martedì, Luglio 16, 2024

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

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The Dual Nature of Galeotto Malatesta

Italian CondottieriThe Dual Nature of Galeotto Malatesta

In his time, he was the most powerful lord in Romagna. He represents the peak of his family's power. Very skilled in the art of war, he is often judged by contemporaries as wise and prudent. However, in his character, there is a mixture of cruelty and kindness, ferocity and goodness: his life can thus recall acts of chivalry and ignoble betrayals; episodes of greed and love for literature; boundless ambition and religious humility.

Indice delle Signorie dei Condottieri: ABCDEFGIJLMNOPQRSTUVZ

Medieval Romagna’s Powerful Lord: Galeotto Malatesta

Galeotto Malatesta of Rimini. Guelph.

Lord of Rimini, Cesena, Fano, Pesaro, Ascoli Piceno, San Benedetto del Tronto, Sansepolcro, Citerna, Senigallia, Osimo, Recanati, Jesi, Fossombrone, Ancona, Cervia, Bertinoro, Cattolica, Gemmano, Monte Colombo, Montescudo, Montefiore Conca, Coriano, Gabicce Monte, Granarola, Catignano, Bagnacavallo, Cartoceto, Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna, Meldola, Sarsina, Pergola, Fermo, Mondavio, Monteloro, Montecchio, Fratte Rosa, Torre San Marco, San Vito sul Cesano, Montalfoglio, San Lorenzo in Campo, Isola di Fano, Reforzate, Barchi, Rupoli, Orciano di Pesaro, San Giorgio di Pesaro, Piagge, Ripalta, Montegiano, Serrungarina, Pozzuolo, Bargni, San Costanzo, Montemaggiore al Metauro, Sorbolongo, Saltara.

Son of Pandolfo Malatesta, brother of Malatesta Guastafamiglia, father of Carlo Malatesta, Andrea Malatesta, and Pandolfo III Malatesta, cousin of Ferrandino Malatesta and Giovanni Malatesta, uncle of Galeotto Malatesta Ungaro and Pandolfo Malatesta, son-in-law of Rodolfo da Varano, father-in-law of Guidantonio da Montefeltro, Ranuccio Farnese, and Astorre Manfredi.

