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

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Muzio Attendolo Sforza: The Rise of a Renaissance Condottiero

Valorous and strong captain of fortune. A convinced proponent of a prudent tactic, to be realized with large masses of soldiers, both cavalry and, exceptionally for the time, infantry. On the battlefield, he is often found opposing Braccio di Montone, whose vehemence and brilliant maneuvers sometimes put him in difficulty. Conversely, he does not succeed as a politician

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Last Updated on 2023/11/29

The Strategic Mind of Muzio Attendolo Sforza.

MUZIO ATTENDOLO SFORZA (Giacomo Attendolo) of Cotignola. Count of Serracapriola, Baron of Torremaggiore.

Muzio Attendolo Sforza, born on 28 May 1369 and passing on 4 January 1424, stands as a prominent figure in Italian history as a distinguished condottiero. He is credited with laying the foundation of the renowned Sforza dynasty. Taking command of an army comprising Bolognese and Florentine troops, he showcased his military prowess at the Battle of Casalecchio. His legacy was further cemented by his son, Francesco Sforza, who went on to govern Milan for a notable span of 16 years.

Lord of Chiusi, Bagno Vignoni, Benevento, Acerra, Manfredonia, Montecchio Emilia, Orbetello, Troia, Vasto, San Severo, Foggia, Serracapriola, Apice, Tito, Satriano, Montella, Savignano Irpino, Pietra Montecorvino, Maiori, Apricena, Lesina, Biccari, Orsara, Montecorvino, Torremaggiore, San Bartolomeo in Galdo, Castelluccio, Montenero, Acquapendente, Proceno, San Lorenzo Nuovo, Barletta, Trani. He is the father of 16 children, including Francesco Sforza, Alessandro Sforza, Giovanni Sforza, Leone Sforza, and Corrado da Fogliano (all from Lucia Terzani), and Bosio Sforza (from his first wife Antonia Salimbeni); brother of Bosio Attendolo, Bartolo Attendolo, and Francesco Attendolo; uncle of Foschino Attendolo and Marco Attendolo; father-in-law of Ardizzone da Carrara and Leonetto da San Severino.

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Born: 1369 (May)
Death: 1424 (January)

