The battle of Fornovo (6 July ) was an unsuccessful attempt by an Italian army to stop Charles VIII of France during his retreat from Naples. Battle of Fornovo Charles VIII, attempting to seize control of southern Italy for use as a platform for war against the Ottoman Turks, lead the most. Nicolle, David. Fornovo France’s Bloody Fighting Retreat. Oxford: Osprey, Santosuosso, Antonio. “Anatomy of Defeat: The Battle of Fornovo in
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The dead and even the wounded were looted by the victorious League infantry and then the local peasantry. After these religious rites various opinions were aired in the Senate.
The herald however replied that his King wanted free passage and that otherwise he would cross in blood over the dead bodies of the Italians. There is indeed nothing lasting under the heavens, and we must yield sometimes to fortune. The French rested for the rest of the day, then marched north during the night, reaching the relative safety of Asti on 15 July joining up with other French troops. The leaders feared that the Venetian Senate might postpone the war.
In this affair no form of cruelty seemed to be lacking. This handing out of territory is symptomatic of Charles’ lack of foresight. They had plenty more to draw upon. At length, when he saw that it was necessary to fight, he put all his trust in the courage of a few soldiers, in the strength of the Swabians, and in the wonderful mastery of his engines, and feigning hope on his countenance he seemed like a man entirely happy and of ready daring in arms.
Charles left Italy, without having gained anything. Many, fearing the difficulties of the terrain, halted this side of the river, but those who had zealously entered upon the struggle were soon in disorder and, not governed by one command, wielded their swords in varied confusion; the slaughter increased on all sides, and the victors could not be distinguished from the vanquished.
At length the opinion prevailed that the battle should be entrusted to fate. The main League force, under Giovanni Gonzago, attempted to attack Charles’s main battle, in the centre of his line, but the League troops had to move south to find a ford, while the French continued to move north. Date 6 July Forrnovo pointed out that the soldiers of Duke Lodovico were unfit for war and that there was moreover no hope in flight but only in victory.
A certain Carlo by the name of Ingrato kept shouting out that they were all being led to slaughter and that the commander was at fault. He had great credence and authority with the King, since he had left his son as hostage, and he wanted the Frenchman to acquire the rule and become arbiter over all Italy.
Small artillery was of no effect on either side because the gunpowder had been drenched by rain.
Francesco II Marquess of Mantua . Then the enemy by bringing together its wings trapped the disordered soldiers; they fought wounding one another, and the few were overcome by the many and killed. In the opposing army there were farmers of Parma who knew the terrain. But neither Frenchman nor Venetian wanted to continue the very bloody fight. Gonzaga had about 20, troops He feared that divine justice might suddenly plunge down from the loftiest heights to the lowest depths that very fortune which earlier seemed to promise the entire world.
The first line consisted of six hundred lightly armed Greek soldiers commanded by Pietro Duodo, fornvoo had been ordered to seize the highest point of the mountain from the rear, provoke the enemy, and throw them into disorder.
Alessandro Beneditti, The Battle of Fornovo (1495)
Already under threat of excommunication, Charles VIII was ordered to lay down his arms and promote the peace of Fodnovo by the pope. A few of the Greeks fought, and among them Pietro Busichio and Niccolo of Nin were wounded; the rest plundered the baggage train.
The French army got quite badly spread out along the valley, and in the end the advance guard escaped virtually unscathed.
There was in addition a large phalanx of spear soldiers. Both parties strove to present themselves as the victors in the battle. In the fornoo line Jacopo Salerno of Verona was struck by a large ball.
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Battle of Fontenay Aside from sowing tensions among the League commanders, the League army may have been in a better state compared to the French after the battle, suffering proportionately fewer casualties and possessing more fresh soldiers.
Already the report had gone around that the Venetians would by no means fight with the French, and therefore Ercole, duke of Ferrara, had sent a letter to the King in which he declared that the Senate had as yet not authorized the Venetian proveditors to fight.
Of the Latins in addition to those I have mentioned above Vincenzo Corso perished of honorable wounds; likewise Roberto Strozzi and Alessandro Beroaldo were found together in the midst of enemy corpses.
The French position was deemed to be good for defense because the Venetians had not cleared the field, fprnovo the rain had made the river banks slippery and impassable for the cavalry. After a like space came the last group, in which were four hundred horsemen and about a thousand foot soldiers.
But a truce was granted for burying the dead. The Venetian proveditors, riding toward the camp, forced back the fleeing soldiers whom excessive fear had made cowards even though no enemy was pursuing for terror had taken possession of most of them and reproached them severely for their vain anxiety; they pointed out that they themselves were unarmed and urged them to stop their flight and stay with them.
Certain standards of the infantry leaders fell into the hands of the Foornovo, and an almost countless number of 149 and mules was brought into camp.