The royals of Naples were busy in the internal war, the cause and events of which we will see below; the pope was entangled in Avignon; the republican breath was dying out, so that tyrannies prevailed in every part. Among them was Giovanni Visconti. Beyond Milan of which he was archbishop, fifteen large cities owned: Lodi, Piacenza, Borgo San Donnino, Parma, Crema, Brescia, Bergamo, Novara, Como, Vercelli, Alba, Alessandria, Tortona, Pontremoli, Asti; and leaving the love of communal independence and the anger of the factions to flare up, he aspired to greater things.
Taddeo de ‘Pepoli, handsome man, doctor and golden knight, humane of morals, serene-looking, scholar and friend of scholars, liberal and charitable, solicitous for friends, had been made to shout Signor di Bologna (1337); the ballots of all the guilds confirmed this; the scholar Ferino Gallucci preached on the happiness of a republic governed by a leader. With freedom ended the greatness of Bologna, which languished under dominion, one more astonishing than the other.
The sons of Taddeo seconded Ettore Duraforte, who, with the title of count, had been deputed by the pope to subdue the lords of Romagna, and he took over the mercenary bands and betrayals. But having arrested Giovanni Pepoli, Giacomo, this brother, took up arms (1350), and seeing that he could not otherwise save the city, he sold it to Giovanni Visconti. The people shouted: “We did not want to be sold”; Clement VI made a show of preparing to take it back: but his gangs passed into the service of the Visconti, who paid them more lavishly. Recourse to other weapons, Clemente tried him of heresy, ordering him to release Bologna, and to choose between temporal and spiritual power. Visconti had the legates attend the mass, which he celebrated with the magnificence of that ritual garment; and turning to give the final blessing with the crosier in one, the sword in the other hand, he said to them: “Tell the pope that with the sword I will defend the pastoral.” And as this he insisted on quoting him in Avignon, he sent heralds there to buy up houses, and warehouses of hay and grain for twelve thousand cavalry and six thousand foot soldiers: of what dismayed the pope. he made it clear to him that the good will shown was enough; and by recommendation and money he re-communicated him (1352 – 5 May), and left him Bologna for twelve years, as long as he paid twelve thousand florins a year.
Giovan d’Oleggio, the priest of the Milan cathedral, was placed there as governor, whom the Viscontis had raised with such benevolence that they gave him their name; and a very shrewd politician as well as provided captain, from there he led war and intrigues. It was supported by the lords of Romagna, who, having their own weapons and knowing how to exercise them, used them for their own account, yes to earn in the pay of others; and in order to escape the closest authority, they attached themselves to the Visconti. Florence persevered in supporting the perilous freedom, both first by encouraging Bologna, and now by opposing the Biscione, who tried to wrap it up in its coils. Giovan d’Oleggio invaded the Ombrone and Bisentino valleys, and favored by the Ubaldini of Mugello, the Pazzi of Valdarno, the Albertini of Valdambra, the Tarlati of Arezzo, he raised the Ghibelline flag everywhere, all the more so since the royals of Naples had nothing else to do than oppose it. But Siena, Perugia, Arezzo were united with Florence in a Guelph league which generously resisted Giovanni, until peace was concluded in Sarzana (1353). .
No less than the republics, the lords were jealous of the increase of the Visconti; and those of Mantua, Ferrara, Verona, Padua, at the request of the lordship of Venice, stopped the alliance to repress them, and asked the Emperor Charles IV for support. Pretending to take the fate of Italy to heart, but in fact because he remembered that money could be lost, he listened to the enemies of the Visconti family and the Florentines who invited him; and with the consent of Pope Innocent VI, to whom he had promised to quash all the acts of Lodovico the Bavaro, he crossed the Alps with a number of barons (1354-8bre), of whose feudal obligations the most hilarious was precisely this pompous appearance in Italy. But what remained and hopeful friends and fearful enemies when they saw him arrive in Udine with nothing more than three hundred horsemen, and “traverse Italy on a nag among unarmed people, almost a merchant who wants to get to the fair!” ( M. Villani ).
These strange emperors! did they come with force? they were hated; without? despised. Yet the literati lavished Latin flattery on this cardinal puppet, the jurists remembered the imperatorial rights, Ghibellines and tyrants willingly referred to him, invoking him as judge in quarrels. While ambassadors of all the countries were spreading erudite rumors to him, his majesty was playing with peeling willow shoots with his penknife: he badly disguised his fear when the Viscontis made six thousand horses and ten thousand pedestrians in arms and well in gear parade in front of the palace two or three times a day. where they welcomed him to honor. He interjected some peace: to Giovanni Paleologo Marquis of Monferrato he confirmed the lordship of Turin, Susa, Alessandria, Ivrea, Trino, and over a hundred castles, and the title of imperial vicar: as for rights, he was not looking for a minute; for he, as well as the royal and imperial titles, appealed to him only to have anything to be able to make money with in order to embellish his Prague.
In Lucca he had been governor at the time of his father, and had built the beautiful fortress of Monte there Carlo, who closes the territory towards Val di Nievole, facing the Florentines (1355). Now the Lucchesi hoped to be freed by him; but he had already committed himself to Pisa, which had exhibited sixty thousand florins to him for the expenses of his coronation. Having come to this city, torn between Bergolini and Raspanti, and shouting its sovereign, for suspicion he sent the Gambacurti house to torture, which had sacrificed itself for him: but shortly after the Pisans regretted it, he renounced sovereignty. The same happens to Siena, whose artisan oligarchy was induced, like the other, by the fear of Florence.