Born: 1299
Death: 1385, January

Year, monthState, Comp. venturaOpponentConductActivity AreaActions taken and other salient facts
1322RomagnaWith his brother Malatesta Guastafamiglia, he helps Ostasio da Polenta seize control of the lordship of Ravenna after the latter killed his cousin, the archbishop of the city.
1323
JuneRomagnaHe was knighted in Rimini along with his father Pandolfo, his brother Malatesta, his cousin Ferrandino, Ramberto and Giovanni Malatesta by the Archbishop of Ravenna, Almerico di Castel Lucio.
1324
MayHe first marries Elisa della Villette, niece of the rector of the Marche, Amelio di Lautrec, a trusted man of Pope John XXII. The dowry is set at 1600 florins. On this occasion, grand celebrations are organized with games, tournaments, dancers, jugglers, and troupes of artists. All the Malatesta family (including Ferrandino, Giovanni, and his brother Malatesta) and the most important figures from Tuscany, Marche, Romagna, and Lombardy are present. Galeotto Malatesta also receives gifts from the rectors of the Arts of Perugia. During the same period, the Pope asks for his help to counter the Este family.
Oct.Along with his father and brother, he is named a “Knight of Christ” by the rector of the Marche.
1326
JulyRomagnaUpon the death of his father, he is captured along with his cousin Ferrandino Malatesta by Ramberto Malatesta, Count of Ghiaggiolo. The relative proclaims himself lord of Rimini; after three days, his brother Malatesta intervenes, forcing the rebel to flee the city. In this circumstance, Galeotto is initially compelled to walk alongside his captor through the streets of Rimini to be hailed as lord of the city by the populace and later during his flight to Santarcangelo di Romagna.
Aug.With his brother, he obtains from the Pope the cancellation of a bounty of 3600 florins.
1327
………RiminiFanoMarcheHe assists Guido da Carignano in driving Giacomo da Carignano out of Fano.
………Along with his brother Malatesta, he is appointed by Ludovico the Bavarian as imperial vicar for Rimini and Pesaro.
1330
Apr.ChurchModenaEmiliaHe is defeated and taken prisoner by Guido and Manfredo Pio in a clash at Formigine.
1331
………LazioIn Rome, at the Colosseum, he participates in a bull hunt. He wears a green outfit and holds a spear in his hand. The bull charges at him. Galeotto strikes it on the back. The enraged bull hits him on the knee, causing him to fall to the ground. He is rescued from the dangerous situation by the intervention of a friend, Cicco della Valle.
May – Sept.ChurchMalatestaRomagnaWith his brother, he besieges Malatestino Novello Malatesta, son of Ferrandino, in Mondaino, who refuses to hand over some castles in the Rimini area to the papal forces. In early September, he unsuccessfully assaults the castle of Monteleone. During the same period, together with his brother Malatesta, he takes control of the castles of Colbano, Colbanello, Ginestreto, Secchiano, and Roncofreddo.
1332
Sept.LazioGaleotto Malatesta took part in a bullfight held in the Colosseum in Rome. He was the first to enter the arena, dressed in green, with a spear in hand. He wounded the bull on its back; the animal reacted with a kick that struck Galeotto on the knee. He was saved by the intervention of Cicco della Valle, who managed to divert the bull’s attention.
1333
………ChurchFerraraEmiliaHe fights against the troops of Rinaldo d’Este and those of the anti-papal league.
Apr.EmiliaHe is defeated and taken prisoner in the Battle of Ferrara. He is released without the payment of any ransom.
Aug.MalatestaChurchRomagnaHe rebels against the papal legate, Cardinal Bertrando del Poggetto; he reconciles at Scorticata with his cousin Ferrandino. With the help of the Arezzo forces (400 horsemen), he devastates the countryside around Rimini up to the city gates; he halts at Santa Maria di Belvedere.
Sept.RomagnaHe occupies Mondaino; his brother Malatesta, also released by the Este after the Battle of Ferrara, returns to Pesaro. Galeotto leaves Santarcangelo di Romagna with Ferrandino, crosses the Marecchia with 1500 infantry, 160 cavalry, and many exiles, and attacks the Porta di Sant’Andrea (Porta Montanara) in Rimini. The inhabitants create disorder within the city and barricade the streets. A supporter of Ferrandino lets 400 infantry through a window of a house on the walls; the soldiers occupy the area, break the chains of the gate, and allow Ferrandino and the rest of the troops to enter the city.
1334
Jan.RiminiChurchHe joins the league opposing Cardinal del Poggetto and King John of Bohemia.
Mar.MarcheTogether with Ferrandino Malatesta, his brother Malatesta Guastafamiglia, and Jacopo da Carignano, he takes control of Fano and Fossombrone.
May – JuneRomagnaWith his brother, he treacherously captures Ferrandino and his son Guido in Rimini. The cousin is imprisoned in Gradara, and the son is killed in prison.
………RiminiMalatestaMarcheHe fights against Ferrandino Novello Malatesta, another son of Ferrandino, who has managed to evade all traps and receives aid from Nolfo da Montefeltro.
1335
Mar.MarcheHis brother Malatesta is defeated at Tomba by Galasso da Montefeltro, Antoniuccio della Tomba, and Ferrandino Novello Malatesta.
1337
JuneRomagnaHe reconciles with Ferrandino and Ferrandino Novello through the mediation of Ostasio da Polenta and the lord of Fermo, Mercenario da Monteverde.
1340
MayMarcheWith his brother, he takes advantage of a severe illness of Guido da Carignano to seize Fano.
………MarcheEmperor Ludovico the Bavarian, with a decree issued in Trento, grants the Malatesta family the imperial vicariate over Pesaro, Fano, and Rimini. As a result of this concession, the two brothers divide the territory, with Galeotto gaining control of Pesaro and Fano, while Malatesta Guastafamiglia retains control of Rimini.
JulyPope Benedict XII requests assistance from the Florentines to ensure that he and his brother return the usurped lands to the Papal States.
1342
Oct.RiminiComp. venturaRomagnaHe is attacked in his territories by the Great Company of Guarnieri di Urslingen. He is forced to negotiate with the mercenaries.
1343
SpringRomagnaWith his brother, he obtains from Emperor Ludovico the Bavarian the investiture of Fano, Pesaro, Rimini, and Senigallia. In the division of powers, Galeotto receives the governance of Fano; Malatesta retains control of Rimini, and their nephew Pandolfo is given Pesaro.
MayRomagnaThrough the mediation of the Vicar of Romagna, Filippo dell’Antella, he once again reconciles with his cousin Ferrandino.
JuneRomagnaHe submits to the Papal States. The interdict on his territories is lifted.
1347
MayAnconaOsimoMarcheHe enters Osimo with his brother and is reprimanded by the Pope.
Dec.MarcheHe receives King Louis of Hungary in Fano, who is en route to conquer the Kingdom of Naples.
1348
………RiminiAncona, Cingoli, Fermo, JesiMarcheHe invades the Marche, conquering Senigallia, Jesi, Orciano, Cingoli, Montecosaro, and Monterubbiano. In this way, he quickly becomes the lord of much of the Marche region.
MayMarcheHe leaves Fano and is granted the lordship of Ascoli Piceno by the inhabitants following their rebellion against the governor of the Papal States. He remains lord of this city until 1353. The inhabitants elect him as their captain general to fight against Fermo.
Oct.MarcheHe defeats his enemies at Sassoferrato. He besieges the city, defended by Ungaro degli Atti. He drives Lomo da Jesi out of Jesi; after several days, he moves to Fano, which is under attack by Gentile da Mogliano, lord of Fermo.
Nov.MarcheHe subdues Pergola and Rocca Contrada (Arcevia). With his brother Malatesta, he ambushes the army of Gentile da Mogliano near San Severino Marche, which is retreating towards Fermo: many prisoners are taken, and a large amount of provisions fall into the hands of the Ascolani. Galeotto Malatesta returns to Ascoli Piceno and stays for several days near Fermo. Along the way, he sacks the castles of Marano, Castignano, Montolivo, and Carassai. He occupies San Benedetto a Mare (San Benedetto del Tronto) thanks to the betrayal of Pietro Mancini, who hands over the locality in exchange for 1000 florins paid by the Ascolani themselves.
Dec.MarcheHe besieges Offida, where he encamps with his troops. He destroys the roads around the settlement and breaks the aqueduct that supplies water to the fountains outside the walls. The defenders are forced to surrender. He then moves near Ancona and conquers the city with the help of the constable Vanni da Tolentino, who lets him enter through the Porta di San Cataldo. He storms the city with his brother Malatesta; the soldiers commit numerous robberies against the inhabitants. In the town, he will have the fortresses of San Cataldo and Santa Caterina built.
1349
Apr.Romagna, IsraelWith his nephew Galeotto Malatesta Ungaro (accompanied by the Florentine jester and poet Dolcibene), he embarks in Rimini on a galley from Ancona bound for the Holy Land to visit the Holy Sepulchre. On this occasion, Dolcibene composes a hymn dedicated to the Virgin.
Aug. – Sept.MarcheHe returns from Palestine. A plot against him is discovered in Ascoli Piceno: two conspirators are beheaded in Piazza dell’Arengo and two more in early September at the camp of Parignano. Their bodies are quartered and pieces of flesh are hoisted on the soldiers’ pikes. He also imprisons the city’s bishop, Isacco Bindi, along with two of his brothers: the prelate had approached him in sacred vestments to harshly rebuke him. The three are imprisoned and will be released only after eleven months. The inhabitants flee to their homes. Galeotto Malatesta‘s men loot and close the churches, violently suppressing any attempt at revolt. He is excommunicated, and Ascoli Piceno suffers under the interdict. During the year, he restores Porto d’Ascoli; in the city, he builds a fort near Porta Maggiore on the banks of the Castellano stream: this structure will be demolished upon his expulsion from the city and rebuilt centuries later by Sangallo the Younger. Also within the year, he orders the construction of another stronghold on the Pelasgian hill: this fort will also be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up by order of Pope Pius IV (Fortezza Pia). Additionally, Malatesta has the city’s surrounding moats arranged, the walls reinforced, and the streets paved.
