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

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The End of Malerba: A Tale of Vows and Valor

Italian CondottieriThe End of Malerba: A Tale of Vows and Valor

Swiss or German captain and co-founder, alongside Werner von Urslingen (Guarnieri di Urslingen), of the Great Company. He met his end fighting against the Turks near Smyrna, fulfilling a vow he had made years earlier during the Battle of Canegrate. According to various accounts, after being captured by the enemy, he was either decapitated, torn apart by dogs, or flayed alive.

Indice delle Signorie dei Condottieri: ABCDEFGIJLMNOPQRSTUVZ

Malerba’s Fate Against the Turks

MALERBA (Reinhold von Giver) – Swiss or German.

Death: 1345, January

Year, monthState, Comp. venturaOpponentConductActivity AreaActions taken and other salient facts
1338FlorenceVeronaVenetoMalerba (Reinhold von Giver) served the Florentines against the forces of Mastino della Scala.
Jan.Comp. venturaVeneto, LombardyWith funding from the Lord of Verona, Malerba (Reinhold von Giver), along with other condottieri, established the Compagnia di San Giorgio. Together with Lodrisio Visconti, Lutz Von Landau (Conte Lando), and Duke Werner von Urslingen, they assembled a force of 2,500 cavalry, 800 infantry, and 200 crossbowmen, predominantly Swiss. They marched from Vicenza towards the Duchy of Milan, governed by Azzone Visconti. Crossing the Adige River, they advanced into the regions of Brescia and Bergamo.
Feb.LombardyMalerba (Reinhold von Giver) reached Monza, pursued Lodrisio Visconti to Castelseprio, and fortified himself in Legnano. He plundered Parabiago, where the Visconti forces under Giovannello Visconti and Giovanni Fieschi were caught by surprise while sleeping by the mercenaries. Those who fell into his men’s hands were massacred and mutilated. The next morning, Azzone Visconti dispatched him with 700 cavalry near Milan to guard the banks of the Olona River, effectively cutting off any potential retreat for the opposing forces towards the city. When confronted by Azzone Visconti, the encounter was avoided by the Lord of Milan through the gift of ten flasks of ducats, presented to the condottiero as if they were Malvasia wine.
Mar.MilanIn the service of the Lord of Milan, Azzone Visconti.
JulyValpergaSavoy – AcaiaPiedmontThe Podestà of Cuorgné, Giovanni Azario, contacted Malerba (Reinhold von Giver). The condottiero then moved to the Canavese region to serve the Lords of Valperga. He was engaged for six months with 300 helmeted troops (barbute) and was tasked with plundering the lands of the Prince of Savoy-Achaea. He crossed the Dora Baltea River and ravaged the territories of the Lords of Vische, setting fire to crops and cutting down vineyards. He sacked Rivarolo Canavese.
Aug.PiedmontHis attacks on Malgrate failed.
…………Piedmont, Val d’AostaMalerba (Reinhold von Giver) withdrew beyond the Orco River and attacked Montalenghe. The local feudal lord was forced to surrender under terms after waiting in vain for three days for reinforcements. Malerba also secured a negotiated surrender from Orio Canavese, threatened Caluso, and invaded the lands of the monastery of San Benigno Canavese, which were subsequently sacked.
He extended his campaign between the Orco and Mallone rivers, captured and set fire to Favria, and stripped Front of its resources. The inhabitants of Barbania were compelled to pay him a ransom. He also raised alarms in Lanzo Torinese. When the Marquis of Monferrato blocked his advance into Savoy, Malerba redirected towards the valleys of Locana and Pont. He continued his raids in the countryside around Castellamonte, Agliè, Loranzé, and San Martino.
AutumnMonferratoSavoy – AcaiaPiedmontHe served under the pay of Marquis Giovanni of Monferrato.
…………Comp. venturaBolognaRomagnaHe then became part of the Great Company led by Werner von Urslingen.
Nov.Comp. venturaFlorenceRomagna, TuscanyThank you for the correction. Here’s the revised translation:

Repelled by the fortifications along the Lamone River, Malerba (Reinhold von Giver) clashed with the bands of the Ubaldini, forcing him and Ettore di Panigo to seek refuge in Laterina, in the county of Arezzo. He was captured by Walter VI of Brienne (Gualtieri di Brienne), the Duke of Athens and Lord of Florence, while disguised as a friar. At the time, he was attempting to reach Werner von Urslingen (Guarnieri di Urslingen) in Romagna with Galeotto di Panigo. He was released after a few days on the condition that he would not wage war against the Florentines for a year nor rejoin the Great Company. Despite these promises, Malerba violated every agreement and subsequently rejoined Werner von Urslingen in Romagna.
1344ChurchOttoman EmpireTurkeyDue to a vow he made during the Battle of Canegrate years earlier, Malerba (Reinhold von Giver) participated in the crusade against the Ottomans, leading a contingent of 25 cavalry that he personally financed for a year. He fought the Turks near Smyrna (Izmir) alongside the Venetians under Piero Zeno and the Genoese under Martino Zaccaria.
Jan.TurkeySmyrna (Izmir) was captured, provoking a fierce reaction from their adversaries. MALERBA (Reinhold von Giver) was caught off guard in the Church of St. John, near the city walls, along with the patriarch of the Knights Hospitaller, Fra Manuele Camosini, and 40 other knights while attending Mass. He was killed and beheaded. According to other accounts, he was captured by the Turks and either torn apart by dogs or skinned alive.


-“Corpore praestans et fortis ac bellicae artis peritus.” CORTUSII

-“Viribus et animo praestans.” MERULA

-“Loro capo e connuttore era uno famoso Todesco- Malerva avea nome-, prode de perzona, saputo de guerra. Cavalieri a speroni de aoro ce erano assai. Erance lo conte Olando e lo conte Guarnieri, li quali di puoi fuoro capora de compagnia.” ANONIMO ROMANO

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