Italian Condottiere

  • Medieval Era
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

The Condottiere were in essence Mercenaries or Soldiers for hire, popular in Italy during The Middle Ages and Renaissance Era. The majority of these “Free Companies” of Soldiers came from Germany, France, Switzerland and England. Highly trained in Arms and Warfare, they formed various Military Branches, under a primary Commander. This Leader would then hire out his Regiments for Military Service to Nobility or Royalty. Their “loyalty” was thus purchased and seemingly assured.

During much of Italy’s Civil War Period, which pitted Nobility against Nobility, it was deemed “cheaper” to hire Professional Soldiers, than recruit from an at often time, fractious populace. Often, the richer The Patron, the better equipped Army that could be purchased. The Condottieri likewise made themselves more attractive to a potential Patron, by procuring the very best in weapons and innovations regarding tactics.

Even The Head of The Catholic Church – The Pope, recruited his own Armies of Condottieri to do battle with “wayward” Nobles, failing to follow his “requirements” for Loyalty. When splits came about between Papal Legates and The “current” Holy Roman Emperor – The Pope often hired Condottieri as a matter of survival.

Condottieri were also amongst the first Soldiers to field early examples of Artillery and Firearms on Medieval and Renaissance battlefields. However, as Kingdoms and Nations at War encountered Condottieri, they quickly adapted their tactics and weaponry into their own inventories. As such, by the 17th Century, most Condottieri had ceased to be recruited for Standing Armies.