Nov.MarcheHe seizes Carassai, while his brother Malatesta subjugates San Benedetto del Tronto and Montolmo (Corridonia).
1350
Jan. – Apr.MarcheSi forma in Ascoli Piceno una nuova congiura ai suoi danni. La trama  gli è rivelata da Lozzo da Cascia che per la delazione riceve un premio di 100 fiorini. Ai primi di febbraio vengono catturati 4 congiurati: costoro sono fatti trascinare per le vie cittadine alle code di 4 cavalli. In piazza dell’Arengo sono squartati ed i loro cadaveri sono ridotti a pezzi; le loro teste vengono infisse sulle picche. Gli si ribellano a causa del suo carattere tirannico i castelli della montagna ascolana di Monte Calvo, Arquata del Tronto, Quintodecimo, Cocoscia, Lisciano di Colloto, Cervara, Appignano del Tronto, Folignano ed  Acquasanta Terme. Allo scopo di calmare gli animi   dei cittadini e quelli degli abitanti dei vicini monti ai primi di aprile Galeotto Malatesta promette la liberazione dal carcere del vescovo e dei suoi fratelli (il che avviene nel successivo agosto); nello stesso tempo bandisce da Ascoli Piceno molti abitanti. Durante una sua assenza i fuoriusciti si accostano alle mura della località, si fermano fuori Porta Romana ed assalgono i suoi uomini. I nemici sono respinti con molte  perdite: 6 uomini vengono impiccati davanti alla porta. Il Malatesta effettua subito una spedizione punitiva ai danni dei ribelli; avanza sino ad Acquasanta Terme, dove colloca  il suo quartiere generale. Da tale località per 14 giorni opera ininterrotti rastrellamenti che terminano  con morti e prigionieri. Lascia Acquasanta Terme.
MayMarcheHe confronts Gentile da Mogliano again over the possession of several border castles and the use of the river port at the mouth of the Tronto. He occupies Santa Vittoria in Matenano (thanks to the nighttime defection of the entire garrison of 40 men), advances to Servigliano, and challenges Mogliano to battle. He conquers Petritoli after an 8-day siege, and gains Monte Guidone (Monte Vidone) and Monte San Pietrangeli. He returns in triumph to Ascoli Piceno, laden with booty and accompanied by numerous prisoners and hostages.
June – Aug.MarcheIn mid-month, he leaves Santa Vittoria in Matenano to return once more to Ascoli Piceno; he encamps near Castel San Piero and subdues the locality after a week of siege. In early July, he occupies Quinzano, Castel Fiorito, Vindola, and Roccafluvione. In August, he enters Cingoli.
Sept.MarcheWith the Ascolani and 300 soldiers from Ripatransone, he goes to the aid of Osimo, which is besieged by 600 infantry and 9 companies of cavalry from Fermo. He forces the adversaries to halt their operations. Galeotto Malatesta is welcomed as a liberator and establishes his lordship over the city as well.
Oct.NaplesHungary300 cavalryAbruzzoGaleotto Malatesta is now hired by the grand seneschal of the Kingdom of Naples, Niccolò Acciaiuoli, to oppose the troops of King Louis of Hungary. He penetrates into the Abruzzi to reclaim L’Aquila. He reaches Chieti and Lanciano, but is defeated near the latter by Corrado Lupo. He faces similar failures at Monteodorisio and Vasto, and returns to the Marche.
1351
MayRiminiFermoMarcheHe seizes Montefalcone Appennino with the inhabitants of Ascoli Piceno; on this occasion, the Ascolani recover the banner taken from them by the inhabitants of Fermo three years earlier when Gentile da Mogliano occupied and destroyed Porto d’Ascoli. He occupies Civitanova Marche, where the son of the lord of Fermo, Ruggero da Mogliano, is captured. All the prisoners are taken to Ascoli Piceno.
June – Oct.RiminiFermoMarcheThe lord and archbishop of Milan, Giovanni Visconti, acts as a peacemaker in the conflict between Ascoli Piceno and Fermo. Visconti sends three ambassadors to the Marche (Tommaso da Lampugnano, Iacopo Boffi, and Niccolò dei Fei). In early July, the two parties meet in Monterubbiano, and by the end of October, peace agreements are signed in Ascoli Piceno at Malatesta‘s palace.
1352
Jan.MarcheHe strengthens the defenses of the castle of Porto d’Ascoli.
Feb.MarcheA new conspiracy against him is discovered in Ascoli Piceno. His reaction is so violent that the city’s bishop is forced to ask the Pope for a transfer to the diocese of L’Aquila. The prelate is replaced by Paolo di Barzano.
MayMarcheGaleotto Malatesta, leading the Ascolani from the Sant’ Emidio quarter, moves against the castle of Petritoli. He besieges it and destroys its walls and crops. From there, he advances to the castle of Monte Vidone, which he conquers. The inhabitants of the Sant’ Emidio quarter take possession of it, and they are subsequently replaced by the citizens from the Santa Maria Inter Venias quarter.
………MarcheA new plot arises in Ascoli Piceno. The conspirators are captured, dragged through the city streets tied to the tails of horses, and hanged.
Sept.RiminiRebelsMarcheHe decides to put an end to the lords of the Ascolani mountains. He occupies the castles of Lugo, Fonditorio, Castel San Pietro, Santa Maria in Lapide, Vitreto, and Monte Passillo. Meanwhile, the Ascolani rise up against his rule; during the revolt, his vicar and 25 other men are killed. Malatesta barricades himself in the fortress of Porta Maggiore. The fortress is stormed, resulting in the deaths of many of his supporters, while others escape through the Ponte di Cecco, later known as the “bridge of sorties.” Galeotto Malatesta leaves Ascoli Piceno forever. During this period, he declines invitations from emissaries of Florence, Lucca, Pisa, and Perugia, who wish for his presence in an embassy to be sent to Germany to solicit the help of Emperor Charles of Bohemia against the Visconti.
Nov.400 cavalryAbruzzoHe is appointed by King Louis of Taranto as Viceroy of Abruzzo and Grand Justiciar of the Kingdom of Naples. He operates between Chieti and Lanciano, bringing the last rebellious barons back to obedience and collecting taxes from insolvent communes.
Dec.NaplesHungaryCampaniaFra Moriale is summoned by King Louis of Taranto to appear before him. When he refuses, Galeotto Malatesta marches against him with a strong army. The condottiero retreats into the castle of Aversa, where he has gathered all his loot. Malatesta surrounds the castle with moats and stockades, completely blocking any entry or exit. By the end of the month, or in early January of the following year, Fra Moriale surrenders under negotiated terms. He secures his life, the lives of his men, and a grant of 1000 florins. His treasure falls into the hands of the Angevin king.
1353
JulyRiminiFermo, CingoliMarcheHe continues to fight against Gentile da Mogliano. At the end of a truce, he seizes Porto d’Ascoli and strengthens its defenses towards the sea. He ambushes the enemy troops and captures another son of the lord of Fermo. Gentile da Mogliano, however, escapes capture because he had the foresight to board a ship at Cesenatico and reach his lordship by sea before the battle. Galeotto Malatesta besieges Fermo. The lord and archbishop of Milan, Giovanni Visconti, imposes a brief truce between the contenders. Malatesta then besieges Cingoli.
Aug.MarcheHe enters Cingoli and quickly occupies Montecchio (Treia), Montecosaro, and Monterubbiano. When the truce expires on August 20th, he once again besieges Gentile da Mogliano in Fermo.
Sept. – Nov.RiminiComp. venturaMarcheHe obtains Porto San Giorgio through a treaty. Gentile da Mogliano calls the Great Company of Fra Moriale to his aid. The mercenaries not only force Galeotto Malatesta to abandon the siege operations but also move into his territories, causing the usual devastations.
1354
Jan.MarcheThe adversaries, with the help of Ludovico Ordelaffi, occupy Montefeltrano (Filottrano); Galeotto Malatesta then rides to Montefano to set the castle on fire. The inhabitants oppose him by opening the city gates to the mercenaries. Montefiore dell’Aso follows this example.
Feb. – Aug.Marche, Umbria, ToscanaHe takes up the defense of Fano. The Great Company destroys 44 castles, and he seeks aid in vain from Tuscany to face the mercenaries. He travels to Perugia, Siena, and Florence; the Florentines promise him 200 cavalry, but they return to their territories when the Perugians and Sienese fail to meet their commitments. Galeotto Malatesta reaches an agreement with Fra Moriale, agreeing to a ransom of 60,000 florins: the final installment is due in mid-August, and until then, his nephew Galeotto Malatesta Ungaro remains a hostage in the company’s power.
July – Oct.RomagnaWith his brother Malatesta, he is summoned by Pope Innocent VI to appear in mid-October in Avignon to defend themselves against the accusation of holding lands belonging to the Papal States. They are granted a safe conduct. However, the two Malatesta ignore the summons, resulting in their being condemned in absentia by the Pope.
1355
Feb.RiminiChurchMarcheExcommunicated, he is attacked in his territories by the militias of Cardinal Egidio Albornoz.
Mar.MarcheHe challenges Cardinal Albornoz to a duel, and the prelate accepts. However, Galeotto Malatesta decides to abandon the plan. He leaves Ancona with 600 men-at-arms and captures a castle near Recanati. He besieges the city after fortifying his camp with a trench. He is attacked twice by Rodolfo da Varano leading 800 cavalry and many infantry.
