The assiduous succession of lords in Italy finds its explanation in the changed guises of military art. The Barbarians had none; little suited to siege, little to naval tactics, personal strength did everything, and the intent was reduced to doing the worst damage to the enemy. To the conquerors alone the privilege of carrying arms, keeping others in helpless oppression. Once the feudality was established, each vassal was obliged to give the lord a number of combatants  ; he himself kept them for his own service and defense: so that the armies remained broken up into small bodies, different according to the importance of the fiefdom, and differently dressed, armed, exercised. Was there a possibility of concurring efforts to a common purpose?
Cavalry prevailed; and only in that, training the nobles, the infantry was composed only of peasants. Principal study put the knight in covering himself so that ordinary weapons would not injure him; hence armadures were invented in full blast, and which also did not impede the movements of the body. They weighed so much that a man on foot would not have supported them: to dismount and ride a horse with them, stirrups were invented; and for to withstand the long marches and defend the kidneys, the saddles were introduced; two essential advances. Under this iron scale the knights challenged the shots of the arcadors and the pikes of the infantry, which remained without shelter exposed to the iron maces or the broadswords of the enemy knights, or served as a hedge for friends, if tired they took refuge in the middle of it.
Was an assault needed? or of having to fight, that is, plunder the neighbor’s lands? the vassals were called to arms, but it was enough that they knew how to wound and hold themselves in place; if the prevailing enemy messed them up, they could not fear desertion, since, tied as they were to the gleba, they had to go back to the huts, where the feudal lord found them at each new need. This method, excellent in defense, was not valid in attack, and the crusades and expeditions of the emperors in Italy clarified its imperfection. The feudatars then, removed from their lands, no longer had the possibility of substituting men for those who perished; soon they had used up their means in clothing and feeding them, if he did not supply the spoils; and not being able to keep them beyond the fixed time, he often saw them leave in the greatest need of him.
Changes had to be made, therefore, which despotism, to whose advantage they succeeded, called improvements. Already in the Crusades each man acquired importance, yes because he was a warrior of God, yes because it was necessary to introduce agreement in numbers, discipline in enthusiasm; and although the greatest effort was still made by sacrificing the pedestrian area, yet it was necessary to arrange it better and to exercise it, to supply warehouses, to assign wages and common and uniform quarters. The military religious orders had to have an agreement between them of commands, exercises, movements, the mercy of which prevailed over the other troops. There we also find in the the artifices of the ancients were renewed, and the uniting in numerous masses, and the great battles; even the heroes of those enterprises are never praised for skilled leaders, except in the classic poem by Tasso.
The prevalence of the individual over the multitude, distinctive of feudalism, was fought by the Municipalities by opposing the multitude to the individual strength; so that the pedestrians reacted against the knights, the municipal militia against the gangs of the castellan. But it was better to fix it; and the invention of the carroccio, an attempt to impose some order on the new free and unexercised craftsmen, convinces as no better one existed: however the municipalities, and especially those of Lombardy, were able to resist the disciplined experience of the Franconian knights , Saxons, Swabians.
The regulations for the militia appear from the municipal statutes. A national team had acquired Genoa since 1163; and famous were the crossbowmen, subjected to particular consuls; ten thousand of them fought on the bloody day of Crecy between the English and the French, and perished because the rain had spoiled the nocks. Each year the doge and his council elected two, capable of shooting, who had to look for young crossbowmen and practice them four times a year, giving each time a silver cup of twenty-five genovine  .
The districts or districts, into which each city was divided, also formed the divisions of the army, and each he provided himself with wagons, ammunition, weapons, sappers. Mostly only a few neighborhoods came out, and in daytime businesses they alternated. In Bologna each parish, according to its importance, elected two, four or six men aged forty and over, and a notary no less than twenty-five, who swore to form a twenty-five each in his parish of men among the eighteen and seventy. Later the whole city had left in twenty companies of sixteen thousand seven hundred and seventy-seven men and sixteen hundred and eight crossbowmen. In the countryside there were forts with guards who gave the signals by means of differently colored flags, and with oil lamps at night. At the touch of the bell, all who had horses were to appear under their banners in the square. The knights wore a panther, iron gloves, armor, greaves and leg loops, iron chapel or pelvis with nasal. Over the war two sages were elected per tribe . Pisa was divided into old and new companies, commanded by gonfaloniers elected in their own gremio. At the sound of the flock, each gathered at the shop of his own gonfaloniere; and the statute fixed which one should go to the palace, which one to which door; and so from the countryside which ones post to a crossroads, which ones to a bridge. In Como twelve citizens per shift guarded the Baradello castle.
