sabato, Luglio 20, 2024

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

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Pippo Spano: Florence’s Warrior in Hungarian Courts

Italian CondottieriPippo Spano: Florence's Warrior in Hungarian Courts

Pippo Spano is an experienced captain, accustomed to fighting on the front lines. He faces the Turks in numerous battles, often emerging victorious. In Italy, particularly in the conflict against the Venetians, where warfare is less bloody, his cruelty towards prisoners and the swiftness of his movements initially pose challenges for the troops of the Serenissima. Eventually, this forces them to alter their tactics and strategies.

Indice delle Signorie dei Condottieri: ABCDEFGIJLMNOPQRSTUVZ

Filippo Scolari: Italian Strategist in Medieval Hungary

Filippo Buondelmonti degli Scolari (1369-1426), known as Pippo Spano or Filippo Scolari, was an Italian general and strategist under King Sigismund of Hungary. He played key roles in various military campaigns against the Ottomans and in Italy. A member of the Order of the Dragon, he was buried in Székesfehérvár Basilica, Hungary.

Filippo Buondelmonti degli Scolari, known as Filippo Scolari or Pippo Spano, hails from Villa di Tizzano near Bagno a Ripoli. He holds the title of Count of Ozora, a fief brought as dowry by his wife. His domains extend to Simontornya, Temeswar (now Timisoara), Bobovac, Borzafò, Dombo, Erdomslyo, Haram, Mihald, Sarvar, Solymos, Szad, Szeged, Vilagovar, and Zaidovar. He is also known in Hungarian sources as Ozorai Pipó.

