in San Severino Marche. With the capture of his brother, he takes command of the Braccesco army along with Braccio Baglioni and Domenico Malatesta; he distributes his men between Fabriano, Osimo, and Recanati to keep these lands under the control of the Papal States. On this occasion, the people of Perugia send him notary Cipriano Gualtieri (father of the poet-soldier Lorenzo Spirito) along with 500 ducats.
Sept.UmbriaAlong with Carlo di Montone, he leaves Gualdo Tadino and goes to Assisi: after paying a visit to the castle’s governor, Lorenzo della Lita degli Ermanni, he asks to speak with Cristoforo da Tolentino, who is imprisoned in the fortress tower. The official sends some servants to bring the condottiero out of the prison. Piccinino’s men and Montone’s men artfully create a moment of confusion, allowing Cristoforo da Tolentino to seize control of the city and the main fortress so that any potential unrest in the city does not lead to its surrender to the Sforzas. Lorenzo della Lita degli Ermanni is promoted and remains as his lieutenant in Assisi, replacing Brunello degli Scotti.
Nov.UmbriaAlong with Carlo di Montone, he requests a loan of 2,000 florins and 100 bushels of wheat from the commune of Perugia: the goods are delivered, and each of the two captains is given 300 florins. Shortly after, he goes to Assisi with 4,000 men to receive a certain amount of money from the residents, necessary for organizing his forces and proceeding to Lombardy to serve the Duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti.
1445
Feb.MilanVeniceLombardyHe joins his brother Francesco in Lombardy.
Mar.EmiliaAlongside his brother, he is invested by Visconti with the marquisate of Borgonovo Val Tidone, Ripalta, Borgo Val di Taro, and Somaglia; the counties of Pellegrino Parmense, Venafro, and Compiano; and the fiefs of Castelvisconti, Castell’Arquato, Fiorenzuola d’Arda, Candia Lomellina, Villata, Frugarolo, and Solignano.
……………MilanBolognaEmiliaHe joins forces with Taliano Furlano and lays siege to Bologna; he conquers several castles in the territory within a few days.
1446
MayMilanVeniceLombardyGiacomo da Salerno repels his attack on Cremona. He withdraws from the Cremonese area upon the approach of the Venetian army led by Micheletto Attendolo.
Sept.LombardyHe is defeated by Micheletto Attendolo in the Battle of Mezzano.
1447
Mar. – Apr.LombardyFrancesco Sforza is appointed by the Duke of Milan as general captain: because the condottiero is hesitant to take hostile actions against the Venetians, Jacopo Piccinino, along with his brother Francesco, Niccolò Terzi, and the counselors Antonio da Pesaro and Giacomo da Imola, convince Visconti that Sforza aims to seize control of the duchy and has already promised, in case of victory, to give some of Piccinino’s lands to Pietro Pusterla. Filippo Maria Visconti is easily persuaded not to pay Sforza the agreed-upon wages. Piccinino replaces Giacomo da Lonato as the commissioner of Como.
Aug.LombardyUpon the death of Filippo Maria Visconti, along with his brother Francesco, Francesco da Landriano, and Broccardo Persico, he ensures that the will of the Duke names the King of Naples as heir. The royal banner is hoisted in the castle of Porta Giovia. He hands over the fortresses under his control to the Aragonese. Following the rebellion of Lodi against the Milanese, he enters the city’s suburbs with his brother but is repelled by the residents. He retreats to Pizzighettone; meanwhile, the Fieschi family also recovers their possessions in the Val di Taro at the expense of the Piccinino family and kills brother Angelo. With the birth of the Ambrosian Republic and the defeat of the pro-Aragonese party, he rejects the lordship of Crema and Cremona offered to him by the Venetians through Tiberto Brandolini (after initially offering to serve them) and moves closer to the Sforzas. Around the same time, he releases Rolando Pallavicini, who had been given to him and his brother Francesco upon the promise of marriage to his daughter Elisabetta: Pallavicini, once freed, will not honor his commitment. Piccinino remains in the vicinity of Pizzighettone and meets there with Sforza.
Oct. – Nov.EmiliaHe joins Francesco Sforza against Micheletto Attendolo; the latter attempts to engage the Milanese in battle through a skirmish initiated with two chosen squads of cavalry. At sunset, the retreat is sounded, and the army moves to Piacenza. He prepares for the siege of the city and positions himself to the south of the Porta di San Raimondo.
Dec.EmiliaHe takes part in the capture and subsequent siege of Piacenza.
1448
WinterLombardyAlong with his brother Francesco, he obstructs Sforza’s policies, supports the Guelphs, and seeks peace with the Venetians through the release of Gerardo Dandolo, who was captured in Piacenza.
JuneLombardyHe acts in such a way that Francesco Sforza is forced to focus on Lodi rather than on Cremona, as the condottiero had requested.
July – Sept.LombardySforza gains full powers and can better pursue his strategic plans. Piccinino operates in Ghiaradadda with his brother Francesco and Luigi dal Verme; he briefly stops due to delayed payments, forcing Sforza to leave him all the spoils gained from the plunder of Castelponzone. He supports the general captain against the Venetians; under his command, he participates in the Battle of Mezzano where Andrea Querini’s fleet is destroyed. At the end of the month, he takes part in the siege of Caravaggio. He is sent on a reconnaissance mission to Morengo to block the advance of opponents coming from Bergamo. Surprisingly attacked by Guido Rangoni, he finds himself in grave danger, especially since his brother Francesco and Dolce dell’Anguillara do not intervene in his favor despite orders from Sforza himself. He returns to Caravaggio and is positioned to the right of the Eastern Gate with the other condottieri of the Bracceschi school. During an assault, he is severely wounded in the side by a lance thrust; he is transferred to Treviglio in a life-threatening condition.
Oct.MilanSforza, VeniceEmilia, LombardyHe moves to Borgo San Donnino (Fidenza). He reports to the Milanese government about the movements of Francesco Sforza, thereby increasing distrust and suspicion towards him, especially after the release of many prisoners without demanding any ransom. He then moves to the siege of Lodi; here he receives news of the Treaty of Rivoltella between Francesco Sforza and the Serenissima (Venetian Republic).
Nov.EmiliaHe retreats to Borgonovo Val Tidone: with the arrival of adversaries in Casalpusterlengo, he gathers his men in Val Tidone and rides to Piacenza. The citizens close the gates in his face; he then heads to his estates in Fiorenzuola d’Arda.
Dec.EmiliaThe inhabitants of Parma call on him for assistance from Fiorenzuola d’Arda to thwart a conspiracy organized by the supporters of the Rossi family in favor of Alessandro Sforza.
1449
Jan.EmiliaLeaving his estates, he stops at the Taro River at Castel di Stefano, which belongs to the San Vitale family; he and the Parmesans decide to attack the adversaries from that side, who have moved away from Felino. He joins forces with Carlo di Campobasso and initially drives off the Venetians under Bertoldo d’Este and Jacopo Catalano. Carlo di Campobasso clashes with Alessandro Sforza; Jacopo Piccinino is delayed in reaching him from Fontanelle due to the intervention of Giacomo da Salerno. This leads to the defeat of the Parmesan militias. He retreats to Fiorenzuola d’Arda; here he learns of the agreement struck by his brother Francesco with Sforza: the latter promises both of them the fiefdom of Tortona and a provision of 9,000 ducats for three years.
Feb.SforzaMilanLombardy, EmiliaHe reconciles with Francesco Sforza: the pact is sealed at the castle of Pavia through his engagement to Drusiana Sforza, Francesco’s eleven-year-old natural daughter who had recently been widowed from Giano Fregoso, the Doge of Genoa, to whom she had been married the previous year. The engagement ceremony takes place in the camp and is celebrated in the castle of Pavia during Carnival. Drusiana will meet her future husband again after fifteen years, following numerous negotiations that result from the evolving power dynamics between her father and the condottiero. Jacopo Piccinino then assists Alessandro Sforza in the siege of Parma and, within the same month, positions himself near Porta Romana in Milan. He blocks the flow of supplies to the city; he besieges Monza.
Apr.MilanSforza, VeniceLombardyHe and his brother abandon Sforza and enter Monza with 3,000 to 4,000 cavalry and 1,000 infantry: his brother opposes, for chivalrous reasons, his desire to attack Guglielmo di Monferrato. He then goes to Milan and, along with his brother, forces Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta to withdraw from the field at Crema: Sforza confiscates the assets that the two Piccininos own in the Piacenza region. He hands over Melegnano, of which he has custody, to the Milanese; he unexpectedly breaks into the castle of Melzo where his rival has placed the artillery used for the siege of Monza.
MayLombardyHe moves with 6,000 cavalry, 4,000 infantry, and 20,000 Milanese musketeers to free Melegnano from the enemy’s siege: Sforza organizes his army; the Milanese troops, stationed at San Giuliano Milanese, flee at the sight of the enemy cavalry, involving Jacopo Piccinino’s militias in their defeat as well.
JuneLombardy, SwitzerlandSforza delays in recapturing Vigevano; Jacopo Piccinino, along with Carlo Gonzaga, attempts a diversionary action in the Pavia region; he sets fire to Villanterio and other centers. He joins his brother Francesco at Castelseprio; he pushes even further into the Varese area, reaching as far as Lugano.
JulyLombardyHe besieges Marchese Antonio Ventimiglia in Cantù. Meanwhile, things go poorly for him in Emilia where Alessandro Sforza captures Fiorenzuola d’Arda, Castell’Arquato, and other locations in the Piacenza and Parma regions, over which he and his brother have lordship. Additionally, Antonio Crivelli hands over the fortress of Pizzighettone to Sforza; Crivelli had been guarding it with 500 cavalry and 300 infantry, who are then taken prisoner.
Oct. – Nov.General captainLombardyUpon the death of his brother Francesco, he effectively assumes command of the troops of the Ambrosian Republic; he tries to resupply Milan, which is increasingly tightly besieged by Sforza’s forces. He revisits the old plan of forming an alliance with the Venetians to the detriment of Sforza, who is now feared by the Serenissima (Venetian Republic). He sends his chancellor Giovanni della Guardia to Duke Borso d’Este of Modena and to Guido Rangoni so that they may pressure the Venetians in this direction. He then sends his own emissary to Venice: a treaty of alliance is concluded between the Ambrosian Republic and the Serenissima.
Dec.MilanSforzaLombardyHe leaves Monza with Ruggero Galli (3,000 cavalry and 4,000 infantry); he takes the road to Peregallo, hoping to connect with the Venetians at Monte Calco in Brianza. He stops at Casate; Sforza blocks his advance and launches a night attack on his camp. He resists for a few hours; defeated, he returns to Monza, pursued by Sforza’s forces right up to the city walls. The retreat is carried out with remarkable skill. Piccinino saves a large portion of his troops from capture.
1450
Jan.LombardyThe atmosphere in Milan becomes increasingly tense. He leaves the city to make another attempt. He connects at Como with Bartolomeo Colleoni, who has arrived with a shipment of grain intended for the Milanese population. Seven of his squad leaders (among whom are notably Luchino Palmeri, Conticino da Carpi, and Gerardo Terzi) approach Sforza and inform him of Piccinino’s movements: Giacomo da Salerno is sent against him with eight squads of cavalry to capture him. Luchino Palmeri is detained by him, while the other condottieri lack the courage to carry out what they promised. Jacopo Piccinino is attacked between Barlassina and Como by Giacomo da Salerno and Giovanni Ventimiglia: he defeats the two captains, brings numerous prisoners to Como, and occupies upper Brianza.