Year, monthStateOpponentConductActivity areaMilitary actions and other facts
………….RomagnaMuzio Attendolo Sforza was born into the influential and warlike Attendolo family, representatives of a wealthy rural middle class, rivals of the noble Pasolini family with whom they often vied for dominance in Cotignola.
1382Comp. ventureMarcheHe ran away from home at thirteen to become a page for one of the knights serving under Boldrino da Panicale, Scorruccio da Spoleto. He served under the latter as a saccomanno for two years and spent another two as a man-at-arms, always in the company of Panicale. Legend, on the other hand, depicts Muzio as a young peasant who abandoned fieldwork after throwing a hoe at an oak tree: the tool remained stuck, so he joined the soldiers of Panicale with twelve other companions.
1385/ 1386Comp. venture9 cavalryRomagnaHe killed a squad leader of Boldrino da Panicale; as a result, he was forced to leave the company and return to Cotignola. On this occasion, his father gifted him 4 war mounts with their respective trappings. With his father’s permission, he joined the company of Guido d’Asciano first and then Alberico da Barbiano, condottieri who refined his skills in weaponry and military tactics. Initially commanding 4 horses, another 5 soon joined his entourage. During the same period, the company also included Braccio di Montone, Tarantola, Scorpione, and Giannino da Lugo. Sforza would quarrel with them over the division of a loot, even though he had previously received his rightful share. He was called “Sforza,” meaning the strong, the virile. He became friends with Braccio di Montone, sharing with this condottiero the colors of their uniforms, albeit in alternating patterns.
1388
WinterPrivate warPasoliniRomagnaHe returns to Cotignola to find his father and relatives embroiled in a conflict with the Pasolinis. His brother Bartolo wishes to marry a woman from Cotignola named Giovanna; she is kidnapped by Martino Pasolini. The adversaries treacherously kill brothers Matteo and Tonduzzo, and he himself is wounded in a skirmish. Sforza, leading ten lances, attacks the rivals in Granarolo, forcing them to reconsider their actions. Years later, Martino Pasolini, without a safe-conduct, will visit him at the camp outside Pisa, asking to be either forgiven or killed. Sforza will have him stand and gently reprimand him for coming without any assurance, not so much out of fear of him but because of the ongoing hatred held by relatives Bosio, Lorenzo, and Micheletto Attendolo.
Apr.Ferrara15 lancesEmiliaTogether with Lorenzo Attendolo, he forms a company of 15 lances and enters the service of Alberto d’Este. He is followed to Ferrara by Bosio and Micheletto Attendolo. He remains in the service of the Este family for four years.
1392
Mar.NaplesAnjou15 lancesKingdom of NaplesHe returns with Lorenzo Attendolo to serve in the companies of Alberico da Barbiano. He fights in favor of Carlo di Durazzo against the militias of Luigi d’Angiò.
1396He moves, always with Lorenzo Attendolo, to the companies of Ceccolo Broglia.
1398
Sept.ChurchPerugia200 cavalryUmbriaCeccolo Broglia entrusts him with the command of 200 horses (a company of broken lances according to other sources). He is near Assisi when Ceccolino dei Michelotti is expelled from Perugia by Pandolfo Baglioni and the noble party along with the raspanti. Muzio Attendolo Sforza obtains permission from Broglia, goes to the city with Petrino da Tortona, and supports the cause of the raspanti (Note: The Raspanti, a popular faction in Perugia, were often in opposition to the nobility or the established elite).
Oct.PerugiaMilan100 lancesUmbriaMuzio Attendolo Sforza commands, alongside Petrino da Tortona, a company of 100 lances. He fights for the Perugians against the Visconteans for two years.
………….He repels the Visconteans and inflicts heavy losses on them, earning the right to a generous bonus; he is granted citizenship of the city, and the municipality gifts him several silver vessels of great value.
1400
Jan.MilanFlorence100 lancesUmbriaPerugia submits to the Duke of Milan, Gian Galeazzo Visconti; Sforza enters the service of the latter, along with Petrino da Tortona.
………….FlorenceMilan50 lancesTuscanyHis colleague, Petrino da Tortona, accuses him in front of the Visconteans of being a supporter of the Guelph cause. Sforza is dismissed, flees to Tuscany with half of the company, and enters the service of the Florentines. He is hired for a year.
1401VenetoReconfirmed for another year, he is sent to Veneto with Baldassarre da Modena (Baldassarre Rangoni) and 200 lances to facilitate the descent into Italy of Roberto di Baviera against the Visconteans. From the emperor, he obtains, for himself and all the Attendolos, the right to add to his emblem a rampant lion holding a branch of a quince tree.
1402
Feb.Veneto, EmiliaHe departs from Montagnana with the Florentine commissioners Rinaldo Gianfigliazzi and Filippo Corsini; he opposes the Visconteans in Emilia in support of the lord of Bologna, Giovanni Bentivoglio. He defeats the adversaries at Massumatico.
MayEmiliaHe advances with Giacomo da Carrara and Lancillotto Beccaria to conquer San Giovanni in Persiceto. In defense of the location, Alberico da Barbiano, Facino Cane, and Pandolfo Malatesta arrive in the evening. Muzio Attendolo Sforza clashes with the latter; the two condottieri wound each other. Having fallen to the ground, they continue the fight on foot.
June100 lancesEmiliaMuzio Attendolo Sforza participates in the battle of Casalecchio di Reno where he commands, alongside Fuzzolino Tedesco, the first line consisting of 2,000 horses. He fights against the troops of the Count of Mantua, Francesco Gonzaga. He is on the verge of succumbing when the “Compagnia della Rosa” led by Tommasino Crivelli comes to his aid. He drives his mount against a group of Bolognese exiles, throws a long lance, and kills a man from Giovanni Gozzadini’s side. Struck by Facino Cane, he is thrown from his mount and left unconscious; he is captured by the Visconteans, which he claims was due to Tartaglia’s fault. This incident gives rise to a strong enmity with this condottiero, which lasts a lifetime. Freed by Alberico da Barbiano, he and his men are stripped of their weapons and mounts; he has to return to Florence on foot with 300 horses, all dismounted. The Florentines acknowledge the diligence he employed in gathering and leading these men back; for this, they grant him a contract for 500 horses.
1404
Apr.Padova, FerraraMilanVenetoHe fights under the pay of Francesco da Carrara and the Marquis of Ferrara, Niccolò d’Este, with whom he collaborates in the conquest of Verona.
JuneFerraraParmaEmiliaHe follows Uguccione Contrari towards Reggio Emilia. He enters the city and lays siege to the citadel; Ottobono Terzi arrives, and Muzio Attendolo Sforza is forced to retreat.
Nov.FlorenceMilanTuscanyHe is sent by the Florentines to aid Cardinal Ludovico Fieschi in reclaiming the part of Pontremoli that belongs to him; initially repelled, he conquers the city in November.
1405
Apr.FlorencePisca125 lancesTuscanyHe fights the Pisans alongside Tartaglia.
Dec.TuscanyGaspare dei Pazzi arrives at Radicofani; Sforza is tasked with attacking the condottiero with 600 horses on the road to Volterra. In the city, he is joined by Rosso dall’Aquila with 80 lances and Pietrone da Castro with 200 infantry. Informed that Angelo della Pergola has also left Massa to head to Maremma, he rides all night for sixty miles with his troops, reaches Suvereto, and intercepts the Pisans on the Cornia as they are emerging from a forest. He easily defeats the outnumbered and disorganized adversaries; according to other sources, he attacks Gaspare dei Pazzi’s camp at night, catching him unprepared. He captures 500 horses, including Paolo da Pisa; only Gaspare dei Pazzi, Cione Montanini, the abbot of San Paolo di Pisa, and Bishop Gambacorta escape capture. He disarms the prisoners and lets them go free under certain conditions; the next morning, at dawn, he leaves the camp and takes control of Castiglione della Pescaia. He lets some of his men enter with the wages and flags taken from the adversaries; at the same time, he launches a fierce attack on the city from the opposite side. Castiglione della Pescaia is sacked; he returns to Volterra. He then heads to Vada with Lorenzo Attendolo and occupies Guardistallo.
1406
Jan.TuscanyTogether with Lorenzo Attendolo, he negotiates and secures Montescudaio and Rasignano.
Feb.TuscanyHe enters Crespina and begins the siege of the castle. He is informed by his spies that 400 infantry and 300 cavalry are approaching the location to ambush him; he immediately confronts them with Antonello della Regina and defeats them in just over an hour: almost all the men-at-arms are taken prisoner.
Mar. – MayTuscanyHe sets up camp at San Piero a Grado. Initially, he tries to lower the level of the Arno River with the intent of flooding Pisa; two strong bastions are built, connected by a bridge. The structure, before being completed, is destroyed by a flood.
June – Sept.TuscanyThe Pisans attack the bastion built on their bank; Muzio Attendolo Sforza crosses the Arno on a small boat with two soldiers; he is followed by Tartaglia, and together they repel the adversaries. His friction with this condottiero continues, who accuses him, in front of the companies, of trying to poison him: only the intervention of commissioner Gino Capponi, a friend of both, prevents the situation from escalating. The siege resumes with greater vigor; Sforza positions himself at Vicopisano and Tartaglia at Colognole; he captures Ripoli, San Casciano, and the Galletti tower near Pisa. Giovanni Gambacorta tries to evacuate the non-combatants from the city due to a lack of supplies. Those caught leaving Pisa are hanged; the women are branded with a lily on their cheeks, or their noses are cut off. None of them can return to the city, none can move away from the walls; all must remain in front of the walls, waiting to die of hunger.
Oct.TuscanyHis skirmishes with Tartaglia continue, even during the surrender of Pisa and the Florentine handover of 50,000 florins to Giovanni Gambacorta: one favors entering the city through the Porta dei Prati, and the other through the San Marco gate. The Florentines grant Sforza an annual provision of 500 florins, which will be paid to him until he enters the service of the King of Naples.
1407FlorenceTuscanyHis disputes with Tartaglia continue; the latter chooses to enter the service of the Sienese for pay.
1408
Apr.FerraraParmaGeneral Captain, 200 lancesTuscany, EmiliaHe crosses Florence with great pomp; he heads to Emilia to fight against the lord of Parma, Ottobono Terzi, on behalf of the Marquis of Ferrara, Niccolò d’Este.
MayEmiliaHe reaches Modena with his lances, using a series of tactical maneuvers such as sudden changes of route and night marches to evade the ambushes of the adversaries. He exits through the Porta Baggiovara and confronts Ottobono Terzi, who commands 2,500 horses and 400 infantry. He routs him in two hours of combat.
JuneLombardy, EmiliaHe defeats Ottobono Terzi again near Castelponzone in a fluctuating battle where he too faces the danger of being killed. He joins up with Niccolò d’Este at Navicello and enters Modena with the Marquis d’Este.
Nov.EmiliaHe departs from Modena with Jaches della Mirandola and Giberto da Correggio and arrives at Correggio. He stops under the bastion of Cantone to besiege it; attacked by Terzi, he is defeated and has to fall back to Reggiolo; this center too falls into the hands of the lord of Parma. Pushed back by the cannons, he is forced to retreat. He sends 200 horses to defend twelve thousand heads of livestock that, having been raided by the Estensi, were brought to Guastalla. He is reported in Novi di Modena and in Modena. His horses are attacked by the adversaries, and 100 are killed in combat; the spoils are reclaimed by the adversaries; Lorenzo and Micheletto Attendolo, as well as Santo Parente, are taken prisoners. The three Sforza condottieri are tortured for months by the lord of Parma until they manage to escape from the prison in which they were confined.
1409
Feb.EmiliaHe continuously raids the Reggiano and Parmense territories; with Galeazzo da Correggio, he takes Dinazzano from Carlo da Fogliano; he sets the locality on fire.
May – Oct.EmiliaOttobono Terzi requests to negotiate with the Marquis d’Este at a point located between Reggio Emilia and Rubiera. Sforza, suspecting a trap, positions many armed men in a nearby forest. He then heads to the meeting with Lorenzo and Micheletto Attendolo, wearing a cuirass beneath his tunic. When he sees his rival approaching, he attacks him with Micheletto Attendolo and mortally wounds him in the back; his men, lying in ambush, capture the followers of the lord of Parma. He immediately secures for the Estensi several castles controlled by Carlo da Fogliano, such as Montecchio Emilia, San Polo d’Enza, and Traversetolo. In the latter location, he encounters 300 horses of Giovanni Malvicini (of which 200 are captured). These successes are followed by the fall of Reggio Emilia and Parma. Initially, he bombards the bridge defenses. In early July, the postern gate on the bank towards Santa Caterina and the two fortresses of the Galleria bridge surrender to him; finally, the citadel of Porta Nuova yields. These conquests are followed by the surrender of Borgo San Donnino (Fidenza) and that of another 30 castles.
Nov.EmiliaAt the end of the operations, he is enfeoffed with Montecchio Emilia by Niccolò d’Este.
1410
Jan.EmiliaHe is granted citizenship of Parma.
JuneAntipopeNaples600 lancesTuscany, Lazio, UmbriaHe is enlisted for four months by the legate of the antipope, Cardinal Baldassarre Cossa, and by the Florentines to fight the troops of the King of Naples, Ladislao d’Angiò. He is granted the privilege not to fight against Niccolò d’Este and to assist him in case of need. He recovers Talamone, which had been recently taken by the Neapolitans; he breaks into Rome after overcoming the resistance of the defenders at the Prati di Nerone. He unsuccessfully tries to provide aid to Bertuccio da Corneto, who is besieged in Castel Sant’Angelo. By the end of the month, given the challenges he faces, he moves towards Monte Gentile, leaves Rome, passes near Monterotondo, fords the Tiber (many of his men drown in the process), and returns to Umbria to confront Tartaglia near Todi.
JulyTuscanyHe goes to Chiusi; Luigi d’Angiò begins to doubt his actions. The Florentine ambassador, Jacopo Salviati, visits him; Sforza reassures him.