Apr.Marche, UmbriaThe inhabitants of the castle of Paterno d’Ancona make an agreement with the papal forces and seek assistance from Marquis Fernando Blasco (Blasco di Bonviso). The Malatesta tax collectors arrive at the castle to collect taxes; the population rebels and shuts the gates in the faces of the Rimini emissaries who come to demand an explanation for their behavior. Galeotto Malatesta marches from Ancona against the inhabitants, setting up his camp in a small hospital. Blasco di Bonviso sneaks numerous troops into the center of the castle at night through the gate facing Jesi. Attacked by the adversaries at a poorly guarded point in the camp, the Malatesta camp is overrun by Rodolfo da Varano. Galeotto Malatesta then strengthens his position in the village with 400 cavalry, repelling three assaults in a clash that lasts from early morning until noon. Surrounded on all sides, his men eventually flee. Captured twice during the battle, Galeotto Malatesta is freed by his cavalry. Finally, his horse is killed; while attempting to escape, he is wounded in the thigh and captured by the constable Everardo di Anstorp, who will receive a reward of 200 florins for this deed in the following July. Galeotto Malatesta is imprisoned in the Palazzo dei Consoli in Gubbio; Cardinal Albornoz threatens him with death, but Niccolò Acciaiuoli intervenes on his behalf. He persuades his brother Malatesta Guastafamiglia to capitulate. To commemorate this victory, a chapel dedicated to Saint James is consecrated in Paterno d’Ancona, which will be destroyed over time.
May – JuneTuscanyOnce released, in May he goes to Pisa to meet Emperor Charles of Bohemia, hoping for his intervention in his favor. Disappointed in his expectations, he makes an act of submission. In exchange for returning Ancona and Senigallia, the Malatesta are granted the vicariate of Rimini, Fano, Pesaro, and Fossombrone for 12 years, with an annual fee of 9000 florins and the provision of 100 cavalry for three months each year. The lords of Rimini also commit to not waging war in the territories of the Church or joining any leagues hostile to the papacy. They are also required to swear allegiance to the Pope at the beginning of each pontificate. In the division of assets with his brother, Galeotto Malatesta is assigned the lordship of Fano.
Aug.MarcheHe welcomes Cardinal Albornoz in Fano. He is absolved of all ecclesiastical censure.
1356
Apr.ChurchForlì, FaenzaGonfaloniere of the Papal StatesRomagnaA crusade is declared against Francesco Ordelaffi, lord of Forlì. Galeotto Malatesta is appointed Gonfaloniere of the Papal States with a monthly provision of 500 ducats. The ceremony takes place in Rimini at the Church of San Giuliano. He also leases for five years from the Archbishop of Ravenna several castles in the Rimini area, already under his control, such as Gemmano, Monte Colombo, Montescudo, Marazzano, Coriano, and in the Pesaro area Gabicce, Cattolica, Gazolo, Granarola, Fanano, and Catignano. He initiates hostilities against Ludovico Ordelaffi with 1000 cavalry. In addition to Galeotto and Malatesta Guastafamiglia, 600 citizens of Rimini take the cross against the Ordelaffi.
MayRomagnaHe destroys the stockade protecting the port of Cesenatico and proceeds to the camp at Ronta in the Cesena area, where Roberto Alidosi is stationed with the crusader army, which numbers 12,000 soldiers and 3,000 sappers. At the sound of trumpets, his men devastate the entire countryside. In mid-month, he moves to Limata, where he stays for 14 days, crosses the Ronco bridge, and moves into the Forlì area, remaining there until the end of the month. During the same days, Galeotto Malatesta Ungaro departs with a part of the army to set up camp near the Savio, in the Cesena area, at a place called Torre del Vescovo.
JuneRomagnaHe camps at Matalardo and Bulgaria. In mid-month, he obtains the castle of Montevecchio through betrayal from Giovanni di Montevecchio, promising him 400 ducats.
JulyRomagnaHe is reported at the camp of San Valeriano in Livia, between the Ronco River and the canal; he destroys the crops, crosses the river, and moves to San Martino, Ronco, and Maiano Monti. He plunders the countryside of Forlimpopoli and Bagnolo and camps at Villafranca. He retreats before the Great Company, now commanded by Konrad von Landau (Conte Lando).
Aug. – Dec.RomagnaHe moves to the Faenza area and sets up camp at Cosina, devastating the surrounding territory. He overcomes the resistance of the Manfredi, who in December submit to Cardinal Albornoz. In the same month, he enters Faenza in triumph and receives from the papal legate the vicariate of Bagnacavallo and other castles.
1357
Mar.RomagnaHe returns to the Forlì area with his nephew Galeotto Malatesta Ungaro and Roberto Alidosi. Soon, they are joined by Ostasio da Polenta and Giovanni Manfredi, a former ally of Francesco Ordelaffi.
Apr. – MayGeneral captainMarche, RomagnaThe campaign begins: the camp is set up at Brusada, easily supplied with provisions and forage from Faenza, Imola, Bologna, and Ravenna. He goes to Fano to welcome Cardinal Albornoz coming from Ancona, and they decide to attack Cesena. He is given command of the operations. He raids the countryside with Ostasio da Polenta, plundering villages and taking many prisoners. To reinforce the siege operations, he occupies the Colle del Monastero, thus blocking all access to the city. In May, a tunnel under the walls of the citadel (the Murata) is completed, where Cia degli Ubaldini, wife of Francesco Ordelaffi, has taken refuge with 400 men, along with her children and nephews, after burning the surrounding buildings and houses following the rebellion of the inhabitants. The final attack begins. The supports holding up the beams that brace the tunnel are set on fire. Their collapse creates large breaches in the fortress walls.
June – JulyRomagnaThe father of Cia degli Ubaldini, Giovanni di Susinana, who serves in the opposing army, obtains permission from Cardinal Albornoz to speak with her and urge her to surrender. She refuses. The papal forces set up eight mangonels against the fortress walls. By the end of the month, the constables convince her to cease resistance. As a result of the negotiations, the soldiers are allowed to leave, carrying whatever they can. Cia degli Ubaldini accepts imprisonment for herself, her two sons, two nephews, and two daughters of Gentile da Mogliano who are with her, along with her handmaidens. Albornoz sends the prisoners to Ancona, where they are all treated honorably.
JulyRomagna, MarcheHe besieges the castle of Bertinoro, having tunnels dug under the walls (as done in Cesena) to cause them to collapse. The defenders soon abandon the fight. With the arrival of the Great Company to aid Francesco Ordelaffi, Galeotto Malatesta withdraws to Fano.
1358
Jan.MarcheTogether with his brother, he obtains from Pope Innocent VI, for an annual fee of 300 florins, the vicariate of additional castles in the counties of Rimini, Fano, and Fossombrone.
………ChurchMilanEmiliaHe is defeated by the Visconti forces in the Bologna area and is wounded in a minor skirmish.
Apr.RomagnaHe besieges Forlì, camping at the Ponte di Ronco and constructing a bastion there.
JulyRomagnaHe obtains Meldola through negotiations.
1359
MayMarcheThe inhabitants of Porcozzone rebel against the Papal States. Galeotto Malatesta sends Giusto Nuti di Volterra with two companies of infantry. The revolt is quelled, and its leaders are executed.
JulyRomagnaWith Albertaccio Ricasoli and Cardinal Albornoz, he organizes a celebration in Forlì to commemorate the victory over Francesco Ordelaffi.
1360
MayGeneral captainEmiliaIn Bologna, he is once again elected Captain General of the papal forces.
Aug.MarcheHe gathers the troops at Montalboddo (Ostra). He is supported in the operations by Blasco di Belviso, the nephew of Cardinal Albornoz and the rector of Bologna. He takes Corinaldo from Niccolò da Buscareto, who had rebelled against the Papal States. He captures the castle and has it burned after his soldiers loot it. The townspeople are pardoned. The castle is razed to the ground after being stripped of everything. He then turns against Buscareto and Montenovo (Ostra Vetere), which are aided by the Visconti forces of Anichino di Baumgarten. His attacks are repelled. He relinquishes command to his nephew Pandolfo and returns to the Bologna area. With the withdrawal of Anichino di Baumgarten, who was supposed to support the rebels, Niccolò da Buscareto also surrenders the castle of Buscareto.
Sept.EmiliaSix thousand Hungarians led by Simone della Morte join the papal forces. He captures the bastion of Castelfranco Emilia (which is set on fire) and recovers the castle of Varignana. Contrary to the terms of the surrender, he brings the defenders who had agreed to the surrender to Bologna.
Oct.EmiliaHe returns to Bologna with Cardinal Albornoz; they are welcomed with grand celebrations and honors. To avenge himself on Rodolfo da Varano, who defeated him at Paterno d’Ancona, Galeotto Malatesta has him captured in Fermo by Giovanni Visconti da Oleggio on charges of treason. The lord of Camerino is found innocent by the papal legate and is released the following month. In mid-October, he again leaves Bologna and assaults the bastion of Casalecchio di Reno (or della Canonica), defended by Pagano di Panico. Upon returning to the city, he knights several men alongside Niccolò Acciaiuoli.
Nov.EmiliaBernabò Visconti dismisses 1,000 Hungarians in Lombardy who head to Reggio Emilia. These troops are immediately hired by Cardinal Albornoz, who also enlists the forces of Feltrino Gonzaga. Galeotto Malatesta joins them at the head of another 1,000 cavalry. By the end of the month, he secures the surrender of the bastion of Casalecchio di Reno. Pagano di Panico, Leonardo di Panico, and Piccinello della Mostacha are captured.
