Battle of Agnadello

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Battle of Agnadello
Part of the War of the League of Cambrai
Bataille d'Agnadel.jpg
Date14 May 1509
Location
Near Agnadello, between Milan and Bergamo, present-day Italy
Result Decisive French victory [1]
Belligerents
Pavillon royal de la France.svg  Kingdom of France Flag of Most Serene Republic of Venice.svg  Republic of Venice
Commanders and leaders
Louis XII
Gian Giacomo Trivulzio
Louis de la Trémoille
Charles II d'Amboise
Bartolomeo d'Alviano   (POW) [2]
Strength
30,000 [2] 15,000 [2]
Casualties and losses
500 10,000+ [2]

The Battle of Agnadello, also known as Vailà, was one of the most significant battles of the War of the League of Cambrai and one of the major battles of the Italian Wars.

War of the League of Cambrai conflict

The War of the League of Cambrai, sometimes known as the War of the Holy League and by several other names, was a major conflict in the Italian Wars. The main participants of the war, fought from 1508 to 1516, were France, the Papal States and the Republic of Venice; they were joined, at various times, by nearly every significant power in Western Europe, including Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, England, the Duchy of Milan, Florence, the Duchy of Ferrara and Swiss mercenaries.

Italian Wars Wars in Italy from the 15th to 16th centuries

The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a series of Renaissance conflicts from 1494 to 1559 that involved most of the Italian states as well as France, the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, England and the Ottoman Empire.

Contents

On 15 April 1509, a French army under the command of Louis XII left Milan and invaded Venetian territory. To oppose its advance, Venice had massed a mercenary army near Bergamo, jointly commanded by the Orsini cousins, Bartolomeo d'Alviano and Niccolò di Pitigliano. The Orsini had orders to avoid a direct confrontation with the advancing French, and spent the next several weeks engaged in light skirmishing.

Louis XII of France King of France

Louis XII was King of France from 1498 to 1515 and King of Naples from 1501 to 1504. The son of Charles, Duke of Orléans, and Maria of Cleves, he succeeded his cousin Charles VIII, who died without a closer heir in 1498. Louis was the eighth French king from the House of Valois, and the first from the Orléans branch of that dynasty.

Milan Italian city

Milan is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome, with the city proper having a population of 1,372,810 while its metropolitan area has a population of 3,244,365. Its continuously built-up urban area has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 over 1,891 square kilometres. The wider Milan metropolitan area, known as Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that extends over central Lombardy and eastern Piedmont and which counts an estimated total population of 7.5 million, making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy and the 54th largest in the world. Milan served as capital of the Western Roman Empire from 286 to 402 and the Duchy of Milan during the medieval period and early modern age.

Republic of Venice former state in in Northeastern Italy (697–1797)

The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic, traditionally known as La Serenissima was a sovereign state and maritime republic in northeastern Italy, which existed for over a millennium between the 7th century and the 18th century from 697 AD until 1797 AD. It was based in the lagoon communities of the historically prosperous city of Venice, and was a leading European economic and trading power during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

By 9 May, however, Louis had crossed the Adda River at Cassano d'Adda. Alviano and Pitigliano, encamped around the town of Treviglio, disagreed on how to deal with Louis, since Alviano wanted to attack the French in defiance of his orders; they finally decided to move south towards the Po River in search of better positions.

Cassano dAdda Comune in Lombardy, Italy

Cassano d'Adda is a town and comune in the Metropolitan City of Milan, Lombardy, Italy, located on the right side of the Adda River. It is on the border of the Metropolitan City of Milan and the province of Bergamo. It is served by Cassano d'Adda railway station.

Treviglio Comune in Lombardy, Italy

Treviglio is a town and comune in the province of Bergamo, in Lombardy, Northern Italy. It lies 20 kilometres south of the province capital, in the lower territory called "Bassa Bergamasca".

On 14 May, as the Venetian army moved south, Alviano's rearguard, commanded by Piero del Monte and Saccoccio da Spoleto, was attacked by a French detachment under Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, who had massed his troops around the village of Agnadello. [3] Alviano, who was at Pandino, hurried back to position his forces, [3] numbering around eight thousand, on a ridge overlooking some vineyards. Charles II attempted to attack, first with cavalry and then with Swiss pikemen, but the French, forced to march up a hillside crossed with irrigation ditches, which were soon filled with mud from the pouring rain, were unable to breach the Venetian lines.

Gian Giacomo Trivulzio Italian general

Gian Giacomo Trivulzio was an Italian aristocrat and condottiero who held several military commands during the Italian Wars.

Agnadello Comune in Lombardy, Italy

Agnadello is a comune and village in the province of Cremona, Lombardy, northern Italy. It was the location of the battle of Agnadello in which Louis XII of France defeated the Venetians on 14 May 1509.

Swiss mercenaries

Swiss mercenaries (Reisläufer) were notable for their service in foreign armies, especially the armies of the Kings of France, throughout the Early Modern period of European history, from the Later Middle Ages into the Age of the European Enlightenment. Their service as mercenaries was at its peak during the Renaissance, when their proven battlefield capabilities made them sought-after mercenary troops. There followed a period of decline, as technological and organizational advances counteracted the Swiss' advantages. Switzerland's military isolationism largely put an end to organized mercenary activity; the principal remnant of the practice is the Pontifical Swiss Guard at the Vatican.

Pitigliano had been moving ahead of Alviano, and was several miles away when the French began their attack. In reply to Alviano's request for help, he sent a note suggesting that a pitched battle should be avoided, and continued his march south.

Meanwhile, Louis, with the remainder of the French army, had reached Agnadello. The French now surrounded Alviano on three sides and proceeded to destroy his forces over the next three hours. The Venetian cavalry collapsed and fled, and Alviano himself was wounded and captured. Of his command, more than four thousand were killed, including his commanders Spoleto and del Monte, and 30 pieces of artillery were captured. [3]

Although Pitigliano had avoided engaging the French directly, news of the battle reached him by that evening, and the majority of his forces had deserted by morning. Faced with the continued advance of the French army, he hurriedly retreated towards Treviso and Venice. Louis then proceeded to occupy the remainder of Lombardy.

Treviso Comune in Veneto, Italy

Treviso is a city and comune in the Veneto region of northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Treviso and the municipality has 84,669 inhabitants : some 3,000 live within the Venetian walls or in the historical and monumental center, some 80,000 live in the urban center proper while the city hinterland has a population of approximately 170,000. The city is home to the headquarters of clothing retailer Benetton, Sisley, Stefanel, Geox, Diadora and Lotto Sport Italia, appliance maker De'Longhi, and bicycle maker Pinarello.

Venice Comune in Veneto, Italy

Venice is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region.

The battle is mentioned in Machiavelli's The Prince , noting that in one day, the Venetians "lost what it had taken them eight hundred years' exertion to conquer." [4]

Notes

  1. André Thevet, Portraits from the French Renaissance and the Wars of Religion, transl. Edward Benson, ed. Roger Schlesinger, (Truman University Press, 2010), 62.
  2. 1 2 3 4 A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East, Vol. II, ed. Spencer C. Tucker, (ABC-CLIO, 2010), 479.
  3. 1 2 3 Michael Mallett and Christine Shaw, The Italian Wars:1494–1559, (Pearson, 2012), 89.
  4. Machiavelli, The Prince, transl. Rufus Goodwin, (Dante University Press, 2003), 77.

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References

Coordinates: 45°27′00″N9°34′00″E / 45.4500°N 9.5667°E / 45.4500; 9.5667