Born: 1369
Death: 1426, December

Year, monthState, Comp. venturaOpponentConductActivity AreaActions taken and other salient facts
Sept.Germany or HungaryHaving completed his studies, which included the study of the abacus and grammar, at the age of 13 he is entrusted by his family to some merchants headed to Germany. He stays with the Archbishop of Trier. According to other sources, however, he follows the merchant Luca del Pecchia to Hungary.
1383-1390HungaryIn Buda, he made himself known for his skill, sense of order, and ability while serving the Florentine merchant. He then transitions to the service of the treasurer of King Sigismund of Bohemia, Miklos Kaniszai. Next, he is in Strigonia (Esztergom) under the bishop of the city, Cardinal Demeter Kaplai. Upon the latter’s death in March 1387, he enters into the service of the new Hungarian king, Sigismund of Hungary. He secures the funds to combat the Turkish threat looming over the Danube.
1391HungaryRebelsHungary or BosniaPippo Spano confronts the rebels against the sovereign and participates in the capture of Giovanni Unghero in Dobor, Bosnia. He advises Sigismund of Hungary to execute all 32 Hungarian nobles who were captured. They are killed by stabbings, two at a time, in his castle of Ozora.
Sept.HungaryOttoman Empire250 lancesBulgariaHe confronts the Turks at Nicopolis (Nicopolis Ad Istrum). With the crusader army, he takes part in the eponymous battle, which ends with the capture of Enguerrand de Coucy and other French captains. Filippo Scolari manages to board a small boat with the king, Cardinal Kaniszai, and Count Hermann of Cilli, escaping towards the mouth of the Danube, where they are rescued by Venetian galleys.
1397HungaryCardinal Kaniszai presents him with the gift of the Simontornya castle.
1398HungaryHe becomes engaged to Borbola Ozorai, the daughter of the nearby landowner Andras Ozorai.
1399SlovakiaKing Sigismund, now the King of Hungary, entrusts him with the responsibility of overseeing the gold mines of Kormocbanya (Banya Kremnica) in Slovakia.
1400HungaryRebelsHungaryHe rebels against Sigismund of Hungary when the Hungarian baron Stefano Lackfi allies himself with the King of Naples, Ladislao d’Angiò. Filippo Scolari spreads a series of slanderous accusations against his rivals to divide the Hungarian nobility. Sigismund of Hungary expresses a willingness to show clemency, calls a parliament to negotiate peace, and invites Stefano Lackfi, who is given safe passage, to participate with his supporters. During the assembly, Count Hermann of Cilli, in Croatia, along with Scolari, attack and kill the unarmed Lackfi brothers in the presence of the king. A third brother, Andrea, is imprisoned with his followers, and all of them will be secretly executed months later on the advice of Scolari and Hermann of Cilli. The vast possessions of the Lackfi family, including 8 fortresses and 250 villages, are divided between the king and his loyal followers.
Apr.HungaryThe grand barons approach Sigismund of Hungary and demand his deposition in the castle of Buda. The king is imprisoned and confined to the Visegrad castle, where fifteen years earlier, Charles of Durazzo was treacherously killed. Filippo Scolari defends the king from the conspirators’ arms and faces the risk of being killed. His life is spared by Cardinal Kaniszai, who is also part of the conspiracy. Strong conflicts erupt among the barons, leading the king to commit to governing under the control of the nobility.
…………HungaryHe is appointed as the governor of the salt mines.
AutumnHungarySigismund of Hungary forms an alliance with the Dukes of Austria, who pledge full support to the Hungarian king’s quest for the Bohemian crown. In return, he promises the Austrian Dukes succession in Hungary in case he doesn’t have male heirs. The magnates are marginalized from the government. Filippo Scolari stands by the side of the sovereign at the Diet of Pozsony where these decisions are made. He is already counted among the prominent figures of the kingdom, ranking 48th among the 110 prelates, barons, and other nobles in the royal entourage.
SummerHungaryNaplesHungaryThe Hungarian barons call upon Ladislao d’Angiò, the son of Charles of Durazzo, for assistance. The Angevin army lands in Zara. The King of Naples’ march towards Buda faces opposition from Count Hermann of Cilli and the Ban of Macso. Primate Janos Kaniszai remains undeterred and in early August crowns Ladislao d’Angiò in Zara. Filippo Scolari departs from Esztergom and takes refuge in Ozora, where he gathers 700 horses and additional troops. He captures the castle of Veszprém and confronts the rebels, whom he defeats on the Raab River.
Sept.HungaryHe attacks Esztergom, where Cardinal Kaniszai has fortified himself. He confronts Tommaso da San Severino, who moves from Bosnia, and with his vigorous action, persuades the rebellious barons to abandon the Angevins. San Severino is forced to retreat to Zara. He marches against the conspirators at the head of Bohemian militias. He is called to be a part of the Royal Council.
…………AustriaIn Vienna, Sigismund of Hungary grants him the castle of Témesvar (Timisoara) with the title of Spano (Ispan), which signifies the governor of the county. During the same period, he displays extreme cruelty by assaulting and setting fire to the village belonging to one of the conspirators, ordering the killing of all inhabitants without distinction of age or gender, and setting the buildings ablaze. These acts of brutality convince the rebellious barons to implore for clemency. Having become the chief advisor to the sovereign, Filippo Scolari persuades Sigismund of Hungary to pardon all the rebels, with the exception of the former voivode of Transylvania, Imre Bebek.
1405 – 1406HungarySerbiaBosniaHe participates in the Bosnian campaign leading a sizable force of cavalry and infantry. He seizes a substantial amount of loot, causing turmoil throughout the region. In Bosnia, even the two residences of the King of Serbia, Stjepan Tvrtko, are set ablaze.
1407BosniaHe contributes significantly to the recapture of the Bobovic fortress. The royal troops also reclaim Branics and several Bosnian fortresses. However, the campaign ends inconclusively due to the illness of King Sigismund of Hungary.
…………Croatia, BosniaHe consistently takes action against the King of Serbia, who is besieging Sebenico. He liberates the fortress and captures Dobor, where he is received with all honors. In December, he is knighted into the Order of the Dragon by Sigismund of Hungary himself. He is granted the title of Ispan of Szoreny (Count: from which the Italianized name Spano originates) and entrusted with the governance of the counties of Termes, Csanad, Keve, Krasso, Arad, Fejér in Bosnia, and in Bulgaria. On his recommendation, 162 rebels, hosted by the King of Serbia, are captured and beheaded. Their corpses are thrown into the Bosna River.
1410HungaryBosniaBosniaHe takes part in a final campaign in Bosnia against the voivoda Ostoja.
…………HungaryHaving become very wealthy, he also helps his brothers Matteo and Andrea Scolari rise in the social hierarchy. Andrea becomes the bishop of Varadino. Thanks to his influence, many Florentines hold positions and accumulate wealth in Hungary. The Florentines recommend Francesco Capponi to him as he is heading to Hungary to take possession of the priory of the Veranense church.
Feb. – Mar.HungaryOttoman EmpireGeneral captainSerbiaHe marches from Bosnia, which has just been subdued, towards Serbia to successfully support Despot Stjepan Lazarevic in the war against the Turks.
…………HungarySigismund of Hungary is appointed emperor, and relations with the Venetians worsen due to their acquisition of Zara from the King of Naples the previous year. Filippo Scolari travels to Italy to prepare an agreement against Ladislao d’Angiò with the antipope and the Florentines. He organizes his embassy with great pomp, accompanied by numerous noblemen and a retinue of 300 horses.