Dec.EmiliaHe crosses the Fossata and enters the village of Sant’Elpidio a Parma; he sets fire to the Porta di San Francesco in Codiponte but is driven away by a counterattack from the defenders. In response, he ravages the Parma region for 25 days with arson and looting, encountering no resistance from the enemy troops. He then returns to Bologna. Around the same time, Simone della Morte is suspected of having been bribed by Bernabò Visconti.
1361
Jan. – Feb.EmiliaHe receives reinforcements from the Duke of Austria and leads his troops against Castelfranco Emilia and other castles that have rebelled against the papal forces. In February, his attempt to occupy Lugo fails. Lacking the money to pay his troops, the Hungarians in his service abandon him; some join the enemy in Lugo, while others head to Romagna and the Marche to live off plunder.
Mar.Emilia, Romagna, MarcheHe defends Bologna with his brother Malatesta. Driven by necessity, he moves to Molinella and Argenta; he embarks on the Po di Primaro and travels to Ancona with Antonio Galluzzi and Ubaldino Malavolti to explain the situation to Albornoz. The cardinal then travels to Hungary to seek funds and troops from King Louis to continue the war against the Visconti.
JuneEmiliaGiovanni di Bileggio attempts to cut off the last supply route remaining to the Bolognese, namely the road through the Apennines leading to Florence.
JulyRomagna, EmiliaGiovanni di Bileggio begins constructing a bastion on the Savena at San Ruffillo. Galeotto Malatesta, with 500 barbute and 300 Hungarians gathered in Faenza to counter Francesco Ordelaffi, who is troubling the Rimini area, rides to Imola and unexpectedly enters Bologna without the adversaries noticing. He immediately sends a large contingent to Jola, a poorly guarded vantage point over the plain held by the Visconti forces. He knights several captains, including Blasco Gomez, and joins forces with his nephew Galeotto Malatesta Ungaro. Together (700 barbute, 300 Hungarians, and 4,000 Bolognese, many armed with falchions designed to disembowel horses), they attack the enemies at dawn on the Savena (1,500 cavalry, 2,000 infantry, and many Ubaldini partisans) outside Porta Santo Stefano.
The army is divided into two parts: the right wing is commanded by Gomez Albornoz (replaced by Piero Farnese when the severely wounded Spaniard leaves the field), and the left by the podestà of Bologna, Fernando Blasco, while Galeotto himself commands the center with the heavy cavalry. The Bolognese form the rear guard. The Visconti forces are heavily defeated: 400 horses are killed and 970 men die (456 of them Visconti), with an additional 1,300 Visconti captured, including Giovanni di Bileggio, Gaspare, and Giovanni degli Ubaldini. Among the papal forces (about half of whom are Bolognese), Fernando Blasco is killed and buried in Bologna in the church of San Francesco. The dead are buried in a mass grave. All the prisoners are brought into the city: the Germans and constables are released on parole with their weapons and a nag, while the squad leaders are allowed to leave with their surcoats and swords. The Italians, however, remain prisoners to ensure a ransom or at least to be exchanged for prisoners held by the Visconti. In the enemy camp, a significant amount of food for the starving Bolognese and 25,000 florins are found.
Great celebrations are organized for the victory in Bologna, including a substantial alms donation. The Bolognese senate decrees that in future, this day will be commemorated with a palio race along the road of Santo Stefano, with prizes including a piece of velvet and a pennon depicting San Ruffillo and the city’s coat of arms, as well as a gilded stocco, iron gauntlets, a lance, a shield, and spurs. It is also ordered that annually, 10 lire be given to the chaplain of San Ruffillo, and a mass be celebrated in the Piazza di Santo Stefano in the morning, with the palio prize on display.
It is said that shortly before the battle, a woman, Francesca da Polenta, daughter of Bernardino, the lord of Ravenna, and wife of the Bolognese Alberto Galluzzi, nicknamed Venusta for her beauty, gave Galeotto Malatesta three flasks wrapped in gold and silver heather (containing a syrup, a boiled fruit juice with sugar, and a wine and rose vinegar) and a large basket of white bread, with a letter entrusting the Bolognese property to the valor of the lord of Rimini.
1362
MayEmiliaHe gathers his troops in Modena and moves to Massa Finalese, where he sets up a bastion.
JuneEmiliaIn the Parma region, he defeats the Visconti forces near Peschiera. Among the prisoners is Mascetto Rusca.
………NaplesCampaniaHe is summoned to Naples by Queen Joanna of Anjou; he is appointed viceroy and given the task of suppressing local brigandage with 400 barbute.
1363
Feb.Pope Urban V renews the grant of the vicariates of Rimini, Fossombrone, and the castles of Cartoceto and San Biagio to him for another ten years, excusing him from attending the papal court in Avignon for the oath.
Oct.His brother Malatesta renounces the lordship of Rimini in his favor.
Nov.FlorencePisaGeneral captainTuscanyOpposed at the Angevin court, he resigns from all his positions and enters the service of the Florentines to oppose the Pisans commanded by Alberto Sterz. He is elected Captain General in place of his nephew Pandolfo.
1364
Jan.EmiliaHe soon takes leave and goes to Bologna, leaving the city with Gomez Albornoz, who has completed his term as rector.
………MarcheHe intervenes in Fano out of fear of potential raids by English mercenary companies.
Apr.EmiliaIn Bologna, he pays homage to the new papal legate, Cardinal Androino di Cluny. During the same period, he travels with his brother Malatesta to Ferrara for a meeting with Marquis Niccolò II d’Este.
JuneFlorencePisaGeneral captainTuscanyHe is recalled to Tuscany by the Florentines, who appoint him as their captain in place of Arrigo di Montfort.
JulyTuscanyIn mid-month, he arrives in Florence and is hired for four months. He spends a few days negotiating the prerogatives of his powers and receives the staff of command from the Gonfaloniere of Justice, Ugolino di Vieri. He then hands over the insignia of the feditori to Arrigo di Montfort (also appointed his lieutenant) and the royal insignia to Andrea dei Bardi. Bardi reaches Peccioli. At the end of the month, Galeotto Malatesta sets out on the same day that the Pisans were defeated at Rifredi the previous year. He camps with 4,000 cavalry and 11,000 infantry at Cascina. Still suffering from an attack of tertian fever and weakened by his age, he rests in his tent in an attempt to regain his strength. He entrusts Manno Donati, Bonifacio Lupo, and three other constables with the task of governing the troops. They reinforce the road leading to San Savino and Pisa, positioning along its sides the infantry of the Counts Guidi, the Aretines, and Ricceri Grimaldi with 400 Genoese crossbowmen.
Due to the great heat, the Florentines remove their armor, leave the camp in search of food, and bathe in the Arno. An alarm is raised in the camp. Galeotto Malatesta, annoyed by the noise interrupting his sleep, orders that no alarm be raised without his consent, under penalty of the responsible party having their foot cut off. The Pisans attempt to exploit this disorder; around noon, John Hawkwood (Giovanni Acuto) attacks the Florentine camp. He is repelled by the interventions of Ricceri Grimaldi, Manno Donati, the Germans of Arrigo di Montfort, and Counts Giovanni and Rodolfo d’Asburgo. Galeotto Malatesta only appears at the end of the clash when he raises the royal standard; he does not allow the pursuit of the fugitives for fear of an ambush by John Hawkwood (Giovanni Acuto).
The battle results in over 1,000 dead and more than 2,000 captured: the foreigners are immediately released according to the customs of the time. Galeotto Malatesta moves to Montopoli in Val d’Arno and Marti and, as in San Ruffillo, grants his men double pay for a full month: the initiative costs the Florentines 170,000 florins. He approaches Pisa and at San Piero a Grado hangs, as a sign of contempt for the enemies, two large crows, two dogs (or two donkeys), and two rams with the inscription, “you came like rams & dogs to attack our camp. And so, like dogs & rams, we have treated you”; he organizes a palio race for the fraudsters and prostitutes. Following the custom of the time, coins are minted in the camp; the so-called “victory florins” are struck, showing Saint John holding the chains of the port of Pisa on one side and the lily on the other.
Galeotto Malatesta goes to San Miniato, knights several men, and heads to Florence. The Pisan prisoners (about a thousand) are tied up and loaded onto 50 carts to be transported to the city: in the first cart, there is also an eagle raised by the enemies and captured by the Florentines during the battle after wounding it. The prisoners are used for the construction of the Loggia dei Pisani in Piazza della Signoria. The Florentines, grateful to the saint of the day (Saint Victor), who contributed to the day’s success, dedicate an altar to him in Santa Maria del Fiore. The memory of the victory is long commemorated in Florence with a palio race through the city streets. Galeotto Malatesta enters Florence through the Porta di San Frediano, greeted as a hero: the city’s standard, the lion (the Marzocco), is raised on this gate, and the Pisan prisoners are forced to kiss its rear. Antonio Pucci commemorates Galeotto Malatesta‘s triumphant entry in octaves.