Feb.LombardyHe is in Galbiate with Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta; in order to buy time, he pretends to want to defect to the enemy camp through the mediation of Luchino Palmeri, who is also a friend of Francesco Sforza, in exchange for the lordship of Piacenza. Days pass in negotiations and flattery; in the end, he fails to show up for the appointment with Sforza to ratify the agreement and has Luchino Palmeri hanged from the battlements of the castle at Bosisio Parini, branding him a traitor.
Mar.Venice1,000 lances and 500 infantryLombardyThe conflict comes to an end with the revolt in Milan and the subsequent invitation for Sforza to take control of the city. Piccinino meets at Martinengo with Venetian ambassadors Tommaso Duodo and Jacopo Loredan, as well as the Proveditor Andrea Dandolo. He enters Venetian service for a fixed term of two years and an optional third year; he is granted a command of 1,000 lances and 500 infantry and is awarded an annual salary of 100,000 ducats (in reality, 90,000), with an advance payment of 40,000 ducats. Among the terms are the exemption of his men from any review; for his part, he commits to handing over any captured city with all its armaments and all the captains, condottieri, commissioners, as well as rebels and bandits who might fall into his hands; cannons and trebuchets captured in field battles are to be considered his war booty. Additionally, the Venetians commit to recovering lands he once owned with his father and brother in the Parmesan territory, to grant him properties belonging to Rolando Pallavicini, to recognize his rights over Frugarolo in the Alessandria territory, Fidenza, and Pandino that had been assigned to him by the Ambrosian Republic, to protect the assets of his chancellor Broccardo Persico in Cremona, to free through a prisoner exchange a son captured by the Sforza forces and Domenico da Pesaro, and to grant him the right of reprisal in the Milanese territory against subjects of the same Sforza.
Nov.LombardyHe proposes an anti-Sforza alliance to the Venetians with King Alfonso of Naples (Alfonso d’Aragona).
1451
Apr.LombardyHe receives money to organize his companies.
MayLombardy, VenetoHe holds a review of his companies at San Giorgio near Montichiari; he also organizes a joust during which he gets injured. Despite this, he secretly departs from the location at night and arrives the following morning at Isola della Scala, where he surprises the troops of Bartolomeo Colleoni, suspected of wanting to abandon the pay of the Serenissima for that of Francesco Sforza. Colleoni manages to escape capture because he is absent from the field at that moment.
Nov.LombardyBerondio dell’Acqua and Bernardo Mammarella, residents of Lodi, propose to Jacopo Piccinino to hand over to him the city gate facing the Adda River and the gate of the bridge over the river. The Captain General of the Serene Republic, Gentile da Leonessa, as he already did in a similar plan proposed the previous year, opposes the feasibility of such a scheme. Piccinino then brings Guglielmo of Monferrato into the anti-Sforza alliance by betrothing his eldest son Niccolò (who is about two years old) to the daughter of Marquis Giovanni.
1452
Apr.VeniceMilanLombardyThe conflict with Francesco Sforza, who has in the meantime become the Duke of Milan, begins.
……………LombardyWith Sforza engaged in Cremona, he attacks the Milanese territory and plunders it up to the suburbs of the capital. Forced to retreat, he crosses the Oglio River, reaches Pumenengo and Soncino, where he forces Tristano Sforza to surrender with a bombardment on negotiated terms. After releasing the rival’s son with all honors, he reclaims the castles of Lodi and Soncino.
Sept.LombardyHe surprises Alessandro Sforza between Rivolta d’Adda and Pandino.
Oct.LombardyHe provokes the enemies in Leno and captures numerous herds of horses from them; he defeats Bartolomeo Colleoni and Donato del Conte near Porzano.
Nov.LombardyHe moves between Gottolengo and Iseo with Tiberto Brandolini and Carlo Gonzaga in order to block the supply flow directed to the enemy camp. He attacks a column and puts the escort to flight. There’s a swift reaction from Sforza; Ettore Brandolini is killed. The Venetians, disoriented, begin to retreat. Gentile della Leonessa appears, overcoming all resistance and forcing the Sforza forces to take refuge in the nearby marshes of Gottolengo. Jacopo Piccinino is defeated near Asola; he joins forces with Gentile della Leonessa at Montichiari, where the Venetians are challenged to a pitched battle by Sforza. After heavy rain, the Duke of Milan is abandoned by his men who do not wish to fight; the following day, Piccinino besieges Calvisano with siege engines and repels a sortie led by Bartolomeo Colleoni and Donato del Conte.
Dec.LombardyAt the field of Ghedi with Tiberto Brandolini, some unrest arises due to a nocturnal revolt by the saccomanni. His intervention serves to calm the spirits. He positions himself at Lonato.
1453
Jan.LombardyHe encamps at Castiglione delle Stiviere with Gentile della Leonessa; sets fire to many carts in front of the ravelin. The defenders of the castle and fortress are forced to surrender due to the fire and smoke that foul the air.
Apr.General captainLombardyHe is at Lonato; upon the death of Gentile della Leonessa, he is joined in that location by Giacomo Antonio Marcello and Pasquale Malipiero, who offer him command of the troops with an annual salary of 110,000 ducats. His contract is renewed by Ambassador Francesco Zorzi for one fixed year and one optional year. He recaptures Manerbio.
MayLombardyVerolanuova, Scorzarolo, Cadegnano, and Gabbiano surrender to him; he attacks Quinzano with three large cannons and a trebuchet; he negotiates the surrender of the area after a four-hour assault. After sacking the center four days later, he enters Pontevico, which is guarded by 500 infantrymen: a portion of the defenders is thrown into the waters of the Oglio River, against all rules of warfare. He also gains control of Pontoglio and Robecco d’Oglio; the troops of Roberto da San Severino and Tristano Sforza retreat into the Mantuan territory. Jacopo Piccinino is concerned that Sforza’s militias might be reinforced by those of Ludovico Gonzaga and Brandolini (who has meanwhile defected in favor of the Sforza). He therefore confronts the first captain and clashes with him at Seniga.
JuneLombardySforza moves away and heads towards Ghedi; Piccinino follows him to Porzano, thwarting several ambushes set for him by Tiberto Brandolini.
JulyLombardyHe has Enrico Matto imprisoned (and then released), who is falsely accused by one of his Sicilian servants; the servant has his right eye removed, his nostrils cut off, his ears sealed, and his right hand amputated. He crosses the Oglio River with a pontoon bridge and bursts into the Cremonese territory; he approaches Castiglione delle Stiviere again, capturing and looting the area. Finally, he decides on a show of force against Montirone; he constructs a fortress at Poncarale to relieve the pressure exerted by Sforza on Brescia.
Aug.LombardyFrancesco Sforza attacks Ghedi and catches his men asleep and drunk: 450 horses and many troops are captured; the opponents also seize a large cannon and 50 pairs of oxen used for transporting artillery. This is the version according to Venetian chroniclers; for the Lombard chroniclers, Piccinino’s role is instead more positive. He moves from Pontevico to aid Ghedi; he finds that Roberto da San Severino and Ludovico Gonzaga have already arrived at the location. He then fortifies himself near a swamp, where he constructs embankments and ditches to defend his camp. He repels attacks from San Severino, Brandolini, Donato del Conte, Bartolomeo Quartero, and Giovanni da Varano. He intercepts a convoy of 100 horses and 80 pairs of oxen that are transporting supplies to Sforza’s camp.
Sept.LombardyPiccinino and Sforza confront each other openly: if the Duke of Milan has Mariano da San Severino hanged for his defection from the Milanese camp, Jacopo Piccinino does the same with Cecco d’Etruria. A truce in the Veronese territory is accepted by the Venetians.
Oct. – Nov.LombardyHe is defeated again near Ghedi following a clash initiated against his orders by Carlo di Montone; when the forces of Renato d’Angiò (René of Anjou) also join the opposition, he further strengthens the defenses of his encampments with ditches and embankments. He moves to Porzano and remains passive for some time in the face of the Sforza offensive; his men damage the properties of numerous residents of Brescia, who are forced to appeal to Venice. He presses the opponents at Corticelle Pieve and Bagnolo Mella with five squads of cavalry and 200 infantry; he clashes at Offlaga with San Severino; he is at Capriolo and surprises some Sforza troops at Monticelli Brusati. Numerous French and 4 Milanese men-at-arms are killed, and 250 horses and 100 infantry are captured. He then moves to Poncarale and San Zeno Naviglio; at Gussago, while Sforza invades Franciacorta and takes control of Rovato and Rezzato. Jacopo Piccinino lifts his camp in the dead of night and falls back to Brescia, in the district of San Giovanni, plunging the inhabitants into despair. Urged by the authorities to take action, he reaches San Zeno and the foothill region.
Dec.LombardyHe shows some initiative by occupying Volta Mantovana.
1454
Jan. – Feb.LombardyHe moves with 3,000 cavalry and 1,000 infantry to the Riviera di Salò and Lonato: his troops plunder these territories, especially the latter, to such an extent that alms are collected in Brescia and Verona to assist the inhabitants of these lands.
Mar.LombardyIn Val di Sabbia with the Provveditore Gerardo Dandolo; he subjects the district to a similar treatment for three days; he descends the Valle del Garza, conquers Travagliato, and besieges Rovato for two days.
Apr.LombardyHe attacks Volta Mantovana once again, leading 6,000 men. He secures its surrender on terms. The war comes to an end.
Aug.A treaty of alliance is concluded between Milan, Venice, and Florence. Piccinino is offered to join it as the commander of the Florentine-Sforza league. In this way, the Sforza and Florentines attempt to curb his ambition of having his own state and direct him against Urbino. This project is also supported by the da Correggio, Tiberto Brandolini, and especially, the Lord of Rimini. Talks resume about his marriage to the daughter of Francesco Sforza, a prospect in which Pope Nicholas V (Niccolò V) is interested.
Sept.Lombardy, VenetoIn Martinengo; he goes to Venice for the first time with all his commanders and squad leaders. He is received in the College of the Pregadi.
Oct.LombardyWith the Peace of Lodi, his contract, which is due to expire in February of the following year, is not renewed; he is dismissed due to the recent behavior of his troops in the Brescia region.
……………LombardyHe stops at Asola. The Venetians want to be rid of him and press for him to be taken to the Pope or, in any case, be enlisted with contributions from all the Italian states to be sent to Albania to fight the Turks. The plan fails.
1455
Jan.LombardySome of his letters to Malatesta are intercepted, in which he informs him of a possible expedition into the Sienese territory.
Feb. – Mar.Compagnia di venturaBolognaLombardy, EmiliaAt the official expiration of his contract, he leaves the Brescia region and takes with him all the unpaid soldiers. He is contacted by exiles and threatens Bologna. Around the same time, the King of Naples suggests that Jacopo Piccinino be given command of the crusading army that the Pope intends to organize to fight the Turks in Albania.
Apr.Emilia, RomagnaHe is received with all honors by Duke Borso d’Este in his palace in Ferrara. On his march, he passes through Ravenna, Lugo, and Argenta.
MayRomagnaHe passes near Cotignola with 3,000 cavalry and 1,000 infantry; he reaches San Giorgio and is closely pursued by Sforza’s troops and those from Bologna (4,000 cavalry led by Corrado da Fogliano and San Severino) who monitor his movements. His clear objective is to carve out a personal state in central Italy, with the connivance of some small lordships and the King of Naples who wishes to expand his sphere of influence. He meets in Forlì with Domenico Malatesta, Pino, and Cecco Ordelaffi: in the Forlì region, the local community provides him with three carts of supplies (bread, wine, chickens, and turkeys) and fodder for the horses.
