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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Ranks in XV century Italian Infantry. Reply to topic
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Michal Plezia
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PostPosted: Sat 20 May, 2006 4:00 pm    Post subject: Ranks in XV century Italian Infantry.         Reply with quote

Hello!

Do you have any information about ranks in Italian Infantry in 15 century?I've started here : http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_armies_italy.html

But there was not too much info.Any ideas of names of those ranks and maybe differences in clothes/equipment between higher and lower ranks of soldier?There was mentioned a book Mercenaries and their Masters by Michael Mallet but it will be difficult to get it...
One more thing-on many paintings italian condottieri have a kind of stick in their hand.I think it was a symbol of the rank.Have you got any pics of oryginals?Or maybe they were just normal sticks?



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The sword is a weapon for killing, the art of the sword is the art of killing. No matter what fancy words you use or what titles you put to
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Sam Barris




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PostPosted: Sun 21 May, 2006 6:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You might read Niccolo Machiavelli's The Art of War. (Not to be confused with Sun Tzu's masterpiece by the same title.) Good Saint Nick goes into exhausive detail with regard to period specific formations, weapons, tactics, etc. He may have what you're looking for.
Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Michal Plezia
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Location: Poland
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PostPosted: Sun 21 May, 2006 10:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ths a lot!! I'll check it.
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Polish Guild of Knifemakers

The sword is a weapon for killing, the art of the sword is the art of killing. No matter what fancy words you use or what titles you put to
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Eugenio Larosa





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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 8:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niccolo Macchiavelli's book is only a book for the theoretical study of italian "prince" in the art of war.
There are lot of information about a beginning of military placement in XVth century.

For example in Milan Army, there are a first example of this.
The PRINCE command a CONDOTTA to a CONDOTTIERE for a precise number of forces, but they (prince) have also the
FAMIGLI forces, that are a group of relative and allies under they protection that have assigned a jurisdiction zone.
This people are supervised by a CONESTABILE that control that the money send to him for buy militar material are really spent for this.
In this kind of organization there are a militar figure of SERGENTE (from the '300 figure of SERRAGENTE), that command a group of people or a squad , the other name on SERGENTE is SQUADRERO and they are the directly subordinate of CONDOTTIERE or FAMIGLIO, more of CONDOTTIERI in the beginning are a SERGENTE or SQUADRERO.
The function of SERGENT in similar to MAN AT ARMS in the English organization.

This is a little schema from an example of italian army in the XV th siecle.

PRINCE - MASTER (Signore)
GENERAL CONDOTTIERE (Condottiero Generale) and CONESTABILE (for the financial control)
CONDOTTIERE with a minor CONDOTTA (Condottieri con condotta ridotta) or FAMIGLI (always cavalry unit)
SERGENTE or SQUADRERO
INFANTRY UNIT (barbuta) or CAVALRY UNIT (lancia)

The stick in the hand is the "BASTONE DEL COMANDO" used only by GENERAL CONDOTTIERE, is a symbol of power, i dpn't know that are anyne of this conserved in museum (in italy).


sorry for my bad english.
http://www.famaleonis.com

FAMA LEONIS
LEO INVICTUS
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 10:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eugenio Larosa wrote:

The stick in the hand is the "BASTONE DEL COMANDO" used only by GENERAL CONDOTTIERE, is a symbol of power, I don't know that are any of these conserved in museums (in italy).


sorry for my bad english.
http://www.famaleonis.com


Also known in Northern Europe as a Baton, aka "Marshal's Baton". A symbol of power, used I believe since the Romans to denote command over an army, and in common use until at least the middle of the 19th Century. The old quip about the corporal with a Marshal's Baton in his backpack was an allusion to visions of grandure.

Thanks for posting these translations, Eugenio, it is greatly appreciated! Machiavelli is hard enough to read without going to sleep without having to worry about the terminology used, and if the modern translations are anywhere near correct. And no worries about your English, it's a WHOLE lot better than my Italian! Big Grin Thanks!

Allons!

Gordon

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Michal Plezia
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Location: Poland
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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 11:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eugenio Larosa wrote:
Niccolo Macchiavelli's book is only a book for the theoretical study of italian "prince" in the art of war.
There are lot of information about a beginning of military placement in XVth century.