And Florence, who at first called him, was dismayed seeing him become head of the nobility opposed to the city institutions (1355), and flatter the low people by promising justice. The partisans of the emperor asserted that municipal governments were understood to be constituted only in his absence, and when he appeared, all authority and restrictions ceased, as was the case (they said) of the ancient Roman emperors. The Guelphs of rebellion searched liberty in erudition, showing that Augustus and Tiberius had remained subordinate to the senate and to the people; while all the peoples were tributaries to them, they obeyed the citizens, whose authority created them. The Tuscan municipalities, admitted among the first to the Roman citizenship, drew from there the right to enjoy the freedom of the Roman people, in no way subject to the freedom of the empire; and this people themselves, not by themselves, but for them the Church, in aid of the Christian faithful granted the election of the emperors to seven princes of Alemagna  : and they considered submitting to the emperors as a sin. Even Florence believed that it was of little harm to recognize the supremacy of one prince who would soon leave, and with money to spare himself a war; whereupon she swore vassalage to Charles, provided that he absolved her of all the condemnations launched by Henry VII, confirmed the laws and statutes made and to be made; the members of the Signoria were vicars of the emperor, and exercised jurisdiction in his name; he did not set foot either in Florence or in any other walled city, but contented himself with a hundred thousand florins as a redemption of the gifts, then four thousand a year, as long as he lived. The Guelphs (Matteo Villani expresses it to us) found this awe, albeit nominal; the people heard it amid groans and sobs; there was no attendance at the meetings, no bells were rung, and it took all the erudition of the prudent to show that the independence of the fatherland was not lost.
Petrarch loved Charles IV because in Avignon he wanted to see Madonna Laura, and out of admiration, kiss her, showed great reverence to the poet himself, and asked him to dedicate his book of illustrious men .; it gave him some gold and silver medals of emperors, saying: – Here you are; here are the templates you need to follow. I know the customs, the titles, the enterprises of these; you are obliged not only to know them, but to imitate them ». All classic reminiscences, Petrarch wished to restore the dignity of Augustus and Constantine, and had written urging Charles: – In vain to my impatience you oppose the change of times, and you exaggerate it in long phrases that make me admire in you rather the wit of a writer, that the soul of an emperor. Can our evils perhaps be compared to those of the ancients, when Brenno and Pirro and Annibale squandered Italy? The deadly wounds that I see in Italy in the beautiful body are our fault and not a natural thing. The world is still the same, the same sun, the same elements; But you are elected to a glorious office, to remove the irregularities of the republic, and give the world its ancient form: then in my eyes you will be a true Caesar, a true emperor ».
Advising him to place himself at the head of good men, he gave him, for example, Cola di Rienzo. – He was neither king nor consul nor patrician, but hardly known as a Roman citizen; and although he was not distinguished by the titles of ancestors nor by his own virtues, he dared to make himself clear as compensator of public liberty. What more illustrious title? Tuscany immediately submitted to him; All of Italy followed suit; Europe, the whole world was moved: and justice, good faith, security had already returned, the golden age was already reappearing. He had assumed the lowest title, that of tribune; with whom if he could, what could the name of Caesar not be? ” And when he heard it arrived, he did not understand in himself from the joy, and – What shall I say? where shall I begin? Long-suffering and patience I desired in my expectation: now I begin to desire to understand well all my happiness, not to be less than so much joy. You are no longer the king of Bohemia; the king of the world you are, the Roman emperor, the true caesar. You will find everything arranged as I assured you, the diadem, the empire, immortal glory, and the road to heaven open. I glorify myself, I triumph to have you animated with my words. We consider you Italian; nor does it matter where you were born, but to which businesses. And not only will I come to receive you on the descent from the Alps, but infinite troubles with me, all of Italy, our mother, and Rome, the head of Italy, meet you singing with Virgil: We consider you Italian; nor does it matter where you were born, but to which businesses. And not only will I come to receive you on the descent from the Alps, but infinite troubles with me, all of Italy, our mother, and Rome, the head of Italy, meet you singing with Virgil: We consider you Italian; nor does it matter where you were born, but to which businesses. And not only will I come to receive you on the descent from the Alps, but infinite troubles with me, all of Italy, our mother, and Rome, the head of Italy, meet you singing with Virgil:Venisti tandem, tuaque expectata relatives Vicit iter durum pietas ”  .
Now well, this glorious king had to leave his diadem as a pledge in Florence, until the Sienese they redeemed him for a thousand six hundred and twenty florins: he had promised the pope not to mind more than a single day in Rome; hence, having arrived there somewhat earlier, he entered incognito as a pilgrim, just to visit its monuments. The solemnity of the coronation was splendid, competing in pomp for the archbishop of Salzburg, the dukes of Saxony, Austria, Bavaria, the marquises of Moravia and Misnia, the count of Gorizia and others, descended with the emperor. Who, not at all jealous of lowering the imperial dignity before the papacy, trained the pope’s horse together with Giovanni Palaeologus, emperor of the East, who had come to abjure the schism; he served as a deacon at mass, got the crown, and on the same day he went out to go. – He escapes without anyone chasing him (exclaimed the disillusioned Petrarch); the delights of Italy disgust him; to justify himself he says he has sworn to stay only one day in Rome: oh day of opprobrium! oh deplorable oath! the pope, who renounced Rome, doesn’t want anyone else to linger there! “ .
