Bernard Stuart, Seigneur of Aubigny, c.1452-1508

Bernard Stuart, Seigneur of Aubigny, was a French general from a family of Scottish origins, and was a fairly unsuccessful French commander in the early phases of the Italian War.

Aubigny's early career showed much promise. He was commander of the Royal Bodyguard, and was part of the French contingent of Henry VII's army in the campaign that ended at Bosworth (1485).

Aubigny commanded part of the French army during Charles VIII's invasion of Italy (First Italian War/ Italian War of Charles VIII, 1494-95). He briefly came to the fore during this war when he advised the king to move on from Florence in late November, on his way south to Naples.

Early in 1495 Charles captured Naples, but he was soon forced to retreat north by an alliance of the Italian powers. Aubigny was left behind to command part of the French army in Naples. He did win one military victory, defeating a Spanish army led by Gonsalo Fernández de Cordoba at the first battle of Seminara (28 June 1495), but he was unable to prevent the Spanish from restoring the legitimate king of Naples.

At the start of the Second Italian War/ Italian War of Louis XII (1499-1503), the French expelled their former ally Ludovico Sforza from Milan. In 1500 Ludovico Sforza made a brief comeback, forcing the French governor, Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, to abandon Milan on 3 February, and capturing Novara (5-21 March 1500). He was then defeated by a French army under Louis de la Tremouille at the battle of Novara (8 April 1500) and the French regained command of Milan.

In the aftermath of the French victory Trivulzio was removed from his posts. George d'Amboise, Seigneur of Chaumont was give control of the civil government of Milan, while Aubigny was given command of the French army in Milan.

After this first campaign in the north of Italy, the French moved south to invade Naples, working alongside the Spanish, with whom they had agreed to split the kingdom. Aubigny was appointed as Viceroy of Naples, but in 1502 he was replaced by Louis d'Armagnac, Duke of Nemours. Aubigny remained in Naples, but was a rather disloyal subordinate.

The French and Spanish soon fell out over the division of the spoils of Naples. Once again Cordoba was in charge of the campaign against the French, but this time he was rather more effective. At first he was outnumbered, and Nemours besieged him at Barletta on the east coast (August 1502-April 1503). Aubigny was sent to campaign in Calabria in the south.

On 21 April 1503 Aubigny suffered the indignity of suffering a defeat at the site of his earlier victory (second battle of Seminara, 21 April 1503). This defeat may have played a part in Cordoba's decision to go onto the offensive in the east, and his first great victory, at Cerignola, came only five days later (26 April 1503). The French made a brief recovery, but suffered a second defeat at the Garigliano (28-29 December 1503) and were expelled from Naples.

Aubigny died while on a diplomatic mission to Scotland.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (22 October 2014), Bernard Stuart, Seigneur of Aubigny, c.1452-1508 ,

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