Aug.Tuscany, LazioThe Florentines deliver to him 18,300 florins in Montepulciano as payment for past wages. Sforza travels to Siena and marries Antonia, the daughter of Cocco Salimbeni. She is the widow of the lord of Cortona, Antonio Casali, and brings as her dowry the territories of Montegiovi, Montenero, Ripa, Bagno Vignoni, and Chiusi. Meanwhile, his relationship with Paolo Orsini deteriorates, as Orsini tries to enlist men from Sforza’s companies. Giovanni di Michele and other men-at-arms, totaling 100 horsemen, abandon him to go to Narni. Sforza then moves to the Rieti area and conquers six castles there.
Sept.Tuscany, LazioHe is in Arezzo and then reaches Rome with Luigi d’Angiò. In the city, he lodges in the San Pietro district along with Orsini and Gentile da Monterano. He is owed back pay, and his contract is expiring. The contract is renewed, with the costs borne 50% by d’Angiò, 33% by Cardinal Cossa, and the remaining 17% by the Florentines.
Oct. – Nov.UmbriaHe moves to the Todi area and battles Tartaglia there. He advances towards Torgiano, staying to defend the center while Braccio di Montone ravages the Todi and Terni areas. In November, he attacks Perugia alongside Montone and Orsini, leading 2,000 cavalry and 3,000 infantry. He is repelled by Tartaglia’s defense.
1411
Jan.Lazio, TuscanyHe leaves Rome and passes through Siena with Luigi d’Angiò.
Feb.FerraraHe aids the Estensi against the della Palude, who have taken control of Neviano degli Arduini. He constructs a fortress and secures the location.
Mar.AntipopeNaplesTuscany, LazioHe causes some damage to the Sienese territory, leading to protests from the Florentines. The Sienese grant him their citizenship and return Montenero, Bagno Vignoni, and the bridge of Chiusi upon the payment of a tribute. He moves to Chiusi and contemplates taking control of Cortona through a treaty. When the Angevins reclaim the port of Talamone, Sforza sends Bosio and Micheletto Attendolo with 300 men to aid the Sienese. They recover the land and the fortress. He arrives at Civita Castellana with his wife and joins his lances with those of Luigi d’Angiò.
Apr.LazioAlongside Orsini and Gentile da Monterano, he accompanies Luigi d’Angiò and the antipope Giovanni XXIII (Cardinal Cossa) during their solemn entrance into San Pietro in Rome. He crosses the Garigliano at Ponte Corno.
MayLazio, UmbriaHe defeats the opponents at Roccasecca. Entering the battle at dusk, he is the first to engage and captures Count Cola di Campobasso. The victory is attributed to a successful pincer movement he executed with Luigi di Loigny, which overcame the enemy vanguard, and the actions of Paolo Orsini, who descended upon the rear guard of the Neapolitan troops, throwing them into disarray. Among the many prisoners are also Conte da Carrara and his son Ardizzone. The effects of the victory are, in his opinion, lost due to Orsini, who doesn’t grant him permission to pursue the fleeing enemies, fearing a potential ambush set up earlier. The antipope returns to Rome. Sforza moves to Rieti, which he forcefully takes with Scornabecco, then touches upon Casteltodino and Spoleto where his brother Bosio dies. He has Bosio’s body transported to Marsciano. In a small chapel there, two of his brothers and a son will be buried. Around the same time, he forms an alliance with Niccolò d’Este; the agreement is signed by his representatives in Ferrara at the Schifanoia palace. Alongside Braccio di Montone and Paolo Orsini, he routs Tartaglia and Ceccolino dei Michelotti at Torgiano: 600 horses are captured, and many Perugians must pay a ransom to regain their freedom.
JuneLazioWith the signing of the Peace of San Felice, he returns to Rome. Along with Braccio di Montone, Tartaglia, and Giovanni Colonna, he attends a grand feast organized by Orsini at the Navicella outside the Porta San Paolo.
JulyUmbriaHe meets with Ceccolino dei Michelotti, Berardo da Varano, and Manfredo da Barbiano, who, on behalf of the King of Naples, offer him the lordship of Cortona in exchange for his defection. He requests a loan of 40,000 florins from Ladislao d’Angiò, which is provided to him by the three condottieri, with 10,000 florins each.
Aug. – Oct.Lazio, EmiliaAlongside Braccio di Montone, he accompanies the antipope to Rome at the head of 200 cavalry. With the Perugian condottiero, he supports Giovanni XXIII in Bologna. He is granted the fief of Cotignola for 14,000 ducats in compensation for his outstanding wages. The land is elevated to a county, and his son Francesco and the other Attendolos are also invested with it, subject to an annual tribute of a sparrowhawk. Niccolò d’Este gifts him two houses in Ferrara.
Nov.Emilia, Umbria, LazioHe departs from Bologna and returns to the Spoleto region. He conducts a raid on Amatrice. He then returns to his winter quarters in Civita Castellana.
1412
Feb.LazioA fire in Cotignola devastates the entire town, with the exception of his house and that of Lorenzo Attendolo, both of which are built of stone. Sforza assists the inhabitants by lending them the necessary funds to rebuild their homes. He also provides bricks and loans them wheat so they can feed themselves. He travels to Rome with Monterano to defend the city from the King of Naples, Ladislao d’Angiò. Meanwhile, his enmity with Orsini grows, as Orsini continually attempts to enlist men-at-arms from Sforza’s companies.
May – Aug.NaplesAntipopeLazioHe defects to the camp of the King of Naples for a series of reasons, ranging from resentment towards Paolo Orsini, chronic delays in receiving his wages, and the promise of a larger command (from 500 lances to 700) and fiefs in the Kingdom of Naples. He asks for leave and departs from Rome, assuring the antipope of his loyalty until the end of his contract (September). Regarding the money received from the King of Naples, he assures that it was taken solely to pay the wages of his men, which the Apostolic Chamber had not yet settled. He sends Micheletto Attendolo, Gherardo da Cotignola, and Bettuccio Attendolo as hostages to Ladislao d’Angiò, along with a squadron of 300 horses. He sets up camp on Mount Algido between Tuscolo and Velletri, intending to proceed to Naples. The antipope tries to prevent his defection, sending him 36,000 florins through the Cardinal of Sant’Angelo, not to settle past wages but to cover the expenses of the new contract. Essentially, Sforza remains inactive, waiting for his contract to expire; he only ensures that Rome is supplied with wheat and fodder, guaranteed by his Roman noble friends. Shortly after, he joins forces at Cancello with the royal troops commanded by Conte da Carrara and Pieretto de Andreis, advancing on Rome and Ostia. The antipope retaliates by having his chancellors beheaded and imprisoning and sentencing some of Sforza’s supporters in Rome to death. He also launches a vehement defamation campaign against him (mid-August). He orders paintings of Sforza hanged by his right foot on all the bridges and gates of Rome, holding a peasant’s hoe in his right hand and a scroll in his left with the inscription: “I am Sforza, the peasant of Cotignola, traitor, who has betrayed the Church twelve times; against my honor, promises, chapters, and pacts I have broken.” Orsini challenges him to a duel, but it all ends inconclusively with a series of insulting letters.
Sept.Umbria, LazioHis attempt to break into Rome fails; he sets up camp in the Perugia region with Ceccolino dei Michelotti and then advances against Marsciano. He conquers Orvieto; he also gains control of Acquapendente, Torre Alfina, and San Lorenzo di Val di Lago.
Oct.CampaniaSummoned to Campania, he travels to Naples with 200 cavalry; he sends his son Francesco to the court while his other sons, like Leone and Giovanni, continue their studies at the home of Marco da Foligno. When the conflict resumes, he sacks Alife and the castle of Airola.
1413
Feb. – Mar.Marche, UmbriaHe positions himself near Caldarola and Sarnano to block the road to Rome for Orsini, who has arrived at Monterubbiano to aid Ludovico Migliorati. He then returns to the Perugia region.
MayMarcheTogether with Conte da Carrara, Malatesta Malatesta, and Guidantonio da Montefeltro, he lays siege to Rocca Contrada (now known as Arcevia) where Paolo Orsini is located; Braccio di Montone intervenes in favor of the rival.
July – Aug.UmbriaHe is welcomed in Perugia with gifts and celebrations alongside Ceccolino dei Michelotti, Conte da Carrara, Malacarne, and Fabrizio da Capua. He opposes Braccio di Montone and Orsini at Ponte Pattoli for forty days. He persuades Niccolò d’Este to accept the position of general captain of the Neapolitan army with an annual salary of 30,000 florins; the Marquis of Ferrara, after some hesitation, declines the role but retains the advance payment he had received. Despite this, Sforza is relieved by Ladislao d’Angiò from the obligation he had undertaken on behalf of the Marquis d’Este.
AutumnUmbria, LazioHe invades the Patrimonio with more than 600 lances and 500 infantrymen; he roams the countryside daily, harming the interests of the people of Orvieto. He meets with Ceccolino dei Michelotti at Castel della Pieve (now known as Città della Pieve) with the intent of intensifying the destruction.
1414
MayUmbriaHe allies with Paolo Orsini, who has abandoned the antipope’s cause. Together, they lay siege to Braccio di Montone in Todi. He saves Orsini’s life following a sudden sortie by the opponents. However, he is suspected, along with Giovanni Mostarda, of orchestrating an attempt to poison the rival. He requests 10,000 florins from the sovereign, an amount he is owed; he is granted 5,000, minus 100 florins he owes to Malacarne for a previous supply of saltpeter.
JuneUmbriaTogether with Paolo Orsini, Micheletto Attendolo, and Malatesta Malatesta, he lays siege to Foligno where Lorenzo Attendolo is defending the city on behalf of the Florentines. He returns to Todi and is in Perugia when peace is signed between the contenders. In this agreement, he is included as an ally of the King of Naples.
July, Aug.UmbriaIn Perugia, on the orders of Ladislao d’Angiò, he arrests Orsini. He ensures that the company of this condottiero is not plundered. In August, he commands the troops during the return of the sovereign to Naples, where the king will die within a few days. Upon hearing this news, the citizens of Orvieto allow him to enter the city; Sforza takes possession of it on behalf of the new sovereign, Queen Giovanna d’Angiò (Joanna I of Naples). Granted several castles in the Siena region (Orbetello, Piancastagnaio, Penne, and Marta), Sforza sends his nephew Foschino to the viceroy, Giovanni Caracciolo, to receive the respective insignias after paying 1,000 ducats. Caracciolo demands 1,500 for Orbetello; the nephew delays in gathering the requested sum, and the Sienese take possession of the location.
Sept.NaplesAntipopeUmbria, LazioHe breaks camp from Todi. Along with Giacomo Colonna and the Savellis, he attempts to enter Rome with 4,000 men to bring the city back under Angevin obedience. He is allowed into the city through the Ponte Milvio, reaching the Porta del Popolo. After passing it, he arrives at the square of Santa Maria Nova. Under pouring rain, he heads to the Capitoline Hill to speak with the city’s conservators, but they are nowhere to be found. Sforza continues his ride through the nearby squares of Sant’Angelo di Pescheria and the Jewish square. He encounters many roads blocked by the Romans, with whom he skirmishes, resulting in many of his followers being killed. At night, he retreats to San Giovanni in Laterano, where he spends the night. The next day, he pushes through Prati to the Vatican district and the portico of San Pietro, aiming to enter Castel Sant’Angelo, where Perino Attendolo has taken refuge. Battles continue with the troops of Cardinal Giacomo Isolani. In one skirmish near the church of the Minerva, he is injured by a large stone thrown from a window, hitting his hand. The pain causes him to fall, and he is trampled by horses. On this occasion, his squad leader, Lorenzo Sordo, saves him by helping him back onto his mount. With the failure of his attempt to descend from Monte Mario, he is forced to retreat via the Via Flaminia with Battista Savelli, Giacomo, and Corradino Colonna. He then heads to Viterbo.
Oct.LazioHe resumes the conflict in the Patrimonio, capturing Montalto di Castro, Canino, Abbadia Le Grotte (Grotte di Castro), Gradoli, Acquapendente, Proceno, Rocca Ripesena, Orte, Venzo, Bassanello, Lubriano, San Severo, Castiglione in Teverina, and Celleno. At the end of the month, he leaves the army in the hands of Micheletto, Foschino Attendolo, and Santo Parente to return to Naples to join Giovanna d’Angiò (Joanna I of Naples) with 200 cavalry.
Nov.CampaniaHe meets with Pandolfo Alopo, the queen’s favorite, in Aversa.
Dec.CampaniaSuspected of wanting to take control of Capua, he is captured in the Beverella tower where a meeting with the queen is scheduled. He is imprisoned for four months in Castelnuovo in Naples along with his son Francesco and a chancellor. In the same prison, Paolo Orsini, Orso Orsini, and Micheletto Attendolo are also held.
1415
Mar.CampaniaHe is saved by Alopo himself, who needs his armed support. Once freed, he is given 30,000 ducats and is married off to Pandolfo’s daughter, Caterina, who is beautiful though slightly lisping. As a guarantee of the agreement, Sforza hands over as hostages to his future father-in-law his sons Francesco, Leone, Alessandro, and Giovanni; his daughter Lisa; his sister Margherita; his nephews Foschino and Marco; Moriano Attendolo, son of Lorenzo; and the captains Bettuccio Attendolo and Gherardo da Cotignola. Governing his lands is Lorenzo Attendolo, assisted by Foschino and Santo Parente. He also sends a sum of money by ship to Lorenzo Attendolo, so that he can prepare a new army in Tuscany consisting of 4,500 cavalry and 500 infantry.
Apr.LazioHe sets his sights on Acquapendente; he gathers the troops assembled in Chiusi by Lorenzo Attendolo; he is ready to march against the enemies of Queen Joanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò).
JuneNaplesRebellious baronsGrand ConstableAbruzzo, CampaniaIn L’Aquila, he arranges his troops and sends out several squads of cavalry to ambush the Aquilans from behind. The opponents approach on foot; after a brief skirmish, they turn and flee, seeking refuge within the city walls. Alongside Lorenzo Attendolo, he liberates the citadel of L’Aquila from the siege imposed by Antonuccio dell’Aquila and Jacopo Caldora. Negotiations follow at the Reginale camp, after which Jacopo Caldora is appointed governor of the city; L’Aquila comes under the control of the Queen of Naples. The inhabitants provide him with a guarantee of 20,000 ducats to be returned at the end of the year.
