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EMPIRE 1200-1670
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British Library Catnloguing in I'uhlication I h l a
Nicolle, David
Thc Venetian Empire I 200-1 700.- (Men-at-arms,
2 10)
I . I talian military li)rrcs I 200 I 700
I . Title I I . Series
ISBN 0-85045-899-4
Filmset in Grcat Britain
Printed through Rookhuildcrs Ltd. Hong Kong
The Enetian Empire 1200-1670
'I'hc story ofVenice is, to some extent, scparate from
that oft hc rest of Europc. The same could Ile said of
the city's military history and organisation. Early in
the 0th century the I'cnetians defeated Pepin the
Frank's attrmpts to overawe them, and they
remai~iccl, at least in theory, suhjcct to Ryzantium.
Gradually, however, Vcnice driftcd into indepcn-
dcncc; and sul)scquently carved out its own empire
at the expense of its fbrmcr Byzantinc masters.
'Their position on a series of islands set in a marshy
lagoon at the head of the Adriatic made the
Vcnctians virtually in\~ulnerahlc whilc thcy steadily
I~uilt up I~otll their commercial and naval strcngth.
In this the famous Arsenal of Vcnicc played a
leading r dc. Some kind of Byzantinc-style shipyard
and military depot may have existed as carly as thc
tjth century, though the medieval Arscnal was not
erected until I 104. Its name comes from the Arabic
I)nr nl Sirrn'n, 'Dockyard', and the conccpt clearly
owed as much to Islamic inspiration as to the
Byzantine moclel on which thc Arsenal was
supposed to I)e llascd.
By I 202, and t hr arrival ol'the Fourth Crusade in
Vcnicc, the city alrcady hrld much territory around
the Adriatic. l ' hc mcnacc of piracy had led
Vcnctians to seize the pirate-ink sted eastern shores,
where the in11al)itants of many towns still spoke a
lbrm of Italian, l ~ci ng clcsccnded from thc Latin
peoples oftlic lioman Empire. 'l'hc D O ~ P or Dukc of
Vcnicc already had, among his numerous titles,
that of Dukr of Dalmatia and Dukc of Istria whilc
the filmoils syml)olic ceremony ofSpo.,ali;io df l .\lor,
' hlarriagc to the Sea', had also bcgun. Vrnctian
tlomination of'nortli-castcrn Italy came much later;
but Vcnicc. did control the lagoon coast and took a
close interest in the military alTairs orits neighl)ours,
~):wticularly in the turbulent and only partially
Italian region of 1:riuli. Venetian merchant
ventures wcrr oficn almost piratical in thcmsrl\,cs;
and the city's tradr contacts, stretching lar bcyond
the Adriatic, wcre well rstal)lishcd bcfore the
creation of thc Crusader Statcs Icd to the founding
of scmi-autonomous Vcnctiar~ colonies on the coast
of Syria and Palestine.
'I'hc military ancl politicill slructure which
supported thcse adventures in Komnnia (the
Byzantinc zonc) and Olh.~m(lr~ ithe Rluslim eastcrn
Mediterranean) was itself a mixture of East and
West, Byzantinc and Italian systems. 'Thrsc wcl-c
The campanile or bell-tower of Koper (Capo dYIstria) which, in
the late 12th century, was Venice's main island stronghold in
Istria and fell finally under Venetian rule in 1279. This 15th
century tower also served as a lighthouse and observation post
against pirates, such tall structures becoming symbols of
Venetian sovereignty along the Yugoslav coast.
Carvings on the west door of Trogir Cathedral in Dalmatia,
made by Master Radovan in 1240. Though essentially
Romanesque in style, Radovan's carvings include unusual
costume and weaponry reflecting the Slav population of
Dalmatia. This archer (left) has a composite bow and a quiver
of almost Central Asian form. The 'Guards at the Holy
Sepulchre' (right) wear scale or lamellar armour over their
mail hauberks and, with their wide-brimmed chapel-de-fer
helmets, are probably based on Serbian or Byzantine soldiers.
Venetians had a businesslikc attitudc to war which
reflected in thc Dogc's ELvcusati or Guard as well as
his ccrcmonial parasol and sword. Nevcrthelcss, the
Venetian social order was strictly feudal. Though
within the city no individual held land by knight
tenure, various Church arid othcr propertics were
tied to military scr\.icc.
The Vcnctians were soon famous for their roving
and warlike spirit, keen business acumen and pride.
An almost modcrn scnsc of 'national' identity
unified the city and saved Vcnicc from many of
those class struggles which rent the rest of medieval
Italy. Even the Serrate thc 'locking' or 'closing' of
the Venetian ruling class at the end of the 13th
century did not dampen the loyalty of the
Vcnetians, rich and poor, to their Screne Republic,
even though it thereafter excluded all othcr families
from political powcr.
It is worth noting that only one Order of
Chivalry, the Cnz~alieri di San illarco, was ever
foundcd in Venice and no Venetian could join a
foreign order without government approval. Ve-
nice remained a rcpublic throughout its inde-
pendent history, while politics and the army werc
kept firmly separate. Belligerent as thcy werc, thc
seems to have been regarded as an cxtcrision of
commerce by other mcans. The early appearance of
mercenaries, ancestors of the fiimous Italian
condottieri, in 12th century Venice was a sign of this
attitude and not of any lack of martial spirit. I n fact
the Venetian Republic normally tried t o avoid
wars, unless these were obviously going to he
profitable. Nevertheless Vcnicc suffered a very war-
torn history, frcqucntly clashing with the rival
maritimc rcpublic of Gcnoa ovcr thc commercial
domination of various regions, struggling with
Hungary and later with the Ottoman Empire ovcr
Dalmatia, and bcing drawn into numerous wars in
defence of the Terra Firma, Venice's mainland
possessions. The Terra Firma was takcn partly as a
buffer against predatory ncighbours, partly to
guarantee trade routes to the Alpinc passcs, and
partly because Venice relied on mainland wheat for
its survival.
Later, of course, the Venetian Empire becam?
locked in a life-or-death struggle with the vast
Ot t oman Turkish Empire. These Venetian-
Ottoman wars look at first sight like a typical David
. .
and Goliath confrontation, but in military terms the
Venctians were not so small as thcy might have
appeared. From the very dawn of Vcnetian history
all classes were callcd upon to fight. Venice was a
grrat city with a population of some 200,000 by the
early 15th ccntury; was immensely wealthy,
politically united, and diplomatically experienced;
and had a huge navy.
'I'he people of medieval Venice were also noted
{'or their brawling and their love of display. While
for centuries oldcr men continucd to wear
traditional long dark cloaks, in the 14th century the
youngcr men adopted tight-fitting multi-coloured
hose. The dcsigns on these leggings often indicated
the C'umnpci~qnir &/la Calza or 'Trouser Club' to which
the wearer bclongcd. Sumptuary laws were
constantly cnactcd to curb the extravagant dress of
men and womcn, hut these could lead merely to a
change in fashion, as when legal but dull outel
garments were slit to reveal legal but more
sumptuous underclothes. This was probably the
origin ol' 15th and 16th century 'slashed' fashions.
Vcnetian love of display paradoxically made this
maritime city a European leader when it came to
jousts, tournaments and conspicuous consumption
by the military dite.
I n its own day Venice was seen as a paradox
through its ability, as a money-minded republic, to
defeat so often warlike feudal and Renaissance
princcs. Venice also enjoyed uncharacteristic
stability despite its turbulent politics and occasional
military disasters while, by the end of the 15th
ccntury, thc Vcnetian army remained the only
independrnt Italian military force in Italy. Even
the inexorable advance of the Ottoman Turks was
at first turned to advantage, Venice snapping up
naval I~ascs and colonies at a cheap price or in
return for protection. In this way the Venetian
Empire rcachcd a pinnaclc ofpowcr and prosperity
in the mid- I 5th century. The cosmopolitan
character of the city itself grew ever more
pronounccd through an obvious Dalmatian in-
fluence on many aspects of life, and the large Greek,
Armenian, Muslim and black populations within
Despite Venice's maintenance of generally good
rclations with the Ottomans until the late 15th
ccntury, thc Turkish expansion inevitably under-
mined Italian commercial domination of the
eastern Mediterranean; and as soon as the
Ottomans turned their attention to the sea a clash
became inevitable. Vcnicc's loss ofthe Greek island
of Evvoia in 1470 marked a turning point which
was rccogniscd even at the time. One year later the
Venetians were sendirlg armaments to Persia in a
classic effort to win allics on their enemy's eastern
flank. Thcsc years also saw Venice lose domination
of the scas, at least beyond t hr Adriatic, and the
start ofan epic na\,i~l stri~gglc such as had not been
seen Ihr centuries.
Venice I)ecan~c a truly imperial power in the wake
of the Fourth Crusade which, in 1204, scized the
Byzantine capital of Constantinople (Istanbul)
and, with Vcnetian aid, temporarily established a
'Latin Empire' in the Byzantine heartland. The
success ofmany such Western military ventures into
the eastern Mediterranean depended upon an
ability to transport war-horses long distances by
sea. This prohlcm had apparently been solved by
the Venetians in the 12th century with their use of
larger ships and a systcm of carrying adequate
drinking water.
The Fleet
Vcnicc's power depcndecl, of course, upon its fleets
which, whether pcacd'ul or warlike, were comman-
ded by an admiral advisccl by two government-
appointed ci\,ilians. Beneath the admiral were
proveditori, administrators and ~oflmcomiti, galley
captains. The chain of command was tightened as
the centuries passed. hut gallcy captains always had
a tendency to act as fi-ec agents, despite (lie creation
of a Captain General of the Sea in overall naval
command. A systcm of naval patrols was also set up
in the I gth ccntury to control the most sensitive scas
and, where possible, to cut of'encmy supplies.
The limitations of mcdicval shipping meant that
Venice could never entirely control any part of the
Mediterranean, though Venetian trade could be
protected and piracy suppressed. '4 convoy systcm
was nothing new, but by thc I :jth ccntury cscorts of
from 15 to 30 galleys protcctcd many slow and
vulnerable rncrchant 'round ships'. Thcsc convoys,
their routes and destinations, were strictly rcgulatcd
by the go\,crnment, but if their escorting gallcys
could be lured away or defeated, thcn Venetian
losses could be crippling. Such convoys wrrc,
however, only seen in dangerous scas or in wartime
as, for example, when Venice was locked in one of'
her numerous conflicts with her arch-rival, Genoa.
The very limited operational range of medieval
galleys at first confined convoy cscorts to the chain
of naval hasps which constituted the Vcnetian
overseas empire, or to friendly ports. Only the
building of much larger merchant-galleys, which
were able to defend themselves, enahled this convoy
system to bc extended beyond the hlcditcrrancan,
out into the Atlantic and even to the coa\t$ of
England and Flanders. The ahscncc of'a Vcnetian
galley fleet could also influence cvents on land, as
when the Byzantines took advantage of such a.
situation to recapture Istanhul from the 'Latin
Empire' in 1261. Furthermore, galleys had to
defend their own bases, captains and crews
manning the walls whenever they wcrc attacked by
Over 3,000 Venetian merchant ships were
trading by the mid- I 5th century, ancl many ofthese
could be readily convrrted into warships or at least
into military transports. In the Arsenal were a
reserve oforiginally 25, later 50 and eventually ~ o o
war-galleys. The defensive equipment carried by
each ship was closely regulated by the government.
I n 1255 a small vessel carried five assorted
crossbows, a large ship at least eight, plus helmets,
The port of Amasra on the Black Sea, though held by Venice's
deadly rival Genoa, was a typical Italian medieval fortified
outpost surrounded by potentially hostile territory and
existing solely to secure the home city's trading network.
Amasra finally fell to the Ottomans in 1460.
sliiclcls, jn\:clins, spears and grappling hooks.
hlcclicval ships also had very large crews,
particularly when 'armed' for a voyage in
tlangcrous waters.
Evcn a mcrchant ship would then carry at least
G o mcn, an ordinary galley from 240 to 280. Skilled
sailors wcrr recruited in Vcnicc, Dalmatia and
Grcccc. Thcrc were no galley-slavcs in the Middle
Ages and oarsmcn came from Venice or its empire,
particularly li-om Dalmatia. Venetian oarsmen
were sclcctcd hy lot fiom the city's parishes, being
financially supported by those who remained
t~chind. From the 14th century debtors were
rccordcd workinq olT their obligations at the oars.
Rowing skills wcrc encouraged through races and
regattas in Vcnicc, especiall) on the feast day of St
Paul. Other cornpctitions includcd a sort of rough
watcr polo, and watcr-tilting: hcrc joustcrs stood on
the stvrn of tach boat as thcy rowcd towards each
othcr, the loser I-wing pushed into the canal. At sea
sailors and oarsmcn wcrc armcd with swords or
spcars, but changes in weapons technology grad-
ually Icd to a decline in the military status of the
ordinary sailor. Yct all aboard wcre still expected to
light wh(*n ncccssary, cvcn the mcrchant passen-
gers. Every man had his weapon, the most
important being stored beneath the captain's cabin.
l'roli~ssional soldicrs or marines had always sailed
irl,o:lrd ship, 1x11 their r6lc bccamc more important
as wcaponry became more powerful and expensive.
Vcnctians uscd javelins as late as the I 5th century,
while othcr weapons included cooking pots filled
The fortified galley-harbour at Amasra where Genoese ships
could shelter, not only from the Black Sea's fearsome storms
but also from rival Venetian, Ottoman and other fleets. It was
a very simple structure compared to the later Venetian galley-
harbour at Zadar (see page 24).
Carved ivory cantle of an early 14th century Italian saddle.
Here a knight has a great helm and early forms of plate
armour for his arms and legs (Louvre, Paris).
with $oap to makc the enemy's decks slippery, lire-
grcnadcs and blinding sulphur. Swimmcrs could
cvcn attack thc roc's hull, thrcatcning to sink hirn-
though in fict very few ships wrrr actually sunk in
medic\.al warfidrc. C>rossl,ows wcrc now thc main
long-clistancc weapon, contact and hoarditig still
deciding the final outcomc. I n I 303 thc govcrnmcnt
instructrd that each gallry carry 30 such cross1)ow-
men, who would also row on the innrr 1,cnches.
Shooting practice was compulsory in \'enice,
citizens training at the butts in groups of 12. 'I'hey
also competed in three annual competitions where
the government offcrcd rich prizcs: valual~le scarlct
cloth for thc winner, a shorter length of cloth plus a
new crossbow and quiver for the runners up. Onc
group of crossbowrncn known as thc 'noble
bowmen' wcre recruited fi-om thc aristocracy and
served aboard both war galley\ and armcd
mcrchantmcn from thc latc 14th ccntury onwards,
having the privilege of living in thc captain's cabin.
Such scrvicc could also be the first stcp in a military
or political carccr. Few professional mcrccnarics yet
seem to have servcd at sea, and no maritimc
condottieri are recorded until the mid-16th century.
