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Renzo da Ceri: Battles, Alliances, and the Sack of Rome

Italian CondottieriRenzo da Ceri: Battles, Alliances, and the Sack of Rome

Renzo di Ceri (Renzo di Ceri) is the first Italian condottiere to form an organized body of infantry. Many chroniclers accuse him of not having taken sufficient measures to prevent the Sack of Rome. He probably underestimated the danger due to his great experience in the defense of besieged cities (Treviso, Crema, and subsequently, Barletta) and for having already defeated the same opponent in the defense of Marseille.

Indice delle Signorie dei Condottieri: ABCDEFGIJLMNOPQRSTUVZ

The Italian Wars and the Legacy of Lorenzo dell’Anguillara.

Renzo di Ceri was one of the most prominent military leaders of his time, particularly skilled in the defense of cities and fortresses (Treviso, Crema, Bergamo, Marseille, Barletta). While some historians blame him for not taking adequate measures to prevent the Sacking of Rome, it appears he underestimated the threat, relying on his extensive experience in sieges and perhaps also because he had previously defeated the same opponent in Marseille.

RENZO DI CERI/LORENZO ORSINI (Lorenzo dell’Anguillara) of Ceri (a hamlet of Cerveteri).

Count of Anguillara. Lord of Ceri, Capranica, Blera, Vico nel Lazio, Caprarola, Vetralla, Carbognano, Campagnano di Roma, Formello, Sacrofano, Tarascona, and Pontoise. Son of Giovanni di Ceri; father of Giampaolo di Ceri; grandson of Giulio Orsini; brother-in-law to Napoleone Orsini; son-in-law to Gian Giordano Orsini; uncle to Stefano Colonna, Gian Antonio Orsini, Giovan Corrado Orsini, and Giorgio di Santacroce.

Born: 1475
Death: 1536 (January)