The lords and troops who had come with it disbanded after the show was over. In Pisa, of which he named Giovanni d’Agnello knight and vicar, he wanted to make a choice, crowning the Florentine rhetorician Zanobio Strada with laurel, which did not help to keep him the glory of a poet. On the way to Siena, where he wanted to reform the government, he is besieged in the palace, then given him twenty thousand florins to go away: they insult him everywhere, and he swallows; the Viscontis close the doors in his face, and he swallows; in Cremona he was kept outside the walls for two hours while his people were being examined, of which only a third allowed himself to enter without arms; equally in Soncino, and in Bergamo  ; and he swallows, consoling himself in thinking of the treasures he brings back to his Bohemia. So he arrived coveted by the weak, feared by the strong, and departed despised by all, more and more convinced that these imperial descents succeeded in mutual ruin.
Then the Venesino countryside, sold by Giovanna of Naples to the popes, and the Dauphiné, ceded to the king of France, and Provence, which also became a French province, broke away from the Germanic crown; then, to collect the hundred thousand florins that each elector demanded in payment for giving his son Wenceslas the vote for the empire, he ceded dominion, city, imperial rights, so that it was well said that he ruined his house to obtain the empire , then to thank his house ruined the empire, where he also seemed, with his predilection for Bohemia, to want the Slavic lineage to prevail over the German.
Yet perhaps no emperor could boast of having enjoyed the imperial prerogative as much as he did. He brought the famous Bàrtolo da Sassoferrato, “star of jurisprudence, teacher of truth, lantern of law, guide of the blind” to Germany, and conferred on him the then new, then lavish title of Count Palatine  , and from him he made compile the Bull of Gold (1356), the constitution of the Empire, where the always perplexing rights were determined of the electors, making even the great secular dignities stable; and the way of electing kings and crowning them in Aachen; beyond many norms for public peace and diets. With this, the attributions and the power of the electors being consolidated, the other princes of Germany remained diminished, and the division of this country into various sovereign states was established, in the time that the other kingdoms of Europe clung to unity and hereditary succession; the popes were excluded from the vicariate they demanded in the interregni, assigning it to the palatine of the Rhine and to the elector of Saxony.
The death of Archbishop Visconti benefited the Florentines and the Guelphs more than the descent of Charles. His nephews Bernabò and Galeazzo II who succeeded him (1354) did not cease to aspire to Florence, but were prevented from doing so by the wars they were cleaning up with the lords of Monferrato, d’Este, della Scala, Gonzaga, and Carrara. In Pavia tyrannized the Beccaria, lords of the lands and thirteen hills on the right of the Ticino, and now they became vicarj de ‘Visconti (1356), now of the Marquis of Monferrato. When the war broke out between them, Pavia was clarified by the Marquis, and it was besieged by the Visconti. And it fell, if Jacopo Bussolari, a hermit friar who preached that Lent there, and the devotion of men and women had been earned, had not encouraged them to defend independence, accusing the dishonest female bearing, the impudence, the selfishness of the dominant and the dominated. The people wept and made amends; the lords at first laughed at it, then swelled, and after he had led the youth to repel the besiegers, they did the work of taking away his fame and life. The valiant friar was heartened by it, and persuading the Pavesi to any sacrifice to support freedom, he had the Beccarias driven out, who then joined the Visconti and rode the city. Unable to withstand such superior forces, Bussolari capitulated, stipulating forgiveness to the citizens and nothing for himself; wherefore, taken (1359 – 8bre), he was sent to consume inhe goes in peace to a monastery in Vercelli  .
But elsewhere the Visconti fortunes dipped. Genoa, which in the troubles it had thrown its freedom, in the victories it took back the love, and escaped the Visconti, compensating the government in common and the Doge Boccanegra, who continuing to subdue the nobility, remained in dominion until the last of his days (1356 – 15 9bre); and the Fieschis and their friends had to settle for the new order of things.
Cardinal Albornoz had continued the war in Romagna more easily after having subdued the prefect Giovanni da Vico with a long campaign. Poorly provided for money by the Court of Avignon, he made up for it with art, by alternating rigor and clemency, by earning the lords by means of concessions that they gave a kind of legitimacy to their dominion, and by supporting the minors against the big ones, and seconding rivalries and revenge. Excellent cooperation, especially against the Malatesta, Gentile da Mogliano lord of Fermo lent him, who then turned against him. Giovanni Manfredi lord of Faenza, Malatesta lord of Rimini, the Polenta of Ravenna, the Ordelaffi of Forlì knew late the need to join in the common danger (1354), but were forced to surrender one after one, mostly reserving to rule for life the countries they had tyrannized.