June – Aug.Tuscany, EmiliaHe arrives in Florence and stays for 40 days in a palace located at the corner of Canto dei Giraldi and the Borgo degli Albizzi, which was built by his brother Matteo using his money. While in Florence, he also has a church built near the garden of the Camaldolese convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli. In the city, he receives no other recognition than the military insignias and banners of liberty and the people. He is welcomed in Ferrara by Niccolò d’Este and in August, he meets with the antipope John XXIII in Bologna.
Sept. – Nov.Veneto, FriuliHe becomes a subject of interest in Venice and Padua, with rumors of his involvement in a conspiracy against the Most Serene Republic and in favor of Brunoro della Scala and Marsilio da Carrara. In November, he is appointed as the imperial plenipotentiary procurator for Aquileia and Friuli along with Federico di Ortenburg.
Nov.EmpireVeniceGeneral captainFriuli, VenetoHe occupies Aquileia and arrives at the Livenza River with 11,000 Hungarians, where he faces opposition from Taddeo dal Verme. Cividale del Friuli opens its gates to him.
Dec.Friuli, VenetoAfter overcoming a brief resistance, he enters Udine with 200 horsemen and receives the city in the name of Sigismund of Hungary. The imperial banner with the black double-headed eagle is raised above the castle’s towers. Tristano Savorgnano, who remains loyal to the Venetians, incites the people to revolt, but few of his supporters take up arms to try to reclaim the fortress. Savorgnano is forced to flee, declared a rebel, and his homes are looted and properties confiscated.
The inhabitants, through Michele di Rabatta, promise to assist Filippo Scolari and protect him in his endeavors. Scolari captures Marano Lagunare and Portogruaro, sets fire to the warehouses in Visandone, Blessagno, and Valeriano, and forcefully seizes the castles of Torreano and the bastion of Montereale. Forty Venetian crossbowmen have a hand cut off and an eye removed.
He occupies the Cangone ditch near Polcenigo and routs Taddeo dal Verme, who manages to escape into the fortress. Scolari then enters Veneto, plundering Ceneda and Serravalle (Vittorio Veneto) and capturing the podestà Niccolò Barbarigo. It is told that during this time, a young woman, the daughter of a noble citizen of Feltre, was captured. She rejected his advances, and in revenge, Filippo Scolari gave her to his servants, organizing a veritable brothel around her body. Overwhelmed by shame, the girl takes her own life.
The condottiero subsequently moves to Belluno, where he continues his policy of systematic terror. Five hundred peasants rebel to join forces on the hill of San Vito with the intention of assaulting the capital. The people of Belluno open their gates to Scolari. During the official ceremony of the Hungarians’ installation in the city (two days after Christmas), the entire clergy greets the occupiers, singing the hymn “Veni Creator Spiritus.” The following day, the entire citizenship swears loyalty to the emperor. The flags bearing the emblem of Saint Mark are replaced with those displaying the black eagle on a golden field. Following Belluno’s example, Feltre, Sacile, Brugnera, Cordignano, Valdimareno, and Castelnuovo del Quero also surrender. Only Conegliano (defended by its citizens and Podestà Marino Gritti), Castelfranco Veneto, and Asolo repel his attacks.
Jan. – JulyVenetoHe launches a renewed attack on the Venetians, commanding 16,000 Hungarians and Bohemians. He seizes the fortresses of Covolo and Scala, and due to the cowardice of the defenders, he takes control of Motta di Livenza. Biagio Magno and Giacomo Querini, who are defending it, are imprisoned in Venice.
For the Venetians captured by Filippo Scolari, he orders their right hands, noses, and ears to be cut off to avenge the death of a Hungarian baron killed by an arrow. Eighty-two mutilated prisoners arrive in Venice, causing horror and a desire for vengeance with their sight.
He then launches an attack on Oderzo, which defends itself vigorously under the leadership of Podestà Matteo Querini. The attackers set fire to the village and withdraw. In mid-month, a Venetian soldier opens the castle gates to the Hungarians. A bounty of 5,000 ducats is placed on the head of the fortress commander, Boldrino da Gazo, if captured alive, and 4,000 if delivered dead. A painting depicts him hanged by his feet at Rialto above the door of the prostitutes’ wall and at San Marco in Portanuova. Oderzo is sacked.
Subsequently, Scolari occupies Portobuffolé, devastates the Collalto territory, and attacks Treviso. He appears before the village of San Tomaso with ladders and other war machines but is forced to retreat, leaving behind some dead and over 150 wounded.
Aug.VenetoUpon learning that the Captain General of the Most Serene Republic, Carlo Malatesta, has set up camp near Motta di Livenza, Filippo Scolari leaves Cividale del Friuli with 3,000 horsemen. He brings with him the garrisons of Udine and other locations, silently approaching the Venetian camp. He divides his army into three parts: two consisting of Hungarians, Germans, and Friulians, and the third comprising Bohemians. The three columns launch an attack on the camp, catching the opponents off guard.
Carlo Malatesta does not lose heart. With the assistance of Taddeo dal Verme and other captains, he organizes the troops and prepares for resistance. The final intervention of Crasso da Venosa and Ruggero Cane Ranieri changes the course of the battle.
Dec.FriuliLeading 1,000 Hungarian horsemen, he is defeated by the new Captain General of the Most Serene Republic, Pandolfo Malatesta.
Jan.Friuli, VenetoHe returns to Friuli and forces Tristano Savorgnano to surrender. He moves to the Treviso area with 16,000 horsemen, accompanied by Brunoro della Scala and Marsilio da Carrara. He demands the citizens to surrender, but his attempt to conquer Treviso fails. He then heads towards Cittadella and Villa del Conte, reaching Vigodarzere near Padua. However, he lacks fodder for his cavalry, preventing him from undertaking the desired siege operations.
He turns towards Bassano del Grappa, where he is repelled by the city’s cannons and ballistae. Annoyed by the resistance encountered, he fords the Brenta River at Cartigliano, at the Passo dei Tedeschi (since then called Passo degli Ungheri), and heads towards Marostica. Here, he is repulsed by Martino da Faenza, and the inhabitants capture 60 Hungarians, many of whom are killed. In retaliation, he sets the Vicentino region on fire, then turns to Vicenza but is preempted in the defense of the city by Martino da Faenza. The Romagnol condottiero joins forces with Pandolfo Malatesta and attacks Filippo Scolari on the road to Verona, forcing his opponent to retreat to the hills.
Scolari assaults Vicenza but is again defeated by the two condottieri, resulting in the loss of 400 men and the capture of another 320. He is also repelled from Verona.
Feb.Veneto, Friuli, HungaryHe heads once more towards Bassano del Grappa, attempting a new assault. Then he targets Asolo and attacks Pederobba, where he is also repelled. All these failures lead him to return to Friuli. He moves under Collalto and San Salvatore, devastating the territories belonging to the counts Schinella and Pietro da Collalto. He achieves no significant results except for the capture of Scalabrino da Treviso, who is taken prisoner when he dares to oppose Scolari during his retreat.