Year, monthState, Comp. venturaOpponentConductActivity areaActions taken and other salient facts
1494
Jan.TuscanyHe takes part in a grand joust in Florence organized by Piero dei Medici. Also present are Ludovico da Marciano, Rinieri della Sassetta, Simonetto Baglioni, and Vitellozzo Vitelli.
1503
Feb.OrsiniChurchLazioHe fights against the Papal forces in favor of the Orsini. He takes refuge in Ceri with Guido Orsini.
Mar.LazioAlong with his father Giovanni and Franciotto Orsini, he is besieged in Ceri by Ludovico della Mirandola. The adversaries employ a siege engine as tall as the city walls, capable of holding up to 300 soldiers within. The creator of this contraption is killed while engaged in its construction.
Apr.LazioForced to surrender following a violent bombardment, he retreats to Pitigliano with Giulio Orsini. The conquest of the fortress costs the Papal forces 40,000 ducats.
Aug.LazioPope Alexander VI dies; Renzo di Ceri returns to Rome with Ludovico and Fabio Orsini. In the subsequent unrest, he protects the cardinal of Santa Croce and escorts him to the conclave.
Sept.LazioHe enters Viterbo with the maganzesi (leading 60 horses and many infantrymen) to the detriment of the Gatti and their allies. The Papal governor takes shelter in the fortress: 60 people are killed during the disturbances.
Oct.SpainFrance80 lancesLazioThe new Pope, Pius III, issues a decree in favor of Cesare Borgia. Renzo di Ceri joins other enemies of the Duke Valentino, such as Bartolomeo d’Alviano, Giampaolo Baglioni, and Fabio Orsini. Together, they attack Porta Torrione (Porta Cavalleggeri) and clash with the enemy infantry gathered by Silvio Savelli. He breaches into Borgo Leonino and forces Cesare Borgia to seek refuge in Castel Sant’Angelo. During the disturbances, the bailiff of Caen is injured, and the cardinal of Rouen (who also supports Borgia) fears for his life. Pius III also dies. Ceri is forced to leave Rome and enters the service of the Spanish in order to fight the French in the Kingdom of Naples.
Dec.LazioHe takes part in the Battle of Garigliano.
1504
Oct.LazioHe arrives at Stabbia with Giovanni dell’Anguillara. During this time, Giovanni seizes the opportunity to kill his stepmother, Girolama Farnese. Renzo di Ceri summons dell’Anguillara to Magliano Romano, interrogates him for his crime, and subsequently releases him.
1505
Jan.Comp. venturaRietiLazioHe attacks Rieti alongside Bartolomeo d’Alviano.
Apr.Comp. venturaFirenzeTuscanyHe raids the Florentine area, seizing 500 heads of large livestock. This act prompts protests from the republic.
JulyHe refuses to join Alviano with his 80 men-at-arms in his venture aimed at supporting the Medici to the detriment of the Florentines. Around the same time, and in the following year, along with Giulio Orsini, he supports the efforts of the exiles from Gallese to return to their locality.
1507
Feb.ChurchIn the service of Pope Julius II.
1509
Mar.He is hired by the Venetians, alongside Giulio Orsini, Luca Savelli, and Troilo Savelli, for a campaign totaling 2,000 horses (of which 600 are under his command) and 3,000 infantrymen to fight against the troops of the League of Cambrai. He cannot reach Romagna due to pressures exerted on him by the daughter of Pope Julius II, Felice, who is the wife of Gian Giordano Orsini. The Pope, in fact, urges him to keep the 15,000 ducats received in advance, threatens him with excommunication in the event of disobedience, and absolves him from any oath regarding commitments made to the Serenissima (Venice).
…………ChurchGeneral Captain of the Infantry
1510
Feb. – Mar.He is once again approached by the Venetians; Pope Julius II no longer opposes such an engagement. Ceri requests command of 150 men-at-arms, rather than the 100 that are initially offered to him. By early March, rumors regarding his enlistment with the Serenissima (Venice) gain more credibility, especially following his meeting near Civitavecchia with the Venetian ambassador, Girolamo Donato. Around the same time, Alberto Pio, representing France in Rome, pressures the Pope to ensure that Ceri and Troilo Savelli are not granted permission to leave the Papal States. By the end of the month, he is spotted in Rome.
Apr.He quickly recovers from a severe bout of tertian fever. He asks the Venetians for an advance payment of three salaries: negotiations appear to stall. He returns to Ceri, waiting for the negotiations to progress.
JuneVeniceFrance, Empire, FerraraLazio, VenetoHe is approached by the Imperial forces; he declines their offers as he feels committed to the Venetians. He obtains permission to move from the Pope and travels to Venice where he is welcomed by Domenico Loredan and Piero Contarini. In a ceremony in Piazza San Marco, he stands alongside Doge Leonardo Loredan and offers to immediately gather 100 lances. Antonio Grimani presents him with armor, previously belonging to King Ferdinand of Aragon and Pandolfo Malatesta. He is sent to the Brentelle camp, and the forces of Giano Fregoso and Chiappino Vitelli are placed at his disposal until his troops arrive. In the city, he is lodged at San Zaccaria.
July125 lancesVenetoHe proposes strengthening the defenses of Padua, which is threatened by the French; he requests money to be able to gather his light cavalry. He oversees the defense of Monselice, working with the General Provider Andrea Gritti, Giampaolo Manfrone, and Lucio Malvezzi. The Council of Sages entrusts him with the command of Giano Fregoso’s company, which had recently left Veneto to undertake an operation against Genoa; he is granted a monthly stipend of 100 ducats. He moves to guard Padua, positioning himself near Santa Maria in Vanzo. While scouting with 300 light cavalry at Carrara San Giorgio (Due Carrare), he monitors the road to Battaglia Terme and harasses enemy movements. He expresses dissatisfaction with the conditions offered to him. The general captain of the infantry, Dionigi Naldi, passes away; the providers advocate for Ceri to succeed him in the position, insisting he not be given any command of men-at-arms.
Aug.General Captain of the Infantry with 800 infantrymen and 100 light cavalryVenetoFollowing some hesitation, the Council of Sages reconsiders its decision and proposes to appoint him as the General Captain of the Infantry with a commission of 1,000 infantrymen (800 actual) and 200 light cavalry (100 actual). The term of service is set for one year with an additional year as a grace period; his monthly stipend remains at 100 ducats. With several vessels arriving at Chioggia carrying his horses from the Roman countryside, he leaves the camp at Torre, near Padua. He divides the infantry into three squads, one of which is under the command of Chiriaco dal Borgo; this squad also includes the infantrymen of Vincenzo Naldi’s company, causing complaints from the latter. Along with Lucio Malvezzi and Andrea Gritti, he participates in a war council where he expresses his displeasure over the delay in payments.
Sept.VenetoWhile in Montebello Vicentino, Renzo di Ceri moves to San Martino Buon Albergo with Zitolo da Perugia, prepared to assault Verona. During this time, he must intervene to prevent a conflict between the companies of Zanone da Colorno and Marco da Rimini. He pushes for the recruitment of 400 Spanish infantrymen from the imperial camp. Along with Malvezzi, they highlight the need for an additional 3,000 infantrymen to successfully assault Verona.
However, there’s a setback when the enemy forces unexpectedly exit Verona through the Porta di San Felice, catching the Venetian artillery positions off-guard due to some oversights by Chiriaco dal Borgo. Even though the enemy is repelled, the Venetians suffer a significant loss with the death of Zitolo da Perugia in the skirmish.
Following this, Renzo di Ceri is forced to retreat. He experiences a relapse of his “French disease” (a term often used historically to refer to syphilis), and one of his legs swells up. Due to these circumstances, he heads to Venice to report on the situation and possibly seek treatment.
Oct.VenetoHaving recovered after a brief convalescence, he moves to Montagnana with Gritti. The rain halts activities at the San Martino Buon Albergo camp, leading to the decision to withdraw the front lines to Soave and San Bonifacio.
Dec.VenetoHe is reported again in Montagnana. He is once again struck by an attack of syphilis.
1511
Jan.VenetoIn Polesine.
Feb.VenetoIn Montagnana. He publicly argues with the general governor, Lucio Malvezzi, due to the latter’s substantial inactivity.
Apr.VenetoHe repels a French attack on the Ficarolo bridge.
MayVenetoHe embarks at Zelo with 400 infantrymen on boats provided by Padova and Chioggia; he crosses the marsh and suddenly assaults the Crocetta tower near Legnago, defended by a few men, mostly French. There is artillery fire delivered with two sagri and two falconets; Renzo di Ceri captures and loots the fort. He then moves to Polesella and repels with heavy losses some Spanish infantrymen in the service of the Este family who crossed the Po River with the help of peasants.
JuneVenetoHe goes to Padova for treatment: the Venetians promptly send some doctors to examine him. In the city, he is hosted in the Monastery of San Benedetto.
JulyVenetoIn Venice, discussions are held in the Council of the Wise (Consiglio dei Savi) and in the College of the Pregadi regarding his possible candidacy as general governor. Instead, Ceri is in the Verona area with the general provider Gritti, 125 mounted crossbowmen, and 530 infantrymen.
Aug.90 light cavalry and 697 infantrymenVenetoHe is defeated at Villanova by overwhelming enemy forces (800 lances and 4,000 infantrymen against 200 men-at-arms and 700 infantrymen under his command). He loses 200 men, including light cavalry and stradiots; attacked alongside Guido Rangoni, the fire from the artillery forces him to retreat to the Madonna di Lonigo bridge. The French halt their advance, and the Venetians withdraw to Este. Ceri reaches Padova and from there moves to Treviso with 111 mounted crossbowmen and 643 infantrymen (all of whom receive pay before departing) to defend the city alongside the general provider, Giovanni Paolo Gradenigo. He has at his disposal only 1,000 infantrymen, of which 600 are in poor condition; he requests 4,000 instead. In the city, he establishes his headquarters in the bishop’s square.
Sept.VenetoHis work is praised, although some reservations are expressed because he does not maintain discipline among his men: his mounted crossbowmen, in particular, frequently conduct raids on the Piave, alienating the peasants who, on one occasion, in numbers exceeding two thousand, chase them to the river bridge. Guarding Treviso now are 3,520 infantrymen under seventeen constables, plus another 449 infantrymen hired by twenty Venetian nobles, 46 bombardiers, and 228 stradiots. The relationship between Renzo di Ceri and Gradenigo deteriorates because the condottiero does not tolerate interference in his actions and insists on making his own decisions. A point of contention is the city fortifications at Boteniga, especially the decision of whether to demolish a chapel. Monasteries outside the walls, including that of Santa Chiara, are set ablaze. Along with Vitello Vitelli, he is among the first to set an example for his men in manual labor.
La Palisse eventually attacks Treviso with 800 French lances and 5,000 infantrymen, including 2,000 Grisons and 1,000 Gascons, not to mention the mercenaries. To these forces, 12,000 mostly poorly armed Germans must be added, with a third of them ill; the besiegers’ artillery park consists of 70 pieces, including 40 falconets. The French set up camp in front of the Porta di San Tommaso towards Boteniga. The defenses prepared by Ceri quickly convince the adversaries to abandon any offensive intentions.
Inside the city, soldiers complain about the severe delay in pay (he himself is owed two installments of his provision), but this does not prevent everyone from doing their duty. At the end of the month, along with Vitelli, he repels a sudden attack on the Porta di Santi Quaranta and the Porta di San Tommaso, which results in the loss of numerous stradiots when they leave the city in a disorganized manner for a counterattack.
His achievements earn him increasing trust from the authorities of the Serenissima. His contract is extended for a grace year. The Venetians are alarmed when they learn he’s suffering from severe colic. They deeply care about his health and, at the same time, manage to thwart an assassination attempt on his life, organized by a provisioner of his company, Geremia della Sassetta, brother of Rinieri.
Oct.45 lances, 111 light cavalry, and 677 infantrymenVenetoHe continues his work aimed at strengthening the defensive works of Treviso; he brings all the livestock from the surrounding lands into the city; he repels a new assault conducted between Boteniga and the Porta di San Tommaso. Similar outcomes occur for many skirmishes that take place in front of the gate and the bastion of Santi Quaranta. By mid-month, the French and Imperial forces withdraw; Renzo di Ceri sends 20 cavalrymen ahead as scouts to monitor the movements of their rearguard; he decides to personally inspect the French camp with the podestà Andrea Donato; he exits from the Porta di Santi Quaranta and narrowly escapes an ambush set nearby by some German soldiers. In the ambush, Carlo Corso, who is with him, is captured.
The providers of Padova urge him to cross the Brenta; however, he prefers to organize an expedition aimed at the reconquest of Friuli, which had fallen into Imperial hands. He does not want Troilo Savelli with him due to the animosity that arose between that captain and Vitelli; he accepts the presence of Giovanni Brandolini and requests the support of both Guido Rangoni and Manoli Rali. He delays departure for a few days due to a sudden bout of dysentery.
Nov.Veneto, Friuli, Venezia GiuliaHe departs from Treviso through the Porta di Santi Quaranta with Gradenigo, Giulio Orsini, numerous connestabili, stradiotti, light cavalry, and 6 pieces of artillery (2 cannons and 4 falconets). He reaches San Polo di Piave, approaches Sacile and, continuously under rain and mud, reaches Cordenons. He fords the Tagliamento. His objective is to aim for Gradisca d’Isonzo. He passes through Casarsa della Delizia and moves between Gorizia and Cormons. He secures the surrender of the latter after intimidating the castellan with the threat of hanging him if captured. The castle is razed, and the German captains are taken prisoner to Venice.
However, the organization of the expedition proves to be improvised: to the chronic delay in payments, there soon adds a lack of bread, unsuitable shoes for winter, and every kind of comfort. Renzo di Ceri then decides to retreat to Monfalcone while waiting for reinforcements and adequate supplies since everything was set ablaze by the fleeing opponents. The first reliefs finally arrive. With Troilo Orsini, he can resume the offensive: he recovers Venzone (which is defended by 500 German infantry under the command of Giusto Focherau) and Chiusaforte: both locations surrender on terms due to the intervention of Girolamo Savorgnano. After these conquests, he is forced to halt because his men scatter.
Dec.FriuliRenzo di Ceri is urged to continue his action with the occupation of Gradisca d’Isonzo and Gorizia. He counters that his men are unwilling to move further due to the severe delay in payment. Despite the setbacks, he manages to take the initiative again. He assaults Gradisca d’Isonzo, commencing an intense artillery bombardment, particularly targeting the Marcella tower. However, they soon run out of gunpowder and ammunition.
A general attack is decided upon. Incentives are offered to motivate the soldiers: 100 ducats and a promotion to connestabile for the first soldier to scale the walls, 50 ducats for the second, 25 for the third, and 10 ducats for the fourth. Despite these incentives, the assault fails. Ultimately, Renzo di Ceri suggests abandoning the operations.
This decision is met with opposition from Gradenigo. Baldassarre di Scipione, the Governor of Friuli, also voices his displeasure, not wishing to serve under Ceri. The Sienese condottiero constantly butts heads with Ceri; their only mutual point of agreement is the demand for money for the troops. Accusations fly back and forth. An attack tried against the enemy is unsuccessful; Ceri retreats to Cormons. Gradenigo criticizes him, accusing him of being incapable of maintaining discipline. This is further aggravated by a heated argument with Baldassarre di Scipione.