Another important fbundation ol'vcnctian naval
might was her ability to mas\-proclucc ships in the
Arscnal. 'I'hcsc now had thc Li-amc-first system
which difI'crcd fiom Gracco-Roman shipping in
that the ribs or fi-amc were constructed before the
planking was applied, thc ancients having made a
planked hull to which they then attached the ribs.
This modern system was not only hst cr but used
much less wood. War-galleys wcrc thcmsclves also
changing. Though thc diffcrcnccs between early
Carved capitals on the lowest level of the Doge's Palace,
Venice, early 14th century. Among the military figures on
these carvings are a head wearing a bascinet and mail aventail
with loosened bretache hanging from the chin (left); and a fully
armoured rider carrying an unidentified weapon (right).
mcdicval Byzantine dromon~, with their two banks of
oars, and the single-banked Italian war-galley arc
not yet entirely clear, a new systcm of grouping the
oars does seem to havc bccn invented in thc I I th or
I ath centuries. This systcm alla, or 'in simple
fashion', was itsclf to be supcrccded early in the 16th
ccntury. 'Great galleys', dcsigncd specifically fbr
long-distancc trade in dangerous waters, also
appearcd in the mid-14th century. Heavily
defended, though bulky and unwieldy, merchant
'round ships' also proved their' worth against the
Ottomans whcn the latter suddenly turncd to naval
warfare latc in the 15th century. By then
hlediterranean ships cmploycd the morc efficient
stern rudder instead of thc steering oars that had
bccn uscd since antiquity. Though this invention is
gcncrally hclicved to havc cntcrcd the Mediter-
ranean from northcrn Europc, rcccnt evidence
shows that it was known to Muslim mariners as
carly as the I I th ccntury and may also havc been
known to the Byzantines. Other technical advances
includcd thc compass, which was clearly of Islamic
and ultimately Chinese origin.
Ramming was no longer an important naval
tactic, the truc ram having been replaced by the
higher and morc flimsy calcar or boarding 'beak'
carly in the Middle Agcs; but even a cakal- could
smash the enemy's oars and cripple his rowers. A
gallcy's defences werc conccntrated in the bow,
where a stone-throwing catapult might also be
mounted in the wooden rembata or castle, and to a
lesser extent in thc stern. Wooden parapets or
in7pazjesnti ran along each side of the ship to protect
the oarsmen. Greek Fire and other pyrotechnics
werc greatly feared, some ships being swathed in
protcctive vinegar-soaked hides or slicets of kl t in
time of battle. Yet battles on the open sca remained
rarc. Apart from defending convoys arid suppress-
ing piracy, the primary function of thc Venetian
gaileys sccms to have been in 'combined oper-
ations', supporting a landing force either to attack
an encmy base or defend thcir own. Thc Vrnctians
were noted experts when it came to attacking
harbours and sea walls. Even the catapult aboard
ship was, in fact, called a lifaboli or 'shorc: buster'.
Wooden towers could be erected on deck to overtop
the land defences. Small boats could 1)e slung
between the mast-heads to carry crosshowmen, and
spars could be swung from ropes as Inttcring rams.
When battle between opposing fleets did occur it
often began with the same ceremonious courtesy as
a land battlc. A special flag, with a sword pointing
skywards, could be raised to signal a willingness to
fight, and enemy standards would bc trailed in the
water behind victorious ships whcn they returned to
port. A commander's primary tactical considcr-
ation was to kecp his fleet togethcr. Then hc had to
make best usc both of his low but fast and
manoeuvrable galleys and his slow but tall and
almost invulnerable 'round ships'. Abo\lc all he had
to break the enemy formation bcfore overwhelming
it piecemeal by boarding. This could be achieved by
feigning flight, then turning on the foe; or by
catching his gallcys with thcir sails up and oars
stowed. Navigation was almost always within sight
ol'larid, so that a concealed part of the fleet could
launch an aml)ush kom behind islands, capes or
I~ays. Consequently small scouting vessels also had a
vital r6lc to play in naval warfare. If necessary
warships could I)(> lashed together to form a static
floating fi)rtrcss. They could be beached with their
strongly defi.nclecl hows pointing out to sea, or be
moored stern to the hrach ready to he cut loose at a
moment's notice.
Evcn the appearance of the first cannon aboard
ship did little to change such traditional tactics until
the late 16th century. Such b0rnbard.r were recorded
in the ii)rccastlcs of'a few Vcnctian gallcys in the
137os, and l ~ccamc standard armament in the 15th
ccntury. Numerous small guns were by then
mounted on galleys and round ships to cut down the
enemy crew, whilc a single larger cannon could Ilc
placed in a galley's bow to pierce the enemy's hull or
topple his mast. Such weapor~ry at first proved very
successful against Ot t oman galleys, whose crews
still mostly used composite bows.
River Warfare
Vcnicc was also involved in warfare along the broad
rivers, lakes and marshes of northern Italy, though
not always with great succcss. Most such campaigns
arose aster Vcnicc conquered wide territories on the
Terra Firmu in what are now Loml,ardy, the Veneto
and Friuli, where river fleets could support
Venetian land armies. Full-sized galleys operated
on Lake Garda and great rivers like the Po.
Kckrence to the lirst galleon;, probably meant small
galleys with an upper fighting deck over the
oarsmen. Ot her vessels included sailing ships, and
the little hulrhe which carried only three rowers and
two crossl)owmcn. Vcnicc maintained sizcablc
fleets of' such vessels until the use of accurate
cannon, liring from a river's banks, put an effective
end to this type of warfare at the end of the I 5th
ccntury. This was, however, a form of combat in
which somc of Venice's ril~als were already skilled.
Evcn the fleet of six galleys and 25 smaller craft
which Vcnicc launched on Lake Garda in the
winter of 1439-40 was almost immediately des-
troyed I)y Milancsc lake crafi. This had been an epic
of military engineering in which, for I 5 days, the
Venetians hauled their ships up the River Adige
and across a low mountain range to Lake Garda.
The castle at Trogir, Dalmatia, which still has carved Venetian
coats-of-arms set into its walls.
The Army
The Venetian army was quitc as eiTectivr as its fleet,
despite jibes that the marsh-dwelling Venetians
didn't know how to ride properly. 'l'lic armies of
13th century Italian states already included
mcrcenarics hom other parts of the country in
addition to a Seudal leader's own m(t.cnctda. hlost
early rt3th century Venetian troops wcrc, however,
still recruited from thc lagoon arca, plus a fclv
Dalmatian and Istrian fcuclal contingcnts. In
emergencies, like that of 1 q 4 , the Vetwtian
parishes registered all males between 17 and 60
years of age and listed all the weapons they
possessed, those callcd to fight I~cing organiscd into
groups of I 2. Such domestic troops, conscripts and
volunteers, were still prct'crrcd to mercenaries in
14th century Vcnicc. Most fi)ught on foot whilc
richer mcn or aristocrats ser\,cd as a cavalry, as they
did in all Italian cities. A register ol' 11338 estimated
that 30,000 Venetians could bear arms; nor were
they a mere rabble, as in somc othcr medieval
urban militias. Marly were skilled crossl)owmen,
while others fought with slings and lire-grenades.
Venice also had its own local prokssional soldiers, a
small corps of infantry guarcling vital castles like
Mestre and Treviso; but no full-time Venetian
cavalry were as yet recorclccl in the 14th century.
'I'hc Iirst truc Vcnctian standirig army emerged
quitc suddenly early in the 15th century and
consisted, as elscwhcrc in Italy, of condottie~z
mercenary contract \oldicrs. Such a force was
clearly needed to defend Venice's ricw mainland
territories on the T e r ~ u 1;ilma. The Republic's
contribution to an alliancr with Florence in 1426
Effigy of unnamed Venetian knight, midllate 14th century. The
man wears typical armour of his period, though the crossing
of the chains from his coat-of-plates to his sword and dagger,
and the large buckle-cover on his sword-belt, seem to have
been fashionable in Venice. (Victoria & Albert Mus., London)
consisccd of no less than 8,000 ca\.alry and :3,ooo
inli~ntry in time of'war, :3,ooo and I ,ooo rcspccti\~ely
in peacetime. 'l'hc almost continuous warfhrc oft hc
lirst half' of the I 5th century Iccl to such standing
armics, thcir support systcms and associated
taxation 1)ccoming an accepted fact ofVenetian life,
while the mainlancl city 01' Hrcscia hccamc thc dr
f i rc/ o headquarters ol'thc Vcnctian army. Unifbrms
wcrc at lirst rare ancl only ceremonial, being
cm1)lazoncd with the Lion of St Mark. Later in the
15th century red and white striped jerkins for at
least the prorlisionnti di .S. .2lnrco militia bccame
increasingly common. Kcwards for loyalty or
success included gcncrons cash payments c\.cn to
thc huml)lc rank-and-file, pensions l i ~r the wounded
or herca\~ccl and honours li)r thcir Icadcrs. This was
clearly no longer :I mcdieval army, hut a
Kcnaissancc Torw with many modern attributes
and attitutlcs.
Vcnctian tactics on lancl were the same as thosc of
otlicr Italian armics'. In the 12th and 13th
centuries militia infantry Ibught in close-packed
ranks with liirgc sliiclcls ;uicl usrd thcir spears as
pikes, though thcrc was already an increasing
numl)cr ol' cross1)owmcn protected by similarly
large shields. High stand;lrds of disciplines and close
co-operation bctwccn horse and foot also set such
Italian Ibrccs apart from thosc of'thc t ~ s t of Europe.
1:ourtccnth ccntury Venetian armics had to face
Hungarian in\.asions in Friuli as well as thc forccs of
other Italian cities. O n occasion Vcnctian ar-
mourcd cavalry dismor~ntcd to fight dcfcnsivcly on
foot in \\?hat was thcn rcgardccl as an English tactic.
CVlicn the lagoon itsclf'was invadcd by Gcnocsc and
P;tdrrati Ibrccs in I 379 the \rcnctians built wooden
'Src hfcn-at-Arms I :if;. Ilrrlin~r .\ludiu7~rrl :tlrni/,.\ r . v o rgoo.
forts and palisades, I);~rric:tdctl sonic c;lnals with
chained ships, t)lockcd others with sunken 1):~rgc.s.
ancl h;~rasscd the cncmy in I~otli small I)oats ancl
galleys. Vcnicc not only survived this threat 1) i t t
triumphed. and went on to win cstcnsi\rc Trrrn
1;irmn territories in 1 404-5.
From thcn until tlic crisis of I 509 Vencti;ln land
fbrccs were gcticrally on the ofk~isivc ant1 provcd to
11c the most cfTcctivc in Italy. 'l'licy fbught not only
Italians and Hungarians I)ut also Germans ;itid
French longt)owmcn who, in 1449, i~sccl I<nglisl~
archery tactics against Vcnicc's great conrl o/ / i ~?~
lcadcr Rartolomco Collcorii. Juft i~nclcr years
later the I'cnetians wcrc lacccl Lvith li~ll-blown
Ot t oman Turkish raids dccp into I.'riuli. 'l'his was
something totally new and, despite Venetian
cxpcriencc of war against hlu\lim Turk\ in thcir
o\.crscas empire, the dcknccs ol' Friuli litilcd
dismally. 'The Vcnctians had to withdraw into thcir
fbrtrcsscs, leaving the countryside to the faster
lightly equipped Ottoman cavalry. 'I'l~c one major
t ~at t l c resulted in a scrious \'cl~ctian,
although, by assembling a much larger army, the
Venetians did beat ofi' later Ottoman raicls. Such
erpcricnccs convinced Vcnicc to employ its own
stradioti 'colonial' light cavalry on Itnlia~i soil, to
improve its domcstic military training, and to
overhaul the system of sclcctivc conscription.
However, another scrics of Ottoman r;licls in 14')')
again proved to bc \-irtually unstoppal)lr. A massive
French invasion of Italy at the critl ol' the 15th
century brought a series of devastating dckat s for
thc Venetian army, culminating in the dis;\stcrs of
I 509. Yct even in 1508 the Venetians Iiacl managed
to beat off a detcrminccl invasion I)y the Emperor
hlaximilian of Germany: not only was his army
dcfcatcd in thc mountains near Picvc di C:nelorc, t~uc
Vcnicc counter-attacked and captured further
tcrritory in Friuli and Istria.
Command of the army difkrcd lrom that of the
Ilcct. An ancient tradition stated that Vcrictian
~iol)lcmcn coi ~l d command dctachmcnts of' no more
than 25 men, yet an ovcrall Master of Soldiers had
1)ccn known since thc earliest days. The position of
Captain General appcared as an emergency
measure in the rqtli century. hut overall manage-
ment ol' military alI'airs still lay with a civilian
commitccc of20 $Ynoii or Wise Men. Remarkable as
it might seem, such constant civiliari arid political
intcrfkrcncc ill military and na\.al affairs did not
alliact cllicirncy; in li~ct it sa\,cd Vcnicc from the
military take-overs which plagued othcr It al i ar~
city-states. Long cxpcricncc of seafaring and naval
warl i re gave Vc~i i cc a supply of men ~r cl l able to
accept tlic rcsponsil)ilitics of leadership, parti-
cularly ol' i~i(iintry Sorcvs. Armies wcrc normally
commantlcd I)y Vcrictian noblcmcn, though
profi-ssionals li-orii the T r r r ~ Firmn and later even
mercenary co~1(/0//i(~ri were given command. Ven-
etian military thinking was, however, singularly
cautious. Lust tin glory ran a poor second to
achieving victory with the minimum cxpcnditurc of
I ~ot h I~lood and treasure. Another feature of
Vcnctian military lire was the /)rozrrditorr or civilian
commissioner. who accompanied an army and kept
a watchful commissar-like cyc on everything,
particularly on the mcrccnarics. ,A scrics of nee\.
/ )ror~~di / ori r0lcs was set LIP in the latc I 5th century,
including tllc combat rank of' commanding
lkrocious Ralkari or Grcck ~t rndi ot i fbrccs in Italy. By
1509 t l i c~c supposedly civilian commissioners also
commanded the Italian light cavalry and thc
Despitc thrir wet>-footed reputation. the Venetians
had licldcd ctkcti\.c armoured cavalry even in the
Effigy of Federico Cavalli, late 14th century. The Cavalli were a
military family, some of whom served Venice as condottieri
mercenaries (in situ church of S. Anastasia, Verona).
Mid-15th century carving of unknown Venetian coat-of-arms
supported by two soldiers in distinctive Venetian colonial
armour. On the left, a fully equipped man-at-arms wears a
helmet remarkably similar to some found in the Venetian
fortress at Khalkis (see line-drawings). On the right a
similarly armoured crossbowman spans his weapon using a
cranequin or rack-and-pinion system (in situ Jurja Barakovica
Street, Sibenik).
13t h century, a regulation 01' 1239 assuming onc
war-horse, two othcr horscs and thrcc. squires fbr
each Vcnctian knight. 'I'hc I '4th ccntury poct
Prtrarch dcclarcd that this 'nation of sailors'
surpassed all othcrs both on 11orscl)ack and at sca.