JuneCompagnia di venturaSiena, Church, MilanRomagna, Tuscany, UmbriaHe heads towards Galeata, crosses the Apennines, and stops between Sansepolcro, Anghiari, and Città di Castello. On the advice of the King of Naples, he threatens Siena because the republic has signed the Peace of Lodi without consulting the sovereign, as per previous agreements. For Jacopo Piccinino, the official motivation consists of demanding the payment of an old debt from the Sienese to his father Niccolò (20,000 ducats) or, according to other sources, the request for a loan of the same amount, which is refused. He goes to Bagni di Petriolo for treatment; here, he is secretly contacted by Ghino Bellanti from Siena; he receives multiple letters urging him to move against Siena from Giberto da Correggio (the general captain of potential adversaries). In Siena, his expedition is welcomed by some citizens who want to overthrow the current government. Piccinino communicates with Giberto da Correggio through Genesio da Parma and Paolo da Perugia; he sends Silvestro da Lucino to Correggio. The latter, in turn, uses Silvestro da Lucino to contact Everso dell’Anguillara, Leonetto Corso, and Carlo Gonzaga. Piccinino also sends Ugolotto Zurlo from Simonetto da Castel San Pietro for the same purpose. He heads for Siena, promising not to harm the city; instead, he takes possession of Cetona, whose fortress is surrendered to him by Giovanni Cerasuola. He camps at Sarteano, waiting to be joined by Correggio: there is a volte-face by this condottiero who prefers to reaffirm himself with the Sienese. Under the walls of Sarteano, he is wounded in the thigh of his right leg by a gunshot. At this juncture, he offers his services to the Duke of Milan and the Pope; the Venetians declare him their enemy.
He returns to Cetona and moves to the Maremma, attempting to seize the castle of San Casciano dei Bagni. He passes through Ponte del Rigo and Sorano; he camps at Montemerano, whose defenders surrender on terms; he sacks Manciano and occupies Montacuto. At Magliano in Toscana, Correggio, Carlo Gonzaga, and Pietro Brunoro stand against him. The people of Perugia supply him with provisions and whatever else is necessary for his army; they also give him 6,000 florins despite protests from Pope Callistus III; five Perugian captains, including Costantino Ranieri, Felcino degli Ermanni, Biordo Oddi, Rinaldo Montemelini, and Pandolfo Baglioni, join him; the people of Lucca also donate 1,000 florins and lend him another 5,000. Sforza and the Pope, on the other hand, send aid to the Sienese in the form of Giovanni Ventimiglia, San Severino, and Corrado da Fogliano with 8,000 men (including 2,300 infantry).
JulyTuscanyHe comes into contact with the adversaries at Castro on the Fiore River (28 squads against 48); he catches the Sforza troops off guard and immediately captures Giovanni Ventimiglia. However, the surprise is not fully effective due to noise caused by a deer. The infantry of Donato del Conte, with their resistance, allow the men-at-arms of Corrado da Fogliano and San Severino to prepare and react. After three hours of fighting, Piccinino is forced to retreat with the capture of 80 lances; 100 are the dead on both sides; even more numerous are the horses killed. With the cover of darkness, he abandons the nearby woods where he had taken refuge and heads for Magliano in Toscana, as the Sienese have also joined forces with the Sforza and the papal troops. He attacks Giberto and Carlo da Correggio and captures 100 of their horses. He crosses the territory of Piombino; mid-month, with his usual speed of maneuver (twenty-five miles in one day), he takes refuge in Castiglione della Pescaia, controlled since 1447 by the Aragonese. Here, Tristano di Gueralt and Giovanni Margarit hand him 12,000 ducats on behalf of the King of Naples; from the sea, 3 Aragonese galleys also arrive loaded with provisions for his troops.
Aug. – Sept.TuscanyLeading 1,000 horsemen, he operates in increasingly difficult conditions due to shortages of supplies, desertions, and the outbreak of malaria that decimates his ranks. When he has provisions for only two to three days, additional assistance arrives in the form of men and materials provided by the Aragonese through Giovanni di Lira. These supplies are transported by some fustas (small, fast ships) of Catalan corsairs. In a single expedition, he receives 34 horses, a thousand lances, 12 barrels of cannon powder, 6 barrels of musket powder, 12 cases of verrettoni (large glass jars filled with combustible material), 10 bows, 6 cases of arrows, and 100 sacks of flour. Alfonso of Aragon continues to pressure him to reconcile with the Pope and accept payment from the league for an expedition to Albania to counter the Turks. However, the Pope’s inflexibility and the Duke of Milan’s indifference ensure the failure of the project.
Oct.TuscanyAntonello da Forlì attacks a convoy near Castro, which is carrying supplies to Jacopo Piccinino’s camp. Piccinino counters with 23 horsemen, recovers the stolen goods, and frees the prisoners. He then reaches Orbetello by sea and gains entry into the town through the betrayal of Luca Schiavo. He seizes a significant quantity of salt, valued at 30,000 ducats, and exchanges this resource with his adversaries in return for provisions.
……………TuscanyPiccinino finds himself under siege in both Orbetello and Monte Argentario. Notable figures by his side include Matteo da Capua, Ottaviano di Montefiore, Francesco da Bologna, and Giovanni Piccinino. His situation becomes increasingly dire; he has only 60 war horses left that are fit for combat. However, the situation is not much better for the besieging forces, as they face similar challenges—malaria and shortages of both fodder and provisions.
1456
Feb. – Mar.TuscanyGrowing bold, he attempts to set fire to the papal camp: for this act, he is excommunicated by the Pope. Alfonso of Aragon (Alfonso d’Aragona) reacts vigorously in favor of Piccinino.
May – JuneNaples1200 cavalry and 600 infrantymenTuscany, Marche, AbruzzoPeace is reached through the mediation of Bishop Enea Silvio Piccolomini (the future Pope Pius II); he returns Cetona and the other fortresses he controls (including Montacuto, which he had previously assigned to Aldobrandino Orsini) in exchange for 50,000 ducats (20,000 from Siena, 10,000 from the King of Naples, and 20,000 from the Pope, Florence, and again from Siena). He is employed by Alfonso of Aragon (Alfonso d’Aragona) with 1,200 cavalry and 600 infantry; he declares himself at the disposal of the Papal States for one year, promising that during this period he would not wage war against any of the members belonging to the Italic League. Once the agreement is ratified, his men remain in Orbetello for the entire summer; only later do they move to their quarters in Abruzzo. Jacopo Piccinino also travels to this area; during his passage through the Marches, in Fermo, the residents gift him 100 ducats and 50 loads of wheat. In Chieti, he reorganizes the ranks of his companies.
Oct.CampaniaHe receives a triumphant welcome in Naples, where he arrives with his commanders Matteo da Capua, Ottaviano di Montefiore, Francesco da Bologna, and Giovanni Piccinino. He is noted to have dined and hunted with Alfonso of Aragon (Alfonso d’Aragona).
Nov.At the end of the month, Pope Callixtus III (Papa Callisto III) excommunicates him again, provoking harsh reactions from the King of Naples.
Dec.CampaniaHe becomes increasingly unpopular at court due to his constant demands for money. The Pope opposes his plans to obtain the vicariate of Ascoli Piceno.
1457
Feb.Compagnia di venturaAscoli PicenoMarcheIn early February, two of his captains (Antonello da Forlì and Ottaviano di Montefiore) collaborate with the exiles of Ascoli Piceno to attack the main town. Some soldiers attempt to scale the walls at night; heard by the sentinels, they are repelled. Those who are captured are hanged. Piccinino is forced to apologize to the Pope and to clarify that the two captains acted on their own initiative.
May – JuneCampaniaHe travels to Naples and Capua to personally inform the sovereign of the precariousness of his situation.
Sept.After several more months of idleness, he is enticed by Federico da Montefeltro for a joint venture against the Lord of Rimini, Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta. This, according to his aspirations, could potentially allow him to establish his own state straddling the March of Ancona and Romagna.
Oct.NaplesRiminiAbruzzo, Marche, RomagnaHe departs from Abruzzo; secures passage through the lands of the Papal States with the promise to fight the Turks in the future; and borrows money from the communities of Fermo, Recanati, and Ancona. He temporarily establishes his quarters in the area around Fermo with 3,000 cavalry and 500 infantry. Alfonso of Aragon (Alfonso d’Aragona) commits to paying him 65,000 ducats in six months, including the 20,000 already given to him for troop preparation (the prestanza). The king also orders Federico da Montefeltro to hand over to Jacopo Piccinino all the lands conquered from the Lord of Rimini. As the bad weather approaches, he sets up his quarters in the Cesena area.
Nov. – Dec.MarcheHis contract expires in November; he is suspected of wanting to halt the conflict with Malatesta in order to raid the Papal States. He is reemployed by the Aragonese with an annual provision of 45,000 ducats. He attempts to lay siege to Senigallia and, along with Montefeltro, occupies various castles such as Reforzate, Montalbo, Isola di Fano, Casaspessa, and Esanatoglia.
1458
WinterMarcheHe places his winter quarters in Fossombrone: his actions are not entirely straightforward; he appears to yield to proposals advanced by Borso d’Este and Domenico Malatesta, who seek to reconcile him with Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta in exchange for the promise of adequate rewards. Federico da Montefeltro intervenes to remind him of the commitments he has made to the King of Naples. From Fossombrone, he continues his ravaging of the territories of Rimini, Fano, and Senigallia. His diplomatic activity remains intense, as always. He is in contact with the Florentines, the Marchesi Malaspina, and the Genoese (through Albertino da Cividale, former chancellor to his father Niccolò, and Broccardo Persico, the Doge’s ambassador to Naples). Another connection is with the Sforza condottiero Tiberto Brandolini, who informs him of the prevailing moods in the Sforza court.
Mar.MarcheHe takes Carpegna from Ramberto Malatesta; together with Federico da Montefeltro, he attacks the castle of Fratte, San Vito sul Cesano, and Sassocorvaro. During the plundering of Fratte, a dispute arises between the Bracceschi and Feltreschi factions, escalating into a violent skirmish that lasts an hour, resulting in more than 100 injuries and some deaths. This leads to a very harsh exchange of words between the two condottieri, almost causing a break between them. As a result, the camps are separated.
Apr.MarcheHe regains the initiative and inflicts serious damage on the Malatesta forces. He destroys the crops in the surrounding area.
JuneAt the end of the month, Alfonso of Aragon (Alfonso d’Aragona) dies.
JulyMarcheTogether with Federico da Montefeltro, he defeats Antonello da Forlì and Marco Pio near Carpegna. Upon hearing that Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta is also focusing on Carpegna, he once again joins forces with Montefeltro and compels his rival to lift the siege from the area and take refuge in the fortress of Pietrarubbia. At the same time, in the middle of the month, Pope Callixtus III (Papa Callisto III) issues a papal bull excluding Alfonso of Aragon’s (Alfonso d’Aragona) illegitimate son Ferrante from succession and revoking the kingdom to the Holy See. Piccinino is contacted to abandon his service to the Aragonese in favor of accepting a contract from the Papal forces: he refuses.