Regardless of these internal disputes, the campaign continues. Ceri successfully captures Vipulzano and San Martino di Crisa (San Martino del Carso). In a brief skirmish during these victories, Carlo Corso of the Venetian side is injured, while the enemy loses 200 men with an additional 15 taken prisoner.
1512
Jan.44 lances, 95 light cavalry200 horses from his company, from that of Troilo Orsini, and from the Vitelli, enter Faedis and ravage the village, plundering animals, flour, and grains from the house of a nobleman from Udine. Ceri is forced to intervene; he orders the hanging of the foot soldier who robbed the nobleman’s wife of her jewels and stripped young boys and girls to seize their gold. He arrives in Udine and requests to go to Venice.
Feb.At the end of his contract, he goes to Venice to request permission; upon his return, he is accompanied by four members of the Council of Sages to San Moisé, to the house of Piero Lando, where he is hosted. He is asked to go to the camp in Vicenza; he prefers to return to Friuli to avoid being under the orders of the general governor Giampaolo Baglioni.
Mar.508 infantrymenHe takes his leave from the doge; he stops in Treviso to complete some planned defensive works, such as the destruction of some monasteries and other buildings outside the city walls; he then moves to Udine.
May45 lances, 110 light cavalry, 552 infantrymenFriuli, VenetoHe leaves Friuli, touches Treviso again with 200 cavalry and 800 infantry, and through the Bassano region, he reaches Vicenza where his men are paid. He passes through Soave and Albaredo d’Adige with Baglioni and the general provider Paolo Capello. He heavily criticizes the candidacy of Baldassarre di Scipione as a candidate for the position of governor of the light cavalry.
JuneVeneto, LombardyHe heads towards Villafranca di Verona; there, he joins with 20,000 Swiss mercenaries on the payroll of the anti-French league. He occupies Valeggio sul Mincio and arrives with Capello at Cavaliera in the Cremona region. He requests safe conduct for the men of Silvio Savelli who are guarding Bergamo on the side of the opponents; the Venetians deny his request. He then turns to Cardinal of Sion, Matteo Schiner, who initially grants it, but later withdraws it due to strong opposition from the provider Capello. Subsequently, Ceri departs with Baglioni and Giano Fregoso from the camp of San Martino del Lago and Cavaliera, aiming for Pizzighettone. He crosses the Adda River on a pontoon bridge and meets the Swiss at Barco, near Pavia. The city is defended by 7,000 infantry, 1,000 lances, and many light cavalry. Artillery fire begins on the city. Ceri has a new pontoon bridge constructed and crosses the Ticino with 1,000 infantrymen. Called back because the Swiss do not want to follow, he returns to the bank as the allies try to take action again. He orders the bridge behind him destroyed; the French repel two assaults, but on the third, they fall back. At the end of the skirmishes, Ceri is struck by tertian fever, also a result of the strains endured.
July47 lances, 113 light cavalry, 618 infantrymenPiedmont, EmiliaHe is located in Castellazzo, near Alessandria. The Swiss demand 14,000 ducats for overdue pay owed by the league and imprison the two Venetian providers, Paolo Capello and Cristoforo Moro. In response to this intimidation, even 500 of Ceri’s men revolt, citing the same reason. They move to Alessandria and threaten Cardinal of Sion. When the Swiss begin to return to their homes, Ceri leaves the camp in Novi Ligure, crosses the Po, positions himself at the rearguard with 2 falconets, and heads towards Casalmaggiore. He arrives in Piacenza.
Aug.100 lances, 100 light cavalryEmilia, Veneto, LombardyHe rests his troops in Ozzano in Cremona. Troilo Orsini is killed by a man-at-arms from Baglioni’s company; he immediately goes to Venice and voices his protests in the Collegio. The Doge invites him to move to the Brescia region, but he refuses to obey Baglioni’s orders. Fortunately for the Venetians, he is directed towards the conquest of Crema. Both his contract and commission are adjusted (increased from 1,500 to 2,000 ducats per year), and he is given an additional 100 ducats for broken lances. His contract is renewed for another year in exchange for his promise not to seek vengeance against Baglioni. Ceri’s concern is primarily a matter of principle, as the slain Orsini is not even a relative, contrary to what most believed up to that point. He receives 1,200 ducats as an advance for his men’s pay and moves to Lombardy, where he is joined by Pietro da Longhena with 100 men-at-arms and many provisions. He prepares to bombard Crema.
Sept.547 infantrymenLombardyHe commands 300 light cavalry, 200 men-at-arms, 2,000 infantry, and 700 archers from Bergamo. He establishes his encampments near Crema in San Bernardino, constructing two bastions: one beyond the Serio bridge on the road to Offanengo and the other on the Travacone banks towards the Porta di Ripalta. He forbids the people of Crema from leaving the city and receiving supplies. In a skirmish near Colombara, the enemies also seize two falconets that were firing upon the Ombriano gate.
Renzo di Ceri engages in negotiations for a surrender agreement with Benedetto Crivelli and the French governor Durazzo. Finally, he enters Crema with 1,980 infantry, 267 light cavalry, and 267 lances. The soldiers are quartered in the houses of the citizens at their expense. The chronicle of negotiations with Benedetto Crivelli reveals a keen understanding of human psychology. The negotiations begin when one of his men-at-arms, Martino da Salerno, is captured by the French. He goes to Milan on behalf of Crivelli to learn the terms offered to the captain by Duke Massimiliano Sforza (an ally of the Venetians) to take possession of Crema.
At the same time, Ceri also contacts another captain in the service of the French, Girolamo da Napoli, to whom he reveals Crivelli’s intention to kill him and the French governor Durazzo. He simultaneously bribes two leaders under Crivelli and promises them command of infantry companies. Durazzo decides to surrender, and Crivelli supports his choice in favor of the Venetians rather than the Sforzas. In this way, Ceri manages to precede the arrival of 6,000 Swiss troops and 300 Milanese lances that are heading to Pandino at the request of Bishop Ottaviano Sforza of Lodi.
He consults with Giampaolo da Sant’Angelo and the provider of stradioti, Andrea Civran, enlists all of Crivelli’s men into his ranks, and reinforces the garrison with another 500 infantry. The French take refuge in the castle, while he positions himself at Santa Maria and supplies the city with 1,000 loads of forage. He meets with Swiss captains Altosasso and Giacomo Stapfer and refuses to surrender both Crema and the French prisoners to them. His firmness persuades Alessandro Sforza to cross the Adda River with the Milanese lances, causing the Swiss to withdraw.
Next, he is tasked with capturing the Cappella fort in Bergamo; however, he refuses to send infantry to Baglioni, who is futilely besieging Brescia. He monitors the movements of the Swiss marching between Martinengo and Caravaggio and heads towards Bergamo.
Oct.LombardyIn Bergamo, he participates in the capture of the Cappella fort. He supplies both Crema and Bergamo with provisions.
Nov. – Dec.LombardyHe initiates the reinforcement of the defenses in Crema and requests 1,500 infantry and 200 sappers from the Venetians. Under his command, there are 50 lances, 113 light cavalry, and 511 infantry.
1513
Jan.LombardyHe attends the funeral of the provider of Crema, Niccolò Pesaro, which takes place in the church of Sant’Agostino. The city garrison now consists of 2,000 infantry, 130 light cavalry, and twenty lances. Furthermore, the city is well supplied with provisions and wine. The first signs of conflict with the Spanish are becoming apparent. This prompts him to concentrate all available forces in the city, request the 130 stradioti of Costantino Paleologo located in Bergamo, and transfer the infantry of the garrison and the thirty bombards in Bergamo, along with their gunpowder, to Crema.
He personally oversees the defensive works in Crema, lowering the height of the walls, the tower, the gates, and the castle. With the resulting material, wood, and compacted earth, he constructs new bastions. Earthworks and underground passages complete the work, along with the systematic demolition of any buildings outside the city walls for approximately a mile.
Feb.Lombardy, VenetoFrom Crema, he supports the Guelfs of Piacenza in their struggle against the Ghibellines. The Ghibellines receive reinforcements from Dal Verme and the Sforzas (300 Spanish infantry and 200 men-at-arms). Upon learning of the advance of this contingent, he leaves Crema, crosses the Adda, and arrives in Castiglione Lodigiano, where he surprises and plunders his adversaries on a carnival day.
He then travels to Venice, requests an audience with the Council of Ten, and reiterates his grievances against Baglioni. The Doge soothes him with kind words.
Mar.VenetoIn Venice, his conduct is praised in the Collegio by Capello. He participates in numerous public ceremonies in St. Mark’s Square and does not leave the city until his credits are partially settled (2,000 ducats out of 2,700).
Apr.LombardyHe stops in Cologna Veneta to review his men-at-arms and then returns to Crema.
MayVeniceSpain, MilanLombardyAlviano is released from captivity by the French and is appointed as the general captain by the Venetians. The two captains respect each other but do not have a strong personal bond. Alviano praises Ceri’s actions in the recent war but believes it is not ideal for a condottiero to command both infantry and men-at-arms.
Meanwhile, in Crema, Ceri orders the release of forty peasants captured by Giampaolo da Sant’Angelo to gain the favor of the local population. He then moves to Pontevico with 300 infantry. Joining forces with the provider of stradioti, Giovanni Vitturi, and 1,000 light cavalry, he goes to the aid of the French besieged in the castle of Cremona. He clashes with 300 cavalry led by Alessandro Sforza in Soresina, defeats them, and captures 100 horses while killing some men. He brings twenty wagons of wine and fifteen cattle into the castle of Cremona before returning to Crema.
Domenico Contarini, the general provider, sends him to conquer Brescia. At the end of the month, he incites a revolt in Val Camonica and enters Brescia with the assistance of exiles Comino da Martinengo and Valerio Paiton, as well as pro-Venetian supporters from the valleys. He lays siege to the castle where 100 Spanish and German infantrymen have taken refuge.
JuneLombardyHe requests that 1,500 infantry and some artillery pieces be sent to him to commence operations and also initiates negotiations to secure the fortress through an agreement. However, the French defeat at Novara disrupts all plans. He immediately returns to guard Crema with 2,000 infantry, 50 men-at-arms, and 300 light cavalry, ensuring the city’s provisions.
Alviano requests his return to the Veneto, but the Venetians heed Ceri’s advice and leave him as a bulwark in Crema. He sets Spino d’Adda ablaze and, with Amerigo da San Severino, plunders the home of Marco Antonio da Landriano, who flees to Lodi. Still with San Severino, he plunders Pandino, negotiates the surrender of the fortress, and brings 46 infantrymen to Crema, many of whom are compelled to pay a ransom to secure their release.
He loots Soresina and besieges Castelleone. Around Crema, 1,000 infantry under Alessandro Donato, Mariano da Lecce, and Maffeo Cagnolo are stationed on the Giardone ridge with 5 pieces of artillery. Another 1,000, along with 200 cavalry under Antonio da Pietrasanta, Baldassarre da Romano, and Francesco Cortese, position themselves in front. To the east, there are 1,000 infantry, 500 cavalry, and 2 artillery pieces under Andrea da Gravina and Silvestro da Perugia. Completing the siege, 300 cavalry and 2 artillery pieces are placed to the west, under the command of Andrea della Matrice.
Ceri demands the surrender of the defenders (500 arquebusiers led by Brunoro Pietra). He collects 70 wagons of wine, 100 wagons of forage for the cavalry from the townsfolk, and then abandons the location. He subsequently attacks Romanengo with 1,000 infantry, 200 cavalry, and 5 pieces of artillery but is repelled with a loss of 200 men killed or wounded. He suffers another setback in an action near Soncino conducted with Bartolomeo da Villachiara.
JulyLombardyHe heads to Bergamo with 600 cavalry and 200 infantry, scaling the walls of the suburbs at night with the help of the defenders of the city castle, which is still controlled by the Venetians. He goes straight to the Brambati’s residence, where the governor and the Spanish commissioner reside. He captures the commissioner and seizes 6,000 ducats paid by the citizens to the adversaries as an installment of a ransom of 32,000 ducats imposed on the city. This success is followed by numerous raids in the Cremona region, targeting San Bassano, Cornaleto, and Corte de’ Cortesi with Cignone, resulting in the plundering of 240 head of cattle, all of which are taken to Crema. He also ensures that his men are paid, borrowing 600 ducats from a resident of Crema for this purpose.
Aug.LombardyThe Spanish manage to regain control of much of Lombardy, leaving Ceri isolated in Crema without funds or provisions. The city is also plagued by a deadly epidemic. In dire straits, he seizes silver objects collected in the Monte di Pietà and mints coins. On the military front, he defeats Silvio Savelli once, catching him between Ombriano and Pandino as he is heading to Bergamo with 500 cavalry and 2,700 infantry.
Ceri moves with 400 cavalry to relieve Pontevico, which is under siege by Germans and Antonio di Leyva’s Spanish forces. He then returns to Bergamo with 300 cavalry and 500 infantry, entering through the Porta Dipinta without encountering any resistance. He besieges Commissioner Sprig and the governor of Ripadaneyra in the fortress for a day, forcing their surrender and sending them as prisoners to Crema. In the fortress, 3,000 ducats collected from a ransom paid by the citizens and another 8,000 ducats belonging to various individuals are found.
Sept.LombardyHe continues his raids in Ghiaradadda, and his guerrilla actions cause such annoyance to the Spanish that they attempt to persuade him to defect from the Venetian army. He is contacted by envoys from the Cardinal of Sion, who invite him to reach an agreement with the Duke of Milan, and others sent by Pope Leo X. The position of the general captain of the Florentines is proposed to him, but he declines.
In response, 60 men-at-arms, 300 light cavalry, and 700 infantry, along with 2,000 peasants from Brianza, come against him. These adversaries cross the Adda under the command of Silvio Savelli and Oldrado Lampugnani, enter the Bergamo region, and devastate the borderlands. They camp in the village of Sant’Antonio near Bergamo and besiege the city. Ceri maneuvers 600 soldiers, including men-at-arms, light cavalry, and 500 infantry, behind them, all commanded by Mariano da Lecce and Cristoforo Albanese. The Venetians stop near the Serio Bridge. At first, the two captains put the adversaries to flight, resulting in the loss of the cavalry commander and 500 Brianza men. However, Silvio Savelli’s resistance and the arrival of reinforcements led by Cesare Fieramosca catch the Venetians off guard while they are engaged in looting the baggage, ultimately changing the course of the battle.
Oct.LombardyAlviano is defeated at Creazzo, and Ceri is increasingly confined to Crema. The Venetians oppose his desire to move to the aid of the castle of Cremona, which is still in French hands. His forced inactivity convinces him to contact the Florentines for a potential condotta. Furthermore, he is still owed 6,000 ducats by the Serenissima, and he claims that certain provisions in his favor have not been upheld. He requests permission to leave the field but is urged by the Venetians not to abandon their payroll. Ceri roams the Lodi region and resumes his defensive strategy.
Nov.LombardyCeri is informed by local peasants in the territory of Calcinato that the garrison of Cesare Fieramosca is stationed there without taking special security measures. He sends Silvestro da Narni, Baldassarre da Romano, and Marcello Astaldi to assault the area. The Venetians leave Crema during the night, and before dawn, infantrymen scale the walls, open two gates, and bring light cavalry into the city. The Venetians plunder Fieramosca’s camp, where he has 50 lances and 100 light cavalry from Prospero Colonna’s company. The opposing captain is taken prisoner along with 40 men-at-arms and all the light cavalry, resulting in a booty of 6,000 ducats.