Only Francesco degli Ordelaffi, lord of Forlì, Forlimpopoli, Cesena, Castrocaro, Bertinoro and Imola resisted; when he heard the bell announcing his excommunication, he made all the others ring, excommunicating each other pope and cardinals; to his friends she said: – This does not mean that bread and wine tastes less good »; and he tortured many priests who wanted to observe the interdict. Together he solicited all the Ghibellines of Italy, hired the bands of Count Guarnieri, and declared that I was willing to defend one city after another to the extreme. He entrusted Cesena to his wife madonna Cia (1356), of the Ubaldini lords of Susinana, “who closed himself in the rôcca with his young son Sinibaldo, and with two small grandchildren, and with an older girl as a husband, and with two daughters of Gentile from Mogliano, and five bridesmaids. And being under siege, and fought by eight buildings that I counted they threw into marvelous stones, having no feeling of any help, and knowing that the walls of the rock and of the towers of that were dug out for the enemies, he wonderfully kept himself, encouraging and comforting his own to the defense. And being in this harshness, Vanni her father went to the legate, and begged the grace to go and talk about her with her daughter, to make her surrender with the salvation of her and her people. It came to her, being to make her surrender with the safety of her and her people. It came to her, being to make her surrender with the safety of her and her people. It came to her, being father and man of great authority and war master, he said to her: Dear daughter, you must believe that I have not come here to deceive you, nor to betray you of your honor. I know and I see that you and your company are at the extremes of irremediable danger, and I know of no remedy, other than to take advantage of you and your company, and to return the rock to the legate. And above this he gave her many reasons why she should do it, showing that the most capable captain in the world would not be ashamed, finding himself in such a case. The woman replied:My Father, when you gave me to my lord, you commanded me to obey him above all things: and so I have done up to here, and I intend to do until death. He commended this land to me, and said that for no reason should I abandon it, or do anything of it without his presence, or some secret sign that he has given me. Death and everything else I care little, where I obey his commandments of him. The authority of the father, the threats of imminent dangers, nor other manifest examples of such a man could affect the firmness of the woman; and having taken leave of his father, he intended with solicitude to provide the defense and guard of that rock that stood there watching, not without the admiration of the father and of those who heard the virile strength of that woman’s soul ”  .
Eventually she was forced to capitulate (June 21); Ordelaffi himself, having lost all hope in the mercenary bands, gave himself up to discretion, and was acquitted; and Romagna, where Albornoz had found no subjects other than Montefalco and Montefiascone, all returned to the obedience of the pope. With good reason, therefore, the cardinal was received with great honors everywhere, especially in Avignon, where he was acclaimed father of the Church in a sense so different from the ancient one.
Bologna still remained under the iron rod of Giovanni d’Oleggio, who, after he saw the wave of citizens pouring in to hand over their weapons, took such boldness that he led them into the field with only sticks, and there he distributed their weapons to them, which he then took away after the battle. In time of so many successful ambitions, why would he not try his luck too? Rebelling against the Visconti, he made himself cry out as lord of Bologna; he repressed with extreme rigor the internal plots, while he watched from the styles and flattery of Bernabò, to whom at the same time he sent cajolings and help against the Marquis of Monferrato. Bernabò, who never knew gratitude, did not know how to forgive him the revolt; and having got rid of the Marquis of Monferrato by stealing the mercenaries of Count Lando and Anichino from him, he threw them at the Oleggio (1360). The latter, attacked by three thousand knights, fifteen hundred Hungarians, four thousand infantry, a thousand halberdiers, not loved by the people, not helped by neighbors, showed off selling Bologna to anyone who wanted it; and Albornoz signed the contract, assigning Fermo and its territory to the Oleggio for life.
In Bologna the municipal government was put back among the usual noises of Viva la Chiesa and the exiles were recalled: but Bernabò adontato continued the war of devastation; and Albornoz, unable to draw help either from Avignon or from the neighboring potentates, after consuming thirty thousand ducats and his own silver, called seven thousand Hungarians, scum of people, who, hoping for indulgences, murdered the beautiful country. Bernabo knew how to buy them for himself, and while in Avignon he complained that he was denied a city for twelve years granted to his uncle, he vented by persecuting the clergymen; nor were those cowardly wars ceased shortly by the plague, which brought about by the English bands, was renewed here in 1361, and meant that in Milan alone it cut off seventy-seven thousand lives.
Bernabò, who had shielded himself by strictly kidnapping himself in the castle of Melegnano, as soon as it ceased reappeared, and shouted – I want Bologna », and tried to surprise her, buying bands and raising the vanquished lords: so that the Albornoz (1362) re-tied the lords della Scala, d’Este, of Carrara to defend the Church, of which they were not shady, against the feared Visconti, and then excommunicated by Urban V: the league against him was supported by an imperial flag, and took the Grande Company; and the battle of San Rafaello (1363 – April 16) took away from Bernabò the hope of dominating the pontiffs.
He did not cease to negotiate in Avignon, while he fought with various successes. At the time, Pier Tommaso di Sarlat enjoyed a great reputation for holiness, rising from poverty with virtue and preaching to the favor of the pope, who appointed him apostolic nuncio in the kingdom of Naples, then in Germany, in Bulgaria, and who became fervent to cross Europe against the then threatening Turks, reconciled the Venetians with the king of Hungary, sought to unite the Greek Church with the Latin, led expeditions against those barbarians, and brought the king of Cyprus to Europe to solicit the crusade. This was impeded by the war against Bernabò, wearing down the Church’s entrances, so they tried to pacify him by sending Pier Tommaso to Milan  ; and an agreement was signed (1364 – 8 March) where Bernabò renounced Bologna, but against the enormous price of five hundred thousand florins, the restitution of the prisoners, and that Albornoz be removed from that legation.
