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

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The Military Exploits of Konrad Von Landau

According to a contemporary chronicler, "a drunken German captain, who spends most of his time drinking wine and at the table." Despite this, he is the German condottiero who boasts the greatest successes in the first half of the 1300s, whose sole objective is that of plundering and seeking booty

Indice delle Signorie dei Condottieri: ABCDEFGIJLMNOPQRSTUVZ

Last Updated on 2023/11/29

The Dual Legacy: Konrad Von Landau’s Noble and Military Ventures.

Konrad von Landau, a German condottiero, was widely regarded by Italians of his era as a common brigand. He was notorious for his involvement in looting and pillaging across nearly all regions of Italy, with the exceptions of the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. His devastating defeat at Scalelle captured the public imagination, leading to the recitation of a ‘Lament of Count Lando’ in town squares and royal courts.

CONTE LANDO/KONRAD WIRTINGUER VON LANDAU

Originally from Burg Landau, a village near the Swabian town of Ertingen. Count of Landau in Wurtemberg. Father of Corrado Lando, Lucio Lando, and Everardo Lando, brother of Broccardo Lando.

Born: N/A
Death: 1363 (22 april)

Year, monthState, Comp. venturaOpponentConductActivity AreaActions taken and other salient facts
1338VeniceVeronaVenetoHe battles the militias of Mastino della Scala.
1339
Jan.Comp. venturaMilanVeneto, LombardyHe is part of the Company of San Giorgio with Lodrisio Visconti, il Malerba, and Guarnieri di Urslingen, funded by Mastino della Scala. He departs from Vicenza with 2,500 horsemen, 800 infantry, and 200 crossbowmen, mostly Swiss; he invades the Duchy of Milan ruled by Azzone Visconti. He crosses the Adige River and ventures into the territories of Brescia and Bergamo.
Feb.LombardyHe crosses the Adda River at Rivolta, reaches Monza and Castelseprio with Lodrisio Visconti, and fortifies himself in Legnano. He sacks Parabiago but is defeated at Canegrate by Ettore di Panigo, despite an initial success highlighted by the capture of Luchino Visconti. In the battle, 4,000 horsemen perish on both sides, as well as many more infantry (on the Milanese side, 500 horsemen and 3,000 infantry).
1346VeniceMilanEmiliaHe opposes the Visconti in the Parma region. Crossing the Po River on a pontoon bridge leading 800 horsemen and 1,000 infantry, he joins forces with the militias of Francesco da Carrara and targets Guastalla. After an unsuccessful attempt to besiege it, he is forced to retreat.
1347
JulySaluzzoMilan, MonferratoPiedmontIn the service of the Marquis of Saluzzo against the Visconti and the Monferrato forces. Entrusted with the defense of Savigliano, he is compelled to yield to the adversaries.
………….Comp. venturaRiminiMarcheHe crosses the territory of Fossombrone.
1348HungaryNaplesApulia, CampaniaIn the service of King Louis I (Ludovico) of Hungary. He opposes the Angevins alongside Corrado Lupo (Konrad Wolff von Wolfurt), Guarnieri di Urslingen (Werner von Urslingen), and Fra Moriale (Montréal de Albarno).
1349
MayApulia, CampaniaHe sacks Lucera, Troia, and Canosa; he approaches San Severo and devastates its countryside alongside Giovanni Pipino d’Altamura. Together with Corrado Lupo, he takes part in the sack of Capua.
JuneCampaniaHe arrives at Aversa and defeats the Angevins at Melito di Napoli. Corrado Lupo and Guarnieri di Urslingen stage a brawl between the German and Hungarian mercenaries in the camp. At the same time, Count Lando is lying in ambush nearby with 300 Hungarian mounted archers. This entices the adversaries to come out into the open and engage in battle. Initially, the skirmish is in their favor, until Lando’s intervention from behind the enemy cavalry turns the tide. For the victory, the army’s commander, the voivode Stefano of Transylvania, is compelled to grant the mercenaries a sum of 150,000 florins, derived from the ransoms of prisoners, as compensation for unpaid wages. The voivode resists the escalating demands of various condottieri. Count Lando, aligning with Corrado Lupo, Guarnieri di Urslingen, and Fra Moriale, attempts to kill the Hungarian captain and forces him to take refuge in Manfredonia.
July – Dec.CampaniaHe remains in Aversa with Corrado Lupo and Guarnieri di Urslingen until Christmas. He plagues the Terra di Lavoro and causes famine in Naples.
1350
Jan.CampaniaHe strikes an agreement with the King of Naples, Louis of Taranto (Luigi di Taranto), in which he cedes Capua, Aversa, and other locations for 120,000 florins to the hands of Cardinal Legate Annibaldo da Ceccano, the Pope’s envoy. On this occasion, a booty of 500,000 florins is divided among the soldiers. Count Lando follows Guarnieri di Urslingen into Central Italy.
MayFaenza, ForlìChurchRomagnaHe assists Giovanni Manfredi and Francesco Ordelaffi against the papal general captain, Astorgio di Durafort.
Oct.Church, VeronaMilanEmiliaHe supports Guarnieri di Urslingen during the siege of Bologna.
1351
Feb.EmiliaThe Papal army disbands during the winter months due to lack of funds; Count Lando is in Dozza and spends the period in great misery.
Mar.VeronaWith Guarnieri di Urslingen in the service of the Lord of Verona, Mastino della Scala, for three months.
JuneApuliaHaving reached an agreement with the Lord of Milan, Bernabò Visconti, he parts ways with Urslingen and heads towards Apulia with Fra Moriale.
Sept.Perugia, FlorenceTarlati,  MilanTuscanyHe is surprised at Olmo, in the Arezzo territory, by Pier Saccone Tarlati while on the verge of joining forces with the Florentines.
1353
SummerPerugiaVicoLazioHe is sent by the Perugians to aid Cardinal Legate Egidio Albornoz, whose militias are clashing with the Prefect of Rome, Giovanni di Vico.
Aug.LazioHe is at the conquest of Abbadia al Ponte (Ponte Abbadia).
Nov.FermoRiminiMarcheFollows Fra Moriale against Malatesta Malatesta Guastafamiglia; fights in favor of the Lord of Fermo, Gentile da Mogliano. Liberates Fermo from the siege laid by the adversaries.
1354
Jan. – Mar.Comp. venturaRiminiMarcheHe devastates the March of Ancona with Fra Moriale. Occupies and destroys numerous castles controlled by the Malatesta.
Apr. – MayComp. venturaSiena, Florence, PisaUmbria, TuscanyHe again joins Fra Moriale in his incursion into Umbria and Tuscany, which concludes with the collection of tributes from Siena (16,000 florins), from Florence (28,000 florins) and from Pisa (15,000 florins and a horse worth 1,000 florins): all these city-states are promised by the adventurers not to be harassed in their territories for six years.
JuneComp. venturaRiminiUmbria, MarcheLeading 3,000 Germans, he descends from the plains of Gualdo Cattaneo; via the Flaminia Way, he reaches Fano. He encamps along the Metauro and devastates the surrounding areas.
JulyTuscanyHe stations for 24 days at Borgo San Sepolcro (Sansepolcro).
