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

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The Military Chronicles of Fra Moriale: A Provençal Condottiero’s Legacy

Italian CondottieriThe Military Chronicles of Fra Moriale: A Provençal Condottiero's Legacy

Good soldier with a sinister reputation, intelligent, brave, wicked. He plays a significant role in organizing mercenary companies by providing them with an administration consisting of counselors, secretaries, chamberlains

Indice delle Signorie dei Condottieri: ABCDEFGIJLMNOPQRSTUVZ

The Intriguing Life of a Provençal Soldier.

Montréal de Albarno, also known as Fra Moriale, born Jean Montréal du Bar in Le Bar-sur-Loup, Provence, was a prominent condottiero and member of the aristocratic maison de Grasse. He joined Italy’s military in 1331, aligning with the Knights Hospitaller. His Italianized name, Moriale, stemmed from his religious order. He served Louis I of Hungary in Naples’ succession wars and later the Papal States, though he left them over payment issues. Moriale became the Hungarian King’s vicar, co-commanding with Corrado Lupo. After the Naples succession war, he headed to Genova, then Hungary, and reformed the Great Company with diverse mercenaries.

FRA MORIALE/MONTREAL D’ALBARNO (Jean de Montréal du Bar, Gualterio de la Motte di Montreal) from Narbonne. Knight of Albarno, brother of the Order of Saint John in Jerusalem. Son of the lord of Bar-sur-Loup. Lord of Aversa.

Born:
Death: 1354 (August)

