Renaissance Armies in Italy 1450-1550, Gabriele Esposito

Renaissance Armies in Italy 1450-1550, Gabriele Esposito


This is one of the more complex periods of Italian history, with a seemingly endless series of wars – both minor and major – changing alliances and leagues and foreign invasions. As a result it isn’t surprising that the comparatively brief timeline of these wars still takes up five pages! The first part of the period being covered was relatively peaceful, but that changed in 1494 when Charles VIII of France attempted to occupy Naples by marching down the full length of Italy. This triggered the period of the Italian Wars – eight conflicts that lasted until 1559 (with some short gaps). The last five of these were the Hapsburg-Valois Wars, in which Italy was often just one theatre of larger conflicts, but still an important one.

One sign of the complexity of these wars is that there are eight chapters looking at the eight main military powers during these wars. Five of these eight were Italian powers, three the major foreign powers that invaded the country.

Each individual chapter is detailed and informative, looking at how each army developed over time and under the pressure of the prolong period of conflict. All of the major powers had to adapt during this period, and much of the interest is in seeing how the different powers changed their armies. I would have liked to have seen at least a short conclusion, bringing everything together to compare the effectiveness of the various forces, but that might well have required an equally large volume two! Apart from that this is a useful overview of the most important armies of the Renaissance, tracing how they developed during a prolonged period of conflict.

The Italian States
The Armies:
Duchy of Milan
Republic of Venice
Republic of Florence
The Papal States
Kingdom of Naples
Holy Roman Empire

Author: Gabriele Esposito
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 48
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2020

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