Aug.Compagnia di venturaChurchMarche, UmbriaUpon the Pope’s death at the beginning of the month, encouraged by Everso dell’Anguillara, he concludes a truce with Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, enters Umbria, and takes control of Assisi and Bevagna. The fortress of Assisi is handed over to him by the Catalan castellan Raimondo Ferraro for 12,000 ducats. He begins its expansion by constructing an octagonal tower and creating a connecting corridor from the fortress to the keep. In the following days, he occupies Gualdo Tadino, Nocera Umbra, and Valtopina. However, he fails to gain control of the fortress of Spoleto, which had been promised to him by the exiles, because he is deceived by the castellan Biello. He quarters his troops in Foligno. Jacopo Piccinino justifies the aggression by stating that those lands were promised in vicariate to his father Niccolò by Pope Eugene IV (Papa Eugenio IV). Arrayed against him are the new King of Naples, Ferrante of Aragon (Ferrante d’Aragona), who initially encouraged his venture, the new Pope Pius II (Papa Pio II), and Francesco Sforza. He relinquishes the cities under his control and cedes them to Pope Pius II in exchange for 30,000 ducats. In this context, he leaves Assisi only at the end of January of the following year when he receives the agreed-upon money. He gains permission to continue the war against Malatesta. He sends six squads to the Marche region under the command of Silvestro da Lucino and Masio da Pisa.
Sept.He meets with the Prince of Taranto, Giovanni Antonio Orsini del Balzo. Meanwhile, some of his messages to the Prince are intercepted, in which he declares himself ready to fight in favor of the rebels against Ferrante of Aragon (Ferrante d’Aragona).
Oct.He returns to Romagna and sets up camp opposite Tavoleto. He moves against Antonello da Forlì; alongside Federico da Montefeltro, he prepares an ambush near Mondaino and prevents reinforcements from reaching Tavoleto. After securing the surrender of that locality, he orders its castle to be plundered; other nearby localities suffer a similar fate. He invades the Rimini area and with incredible speed destroys men, houses, lands, animals, everything: 57 castles come into his hands, and 37 are looted and set on fire. He moves to Montefeltro and negotiates the surrender of the fortress of Maiolo. Finally, due to harsh weather and the cold season, each of the contenders leads their troops to winter quarters.
Dec.He is contacted by Tommaso Tebaldi on behalf of Francesco Sforza.
1459
Mar.CampaniaHe hires Carlo Baglioni (with 400 cavalry) and Sigismondo Brandolini (another 100). He also initiates negotiations to recruit Giovanni Conti.
Apr.Lieutenant with 3,000 cavalry and 500 infantryCampaniaHe travels to Naples to pay homage to King Ferrante of Aragon (Ferrante d’Aragona). He is disappointed in his hopes of establishing his own state within the Kingdom of Naples. He is only reaffirmed in his position as Lieutenant General for a year, with a salary of 96,000 ducats payable in monthly installments. With this sum, he is to maintain 3,000 cavalry and 500 infantry. During the same period, the King of Naples implements a reorganization of his troops, shifting from relying on independent company captains to a direct (and permanent) dependence on the sovereign.
Aug. – Sept.Compagnia di venturaRiminiRomagna, MarcheHe accompanies Giosia Acquaviva in his entry into Teramo. He does not receive the agreed-upon payment from the Aragonese, and furthermore, he is compelled to accept the Peace of Mantua (without being consulted), which is negotiated between Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta on one side and Federico da Montefeltro along with the King of Naples on the other. He is ordered to cease hostilities in Romagna without any economic or territorial benefits, according to Sforza’s wishes. In retaliation, he raids the Malatesta territories, operating between Rimini, Bellaria, Santarcangelo di Romagna, and Savignano sul Rubicone. He seizes a significant amount of livestock and captures more than 100 prisoners, who are released upon payment of a hefty ransom. He proceeds along the Marecchia river, ravaging Macerata Feltria, Sant’Agata Feltria, Pennabilli, Certalto, Castellaccio, Monte Santa Maria, Cavoleto, and other castles. He signs a truce with Malatesta, and in mid-September, he negotiates a second truce, again with the Lord of Rimini.
Oct.He tentatively aligns himself with Giovanni d’Angiò against Ferrante of Aragon (Ferrante d’Aragona). Simultaneously, he faces strong pressures from Sforza (who continually promises him his daughter Drusiana in marriage), the King of Naples, and the Pope, urging him not to support the Angevin pretender. On his part, Renato d’Angiò, the father of Giovanni, pledges to give him his daughter Bianca in marriage with a dowry of 50,000 ducats and a state within the Kingdom of Naples that would yield an income of 100,000 ducats. At the end of the month, the soldiers of his companies are instructed to collect all outstanding pledges and prepare for an expedition.
Nov.Francesco Sforza, with the support of Federico da Montefeltro and the Pope, contemplates the most extreme solution, his assassination, as his inclination toward Giovanni d’Angiò is suspected. The condottiero from Perugia is enticed into a meeting with Federico da Montefeltro in a secluded location. However, the rendezvous does not take place due to certain perceived signals in time.
1460
Jan.RomagnaNegotiations continue through Borso d’Este with the King of Naples, based on the marriage to Sforza’s daughter, lordship over the Malatestian lands pledged to the Pope as collateral for the penalty imposed on the Lord of Rimini by the Peace of Mantova, and a state within the kingdom. The members of the league are slow to give him a response. Piccinino meets in Bertinoro with Pino Ordelaffi, who joins his ranks; at the end of the month, at the urging of the Prince of Taranto, he allies with Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta. Giovanni Antonio Orsini del Balzo sends him 5,000 ducats by ship, which are intercepted and seized by Giovanni Antonio de Foxa.
Mar.AnjouNaples, Church, MilanRomagna, Marche, AbruzzoHe gathers 3,000 armed men in Bertinoro and reviews his troops at Santa Maria; he departs Cesena where his banners are blessed; he spreads the rumor that he is heading toward Casentino. Instead, he reaches Savignano sul Rubicone and sends his infantry ahead, who pass through Rimini, Gradara, and Fano, where they find lodging, provisions, and fodder for the horses. 40 men-at-arms and 2 constables from Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta join his forces. In Cesenatico, he loads three cannons, ammunition, and wagons belonging to him and his captains onto a large galley and two other ships, seemingly chartered from the Venetians; the destination is Ortona. He crosses the Rubicon by night, fords the Foglia and the Metauro rivers, and enters the March of Ancona. He crosses the Cesano, Potenza, and Chienti rivers; the only stop on this journey that takes him to Abruzzo is at the sanctuary of Loreto. Federico da Montefeltro and Alessandro Sforza, tasked with opposing him, set up camp at Sassoferrato, covering the two routes to Camerino and Loreto. Piccinino thus manages to reach Fermo and Ascoli Piceno via the coastal road, respected and feared by those populations who facilitate his passage, even leveling the terrain where it proves difficult; bridges are left intact despite the Pope’s order to destroy them, and provisions and fodder are provided everywhere. Pope Pius II (Pio II) suspects that even Montefeltro is aiding his opponent with somewhat restrained actions to shift the warfront from the Marches to Abruzzo, Piccinino’s destination. After three days of continuous marching, Jacopo Piccinino reaches the Tronto River: the river is swollen due to recent rains; his march is further facilitated when he gains support from a Papal constable, Celso Saccoccia, who provides him with boats to cross the river. In Abruzzo, he receives 8,000 ducats from Giovanni Francesco Strozzi, after having pawned jewels and silverware in Venice, gifts he had previously received from the Aragonese. After distributing the money to his troops, he heads for Colonnella. Overcoming all obstacles, he finally joins the troops of Giosia Acquaviva and Antonio Caldora, who have in turn rebelled against the King of Naples. He reaches the mouth of the Tordino River and waits there for the artillery pieces to be unloaded from the galley coming from Romagna. He takes control of the sheep customs, an important economic resource for the Kingdom of Naples.
Apr. – JuneAbruzzoContinually opposed by Federico da Montefeltro and Alessandro Sforza, he lays siege to Chieti, which is defended by Matteo da Capua. He quickly crosses the Vomano River and takes control of Città Sant’Angelo, defended by Giacomo Padulia (he imposes a levy of 6,000 ducats on the inhabitants to avoid looting), as well as Penne and Chieti itself (except for the castle). He gains Loreto Aprutino on terms from Marquis Francesco d’Aquino, imposing a levy of 4,000 ducats so that his holdings (18 castles) are not plundered. He builds a bridge over the Pescara River and awaits the arrival of Giulio Cesare da Varano with four squads of horsemen.
JulyAbruzzo, CampaniaBy the end of the month, he faces off against Federico da Montefeltro and Alessandro Sforza at San Fabiano/San Flaviano (5,000 cavalry and 3,000 infantry against 5,000 cavalry and 1,500 infantry). The two camps are separated by the course of the Tordino River. Piccinino finds himself in a somewhat unfortunate position, as his war horses have to travel more than a mile on poor roads to get water, while his opponents are more comfortably positioned on the plains below. One of the descents made by one of his captains, Zaccagnino, provokes the Sforza vanguard. He is confronted by Marcantonio Torelli; Jacopo Piccinino’s men are driven away from the stream. Piccinino sends Giulio Cesare da Varano to aid Zaccagnino; Alessandro Sforza dispatches seven squads of cavalry to aid Torelli. The battle begins. Piccinino divides his army into three corps, commanded by Silvestro da Lucino at the center, Giovanni Conti, and Raimondo Anichino on the wings; he reserves the right to intervene where his presence is most needed. The clash, lasting seven hours, takes place in the twilight hours and into the early night. His men are unable to break through the barricades defending the enemy camps; he then orders Giovanni Conti and Raimondo Anichino to assault the camp at its weakest point. Federico da Montefeltro intervenes with fresh troops, and the Count of Urbino manages to halt the advance of the Bracceschi forces. The Papal and Sforza troops withdraw the following night toward the Tronto River at Controguerra. Jacopo Piccinino plans to pursue Alessandro Sforza and Federico da Montefeltro but is dissuaded by Anichino and the Caldora forces, who fear a possible attack from Matteo da Capua, Alfonso and Ignazio d’Avalos, and Ignazio di Guevara stationed at Vasto. He moves further into Abruzzo; bursts into Sannio; secures Montorio nei Frentani and Calvanico, which is sacked. Pope Pius II falls ill; Piccinino allies himself with the Prince of Taranto, Everso dell’Anguillara, and other barons.
Aug.Abruzzo, LazioHe leaves the countryside of Chieti; left to continue the siege of the city are Giulio Cesare da Varano and Antonio Caldora. He moves on to Tocco da Casauria, enters Caramanico Terme, and from there heads to Tagliacozzo. He turns towards Albe where he is confronted by Napoleone Orsini. He enters Tagliacozzo; only the castle resists his attacks. He takes Avezzano from the Orsini and gains control of several fortified villages overseen by the Monastery of Farfa. He makes contact with the Colonna family.
Sept.LazioHe arrives at Cittaducale, devastates Monteleone Sabino, and also secures the surrender of the fortress; he continues his march into Sabina, approaching Rome in a threatening manner. He then advances his troops to Palombara Sabina, controlled by Jacopo Savelli, commanded by Silvestro da Lucino, Deifobo dell’Anguillara, and Antonello da Forlì; at the same time, he rejects the offers from Sforza, who urges him to enter into the service of the Pope and attack Malatesta. Papal forces move against him.
