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The Multifaceted Leadership of Pandolfo III Malatesta

Lord of Brescia and Bergamo. A two-faced character. According to some sources, ambitious, violent, exploitative, a drunkard. According to others, he is instead considered a man of culture, open to new ideas, and supportive of writers, copyists, illuminators, and painters like Gentile da Fabriano.

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Last Updated on 2024/02/29

The life and legacy of Pandolfo III, a Renaissance ruler known for his military prowess, cultural patronage, and transformative leadership.

Lord of Brescia, Coccaglio, Cologne, Pontevico, Quinzano d’Oglio, Palazzolo sull’Oglio, Tagliuno, Grumello, Ternate, Gorlago, Romanengo, Bergamo, of Val Camonica, of Val di Sabbia, Trezzo sull’Adda, Lecco, Martinengo, Soncino, Chiari, Pontoglio, Urgnano, Orzinuovi, Asola, Castel Goffredo, Montichiari, Gavardo, Capriolo, Rovato, Pievedizio, Carpenedolo, Clusone, Iseo, Cividate Camuno, Rivoltella del Garda, Salò, Tignale, Manerba del Garda, Vobarno, San Giovanni in Persiceto, Fano, Mondolfo, Mondavio, Monterolo, Montebello, San Costanzo, Pergola, San Vito sul Cesano, Arcevia, Bertinoro, Ostra, Corinaldo, Montelupone, Ripalta, Senigallia. Son of Galeotto Malatesta, brother of Carlo Malatesta and Andrea Malatesta, father of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta and Domenico Malatesta, son-in-law of Rodolfo da Varano, father-in-law of Ludovico Migliorati.

Born: 1370, January
Death: 1427 (October)

