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Anthony M.





Joined: 28 May 2009

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat 08 Aug, 2015 1:11 pm    Post subject: Southern Italian Soldiers in the Renaissance         Reply with quote

Hello gentlemen,

I've been a long-time lurker but never posted before. I've been reading a lot about the Italian Wars. My latest read was a doctoral thesis by a Maurizio Arfaioli about the Black Bands, that I stumbled across online ( http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk/3099/1/WRAP_THESIS_Arfaioli_2001.pdf for those interested). It helped me gain a greater understanding of the role that Italian troops played within the army of the League of Cognac and, by extension, throughout the Italian Wars as an auxiliary force that specialized in skirmish and assault as opposed to pitched battle in the open field. The strengths of the Italian soldiery seemed to lie in it's arquebusiers and light cavalry supported by a light infantry component. But much of what I've read covers northern Italian troops (understandably so given the belligerents involved in the conflict).

What I'm curious about is the southern Italian soldiery. I'd like to learn more about them and what roles they filled within the armies they joined (I would assume they were most often found in Imperial service). Did they share the same skill sets and fill similar roles as their northern counterparts? How did these roles change throughout the 16th century as warfare changed? What kind of equipment did they use and was it stylistically closer to northern Italian or Spanish designs? These are the main questions I have and I'm looking for help in finding resources that might answer them.

My next read on the Italian Wars is "The Art of War in Italy 1494 - 1529" by F. L. Taylor. Afterward I thought the "Renaissance at War" by Thomas Arnold and "Mercenaries and Their Masters" by Michael Mallett would be good reads about the period and may address some of the questions I have. What other books or resources would you recommend that might help educate me in this area?
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Shahril Dzulkifli




Location: Malaysia
Joined: 13 Dec 2007
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Posts: 1,265

PostPosted: Mon 10 Aug, 2015 5:21 am    Post subject: Southern Italian Soldiers in the Renaissance         Reply with quote

I do not know which book on Renaissance wars should I recommend you, Anthony. Let's ask an expert on that.
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Federico B




Location: Italy
Joined: 15 Oct 2011
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Mon 10 Aug, 2015 6:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think these two titles are essential for this period:

"Il Rinascimento e la crisi militare italiana" Piero Pieri- Einaudi 1952.

"A History of the Art of War in the Sixteenth Century" Charles Oman - Greenhill Military Paperbacks 1999 (Reprint)

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Anthony M.





Joined: 28 May 2009

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue 11 Aug, 2015 1:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Federico! I had heard that Oman's book was pretty foundational for learning about this period. I actually have his books on warfare in the middle ages and the Byzantine Empire. Hopefully someone will republish his work on Renaissance warfare soon, because $60 used on Amazon for that book is pretty pricey.

I'll have to get serious about learning Italian before I dive into the other one though. I've got the course, I just need the time! Laughing Out Loud
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M. Alesia




Location: Illinois
Joined: 01 Feb 2011
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Posts: 51

PostPosted: Tue 11 Aug, 2015 6:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For the latter 16th century, the Viceroyalty of Naples seems to have provided several tercios to the fight in Flanders. Courtesy of this gentlemans research http://tercios.org/inf_italiana.html.

In particular, Carlo Spinelli's tercio enjoyed success in the Rhine campaigns of the late 1580's. They were also magnificently equipped and very well trained.
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Anthony M.





Joined: 28 May 2009

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri 14 Aug, 2015 1:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I took a look at that link you posted, it was very helpful! It spurred me to do some additional poking and searching. From what I found, Italian troops raised to fight in Flanders were considered to be second only to the Spanish in their effectiveness. This, of course, coming from Spaniards who may have been loath to concede that any were the equal of the Spanish.

Also, I'm still fuzzy on this, but it appears that the early tercios, while they may have been raised for a certain geographical area, were composed of predominantly Spanish troops. The later tercios, however, were raised from populations native to where they were raised. I also found that, at least during the later 16th century, units of the Spanish army were largely segregated based on nationality. So it would seem that these later tercios from Naples would have been raised from and composed of southern Italian soldiers.

The searching also led to me finding what looks like another excellent resource The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road, 1567-1659 by Geoffrey Parker. Some of the information above was gleaned from that book via the sample pages.

I'm still trying to drill down on how southern Italians would have been incorporated into the army under the earlier colunella formations or early tercios but, so far, I've learned a lot more since asking here than I knew before. Thanks again!
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Mark Lewis





Joined: 19 Apr 2014

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Posts: 356

PostPosted: Wed 19 Aug, 2015 2:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Southern Italian Soldiers in the Renaissance         Reply with quote

Anthony M. wrote:

My latest read was a doctoral thesis by a Maurizio Arfaioli about the Black Bands, that I stumbled across online

After a little follow up browsing, I found that the author turned his thesis into a published monograph which he has generously offered for free on his website.

There may be a lot of overlap, but it appears to at least have added illustrations and more appendices...

http://www.maurizioarfaioli.net/project/the-b...-giovanni/
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2015 12:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oman was state-of-the-art about a century ago, but by now his works are sadly outdated. Still worth reading for their sheer breadth, but not without a balancing perspective from more modern works.

Incidentally, while F.L. Taylor isn't far removed in time from Oman, he has quite a different perspective (and a strikingly modern one at that) in several matters. The trend in Renaissance European military history has lately been coming full circle and reaffirming Taylor's ideas about the strong continuities between late-medieval and Renaissance warfare rather than a clean break with the past.
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