Various Venetian aristocrats I)rcd line horses on
their mainland estates, though most animals wcrc
imported fiom Germany and Hungary. Th r war-
horse was by far thc most expcnsivc part o f a man-
at-arm' s equipment. By the I 5th ccntury i t 1)ecamc
normal to attack an cricmy's animal rather than the
rider, thus making losses higher and the pro1)lcms of'
replaccmcnt cvc-n worse.
Heavy cavalry wcrc. organisccl into small units 01'
l n n z e this consisting 01' a man-at-arms, a lightly
armed sergeant and a page or mounted scr\,ant. By
the 15t h ccntury many il' not most such mcn-at-
arms were short-term condoltirri rnrrcenarics. A
more st al ~l c Ibrmation, the Inns(> .~/)r;;a/u or 'l)rokcn
lance', was mcanwhilc csta~~lishctl, consisting of
veteran or picked troops ~>crrniincntly comrnittctl to
Canal entrance to the Arsenal, Venice, looking towards the site
of the Old Arsenal. The Gate of the Arsenal, on the left, was
rebuilt in monumental style in 1572 following victory over the
Ottoman fleet at Lepanto.
Vcnc.tiul~ scr\.icc. -1. h~ man-at-arm's cbquipmcnt
was now so cxpcnsivc that ;I separation began to
appear I~ctwccn the Li~lly armourcd elnzetti and the
slightly less prestigious utili. Numerous severe
clcfcats sullkrctl I)y armourcd cavalry at the hands of
infantry during the 14th ccntury had clearly not
untlcrmincd Ihith in the man-at-arm's military
potential. His armour was now so sophisticated that
the lanze en.joycd a renewed lease of life well into the
I 6th century. Fifteenth century Vcnctian lanri also
included mounted crossl)own~cn and even mounted
hand-gunners, though not the infantry component
that appeared in Francc arid Burgundy. Along with
the employmerit of stradioti, Venetian Lbrces now
recruited a variety of other types of separate and
more mol,ilc light cavalry formations. In fact,
Vcnicc played a leading r dc in the dcvclopmcnt of
western Iuropcan light cavalry during the late
medicviil and licnaissancc periods.
Given the ancient Vcnctian tradition ol'all classes
carrying arms and of the government cncouraging
military training among the ordinary people, it is
not surprising to find that Vcnctian intiintry were
both numerous and efkctive. Among the earliest
were the Militias of the Six FVards or clistricts of'
Vcnice. In I 262 these se.s/ieri were increased to 500
men per parish, partly to help the Signori cli .No/ti
maintain order at night. In the 14th century these
men were still selected by lot. Men chosen fix the
prestigious and lucrative r d c of crossl~owmcn
aboard merchant ships and galleys were also
selected from among the best at thc various shooting
ranges in Venice. Men aged I~ctween 15 and 35
were enrolled as crossbowmen by their parish, then
being divided into duodene (groups of 1 2 ) under a
local officer who was also responsible Ibr their
training at the local butts. Since all classes lived
crowded together within Vcnicc, the duodene
included rich and poor, noble and commoner, who
trained ant1 hught together. Not a11 fi)ught as
crossl)owmcn, ol' coursc. Ot her infantry weapons
designed specifically to combat cavalry included
the long mace-like weapon5 and harhcd spcars
which wrought havoc among invading Hungarians
in 1373.
'I'he i'litc of' i7cnctian infantr) werc, however,
drawn from the ranks of the =Ir~etm/otti, the highly
skilled and well-paid craftsmen of the Arsenal. They
provided guards for the Dogc.5 Palace and other
government buildings, acting as a police force and
even a lire-I~rigade, as well as furnishing detach-
ments ofwcll-equipped infantry. The Arsenal itself
was also a wcapons factory and arms store, as well as
I~ci ng the most famous ship-building yard in
Europe. In I 3 I 4 no lcss than I , I 3 I crossbows were
stored within its walls, whilc its newr rope-making
hctory, dating from 1303, madc thousands of
crossbow-strings. The Cbm/)ngni della C a l ~ n or
'Trouser Clubs', which had been created in the I 5th
ccntury largely for the entcrtainmcnt of the young
men, also pro\lided trained volunteers when called
upon, whilc the unemployed could also find
thcmsclvcs cn1istc.d. I n real emergencies Venice fell
hack upon mass conscription so that Venetian
infantry Ihrccs could sometimes l)c very largc-up
to ' ~0, 000 iit t hr start of the 16th century.
By this timr militia officers wore a breastplate
and a sallct hrlmct, hut the quality of their troops
varied considerably. In general Venetian militia
rrmaincd 1)y far the 1)est in Italy, though thosc of
Venicc itscll'wcrc normally superior to thosc of the
Turra Iqirma. In fact thc latter werc often used
mcrcly as pioneers or lal,ourcrs. Tlic status of
infhntry liitd sunk consideral>ly I)y the year goo,
despite the appearance of Italian hand-gunncrs in
the ~qqos and the division of infantry Sormations
into 'ass;tult' troops with sworcls or short spcars, and
& .
f~rc' companies with crossl)ows or guns. In 1qj o
efforts liad I)ccn madc to train two men fi-om each
Terra 1;irtna village with handguns hut riot until the
crisis of I 50:) liad passed could a full overhaul oft he
Vc n c t i ; ~~~ militia system I)c carried out.
Armies at home and abroad
Venice's lirst serious in\lolvcment on the Terra Firma
dated from 1338, with her defeat of Padua and
scizurc oL'Trc\riso. Henceforth Vcnicc was a major
powcr on tlic Italian mainland, and after 14'3 a
fundamental shift in Venetian policy committed
11cr to further tcrritol-ial expansion. Vc ~~i c c went on
to conquer a largc. part of nortlicrn and north-
eastern Italy. Though tlic go\.rrnment and military
organisation of thrsc territories varied, it was
generally lcss opprcssivc than elsewhere in Italy.
. .
Venice was, of course, primarily concerned with
security, hod supplies and access to the Alpine
passes rather than military glory, so that hcr light
hand inspired considcral)lc loyalty on ihc Turra
Firma. This was even true in a backward and still
essentially fcudal area like Friuli, wticrc the warlike
Friulani were noted as swordsmen. Terr-a 1;irmo
urban militias or Ordinan,y trained ci ~ch Sunday,
Statue of 'Orlando' by Bonino of Milan, 1413. This knight,
representing Dubrovnik, wears typical early 15th century
Italian armour of the kind used by the military (lite of
Dalmatia ( i n situ main square, Dubrovnik).
1stanI)ul (Constantinople) in I noq, Vcnicc carefully
selected a num1)cr ofstratcgic trrritorirs as her share
of the shattcrcd Byzantine Empire. She was not
intcrcstccl in largc mainland territories which
would he diflicult to dcfrnd and cxpcnsi\~c to
govern. Rathcr the Vcncti:uis wanted domination
of the lucrative trade routes, so thry took part of'
Istanbul itselC a chain ofislands and most ofthc I~cst
harbours around Greece. Finally they I)ought the
great island of Crctc Lbr 30 Ibs of'golcl. Vcnicc had
thus, at one stroke, won an cmpirc. Organisirig i t
-a. - .
was anot hrr matter. The old Vcnctian territories in
- .. --
, 4.7 ,$, . :.
the Adriatic had retained their traditional systems
i. , , , of government. though unclcr Vcncria~n counts or
,A+.' -'
local families of pro\,r.n loyalty. 'I'hc new cmpirr in
I .@"- . . , . ,, .. 'Romania', as i t was known, was placed under
) .:, .
: -7, governors sent directly ti-om Venice. C:rctr was
. /" - . . ,..
, a 5 , :
-., :$
slightly difkrcnt on account of its size; a Vcnrtian
j - : .
4.. : . .;
duke was responsible for t hr island's dcfi.nces and
. ..
presided over a new feudal class of colonists, plus
; those few Greek aristocrats who rctaincd their land.
Permanent military f'orccs soon appcarccl clsc-
whcre in this cmpirc, long 1)ch-c they did in t hr
. . ... ,
. Terra Fi rma. Most were enlisted from thc local
'St Michael', wall painting by Vincent of Kastav, 1474. Part of a
cycle of paintings in Istria which include typically Venetian
weapons such as the three-bladed ronco and, as here, typical
German armour. Venetian Istria was bounded by Austria
while Hungary and Ottoman-ruled Bosnia lay just over the
mountains (in situ church of St. Mary, Beram).
and totallctl al)out 30,ooo men. In many arcas the
old country Icvic5 had rcmaincd cfli,ctivr fighting
troop5 throughout thc I 3th century. Such forccs
were rc\li\.ccl earl), in thc 16th century when they
wcrc known ;I\ ret?ricl~. Llscwhrrr the peasantry
scrvccl as rur;~l guerrillas, harassing ;In invader. On
the other halid the full-timc ur l ~an garrisons of thc
\;cnctian Terra Fil-ma wcrc often ofvcry low quality,
consisting of' rctirrd veterans or men with no
military training whatsocvrr.
Venetian forccs stationed ovcrscas in the empire
' nc l 121nrc', were ofmorc consistent quality and often
occupiccl isolatccl or hazardous outposts. Apart
from the hugr t)ooty won with the conquest of
Rear view of Verrocchio's statue (c.1485) of the famous
condottiere Bartolomeo Colleoni who served Venice faithfully
for many years. It shows a perfect example of late 15th century
full-plate armour in the Italian style. For a front view see MAA
136, Italian Medieval Armies p.34 (in situ Campo SS. Giovanni e
Paolo, Venice).
military Clitcs, though even in the 13th century
Italians wcrc being recruited for servicc overseas. In
1369 Venicc's Cretan lkudatories rose in revolt. The
rising was crushed alicr hitter fighting, and
thereafter ttic dcfi~nces of Crctc wcrc stifycncd by
many rncrccnarics, Italian infintry taking a major
rGlc though Italian cavalry were morc rarely
rccordcd. 1,ocal .dl-ccdio~i provided the bulk of horsc-
Each part of the Vcnctian empire difTcrrcl in the
details of'its military organisation. Istria had finally
l)ccn co~iclncrcd late in the I gth ccntury aftcr a
scrics ofamp11il)ious operations by galley fleets. 'I'hc
Ibrtifications of'thosc places, like 'I'ricstc and Kopcr
which had clclicd Venetian control, were disman-
tlrcl. Kopcr was placed urldcr the joint rulc of' a
pod(~.c/a civil govcrrior and a proz~rdilorr military
admi ~~i st r; ~t or. Zadar, the main Vcnctian naval
I~asc in Dalmatia, fi-cqucntly rc\:ol tcd against
Vcnctian rulc and had, in fact, hccn rcco\w-cd
during the. first I~at t l c of the Fourth Crusadc.
Duljrovnik resisted Venetian control morc cffcc- ant1 was only ruled 11); Venicc f'rom I 205 to
I 358. Elscwllcrc the Venetians left day-to-day
'Battle of Anghiari (~qqo)', painted cassone chest by school of
Uccello. In this battle the Venetians and Florentines under
Sforza defeated the Milanese under Piccinino. (Nat. Gall. of
Ireland, Dublin)
afyairs in local hancls while firml?. controlling the
ports, thosc islands with a traclition 01' piracy, and
acccss to the vital h)rcsts hom which most Vcnctian
ships were I)uilt. Otlicrwisc Venice had n o interest
in thc blcak limestone mountains oft he liintcrland.
Some citics wcrc o1)ligccl to supply ships to the
Vcnctian flcct Zadar no Icss than 30 galleys fully
manned whi l e all hacl to supply sailors, plus
militias fbr their own dcfi,ncc. 'I'hough the
countryside rr:mainccl firmly Slav, the. Italian
character of' thc major I);llrn;~ti:in cities was 1;ully tr;~itlccl crossl)ow militias
became a fkaturc. of' these c.itic,s, while D;llmati;ln
peasant warriors still ;rpl)arc~itlp. used composite
bows of Byzantine or almost 'I'i~rkisli 1i)rm.
The Middle Eastern charactc,r of Vcnctian
colonial troops in Crctc and (' J I -. ( ( , ce was evcn more
ob\.ious. Ev~~oi a. known to the Venetians as
Ncgropontc, was almost as I)ig iln island as Crctc
and was the key to Vcrirtian powrr in the .+legcan.
I t hristlrd with Sortilications, including a tower
I~uilt in the midst of t hr Iuri pos channel where up
to 14 tides flowccl in ;I single day. Only one of the
most senior Venetian administrators could hccomc
Rnilip or governor of Evvoia, and the colony's own
flag was Hown or1 a I)rollzc flag-stafl' outside the
Catlicclral of San Marco in Vrnicc itself on
ccrcmonial occasions.
Ot hcr lcss important Aegean islands wcrc mcre
\tops along the traclc routes or I~a\cs from which to
control piracy. The Cyclaclcs archipelago, thcorcti-
cally a lirfof the Latin I h p i r c of Constantinoplc,
wa\ actually held by various Vcnctian familics who
placed loyalty to Vcnicc above mcrc Scudal
obligations to that \hart-lived 'cmpirc'. The tiny
island of Kithcra, ofl' the southern tip of Grccce,
pro\.idcd vital communications Ixtwccn Vcnicc
and Crctc: i t c\-cntually had 110 less than thrcc
castlcs and a sizcal~lc garrison. Corfi ~, at the mouth
'Venetian Stradiotti at the battle of Fornovo (1495)' from a
French print made a few years later. Here a combined Italian
army under Venetian leadership was narrowly defeated by the
invading French, but not before the stradiotti light cavalry had
caused terror on the French flank. (Nat. Gall. of Art,
of the Adriatic, had originally fi~llcn to Vcnicc
during the carving-up oft he Byzantine I mpi r r , its
Seudal obligatiorl I~ci ng the supply of20 knights and
40 squires. Corfu was, however, soon lost to the
Kingdom of Naples and had to he purchasrd back
in I 386. Ot her temporary Vcnctian possessions in
Grcecc included Moncmvasia, Mcthoni, Argos,
Corinth, Navpaktos, Nauphlia and cvcrl Athens.
As the Ottomans advanced across <; in the
14th century thesc outposts I~ccamc Iillcd with
Byzantine rcfugccs. Marly came from the old
military elite and took service with Vcnicc as
.rtrndioti light cavalry. Among them wcrc famous
namcs like Graitzas Palacologos, From thc last
Byzantinc ruling Samily, who rosc to command all
Vcnctian light cavalry. At1 cllbrt to drive the
Ottornans out of the Peloponncsc in I 463-4 with an
army of ~t rndi of i , Italian hand-gunners and con-
dof t i ~r i hcavy cavalry failed. This was the last major
Vcnctian land ofl'ensive in the cast. Thcrcaftcr
defensive operations were lcfi to thc naval and
garrison infintry and to d~n( l zof / , who not only
fought thc Ottomans on their own terms hut wcrc
much cheapcr to maintain than Wcjtcrn-style mcn-
at-arms. Wielding short lances orjavclins, bows and
light swords, and heinq relatively lightly armoured,
such stradioti wcre recruited in Greccc, Albania and
Dalmatia. 'I'heir loyalty was rarely in doubt, their
ferocity provcrhial, and their habit of collccting thc
heads of slain foes never seriously discouragcd.