Year, monthState, Comp. venturaOpponentConductActivity AreaActions taken and other salient facts
……………Pandolfo III Malatesta was educated by Francesco Filelfo.
1385
Jan.RomagnaHe was in Forlì for the wedding of Pino Ordelaffi and Venanzia Brancaleoni. Upon his father’s death, he inherited Fano with its territory, Mondavio, and Mondolfo. He had a dispute with his brother Andrea over the possession of Fossombrone. The Bishop of Rimini, Leale Malatesta, intervened, inviting Gian Galeazzo Visconti to arbitrate. The locality was assigned to his brother.
1386
Oct.RiminiBalacchiRomagnaTogether with his brother Carlo, he forcefully took control of Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna from Gaspare and Lorenzo Balacchi.
1387
Jan.Tuscany
MayEmilia
Sept.RiminiPetrucciMarche, EmiliaHe returned to Fano to avenge his brother Carlo’s defeat at the hands of the Petruccis, who were assisted by Giovanni Acuto and Giovanni Beltoft. He attacked the castles of Tomba and Montale, which belonged to the rivals, conquered the two locations, had them destroyed, and confiscated all the Petruccis’ possessions except for some mills. He then went to Bologna and Ferrara.
Dec.RiminiComp. venturaRomagnaTogether with his brother Carlo, he met with Giovanni Ordelaffi in Rimini. Subsequently, he went to war with Guido da Polenta. He blocked Giovanni degli Ubaldini in Cervia, who was incited against him by the lord of Ravenna.
1388
Feb.MarcheHe received the oath of loyalty from the inhabitants of Fano.
SpringRiminiRavennaRomagnaHe clashed with the troops of Guido da Polenta for control of Cervia and its salt pans.
MayMilanCittà di Castello800 cavalryRomagna, Tuscany, UmbriaHe reached an agreement with the da Polenta family and entered into the service of the Count of Virtue, Gian Galeazzo Visconti. He crossed the Montefeltro region and penetrated Tuscany with the intention of joining forces with Giovanni degli Ubaldini. He ignored the warnings of Maso degli Albizzi, aimed at making him respect the territory of the Florentine Republic and those of its allies, such as the municipalities of Ancona, Ascoli Piceno, Cortona, and Città di Castello. Leaving Borgo San Sepolcro (Sansepolcro) with 1,000 cavalry and 300 infantrymen, he entered the Tiber Valley and caused severe damage: he had the palaces of Piero Leone and Angelo Dotti in the village of San Giustino demolished. Strengthened by auxiliary militias provided by Bartolomeo da Pietramala and Tancredi degli Ubaldini, he moved towards Citerna, freeing the city from the harassment of the castle lords. Arriving at Lippiano, he took possession of a palace in Lama and occupied another in San Giustino belonging to Pierleone. In the Perugian territory, he besieged the castle of Celle, causing significant damage between the Tiber and Cerfone rivers. To the Florentines who complained about his predatory actions, he replied that he had spent more than 30,000 florins to form his company and that, needing to cover his expenses, he could not refrain from conducting raids.
JuneBolognaFlorenceUmbria, TuscanyHe was led for a month by the Bolognese. He moved towards Cortona and from there diverted to Romagna. He was urged by Pope Urban VI to attack Antonio da Montefeltro together with his brother Carlo. He was attacked at Umbertide by Florentine militias under the command of Giovanni Beltoft, which forced him to seek refuge first in the castle of the same name, then in the lands of the Pietramala, and thereafter to Sansepolcro after suffering numerous losses. He retreated to Perugia and went to Ponte San Giovanni. With the help of the papal and Perugian forces, he was able to gather many men-at-arms.
Nov.MilanHe made peace with Antonio da Montefeltro thanks to the intervention of Gian Galeazzo Visconti. He returned to the service of the Count of Virtue. In that year, he married Paola Bianca Malatesta, his cousin from the Pesaro branch.
1389
Mar.ChurchAntipopeUmbriaHe joins forces with his brother Carlo; attacks near Umbertide the companies of Giovanni Beltoft and Everardo della Campana (2500 cavalry). He seizes all their supplies, captures 50 horses and 200 infantrymen. Among the opponents, 220 men are killed.
Apr. – MayRiminiUrbinoMarcheHe opposes Antonio da Montefeltro.
JuneMilanFlorence, BolognaMarche, RomagnaAlways with his brother Carlo, he defeats Giovanni da Barbiano at Santarcangelo di Romagna, who with 800 Bolognese cavalry is trying to reach Tuscany to connect with the Florentines.
Dec.MarcheHe enters Corinaldo by night with the support of the local Guelphs and expels the Ghibellines: the latter attempt to resist; about ten are immediately beheaded, and others have their possessions confiscated.
1390
Apr.MilanBolognaRomagnaHe wins and takes prisoners, near Rimini, Ugolino Ghislieri, Count da Carrara, and Corrado Prospero.
……………RiminiUrbino, MilanHe joins the league promoted by the Florentines against the Visconti; he takes up arms again against Antonio da Montefeltro, allied with the Milanese.
Sept.MarcheHe magnificently receives in Fano the wife of Gentile da Varano. Pope Boniface IX pardons him and his brother Carlo a payment of the census owed for their vicariates as compensation for the expenses incurred in the reacquisition of Bertinoro to the state of the Church. He obtains with Carlo the vicariate of Imola.
Oct.MarcheHe opposes the passage through his territories of the company of the Visconti condottiero Gherardo Tedesco.
1391
Jan.The Pope renews his vicariate of Fano for him.
JulyMarcheHe takes possession of Ripalta in the Pesaro area.
Aug.Marche, RomagnaHe aids his brother Carlo against Antonio da Montefeltro; he faces Azzo da Castello with little success. The conflict will last until February of the following year.
1392
Mar.RomagnaHe goes to Forlì.
……………RiminiForlìRomagnaIn conflict with the lord of Forlì, Pino Ordelaffi.
JulyRomagnaHe raids the countryside of Maiano Monti in the Ravenna area.
Aug. – Sept.ChurchAncona, CamerinoMarcheAlongside the Rector of the March, Andrea Tomacelli, he enlists the companies of Giovanni da Barbiano, Conte da Carrara, Ceccolo Broglia, and Brandolino Brandolini (discharged after the peace of Genoa) to raid the territories of lordships and municipalities opposed to the policy of the State of the Church. His intention is to pay these troops with the bounties imposed on various localities. Moreover, they are promised the plunder of Fabriano, Cingoli, San Severino Marche, and Tolentino. Their official destination is Apulia. In early September, Malatesta responds to the ambassadors of Ancona that the companies have been hired by him personally and by Andrea Tomacelli to counter the company of Azzo da Castello.
1393
Jan.Pope Boniface IX, the Count of Virtue, and the Venetians intervene in the dispute that pits the Malatesta against the Montefeltro.
Feb.RomagnaIn Mondaino, peace is proclaimed among the contenders. Hostilities soon resume due to the failure to agree on some details. Meanwhile, the war with the Ordelaffi does not cease.
SpringRomagnaHe carries out some raids in the Forlì area.
Aug.RomagnaHe bursts into the Forlì area with his brother Carlo at the head of many cavalry and infantry. He defeats Cecco and Pino Ordelaffi at Bosecchio, who have a smaller number of soldiers at their disposal: the clash ends with the capture of 300 men, almost all residents of the city.
……………MarcheIn Camerino; with the mediation of the lord of Foligno, Ugolino Trinci, he obtains from Gentile da Varano the release of the Pope’s brother, Andrea Tomacelli. He is granted Montelupone, which belongs to Francesco Brancaleoni.
1394
……………ChurchAnconaMarcheHe recovers Recanati, Morro, and Montefeltrano on behalf of the papal authorities. He assaults Ancona.
JuneMarcheHe meets with Corrado di Altinberg to sign the preliminary peace agreements concerning on one side the municipalities of Osimo, Castelfidardo, Montelupone, Offagna, Montefano, Filottrano, and Percozzone, and on the other Ancona, Gentile da Varano (Camerino), Sciarra Simonetti (Jesi), and Benuttino Cima (Cingoli).
JulyAs a reward, he receives from the papal authorities the vicariate of Bertinoro (against a loan of 22,000 ducats) and that of Rocca Contrada (Arcevia).
Dec.MilanLombardyIn Milan. He is granted by Duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti a command of 40 lances and 200 infantrymen.
1395
Feb. – JulyIsrael, RomagnaHe embarked on the galley of Niccolò Muazzo to undertake a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, he was knighted by the Grand Marshal of England, along with Galeotto Malatesta. He returned to Rimini in July.
Aug.MarcheHe was in Fano; with his brother Carlo, he attended the wedding of his sister Rengarda to Guidantonio da Montefeltro and of his sister Gentile to Giovanni Galeazzo Manfredi, son of Astorre.
1396RiminiCittà di CastelloUmbriaHe assisted the Florentines in damaging the territory of Città di Castello.
1397
Mar.Ravenna, FaenzaMilan1000 cavalry and 600 infantryLombardyHe was sent by the da Polenta and the Manfredi families to aid the lord of Mantua, Francesco Gonzaga, who was attacked by the Visconti.
Aug.LombardyIn command of the third brigade, strong with 1500 cavalry and 500 provisioned troops, he defeated Jacopo dal Verme at Governolo; together with Giovanni da Barbiano, he contributed to the rebalancing of the fortunes of the clash.
Sept.ChurchGeneral CaptainUmbriaHe was appointed rector of the Duchy of Spoleto and the lands of Arnolfo.
1398
Jan.ChurchPerugiaUmbriaWith his brother Andrea, he opposed Biordo dei Michelotti in the Perugia area.
UmbriaHe occupied Todi with the Chiaravalle and drove out Ceccolino dei Michelotti; he handed over the city to Giannello Tomacelli, the new rector of the Patrimony and the Duchy of Spoleto.
MayLombardyIn Lombardy to obtain from the Visconti the payment of overdue wages.
JuneMarcheHe returned to Fano upon hearing the news that his wife, Paola Bianca Malatesta, was dying.
1399
Jan.MarchePope Boniface IX confirmed his vicariate of Fano with the usual tribute and granted him and his brothers, for five years, those of Osimo, Montelupone, Castelfidardo, Montefano, and Filottrano.
MayChurchComp. venturaMarcheHe defended the March of Ancona from the incursions of Broglia and Conte da Carrara; having received 200 lances from the Duke of Milan and 100 from the Bolognese, he faced the opponents who had camped at Cingoli with forces inferior to his own. He was attacked by Conte da Carrara: the opposing commander retreated, Malatesta pursued him and fell into an ambush laid by Broglia. He was defeated; the mercenaries took possession of a rich booty.
Nov.RiminiMontalboddoMarcheAfter a brief siege, he entered Montalboddo (Ostra) on behalf of his brother Carlo.
Dec.Milan
1400VeniceMarche, CroaziaHe stops at Fano. In May, he is under the pay of the Venetians. He is reported in Istria commanding a contingent of Italian cavalry. Upon the death of his brother Galeotto Belfiore, he obtains the lordship of Montalboddo (Ostra).
1401
JulyMilanRomagnaHe leaves Rimini to join the ducal forces in Lombardy. He requests passage from the lord of Bologna, Giovanni Bentivoglio.
Sept.EmiliaAt the beginning of the month, he arrives at Bologna at Ponte Vecchio outside Strada Maggiore: Bentivoglio meets him with 800 lances; he is invited to enter the city. Malatesta seems to accept, reaches Porta Maggiore, turns along the walls, and moves away. He warns the lord of the city that the Duke of Milan intends to wage war against him.
Oct.MilanFlorenceLombardyWith Alberico da Barbiano, Facino Cane, Ottobono Terzi, and Jacopo dal Verme (4,500 Italian lances), he wins at Nave, at the gates of Brescia, against the German troops of Emperor Roberto di Baviera hired by the Florentines and the Carraresi.
1402
