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  • Agincourt
    narrow frontage of only about 1 000 yards of open ground between two woods In this cramped space which made large scale maneuvers almost impossible the French virtually forfeited the advantage of their overwhelming numbers At dawn on October 25 the two armies prepared for battle Three French divisions the first two dismounted were drawn up one behind another Henry had only about 5 000 archers and 900 men at arms whom he arrayed in a dismounted line The dismounted men at arms were arrayed in three central blocks linked by projecting wedges of archers and additional masses of archers formed forward wings at the left and right ends of the English line Henry led his troops forward into bowshot range where their long range archery provoked the French into an assault Several small French cavalry charges broke upon a line of pointed stakes in front of the English archers Then the main French assault consisting of heavily armored dismounted knights advanced over the sodden ground At the first clash the English line yielded only to recover quickly As more French knights entered the battle they became so tightly bunched that some of them could barely raise their arms to

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  • Europe Transformed
    pursued their wealth in the new industrial framework with great energy They worked closely with the middle classes and workers even to the point during the nineteenth century of sponsoring gradual reform efforts to stifle any chance of revolution from below The combination of inventiveness growing markets governmental support and social flexibility made Britain the world s dominant economic power until the end of the nineteenth century Napoleon s interference had hurt economic growth but had also spurred the British to look for new manufacturing methods and markets Once the wars were over Britain flooded the continent and the Americas with high quality inexpensive goods No nation could compete against British efficiency When Britain began industrializing before 1789 there were isolated areas on the continent such as the French Le Creusot works that could have served as the base for a similar growth Twenty six years of revolution and mercantile policies made that competition impossible 15 Footnote 15 E J Hobsbawm The Age of Revolution 1789 1848 New York New American Library 1964 pp 44 73 Cotton production continued to increase and was supplemented by the arrival of the modern Iron Age In 1800 Russia and Sweden had exported iron to Britain By 1815 Britain exported more than five times as much iron as it imported By 1848 the British produced more iron than the rest of the world combined As in textile production in ironmaking a number of inventions appeared to respond to problems Refining of the brittle cast iron was improved to make it more malleable and tougher At the same time more efficient mining processes for both coal and iron ore were used to ensure a constant supply of raw materials To further dominate the metals market in the 1850s Henry Bessemer 1813 1898 developed a process to make steel a harder and more malleable metal quickly and cheaply So effective was the process that between 1856 and 1870 the price of British steel fell to one half the amount formerly charged for the best grade of iron The drastic reduction in price a mark of industrialization had a positive impact on all areas of the economy In the period after midcentury Britain produced more than two thirds of the world s coal and more than half of the world s iron and cloth Industrial development encouraged urbanization and by 1850 more than half of the population lived in cities and worked in industries The British continued to enjoy the highest per capita income in the world and the island nation stood head and shoulders above the world in terms of economic and material strength Industrialization The Second Phase The second phase of industrialization brought new products and power sources to the continent Increased food production and improved health standards and diet led to a population explosion that promised both economic gains and bureaucratic burdens The rapid and massive growth of cities brought with it the social problems of urbanization Workers united to fight for their interests while the middle classes extended their wealth and influence Both groups changed the nature of social and political life Food And Population Increases Liberated from many of the restraints of the past by the French Napoleonic and Industrial revolutions most Europeans made the transition from a society based on agriculture to a modern urban society The spectacular growth of the industrial sector makes it easy to overlook the great strides in food production during the nineteenth century Because of the improved global transportation network and better farming methods the expanding number of city dwellers had more and better food to eat in 1914 than they had had in 1815 It is estimated that in 1815 around 60 percent of the money and 85 percent of the Europeans were tied to farming These large quantities of capital and labor were not effectively used because the advances made in Holland and Britain in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries had not spread to the continent However progressive landowners gradually introduced these improved methods when they saw the money to be made feeding the growing population of the cities By the end of the nineteenth century farmers on the continent were plowing new lands and using higher yielding crop varieties to survive in the worldwide agricultural competition Industrial nations such as Britain in which only 10 percent of the population was engaged in farming imported more than a fourth of their food Farmers in the Americas Australia and New Zealand competed with each other in the cutthroat export market The peasants of Ireland and southern and eastern Europe were unable to produce efficiently enough to prosper in this new setting Russia where the peasantry comprised 70 percent of the population had to export to bring in foreign capital to finance industrialization When the country had to compete with efficient foreign farmers the tsarist minister of finance stated we may go hungry but we will export 16 Footnote 16 I Vyshnegradsky quoted in William L Blackwell The Industrialization of Russia An Historical Perspective New York Thomas Y Crowell 1970 p 24 The expanded food supply supported the growth in European population from 175 million to 435 million 17 This 130 percent increase between 1800 and 1910 partially disproved the views the British clergyman Thomas Robert Malthus 1766 1834 set forth in his Essay on Population Malthus asserted that human reproduction could easily outrun the earth s ability to produce food 18 In his own day he could point to the limited food supply and rapidly increasing population From this evidence he concluded that the inevitable fate of humanity was misery and ruin since the number of people would rise geometrically while food supply would grow only arithmetically The experience of the next two centuries has at least temporarily disproved Malthus thesis Footnote 17 Fernand Braudel Capitalism and Material Life 1400 1800 New York Harper Row 1975 p 11 William Langer Checks on Population Growth 1750 1850 Scientific American 226 1972 pp 92 99 Footnote 18 Thomas Malthus An Essay on Population in Introduction to Contemporary Civilization in the West vol II New York Columbia University Press 1955 p 196 A gradual decline in mortality rates slightly better medical care more food earlier marriages and better sanitary conditions contributed to the population increase The number of people grew so rapidly in Europe that although 40 million Europeans emigrated throughout the world the continent still showed a population increase in one century that was greater than that of the previous two thousand years Where the economies were advanced such as in northern and western Europe the population growth could be absorbed But in the poorer countries of southern and eastern Europe the masses faced the choices of overcrowding and starvation or emigration The Ties That Bind New Networks To bring the increased food supply to the growing population to distribute new resources to larger markets and to connect augmented capital with essential information Europeans built the most complete and far reaching transportation and communication networks ever known Without rapid and dependable transport and contact the Industrial Revolution could not have occurred cities would not have grown factories could not have functioned and the new millions of Europeans would not have been fed The new networks became the arteries and nervous system of Europe The Duke of Bridgewater made a major step forward in water transportation in 1759 when he built a seven and one half mile long canal from his mines to Manchester Water transport cut the price of his coal in half and gave Britain a vivid lesson in the benefits of canals Nearly four thousand miles of improved rivers and canals were built with strong governmental support by the 1830s making it possible to ship most of the country s products by water Following the British example canal building spread through Europe and North America and then to Egypt with the Suez Canal in 1869 and Latin America with the Panama Canal in 1914 The first project cut the sailing time between London and Bombay India