Year, monthState, Comp. venturaOpponentConductActivity AreaActions taken and other salient facts
1345Very young, he embarks in Provence on a galley headed to Naples. He is shipwrecked at the mouth of the Tiber and seeks refuge between Ostia and Porto. The inhabitants of the coast plunder the ship and take possession of all the merchandise. Montreal d’Albarno then goes to Naples to some acquaintances. He enters the service of Charles of Durazzo; he takes the habit of a knight in the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem and soon obtains command of the troops. He is known as Fra Moriale.
1346
Mar.TarantoNaplesFrance, Lazio, CampaniaKing Andrew of Hungary is killed in Naples in a palace conspiracy. There is a revolt in the city: Fra Moriale opposes the bands of Louis of Taranto on behalf of the latter’s brother, Robert of Taranto. The enemies descend into Naples up to the Piazza delle Corregge. Here, they are defeated by Fra Moriale’s men and chased to the mountains of Sant’Elmo. Marshal Raimondo of Catania is captured, who, under torture, confesses the plot and the names of his accomplices in the conspiracy. Fra Moriale enters the Castel dell’Ovo and imprisons other conspirators there.
1347
JulyHungaryNaplesAbruzzoHe passes into the service of the King of Hungary, who arrives in Italy to avenge the death of his son, Andrew. The commander finds himself defending L’Aquila, which is attacked by the troops of Charles of Durazzo.
1348
JanGenoaMilanPiedmont, LiguriaHe is hired with his company by the Genoese to counter the Visconti forces led by Rainaldo Alessandrini and Bruzio Visconti. He also lends 10,000 lire to the commune, receiving in pawn, until the repayment of such credit, the castle of Lerici. The operations end at the end of the month with the death of the Lord of Milan, Luchino Visconti, and the rise to power of Archbishop Giovanni Visconti.
………CampaniaHe is tasked with defending Aversa and administering justice in the surrounding area by freeing it from the presence of thieves and murderers. With the death sentence of Charles of Durazzo, he loots the palaces owned by him in Terra Ercole, a small village near Aversa, and in Naples.
1349
MayApuliaTogether with Corrado Lupo, Konrad Von Landau (Count Lando), and Werner von Urslingen (Guarnieri of Urslingen), he supports the Voivode of Transylvania in the plundering of Lucera, Troia, and Canosa.
JuneCampaniaHe takes part in the battle of Melito di Napoli. Differences arise over the division of the spoils; Fra Moriale, along with other German commanders, attempts to kill the Voivode and forces him to retreat with his Hungarians into Manfredonia.
Sept.CampaniaKing Louis of Hungary returns to his country. Fra Moriale is left in Terra di Lavoro as his vicar and castellan of Aversa. Initially, he shows some interest in the offers of friendship from Louis of Taranto. He allows free movement on the roads controlled by his men, while continuing to closely monitor the strongholds assigned to his care.
Oct.CampaniaHe devastates Terra di Lavoro until the end of the year.
1350
Jan.CampaniaHe makes an agreement with the King of Naples, Louis of Taranto: for 120,000 florins, he commits to leaving Campania and to hand over Capua, Aversa, and other lands into the hands of the papal legate, Cardinal Annibaldo da Ceccano. Among the soldiers, a booty of 500,000 florins is divided on this occasion. Fra Moriale remains in Italy with Corrado Lupo, while Werner von Urslingen and Count Lando return to Germany.
………Campania, ApuliaIn command of 7,000 men, he plunders the territory of Benevento with Corrado Lupo; he reaches Barletta where Louis of Hungary, having returned to the Kingdom of Naples with a new army, is located. He then returns to Aversa, a city of which he practically becomes the lord.
1351
JuneApuliaHis companies are joined in Puglia by Count Lando. He reaches another agreement with Louis of Taranto.
1352
Apr.Comp. venturaNaplesCampaniaAt the conclusion of the peace between the King of Hungary and Queen Joanna of Naples, he forms a company composed of Germans, Italians, and Provençals (400 armored horsemen and 500 foot soldiers) which, under the command of his nephew Bertrand de la Motte, plunder Terra di Lavoro and infest the countryside near Naples.
Dec.Campania, Lazio, AbruzzoHe is besieged in Aversa for several months by Niccolò Acciaiuoli, Pandolfo, and Galeotto Malatesta. He is forced to surrender at their discretion: he must abandon all the loot accumulated over the years and is allowed to keep only 1,000 florins. He immediately forms a company of 500 armored horsemen and 1,200 infantry and heads towards Rome. He raids in the territories of Pescara, Ortona, Vasto, and plunders their castles. He obtains a rich ransom from the monastery of San Giovanni in Venere. He assaults Lanciano, which prepares for defense.
1353
………MarcheHe moves into the Marche region, continuing to plunder and set fires.
MayChurchVigo500 cavalry, 1200 infantrymenLazio, UmbriaHe serves under the orders of the papal legate Cardinal Egidio Albornoz and the Rector of the Patrimony, Giordano Orsini, against the Lord of Viterbo, Giovanni di Vico. He is granted a monthly salary of 260 florins. He moves to Sabina with his company of 500 horsemen and 1,200 infantry and clashes with Pietro di Vico, who is also recruiting a large company. From Sabina, Fra Moriale moves to the plain of San Valentino and from there continues towards Viterbo; he sets up camp near the tower of Azzone. The pontificals provide him with ladders to scale the walls.