Two days later, 42 lances belonging to Count Santa Severina Andrea Carafa and another 10, also from Prospero Colonna’s company, are disarmed in Quinzano d’Oglio. At the same time, Ceri sends 20 cavalry and 10 drummers towards Trigolo, where many Spaniards are camped. Their goal is to make as much noise as possible, alerting the adversaries and preventing them from coming to Carafa’s aid.
Simultaneously, some infantrymen from Crema capture Venetian rebels Ludovico, Agostino, and Malatesta Suardi, bringing back 200 wagons of wood, straw, and hay looted from the Lodi region. In Treviglio, another 10 men-at-arms from Colonna’s company are plundered.
1514
Jan.LombardyThe Council of the Wise elects him as the general governor in place of Baglioni; they grant him a salary of 30,000 ducats a year, a troop of 200 unarmored men with 100 light horses, one year of active duty and one of deference. Alviano accepts him as his second-in-command; however, he prefers to decline the promotion to remain in Crema, being the sole authority and not subject to a strong temperament like that of the general captain. In Crema, however, his situation becomes increasingly challenging.
Feb.LombardyHe has a new confrontation with Colonna’s men; discontent also grows among his ranks because they have not received their dues for a long time. However, Maffeo Cagnolo captures Marcantonio Filitino with 12 light horses and 38 men-at-arms; this prompts Ceri to revert to the style of warfare that suits him best. At the end of the month, he crosses the Adda River and surprises in their camp at Castiglione d’Adda 120 infantry and 50 men-at-arms of Alessandro Sforza.
Mar.LombardyHe conducts a raid on Castelleone.
Apr.LombardyHe dispatches Andreazzo and Silvestro from Perugia to Ombriano, where Silvio Savelli is stationed with 400 infantrymen, 100 light horses, and 50 men-at-arms. Savelli is ambushed near the Termine river close to Pandino: in the clash, many enemy infantrymen die, some killed in combat, others drowned.
May150 lances, 100 light horses, 270 infantrymenLombardyHe requests the Venetians to send him money so he can enlist 1,500 infantrymen: meanwhile, the Spanish lay siege to him in Crema. The operations will conclude in the following August. Defending the city are the men of his companies and another 1,609 infantrymen: the number of troops continually decreases, both due to diseases and losses from frequent skirmishes.
JuneLombardyHe attacks the church of Santa Maria della Croce, near the walls of Crema, and stations 200 infantrymen there. He repels an assault by the adversaries aiming to reclaim the building that’s been transformed into a fortress. Despite the presence of the plague in the city, he allows many peasants with their livestock to enter and settles them in the open spaces between the Travacone and the walls.
Aug.LombardyHe is informed about the situation at the enemy camp in Ombriano; he covertly sends Andrea della Matrice there at night, disguised as a peasant to gather more detailed information. Ceri then keeps the opposing troops on edge for an entire day to prevent them from resting; at night, he dispatches light cavalry to Colonna’s camp to keep his men occupied in defensive positions. From the Porta di Serio, 400 peasants who had previously entered Crema emerge; mixed among them are 700 infantrymen and 60 musketeers; they all head towards Moso. Some remain hidden alongside the Sforza militias; others, coming from Bagnolo Cremasco and having circumvented the marshes, surprise Silvio Savelli’s troops from behind. Savelli is stationed at Ombriano with 50 men-at-arms, 100 light horses, and 2,000 infantrymen. 200 Venetian light cavalry position themselves on one side of the enemy formation, while the men-at-arms stand on the banks of the Serio river to ensure that Prospero Colonna doesn’t send reinforcements to Savelli. Andrea della Matrice, with 4 squad leaders, kills the camp’s sentries; the Venetians penetrate the defenses using fire devices (ancestors of today’s flamethrowers), setting tents on fire and attacking the Italian infantry. Even the Swiss resistance, found in formation, is overcome. Many Milanese men-at-arms drown in the Adda. Savelli, after an attempt at resistance, flees nearly naked to Lodi on a small pony. Ceri, in the end, seizes a bastion facing Crema. The enemy casualties amount to 1,000 dead; of the 200 men-at-arms and 300 light cavalry, only 50 horses escape capture: Savelli’s standard is taken, along with 7 other flags and 6 pieces of artillery. In contrast, the losses suffered by the Serenissima are minimal. The camp is plundered and sacked; nearby villas are set on fire, prisoners are taken to Crema, and the defensive structures of Ombriano are demolished—all without any attempt at retaliation from Colonna. The day of this victory is celebrated in Crema for years with a grand procession.
Sept.General GovernorLombardyThe Council of Ten sends him 6,000 ducats to enlist 2,000 infantrymen for a month. Ceri persists in his tactics, which continue to bring him numerous successes: he sets up an ambush in a forest near Pandino, stationing some infantrymen there, and dispatches 100 light cavalry as scouts with the goal of attacking the troops stationed in that location (50 men-at-arms, 100 light horses, and 400 infantrymen). The ambush doesn’t achieve great success due to the untimely emergence of the infantry: still, 60 Sforza soldiers are killed and many horses are captured. Later in the month, he defeats Grechetto’s cavalry in the Lodi region, capturing half his company; he also devastates two villages in the same region. His successes prompt the Council of Ten to allow him to simultaneously (though not openly, out of respect for Alviano) hold both the positions of General Governor and General Captain of the infantry. Ceri requests reinforcements of 300 light cavalry; however, his request meets opposition from Alviano, as it would result in an excessive dispersal of the Serenissima’s troops across the territory.
Oct.LombardyNiccolò Scotti and 1,500 infantrymen enter Crema; Ceri leaves the city with 4,000 infantrymen and 200 light cavalry and dispatches Maffeo Cagnolo as a vanguard towards Bergamo with another 500 light cavalry and 500 infantrymen. During his approach, Cagnolo decimates 150 Spanish infantrymen of Oliverio, who are moving from Pandino towards the main city. Ceri occupies Bergamo and forces the Spanish garrison to take refuge in the Cappella fortress. He returns to Crema and attempts to surprise Prospero Colonna in Castelleone after having organized a treaty with some soldiers guarding the Porta del Serio. The plot fails as Andrea da Gravina arrives late to the rendezvous. Moreover, Gravina is suspected of having previously revealed everything to the opposing captain. Ceri sends Bartolomeo da Villachiara to the Brescian mountains, hoping that the local population would rise in favor of the Serenissima.
Nov.LombardyHe returns to Bergamo with 4,000 sappers to reinforce its defenses; he commissions the construction of arquebuses by melting down church bells; he gathers gunpowder and various ammunition; he assembles between 4,000 to 5,000 infantrymen, not including the inhabitants and peasants who number at least another 3,000 men (mostly musketeers) and 300 light cavalry. In a short time, he is besieged in the city by the Viceroy of Naples, Raimondo di Cardona, Colonna, Silvio Savelli, and Cesare Fieramosca with 450 men-at-arms, 700 light cavalry, and 5,000 infantry. The opponents camp at the village of Sant’ Antonio and position their artillery at the Porta di Santa Caterina. In the following days, the artillery targets the section of walls near Sant’Agostino. The breach created during the day is repaired at night, making the attacks by the Spanish infantry both futile and deadly; mid-month, in a single assault, 500 soldiers are killed. The defenders soon find themselves in a dire situation with worn-out artillery and without gunpowder. Renzo di Ceri decides to surrender on terms, on the condition that no reinforcements arrive within eight days. Silvio Savelli opposes such an arrangement, but it is accepted by Colonna. Therefore, Ceri departs from Bergamo with his armed men; the citizens have to pay the adversaries a ransom of 80,000 ducats, but their possessions are to be respected. He returns to Crema; in Venice, the Senate grants him lordship over Martinengo with the same rights previously enjoyed by Bartolomeo Colleoni. And since at that time the location is in enemy hands, he is alternatively granted an annual allowance of 1,000 ducats from the assets of some rebels and a house in Padua or Treviso to reside in with his family.
Dec.General GovernorLombardy, Emilia, Romagna, VenetoHe leaves Gian Antonio Orsini in charge of Crema’s defense with 900 infantry, 100 broken lances, and 100 light cavalry. With the rest of the troops (500 infantry, 130 men-at-arms, and 300 light cavalry), he reaches Venice after passing through Ferrara, Ravenna, and Chioggia. He is welcomed in Santo Spirito alongside Bartolomeo da Villachiara by twenty gentlemen and proceeds to the Senate where he is embraced by the Doge. In the city, he lodges first at Santo Stefano in Ca’ Barbaro and then at San Fantin near his chancellor, Francesco da Fiano. He presents a report of his operations, which some envious individuals (perhaps Alviano?) question. He reaffirms his commitment, requests the infantry captaincy for his nephew Gian Antonio Orsini, and for himself, the role of general governor. He is reconfirmed in the latter position and is provided with 1,000 ducats for his needs. His horses are sent to their quarters between the Piave and Livenza rivers, and the local population complains about their unfriendly behavior.
Alviano makes known his dissatisfaction towards Ceri. Ceri is summoned to Venice for a public reconciliation between the two commanders. Friends Andrea Gritti, close to Ceri, and Niccolò Vendramin, closer to his rival, intervene to mediate the reconciliation, which takes place in the College. He receives another 1,000 ducats and returns to Crema, again passing through Chioggia and Ferrara.
1515
Jan.Emilia, Lombardy, VenetoIn Piacenza, he replenishes supplies to send to Crema; he concludes a three-month truce with the Duke of Milan, Francesco Sforza, through Alessandro Bentivoglio and returns to Venice. He meets with the Doge again; the agreement he signed is ratified by the Senate; he is received by the Council of Ten; he then moves to Treviso. His disputes with Alviano do not cease because Ceri is reluctant to obey his orders. He visits the College in Venice again; he resigns from the position of general governor in favor of the sole role of general captain of the infantry.
Feb.General Captain of the infantry with 200 lances and 100 light cavalryVenetoHis contract is renewed for a fixed year and a year of respect, with a provision of 30,000 ducats per year. His soldiers arrive armed in Piazza San Marco and clash with some Greeks with whom they had previously had a disagreement: a great scandal ensues due to the death of a few men. Meanwhile, he returns to the College and demands the pay for his infantrymen who have been waiting for it for five months: he is given 7,000 ducats, some in cash and some in the form of silk and wool fabrics. The Council of Ten grants him permission to return to Lazio for a month to meet with Pope Leo X (Leone X).
Mar.LazioHe has a meeting with the Pope. He stays in Ceri and in his castle of San Cassano. He falls ill.
Apr.VenetoIn Venice: he is reimbursed another 2,000 ducats out of the 3,500 he is owed. He returns to Treviso and lodges in the bishopric after being received with all honors by the podestà Giacomo Trevisan. His soldiers once again stand out for the disturbances they cause: as a result, he is forced to hang two who were found guilty of the murder of a knight in the service of the podestà.
MayVenetoHe clashes with Alviano in the College; he then goes to Padua and is received, with artillery salutes, by the same Alviano, by Teodoro da Trivulzio, by the rectors, and by the general provider Domenico Contarini. In the city, he is hosted by Benedetto Crivelli in his palace at Eremitani. The conflict with Alviano resurfaces when discussing the responsibilities concerning the infantry; he refuses to follow the general captain to Vicenza and returns to Treviso. To placate him, the Venetians grant a contract to his nephew, Giovan Corrado Orsini.
JuneVenetoThe Council of Ten sends him an ambassador to persuade him to move with his infantrymen to Padua; from Noale, he reaches the city with 40 men-at-arms and 800 infantrymen. A squad leader and a standard-bearer of Silvestro da Narni forcefully enter the house of the noble Tommaso Morosini and assault him: Ceri is forced to hang the two soldiers. Disagreements with Alviano continue, with Alviano being stricter in maintaining discipline among the troops, while he proves to be more lenient.
JulyVeneto, LombardyThe Council of Ten grants him permission to return to Crema with 60 men-at-arms, 500 light cavalry, and his infantrymen. He is handed 5,000 ducats; he is escorted to the Adige by 300 light cavalry of Mercurio Bua. He crosses the river on a pontoon bridge at Begosso and secures Legnago on negotiated terms. 100 infantrymen remain in the location: the opposing soldiers taken prisoner are sent back to Verona with a reed in hand. From Legnago, he moves through the Veronese territory, capturing prisoners, including some gentlemen, raiding cattle, and causing significant damage everywhere. He reaches Isola della Scala, crosses the Mincio, arrives at Goito, and reaches Chiari. The spoils are transported to Crema. Immediately, Raimondo di Cardona orders the gates of Brescia to be closed and requests 2,000 infantrymen as reinforcements to defend both that city and Bergamo. Ceri sends his men to Romano di Lombardia, where they seize three thousand loads of fodder and impose on the citizens a ransom of 1,000 ducats to avoid being sacked. The Spaniards raid Palazzolo sull’Oglio; for this reason, he is ordered to break the truce and attack the Duchy of Milan. He seizes Lonato, sends troops to Ghiaradadda; with the help of exiles (leading 2,000 infantrymen, 500 light cavalry, and 200 men-at-arms), he takes Castelleone in the name of the King of France. Grechetto is captured, the city is sacked, sparing neither Guelphs nor Ghibellines, and the fortress of Serio is demolished.
Aug.LombardyIn Venice, he is accused by the French ambassador of causing excessive damage to the Cremonese region; at the same time, the Venetians complain about the devastation both of Castelleone and Vailate. Initially, Ceri persists with his raids in Ghiaradadda; repelled from Paderno Ponchielli with the loss of 40 men, he is forced to desist, partly due to the pressures received. Mid-month, due to the rivalry with Alviano, he requests permission to leave the service of the Serenissima (Venetian Republic). He sends his emissary to the Council of Ten. The condottiero, for his part, continues the war action he is so fond of; he fortifies the mouth of the Serio with large bastions and sets up a bridge over the Adda to intimidate the Papal forces, aligned with the Sforza family and the Spaniards. He forcefully occupies Romanengo and enters Lodi, where he orders the sacking of many residences.
Sept. – Oct.FlorenceGeneral Governor with 200 lances and 200 light cavalryLombardyNear Crema, he routs 150 enemy cavalry, who are forced to retreat and lock themselves in Caravaggio. Alviano continues to oppose him by sending Camillo da Martinengo to the Bresciano and Cremasco regions with the intent to gather men-at-arms and light cavalry to serve in his companies. Ceri, tired of this situation, despite the pressure from the King of France, Francis I, reaches an agreement with the Florentines, by whom he is appointed general governor. Half of the contract is funded by Pope Leo X (Leone X). He enters Lodi in the name of the King of France with 1,000 infantrymen and four artillery pieces, besieges its fortress alongside the Constable of Bourbon, and secures its surrender through negotiations mediated by Ermes Visconti and some local Ghibellines. He returns to Crema and permanently departs the city with 150 cavalry on the same day as the Battle of Melegnano. He crosses the Po river and heads to Piacenza where he is warmly welcomed by the papal general captain, Lorenzo dei Medici. In the city, he arrests Count Claudio dei Landi, who, suspecting the Scotti, had gathered 300 men; he imprisons him in Parma. He then justifies his actions to the Venetians.