……………MilanBolognaEmiliaAt the beginning, he fights the lord of Bologna, Giovanni Bentivoglio, almost on a personal basis, under the pretext that the latter has not observed some agreements towards him.
Mar.Emilia, RomagnaHe is acclaimed along with his brother Carlo as the lord of San Giovanni in Persiceto by the population. He gathers soldiers in Romagna with his brother Andrea and moves to Carpi: here, he is joined by the rest of the Milanese army.
Apr.EmiliaHe challenges Bentivoglio to battle through a herald and stops at Mirandola. In a skirmish, the opponent’s militias gain the upper hand over his men.
MayEmiliaPandolfo III Malatesta moves to the aid of San Giovanni in Persiceto with Alberico da Barbiano and Facino Cane; he is confronted by Giacomo da Carrara, Muzio Attendolo Sforza, and Lancillotto Beccaria. During the clash, he engages in combat with Sforza; both fall to the ground and continue the confrontation on foot.
June – JulyEmiliaHe participates in the Battle of Casalecchio di Reno where, along with his brother Carlo and Antonio da Montefeltro, he commands the third squadron. Bernardo della Serra is routed and captured. He enters Bologna through the Porta di San Donato with Jacopo dal Verme, Galeazzo da Mantova, and Facino Cane; at the door of the Public Palace, he knights some Bolognese, among whom is Galeazzo Pepoli. With the official control of the city by Gian Galeazzo Visconti and the killing of Bentivoglio, he is appointed ducal lieutenant of the city; he is invested with the lordship of San Giovanni in Persiceto and that of Manzolino.
Aug.He is called to be part of the ducal council with Alberico da Barbiano, his brother Carlo, the bishops of Pavia, Novara, Pisa, and Feltre, Francesco Gonzaga, Antonio da Montefeltro, Giovanni Colonna, Paolo Savelli, Jacopo dal Verme, Baldassarre Spinola, Leonardo Doria, the chamberlain Francesco Barbavara, the chancellor Giovanni da Carnago, and the two counselors Pietro da Corte and Filippo dei Migli.
Sept.Emilia, LombardyHe departs from the Bolognese area with 1,000 lances; he arrives in Lombardy following the serious illness of the Duke of Milan. He is present at the funeral of Gian Galeazzo Visconti; with Francesco Gonzaga, Antonio da Montefeltro, and Francesco Barbavara, he takes part in the reading of the will of the lord of Milan. He reaches Pavia with all his men.
Oct.MilanChurchEmiliaTogether with Tommaso Trotti and Marcoardo dalla Rocca, he supports Facino Cane in the Parma area. He reaches Porta Cristina and Porta Benedetta of the capital: the territories stretching from Parma to Brescello and Reggio Emilia are devastated and set aflame.
Nov.EmiliaHe leaves the Bolognese area with his brothers Carlo and Andrea. He stops at San Giovanni in Persiceto to confront the papal forces there.
Dec.EmiliaHe enters Parma with Facino Cane, Tommaso Trotti, Marcoardo dalla Rocca, and Guglielmo della Scala.
1403
Feb. – Mar.MilanFlorenceTuscanyHe moves to Siena with many lances to keep the city loyal to the Visconti. He carries out numerous raids in the Florentine territory. Also in March, Pope Boniface IX orders him to pay the annual tribute for his vicariates to Paolo Orsini, in exchange for the latter’s conduct of armed men, rather than to the Apostolic Chamber.
JuneTuscany, UmbriaAt Lucignano d’Arbia with 1,000 horses; from here, he rides several times into the Arezzo territory, makes numerous prisoners, and raids livestock. The Perugians advance him 1,000 florins to organize his men. Along with Ottobono Terzi and Ceccolino dei Michelotti, he tries to provide relief to the two fortresses of Assisi that are besieged by the opponents.
JulyTuscanyReinforced by 300 lances from Giovanni Colonna, he moves to Sarteano while Cecco dei Michelotti, Ludovico Gabriotto Cantelli, and Antonio Balestrazzo remain near Assisi with 1,200 horses.
Aug.TuscanyHe signs peace with the forces of the anti-Visconti league and pays homage to the pope; this does not prevent him from plundering Tuscany in defense of the Sienese.
……………LombardyHe returns to Lombardy; he gets involved in the struggles between the Guelphs and Ghibellines of the region; he sides with the former. He takes possession of the castle of Trezzo on the Adda after a long siege.
Nov.GuelphesComoLombardyWith Jacopo dal Verme and the Vitani (the partisans of the da Carcano and dei Grassi), he moves from Cantù towards Como, dominated by the Rusca. Franchino Rusca meets them at Pratomarcio, a vast plain near Montorfano, where the Como troops are defeated. While the opposing captain takes refuge in the castle of San Pietro, near Balerno, Malatesta bursts into the city through the gate of the round tower castle. Initially, the houses of the Vitani are spared, on whose doors a large nail had been fixed as a sign; later, these too are plundered. Malatesta, through the plundering, recovers the back pay for his soldiers. The devastations last fifty days during which the inhabitants must lodge and supply his men.
Dec.LombardyThe new Duke of Milan, Giovanni Maria Visconti, due to the brutality of the plundering carried out by his soldiers, confiscates the goods from Malatesta and cancels the debts that the Vitani had to incur to recover the possessions they owned; finally, he frees the prisoners on whom a ransom is imposed.
1404
Jan.Guelphes, MilanGhibellines, Guelphes, PaduaLombardyOn the orders of Caterina Visconti, widow of Gian Galeazzo, with Jacopo dal Verme and Delfino di Brivio, Antonio Visconti, Antonio and Galeazzo Porro, Giovanni Aliprandi, and other leaders of the Ghibelline faction were arrested in the castle of Monza. The same evening, all were beheaded in the castle of Porta Giovia in Milan in front of the chapel of San Donato; the next day, their bodies were displayed to the public at the Broletto Nuovo in Piazza dei Mercanti. Only Antonio Visconti escaped the sentence by the special grace of the duchess. This swift action temporarily cut off the Ghibellines’ ability to resist central power. Pandolfo Malatesta, with Facino Cane and Gabriotto Cantelli (7,000 cavalry and 2,000 infantry), could thus move towards Verona, threatened by the Carraresi. They conquered Pandino, crossed the Adda, and vainly assaulted Brescia: repelled, they contacted through Cantelli the local Guelph leader Giovanni da Martinengo.
Feb.Lombardy, VenetoWith Facino Cane, they attacked Brescia again with cannons; they managed to enter the city after subduing the resistance of the Gambara: 300 Guelphs were killed; many others were captured. Pandolfo Malatesta continued towards Verona with Facino Cane; upon their arrival, the Viscontean governor of the city, Ugolotto Biancardo, fearing possible disorders from the troops under their command, did not allow such militias to enter the city.
Mar.Comp. venturaBresciaVeneto, LombardyHe continues his march in the Vicenza and Padua areas. Repelled by the Carraresi at Tencarola, he takes the opportunity to immediately return to Brescia and initiate negotiations with the Martinengo to be declared the lord of the city. He obtains dominion over it, including the entire surrounding area up to the Riviera del Garda, from the duchess Caterina Visconti as compensation for back pay amounting to 20,000 ducats. According to other sources, conversely, he simply seizes it by force after preparing 3 artillery batteries. The Ghibellines, who have barricaded themselves in the citadel, remain firm in their fortifications; the Guelphs surrender into his hands, and he becomes the lord of the city, anticipating the arrival of Facino Cane with his action. When the latter appears outside the walls of Brescia, Malatesta prevents him from entering with his troops; at most, he can enter with an escort of only 50 horses. Facino Cane feels mocked and, angry, heads towards Milan. Malatesta is content to monitor his movements.
Apr.LombardyIn the early days of the month, on the orders of the duchess, he moves with 2,000 men to the lands of Capriate-San Gervasio, Marne, Grignano, and other surrounding municipalities: he destroys the rye and wheat crops in the countryside, raids livestock, and robs citizens of their provisions. After six days, he enters Brescia; he is opposed by the captain of the Viscontean garrison, Giovanni dell’Agnello, the provider of lances, Bernabò Lunello, and the captain of the crossbowmen, Manfredo da Roscoalio: all of them do not comply with the orders of the regent until after the payment of their back pay.
MayBresciaMilanLombardyHe enters the citadel of Brescia. Mid-month, he once again occupies the castle of Trezzo on the Adda in the name of the young duke Giovanni Maria Visconti. His men leave the castle to raid the nearby counties. Following his depredations, Giovanni Maria Visconti sends Ottone da Mandello with a good number of soldiers against him. Pandolfo Malatesta defeats the opponent and captures him with the help of the Guelphs. Ottone da Mandello, after being stripped of weapons and mounts, is taken to Caprino Bergamasco; for his release, he must recognize a ransom of 2,000 florins to Malatesta.
JuneLombardyHe meets with Giovanni da Vignate at Trezzo on the Adda to provide assistance to Caterina Visconti, who was forced to leave Milan and take refuge in Monza.
JulyLombardyWith the Guelphs of the Valley of San Martino and Casate, he raids up to Ponte San Pietro: some Ghibellines are killed; others are taken prisoner. He moves to the territory of Locate Bergamasco to carry out the same depredations: he is opposed by the ducal forces and Francesco Visconti. He goes to Monza.
Aug.LombardyCastellino Beccaria and Bertolino di Zambuono, thanks to a treaty concluded with Giovanni Pusterla, enter the castle of Monza and there capture the duchess along with her loyal followers Uberto Visconti, Gaspare and Delfino di Brivio, Pietrino and Cristoforo Casati. Pandolfo Malatesta, who is inside at the time, manages to escape unarmed and stripped of everything to a nearby mill: his 300 men are captured and disarmed. He flees first to Trezzo on the Adda and, subsequently, to Brescia; he is proclaimed a public enemy. Caterina Visconti is imprisoned by her opponents; two months later (October), her death is announced, likely due to poison.
Sept.LombardyHe forms an alliance with the lord of Cremona, Ugolino Cavalcabò; 200 of his men join forces with the troops of the lord of Lodi, Giovanni da Vignate, and push their raids up to the outskirts of Bergamo, at the Porta Colognola of the San Leonardo borough. On their return, in which they carry many prisoners of all ages, they are unsuccessfully confronted by their opponents at Stezzano. Later, Pandolfo Malatesta crosses the Adda at Trezzo on the Adda and invades the Milanese territory; he plunders Urgnano; together with Antonio da Monterulo, he ravages the entire territory up to Pioltello and Melzo. He returns to Brescia and sees to the defense of the city, which is in turn threatened by Astorre Visconti, who has started a vigorous offensive from Bergamo.
Oct.LombardyHe besieges Montichiari. Negotiations are opened, and Ugolino da Fano secures the surrender of the locality.
Nov.LombardyThe Duke of Milan, Giovanni Maria Visconti, calls on the Ghibellines for help; Facino Cane and Francesco Visconti defeat Malatesta at Pieve d’Inzino and besiege him in Erba. Malatesta is saved by the threats brought to Milan by other opponents; Facino Cane and Francesco Visconti prefer to abandon their operations and negotiate a truce with him for one month and eight days. Malatesta garrisons Erba with a detachment of 300 cavalry and withdraws with the bulk of his army to the castle of San Pietro near Bergamo; he then returns to Brescia where Loreto dei Beccai has taken control of the fort of Porta Pile. Malatesta begins the siege.
Dec.LombardyHe moves to defend Giovanni da Vignate, Giorgio Benzoni, lord of Crema, Ugolino Cavalcabò, Carlo Cavalcabò, and Gabrino Fondulo. Ugolino Cavalcabò is defeated and taken prisoner at Manerbio by Astorre Visconti: Malatesta returns to Brescia and attacks the Cidneo fort, still in the hands of his opponents.