Aug.LeagueMilanMarche, Romagna, EmiliaHe returns to the Rimini area to collect the rest of the sum previously promised by the Malatesta to the Grande Compagnia: he crosses the Apennines, touches Sant’Angelo in Vado, Sassocorvaro, Rimini, Vecciano, Vezzano. Count Lando takes command of the Grande Compagnia when Fra Moriale travels to Rome with 300 horses. He accepts the salaries of the anti-Visconti league: the term is set at 4 months; he is assured 150,000 florins. In the Bologna area, he supports the action of the General Captain Francesco da Carrara, reaching the walls of the chief town. He remains several days in the nearby countryside, near the outlet of the city canal. The league’s army amounts to 5,000/7,000 cavalry and more than 10,000 infantry: among men and women, there are more than 40,000 people following him. 200 of his adventurers, having sawed off the wooden barrier of the canal’s outlet, manage to enter the Campo del Mercato where the mills are located. Bologna does not fall into the hands of the allies due to his actions being more aimed at plundering than military purposes. He stays in Budrio for 5 days and takes everything; sets fire to the castle; similar actions follow in Vedrana, Argile, Argelato, Riccardina, Medicina, and almost all the places east of the Reno river. Subsequently, with his pillaging and raids, he touches Borgo Panigale, Zola Predosa, Anzola dell’Emilia, Medole, Casalecchio di Reno, Vizzano; he stops for another 5 days and, under Bologna, reaches up to Porta Galliera without launching any assault on the city. The damages inflicted on the territory are estimated at 200,000 ducats. Still with Francesco da Carrara, he proceeds towards Modena to liberate the city from the siege laid by the Viscontis.
Sept.EmiliaHe faces in vain (with many losses among his men) one of the two bastions previously constructed by Francesco d’Este at Sant’Ambrogio sul Panaro: his behavior proves so ambiguous that Francesco da Carrara, who already fears on his own account being poisoned by some Paduans, spurred to this by his uncle Jacopino, renounces the general command of the troops in favor of Feltrino Gonzaga to return to Padua. Count Lando crosses the Tanaro at the bridge of Navicello and aims for the Po: in pursuit, 100 banners of cavalry and infantry are deployed, of which 40 come from Romagna.
Oct.Emilia, Lombardy, VenetoHe besieges Guastalla, sets everything to sword and fire; repelled, perhaps, from the city (the sources are controversial), he attempts to seize the bridge connecting the territory of Guastalla with that of Cremona. He reaches Borgoforte and crosses the Po. He lays waste to the Cremonese area, until, partly through entreaties and partly through orders, Emperor Charles of Bohemia induces the league to discharge his company. He travels to Peschiera del Garda, receives some money from the Venetians, and departs from Guidizzolo.
Dec.Comp. venturaMilanEmilia, RomagnaHe finds himself again in the Modenese area; he distinguishes himself in San Giovanni in Persiceto, Budrio, and Medicina, always with the usual devastations. He pushes into Romagna, urged by two German nobles who want to avenge the death of their sister, who had gone on a pilgrimage to Rome during the jubilee year four years earlier. During her journey, in fact, the woman was abducted by Bernardino da Polenta; taken to Ravenna, she chose to kill herself rather than submit to the desires of the lord of the city. There are many popular tales that flourish around this episode called “The affair of the beautiful countess.” Count Lando devastates the countryside around Lugo.
1355
Jan.Comp. venturaRavennaRomagnaHe continues to plunder the Ravenna area. To rid himself of his presence, the lord of Ravenna, Bernardino da Polenta, promises him 12,000 florins to leave the territory. Count Lando, shortly thereafter, takes the road to the Kingdom of Naples with 4,000 horses to enter the service of Louis of Durazzo and thus take revenge on King Louis of Taranto, who no longer wishes to acknowledge the tribute of 40,000 florins agreed upon years earlier to the Grande Compagnia.
Feb. – Mar.AbruzzoIn February, he penetrates into Abruzzo. He leads his army along the coast without encountering resistance; occupies Pescara, Villa Franca, and San Flaviano (Giulianova). The inhabitants leave the city and he encamps there (March) with his troops for some time. Subsequently, he seizes Francavilla al Mare and Pescara; sets fire to Spoltore. He assaults Chieti in vain; returns again under Pescara and encamps at Lanciano. Repelled, he aims for Guardiagrele and lays wait under Vasto. He plunders the city, which nonetheless had opened its gates to sell to his men (at a high price) the food supplies they needed. He takes possession of Monteodorisio.
Apr.DurazzoNaplesApuliaHe bursts into Apulia with 4,000 barbute and many brigands; he plunders the territories of Lucera and Foggia. At San Severo, he joins forces with Louis of Durazzo and Luigi Pipino of Altamura.
MayApulia, Molise, CampaniaHe moves from Apulia to the Terra di Lavoro. Initially, he lays wait in Isernia; subsequently in Sarno and Maddaloni, he continues to roam the countryside. Emperor Charles of Bohemia orders him to leave the Kingdom of Naples; Count Lando takes no notice and continues with his usual devastations.
JuneCampaniaHe arrives in Naples. Severe are the damages inflicted by his companies, always finding no resistance in the troops of King Louis of Taranto.
July – Aug.CampaniaHe places his lodgings in Giugliano in Campania, only 4 miles from the capital. From Naples, no one dares to oppose him: in fact, 1,000 German and French barbute, hired in Tuscany, in the March of Ancona, and in Romagna by the grand seneschal Niccolò Acciaiuoli, join his company having deserted from the royal camp due to delayed pay. Niccolò Acciaiuoli encamps near Count Lando’s camp at the foot of a hill. The commander quickly moves his troops to steep and naturally fortified locations. This choice proves negative as it precludes his army the opportunity to engage in their usual raids. The saccomanni are tirelessly engaged in the search for fodder for the horses and provisions; they often are involved in minor skirmishes; many are killed or taken prisoner. There is a fierce attack on his camp.
Sept.Naples, Comp. venturaAltamura, Florence, PisaCampania, ApuliaContacted by Giovanni Malatacca during the grape harvest, he comes to terms with the king of Naples: he obtains 120,000/150,000 florins of which 30,000/35,000 immediately and 90,000/115,000 in two installments. To safeguard the obligations, he positions himself with his company and the hostages (among whom is a son of the same Niccolò Acciaiuoli) in Apulia. In the region, he faces Luigi Pipino di Altamura at Bitonto. He leaves Apulia and moves to Tuscany. Raids follow in the Florentine territory which the republic remedies by providing him with money. He moves to the Pisan territory: he is handed 15,000 florins and a horse valued at 1,000 florins. Before leaving this territory, he assures that he would not touch the Pisan territory for six years.