He then moves to Itri and forces Cristoforo Gaetani to reconcile with the queen, along with the Duke of Sessa. He then proceeds to Capua, overcomes the resistance of Giulio Cesare da Capua, and also compels him to reconcile with Joanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò). He returns to Naples and marries Caterina Alopo in the very Castelnuovo. He is given the title of Grand Constable (Gran Connestabile) with an annual provision of 8,000 ducats. He is granted lordship over several lands in Basilicata and Campania, such as Tito, Pietrafitta, Satriano, Miglionico, Pisticci, Montella, Cassano, Bagnoli Irpino, Scurano, Nusco, and Mirabello Sannitico. He does not take possession of the last two due to various disputes; he takes revenge by sacking the second center.
JulyCampaniaHe is sent by Joanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò) to meet her soon-to-be husband, James of Bourbon, Count of La Marche. Sforza’s task is to greet him as the Prince of Taranto and Duke of Calabria, but not as a king. Condottieri such as Giulio Cesare da Capua and Pieretto de Andreis ally themselves with James of Bourbon against Pandolfo Alopo and his supporters. Sforza immediately has a confrontation with Giulio Cesare da Capua. He waits for James of Bourbon at the Calore pass near Padula; suspecting some treachery, he fords the river and positions himself on the opposite bank.
Aug.CampaniaHe reaches Benevento; here, the dispute with Giulio Cesare da Capua is reignited. Both are arrested by the Grand Seneschal, Pieretto de Andreis, for drawing their swords in the palace. He is thrown into prison along with his son Francesco, Foschino, and Domenico Attendolo; conversely, his rival is released. His title of Grand Constable (Gran Connestabile) is taken away and entrusted to the Frenchman, Lordin de Saligny. His troops are also plundered; his wife and children, who are in the house of Cristoforo Gaetani, are confined in Castelnuovo.
Sept. – Oct.Molise CampaniaInitially, he is taken to the castle of Frignano, owned by the Count of Campobasso, and then to Naples where he is imprisoned in Castelnuovo. In early October, Pandolfo Alopo is beheaded in the Market Square in Naples. Sforza is tortured to obtain the seals of the castles and fortresses he owns so that his sister Margherita can hand over Tricarico and other lands in Basilicata to James of Bourbon. At the same time, the Sienese seize the opportunity to occupy, against all agreements, Montenero, Chiusi, Piancastagnaio, Ripa, Bagno Vignoni, and Montegiovi.
1416
Nov.In prison, chronicles recount that he dreams of Saint Leonard, who comforts him and assures him of his freedom on the day of the saint’s feast. He is released at the beginning of the month due to a series of concurrent reasons, ranging from the depredations of Lorenzo and Micheletto Attendolo, to the resistance offered by his sister Margherita (who imprisoned and threatened to kill the royal commissioners she captured), to a new palace conspiracy always orchestrated by Giulio Cesare da Capua and Giovanni Caracciolo, and to the victories of Braccio di Montone in Umbria and Lazio.
1417
Feb.Puglia CampaniaWith the imprisonment of James of Bourbon, he is reinstated as Grand Constable (Gran Connestabile) and is enfeoffed with Troia, along with Apice, Orsara di Puglia, San Bartolomeo in Galdo, Biccari, the barony of Torremaggiore (including places like Lesina and Apricena), Benevento, and Serracapriola, bearing the title of count. Moreover, he is made captain of Agnone and is granted Minervino with the title of captain.
…………Umbria, TuscanyHe crosses Umbria and Tuscany to reach Chiusi. The people of Perugia present him with some gifts.
MayNaplesPerugiaTuscany, CampaniaIn Siena, he ratifies the sale of his possessions in the region to the republic for 18,000 florins; in gratitude, he is declared a nobleman of the city. He now battles Braccio di Montone, who has become the lord of Perugia, and his ally Tartaglia. He sets up quarters at Mazzone delle Rose near Capua.
June – JulyLazioHe is appointed castellan and captain of Manfredonia. He heads towards Rome at the helm of a strong army; he stops near Frosinone to await Jacopo Caldora, the Count of Monteodorisio Perdicasso Barile, and Conte da Carrara, who have halted at the abbey of Casamala with 1,200 cavalry. They make contact with Braccio di Montone to attack Sforza from behind. Informed of the conspiracy, the Romagnol condottiero sends his chancellor, Buoso da Siena, to Jacopo Caldora and offers as hostages his son Francesco Sforza and his nephew Marco Attendolo to assure him of his intentions. Caldora and Conte da Carrara do not trust his offers; on the contrary, Perdicasso Barile reaches his camp and is arrested there by his constable Pietro da Milano. Sforza gathers his men-at-arms, surprises Jacopo Caldora during the hottest hours of the day (or at dawn according to some sources), captures him, and has him taken to Salvaterra. He then marches on Rome, flanked by Caldora’s men and Conte da Carrara; Francesco and Gian Antonio Orsini, on the other hand, join his troops at Marino.
Aug.LazioHe appears at dawn near Rome at Marmorella, close to the Porta di San Giovanni in Laterano. He is repelled by the Perugian infantry and retreats towards Ostia with 5,000 cavalry. From there, he sends his bloodied glove to his rival as a challenge. Braccio di Montone does not accept the challenge and holds his troops on the plaza in front of the Laterano. From Ostia, Sforza moves through the Alban Hills, crosses the Tiber on a pontoon bridge, which he sets on fire after crossing, and with flags unfurled, he makes a wide detour towards Monte Mario to descend upon Castel Sant’Angelo from above. Montone abandons Rome after occupying the city for seventy days. Sforza lodges his troops in the borough of San Pietro and stays in the papal chambers of the Vatican Palace. He frees Cardinal Giacomo Isolani and imprisons in Castel Sant’Angelo the cardinal who had supported Braccio di Montone’s cause. With the conquest of Rome, he battles Giacomo Colonna, an enemy of the Angevins. He sets his sights on Palestrina and at Zagarolo, he defeats and captures Niccolò Piccinino.
Sept.CampaniaHe signs a truce with Braccio di Montone and returns to Naples; he has Jacopo Caldora with him. However, Perdicasso Barile is left in Gaeta in the hands of the Gaetani.
Oct. – Nov.LazioHe travels to Viterbo to protect the sowing works. In a skirmish, Mezzobudello is killed among the enemies. He moves on Toscanella (now known as Tuscania) against Tartaglia, whom he surprises in an ambush with 400 cavalry and infantry: he actually sends some light cavalry under the town’s walls to lure the opponents and have them chase to a predetermined spot. By night, he returns to Viterbo. As has happened on similar occasions, he releases the prisoners, among whom is a brother of Tartaglia, Donato da Lavello. In November, a new six-month truce is signed in Montefiascone with Tartaglia and Braccio di Montone. At the end of the month, Rome rises in the presence of Sforza to recall Montone and Tartaglia to the city. The Count of Tagliacozzo, Gian Antonio Orsini, and Francesco Orsini intervene. After a few days, a truce is agreed upon in Montefiascone between the contenders.
Dec.Lazio, CampaniaHe is appointed Pope by the Council of Constance as Martin V. Sforza leaves his nephew, Foschino Attendolo, in charge of guarding Rome and returns to Naples with 900 cavalry. He allies himself with the queen’s new favorite, the Grand Seneschal Giovanni Caracciolo.
1418
…………NaplesSan SeverinoCalabriaHe battles the San Severino in the Vallo di Diano. He soon comes to an agreement with them in Scafati.
Apr. – MaySforzaNaplesCampaniaAngry with Giovanni Caracciolo for not assisting him in the recent conflict, he halts with his troops at Mazzoni and at the Torre degli Schiavi near Francolise. He departs from Naples and travels with a few cavalry to Basilicata to settle a dispute that arose between his son-in-law Leonetto da San Severino and Tommaso da San Severino regarding the possession of Caiazzo and Cerreto. On his return journey, he is informed that Giovanni Caracciolo has set a trap for him at Scafati. In Eboli, he comes to an agreement with Francesco Mormile, sends his men-at-arms ahead as scouts, and follows them in disguise, either as a stableman or a baggage handler, through the Serra di Paterno and Palma Campania. He takes the road to Acerra and joins his troops stationed at Mazzoni. He then marches on Naples with Mormile and sets up camp in front of the Porta del Carmelo or Borgo delle Corregge.
Sept.CampaniaHe is swayed by the entreaties of Francesco Orsini, who is sent to him by Giovanni Caracciolo. He is suddenly attacked by the same Orsini, who emerges from Castelnuovo, capturing 600 of Sforza’s cavalry. Forced to retreat, he takes the route of Piedigrotta to Casal di Principe, from where he sends messengers and letters to the barons, urging them to rid themselves of the Grand Seneschal. He resupplies the fortress of Benevento with provisions, while his rival, Francesco Orsini, departs to marry the Countess of Troia, the widow of Pieretto de Andreis.
Oct.CampaniaHaving received some reinforcements, he arrives with his army at Afragola, and from this location, he ravages the territory, intercepting supplies headed to the capital. He conquers Acerra, Pomigliano d’Arco, and Ottaviano. The Neapolitans rise up and force Joanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò) to expel her favorite from the government, confine him to the island of Procida, and release Sforza’s supporters. His overdue salaries (for two years) are paid, and he is compensated with a sum of 24,000 ducats for the damages inflicted by Francesco Orsini.
1419
Jan.Standard-bearer of the Papal StatesCampania, LazioHe departs for Naples where he is hosted by Ottino Caracciolo near Porta Capuana. He allows Francesco da Ortona to enter Castelnuovo and expels the followers of the Grand Seneschal. He travels to Rome, where he is elected by the Pope’s brother, Giordano Colonna, as the Standard-bearer of the Papal States (Gonfaloniere dello Stato della Chiesa). In Naples, he secures the reaffirmation of his fiefs in Benevento and Manfredonia.
Feb.CampaniaIn Naples, James of Bourbon (Giacomo di Borbone) is released. The former prisoner leaves Castelnuovo and stays with Sforza in the houses of Ottino Caracciolo. Along with Conte da Carrara and other dignitaries, he is designated as a guarantor of the agreements made on the occasion.
Apr.Naples, ChurchPerugiaCampaniaHe prepares to once again battle Braccio di Montone. In Naples, Giovanni Caracciolo returns, who is obliged to give two of his sons as hostages in Benevento. A familial tie is also established between the two Angevin dignitaries, whereby Chiara Attendolo, sister of Foschino and Marco, is to marry the Count of Sant’Angelo Marino, Giovanni’s brother (with a dowry of 7,000 ducats).
MayCampania, LazioIn Naples with 150 cavalry, he learns of the escape of James of Bourbon (Giacomo di Borbone). He leaves Terra del Lavoro, crosses the Volturno, and arrives in Rome. Joining his troops are Leonetto da San Severino, Count Niccolò Orsini, and Nanni di Spinello.
JuneLazioHe stations himself at San Giovanni, between Montefiascone and Viterbo. He heads towards the former location to hinder the union of Montone’s troops with those of Tartaglia and requests Giovanni Gatti to send 500 infantry. These troops are defeated and captured by the enemy. He sends Sacco to attack Braccio di Montone and also calls upon Niccolò Orsini, Petrino da Siena, and Nanni di Spinello to carry out the same operation. They dissuade him from attacking Tuscania, where the enemy camp is located. Sforza decides to return to Viterbo with 2,000 cavalry and many infantry. He precedes his troops to Montefiascone with 50 cavalry. A rash move by Niccolò Orsini disrupts his formation. Montone takes advantage of the ensuing disorder, heavily defeating Sforza and capturing 2,300 of his cavalry, although many (at least 1,300) manage to escape during the battle. Muzio Attendolo Sforza is pursued to the gates of Viterbo, where he seeks refuge through the Porta di San Sisto with 1,000 cavalry. He tries to persuade Niccolò Orsini’s men, who are unarmed, to join him in a sortie. He exits through the Porta di Santa Lucia with the locals and 40-60 cavalry. Repelled, he has to return to the city with Santo Parente after being wounded in the neck by Brandolino Brandolini. Besieged in Viterbo by Braccio di Montone and Gattamelata, he convinces his son, Francesco Sforza, to attack the two opposing captains with Micheletto Attendolo.
JulyLazioWith Braccio di Montone’s retreat, he reaches Rome with 500 cavalry to facilitate the agreement between Cristoforo Gaetani and the Queen of Naples. He travels to Capitone and the countryside of Lubriano, conquers the bridge of Chiana, and advances towards Perugia. Captured prisoners, grains, and looted livestock are taken to Viterbo.
Aug.LazioHe returns to Viterbo and attacks the enemy camp. He captures 100 men-at-arms and proposes an exchange for those who, having been captured in June by Montone, were imprisoned on an island in Lake Bolsena. His proposal is rejected. He has three boats built and sails them on the lake. As a result, some of his commanders are freed, with the exception of Foschino Attendolo and Andrea della Serra. He captures the castle of Lubriano, from which he obtains a large quantity of grain and other supplies, all of which are sent to Viterbo. He sacks Santa Severa and Bagnorea (Civita di Bagnoregio) and controls all the roads on which the flow of supplies for the adversaries runs.
Sept.Lazio, Tuscany, UmbriaAt the beginning of the month, determined to take revenge on the inhabitants of Montefiascone, who were always hostile to him, he leads the Viterbese to ravage their vineyards. He troubles the inhabitants of that place so much that they are forced to surrender on terms. He gains control of Montefiascone; at the same time, Tartaglia defects to the Papal side. Sforza travels to Florence with this captain and Giovanni Gatti to pay homage to Martin V. He arranges the marriage of his son Giovanni to a daughter of his old enemy. Following the agreement, his nephew Foschino Attendolo and the Sforza men-at-arms still imprisoned on the island of Lake Bolsena are released. His army is also strengthened by the arrival of Angelo della Pergola and Conte da Carrara. He crosses the Paglia river and sends scouts ahead: they are confronted by 300 of Braccio’s cavalry who drive them off and take their loot. Sforza then heads towards Narni, captures Capitone, and moves to aid the fortress of Spoleto.