1405
Jan.LombardyAt the conclusion of a truce with Secondone, the latter cedes the fortress of Brescia to him in exchange for 12,000 ducats.
Mar. – MayLombardyHe attacks the Colleoni and conquers Vescovato. In April, he takes Cologne from Giovanni Piccinino Visconti; in May, he is still defending Giovanni da Vignate in Lodi.
JuneEmilia, LombardyTogether with Gabrino Fondulo and the Cavalcabò, he occupies Piacenza: the houses of the Ghibellines are looted, 200 of whom are killed; many others are taken prisoner. He is forced to leave the city after only four days due to the intervention of Francesco Visconti, Ottobono Terzi, and Facino Cane who seize the opportunity to massacre (it’s their turn) the Guelphs. To put Pandolfo Malatesta in difficulty, the Duke of Milan, in the meantime, grants the investiture of Brescia, Val Camonica, and the Riviera di Salò to Giovanni Piccinino Visconti. Astorre Visconti also enters the fray to defend the rights of his relative.
JulyLombardyAstorre Visconti forcefully enters the Brescia area; the commander is routed at Soncino where he is captured with 200 men. Astorre Visconti is taken prisoner to Brescia, and a ransom of 10,000 florins is demanded for his release.
Aug.LombardyThe lord of Bergamo, Giovanni Piccinino Visconti, in order to secure Astorre’s release, cedes to Pandolfo Malatesta the rights he held over the castle of Palazzolo on the Oglio. Malatesta, during the same days, becomes friends with Astorre Visconti. The latter advises his nephew Giovanni Piccinino to renounce Bergamo in favor of the lord of Brescia.
Sept.LombardyHe conducts a raid in the Milanese territory with 2,000 men in support of the Guelphs. At the end of the month, with Giovanni Piccinino Visconti, Giovanni da Vignate, and Giacomino d’Iseo, he enters the fortress of Urgnano and drives out the Ghibellines.
Oct.LombardyWith his allies Carlo Cavalcabò, the new lord of Cremona, Giovanni da Vignate, and Giorgio Benzoni, Pandolfo Malatesta is forced to retreat and take refuge in the castle of Martinengo.
Nov.LombardyHe seizes Coccaglio at the expense of Berardo Maggi.
Dec.LombardyHe goes to Milan to sign the usual truce of one month and eight days with Facino Cane and the entire Ghibelline party.
1406
Mar.LombardyThe conflict resumes; he carries out sudden raids in the Bergamo area to the detriment of the Suardi. Alongside Giovanni Piccinino Visconti, he leaves Palazzolo on the Oglio with 800 cavalry, reaches Castellaccio, Alzano Lombardo, and Cologno al Serio, causing severe damage everywhere. Numerous opponents are killed; some prisoners are also taken. He moves to the countryside of Stezzano. The loot collected is brought to his possession in Martinengo. The month ends with a raid on Comun Nuovo.
Apr.LombardyHe raids livestock near Tezze and Brignano Gera d’Adda: the ducal forces confront him to relieve the pressure of the Guelphs; they besiege Trezzo on the Adda. Some of his drovers, who are leading livestock to Martinengo, fall into an ambush: many are taken prisoner, and some are killed.
…………LombardyThrough agreements with the Avogadro and Galvano della Nozza, he begins his penetration into Val Trompia and Val di Sabbia. His entry into Val Camonica proves more difficult due to the resistance posed by the Federici and other local nobles.
Aug.He is considered by the papal authorities as adhering to the State of the Church during the peace treaty with the King of Naples, Ladislao d’Angiò.
Dec.LombardyHe signs a new truce with Facino Cane for one month and eight days.
1407
Feb.BresciaMilan, Facino CaneHe sends troops to aid Jacopo dal Verme and the Terzi. The forces of Facino Cane are defeated at Morimondo.
MayBresciaGhibellinesLombardyTogether with his brother Carlo, he seizes control in the Bergamo and Brescia areas of Tagliuno, Grumello, Chiuduno, Telgate, and Gorlago; he returns to the favor of the Duke of Milan through the efforts of his brother, who has been appointed governor of the duchy. He sends his own ambassador to Bergamo to request the city on behalf of the duke from the Suardi: the response is negative, as they claim to already hold Bergamo on behalf of Visconti himself. During the same period, Pandolfo Malatesta occupies and loots Lovere and almost immediately sells the locality. With money obtained from Venetian banks and advances received from residents of Fano and Brescia, he covers the expenses of the castles of Almenno, Romano di Lombardia, and Lecco previously borne by Muto Ceresoli, Stangalino della Palude, and Count Arrighetto de Flagerolis.
JuneLombardyThe Ghibellines hand over to him and his brother Carlo the castles of Grassobbio and Nembro; Malatesta takes Urago from Antonio Secco.
JulyLombardyHe nearly besieges Bergamo; occupies Trescore Balneario and Stezzano where the houses of the Ghibellines are looted and burned. Even Giovanni Suardi cannot withstand his pressure and cedes control of the fortresses of Bergamo in exchange for 30,000 ducats and the return to his family members of Morengo, Pagazzano, Cologno al Serio, Verdello, Recolasio, Bariani, and Albino. The money for the purchase is provided to Pandolfo Malatesta by the Brescians themselves who, for the loan, are exempted from duties and taxes for one year. At the end of the month, he enters Comun Nuovo while Count Bartolomeo Calepio, his follower, brings the Val di Caleppio under his devotion. Pope Gregory XII confirms him for five years in the governance of Osimo, Montelupone, Castelfidardo, and Montefano.
Sept. – Oct.BresciaMilanVenetoIn Venice with his brother Andrea, he manages to obtain a loan of 20,000 ducats from the College of Pregadi (12,000 immediately, payable in Verona, and the rest within a month). As a guarantee, he cedes to the Venetians the localities and castles under dispute with Gabrino Fondulo. Furthermore, he promises to confront the French forces of Boucicaut present in Lombardy. At the end of the month, the troops of Pandolfo Malatesta are preparing to move to face such opponents.
1408
………….LombardyHe joins the league formed against the lord of Parma, Ottobono Terzi.
MayLombardyHe holds the office of podestà in Como. He is expelled from the city along with his soldiers by Facino Cane and Franchino Rusca.
JuneBresciaParmaLombardyHe fights against Terzi. He defeats him in the Cremonese area at Castelponzone.
SummerBresciaGhibellinesLombardyHe besieges Astorre Visconti in Monza and Francesco Visconti in Cassano d’Adda; he has Antonio Visconti arrested in Ferrara by Niccolò d’Este and arranges for him to be handed over.
Aug.LombardyThe defenders of Cassano d’Adda capitulate: Malatesta has Antonio Visconti strangled as a traitor in Cassano d’Adda and Francesco Visconti and Cristoforo Casati in Somaglia.
1409
Jan.BresciaParmaEmiliaHe goes to Finale Emilia for a war council against Terzi: he sends 800 cavalry to aid the Estensi. They pass through Bondeno and stop at San Giovanni in Persiceto, ready to be deployed.
Feb.BresciaFacino Cane, MonferratoRomagna, Emilia, LombardyHe meets with Pope Gregory XII in Cesena; he goes to Bologna to act as a peacemaker in the ongoing conflict between Cardinal Baldassarre Cossa and his brother Carlo. Together with Carlo, he must leave Milan due to the predominance of the opposing faction; he retreats to Brescia and opposes the joint assault on the duchy’s capital by Facino Cane and the Marquis of Monferrato.
Mar.LombardyHe is quickly noted in Modena, Bondeno, Mantua, and Brescia. He gathers a powerful army (3,000 cavalry and many infantry) and moves from the Brescia area into the Bergamo area. In the Valley of San Martino; he goes up the Adda on the Bergamo bank up to Brivio and Olginate, where he tries to cross the river to raid the Martesana. He is confronted by Astorre Visconti, Facino Cane, and Teodoro di Monferrato, who defeat him with a loss of 400 of his men.
Apr.BresciaMilan, GenoaLombardyAt Easter, he clashes with his opponents at Rovagnate for two hours. The following day, he reconciles with them, and together they prevent Milan from being occupied by the French forces of Boucicaut, called by the duke. Pandolfo Malatesta attacks the capital from Porta Comacina while Facino Cane targets Porta Ticinese to expel Antonio dalla Torre and Marco Posbonello, who had made Andrea Malatesta flee from Milan. When Filippino di Desio surrenders the castle of Melegnano to him, he is attacked by ducal militias which force him to retreat back across the Adda.
MayLombardyIn accordance with the agreements, he supports Facino Cane against the French forces of the governor of Genoa, Boucicaut, and the troops of the governor of Asti, Bernardo della Serra. The Venetians, at war with the Genoese, deliver him 20,000 ducats so that he moves from the Brescia area to act against the French. He joins forces with Giorgio Benzoni and Gabrino Fondulo, attacks the Como area, and conquers the fortress of Offanengo, which is then guarded by Martino da Faenza.
JuneLombardyThe war between the parties comes to an end.
Sept.RomagnaTogether with Niccolò d’Este, he meets in Cesena with the lords of Imola, Forlì, Faenza, and the Venetian ambassadors: the theme of the meeting is the possibility of a league and the reconciliation of his brother Carlo with the antipope Alexander V.
1410
Jan. – Apr.LombardyIn Mantua at the wedding of Paola Malatesta, daughter of Malatesta Malatesta, with Gian Francesco Gonzaga: he participates in a tournament in which his men, marked by a white livery, are defeated by those of his brother Carlo. In April, the Venetians insist that he address his debts to the Serene Republic.
…………..BresciaFacino CaneLombardyHe is the podestà of Bergamo. He resumes the war with Facino Cane; he allies with the Count of Savoy, the Prince of Savoy-Acaia, the Marquis of Monferrato, and Asti.
…………..MarcheHe must return to Fano following the clashes that occur in the city between the partisans of Gregory XII and those of the antipope.
1411
Jan.BresciaCremonaLombardyHe seizes Soncino to the detriment of the Barbuò. This arouses the resentment of Gabrino Fondulo, who aims for the same objective.
…………..LombardyStrengthen the garrisons of Pontevico and Quinzano d’Oglio, occupy Romanengo, and order Giovanni da Terzo to block the provisioning of the Cremonese troops. The war will continue throughout the spring without achieving any result.
MayRiminiBolognaEmiliaProvides assistance to his brother Charles in the struggle against the Bolognese and the troops of the antipope John XXIII (Cardinal Cossa).
JuneEmiliaHe enters San Giovanni in Persiceto; he leaves the town to ravage the Bolognese territory. After a few days, he is attacked by the pontifical general captain Uguccione Contrari and the forces from Este led by Guido Torelli. At the end of the month, he concludes a truce with the Bolognese who recognize to Carlo Malatesta the sum of 10,000 ducats.
…………..LombardyHe contacts the Savoyard captain Enrico di Colombier to gain the support of Count Amedeo of Savoy against Facino Cane.
1412
…………..Brescia Facino CaneLombardyPandolfo Malatesta is attacked by Facino Cane: the opposing commander makes an agreement with some Brescian nobles to rebel while he assaults Bergamo. Malatesta orders all garrisons from the castles of Fontanella, Antegnate, Romanengo, Gallignano to withdraw and return to defend the Bergamo area. He is also followed by Giacomo di Covo and Giovanni da Terzo.
MayLombardyHe is besieged in Brescia; Facino Cane is forced to abandon his action due to a gout attack that would soon lead to his death in Pavia.
…………..VeniceHungary1000 lancesLombardyHe hosts his niece Antonia, widow of the Duke of Milan Giovanni Maria Visconti, in Brescia. He is joined in the city by Andrea Redusio; he switches to the payroll of the Venetians to face the troops of the Emperor Sigismund of Hungary. He is granted a command of 1,000 lances.