1356
Feb.BasilicataHe seizes, against the agreed upon pacts, Rapolla and Venosa.
Mar. – MayNaplesComp. venturaApuliaHis debts are settled, and he heads towards Tuscany. Two constables, who command 500 barbute (Matarazzo and Muscherada), desert from his ranks to take refuge in Terra d’Otranto with Count of Minervino Giovanni Pipino d’Altamura. Count Lando turns back, obliges the King of Naples to join his ranks with his own, and moves to Apulia. Having captured the rebels, he calls upon Louis of Taranto to decide whether the two constables or he himself should be considered traitors. The king naturally absolves him and decrees that the two captains be held prisoners in the hands of Count Lando.
JulyAbruzzo, MarcheHe takes the road to Giulianova and leaves Abruzzo; keeps to the coastal road, fords the Tronto, and encamps between Fermo and Ascoli Piceno with 2,500 barbute and 1,000 brigands: another 6,000 people, among men and women, are part of his entourage. Confronted by Fernando Blasco di Belviso under Ripatransone, he comes to terms with Cardinal Egidio Albornoz. He promises to cross the Marche in 12 days without demanding tributes from the various centers which, in exchange, would have had to supply him, for payment, with provisions and every other kind of comfort. Albertaccio Ricasoli and Leggeri Andreotti also promise him 500 florins, on behalf of the cardinal legate, so that he refrains from damaging the territories of the Church State until the early days of September (harvesting is underway).
Aug.ForlìChurch, RavennaRomagnaArriving at Cesena, he aids Francesco Ordelaffi against the papal forces commanded by Bernardino da Polenta; placing his men outside the villages of Tronco and San Giovanni, he has numerous skirmishes with the adversaries who he forces to lift the siege from the city and take refuge in the Faenza area. He throws himself once again onto the Ravenna area; Bernardino da Polenta, in fact, refuses to pay him the tribute of 12,000 florins that he had promised him at the time, preferring to compensate his subjects for the damages suffered.
Sept.LeagueMilanRomagna,  Emilia, LombardyHe is no longer satisfied with the 500 florins that were promised to him by Albertaccio Ricasoli; he increases his demands to 2,500 florins. To demonstrate his intentions, he rides on Faenza, reaping great spoils. Cardinal Albornoz, after 41 days from the beginning of his raids, convinces him with a large sum of money not to plunder the lands of the Church State for three years. The florins are delivered to him by Cristoforo da Montesanto who, unable to pass safely by land, is forced to rent a boat and go by sea to Cervia. Count Lando sets off for Tuscany: the fortifications prepared by the Florentines on the Apennines advise him to abandon the initiative and return to the salaries of the league formed against the Viscontis for four months. He encamps between Bologna and Modena; routs the Viscontis at Castiglione delle Stiviere; then, under the orders of the bishop of Augusto and the vicar of Emperor Charles of Bohemia, Astorgio Markwald, he marches towards Parma with Dondaccio da Piacenza and Raimondo Lupo. The city is defended by 4,000 German and Burgundian barbute commanded by Francesco d’Este. The siege turns out to be a mockery; the allies must remove Count Lando’s troops from the territory to send them to plunder other sites: at the same time, the Visconti barbute are sent away by Bernabò Visconti under the pretext that they obey the imperial orders to be transferred to Milan.
Oct.Emilia,  LombardyHe lodges in Castel San Giovanni, penetrates into the Pavia region, and then arrives at Arena Po. He crosses the Ticino River and bursts into Milanese territory. His next stop is Rozzano. He halts in Magenta, a place lacking fortifications but well-stocked with provisions. In this town, houses are laid waste, men are slain, and women are violated without restraint by his soldiers. Vittuone suffers a similar fate. He proceeds to Pavia following the reinforcement of the Milanese army. He returns to Arena Po, crosses the Po River, captures Castano Primo (defended by 800 men), and inflicts severe damage on the surrounding populace. The spoils are brought to Pavia, whose citizens profit from the ransoms of prisoners and the sale of supplies to the fighters. Count Lando persists in his policy of despoiling the neighboring territories.
Nov. – Dec.Lombardy, PiedmontMid-month, the Viscontis set up camp near Casorate Primo and issue a challenge for an open-field battle. During the night, the League’s Captain General, Astorgio Marckward of Randeck, Bishop of Augusta, and Imperial Vicar of Pisa, orders the crossing of the Ticino to return to Pavia. However, this maneuver is intercepted thanks to the intuition of Lodrisio Visconti and Francesco d’Este, leading 6,000 horsemen. The two armies clash. Infantry is positioned amid the vineyards on both sides, where heavy cavalry cannot maneuver. The Visconti horses block the road so tightly that passage is physically impossible. Conversely, Count Lando, who has deployed his troops in the open, refuses to deviate from the main road.
The vanguard of the League’s army descends upon a company of 300 horsemen under the command of Valeriano Castracani, who artfully withdraws to set a trap prepared in advance. Milanese foot soldiers begin to target the enemy’s horses from all sides with bows and crossbows, leaving them unable to defend themselves or retreat. When almost all the horses are brought down, the Viscontis pounce on the grounded foes. Count Lando is captured along with 600/1500 men, among whom are Markwald himself, Dondaccio from Piacenza, and Raimondo Lupo. The two German soldiers who took Count Lando prisoner are bribed and secure his release. He rallies the remaining forces and joins those of Marquis Giovanni of Monferrato. They besiege the castle of Novara with Azzo da Correggio.
1357
Jan.Piedmont, LombardyAt the end of the month, the defenders of Novara Castle surrender. They abandon their weapons and are granted permission to depart without further harm. Count Lando is once again hired by the League for a period of four months. He spends the winter months in the villages of Novara; however, the inhabitants do not allow him entry and provide accommodations in the village of Sant’Agapito, within the homes of the Foschini and Damiani families, which incidentally, are looted by his men. He plunders the regions of San Pietro Mosezzo, wages war on the cities in the Vercelli region, and devastates the territories on both banks of the Ticino.