Aug.TuscanyHe attacks Lucca and sets up camp at San Piero in Campo. Continuous brawls arise between his English and German mercenaries, resulting in deaths and injuries on both sides. He plunders Moriano and sends the English mercenaries who joined him at San Piero in Grado to the upper Valdarno.
Sept.TuscanyPeace is signed with the Pisans. He returns to Florence to relinquish the insignia of command.
1365
Feb.MarcheHe strengthens the garrisons in the territories under his lordship.
MayMarcheHe meets in Fano with the Florentine ambassadors Niccolò Acciaiuoli and Stefano Buonincontri to discuss an alliance with the King of Naples, Genoa, the Este family, and other Romagnol lords.
1366
1367
Apr.RiminiComp. venturaMarchePope Urban V requests his help to repel the Company of Saint George, led by Ambrogio Visconti and John Hawkwood (Giovanni Acuto).
Oct.LazioHe arrives in Viterbo with 500 infantry to pay homage to the Pope, who is coming from Avignon. In mid-month, along with his nephews Galeotto Malatesta Ungaro and Pandolfo, Rodolfo da Varano, Niccolò d’Este, and Count Amadeus of Savoy, he marches with his infantry, armed with corazzine, before Pope Urban V and escorts him to Rome. He dismounts at St. Peter’s and knights two men from Rimini. On the same day, he marries Gentile da Varano, daughter of Rodolfo and widow of Gentile Orsini.
1368
Jan.Lazio, EmiliaHe is appointed by the Pope as Senator of Rome for six months, starting from the following March. He accompanies the papal legate Cardinal Anglico Grimoard, the Pope’s brother, to Bologna.
Feb.Emilia, VenetoWith Cardinal Grimoard and Blasco Gomez, he goes to Ferrara, Padua, and Venice to organize the troops tasked with fighting the Visconti.
Apr.ChurchMilan50 lancesEmiliaWith Rodolfo da Varano, he meets in Bologna with Charles of Bohemia, returning from Lombardy.
MayLombardyHe takes part in the siege of the bastion of Borgoforte, which blocks the advance of the league’s militias; at the end of the month, he defeats the opponents nearby.
JuneMarcheHe is in Senigallia with Rodolfo da Varano.
JulyMarcheHe hosts Cardinal Grimoard, Guido da Polenta, Francesco Gonzaga, Niccolò and Ugo d’Este, the Alidosi, Feltrino Gonzaga, Rodolfo da Varano, Giovanni da Bagnacavallo, Francesco and Marsilio da Carrara in Fano.
1369
Feb.He is included in the brief peace treaty between the Papal States and the Visconti.
Apr.Pope Urban V renews his existing concessions.
………He obtains a military contract from the Emperor of Constantinople.
1370
MayChurchPerugiaGeneral captainUmbriaHe is entrusted by the Pope with the command of the papal troops against the Perugians. He positions his men in the mountains of Orvieto and at the Pass of San Vito to intercept any Perugian militias heading towards Orvieto. Around the same time, he is enfeoffed by the papal authorities with the lordship of Citerna, a locality previously occupied by Masio da Pietramala.
Sept.Pope Urban V is forced to return to Avignon.
1371
Feb.ChurchSassuoloGeneral captainHe is invited by the new Pope Gregory XI to support Niccolò d’Este against Manfredino da Sassuolo, who has rebelled along with other local nobles against the marquisate of Ferrara.
JulyIn mid-month, he purchases Borgo San Sepolcro (Sansepolcro) for 18,000 florins from Raimondo di Montalto, Cardinal de Grissac, Bishop of Albano Laziale, brother of the recently deceased Pope Urban V. In this way, Galeotto Malatesta gains control of Montefeltro and the Tiber Valley towards Città di Castello. The sum is to be paid in three installments, guaranteed by his nephews Galeotto Malatesta Ungaro and Pandolfo. Galeotto is enfeoffed with Sansepolcro by Pope Gregory XI. The inhabitants are compelled to provide him an annual income of 600 florins and a certain number of infantry for his service. In return, he restores the city walls, builds four fortresses, one at each gate, and erects a tower 60 braccia high. He demolishes the houses contiguous to the city walls, including a church and the hospital of San Niccolò, which are relocated elsewhere. He also enlarges the town hall. Emperor Charles of Bohemia confirms his possession of Sansepolcro and Citerna. Galeotto Malatesta cedes the lordship of the latter to Masio da Pietramala, who is related to him by family ties.
Nov.ChurchMilanHe is appointed, along with Count Amadeus of Savoy, as Captain General of the anti-Visconti league.
1372
Mar.MarcheHe receives the papal legate Pietro di Bourges in Fano.
SummerEmiliaHe resides in Bologna with the papal legate.
………EmiliaHe arrives in Modena and coordinates the actions of the papal men-at-arms. However, he soon has to step down from his position as Captain General because the death of Galeotto Malatesta Ungaro deprives him of the assistance of a capable and trusted lieutenant.
1373
Jan.Upon the death of his son Pandolfo, he temporarily assumes power in the vicariate of Pesaro. He also initiates a lawsuit against the guardians of his nephew Malatesta (the future Malatesta dei Sonetti) concerning disputes over the methods of tax collection in the territory, demanding the return of 34,650 ducats.
Mar. – apr.ChurchMilanEmilia, LombardyIn Bologna, he is summoned by the Pope to mediate a dispute between the Orsini and the da Varano. In April, he meets in the city with the papal legate, Cardinal Pietro d’Estaing, Archbishop of Bourges, and takes part in the parliament where the terms of the alliance against the lord of Milan, Bernabò Visconti, are reaffirmed. He is subsequently noted in Cento, Ostiglia, and Borgoforte.
MayEmiliaHe takes part in the Battle of Montichiari.
Oct.LombardyHe is recalled to Bologna by the Pope, who offers him command of the troops to fight the Visconti forces. He declines the invitation due to his age.
1374
Feb.For his merits during this period, he is the only lord in the Papal States who does not incur ecclesiastical censures for the non-payment of the census (3150 florins).
1375
………He sides with the papal forces against the Florentines in the War of the Eight Saints.
Oct. – Dec.Veneto, Marche, Umbria, RomagnaHe is designated by Cangrande della Scala, before the latter’s death, as the guardian of his sons Bartolomeo and Antonio. Galeotto Malatesta goes to Verona to assist the two young men during their initial difficulties. After nine days of mourning, he knights them along with other nobles of the city. He is obliged to return to the Marche due to the uprising in Urbino: Antonio da Montefeltro enters the city with 400 Florentine cavalry and numerous infantry, forcing the papal forces to retreat. Malatesta moves to Cagli but is also driven out of this locality by Montefeltro partisans. He opposes the actions of the Count of Urbino with all his might and reinstates Branca Brancaleoni in Castel Durante (Urbania) to prevent the union of Feltresque militias with those of the league opposed to the papal forces in the upper Metauro. Similarly, he aids the Olivi, who dominate Piandimeleto and other castles in the upper course of the Foglia; he supports Gabriello Gabrielli in obtaining the bishopric of Gubbio; he assists Taddeo da Cagli in Mazziero and Claro Peruzzi, the bishop of Urbino, in Montefeltro. His possessions are infested by adversaries up to the gates of Rimini.
1376
Jan.RomagnaHe strengthens the garrison of Cesena. Giovanni Acuto entrusts him with the custody of Gherardo de Puy, abbot of Montmajeur, until the payment of the latter’s company’s dues (130,000 ducats).
Mar.RomagnaHe obtains Santarcangelo di Romagna from Muzolo Balacchi with the consent of the papal authorities. In return, he gives Balacchi one of his natural daughters in marriage.
MayMarcheUrbino rebels against the papal authorities. Galeotto Malatesta‘s intervention ends in defeat by Lutz von Landau (Lucio Lando), Lucio Sparviero, and Antonio da Montefeltro, the latter managing to enter the city. Galeotto Malatesta then moves to Cagli, while the defenders of the Urbino fortress are also forced to surrender to the adversaries in a short time. Antonio da Montefeltro becomes the lord of the city.
JulyRomagnaHe convinces the people of Cesena to remain loyal to the Papal States: the Bretons (in the service of the papal forces) leave the city in exchange for 60,000 ducats. He reconquers Santarcangelo di Romagna.
Sept.RomagnaHe welcomes Cardinal Roberto di Ginevra in Cesena with full honors. The Bretons (6,000 cavalry and 4,000 infantry) are forced to camp outside the city walls; they can enter the city for provisions only in small groups of ten soldiers at a time. The company has not received their pay for two months.
Oct.RomagnaHe leaves Cesena with 1,000 cavalry, crosses the Rimini area, and reaches the Foglia River. The enemies hinder his passage, forcing him to return, bringing with him livestock raided from the peasants. On the other hand, the Cesena countryside is no longer able to sustain 10,000 men. A column of 100 Breton cavalry pushes as far as Rimini, while another reaches the countryside of Fano.
Nov.RomagnaHe abandons Cesena to the control of the papal forces and the Breton company. 1,500 Breton cavalry leave the city, penetrate the suburbs of Rimini, raid livestock, and take prisoners to collect ransoms.
1377
Feb.RomagnaThe people of Cesena kill 300 to 400 Bretons in an uprising. The next day, the soldiers emerge from the citadel in battle order. The inhabitants confront them and force them to retreat with heavy losses. Galeotto Malatesta intervenes, persuading the Cesenati to lay down their arms with the promise of forgiveness. The Bretons do not honor the agreement; in fact, Galeotto joins in the sacking of the city, where in three days, 5,000 people are killed. The soldiers spare neither age nor gender. Infants are torn from cradles, their heads smashed against walls; many men are strangled, others impaled, and their corpses are left on the doorsteps of their homes. A Breton enters the cathedral, kills children gathered at the main altar, and even strikes down the image of Saint Anthony. Giovanni Acuto allows the surviving inhabitants to leave the city through Porta Cervia. Galeotto Malatesta, however, remains neutral in the situation, neither aiding the Bretons nor the rebels. Instead, he provides asylum in Rimini to a large number of Cesenati (1,000 people, including men and women).