Sept.General captainVenetoHe takes the place of his brother Carlo, who was wounded in combat at Motta di Livenza. He moves quickly; shortly, he recovers Feltre where the opponents have amassed many spoils. He is elected general captain, a position he holds until 1416 when he departs for the Marche region. Throughout this period, his contract is renewed every six months and costs the Venetians 4,000 ducats a month.
Oct.Veneto, FriuliHe conquers Oderzo, Portogruaro, the abbey of Sesto al Reghena, Salvarolo, Prata di Pordenone; positions himself near Udine and captures 300 Hungarian horses caught on the road; lays a severe siege to the city while part of his troops plunder the Gorizia area.
Nov.FriuliIn the continuation of his offensive, he seizes Artegna and Codroipo, where grains for the cavalry are found in large quantities.
Dec.Friuli, VenetoHe defeats 1,000 Hungarian cavalrymen led by Filippo Scolari (Pippo Spano) in the Friulian plain. A new army of the emperor, strong with 11,000 horses, approaches. Pandolfo Malatesta decides to fall back to the Treviso area to distribute his troops in the fortresses. He crosses the Piave River on a bridge of boats after overcoming the resistance of a Hungarian corps, of which more than 300 men are killed. He decides to follow a scorched earth policy, setting fire to small castles and burning non-transportable forage. With his raids, he seizes booty valued at about 10,000 ducats. On Christmas Eve, he goes to Venice: he is received with all honors.
1413
Jan.VenetoHe locks himself in Padua with 6,000 cavalry and as many infantry, and there prevents any attempt of rebellion fomented by the followers of the Carraresi. He defends Cittadella and moves towards Vicenza; always harries the Hungarians with continuous sorties; blocks a diversionary attack on Verona. Together with Martino da Faenza, he forces Filippo Scolari to retreat into the Vicentine Prealps; when the enemy captain assaults Vicenza, he beats him once again and enters to defend the town. In Verona, he has Giovanni Nogarola executed for having promised the Hungarians the delivery of a city gate.
Apr.Venice1000 lancesVenetoAt the end of hostilities, he is re-engaged by the Venetians for six months with 1,000 lances; he has the opportunity to use such troops on his own account in Lombardy provided that any opponents are not adherents of the emperor. He is also added to the nobility of the Serene Republic (the Major Council), is assigned an annual pension of 1,000 ducats; he is given a palace on the Grand Canal at Saint Eustachio (which he will take possession of three years later) purchased from the Lova family and costing the authorities 6,000 ducats and 600 ducats in gold and silver cloth. The same palace will then be assigned to Carmagnola after the battle of Maclodio, to be confiscated and auctioned upon the death of such a commander. Malatesta declines the title of Duke of Candia (with the related duties). Also, during this period, he captures in Brescia Taddeo da Martinengo and Antonio Nassino for a plot they had devised in favor of Gabrino Fondulo. He sends them to prison in Fano.
MayLombardyHe returns to Lombardy due to ongoing conflicts with the lord of Cremona.
1414
Jan.LombardyHe goes to Cremona to pay homage to Emperor Sigismund of Hungary and the antipope John XXIII.
Apr.BresciaCremonaLombardyHe invades the Cremonese territory. He occupies Quinzano d’Oglio, which had rebelled against him. He orders the demolition of its castle.
MayHe is re-engaged by the Venetians for four months with 1,000 lances of 3 men each on horseback: the pay is about a third of the normal wartime salary.
JuneLombardyStrengthened by the contract, which grants him favorable economic support, he continues with greater force in his operations against Gabrino Fondulo. He moves out from Carpenedolo, seizes the fortress of Asola. He faces the Cremonese, defeating them multiple times; he takes 18 castles from Gabrino Fondulo, reaching the walls of Cremona.
JulyLombardyIn the castle of Porta Giovia, Milan, a deed is drawn up between Duke Filippo Maria Visconti and Malatesta, which allows the lord of Brescia to conquer the city and the countryside of Cremona. Visconti promises Malatesta 6 galleons and free access in the waters of the Po and Adda rivers. Should Malatesta conquer Cremona, it is agreed that after ten years, the city and territory would have to become part of the Duchy of Milan. The lord of Brescia joins forces with his kinsman Gian Francesco Gonzaga, to whom he delivers the fortress of Asola; he pours into the Cremonese territory with him again: occupies Pizzighettone, besieges Castelleone and Cremona itself; detaches two companies of infantry to reinforce the garrisons placed on the bank of the Oglio River. He makes a stand at Pianengo: from the Porta di San Luca, a large contingent of infantry commanded by Marsilio Fondulo breaks through, attacking his right wing with Marquis Antonio Pallavicini, who in turn comes from the Porta di Ognissanti. Fondulo attacks him, on the contrary, from the castle of Santa Croce at the center of his ranks, while the cavalry of Luchino Ponzoni assaults him on the left flank. Defeated, after four hours he is forced to retreat to Robecco d’Oglio with the loss of 300 men, dead and wounded, four iron cannons that had been provided by the Venetians, and the capture of another 1,000 soldiers. In any case, he maintains the siege of the fortresses; from the border line, he conducts continuous raids into the Cremonese territory to hinder work in the fields. Finally, a truce is signed between the parties. Fondulo recognizes a significant indemnity to Malatesta for the war expenses incurred for the conflict and the domain of the conquered lands.
…………..BresciaCremaLombardyHe turns against the lord of Crema, Giorgio Benzoni. He takes possession of Offanengo.
…………..BresciaGhibellinesLombardyTowards the end of the month, he opposes the Ghibellines of the Brescia area. He conquers Lovere and penetrates Val Camonica. He grants control of some fortresses in that valley to several important Guelph families.
1415
Jan.LombardyThe Ghibellines are forced to come to terms. He stations in Gorzone with his troops. He is joined in this location by Guelph militias led by Galvano della Nozza. In the same days, the Duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti, commits an act of hostility against him: in appointing Gabrino Fondulo as Count of Cremona, he invests him not only with the lands actually in the power of the latter but also with those that had recently been taken from such a commander by Malatesta.
Mar.VeniceAt the end of the month, he is in Venice. He thanks the Venetians for their mediation with the Duke of Milan. The palace (purchased with 6,000 ducats) promised to him two years earlier is delivered to him.
…………..BresciaCremonaLombardyIn June, he renews the truce with Gabrino Fondulo. He allies with the Beccaria against Filippo Maria Visconti. The conspiracy is soon discovered by the Duke of Milan.
JulyBresciaCremona, MilanLombardyGabrino Fondulo occupies some territories belonging to the Cavalcabò of Viadana. This leads to new skirmishes at the end of which the lord of Cremona is forced to recognize a certain sum of money to Malatesta. In the same days, Visconti orders all his subjects who are serving under the lord of Brescia to return home within fifteen days; severe sanctions are threatened for those who disobey, affecting their ancestors and descendants up to the second degree. Despite everything, this conflict is brief. It ends by the will of the Venetians with the signing of a two-year truce.
Sept.RiminiAntipopeRomagnaHe counters in the Cesena area with 800 cavalry the raids of Braccio da Montone: aware of the numerical superiority of the papal captain, he does not seek confrontation, choosing instead to closely press him with a cautious tactic from the high hills. When the Perugian commander decides to return to Bologna with the spoils and prisoners placed in the rearguard, he attacks the opponents. Wounded in the skirmish, he is easily repelled by the Braccian fury.
Oct.BresciaMilanLombardyHe allies with Giovanni da Vignate, Gabrino Fondulo, Filippo Arcelli, lord of Piacenza, and the Marquis of Ferrara against the Duke of Milan.
Nov.LombardyIn search of money to ransom his brother Carlo, a prisoner of Braccio da Montone, he offers as collateral, from time to time, the villages of Martignano and Anguissola near Casalmaggiore and 8 galleys he had equipped to fight Gabrino Fondulo on the Po River. The Venetians grant him a loan of 12,000 ducats. The city of Fano commits to repaying this loan with 5,700 ducats.
Dec.LombardyA new truce with Filippo Maria Visconti. It yields no results due to mutual suspicions.
1416
Apr.BresciaMilanLombardyHe takes possession of Lecco. He is soon after expelled by the ducal forces.
JulyLombardy, RomagnaWith the capture of his brother Carlo by Braccio da Montone and the death of his other brother Andrea, he is forced to agree to a further two-year truce with the Duke of Milan. He leaves Lombardy and goes to defend his lands in Romagna.
…………..RiminiPerugiaRomagnaIn Rimini, with 4,000 cavalry and many infantrymen.
Oct. – Nov.MarcheTogether with Martino da Faenza, he opposes Braccio da Montone in the Marche region. Together, they drive the opponents away from Corinaldo and overcome every obstacle at Osimo, Montelupone, and Civitanova Marche.
Dec.MarcheHe signs a truce with the lord of Fermo, Ludovico Migliorati, an ally of Braccio da Montone.
1417
Apr. – MayMarcheHe secures the release of his brother Carlo, captured in the Battle of Sant’Egidio by Braccio di Montone, only after paying a ransom of 60,000 ducats (of which 30,000 are provided by the Venetians and 30,000 by Martino da Faenza) and handing over Jesi. During the same period, he signs a peace agreement with his rival captain and the lord of Camerino, Rodolfo da Varano, based on a settlement prepared by the ambassador of the Council of Constance, Bartolomeo Bonetti. In May, unable to meet the expenses resulting from ongoing conflicts, he proposes to the Venetians to take over the defense of Brescia, with the republic bearing all expenses. Alternatively, the Senate decides to renew the old contract with the Malatesta.
JuneVeniceGeneral captainRomagna, LombardyFrom Romagna, he passes through Forlì with 3,000 cavalry and 500 infantry; he returns to Lombardy under the protection of the Venetians, who appoint him as their Captain General.
JulyBresciaMilanLombardy, EmiliaHe resumes the war against the ducats with Filippo Arcelli and Gabrino Fondulo. He opposes Carmagnola and attempts to lift the siege laid by the ducats at the castle of Piacenza.
Aug.EmiliaHe retakes Piacenza with Arcelli after the city is evacuated by the Visconti. He captures the citadel of Stralevata and loots whatever little is left in the city houses. Contemporary chroniclers report that the hinges are removed from the doors and the grilles from the windows. Niccolò da Tolentino and Biancarello are sent by Pandolfo Malatesta to aid Gabrino Fondulo following threats from Carmagnola. The inhabitants of Castelponzone and those of San Giovanni in Croce submit to Malatesta in hatred of the lord of Cremona.
Sept.EmiliaHe moves to the territory of Parma to join forces with the Estes at the bridge over the Enza with 2,500 cavalry and 500 infantry. The territory is plundered.
Oct.EmiliaHe takes part in the conquest of Castell’Arquato with the Estes of Uguccione Contrari. With assistance from Gabrino Fondulo, he recovers the citadel of Stralevata in Piacenza and returns to Parma. He then moves towards Torricella, controlled by the Venetians, and crosses the Po.