Cavalry, the more important the smaller the ranks, requires longer exercises, so that that weapon was usually entrusted to the better standing, or to salaried people; Milan since 1227 assigned you money; Florence added prizes and medals, and formed one or two companies: followed by two corps of crossbowmen and heavy infantry, with spear, palvese and brains: the other citizens, divided into companies with sword and spear, had to be in arms in the assigned place when the ringing struck; which, after a continuous sonato for a month, was placed on a chariot, and was used to guide the march. The supreme command belonged to the consuls; below them the district captains, the gonfaloniere, the captain of each company. With such weapons he went out or in the gualdana , correria to spoil the lands; or at the cavalcade , a short undertaking of horses and archers; carroccio and gonfalone went only to the innkeeper , who was an accomplished army.
We are left with the preparations for war in Latin de ‘Fiorentini in 1285, who almost say: – This is the way of making an army for the Commune of Florence against the Pisans, found by the merchants of Florence for the best state of the city and of the arts. And first, to close all the shops and warehouses until the army moves: ring the bell of the Municipality every day, and it is forbidden for the city to prepare what is needed for the army: four people are elected in each rectory, and two in each chapel, and make fifty men from fifteen to seventy years old, and put them in writing: from each fifty it is chosen which are to remain in the city for safekeeping, and which are to go into the army: to those who remain s ‘impose a suitable amount of money, and so on the absent: the chosen ones go and remain in the army at their own expense: .
Similar orders would find, whoever sought them, in the various cities; and at the sum of the accounts the only command was to fight, the only rule not to be separated from the flag or the carroccio, the only purpose to win.
But already from the earliest days of the Communes there were those who especially trained themselves and arranged for war, and such were the Gagliardi, who in 1235 in Milan swore to defend the carroccio; such were the Coronati, that five years later, crying out to death, to death , they drew all of Milan to fight; such the Knights of the bands, which Florence instituted when it feared of Henry VII, and who then turned to amusements and amusements  ; such other companies in various municipalities, which easily acquired political importance, privileges, and interference in public handling. Man loves freedom because it brings him peace; and our citizens, desiring to apply themselves to the arts, wished to exempt themselves from the militia. The whole people began to no longer be called to arms, but only those who had a certain wealth, or those who performed, or those who accepted it for engagement. From this it came that they could be better exercised and disciplined; Therefore the carroccio was left as superfluous, and first Ottone Visconti substituted the white banner with Saint Ambrose, then all the Municipalities explained their own insignia. But even earlier they Communes had introduced the hiring of men better trained in arms than the bourgeois; and in the capital statistical problem of ensuring that war does not exploit the advantages of peace, they imagined returning to the advantage of having a salaried and foreign force, which would exempt the citizens from withdrawing from the arts and the countryside; and that, carried out on the occasion of wars, she was dismissed during the peace without wearing out the finances; in short, reduced the war to a question of money.
The Swabian emperors, leading to more distant and more prolonged expeditions that did not bring the feudal service, had to resort to mercenary troops, and with them Frederick II, and more Manfred and Corradino, and in contrast to them Charles of Anjou became strong. . They set them aside here and there in Italy, in order to favor the one the Ghibellines, the other the Guelphs; so that passing from land to land, from flag to flag, they became accustomed to ventures. With such triumphs Ezelino, Salinguerra, Buoso da Dovara, Oberto Pelavicino; to them were due the victories of Tagliacozzo and Benevento, then the alternating successes of the interminable war in Sicily.
In the latter, the Catalans and the Aragonese acquired a singular reputation for valor and pride; and when, suspended the fight, Frederick King of Trinacria wanted to send them back to their homeland, they replied to be free of themselves, tampered with the island on their own, and took over Ruggero di Flor, generated by a German gentleman of Corradino’s retinue in a noble of Brindisi, because by ours he is called Ruggero di Brindisi. Having lost his father at the battle of Tagliacozzo, he grew up with his mother in hardship, until, led away by a Templar, he soon deserved to become a friere too. At the capture of Ptolemais (1291) he saved many people and the riches of his Order from him: but accused of having appropriated some portion, he fled to Sicily. Created vice-admiral, made an army of Italian, German and mainly Catalan futurists, and by King Frederick, wishing to defeat the island, had ten galleys as a gift, which he grew up to thirty-six, passed to Greece, where the emperor Andronicus II ( 1304) welcomed him with such honor that he married him to a niece. Against the Turks he rendered excellent service: but the liberators did no less harm than the enemies; they spared no honor, stuff, screw; and for many years, with the name ofthe army of the Franks, ruling in Thrace and Macedonia , made all their will on that border of Asia and Europe, and brought serious injuries to the Genoese colonies.