Apr.The company is disbanded with 60,000 florins provided by Galeotto Malatesta; another 6,000 are delivered to the Bretons by Guido da Polenta. The soldiers then leave the territory to the roll of drums, marching in columns of three. In addition to the 5,000 dead lying in the streets, there is also a lasting mark of the ecclesiastical militias’ presence in Cesena, namely the spread of the plague, the so-called “French disease.”
MayRomagnaThe people of Cesena hold Galeotto Malatesta responsible for the massacre that took place in the city, and thus they acclaim Guido da Polenta as their lord. Guido enters Cesena with reinforcements received from Antonio da Montefeltro, Astorre Manfredi, and Sinibaldo Ordelaffi.
JulyRomagnaHe hosts Luigi di Montjoie and Giovanni di Maléstroit, the perpetrators of the Cesena massacre, in Montefiore Conca.
………UmbriaGaleotto Malatesta is engaged in Umbria against the rebels of the Papal States; he facilitates the passage of the papal troops through Sansepolcro. The Florentines and their allies force him into a truce.
1378
Feb.LiguriaHe is in Sarzana with Ottone di Brunswick and Giovanni Acuto to oversee the peace negotiations aimed at ending the war.
SpringGubbioExilesUmbriaHe sends 1,380 men, both cavalry and infantry, to assist the Bishop of Gubbio in quelling the revolt in some rural centers. In May, he travels to Rome to pay homage to the new Pope Urban VI.
JulyRomagnaHe returns to Rimini.
Aug.He negotiates a specific truce with Florence.
Oct.RiminiRavennaRomagnaHe leaves Fano and heads near Cesena with 300 cavalry and 3,000 infantry to drive out Guido da Polenta. He besieges the city’s castle, digs four tunnels under its walls, surrounds it with mangonels and bombards, and breaks into the city. Around the same time, he has his niece Costanza, the only daughter of Galeotto Malatesta Ungaro, widow of Marquis Ugo d’Este, and lover of the German captain Ormanno stationed in Rimini, killed by the assassin Santolino da Faenza. The official reason for the double murder is that Galeotto Malatesta considered his niece’s lifestyle scandalous according to his standards. However, it has been suggested that the true motive behind eliminating both lovers was the Lord of Rimini’s desire to seize his niece’s considerable inheritance during a time of severe famine that affected his state.
Nov.RomagnaHe occupies Bertinoro and besieges the fortress.
Dec.RomagnaHe obtains the castle of Bertinoro by paying 3,000 ducats. He is now called to Cesena by the inhabitants and is acclaimed as their lord. The governor of the city, Venturino Benzoni, serves on behalf of the Papal States. Galeotto Malatesta enters Cesena to defend the interests of the Papal States, leading 300 cavalry to prevent any potential attempts at reconquest by Guido da Polenta.
1379
Jan.RomagnaThe city’s fortress also surrenders to him. He recalls the exiles to the city and brings in significant quantities of wheat from the Rimini area at controlled prices to supply the inhabitants. The Pope appoints him rector of Romagna and grants him Bertinoro as a vicariate. This is followed by a reconciliation with the Montefeltro. Along with Branca Brancaleoni, he supports the cause of Pope Urban VI against the followers of Antipope Clement VII.
Feb.VenetoHe is appointed conservator of the peace to prevent a conflict in the Veronese region between his protégés, the della Scala family, and Bernabò Visconti.
Apr.UmbriaHe is called upon, along with the commune of Perugia, to act as an arbiter in a dispute between Branchino Brancaleoni and the della Faggiuola family over the dominion of Mercatello sul Metauro.
MayRiminiFaenza, RavennaRomagnaHe supports Giovanni Acuto (John Hawkwood), who is troubled by the attacks from Astorre Manfredi and Guido da Polenta.
JuneRiminiComp. venturaEmiliaWith the Este, Bolognese, and Florentines (1100 lances), he opposes the Compagnia della Stella led by Astorre Manfredi (600 lances); he redirects the mercenaries’ raids toward Genoa.
………UmbriaHe is called to mediate a dispute between Branchino Brancaleoni, the lord of Urbania (Castel Durante), and the commune of Città di Castello.
1380
JuneChurchMarche, LazioPope Urban VI chooses him as the vicar general of the Holy See and rector of Romagna. He welcomes Carlo di Durazzo, Alberico da Barbiano, and Guglielmo Ferrebach in Fano as they prepare to conquer the Kingdom of Naples, where Queen Joanna of Anjou supports the cause of the antipope. Galeotto Malatesta escorts the claimant Carlo di Durazzo to Rome.
AutumnMarcheHe concludes a truce with Antonio da Montefeltro under the pressure of Perugian emissaries. He is granted certain lands in Montefeltro, Massa Trabaria, and the county of Cagli, while his rival receives other sites in the districts of Cesena, Santarcangelo di Romagna, and Fano.
1381
MayUmbriaHe signs a five-year mutual defense treaty with the commune of Perugia, committing both parties to send 50 lances to each other’s aid in case of aggression by third parties.
Aug.He hosts Carlo di Durazzo in Rimini.
Nov. – Dec.RiminiUrbinoUmbriaHe defends the Bishop of Gubbio, who has been driven from his see by supporters of the Montefeltro.
1382
………RiminiRavennaRomagnaGuido da Polenta renews the conflict with the Malatesta, seizing Cesenatico, having purchased the locality from the antipope for 6,000 florins. Pope Urban VI, for his part, promises Galeotto Malatesta the vicariate over all the lands he can wrest from the Lord of Ravenna.
JuneRiminiUrbinoMarcheThe conflict with Antonio da Montefeltro resurfaces, but it is promptly resolved through the intervention of the Perugians. Galeotto Malatesta must accept a penalty of 20,000 ducats if he violates the agreed terms. The agreement is sealed with the promise of a reciprocal marriage alliance.
JulyChurchAntipopeRomagnaHe strengthens the defenses of Cesena due to the passage of Louis of Anjou‘s troops through Romagna, headed to the Kingdom of Naples to oppose Carlo di Durazzo. He denies them provisions and entry into the areas under his control, ordering all livestock, forage, and anything that could logistically support the French to be brought within the city walls.
Aug.RomagnaThe French devastate Bellaria and attack San Giovanni in Marignano. The Company of Saint George led by Alberico da Barbiano defends Rimini.
Sept.MarcheHe conquers Senigallia. Pope Urban VI urges him to expel the Angevin Niccolò Spinelli, a supporter of the antipope, from Montenovo (Ostra Vetere), Corinaldo, and Mondolfo. He captures the castle of Corinaldo, while Montenovo and Mondolfo, protected by the Montefeltro, resist.
Oct.MarcheHe sends 50 lances, 50 infantry, and 50 sappers to assist the Anconitans, who are besieging the city fortress where the Angevin supporters have taken refuge.
………EmiliaHe signs a peace treaty with the Angevins through the mediation of the Marquis of Este and travels to Ferrara.
1383
Mar.RiminiRavennaRomagnaHe attacks the da Polenta family, using as a pretext their assistance to Louis of Anjou‘s troops in Romagna during their advance towards the Kingdom of Naples.
Aug.RomagnaThe Pope urges him to take action against the excommunicated Guido da Polenta.
Nov.RomagnaWith the help of Lucio Lando, he seizes Polenta by digging tunnels under the walls, supporting them initially and then blowing them up at the opportune moment. He occupies Coglianello and Bastia, and he secures Cervia through a treaty, formally obtaining its vicariate.
1384
………TuscanyHe intervenes in Sansepolcro to quell disputes between the supporters of the Graziani and the Bernardini factions.
JuneRomagnaIn Cesena.
Aug.RomagnaHe camps at the bastion of Alfiano, called Schivanoia, and remains outside Ravenna for eight days, destroying vineyards, trees, and houses. He attempts to storm the city at night, but the effort is repelled. His men who are captured after scaling the walls are hanged.
Sept. – Oct.RiminiUrbinoRomagnaHe allies with the lords of Faenza (Astorre Manfredi), Forlì (Sinibaldo Ordelaffi), and Imola (Bertrando Alidosi). Meanwhile, he resumes the conflict with Antonio da Montefeltro after his occupation of Cervia.
Nov.Thanks to the Count of Virtù, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, the lord of Milan, he signs yet another solemn peace with Antonio da Montefeltro.
Dec.RomagnaHe is considered an adherent by the Florentines.
1385
Jan.RomagnaHe falls ill at Rocca delle Caminate. At the end of the month, he dies in Cesena at the Palazzo della Murata, built by Cardinal Albornoz. His body is transported to Rimini with an escort of 20 horses draped in black and one in scarlet, amid flags, helmets, and shields. The coffin, covered by a gold drape, advances under a grand velvet canopy, with his sword placed above it. He is buried in the Church of San Francesco alongside other family members such as his brother Malatesta Malatesta Guastafamiglia, his father Pandolfo, his cousin Ferrandino, and his nephew Galeotto Malatesta Ungaro. The tomb is adorned with an epitaph by Jacopo Allegretti, now lost, but the text has been preserved in various manuscripts. Similar funeral rites are held in Fano, also in the Church of San Francesco dei Padri Conventuali. He is remembered in a novella by Franco Sacchetti. Streets in Rimini and Ascoli Piceno are named after him.