Oct.LazioAfter the Battle of Sarno, he proposes to Giovanni d’Angiò (John of Anjou) to attack Naples to once again force the adversaries into open battle. He also pressures the French to directly assault the Duchy of Milan. Giovanni d’Angiò declines the suggestion; he moves away from Naples, separates from the Prince of Taranto with whom he is in Nola, and prefers to continue the conflict by occupying some territories. However, he does not feel strong enough, as he fears being attacked from behind by Montefeltro and Cardinal Forteguerra. He allies with the Colonna and Savelli families and advances as far as Rieti; he mounts a futile attack on Tivoli without having the courage to assault Rome. He raids livestock and plunders various lands in Sabina; he takes prisoners for whose release he demands hefty ransoms. Near Rieti, he sets up his camp at the Abbey of San Vincenzo; he takes refuge in the fortress of Petrella Salto. He tries to divide his adversaries by sending Friar Filippo da Massa to the Pope with a proposal for an anti-Sforza agreement. The Friar will carry out a similar mission, always with negative results, at the court of the King of Naples. At the end of the month, he retreats to Abruzzo.
Nov.Lazio, Abruzzo, CampaniaIn mid-November, his men set up their tents first at the Monastery of San Salvatore di Scandriglia, near Poggio Nativo, and then at the Monastery of San Pietro, not far from the previous location. Pressed by his adversaries, he is pushed towards the mountain and returns to Abruzzo. He is spotted in Vasto. He aligns himself with Cola di Monforte and other Angevin captains like the Prince of Rossano and Duke of Sora, as well as Count Pietro Lalle dei Camponeschi of Montorio. Later he moves to Nocera dei Pagani; from there he bursts into the Valle di San Severino. In the same month in Florence, Piero dei Pazzi (a supporter of the Angevins) provides him with 400 horses to be used in his campaign in the Kingdom of Naples. The Florentine bankers, who are financing Giovanni d’Angiò’s expedition, provide him with the necessary funds to enlist 400 horses.
Dec.AbruzzoAt the winter quarters in Ortona with the French squads and broken lances. He leaves Giovanni Conti and Carlo Baglioni in Albe, Silvestro da Lucino in Palombara Sabina.
1461
Jan.Abruzzo, CampaniaFollowing the defeat of Antonio Caldora at the hands of Alessandro Sforza and Matteo da Capua, he returns to the Aquila region. He goes to Gesualdo to collect his payment for military service from Giovanni d’Angiò; the claimant no longer has money, and the Prince of Taranto, Giovanni Antonio Orsini del Balzo, finds himself in the same situation (or is unwilling to loosen the purse strings). He takes possession of two nearby castles.
Feb. – MayCampania, AbruzzoJacopo Piccinino essentially remains inactive; he only carries out some sporadic actions, such as when he sacks Montorio nei Frentani, defended by 200 infantrymen. The countryside of the San Severino Valley is plundered. He moves from Atripalda toward Somma Vesuviana; he clashes at Giuliano in Campania with the Aragonese, from whom he captures their carriages (and 400 horses). In March, the Prince of Taranto, Giovanni Antonio Orsini del Balzo, delivers to him 30,000 to 40,000 ducats. In April, he returns to Abruzzo following the successes of Matteo da Capua; he arrives at Loreto Aprutino and faces Matteo da Capua and Marcantonio Torelli at Penne. Also in the same month, he welcomes into his camp Lucrezia d’Alagno, the lover of the late King Alfonso of Aragon. Offended by rumors of her county of Caiazzo being granted to Roberto da San Severino, she initially retreats to her own castle in Somma Vesuviana and refuses to communicate with King Ferrante. Later, she decides to join the Angevin (Angioino) camp, as her brother Mariano had done previously.
JuneAbruzzoHe lifts the siege on Loreto Aprutino, which had been imposed by Matteo da Capua and Marcantonio Torelli. He moves against Penne at the head of 2,500 men, along with 3,000 from the Aquila region and another 1,000 men led by Ruggero Accrocciamuro. He is challenged to battle by the opponents; a sortie of his men emerging from the town of Penne is repelled. He has to abandon the field and retreat to the nearby mountains.
JulyAbruzzo, Campania, ApuliaThe approach of Alessandro Sforza and the lack of supplies convince him to move toward Puglia. He meets at Lacedonia with Giovanni d’Angiò and Giovanni Antonio Orsini del Balzo. He has with him 10 squads of cavalry and 600 infantrymen.
Aug. – Sept.ApuliaHe threatens Giovinazzo, Bitonto, Barletta, and Trani, hoping that these cities will surrender to avoid damage and fires. Opposing him is Giorgio Castriota, the famous Scanderbeg, who rushes from Albania to Puglia with 800 cavalry to support the cause of Ferrante of Aragon. Piccinino tries to capture his opponent under the pretense of a meeting. He meets with Giorgio Castriota; during the conversation, he backs away and signals his men to capture the interlocutor. The quick thinking of the Albanian foils the plan of the Braccesco condottiero, who has become, according to the Pope, a “minister of the Devil.”
Oct. – Nov.CampaniaHe receives 17,000 ducats from France through Florentine banks: he has 5,000 of this sum delivered to Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta so that he may gather 50 men-at-arms and 4,000 infantry under the command of his son Roberto, while he uses the rest of the amount to recover some assets that had been pawned to Venice. He unsuccessfully tries to provide aid to Gesualdo, which belongs to the Count of Avellino; he encamps at Guardia Lombardi, from where he challenges the Aragonese army with continuous raids, commanding 14 squads of cavalry. Sixteen crossbowmen and twenty infantrymen from Cola di Monforte desert his camp, informing the opponents about the poor conditions his men are in due to the chronic lack of supplies.
Dec.CampaniaHe departs from Guardia Lombardi. With long marches, he heads to the winter quarters.
1462
Jan. – Apr.Basilicata, ApuliaWhile he is stationary at Genzano di Lucania, he is reached by Bassanino da Lodi who, on behalf of the da Correggio family, promises him the delivery of Parma upon the death of the Sforza. He receives similar messages for Piacenza (from Gabriello Chiapponi) and for Fiorenzuola d’Arda. He cannot move due to a snowstorm that causes severe damage to the ranks of his companies. He stays in Basilicata, conquers and sacks Venosa; in Puglia, he ravages some areas near Barletta belonging to the della Marra; he lays siege to Giovinazzo with the Prince of Taranto and through intense bombardment forces the defenders to surrender. Along with the Angevins, he besieges Trani, which has very few supplies. There are also numerous skirmishes with Scanderbeg.
MayApuliaAt the end of the month, he enters Trani (which surrenders on terms) and threatens Barletta with the aim of engaging Scanderbeg there. The captain of Trani, Giovanni Antonio de Foxa, locks himself in the castle and begins to negotiate for its surrender. Scanderbeg anticipates this move, reaches the vicinity of Trani, summons de Foxa to him, captures him, and takes possession of the castle. Piccinino then tightens the siege on the fortress; from the sea, his galleys enact a sort of naval blockade. The intervention of the Venetian fleet, which is in the area, proves hostile to the Provençals because the Serenissima (Venice) does not want any warships in the Adriatic other than its own. In this way, the expectations of the Perugian condottiero are thwarted; Aragonese ships are able to land their cargo and resupply the castle of Trani.
June – JulyApuliaHe devastates the territory of Barletta; having agreed upon a local truce, he begins the siege of Andria with Orsini del Balzo and starts bombarding the town. With the surrender of the Duke of Andria, the town is sacked. He positions himself near Canosa di Puglia, where he lays siege to the Count of Gravina, Francesco Orsini. Upon Ferrante of Aragon’s arrival at Accadia, he agrees to a truce, then breaks it and leaves the area along with all the plundered livestock. He crosses the Ofanto River, leaves Torricella, advances as far as the vicinity of Macchia Focaccia (Masseria la Macchia), and takes a position near Accadia.
Aug.ApuliaAccadia falls to the Aragonese, who now lay siege to Orsara di Puglia. Jacopo Piccinino comes to the aid of the castle, crossing through the district of Ascoli Satriano and halting in front of the walls of Troia with Giovanni d’Angiò, Giovanni Cossa, Giulio Antonio Acquaviva, and Ercole d’Este. Antonio Piccolomini and Roberto Orsini ascend a nearby hill. Piccinino sends infantry and cavalry who repel the enemies back into the plain. He is counter-attacked by Alessandro Sforza and Giovanni Conti (now fighting for the Aragonese), who ascend the same hill from another side. His 1,200 infantrymen flee to avoid being attacked from behind; the condottiero lines up with d’Angiò on the banks of a canal, the Sannoro. The King of Naples and Alessandro Sforza cross it and can now attack Piccinino from both flanks. The center gives way, and the Perugian captain retreats behind a ditch; Alessandro Sforza disorganizes his ranks, forcing the Bracceschi to also abandon this position and quickly climb back up the hill, from where they manage to curb the momentum of their opponents. The King of Naples attempts a diversionary move towards a second height defended by the Prince of Taranto; Piccinino’s troops realize that the assaults are now coming from multiple directions, so they decide to take refuge in Troia. The enemies capture 1,000 horses and all their baggage; however, Piccinino does not admit defeat. He regroups the scattered forces and launches a new attack, recovering part of the spoils and freeing many of his men previously taken prisoner. In the dead of night, he leaves Troia with d’Angiò and 400 cavalry to avoid being besieged there; he retreats to Ascoli Satriano and Trani.
Sept.ApuliaIn Trani, he holds a war council with Giovanni d’Angiò (John of Anjou) and Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, who have arrived in Puglia. He repels a new attempt by Alessandro Sforza to relieve the city’s castle. The Prince of Taranto concludes a separate peace with the King of Naples; John of Anjou and Piccinino leave Trani to move to Venosa and Lucera. In search of reinforcements, he sends Silvestro da Lucino to Romagna to gather new troops: Niccolò d’Este, son of Duke Leonello, Pino Ordelaffi, Lord of Forlì, and Giovanni Francesco della Mirandola are enlisted.
Oct. – Nov.Apulia, Abruzzo, Molise, LazioHe embarks for Abruzzo from Manfredonia: he is without men and means. He takes refuge in the lands of Giulio Antonio Aquaviva and Ristagno Cantelmi; he is spotted in Vasto, Termoli, and Archi (meeting with Antonio Caldora). He occupies Ceprano in the Campagna region; he returns to Abruzzo and stations near Celano. He strikes a deal with Ruggero Accrocciamuro and takes control of various castles such as Gagliano Aterno and Trasacco. After a three-day siege, Countess Giovanna Cossa of Celano, daughter of Giovanni and widow of Lionello Accrocciamuro, is captured in the castle of Gagliano; castles and fortresses are handed over to Ruggero Accrocciamuro. Piccinino, on the other hand, takes possession of jewelry, various furnishings, and a large amount of wool worth 80,000 ducats. To be released, the Countess of Celano must recognize a ransom of 12,000 ducats.
Dec.Abruzzo, CampaniaHe occupies some castles in the territories of Tagliacozzo and Albe. He rides to Sessa Aurunca to prevent adversaries from taking control of Pontelatone.
1463