This example appealed to the Andarin and Venturier genius of the time, when, not being centralized in governing every activity, each one arranged at the discretion of his own, as enough was seen in the expeditions of the Normans, in the crusades, in the conquests of Genoese and Venetians. in the Levant. Wasn’t this the form with which the Germans had emerged on the ancient Roman empire? weren’t the Orders of chivalry such? In the independence of individuals, and in the no protection that governments could promise themselves, each one had to provide for his own security, and whoever did not want to resign himself to the obscurity, had to procure it with arms. Often, as the chronicler of Cola Rienzi says, “there was no other salvation than that each one defended himself with relatives and friends”; And these associations of families and clients easily passed from defense to attack.
A thousand, we saw, people were banished from some cities; which, misled by the professions and greed for revenge, applied themselves to arms, and remaining united by the commonality of misfortunes and hopes, offered themselves to anyone who prepared an enterprise against their homeland  , or settled in other cities, as did the Florentine Guelphs after the battle of Monteaperti, who then huddled in an armatetta, assisted in the expedition of Charles of Anjou.
On the other hand, the castellan nobility had a unique study of weapons, and exercised their villagers there in order to have them ready for the feudal ban or in private quarrels. Settled in more than one municipality, they balanced themselves among the varjs so as not to obey anyone, and grew larger to the detriment of their neighbors. The podestà, who went to exercise executive power in the cities, had to bring a handful of armed men, and for the most part they took care of it to some of these castellans; or a castellan was mayor or captain of the people with his own gang.
Feudalism had solved in an outstanding way the supreme problem of fixing the people who had been wandering for so long to the ground, and preparing them for defense without the possibility of conquest. But now the fiefdoms were merging; those political molecules, so to speak, crystallized around some nuclei; Private wars were succeeded by those of state to state, bigger and regular; Italy was also resentful of the monarchical system consolidated in the rest of Europe; and kings and emperors who were about to undertake long and distant enterprises, unable to claim the services of their vassals, had to resort to mercenary valor. After municipal freedom had succeeded in reducing citizens, warriors, warriors and princes by having to squeeze their subjects, they resorted to what is the supreme means, a regular and stable force, no longer willing to protect the bourgeois who trafficked in peace or to work, but to keep the subjects in awe, nor to let them feel their own vigor.
Thus the use of mercenary troops became general, and people and countries especially applied themselves to this art. In lower Germany and in that which later formed Switzerland, divided among countless squires, and with more population than means of supporting it, serving with arms soon became a profession; and that Rudolph of Habsburg had appeared in Italy as ringleader, whose descendants must have given her so many rulers . When Henry VII died in Buonconvento, the Germans who had crossed the Alps with him were suddenly left without money and without a master, and lived to plunder, until they lodged with those who paid them: so did the followers of Lodovico Bavaro, and those who had come. with the Duke of Carintia, with the King of Bohemia, on their return to their countries, preferring to stay in ours: with them our handicapped people joined them, and people needed to misdo to escape punishments. The tyrannies always preferred the Germans, because they were foreigners to the national parties, and because they were more obstinate, like those who do not they could desert, and that they had war trades to live on. These sell us, fighting neither out of sentiment nor out of obedience but for gain, they were terrible to friends and enemies.
In Italy the citizens had shown themselves to be heroes in acquiring their independence against the former and defending their independence against the latter; but when the wars were prolonged, and became skirmishes of parties, or decreed by a lord for their own interest and whim, they took up arms the less willingly, the more they became accustomed to the sweetness of stillness and the application of the arts. Nothing could have been more desirable to the lords than this unwillingness to take up arms, which in the hands of citizens are terrible restraint against bullying: with a happy spirit, they relieved them of such a burden, changing it with a tribute, which they used to conduct troops on salary. .