Nov.EmiliaAfter Alviano’s death, he tries to reestablish relations with the Serenissima (Venetian Republic); however, his proposals are rejected. In early November, he passes through the Modena region. He stops for a few days in Reggio Emilia where he meets with the papal governor Lorenzo dei Medici, Cardinal Fieschi, the legate of Romagna, and the legate of Bologna, Cardinal Giulio dei Medici (the future Pope Clement VII). He then proceeds to Bologna.
Dec.EmiliaHe is in Parma; alongside many papal dignitaries, he has the opportunity to meet with the King of France, Francis I, and with his friend Gritti, the ambassador of the Venetians.
1516
……………LazioHe marries for the second time to Francesca Orsini, daughter of Gian Giordano and widow of the Marquis of Palude (Padula), Antonio di Cardona. His wife brings him a dowry that includes Formello, Sacrofano, and Campagnano di Roma, which yield an income of 12,000 ducats.
MayChurchUrbinoRomagna, Lombardy, LazioThe Pope grants him the fiefs of Capranica and Blera after settling a debt of 5,000 ducats owed to the Apostolic Chamber. He heads to Rimini to confront the troops of the Duke of Urbino, Francesco Maria della Rovere; he takes many prisoners, seizes a significant amount of livestock, and plunders several places. At the end of the month, he must travel to Brescia to negotiate the handover of the city from the Spanish to the French. He then departs for Rome.
JuneMarcheHe enters Urbino with Baglioni; he also secures Pesaro. After intense artillery fire, the fortress surrenders to him on the condition that it will not receive any aid within three days.
Aug.MarcheHe travels to Fermo, a city disrupted by factional conflicts.
Sept.MarcheTogether with Baglioni, leading 200 men-at-arms, he stands guard in Fermo to defend the city from the threats of the Ghibellines and the Colonna faction.
Nov.He meets with Cardinal Giuliano dei Medici to inform him about the causes of the conflicts occurring in Fermo between the Guelphs (supporters of the Orsini) and the Ghibellines, who are partisans of the Colonna.
Dec.He falls out of favor with Lorenzo dei Medici and is abandoned by the 100 men-at-arms enlisted by the Florentines.
1517
Jan.ChurchComp. venturaGeneral GovernorRomagnaLorenzo de’ Medici commissions him as lieutenant and governor of the men-at-arms against Francesco Maria della Rovere, who is trying to reclaim the Duchy of Urbino. Giovanni da Poppi hires 6,000 Gascon infantry on behalf of the papal forces; Renzo di Ceri unsuccessfully suggests dispatching them to the Mantuan region to force Federico Gonzaga of Bozzolo to abandon della Rovere and rush to the defense of his possessions. He reaches Ravenna with Vitello Vitelli to block the path of his rival and his men-at-arms; however, the former Duke of Urbino crosses the Po River at Ostiglia, preempting his objective. Ceri then embarks with 1,000 infantry, arriving in Rimini where he meets with Lorenzo de’ Medici.
Feb.Romagna, MarcheTogether with Ludovico Euffreducci, he heads towards Urbino; his march is halted by overwhelming forces. He relocates with 4,000 infantry to defend Pesaro, where, for security reasons, he orders the leveling of warehouses located between the mouth of the Foglia river and the town center. He establishes contact with the opposing captain, Francesco Maldonado. His relationship with the pope becomes increasingly strained, in part due to significant delays in payment: his outstanding debts amount to 8,000 ducats. Ceri now adopts a more cautious strategy; he sends Troilo Savelli with 100 men-at-arms and 600 infantry to Fano in order to fend off della Rovere and Federico Gonzaga of Bozzolo, who are besieging the city. He stops with Camillo Orsini at Montalboddo (Ostra). The community is compelled to spend 2,000 ducats on the purchase of 1,500 salme (a historical measure of volume) of wheat intended for the sustenance of the ecclesiastical army’s soldiers.
Mar.MarcheHe persuades Lorenzo de’ Medici not to accept the duel challenge sent to him by Francesco Maria della Rovere; he has the two messengers, Captain Suarez and the opponent’s secretary Orazio Florido, arrested. Together with Vitello Vitelli, he advises against a direct assault on the adversaries who have fortified themselves in Barti. He decides to retreat because he can’t halt the flow of supplies to the enemies; in his opinion, the turning point to end the conflict is to assault Mombaroccio and occupy the passes near that location. Della Rovere suspects Ceri’s withdrawal and pursues him to Metauro by the shortest route through the mountains; the former Duke of Urbino eventually realizes the potential trap he’s about to fall into, understands that he can be ensnared, and after a brief skirmish, abandons the carriages to flee chaotically to Tavernelle. Both Ceri and Vitelli make the mistake of delaying the deployment of infantry to Mombaroccio.
He moves on to Fossombrone, constantly pressured by Lorenzo de’ Medici’s complaints, who laments the missed victory and attributes it to the envy the two captains harbor against him. At the same time, chaos rises in the papal camp due to the chronic delays in wage payments: in Pesaro, the Gascon infantry rebel, forcing Lorenzo de’ Medici to take refuge in the fortress. Medici yields to their demands, overpaying them by 8,000 ducats more than owed.
Renzo di Ceri moves to the siege of Mondolfo, which is defended by 200 Spanish infantry. He positions the artillery openly and without proper cover, so the defenders easily neutralize their effects, injuring Captain Antonio di Santa Croce. This incident prompts Lorenzo de’ Medici to expose himself; he gets injured in the head by a musket shot while seeking rest in a small grove. The papal forces’ response is swift: within five days, a large mine destroys a tower and part of the walls, which is followed by an attack convincing the defenders to surrender, leaving the inhabitants to their fate.
Apr.MarcheIn early April, the defenders of Mondolfo, led by the Spanish captain Valejo, surrender unconditionally. The city is sacked for a week. A brawl erupts over the possession of a barrel of wine between Italian and German infantry, starting to destabilize the ecclesiastical camp. It becomes increasingly marred by disorder and tumult: armed clashes continue to occur among Italian, German, Spanish, and Gascon infantry. Even the lodgings of Renzo di Ceri are ravaged. His intervention ultimately prevents any revolt attempts. The new head of the papal army, Cardinal of Bibbiena Bernardo Dovizi, is prompted to segregate the Church’s troops based on their geographical origins. The pope begins to express increasing dissatisfaction with Ceri’s actions.
MayMarcheThe atmosphere of distrust surrounding Renzo di Ceri pushes him to establish contacts with the French in order to switch to their service. He advances right up to the walls of Urbino without encountering any resistance. Under his command now are 400 men-at-arms and 5,000 infantry, of which 3,000 are Landsknechts, Spanish, and Corsican, while 2,000 are Italian.
JuneMarcheHe captures and sacks Fossombrone and Pergola; he advances into the Urbino territory and seizes other castles. Francesco Maria della Rovere, after attempting a diversionary action in the Perugia region, is forced to quickly return to defend the territories under his control.
Aug.MarcheHe once again offers his services to the French through Lescun. He travels to Forlì and Cesena to conduct peace negotiations with Francesco Maria della Rovere.
Oct.MarcheIn Viterbo.
1518
Jan.ChurchEvery point of contention with the pope is resolved. He is reinstated by the papal authorities under the same previous conditions.
Feb.A brother of Renzo di Ceri is appointed as the bishop of Rimini.
May – JulyLazio, UmbriaHe oversees the review of his companies (150 men-at-arms in white and 100 mounted crossbowmen) that are stationed between Viterbo and Montefiascone. The people of Spoleto seek his intervention with the pope; he responds by advising the residents to reconcile with the commune of Trevi and to hand over the castle of San Giovanni to the authorities. The city does not accept his mediation. Ceri leaves Viterbo and enters Spoleto with his troops; he persuades the reluctant people of Spoleto to make peace with Trevi and Norcia.
Sept.TuscanyHe attends the wedding of the Duke of Urbino, Lorenzo de’ Medici, to Maddalena de la Tour d’Auvergne in Florence.
1519
SpringUmbria, LazioHe returns to Spoleto, but the commune refuses to provide him with 1,500 infantry. He relocates to Rome to seek treatment for an illness.
Sept.ChurchRecanatiRomagna, MarcheFrom Romagna, he moves to Recanati, which has rebelled against the papal forces. He attacks the castle of Montefiore and, in various skirmishes, loses more than 80 men.
Dec.ChurchFabrianoMarcheHe is tasked with driving Bartolomeo Zibicchio out of Fabriano, who has taken control of the city. He departs from Serra San Quirico and from there moves to Albacina to launch an attack on that location.
1520
Jan.EmiliaHe is first recorded in Ravenna with 5,000 infantry. Subsequently, he is found in Bologna alongside Guido Rangoni.
Feb.LazioIn Rome, he explores the possibility of a contract with the Venetians.
Mar.UmbriaHe is mobilized by Pope Leo X to counter a potential reaction from the Baglioni family. He moves to the region of Perugia with Vitelli and Guido Vaina, leading 600 men-at-arms. He travels to Perugia to escort and bring Giampaolo Baglioni to Rome. He is also tasked with removing a natural son of the latter from a fortress near Orte where the young man has sought refuge.
Apr.LazioHe is involved in a police operation near Orte to flush out Costantino Baglioni, who has taken refuge in the castle of San Pietro with 100 brigands.
JuneLazio, UmbriaPope Leo X orders the execution of Baglioni in Rome. The Ceri family exerts pressure on the Pope to ensure that the condottiero’s body is promptly buried instead of being displayed on the bridge of Castel Sant’Angelo, as was customary at the time for those sentenced to death. In Perugia, he meets with Gentile Baglioni, the new ruler of the city.
Oct.LazioIn Rome, he lodges with his men in the Borgo Leonino to provide escort for the Pope during his movements, as Pope Leo X feels threatened by Camillo Orsini.
Nov.LazioHe escorts the Pope, along with his son Giampaolo, between Corneto (Tarquinia) and Civitavecchia while the Pope is engaged in a hunting expedition.
1521
Jan.LazioIn Rome, he continues to stand by the side of Pope Leo X.
MayMarche, Lazio, TuscanyIn the March of Ancona, he comes into sharp conflict with the Pope, as Pope Leo X appointed Antonio da San Severino as a cardinal, who was related to the widow of Gian Giordano Orsini, instead of Napoleone Orsini, his brother-in-law, who was also the stepson of the same woman. Pope Leo X reproaches him harshly; Ceri travels to Florence and dismisses the men who were under his command.
JuneLazioHe goes to Ceri and initiates new negotiations to enter into the service of the French through Orsino Orsini and Francesco da Fiano. The Imperial forces also seek to enlist him through the Baron of Serino.
JulyLazioHe contacts the Venetians once again.
Aug.LazioHe sends one of his secretaries to Venice to approach Andrea Gritti and Bartolomeo Contarini, asking for their support in securing a contract. He orders the hanging of Francesco da Fiano near Rome because he had refused to obey his command to go to Ceri.
Dec.Lazio, UmbriaUpon the death of Pope Leo X, he becomes agitated, ready to clash with the Colonna family in Trastevere. The College of Cardinals assigns him the task of recruiting 1000 infantrymen to maintain order in Rome during the conclave proceedings. He meets with Camillo Orsini and Orazio Baglioni in Spoleto, attempting to seek a peaceful resolution to the disputes over Perugia that have divided the Baglioni.
1522
Jan.Perugia, Comp. venturaChurch, Florence, SienaUmbriaHe sends the infantrymen from Spoleto, who serve under his command, to aid Malatesta Baglioni, who is engaged in Perugia against the Papal and Florentine forces. He then proceeds to Spoleto and compels Gentile Baglioni, who has sought refuge there, to leave the area and join forces with Vitelli in Tifernate. During the same days, Cardinal Alfonso Petrucci of Volterra and Giovanni Battista Soderini persuade him to move against Florence and Siena in order to remove the rule of Cardinal Raffaele Petrucci from those cities. Ceri gathers troops in Spoleto and seeks support from the French in vain. The condottiero travels to Città della Pieve and receives 2,000 infantry, 100 light cavalry, and 4 falconets from the people of Perugia. In the same month, he sends a letter to King Francis I of France.
Mar.Umbria, TuscanyInitially, he commands 500 cavalry and 6,000 to 7,000 infantry from the Orsini faction who follow him without demanding pay for fifteen days. He enters Siena, accompanied by the former Bishop of Sovana, Lattanzio Petrucci, and other exiles—these are the same individuals who, months earlier, had incited della Rovere to attempt a change in the form of government in Siena.
Apr.Tuscany, LazioHe arrives in Città della Pieve, where he was supposed to rendezvous with Malatesta Baglioni, who initially offered to assist him with 2,000 infantry, 100 cavalry, and 4 falconets. However, the Perugian condottiero feigns illness. Simultaneously, there are shortages of provisions and ammunition among Ceri’s men. Within a few days, the infantry who had followed him from Sellano and Vallinarca begin to desert and return to the Spoletan region. Ceri defeats Vitelli and Girolamo Pepoli in the Val di Chiana, between Torrita di Siena and Sinalunga. He approaches Chiusi but is repelled because he lacks artillery pieces. Driven by hunger, he attacks the castle of Torrita di Siena, where numerous supplies are protected by 100 lances and 150 infantry sent by Guido Rangoni. He then moves towards Rapolano Terme (defended by Ludovico Orsini) and towards Siena. He is preceded by Rangoni, who guards it with 200 light cavalry. Disorder increasingly prevails in his ranks due to the shortages he has repeatedly reported.
He decides to assault Siena directly and sets up camp on the hill of Maggiano in front of the Certosa. He halts for a day before the city walls in the hope of a popular revolt. Continuous artillery fire is directed at his camp from within Porta Nuova and the vineyards of the Sant’Agostino friars. After two days, he is forced to retreat hastily. It is said that before leaving the camp, he picked up a cannonball that had been fired at him, remarking that the key to victory lay within it while reproaching the exiles for their incompetence. His army disperses, and many soldiers are looted and captured by the Sienese and local peasants. Ceri is forced to abandon the falconets on the roadside. Cardinal dei Medici has a French courier (Giacomo da Diacceto), who had been sent to meet with the condottiero by the Soderini, arrested. The prelate wants to know the message, and when the courier requests a confessor, the cardinal sends him a spy disguised as a priest. This leads to the discovery of the conspirators’ names. According to other accounts, Diacceto confesses under torture.
Ceri stops in Acquapendente but cannot find the money promised to him on behalf of the French by Cardinal of Volterra, Bishop of Albano Antonio Maria Ciocchi del Monte, and Bishop of Como Scaramuccia da Trivulzio. With the few men who remain, he takes refuge in the Sienese Maremma to engage in a futile battle at Orbetello. The Florentines push their troops to Centeno and threaten to invade the Papal States.
MayLazioThe College of Cardinals, especially Alessandro Farnese, intervenes, and peace is brokered between the warring parties. Following this, Renzo di Ceri is expected to enter the service of the Florentines with the title of Captain General.
JuneFranceLazioHe accepts, on the contrary, to serve in the employ of the French and is tasked with gathering 7,000 infantrymen.
JulySpoletoColonnaUmbriaHe assists Spoleto in reclaiming Sellano, which had rebelled with the support of the Colonna family. He enters the city with Ottavio Orsini and his son Giampaolo, leading 200 light cavalry and a company of Corsican infantrymen, and reorganizes the municipal militias.
Aug.Umbria, LazioHe assembles 7,000 men and reaches the sources of the Clitumno. He establishes his camp between Campello and Pissignano, whose inhabitants surrender at the mere sight of his army. Spina, Agliano, and Postignano fall into his hands, sending him some hostages. He secures Acera through negotiations following a fierce clash, takes Camero in a nocturnal assault, setting fire to the castle. He occupies Orsano and commences the bombardment of Sellano until a gate is opened for him to enter. After concluding these operations, he returns to his own domains and travels to Rome for the election of the new Pope, Adrian VI.