Oct.Umbria, CampaniaHe captures Gattamelata and Brandolino Brandolini at San Gemini and then stations at Amelia. Montone loses Assisi. The rival captain, using a stratagem, manages to slow down Sforza’s approach, giving him time to retake Assisi. By the end of the month, Sforza heads to Naples for the queen’s coronation.
Dec.UmbriaHe remains stationed at Amelia. He leaves Umbria and returns to his territories in Acquapendente. Foschino Attendolo stays in Amelia with 1,400 cavalry.
1420
Jan.UmbriaHe resumes hostilities. Together with Tartaglia, they ravage the area around Todi.
Feb.LazioUpon the onset of a truce, from Acquapendente, he travels with 60 cavalry to Florence where he has been summoned by the Pope. He is instructed to send his son, Alessandro Sforza, who resides in Ferrara, to the papal court. His relations with Giovanni Caracciolo deteriorate as Caracciolo does not provide him with adequate financial support. Together with Martin V, he calls Louis of Anjou (Luigi d’Angiò) from France and urges him to move to the Kingdom of Naples. To this end, he sends Berardo da Varano to France.
………….
Grand ConstableThe Duke of Anjou (duca d’Angiò) appoints him as viceroy and grand constable. He provides him with money (39,000 ducats). The Pope secretly promises him the lordship of Viterbo.
MayAnjouNaples, Kingdom of AragonLazio, CampaniaHe departs Viterbo and meets in Rome with the grand chancellor, Ottino Caracciolo. He advances towards Acerra and the Terra di Lavoro accompanied by Micheletto Attendolo’s wife, Polissena da San Severino. He has with him 6,000 men, both cavalry and infantry. He only damages the territory after sending the captain-general’s staff to Naples, returning the banners, and notifying the queen that he now serves Louis of Anjou (Luigi d’Angiò).
June – JulyCampaniaHe enters Acerra and sets up camp in Naples between Formello and Casa Nova, facing Porta Capuana. There are talks of insults and calls for the queen’s abdication. He fortifies his position nearby and carries out numerous raids in the surrounding areas.
Aug.CampaniaLouis of Anjou (Luigi d’Angiò) arrives with 5 ships loaded with wheat and 9 galleys. Sforza goes to the beach near the tower of Rossena or Resina to facilitate the landing of the Provençals. He secures the fortress of Acerra from Francesco Gattola and tightens the siege around Naples even further. By the end of the month, 4 Aragonese galleys arrive.
Sept.CampaniaHe joins forces with Louis of Anjou (Luigi d’Angiò). Together with the Angevin troops, through some marshes, they reach the Maddalena bridge behind the Carmine district. He positions eighteen squads of cavalry nearby and orders Bifo da Cotignola to move with 200 infantrymen behind the garden walls near the Marina Gate to ambush the enemies from behind in a likely skirmish. Bifo disobeys his orders, deeming the assigned position too dangerous, and positions himself elsewhere, untouched by the battle.
Jacopo Caldora, Orso Orsini, and Bernardino degli Ubaldini della Carda venture out of Naples for reconnaissance. Sforza and Louis of Anjou send 10 squads across the bridge and attack the adversaries. The Aragonese fleet led by Raimondo Periglios arrives to support Joanna of Anjou’s (Giovanna d’Angiò) troops. The attackers are targeted from the galleys with bombards and other artillery pieces. After four hours, victory favors Sforza. The Romagna-born commander stops in front of the city walls to place the Angevin flag on a bar near the Marina Gate. He is then approached by Bifo da Cotignola. He refrains from hanging Bifo for his insubordination solely because they hail from the same hometown. He then retreats to Nola.
…………He hands over Montecchio Emilia to the Duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti.
1421
Jan.CampaniaHe approaches Naples by night, hoping that the city will be handed over to him by 1,000 supporters of Louis of Anjou (Luigi d’Angiò) who have gathered near the San Gennaro Gate. A hole is made in the walls nearby, allowing 500 soldiers to enter the city. However, the defenders, alerted by the noise of their entry, repel the attackers.
Aug.CampaniaHe lays siege to Capua. With his blockade, he increasingly puts Naples in a difficult position. Joined by 800 Papal cavalry led by Tartaglia, he turns to Castellamare di Stabia to lift the siege imposed there by Braccio da Montone’s forces. The adversaries face off near the Sarno River, where they engage in minor skirmishes for eighteen days. When Montone moves towards Naples, Sforza constructs a pontoon bridge, crosses a river, and pursues the Perugian commander under intense heat, during which some of his men die of thirst. He sets up camp with Tartaglia near Naples, touches upon Acerra and Aversa. As the adversaries approach with 3,000 cavalry, he retreats to Aversa.
Sept. – Oct.CampaniaHe moves to Sessa Aurunca and from there returns to Aversa via the road of Castel Volturno. Braccio di Montone employs a harsh method towards his soldiers when they are taken prisoner (sent to the galleys as rowers) and a more amicable one towards Tartaglia’s soldiers, who are released with their weapons and mounts. This is enough to intensify the old enmity Sforza holds against Tartaglia; skirmishes also arise between the ranks of the two captains. He dispatches Micheletto Attendolo and Buzino from Siena to Nocera with 400 horses to get ahead of the enemies; he leaves Marcianise to cut off Montone’s path, stops at Bagnoli, and heads towards Naples; at the Casolla bridge, he is blocked by Giovanni Ventimiglia, Niccolò Piccinino, and Montone, who capture 200 of his horses. Around the same time, Sforza has the opportunity to rid himself of the despised Tartaglia, whom he accuses of secret dealings with the adversaries. On the pope’s orders, he goes to Aversa at night, surrounds Tartaglia’s residence, captures him, and hands him over to the local magistrate and the papal commissioner, Cola Quarto. Tartaglia is promptly beheaded after confessing, at least according to sources close to Sforza, to be in negotiations with Montone and Alfonso d’Aragona. Sforza seizes the lands of the condottiero located in the Patrimony (Tuscania, Sutri, Montalto di Castro, Canino, Gradoli). Some of Tartaglia’s troops desert, while others remain to serve the papal forces.
Nov.CampaniaHe sent, under the cover of night, 80 men-at-arms to the defense of Acerra, led by Santo Parente, Bettuccio Attendolo, and Perino Attendolo. He met in Aversa with the Florentine ambassadors Michele Castellani and Rinaldo degli Albizzi, who had come to explore the possibility of peace negotiations between the contenders. He laid siege to Capua.
Dec.CampaniaSome of Sforza’s men captured the Florentine ambassadors; he promptly intervened and ensured the return of their belongings. He clashed again with Montone between Capua and Aversa; he was defeated with the capture of 400 men. The campaign came to an end, so he sent his troops to the winter quarters in Benevento.
1422
………..CampaniaHe was held up in Benevento due to the unrest of his men who protested the delay in their pay. The Pope did not provide him with the necessary funds.
Apr.CampaniaHe was approached by Braccio di Montone, acting on behalf of the queen and the grand seneschal Giovanni Caracciolo; they sought his assistance to fight against the Aragonese. Sforza moved to Telese while Montone shifted to the Duchy of Sessa; the two condottieri had a two-hour conversation at Selva dei Saccommanni (Presenzano), following which the foundations of a new alliance were laid. Sforza ensured the safety of Joanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò) in the castle of Aversa. For the loss of Acerra, which had been taken from him by the Aragonese, he was compensated with the recognition of the lordships of Benevento, Troia, Bari, Barletta, Trani, and a third of the revenues from the port of Manfredonia, along with other castles.
JulyLazioHe traveled to Gaeta to pay homage to the queen of Naples and the king of Aragon; he stayed outside the city walls for twenty-two days due to the plague and had frequent contacts with some Catalan dignitaries. He handed over Aversa to Alfonso of Aragon; the latter contemplated inviting him to Terracina on his galley, imprisoning him, and having him executed. However, he was dissuaded from this course of action by his advisors and the arrival of the papal legate, the Cardinal of Sant’Angelo.
Aug.Lazio, Campania, ApuliaSforza left Gaeta. Even after the signing of the peace terms, he continued to be involved in court intrigues. He was noted to be in Villafranca, near Benevento, and in Troia where he had the chancellor, Benedetto da Fiore, imprisoned on charges of altering parts of the treaty in favor of the adversaries.
1423
JuneNaplesKingdom of AragonCampaniaGiovanni Caracciolo was arrested by the Aragonese, and Joanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò) was besieged in the castle of Porta Capuana. Sforza left Benevento with only 600 cavalry and 300 infantrymen; his troops were not in the best condition due to a series of setbacks and the lack of pay for many months. The Aragonese, under the command of Bernardo Centelles, confronted him at Formello near Porta Capuana with 4,000 cavalry and infantrymen; a six-hour battle ensued. Sforza broke down a wall that blocked his path and attacked the adversaries from behind with infantry and 200 cavalry of Bettuccio Attendolo and Gerardo Parente, who had previously hidden in nearby gardens and orchards. He captured Cicco Antonio de Caris, who held the royal standard; 20 Sicilian and Catalan nobles were also taken prisoner and confined in Castelnuovo. The prisoners were taken to Pomigliano d’Arco by his nephew Marco Attendolo; they were soon released by another nephew, Foschino Attendolo, in exchange for the release of the grand seneschal Giovanni Caracciolo. The total loot, including goods and ransoms, amounted to 200,000 ducats. Sforza left Aversa following the entry into Naples, through the Porta Petruccia, of Aragonese militias that disembarked from 8 large vessels and 22 galleys under the command of Giovanni di Cardona. Upon arriving in the city, he found that skirmishes were still ongoing near the church of Santa Chiara. He was repelled by the adversaries who reached as far as the Nido; he retreated towards Castel Capuano, fetched the queen, and first took her to Pomigliano d’Arco and the next day to Nola. The fortress of Nola was handed over to him for 4,000 florins by Giannotto di Pertusa. As a result of this action, Alfonso of Aragon later exterminated the entire family of Giannotto in Catalonia. 5,000 people, including men and women, followed Joanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò) to Nola.
Sept.CampaniaHe laid siege to Naples. His troops approached Porta Marina. An alarm was raised in the city. He repelled an attack by Bernardino degli Ubaldini della Carda towards the Porta del Carmine.
Oct.Campania, AbruzzoJoanna I of Naples (Giovanna d’Angiò) renounced the adoption of Alfonso of Aragon, which was the foundation of the previous alliance, and chose Louis of Anjou (Luigi d’Angiò) as her own son. Sforza made a new attempt to occupy Naples. He overcame the resistance of Jacopo Caldora at the Porta del Mercato; however, he had to withdraw due to the city’s road layout, which hindered the use of heavy cavalry. He found a single satisfaction from the action when he placed his standard on the bastion of a tower near the Porta del Carmine. He summoned his son Francesco Sforza from Calabria and, at the end of the month, set off for Abruzzo with 4,000 cavalry. Accompanying him were Luigi da San Severino, Taliano Furlano, Colantonio Zurlo, Foschino, and Micheletto Attendolo. The goal was to divert Montone from the siege of L’Aquila. He reclaimed Vasto (taken from Jacopo Caldora), occupied Torino di Sangro, Lanciano, and Ortona, where he was handed 12,000 ducats by emissaries of Filippo Maria Visconti. He defeated the adversaries in a couple of skirmishes at Lanciano and Francavilla al Mare.
Dec.AbruzzoHe spent Christmas Day in Ortona. After religious services, during celebrations with his captains, he recounted a dream he had the previous night. He felt as though he was in the middle of a lake, saw Saint Christopher (San Cristoforo) from a distance, and called out for his help. The Saint turned his face away. His friends futilely urged him to postpone his departure the following day. Since it was the heart of winter, he was compelled to use the coastal road instead of heading directly to L’Aquila. He arrived at Pescara and found his path blocked by the swollen namesake river and by Braccio’s troops who controlled the city. He decided to ford the river at its mouth.
1424
Jan.He forded the Pescara river, finding himself almost alone on the opposite bank, as the majority of his troops lacked the courage to cross the swollen river, especially with the libeccio wind pushing the sea waves into its bed. He had no choice but to turn back and personally lead his men to overcome the challenge. He attempted the crossing again; one of his pages slipped and was about to drown. Muzio Attendolo Sforza tried to help, but his mount, “Scalzanacha”, slipped, causing him to fall from the saddle. He raised his iron-gloved hands twice in a plea for help, but no one came to his aid. Weighed down by his armor and weapons, he drowned. His body, carried away by the current, was never found.
He married three times: first to Antonia Salimbeni, the widow of Francesco Casali, lord of Cortona, who brought him Chiusi and several castles in Val di Chiana as a dowry; secondly to Caterina Alopo (with a dowry of 5 castles in Calabria); and finally to the Countess of Celano, Maria di Marzano, widow of Louis of Anjou (Luigi d’Angiò) and Count Nicola Berardi of Celano (bringing some estates in Terra di Lavoro). A portrait of him by Bernardino Luini is in the Castello Sforzesco in Milan; another portrait is in the Kunsthistorische Museum in Vienna; a miniature of him is in the National Library of Paris, attributed to a Pseudo Antonio di Monza. Other portraits of him are in the Civic Museum of Como, the Ducal Palace of Urbania (Civic Museum and Art Gallery), the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence (by Cristofano dell’Altissimo), and the Ambrosian Art Gallery in Milan. Streets are named after him in Milan and Rome. His face also appears in one of the medallions, representing 5 members of the Sforza family, mounted on the wall of a building facing the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. An epigram in his honor was written by Antonio Francesco Ranieri. Paolo Giovio wrote “The Life of Sforza, Most Valiant Captain.” His name was given to a light cruiser of the Italian Royal Navy, belonging to the condottieri class. Launched in 1934, the ship was sunk during World War II in the port of Naples following an air attack in December 1942.