Jan. – Mar.AbruzzoWith the money gained from the raid on Celano, he is able to rebuild a new army with which he besieges Sulmona. He sets up camp at Santo Spirito; he occupies all the passes and closes off every access route to the location; he orders the cutting of vines and trees and brings destruction right up to the city gates. Assisting him in this action are Antonio Caldora, Count Pietro Lalle of Montorio dei Camponeschi, Duke Giovanpaolo Cantelmi of Sora, Prince Marino di Marzano of Rossano and Duke of Sessa, Count Onorato Gaetani of Sermoneta, Deifobo dell’Anguillara, and Giovanni d’Angiò (John of Anjou). A deserter shows him the route through which supplies are reaching the besieged: he sets his soldiers to ambush in the indicated places, and they capture many citizens and 40 soldiers of Roberto Orsini carrying wheat; numerous prisoners are hanged. Sulmona falls in March: the inhabitants hand over 5,000 ducats to him to avoid having the place looted.
MayAbruzzo, ApuliaHe moves toward Lanciano. He lays siege to Chieti. At the end of the month, he sets up camp at San Bono. He opposes the raids of the Aragonese, who from Lesina aim for San Severo, a city that has rebelled against the Aragonese.
JuneCampania, LazioHe moves against the enemies besieging Pontelatone, a castle belonging to the Duke of Sessa and Prince of Rossano: the adversaries are forced to retreat to Capua after having challenged him to battle. He then shifts toward Sora, which is under siege by Napoleone Orsini; he is defeated nearby by Roberto Orsini and Matteo da Capua, suffering the loss of three squads of horses.
July – Aug.Abruzzo, MoliseNear Ortona, Alessandro Sforza advances toward Abruzzo with eighteen squads of horses; Piccinino unsuccessfully tries to block his path; he sets up camp with the Caldora at Archi, leading ten squads of horses. He is increasingly in severe difficulty. Alessandro Sforza challenges him unsuccessfully to battle; he departs in the dead of night. In August, he requests a meeting with Sforza. The meeting takes place in the Aragonese captain’s tent; an agreement is reached without the knowledge of either the King of Naples or Giovanni d’Angiò (John of Anjou). This sets the stage for Jacopo Piccinino to switch sides to the Aragonese under the following conditions: a general captaincy for one year, the office of Viceroy of Abruzzo, an annual salary of 90,000 ducats (one-third to be borne by the Aragonese, one-third by the Pope, and one-third by the Duke of Milan), a command of 3,000 horses and 500 foot soldiers for one firm year and one year of good will, the payment of back wages (in installments of 10,000 ducats a year), marriage to Drusiana Sforza, daughter of Francesco (with a dowry of 25,000 ducats), and finally, the return of his father’s fiefs in Lombardy for a counter-value of 65,000 ducats. In the treaty, the cities and lands controlled by Piccinino in Abruzzo, such as Sulmona, Caramanico Terme, Penne, Chieti, Bucchianico, Villamarina, Francavilla al Mare, Guardiagrele, Atessa, Torino di Sangro, Città Sant’Angelo, and Brocardo, are confirmed to him. He is also given the authority to invade the lands of Cola di Monforte. He hands over his sons Giacomo and Angelo as hostages. His collaborator Broccardo Persico is promised the office of Chancellor of the Kingdom of Naples and the city of Vieste in Puglia.
Sept.NaplesAnjouThe negotiations are successful. His presence in the Aragonese camp prompts Giovanni d’Angiò (John of Anjou) to abandon the Kingdom of Naples.
Nov.AbruzzoHe has not yet taken possession of Francavilla al Mare and Caramanico, as these locations refuse his jurisdiction. He has also not managed to collect the first installment of the wages promised to him. For his part, he exerts strong pressure on Francesco d’Ortona to surrender to the Aragonese.
1464
Feb.AbruzzoIn Sulmona, he continues to complain about the delay in receiving his wages.
MayAbruzzo, UmbriaHe begins to fear the treachery of Ferrante d’Aragona, who, against the terms of the agreement, has captured Marino di Marzano; he proposes to Francesco Sforza, asking for the hand of his daughter Drusiana in marriage. He is given 20,000 to 30,000 ducats by the Grand Chancellor of the Kingdom, Broccardo Persico; however, he is not given control of Caramanico (which had previously been granted by the King of Naples to Matteo da Capua).
June – JulyEmiliaHis eldest son Niccolò dies of malaria in Capestrano. Overcoming his grief, he decides at the end of the month to leave Sulmona and head for Milan without notifying the King of Naples and without an escort. He leaves Tommaso Tebaldi as his deputy in charge of Sulmona (Tebaldi had previously been sent to him by the Duke of Milan along with Giovanni Caimi). He takes the road to L’Aquila and heads towards Perugia and Florence. He meets with Braccio Baglioni in Spello and Perugia (in the city, he is hosted by Giovanni da Sesto): the priors of the city order the expenditure of 650 florins to pay him homage. Ferrante d’Aragona vainly tries to call him back with new offers. In Careggi, he has a conversation with Cosimo dei Medici. He passes through Bologna, accompanied by many condottieri (Giovan Francesco della Mirandola, Carlo Baglioni, the Count of Monteodorisio, Broccardo Persico, Francesco da Ortona), totaling 200 horses and 60 infantry. In this last city, he stays in the palace of Giovanni Bentivoglio. He continues his journey through San Giovanni in Persiceto, Crevalcore, Mirandola, Modena, Reggio Emilia (where he meets with Ercole d’Este and Cola di Monforte joins his entourage), Parma, and Piacenza. Concerns arise about his arrival in Milan because some members of his party have fallen ill with the plague during the journey.
Aug. – Oct.Emilia, LombardyHe meets with Francesco Sforza in Piacenza, where he is welcomed by 100,000 people. In the city, he and his entourage are hosted in the palace of Gabriello Chiapponi. Around the same time, he enters Borgonovo Val Tidone, where he dines with his future brother-in-law, Sforza Sforza, who had been released from prison by his father specifically for his arrival. He continues his journey towards Castel San Giovanni and Pavia. In Binasco, he is met by Tristano Sforza, Corrado da Fogliano, Costanzo Sforza, Galeazzo Maria Sforza, and many nobles from the ducal court. Mid-month, his wedding to Drusiana Sforza is celebrated in Milan, bringing him a dowry of 25,000 ducats, half of which is immediately given to him. In return, he gifts his wife a gold necklace featuring a small globe, twenty-two diamonds, and an equal number of rubies. In September, he is involved in various celebrations with his brother-in-law Galeazzo Maria Sforza in Monza and Pavia, where he spends his honeymoon in the ducal castle in the company of Duchess Bianca Maria Visconti, the wife of Francesco Sforza. He takes part in a ceremony like the baptism of a daughter of Francesco da Landriano in the Chapel of San Gottardo. In October, Duchess Bianca Maria Visconti organizes a hunting party in his honor in the park of Pavia. Around the same time, he sends Broccardo Persico to Naples to negotiate the payment of overdue wages and to set the terms for his new contract with the Aragonese: one year of firm service and one year of optional service, a provision of 70,000 ducats in peacetime plus another 500 derived from the income of the lands he owns. In wartime, a provision of 90,000 ducats is planned. Of the overdue wages, he is assured 12,000 ducats, plus another 35,000 to be paid within a year. He is guaranteed possession of Caramanico and other locations previously controlled by Cola di Monforte.
Nov.Lombardy, Emilia, RomagnaThe plot between the King of Naples and Francesco Sforza against him takes shape this month. The key players in this scheme are Antonio Cicinello, the royal ambassador in the Lombard capital, and Cicco Simonetta, Sforza’s chancellor. Jacopo Piccinino is alerted to the plot through various signals and secret messages; this time, he truly believes in his father-in-law’s good intentions. Antonio Cicinello, with Sforza’s support, persuades him to return to Naples with the promise of being elected Viceroy of Abruzzi and the ability to collect 20,000 ducats as payment for overdue wages. Piccinino leaves Milan accompanied by Pietro Pusterla and 24 other gentlemen in pouring rain. During his journey, he stops at various cities and is hosted by local lords: Lodi, Pizzighettone, Cremona, Casalmaggiore, Correggio (hosted by Manfredo da Correggio), Brescello, Mirandola (hosted by Giovanni Francesco della Mirandola), Finale Emilia (meeting with Borso d’Este), Parma (meeting with Angelo di San Vitale), Ferrara, Argenta (where he says goodbye to the Duke of Modena), and Cesena (Domenico Malatesta). Both Este and Domenico Malatesta warn him to be cautious regarding the King of Naples. Their warnings add another layer of tension and intrigue to what is already a complex and precarious situation for Piccinino. It’s clear that despite the outward signs of alliance and support, the political landscape is fraught with hidden agendas and potential betrayals.
1465
……………Marche, Abruzzo, CampaniaAt the beginning of the month, a mile from Naples, Giovanni d’Aragona, another son of the king, awaits him with a large entourage of barons. Half a mile later, he receives a full honors welcome from Ferrante d’Aragona in the Church of San Giuliano (now a chapel in Capodichino). The king removes his hat, embraces him, and accompanies him to the house that has been prepared for him. He is celebrated continuously for twenty-seven days; he is appointed Viceroy of Abruzzo, awarded an annual salary of 25,000 ducats, and promised the fortress of Caramanico. At the same time, during these days, Ferrante d’Aragona orders Alfonso d’Avalos to disperse his troops stationed in Abruzzo. Piccinino frequently meets with the king, the Sforza ambassadors, Luigi Guicciardini, and Pandolfo Pandolfini, ambassadors from Florence and old acquaintances. The king becomes so comfortable with him that he asks for a loan in exchange for some fiefdoms. The condottiero inspects Ischia, the base of the Catalan corsair Johan Torrelles. At the end of the month, he requests an audience to return to Sulmona; he is summoned under a pretext to Castelnuovo. He embraces Ferrante d’Aragona who, after a brief conversation, leaves him alone with his secretary under the excuse of needing to read some messages that have arrived from France. Upon leaving, Piccinino is arrested by a company of archers along with his son Francesco and Broccardo Persico. They are all confined in the same fortress, the Fossa del Miglio. Aragonese troops occupy Sulmona and plunder his men. Only a few, including Silvestro di Lucino, find refuge in Cesena. This betrayal is explained by two simultaneous events: the marriage of Ippolita Sforza, daughter of Francesco, to a son of the King of Naples, and a naval victory by the Aragonese over the Angevins.
JulyCampaniaAfter being tortured to confess an alleged collaboration with the Angevins that would justify his capture, Jacopo Piccinino is strangled in prison by a Moorish slave. Ferrante d’Aragona circulates a copy of a purported letter from the condottiero to Torrelles, urging the Catalan corsair to hold out until the arrival of the Provençal fleet. The king also spreads the news (when the condottiero has already been dead for five days) that his death occurred due to a fall from a high window while trying to see the Aragonese ships entering the port after the conquest of Ischia from Torrelles. The king is believed by no one: in Milan, defamatory paintings against him are created, and the King of Naples complains to Francesco Sforza, asking him to find and punish the authors of such works. Popular rumor quickly spreads that the mastermind behind Piccinino’s elimination was Francesco Sforza himself, aiming to rid himself of his dangerous son-in-law. This version is confirmed by witnesses of the events and by the complaints of Piccinino’s daughter Drusiana, who will later accuse her father of the crime. Upon hearing news of her husband’s capture, Piccinino’s wife seeks refuge in Teramo with her uncle Alessandro Sforza; even in the following September, she remains unaware of Jacopo’s death and urges her father to secure his release. Jacopo Piccinino is buried in Naples. His death becomes the subject of the tragedy written by Laudisio da Vezzano, “De captivitate comitis Jacobi”; Cambino Aretino composes a “Song on the Death of Count Jacopo Piccinino”; he is also a friend of Lorenzo Spirito, who commemorates him in “Altro Marte” and “Lamento di Perugia Soggiogata.” His coat of arms features a rampant bull.