So we found those who speculated on this new profit, and men willing to “pay the alma at a price”, and leaders who bought them, raising a banner of fortune to make war where they had more food. They, finding gain and fame there, exercised better the bands, which applied by election to arms, they must have possessed the ability, if not the true courage that arises from the feeling of duty. The militia therefore ceased to be, as it should, an institution of the state, and became the profession of individuals: from people without a homeland, without a cause, with no other motive than gold, it was possible to expect neither chivalrous courtesy nor loyalty. , nor the other qualities that separate the thief from the champion?
This new genìa, principally played a part not only in wars, but in the political events of the period on which we are now practicing, and which forms a new phase of noble life. Because at first we saw the castellans rule over the crumbled soil. Since most of them were forced to become citizens, they sought to excel in the municipalities with the judiciary or with the captain of the factions; and Giano della Bella, Vieri de ‘Cerchi, Corso Donati, no less than the Torriani, the Carrara, the Da Camino, went podestà or captains of the people in various cities or in their native country with mixing parties. Now here is a new field open to gentlemen, to lead soldiers in the service of this or that belligerent, with the name first of captains, then of condottieri: and already in this way we saw Uguccione, then Castruccio: and it was with them that cities, weaned from arms, submitted to princes.
The Municipalities also had to adopt this system, and precisely with the bands Florence resisted Castruccio, then the Visconti and the Pope. In 1322 some, departing from the pay of the Florentines, joined Deo Tolomei, who had escaped from Siena, who, having gathered more than five hundred on horseback and many on foot, ran infesting the Sienese  , until winter and hunger tore them apart. We narrated the events and the boldness of those who periculated Lucca and Pisa from the Ceruglio.
Guarnieri, Duke of Urslingen, with many other Germans on horseback led as a commission by the Pisans against Florence in the war of Lucca, discharged, took on businesses on his own, and pushed (1343) or even paid by the Pisans and the Lombard lords to damage the princes of Romagna , he joined the bands of Ettore Panigo and Mazarello da Cusano from Bologna, and calling himself Lord of the Great Company, enemy of God, of pity, of mercy , extorted all of Italy, giving hand to rebels and vengefuls. Three thousand bearded men followed him with an infinite crew, each day increased by the foam of the countries they crossed; they ran without fail over anyone who differed in giving what they demanded; and fires, devastation, and numbers of villagers pinned to the trees marked their passage. Alfine Guarnieri for Friuli went away well enriched: but when the few remnants of his band had their preys at play, revelry, and brothels, he returned with Louis of Hungary who had come to conquer the kingdom of Naples, and what a bland this thug to the point of wanting to receive the chivalric order from him. Agreeing with the vaivoda of Transylvania and with other gang leaders, to gather ten thousand armed men, Guarnieri extorted the Capitanata and the Terra di Lavoro (1348), and every place where he transplanted the lodgings; and the booty that his family shared in the end was valued at half a million florins, not counting the weapons, horses, clothes and things that were used or stolen;
Among these gangs and in the wars of the Neapolitan area (1351) Monreale d’Albano, a Hospitaller friar, had been reported, who, entrusting himself with some robbers and exhibiting to one gentleman or the other, had come with the confidence that nothing was impossible to force; whereby he sent invitations and promises to those who were mercenaries for Italy, and enlisted fifteen hundred horses and two thousand infantry, he plundered Romagna. He accustomed him to stealing and assassinating in order: he kept treasurer, secretaries, advisers with whom to discuss; judges who maintained justice among the soldiers in his own way, and repressed the saccardi: the booty had to be shared equally between officers and soldiers, then sold to certain privileged merchants: a republic of disciplined thugs. And for everything they talked about; the venturieri could not wait to have finished their conduct to place themselves in the roles of Fra Moriale, and even princes and barons of Germany. So he curled up by seven thousand horses and fifteen hundred chosen infantry, but the follower wave rose to twenty thousand; and everyone thinks how the countries should have remained in dismay, and if they paid big so that they did not come to make them God knows that. The Tuscan cities locked themselves in league to defend themselves, but he was good at wanting to do that worse than ever, and he knew how to disconnect them, each with a coupon of rich ransoms: Siena of sixteen thousand florins, of the same number of Pisa, of twenty-five thousand Florence to remain two years away, over gifts to bosses. And when the campaign ran for him, he went to serve the league formed against the Viscontis, negotiating fifty thousand florins for four months of service. After which (1354), he crossed Italy to go and grab businesses for the new season; but Cola Rienzi caught it, as we shall see.
