|Active||15th to 18th centuries|
The Stratioti or stradioti (Greek : Στρατιώτες/stratiotes, Albanian : Stratiotët, Italian : stradioti, stradiotti) were mercenary units from the Balkans recruited mainly by states of southern and central Europe from the 15th century until the middle of the 18th century.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
Albanian is an Indo-European language spoken by the Albanians in the Balkans and the Albanian diaspora in the Americas, Europe and Oceania. It comprises an independent branch within the Indo-European languages and is not closely related to any other language in Europe.
Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, and together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a regional or a traditional language in these countries, where Italians do not represent a historical minority. In the case of Romania, Italian is listed by the Government along 10 other languages which supposedly receive a "general protection", but not between those which should be granted an "advanced or enhanced" one. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.
The Greek term stratiotis/-ai (στρατιώτης/-αι) was in use since classical antiquity with the sense of "soldier".The same word was used continuously in the Roman and Byzantine period. The Italian term stradioti could therefore be a loan from the Greek word stratiotai (Greek: στρατιώται), i.e. soldiers. Alternatively, it derives from the Italian word strada ("street"), meaning "wayfarer". The Albanian stradioti of Venice were also called cappelletti (sing. cappelletto) because of the small red caps they wore.
Classical antiquity is the period of cultural history between the 8th century BC and the 6th century AD centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome known as the Greco-Roman world. It is the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and Western Asia.
Cappelletti may be:
The stradioti were recruited in Albania, Greece, Dalmatia, Serbia and later Cyprus.Most of the names were Albanian, such as Gjon, Gjin, Merkur, Arbnor, Ilir, Agron etc., but a good number of the names were of Greek origin, such as Palaiologos, Spandounios, Laskaris, Rhalles, Comnenos, Psendakis, Maniatis, Spyliotis, Alexopoulos, Psaris, Zacharopoulos, Klirakopoulos, and Kondomitis. Others seemed to be of South Slavic origin, such as Soimiris, Vlastimiris, and Voicha. Also among their leaders were members of some old Byzantine noble families such as the Palaiologoi and Komnenoi.
Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, also known as Hellas, is a country located in Southern and Southeast Europe, with a population of approximately 11 million as of 2016. Athens is the nation's capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki.
Dalmatia is one of the four historical regions of Croatia, alongside Croatia proper, Slavonia, and Istria.
Serbia, officially the Republic of Serbia, is a country situated at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe in the southern Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans. It borders Hungary to the north, Romania to the northeast, Bulgaria to the southeast, North Macedonia to the south, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west, and Montenegro to the southwest. The country claims a border with Albania through the disputed territory of Kosovo. Serbia's population numbers approximately seven million, most of whom are Orthodox Christians. Its capital, Belgrade, ranks among the oldest and largest citiеs in southeastern Europe.
The Republic of Venice first used stratioti in their campaigns against the Ottoman Empire and, from c. 1475, as frontier troops in Friuli. Starting from that period, they began to almost entirely replace the Venetian light cavalry in the army. Apart from the Albanian stradioti, Greek and Italian ones were also deployed in the League of Venice at the Battle of Fornovo (1495).The mercenaries were recruited from the Balkans, mainly Christians but also some Muslims. In 1511, a group of stratioti petitioned for the construction of the Greek community's Eastern Catholic Church in Venice, the San Giorgio dei Greci, and the Scuola dei Greci (Confraternity of the Greeks), in a neighborhood where a Greek community still resides. Impressed by the unorthodox tactics of the stratioti, other European powers quickly began to hire mercenaries from the same region.
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.
The Ottoman Empire, historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.
Friuli is an area of Northeast Italy with its own particular cultural and historical identity containing 600,000 Friulians. It comprises the major part of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, i.e. the administrative provinces of Udine, Pordenone, and Gorizia, excluding Trieste.
In various medieval sources the recruits are mentioned either as Greeks or Albanians. The bulk of stradioti rank and file were of Albanian origin from regions of Greece, but by the middle of the 16th century there is evidence that many of them had been Hellenized and in some occasions even Italianized. Hellenization was possibly underway prior to service abroad, since stradioti of Albanian origin had settled in Greek lands for two generations before their emigration to Italy. Moreover, since many served under Greek commanders and together with the Greek stradioti, this process continued. Another factor in this assimilative process was the stradioti's and their families' active involvement and affiliation with the Greek Orthodox or Uniate Church communities in the places they lived in Italy.