Aug.UmbriaGiordano Orsini orders him to support him against Orvieto. He conquers and plunders Sugano and devastates the lands around Montalfina; he sets fire to Petroio, conquers Allerona, and captures more than 100 men there. At the end of the month, he assaults Orvieto with 300 horsemen and 400 infantry: he sets up an ambush in the plain of Paglia; his presence is reported by an enemy patrol (2 horses out on reconnaissance). He then attacks the village near the hill of San Giorgio and sets it on fire in the vain hope that some tumult in favor of the pontificals will arise within the city. For this purpose, he repeatedly sounds trumpets and drums. He returns to Allerona and stays there for a longer period.
Sept.ExiledTodiUmbriaHis contract with the pontificals expires: Pope Innocent VI praises him in a letter and invites him to persevere in his actions; he offers substantial prebends to one of his priest brothers if he returns to his service. Cardinal Albornoz, for his part, hints at the possibility of securing the episcopal dignity for the same brother, named Rimbaldo. Promises are also made for the payment of overdue salaries, and the possibility of becoming the rector of the March of Ancona is suggested. Fra Moriale, not satisfied with mere words and being in credit with his wages, leaves Allerona; he defects to the enemy camp with 400 horsemen. He is sent by Giovanni di Vico to the Todi area to join forces with the Chiaravalle, exiles from Todi, against the capital. He marches towards the city. The inhabitants do not open the gates to him, so he begins the siege.
Oct.VicoChurchUmbria, MarcheThe operations come to an end mid-month, both due to the bad season and the arrival of reinforcements for the defenders of Todi from the militias of Florence and Perugia. He also abandons Giovanni di Vico due to the lack of secure payments and forms the Grande Compagnia composed of Italians, Hungarians, Burgundians, Germans, and especially Swiss (1,500 armored horsemen and 2,000 foot soldiers). He leaves Todi without causing any harm. From Montefalco, he moves to the Duchy of Spoleto; he goes to Assisi and from there, via Pianello, reaches Fabriano.
1354
Jan. – Mar.Comp. venturaRimini, AnconaMarcheHis company grows in number, enabling Fra Moriale to devastate the March of Ancona with ease. In the counties of Jesi and Fano, he plunders Mondolfo, Orciano, Mondavio, Pergola, Fratte Rosa (where he stays for a month), Montevecchio, Montalfoglio, San Vito sul Cesano, Montegiorgio, San Vito, and Filottrano in Montefeltro. In Filottrano, 700 people are killed following a sortie by the inhabitants in which several of his company’s corporals are slain. Ludovico Ordelaffi buries only a portion of them, 324 bodies. Continuing his campaign, Fra Moriale occupies Albarello, Montefano, Montefiore dell’Aso, Recanati, Montelupone (staying for 20 days), Montolmo (Corridonia); he conquers Numana; besieges Treia, Sirolo, and Ancona; secures Falconara by negotiation, pillages Camerata Picena, Agugliano, Gallignano, Castel d’Emilio, Sappanico, and Montesicuro; and subjugates Castelfidardo and Loreto. Meanwhile, his relations with the Papal States remain good: in February, the Pope writes to Louis of Taranto and the Queen to return all properties and castles taken from Fra Moriale in the Kingdom of Naples; he also communicates his desire to grant his brother Rimbaldo the canonries of the Major Church of Saint Martin of Tours and its related prebends. In March, Fra Moriale seizes the castle of Staffolo and forcefully takes Falerone, where 700 people are killed; the same fate befalls Massaccio (Cupramontana) and Penna San Giovanni. He occupies or destroys 44 castles of the Malatesta. His company is organized according to efficient military principles and has strong administrative structures (chamberlains for pay, counselors, and secretaries who regulate relations with the knights and soldiers in it). At the end of his incursions, Malatesta Malatesta Guastafamiglia is forced to buy peace for 40,000/60,000 ducats and to deliver Malatesta Ungaro as a hostage; another 30,000 florins are paid to the company by Gentile da Mogliano and Francesco Ordelaffi.
Apr.Giovanni di Vico tries to have him in his service again; he entices him with the proposal of a marriage between one of his daughters and Fra Moriale’s brother, Arcimbaldo.
MayMarcheHe enters the countryside of Camerino and crosses the Apennines.
JuneComp. venturaPerugia, Spoleto, Todi, Arezzo, SienaUmbria, TuscanyFrom Colfiorito, he enters the area around Foligno. He unsuccessfully assaults Spello and devastates its surroundings. Due to heavy losses among his men, he moves to Bevagna and the territory of Foligno: he promises (and keeps his word) to Bishop Paolo Trinci of the city, brother of Ugolino, to cross his territory without causing damage and to pay a fair price for the purchase of weapons, provisions, and forage. He bursts into the Duchy of Spoleto and seizes the castle of Beccatiquello near Beroide; he burns houses and crops in the counties of Trevi and Montefalco. Repelled from the latter place, he takes the road to Marsciano and heads for Todi: he assures the Perugians of not wanting to enter the commune’s borders in exchange for their withdrawal from the Tuscan city league formed to fight him. The inhabitants of Perugia, intimidated, accept his conditions and provide him with money and provisions to stay away from their territory. He reaches Olmo and makes an agreement with Arezzo for the delivery of 1,000 staia of bread and 200 some of wine. He arrives at Piano della Meta, at Taverne di Bartuccio (Tavernelle), at Gracciano near Montepulciano, and at Torrita di Siena, always accompanied by the usual devastations. The Sienese prepare to confront him; they purchase 35 pounds of poison (sandarac, a type of resin) to mix into the provisions that are to be supplied by the communities of Asciano and San Quirico. In response, Fra Moriale plunders the territory; the Sienese recognize a ransom of 13,324 florins (13,624, including some gifts to various captains of the company) and pay another 3,000 for his lieutenants as compensation for the horses lost or killed in the raid; he is also given gifts (worth 120 florins) of confectionery, bread, wine, meats, and forage. He leaves from Fonte Becci.