Sources

-“Raccolse nelle sue mani, per la morte dei nipoti, tutta la potenza di casa Malatesta in Romagna e nelle Marche, e ad opera di lui Cesena tornò alla sua casa. Quand’egli morì, si può dire che la sua autorità si stendesse da Cesena sino ad Ascoli e a Fermo: la più grande delle signorie italiane dopo quella dei Visconti.” FRANCESCHINI

-“Il più famoso uomo in Italia… Cavaliere di grande ardire, e maestro di guerra.” VILLANI

-“Fu in Romagna nella città di Arimino un volente signore e barone, il quale ebbe nome messer Galeotto Malatesta: questi fu il più valente cavaliere ch’avesse Romagna già gran tempo, e il più savio e il più prudente, e sempre tenne ricca e magnanima vita e seppe mantenere lo Stato suo.” SACCHETTI

-“Egli era gran maestro di guerra.” MURATORI

“Uomo singolare e peritissimo nel mestiere dell’arme.” L. ARETINO

-“Fu questo signore valoroso Capitano.” ALBERTI

-“Semper fuit sapiens, probus et in omnibus gloriosus; suo fratri in omnibus similatur.” BATTAGLI

-“Omo molto savio e pratico d’arme.” D. DI NERI

-“Homo savio di guerra.” PELLINI

-“(Avanzò) di forza di corpo, di valor d’animo e di felicità di guerra gli huomini del suo tempo.” SANSOVINO

-“Nelle cose militari di molta esperienza.” TARCAGNOTA

-“Generale di qualche capacità.” PIGNOTTI

-Con Malatesta Malatesta Guastafamiglia “Fratelli, ambidue valenti in guerra.” BOSI

-“Nostro franco capitano.” ANONIMO FIORENTINO

“-Uomo savio di guerra più che fusse in Italia.” MONUMENTA PISANA

-“Uomo di grande coraggio e di tempra eccezionale.” ZAMA

-“Non era un malvagio: c’è in lui un misto di crudeltà e di gentilezza, di ferocia e di bontà: nella sua vita si possono indifferentemente ricordare atti cavallereschi e tradimenti ignobili; episodi di avarizia e di grettezza e geniali attitudini e amore per le lettere, ambizione di potenza politica e umiltà religiosa.” NISSIM ROSSI

-“Provetto capitano.” VANCINI

-“Principe, del quale a que’ giorni non meno della prodezza ammiravasi la magnificenza.” DE STEFANI

-“Maestro di guerra.” TALLEONI

-“Virum eximium, ac peritissimum rei militaris.” SANT’ANTONINO

-“Cavaliero digno..Era stato valente in arme, sano in consiglio, pocho parladore, vanno e assae tenea l’ira e non tosto la lassava, homo assae paçiente in fadighe e perigoli, costumado de le vivande e nel mangare cioé vivande comune, e assae comendabile in ogne costume de signorre verile.” G. DI M. PEDRINO

-“Scion of a powerful family of the March of Ancona, and heir to a distinguished tradition of military prowess.” STONOR SAUNDERS

-“Personaggio d’immortale memoria per le molte di lui segnalate azioni.” P. BONOLI

-“Uno dei più illustri capitani che allora avesse l’Italia.” PASOLINI

-“Resse il Malatesta con saggezza i suoi domini, e fu compianto amaramente da tutti coloro che seguivano le sue parti. Tenne sempre in freno i ghibellini, e fece diroccare presso Cesena, nella villa di Vinciglie, il castello Pisciatello, presso il Rubicone, dove si radunavano a segrete congreghe i nemici della fazione guelfa.” ZAZZERI

-“Belli artibus peritissimus fuit..Rerum bellicarum peritissimum ducum.” BUONINCONTRI

-“Fu guerriero molto estimato.” PARTI

-“Capitano di gran nome.” ANTINORI

-Con Pandolfo Malatesta “Principi di ogni vertù ornatissimi.” FANTAGUZZI

-Nel regno di Napoli “Fovi misser Galiotto/ ch’era gran caporale/ con plu de mille barbute/ de gente naturale/…/ Quattrocento barbute/ li dé per soa famellia;/ Sopra li malantrini/ lo dì et la notte vellia./ Tanti ne fece impennere/ che fo una maravellia.” B. DI RANALLO

-Accoglie Carlo di Durazzo a Fano “Missere Galiotto molto onore li fene,/ De mintri, che per la Romagna passone;/ Vene con esso, e feli compagnia/ De sì a Roma mai non lo lassone.” A. DI BUCCIO

-Al servizio di Firenze “…capitan di nuovo/ Pe’ Fiorentini messer Galeotto/ De’ Malatesta, di cui dico, e pruovo,/ ch’egli è di guerra sperto, savio, e dotto,/ E’ n ogni parte, secondoch’i’ truovo,/ Mostrato ha più ardir, che Lancillotto.” PUCCI

-“Galeotto was a venerable old captain who had distinguished himself in papal service.” CAFERRO

-“Uno dei grandi capitani del tempo, esperto uomo di guerra.” SCARDIGLI

-“Come capitano di genti d’arme aveva conosciuto fasi altalenanti, pur acquisendo una certa notorietà, forse anche per la scarsa affezione che riusciva ad ispirare nelle truppe, che in più occasioni disertarono in blocco abbandonandolo al suo destino.”  SPADA

-“Egli ebbe in Romagna nella città di Rimino uno valente signore e barone, il quale ebbe nome messer Galeotto Malatesta, il quale fu il più valente cavaliere che avesse Romagna già buon tempo, e ‘l più savio e ‘l più prudente, e sempre tenne ricca e magnanima vita, e seppe ben mantenere lo stato suo.” Da “Il pecorone” di Giovanni Fiorentino, riportato da TURCHINI

-“Con Galeotto la “cultura”, da elemento meramente accessorio, divenne funzionale alla pratica di governo.” TURCHINI

-“Huomo savio di guerra più che fussi in Italia.” ARROSTI

-“Condottiero di valore e apprezzato dai soldati.” TABORCHI

-“Galeotto fu sempre sapiente, probo, ed in tuti i casi glorioso e simile in tutto al fratello.” M. Battagli (La Marcha), riportato da TABANELLI

-“Fu uno dei personaggi più completi, più rappresentativi e più celebri di tutti i componenti la famiglia dei Malatesta.” TABANELLI

-Confronto con il fratello Malatesta “Tra i due Galeotto si impose come professionista delle armi e uomo di guerra, combattendo con successo nel 1348 nella Marca, poi nel 1350 come vicario di Luigi di Taranto in Abruzzo e come capitano generale del Regno di Sicilia sotto Giovanna I, infine ottenendo nel 1364, come comandante delle milizie fiorentine, una vittoria sui Pisani e su Giovanni Acuto.” CARDINALI

-“La tomba fu fregiata da un’epigrafe composta da Giacomo Allegretti, oggi perduta, il cui testo, però, è stato tramandato da più manoscritti. Il Malatesta destinò l’incommensurabile eredità politica e territoriale, faticosamente accumulata nel corso della lunga esistenza, ai quattro figli maschi, Carlo, Pandolfo, Andrea detto Malatesta e Galeotto Novello detto Belfiore, nato, con le sorelle Margherita, Gentile, e Rengarda, dalla seconda moglie Gentile da Varano, figlia di Rodolfo, signore di Camerino. Il matrimonio, contratto nel 1367 dal Malatesta ultrasessantenne, rappresentò pertanto, un tassello fondamentale per la storia del ramo riminese del casato, assicurando la discendenza legittima indispensabile al passaggio di consegna.” FALCIONI

-Epitaffio sulla tomba di Galeotto Malatesta riportato dal CLEMENTINI “Il magnanimo Galeotto, inclito per nobili imprese, saldo presidio della Chiesa, insigne eroe in pace e in guerra, supremo onore della milizia e gloria del mondo, è racchiuso in questo sasso, unica salvezza dell’Itala gente, padre dei miseri che l’età nostra non vide eguale. Quanto ahimé ha perduto la stirpe Malatesta, che piange questo nostro comune padre!

-“La figura di Galeotto.. entra nella galleria dei ritratti grondanti di sangue della dinastia riminese… Vissuto dapprima all’ombra di Guastafamiglia aveva saputo attendere il momento di un’indiscussa affermazione personale attraverso la quale poterono emergere tanto  le sue qualità militari quanto le strategie diplomatiche di cui disponeva.” MORESSA

-“E’ una personalità tra le più celebri e tra le migliori del suo casato. Egli ha segnato l’apogeo della potenza malatestiana.” POLVERARI

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