…………Lombardy, PiedmontHe travels to Pavia, where he restores the ranks of his own companies. Here, he is joined by the League’s Captain General, Ugolino Gonzaga. Returning to the Milanese territory, he captures Castano Primo and conducts numerous raids in the surrounding area. He proposes invading the areas along the Ticino in the direction of Novara. After a war council held in Magenta with Giovanni di Monferrato, the decision is made to occupy Galliate, which is defended by a strong garrison. He deems this action futile and shifts his focus to Bellinzago Novarese and Momo. Crossing the Sesia River, he enters the Vercelli region, seizes a plundered Gattinara, sets Arborio along with its castle ablaze, occupies Cavaglià, and lays siege to Sant’Agata.
JuneComp. venturaSiena, FirenzeEmilia, RomagnaUpon the expiration of his contract, and also due to his conflicts with Ugolino Gonzaga, he takes leave of the confederates. With the permission of Giovanni Visconti da Oleggio, the Lord of Bologna, he gathers his men at Borgo Panigale, Riccardina, and Budrio, totaling 1500 horsemen and 1500 foot soldiers. All soldiers without commitments also join them. The company presents a menacing presence on the borders of Romagna, near Tuscany, aiming to enter the Mugello through the so-called Stale route.
Anticipating his passage through their territory, the Florentines, in agreement with the Ubaldini, reinforce the passes with 3000 crossbowmen, 3000 foot soldiers (including 1500 from the Ubaldini), and 800 horsemen. Ditches and barricades are constructed, stretching for a mile and a half, blocking the path between two mountains. Count Lando then threatens the Sienese, who send him 13,000 florins in cash to Faenza. Another 500 florins are intended for his chancellor, Cechino da Imola. Including special gifts allocated to various commanders in his retinue, the entire operation costs the city more than 20,000 florins. Count Lando abandons his original intentions to relocate to the mountains of Modena.
JulyForlìChurchRomagnaHe waits at Ronco, near Forlì, with 4000 horsemen and 1600 foot soldiers and crossbowmen. As usual, a large number of men and women in his entourage also make a living through the systematic pillaging carried out by the company. He provides assistance to Francesco Ordelaffi against the Papal forces, resulting in his excommunication and the preaching of a crusade against the Grand Company.
Count Lando engages in numerous skirmishes with his adversaries, who are forced to lift the siege of Forlì and withdraw to Faenza. He attacks the Papal forces between Bertinoro and Forlimpopoli, and in the span of two hours of combat, the enemy is routed with the capture of 200 men, including the vice-legate Androino de la Roche, and the death and injury of many others. Proud of his victory, he sends a herald to Cardinal Albornoz, challenging him to battle, but to no avail.
Aug.LeagueMilan1500 barbutas and 1500 foot soldiersRomagnaIn the middle of the month, Count Lando reaches an agreement with the Papal forces. He returns to Lombardy and promises not to raid the territories of the Papal State, Florence, Pisa, Perugia, and Siena for three years, starting from the coming December. In exchange, he receives 15,000 florins from the Papal forces (who lift his excommunication) and additional funds from the Pisans and some Tuscan municipalities, amounting to a total of 50,000 florins.
He then returns to the service of the anti-Visconti league for four months, securing 12,000 florins per month from the Lord of Bologna, 8,000 florins from the Marquis of Ferrara, 3,000 from Mantua, 2,000 from the people of Pavia, 2,000 from the residents of Novara, and 4,000 from the Genoese.
Sept. – Oct.EmiliaHe returns to Budrio, has lunch in Bologna with Giovanni Visconti da Oleggio, and proceeds to Poggio Renatico. In mid-October, he joins his forces with those of Ugolino Gonzaga. Among the allies are Raimondo Lupo, Tassino Donati (who commands the militias of the Lord of Bologna), and Niccolò d’Este. To have him by their side, the people of Bologna tax themselves with a monthly sum of 12,000 florins, followed by contributions from the Estes (8,000 florins) and the Gonzagas (an additional 4,000 florins). 3,000 barbutas leave Budrio, pass through Borgo Panigale, and head towards the Visconti domains. Part of the army positions itself in the Mantuan region, and part in the Vercelli region, with the aim of linking up with Marquis Giovanni di Monferrato’s troops and attempting to capture Vercelli.
He demands 7,000 ducats from the Venetians as payment for his claims, which are also confirmed by the Emperor. After a meeting with Giovanni Contarini, he accepts 2,500 ducats, renounces any further disputes, and promises not to cause any disturbance in the territories of the Serenissima, under penalty of a fine of 1,000 silver marks.
Nov. – Dec.Lombardy, PiedmontHe occupies Governolo and Borgoforte, trapping the opposing army in the enclosure of Mantua. With 1,000 barbutas and 500 mercenaries, they advance towards Milanese territory, seizing Magenta and Castano Primo. Count Lando crosses the Ticino, ravages the Novara region, and pushes west of the Sesia into the Vercelli area. Gattinara, Cavaglià, Livorno Ferraris, and Bianzé are still plundered, while an unsuccessful attempt is made on Santhià. Visconti lays siege to Castano Primo, but the town is liberated by the mercenaries in December.
1358
Feb.He is hired with 100 barbutas by Marquis Giovanni di Monferrato through Ottone di Brunswick (Otto – Tarent or Otto der Tarentiner) and Azzo da Correggio.
Mar.LeagueMilanLombardyHe advances into the Bergamo region, setting fire to Verdello, where 300 people perish, suffocated by the flames in a tower where they had sought refuge, as well as Comun Nuovo and other localities. He invades the Brescia area and, alongside Ugolino Gonzaga (with 2000 barbutas), defeats 1500 horsemen at the Montichiari bridge. Giovanni da Bileggio, along with 20 constables and 400 horsemen, is captured in the encounter, where most of the casualties are on the Visconti side.
He marches all the way to Mantua, forcing the enemy to loosen their grip on the city. 25 German horsemen, fighting under Gonzaga’s command, are taken prisoner by the adversaries. Taken to Milan, Bernabò Visconti seeks revenge for the treatment suffered by Bileggio during his capture. Initially, he condemns these soldiers to death. However, he later grants them the mercy of their lives. It is decreed that all of them be blinded, except the weakest, who has only one eye removed so he can guide the others. They are then sent back to Count Lando.
MayLombardyCount Lando confronts the enemies with unusual skill and loyalty. Visconti is forced to make peace with the opposing league.
JuneEmiliaIn the Modenese, at Bastia de’ Cesi, where his wages are handed over to him.
JulyComp. venturaFlorenceEmilia, Romagna, Tuscany, GermanyHe proceeds to Modena and Bologna, bidding farewell to Giovanni Visconti da Oleggio and arriving in Budrio. From here, he sets off for Germany with the intention of acquiring lands and castles. He obtains from the Emperor the title of Imperial Vicar of Pisa and perhaps that of Tuscany as well.