JulyComp. venturaFlorence, Pisa, Terni, FolignoTuscany, UmbriaHe bursts into the Florentine territory; noting that the Valdarno is full of armed men ready to defend under the command of Piero del Monte at Santa Maria. He sends Yver Tedesco to Florence, who has already served under the Republic’s pay, to seek an agreement. His proposals are rejected. Fra Moriale then returns to Sienese territory. He positions himself at Staggia, at Badia a Isola (Abbadia a Isola) on the Elsa: in his company serve at least 7,000 horsemen and 1,500 Italian foot soldiers: following the troops are another 20,000 people, including merchants, ruffians of all kinds, artisans, and prostitutes who live off the proceeds of raids and robberies. He moves again in the Florentine countryside, takes the road to Valialla, and sets fire to San Casciano in Val di Pesa, rides up to Galluzzo at the gates of the capital, continuing his policy of destruction for a week. In the end, the Florentines give in: the Grande Compagnia receives 25,000 florins for the troops at Montevarchi, plus another 3,000 for Fra Moriale and his lieutenants. The commander promises not to molest the communal territory for two years. The Pisans provide another 16,000 florins, again under the same commitment from him, and they also gift him a fine horse worth 1,000 florins, previously owned by Franceschino Gambacorta. He returns to the Arezzo countryside at Arquata; he positions himself between Anghiari and Borgo San Sepolcro (Sansepolcro), where he lets his troops rest for a few days. He raids in the Terni area, receives a promise of a contribution from the Bishop of Foligno; reaches Città di Castello to collect what is still owed to him by the Malatesta and Gentile da Mogliano.
Aug.Umbria, LazioIn Città di Castello, he signs a commitment to serve for 4 months (for a compensation of 150,000 florins) for the Venetians and other lords of northern Italy to face the Visconti of Milan. Having done so, he hands over the Grande Compagnia to Count Lando and, with a retinue of 500 horsemen and 300 infantry, heads to Perugia, of which he is a citizen; in this city, his brothers (the knight, Bretone di Narbona, and the doctor of law, Arcimbaldo) also operate, managing his assets. In the city, he lodges at the expense of the commune at the inn of the Chiave; he is welcomed with the highest honors by the authorities. He then heads to Orvieto to pay homage to Cardinal Albornoz and on to Rome. He complains to his brothers because they lent 8,500 florins to Cola di Rienzo to pay the Roman troops besieging Palestrina. The tribune enters Rome solemnly, appoints Fra Moriale’s relatives as captains of the city militias, and gives them the standard. The commander vehemently protests to Cola di Rienzo about the loan: the tribune invites him to the Capitoline with his brothers and captains (40 constables); he does not hesitate to have him captured by his men. He is promptly tried as a public thief for attacking cities in the March, Romagna, as well as Florence, Siena, and Arezzo in Tuscany. The accused shows no sign of remorse for his crimes and maintains his magnanimous demeanor to the end. Taken to prison, he spends his last moments comforting his younger brothers. He hears mass; at dawn, at the end of the month, he is led to the place of execution, in the Capitoline, at the foot of the Capitoline staircase near the lions’ cage. He is beheaded along with two brothers and 40 captains. His head is severed with one stroke: few hairs of his beard remain on the stump, and around his neck, like a reddish silk ribbon. The Minor Friars gather his limbs and join them. He is humbly buried in the church of Santa Maria d’Araceli. His famous last words before being led to the place of execution were “Homo so, come ciello fui ingannato” (“I am a man, as in heaven I was deceived”). Upon his death, the Roman tribune appropriates 100,000 florins that are part of the commander’s riches. With this money, Cola di Rienzo can pay his own troops and hire Riccardo Imprendente degli Annibaldeschi, lord of Montecompatri, to fight the Colonna. The Pope orders the Venetians to seize the deposits held by Fra Moriale with some merchants (60,000 florins) and deliver them to the Apostolic Chamber; the commune of Florence writes to that of Perugia to seize the sums deposited in that city to compensate those who suffered extortions and robberies from the commander in Florentine territory. “Fra Moriale” is the title of a drama by Stanislao Morelli; his figure also inspired a novel by Antonietta Klitsche (“Lo spettro di Fra Moriale”). The commander is also one of the protagonists in the essay “L’ultimo dei tribuni” by Bulwer, in “Gentile da Mogliano” by Ripamonti, and in “Clelia di Morico” by Grappa. Fra Moriale is also remembered among the damned of hell in the “Quadriregio” by Trezzi.