by nearly half while the second did away with the need to sail around South America to reach the Pacific Ocean Until 1815 most roads were muddy rutted paths that were impassable during spring thaws and autumn rains In that year a Scotsman John McAdam created the all weather road by placing small stones in compact layers directly on the road bed The pressure of the traffic moving over the highway packed the stones together to give a fairly smooth surface This practical solution cut the stagecoach time for the 160 miles from London to Sheffield from four days in the 1750s to 28 hours Steam powered vessels replaced the graceful though less dependable sailing ships in ocean commerce Clipper ships are among the most beautiful objects ever built but they could not move without wind Sturdy awkward looking steamships carried larger cargo with greater regularity and revolutionized world trade The price of American wheat on the European market dropped by three fourths in the last part of the century thanks to a considerable degree to the savings made possible by the large reliable steam ships Transatlantic passenger and mail services were also improved by the use of steam to power seagoing vessels The most important element in the European arterial network was the railroad Between 1830 and 1860 rails linked every major market in Europe and the United States By 1903 the Russians had pushed the Trans Siberian railroad to the Pacific Ocean Railroads cheaply and efficiently carried large amounts of material and people long distances and knit countries and continents closer together Within cities urban rail lines and trolleys were widespread by the end of the century these had an impressive effect on housing and business patterns by permitting a wider diffusion of workers London established subways first in the 1860s followed by Budapest in 1896 and Paris in 1900 See English Royal Train This English Royal train was built in the early 1840s for the special use of Queen Victoria in her travels over the nation s rapidly expanding railway system courtesy L Illustration December 9 1843 Connected with the growth of the transportation networks and technological innovation major improvements came in the area of communications Postal agreements among the various countries made cheap and dependable mail service possible The modern postage stamp and improved transportation brought astronomical increases in the amount of letters and packages mailed after 1850 19 Starting in the 1840s the electric telegraph undersea cable telephone wireless telegraph and typewriter expanded humanity s ability to exchange ideas and information No longer would distance be a critical obstacle after the transportation and communications revolutions The world became a smaller if not more unified place Footnote 19 Eugen Weber A Modern History of Europe New York W W Norton 1971 p 988 The Continent Industrializes The continent faced many hurdles to economic growth after 1815 Obstacles to mobility communication and cooperation among the classes prevented the social structures there from adapting as easily to change as had the British The farther south and east the social system the more repressive was the structure In many parts of the continent the restored nobilities reclaimed their power and they were neither intellectually nor financially prepared to support industrial development Fragmented political boundaries geographical obstacles and toll takers along primary river and road systems hampered growth especially in central Europe In eastern Europe the middle classes were weaker and more isolated than in the west At the end of the Napoleonic wars the initial stages of industrialization could be found in Belgium France and Germany In Sweden Russia and Switzerland there were pockets of potential mechanized production but the total of all of these activities was tiny compared to Britain s economy In 1850 only Belgium could compete with British products in its own markets There a combination of favorable governmental policies good transportation and stability brought some success Governments and businesses sent officials and representatives to Britain to try to discover the secrets of industrialization The British tried to protect their advantage by banning the export of machines and processes and limiting foreign access to their factories Industrial espionage existed then as now and continental competitors did uncover some secrets Britain s success could be studied components of it stolen and its experts hired but no country on the continent could combine all the factors that permitted Britain to dominate After midcentury a long period of peace improved transportation and strategic government assistance encouraged rapid economic growth in France and the German states Population increased 25 percent in France and nearly 40 percent in the Germanies providing a larger market and labor supply Two generations of borrowed British technology began to be applied and improved upon but the two most important developments came in banking and customs and toll reforms After 1815 aggressive new banking houses appeared across Europe strengthened by the profits they had made extending loans to governments during the Napoleonic wars They saw the money to be made investing in new industries such as railroads and worked with both governments and major capitalists Firms such as Hope and Baring in London the Rothschilds in Frankfurt Paris Vienna and London and numerous Swiss bankers were representative of the private financiers who had well placed sources and contacts throughout the state and business communities 20 Footnote 20 Sidney Pollard European Economic Integration 1815 1970 New York Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1974 pp 56 62 Banking changed radically during this period to satisfy the growing demands for money Long range capital needs were met by the formation of investment banks while new institutions were created to fill the need for short term credit The ultimate source of financial liquidity was the middle classes the thousand of little people who put their money in banks to make their own profits on interest earned More money could be gained from the many small investors than from the few rich families who used to dominate banking The Germans led the way in the other major development the Zollverein customs union that began under Prussian leadership in 1819 This arrangement helped break down the trade barriers erected by state boundaries and in the next twenty three years came to include most of central and northern Germany Instead of the more than 300 divisions fragmenting the Germans in 1800 there was a virtual free trade market something Britain had enjoyed since the union of Scotland and England in 1707 and which the European Economic Community will create after 1992 The significance of the Zollverein was that it allowed goods to circulate free of tolls and tariffs thus reducing prices and stimulating trade In the second half of the century industrialization grew rapidly aided by the increased flow of credit and elimination of many internal barriers Tariff walls throughout the area fell to a degree not matched until after World War II Major firms such as the German Krupp works and the French silk industries controlled portions of the European market and competed effectively with Britain throughout the world Technological Growth And Advances Another reason for the continent s economic emergence was a wide range of new technologies using new materials processes and transportation New competitors began with state of the art factories that allowed them to outproduce Britain whose older factories were less productive The basic change in the second phase of industrialization was the use of electricity in all aspects of life Scientists had discovered electricity s basic principles a century earlier but it was difficult to generate and transmit power across long distances When the first dependable dynamo a device that changed energy from mechanical into electrical form was perfected in 1876 it became possible to generate electricity almost anywhere Inventors such as the American Thomas A Edison began to use the new resource in industry transportation entertainment and the home Humanity had finally found a source of power that could be easily transported and used The British took the lead in bringing electricity to home use The Germans made the most advanced application of electric technology to industry Hear P T Barnum Edison s early recording of PT Barnum Another fundamental change came in the use of gas and oil in the newly devised internal combustion engine Steam power s use was limited by its appetite for huge amounts of fuel and its sheer bulk Gottleib Daimler perfected the internal combustion engine used in most automobiles today In 1892 Rudolf Diesel invented the engine that bears his name It burned fuel instead of harnessing the explosions that drove the Daimler engine These new developments led directly to the search for and use of petroleum and the beginning of the passenger car industry By 1914 the making of cars was a key part of the Italian Russian German French and American economies Automobile manufacturing called for a number of spinoff industries such as tires ball bearings windshields the list extends to hundreds of items Leaving aside the passenger car s economic contribution the world s cities and people felt the complex impact of this new form of transportation with consequences extending from the range of an individual s world to the increased noise level and pollution that changed the character of urban areas Other new machines changed life Bicycles became commonplace in the 1890s as did sewing machines cameras and typewriters to name a few Never had people had the ability to transform ideas almost instantly into products accessible to the average person This was another dividend of industrialization and a symbol of a rapidly changing Europe The Human Costs Of Industrialization Industrialization drove society from an agricultural to an urban way of life The old system in which peasants worked the fields during the summer and did their cottage industry work in the winter to their own standards and at their own pace slowly disappeared In its place came urban life tied to the factory system The factory was