Sources

-“Fin troppo dotato di agile e bella composizione di membra, e di subito e forte ingegno; in qualche parte si mostrò inferiore del padre, in tutto dappiù del fratello, che di pingue natura, prodigo del proprio e dell’altrui, era sovente maestro di crapula e di rapina ai soldati. La miserabile morte del Piccinino..segnò il punto della totale sovversione della scuola braccesca. Infatti, giusto un ordine già prima dato dal re, tutte le sue schiere vennero inopinatamente svaligiate e disperse.” RICOTTI

-“Il Piccinino era ancora un uomo d’arme del vecchio tipo, di quelli che avevano avuto fortuna tra la fine del ‘300 e l’inizio del ‘400, quando spargevano il terrore nelle popolazioni e lo spavento nei Signori, che finivano con l’essere in loro balia. Ma verso il 1450 la situazione era profondamente mutata ed una maggiore stabilità delle Signorie rendeva impossibile che si compissero imprese sotto il segno dell’audacia e della violenza. Lo Sforza era stato l’ultimo condottiero che era riuscito a conquistarsi un dominio, ma egli univa alla “virtù” militare notevoli qualità di uomo politico, mentre il Piccinino era un rozzo soldato, del tutto incapace di concepire e di tradurre in pratica fini e sottili arti politiche.” CATALANO

-“Costu’ aiuto e consiglio/ Dell’Italia vedovella.” Da una canzone di Anonimo, composta per la morte del condottiero, riportata dal FABRETTI

-“Uno son io onor della ma terra/Illustre conte Jacomo chiamato,/Favor della mia patria in ogni guerra,/ E da un altro Marte generato:/L’animo eccelso mio viltà non serra,/Chi m’ha con seco è bene accompagnato/Osservator di fede a cui prometto,/E di combatter solo è il mio diletto.” Da un epitaffio del Matarazzo, riportato da FABRETTI, sotto il suo ritratto un tempo esistente nel palazzo di Braccio Baglioni

-“Duce celebre nelle armi e noto per le sue sventure…Simile al padre nella piccolezza del corpo; rosso di capello; piacevole del viso; avido di gloria, di potenza, di guadagno; paziente nelle fatiche; audace e intrepido nelle battaglie; accorto ne’ consigli. Colla sua morte si sciolse l’armata braccesca che per tanti anni aveva fatto suonar alto il nome dei Fortebracci, dei Piccinini e de’ giovani italiani, combattenti con tanto valore ne’ campi d’Italia, nelle espugnazioni delle città, negli assalti, – più d’una fiata crudeli, ministri di cittadine vendette, di morti. – Pari al conte Iacopo Piccinino da Perugia non erano allora duci in Italia.” FABRETTI 

-“Costui per virtù di corpo, e d’animo avanzava il fratello.” CORIO

-“Personaggio, che dopo Francesco Sforza era in questi tempi il più prode, attivo, ed accorto Condottiere d’armi..Abbiamo Scrittori.. che esaltano alle stelle questo Piccinino, chiamandolo specialmente Fulmine della guerra. Né può già mettersi in dubbio, che egli fosse uno de’ più prodi guerrieri e Condottieri d’armi, che si avesse allora l’Italia; ma vero è altresì, ch’egli fu poco diverso da i Capitani delle Compagnie de’ Masnadieri, da noi vedute nel precedente Secolo. Viveva egli alle spese di chi non era suddito suo, e si guadagnava l’amore de’ soldati suoi, con dare l’impunità a tutte le ruberie e furfanterie, e a qualsivoglia altro loro eccesso.” MURATORI

-“Capitano di molto valore.” BELTRANO

-“Era nominato principale capitaneo de tuti li Cristiani, et era quello che facea tremare suo movere tuta la Italia.” DIARIO FERRARESE

-“Costui per virtù di corpo e d’animo avanzava il fratello, perché Francesco era di debole corpo e d’animo pigro, ma di cattiva natura, ma molto liberale. Iacopo per l’opposto era avaro…Era in questo Capitano una cupidità ardentissima di signoreggiare. ” SIMONETTA