Sources

-“Non è vero che fosse venuto dal nulla, come sostennero i suoi panegiristi, ebbe infatti sempre alle spalle il sostegno di un grosso casato di gente rotta al mestiere delle armi (molti dei suoi parenti servivano nella sua compagnia) e aveva sempre potuto contare su Cotignola come efficiente base di reclutamento. E’ vero però che il suo successo era stato spettacolare e dovuto in molta parte alla sua bravura di soldato, ma anche ad alcuni tempestivi cambiamenti di parte e ai suoi tre successivi matrimoni che gli recarono possedimenti cospicui e altro prestigio. Un cronista (il Broglio) così delineò la figura dello Sforza:”Di persona bellissimo più che comunale, con aspetto feroce e robusto, gagliardissimo in sua persona, e savio e grande simulatore vel dicitore di nobilissimi sermoni faceva alle sue giente d’arme.” E’ certo che sapeva infondere nei suoi soldati un inconsueto sentimento di lealtà verso la sua persona e piegarli ad una rigorosa disciplina. Anzi, fu proprio la disciplina che riusciva ad ottenere a fargli attribuire la fama di innovatore militare. Grazie alla disciplina e all’accurata preparazione che faceva procedere ad ogni atto di guerra, egli era in grado di controllare i suoi nel campo di battaglia come mai non si era visto. Lo Sforza era un convinto assertore di una tattica prudente, realizzata da grandi masse di soldati ben addestrati, non solo cavalieri, ma anche fanti, ai quali diede importanza particolare. La cosa non era abituale al suo tempo. Lo Sforza ebbe minor successo come uomo politico e a Napoli, dopo la morte di Ladislao, si trovò giocoforza immischiato negli intrighi politici. In quegli anni napoletani fu messo in prigione due volte e fu salvato solo dalla fermezza dei suoi familiari e dei suoi soldati, che seppero esercitare le opportune pressioni militari perché fosse rilasciato. Sul campo di battaglia egli si trovò spesso di fronte Braccio da Montone, la cui veemenza e le cui brillanti manovre lo mettevano in una certa difficoltà. Il suo ruolo in quegli anni fu sempre quello di comandante militare delle forze di questa o quella fazione politica di Napoli e non pare che mirasse a procurarsi nel regno un suo stato indipendente.” MALLETT 

-“A man who…was universally acknowledged to be one of the first generals and politicians of the day.” POLLARD URQUHART

-“Signore glorioso, magnanimo, liberalissimo, e capitaneo invictissimo; homo de singulare virtute, fortissimo de corpo, et de grandissima prudencia, et de optimo consiglio in gubernare et antivedere le future cose: pacientemente suportava ogni grande fatica, né sete né fame lo disturbava da le cose che aveva a fare, né fredo né caldo molto lo ofendeva, né lo disturbava nel suo gueregiare; et ne lo combatere, cosa veruna, benché pericolosa fusse, lo sbigottiva, ma intrepido inanti a tutti, sempre faceva animo a’ suoi: et fu di tanta previdencia e pericia in gubernare lo exercito et apiciare la zufa, che da tutta Italia, dignamente, era reputato primo capitaneo ne l’arte militare.” CAGNOLA

-“Indubbiamente un valoroso capitano di ventura, che seppe costruirsi una fortuna nel Regno di Napoli..agognava anche al potere, ma questo gli sfuggì sempre, forse perché non aveva la capacità realizzatrice dell’uomo politico.” SANTORO

-“Uno dei più arditi ed intrepidi uomini, uno de’ più valorosi generali e de’ più esperti politici che avesse fino allora prodotti l’Italia.” SISMONDI

-“Prima di ogni altra cosa egli era, se non un grande capitano, almeno un grande soldato, e poteva vantarsi di un corpo sano, robusto ed esperto in ogni genere di esercizi; attirava la popolarità co’ suoi modi franchi e schietti, e possedeva una meravigliosa memoria, che gli faceva ricordare anche dopo molti anni tutti i suoi soldati, lo stato del loro servizio, i loro cavalli ecc. Colto non era che nella letteratura italiana; ma nelle ore d’ozio amava erudirsi nella storia, e fece tradurre dal latino e dal greco molti scrittori per suo personale diletto.” BURCKHARDT

-“Era lo Sforza uomo di statura mediocre, ma ritta, ripiena di nervi e con poca grossezza, le di lui mani erano grandi e le gambe piene di muscoli..Nel sembiante era di colore olivastro ed oscuro e l’aspetto minaccioso. Aveva gli occhi alquanto infossati e le ciglia alte e pelose, le labbra convenienti e ben colorite e denti bianchissimi. Volle sempre i capelli tosi e barba rasa ed essendo uomo più saturnino che gioviale, le di lui vestimenta nella qualità e nel colore furono oneste. Usava portare in testa una berretta di color paonazzo che s’inalzava con tre ordini di pieghe, alla guisa di piramide accannullata.” BONOLI

-“Uno dei più arditi ed intrepidi uomini, uno de’ più valorosi capitano e dei più esperti politici che avesse allora prodotti l’Italia.” DE MINICIS

-“Questo gran Capitano vinse molte guerre con la prudenza, e avedimento suo, molte con la virtù de’ valorosi soldati, ma generalmente in tutto si valse d’una incredibile, e maravigliosa prestezza.” CAMPANO

-“Fu il più avventurato guerriero della sua età. Hebbe a’ suoi anni l’armi di tutta l’Italia.” DE’ CRESCENZI

-“Illustris armorum capitaneus et dominus civitatum.” ANNALES FOROLIVIENSES

-“Cuius strenuitas tanti fuit, ut hostibus terrori atque formidini esset.” G. DA FERRARA

-“Fortissimus equitum ductor.” PALMIERI

-“Huomo del mestier dell’armi famosissimo..Fortissimo e valorosissimo Capitano.” PELLINI

-“Era Sforza di persona alta e traversata e di membri molto gagliardi; il volto hebbe rubicondo, gli occhi azzurri e i capelli neri.” ROSCIO

-“Sfortia isto tempore magnus profecto vir erat, et in quo rei militaris peritiam alii maiorem esse quam in Braccio, alii parem existimabant. Hic quoque multas ac magnas res gesserat, et ea per omnes milie gradus ad fame ac gloriae culmen ascenderat. Inter hunc et Braccium amicitia tamdiu fuit, quamdiu minores utrique fuerunt. Auctos vero atque potentes emulatio atque contentio irritavit.” SOZOMENO

-“Avanzò costui in valore non pure i maggiori Capitani del suo tempo, ma s’agguagliò ancora co’ più famosi antichi.” LOSCHI

-“Lo Sforza…privilegiava l’uso di grandi masse di uomini, il che gli permetteva di eseguire delle manovre più complesse, come aggirare i fianchi degli avversari.” N. CAPPONI