He, also right in politics, had gathered in Rome the deputies of all the cities subjected, and published for them the Egyptian Constitutions (1357), which remained the true public law of Romagna: received with unanimous applause, they had equal credit to the canon law. , and the popes then always recommended their observance, as most opportune to the pontifical states. He did not implant again, as is claimed today, but reformed the old with a practical sense and with the knowledge of men and things.
Having asked Albornoz to account for the sums spent in those fourteen years, he sent him a cart of keys of the cities subjected to them. The death of Innocent VI could easily have succeeded him; but he did not bother, and continued to regulate the Marches and the patrimony of St. Peter until he died in Viterbo (1367 – August 24), binding many alms and of which to found in Bologna a college with garden and rooms and everything needed for twenty-four young Spaniards.
Italy still remained at the mercy of the venturieri. Corrado Wirtinger of Landau was active in the bands of Fra Moriale; and when he perished under the cleaver of Cola Rienzi, he kept them around him with the order to which he had accustomed them, and made Italy terrible the names of Count Lando and of the Great Company, which was given to him and to ‘ of him.
A beautiful German on a pilgrimage to Rome for the jubilee, had been raped in Ravenna by Bernardino da Polenta, and did not want to survive the outrage. Two of her brothers went down to Italy, with no other commission than their own indignation; they communicated it to Count Lando, who, in revenge of his compatriots, led the Company to desolate the Ravenna area. But having the tyrant gathered the people and the food in the walled lands, the Company had to go elsewhere, and sent to waste the Abruzzi, Puglia, Terra di Lavoro, swollen by the many who benefited from that easy and unpunished stealing. King Louis of Naples cowardly negotiated to give her seventy thousand florins in two terms, until the expiration of which she also remained at the expense of the realm. Having gone out, he threatened now this or that, until he enlisted himself with the league against Bernabò Visconti; but instead of conforming to the divisions of his buyers, he stopped where more stuff and better wine and more beautiful women, and gathered people who were real and famous for being wrong. Bernabò drew from the long captivity Lodrisio Visconti, the great defeated of Parabiago; and this man with the authority of his name gathered many bearded ones, and at the passage of the Ticino he defeated the enemies (1365), until Count Lando was a prisoner. The venturieri immediately set him free; but Bernabò had the art of drawing it from him.
Once peace was made, the Company which remained on strike beat the march towards Tuscany. There Saccone de ‘Tarlati had died, who up to the age of ninety-six gave the motto to the Ghibellines of all Tuscany from the castle of Pietramala; which still dominated in Pisa, always resentful in Florence. Like this one above Pistoja, Prato, Volterra, Colle, San Miniato, so Perugia wanted to rule above Todi, Cortona, Città di Pieve, Chiusi, Assisi, Foligno, Borgo San Sepolcro. But Cortona, then mastered by Bartolomeo di Casale, valiantly defended itself; and Siena (1358), taking part with it, called Anichino Bongardo, another famous adventurer, and this being beaten, he invited the Great Company. Count Lando, who had already collected fifty thousand sequins from the Florentines to leave them quiet for three years, then asked them to step into their territory; but they, dismayed, they agreed with the counts Ubaldini and Guidi to strengthen the gates of the Apennines. The band then spread out to Val di Lamone; but when he reached the quite steep path of the Scalella (July 24), the peasants began to roll stones, plebeian ammunition from the mountain, so that they vanquished that body, killed three hundred knights, made many prisoners and lavish booty, and Lando himself wounded. The Florentines did not want to lie about the faith committed not to molest it, so that the Company, after very serious losses, curled up, and Lando, recovered too quickly, gathered five thousand knights, a thousand Hungarians, two thousand men of gangs, over twelve thousand servants and luggage. , with which he gave on to the Florentines (1379), untimely human. Resolved to end that lousy new kind of tyranny, they appealed to the Italians, who, as if by imitation had trembled, then by imitation regained courage. Lando became aware of the danger, and exhibited even to compensate in money if any of his faults made in crossing the lands of the Florentines; but they refused, and sent to give up arms for everything, they went out to meet him led by Pandolfo Malatesta of Rimini. When trumpets came from the German, carrying a bloody glove on thorny bronzes, and causing anyone who felt the heart to fight with the count to take it off, Pandolfo took it, and deployed the army in such a way, that Lando gave back as soon as he could, burning the field, and by dint of tactics he managed to parade towards the Monferrato. Lando became aware of the danger, and exhibited even to compensate in money if his men made any damage in crossing the lands of the Florentines; but they refused, and sent to give up arms for everything, they went out to meet him led by Pandolfo Malatesta of Rimini. When trumpets came from the German, carrying a bloody glove on thorny bronzes, and causing anyone who felt the heart to fight with the count to take it off, Pandolfo took it, and deployed the army in such a way, that Lando gave back as soon as he could, burning the field, and by dint of tactics he managed to parade towards the Monferrato. Lando became aware of the danger, and exhibited even to compensate in money if his men made any damage in crossing the lands of the Florentines; but they refused, and sent to give up arms for everything, they went out to meet him led by Pandolfo Malatesta of Rimini. When trumpets came from the German, carrying a bloody glove on thorny bronzes, and causing anyone who felt the heart to fight with the count to take it off, Pandolfo took it, and deployed the army in such a way, that Lando gave back as soon as he could, burning the field, and by dint of tactics he managed to parade towards the Monferrato.