……………LazioTogether with Cardinal Franciotto Orsini and other members of his family, he exerts pressure on the Pope to recall Niccolò Bonafede, the Papal governor and commissioner in the Marches. Bonafede is replaced in his position, now holding only the title of vice-legate, by Fabio, Ceri’s brother and the Bishop of Rimini.
1523
……………France
Apr.Lombardy, VenetoFrom France, he reaches Lombardy. He is reported with 200 horses at Caprino Bergamasco; subsequently, he heads to Brescia and then to Venice with the ambassador Ambrogio da Firenze: he attempts to convince the Most Serene Republic to ally with the French kingdom.
MayVenetoIn Venice, he shares a meal with his friend Andrea Gritti, who has recently been elected as the Doge of the Republic.
JuneVenetoHe manages to secure Venetian intervention on his behalf with the Pope, who had summoned him back to Rome in an attempt to make him relinquish his employment with the French.
JulyVenetoHis soldiers become involved in a brawl in Padua, resulting in the death of three of them. The Venetians form an alliance with the Imperial forces, causing his mission to fail. He writes to Annes de Montmorency from Venice.
Aug.FranceEmpire, VeniceVeneto, EmiliaHe is invited to leave Venetian territory with the 40 cavalrymen who served as his escort, as the war between the French and the Imperial forces is imminent. He goes to Carpi and takes command of 600 cavalry and 4,000 infantry gathered in the region. He establishes connections with the Estes, moves to Rubiera, and travels along the Via Emilia, between Modena and Reggio Emilia, to obstruct the passage of funds and messages from Rome, Naples, and Florence heading to Milan, where the Colonna family is besieged. Rubiera falls into the hands of the Papal forces. Ceri launches a nighttime assault on the city with 2,000 infantry but is repelled by Guido Rangoni. His captain, Tristano Corso, is captured. Upon the death of Pope Adrian VI, with 200 cavalry and over 2,000 infantry, he aids Alfonso d’Este in reclaiming part of his territory.
Sept.Emilia, LombardyHe receives 3,000 ducats from the Duke of Ferrara and captures Carpi from the Colonna family. He moves towards Reggio Emilia with Teodoro da Trivulzio. Rangoni sends Vincenzo Maiato with 500 infantrymen to reinforce the citadel, while another 300 were supposed to be recruited by Giovambattista Smeraldi. The citizens open the city gates for Ceri, and the castellan surrenders after a few artillery shots. However, Vincenzo Maiato refuses to enter the city, as the money for recruiting the infantry had been intercepted by the French near Parma. Ceri is summoned by Bonnivet to Lombardy.
Oct.LombardyHe joins forces with Federico Gonzaga da Bozzolo in San Martino al Lago, bringing with him 200 light cavalry and 2,000 to 2,400 infantry. They also link up with Baiardo on the Adda River, who brings another 1,000 infantry, 400 men-at-arms, and 10 artillery pieces. They occupy Lodi, pass through Torricella, and move towards Cremona, which is defended by Francesco Salamoni and Bartolomeo da Villachiara. His men spread out in the lowlands of Cremona, committing robberies and extortions in Scandolara and nearby areas.
The church bells ring alarm, and many soldiers from his companies are killed by the peasants. Others are stripped of their possessions if found in possession of them, while some are captured or pursued all the way to Vicobellignano. Ceri intends to besiege Cremona and uses artillery to create a large breach at Porta San Luca. As he prepares for the final assault, a relentless four-day rain hinders further operations. Moreover, the swelling of rivers and streams prevents the supply of his troops. He is forced to withdraw.
Mercurio Bua leaves Pontevico and attacks his camp. Ceri returns to San Martino del Lago with 3,000 infantry, of which 800 desert due to the usual delay in payment. He plunders the territory of Castelleone, passes through Soresina, reaches Soncino, and, with Federico Gonzaga da Bozzolo and Baiardo, captures the fortress of Caravaggio from its castellan, Leonardo Tortora. He hinders the Venetians in their attempts to provide aid to Milan, loots Cassano d’Adda, moves towards Monza, and actively participates in the siege of Milan. However, his actions are hampered by the chronic lack of a regular supply of provisions because he has no friendly rear area. He devastates Cantù and, to inflict as much damage as possible on the opponents, sets fire to all the straw in the direction of Milan-Monza. He also occupies the castle of Callamaro.
Nov. – Dec.Lombardy, PiedmontIn anticipation of a Venetian offensive, he focuses on Melegnano. He further advances towards Cremona, where he comes into contact with Niccolò Varolo with the aim of taking possession of the city through negotiations. Bonnivet retreats from Milan, and Ceri must follow suit, crossing the Ticino River, and heading towards Vigevano with 3200 infantrymen. He shifts his forces to Arona alongside Saint-Pol and Lorges, intending to conquer the fortress guarded by Anchise Visconti and Micheletto Corso with 1500 infantrymen. The siege lasts for over thirty days, with more than two-thirds of the assaults resulting in heavy casualties. Similarly, attempts to undermine the walls, with hopes of their debris falling into the moat, do not succeed as anticipated. He reunites with the remainder of the French army.
1524
Jan.LombardyHe takes refuge in the Bergamo region. His losses in Arona amount to 1500 men, including 5 captains and the artillery commander, Jean Pommereul. Caught by surprise at night in Robecco d’Oglio by d’Avalos, Giovanni dei Medici, and Fernando Alarcon, he withdraws to Abbiategrasso.
Feb.Piedmont, LombardyHe fortifies himself in Novara, then relocates to Vigevano with 1500 infantrymen. He has at his disposal 3000 Italian infantrymen. With their help and the support of the local population, he strengthens the city’s defenses with earthworks both inside and outside the walls, as well as moats. He reduces the height of the towers and demolishes the villages outside the Valle Gate and the one outside the Sforzesca Gate. All the buildings around the city walls are also destroyed, with the exception of the Grechetta inn.
Mar.LombardyHe departs from Vigevano with 50 lances, 100 light cavalry, and 1000 infantrymen with the aim of capturing Sartirana Lomellina. He encounters Venetian men-at-arms and light cavalry led by Giulio Manfrone and Carlo Malatesta da Sogliano. He successfully captures the Tromello castle. He proceeds to Mortara and returns to Vigevano, where he is joined by 2000 infantrymen and 200 light cavalry.
Apr.LombardyHe arrives in Bellano, in the Como region, with 250 cavalrymen to await the arrival of 5000 Grison infantrymen (including 1000 arquebusiers) whom he is to lead to Lodi to reinforce the contingent under Federico Gonzaga from Bozzolo. In Caprino Bergamasco, he faces harassment from Venetian light cavalry raids. Additionally, the lack of provisions and the promised funds only worsen the conditions for the Grison troops, whose arrival is eagerly anticipated.
Giovanni dei Medici, supported by infantrymen under Babone Naldi, attacks their camp. The Grison troops reach Palazzago, revolt, and capture Ceri along with Raffaele da Palazzolo because they cannot meet their demands for money. Freed by Tegane, he manages to escape by hiding in a ditch. With Bonnivet’s defeat in Romagnano Sesia, the condottiero departs from Lodi with Federico Gonzaga from Bozzolo and leads 5000 Italian infantrymen to France.
MayFranceHe crosses the Rhône and moves into Provence, arriving in Marseille. Alongside Brion, he is tasked with defending the city. Immediately, he strengthens the city’s defenses by constructing numerous earthworks. Unused landing points are blocked, and the entrance to the port, intended to be operational, is fortified with strong bastions.
Aug.FranceHe is besieged in the city at the head of 4,000 infantry, mostly Italians, and 200 lances. The enemy operations are conducted by Ferdinando d’Avalos (Ferdinando d’Avalos) and the Connestabile di Borbone (Connestabile di Borbone) commanding 600 light cavalry and 15,000 infantry. The siege lasts 40 days. At the end of the month, Borbone’s (Borbone’s) artillery opens a breach in 4 hours, at the height of the Observance convent (convento dell’Observance), 10 meters wide at the top but only 2 meters at the base. His soldiers can only pass in single file. The following day the breach is closed. Renzo di Ceri (Renzo di Ceri) has it filled with backfill earth, stones, fascines, baskets, beams, and has also raised an embankment in place of the old wall. Alfonso d’Avalos (Alfonso d’Avalos) and Borbone (Borbone) decide to attack the tower of Tolone (Tolone) with some underground excavations towards the church of Saint-Cannat (Saint-Cannat). Renzo di Ceri (Renzo di Ceri) reacts, lowers the defenses, demolishes the church and other buildings; he also digs some longitudinal trenches to block the besiegers’ works; prepares countermines in the same direction. The Marseillais, naked as worms, smeared with oil, climb at night towards the enemy camp and slit the throats of drunken imperial soldiers who believe themselves safe on the heights of Estaque.
Sept.FranceThe bombardment of Marseille intensifies with the arrival of new artillery pieces. The continuous fire is directed towards the old breach and the Aix Gate. After 800 cannon shots, a breach of 50 feet wide is opened, allowing the passage of 10 soldiers at a time. Bourbon prepares for a general assault with 6000 men, but Ceri orders the inner wall to be raised and fills the ditch in front of the breach with iron spikes, gunpowder, and other flammable materials such as resins and fireworks.
Landsknechts, Spanish, and Italian infantrymen refuse to advance. Finally, upon hearing news that reinforcements are arriving from Avignon to aid the defenders, d’Avalos abandons his offensive plan and returns to Italy. Bourbon also withdraws from the siege.
Oct.FranceHe meets with the King of France, Francis I.
Dec.LiguriaHe departs from Marseille with the Archbishop of Salerno, Fregoso, and the prelate’s brother, Simonetto. They land in Savona with 8000 infantrymen (6000 Italians and 2000 French). He opposes the sacking of the city and lodges his troops outside the walls. According to local sources, however, Savona is subjected to looting for three days, and many residents of the area are taken as prisoners. Andrea Doria assists him in these operations, while his troops guard the palace of Giovanni Battista Richerno in the San Giovanni district, where many women have sought refuge.
The city garrison, under the command of Barnaba Adorno (1200 soldiers and 12 galleys), withdraws to Genoa. Of Ceri’s men, 1500 infantrymen remain to guard Savona, 1000 choose not to follow him, and the rest re-embark on the fleet consisting of 10 galleys, 12 galleons, and numerous smaller vessels with six months’ worth of provisions. Their destination is Civitavecchia. Ceri stops at Vado Ligure to resupply, but the city is subjected to looting despite his previous agreements. He then heads towards Pavia with 200 lances and 4000 infantrymen but is defeated and routed near Alessandria, where 6000 ducats he is carrying for the army are taken from him.
1525
Jan.Lombardy, Emilia, Tuscany, UmbriaAt the Pavia camp, he has a new meeting with the king. Distancing himself from the siege operations, he goes to Sarmato and reaches the Val di Mozzo, where he meets Giovanni Stuart, Duke of Albany. This sets the operational groundwork for an expedition to the Kingdom of Naples, to be carried out with 200 lances, 600 light cavalry, and 4000 infantrymen (2000 Italians, 400 Swiss, and 1600 Germans). Additionally, another 4000 infantrymen are to be hired in the Papal States through the Orsini. Ceri travels to Lucca, where he receives 12,000 ducats and some artillery pieces. He also causes damage in Siena, altering the city’s government with the connivance of Pope Clement VII, and then moves to the Spoleto region.
Feb.LazioHe arrives at Monterotondo and meets with the Duke of Albany in Formello. The defeat of the French king at Pavia forces a change in the attackers’ plans, and the two captains are compelled to abandon any offensive ambitions.
Mar.LazioHe embarks from Civitavecchia to France with the Duke of Albany on ships provided by the Pope. He brings along the artillery acquired from the people of Lucca and Siena. With Ceri, 400 horses, 1000 German infantrymen, and 1500 Italians also board the fleet, while the rest of the soldiers are left free.
Apr.FranceHe arrives in Lyon, participating in various war councils and some meetings of the crown. He then stops in Marseille with the 1500 Italian infantrymen, shuttling back and forth between Marseille and Lyon several times.
He is granted the castle and lands of Tarascon in Provence as a fief.
Aug.100 lancesFranceHe holds command over 100 lances and 100 mounted archers.
Oct.80 lancesFranceHis condotta is reduced following an agreement between the French monarch and Emperor Charles V. He is granted the fief of Pontoise, which will be reaffirmed to him in 1529.
Dec.FranceIn Carmagnola, leading a substantial contingent of Swiss infantrymen.
1526
Apr. – JuneFranceBeside the French sovereign in Lyon and in Cognac. In June, he is noted in Angouleme.
July60 lancesFrance
Sept.FranceHe leaves Lyon. His company of men-at-arms joins the troops of Marquis Michelantonio of Saluzzo.
Dec.Liguria, LazioIn Savona with 16 carracks and 2 galleons carrying 4,000 infantrymen; he has with him 25,000 scudi sent to the pope by the king of England and another 40,000 scudi dispatched by the king of France. He arrives at Albisola Marina and from there proceeds to the siege of Genoa with 5,000 infantrymen. He occupies the Val Polcevera and closely besieges the city; at the end of the month, he embarks from Portovenere with 6 French ships and 2 galleys to reach Civitavecchia. In Rome, paying homage to the pope. By the end of the month, he is in Ferentino with the Black Bands (Bande Nere) to oppose the imperial forces of Carlo di Lannoy.
1527
Jan.ChurchEmpireLazioHe advises recruiting 3,000 infantrymen, half of whom are paid and the other half belong to the Orsini faction. Valerio Orsini quickly moves to gather such men. Ceri drives away 300 Spanish infantrymen in Ceprano; he narrowly escapes capture when, in Paliano, some Spanish cavalry suddenly emerge. He dismisses Vitelli’s defensive plan which aims to concentrate in Tivoli, Palestrina, and Velletri the Papal defenses with 4,000 infantrymen; instead, he heads to Ferentino and Frosinone to halt the southern attack of the Viceroy of Naples, Carlo di Lannoy. He sends to Frosinone 1,800 infantrymen of the Black Bands (Bande Nere), who served under Giovanni de’ Medici, with the commanders Alessandro Vitelli, Giovambattista Savelli, and Pietro da Birago. He too stands in defense of the city with Vitelli, Stefano Colonna, and Orazio Baglioni; he relieves the castle from the siege placed upon it by the imperial forces. At Ferentino, he defeats the Colonna forces and the company of infantry escorting Cuio. With Stefano Colonna’s victory near Frosinone over 4 banners of German infantrymen, Ceri secures a bridge allowing for a clear path to the city; thus, he heads towards Frosinone and camps in the quarters abandoned by the imperial troops between the town and the Cosa river. Lannoy retreats towards Ceprano in front of the Papal forces. Ceri dispatches light cavalry in pursuit, who seize the supply wagons (26 carts of baggage) and capture a few prisoners. He stations near Ceccano.
Feb.Abruzzo, LazioVaudemont arrives in Rome; this allows Ceri to venture into the Abruzzi. He manages to occupy L’Aquila with the help of the local Guelphs and expels the Count of Montorio, Ludovico Franchi, and Ascanio Colonna; Tagliacozzo, Albe, Celano, and all the territory up to Sora also fall into his hands. He invades the Kingdom of Naples leading 6,000 men, consisting of Italians, French, and Swiss, some of whom are hastily gathered. Carlo di Lannoy focuses his defenses on Naples: by the end of the month, a lack of supplies, shortage of money, and diseases reduce the number of his troops. As a result, Ceri is forced to fall back to Priverno.