In the meantime, the need for the Great Company to cross the Apennines arises, driven by the request of the Sienese, who wish to lead the company to plunder the territory of Perugia for a month. Florence officially opposes this passage and places a bounty of 5,000 florins on the leader’s head, offering a lifelong condotta of twenty horsemen or foot soldiers to anyone who kills or captures him. Simultaneously, the republic dispatches its ambassadors to negotiate with the intention of gaining time for better preparation. They propose allowing the company to transit through their territory in groups of ten banners at a time, on the condition that they pay for the provisions consumed during the transfer. This proposal is rejected by Amerigo del Cavalletto and Broccardo Lando, who currently command the company.
A second embassy, consisting of Manno Donati, Giovanni dei Medici, Amerigo Cavalcanti, and Ranieri Peruzzi, proves futile. They remind of certain sworn and signed agreements from years past that guarantee the protection of their territory. The Florentines forge a new alliance with the Ubaldini, fortify the passes of the Apennines, and fearing that the Great Company may ascend the Val di Lamone and enter the Mugello through the Colla Pass, reinforce defenses in various locations up to Razzuolo and Pulicciano, near Ranta, on the ancient Via Faentina. The danger is communicated to the Guidi in Romagna and to the inhabitants of San Gaudenzio and San Bavello in the Val di Sieve. The people of Dicomano are urged to construct a watchtower at the borders of their territory.
Nevertheless, Florence attempts diplomacy once more. Another ambassador, Filippo Machiavelli, is secretly sent with the mandate to spend up to 6,000 florins to ensure that the mercenaries do not enter Florentine territory. Meanwhile, Count Lando returns from Germany with his appointment as Imperial Vicar and secret instructions to inflict harm on the Florentines.
An agreement is reached with the Florentine envoys: the prescribed route passes through the territories belonging to the Manfredis of Marradi, the Guidi, and the Bardi. Upon reaching Biforco, the “Great Company” was to take the road of Scalelle, carved between cliffs and dense forests, then ascend the Campigno ditch to reach the Scalelle pass and the church of San Domenico. From there, the mercenaries would have started their descent towards the castle of Ampinana, passing through Casa Romana and reaching Dicomano. Vicorato would be affected by their passage, and after crossing the foothills of Falterona (Isola, San Leolino), they would proceed to Bibbiena in the Casentino. The Great Company sets off for Tuscany.
The column consists of 3500 horsemen, followed by foot soldiers and sumpter animals. They set up camp in Biforco in the evening, with the soldiers appropriating the provisions prepared by the villagers without payment. The soldiers commit thefts and violate women. The inhabitants of the Val di Lamone and Biforco, loyal to the Battifolle, join forces with those of Castiglione (subjects of the Manfredis) and decide to take revenge with the support of the Guidi, Ubaldini, and Giovanni di Alberghettino Manfredi by laying an ambush for the marching mercenaries.
Count Lando does not give much weight to the adversaries. The next morning, the troops advance into a narrow valley traversed by the Campigno stream, a nearly three-kilometer-long gorge ending in a small ravine where the road runs parallel to the watercourse. They confront the challenging Scalelle pass. Count Lando sends Amerigo del Cavalletto ahead with the Florentine ambassadors Giovanni dei Medici, Amerigo Cavalcanti, Manno Donati, and Simone Peruzzi. The constables and men-at-arms, along with 800 horsemen and 500 foot soldiers under the command of Broccardo Lando, take up the rear.
The vanguard is allowed to pass by the mountaineers, but the second contingent is assaulted with stones and logs thrown from the mountains above. The mercenaries are forced to retreat with heavy losses. Count Lando, realizing the situation, dismounts 100 Hungarian archers and positions them on the mountain slopes to fend off the attackers. However, they are too few and are soon overwhelmed by the greater numbers of their opponents, aided by a contingent of Florentine crossbowmen. The men-at-arms become demoralized and are unable to advance or retreat because the path is blocked on both fronts by large boulders.
Count Lando attempts to resist, but in the end, battered, he surrenders. As soon as he removes his helmet, he is wounded in the head by a farmer with a lance. Three hundred of his men are killed, and many more (another 1300) are stripped of their weapons and mounts. A vast booty in gold and silver, the result of thefts and plunder from all parts of Italy, falls into the hands of the villagers. Count Lando saves himself by convincing his captors to spare his life. He is transferred from one master to another, from an officer of Count Guido di Battifolle, to whom he promises 2000 florins, to Giovanni di Alberghettino Manfredi, and to Gioacchino degli Ubaldini at Castel Pagano. Finally, he is delivered to Giovanni Visconti da Oleggio, who arranges for his care in Bologna. In the city, he is lodged in the houses of the Lambertini.
Aug.ForlìChurchRomagnaAfter his release, he joins Lucio Lando and Anichino di Baumgarten (Hanneken von Baumgarten) in Romagna to focus on Tuscany. However, he is repelled by the fortifications prepared at the Stale Pass (defended by 12,000 foot soldiers). He remains in Romagna and once again fights in support of Francesco Ordelaffi against the papal forces. He besieges Imola, seizes Massa Lombarda, enters Forlì, exits through Porta San Pietro, and faces the troops of Cardinal de la Roche at Ronco, pushing them back beyond the river (200 men are killed in the clash, with many more wounded). Only the intervention of the rest of the papal army prevents the bastion at the bridge from falling into his hands.
Strengthened by many exiles from Perugia and Siena, at the end of the month, he moves to the Rimini area, expands into Savignano sul Rubicone and Gatteo, stays there for three days, and captures Giovedio. The loot is used to resupply Forlì with provisions.
Sept.RomagnaHe, along with Francesco Ordelaffi, confronts the adversaries at the bastion of San Bartolomeo and Villanova. Upon receiving new reinforcements, he attacks the papal forces on two fronts, Cassanigo and San Lazzaro. The opponents are routed, and Galeotto Malatesta Ungaro is forced to seek refuge in the bastion of Villanova with 2000 soldiers. Several days later, Count Lando is approached again by envoys from Cardinal Albornoz. He finds himself without money or provisions, meets with Ordelaffi, and abandons Forlì.