Nevertheless, signs of declining Balkan and Greck
support for Vcnicc became apparent cven by the
15th century.
Crete remained the prize possession and Venice
had to fight for it against both local Greeks and
Genoesc free-booters. To ensure its subjcction thc
island had been dillided into six sections namcd
after the six districts of Vcnice. Beneath these came
I 32 knights' fees and 405 infantry sergeantries
mostly held hy Venetian military settlers. For-
tifications sprang up all over thc island, particularly
along the northcrn coast. Yet Crete proved not to be
the land of opportunity as had at first been hoped.
Even by I 332 many of the Venetian settler knights
wcre too poor to afford proper military equipment.
Many of their feudal serfs were of Arab origin,
drscendrd from Muslim conquerors who had ruled
Crete centuries earlier. Though unfree, they could
tie summoned for military service, whilc Greck
Cretans were also conscripted when nccded. The
Cretan talent for savage guerrilla warfare first
became apparent during the mid-13th century
rehcllioti which was, however, equally savagely
crushed. Another uprising in the mid-14th century
confirmed the Venetians in their view of Cretans as
untrustworthy savages, and the latter in their
hatred for Venetian colonial rule. Nc\lrrthelcss
Cretan infantry archers wcre soon fighting along-
side Venetian crosshowmen in the Trl-1-0 I;ima.
From the Fourth Crusade's conquest of Istanbul
in I 204 to thc Byzantine regaining oftheir capital in
I 261, Venetian merchants dominated thc Black
Sea. This dangerous area spanned the rich caravan
routes from Iran and China, and was also an
important source of wood from which crossbows
wcre made. In 1261 Venice lost her paramount
position to the Gcnoese, who were close allies of a
revived Byzantium. But, despite the dedicated
hostility of thesr two Italian maritime rcpuhlics,
Venice and Genoa frequently co-operated in the
hazardous environment of the Black Sea. This was
particularly apparent in the Crimca, where a
number of originally Byzantine ports served as
'Portrait of an unknown Florentine knight' by Piero di Cosimo,
c.1515, showing the fluted armour popular in northern Italy
from the early 16th century. (Nat. Gallery, London)
termini fbr the trans-Asia11 Silk Koad ;is well as
routes north into filr-rich Russia and Siberia. 'rhrrc.
were, of course, bloody clashes, but Venetians and
Genoese 110th feared the might of t hr ncighbouring
Mongol Golden Horde and its successor Khanates.
The Crimca itself was a rcmarknl~ly mixed area.
with Armcnians forming a majority in some trading
towns and Christian Goths, dcsccndants of Dark
Age and perhaps suhscclucnt Anglo-Saxon rclilgcc*
settlers, inhabiting the coastal mountains. At Kaflil
the Genoesc even had a capi/aneu.c Cothir in charge ol
Gothic troops, plus m.c/rl/ani and other li~ll-time
military officials. The Italians lost the Clrimca to thc
Ottomans in 1479, the Black Sea l~ccoming an
Ottoman lake within li\.c years. alier which the only
'Western' merchant \~csscls to sail its watcrs wcre
those of Venice's old Dalmatian ri\lal, l)ul>rovnik.
The mcrcenary elcmcnt in Venetian armie\
steadily increased over the centuries. R.lcrccnaries
had long been a li.aturc ol' Italian warfarc and
northcrn Italy remainetl tlic m+jor source ol'such
'Knight adoring the Virgin and Childy by Catena, early 16th
century. The warrior's turban and a curved dagger on the wall
suggest that he represents an 'oriental', perhaps one of the
Three Wise Men or a Venetian stradiot light cavalryman. (Nat.
Gallery, London)
troops for Vcnicc. Among the first non-Italians to
be hired wrrc Catalan crosshowmen late in the I ~ t h
ccntury. Forcigncrs I,c.camc morc common in 14th
century Venice, as they wcrc clscwhcrc in Italy,
though the Venetians rarncd a reputation as
notably hard 1)argaincrs when i t came to drawing
up thc mndotta contract. Such contracts wer?
generally very dctailvd, specifying arms and
equipment clown to the last detail. Foreign
mercenaries were not normally permitted to livc in
Vcnicc itscll' l)ut were housed in barracks or
bachelor houscs within the citadels of the Terrtr
Firmn. Thrrc the troops soon intcgratcd into the
local communities, marrying local girls and even
setting up local l~usincsscs. Yet discipline could still
he harsh, with hangings or mutilations for serious
ofEnscs like desertion. Condottiuri lcaders who
hctraycd Vc ni c ~ wcrc publicly humiliated by
having thcir portraits hung upside-down in public
places such as the Rialto brothel.
Condotfieri infantry wcrc sent ovcrscas in the 14th
ccntury, serving in Crete and elscwhcrc. The
grcatrst succcsscs of these highly trainrd pro-
fessionals wcrc, however, in dcknce of the T u r n
1;irmn. 'I'hcsc wcrc achieved not only against other
I 8
condoltieri but most notably against Hungarians in
Friuli early in the 15th century. Among Venice's
non-I talian mercenaries werc German gunners and
pikemen, English archers, Gascons, Swiss, Al-
banian mountain infantry, Dalmatians and Crctan
archers. Condottipri infantry wcre used in great
numbers during the 15th century, proving much
casier to hirc and fire than thc prouder and morc
expensive ca\:alry. Such mrrcenary infi~ntry forccs
normally included spearmen, crossbowmen and
shield-bearers in equal number. But all thcse
mercenary forces had the disadvantage of short
contracts, after which the men could go and hire out
to another state.
Thc long Venetian tradition of military training
and splcndid tournaments, in which cvcn strndioti
wcrc taking part by 1491, stood Venice in good
stead. Archery butts for crossbow practice wcre
dotted around the city and the Lido. Prizes werc
generous, and in 1506 shooting ranges and
competitions for handguns wcre similarly set up,
indicating just how important these new wcapons
had become. Other warlike pastimes included
barely controlled battlcs with stave5 and fists
between the three eastern and the three western
iertieri parishes of Venice. Oflicially inaugurated i l l
I 292, they tcnded to take place between Scptcmhc~
and Christmas. Normally focusing on the 1,ridgcs
which lacked parapets in those days-they cndccl
with the losers frilling into the canal. Sham sea
lights, assaults on mock castles, and bagordi or light
cavalry manocuvrcs of attack and withdrawal
clcarly inspired by Balkan or Islamic military
practice, wcrc also a feature of I 5th century Venice.
So was the clearly non-European Moresca war
dance with blunted daggers. On a more serious level
twice-yearly military parades and inspections were
designed to weed out incompetent troops and to
chcck the quality of military equipment.
Siege, Fortification and Firearms
Venrtian 4cge warfare, at least on land, followed
the Fame patterns as elsewhere in Europe. By the
early 16th century the defcnce of a city like Padua
depended upon an exterior water-filled ditch and
lnassccl artillery in raised earth bastions to cover
gates and other wcak points. The stone city wall was
strengthened Ily having earth piled against its inner
litce I)chind which was another ditch backed by
casemates and towers. Finally there came a high
emt~ankment with a parapet serving as an assembly
point and additional artillery platform. Crossbows
were still uscd by militiamen, but handgunners
providcd the most erective answer to infantry
Venice first uscd, and faced, firearms in 1376
when 110th thc Venetians and Austrians employed
I)oml,ards in open battle. Guns played a more
signilicant r0le against the Genoese a few years
latcr; and by the early 15th century the Venetian
army clearly had an artillery train while cvcn the
river fleets carricd numerous small cannon.
River wall and bastion (left) of the 16th century defences of
Kotor. The land walls may just be seen rising from left to right
up the precipitous slopes of Mount Lovcen.
Firearms: A-Barrel of Schioppo hand-gun, 14th C. (Mus.
Civico Marzoli, Brescia); &Breech-loading cannon seen from
beneath, of type which could be mounted on the bulwarks of a
ship, 15th C. (Mus. Civico Marzoli, Brescia); C-Mid-15th C.
handgun, shown on right in reconstructed wooden stock (Mus.
Civico, Trieste); &Military wheellock pistol with German
barrel & Brescian stock, mid-16th C. (Armoury of Doge's
Palace, Venice); E-Italian caliver matchlock, length almost
1.5 metres (after Held).
Grenades werc also rccordcd, hut it was the
development of the hand-gun which was to prove
most dramatic. I n thc 14th century such wcapons
had less armour-pcnctrating capability than cross-
bows, though they werc cheaper; hut improvcmcnts
in the manufacture of saltpetre and the use of longer
barrels rapidly incrcasccl muzzlc velocity. The great
Venetian rondot ~i er~ leader, Colleoni, was popularly
credited with first using field artillery on mobile
carriages, and though he might not actually have
bcen the first, he certainly used thcsc new wcapons
very cfTcctivcly. 'l'hc Vcnctians wcrc also en-
thusiastic about developing new explosivr wcapons,
including gunpowder-filled mines and the long-
barrelled and highly mobilc ba.rili~rk siege gun. 'I'he
Arsenal obviously played a major part in thcsc
developments, bur was cqually clearly unable to
manufacture as many cannon as were nccdcd in the
15th ccntury. Meanwhile iron was smelted and
worked for military purposes in a walled area of
furnaces known as the Gctto, latcr to Ix:comc tlctter
known as thc Ghetto or Jcwish quarter of Venice.
The failure of Venetian artillery against an
invading French siege train at the end of the 15th
century seems not to havc rcsultcd from inSerior
wcapons hut from French numerical strength and
far greater mobility.
Mhice on the Dfdtz.ciue
I n 1509 Venice faced the League of Cambrai,
which pitted most of Europe against her alone;
among thcsc foes was France, whosc armics were
among the most powerful of the day. Only two
months alier a huge explosion in the Arscnal's
gunpowder store, Venice was dckatcd at the
disastrous hattlr of' Agnadcllo and the Turn Firmn
was lost. I'hcsc tcrri~orics were to t ~ c gradually and
patiently regained; hut the most rcmarkablc aspcct
of this appalling year was, in fact, the Republic's
From thcn on Venice adopted a grimly defensive
stance, shunning all alliances and strcngthcning her
frontiers with thc most modern fortifications. The
proportion of cavalry to infantry in her armies was
drastically reduced, as in most other European
states, while an ever-growing Ottoman naval threat
to her overseas territories demanded cvcr more
galleys, plus the marines and guns to fi l l them. On
the other hand, Venetian military organisation
became more and more conservative and predict-
able. Considerable efforts wcrc devoted to avoiding
war with the Ottomans and to maintaining strict
neutrality in European affairs. The army and fleet
co-opcrated more closely than ever. 'l'hc formcr
concentrated on mainland threats from Hapsburg
Austria and Ottoman-ruled Bosnia, the latter on
naval threats not only from thc Ottomans but also
from those champions of Christendom, thc Span-
iards, who now ruled southcrn Italy. Venice may
have shrunk to a second-class power, hut thc
wisdom of these policies resulted in the remarkably
long l i k of her empire, which survived until
Napoleon's takeover in I 797. Machiavclli's damn-
ing explanation of the Venetian dcfcat in 1509 as
resulting from a 'miserable baseness of spirit caused
'The Story of St Ursula' by Carpaccio, 1493. Left--the pilgrims
arrive at Cologne, showing fully armoured men equipped in
Venetian style and an archer with a late Byzantine style of
sword. Belo-assacre of the pilgrims by Huns, showing
lightly equipped soldiers who are probably based on Venetian
stradiotti. (Academia Gall., Venice)
1)y a wretched military system' was proved wrong
11y survival for almost three more centuries against
all the odcls of I'uropean history.
One result ol' Vetlice's changecl situation was a
return to reliance, as far as possible, on her own
men. Mercenaries werc still recruited hut such
troops were now less available and Venice was also
short ofcash to pay them. 'I'he Venetian aristocracy
remained small, never numbering more t han 2,500
adult males, in comparison to its military, naval,
political and administrative responsibilities. Or -
dinary people wcrc now less willing to send thcir
sons as soldiers, so that Venice was obligecl to
pardon criminals in return fbr their enlistment. The
city increasingly relied on men Srom the Term Firnin
which, despite its problems, was tied to Venice by a
grudging sense of mutual advantage. The Ven-
rtians tliemselvcs rcmained a multi-cultural and
even multi-racial society. Nevertheless there werc
still far more renegades from Christendom to Islam,
and Ii-om Venice to the Ottomans, than vice-versa.
Christians also trcated their Muslim prisoner slaves
IBr worse than Turks treated Christian slaves,
largcly because Christian society lacked the
religious-legal sanctions to deal with such matters.
hlcanwhilc the control oS militarv affairs was
concentrated in the hands of a college of experts
much like a modern war council. Spies and
inli)rnmrs played perhaps a greater r6le in Venetian
military preparations than anywhere else in
Europe, while in the 16th centurv Venice itself
became a centre for the writing and printing of
military hooks and maps. Military construction.
skilled artisans, and above all the making of bronze
cannon were increasingly concentrated in the
Arsenal under the closest goirernment super\,ision.
While the Trrra Firma generally remained loyal
to Vcnice, the eastern province of Friuli was $till
very backward and virtually feudal. I t was here
that Venice faced serious mainland threats Srom
both Hapsburg Austria and the 'I'urks. Both were,
however, contained; and it would be fair to say that
the Ot t oman failure to conquer Italy, largely as a
result of Venetian resistance, had a profound eff'ect
on the course of Renaissance and European history.
Venetian woodcut showing the siege of Padua. Note the
besiegers' use of cannon, handguns ignited by a second man
with a heated touche, and the defenders' use of incendiary
grenades (from Niccolo degli Agostini, Li Successi Bellici
published in 152 t ) .
I n I 6 I 5- I 7 Venice 1i)ugIit her I;rst ~n;!jor lancl M' ; I ~,
again against t11(, H;ll)sl)urgs who, tlirougli
Archduke Ferdinand 01' Austria, wcrc protecting
the troublesome Uskok ~)iratcs 01' S(.nij in the
northern i1dri;ltic.
Uskok and other pir;ttcs, 11l11s ;I n;l\~;ll thrrat to
Dalmatia Srom Spanish Naples. wcrc tlic main
problems confi-onting Vcnicc in the late r(ith and
I 7th centuries. 'l'he Uskoks clairnccl to t)c Crusaders
fighting the Ot t oman inliclcl. I ~ut in I'act they caused
more trouble to Christian Vcnicr. r\lthough thcir
I~asc at Senj was nomin:tlly in Hapsl)urg territory,
the Uskoks wcrc in reality liec.l)ootc~rs. Nor Lverc
they the onl ~. pirates in t lie ;Iclri;~tic: Sp;rniartls,
French, Dutch, I'nglish, Knights of hfalta ancl
'I'uscan Knights of' St Stc-l)li(.ri all ~)rc:yccl on
Venetian shipping. il4uslim corsairs include-tl
Ot t oman Turks, r\/luslims I)ased in All):uii;r and
southern Dalmatia. as wcll as tlic limous Barbary
Corsairs Gom North Alrica. Yet they were not
pirates in the true s c ~~s c , since thcir activities, like
those oS C11risti;in corsairs attacking Ivluslim
shipping, wcrc gc~icrally liccnsccl Ily their rcspecti\.c
'St George' by Carpaccio, c.1500. The saint is shown as a fully
equipped Venetian man-at-arms, though without a helmet (in
situ Scuola di S. Giorgio degle Schiavoni, Venice).