-“Un aspetto della personalità di Muzio che non è stata finora adeguatamente sottolineata, forse a motivo dell’astorica valutazione che di queste figure spesso si è fatta, ora trasportandole in un’aura di romantico ed eroico titanismo, ora, al contrario, colpendole con gli strali di una moralistica condanna che risale per lo meno ai tempi del Machiavelli e della polemica da lui suscitata contro le armi mercenarie, è il suo collocarsi al vertice di una piramide di famigliari e di compaesani che lo accompagnava, lo proteggeva e gli forniva supporto ed aiuto ovunque.” MASCANZONI

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

-Con Braccio di Montone “Erano i più insigni capitani del tempo.” GOTHEIN

-Con Braccio di Montone “Huomini per opere d’arme ecelenti.” MUZIO

-Con Martino Polsort, il Tartaglia, Tommasino Crivelli, Fuzzolino Tedesco, Lancillotto Beccaria “Tutti capitani provatissimi e già in fama per coraggio e per valentia.” POGGIALI

-” Si può giudicare ch’egli fosse più valente di mano che di consiglio, conciosiacosa che per poco accorta facilità, o per contumacia quasi contadinesca, era le più volte spinto a prendere quei partiti, onde non se ne vedeva alcuna felice riuscita..Non passò mai da una parte all’altra, non si partì mai dall’ufficio se non per cagioni grandi, talche non mai fatto nimico all’ improvisa mise mano all’armi, ma prima rinuntiò l’amicitia e rimandò gli stendardi, e ciò al fine di ributtare con quel fatto in altrui la cagion della discordia, e per far conoscere a ogn’un come egli era per mover guerra per mantener lo honor suo non già con insidie e con inganni, ma con vera virtù..Era nel portamento e vestir suo più tosto temperato ch’elegante e sontuoso. Haveva in odio l’attillature delle vesti..Ma però desiderava lo splendor delle sopraveste e dell’armi, che veggendo in alcuni le macchie e la ruggine le gastigava con villanie e talhora con battiture ..Constantissimamente mantenne sempre questo tenore di prudenza e giudicio militare fino al fine di sua vita..Egli era naturalmente d’animo candido, e più tosto aperto che doppio e astuto..Mostrò anchora sempre una maravigliosa fortezza d’animo et patienza nelle cose avverse in sopportare ogni dolore..Fu di statura di corpo dritta, e rilevata più che ‘l mediocre, e di carnagione più tosto magro che grasso di membra molto gagliarde..: haveva una mano molto grande e lunga, e così forte per la congiuntura delle dita che, pigliando un ferro di cavallo in mano felicemente l’apriva e spezzava in due parti, e alzava da terra pigliandola dal calcio una lunghissima lancia da huomo d’arme..Era di volto mezzo contadino e poco allegro, e quasi nero per un certo suo colore quasi di piombo, e gl’occhi suoi di color molto azzurro con minacciosa apparenza si stavano molto riposti in dentro, e le ciglia haveva molto pelose e molto rilevate..Andò sempre con i capelli tosi et con la barba rasa.: perocché così tornava bene a quei che portavano l’elmo chiuso. Portava sempre in capo una beretta pagonazza, la quale per due gradi s’inalzava a foggia d’una alta e accanalata piramide..Udiva ogni dì la messa, e se era impedito l’udiva l’altro giorno, e ogni anno con animo divoto e pentito confessava i suoi peccati e riceveva il sacramento dell’Eucarestia..Soleva dire che ufficio di buono et honorato capitano era seguitare chi haveva più honesta cagione di far guerra, non lasciar rubare le chiese, difender l’honestà delle donne prese, non far ammazzare i soldati fuor di proposito, né si rallegrava della morte dei nemici. .In Sforza si lodavano una semplicità di natura, senza alcuna liscia né fondamento di lettere, e un saldo e indomito vigore d’animo aperto.” GIOVIO

-“Costui valoroso nell’armi, fu il primo Capitano dell’età sua, e fondò la grandezza della sua famiglia, non solamente col nome, chiamandola Sforza, ma col stato.” SANSOVINO

-“Statim militiae clarum celebremque fuis imperatoribus extitisse, nam postmodum et Neapolitani regni diu assertor fuit it quamvis interdum varia fortuna sit usus, summa etiam fide, summaq. liberalitate et reliquis virtutibus excellens omnibus carus, admirandusque etiam hostibus fuit.” EGNAZIO

-“In effetto egli col suo molto valore si fé di grado in grado la strada a’ primi honori della militia; anzi non hebbe egli in Italia chi nel valore e prudenza militare il pareggiasse, fuori che Braccio di Montone..Il primo capitano del suo tempo.” TARCAGNOTA

-“Gran maestro di guerra..fu ingenuo, affabile, cordiale, religioso, doti a capitano singolarissimo.” HERCOLANI

-“Nomen amplissimum, qui ob miram rei militaris experentiam, ac relatas ab hostibus victorias pene ad laudem veterum imperatorum pertingere videbatur.” VIVIANI

-“Devint le plus fameux partisan de l’Italie, son courage, sa prudence et ses succés le rendirent..célèbre.” DUCLOS

-“Eccellente capitano.” UGOLINI

-“Belli pacisque artibus inter omnes, quos patrum nostrorum vicit aetas, princeps longe excellens.” CRIVELLI

-“Famoso capitano di ventura.” FRANCIOSI

-“Intrepido, prudentem perseverante.” AMBROGETTI

-“La sua vita non fu propriamente una successione ininterrotta di battaglie e campagne militari, come avvenne per altri condottieri, quanto piuttosto un alternarsi di impegni militari e fatti d’arme, non molti in verità, con i combattimenti più ardui sostenuti nell’ambito della corte di Napoli per difendere la sua posizione di soldato affermato e ricco. Certamente lo distinse la qualità che si richiedeva in quei tempi a questi uomini d’arme, cioè la fedeltà.” ARGIOLAS

-“Fece quasi sempre la guerra avendo ad avversario Braccio di Montone e soccombendo quasi sempre.” PAOLINI

-“Folgore di guerra.” CAMPI

-“Glorioso de’ primi che vivessero in quei tempi.” GHILINI

-“Illustre Capitano.” REPOSATI

-“Questo signore conte Francesco (rispetto a Muzio) seppe meglio simulare al suo tempo che tucti li altri signori che fossero in Italia di più centenara d’anni..Il quale al suo tempo fu maestro dell’arte militaria..Il quale fu pure alievo di meser lo Broglia; di persona bellissima, più che comunale, con aspetto feroce e robusto, gagliardissimo di sua persona e savio e gran simulatore, bel dicitore, di nobilissimi sermoni faceva alle sue gienti d’arme; regnava in questo homo ogni prudentia e, si non avesse avuto alquanto del volpino, serria stato el più compito capitano et signore di fortuna che avesse conseguito nel suo tempo ..Illustrissimo e virile capitanio..El breve de l’illustrissimo Sforza era dipinto con dui bandiere in mano; diceva: “Questi sonno li miei triumphi et li miei honori che aquistai per mia valentia di spirituale e temporale signore.” BROGLIO

-“(Con Braccio di Montone) I due più celebri Condottieri della loro età.” PIGNOTTI

-“Erat per idem tempus Sfortia, magnus et ipse profecto vir, et in quo rei militaris peritiam alii majorem esse, quam in Braccio, alii parem exstimabant. Hic quoque multas ac magnas res gesserat, et per omnes militiae gradus ad famae atque gloriae culmen ascenderat.” L. ARETINO

-“Fu uno dei più grandi condottieri del secolo XIV.” LITTA

-“Uno dei più celebri condottieri del secolo XIV.” BOSI

-“Questo grande capitano di avventura si affermò ai servizi di Giovanna II e divenne, da uomo d’arme, abile politico e diplomatico.” CUTOLO

-Con Braccio di Montone “Huomini per opere d’arme eccelenti.” MUZIO

-“L’Attendolo fu certamente uno dei migliori condottieri italiani, e legò il suo nome a una delle due grandi scuole in cui si divise la milizia italiana nel secolo XV; egli sarebbe stato maestro d’una condotta di guerra lenta e studiata contrapposta a quella rapida e portata alla ricerca dell’azione decisiva di Braccio di Montone. In realtà entrambe le scuole seguivano la prassi del tempo, in cui trionfava la guerra di logorio; ma negli uni la manovra valeva in maggior misura a minacciare gli avversari, ed era meno portata a cedere il posto al combattimento e alla battaglia. Fin dove l’Attendolo dovesse il suo modo di guerreggiare all’insegnamento di Alberico da Barbiano, è difficile dire; ma non pare che gli dovesse molto. Certo egli ci appare ben presto capace di far fronte e rimediare a situazioni assai difficili..Dove’ poi esercitare sui suoi soldati un particolare fascino pur cercando di frenare crudeltà e saccheggi. Come politico appare certamente inferiore, spesso strumento delle ambizioni dei pretendenti al regno e dei favoriti di corte.” PIERI

-“A rough and illitterate Romagnol condottiere.” TREASE

-“Valente Capitano.” PASSI

-“Egli è quel Sforza, el qual per rapide onde/ lasciò la vita, e doppo sè ancor lassa/ sì chiare gente nobil e’ gioconde.” SANTI

-“Valoroso capitano.” MARCUCCI

-“Valorosissimo Capitano.” VEDRIANI

-“Sforza aprez avoir passé par tous les dégrez de la basse milice, ne commanda d’abord que cent hommes, mais sa reputation en attira dans la suite jusq’à sept mille sous ses enseignes.” VARILLAS

-“D’un coraggio, d’una forza e d’una volontà indomabile, più che un generale era un soldato che si gettava nella mischia, e scannava i nemici colle proprie mani.” VILLARI

-“Venuto su alla scuola militare italiana della seconda metà del secolo XV, trasformò l’arte della guerra in conseguenza dei progressi fatti dalle armi da fuoco alla fine di quel secolo.” A. VISCONTI

-“Uno degli uomini più intrepidi e più valenti che l’Italia avesse ancora prodotti.” SISMONDI-FABRIS

-“La struttura morale del cotignolese è quella d’un capitano di ventura, che al suo mestiere, genialmente esercitato, aveva domandato più la potenza che la gloria. La sua forza fu la sua compagnia, ch’egli seppe tenere unita intorno a sé col fascino delle sue qualità di condottiero e col prestigio del suo nome, facendone il fulcro della sua potenza personale. Cospicua fu la fortuna che Muzio si costruì nel regno di Napoli, traendo profitto dalle guerre intestine..Entrato nel vortice di quelle guerre, il condottiero agognò pure il potere, ma questo gli sfuggì sempre. Gli mancò non tanto il genio, quanto la capacità realizzatrice dell’uomo politico che in determinate circostanze sa anche ricorrere all’audacia. Invece, per quanto Muzio sapesse essere ardito sul campo di battaglia, altrettanto facile al compromesso fu sul terreno politico: infatti uomini più scaltri, più freddi e più spregiudicati di lui lo tenenro a bada ingrandendogli di volta in volta i domini feudali, ma impedendogli di sconfinare dall’ambito di quelle funzioni militari ch’erano poi la sua istintiva passione.” PONTIERI