For example in Milan Army, there are a first example of this.
The PRINCE command a CONDOTTA to a CONDOTTIERE for a precise number of forces, but they (prince) have also the
FAMIGLI forces, that are a group of relative and allies under they protection that have assigned a jurisdiction zone.
This people are supervised by a CONESTABILE that control that the money send to him for buy militar material are really spent for this.
In this kind of organization there are a militar figure of SERGENTE (from the '300 figure of SERRAGENTE), that command a group of people or a squad , the other name on SERGENTE is SQUADRERO and they are the directly subordinate of CONDOTTIERE or FAMIGLIO, more of CONDOTTIERI in the beginning are a SERGENTE or SQUADRERO.
The function of SERGENT in similar to MAN AT ARMS in the English organization.

This is a little schema from an example of italian army in the XV th siecle.

PRINCE - MASTER (Signore)
GENERAL CONDOTTIERE (Condottiero Generale) and CONESTABILE (for the financial control)
CONDOTTIERE with a minor CONDOTTA (Condottieri con condotta ridotta) or FAMIGLI (always cavalry unit)
SERGENTE or SQUADRERO
INFANTRY UNIT (barbuta) or CAVALRY UNIT (lancia)

The stick in the hand is the "BASTONE DEL COMANDO" used only by GENERAL CONDOTTIERE, is a symbol of power, i dpn't know that are anyne of this conserved in museum (in italy).


sorry for my bad english.
http://www.famaleonis.com


Thanks for this info.If my understanding is right sergante or squadrero was the commander of barbuta-infantry unit.But was there any lower ranks in that barbuta?How many people were in that barbuta unit?

In polish forces the commander of the unit called rota(about 100 men) was called ROTMISTRZ..Than were dziesietnik (plural-dziesietnicy) -kind of decurion and than simple soldiers...

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it that is the only truth.
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J. Bedell




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PostPosted: Mon 22 May, 2006 12:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That stick is like the bleached stick a reeve would carry on a medieval manor to show his authority. Not much help, but it's the first thing i thought of when I saw this picture.

-James

The pen may be mighter, but the sword is much more fun.
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Eugenio Larosa





Joined: 12 Feb 2005

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Tue 23 May, 2006 1:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've read a articol about RENAISSANCE ARMES by George Gush and there is more inaccuracy.
For example :
"an axe being the favorite secondary weapon. "
There is no documentation about this assumption , i explain, the AXE appear in the italian war fields in the first decade of 1500 and not before, before they are present but not more used.
In the end of '400 the second weapon (when present) for a cavalry unit was a WARHAMMER or a MACE, you can see this weapon in PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA or other italian painter picture, only in the Battle between Heraclius and Chosroes (1460 San Francesco, Arezzo) i have se an axe.

"they were counted in lances, including the man-at-arms, a "sergeant" or more lightly equipped cavalryman, and a page"
The LANCIA is a unit that in theory was formed by this number of person, but in general a LANCIA is a unit with one MAN-AT-ARMS (named SQUADRERO or in more cases same the SERGENTE) and more people, the number of this people depend from disprate condition (state that command, money, ambiental condition, kind of strategy).

For the use of artillery there are in BOLOGNA MEDIEVAL MUSEUM different kind of proto-arquibuses from the end of '300, the famous condottiere COLLEONI use in the 1466 battle of Molinella (ricciardina) the artillery mounted on a wagon, and more master of artillery of french armies are italian.

You try to understand that there is a very ITALIAN ARMIES ORGANIZATION and one organization is not appicable to all kind of armies, i appreciate the book of MALLET that are very BIBLE for ourselves but they present a kind of army with a rigid structure.
The study of a letter from the DUKE OF URBINO , the DUKE OF MILAN, the VENETIAN DOGE, and in particular the little states present us a kind of armies more different between the RIGID MALLET TYPE.
I'm sorry that more universitary book the are not translated in english, but they show a very different kind of organization and strategy of more famous book, and are supported by a study f EPISTOLE so the real thinking of the protagonist.