'I'hc main threat to Venice's overseas possessions
naturally came from thc Ottomans. The Empire D a
Al arr was thus divided into Sour defensive zones: the
Gulf of Venice and Istria; Dalmatia and its islands;
the C;rcck islands and Crete; and, far to the east,
Cyprus, which had only fallen under Venetian
control in 148!). Dalmatia scrvcd as the mainstay of
Venetian naval power while the rest ofthe maritime
rmpirc retained its original strategic function as a
chain of heavily defended bases, though the
Ottomans had already broken through this chain in
many places. There was also an increasing tendency
for Vcnicc's Grcck and Balkan sul?jects to flee the
ever heavier hand of Venetian colonial rule for the
relative freedom of Ot t oman territory. To some
extent Vcnicc was surviving on her past reputation.
I n fact, such was the awesomc. &me of the Arsenal
that riews of another devastating explosion in 1569
was said to have encouraged the Ottomans to
invade, and ultimately seize Cyprus.
The Fleet
Ilefencc of overseas t~ascs still rested primarily on
the galley whose crrws were still used as land or
amphibious hrccs. bSo/~raron7i/i galley captainc were
the di t c of the Venetian military cstahlishment,
with their wide experience not only ofnaval wartarc
but of gunnery and combat on land. Invarial~ly of
noble rank, thcir battle discipline was high hut thcir
sense of responsibility could at other times l,c poor.
They frequently took thcir ships 'off station' on
private voyages back to Venice; decorated thcir
galley's poops with unauthorised and appallingly
expensive gilded woodwork; constantly demanded
new ships and generally treated thcir vessels as
personal cruisers. In many ways these men,
ferocious and skilful fighters as they were, had much
in common both with medieval knights and with
some air aces of the Great War!
Altogether, however, there was a steady decline
in Venetian naval efficiency Srom the late 16th
century onwards, despite a great victory over thc
Ot t oman fleet at Lepanto in I 570. The shortage of
crews became acute. Bigger warships, such as a
'great galley' flagship of I 601, carried 572 men, lo
being oarsmen, I 32 being soldiers and thcir officers.
Senior men fought in full armour, marines in lighter
cor.raletti of plate, while oarsmen wore light hclmrts
and metal-lined corrazzini flexible body armour.
Free oarsmen still helped the gunners in unskilled
capacities, but Venice had already I~ecn obliged to
lower her standards of naval recruitment in thr
mid-16th ccntury. By the I 7th ccntury standards
wcre sometimes abysmal. In I 539 conscription from craftsmen, Vcnctian captains bcing instructed to
thc parislies had been abandorlcd in favour of cnsurc that such men were 'killed in whatcvcr secret
quotas of' oarsmcn from the guilds and Scuolp or and discrcct manner you sce fit to use'.
rdigious fratcrnitics. Albanians, Dalmatians, The number of fighting men aboard a ship
Greeks and Jews from Corfi ~ included oarsmcn who dcpendcd on whcrc she was sailing. 'I'hough
had simply I)ccn press-ganged. Convict oarsmen selected militia units wcre still used at sca, those who
werc brought, or c\.en bought, from ncighbouring volunteered for such voyages wcrc often dcspcrate
states as filr afield as Bavaria. Chained, ill-clothed, men, sea service 1)cing paid at lowcr ratcs than
underfed and dying in large numbers from service on land. Th r impossibility of running away
exposure, thew. convict oarsmcn wcre nevertheless when fighting aboard ship meant that even infrrior
entrusted with weapons in battle. They remained militiamcn performed better at sea than on land.
much more important to the I 7th century Venetian The scapoli were, strictly speaking, volunteer
flcet than did true galley slaves. The latter could marines as distinct from the soldali who wcrc troops
gencrally be distinguished by a Tartar-style single raised in timc of war for comlmt wherever needed,
tuft ofhair upon their heads, while the convicts were on land, sea or in amphibious campaigns. Such
shaved Inld. ~oldati were gcncrally raisrd t ~ y condotlirri mercenary
Vcnicc had for long put Christian prisoners to the leaders. Aristocratic volunteers were still recorded,
oars while merely slaughtering all Muslim, re- but it is also clear that marly such 'Nobles of'thc
negadc and Uskok prisoners, male or fcmalc. Rut Quartcrdeck' took their pay hut ncvcr wcnt to sea.
- - . .
the chronic shortage of oarsmen obliged Venice to Early I 7th ccntury naval weapons included the
follow other Christian navies by putting captured longbow, which sccms to have had a revival,
Turks on the benches. Huge numbers of Ottoman whereas crossbows wcrc gcncrallv abandoned in
prisoners wcrc, of course, available after the battle favour of handgum. Later 5tcc.l-armed cros\bows
of Lepanto; and though thc supply later dwindled,
Christian fleets continued to usc more galley-slaves 'The Battle of Lepanto (1570)) painted by an anonymous artist
shortly after the battle, one of the most detailed repre-
than did the essentially volunteer-manned Muslim
sentations of the victory over the Ottomans. Note the
galleys. Mercy was still not shown to 0 ttoman
heavy bow guns, the arquebus-men massed upon the decks,
and the poorly clad galley-slaves. (Ham House, Victoria &
officers, naval captains, skilled navigators or Albert Mus., London)
numbered from as little as I I small guns on a light
The galley-harbour of Zadar (see plans of fortification), !ying
between the i ~ e r city (left) and the outer defences (nght).
Zadar was the main Venetian naval base in Dalmatia and this
harbour could contain a small fleet of warships.
were remarkably accurate and immensely power-
ful, with a bow tension ol'over 3 kg, but they were
slow and difficult to use, whcrcas anyone could
blaze away with an arquc.l~us or heavier musket at
the short ranges of' t i a\ ~; ~l comt ~at . Confhsingly,
however, na\.al handgunncrs were still oftcn
referred to as bale~tiet-i or crossbowmen.
Naval gunncrs 1i)rmed the real Clitc. Graded in
three ranks they ucrc trained in thc Scuola di Sta.
Barbara in Vcnirc, or in other artillery companies
around thr Tvrra 1;irma and overseas territories.
They cnjoyccl numcrous tax concessions, had the
right to bear arms, and wcrc rcsponsihlc not only for
the artillery I I L I ~ also Lhr signal rockets and other
incendiary dc\~iccs. 1:ull y trained gunners were,
however, few (only 2 I among a great galley's
complemt.nt of' 572) SO 0th" mcmhcrs of the crew
had to help load, shift and even fire the guns. These
galley, up to q n on a great galley, including a pair of
culvcrins weighing over I 0,000 Ibs each. Most naval
artillery seemed designed for ranges of I oo paces or
more. The guns werc placed in a galley's bows,
being aimed by manoeuvring the ship itself. Brcech-
loaders were preferred for the lighter artillery since
these could br loaded under cover without exposing
their gunners to enemy short-range fire; and bronze
cannon were valued, since they did not rust at sea.
At its peak ofefficiency the Venice Arsenal could fit
out, arm and provision a newly built galley with
standardised parts on a production-line basis
unscen anywhere else until the Industrial Re-
Though fire-pots and other traditional in-
cendiary devices were still being used, fundamcntal
changes in naval gunnery were becoming apparent
as efforts wcre made to sink or disable a foe with
cannon alone. Light galleys had no part in this
na\,al re\iolution, but they remained a vital element
in the Venetian fleet. Their design was also steadily
improved, with yet another system of rowing being
introduced around 1534: known as a1 ~caloccio, it
reduced the number of now larger oars, each being
pulled by a team of fi ve to seven oarsmen. Various
experimental warships were built in the late 16th
century, but the most dramatic newcomer was the
gallea3 which, developed from the old merchant
great galley, had already put in an appearance at
Lepanto. Thegalleas was a huge galley which served
as a floating fortress in battle. Its cannon, often
The late 16th century Venetian fortress guarding Iraklion
harbour, Crete. The low profile and thick walls were designed
to resist artillery; above the entrance was a finely carved
marble Lion of St Mark, the symbol of Venice.
1: Venetian knight, early 13th C.
2: Dalmatian urban militiaman, mid-13th C.
3: Dalmatian moldier, mid-13th C.
1: N. Italian crossbowman, c.1330
2: Italian armoured infantryman, c.1320
3: Knight, Collalto family, c.1340
1: Jacopo Cavalli, c.1380
2: Venetian infantryman, late 14th C.
3: Cavalli trumpeter, late 14th C.
1: Dalmatian crossbowman, c.1440
2: Dalmatian infantryman, c.1440
3: Dalmatian knight, mid-15th C.
4: Italian peasant levy, 15th C.
N. Italian crossbowman, late 16th C.
Venetian militiaman, late 16th C.
Venetian man-at-arms, late 16th C.
1: Stradiot, c.MO
2: Venetian light cavalryman, c.1500
3: Greek noble, early l6th C.
1: %mmaso Morosini, c.1647
2: Venetian arquebusier, elvly 17th C.
3: 'Scappoli' volunteer, early 17th C.
'Augustino Barbarigo', commander of the Venetian galleys at
the battle of Lepanto, by the school of Titian, late 16th century.
He wears the full uniform of a Venetian general. (Mus. Storico
Navale, Venice)
mouritcd on wheeled carriages, were now ranged
along its sides instead of being concentrated in thc
bow. Yet, despite occasional spectacular successes,
the ga1l~n.s was too slow and unwieldy to be widely
uscful and few were l ~ui l t .
The 16th ccntury gnlleon, unlike its riverine
namcsakc of an earlier century, was a slimmed-
down version of the merchant 'round ship' and as
sue11 was an armccl sailing vessel. It too could serve
as a floating fortress in a major naval confrontation,
but i t was oflittlc use against small pirate galleys in
the conl i ~~cd spaccs of the Dalmatian coast or
Acgcan isli~ncls. The superiority of northern pirate
ships in the new warfare under sail led Venice to
hire and cvcntually copy thcsc vcsscls which wcrc
known to thc Vcnctians as bertoni. Not until 1667
dicl Vcnicc start l~uilcling its own 'ships-of-the-line',
using an English warship as a niodcl, so far had sunk
the one-time 'h4istrcss of the Seas'.
With the consolidation of Ottoman power
throughout the, Balkans and Middle East, and
Venice's policy of avoiding alliances, the Venetian
cmpirc was more isolated than ever. Strategy, as
wcll as the cost of updating fortifications, was
increasingly conccntratcd on the ma.jor anchorages:
Zadar, Sibenik, Kotor, Corfu, Iraklion, Kyrenia,
Famagusta and Nicosia. Corfu, dcscribcd as 'the
heart and soul of this state', was the lynch-pin ofthe
entire empirc. From hcrc anti-piracy patrols as wcll
as great fleets could operate. True blockades were
still impossible with available naval technology
while, in turn, vessels as powerful as thcgalleas could
almost always force their way through Ottoman
resistance with supplies for distant Venetian
outposts. Modern artillcry also enabled bigger
merchant ships to defend themselves, so it was the
smaller ships that suffercd most from pirates and
Land Warfare
On land major tactical changes had altered the face
of European warfare in the early 16th century, with
great armies now seeking a decisive blow rather
than indulging in the elaborate manoeuvre and
attrition of previous centuries. Far higher casualties
were sun'ered than had been normal in medieval
and early Renaissance warfarc. Yet this was a
passing phase, hccause improvcmcnts in forti-
fication techniques soon hogged down tactics once
again. Meanwhile the Venetians clung to their
traditionally cautious approach, making great use
of their mountainous northern frontiers against
both Austrians and Ottomans. Tactics varied,
though Vcnctian armies sometimes marched with
light cavalry in thc van followcd by heavy cavalry
and infantry. Artillery formed a central body while
a second corps of infantry, heavy and light cavalry
t ~rought up the rear, their order being the rcvcrse of
those in the van. Stradioli were naturally employed
as advancc and flanks guards. Many condoftieri
leaders still off'crcd considerablc loyalty to Venice,
whilc the supposedly civilian prooedifori took an
increasingly important r6lc in positions of com-
mand. At their head a Prooedi/ot General had his own
guard of I 2 to 25 halberdicrs, plus a full staff. Other
prozleditori commanded the light cavalry and
stradioti, while a special corps of Prorledi/ori a/le
for tee;^ was established in 1542 to supervise the
Republic's fixed defences. Othcrs armed and
trained the peasant volunteers of the Trcviso area,
controlled the liccnsed pillaging of enemy territory,
thc allocation of artillery or the surveying of
frontiers. The Arsenal was also run hy prozleditori,
though i t provcd fiir easier to manufacture enough
wcapons than to gct them to the troops where and
when thcy were nccdcd.
'I'hc army itsclfstill included militias from Vcnicc
and the Turra Iq'irma, and many mcml ~crs of thc
poorer aristocracy had little choice but to bccomc
soldiers. Yet thc o\-crall quality of Venetian armies
had dcclincd I)aclly 11): the carly 17th century.
Heavy cavalry in full plate armour and riding
'barded' or armourcd horses were anachronistic in
this new age of fircarms but thcy wcrc retained,
though in decreasing numbers, fbr reasons of
prcstigc and to give the richer aristocracy a sense of'
military purpose. Such heavy cavalry were still
organiscd in larr<i of one man-at-arms, two lightly
armed ridcrs with spear or crossbow, and a
mountcd servant. Efl'orts to recruit noblemcn as
light cavalry were only partially successful, though
the issuing of hcavy mcn-at-arms with a pair of
pistols did prolong thcir military r61e. By the I 7th
century, cavalry lance and sword had finally been
abandoned in favour of pistol and sword. The gun,
normally now a reliable whcellock weapon that
needed no match, would t)e firedjust before contact
with the foe, whereupon the sword would be drawn.
Such tactics wcre, however, costly in horses.
During the carly part of the 16th century,
Venetian light cavalry of Italian origin werc mostly
armcd with crossbows or arqucbuses and, unlike the
stradioti, fought morc as mounted infantry than real
cavalry. Many of thosc involved in the almost
guerrilla warfarc of the Friulian fronticr carried
small matchlock handguns, ancestors of the true
pistol. Others, called raz~nlleria leggiera, worc plated
half-armour, were organiscd in lanzi similar to those
of the hcavy cavalry, and similarly Sought with
spcars, maces and swords. Tr ue light cavalry or
rapj)pletti wcrc mostly of Croatian or Balkan origin,
though they rcmained distinct from the more
famous sfmdioti. By the late 16th ccntury many
stradioti were being armed with whcellock carbines
and a small amount of body armour, arquebus-
proofed on the front, pistol-proofed on the back and
with a pistol-proof helmet.
