By Guido Alfani (auth.)
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Additional resources for Calamities and the Economy in Renaissance Italy: The Grand Tour of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse
35 In 1544, the French returned and assaulted the city, which, however, put up a strong resistance and forced them to withdraw. Nevertheless, following the siege, the Spanish governor Cristoforo Morales, who feared the return of the enemy and had observed how the French had taken shelter in the dwellings outside the walls, ordered the destruction of three densely populated suburbs, Bando, Pasquerio and Vicinasco, which were the heart of manufacturing in the town. 36 There was also a notable decrease in the population because many, now homeless, moved elsewhere, sometimes for good.
Ritualized forms of medieval warfare – when pitched battles tended to be avoided as much as possible and when, if confrontation finally occurred, the main aim of the knights was not to eliminate the enemy but rather to gain personal glory (as well as booty and the capture of prisoners to be released on payment of a ransom; Settia, 2002) – were soon to be replaced by far more deadly modes of combat. 1 shows where the main ones were). The Battle of Fornovo, fought between the retreating French and a league of Italian states on the banks of the Taro River, was said by Guicciardini to be ‘memorable because it was the first, for a long time, to be fought in Italy with killing and with blood; because prior to this, very few men died in military action’.
According to Sebastian Schertlin, who was part of the Imperial garrison at Pavia during the 1524–25 siege (which ended in the famous battle), the living conditions of the soldiers deteriorated and, to survive, they had to live off horses, asses and dogs (cit. in Harari, 2004: 45). The Burgundian Fery de Guyon, one of the Prince of Orange’s retinue, relates that during the siege of Naples in 1528, the French, led by Lautrec and well supplied with food and munitions, thought that they could force the Imperial garrison (to which Guyon belonged) to surrender from sheer hunger, without the need for bombardments or assaults.
Calamities and the Economy in Renaissance Italy: The Grand Tour of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Guido Alfani (auth.)