From that point the Great Company was broken up; but «it seems that the pen cannot be passed without remembering the companies; for it is a marvelous thing to see and hear so many create one after the other in the scourge of Christians, little observers of their law and faith “( M. Villani ). Why then sauces shouting that of Anichino Bongardo. Traitor of friends and enemies according to him, he first served the Marquis of Monferrato against Galeazzo Visconti, then broke his love and faith; so that he called new pawns, and they were English, whom the peace of Bretigny between France and England had left without conduct. They had the name of Compagnia Bianca, and for captain Alberto Sterz. «Warm and eager, customary to murders and robberies, they were current to iron, having few people in calere. But in the order of wars they were ready and obedient to their masters, even though in staying in the camp, due to their disordered boldness and not very cautious daring, they placed themselves scattered and badly ordered, and in a form to be slightly received by brave people damnation and shame. Their armadura almost all of them were panzeroni, and in front of the chest a steel soul, iron bracelets, thighs and shrimp, daggers and hard swords, all with spear, which, when they got down, they gladly used, and each of them had one or two page boys and such more, according to that it was mighty. As soon as the arms had been pulled off, the said present pages intended to keep them clean, so that, when they appeared in a fight, their arms looked like mirrors, and therefore were more frightening. Others of them were archers, and their bows were nasso and long, and with them they were quick and obedient, and they made a good test. The way they fought in the field was almost always on foot, assigning horses to their pages, binding themselves in an almost round line, and taking a spear between two, in the way that boar expects with skewers; and thus bound and tightened with low spears at slow steps they made themselves against the enemies with terrible screams, and it was hard to be able to untwist them. And for that he saw some for the experience, they were more apt to ride at night and steal land, than to hold field; happier for cowardice of our people, who by their virtue. Artificial stairs, that the greatest piece was of three echelons, and one piece took the other in the manner of the trumpet, and with them they would be mounted on every high tower ”  .
This band, which for thirty years continued to camp for those who paid for it, began by making such damage in the Novara area that Galeazzo II Visconti, not being able to oppose as many gangs, estimated it better to burn twelve castles, unable to defend themselves. Fifty-three destroyed the implacable English, and for two years the devastation continued, taking pleasure in cutting off the bodies, until they left them to dogs or to the fire. In fighting them, Count Lando perished in Briona (1363), and his brother Lucio Lando followed, who occupied Reggio, and instead of giving it to the Estensi, whose pay he was, sold it for twenty-five thousand florins to Bernabò.
The White Company then went on to serve the Pisans, that is, to lead the average Italy to waste. Bongardo joined them, and one night Florence, terrified from the top of the walls, saw them consume a hellish revel in the light of torches and fire, and there Bongardo let himself be girded with the spurs of a knight, then he himself girded them to the bravest of the field.
It Bongardo and Sterz formed the Company of the Star, of the Bianca remaining at the head that Giovanni Acuto of whom we have already spoken (Chap. cviii ); and it was a competition to do worse: Provenzali, Guaschi, Bretoni were led down by others, and for many years the peninsula remained in their mercy, any warring party having troops from very different nations in the pay. Add a very different discipline, each keeping the native customs. But for the ordinary, armies do they were made up of soldiers and bearded men: these, so called from the helmet they wore without crest, but with a fan in front and a mane up, used simple weapons, small horses and a single sergeant with a palafreno; unlike the soldier, heavily armed and followed by two or three horses. Then joined the Hungarians, each having two small horses, long bow, long sword, leather breast, agile to the course and neglecting every comfort. The Acuto, superior of shrewdness and military mastery to the previous leaders, first introduced here to count the knights by spears, each of which consisted of three men, with mail coats, steel breasts, iron greaves, the helmet, bracelets, great sword and dagger, and a long spear which they supported between two . The marches were made on horseback because of the heavy armor; but on the field mostly pedestrians fought, thus combining the readiness of the cavalry with the solidity of the infantry.
Even peace did not suspend the evils of the peoples, on the contrary the disturbances of that were less bearable than those suffered in the war; and that brutal value, not accessible to any noble sentiment of country or freedom, had weakened the esteem due to true courage, which arises from the awareness of a just cause. Pope Urban V exhorted the Florentines and the others to a league against the bands; and with orders and briefs it insisted, until it was concluded with the agreement to form a national militia (1366 – 7bre), and to reduce all the provisions in castles  . But neither excommunications nor indulgences prevented the league from breaking up soon; and the sinew and disgrace of wars still remained the mercenaries.
These spoiled, no less than the gains soon excited ours to form bands, and also put themselves at the service of fortune, to use the activity and courage, which had lacked more noble opportunities, and to acquire prey or even dominion. . We have already seen Lodrisio Visconti rise to the head of a company of Germans: Ambrogio, bastard of Bernabò Visconti, renewed the company of San Giorgio, but was soon conquered and imprisoned in Naples; and of his, six hundred remained prisoners in Rome, where the pope had three hundred strangled, and then also the others because they tried to escape  .