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  • Italy, A History, Part Three
    and Como were commissioned to revenge themselves on the respective quarters of the city assigned to them and in a few days the pillaged churches stood alone amidst the ruins of what had been Milan Footnote h The siege of Crema is told at great length by Otto Morena it is interesting not only as a display of extraordinary though unsuccessful perseverance and intrepidity but as the most detailed account of the methods used in the attack and defence of fortified places before the introduction of artillery Scrip Rer Ital t vi pp 1032 1052 There was now little left of that freedom to which Lombardy had aspired it was gone like a pleasant dream and she awoke to the fears and miseries of servitude A D 1162 Frederic obeyed the dictates of his vindictive temper and of the policy usual among statesmen He abrogated the consular regimen in some even of the cities which had supported him and established his podesta in their place This magistrate was always a stranger frequently not even an Italian and he came to his office with all those prejudices against the people he was to govern which cut off every hope of justice and humanity The citizens of Lombardy especially the Milanese who had been dispersed in the villages adjoining their ruined capital were unable to meet the perpetual demands of tribute In some parts it is said two thirds of the produce of their lands the only wealth that remained were extorted from them by the imperial officers It was in vain that they prostrated themselves at the feet of Frederic He gave at the best only vague promises of redress they were in his eyes rebels his delegates had acted as faithful officers whom even if they had gone a little beyond his intentions he could not be expected to punish But there still remained at the heart of Lombardy the strong principle of national liberty imperishable among the perishing armies of her patriots inconsumable in the conflagration of her cities Those whom private animosities had led to assist the German conqueror blushed at the degradation of their country and at the share they had taken in it A league was secretly formed in which Cremona one of the chief cities on the imperial side took a prominent part A D 1167 Those beyond the Adige hitherto not much engaged in the disputes of central Lombardy had already formed a separate confederacy to secure themselves from encroachments which appeared the more unjust as they had never borne arms against the emperor Their first successes corresponded to the justice of their cause Frederic was repulsed from the territory of Verona a fortunate augury for the rest of Lombardy A D 1164 These two clusters of cities on the east and west of the Adige now united themselves into the famous Lombard league the terms of which were settled in a general diet Their alliance was to last twenty years during which they

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  • Italy, A History, Part Four
    was not strong enough to keep constant possession of such extensive territories and some years afterwards adopted the prudent course of granting Ancona in fief to the Marquis of Este He did not as may be supposed neglect his authority at home the prefect of Rome was now compelled to swear allegiance to the pope which put an end to the regular imperial supremacy over that city and the privileges of the citizens were abridged This is the proper era of that temporal sovereignty which the bishops of Rome possess over their own city though still prevented by various causes for nearly three centuries from becoming unquestioned and unlimited Footnote o It is almost hopeless to look for explicit information upon the rights and pretensions of the Roman see in Italian writers even of the eighteenth century Muratori the most learned and upon the whole the fairest of them all moves cautiously over this ground except when the claims of Rome happen to clash with those of the house of Este But I have not been able to satisfy myself by the perusal of some dry and tedious dissertations in St Marc Abrege Chronologique de l Hist de l Italie t iv who with learning scarcely inferior to that of Muratori possessed more opportunity and inclination to speak out The policy of Rome was now more clearly defined than ever In order to preserve what she had thus suddenly gained rather by opportunity than strength it was her interest to enfeeble the imperial power and consequently to maintain the freedom of the Italian republics Tuscany had hitherto been ruled by a marquis of the emperor s appointment though her cities were flourishing and within themselves independent In imitation of the Lombard confederacy and impelled by Innocent III they now with the exception of Pisa which was always strongly attached to the empire formed a similar league for the preservation of their rights In this league the influence of the pope was far more strongly manifested than in that of Lombardy Although the latter had been in alliance with Alexander III and was formed during the height of his dispute with Frederic this ecclesiastical quarrel mingled so little in their struggle for liberty that no allusion to it is found in the act of their confederacy But the Tuscan union was expressly established for the honor and aggrandizement of the apostolic see The members bound themselves to defend the possessions and rights of the church and not to acknowledge any king or emperor without the approbation of the supreme pontiff p The Tuscans accordingly were more thoroughly attached to the church party than the Lombards whose principle was animosity towards the house of Suabia Hence when Innocent III some time after supported Frederic II against the Emperor Otho IV the Milanese and their allies were arranged on the imperial side but the Tuscans continued to adhere to the pope Footnote p Quod possessiones et jura sacrosanctae ecclesiae bona fide defenderent et quod nullum in regem aut imperatorem reciperent nisi quem Romanus pontifex approbaret Muratori Dissert 48 Latin t iv p 320 Italian t iii p 112 In the wars of Frederic Barbarossa against Milan and its allies we have seen the cities of Lombardy divided and a considerable number of them firmly attached to the imperial interest It does not appear I believe from history though it is by no means improbable that the citizens were at so early a time divided among themselves as to their line of public policy or to the Lombard league was only as proved afterwards the case that one faction or another acquired an ascendency in its councils But jealousies long existing between the different classes and only suspended by the national struggle which terminated at Constance gave rise to new modifications of interests and new relations towards the empire About the year 1200 or perhaps a little later the two leading parties which divided the cities of Lombardy and whose mutual animosity having no general subject of contention required the association of a name to direct as well as invigorate its prejudices became distinguished by the celebrated appellations of Guelfs and Ghibelins the former adhering to the papal side the latter to that of the emperor These names were derived from Germany and had been the rallying word of faction for more than half a century in that country before they were transported to a still more favorable soil The Guelfs took their name from a very illustrious family several of whom had successively been dukes of Bavaria in the tenth and eleventh centuries The heiress of the last of these intermarried with a younger son of the house of Este a noble family settled near Padua and possessed of great estates on each bank of the lower Po They gave birth to a second line of Guelfs from whom the royal house of Brunswick is descended The name of Ghibelin is derived from a village in Franconia whence Conrad the Salic came the progenitor through females of the Suabian emperors At the election of Lothaire in 1125 the Suabian family were disappointed of what they considered almost an hereditary possession and at this time an hostility appears to have commenced between them and the house of Guelf who were nearly related to Lothaire Henry the Proud and his son Henry the Lion representatives of the latter family were frequently persecuted by the Suabian emperors but their fortunes belong to the history of Germany q Meanwhile the elder branch though not reserved for such glorious destinies as the Guelfs continued to flourish in Italy the marquises of Este were by far the most powerful nobles in eastern Lombardy and about the end of the twelfth century began to be considered as the heads of the church party in their neighborhood They were frequently chosen to the office of podesta or chief magistrate by the cities of Romagna and in 1208 the people of Ferrara