Hellenization or Hellenisation is the historical spread of ancient Greek culture, religion and, to a lesser extent, language, over foreign peoples conquered by Greeks or brought into their sphere of influence, particularly during the Hellenistic period following the campaigns of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC. The result of Hellenization was that elements of Greek origin combined in various forms and degrees with local elements; these Greek influences spread from the Mediterranean basin as far east as modern-day Pakistan. In modern times, Hellenization has been associated with the adoption of modern Greek culture and the ethnic and cultural homogenization of Greece.
The Kingdom of Naples hired Albanians, Greeks and Serbs into the Royal Macedonian Regiment (Italian : Reggimento Real Macedone), a light infantry unit active in the 18th century. Spain also recruited this unit.
The Kingdom of Naples comprised that part of the Italian Peninsula south of the Papal States between 1282 and 1816. It was created as a result of the War of the Sicilian Vespers (1282–1302), when the island of Sicily revolted and was conquered by the Crown of Aragon, becoming a separate Kingdom of Sicily. Naples continued to be officially known as the Kingdom of Sicily, the name of the formerly unified kingdom. For much of its existence, the realm was contested between French and Spanish dynasties. In 1816, it was reunified with the island kingdom of Sicily once again to form the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
France under Louis XII recruited some 2,000 stradioti in 1497, two years after the battle of Fornovo. Among the French they were known as estradiots and argoulets. The term "argoulet" is believed to come either from the Greek city of Argos, where many of argoulets come from (Pappas), or from the arcus (bow) and the arquebuse.For some authors argoulets and estradiots are synonymous but for others there are certain differences between them. G. Daniel, citing M. de Montgommeri, says that argoulets and estradiots have the same armoury except that the former wear a helmet. According to others "estradiots" were Albanian horsemen and "argoulets" were Greeks, while Croatians were called "Cravates".
The argoulets were armed with a sword, a mace (metal club) and a short arquebuse. They continued to exist under Charles IX and are noted at the battle of Dreux (1562). They were disbanded around 1600.The English chronicle writer Edward Hall described the "Stradiotes" at the battle of the Spurs in 1513. They were equipped with short stirrups, small spears, beaver hats, and Turkish swords.
The term "carabins" was also used in France as well as in Spain denoting cavalry and infantry units similar to estradiots and argoulets (Daniel G.)(Bonaparte N.). Units of Carabins seem to exist at least till the early 18th century.
Corps of light infantry mercenaries were periodically reqruited from the Balkans or Italy mainly during the 15th to 17th centuries. In 1587, the Duchy of Lorraine recruited 500 Albanian cavalrymen, while from 1588 to 1591 five Albanian light cavalry captains were also recruited.
Stratioti were first employed by Spain in their Italian expedition (see Italian Wars). Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba ("Gran Capitan") was sent by King Ferdinand II of Aragon ("the Catholic") to support the kingdom of Naples against the French invasion. In Calabria Gonzalo had two hundred "estradiotes Griegos, elite cavalry".
Units of estradiotes served also in the Guard of King Ferdinand and, along with the "Alabarderos", are considered the beginnings of the Spanish Royal Guard.
In the middle of the 18th century, Albanian stratioti were employed by Empress Maria Theresa during the War of the Austrian Succession against Prussian and French troops.
The stratioti were pioneers of light cavalry tactics during this era. In the early 16th century heavy cavalry in the European armies was principally remodeled after Albanian stradioti of the Venetian army, Hungarian hussars and German mercenary cavalry units (Schwarzreiter).They employed hit-and-run tactics, ambushes, feigned retreats and other complex maneuvers. In some ways, these tactics echoed those of the Ottoman sipahis and akinci. They had some notable successes also against French heavy cavalry during the Italian Wars.
They were known for cutting off the heads of dead or captured enemies, and according to Commines they were paid by their leaders one ducat per head.
The stradioti used javelins, as well as swords, maces, crossbows, bows, and daggers. They traditionally dressed in a mixture of Ottoman, Byzantine and European garb: the armor was initially a simple mail hauberk, replaced by heavier armor in later eras. As mercenaries, the stradioti received wages only as long as their military services were needed.