About your question :
There are no more documented ranks under the SERGENTE, and in cases of great unit more CONDOTTIERI A MEZZA PAGA (condottieri with a little contract) are used how SERGENTE rule.
The dimension of barbuta is variable, there are documented unit with a dozen of people , or more ... it depend what kind of state u serve, the kind of battle.

For example my COMPANY (http://www.famaleonis.com) is a LANCIA SPEZZATA (lanza spezzata), because is a kind of unit that is adaptable to a dimension and armament of my company.

FAMA LEONIS
LEO INVICTUS
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Michal Plezia
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PostPosted: Tue 23 May, 2006 3:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmmm we are trying to rise italian style unit. So Conditierri as chief commander and than seargeant(s)+simple soldiers would probably be good enough.

By the way -are you Italian Eugenio?Your knowledge is great.In Poland it is hard to meet anybody who wants to act as an Italian soldier...most are polish,german or czech hussites... We are trying to change it.Unfortunately I don't know Italian Worried

Can you give me some italian words you use as orders during muster and battle?

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Polish Guild of Knifemakers

The sword is a weapon for killing, the art of the sword is the art of killing. No matter what fancy words you use or what titles you put to
it that is the only truth.
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Eugenio Larosa





Joined: 12 Feb 2005

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Tue 23 May, 2006 3:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michal Plezia wrote:
Hmmm we are trying to rise italian style unit. So Conditierri as chief commander and than seargeant(s)+simple soldiers would probably be good enough.

By the way -are you Italian Eugenio?Your knowledge is great.In Poland it is hard to meet anybody who wants to act as an Italian soldier...most are polish,german or czech hussites... We are trying to change it.Unfortunately I don't know Italian Worried

Can you give me some italian words you use as orders during muster and battle?


Yes i'm italian and i'm a reenactor, my group is considered a group with an extremely care in study and reproduction for the end of 1400 companies (http://www.famaleonis.com).

For the order there is no more SOURCE , because a very organization military and order is subsequent to landsknecht invasion.
We have not a list of order for the battle, we use only for the polearms formation any order.(similar to swiss pikemen order)
For the order we use our dialetto , i come from ROMAGNA (Forli-caterina Sforza-Giovanni dalle bande Nere) that was in the centre of more war between Milan, Venice, Naples and Florence, and any order have been draw from a book about the ORDELAFFI Family that have rule over Forli before the dinasty Sforza-Riario.

If i can i suggest to you a typical organization for a little company :
CHAPITANO - HOMO IN ARME - SQUADRERO - MILITE
captain - man at arms (one or more it depend to number of soldier) - sergeant - soldier
This is the best formation for the little group because a CONDOTTIERE have a number of soldier greater than 50 people.

FAMA LEONIS
LEO INVICTUS
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Michal Plezia
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PostPosted: Tue 23 May, 2006 12:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks a lot!

It gives us 4 ranks-good enough!

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Polish Guild of Knifemakers

The sword is a weapon for killing, the art of the sword is the art of killing. No matter what fancy words you use or what titles you put to
it that is the only truth.
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jul, 2006 1:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michal Plezia wrote:
Hmmm we are trying to rise italian style unit. So Conditierri as chief commander and than seargeant(s)+simple soldiers would probably be good enough.

By the way -are you Italian Eugenio?Your knowledge is great.In Poland it is hard to meet anybody who wants to act as an Italian soldier...most are polish,german or czech hussites... We are trying to change it. Unfortunately I don't know Italian Worried

Can you give me some italian words you use as orders during muster and battle?


Have you got a couple of decades of spare time ?

Hmm, I was joking but not too much.

The kind of italian you should learn is also unknown to most people today, it is the italian of Machiavelli, full of latinism sand rude but very sharp and concise, a rude beauty.

It would be a nice way to open your mind.

There is possibly a Società Dante Alighieri in Poland, it is a state sponsored society in that in every corner of the world will try to promote the study of the italian language.

They could help you by sending you grammar books and classic novels.

Definitely it is not an enterprise for the faint of heart but learning italian would open you the world of the renaissance masters.

Usually Slavs like you are sharply better than other people at learning italian, I have noticed it many times so far.



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