-Con Braccio di Montone “Los dos mas senalados capitanes de sus tiemps.” ZURITA

-“Dux, et ipse strenuus non minoris aestimationis fuit (alii enim rei militaris peritia maiore in eo quam in Braccio, alii parem arbitrabantur) hic multas et magnas res gesserat et per omnes militiae gradus ad famae, atque culmen gloriae ascenderat.” SANT’ANTONINO

-“Il più valoroso, forte e prudente Capitano de suoi tempi a sorta ch’era chiamato da chi il folgore della guerra e da chi il Marte di quella età.” G. BONOLI

-“Famosissimo guerriero.” CRISPOLTI

-“Grande condottiero.” PAGNANI

-“Condottiero d’arme di gran fama e d’alto valore.” MAFFEI

-“Capitano valentissimo.” MUZZI

-Con Lorenzo Attendolo “Il fiore de’ capitani.” P. BONOLI

-“Capitano per que’ tempi di singolare valore e perizia, caro ornamento di quella terra (Cotignola), di Faenza medesima.” RIGHI

-“Capitano di tanta stima e valore, che ha stancato le penne de più celebri scrittori, ornamento e personaggio singolarissimo non solo di quella terra (Cotignola), ma di Faenza ancora, e per ciò meritevole d’essere annoverato tra i più insigni campioni di essa.” TONDUZZI

-“Oltre essere gran capitano, ebbe anche alcuni pregi naturali. Inclinato a benignità più che a crudezza di animo perdonò Martino Pasolini che gli aveva uccisi due fratelli e lui stesso ferito: sentì tal trasporto per le lettere, sebben affatto illetterato, che donò una casa con orto a certo Porcellio che tradusse di latino in italiano i commentarii di G. Cesare e le storie di Sallustio: buon medioevale, amava la religione serbandosi poi di dimenticarla a tempo e luogo: faceto era nel conversare, ma ruvido ed aspro nei modi, amorevole coi soldati. Il suo aspetto era brutto e sinistro: la faccia olivastra ed oscura, ciglia grandi, pelose, sguardo minace e truce, al quale univa voce grossa e risonante. Alto di persona, di spalle larghe, di robustissima nervatezza, era fornito di tanta forza che con una mano presa nel calcio una lunga lancia (era di tre o quattro metri) con facilità l’innalzava tenendo il braccio teso e diritto, e con disinvoltura torceva e spezzava un ferro di cavallo. Portava sempre capelli e barba rasi, in capo una beretta di color pavonazzo, che terminava in piramide a tre ordini di pieghe, raro portava l’elmo. Fu tenero della patria sua, Cotignola, dei parenti, degli amici.” SOLIERI

-“Sforza era di statura più che comune homo, et non però troppo grande, né magro, né grasso, bene membrato, et tutto nervo, forte et robusto et de bona natura, et sano de la persona. La effigie et cera molto terribile et oscura da guardare, con li occhi concavi in testa, naso aquilino, et bruno assai che dal collare del giupone in suso pretendeva più al nigro che al bruno, pure però sotto panni era tutto più candido che armellino, belle et ferme braze un poco pelose le mane et un poco curte et rotonde; respecto a la persona bellissimo pecto, strecto in cintura, le anche grosse, sotto al corpo le coscie et gambe assai rotonde et grosse: non troppo bellissimo et facondissimo parlatore et dicitore, ma era dotto, astuto et savio al consiglio, et che intendeva assai bene, et di tanta animosità et gagliardezza.” MINUTI

-Con il Tartaglia e Micheletto Attendolo “Bravissimi uffiziali.” MAGRI

-“Unus ex eiusdem Alberico (da Barbiano) disciplina, animo et corpore aeque bonus.” FACIO*

-La morte per annegamento “Mentre che il generoso invitto Sforza/ Nobilmente regea l’opre di Marte,/ Per far del suo socorso ad altri parte,/ Lasciò ne l’onde la terrena scorza.” A.F. RINIERI

-La morte per annegamento “L’inclito Sforza cadde in questo eccesso/ Bellicosissimo huomo, che pescara/ Trapassò mal per lui troppo al mar presso/ Dov’el diffuso fiume faceva ara/ Prese el suo guado, e non porse la vista/ A l’insidie di fuor de l’acqua amara.”CORNAZZANO

-La morte per annegamento “Morìo quel capitano sì valente: / Fortuna falsa bestemiar ti voglio.” CIMINELLO

-La morte per annegamento “L’acqua corrente ben che fussi chiara/ Volendo Sforza uno ragazzo campare/ Sintì di morte pena aspra et amara,/ Niuno di suoi nol poddero aiutare/ Che l’acqua nel menò di volta in volta,/ Così tal morte venne Sforza da fare.” VALENTINI

-“Lo Sforza è memorabile, e come modello nella professione dei condottieri d’allora, e come ceppo d’un celebre principesco casato…Coi nemici era generoso, inesorabile coi traditori, severo nella disciplina, sempre disposto a proteggere il popolo della campagna; tanto lontano dall’accumulare ri-cchezze, che spesso pagava i soldati colle rendite dei suoi castelli…Osservatore delle pratiche religiose, differiva in questo da Braccio, al quale i contemporanei rimproveravano che non andasse mai alla messa. Trattava i suoi parenti con tenerezza…Odiava i buffoni ed il giuoco; nei momenti d’ozio s’occupava in esercizi ginnici, scagliava gran pietre e chiaverine, o s’addestrava al salto e alla corsa. La sera, o a tempo piovoso, leggeva: non sapendo il latino, si contentava delle avventure dei paladini…Scrivere non sapeva; e a quest’uopo si serviva di monachi, che egli adoperava pure come esploratori…Quanto alla persona, lo Sforza era di non comune statura, membruto, e di larghe spalle, ma a mezzo il corpo così sottile che si potea quasi stringere colle mani; bruno il volto, gli occhi azzurri e incavati, le sopracciglia folte e arruffate, il naso aquilino; semplice nel vestire, amava però la forbitezza delle armi e degli arnesi guerreschi. Moderato nel mangiare e nel bere; ma durante le campagne e specialmente nella battaglia, pativa sovente una sete improvvisa.” VON PLATEN

-“Sforza era più riflessivo (rispetto a Braccio di Montone) e preferiva grandi schiere ben addestrate – in modo da minimizzare le perdite -, comprendenti consistenti reparti di fanteria. Era un pianificatore, meticoloso nella disciplina e nella preparazione dei combattimenti.” SCARDIGLI

-“Tenace, prudente, audace ma sempre con troppo raziocinio.” MONTELLA

-“It was Sforza who really inherited Barbiano’s tactical concepts. He both inspired loyalty and emphasised discipline, and this enabled him to control his troops to an axceptional degree. This in turn permitted more than the usual amount the of forward planning. On the other hand Sforza was a very cautious general who relied on massed units and, unlike his teacher, large numbers of infantry. Braccio was far from being cautious, though he similarly inspired loyalty and thus controlled his troops. By emphasising cavalry and dividing them into distinct squadrons, he could commit his men to battle in short bursts, “rotating” units to bring fresh troops up at intervals.” NICOLLE

-“Ascese al stimatissimo grado di Gran Contestabile del Regno di Napoli, come ne son piene l’istorie di detto famoso Capitano, e suo strenuo valore.” RECCHO

-“Divenne in varie imprese di cotal grido, che non solo i Capitani de’ suoi tempi lasciarsi adietro, ma che il valor de i degni antichi pareva, che pur vocasse..Era Sforza di persona alta, e traversato, e di membri molto gagliardi: il volto hebbe rubicondo: gli occhi azurri: e i capelli neri.” CAPRIOLO

-“Erat per idem tempus Sfortia, magnus et ipse profecto vir et in quo rei militares peritiam alii maiorem esse quam in Braccio, alii parem existimabant. Hic quoque multas ac magnas res gesserat et per omnes militiae gradus ad famae atque gloriae culmen ascenderat.” BRUNI

-“Pronto nel deliberare, prontissimo nell’eseguire, destro a fuggire, ardito nell’affrontare i pericoli; mai nemico all’impensata di alcuno, nè traditore; ma uso prima a disdir l’amicizia, per muover guerra col valore, non con l’inganno; in gioventù pieno di franchezza, ma in vecchiaia, per tanti tradimenti sofferti, simulatore e dissimulatore; non vanitoso di ciò che aveva acquistato con fortuna, ma di quanto si era procacciato col coraggio.” LO MONACO

-“Sforza possédait une force énorme. Il pouvait tordre un fer à cheval et se mettre en selle, revetu de toute son armure, une seule main sur le cheval…L’attitude de Sforza envers la religion procède du meme esprit et rappelle celle d’une Romain antique. Ce n’était pas à un soldat d’importuner Dieu d’un vain cérémonial et de prières hipocrites. Tuer, piller, bruler sont inévitables à la guerre et un général doit souvent fermer les yeux, meme sur des atrocités. Un bon chef, disait-il, doit s’efforcer de combattre pour la meilleure cause, d’éviter le viol, le pillage et le massacre autant que possible, et de ménager ses hommes au maximum. Sforza entendait la messe chaque jour…Sforza ètait strict sur la discipline. Il ne faisait pas de quartier  aux espions, ou aux traitres, et punissait un voleur de fourrage en l’attachant à la queue d’un cheval..Sforza supportait un grand malheur, comme il supportait le froid et d’autres miserès avec courage.” COLLISON-MORLEY

-“Per me Muzio Attendolo Sforza.. la figura di uomo, di condottiero, di politico resta.. una persona retta, coraggiosa e disponibile; un condottiero valoroso, sprezzante del pericolo e pronto ad accorrere.. in difesa di chi ne avesse bisogno; e soprattutto della regina Giovanna II, per la quale nutrì sempre rispetto e dovere. Spesso generoso, come quando, scoppiato un incendio nella sua Cotignola e, andato in fiamme tutto il paese, aiutò con donazioni sue a far costruire molte case dei suoi parenti e paesani, e distribuì grano pei i più poveri.” ANDOLFI

SPECIFIC BIOGRAPHIES

-V. E. Bravetta. Muzio Attendolo Sforza.

-L. Crivelli. De vita rebusque gestis Sfortiae bellicosissimi ducis, ac initiis filii ejus Francisci Sfortiae Vicecomitis Mediolanensium ducis, commentarius.

-P. Giovio. La vita di Sforza valorosissimo capitano.

-L. Mascanzoni. Muzio Attendolo Sforza da Cotignola, capostipite degli Sforza.

-A. Minuti. Vita di Muzio Attendolo Sforza.

Topics: Muzio Attendolo Sforza biography, Sforza family legacy, Italian Renaissance military leaders, Muzio Attendolo’s battles and sieges, alliances of Muzio Attendolo Sforza, Sforza’s influence on Italian warfare, Muzio Attendolo’s strategic decisions, Sforza’s rise in the Renaissance era

Featured image source: Wikimedia

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