-“Capitano tra Bracceschi d’animo e d’ingegno pronto, per molti valorosi fatti eccellenti.” Da un discorso di C. Landino, riportato dal SANSOVINO

-“Capitano di somma autorità ne suoi tempi.” EGNAZIO

-“Huomo veramente di virtù di guerra pari a Nicolò Picinino suo padre, e da essere d’animo paragonato a Braccio, s’egli già per la sua gran bravura e felicità d’imprese, quasi spaventevole a tutti, e sempre auttore di turbar la pace, consumate in danno suo tutte l’amicitie, non s’havesse affrettata la morte.” GIOVIO

-“Era tenuto lealissimo capitano e fidatissimo, che mai avea fatta fraude né tradimento alcuno.” RINUCCINI

-Con il Carmagnola “Egregii sua aetate duces expectaverant.” BEAUCAIRE

-“Paterni nominis gloria, et rebus gestis claris, florente aetate juvenis, consilio vero et animi indole egregius.” BRACCIOLINI

-“Unus per ea tempora maxime ex omnibus Italiae Ducibus clarus habitus.” F. CONTARINI

-“Praeter paterni nominis gloriam in armis late clarus.” FACIO

-“Giovane bellicoso e feroce.” SPINO

-“Prode guerriero, ma educato a vivere come i capitani di ventura.” BALAN

-“Ducis olim clarissimi.” SABELLICO

-“Illud belli (contro i veneziani) fulmen..Capitaneus armorum praestantissimus.” RIPALTA

-“Pianga el grande e ‘l piccolino/ De Bracceschi  ogni soldato,/ Poich’ é morto il nominato/ Conte Jacom Piccinino./ Piangi ancor casa braccesca,/ Piangi donna del Grifone (Perugia);/ Non c’è più chi fama accresca/Oggimai di tua nazione:/ Poich’é  morto el gran campione/Capitano e sommo Duce,/ Specchio al Mondo quale luce/Di ogni franco Paladino./…/Piange Italia e tutto il mondo/Sol per questo fallimento,/Poi ch’è stato messo al fondo/Un tal uomo d’ardimento/Per falso ordinamento.” Da una canzone in morte del conte Jacopo Piccinino riportata dal VERMIGLIOLI

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

-Con Francesco Piccinino “Well-known condottieri.” TREASE

-“Illustre Capitano di gente d’arme.” DE RAIMO

-“Incendit animum meum divina virtus, fides, vitae modestia, auctoritas et incredibilis animi praestantia Scipionis Jacobi Picinini..Hunc Martis filium, imperatorum decus, et in caeteribus rebus patri assimilem dixerim; literis vero superiorem.” PORCELLIO

-“Condottiero feroce, infido, avaro, venale, sprezzatore d’Iddio e degli uomini.” UGOLINI

-“Valoroso Capitano..Uomo ambiziosissimo e avidissimo di denaro, altro pensiero non aveva, che d’acquistarsi uno stato in qualunque modo gli potesse venir fatto.” REPOSATI

-“Celebre Capitano di ventura.” RICCA

-“…e poi quel altro ardito/ che al remirarlo è quasi gran dilecto,/ el qual ancor se morde e stringe el dito/ per sdegno et ira, ma cagion se n’hebbe/ d’ogni suo male e del suo ardir finito,/ egli è quel conte Jacomo, che alto crebbe,/ ma se prudente ancor più stato fosse,/ o quanto vie magiur stato sarebbe!” SANTI

-“Nostra tempestate clarissimum Imperatorem.” ALBINO

-Con Ercole d’Este “Qui passoient pour les deux plus fameux Capitaines d’Italie.” VARILLAS

-“Era veramente di quelli che, rizzando una bandiera, potevano mettere insieme un esercito pericoloso.” VILLARI

-“Dove si vide mai nel secol nostro/ fra la milizia excelsa e signorile/ Un uomo tanto virile/ Eguale al possessor della Tarpea!/…/ O maligne, perverse e genti false,/ Siete contente? or mancavi più nulla/ A fare Italia brulla/ D’un venerando, degno e santo sole/ Che trionfa ora in ciel con l’altre prole./…/ Signor mio caro, vedrotti mai in sella/ Metterti in sulle braccia e la fortuna/ E seguir il favor de la tua stella?/ Vedi il gran Giove che teco s’innuma/ Le donne e fantolin gridano omei/ Di quel per cui portiam la veste bruna/…/O santo, casto e pudico agnellino,/Come mai ti fidasti d’uno strupo/Andaste in bocca al lupo,/Che mai altro disegno al mondo fece/Se non unirti con la crudel nece/…Canzon, cerca l’Italia in ogni parte/O civili o armiger che si sia/E senza fellonia/Farsi querela delle cose conte:/Poi t’inginocchia al mio leggiadro Conte/E digli con parlar saldo e verace:/Che il perder tempo a chi più l’ha più spiace.” Cambino Aretino, “Canzone in morte di Iacopo Piccinino” riportata da FABRETTI

-“Grande condottiero.” HALE                                                  

-“Ortus in Perusiae humili loco, Bracci ejus aetatis clarissimi ducis disciplina tantum proferit, ut militari laude magistrum vel aequarit, vel vicerit. Ingens, illi animus, et ad pericula audax: et in exiguo corpore magnae virtutes. Excipere hostem, aggredi, certare acie, militis ducisque strenue munia obire, nec arte minus quam virem gerere. Magnorum principum regnumque ac rerum publicarum armis praefuit. Saepius victor, interdum etiam communi belli marte victus ceptusque. Fortuna illum aliquando, virtus numquam destituit.” BEVERINI

-“Egli era di tanta auttorità nelle cose di guerra.” CRISPOLTI

-“Valoroso condottier de’ Milanesi.” G. ROVELLI

-“Saggio Comandante.” TENTORI

-“….di perpetua/ l’eterne tuoi virtute, o Picinino,/ che per grandeçça d’arme non ay pure./ …/ In questo tempo io viddi al nostro Marte/ potente conte Iacomo far cose/ che più diverse fuoro che umana arte.” Lorenzo Spirito riportato da FABRETTI

-“Grande capitano di ventura.” PAGNANI

-“Huomo di grande animo.” BROGLIO

-“Il quale se era un capitano più valente del fratello era di carattere ancor più incostante. Rassomigliava al padre per la piccolezza del corpo. Aveva i capelli rossi ed il viso piacente. Dopo Francesco Sforza fu il condottiero più reputato del secolo XV, e fu sempre il capo della parte braccesca, che tanto si distinse per l’impetuosità nel condurre la guerra..Dominatore e crudele, e si macchiò dei vizi del suo secolo. Come il padre era turbolento, dinamico, inesauribile.” BIGNAMI

-“Famoso capitano di ventura.” L. CAPPELLETTI

-La sua uccisione a Napoli “Et interim il Conte Jacopo entrò in Napoli, al quale fu fatto per quel Re degli onori, che fecero i Giudei al Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo la Domenica d’Ulivo e poi il presero e il misero in croce. Così fece quel Re.” DA SOLDO

-“L’immagine che restò, del condottiero in cerca di uno stato per sé, era incompleta, non falsa..La singolarità della figura del conte Jacopo sta nel fatto che egli non era parte o incarnazione di un’opposizione locale al potere centralizzatore che cercava di soverchiarlo. Al contrario, egli poteva muovere una rete di alleanze che si estendeva a gran parte della penisola, fondata in ogni luogo sull’appoggio di forze politiche che localmente stavano conducendo una battaglia, più o meno ambigua, contro l’avanzare delle pretese degli stati, chiedendo, quando era il caso, il suo aiuto militare…l ruolo di Jacopo Piccinino fu quello di saldare la compagnia con un sistema di alleanze diventato coerente perché opposto alla Lega Italica e in regioni (quella sforzesca, quella medicea, quella pontificia, quella aragonese)che essa più contribuiva a rinsaldare. In quanto ultima compagnia transregionale, girovaga perchè non legata ad alcuno stato, i bracceschi erano diventati collettori naturali dei progetti eversivi ribollenti in tutta la penisola nel primo decennio di vigore della Lega.” FERENTE

-“Era questo cavaliero di statura piccola, come dice Giovanni Simonetta, assomigliandolo al padre, di pel rosso affocato, di faccia grata, avido della gloria e dell’honore, di poche lettere, sicome erano gli altri soldati di quei tempi, paziente d’ogni fatica, amator de’ soldati. E quantunque il detto Simonetta lo tassi per parco e per avaro, a men non par da credere che fosse tale, havendo egli di continovo tanto seguito di soldati quanto havea, le quali cose, come ogniuno può ragionevolmente giudicare, non istanno mai bene insieme. Fu audace et intrepido in ogni pericolo et avido del dominare e di cervello inquieto, ingegnoso e prudente..sicome al padre ancora avvenne, non l’havesse alquanto fatto parere, come nella sua fine si dimostra, il contrario.” G.G. ROSSI

-“When Jacopo Piccinino died in 1465, there were widespread expressions of grief over the “lacrimata morte” of this heroic but unfortunate condottiere. Chronicles shamed the Duke of Milan, writing he had hand the leader “mandato alla beccheria” and this voicing rumours of a scandal rhat was portrayed as endemic. The humanist poet Laudisio da Vezzano drew inspiration from the event to write his Latin tragedy “De captivitate comitis Jacobi.” BALESTRACCI

-“Era famoso uomo di guerra; di coraggio arrischiato; di pensieri come di opere sollecito; era capitano di ventura, perché in quel tempo così chiamavansi coloro che vendevano il sangue italiano.” TOMACELLI CAPECE

-“Uno storico (Porcellio), nello scriverne la vita, lo  chiamerà “Jacopo Scipione”, tanto gli pareva che incarnasse i grandi capitani della più illustre famiglia, politica e guerriera di Roma antica.” PORTIGLIOTTI 

Specific Biographies

-S. Ferente. la sfortuna di Jacopo Piccinino. Storia dei bracceschi in Italia 1423-1465

-Porcellio Poeta. Commentaria rerum gestarum a Jacobo Picinino anno 1453.

-Porcellio Poeta. Commentaria comitis Jacobi Picinini vocato Scipionis Aemiliani.

Topics: Life of Jacopo Piccinino, Military career of Jacopo Piccinino, Jacopo Piccinino and Ferrante d’Aragona, Jacopo Piccinino tactical strategies, Italian Condottieri of the Renaissance, The betrayal and capture of Jacopo Piccinino, Jacopo Piccinino and the Sforza family

Featured image source: wikimedia

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