Scolari falls ill, leaving strong garrisons at Motta di Livenza and Sacile, and he is taken to Hungary. This choice later leads to accusations of treason by some Venetian historians who suggest that he was corrupted by the Most Serene Republic despite having victory within reach. Legend speaks of his imprisonment by the emperor, who executes him by forcing molten gold into his mouth. However, these accusations and the agonizing death are contradicted by numerous circumstances and several biographers.
Apr.A five-year truce is negotiated in Trieste between the parties with the mediation of the Duke of Austria.
Sept.FriuliHe returns to Italy and offers the assistance of his forces to the Florentines who are facing difficulties against the troops of King Ladislaus of Naples, of the House of Anjou.
…………LombardyHe accompanies the emperor to Lodi for a meeting with the lord of the city, Giovanni da Vignate.
AutumnHungarySerbiaHe is recalled to Bosnia to fight against the voivode Hervoja, who has rebelled against the Hungarian court.
Mar.Germany, AustriaHe attends the proceedings of the Council of Constance, arriving at the location with an entourage of 60 people. He is entrusted with the task of overseeing Antipope John XXIII, who is held captive. It is said that the prelate managed to escape from prison with the help of Duke Frederick of Austria. The prelate makes a servant sleep in his bed and then, dressed as a simple stableman, rides a small nag to head towards Schaffhausen, where a tournament is specifically organized by his temporary savior.
Filippo Scolari takes swift action, entering Austria with his troops and sacking numerous castles until the duke hands over John XXIII, who is promptly returned to Constance.
JulyGermanyHe witnesses at Constance the execution of the heretics Jan Hus and Jerome of Prague.
1417HungaryOttoman Empire
Sept. – Nov.Bosnia, RomaniaThe campaign takes place in the region of the Lower Danube. He moves from Varadin towards Bosnia, defeating his opponents near Nis after a few days. He reaches the Iron Gates and continues his action towards Wallachia. He returns to Varadin and negotiates a five-year truce with the Turks.
Mar.EmpireProtestantsBohemiaHe confronts the Hussite heretics led by Jan Zizka in Bohemia.
Oct. – Nov.General captainBohemiaFollowing repeated defeats of the crusader army, he takes command of the Hungarian cavalry, numbering 15,000 men. They cross the border into Moldavia. Emperor Sigismund follows him with German troops from Silesia and Lusatia, joined by the Archbishop of Olomouc and Duke Albert of Austria. They swiftly penetrate enemy territory, camp at Ledetz, and set their sights on Prague. Jan Zizka organizes the defense of the castle in Kutna Hora. Filippo Scolari launches a cavalry attack against the rivals (Hussites or Taborites, as they are called) who have barricaded themselves in the town. With the help of the night, he maneuvers his horses around the right flank of the enemy formation until reaching the western gate of the city, where some residents allow his men to enter and join them in the massacre of the Taborites. As winter approaches, Scolari advises the emperor to evacuate Kutna Hora because the soldiers have scattered into the surrounding countryside due to the harsh winter conditions. The army withdraws from the city due to disorganization, and the adversaries re-enter it before it is set ablaze by the imperial forces.
Jan.BohemiaFilippo Scolari is attacked near Nemecky Brod by Jan Zizka. He retreats in great disorder, and thousands of his men drown while attempting to cross the Sazava River, whose ice crust breaks under the weight of the soldiers. With the victory, the enemies capture 7 banners and 500 wagons filled with precious items, books, and money.
1423HungaryOttoman EmpireRomaniaHe intervenes in Wallachia to drive out Radu Praznaglava, who, with the support of the Turks, attempted to overthrow the legitimate voivode. He defeats the Turks near the Danube.
June – JulyHungaryIn Buda, alongside King Sigismund, he is called as an arbitrator in the dispute between the King of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, Eric, on one side, and the Counts of Holstein, Henry, Adolf, and Gerard, on the other. The following month, he is in Visegrad, where Scolari participates in the assemblies presided over by the king, in a case presented by Archbishop Gunther of Magdeburg.
Sept. – Nov.HungaryOttoman EmpireRomaniaA two-year truce is established between King Sigismund of Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. However, Wallachia is excluded from this truce. The Turks invade this region, forcing Scolari to once again intervene on the Danube front. He confronts the enemies in the territory of Szoreny and oversees the reconstruction of the fortress there.
Sept. – Nov.SerbiaHe returns to fight the Turks in Serbia, and the enemies are defeated at Vidin.
Sept.HungaryOttoman EmpireSerbiaHe sets off one last time against the Turks who had entered Wallachia due to the false news of his death. At the request of the Serbian despot Stjepan Lazarevic, he moves against the adversaries at the head of 5,000 horsemen and 10,000 men. He arrives at Galamboc (Golubac). He wins a pitched battle against the Turks, who suffer a loss of 20,000 men; there are also many dead in his army, including Peter, the son of the King of Portugal. However, Scolari does not have time to savor the fruit of victory. He collapses due to the hardships endured and loses almost his speech.
Dec.Hungary, RomaniaAfter recovering, he goes to Varadino. According to some sources, he falls ill, dies in the castle of Ozora, and is buried in Buda. However, according to Jacopo Bracciolini, he is taken to Lippa (Lipova, in Romania) where he dies at the end of the month. He is buried in Hungary in Alba Regia (Székesfehérvár, Stalvaisemburg), in the church of the Prepositura, in a chapel next to the one where the Kings of Hungary are buried. This building was destroyed by the Turks in 1453. Emperor Sigismund of Hungary also attends his funeral. He built a hospital in Lippa (dedicated to Saint Elizabeth), a church, and a palace in Ozora (whose gardens received water from Lake Balaton), various buildings in Temeswar, a church in Florence near the garden of the Camaldolese convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. In 1517, Lorenzo Buondelmonti had the achievements of the condottiero painted by Jacopo di Michele, known as Jacone, on the facade of a building in front of Santa Trinità in Florence, which have since been lost. He is represented in a fresco by Andrea del Castagno, now preserved in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence in the Hall of San Pier Selvaggio; another portrait is in the storage of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence: it is a copy by Cristoforo dell’Altissimo of a painting (now lost) from the Museo Gioviano in Como. Other portraits of him include one by Jan van Eyck (or Albert von Ouwastar), a copy of which is kept in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, and one by an unknown author in the Ambras Collection in Vienna. He is also mentioned in a medallion by Aliprando Capriolo in the work “Ritratti di cento Capitani illustri.” Another image of him is found in Urbania in the Palazzo Ducale (Museo Civico Pinacoteca). A lover of art, it was Filippo Scolari who called Masolino da Panicale to Hungary while he was working on the frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel, which were later completed by Masaccio. “Pippo Spano” is the title of a work by Heinrich Mann. In Hungary, always as Pippo Spano, he is the protagonist of a historical novel from 1903 (Masolino. Un romanzo sull’epoca del re Sigismondo, by Gyorgy Tarczai); he is also mentioned in “Kocsik szeptemberben” by Laszlo Németh and in the verses of “Philippo Scolari di Ozora szellemének” (To the spirit of Filippo Scolari of Ozora) by Gyulo Illies. In Florence, there is a street named after him.


