List of battles of the Italian Wars

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Italian War of 1494–98



Italian War of 1499–1504




War of the League of Cambrai




Mirandola (1510)


The Sack of Brescia took place on February 18, 1512 during the War of the League of Cambrai. The city of Brescia had revolted against French control, garrisoning itself with Venetian troops. Gaston de Foix, recently arrived to command the French armies in Italy, ordered the city to surrender; when it refused, he attacked it with around 12,000 men. The French attack took place in a pouring rain, through a field of mud; Foix ordered his men to remove their shoes for better traction. [1] The defenders inflicted heavy casualties on the French, but were eventually overrun, suffering 8,000 – 15,000 casualties. [2] The Gascon infantry and landsknechts then proceeded to thoroughly sack the city, massacring thousands of civilians over the next five days. Following this, the city of Bergamo paid some 60,000 ducats to the French to avoid a similar fate.

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.

Brescia Comune in Lombardy, Italy

Brescia is a city and comune in the region of Lombardy in northern Italy. It is situated at the foot of the Alps, a few kilometres from the lakes Garda and Iseo. With a population of more than 200,000, it is the second largest city in the region and the fourth of northwest Italy. The urban area of Brescia extends beyond the administrative city limits and has a population of 672,822, while over 1.5 million people live in its metropolitan area. The city is the administrative capital of the Province of Brescia, one of the largest in Italy, with over 1,200,000 inhabitants.

Republic of Venice Former state in Northeastern Italy

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.



St. Mathieu



Flodden Field

The kingdoms of France and Scotland had traditionally enjoyed a close diplomatic relationship, reflected in a defensive treaty signed between the two kingdoms in 1512. When Henry crossed the English Channel to campaign in France, the King of France activated the treaty, sending arms, money and military advisers to James IV of Scotland to encourage him to fulfil his obligations, in the hope that this would draw English resources away from the invasion of France. James crossed the border with a force of some 35,000 men, including 5,000 French advisers. [3] He was opposed by an English force under the Earl of Surrey. The two sides met on September 9, 1513, near the village of Flodden. The Scottish army was heavily defeated, losing some 9,000 men and many nobles, including King James, the King's illegitimate son, and twelve earls. [4]

Early modern France history of France during the early modern era

The Kingdom of France in the early modern period, from the Renaissance to the Revolution (1789–1804), was a monarchy ruled by the House of Bourbon. This corresponds to the so-called Ancien Régime. The territory of France during this period increased until it included essentially the extent of the modern country, and it also included the territories of the first French colonial empire overseas.

Scotland in the Late Middle Ages

Scotland in the Late Middle Ages, between the deaths of Alexander III in 1286 and James IV in 1513, established its independence from England under figures including William Wallace in the late 13th century and Robert Bruce in the 14th century. In the 15th century under the Stewart Dynasty, despite a turbulent political history, the Crown gained greater political control at the expense of independent lords and regained most of its lost territory to approximately the modern borders of the country. However, the Auld Alliance with France led to the heavy defeat of a Scottish army at the Battle of Flodden in 1513 and the death of the king James IV, which would be followed by a long minority and a period of political instability.

Auld Alliance

The Auld Alliance was an alliance made in 1295 between the kingdoms of Scotland and France. The alliance was formed for the purpose of controlling England's numerous invasions. The Scots word auld, meaning old, has become a partly affectionate term for the long-lasting alliance between the two countries. It remained until the signing of the Treaty of Edinburgh in 1560.

La Motta

The Battle of La Motta, also known as the Battle of Schio, Battle of Vicenza or Battle of Creazzo, which took place on October 7, 1513 between the Republic of Venice and a combined Spanish and Imperial army, was a significant battle of the War of the League of Cambrai. A Venetian army under Bartolomeo d'Alviano attempted to prevent the Spanish and Imperials under Ramón de Cardona from withdrawing from the Veneto, but was defeated and scattered.

Bartolomeo dAlviano Italian condottiero and captain

Bartolomeo d'Alviano was an Italian condottiero and captain who distinguished himself in the defence of the Venetian Republic against the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian.

Ramón de Cardona Spanish politician and general

Ramon Folc de Cardona i Anglesola was a Spanish general and politician, who served as the viceroy of Naples during the Italian Wars and commanded the Spanish forces in Italy during the War of the League of Cambrai. He was granted the title count of Oliveto in the Kingdom of Naples, on 12 December 1515.

Veneto Region of Italy

Veneto is one of the 20 regions of Italy. Its population is about five million, ranking fifth in Italy. The region's capital is Venice.


Italian War of 1521–26


The Battle of Pampeluna (also spelled Pamplona) occurred on May 20, 1521, between French-backed Navarrese and Spanish troops, during the Spanish conquest of Iberian Navarre and in the context of the Italian War of 1521–26. Most Navarrese towns rose at once against the Spanish, who had invaded Navarre in 1512. The Spanish resisted the siege sheltered inside the city castle, but they eventually surrendered and the Navarrese took control of the town and the castle of Pamplona.

Pamplona Place in Navarre, Spain

Pamplona or Iruña is the capital city of the Autonomous Community of Navarre, in Spain, and historically also of the former Kingdom of Navarre. Pamplona is also the second largest city in the greater Basque cultural region, composed of two Spanish autonomous communities, Navarre and Basque Country, and the French Basque Country.

Kingdom of Navarre medieval kingdom that occupied lands on either side of the western Pyrenees, alongside the Atlantic Ocean

The Kingdom of Navarre, originally the Kingdom of Pamplona, was a Basque-based kingdom that occupied lands on either side of the western Pyrenees, alongside the Atlantic Ocean between present-day Spain and France.