Oct.Romagna, MarcheHe raids the Val di Lamone and assaults Modigliana. He attempts to enter Mogliano with the help of some of its supporters, who are tasked with fomenting a revolt within the castle. The conspiracy is discovered, and its participants are sentenced to death.
Nov. – Dec.Comp. venturaRiminiRomagna, MarcheHe rides to Massa Lombarda, where he receives reinforcements from Giovanni Visconti da Oleggio, the Lord of Bologna. In Castel San Pietro Terme, he opens inconclusive negotiations with envoys from Cardinal Albornoz. Driven by three days of hunger, he stops at Savignano sul Rubicone and captures the castle of Sogliano al Rubicone in four assaults. In the attack, 134 inhabitants are killed, and all the others are captured. Subsequently, a part of his company conquers Borghi and kills all its defenders (155). They take possession of San Martino in Converseto. From there, his men spread into the Rimini area, Cesena, Montefeltro, and Sant’Agata Feltria. Small castles like Montecodruzzo, Raggiano, Piandimeleto, Strigara, Campiano surrender out of fear. Count Lando positions himself at San Lazzaro da Terzo and lays siege to Rimini.
1359
Jan.RomagnaHe leaves the wounded (about a hundred) with a small garrison at Sogliano al Rubicone, and all of them will be torn apart by the adversaries. Finally, with his men weakened by hunger and the cold, he departs from the Rimini area and returns to the territory around Forlì. He signs an agreement with the papal forces, recognizing 47,000 ducats for him. A month-long truce is granted to his ally, and his presence is not required to fight the Lord of Forlì.
Feb.Comp. venturaRimini, Fabriano, Camerino, FermoRomagna, MarcheHe bids farewell to Francesco Ordelaffi, exits the city through Porta Cotogni, and by mid-month, he is under Rimini. He dares not attack the city, but one of his companies surprises the Torre dei Battagli, a fortified position on the Metauro River. From there, he continues his devastations in the territories of Fano and Urbino. He occupies Montefabbri through deceit and finds the provisions he needs there. After failed negotiations to switch to the employ of the Duke of Austria, he moves towards Fabriano, passes through Rocca Contrada (Arcevia), and Sant’Angelo in Pontano. He meets with Anichino di Baumgarten, occupies the castle of Serra San Quirico with 400 foot soldiers, and threatens Rodolfo da Varano. Under his command are now 4,500 barbute, 600 Hungarians, 400 cavalry, 400 provisions men, and more than 8,000 foot soldiers, of which only 2,000 are well-armed (in total, 20,000 men). The Lord of Camerino recognizes 4,000 florins for him, and Count Lando obtains another 4,000 florins from the Lord of San Severino Marche, Smeduccio Salimbeni. The condottiero attempts to seize the castle of Falerone in Fermo, but he suffers significant losses during the operations. Similar attempts against Cingoli, Jesi, and Montalboddo (Ostra) also prove unsuccessful.
Mar.Comp. venturaNaplesMarche, Abruzzo, UmbriaThe papal legate convinces him to leave the Marche with the promise of a two-month truce for the Ordelaffi and a sum of 30,000 to 50,000 ducats for his company. He commits not to set foot in the Papal States for five years, and hostages remain in his possession, including Roberto Alidosi, Berardo da Varano, and a son of Smeduccio Salimbeni. He also requests a contribution from the Florentines and repeatedly threatens the reluctant city. He heads towards the Abruzzi but encounters opposition from the Viceroy, Count of Nola Niccolò Orsini, and the people of Aquila. The local peasants block his passage at the Forche di Penne. He decides to move to Tuscany, descending through Umbria into the upper Tiber Valley.
Apr.Comp. venturaFlorenceUmbriaThe Florentines hire 2,000 barbuti, 500 Hungarians, and 2,500 crossbowmen for their defense. Additional troops come from Visconti (1,200 barbuti and 1,000 mercenaries), Francesco da Carrara (200 cavalry), the Marquess of Ferrara (200 cavalry), Louis of Anjou (300 cavalry), Cardinal Albornoz (300 cavalry), Naples, and other city-states, totaling 4,000 cavalry and 4,000 infantry. Meanwhile, Count Lando receives support from the Perugians, who buy peace by recognizing his claim to 4,000 florins annually for five years and provide him with supplies during his passage. Similar arrangements are made with the Sienese, who deliver 12,000 florins, and the Pisans.
MayUmbria, TuscanyAt the beginning of the month, he crosses the territory of Gubbio with 5,000 cavalry, 1,000 Hungarians, and over 2,000 mercenaries. During his passage, he is continuously supplied with bread, wine, and other provisions by the Perugians. He visits the Abbey of Santa Maria del Figliolo near Città di Castello and proceeds towards Fratta Todina and Cortona. Continuing his journey, he arrives at Monte Castello di Vibio, San Casciano, and Civitella sul Tevere. Anichino di Baumgarten, who is following him, positions himself near the castle of Primano. Both leaders are blocked by the swollen Tiber River. During the same period, Count Lando is contacted by the Marquess of Monferrato to join his service.
JuneUmbria, TuscanyHe moves towards Bettona with 1,000 mercenaries to block the passage of 300 Neapolitan horsemen led by Niccolò Orsini. He forces Orsini to take refuge in Spoleto but fails to prevent him from reaching Florence with his troops. Count Lando damages the territory of Todi, and the city is compelled to pay him a ransom. He reaches Buonconvento and Bagno Vignoni, where the Sienese deliver the agreed-upon provisions to him. The Florentine Captain General, Pandolfo Malatesta, advances to Pesa and confronts him at Pratolino. Count Lando then moves first to Pontedera, then to San Piero in Campo in the territory of Lucca, where he encounters 500 horsemen led by Ricciardo Cancellieri, and finally to Pieve a Nievole.
JulyTuscanyHe leaves Volterra behind and enters the territory of Pisa with Amerigo del Cavalletto, Anichino di Baumgarten, and Corrado Lando. He passes through Laiatico, Fabbrica, and Peccioli, crosses the Scopeto di Treggiaia under Forcoli, and camps between Ponsacco and Petriolo, plundering the vicinity up to Collesalvetti. The inhabitants of Val d’Era and Valdarno are forced to abandon all their belongings. He sets Cevoli on fire and negotiates with the representative of the Emperor in the parish of Vicopisano. The Elderly of Pisa deliver 2,000 florins intended for the wages of some corporals and their squads to his chancellor, Dinuccio d’Asolano. However, this money is spent in Pisa in exchange for weapons and other goods. Count Lando crosses the Arno below Cascina, takes the road to Montecalvoli, and enters the territory of Pescia near Buggiano. Many prisoners are taken during the journey, a large quantity of livestock is plundered, and warehouses of grain and straw for the horses are robbed. Confident in the support of the Pisans, he challenges Pandolfo Malatesta to battle, sending him a glove covered in blood, cut into several pieces, along with a letter requesting a battle. The proposal is accepted. For several days, the two armies face each other without engaging in combat. Only one night, Count Lando sends 300 horsemen and 300 mercenaries on a small raid towards Castelfranco, which results in the capture of some merchants from Florence and Empoli returning from Pisa. He retreats to the “campo delle mosche,” a hill surrounded by streams and steep slopes in Pisan territory. He realizes that Malatesta is trying to cut off his supply routes. At night, he sets fire to his lodgings and quickly departs without being pursued by the Florentines, who do not want to cross into the territory of another state.