Sources

-“Buon soldato, prode capitano, prudente, alacre, temperante, frà Moriale fu il primo a dominare con nobile dimestichezza gli incomposti voleri di una compagnia di ventura, e porle ordine, e darle forma di stabile reggimento. Né certa grandezza d’animo e di concetti gli mancò, né la corrispondente stima presso i contemporanei: anzi tra questi fu chi con bonaria esagerazione dubitò di paragonarlo a Giulio Cesare.” RICOTTI

-“Il terribile capobanda non diede mai a vedere la più piccola ombra di pentimento per i propri delitti che, in piena armonia con lo spirito dei tempi in cui visse, riteneva azioni gloriose degne di un eroico guerriero, il quale ha tutto il diritto di andare in cerca di fortuna con la spada in questo mondo di falsità e di miseria. Unico motivo di vergogna era per lui il pensiero di essere caduto nella rete tesagli da uno sciocco e il suo orgoglio di cavaliere sanguinava di fronte all’umiliazione della tortura e di un supplizio infamante.. Era vestito sontuosamente di velluto bruno listato d’oro e quando gli fu annunciato che sarebbe stato decapitato respirò di sollievo. Inginocchiatosi, si rialzò più volte dal ceppo aggiustando la posizione del capo; il suo chirurgo indicò al carnefice la giuntura dove il colpo doveva cadere e la testa del Monreale cadde di schianto.. I suoi infiniti delitti, devastazione di terre, incendi e saccheggi di centri abitati, assassinii senza numero meritavano quel tradimento infame che lo aveva condotto ad un infame supplizio.” GREGOROVIUS

-“Malizioso uomo e malvagio friere, capitano di ventura, e flagello d’Italia.” GUGLIELMOTTI

-“Lo quale entrao in terra romana moito de tenerissima etate, e fu omo de masnata e deventao virtuosissimo capitanio e fecese omo de granne fatto e de granne valore e fu capo della Granne Conpagnia. Guastaro molte terre in Puglia, arze e refocae (diede alle fiamme) molte, assai communanze mise a roba e portaone le femine…Omo operativo, triomfatore, sottile guerrieri. Da Cesari in cà mai non fu uno migliore..la cui fama sonao per tutta Italia de virtute e de gloria… (Decapitazione) La matina voize odire la messa, e odiolo staienno scalzo a nude gamme (gambe). All’ora de mesa terza fu sonata la campana e fu adunato lo puopolo. Connutto fra Monreale nelle scale allo lione, staieva inninocchiato denanti a madonna santa Maria. Alle gote (in testa) teneva uno cappuccio de scuro con uno freso de auro. Aduosso teneva uno iupparello de velluto bruno, cosito (cucito) de fila de auro.. Le calze in gamma de scuro. le mani legate larghe. Teneva la croce in mano. tre fraticelli con esso staievano.”  ANONIMO ROMANO

-“Era costui valoroso guerrieri, per nation Francese, e di sangue illustre.” SANSOVINO

-“Huomo molto valoroso nell’armi e di gran seguito.” PELLINI

-Nella sua compagnia “Mirus erat in animis adeo in ordinatis ordo, miraque in tanta gentium diversitate concordia, in tanta iniquitate fides inter se et justitia, praedarum enim justa distributio.” CHIARAMONTI

-“Capitano di una grande compagna in Italia.” B. DA FERRARA

-“Cavaliere di Rhodi, huomo di gran seno e ardore.” SARDI

-Con il conte Lando “His belli gerendi ea ratio erat, ut singularum civitatum agris hactenus infestarent, otiumque earum sollicitarent, donec populi magno precio ab eis pacem redimere, cogerentur.” SEPULVEDA