Relatively rich and peaceful, Venice now lacked
foot soldiers rather than cavalry. The Sruole and
guilds did supply some infantry units hut werc morc
important as sources of oarsmen, whilc the
.-lr.smnlolli still c; \.oluntccrs in addition to thc
Dogc's Palace Guard. The Terra Iq'irma cities
sclccted gate guards from thcir own citizcns as well
as militias to supplcmcnt profi.ssional garrison
troops. I n pcacctimc these garrisons werc them-
scl\res rrsponsihle for guarding gates, piazzas, food
and ammunition storrs, patrolling the wi~lls, strccts
and sloping glacis beyond the wall, and manning
thc sitadcl. Somc citics like Brcscia also raised an
indigenous force of guardaroli to take over some
patrol dutirs.
Militias were, however, oS very varicd quality.
Most consisted of men enlisted bctwcrn the ages of
I 7 and 24 who rcmained liahle Tor scrvicc fbr eight
years. They were organised in sub-companies of
around ~ o o mcn who trained five Sundays a ycar.
These in turn formed part of a larger company of up
to (ioo militiamen which held annual manoeuvres.
I'c.oplc joined for a variety of reasons, though
~wrmission to I)car arms and cxcmption From labour
service on the fbrtifications or in clearing canals
were common motives. In somc of the wilder or
nlountainoiis regions like Friuli people habitually
carried arms in any case, and they coulcl Ije enlisted
when necessary as rural guerrillas armed with bow
and arrow.
The crossl~ow clcclincd in favour as an infantry
weapon, as i t had done at sea; while the barely
traincd militias were rarely competent to fight with
pikes, which was a technique demanding firm
cliscil>linc and much practice. Primiti\.c .,chio/)/wti
handguns wcrc still employed in the 16th century
though thc arqucl)us gradually supcrcc!cled thcm.
Hcavicr muskets, requiring fbrks to support thcm,
soon made an appearance among the militia. h4cn
were trainccl to fire arqucl)uscs both running and
crouching, at targcts 40 paces distant; musketeers
trained with targets at twice that range. Ot her
training involved all thc usual advancing, retiring
arid skirmishing trchniqucs of late 16th and 17th
century infantry ~ ~ a r f a r c . Coloured surcoats and
sashes, agrccd war-cries and known I~anncrs all
helped maintain cohesion in I>attlr, while 21 few
militia units even \Yore the red and white uniform
livery of thC Vcnctian Captain General.
Venice's militias may havc 1)ccn more ciTcctive
than those of other European nations, yct their rcal
valur appears to havc hccn moral rather than
military. They rostcred a scnsc of national identity
and proved that the Repu1,lic trustcci its own people
in arms, a rare kat urc in the. 16th and r 7th
cent ur~es.
Mid-16th ccnturv Vcnctian cavalry sometime\
carried arquebus soldiers into 11:ittlc riding pillion.
By thc early 17th ccntury ;~rquchusicrs, also
carrying pistols, were operating as true mounted
infantry; a small 6lite of mounted infantry armed
with w~h~el1ock muskets wcrc recorded in 1Gr6.
Troops of such volunteer 'dragoons' were similarly
raiscd 1,); noble siiqnori, until the government
rcaliscd that these men wcrc often no lnorc than
mountcd brnzli or thugs in the pay of aristocratic
families. Private armies ofhmz!i wcre n o ~ l a problem
throughout Italy and sccm to havc 1)ccomc a rcal
threat to public order in Vcnicc. Many wcre
Woodcuts of Venetian military costumes in Cesare Vecellio's only partly shown); Csol di er from the Sfakia region of
Habiti antichi et modernii di tutti il Mondo published in 1598. southern Crete; D-Caleotti or Falila conscript soldier aboard
A-heavy cavalry man-at-arms; bl i g ht cavalryman (lance war-galley.
'Unknown Venetian nobleman' by Moroni, mid-16th century,
showing the arming jacket with mail panels to protect the
armpits. This was worn beneath plate-armour, here lying
around the man's feet. (Nat. Gall., London)
themselvcs drawn from desperate and impoverished
noble families; othcrs had been mcrcenary soldiers
and numbered foreigners among their ranks. A ban
on the carrying of weapons within Vcnicc had little
efycct. Large-scale I>rawls were frequent and even
involved thc use of arquel~uses, while duels and
assassinations with the slender stiletto dagger
became a bravi speciality. Things got so bad that
some people took to wearing light mail protection
beneath their clothes. An undeserved and romantic
mythology developed around thcsc Venetian hrazli,
who werc even crcdited with murdering thcir
enemies with poison-filled glass \tilettoc.
While troops from Venicc and thc Terra Firma
served in the ovcrscas empire and suffercd terrible
losses from diseasc and exposure, troops from the
empire also fought for Venicc in Italy. The stradioti
above all achieved some notable succesws against
French heavy cavalry in I 5 I 6. In fact Venicc made
great efforts to enlarge the ovcrscas army Da Mare
and to improve the quality of colonial militias. The
standard of these militia forccs rcmained low,
however, and their cquipment was oftcn abysmal.
In Corfu, Crete and Cyprus local troops were
trained to use the arquebus, but many continued to
fight with composite bows in Turkish fashion.
Militias in smaller islands like Kefallinia sometimes
signed up merely to avoid starvation. Elsewhere, as
on the Catholic and fiercely pro-Venetian island of
Tinos, strange relics of a medieval feudal system of
recruitment survived. A poorly paid local castle-
guard of paghe cln guazzo somctimcs included
Venetian troops who had settled ovcrscas on a tiny
pension and with minimal duties. Above all,
however, there remained the famed ~t mdi ot i . Fierce
and outlandishly dressed, brittle on points of
honour and addicted to plunder, they still fought
primarily with light spears, swords and composite
bows. They tended to shy away from European or
Ottoman infantry with firearms, but proved highly
effective against Turkish cavalry who fought in
much the same style as themselvcs. By the late 16th
and early I 7th centuries, however, many ~l radi ot i
werc themselves adopting pistols and cavalry
Inevitable variations in the military styles of the
differing Vcnctian possessions also persisted. Thc
~t radi ot i of Dalmatia wcre based in eight main
centres, though they spent most of thcir time in out-
stations closer to the frontier. One hundred stmdioti
were based at Corfu with detachments on other
Ionian islands, while the stradioti of Crete wcre of
poor quality, partly because of a scarcity of horses in
the eastern Mediterranean. The fearsome m i o t i
infantry archers from southern Crete sometimes
fought for Venice, but were generally a source of
rebels, brigands and pirates. With a growing threat
ofot t oman attack, the Venetian authorities tried to
reform the chaotic and corrupt Crctan militia
system and to erect modern fortifications. Anti-
Venetian feeling was, however, rife throughout the
island and when the Ottoman assault did come
many Cretans welcomed the invader.
Venetian rule appears to have been even harsher
in Cyprus than Crete. For Venice, Cyprus never
I~ccamc anything more than a dangerous military
outpost where Venetians were not only unpopular
but were notahly reluctant to serve. Cyprus already
had a very mixed population. The Venetian
authorities came to a reasonable understanding
with the existing Catholic military Clite which dated
from the late 12th century Crusader conquest of the
island, and which already included many Italians.
The Venetians also favoured the basically Arab
Maronitc Christian community whose roots went
even deeper; hut they seem to have failed to win
many friends among the large and warlike
Armenian minority. I t is also interesting to note
that many of both these minorities later converted
to Islam following the Ottoman conquest of the
island in 1571, becoming the ancestors of at least
part of the present day Turkish-Cypriot com-
munity. Mainland Greek stradioti were brought into
Venetian Cyprus, and by r 51 g a number ofC).priot
Greeks had also been enlisted. These men served
alongside the /urco/loli light cavalry retainers of the
old landed aristocracy, troops whose history
similarly went back at least as far as the Crusades.
In addition to volunteers and militias kom
Venice, the Terra Firma and the overseas pos-
sessions, 16th and 17th century Venetian armies
contained a large number of mercenaries. Most
condottieri troops, in other words those recruited as
an entire contract unit, came from the T u r n li' rnlo
or clsewhrrc in northern Italy. Ot her regional
soldiers included Corsicans and Ligurians, while
non-Italians numbered Swiss, Germans, (most
Vcnctian gunners outside the navy still being
German) French, Spaniards, Czechs, Dutch,
Flemish and English among their ranks. The
ma-jority served as infantry whereas most, though
not all, Balkan mercenaries were cavalry. The latter
wcrc recruited not only from Venetian territory but
also from neighbouring Ottoman-ruled regions.
Apart from the Catholic Croatians most wcre
Orthodox Christians, but some were of unspecified
religious affiliation and a few were clearly Muslims
from Bosnia and Albania. This scandalised Venice's
neighhours while even the Venetian diarist
Detail from 'Gypsy and Soldier' by Caravaggio, late 16th
century, showing a typical Italian sword of the period.
(Louvre, Paris)
Girolamo Priuli noted that, for Venice, such
recruitmcnt was like a man 'cutting olThis penis to
spite his wife'. The discrimination that these 'Turks'
faced in camp soon led them to abandon Venetian
service. however.
Siege and counter-siege
Venetian use of parallel trench systems when
besieging an enemy stronghold may themselves
show Ottoman influence (scc MAA 140, A r t n i ~ ~ of
the Ottomon Tr/rh-.\ 130(~ 1774), and the Venetians
were clearly willing to learn fkom any source.
Captured guns wcrc tested and the Arsenal
constantly experimented with new designs. There
was a gradual movc towards smaller and more
mobile artillery while firld guns and siege trains
were now clearly separate. The most dramatic
dcvclopn~cnts were. howc\.cr, in Ibrtilication. 'I'his It was the def'cnccs thcmsclvcs that, by the micl-
was a field in which 16th century Italv influenced 16th century. eventually solidilicd Vctiicc3< li-on-
the rest of' I<i~ropc.
Vcnicc had adoptccl a dcknsivc ncutral stance in
which li)rtilications ~,laycd a vital rOlc. The
northern and cartcrn mountain passes could hc
blocked t o ;in cncmy siege train with strategically
4itcd fortrc<sc\. cvcb~i i l ' i nhnt ry could always
infiltrate around such dcfi.nccs, I ~ut the broad
Lom1,ard plain had always t)ccn estrcmcly dificult
to defend. Venetian str;itrgicts now took into
consideration the ri\-crs that sliced thcir tcrritory
into sections, while the towers ofstratcgic cities were
lowcrcd and thcir gi t cs strcngthcncd to take
account of powcrSul ricw sicgc artillery. Castcllans
were rcsponsil)lc fi ~r the munitions, artillery and
garrisons of' such tow~is, but the poor pay meant
that lk\v of the military Clitc acccptcd such posts.
The 14th- 15th century defences of Ston, said to be the longest
city walls in Europe. This was one of the most strongly
fortified positions in Dalmatia and was frequently disputed
between Venice and Dubrovnik. The 'long walls' enclose the
mountain-top, the port of Mali Ston on the far side of the hill,
and the main settlement of Veliki Ston (here). Low round
artillery bastions (lower left) were added at a later date.
tiers. One ncw concept that the Vc~l ct i i i ~i ~ used
early in the 16th century was the 'dou1)lc Pisan
rampart' in \vhicli a I~csicgcr, if he I~rokc t hroi ~gh
the outer wall, found liimsclf litcing a second
rampart arid trappcd in a firc-swept killing zone.
Basically, howc\-cr, tlie new system of' clcfi.nccs
relied on wider and dccpcr stonc-linccl ditches, and
flanking fire Srom projecting 1)astiorls ~vhich, I~ci ng
low, broad and carth-filled, could not c;isily I)c
destroyed Ily artillcry or c\,cti mines. Paratlosically,
the dc\.clopmcnt ol' really cfli-ctivc gunpowclcr
artillery had strcngthcncd the detknsivc clcmcnt in
warf:ire rather than the otYensivc. 'l'hc mcclieval
castle had become a Renaissance fbrtrcss but i t still
held the upper hand, while liand-guns fired 1));
masses of barely trained dcli.ndcrs coulcl have a
devastating cflicct on any attackers who managed to
force a brcacli. Ho~rc\lcr, these modcrti dcfcnces
needed wiclc opcn fire zones, which Icd to the
ruthless demolition of1,uilt-up arcas l)otli inside and
outside thrir walls. 'I'hc long-cst;il)lishcct rc-
lationsliil~ 1)ctwccn an I talian city and its surround-
ing conlodo also changed. The countryside was now
generally abandoned to an enemv raider while
dcfkncc was concentrated in the city which was in
turn swollen 1)y refugees from the villages. Fear of
sedition and insurrection within the walls then led
to a strcngtlienirig of'the citadel as a defence within
a dckncc.
'I'llc earliest such fortilications were built i n a
hurry and ofrart h, so that little now remains. It is
the stone defences that replaced them which now
give a special character to many north Italian
towns. The vital city of Verona, for example, waa
rcfortilicd in thc 1530% being given an immensely
strong citadel on the hills above. Thereafter Verona
never cndurcd another serious attack until 1797,
though as early as 1yl 8 the authorities fjced the
cncroachmcnt on the artillery fire zoncSs of sheds,
houses, orchards, vegetable plots, drainage ditches
and bird-snaring groves (t he Veronese still like their
uccrllr~~i-grilled small birds-served on a bed of
maize flour). Among those military engineers who
designed Verona's new defences \\,as Rficlicle di
Fortifications in the Tewa Firma (Mainland Territories): A-
Verona c.1600 showing improvements designed by Michele
Sanmichele c.1530 (note that the Baluardo di Campo Marzo
was added at the end of the 16th C.); Hr z i n u o v i mid-16th C.
(after plan c.1600); C--reconstruction of the Venetian Arsenal
in the early 14th C. showing the first Corderie rope-factory
(after Pizzarello & Fontana); &Palmanova, designed by
Giulio Savorgnano & Vincenzo Scamozzi in 1593 (after plan
c.1600); E-Malano, double-octagon bastion on an artificial
island in the Venice Lagoon near Malamocco (after plan
c.1600); F-Baluardo di S. Bernardino, one of Verona' bastions
rebuilt to Sanmichele's design around 1530 (after Duffy).
Courtyard of the Porta di Udine (1605), the best preserved of
Palmanova's three gates (see plans of fortifications). This
fortress, designed by Savorgnano and Scamozzi in 1593 and
built on a virgin site to protect Venetian territory from
Austrian or Ottoman attack, is the most perfectly preserved
example of late Renaissance military architecture in exis-
Sanmicheli. He had studied the work of another
mastrr, Antonio da Sangallo, and was to have his
own famous followers; such cnginccring 'dynasties'
t ~ccame a feature of Venetian and Italian military
architecture in the ~( i t h and I 7th centuries. A
classic fortification ofthis period, at I'almanova, still
stands virtually unchanged not lar fi-om the
Yugoslav border. I t was planned in I 593 as a
supposedly self-sufficient military town within a
symmetrical nine-bastioned wall, built in virgin
territory as the hub of 1:riulian defence against
Austrians and Ottomans. P, n 1 manova was com-
pleted in the early ~Goos, but remained such a
lonely and unhealthy sitr that for ycars no one
wanted to live there.
