Sunday, 23 September 2012
Saint or sinner Cesare Borgia was an enigma even in his own time,depending on whether you accept the slanders of Guiliano della Rovere, who became Pope Julius II, who was the sworn enemy of the Borgis or the more balanced view offered by Machiavelli,that Cesare Borgia was a man born before his time.
Unfortunately for the Borgias', history is written by the victors, and Pope Julius wasted no time once he was in power to torture the servants of the Borgias' into making ridiculous claims about their lives and acts. Some were probably true,some were certainly total lies.
Either way his army is a colourful and interesting one to build.
Anyway I digress.
Cesare Borgias military career started on the night of 14th June 1497.
We can be exact about that,because that was the night his brother received nine stab wounds in his neck and body.
Juan Borgia Duke of Gandia, was no general but his father had indulged him by making him commander of the papal forces,which were then heavily beaten by Fabrizio Colonna earlier that year.
He also appeared not to be a very nice person per se, making enemies wherever he went. The biggest mistake he made however was standing in the way of Cesare. Now although no one was ever implicated in his murder,Alexander VI called off the murder investigation,and exonerated a number of noble suspects,the one name he left off the list however was Cesare.
Real politick or just hatred, who knows.
Cesare however absolved his vows as a cardinal and became via the papal alliance with France Duke of Valentinois, he also wasted no time in marrying Charlotte d'Albret.
From this point he was to ride comet like across the history of renaissance Italy before disappearing in an insignificant skirmish at Viana in Spain on 11th March 1507.
Cesare Borgias First Army.
Cesare for his first campaign was kindly loaned 1800 heavy cavalry and 400 Swiss and Gascon infantry by the King of France, Louis XII.
Cesare added to this a further 10,000 Italian mercenaries and the services of Achilles Tiberti and Bentivoglio, both noted condottieri. Not satisfied with this he also borrowed the French artillery park!
The first objective of this campaign,was the vicarite of Riario, namely the cities of Imola and Forli, home of the lovely Caterina Sforza.
Having no real field army to speak of Caterina Sforza decided to resist from her citidal at Forli.
In true Italian style Imola, fell without a shot being fired,the citidal holding out for several days,before the French artillery convinced the citidal commander,the condottieri Doinigi Naldi to surrender.
He subsequently took service with Cesare Borgia [wise chap], bringing with him the startof the Romagnol Infantry that Cesare was to use.
The city of Forli fell without a shot being fired,but Cesare,allowed the French troops to plunder the place in order to placate them.
The citidal of Forli was made of sterner stuff,plus it had the Caterina Sforza to contend with.After 21 days,the citidal fell,and Caterina Sforza was sold to Cesare Borgia by the French commander who was enraptured by her!
Cesare was not,and loading her with chains she was carted off to Rome in triumph.
The French then abandoned Cesare in mid campaign,and he had to postpone his attack on the city of Pesaro.
Bitterly reflecting on his over reliance on the French he marched back to Rome,and the adoring crowds.
The procession was headed by his personal guard of 100 infantrymen,dressed in black,their doublets embroided with the word Cesare in silver, these were followed by 700 Swiss pikemen and 125men at arms,all dressed in black, Cesare's favourite colour.
Caterina Sforza was dumped in the Castel Saint Angelo where she was convinced to sign over the rights of the vicarite of Riario.[wise woman]
Round one to Cesare Borgia.
In my next post, I will move away from history to discuss my wargame army etc.So stand by for a list or two.