-“Condottiere malvagio.” AMIANI

-“Ancien chevalier de Rhodes, et moine franciscain défroqué.” LOT

-“Valente e ridottato cavaliere…Per la fama delle grandi prede che faceva la compagnia, molti soldati ch’aveano compiute le loro ferme, senza volere più soldo traevano a fra Moriale, e assai in prova si facevano cassare per essere con lui, ed egli li faceva scrivere, e con ordine dava a catuno certa parte al bottino, e tutte le ruberie e prede ch’erano venali facea vendere, e sicurava i compratori, e facevali scorgere lealmente per dare corso alla sua mercatanzia. E ordinò camarlingo che riceveva e pagava, e fece consiglieri e segretari con cui guidava tutto; e da tutti i cavalieri e masnadieri era ubbidito come fosse loro signore, e mantenea ragione tra loro, la quale faceva spedire sommariamente…(Nel senese, a Staggia)”Là si trovarono settemila paghe di cavalieri, che cinquemila o più erano in arme cavalcanti, fra i quali avea grande quantità di conestabili e di gentili uomini diventati da pedoni bene montati e armati, con più di millecinquecento masnadieri italiani, e oltre a costoro più di ventimila ribaldi e femmine di mala condizione seguivano la compagnia per fare male, e pascersi della carogna. E nondimeno per l’ordine dato loro per fra Moriale grande aiuto e servigio n’avea, principalmente i cavalieri e’ masnadieri, e appresso tutto l’esercito. Le femmine lavavano i panni e cocevano il pane, e avendo catuno le macinelle, che fatte avea loro fare di piccole pietre, catuno facea farina, e per questi l’oste si mantenea incredibilmente in abbondanza di farina e di pane, solo per la provvisione e ordine dato per fra Moriale.”  VILLANI

-“Capo di un esercito di assassini, la cui professione non era altra che di vivere di rubberie e ladroneggi, per evitare i quali erano costretti i popoli spedirgli incontro ambasciatori per capitolar seco loro del quanto si dovesse pagare per essere essenti del maggior danno delle devastazioni e dei saccheggi..Un gran masnadiero.., che di semplice soldato venne a tal potenza, che ne fé stare in terra e riscosse tributi dai più potenti signori e repubbliche d’Italia..Fra Moriale fu in Italia lungo tempo soldato, franco cavaliere, ed atto singolarmente ad ogni faticha cavalleresca, e molto avvisato in fatti d’armi.” COLUCCI

-“Venturiero celebrato.. franco cavaliere, atto a qualunque faticha, non poco accorto e non poco fortunato in fatto d’armi.. Era soldato a nulla più; ma nondimeno in tanta stima che non pochi baroni, connestabili e cavalieri, e con assai pedoni, piegarono volentieri sotto il suo governo ed alla sua obbedienza.” MUZZI

-“Qui joua un si gran role dans l’organisation des compagnies..Il était bon organisateur, et c’est le premier qui ait constitué ses bandes avec une administration militaire, de bureaux, de cadres régulierrs, des procurateurs et des camerlingues pour la paie et les distributions, et des maréchaux-des-logis pour les quartiers. Il avait meme, en raison de son origine, conservé le gout des représentations théatrales, des déclamations et des improvisations, et il trainat à la suite de son armée una compagnie de ménestrels à gages qui composaient des chants de guerre et de victoire.” YRIARTE

-“Lasciò di sé la più triste memoria.” SAGLIO

-“Un ribaldo spregiudicato, ma di grandi capacità militari.” PAGNANI

-“Uomo ardito.” CALCAGNI

-“Famoso condottiere.” FILIPPINI

-“Famoso capitano di ventura.” RAIA

-“Contra Malatestini nella Marcha guerriava;/ La settima indictione/ se scrivea et testava./ Et fo tanta gran gente/ che fora forte a contare:/ Decemila barbute/ odemmo rascionare./ Peduni quatromila,/ gente de male adfare./ Dicevase che voleano/ in questo regno (di Napoli) intrare.” B. DI RANALLO