The 17th century saw another burst of
fortification-building around Venice and overseas.
The fortifications of the cmpirc I ) n Alarr had, in
fact, been overlooked for years, hut though they
were small and old fashioned they had generally
been well maintained. Such defences heed attack
from both land and sea, and i t was fbrtunate that
the Ottomans had hecn relatively quiet Tor some
time. One major problcm was that the cost of new
construction had to be home largcly by the local
communities and these were tiny, except in Crete
and Cyprus. I n Dalmatia the Ottomans had
already broken through to the sea in a number of
places, while the Uskoks and Hapsburgs made
uncomfortable neighhor~rs. Vcnctian fbrtifications
such as Kotor also had to keep an eye on the wild
Montcncgrans who, though fiercely anti-Ottoman,
also cra\.cd a sea outlct ofthcir own. Only the main
naval bases were given new and modern for-
tifications; hut whcn the crisis came in the 1640s
Vcnicc did uncxpcctcdly well. Dalmatia was easy to
reinforce from ncarl ~y Vcnicc and was studded with
castles, whereas the Ottomans were operating far
from thcir main bascs, across bleak mountains
inhabited by A4orlacchi peasants who were all too
eager to revolt against thcir nominal Turkish
overlords. The Ot t oman attacks were, in fact,
defcatcd and Vcnicc managed to expand her
In Cyprus the Venetians made great efforts to
strengthen their position shortly before the Otto-
mans attacked. At first thcir plans betrayed a
typical Renaissance preoccupation with cla1)oratc
machinery, seeming to put thcir f'litli in ropes,
pulleys and counter-weights, hidclcn explosive
mines and multi-l~arrellcd fire prc?jcctors dcsigncd
to rear up in an attacker's lace, not to mention slow-
release poisons in ncighl~ouring wells and baited
fodder for cncmy horses. In the event prcfcrrncc
was given to strengthening thc 1i)rtilications of'
Nicosia; this cntailcd thc virtual destruction of the
old city, including the royal tombs aricl monastery
of San Domenico, and the huilding ol' a scvcn-
bastioned five-mile-circuit wall similar to that
recently erected at Iraklion in C:rctc. Yet in I 57 I
Nicosia fell to the Ottomans after a sicgc, ol'lcss than
five months.
Venetian defences proved more cffkctivc in Crctc
where Iraklion endured a 22-ye;ir Ot t oman sicgc.
The Turkish invasion was actually sparked by the
piratical aggression oft hc Knights of' StJohn based
on Malta, though it was Venicr that paid the price.
The war was long and bitter, ranging from
Dalmatia to the Dardanelles. The Ottomans
e\,entually took Crete, though the Venetians fought
with a ha t i c i s m excelling even that of the Turks;
the commander of the fortress of St 'I'hcoclorc was
said to have blown up himself; his men, and the
attackers whcn the Ottomans finally ovctrran his
The Ottomans had already unsuccessfully
attempted to take Corfu in 1537. Betwwn I 549 and
1570 the Venctian government paid no less than
250,000 ducats to strengthcn that island's fbrti-
fications, which easily repulsed a final Ot t oman
assault in 1716. Only one year earlier the last
Venetian-held Aegean island, the lonely outpost of
Tinos, had finally fallen. The Venetian empire was
once again reduced to those possessions west of
Greece that had been held since before the Fourth
Crusade, plus Corfu and the Ionian islands which,
early in the 19th ccntury, passcd to anothcr rising
imperial and naval power -Britain.
Fortifications in the Imperio da Mar (Overseas Territories):
A--Split, Dalmatia (after carved plan on fagade of S. Maria del
Giglio, Venice); B-Zadar, Dalmatia (after carved plan on
facade of S. Maria del Giglio, Venice); C-Nicosia, Cyprus
(after late 16th C. plan); D-Kotor, Dalmatia (after late 17th C.
plan); E-lraklion, Crete (after cawed plan on faqade of S.
Maria del Giglio, Venice, & 17th C. plans).
One of the surviving bastions of Nicosia. In 1567 Venice greatly
reduced the size of this city, and though the Venetian
fortifications survive they appear to have been extensively
modernised during the Ottoman period. (Courtesy of Cypriot
Press & Information Office)
Venice never became one of the major arms-
producing centres of Europe, but its commercial
wealth and wide trade contacts ensured that
Venetian troops wcrc usually wcll equipped.
Weapons as wcll as ships were, of course, made in
the Arsenal, and the government also standardised
the design of vital itcms like crossbows so that
crossbow strings and bolts or arrows would fit all
weapons. 'l'hesc had composite arms similar in
structure to the powerful composite bows of the
Muslim world. They wcrc also exported to the
Balkans via Venetian Dalmatia at least as early as
the I 4th century. By this time the demand for things
like crossbow bolts was so high that in 1304 the
Venetian government had to sub-contract the
manufacture of 20,000 iron bolt-heads needed by
Venetian communal forces. Experimentation with
new weapons reflected a scientific attitude perhaps
inherited fi-om the Byzantines. A multi-shot
crossbow, supposedly capable of shooting I 5 bolts
and comparable to one also seen in a late 12th
ccntury Islamic military treatise, was recorded in
the 13th century. Such an impractical multi-shot
crossbow was again suggested in 141 I , by which
time the Venetian Arscnal was also cxpcrimcnting
with ways of improving the new handguns.
Venice similarly exported swords, helmets and
other pieces of armour to the Balkans and perhaps
beyond. Venice herself was open to influences li-om
the East, the European coat-oflplates possibly being
inspired by Byzantine or Islamic lamellar armour
brought to Europe via Venice arid its colonial
empire. Nor were influences all from the East. The
broad basilard dagger which hccanic a major
weapon of Venetian infjntry was, in contrast,
probably of Swiss or south German origin, its name
indicating that the first such daggers were imported
from Basel. The popularity of I~ot h hardened and
'soft' or flexiblc lcathcr armour in Venice and the
rest of Italy could also betray Byzantine or Islamic
Milan rather than Venice had, however, been
the main centre of arms production in northern
Italy since the mid-I gth century. Milan made
armours designed specifically for export, including
the so-called Venetian style of sallct and t ~arbut a
helmets. Yet there were othcr important arms-
manuhct uri ng centres in northern Italy, and fiom
the mid-14th century, some of these lay within the
expanding Venetian T~r r a Firnla. For centuries the
Italian arms industry was the most important in
Europe, though partially completed weapons were
imported from othcr sources to he assembled in
northern Italy. It might also bc mentioned that the
arms industry employed women as well as men,
women being recorded as 'sewing' helmets and
armour. This probably referred to the linings or
decoration of helmets and to the numerous leather
straps of later medieval armour. Ry the mid-15th
century Milan itself was in decline and Venice
controlled all the remaining north Italian arms
centres. German armourers gradually seized domi-
nation of the Europcan market from the mid-16th
century, but these Venetian manufacturing centres
continued to make huge quantities of fine armours,
weapons and above all firearms. They certainly
retained a special place in the market for
elaborately decorated ceremonial arms.
The chief such Venetian armaments centre was
Brescia, which took over fiom Milan as the main
Italian producer late in the 16th and I 7th centuries.
Brescia had, in fact, been manufacturing arms since
the I I th and possibly even 8th century. Venice took
Further Reading
Gcncral histories of Vcnicc arc c*iisily avail;ll,lc.
Helmets: A-Mid-14th C. Venetian bascinet, cut down & with
eye-slots added i n 15th C., found a t Khalkis (Met. Mus. of Art,
New York); B-typical north Italian barbuta, c.1350 (Mus.
Poldi Pezzoli, Milan); (C G Venetian helmets found at Khalkis,
now in Historical Mus., Athens) C-helmet with hinged right
cheek-piece missing, c.rgoo 50; &visored helmet with hinged
right cheek-piece missing, c.1500 50; E-so-called 'Corinthian'
salet, mid-15th C.; F-salet with hinged nasal, mid-15th C.; C
small salet, mid-15th C.; H-Milanese armet, late 15th C.,
(Mus. Civ. Marzoli, Brescia); I-Milanese close helmet,
decoration not shown, c.1570 (Mus. Civ. Marzoli, Brescia); J-
burgonet, decoration not shown, late 16th C. (Mus. Civ.
Marzoli); K--Great Helm from Bolzano, c.1300 (Caste1 S.
Angelo Mus., Rome); M-barbuta alla venexiana covered i n
red velvet & with gilded bronze ornamentation, late 15th C.
(Mus. Civ. Marzoli, Brescia); N 0---pointed & crested
morions, decoration not shown, late 16th C. (Armoury of
Doge's Palace, Venice)
the city in 1426 and thcrcalicr cncouragcd the
Brcscian industry. drawing in armourcrs from
hlilan ~v h o hoped to cscapc the hca\,y hand of
Visconti rule. Not until 16-14 was the Brcscian guild
of'arniourcrs dissolved, and cvcn that did not mark
the end 01' line Rrcscian arms production. Apart
from incrcdil)ly richly decorated I 71 h century
armours, Brcscian guns earned a line reputation:
this was particularly true of Rrescian whccllock
pistols :inti muskets. Such 'self-firing' guns, which
were much more rcliitl,lc than the pre\-ious
matchlocks, appcar to have been invcntcd in
Germany. For ycars they wrrc considered so
threatening to law and order that they were
clcclarccl illegal, not being permitted even for
military use until I 570. Ncvcrthelcss whccllocks
had reached Venice via her eastern Terra firma
province ol'Friuli early in the I 530s. and thereafter
thc complicated new firing mcchanisms were
irnportecl li-om Germany to hr. maclc up into guns at
Brescia. Thc finished weapons were then re-
exported all over Europe. and thc Balkilns.
Listed below arc some more spccialiscd sources.
Arms 3 d r n z o u ~
U. Franzoi, :lrmouyl ?f f l re I)oge7.s I'alnc~ JVc~iicc n.d. )
14. Gaibi, 'L'Artc I~rcscianc clcllc armature:
contri1,uto alla storia tlclla armi clifcnsivc.
italiane', Armi .4n/ichc ( I $ig), pp. I r, -50.
I;. Kossi, Arnti e 01-moioli hr~.\.(.i(~ni drl ' qoo (Krcscia
797' ).
Herai dy :
E. Del Torso, Araldicn C'izlicn d ~ l Frirrli (Udi nc 15178)
E. hlorando, Lihro d'Aclrme di Ti~nr;icr (Verona I 979).
E. hlorando, rlrnzorial~ T brorrrse (Verona I 976)
A. Della Valle (edi t . ), I hnezia r i Turchi, Scontri o
ronji-onti di.. due cirlilitd (Milan I 985). includes
articles on fortification & military confrontatiori.
G. Gerola. I morzzrrnen/i rienetr n~ll' ivoln cli C'rrtn, 5 vols
( Vcnicc I 906-32 )
P. Marchesi, For/e;;r;inrrr 1:joR-17:)7 ( ( hl i l ; l r i
U. Pizzarcllo & V. Fontana, I'irtu~ P I,oLqni
dell'ilr,sennle di I,Ptrr>,:ia (Vcnicc I 983).
Alilitngj or,qnnirotiorr:
J. R. Hale, 'Men and Weapons: The Fighting
Potential of Sixteenth-Century Venetian (;:iI-
leys,' in Ilirr and Socie!11: '4 l"eorhook of' Al i l i t oy
His/o?y edit. B. Bond 8: I . Roy (1,ondon 1975).
M. R. hiallett & J. K. Hale, TIZP ~\ l i l i t n~l i
Ot;qntriZn/iorz of a Krnnissa~rre Stole: 170nicr 1.. 14oo to
16'17 ( Camhridgc I 984).
-4. Tenenti? Pirac?, 3 the L)pcline ?/' I'rt~ice (1.ondon
i l : Thc 13th centztrv
rl I : l bnetian knight, m, l s 1:jt11 centucv
During the early 13th century Venetian arms and
armour were basically the same as those of'the rest
of Italy. Earlier Byzantine influence had largely
disappeared and thcrc had as yet been little oriental
influence hom the Venetian overseas cmpirc. On
the other hand Italian styles themsclvcs diffcrcd
from those of northern Europe. This knight wears ;I
lull mail haul)crk, though lacks the surcoat which
had 1)ccomc normal in France. His legs are
protected I I ~ standard mail chausses but I~eneath
his mail coil'is a close-fitting iron rrrvrlli?re helmet
with a very large nasal t o protect his face. The
knight's large shield \\,ould also have been unusual
outside Italy and might reflect the importance that
archcry had ;ilrcacly achicved in Italian warfire.
(Mai n soul-ccs: carved friczc, latc 12th--early 1 3th
C.? litcatlc of Fidcnza Cathedral; wall paintings,
latc 12th (1.. Palazzo della Ragione. Mant ua;
carvccl ivory throne, I 2 I ~ ~ ~ - 5 0 , R4us. Nazionale,
liavcnna. I
: i ~: Dalmcl~icctr 1o.b(1tt mililian~att, mid-13th rentrlry
'l'hc military styles of Dalmatia were a strange
~ni xt urc ol' Balkan and Italian fashions. 'The large
flat-l~ottornccl shield used by his unarmoured
infintryman would havc been considered old-
Sashioncd in iYcstcrn Europe; but the buttons on his
tunic wcrc ;I \cry modern idea that had hardly yet
appeartbcl in the West. His soft, flat-topped hat
seems to suggest a Hungarian style from the
ncighl)ouring Hungarian-ruled interior. (Mai n
sourcc: carved rclicfi, r. I 240, west door of Trogir
:13: I)rrlntcrtian so1dic.j-, mid- 13tit cm /u<y
'I'liis man's ccluipincnt is similar to that worn in
~ncdicval Scrl)ia and even parts ol' Byzantium. It
consists ol'a 1)rimmccI iron c.k(#~l-dc.-Jir ovcr a broad
mail coil'tliat also protected the man's shoulders. I n
;~cldition to a 1n;iil haul ~crk he has an iron lamellar
cuirass ol'clcarly Ilastcrn or Byzantine inspiration.