-“In virtù della lunga esperienza di guerra contro i turchi, Pippo Spano si fece abile in tecniche militari che in genere non rientravano nel corredo della maggior parte dei condottieri italiani. Infatti, era un comandante temerario della cavalleria ed era uso combattere fino alla morte. La sua crudeltà verso i prigionieri, la rapidità e la spietatezza dei suoi atti sbalordirono i veneziani e Carlo Malatesta nelle prime fasi della guerra tra ungheresi e Venezia. Tuttavia, gradualmente l’impostazione tattica più metodica e più cauta dei condottieri italiani ebbe la meglio e Pippo andò incontro alla sconfitta. A Firenze, dove era venuto in visita come rappresentante dell’ imperatore, Pippo fu guardato con sospetto e anche un po’ di apprensione. Sia il ricordo del suo casato sia l’ostentazione smaccata di ricchezza e di altezzosità che egli affettò lasciarono del tutto sbalorditi i suoi concittadini. E sebbene diversamente da tanti altri esiliati non desse segno di volere riavere nella città nativa una posizione autorevole, egli però continuò sempre ad amare Firenze. I fiorentini furono sempre bene accetti alla sua corte in Ungheria e fu lui a portare in Ungheria Masolino perché gli dipingesse la cappella che aveva ad Alba Reale. Inoltre fornì i fondi per la costruzione a Firenze di una cappella, la Rotonda di Santa Maria degli Angeli, progettata da Brunelleschi. Fu anche un appassionato collezionista e al suo mecenatismo si dovettero in Ungheria molte opere architettoniche.”  MALLETT