The Battle of Fornovo took place 30 km southwest of the city of Parma on 6 July 1495. The Holy League, an alliance comprising notably the Republic of Venice, was able to temporarily expel the French from the Italian Peninsula. It was the first major battle of the Italian Wars.
The Battle of Dyrrhachium took place on October 18, 1081 between the Byzantine Empire, led by the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, and the Normans of southern Italy under Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia and Calabria. The battle was fought outside the city of Dyrrhachium, the Byzantine capital of Illyria, and ended in a Norman victory.
The Kingdom of Albania was established by Charles of Anjou in the Albanian territories he conquered from the Byzantine Empire in 1271. The Kingdom of Albania was declared in late February 1272. The kingdom extended from the region of Durazzo south along the coast to Butrint. A major attempt to advance further in direction of Constantinople failed at the Siege of Berat (1280–1281). A Byzantine counteroffensive soon ensued, which drove the Angevins out of the interior by 1281. The Sicilian Vespers further weakened the position of Charles, and the Kingdom was soon reduced by the Byzantines to a small area around Durazzo. The Angevins held out here, however, until 1368, when the city was captured by Karl Thopia. In 1392 Karl Thopia's son surrendered the city and his domains to the Republic of Venice.
Krokodeilos Kladas, also known as Korkodeilos, Krokondeilos, or Korkondelos, was a Greek military leader, specifically an armatolos, in the Morea who fought against the Ottomans on behalf of the Republic of Venice during the latter 15th century.
Bartolomeo Minio was, among other things, a Venetian captain and commander of Napoli di Romagna, a Venetian outpost on the Morea (Peloponnese) from 1479 to 1483. His reports (dispacci) to Venice provide a unique historical source for southern Greece in the later 15th century, during the first decades of the Ottoman occupation.
Sveti Marko is an island on the Adriatic Sea, in the Montenegrin municipality of Tivat.
Benedetto I Zaccaria was an Italian admiral of the Republic of Genoa. He was the Lord of Phocaea and first Lord of Chios, and the founder of Zaccaria fortunes in Byzantine and Latin Greece. He was, at different stages in his life, a diplomat, adventurer, mercenary, and statesman.
Venetian Albania was the official term for several possessions of the Republic of Venice in the southeastern Adriatic, encompassing coastal territories in modern northern Albania and southern Montenegro. Several major territorial changes occurred during the Venetian rule in those regions, starting from 1392, and lasting until 1797. By the end of the 15th century, the main possessions in northern Albania had been lost to the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. In spite of that, Venetians did not want to renounce their formal claims to the Albanian coast, and the term Venetian Albania was officially kept in use, designating the remaining Venetian possessions in the coastal regions of modern Montenegro, centered around the Bay of Kotor. Those regions remained under Venetian rule until the fall of the Republic in 1797. By the Treaty of Campo Formio, the region was transferred to the Habsburg Monarchy.
The Frankokratia, also known as Latinokratia and, for the Venetian domains, Venetokratia or Enetokratia, was the period in Greek history after the Fourth Crusade (1204), when a number of primarily French and Italian Crusader states were established on the territory of the dissolved Byzantine Empire.
Greek presence in Italy begins with the migrations of the old Greek Diaspora in the 8th century BC, continuing down to the present time. There is an ethnic minority known as the Griko people, who live in the Southern Italian regions of Calabria and Apulia, especially the peninsula of Salento, within the old Magna Graecia region, who speak a distinctive dialect of Greek called Griko. They are believed to be remnants of the ancient and medieval Greek communities, who have lived in the south of Italy for centuries. A Greek community has long existed in Venice as well, the current center of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy and Malta, which in addition was a Byzantine province until the 900s and held territory in Morea and Crete until the 1600s. Alongside this group, a smaller number of more recent migrants from Greece lives in Italy, forming an expatriate community in the country. Today many Greeks in Southern Italy follow Italian customs and culture, experiencing assimilation.
The Stato da Màr or Domini da Mar was the name given to the Republic of Venice's maritime and overseas possessions, including Istria, Dalmatia, Albania, Negroponte, the Morea, the Aegean islands of the Duchy of the Archipelago, and the islands of Crete and Cyprus. It was one of the three subdivisions of the Republic of Venice's possessions, the other two being the Dogado, i.e. Venice proper, and the Domini di Terraferma in northern Italy.