1418
WinterLombardyHe meets with the lord of Cremona in Robecco d’Oglio and Quinzano d’Oglio.
………….LombardyHe allies with the Genoese and receives assistance against Carmagnola from the troops of Feltre, commanded by Bernardino degli Ubaldini della Carda.
MayLombardyHe departs from Brescia with 1,500 cavalry and 400 infantry to ravage the territory of Soncino. At the end of the month (on a day when he is in Orzinuovi), his forces are attacked by Giacomo di Covo and Pietro Barbuò, assisted by 400 cavalry from Pumenengo. His men are caught unprepared and in disarray; the Brescians must abandon the siege operations, suffering the capture of 50 horses and the killing of another 12. He returns to Bergamo.
JuneLombardyHe crosses the Adda near Olginate to attempt a raid in the upper Como area with 1000 infantry; he boldly advances along the left bank of the Adda towards Lecco; at the end of the month, while crossing the river on a boat bridge in front of the town, he is once again defeated by the ducats, who inflict the loss of 400 men between soldiers killed in the skirmish and those who drown in the river while trying to escape. He has to cross the Adda again. Following this misadventure, he begins to entertain a project that involves exchanging his more distant possessions (the Riviera di Salò) with others closer (some border locations in Cremona).
Oct.LombardyIn mid-month, he receives Pope Martin V in Brescia upon his return from the Council of Constance, where Cardinal Colonna has just been elected. Pandolfo Malatesta accompanies him to Mantua. The pontiff acts as an intermediary for the signing of a peace treaty between the Duke of Milan and Malatesta himself. Gabrino Fondulo finds himself excluded and seeks the mediation of the Venetians.
1419
Feb.LombardyThe pontiff’s attempt is successful; Pandolfo Malatesta reconciles with the Duke of Milan, promising him the return of Bergamo and Brescia upon his death. He also commits to paying the Visconti the sum of 70,000 florins: in return, he should receive 1,500 florins annually as provision and another 12,000 for the construction of a fortress.
Mar.He draws closer to Gabrino Fondulo again. The two lords understand that to survive, they must unite their forces against the threats of the Duke of Milan.
MayVenetoHe travels to Venice and seeks the mediation of the Serenissima. An agreement is found between the lords of Brescia and that of Cremona.
Nov.Pope Martin V exempts him from paying the census due to the Apostolic Chamber. During this period, the inhabitants of Asola request his protection. With his authorization, the reconstruction works of the city’s defensive structures begin, including the construction of a large fortress to the west and a smaller one to the northeast.
1420
Apr.BresciaMilanLombardyHe breaks the truce with the ducats; he sends 300 lances to Cremona in aid of Gabrino Fondulo: the latter, in fact, has ceded the city and its territory to him in exchange for the Riviera di Salò. Cremona is besieged, and Pandolfo is attacked in the Bergamo region.
JulyLombardyCarmagnola occupies Bergamo after a month-long siege, possibly due to the betrayal of a certain Nicola Turlon. Malatesta is only aided by his brother Carlo (not by the Venetians, to whom he unsuccessfully tries to offer the Brescian, nor by the Florentines), who sends him 3,000 cavalry and 1,000 infantry under the command of Ludovico Migliorati.
Oct.LombardyHe is routed by Carmagnola together with Ludovico Migliorati at Montichiari. 2500 horses and all the infantry are captured.
Nov.RomagnaIn search of new alliances and to assess the situation, he organizes a large boar and fox hunting party at Rocca delle Caminate. Participants include Niccolò d’Este, Gian Francesco Gonzaga, Carlo and Malatesta Malatesta, Smeduccio Smeducci, Bartolomeo and Corrado Trinci, as well as Ludovico Migliorati.
Dec.LombardyHe is besieged in Brescia by Carmagnola.
1421
Jan. – Mar.LombardyHis last attempts to surrender Brescia to the Serenissima prove futile; he requests an additional loan of 6000 ducats to hire Braccio di Montone. The Venetians refuse. Reduced to the brink, he agrees to surrender to the ducats on terms, in exchange for 34,000 florins. In March, he abandons Brescia.
Apr.Veneto, Emilia, MarcheHe passes through Verona (stopping at the inn of Torre) and Ferrara before returning to Fano. He is accompanied by Niccolò da Tolentino.
………..MarcheHe visits Corinaldo and orders the restoration of the villages near the walls and the construction of a palace in the city equipped with loggias, towers, and bridges.
Oct.LazioHe meets with Berardo da Varano in Rome, along with the Florentine ambassadors Rinaldo degli Albizzi and Michele Castellani. In the same year, he marries Ansovina da Varano, daughter of Rodolfo.
1422
Apr.VenetoAt Verona.
MayChurchGeneral captainIn the service of Pope Martin V.
1423
………….RiminiMilanRomagnaTogether with his brother Carlo, he intervenes in Forlì to support the regent Lucrezia Alidosi against the Duke of Milan, who has sent Angelo della Pergola and Secco da Montagnana to the city in May.
Aug.FlorenceMilanGeneral captain of 500 lancesTuscanyHe is given the general command of the troops. He moves to Florence with 200 cavalry. He lodges at the Albergo della Corona; the Gonfaloniere of Justice, Tommaso Betti, entrusts him with the insignia of captaincy at the most auspicious moment according to the astrologers.
Sept.RomagnaHe is joined by the ambassadors Rinaldo degli Albizzi and Francesco Tornabuoni. He stations himself between Cesena and Bertinoro. With Niccolò da Tolentino (5000 cavalry), he intercepts Fabrizio da Capua, who is escorting a load of freshly harvested grapes towards Carpegna and Magliano with 1000 cavalry. He pursues the Visconti troops as his spies report that the rest of the ducal army is stationed at Forlimpopoli. However, the opposing captains ambush a large squadron at Ruffio with Angelo della Pergola, Secco da Montagnana, and Angelo Belmamolo; in his escape, Fabrizio da Capua leads the Florentines to the Ronco bridge, where they are surprised by the ducats, who capture 1300 horses from them. Pandolfo Malatesta flees towards Bertinoro and takes refuge in Forlimpopoli.
Oct.RomagnaStill in Forlimpopoli, he presides over a war council with the other condottieri in the employ of the Florentines, asserting his authority in a dispute between Ludovico degli Obizzi and Jacopo Orsini. He has the opportunity to complain about the delay in payment, which forces him into substantial inactivity. Upon receiving these payments, he heads to Ghiaggiolo with Niccolò da Tolentino and Rinaldo Orsini at the head of 500 cavalry and 150 infantry because he suspects that Ramberto Malatesta has allied himself with the Visconti. His relative deceives him; he meets him outside the castle, later locks himself inside, and signals for help from the ducats with smoke signals. Malatesta besieges the locality and sends 264 lances to defend Imola.
Nov.RomagnaHe meets in Rimini with his brother Carlo and the envoy from Florence, Rinaldo degli Albizzi.
1424
………….RomagnaHe resumes the war in Romagna. His troops are slow to gather. One of his contingents suffers heavy losses in a skirmish near Forlimpopoli, and his army does not receive sufficient forces from the Florentines to besiege Forlì. The initial enthusiasm of Rinaldo degli Albizzi towards him gradually wanes due to his increasingly pronounced inclination towards a defensive tactic.
JuneRomagnaWith his brother Carlo, he assaults Fiumana, conquers it, and has the castellan Rondone Ugolini hanged (referred to as Domenico del Scrivano in other sources).
JulyRomagnaHe captures Sadurano, which is set on fire; he besieges Angelo della Pergola and Secco da Montagnana in Forlì. Invited to intervene in Zagonara by Alberico da Barbiano, he undertakes a long march in the rain to come to his aid. His troops, weary from the journey and unable to effectively engage with heavy cavalry due to the mud, attack Angelo della Pergola, Secco da Montagnana, and Guido Torelli. Heavily defeated, he manages to escape with only 25 horses to Ravenna; there, he boards a small ship and reaches his possessions. On the other hand, his brother Carlo is captured with 3200 horses.
Sept.RiminiUrbinoMarcheGuidantonio da Montefeltro takes advantage of the weakened situation of the Malatesta to seize Castel Durante (Urbania) from the Brancaleoni. Malatesta immediately confronts the Feltreschi. The pope acts as a mediator between the two parties.
1425
Jan. – Feb.LombardyAngelo della Pergola forces him to go to Milan to seek peace. He enters Pavia in February and is welcomed with all honors by the will of the duke.
Mar. – Apr.Romagna, LombardyIn Forlì, he is received by the Visconti governor Luigi Crotti. He then goes to Russi and again to Milan.
MayLombardy, Romagna, TuscanyUpon returning from Lombardy, he stops in Forlì. He continues his journey to Sansepolcro, where he appoints Filippo Ronconi as his vicar.
1426
Oct.RomagnaHe seeks revenge on Ramberto Malatesta; his men capture his relative in Cusercoli and bring him to Cesena. The papal legate of Romagna, Cardinal Domenico di Capranica, rushes to the scene and reminds him that Ramberto is protected by the Papal States. As a precautionary measure, the Papal forces also occupy Ghiaggiolo.
1427
Apr.RomagnaHe reconciles with the Venetians and Florentines.
Sept.Tuscany, MarcheHe remarries for the third time to the young Margherita Anna di Battifolle of the Guidi di Poppi counts. He decides to travel on foot to Loreto accompanied by his wife, with the purpose of praying to improve his health, which has worsened recently due to intermittent fevers. Mid-month, he reaches his destination and visits the Holy House. Despite a slight fever, he sets out on the return journey to Rimini.
Oct.RomagnaHe leaves Rimini; upon reaching Fano, he settles there permanently. His sufferings worsen. Pandolfo prepares his will; he receives a visit from Friar Giacomo della Marca (future saint), who administers the sacraments to him. At the beginning of the month, he breathes his last in the arms of the confessor. The body of the condottiero is displayed in the grand hall of the palace, dressed in brocade with a golden rapier at his side. He is buried in Fano in the church of San Francesco. In 1460, his son Sigismondo Pandolfo erects a tomb for him. Initially, the tomb is placed beside the main altar; later, the friars have it moved to the foot of the church under the portico next to that of his first wife, Paola Bianca Malatesta. The author of Pandolfo‘s tomb is Leon Battista Alberti, who imbues it with the characteristics of the Malatesta Temple in Rimini, while the execution of the tomb of his wife is attributed to Filippo di Domenico. Pandolfo Malatesta has the chapel in Broletto in Brescia erected with paintings by Gentile da Fabriano. Furthermore, he builds the castle of San Giorgio near Cesena, in whose tower hang the two chains of the Porta Vercellina bridge in Milan and on the top a bell, taken away on the same occasion by Niccolò da Tolentino. In the last years of his life, he collects ancient codices and maintains good friendships with the scholars of his time. He always surrounds himself with artists, especially painters like Testorino from Brescia and Giacomo da Milano; illuminators like Jacopo da Imola; goldsmiths like Meda, Apollonio da Calino; literati like Giovanni from Borgo San Donnino, Ludovico Castello, Francesco Filelfo, and Angelo Nogarola; historians like Jacopo Malvezzi who dedicates his Chronicon to him. Lorenzo Ghiberti is hosted in Rimini. He marries Paola Bianca Malatesta, daughter of Pandolfo and widow of Sinibaldo Ordelaffi, as his first wife, Antonia da Varano, daughter of Rodolfo, as his second, and Anna Margherita Guidi, daughter of the Count of Poppi, as his third.