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  • Italy, A History, Part Five
    These pontiffs bore an unquenchable hatred to the house of Suabia No concessions mitigated their animosity no reconciliation was sincere Whatever faults may be imputed to Frederic it is impossible for anyone not blindly devoted to the court of Rome to deny that he was iniquitously proscribed by her unprincipled ambition His real crime was the inheritance of his ancestors and the name of the house of Suabia In 1239 he was excommunicated by Gregory IX To this he was tolerably accustomed by former experience but the sentence was attended by an absolution of his subjects from their allegiance and a formal deposition These sentences were not very effective upon men of vigorous minds or upon those whose passions were engaged in their cause but they influenced both those who feared the threatenings of the clergy and those who wavered already as to their line of political conduct In the fluctuating state of Lombardy the excommunication of Frederic undermined his interests even in cities like Parma that had been friendly and seemed to identify the cause of his enemies with that of religion a prejudice artfully fomented by means of calumnies propagated against himself and which the conduct of such leading Ghibelins as Eccelin who lived in an open defiance of God and man did not contribute to lessen In 1240 Gregory proceeded to publish a crusade against Frederic as if he had been an open enemy to religion which he revenged by putting to death all the prisoners he made who wore the cross There was one thing wanting to make the expulsion of the emperor from the Christian commonwealth more complete Gregory IX accordingly projected and Innocent IV carried into effect the convocation of a general council This was held at Lyons an imperial city but over which Frederic could no longer retain his supremacy A D 1245 In this assembly where one hundred and forty prelates appeared the question whether Frederic ought to be deposed was solemnly discussed he submitted to defend himself by his advocates and the pope in the presence though without formally collecting the suffrages of the council pronounced a sentence by which Frederic s excommunication was renewed the empire and all his kingdoms taken away and his subjects absolved from their fidelity This is the most pompous act of usurpation in all the records of the church of Rome and the tacit approbation of a general council seemed to incorporate the pretended right of deposing kings which might have passed as a mad vaunt of Gregory VII and his successors with the established faith of Christendom Upon the death of Frederic II in 1250 he left to his son Conrad a contest to maintain for every part of his inheritance as well as for the imperial crown But the vigor of the house of Suabia was gone Conrad was reduced to fight for the kingdom of Naples the only succession which he could hope to secure against the troops of Innocent IV who still pursued his family with implacable hatred and claimed that kingdom as forfeited to its feudal superior the Holy See After Conrad s premature death which happened in 1254 the throne was filled by his illegitimate brother Manfred who retained it by his bravery and address in despite of the popes till they were compelled to call in the assistance of a more powerful arm The death of Conrad brings to a termination that period in Italian history which we have described as nearly coextensive with the greatness of the house of Suabia It is perhaps upon the whole the most honorable to Italy that in which she displayed the most of national energy and patriotism A Florentine or Venetian may dwell with pleasure upon later times but a Lombard will cast back his eye across the desert of centuries till it reposes on the field of Legnano Great changes followed in the foreign and internal policy in the moral and military character of Italy But before we descend to the next period it will be necessary to remark some material circumstances in that which has just passed under our review The successful resistance of the Lombard cities to such princes as both the Frederics must astonish a reader who brings to the story of these middle ages notions derived from modern times But when we consider not only the ineffectual control which could be exerted over a feudal army bound only to a short term of service and reluctantly kept in the field at its own cost but the peculiar distrust and disaffection with which many German princes regarded the house of Suabia less reason will appear for surprise Nor did the kingdom of Naples almost always in agitation yield any material aid to the second Frederic The main cause however of that triumph which attended Lombardy was the intrinsic energy of a free government From the eleventh century when the cities became virtually republican they put out those vigorous shoots which are the growth of freedom alone Their domestic feuds their mutual wars the fierce assaults of their national enemies checked not their strength their wealth or their population but rather as the limbs are nerved by labor and hardship the republics of Italy grew in vigor and courage through the conflicts they sustained If we but remember what savage license prevailed during the ages that preceded their rise the rapine of public robbers or of feudal nobles little differing from robbers the contempt of industrious arts the inadequacy of penal laws and the impossibility of carrying them into effect we shall form some notion of the change which was wrought in the condition of Italy by the growth of its cities In comparison with the blessings of industry protected injustice controlled emulation awakened the disorders which ruffled their surface appear slight and momentary I speak only of this first stage of their independence and chiefly of the twelfth century before those civil dissensions had reached their height

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  • Italy, A History, Part Six
    balanced and their success was consequently alternate Each had its own podesta as a party leader distinct from the legitimate magistrate of the city At the head of the nobility was their archbishop Fra Leon Perego the people chose Martin della Torre one of a noble family which had ambitiously sided with the democratic faction In consequence of the crime of a nobleman who had murdered one of his creditors the two parties took up arms in 1257 A civil war of various success and interrupted by several pacifications which in that unhappy temper could not be durable was terminated in about two years by the entire discomfiture of the aristocracy and by the election of Martin della Torre as chief and lord capitano e signore of the people Though the Milanese did not probably intend to renounce the sovereignty resident in their general assemblies yet they soon lost the republican spirit five in succession of the family della Torre might be said to reign in Milan each indeed by a formal election but with an implied recognition of a sort of hereditary title Twenty years afterwards the Visconti a family of opposite interests supplanted the Torriani at Milan and the rivalry between these great houses was not at an end till the final establishment of Matteo Visconti in 1313 but the people were not otherwise considered than as aiding by force the one or other party and at most deciding between the pretensions of their masters The vigor and concert infused into the Guelf party by the successes of Charles of Anjou were not very durable That prince was soon involved in a protracted and unfortunate quarrel with the kings of Aragon to whose protection his revolted subjects in Italy had recurred On the other hand several men of energetic character retrieved the Ghibelin interests in Lombardy and even in the Tuscan cities The Visconti were acknowledged heads of that faction A family early established as lords of Verona the della Scala maintained the credit of the same denomination between the Adige and the Adriatic Castruccio Castrucani an adventurer of remarkable ability rendered himself prince of Lucca and drew over a formidable accession to the imperial side from the heart of the church party in Tuscany though his death restored the ancient order of things The inferior tyrants were partly Guelf partly Ghibelin according to local revolutions but upon the whole the latter acquired a gradual ascendency Those indeed who cared for the independence of Italy or for their own power had far less to fear from the phantom of imperial prerogatives long intermitted and incapable of being enforced than from the new race of foreign princes whom the church had substituted for the house of Suabia The Angevin kings of Naples were sovereigns of Provence and from thence easily encroached upon Piedmont and threatened the Milanese Robert the third of this line almost openly aspired like his grandfather Charles I to a real sovereignty over Italy His offers of assistance to Guelf cities in war were always coupled with a demand of the sovereignty Many yielded to his ambition and even Florence twice bestowed upon him a temporary dictatorship In 1314 he was acknowledged lord of Lucca Florence Pavia Alessandria Bergamo and the cities of Romagna In 