Aug.Emilia, PiedmontHe travels through the Piacenza region. He receives 25,000 florins from Visconti to avoid attacking his territories, and he borrows another 40,000. He is allowed passage to Piacenza and descends into Monferrato with Anichino di Baumgarten. For 28,000 florins, he enters the service of Marchese Giovanni di Monferrato against Bernabò and Galeazzo Visconti. He appears on the Po at Bassignana and is able to introduce many supplies into Pavia, causing the Viscontis to withdraw.
Sept.PiedmontHe is abandoned by many of his men, who choose to fight for the Viscontis rather than the Marquis of Monferrato.
Oct.MonferratoMilan1500 barbutePiedmontE’ sconfitto dai viscontei che sono aiutati anche da 1000 barbute fiorentine; dei suoi uomini sono catturati 3 connestabili con 200 cavalli; molti altri sono uccisi o feriti. Ripiega nel vercellese, si accosta a Villata ed a Candia Lomellina; attiva delle trattative con gli avversari. Alla fine tradisce anch’egli la causa del marchese di Monferrato e, dietro la proposta di un ricco ingaggio, si impegna a militare per un anno al soldo di Bernabò Visconti. Si trasferisce, pertanto, nel campo avverso con 1500 cavalli. Anichino di Baumgarten al momento resta al servizio dei monferrini.
Nov.PiedmontAnichino of Baumgarten also follows his example. Count Lando besieges Pavia and obstructs the flow of supplies directed to the city by both land and river routes.
1360
Mar.Comp. venturaPiedmontWith Baumgarten, he intervenes in the ongoing war between Count Amadeus VI of Savoy and the princes of Achaea. Their soldiers overcome the resistance of Savigliano, and the town is plundered. The inhabitants are forced to redeem themselves through the payment of a ransom. Those who resist this imposition have their hands, feet, or ears cut off, and those from whom nothing can be gained are drowned.
SummerComp. venturaSienaTuscany
………….GermanyHe is sent to Germany by Bernabò Visconti to recruit barons and horses for use in his wars in Lombardy.
1361
Mar.MilanChurchHe returns to Italy from Germany with ten banners of horses, even though Emperor Charles of Bohemia, the Duke of Austria, and the Marquess of Brandenburg forbid anyone from taking up arms against the pontiffs.
1362
SpringMilanMonferratoTuscany, PiedmontHe joins Nicola Unghero (Nicola Atyinai) in the defense of Tortona, which is threatened by the raids of the White Company led by Alberto Sterz (Albert Sterz), stationed at Castelnuovo Scrivia. He sets fire to the surrounding crops and loots the possessions of those rebelling against the Visconti dominion. He enters Piedmont, reclaiming Novara and its district. He moves into the region of Asti, where he is joined by exiles from the capital, including the Solero, Malabaila, Ricci, and others. He camps near the city at San Lazzaro, near the Gate of San Pietro, where he remains for an extended period without achieving any significant success, contenting himself with destroying the bridge over the Tanaro and plundering numerous villages. He brings several castles back into the Visconti’s allegiance, mostly through agreements with individual castellans. Due to the lack of results, he sends part of his troops to the area around Alessandria, while he engages in continuous skirmishes, especially against Tommaso Malaspina, who is stationed in Alessandria. He eventually returns to Lombardy.
JuneMilanChurchEmiliaWith Ambrogio Visconti, he operates around Mirandola. He refrains from engaging in battle with the pontiffs, as he contentedly focuses on orchestrating conspiracies to persuade some German constables to defect to the Milanese side. However, 11 of these constables are discovered and subsequently executed by decapitation.
Aug.LombardyHe is allowed entry into the fortress of Pontevico, defended by numerous cavalry and infantry. The adversaries are caught in disarray and easily routed. They surrender to him 28 banners of both cavalry and infantry.
Dec.MilanMonferratoPiedmontUpon returning to Piedmont, he meets with representatives of the Marquess of Monferrato, Ottone di Brunswick, and Alberto Sterz on behalf of Galeazzo Visconti in Valenza. Discussions about peace take place, but no conclusive agreement is reached. He continues to confront, with limited success, the mercenaries led by Alberto Sterz.
1363
Jan.PiedmontHe once again confronts Alberto Sterz’s White Company, which is stationed in Romagnano Sesia. He remains inactive in Novara, despite the urging of Galeazzo Visconti.
Apr.PiedmontAt the end of the month, while feasting in Novara at the bishop’s palace, which he had requisitioned as his headquarters, he is spurred into action by the city’s captain, Giovanni Caimi. Caimi encourages him to move against the forces from Monferrato, who have descended from Romagnano Sesia to plunder the surrounding territory. Count Lando leaves Novara with the Hungarians and Germans to partially recover the loot stolen in recent raids. He departs from Tortona in an attempt to negotiate with Sterz. He is informed of a treaty regarding Broni and rides at the head of 400 armed men. The adversaries are returning to the castle of Santa Fede, with the progress of their wagons slowed due to the substantial amount of loot. Count Lando surprises and overwhelms the escort of provisions at the Canturino bridge near Ghemme. Reinforcements in the form of English troops from the White Company arrive from a nearby castle to aid the Monferrato forces. The Hungarians under Count Lando’s command refuse to follow him in this action, as they do not wish to fight against their fellow mercenaries on the opposing side. Lando finds himself contending with the enemy cavalry with only a few men. He is wounded in the face by a stone and struck by a lance in the mouth. He is also injured in the right armpit. Captured, he dies after a few days. Giovanni Caimi is also captured. Only a small number of mercenaries from what was once the Great Company switch to the service of Anichino of Baumgarten. A portrait of Count Lando can be found in a mural in the parish church of Avane near Pisa. Antonio da Ferrara dedicates a flattering song to him, in which he is referred to as a “gentle count” and valiant in battle.