Sources

-“Era una mente energica ed operosa e forse dove il dominio gli si fosse rassodato, né il sospetto lo avesse obbligato alle gravi misure, sarebbe tornato più utile e riposato il suo governo; come per lui fu riconfortata la città nostra (Brescia) di belle ed utili istituzioni, fra le quali sono a porsi le provvisioni sui pesi e la zecca bresciana.” ODORICI

-“Pandolfo Malatesta, fratello minore di Carlo, era un uomo dello stesso stampo, ma un po’ più ambizioso ed imprevedibile. Era signore di Fano e.. dopo la morte di Giangaleazzo (Visconti) si era fatto signore di Brescia. Come il fratello aveva avuto un’educazione umanistica, sapeva parlare correttamente il latino e comprendeva anche il francese e il provenzale. A Brescia si era contornato di una corte che ebbe una certa importanza per la cultura quattrocentesca. Inoltre seppe mantenere la sua compagnia a tale livello di consistenza numerica e di continuità che con qualche ragione la si potrebbe dire un esercito permanente. Niccolò da Tolentino, Angelo della Pergola e Martino da Faenza passarono molti anni agli ordini di Pandolfo e furono personaggi di primo piano della sua corte. Dopo essere stato cacciato da Brescia, Pandolfo fece ritorno a Fano riprendendovi stabile dimora. Per un certo numero di anni fu a capo delle forze veneziane ed ebbe un palazzo a Venezia; poi nei primi anni del secondo decennio del Quattrocento tenne il comando delle forze fiorentine che operavano in Romagna. Di lui si aveva un buon concetto come comandante che sapeva trattare i soldati e farsi ubbidire volentieri da loro.. Già agli inizi del Quattrocento aveva una squadra di “lanze spezzate”” MALLETT

-“Egli non ebbe mai in gran conto né l’onestà né la religione.. In guerra era pauroso e pronto alla fuga, fra i suoi sempre ubriaco e insolente e menava la vita dissoluta di uno scandaloso lenone in mezzo a prostitute. Quando divenne vecchio e incapace di soddisfare la libidine come desiderava, si faceva condurre davanti femmine nude e adolescenti perché si accoppiassero, onde stimolarsi alla vista di quelli degli altri i suoi coiti.” PICCOLOMINI

-“Personaggio rinomato per le sue imprese guerriere.” MURATORI

-“La figura di Pandolfo Malatesta è insolita e non priva di nobiltà.. Lasciò memoria di giustizia.” BELOTTI