1318 the Guelfs of Genoa found no other resource against the Ghibelin emigrants who were under their walls than to resign their liberties to the King of Naples for the term of ten years which he procured to be renewed for six more The Avignon popes especially John XXII out of blind hatred to Emperor Louis of Bavaria and the Visconti family abetted all these measures of ambition But they were rendered abortive by Robert s death and the subsequent disturbances of his kingdom At the latter end of the thirteenth century there were almost as many princes in the north of Italy as there had been free cities in the preceding age Their equality and the frequent domestic revolutions which made their seat unsteady kept them for a while from encroaching on each other Gradually however they became less numerous a quantity of obscure tyrants were swept away from the smaller cities and the people careless or hopeless of liberty were glad to exchange the rule of despicable petty usurpers for that of more distinguished and powerful families About the year 1350 the central parts of Lombardy had fallen under the dominion of the Visconti Four other houses occupied the second rank that of Este at Ferrara and Modena of Scala at Verona which under Cane and Mastino della Scala had seemed likely to contest with the lords of Milan the supremacy over Lombardy of Carrara at Padua which later than any Lombard city had resigned her liberty and of Gonzaga at Mantua which without ever obtaining any material extension of territory continued probably for that reason to reign undisturbed till the eighteenth century But these united were hardly a match as they sometimes experienced for the Visconti That family the object of every league formed in Italy for more than fifty years in constant hostility to the church and well inured to interdicts and excommunications producing no one man of military talents but fertile of tyrants detested for their perfidiousness and cruelty was nevertheless enabled with almost uninterrupted success to add city after city to the dominion of Milan till it absorbed all the north of Italy Under Gian Galeazzo whose reign began in 1385 the viper their armorial bearing assumed indeed a menacing attitude d he overturned the great family of Scala and annexed their extensive possessions to his own no power intervened from Vercelli in Piedmont to Feltre and Belluno while the free cities of Tuscany Pisa Siena Perugia and even Bologna as if by a kind of witchcraft voluntarily called in a dissembling tyrant as their master Footnote d Allusions to heraldry are very common in the Italian writers All the historians of the fourteenth century

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  • Italy, A History, Part Seven
    each other and exchanged them some years afterwards with great exultation In the fourteenth century this custom had gone into disuse Id ibid Denina l xii c 4 Footnote o Villani l vi c 79 Footnote p Sismondi t iii p 263 c has some judicious observations on this subject As the comparative inefficiency of foot soldiers became evident a greater proportion of cavalry was employed and armies though better equipped and disciplined were less numerous This we find in the early part of the fourteenth century The main point for a state at war was to obtain a sufficient force of men at arms As few Italian cities could muster a large body of cavalry from their own population the obvious resource was to hire mercenary troops This had been practised in some instances much earlier The city of Genoa took the Count of Savoy into pay with two hundred horse in 1225 q Florence retained five hundred French lances in 1282 r But it became much more general in the fourteenth century chiefly after the expedition of the Emperor Henry VII in 1310 Many German soldiers of fortune remaining in Italy on this occasion engaged in the service of Milan Florence or some other state The subsequent expeditions of Louis of Bavaria in 1326 and of John King of Bohemia in 1331 brought a fresh accession of adventurers from the same country Others again came from France and some from Hungary All preferred to continue in the richest country and finest climate of Europe where their services were anxiously solicited and abundantly repaid An unfortunate prejudice in favor of strangers prevailed among the Italians of that age They ceded to them one knows not why certainly without having been vanquished the palm of military skill and valor The word Transalpine Oltramontani is frequently applied to hired cavalry by the two Villani as an epithet of excellence Footnote q Muratori Dissert 26 Footnote r Ammirato Ist Fiorent p 159 The same was done in 1297 p 200 A lance in the technical language of those ages included the lighter cavalry attached to the man at arms as well as himself In France the full complement of a lance lance fournie was five or six horses thus the 1 500 lances who composed the original companies of ordonnance raised by Charles VI amounted to nine thousand cavalry But in Italy the number was smaller We read frequently of barbuti which are defined lanze de dine cavalli Corio p 437 Lances of three horses were introduced about the middle of the fourteenth century Id p 466 The experience of every fresh campaign now told more and more against the ordinary militia It has been usual for modern writers to lament the degeneracy of martial spirit among the Italians of that age But the contest was too unequal between an absolutely invulnerable body of cuirassiers and an infantry of peasants or citizens The bravest men have little appetite for receiving wounds and death without the hope of inflicting any in return The parochial militia of France had proved equally unserviceable though as the life of a French peasant was of much less account in the eyes of his government than that of an Italian citizen they were still led forward like sheep to the slaughter against the disciplined forces of Edward III The cavalry had about this time laid aside the hauberk or coat of mail their ancient distinction from the unprotected populace which though incapable of being cut through by the sabre afforded no defence against the pointed sword introduced in the thirteenth century s nor repelled the impulse of a lance or the crushing blow of a battle axe Plate armor was substituted in its place and the man at arms cased in entire steel the several pieces firmly riveted and proof against every stroke his charger protected on the face chest and shoulders or as it was called barded with plates of steel fought with a security of success against enemies inferior perhaps only in these adventitious sources of courage to himself t Footnote s Muratori ad ann 1226 Footnote t The earliest plate armor engraved in Montfaucon s Monumens de la Monarchie Francaise t ii is of the reign of Philip the Long about 1315 but it does not appear generally till that of Philip of Valois or even later Before the complete harness of steel was adopted plated caps were sometimes worn on the knees and elbows and even greaves on the legs This is represented in a statue of Charles I King of Naples who died in 1285 Possibly the statue may not be quite so ancient Montfaucon passim Daniel Hist de la Milice Francaise p 395 Nor was the new system of conducting hostilities less inconvenient to the citizens than the tactics of a battle Instead of rapid and predatory invasions terminated instantly by a single action and not extending more than a few days march from the soldier s home the more skilful combinations usual in the fourteenth century frequently protracted an indecisive contest for a whole summer u As wealth and civilization made evident the advantages of agriculture and mercantile industry this loss of productive labor could no longer be endured Azzo Visconti who died in 1339 dispensed with the personal service of his Milanese subjects Another of his laws says Galvaneo Fiamma was that the people should not go to war but remain at home for their own business For they had hitherto been kept with much danger and expense every year and especially in time of harvest and vintage when princes are wont to go to war in besieging cities and incurred numberless losses and chiefly on account of the long time that they were so detained v This law of Azzo Visconti taken separately might be ascribed to the usual policy of an absolute government But we find a similar innovation not long afterwards at Florence In the war carried on by that republic against Giovanni Visconti in 1351 the younger Villani informs us that the useless and mischievous personal service of the inhabitants of the district was commuted into a money payment w This change indeed was necessarily accompanied by a vast increase of taxation The Italian states republics as well as principalities levied very heavy contributions Mastino della Scala had a revenue of 700 000 florins more says John Villani than the king of any European country except France possesses x Yet this arose from only nine cities of Lombardy Considered with reference to economy almost any taxes must be a cheap commutation for personal service But economy may be regarded too exclusively and can never counterbalance that degradation of a national character which proceeds from intrusting the public defence to foreigners Footnote u This tedious warfare a la Fablus is called by Villani guerra guereggiata l viii c 49 at least I can annex no other meaning to the expression Footnote v Muratori Antiquit Ital Dissert 26 