Mar.LazioHe retreats towards Terracina, where a conspiracy has been uncovered to hand over the city to Cardinal Pompeo Colonna. He rushes to Rome, but it’s too late because Pope Clement VII, without any clear reasoning, has already reached an agreement with the ambassadors of the Viceroy of Naples, Cesare Fieramosca and Giovanni Seron, and the Colonna family, signing a truce with them for eight months. Apart from placing trust in his adversaries, Clement VII makes another serious mistake. To save 30,000 ducats a month, he reduces the militias at his disposal, first to 2,000 infantrymen of the Black Bands (Bande Nere), 2,000 Swiss, and 100 light cavalry, and subsequently to just the light cavalry. This is done in the face of the march on Rome by Bourbon and the Landsknechts. In vain, Ceri advises the pope to refrain from taking such measures. During these same days, he urges the pope to release Napoleone Orsini from Castel Sant’Angelo and requests the allies to send 600-800 arquebusiers.
MayLazioBy the end of the month, Bourbon departs from Viterbo heading towards Rome. The threat to the city becomes increasingly pressing: Ceri commands a diverse force of 4,000 arquebusiers and a few horsemen under the orders of his son, Giampaolo. Orazio Baglioni repels the adversaries at Ponte Milvio. Ceri becomes optimistic, believing he can hold off the enemy after the initial assault. He has trenches built around the Vatican, strengthens the walls of the Borgo Leonino; however, he cannot cut off the bridges over the Tiber, as the residents of Trastevere oppose this action. He places much hope in Guido Rangoni, who is nearby. Under Bourbon’s command, there are 35,000 infantrymen (10,000 Germans, 5,000 Spanish, 18,000 Italians; Swiss, Saccomanni, and deserters fill out the ranks) and several hundred men-at-arms and light cavalry. The conditions of the imperial army are dire: Rome lies ahead, behind them is the allied army of della Rovere, and all around is desolate countryside.
Ceri, along with the French ambassador Guillaume du Bellay, disdainfully sends back the herald who comes to demand the Pontifical forces’ surrender. At the beginning of the month, the Landsknechts under Corrado di Bemelberg assault the Porta Torrione, the Italians and Spanish attack Porta Pertusa, and Sciarra Colonna threatens Ponte Milvio. The Romans are eager to surrender; however, Ceri manages to intercept their messengers. The attack occurs near Borgo Leonino, aided by a thick fog preventing Castel Sant’Angelo’s artillery from intervening. Bourbon is killed by an arquebus shot to the face. Still, the imperial forces remain resolute; the Germans breach Santo Spirito through a gap where a house stands close to the walls, undefended. The city’s militia, positioned in front of Porta Torrione, flees immediately. During a tense meeting on the Capitoline Hill, Ceri is accused of various failures, defended only by the French ambassador. Pope Clement VII negotiates a surrender with the Prince of Orange.
Ceri continues to fight for another two hours at Borgo San Pietro, alongside Camillo Orsini and Orazio Baglioni, engaging in multiple skirmishes that result in the death of 1,000 enemy infantry. However, when the Spanish forces break into the city through Ponte Sisto, he takes refuge in Castel Sant’Angelo with Baglioni and Langey, the representative of the King of France. During the battle and the subsequent looting, over 4,000 people perish. The sack lasts eight days, providing the Landsknechts and the Spanish with loot estimated at one million ducats in jewels, excluding the ransoms demanded for the captives. Ceri is besieged in the fortress along with 950 others. Pope Clement VII does not hesitate to denounce him.
JuneLazio, FranceThe Pope capitulates to the Imperial forces; Ceri exits Castel Sant’Angelo with 400 men. He is granted the honor of arms. The Prince of Orange intervenes with the Landsknechts who do not wish to respect the terms for fear that he carries with him the treasures of the Church. He proceeds to Civitavecchia and returns to France by sea.
Oct.France, TuscanyHe embarks at Marseille on the vessel “La Bohle” of Saint-Blancard and reaches Livorno. In the Tuscan city, he soon faces difficulties because he is unable to recruit the 6,000 infantrymen he has set out to.
Nov.Tuscany, SardiniaHe sets sail with Andrea Doria’s fleet to Monte Argentario; in Livorno, 3,000 infantrymen board the confederate fleet (Doria’s galleys, 14 French galleys, and 16 Venetian galleys) with the goal of attacking Sicily. A storm forces the ships to return to port. Twelve days pass marked by a lack of provisions and tensions between the various commanders of the expedition. Doria and the Venetian provvisor Agostino da Mula now point out the difficulties of supplying troops in such a distant land, especially during an unfavorable season for navigation. The objective of the expedition is changed, choosing Sardinia, which is closer and less defended. Ceri is confronted by the island’s viceroy, who opposes him with 4,000/5,000 infantrymen and 300/400 cavalry. Because of heavy rain, his attempt on Castel Aragonese, in Corsica, to have a logistical base fails; the fleet is forced to move to Asinara. He lands in Sardinia and tries to surprise the fortress of Castel Genovese. The governor of Logoduro, Francesco de Sena, vigorously defends the castle. Gioffredi di Cervellon comes to the defense’s aid. Ceri and Doria bombard the castle with land and naval artillery. A tower is brought down. A sudden storm pushes Andrea Doria’s ships onto the shores of Asinara, so Ceri, considering the resistance encountered, prefers to give up the siege and move towards Sorso. He conquers the castle. Upon hearing that 500 Sardinian horses, assisted by a large number of peasants armed with bows, are moving against him, he sets up an ambush with the musketeers and easily drives off the opponents. He retreats towards Alghero; suddenly, he changes direction and enters Sassari, where Giovanni de Sena is in charge of its defense. He seizes many provisions; the city is plundered by his soldiers.
Dec.Sardinia, TuscanyThe French, in turn, are besieged by the inhabitants of Logudoro; the unhealthiness of the climate, which claims victims among his men, and a severe storm that causes significant damage to nearly all the galleys, force the termination of the expedition at the beginning of the month. Serious disagreements arise between Doria, who wants to return to Tuscany, and Ceri, who leans towards a raid on Tunis with the aim of resupplying and from there directing towards Sicily. Doria’s viewpoint prevails once again. Ceri accuses him of deliberately sabotaging every offensive plan. He retreats to Livorno.
1528
Feb.Tuscany, FranceHaving recovered from a severe illness that threatened his life, he stops in Pisa. He contemplates resuming plans to attack Sardinia with the French, Venetians, and Genoese; yet again, Doria thwarts every offensive plan by returning to Genoa. He dismisses the infantrymen and sailors. He once again embarks on the galleon of Saint-Blancard and heads to Marseille.
……………VeniceEmpireLombardy
June – JulyLazio, CampaniaHe is sent to the Kingdom of Naples to aid Lautrec. He embarks with 4,000 infantrymen on a fleet of 19 galleys, 2 fustas, and various brigantines; he sends a good portion of them towards Genoa for the city’s defense. He arrives by sea at Corneto (Tarquinia) and besieges Civitavecchia with Barbecieux. At the end of the month, he lands at the Sebeto river and Porto Ricciardo with Carlo di Foix d’Albret. Ferrante Gonzaga fortifies himself in a fort that protects the coastline. Ugo Pepoli and Carlo di Foix Candale intervene. Both are seriously wounded by the adversaries. Lautrec sends Valerio Orsini against the Imperials who, with his counterattack led by infantry and light cavalry, repels and presses the Imperials. The Swiss rally and with their halberds, they scatter the Spanish ranks. The cavalry finally puts the adversaries to flight. In this way, Ceri joins Lautrec (also bringing him some money); however, he only has 800 infantrymen with him, compared to the 6,000 requested by the French captain. Initially, 500 of these will be sent to Calabria to support the actions of Simone Tebaldi; in a short time, they too are called back to the siege of Naples. Ceri examines the French positions with Valerio Orsini and advises Lautrec to both move the camp to a healthier location, being too close to some marshes that facilitate the spread of the plague, and to adopt different methods in the siege operations. Lautrec convenes a war council to hear the opinions of his captains (among them, Pietro Navarro, Valerio Orsini, Ugo Pepoli, Guido Rangoni, and others). Pietro Navarro opposes the proposed measures and manages to convince Lautrec not to accept Ceri’s advice.
Aug.Campania, AbruzzoThe irregularity in supplies, illnesses, desertions, and a lack of money due to the plundering of the French treasurer eventually force Lautrec to send Ceri to Abruzzi to recruit 4,000 infantrymen and 500 cavalrymen. He enlists several companies in the Spoleto region and the Marches. Aided by Napoleone Orsini with money and soldiers, he returns to Campania and pushes Paolo Pietro Cervara towards Capua. Then, again with the Abbot of Farfa and the men-at-arms of Giovanni Caracciolo, who himself came from Fondi, he also sets his sights on that city. He approaches Capua the day after the surrender of Aversa by the Marquis Michelantonio di Saluzzo. Capua does not open its gates to Cervara, which forces Ceri to retreat to Abruzzi.
Sept.Abruzzo, UmbriaHe moves into the Aquila region with 5,000 infantrymen and 500 cavalrymen; he takes 20,000 scudi from the inhabitants of the main city. He turns to San Vittorino and Coppito; he is repelled from Chieti. He enters Umbria at the head of 1,000 infantrymen with Prince Giovanni Caracciolo of Melfi; he is spotted between Nocera Umbra and Gualdo Tadino when many soldiers originally from the Papal States desert his ranks on the order of the Pope, who around the same time abandons the alliance with the French to reconcile with the Imperials.
Oct.FranceEmpireGeneral CaptainMarche, ApuliaAt Montemarciano; he reaches Senigallia; there he embarks his troops (6,000 infantrymen) and heads to Puglia with Giovanni Caracciolo and Federico Gaetani. In the region, he conducts vigorous guerrilla warfare for over a year. He is appointed General Captain and Lieutenant of King Francis I; he is also awarded the collar of the Order of Saint Michael. He reaches Trani and, from there, despite being ill, he goes to Barletta to meet with Camillo Orsini.
Dec,ApuliaHe reinforces himself in Barletta with 5,000 men; he attacks Vieste with the general provider Giovanni Vitturi and captures a Spanish commissioner and a notary, who came to collect certain levies imposed on the inhabitants of Gargano. He moves to Fortore, rich in wheat and barley, which his army lacks; he conquers Ischitella. His infantrymen surprise 300 Spanish soldiers near Andria (150 killed and 150 captured); his relations with the Venetian allies are not always good, to the extent that he is accused of having, through his offensive action, caused the wreck near Vieste of 3 galleys and a fusta (a type of ship).
1529
Jan.ApuliaIn Barletta with Giovanni Caracciolo, Federico Carafa, Simone Tebaldi, Giovan Corrado Orsini, and the Prince of Stigliano, Antonio Carafa. He has Girolamo da Cremona, along with one of his sergeants and his chancellor, hanged by a foot, as they are guilty of wanting to hand over a city gate to the enemies.
Feb.ApuliaHe sends 200 infantrymen to conquer Giovinazzo: the plot is discovered, and his men are forced to retreat. He conducts a diversionary action even in the vicinity of Naples, forcing the viceroy, the Prince of Orange, to move away from L’Aquila. In Barletta, there’s a lack of money for the troops: they are often paid in kind with loaves of bread and measures of wine.
Mar.ApuliaHe barely quells a mutiny among his soldiers. He decides to attack Molfetta with the help of the Venetians. He sends 1,000 infantrymen for the conquest of the town, of which 600 are commanded by his nephew, Giovan Corrado Orsini. Later in the month, he dispatches another 500 infantrymen to Monopoli to repel the attacks made by Alfonso d’Avalos and Fabrizio Maramaldo, who have with them 4,000 Spanish infantry and 2,000 Italians.
Apr.ApuliaHe occupies Canosa and plunders 200 light cavalry and 40 men-at-arms. In the center of the town, they find 300 sacks of wheat which are immediately transported to Barletta. Meanwhile, in Monopoli, an enemy assault results in the death of 600 imperial infantrymen. The situation of the Venetians under Camillo Orsini becomes increasingly difficult, prompting him to send Caracciolo with 600 infantrymen to their aid. During the landing operations, the French lose a galley carrying troops and provisions.
MayApuliaFrom France, 32,000 ducats arrive for salaries; in Monopoli, Alfonso d’Avalos is forced to break camp. Ceri also recovers from a bout of gout; around the same time, he grants the Venetian Giovanni Contarini the fiefdom of Rodi Garganico.
JuneApuliaHe has Captain Giacomo da Bozzolo arrested and brought to Trani on charges of treason. Bozzolo, who commands a regiment, had led a revolt of Corsican infantry due to delayed wages. In a fit of rage, he orders that some cannon shots be fired from the castle at those who have mutinied; the artillery captain hesitates, and with his inaction allows the tumult to subside; the infantry return to obedience after being reassured by the promises of Giovanni Caracciolo and Giovan Corrado Orsini. However, a series of concurrent reasons, from having many irregular infantry at his disposal, a lack of money, artillery, and a regular flow of supplies, prevent Ceri from continuing the offensive as he intended. Only the Florentines send him some aid, while the Duke of Ferrara refuses to ship him four pieces of artillery by sea.
JulyApuliaHe decides to attack Otranto and to send militias to aid Castro and Nardò; with the help of the Venetian fleet under Girolamo Contarini, he captures and sacks Molfetta; he conquers Giovinazzo.
Aug.ApuliaHe fails in an attempt to occupy Brindisi; ultimately, he is forced to take refuge in Barletta. Since he’s unable to guard the entire city, he narrows the defense only to the walls that enclose the Borgo di San Giacomo. He fortifies the walls by adding bastions and embankments to prepare for a prolonged siege. He orders the demolition of the boroughs of San Vitale and Sant’Antonio Abate, churches, houses, and monasteries outside the city walls, with the sole exception of the church of Sant’Antonio Abate.
Sept.ApuliaOperational conditions in Barletta deteriorate. The soldiers eat barley bread, and there is no money for wages.
Nov.ApuliaHe meets with the Venetian provider Giovanni Vitturi. He begins negotiations for a truce with Fernando Alarcon.
Dec.Apulia, VenetoHe leaves Barletta following the Peace of Cambrai between the French and the Imperials; he sets sail for Venice. In the city, he is accommodated at ca’ Dandolo.
1530
Jan.VenetoHe appears in the Collegio accompanied by 10 lords of the Angevin faction and by some captains, such as his son Giampaolo, Giovan Corrado Orsini, and Leonardo Remulo.
Apr.Veneto, FranceHe visits the Collegio again with the French envoy. He is thanked for his service by Doge Gritti; he then proceeds to Padova and from there returns to France.
1533
JuneFranceHe meets with Napoleone Orsini in Lyon.
……………FranceIn Arles.
Oct.FranceThe French deliver to him 24,000 lire, pertaining to provisions for the years 1532 and 1533. Mid-month, he is noted to be in Marseille for the marriage of Caterina de’ Medici to the son of Francis I.
Nov.France, LiguriaHe embarks from Marseille with the Pope; he disembarks at La Spezia.
Dec.ItalyIn the Marche region, he opposes Francesco Maria della Rovere.
1534
Sept. – Oct.France, Tuscany, LazioHe embarks on a fleet of 20 galleys, escorted by numerous frigates and brigantines, with the purpose of accompanying seven French cardinals traveling to Rome for the conclave. This concludes with the election of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese (Pope Paul III). By the end of September, due to bad weather, the naval squadron is forced to take shelter in the Santo Stefano bay. Shortly after, the adverse atmospheric conditions prompt the participants to continue their journey by land.
1535
JuneFranceThe French grant him a command of 80 lances and 150 mounted archers, which are led by one of his lieutenants. He is further given 10,000 lire tornesi by the Transalpine people related to his provision.
Nov.Near Geneva, at Gex, his company sent by the French to aid the lord of Verny, Francesco di Montbel, is defeated.
1536
Jan.ChurchLazioHe is assigned to guard Rome with 12,000 infantrymen. He dies at the end of the month in Blera from a fall off a horse during a hunting outing. He marries Lucrezia Orsini, who died in 1508, the mother of his son Giampaolo, and Francesca Orsini, daughter of Gian Giordano. Their daughter Porzia marries Silvio Savelli in her first marriage and Paolo di Cesi in her second. A street in Rome is named after Renzo di Ceri.