But those Romagnuoli lords who we said were dedicated to arms were the first to unite our local bands. Astore Manfredi lord of Faenza gathered the Compagnia della Stella of Romagna venturieri on Parmigiano; and having rushed over Genoa, he was exterminated in the Bisagno valley. Giovanni d’Azzo degli Ubaldini, one of the best trained warriors, attacked another in the Apennines, but he was kidnapped by early death: other Pandolfo Malatesta, others Boldrino da Panicale, rushing to where he was to fight or rob. Some gentleman with only his men prepared a broken spear, and when he had accomplished it, that is, of thirty spears that formed sixty men on horseback, he went to serve as a volunteer for this or that. Sometimes a whole family put themselves to such gain; as in 1395 the The Commune of Florence sold the team of the Tolomei of thirty spears of three horses each  .
Then our people saw another way of gaining open, a breed of bravacci was generalized, having war as their profession and arrogance as a system, all weapons and making soldiers and speeches of valentery, great beard, imaginative crests, high-sounding names, such as Fracassa, Fieramosca, Lanciampugno, Animanegra, Spaccamontagna, Maccaferro, Rodimonte, Abbattinemici.
Alberico di Barbiano, lord of the vicinity of Bologna, in the events of war without equal valiant, gathered a whole band of his vassals and friends, could face the overseas; vintele to Marino, entered Rome, which after centuries saw a first triumph of Italians; he deserved from the pope an insignia with inscription Italy liberated by the Barbarians ; indeed it was said that he would not enlist except those who swore hatred of foreigners. That band became a seedbed of distinguished captains, such as Jacopo Del Verme from Milan, Facino Cane from Casal Monferrato, Ottobon Terzo, and more famous Braccio di Montone and Attandolo Sforza, who were tutors of two war schools.
The introduction of our own captains brought an improvement, since they, by selecting not the first comers and scum of malefactors, but known people, or relatives and vassals and factions, were better able to maintain discipline; he learned to keep fidelity to a flag, and not want it dishonored; and the emulation of advances, the care of the good name, the reverence to the leaders, imposed some rules on that brutal value. On the other hand, however, ours did not hesitate to strip friends and enemies as did the overlanders, but mixed their own passions, partisan anger, hereditary vendettas, study of novelties, ambition of some piece of a country that by now was divided into sabering. And in fact they were soon seen to acquire lordships, and the luckiest of them to inherit the Visconti throne.
But to the ancient art of killing and being killed came to give the collapse of the invention of dust.
The ancients did not show themselves to be acquainted with true nitro and its effects, nor with making saltpetre, that is, transforming the nitrate of lime into nitrate of potash. Perhaps Europe received news of it from India and China, where saltpeter meets natural; but whoever taught to mix seventy-five parts with fifteen and a half of coal, and nine and a half of sulfur, and form the thundering dust, is not known; the German friar Schwarz, who they say he found it at random, it seems to be placed among the ideal entities. It is more probable that it was learned from the Arabs, who kept it from China; and since that people touched Christianity in several places, they introduced its practices in more than one place; whence we see it suddenly appear in distant districts, and without anyone claiming to be the boast of the invention.
The first ingenuity to apply powder to warfare were cannons; before 1316 they are mentioned by Giorgio Stella, official author of Genoese stories; and a Florentine document of 1326 speaks of iron balls and metal cannones  . In 58 at the war of Forlì the papals threw bombs, and an aveasi cannon foundry in Sant’Arcangelo in Romagna: in 76 Andrea Redusio gives an exact description of the bomb  . In 84, in which the Ottomans first employed artillery, the Venetians made use of them against Leopoldo of Austria, then in the war of Chioggia, which is not believed to be the first where they served: according to Corio, Gian Galeazzo in 1397 had already owned for thirty-four pieces between large and thin.
The cannons, which did not at all abolish the ancient war torments, were made of plates, embedded in wooden staves and rimmed with iron; thereafter they merged with iron; then they came to be made of an alloy of copper and tin. At the beginning of the 1400s, the largest did not exceed fifteen pounds; but around 1470 gigantic ones appeared  . Allegretto Allegretti, in 1478, tells how in Siena “our large two-piece bombard was tried, which Pietro called Campana made, and it is seven and a half braccia long, that is the trumpet five arms, and the tail two arms and half; the cannon weighs fourteen thousand pounds, and the tail eleven thousand, totaling twenty-five thousand pounds in all; throw from three hundred and seventy to three hundred and eighty pounds of stone, second stone ” ; and goes on to say of the pope’s bomb, long arms six and a third, of ball three hundred and forty pounds.
With cannons it was originally thought only to equalize the bricolle, the ironers and the other machines of ancient ballistics, of which prodigies are told  ; hence you think it better to succeed by giving you enormous thickness; and even eliminating the vague assertions, we find precise mention of enormous projects of stones, or even of iron and bronze  .