Footnote w Matt Villani p 135 Footnote x L xi c 45 I cannot imagine why Sismondi aserts t iv p 432 that the lords of cities in Lombardy did not venture to augment the taxes imposed while they had been free Complaints of heavy taxation are certainly often made against the Visconti and other tyrants in the fourteenth century It could hardly be expected that stipendiary troops chiefly composed of Germans would conduct themselves without insolence and contempt of the effeminacy which courted their services Indifferent to the cause which they supported the highest pay and the richest plunder were their constant motives As Italy was generally the theatre of war in some of her numerous states a soldier of fortune with his lance and charger for an inheritance passed from one service to another without regret and without discredit But if peace happened to be pretty universal he might be thrown out of his only occupation and reduced to a very inferior condition in a country of which he was not a native It naturally occurred to men of their feelings that if money and honor could only be had while they retained their arms it was their own fault if they ever relinquished them Upon this principle they first acted in 1343 when the republic of Pisa disbanded a large body of German cavalry which had been employed in a war with Florence y A partisan whom the Italians call the Duke Guarnieri engaged these dissatisfied mercenaries to remain united under his command His plan was to levy contributions on all countries which he entered with his company without aiming at any conquests No Italian army he well knew could be raised to oppose him and he trusted that other mercenaries would not be ready to fight against men who had devised a scheme so advantageous to the profession This was the first of the companies of adventure which continued for many years to be the scourge and disgrace of Italy Guarnieri after some time withdrew his troops satiated with plunder into Germany but he served in the invasion of Naples by Louis King of Hungary in 1348 and forming a new company ravaged the ecclesiastical state A still more formidable band of disciplined robbers appeared in 1353 under the command of Fra Moriale and afterwards of Conrad Lando This was denominated the Great Company and consisted of several thousand regular troops besides a multitude of half armed ruffians who assisted as spies pioneers and plunderers The rich cities of Tuscany and Romagna paid large sums that the Great Company which was perpetually in motion might not march through their territory Florence alone magnanimously resolved not to offer this ignominious tribute Upon two occasions once in 1358 and still more conspicuously the next year she refused either to give a passage to the company or to redeem herself by money and in each instance the German robbers were compelled to retire At this time they consisted of five thousand cuirassiers and their whole body was not less than twenty thousand men a terrible proof of the evils which an erroneous system had entailed upon Italy Nor were they repulsed on this occasion by the actual exertions of Florence The courage of that republic was in her councils not in her arms the resistance made to Lando s demand was a burst of national feeling and rather against the advice of the leading Florentines z but the army employed was entirely composed of mercenary troops and probably for the greater part of foreigners Footnote y Sismondi t v p 380 The dangerous aspect which these German mercenaries might assume had appeared four years before when Lodrisio one of the Visconti having quarrelled with the lord of Milan led a large body of troops who had just been disbanded against the city After some desperate battles the mercenaries were defeated and Lodrisio taken t v p 278 In this instance however they acted for another Guarnieri was the first who taught them to preserve the impartiality of general robbers Footnote z Matt Villani p 537 None of the foreign partisans who entered into the service of Italian states acquired such renown in that career as an Englishman whom contemporary writers call Aucud or Agutus but to whom we may restore his national appellation of Sir John Hawkwood This very eminent man had served in the war of Edward III and obtained his knighthood from that sovereign though originally if we may trust common fame bred to the trade of a tailor After the peace of Bretigni France was ravaged by the disbanded troops whose devastations Edward was accused perhaps unjustly of secretly instigating A large body of these under the name of the White Company passed into the service of the Marquis of Montferrat They were some time afterwards employed by the Pisans against Florence and during this latter war Hawkwood appears as their commander For thirty years he was continually engaged in the service of the Visconti of the pope or of the Florentines to whom he devoted himself for the latter part of his life with more fidelity and steadiness than he had shown in his first campaigns The republic testified her gratitude by a public funeral and by a monument in the Duomo which still perpetuates his memory The name of Sir John Hawkwood is worthy to be remembered as that of the first distinguished commander who had appeared in Europe since the destruction of the Roman empire It would be absurd to suppose that any of the constituent elements of military genius which nature furnishes to energetic characters were wanting to the leaders of a barbarian or feudal army untroubled perspicacity in confusion firm decision rapid execution providence against attack fertility of resource and stratagem these are in quality as much required from the chief of an Indian tribe as from the accomplished commander But we do not find them in any instance so consummated by habitual skill as to challenge the name of generalship No one at least occurs to me previously to the middle of the fourteenth century to whom history has unequivocally assigned that character It is very rarely that we find even the order of battle specially noticed The monks indeed our only chroniclers were poor judges of martial excellence yet as war is the main topic of all annals we could hardly remain ignorant of any distinguished skill in its operations This neglect of military science certainly did not proceed from any predilection for the arts of peace It arose out of the general manners of society and out of the nature and composition of armies in the middle ages The insubordinate spirit of feudal tenants and the emulous quality of chivalry were alike hostile to that gradation of rank that punctual observance of irksome duties that prompt obedience to a supreme command through which a single soul is infused into the active mass and the rays of individual merit converge to the head of the general In the fourteenth century we begin to conceive something of a more scientific character in military proceedings and historians for the first time discover that success does not entirely depend upon intrepidity and physical prowess The victory of Muhldorf over the Austrian princes in 1322 that decided a civil war in the empire is ascribed to the ability of the Bavarian commander a Many distinguished officers were formed in the school of Edward III Yet their excellences were perhaps rather those of active partisans than of experienced generals Their successes are still due rather to daring enthusiasm than to wary and calculating combination Like inexpert chess players they surprise us by happy sallies against rule or display their talents in rescuing themselves from the consequences of their own mistakes Thus the admirable arrangements of the Black Prince at Poitiers hardly redeem the temerity which placed him in a situation where the egregious folly of his adversary alone could have permitted him to triumph Hawkwood therefore appears to me the first real general of modern times the earliest master however imperfect in the science of Turenne and Wellington Every contemporary Italian historian speaks with admiration of his skilful tactics in battle his stratagems his well conducted retreats Praise of this description as I have observed is hardly bestowed certainly not so continually on any former captain Footnote a Struvius Corpus Hist German p 585 Schwepperman the Bavarian general is called by a contemporary writer clarus militari scientia vir Hawkwood was not only the greatest but the last of the foreign condottieri or captains of mercenary bands While he was yet living a new military school had been formed in Italy which not only superseded but eclipsed all the strangers This important reform was ascribed to Alberic di Barbiano lord of some petty territories near Bologna He formed a company altogether of Italians about the year 1379 It is not to be supposed that natives of Italy had before been absolutely excluded from service We find several Italians such as the Malatesta family lords of Rimini and the Rossi of Parma commanding the armies of Florence much earlier But this was the first trading company if I may borrow the analogy the first regular body of Italian mercenaries attached only to their commander without any consideration of party like the Germans and English of Lando and Hawkwood Alberic di Barbiano though himself no doubt a man of military talents is principally distinguished by the school of great generals which the company of St George under his command produced and which may be deduced by regular succession to the sixteenth century The first in order of time and immediate contemporaries of Barbiano were Jacopo del Verme Facino Cane and Ottobon Terzo Among an intelligent and educated people little inclined to servile imitation the military art made great progress The most eminent condottieri being divided in general between belligerents each of them had his genius excited and kept in tension by that of a rival in glory Every resource of science as well as experience every improvement in tactical arrangements and the use of arms were required to obtain an advantage over such equal enemies In the first year of the fifteenth century the Italians brought their newly acquired superiority to a test The Emperor Robert in alliance with Florence invaded Gian Galeazzo s dominions with a considerable army From old reputation which so frequently survives the intrinsic qualities upon which it was founded an impression appears to have been excited in Italy that the native troops were still unequal to meet the charge of German cuirassiers The Duke of Milan gave orders to his general Jacopo del Verme to avoid a combat But that able leader was aware of a great relative change in the two armies The Germans had neglected to improve their discipline their arms were less easily wielded their horses less obedient to