-“Divenne così invitto e valoroso capitano, che in ventitré battaglie campali ruppe e disfece i turcheschi eserciti.” NARDI

-“Essercitò la guerra con ogni ferina crudeltà, passando contro prigioni alla mutilatione de’ membri, alla privatione de gli occhi, e ad ogni maggior empietà.” MOROSINI

-“Si dice lui essere stato excellentemente dotato: facundo nel parlare, bello e grande d’aspetto, amplo nelle forze, di velocie ingegnio, victorioso nelle battaglie, recto nel giudicio..E anchora fu uomo magnanimo et piacevole a largire; e dare elemosine fu inclinato e pronto, e alle povere chiese e agli orfani et alle xenodochie, o vogliam dire spedali.” Da una cronaca riportata dal POLIDORI

-“Fu capitano esperto, ma uomo avaro e venale.” POLIDORI

-“Valente e sagace capitano.” BONIFACCIO

-“Eccellente Captano.” BERTONDELLI

-“Lo Re Sigismondo lo fece cavaliero, e lo maggiore che fusse in la sua Corte, e donoli molte ricchezze et deli conducta de vinte milia cavalli.” DIARIO FERRARESE

-“Capitano veramente grande, e sotto la cui militar disciplina molti divennero egregi Condottieri d’esserciti..Fu lo Scolari di carnagione bianco; gli occhi hebbe vivaci e neri; la barba e i capelli biondi.” ROSCIO

-“Miles florentinus apud Sigismundum imperatorem honore et auctoritate primus habetur. Hic copiarum dux et imperator ab imperatore factus XX magnis preliis variis temporibus Sarmatos et Theucros (i turchi) in christianos Europa ruentes superavit, eos propriis quiescere sedibus compulit.” SOZOMENO