Sources

-“Costui poco si curava di spargere il sangue per altrui.” MURATORI

-“Lo quale era stato cum de molte compagnie in questa Ytalia ed era thodesco; et per certo ello era uno de’ mazuri Thodischi che fusse pochi mai de zà.” CORPUS CHRONIC. BONOMIENSUM

-“Publicus latro, qui quasi totam Italiam expoliaverat.” SOZOMENO

-“Todesco gagliardo.” CORNAZZANO

-“Viro nefario.” RAYNALDO

-Con fra Moriale “His belli gerendi eo ratio erat, ut singularum civitatum agros hactenus infestarent, otiumque earum sollicitarent, donec populi magno precio ab eis pacem redimere, cogerentur.” SEPULVEDA

-“Capitano di ventura famoso.” GABOTTO

-“Tremendo condottiero.” I. CANTU’

“Uomo di corrotti costumi.” V. DE CONTI

-“Svevo di nazione, Capitano di ventura per mestiere.” MUZZI

-“Famoso capitano di ventura.” RAIA

-A Quarrata “E combattendo fin presso le porte/ del cerchio mio, fu da lor sconficto/ e de sua gente assai provar la morte.” B. DI GORELLO

-Alle Scalelle “Florentini pararoselli/ et ficero tale defenza/ che uno caporale occisero/ con tanti; questa penza:/ che foro plu de trecento,/ che abero gran perdenza.” B. DI RANALLO 

-“A drunken German captain, who passed too much time drinking wine at the banquet table (secondo le parole di AZARIO)..He had terrorized the whole of Italy and yet the clever Count died indiscreetly, snuffed out by robbers and unarmed infantrymen.. What benefit was nobility, power, good looks, industry, uprightness..when..with one motion, when not looking, he was cut down and made a corpse…The most successful of the German captains of the decade of the fifties (del 1350).” CAFERRO

-“Costume nostro è rubare, saccheggiare, uccidere chi ci resiste. Le nostre rendite sono formate dalle ipoteche imposte nelle province che invadiamo. Chi ha cara la vita compera da noi pace e quiete con gravi tributi. Se dunque il signor legato vuol entrar con noi in accordo e assicurare la tranquillità di tutte queste città, faccia quello che tutto il mondo fa: paghi e paghi.” Da un messaggio del conte Lando al cardinale Albornoz riportato dal VALERI

-“Quando Val di Lamone tu vedesti/ atterrar mia bandiera,/ la vostra ispada fiera/ di provar darme non valse un bottone;/ di rendervi a prigione/ non vi volleno udir que’ pecorai.” Da uno scritto di Anonimo riportato dal TANZINI riguardante la cattura del Conte Lando alla battaglia delle Scalelle.

-(Battaglia delle Scalelle) “La sconfitta rovinosa della compagnia mercenaria colpisce giustamente la fantasia popolare e produce anche un “Lamento del conte Lando”, un’opera poetica che viene recitata nelle piazze e nelle corti. Esso inizia:” Con dolorosi guai/ io conte Lando mi parti’ piangendo/ da Marradi, dicendo:/ conte Brocardo, dove ti lasciai!/ Ove lasciai mie’ savi compagnoni/ dell’arme sì pregiati,/ conte Artimanno cogli altri baroni/ gentili e ‘namorati,/ lo’ che fusti atterrato, / di bruna vesta per voi mi copersi:/ di vita siete ispersi./ Val di Lamon, perché ti vidi io mai!”. Il conte piange i suoi compagni d’arme e, verso la fine, minaccia Firenze: “Se mai ritorna nuova primavera,/ con gente oltramontana/ intendo di spiegare una bandiera/ sopra el cor di Toscana/ la Compagnia sovrana/ di passar Arno bene espero el guado/ per tutte el tuo contado/ con insegna di fuoco n’udirai/…/ Innanzi che sia isperso/ di questo mondo della vita in fretta/ di far grande vendetta (alcun) cavalieri giurai.” CIUCCIOVINO

Featured image: source

Topics: Konrad Von Landau military leadership, Conte Lando Italian military ventures, 14th-century condottiero Konrad Von Landau, German nobility in Italy’s military history

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