Such a way of war aggravated the small and trafficking states, which with money knew they had troops ready at every occurrence, and in a certain way restored the equilibrium, broken by the growth of some powers. To the tyrants it was appropriate to perfidy peace, since, if they wanted in the heart of this to ruin an enemy of theirs, they dismissed a band with a secret concert to throw it on the lands of that. The leader returned most opportunely to the distrust of states not firmly erected over institutions: and the aristocracy, fearful of the popularity of a victorious warrior; democracy, jealous of not giving the command to a citizen; the princes, who repelled from arming neither the nobles nor the plebs, found this nomadic hero for them, who fought because he was paid, who left when his wages ceased, who at worst could be repressed by paying a salary to one of his emulators. Venice, which, out of jealousy, had never allowed its nobles to command, led soldiers to pay in all the mainland campaigns; Florence liked a system, which i citizens left to wait for the trading and industries of hand and ingenuity; Pretish Rome liked it: and thus this vile way spread, which made a speculation of the war, taking away from it that decorum which makes it less sad.
And it was a new and very serious scourge of our country. Those adventurers, terrible for their beards, for strange crests, for resounding names, suddenly uniting and fighting without reason, left no one sure of peace. Fighting without sentiment or honor, they inspired mistrust even in their buyers, willing as they were to abandon them as soon as they found a more generous one. For every successful enterprise, they demanded double pay and a full month ; if their firm ended they were not brought back, or peace put them in expectation, the captains took on businesses on their own: were they successful? here are lands to plunder, prisoners to extort, conquests to resell: did they fail? the mouths to keep had dwindled. Behind them always drew a riot of spies, saccomanni, sappers, who squandered the country, not perishing between peace and war, between friends and enemies. They had the foresight not to pay attention in a country so much as to excite the natives in desperate defense, and they induced them to suffer with the lure that they would soon leave again.
The strength of the armies was always the heavy cavalry, since the infantry, selected among vulgaris, and which was supposed to be unable to withstand the impact of the cuirassiers, remained little considered. But the grave armadura, prepared for defense rather than offense, made the soldiers more formidable in terms of mass than in agility; and if it could not be passed over by the many archers and few crossbowmen who were then in the armies, it was, however, ineffective in warm countries; and fallen that one was, the more he could not get up, and remains prison or killed or suffocated. Any obstacle then he broke those massive ordinances, they could do nothing in the mountains, little at the crossing of the rivers; consequently they avoided the battles in the rasa countryside, or the two enemy generals had to agree to choose an appropriate place, as would be done in a duel or in a tournament.
Field days are therefore rare, limiting themselves to horseback riding on enemy land to forage, destroy, seize prisons; and sometimes the war was consummated without even a battle. Therefore the villagers retreated into castellated lands, which they all made then, and which, due to the nature of the weapons of the time, were to a great advantage in defense, and even the peasants could support them in comparison as long as either a bargain was made with the condottieri, or these tired did not turn over another castle. For they found a continuous canvas in their footsteps, and near a short space to the small land of Sanminiato there were twenty-eight, twenty-three in the outskirts of Montecatino, twenty-four owned around Asti by the Solari family; and Tuscany, which today has not just a square, could not have conquered until after three or four hundred sieges.
In the meantime, unlike what is done or sought today, the damage fell not on the armies, but on the people, leaving them everywhere filthy signs of gluttony and lust, and at least by trading in the spared accommodation, the path blank. After the victory of Meleto (1349) the vaivoda of Transylvania, the counts Landò and Guarnieri owed the bands double pay, amounting to one hundred and fifty thousand florins; and not finding them, they abandoned to them the gentlemen prisoners, who stretched out on beams on the ground, were flogged with fury until they obliged themselves to that tribute. The White Company, led by the English Giovanni Acuto (Hawkwood), when it took Faenza (1376), put three hundred lords in chains, chased eleven thousand citizens, and furious over the clothes and the adventos women: two constables contending for a kidnapped nun, when the ‘Sharp came, and – Have it half for one,’ he said, and cut it in two. Another band was sending a peasant, whose side he had roasted over the grill, so that his screams would announce his approach.