Sources

-“Buon capitano, condottiero esperto di fanterie, energico, baldanzoso, non seppe però contribuire efficacemente, come pure sulle prime aveva lasciato sperare, alla creazione di una valida fanteria italiana, che sarebbe stata uno degli elementi di salvezza della penisola in quel triste periodo.” PIERI

-“Un feroce capo di bande.” CANTU’

-“Ditto signor Renzo de Ceri in effecto ha bon credito et da poi Zuan Paulo Baion tra quella factione Orsina è il più reputato.., mi par homo prudente assai et molto svegliato et cupido de farzi honore.” Da un dispaccio di GIROLAMO DONATO

-“Educato alle armi vi si segnalò per virtù eminenti, tanto più rare quanto meno i tempi temperavano l’animo degli uomini ad azioni nobili.” ARGEGNI

-“Nessuno che ha fior di senno negherà le debite laudi al capitano Renzo Orsini sempre animato da quella prontezza che costituisce la più vantaggiosa dote di un condottiero di armate. Nessuno de’ tanti duci che vedemmo agli stipendi di Venezia fu invitto al pari di lui, nessuno men avido del proprio interesse, né più fedele.” BENVENUTI

-“Homo di gran fama..E’ homo degno, è danno perder in questi tempi..Di poche parole, bon governo e homo di gran faticha etc. sì che è un dignissimo homo..Dito capitanio si porta bene et è in gran fama apresso la Signoria nostra, per esser homo degno et ha bona fortuna.” SANUDO

-“I soldati francesi, dopo la morte di Baiardo, (lo) preferivano a qualunque de’ lor generali.” DE LEVA

-“Versé dans l’art des fortifications,..aussi ingénieux que brave, très-vigilant, et d’une constance inébranlabre.” MIGNET

-A proposito del sacco di Roma “Fra li quali capitani da ciascuno è molto più dannato il signor Renzo; avendo prima molto più che gli altri affermato la vittoria, ed essendo il principale della fazione guelfa, e trovandosi molto popolo romano armato intorno; per non avere con celerità preso quelli espedienti che si potevono con facilità mettere ad effetto: per i quali senza dubbio si salvava la maggior parte di Roma; ma ancora tutti quelli che potevono comandare, dovevano allora, in tanto frangente, insieme con celerità unirsi, e deliberare del modo, e con generosa ostinazione disporsi a difendere la robba di ciascuno, insieme con la patria.” L. GUICCIARDINI

-Alla difesa di Crema “Era con somme laude inalzata la diligenza, e vigilanza di Renzo, perché con animo costante, e intrepido contro tutte le difficoltà lungamente da’ nemici con ferro, e con la fame combattuto, non solamente gli avesse sostenuti, ma havesse lor dato grandissimi danni: ma quest’uomo quanto più vedeva, esser fatto suo nome chiaro, tanto maggiormente s’infiammava di desiderio di gloria: osservava con somma cura i viaggi, e le dimore de’ nemici, considerava i luoghi, e tutti i tempi per prendere qualunque occasione se gli offerisse di fare alcun’altro bel fatto..Per certo l’eccellente virtù di Renzo accompagnata da pari fortuna, havea innalzato il nome di lui a tanta grandezza, che per fama, e per gloria era per commun consenso agguagliato a più chiari Capitani d’Italia: ma cominciando ad invecchiare, o la virtù, o la fortuna di lui, da questo tempo innanzi parmi (il 1515), ch’egli non facesse cose molto degne del suo nome.” PARUTA

-“Le seigneur Rance de Cère, gentil-homme romain, des plus aguerris et experimentéz.” MONLUC

-“Fu un condottiero, o piuttosto capo d’uomini di ventura, il quale molto figurò pel suo valore nei fatti d’arme delle piccole guerre di parte in Italia. Il suo valore però non fu sempre accompagnato da pari lealtà, come suoleva accadere in quei capi avventurieri.” FRANGIPANI

-“Capitano eccellente e stimato nell’arte militare ed affezionatissimo alla corona di Francia.” SANTORO

-“O noble segneur Rance,/ Nous te remercions/ De la bonne recueillance/ Que tu as fait a Bourbon/ A grans coup de canon,/ Aussi d’artillerie,/ Les as tous repoussez/ Jusques en Italie.” LE ROUX DE LINCY. In “Recueil de chants historiques français”

-“Era costui huomo invitto e forte..Era il Sig. Renzo, anchora che fosse potuto parere nuovamente essere stato infelice difensore di Roma, e della patria sua; nondimeno huomo prattico della guerra, e soprattutto persona di rarissima fede, e di singolar fermezza d’animo invitto.” GIOVIO

-“Degno di particolare commendazione era il valore di Renzo da Ceri.” DIEDO

-“Homme fort au faict des armes.” DU BELLAY

-“Gran combattente, a pronto di mano.” P. GIUSTINIAN

-“Capitano invittissimo.” OROLOGI

-“Il quale arrivò a tal frutto di disciplina e a tanta riputatione di nome invitto senza intralasciar mai la militia, che la sua honorata e in ogni luogo conosciuta virtù, fu di grande aiuto a gli amici e di gran spavento a nemici.” SANSOVINO

-“Valoroso soldato..Capitano vigilante e pratico nell’arte della guerra.” ROSEO

-“Uomo di valore ma dal temperamento insubordinato.” HALE

-“Vir strenuus..labore semper exercitus, curisque perpetuis acer et infractus.” ARLUNO

-“Fu il primo a formare un corpo ben ordinato di fanteria italiana, tale da fronteggiare i formidabili battaglioni svizzeri e spagnuoli.” BOSI

-“Valoroso ma imprudente capitano generale del papa.” A. VALORI

-“Quasi sempre sventurato nelle sue imprese..Fu più valente nella difesa che non fosse stato in campo aperto.” BALAN

-“Rentius inter praecipuos Italiae duces numeratus est.” BEAUCAIRE

-“Huomo do alto affare, di animo e ardito.” CANTALICIO

-“Attivo a valoroso Capitano.” A. MOROSINI

-“Celebre condottiero di quella età.” PIGNOTTI

-Con Bartolomeo d’Alviano “Erano Renzo e l’Alviano due valorosi signori di casa Orsina, ed intendenti assai di architettura militare.” PROMIS

-“Capitanio famoso delli nostri tempi.” ROSSO

-Con Giampaolo di Ceri “Militorno con tant’onore sotto la corona di Francia e della gloriosissima repubblica Venetiana.” RUSCELLI

-“Una delle migliori spade.” VERO

-Con Lucio Malvezzi “Ambi valenti e rinomati capitani.” A. ZENO

-“Sommo valentissimo, il quale se faceva temere.” A. DA PAULLO

-“Questo signore Renzo è tanto da bene, valoroso et tanto ad proposito di quella ill.ma S. (Venezia) che ogni cosa è da far volentieri per lui.” DOVIZI

-“Egregium ducem, nostrique amantissimum.” Da una lettera del papa Clemente VII alla comunità di Spoleto, riportata dal SANSI

-“Famosissimo condottiero.” COLUCCI

-“Divenne..quel valorosissimo generale che solo mantenne l’onore delle armi italiane.” CERRI

-“Fu il primo a formare un corpo di fanteria esclusivamente italiana, così salda da essere in grado di resistere ai formidabili battaglioni degli Svizzeri e degli Spagnoli.” BRIGANTE COLONNA

-Alla difesa di Treviso”El signor Enzo  l’un quel novo marte/ a nostri tempi un folgor di battaglia/…/ (Alla difesa di Crema) State signiori ad ascoltar un poco/ le prove di costui degnie di honore/ che n’arete ad udirle festa, & gioco/ e non breve piacer parami al core/ fu questo ardito, e cor di foco./ Enzo de l’anguillara almo signiore/ di ceri, che la grande impresa tolse di crema, come la sua sorte vuolse./…/ El signior enzo ch’ la riscossa ora/ come uso hetor troian el stoco in mano/ provede al tutto la persona altera/ come animoso, e franco capitano/ acciò che la sua giente lui non pera/ tanto era ardito quel guerrier soprano/ e quinci e quindi gira in ogni loco/ come suol far un folgore di foco./ Mai non fu vista tanta gagliardia,/ né tanta astutia, e tanto divo ingegnio/ in capitano per grande che sia,/ quanta era in quel signior d’ogni honor degnio,/ dando a sua giente ardir, e vigoria/ animo, e cor col suo parlar benignio/ sì che i nemici ruppero a la fine/ ponendoli in fraccasso, e gran ruine.” DEGLI AGOSTINI

-“Celui que sa gloire au siège de Marseille rendra populaire et baptisera français.” GAUTHIEZ

-“Il signor Renzo entrò del sangue Orsino/ di cui la fama in tutto il mondo sona.” MANGO

-“Valoroso Capitano de’ suoi tempi.” AVICENNA

-Alla difesa di Marsiglia. “Qui v’era el capitano Renzo da Cerra/ con circa quatro milia in compagnia/ Talian tutti, se ‘l mio dire non erra,/ homini pieni di gran vigoria/ non temon di Borbon sua gente fera/ anzi con schioppi et con artiglieria/ tiravano di fuori a quei del campo/ sì che molti ne fe di vita mancho.” Da un poema del Guadagnino riportato da M. VERRI

-“Fu considerato dai contemporanei un Orsini, per i molteplici legami familiari e politici che egli ebbe con questa illustre famiglia romana e perché ad essa apaprteneva allora la contea di Anguillara, e col cognome di Orsini, ma anche di Renzo da Ceri, come egli stesso di firmava, è chiamato dalla maggior parte dei contemporanei…L’Anguillara fu uno dei maggiori condottieri del suo tempo e fu tenuto in grande stima dalla corte pontificia, da quella di Francia, dalle repubbliche di Venezia e di Firenze che lo ebbero al proprio servizio…Molti cronisti accusano l’Anguillara di non aver predisposto misure sufficienti per impedire il  Sacco (di Roma); e in verità egli sottovalutò il pericolo, forte della sua grande esperienza negli assedi e forse anche per avere di fronte lo stesso avversario sconfitto a Marsiglia; è possibile anche che si lasciasse suggestionare dal mito universalmente diffuso dell’imprendibilità di Roma. Tuttavia egli fu anche vittima di un seguito di circostanze che diminuiscono di molto le sue responsabilità: malgrado le sue vive esortazioni Clemente VII, dopo la tregua col de Launay, aveva disciolto con enorme leggerezza le Bande Nere e tutti i soldati, di cui l’Anguillara poté disporre, furono quattromila archibugieri radunati in fretta e pochissima cavalleria leggera. Gli mancò inoltre, a differenza degli assedi di marsiglia e di Crema, la collaborazione della popolazione, ché le vecchie compagnie del popolo erano state disciolte da Leone X.” DE CARO

-“Who was rising to prominence as an infrantry commander..Renzo da Ceri, from a Roman baronial family, the Anguillara, ..commanded the Venetian infantry, and then became on the most trusted commanders in the service of France.” MALLETT-SHAW

-“After Bartolomeo’s death in 1515 (Bartolomeo d’Alviano), his role as the most prominent Orsini “condottiere”, to whom the younger members of the family would look to provide employment, was taken up by another Orsini “allevo” from an old Guelf family of the Patrimony, Renzo degli Anguillara da Ceri. His father and grandfather had both married Orsini ladies and he himself married two Orsini wives, the second a daughter of Giangiordano. It is not surprising (la prima mogie Lucrezia Orsini di Monterotondo, la seconda un’Orsini di Bracciano) that Renzo and his son Gianpaolo were sometimes called Orsini by contemporanes.” SHAW

-“Capitaine expérimenté.” LOT

-“The leading figure among the group of great Italian “condottieri” who had embraced the French cause.” ARFAIOLI

-“Qui v’era el capitano Renzo da cerra/ con circa quattro milia in compagnia/ Talian tutti del mio dir non erra/ huomini pieni di gran vigoria/ non temon di Borbon suo gente fera/ anzi con schioppi e con artiglieria/ giravano di fuori a quel del campo/ sì che molti ne fa de vita meno.” Da “L’assedio di Pavia” in GUERRE IN OTTAVA RIMA

-Alla difesa di Crema “Lo signor Renzo d’alegreza pieno/ Fa menar dentro quella Colobrina/ con quelle altre sei bocche in un baleno/ De molte de sua gente contadina/ Havendo diffocato el suo veneno/ Sopra de quelli gente beretina (fa sparare)/ Stando in la terra con gaudio & con festa/ Havendo al gran Biscione rotto la testa.” GUERRE IN OTTAVA RIMA

-Alla difesa di Roma “…del sangue Orsino/ di cui la fama in tutto el mondo sona/…/ Poi con celerità fa parte sua/ e al primo scontro il signor Renzo trova/…/ Si io son quel renzo ursin qual esser credo/ non dubitar che mai vi entri alcuno/ che adosso li giro qual porco al spiedo/ benché di nebbia sia l’aer sì bruno/ hor va correndo per ch’io sento & vedo/ combatter ivi debilmente ogniuno/ né por più indugio torna prestamente/ chi vi (v’è) bisogno far di fresca gente.” CELEBRINO

-“Renzo da Ceri.. è un appassionato di fortificazioni; è un leone, ma un leone italiano, combina forza e abilità, e la sua abilità consiste nello smuovere della terra. Rende dieci volte più forti le mura di Marsiglia con bastioni, torri, terrazzamenti, fossati, scarpe e controscarpe, il tutto guarnito di cannoni, petrieri, archibugi a puleggia, colubrine. Sul monticciolo dei mulini della Major, ci mette dei cannoni di bronzo e, in cima agli Accoules, da dove si domina tutto il paesaggio circostante, colloca in freni di terra friabile tre dei più grossi pezzi d’artiglieria, degli oggetti talmente mostruosi da essere stati battezzati con nomi da favola e da mitologia: il Dragone, Giove, il Basilisco. Dopo ogni colpo ci volevano normalmente quaranta uomini per rimetterli al loro posto; grazie ai freni di terra friabile nei quali Renzo li fa rinculare e dibattere, ora bastano dai sei agli otto uomini per manovrare questi mastodonti.” GIONO

Featured image: wikipedia

Topics: Renzo da Ceri military career, Renzo da Ceri and the Sack of Rome, Battles led by Renzo da Ceri, The Anguillara family and their legacy, Italian condottieri of the Renaissance, Renzo’s role in the Italian Wars, Leadership of Renzo during the feud with Colonna family

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