Spanish conquest of Iberian Navarre A war in the early sixteenth century

The Spanish conquest of the Iberian part of Navarre was initiated by Ferdinand II of Aragon and completed by his grandson and successor Charles V in a series of military campaigns lasting from 1512 to 1524. The war ended in 1528, confined by then to Lower Navarre, north of the Pyrenees. Ferdinand was both the king of Aragon and regent of Castile in 1512. When Pope Julius II declared a Holy League against France in late 1511, Navarre attempted to remain neutral. Ferdinand used this as an excuse to attack Navarre, conquering it while its potential protector, France, was beset by England, Venice, and Ferdinand's own Italian armies.

It was at this battle that Inigo Lopez de Loyola, better known as St. Ignatius of Loyola, suffered severe injuries, a Navarrese cannonball shattering his leg. It is said that after the battle the Navarrese so admired his bravery that they carried him all the way back to his home in Loyola. His meditations during his long recovery set him on the road of a conversion of life from soldier to priest. He would eventually found the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), and create the Spiritual Exercises, which is the basis for the idea of "retreats" as an experience of prayer as practiced in the Roman Catholic Church.

Society of Jesus male religious congregation of the Catholic Church

The Society of Jesus is a scholarly religious congregation of the Catholic Church for men founded by Ignatius of Loyola and approved by Pope Paul III. The members are called Jesuits. The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations. Jesuits work in education, intellectual research, and cultural pursuits. Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes, sponsor direct social ministries, and promote ecumenical dialogue.

<i>Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola</i> work by Ignatius of Loyola

The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, composed 1522–1524, are a set of Christian meditations, contemplations, and prayers written by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a 16th-century Spanish priest, theologian, and founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Divided into four thematic "weeks" of variable length, they are designed to be carried out over a period of 28 to 30 days. They were composed with the intention of helping participants in religious retreats to discern the will of God in their lives, leading to a personal commitment to follow Jesus whatever the cost. Their underlying theology has been found agreeable to other Christian denominations who make use of them and also for addressing problems facing society in the 21st century.


The Battle of Noain-Esquiroz was fought near Pamplona on June 30, 1521, during the Italian War of 1521–26. A makeshift Spanish army[ citation needed ] consisting mostly of Castilian troops defeated the Navarrese and French forces sent by Henry d'Albret and commanded by Lesparre, driving them out of Iberian Navarre.

Crown of Castile Former country in the Iberian Peninsula

The Crown of Castile was a medieval state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and, some decades later, the parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then Castilian king, Ferdinand III, to the vacant Leonese throne. It continued to exist as a separate entity after the personal union in 1469 of the crowns of Castile and Aragon with the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs up to the promulgation of the Nueva Planta decrees by Philip V in 1715.


The Siege of Mézières (1521) took place during the Italian War of 1521–26. An Imperial army besieged the city (now part of Charleville-Mézières), which was defended by French troops under the command of the Chevalier de Bayard and Anne de Montmorency; the siege was unsuccessful, and the determined French resistance gave Francis I time to concentrate his forces against Charles V.


The Siege of Tournai (1521) took place during the Italian War of 1521–26. An Imperial army besieged the city of Tournai, capturing it from the French in late November; it would remain a Habsburg possession until the French conquest of the Austrian Netherlands in 1795.



The Siege of Genoa (May 20, 1522 – May 30, 1522) was conducted by an army of the Holy Roman Empire under the command of Spanish General Fernando d'Avalos and Italian condottiero Prospero Colonna against the French forces defending the Italian city. Since Genoa had refused to surrender, the Imperial troops were permitted to loot the city once it had fallen.


The Battle of the Sesia (April 30, 1524) was a battle in the Italian War of 1521–26 fought near the Sesia River that saw the Spanish-Imperial forces under Charles de Lannoy inflict a decisive defeat on the French under Admiral Bonnivet and the Francis de Bourbon, Comte de St. Pol, forcing the latter to withdraw from Lombardy.


The Siege of Marseille (August–September 1524) was conducted by an Imperial army under Charles de Bourbon (who had recently betrayed Francis I) and Fernando de Avalos against the French defenders of Marseille. Although Avalos heavily looted the surrounding countryside, he was unsuccessful in seizing the city; and, faced with the arrival of French reinforcements, called off the siege in September.


War of the League of Cognac






Italian War of 1542–46




The Siege of Nice took place in August 1543, during the Italian War of 1542–46, when a combined Franco-Ottoman force attacked and captured the Imperial city of Nice. [5]




St. Dizier

The Siege of St. Dizier took place in the summer of 1544, during the Italian War of 1542–46, when the Imperial army of Charles V attacked the French city of St. Dizier at the beginning of its advance into Champagne. The siege was already underway when Charles V himself arrived with an army of 14,100 (including 1600 sappers) on July 13. The next day an imperial commander, René of Châlon, Prince of Orange, was struck by a shot from the defenders, and died the next day with the Emperor by his bed (his title and lands going to his famous cousin, William the Silent). On July 23 French outposts near the besieged town were overrun, but a French army under the command of the Dauphin Henry maintained an observing position at Jalons. On August 17 the town surrendered. Charles elected not to attack the Dauphin's army and instead pressed on to Soissons.



1st Boulogne

2nd Boulogne



Beachy Head

Italian War of 1551–59

Mirandola (1551)




St. Quentin




  1. Baumgartner, Louis XII, 220.
  2. Baumgartner, Louis XII, 220; Norwich, History of Venice, 421. Baumgartner gives 8,000 as a minimal estimate, while Norwich gives 15,000.
  3. Guest, Ken, and Denise Guest, British Battles, p. 80
  4. Guest, Ken, and Denise Guest, British Battles, p. 85
  5. Arnold, Renaissance at War, 180; Blockmans, Emperor Charles V, 72–73; Oman, Art of War, 213.

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Further reading