-“Di grande auctorità e di animo magnanimo.” CAGNOLA 

-“Huomo nell’armi prode.” ALBERTI

-“Vir inter strenuos etatis sue duces memorandus.” DECEMBRIO

-“Qui erat semper solitus perdere.” SOZOMENO

-“Capitano assai pregiato.” ROSCIO

-Con Jacopo dal Verme, Alberico da Barbiano, Galeazzo da Mantova, Ottobono Terzi e Facino Cane “Peritissimos belli duces.” BRACCIOLINI

-“Soldato di gran valore.” UGOLINI

-“Colto in latino, in provenzale, in francese, circondato da segretari coltissimi, da poeti e commedianti aveva per loro stima e deferenza; ma, nello stesso tempo, più irrequieto e turbolento del fratello, fu più di lui audace e fortunato nelle molte imprese di guerra.” NISSIM ROSSI

-Con Orso Orsini, Ludovico degli Obizzi, Niccolò da Tolentino ed Ardizzone da Carrara “Praefecti rei militaris multum periti.” SANT’ANTONINO

-Con Taddeo dal Verme e Martino da Faenza “Capi..di accreditato valore.” VERDIZZOTTI

-Con Jacopo dal Verme, Alberico da Barbiano, Francesco Gonzaga, Ottobono Terzi e Facino Cane “Condottieri de stima assai in questo tempo.” PORRO LAMBERTENGHI

-“Forte guerriero, ambizioso, audace.” TARDUCCI

-Con Jacopo dal Verme, Paolo Savelli e Giovanni Colonna “Capitani i più rinomati di quel tempo.” AMIANI

-“Altro potente guerriero.” I. CANTU’

-“Prode in armi, altrettanto saggio principe.” CECCONI

-“Par le gout des lettres et des arts, n’était pas inférieur à son frère Carlo; il écrivait élégamment en latin et entendait le provençal et le français.” YRIARTE

-“O senex iuventure, o pensier grevi,/ O fonte excelso de vertute sparte,/ Como poté natura mai tanto ornarte/ Poi che più sempre in verde nel salevi.” Da un sonetto del Serdini riportato dal BROGLIO

-“Fu avido di regnare, lascivo, poco osservante della data fede e superbo.” CLEMENTINI

-“Valoroso capitano di ventura.” SIBILIA

-“Fu homo prudentissimo e simille ne l’arme potento e robusto et experto.” FANTAGUZZI

-“Sarebbe riduttivo considerare il Malatesta solo come soldato e politico. Le fonti ci tramandano infatti l’immagine di un personaggio elegante e raffinato che aveva saputo creare a Brescia e a Fano una corte cosmopolita, allineata alla moda del tempo e aperta alle novità, munifica e disponibile verso letterati, copisti, miniatori di elevata capacità, pittori, di cui ricordiamo solo Gentile da Fabriano, che affrescò a Brescia la cappella dell’antico broletto.., mentre a Fano operavano notevoli artisti veneti quali i pittori Michele Giambono, il Maestro di Roncaiette e lo scultore Filippo di Domenico.” FALCIONI

-“Amante della letteratura e delle arti, Pandolfo III coniugò questa passione con l’impegno attivo come condottiero, considerando probabilmente che fosse l’unica attività in grado di assicurargli una propria signoria.” CARDINALI-FALCIONI

-“L’Odorici..si mostra ostile al Malatesta, di cui dà una valutazione morale presentandolo di volta in volta ambizioso, ladro, violento, despota e traditore, sfruttatore, volubile, indeciso e iracondo; il suo metodo di governo non può essere che da militare, ma forse più ancora da venturiero.. torbido, violento, combattuto”….Alla luce di (altra) documentazione, se pure non abbondante, in Brescia il periodo malatestiano è da considerarsi nettamente positivo; ne emerge, infatti, la figura di un principe assoluto, ma saggio, preoccupato di conciliare il proprio vantaggio con l’utilità dei sudditi.” NAVARRINI

-“Oltre che condottiero, fu..anche un grande mecenate. Seppe rendere la sua corte, a Brescia prima e a Fano poi, un centro d’eccellenza per le arti d’ogni espressione.” FARINA

-“Il periodo malatestiano, fin dai suoi inizi, fu contrassegnato da una decisa volontà pacificatrice, sia nella città, sia nel contado..La lotta fazionaria certo non si poteva estirpare facilmente, ma Bergamo era esausta dai molti anni di guerra continua e accettò con gratitudine gli sforzi del condottiero romagnolo per portare una tregua ai conflitti. Questa fu probabilmente la linea di fondo della politica malatestiana nel dominio lombardo; bisogna anche considerare la novità di una simile posizione “super partes” del signore, laddove il governo visconteo si era contraddistinto soprattutto per l’appoggio dato alla parte ghibellina e ai potentissimi Suardi, che egemonizzavano la fazione. In tal modo i Visconti avevano tenuto la città e il contado attraverso le famiglie a loro fedeli, cercando di neutralizzare così i potenziali nemici. Pandolfo III era di schieramento notoriamente guelfo e dunque per continuare in questa politica avrebbe dovuto provocare un completo rivolgimento degli equilibri consolidati; preferì invece una linea più conciliante, tanto da essere rampognato dai capo della sua stessa fazione, che avevano probabilmente sperato in un cospicuo ridimensionamento dei Suardi e dei loro alleati.” SCHARF

-“Può..essere considerato il campione di un’altra categoria di capitani, i principi condottieri che avevano già delle basi territoriali e fama di guerrieri sperimentati.” COVINI

-“Valoroso e magnifico.” COLESCHI

-“Aveva avuto come precettore Francesco Filelfo, acquisendo una cultura ed una sensibilità quali raramente era possibile riscontrare nel carattere spesso rozzo e violento dei condottieri di ventura…Di lui va detto, al di là delle doti militari, che fu un mecenate e si circondò sempre, nonostante la vita condotta per lo più tra i fuochi degli accampamenti, di artisti e letterati. I detrattori lo accusarono di circondarsi anche di prostitute.” SPADA

-“(Fa) costruire (nel cesenate) il castello di S. Giorgio al centro di una landa, magnificamente adatta allo sport venatorio..(Vi spende) una grossa somma..: esso era vasto “quattro tornature, circondato da fossi e fortificato con spessi torrioni e con in mezzo una grossa e alta torre di sessanta piedi comuni in altezza e otto di grossezza di muraglia.” (Clementini) Un governatore papale la vendette a un privato, il quale lo smantellò per ricavarne laterizi e mettere a coltura l’area. Rimaneva il torrione e i tedeschi l’abbatterono stupidamente nel 1944. Pandolfo vi aveva fatto mettere la lapide di S. Giorgio e la scritta esaltante un’impresa sua e di Andrea, dell’anno 1409, a porta Vercellina di Milano, le due catene e la campana, trofei di quella giornata. la campana fu poi issata sul campanile della chiesa parrocchiale; le catene e la lapide sono conservate nel Museo dell’Antichità.” SOZZI

-“Uomo di alto animo, benché oppressore, e tiranno sopportabile nonostante le sue ribalderie.” LO MONACO

-“Non mancò di assomigliare molto al padre, per quanto riguardava il valore delle armi e la capacità organizzativa nel costruire le fondamenta e le istituzioni di uno Stato che a quell’epoca poteva chiamarsi moderno; prova ne fu il dominio su Brescia e su Bergamo, che egli resse in momenti difficili con mano ferma e con infinita saggezza.” TABANELLI

-“Secondo l’Odorici il Malatesta interviene nelle lotte intestine bresciane col cipiglio di chi è ben determinato a governare su tutti senza allearsi stabilmente con nessuno e senza schierarsi con alcuna fazione: è presentato ripetutamente in termini moralistici come ambizioso, violento e dispotico, inaffidabile nelle alleanze, ladro e avventuriero, sfruttatore (“ed è un bel comprare le altrui città coll’oro altrui”), facile all’ira e instabile di carattere. Il suo fu “governo da militare, ma forse più ancora da venturiero, fu torbido, violento, combattuto”. Devge però riconoscere “era una mente energica ed operosa e forse, dove il dominio gli si fosse rassodato, né il sospetto l’avesse obbligato alle forti misure, sarebbe tornato più mite e riposato il suo governo.”” BONFIGLIO-DOSIO

-“Il mecenatismo di Pandolfo arricchì le corti di Fano e di Brescia con rinomati cenacoli artistici e culturali: nelle Marche è annotata la presenza di artisti come Michele Giambono e il Maestro di Roncaiette, mentre Gentile da Fabriano decorò la cappella di San Giorgio entro il Broletto bresciano che fu residenza signorile e qui, a rendere il tempo dell'”otium” ancora più vario e festoso, si raccolsero musici, orafi, buffoni e ammaestratori di animali esotici per quel tempo: orsi ed elefanti.” MORESSA

SPECIFIC BIOGRAPHIES

-G. Bonfiglio-Dosio e A, Falcioni. La signoria di Pandolfo III Malatesti a Brescia, Bergamo e Lecco.

Featured image: Catalogo Beni Culturali

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