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  • Italy, A History, Part Seven
    to each other and exchanged them some years afterwards with great exultation In the fourteenth century this custom had gone into disuse Id ibid Denina l xii c 4 Footnote o Villani l vi c 79 Footnote p Sismondi t iii p 263 c has some judicious observations on this subject As the comparative inefficiency of foot soldiers became evident a greater proportion of cavalry was employed and armies though better equipped and disciplined were less numerous This we find in the early part of the fourteenth century The main point for a state at war was to obtain a sufficient force of men at arms As few Italian cities could muster a large body of cavalry from their own population the obvious resource was to hire mercenary troops This had been practised in some instances much earlier The city of Genoa took the Count of Savoy into pay with two hundred horse in 1225 q Florence retained five hundred French lances in 1282 r But it became much more general in the fourteenth century chiefly after the expedition of the Emperor Henry VII in 1310 Many German soldiers of fortune remaining in Italy on this occasion engaged in the service of Milan Florence or some other state The subsequent expeditions of Louis of Bavaria in 1326 and of John King of Bohemia in 1331 brought a fresh accession of adventurers from the same country Others again came from France and some from Hungary All preferred to continue in the richest country and finest climate of Europe where their services were anxiously solicited and abundantly repaid An unfortunate prejudice in favor of strangers prevailed among the Italians of that age They ceded to them one knows not why certainly without having been vanquished the palm of military skill and valor The word Transalpine Oltramontani is frequently applied to hired cavalry by the two Villani as an epithet of excellence Footnote q Muratori Dissert 26 Footnote r Ammirato Ist Fiorent p 159 The same was done in 1297 p 200 A lance in the technical language of those ages included the lighter cavalry attached to the man at arms as well as himself In France the full complement of a lance lance fournie was five or six horses thus the 1 500 lances who composed the original companies of ordonnance raised by Charles VI amounted to nine thousand cavalry But in Italy the number was smaller We read frequently of barbuti which are defined lanze de dine cavalli Corio p 437 Lances of three horses were introduced about the middle of the fourteenth century Id p 466 The experience of every fresh campaign now told more and more against the ordinary militia It has been usual for modern writers to lament the degeneracy of martial spirit among the Italians of that age But the contest was too unequal between an absolutely invulnerable body of cuirassiers and an infantry of peasants or citizens The bravest men have little appetite for receiving wounds and death without the hope of inflicting any in return The parochial militia of France had proved equally unserviceable though as the life of a French peasant was of much less account in the eyes of his government than that of an Italian citizen they were still led forward like sheep to the slaughter against the disciplined forces of Edward III The cavalry had about this time laid aside the hauberk or coat of mail their ancient distinction from the unprotected populace which though incapable of being cut through by the sabre afforded no defence against the pointed sword introduced in the thirteenth century s nor repelled the impulse of a lance or the crushing blow of a battle axe Plate armor was substituted in its place and the man at arms cased in entire steel the several pieces firmly riveted and proof against every stroke his charger protected on the face chest and shoulders or as it was called barded with plates of steel fought with a security of success against enemies inferior perhaps only in these adventitious sources of courage to himself t Footnote s Muratori ad ann 1226 Footnote t The earliest plate armor engraved in Montfaucon s Monumens de la Monarchie Francaise t ii is of the reign of Philip the Long about 1315 but it does not appear generally till that of Philip of Valois or even later Before the complete harness of steel was adopted plated caps were sometimes worn on the knees and elbows and even greaves on the legs This is represented in a statue of Charles I King of Naples who died in 1285 Possibly the statue may not be quite so ancient Montfaucon passim Daniel Hist de la Milice Francaise p 395 Nor was the new system of conducting hostilities less inconvenient to the citizens than the tactics of a battle Instead of rapid and predatory invasions terminated instantly by a single action and not extending more than a few days march from the soldier s home the more skilful combinations usual in the fourteenth century frequently protracted an indecisive contest for a whole summer u As wealth and civilization made evident the advantages of agriculture and mercantile industry this loss of productive labor could no longer be endured Azzo Visconti who died in 1339 dispensed with the personal service of his Milanese subjects Another of his laws says Galvaneo Fiamma was that the people should not go to war but remain at home for their own business For they had hitherto been kept with much danger and expense every year and especially in time of harvest and vintage when princes are wont to go to war in besieging cities and incurred numberless losses and chiefly on account of the long time that they were so detained v This law of Azzo Visconti taken separately might be ascribed to the usual policy of an absolute government But we find a similar innovation not long afterwards at Florence In the war carried on by that republic against Giovanni Visconti in 1351 the younger Villani informs us that the useless and mischievous personal service of the inhabitants of the district was commuted into a money payment w This change indeed was necessarily accompanied by a vast increase of taxation The Italian states republics as well as principalities levied very heavy contributions Mastino della Scala had a revenue of 700 000 florins more says John Villani than the king of any European country except France possesses x Yet this arose from only nine cities of Lombardy Considered with reference to economy almost any taxes must be a cheap commutation for personal service But economy may be regarded too exclusively and can never counterbalance that degradation of a national character which proceeds from intrusting the public defence to foreigners Footnote u This tedious warfare a la Fablus is called by Villani guerra guereggiata l viii c 49 at least I can annex no other meaning to the expression Footnote v Muratori Antiquit Ital Dissert 26 Footnote w Matt Villani p 135 Footnote x L xi c 45 I cannot imagine why Sismondi aserts t iv p 432 that the lords of cities in Lombardy did not venture to augment the taxes imposed while they had been free Complaints of heavy taxation are certainly often made against the Visconti and other tyrants in the fourteenth century It could hardly be expected that stipendiary troops chiefly composed of Germans would conduct themselves without insolence and contempt of the effeminacy which courted their services Indifferent to the cause which they supported the highest pay and the richest plunder were their constant motives As Italy was generally the theatre of war in some of her numerous states a soldier of fortune with his lance and charger for an inheritance passed from one service to another without regret and without discredit But if peace happened to be pretty universal he might be thrown out of his only occupation and reduced to a very inferior condition in a country of which he was not a native It naturally occurred to men of their feelings that if money and honor could only be had while they retained their arms it was their own fault if they ever relinquished them Upon this principle they first acted in 1343 when the republic of Pisa disbanded a large body of German cavalry which had been employed in a war with Florence y A partisan whom