Franco Sacchetti tells us that, being the two Friars Minor to him Acuto, they greeted him in their own way saying, – Monsignor, God give you peace »; and he immediately replied: – God take away your alms »; and marveling at the rude exchange, – Don’t you know (he added) that I live on wars, as you do on alms, and peace would undo me? ” Where the author, less frivolous than usual, reflects: «Woe to those men and peoples who believe too much like him, because peoples and communes and all cities live and increase peace; and they live and grow from the war, which is the decay of the cities, and they peter out and fail. In them there is neither love nor faith; they often do worse to those who give them money than they do to soldiers on the other side; because, although they show that they want to stab and fight against each other, they love each other more well than they do not want those who led them to their money; and they seem to say,Steal from there, which I will steal well from here . The sheep are not aware of this, since they are induced to make war all day with malice, which is the thing that people cannot throw at all but bad reason. And for what reason are so many cities in Italy subjected to ladies, which were free? why is Puglia in the state it is? and Sicily? and the war of Padua and of Where did Verona lead them, and many other cities, which today are sad villas? ”  .
A militia that purports to be plundering and rape as an end, seldom led to decisive results; princes and republics, remaining at their own will, begged instead of commanding; they gave titles, coats of arms, kinship to the captains, and to repress them they knew nothing but to resort to deceptions and poisons; and the rigor that was necessary to fight the gangs introduced new ferocity into the criminal statutes. Tinkering for a trade, the venturieri did not forget that tomorrow they would perhaps serve what they were fighting today; hence they agreed to harm themselves as little as possible, to make prisoners more than to kill, above all to spare the horses, which were less easy to make up for than men; and when they took prisoners, they exchanged them. Once Francesco Piccinino had spent recklessly among his enemies, “as soon as they knew him, they threw down their weapons, and with their heads uncovered reverently saluted him; and whatever he could, he touched his hand with all reverence, because they accused him of being the father of the militia and the ornament of that “(Corio ). After the Montorio incident, Roberto Sanseverino postponed the prison events, but with a letter in which he regretted that the hostile soldiers “had played him with little respect, and given him many swords”  .
With such courtesies the war was reduced to a chessboard fencing, to a maneuver of marches and counter-marches; battles in a huddle rather than a scuffle; nor was blood shed except by inadvertence, and a brawl in the city cost more than a field day; ingenuity and cunning took over from courage, and many aged in arms without ever being exposed to danger. In the captain, however, personal skill was required; since the troops, mostly infantry, were not held to the flag by a point of honor, not by the shame of the comrades with whom they were mated for a single moment, so that the hope of victory or booty was disbanded as soon as they lost their hope.
Some captains of fortune founded churches and chapels, especially in San Giorgio, of which title is a hospital in Florence, placed in 1347 by the salaried of the Company of that name; a chapel in Pisa from 1346, founded by two of the Scolari; Bonifazio Lupo established the hospital in Florence that preserves his name; Pippo Span the temple of the Angels; Percival Doria the Annunciation in Genoa; Bartolomeo Coleoni very rich chapel and pious institutions in Bergamo and Venice. Anna Elena, after the tragic end of her husband Balduccio d’Anghiari, founded a hospice for widows and poor people in Borgo San Gattolino in Florence, which she called the convent of Annalena. And (what is dishonest more than rare) in wars of speculation they gained glory; at the Acuto Florence he placed the portrait and a mausoleum in his own cathedral; most splendid funerals she gave to Niccolò da Tolentino, with twenty flags and more than three thousand pounds of wax, then the portrait in that church; equestrian statues at Gattamelata Padua, at Coleoni Venice, even after the tomb had been removed that they seemed formidable.
Sometimes, however, they were led to a sad end: we know how Venice got rid of Carmagnola; the Florentines did depicting Count Francesco di Pontadera, leader of opposing gangs, hanged by his foot; Giovan Tomacelli brother of the Pope, Marquis of the Marches, called the famous Boldrino da Panicale, had him slaughtered, for which the gangs took revenge on how many men of the Church they caught. Triumphs and tortures, events of every adventurous condition.
The populations were not absolved of any warlike burden, on the contrary they had to guard the cities and outlines, guard and defend the fortresses, give the wagons and servants, prepare the roads. Rather, this weighed on the people of the countryside; those from the city, on the other hand, contributed taxes or gabelles, with which to pay the gangsters.
Thus the bulk of the Italian nation lost value in the midst of battles; arbiter of enemies and peace remained a vendoreccio gentame; and the wars never ended, because they did not take away the strength of the vanquished, who, on the morrow of a solemn defeat, could reappear with a more powerful army, provided they had enough to buy it. It was important to the leaders themselves not to let small states and rivals succumb, so that the opportunities for gains would not fail. When the Florentines wanted to force King Ladislao of Naples to return the lands they had taken from the Holy See, he asked: “What troops do you have to oppose me?” and they: – Your very same ones