-“Sommo maestro di guerra..Fu questi..di mezzana statura; hebbe gli occhi neri e lucenti, e anzi che no grandi e proporzionati al suo volto. Il colore delle sue carni era più presto bianco che altrimenti, e quello de’ capelli e della barba fu nell’età giovanile di lui assai somigliante al colore delle biade mature, il quale col crescere de gl’anni andò sempre biancheggiando più. La faccia sua era allegra, e lo aspetto grazioso e ridente. Fu gracile: ma di tutte le membra ottimamente disposto e ben complessionato, e di ottimo temperamento. Percioché egli fu sempre sano, eccetto che ne gl’ultimi anni della sua vita ne’ quali egli fu aspramente tormentato dalle gotte. Usò portare la barba lunga, e i capelli infino in su le spalle secondo il costume Ungaresco; e così ancora i vestimenti dicevoli e in tutto conformi all’usanza di quella gente, ma sempre di seta. Fu di grand’eloquenza, e hebbe facilità incredibile nello sprimere qualunche suo concetto, e ingegno stupendo e presto in apparare ogni cosa, e in particolare le lingue..Dispiacquegli sommamente la licenza militare: e però in ogni suo potere s’ingegnò di tenere i soldati essercitati nelle armi, e occupati ne’ più virtuosi essercizi, che per lui si potesse..Odiò in tanto le contese vane e le discordie, e le maldicenze de’ soldati, che da’ suoi esserciti le tolse via come dannosissime al Capitano.. Dimostrossi in ogni suo affare, e nell’habitare e nel modo di vivere, e nel farsi sevire magnifico, splendido e di squisita pulitezza, inperoché la casa sua era sempre di ricchi abbigliamenti adornata, e a tutte le stagioni dicevola..Fu del mangiare e del bere in ogni tempo e in ogni luogo temperatissimo; ma dell’atto carnale in tanto continente..Fu clementissimo e liberalissimo, non volle mai alcuno per guardia della sua persona, né chi beendo egli gli facesse la credenza. Fu singolarmente humano e affabile, e paziente in sostenere da gli amici gli avvertimenti: e quello che più di ogn’altra cosa importa religioso e buono.” MELLINI

-“Famosissimo Capitano generale dell’imperatore Sigismondo.” GAMURRINI

-“Capitano del secolo XIV.” BOSI

-“Di natura mitissimo e clementissimo..Fu del mangiare e del bere continentissimo; ma di lussuria molto più continente: in modo che, infermando lui nella Magna, e nell’estremo pericolo della vita essendo, promettendogli i medici la pristina sanità se il coito usare volesse, con costante animo recusò ciò fare; molto meglio essere dicendo, onoratamente morire, che bruttamente per lussuria e vizio vivere..Dicesi, lui essere stato di mediocre forma, d’occhi neri, di pelo bianco, di faccia allegra e quasi simile a uno che rida, di corpo magro, di buona valitudine: se non che negli ultimi anni fu dalle gotte molestato. Usò la barba lunga; e’ capelli insino in sulle spalle lunghi, secondo il costume di quella gente; le veste insino in terra lunghe, e sempre di seta. Fu di grande eloquenza, e d’ingegno in modo facile, che oltre alla fiorentina ed unghera lingua, la tedesca, la polacca e la boema..e la valacca lingua ben sapea.” J. BRACCIOLINI

-“Il Fessler lo giudica capitano esperto, ma uomo avaro e venale che, nell’ocupazione delle città del Friuli e del Trevigiano, e specialmente in quella di Serravalle, si mostrò sopratutto sollecito nel condurre i soldati alla rapina. Pretese sempre che i soldati non tralasciassero gli esercizi..di piazza d’armi, che marciassero in ordine perfetto, ubbidissero con prontezza agli ufficiali, non infrangessero la disciplina..Pretese inoltre che non fossero maldicenti e che andassero d’accordo fra di loro..Ma nonostante la sua intransigente severità, i soldati gli volevano bene e gli ubbidivano ciecamente..Nella guerra contro Venezia Pippo Spano si rivelò un coraggioso comandante, ma un mediocre stratega, come fu un valoroso combattente, ma un mediocre comandante, nella prima guerra contro gli Ussiti..Fu un personaggio eminente che arrecò lustro al nome di Firenze, anche se, come condottiero di eserciti la sua fama di invincibilità fu superiore ai suoi meriti, e come politico non sempre riuscì nei suoi compiti..Come uomo non fu quello stinco di santo che i suoi biografi ci descrivono, ma fu spesso crudele, talvolta lussurioso, sempre avido di ricchezze. Fu, insomma, un uomo del suo tempo. E se consideriamo che costruì la sua fortuna nell’ infido ambiente di corte, fra intrighi, congiure, ribellioni, il fatto di essersi mantenuto per tutta la vita fedele al re che aveva contribuito a stabilizzare sul trono, costituisce indubbiamente per lui un non comune titolo di merito.” UGURGIERI

-“Entrò dal Friul messer Pipispanno/ Contra Venetia per L’Imperio gionto,/ Come cignal, che in caccia arma la sanna;/ Un essercito odioso, e al sangue pronto/ D’Ongari havea, che rimetter gli usciti / Di verona, e di Padova tenne conto;/ In campo fur con lui tutti i banditi./ Et Tedeschi in gran numero pur per questa/ Simil subversion gli erano uniti.” CORNAZZANO

-“Custode per 22 anni di una zona limitata del regno magiaro fino alla morte.” PELLEGRINI