Sometimes, besides the terrible name of Vipera, Lionfante, Deluvio, Ruina, Terremoto, Grandiavolo, No-more-words, extravagant figures were given to them; one in the castle of Milan was cast of iron “in the form of a lion, just to see it seems to be lying down” ( Filarete ); and they wrote either their name or some motto  . Even on the balls making words or figures, which made the shots less and less exact. They also varied in construction, and the serpentine, the colubrina, the falconetto, the basilisk, the eagle, the gyrfalcon, the asp, the saltamartino, the hunter … indicated different shapes of pieces that had not been produced before the last century. the trick of all to reduce to a single caliber or two.
To load them the tail was unscrewed from the trumpet, the powder was poured into it, closing it with a bunghole, then screwed again, and the ball was superimposed; all this after refreshing the barrel with water or wet coulters. How much effort and time wasters! Then planted in a place, it was not known how to change them just as needed; and it was noted as a great accident that Francesco Sforza, besieging Piacenza, drew sixty bomb shots in one night. They therefore only applied against the walls, built to resist catapults, and which then had to be enlarged; but throughout the fifteenth centurythere was no need to change the fortifications from simple ditches and round towers to corner bastions and advanced works. They would have been rather a hindrance to the armies when as many as twenty pairs of oxen flew to throw a 60-sized culver, which then did no better than forty shots a day. Finally, the flying artillery was found, and Davila credits Carlo Brisa as a Norman bomber; but among us we already see it at the battle of Molinella in 1468. The French, in addition to those mounted on carts, made cannons even to be carried by a single soldier, and in the Italian war they used very easy ones, made of a barrel of copper as thick as a shield, and closed in a wooden case dressed in leather. A pair of cattle drew them, another pair led the cart with ammunition and stone balls,
Sigismondo Malatesta in 1460 formed the bombs of bronze, in two hemispheres connected with iron zones, and with the bait at the mouthpiece, throwing them from the mortar with the belled soul. In 1524 Giambattista Dellavalle di Venafro taught how to melt these grenades  . It was not long in placing bombards on ships.
Underground roads through which to drill holes in the squares, tunnels with which to undermine the walls and towers so that they would collapse, were in use among the ancients and in the Middle Ages, and soon it was thought to apply the powder. The first concept was born in 1405 during the siege of Pisa, but without effect or continuation; and only the Genoese benefited from it at the siege of Sarzanello in 1487, then the Spaniards to fly Castel dell’Ovo in 1502. The illustrious and unfortunate Pier Navarro perfected this art of mines.
According to the chronicle of the canon Giuliano, the exiles of Forlì in 1331 balistabant cum sclopo versus terram : the estense at 34 tells that the Marquis Rinaldo d’Este v Bologna præparare fecit maximam quantitatem sclopetorum, spongardarum, etc. ; in 46 the tower at the Po bridge in Turin was equipped with a gun. And they were bronze rods, then iron rods, with a small hole, to which a fuse was applied. The rebound was avoided by means of a projection that rested against the iron hairpin, within which the archibuse was fixed to unload it.
Having the foot soldier occupied one hand with the weapon, the other with the hairpin, it was necessary to provide the fuse by placing it in the mouth of a little dragon, which, at the click of a spring, shot over the dust of the cup. The machine weighed fifty pounds, waves very difficult to play. It should be added that the powder was roughly made, the reeds roughly; he did not know how to keep the fire or use the rifle as a defensive weapon; and the greatest advantage came from frightening the horses. Therefore ancient weapons were not discarded, nor would the Swiss put down his pike, or the Genoese his bow. The Milanese Lampo Birago, in a manuscript treatise on making war against the Turks, puts the crossbow before the gun, since this does not consider if not used closely and with comfort; in battle it is difficult to load it, and worse to take off the aim;
Such obscenities were repaired gradually, so that the crossbowmen were diminishing and growing the guns: in 1422 Sigismondo emperor brought five hundred musketeers to Italy, in 49 the militia of the Milanese had twenty thousand, but only in 1680 did the arquebuses generalize with flint. The rifle seems to be due to the Arabs, and others want to the Calabrians, who armed the boats called carabe. Since 1550 pistols are found, perhaps named after Pistoja where they invented themselves.
Italy did not ignore the cartridges, and Gianfrancesco Morosini ambassador of the Veneto in Savoy, in 1570 referred to the Signoria: he has two harquebuses brought for one, with the preparation of fifty charges, arranged in such a way with the powder and the ball well tied together in a paper, which, immediately unloaded the harquebus, there is nothing else to do, to load it again, which to put that paper into the barrel at once with incredible speed; and this, in time of need, has one of the convicts do it, accustomed to this for every bench; wherefore, while the soldier is waiting to unload the one arquebus, the convict has already loaded and prepared the other, .
But the firearm seemed and inhuman for the deadly wounds, and cowardice because the last foot soldier could kill the best brave and practiced champion. In fact, it placed the villain in formidable equality with the baron, who until then had trampled him with impunity by the cataphract steed. For these reasons, firearms were slowly perfected, and they were slow to bring about a radical change in the art of warfare. As to protect the walls from the cannon, the walls were enormously enlarged, so the knights reinforced the armadures to look like anvils: but soon they saw their ugliness, and mainly due to the insinuation of Captain Giorgio Basta, the armor plates were abandoned. to the supreme commanders and to a distinct body  ; so that the difficulty of holding a post increased, and the battles became more expeditious.