-“Uno dei capitani più famosi, Fra Moriale, così chiamato perché è un ex priore dei cavaliei di San Giovanni, ha al seguito della compagnia un consiglio, segretari, contabili, giudici e persino una forca, pronta all’uso per eseguire le sentenze di morte.” BASSETTI

-“Un uomo d’arme di origine provenzale, ex monaco-cavaliere ospedaliere di San Giovanni, datosi alla più redditizia vita di rapina.” TANZINI

-“The Great Company, particularly under the later Provençal captain Monteral d’Albarno, was fully self-sufficient. It won booty by moving from city to city in search of protection-money, or by demanding redudancy pay before quitting another city’s service. Some of these earnings were even invested in merchant ventures and money-lending.” NICOLLE

-“Nel 1351 l’Urslingen tornò ricco in Germania e la compagnia (la Grande Compagnia) fu rifondata sotto la guisa di Frà Moriale, un ex cavaliere ospedaliero, provenzale, di nome Montréal d’Albarno. Per un triennio essa imperversò nell’Italia centrale, battendosi di rado e incassando invece decine di migliaia di fiorini dalle città che non volevano essere molestate.” GRILLO-SETTIA

-“Ebbe una fama sinistra, ma conferì alla Grande compagnia una razionale struttura organizzativa: quattro segretari di cavalleria (uno dei quali fu il Lando), quattro segretari connestabili (dei fanti), che insieme costituivano il consiglio segreto; in aggiunta, 40 consiglieri e un tesoriere, allo scopo di assicurare il massimo della correttezza nella vendita del bottino e nella ripartizione degli utili” VARANINI

-“Erat gallus vir diuturna militia per Italiam notus.” BRUNI

-“La Grande Compagnia di Fra’ Moriale fu la prima ad affinare la struttura complessiva necessaria a far sopravvivere e funzionare al meglio una così poderosa macchina da guerra. Era in grado di schierare sul campo diecimila armati, uno spiegamento che qualunque avversario avrebbe faticato a fronteggiare. Basti pensare che, secondo l’analisi eseguita nel1371 dal Cardinale Anglic de Grimoard nella sua “Descritio Romandiole”, la città di Forlì contava circa lo stesso numero di abitanti. I combattenti condividevano il campo con un numero almeno doppio di persone adibite alla loro cura, tra addetti al vettovagliamento, cuochi, artigiani vari (falegnami, carpentieri, fabbri, carradori, sarti..), mercanti, operai, addetti al mantenimento dei cavalli, personale “sanitario”, genieri, moglie e figli, prostitute in gran numero, notai.” SPADA

-Morte di fra Moriale “Mura di città non istimava (così un biografo contemporaneo nella versione di Gabriele d’Annunzio) se non quando erano da prendere; così la vita mia se non per dovermela conquistare ogni giorno. Ora penso che meglio m’è non avere potuto ricomprarla in contante, ché sempre di poi l’avrei avuta in dispregio come cosa rivendutami da un matto villano.” VALERI

-“Celebre capitano di ventura del secolo XIV, che fu decapitato in Roma per ordine di Cola di Rienzo.” DONAVER

-“Figlio dei tempi in cui visse ed operò, le sue imprese sono rimaste impresse nell’immaginario delle genti marchigiane. Sulla sua figura il popolo ha costruito leggende e creato tradizioni, tragiche e suggestive. Tanto che il nome di fra Moriale compare ancora oggi come denominazioni di agriturismi, di vini e di ricette gastronomiche marchigiane.” Mondoarcano.blogspot.com>2008/10>fra-mori

-“Noto avventiriero provenzale, che aveva organizzato una grande compagnia di ventura.” NOBILI-BENEDETTI

-“Fra Moriale, uomo di superiore intelligenza ed esperienza, organizza molto bene la sua compagnia, il rispetto che i suoi militi nutrono per lui è assoluto.” CIUCCIOVINO

Topics: Life and battles of Fra Moriale, Jean Montréal du Bar’s military campaigns, Condottieri’s role in medieval Italy, Strategies of Provençal mercenaries in warfare, The influence of Knights Hospitaller in 14th-century conflicts, Legacy of Fra Moriale in European military history

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