-“Il quale aveva appreso alla perfezione le tecniche di guerra applicate della cavalleria ungherese; inoltre durante i combattimenti di frontiera contro i Turchi era già venuto a contatto con la brutalità e l’impeto di questi scontri..Quando ritornò in Italia i suoi contemporanei rimasero colpiti dai suoi metodi rigorosi e spietati. Tanto per citare un esempio, prima di rilasciarli faceva tagliare a tutti i suoi prigionieri la mano destra.” NEWARK

-“Capitano veramente grande, e sotto la cui militar disciplina divennero molti egregi condottieri d’eserciti.. Fu lo Scolari di carnagion bianca: gli occhi hebbe vivaci, e neri: la barba, e i capelli biondi.” CAPRIOLO

-“Celebre condottiero italiano.” MORO

-“Chiamò a sé alcuni parenti del ramo dei Buondelmonti, fra cui due vescovi: Giovanni, vescovo di Collocia (Kalocsa), e Andrea di Filippo di Lorenzo di Durante, che tenne il vescovado di Varad (Oradea) fino al 19 gennaio 1426, data in cui gli successe un altro toscano: Giovanni Milanesi da Prato… Va smentita la leggenda secondo la quale lo Spano fu accusato di tradimento, subendo per questo motivo il supplizio che i Parti, dopo la battaglia di Carre (53 a.C.), inflissero al triumviro romano  marco Licinio Crasso versandogli in gola oro fuso. Al Concilio di Costanza, infatti, lo Spano era senza dubbio presente insieme con Sigismondo e assistette ai supplizi di Jan Hus (1415) e Girolamo da Praga (1416). Lo Scolari prese in moglie una donna ungherese di nome Barbara (Borbala Ozorai) ed elesse a sua residenza ufficiale il castello di Ozora, feudo recatogli in dote dalla consorte. In particolare il progetto del castello è attribuito al falegname Manetto Ammanatini, protagonista della “Novella del grasso legnaiuolo” che precede la “Vita di Filippo Brunelleschi” scritta da Antonio di Tuccio Manetti. Nella novella, che narra la burla ordita dal Brunelleschi, da Donatello e da altri ai danni di Manetto, detto il Grasso, sia Sigismondo che lo Spano sono lodati, non senza ironia, per le loro virtù.” MASI

-“Filippo Scolari, alias Pippo Spano, alias Ozorai Pipo, non fa parte di quei grandi personaggi della storia dell’Ungheria che sono stati circondati da un’aura di gloria eterna; anzi, è addirittura rimasto nella mediocrità ed è tuttora poco conosciuto sia in Ungheria che in Italia, pur avendo avuto un peso considerevole nelle vicende storiche e politiche del regno magiaro in virtù del suo rapporto di collaborazione col re Sigismondo di Lussemburgo, di cui s’era guadagnato la benevolenza e la fiducia. Filippo Scolari visse in un periodo di grande transizione e di trasformazioni sociopolitiche decisive sia per lo stato magiaro che per quello europeo… Filippo amava il lusso anche a pranzo: faceva apparecchiare le tavole con piatti d’oro e d’argento; tuttavia, esigeva poche portate, purché buone e nella porzione giusta, siccome era molto misurato sia nel mangiare che nel bere. Studiava però il menù a disposizione prima di farsi servire i cibi e non voleva che nessuno assaggiasse le vivande che gli venissero servite, né amava farsi circondare di guardie del corpo.. la caccia era il suo passatempo preferito, che praticava con passione quando era libero da impegni politici o militari. Filippo era sì “continentissimo del mangiare e del bere”, ma “di lussuria molto più continente”, scrive di lui Jacopo di Poggio Bracciolini. (Diversa al riguardo è la valutazione di Andrea Redusio nella sua “Cronaca Trevigiana, che riporta un episodio della sua campagna nel Friuli del 1411”. NEMETH PAPO- A. PAPO

-Sulla sua tomba è inscritto il seguente epitaffio “Sepulchrum Egregii et Magnifici Domini Philippi de Scolaribus/ de Florentia Comitis Themesvaricensis et Ozonae./ Qui obiit anno Domini 1426 die XXVII Mensis Decembris.”


-D. Mellini. Vita di Filippo Scolari, volgarmente chiamato Pippo Spano.

-Iacopo di Messer Poggio (Jacopo Bracciolini). Vita di messer Filippo Scolari cittadino fiorentino.

-G. Nemeth Papo – A. Papo. Pippo Spano. Un eroe antiturco antesignano del Rinascimento.

Featured image: Filippo Scolari, l’ascesa da condottiero fiorentino a conte di Temesvar

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