the Italians call the Duke Guarnieri engaged these dissatisfied mercenaries to remain united under his command His plan was to levy contributions on all countries which he entered with his company without aiming at any conquests No Italian army he well knew could be raised to oppose him and he trusted that other mercenaries would not be ready to fight against men who had devised a scheme so advantageous to the profession This was the first of the companies of adventure which continued for many years to be the scourge and disgrace of Italy Guarnieri after some time withdrew his troops satiated with plunder into Germany but he served in the invasion of Naples by Louis King of Hungary in 1348 and forming a new company ravaged the ecclesiastical state A still more formidable band of disciplined robbers appeared in 1353 under the command of Fra Moriale and afterwards of Conrad Lando This was denominated the Great Company and consisted of several thousand regular troops besides a multitude of half armed ruffians who assisted as spies pioneers and plunderers The rich cities of Tuscany and Romagna paid large sums that the Great Company which was perpetually in motion might not march through their territory Florence alone magnanimously resolved not to offer this ignominious tribute Upon two occasions once in 1358 and still more conspicuously the next year she refused either to give a passage to the company or to redeem herself by money and in each instance the German robbers were compelled to retire At this time they consisted of five thousand cuirassiers and their whole body was not less than twenty thousand men a terrible proof of the evils which an erroneous system had entailed upon Italy Nor were they repulsed on this occasion by the actual exertions of Florence The courage of that republic was in her councils not in her arms the resistance made to Lando s demand was a burst of national feeling and rather against the advice of the leading Florentines z but the army employed was entirely composed of mercenary troops and probably for the greater part of foreigners Footnote y Sismondi t v p 380 The dangerous aspect which these German mercenaries might assume had appeared four years before when Lodrisio one of the Visconti having quarrelled with the lord of Milan led a large body of troops who had just been disbanded against the city After some desperate battles the mercenaries were defeated and Lodrisio taken t v p 278 In this instance however they acted for another Guarnieri was the first who taught them to preserve the impartiality of general robbers Footnote z Matt Villani p 537 None of the foreign partisans who entered into the service of Italian states acquired such renown in that career as an Englishman whom contemporary writers call Aucud or Agutus but to whom we may restore his national appellation of Sir John Hawkwood This very eminent man had served in the war of Edward III and obtained his knighthood from that sovereign though originally if we may trust common fame bred to the trade of a tailor After the peace of Bretigni France was ravaged by the disbanded troops whose devastations Edward was accused perhaps unjustly of secretly instigating A large body of these under the name of the White Company passed into the service of the Marquis of Montferrat They were some time afterwards employed by the Pisans against Florence and during this latter war Hawkwood appears as their commander For thirty years he was continually engaged in the service of the Visconti of the pope or of the Florentines to whom he devoted himself for the latter part of his life with more fidelity and steadiness than he had shown in his first campaigns The republic testified her gratitude by a public funeral and by a monument in the Duomo which still perpetuates his memory The name of Sir John Hawkwood is worthy to be remembered as that of the first distinguished commander who had appeared in Europe since the destruction of the Roman empire It would be absurd to suppose that any of the constituent elements of military genius which nature furnishes to energetic characters were wanting to the leaders of a barbarian or feudal army untroubled perspicacity in confusion firm decision rapid execution providence against attack fertility of resource and stratagem these are in quality as much required from the chief of an Indian tribe as from the accomplished commander But we do not find them in any instance so consummated by habitual skill as to challenge the name of generalship No one at least occurs to me previously to the middle of the fourteenth century to whom history has unequivocally assigned that character It is very rarely that we find even the order of battle specially noticed The monks indeed our only chroniclers were poor judges of martial excellence yet as war is the main topic of all annals we could hardly remain ignorant of any distinguished skill in its operations This neglect of military science certainly did not proceed from any predilection for the arts of peace It arose out of the general manners of society and out of the nature and composition of armies in the middle ages The insubordinate spirit of feudal tenants and the emulous quality of chivalry were alike hostile to that gradation of rank that punctual observance of irksome duties that prompt obedience to a supreme command through which a single soul is infused into the active mass and the rays of individual merit converge to the head of the general In the fourteenth century we begin to conceive something of a more scientific character in military proceedings and historians for the first time discover that success does not entirely depend upon intrepidity and physical prowess The victory of Muhldorf over the Austrian princes in 1322 that decided a civil war in the empire is ascribed to the ability of the Bavarian commander a Many distinguished officers were formed in the school of Edward III Yet their excellences were perhaps rather those of active partisans than of experienced generals Their successes are still due rather to daring enthusiasm than to wary and calculating combination Like inexpert chess players they surprise us by happy sallies against rule or display their talents in rescuing themselves from the consequences of their own mistakes Thus the admirable arrangements of the Black Prince at Poitiers hardly redeem the temerity which placed him in a situation where the egregious folly of his adversary alone could have permitted him to triumph Hawkwood therefore appears to me the first real general of modern times the earliest master however imperfect in the science of Turenne and Wellington Every contemporary Italian historian speaks with admiration of his skilful tactics in battle his stratagems his well conducted retreats Praise of this description as I have observed is hardly bestowed certainly not so continually on any former captain Footnote a Struvius Corpus Hist German p 585 Schwepperman the Bavarian general is called by a contemporary writer clarus militari scientia vir Hawkwood was not only the greatest but the last of the foreign condottieri or captains of mercenary bands While he was yet living a new military school had been formed in Italy which not only superseded but eclipsed all the strangers This important reform was ascribed to Alberic di Barbiano lord of some petty territories near Bologna He formed a company altogether of Italians about the year 1379 It is not to be supposed that natives of Italy had before been absolutely excluded from service We find several Italians such as the Malatesta family lords of Rimini and the Rossi of Parma commanding the armies of Florence much earlier But this was the first trading company if I may borrow the analogy the first regular body of Italian mercenaries attached only to their commander without any consideration of party like the Germans and English of Lando and Hawkwood Alberic di Barbiano though himself no doubt a man of military talents is principally distinguished by the school of great generals which the company of St George under his command produced and which may be deduced by regular succession to the sixteenth century The first in order of time and immediate contemporaries of Barbiano were Jacopo del Verme Facino Cane and Ottobon Terzo Among an intelligent and educated people little inclined to servile imitation the military art made great progress The most eminent condottieri being divided in general between belligerents each of them had his genius excited and kept in tension by that of a rival in glory Every resource of science as well as experience every improvement in tactical arrangements and the use of arms were required to obtain an advantage over such equal enemies In the first year of the fifteenth century the Italians brought their newly acquired superiority to a test The Emperor Robert in alliance with Florence invaded Gian Galeazzo s dominions with a considerable army From old reputation which so frequently survives the intrinsic qualities upon which it was founded an impression appears to have been excited in Italy that the native troops were still unequal to meet the charge of German cuirassiers The Duke of Milan gave orders to his general Jacopo del Verme to avoid a combat But that able leader was aware of a great relative change in the two armies The Germans had neglected to improve their discipline their arms were less easily wielded their horses less obedient

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