The First Ottoman–Venetian War was fought between the Republic of Venice and her allies and the Ottoman Empire from 1463 to 1479. Fought shortly after the capture of Constantinople and the remnants of the Byzantine Empire by the Ottomans, it resulted in the loss of several Venetian holdings in Albania and Greece, most importantly the island of Negroponte (Euboea), which had been a Venetian protectorate for centuries. The war also saw the rapid expansion of the Ottoman navy, which became able to challenge the Venetians and the Knights Hospitaller for supremacy in the Aegean Sea. In the closing years of the war, however, the Republic managed to recoup its losses by the de facto acquisition of the Crusader Kingdom of Cyprus.
Mercurio BuaCount of Aquino and Roccasecca was a famed condottiero and commander of the Venetian army.
The Realm or Kingdom of Candia or Duchy of Candia was the official name of Crete during the island's period as an overseas colony of the Republic of Venice, from the initial Venetian conquest in 1205–1212 to its fall to the Ottoman Empire during the Cretan War (1645–1669). The island was at the time and up to the early modern era commonly known as Candia after its capital, Candia or Chandax. In modern Greek historiography, the period is known as the Venetocracy.
The Ionian Islands were an overseas possession of the Republic of Venice from the mid-14th century until the late 18th century. The conquest of the islands took place gradually. The first to be acquired was Cythera and the neighboring islet of Anticythera, indirectly in 1238 and directly after 1363. In 1386, Corfu voluntarily became part of Venice's colonies. Following a century, Venice captured Zante in 1485, Cephalonia in 1500 and Ithaca in 1503. The conquest was completed in 1718 with the capture of Lefkada. Each of the islands remained part of the Venetian Stato da Màr until Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the Republic of Venice in 1797, annexing Corfu. The Ionian Islands are situated in the Ionian Sea, off the west coast of Greece. Cythera, the southernmost, is just off the southern tip of the Peloponnese and Corfu, the northernmost, is located at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea. In modern Greek, the period of Venetian rule over Greek territory is known as Venetokratia or Enetokratia and literally means "rule of the Venetians". It is believed that the Venetian period on the Ionian Islands was agreeable, especially compared with the coinciding Tourkokratia — Turkish rule over the remainder of present-day Greece.
Thomas of Argos was the captain of a battalion of Greek stratioti who served as mercenaries with the English army during Henry VIII's wars against the Scots. Some details about Thomas’s action are recorded by his contemporary Nikandros Noukios who followed as a non-combatant the English invasion of Scotland in 1545 and the expedition to Boulogne in 1546. A part of Noukios’ manuscript was published in English in 1841. A consequent part of the original manuscript, continuing the narration about Thomas, was published by the Greek historian A. Moustoxydes.
The Kingdom of the Morea or Realm of the Morea was the official name the Republic of Venice gave to the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece when it was conquered from the Ottoman Empire during the Morean War in 1684–99. The Venetians tried, with considerable success, to repopulate the country and reinvigorate its agriculture and economy, but were unable to gain the allegiance of the bulk of the population, nor to secure their new possession militarily. As a result, it was lost again to the Ottomans in a brief campaign in June–September 1715.
Theodore Spandounes was an early 16th-century Greek historian of noble Byzantine extraction, the son of exiles fleeing the Ottoman conquest of Byzantium who had settled in Venice in Italy. As a youth he stayed with relatives in Ottoman-ruled Macedonia and visited the Ottoman capital at Constantinople, acquiring a knowledge of their history and culture. In later life he served successive Popes as a counsellor and repeatedly advocated the dispatch of a new Crusade against the Ottomans. His chief legacy is his Italian-language history on the origins of the Ottoman state and its history up to that time, whose first version was published in 1509 in Italian and was soon translated into French. Spandounes continued working on it, with the final version appearing in 1538. The work is disorganized and contains errors, but is extremely valuable as a historical source for its wealth of information.
Emmanuel or Manolis Mormoris was a 16th-century Greek noble, rebel and military leader of the Republic of Venice. He was the military commander of a Greek revolt in Ottoman-ruled Epirus during the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1570-1573.
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