His sword is, however, typically European. (hl ai n
sourcc: C;ucrrd.s at thr Holy Srj~ulchre, carved relief,
r . 1 240, west door of 'Trogir Cathedral. )
11: T/ r r Jr ~ ,I /la(/ q/ Ihr 14th cenl uy
111 : . +o ~ t h Jtnlictn c m, ,boulmnn, c. 13y)
Crossl)owrncn played an essential r6le in 14th
century It;lli,ln warfare and many appear to havc
I)ecn proli.\sional mercenaries. Even ur l ~an militia
crossl~owmcn would gcnc.rally havc been well-
equipped 11y their rich cities. This man is a typical
c.xample, with his strong iron sallet helmet with a
hinged na\al; thickly padded mail tippet ovcr neck
and shoultlcr, and mail hauberk over a thickly
qi~iltcd gnml)c\on. Hc is armed not only with a
manually-loaded crossl)ow I ~ut with a Ilroad
hasilard dagger. (Mai n sources: carved capitals,
early 14th C., Dogc's Palace, Vrnicc; C,'rtrr~/ili\ion gcl r
wall paintings, c.1330 50, church of Sant'
,4hbondio, Como.)
B2: Italian ar mour d ir~irnl,-~lmtrn. c.. 1..j;.o
This man is ol>viously a prokssional, either a titlcd
knight or a successful mercenary. He carries a
11road-l~rimmcd one piccc iron r / r ~ / ) ~ I - c f ~ ~ / i ~ r and has
an early form of coat-of-plates over his mail. The
leg-protecting grca\,cs arc of hardcncd Icatlicr, and
his sal~atons (armourcd shoes) also appear to 11c
covcrcd in hardcncd Icathcr. His sword, thr slcndcr
hasilard dagger at his Ijclt and long-hlnded
guisarme axe arc common weapons; t ~u t the I~arhed
javelins standing rcatly f i ~r use would usually only
be Ibr war at sea. i Main sourcc: S I ,Ilar/in ~otortrtce:,
titp .\ze~o~d by Simoric Martini, r. I :j I 7, Montciiorc
Chapcl, church ol' St Fl-anti\, Assisi. )
'Parade of the General di Mare in Piazza San Marcoy, early 17th
century engraving by Giacomo Franco. (Mus. Civ. Correr,
By: Ti~rw/znn knr~ilt o/ thr (,'oll(~l/o /ami!y, c.1340
Hcrc a young mcml ~er ol'thc warlike Collalto family
li-om \'enice's T P , ) ~ Flrnicl m'tinland porse\sions, is
not only armourcd in the latest Italian style I ~ut also
wears a headcloth that docs not appear to have
1)ccn worn outsiclc Italy. His 1)ascinct helmet has its
mail a\.ctitail dou1,lcd ovcr in another Italian
I'ashion; while his li11)ric-covered coat-ol~plates and
shouldcr flaps would pro1)al)ly havc Ixcn lined with
iron or cuir-1)ouillihardcricd leathcr scales. The
rerc1)raccs that protect his upper arms would
prol)al)ly havc metal cl(~mcnts insidc, as would the
cull's of his hult'lcathcr gauntlets. The greaves that
protect only th(. li-ont of his legs arc now of iron.
(Mai n sources: carved capitals, carly 14th C.,
Dogc's Palace, Vrnicc; cfligy of Bcrnardino dei
Baranzoni, c. I 345- 50 Mus. Lapidario Estense,
hfodcna; supporting figures on tomb of Azzonc
\'is(.onti. ,,. I :<:30 cl~ur(.li 01' S. Got tarclo in Corte,
'Francesco Morosini' wearing the Doge's cap and a senior
commander's cloak with shoulder decorations, by Giovanni
Carboncino mid-17th century. (Mus. Civ. Correr, Venice)
0'2: l bnelian inJirn/,:yman, lace I 4th re?z/u~y
Only the upper arm rerebraces are now made of
hardened leather, the leg harness being all of iron,
as are the splints inside his lower arm vambraccs
and his fabric-covered solid hreatplate. The deep
fluted bascinet is a typically Italian helmet, but
appears to be worn over an old-fashioned mail coif.
The large rectangular red mantlet hearing the
golden Lion of St Mark was, of course, solely an
infantry shield. The broad-bladed spear is a Balkan
weapon, perhaps imported from Dalmatia. (Main
sources: tomb of Manno Donati, latc 14th C.,
church of S. Antonio, Padua; Nova1 battle betzeleen
Lbnetian nnd Imperial forces, wall painting by Spinello
Aretino mid- I 4th C., Palazzo Puhlico, Sicna; Story
of St Jnmes, reliefs on silver altar by Leonardo di Ser
Giovanni 1 37 I . Pistoia Cathedral.)
C3: Trumpeter in service of the C'nvnlli fnmil_lj, late 14th
cen tu LJI
This trumpeter wears no armour save for a light
mail hauberk, and a deep helmct which has a
hinged cheek-piece, perhaps originally intended for
an archer. The man's dagger again perhaps shows
Balkan influence. (Main sources: Venetian helmet
from Khalkis, late 14th-early 15th C., Historical
C': Tlze second hnlJ' ofthe 14/11 centzr,:y
C'I: Jncopo Citzlalli, c. 1.780
Jacopo Ca\ralli here wears a heavy, crested great
helm that would normally havc hccn rcscrvcd fhr
parades. Only thc shouldcr defcnccs of his coat-of-
plates are now visible, the rest 1)cing ol)scurcd
beneath a tight-fitting surcoat. 'l'hc knight's iron
arm-protecting rercbraces, coutcrs and \.ambraces
only cover the outside of t he limbs, and the iron
poleyns and greaves on his legs arc of a similarly
light type. His shield now has a notched 1ancc.-rcst
in one corner. His horse is protected by a small
amount of armour, consisting of an iron chamfroti
with extra neck lames, a quilted crinct on the neck
and a small crupper ovcr the animal's rump. (Mai n
sources: tomb of Fedcrico Cavalli, latc 14th C.,
church of S. Anastasia, Verona; tomb of Cansig-
nor0 della Scala, r. I 35-75 outside church of S.
Maria Antiqua, Verona; Battle of Val di Chiana,
wall painting 1373, Palazzo Puhlico, Sicna.)
Mus., Athens; Batlle (?/' 1,'al di C'hiana, wall painting
1373, Palazzo Publico, Siena.)
D: C'ros~irzg the Lrjppio Pass, 1439
DI : Dalmatian n-o rshozaman, c. 1440
By the 15th century various systems of spanning
more powerful crossbows had come into use: here a
cranequin is shown. This Dalmatian soldier has
another deep helmet with a hinged cheek-piece on
the right side. He otherwise wears full plate armour
on his arms, legs and body, though the latter is
covered by a quilted surcoat in somewhat
Burgundian stylc. (Mai n sources: relief carving
mid-15th C., Jurja Barakovica street, Sibenik;
Vcnctian hclmet from Khalkis, first half 15th C.,
Historical Mus., Athens. )
02: I)a/matzan infa?dcpman, c.1440
Here a hclmet with a hinged cheek-piece also has a
movcablr visor. This time the surcoat is of rich
brocade imported from the Islamic world. The
strap supporting the rondel dagger goes to a belt
worn bcncath the surcoat. The man's armour is
again of full iron plate with a minimum of mail; and
the large triangular shield is an infantry form that
had been used in the Balkans for some centurics.
(Main sources: relief carving mid- I 5th C., Jurja
Rarakovica street, Sibenik; Venetian helmet from
Khalkis, first half of 15th C., Historical hius..
D3: finetian colonrnl knigh(fiam Sibenik, Dalmatin. tnid-
15th cenhr[~~
Though hc is a Il al n~at i an and wears a form of
headdress betraying Hungarian influence, this
knight has the best imported Italian armour.
'Typical would be a sallet helmet in a specifically
Venetian style, covered in velvet and with golden
decorations riveted to the surface. Note the extra
fringe of mail fiom the rim of the fauld fastened to
the lower edge of his breastplate. (Mai n sources:
statue of knight carly 15th C., Orlandov Kip,
Dubrovnik; hli.\sa/ of Duke Hrvoje Vukcic
Hrvatinic of Split, Topkapi Lib.. Istanbul.)
Dg: Italian peasant lev_li. rgth centzir~l
Longbows of simple construction were regarded as
peasant weapons in late medie\,al Italy. On the
other hand some of the best yew wood for such bows
Staff weapons: A-onco, 16th-xyh C. (Armoury of Doge's
Palace, Venice); E-ronco, 16th C. (Mus. Civ. Marzoli, Brescia);
C-ceremonial partizan, decoration not shown, early 17th C.
(Mus. Civ. Marzoli, Brescia); &remains of broad-bladed
spear or partizan found in ford near Trilj, Dalmatia, undated
(Archaeological Mus., Split); EF-halberd-partizans for
officers, 17th C. (Armoury of Doge's Palace, Venice); H-
ceremonial halberd, late 16th C. (Mus. Civ. Marzoli, Brescia);
I--ceremonial halberd, 16th C. (Armoury of Doge's Palace,
Venice); J--pole-axe, 16th C. (Armoury of Doge's Palace,
Venice); K--glaive, 15th-16th C. (Mus. Civ. Marzoli, Brescia);
Gceremoni al glaive, decoration not shown, Venetian 17th C.
(Mus. Civ. Marzoli, Brescia).
was grown in Italy, being exported in large
quantities to England. (Main source: hronzc door
by Ghiherti mid- I 5th C., Baptistery, Florence.)
E: Ttze .second half' of the 15t/r C B ? I I ~ ~
E I : .,korth~tn Ztalinn cro.r,rboulmarr, /ale ~ ; j / h centucr
.4nother new method of spanning a crossbow was
the 'crow's foot' shown here; though sometimes used
in war, it appears to have I~ecn more popular for
hunting or target-shooting. This infantryman still
has a deep sallet with a hinged nasal, but his armour
is otherwise lighter than in earlier periods. The iron
breastplate also has vcry carly fbrms of' tassels to
protect his thighs. Othrrwisc t hr man's legs arc only
defended by light grravcs. His sword, with the
vertical guard, may again rcflcct Balkan or German
influence. (Mai n sourccs: St C1r.suka c_l~cle I)y
Carpaccio 1493, Academia, Vcnicc; rlttendants of
Luigi Conzaga, wall painting I>p Domcnico Morone
1496, Palazzo Ducalr, Mantua; Vcnctian hclmct
from Khalkis, 15th C., Historical Mus., Athens.)
E2: Venetian militiaman ofthe OTompaCgni dolla C,'ul~a, late
15th centzr~y
Handguns wcre increasingly importarit in the late
15th century. This example is a vcry simple form
ignited with a separate heated iron touche. Apart
from a light helmet with separate car-pieces, this
young man is unarmoured, though his extra\.agant
costume is in the height of Venetian fashion and
shows him to bc a mcmhcr of'onc of the "Trouser
Clul3s'. Hc also carries a hroad-1)ladccl cinqtrndm
chort-sword on his hip. i blain sources: S f CTr.tula gcl r
I)!. Carp:iccio I 49:3, Academia, Vcnicc: hand-gun,
mid-I 5th C:., hlus. (:i\.ico, 'T'ricatc.)
E3: 1'rn~/ia11 man-a/-at m \ , /ale 1.5111 crnt ~r~y
In complctc colitr;i\t to the unarmourcd hand-
gunner, this man-at-arms is equipped Tor closc
comhat with the thrcc-pointed ronco, a peculiar
weapon that provccl vcry popular in Italy. His
armour is a magnificent example offirll plate 'white
armour' madc in northern Italy and exported
throughout E~~r ope . The arm dcfcnces are slightly
different for each arm. His large iron sallct is of an
almost Sully cncloscd t yl ~c, ha\,ing much in common
with some ancient Greek helmets. (Mai n sources: S f
l i j s~rl a qvrlr I)y Carpaccio I 493, Academia, Vrnice:
.-lf/nrdan/.\ oJ' I,rr<qi (Gon.:nga, wall painting by
Domenico h~lorone I q$, Palazzo Ducale, Mantua;
Venetian helmet from Khalkis, 15th C., Historical
Mus., Athens.)
I;: T11r r ar ! ~ 16/11 cnlhtr?
1+'1: ' J'tmdiot Iiqlr/ ctrrlal<ynrcl?~ J h m Llalmatia, c. goo
Stradioti were always lightly armourcd or even
unarmourcd, but few illustrations survive showing
thosc recruited in the southern and easternmost
parts of the Venetian empire. This man probably
comes from Dalmatia or Istria in what is now
Yugoslavia. His how is of the Asiatic composite
type. His curved sabre is similar to thosc used in the
Ottoman Empire, whi k his shield is of a typically
eastern European or Hungarian fbrm. His light
armour is, however, typically Italian. (Mai n
sourccs: .9/ li,:strla qlli.1~ hy Carpaccio 1493,
Academia, Venice; Cirr~alcatlr, wall painting 1474,
church ofSt Mary, Bcram, 1stria.i
F2: Ci~nrtian ligh/ cc17lalr~man. c. 1500
Venetian domestic and Italian cavalry, were
di\.idcd into light and hcavy units, though the main
difircncc sccms to havc I~ccn in thc use or otherwise
of horse-armour. 'I'his man, as a light cavalryman,
has a \:isorcd sallct instead of the closed armet used
l,y hcavy cavalry. His armour is also of a fluted
\.ariety; though madc in northern Italy i t could
reflect the influence of German armourcrs, who
made much greater use of fluting for both
decoration and strcngthcning. (Mai n sources:
Crnknowtl knighf by Picro di Cosimo c ~ . I y, 1 5, Nat.
Gallery, London; S/ Gr07;q~ l)y Carpiiccio c. I 500.
Scuola di S. Giorgio dcglc Sci;i\.oni, irenicc.)
k:j: C;rerk nohl~mnm , f lorn l~i~nr/inn-rlrlrd /e~.ri/o~,l, e t ~ r ! ~
I 6f h cettt~r,:~
The little that is known al)out aristocr;itic. costume
in 16th-century Grcccc s h o ~ ~ s i t to h;rvc I)ccti
strongly influenced by Ottoman 1' ~lrkish styles. On
the other hand, this man's short tunic. is clcarly
European. His sword was maclc in Italy; and his
brimmed hat was a style seen t l i r o~~gl i o~~t the
Balkans and Hungary. ( Main sources: .Y/ II,:rzrla q~i c l ~
by Carpaccio I 493, .4cadcmia, Venice; .~ltlorn/ion of
fhr .lla,qi wall painting late 15th C., Mus. Civico,
Padua. i
G': n,~asrrtia/ron affrm,bl ?t? l-rnicc) at orrnd ~ f i o o
(;I: hnef i nn ' B~azl o' , katr 16th crt1111ty
Venice was one of the main cc-ntrc\ of LYcctcrn
fashion during the 16th ccntury, ,ind rccorcl\
indicate that hired bodyguards or thug\ known a\
Brazli were among the most extra\ q a n t l ) tlrc\\cd
men in thr city. This individual fight\ with a rapier
and left-handed dagger in a characteristic late I 6th
ccntury form of fencing. (Mai n source\: linXnoraln
1 b n ~ l ~ n n nobleman by Moroni, mid- I 6th C., Nat.
Gallery, London; 'L'cnetian Bralo' , in Vcccllio's
Costrlmr Book, published I 589.)
G2: Esrn,brd gallcv-slaor, earlv I 7 f h cotrl1rt~1
Venetian galley-slaves and those con\,icts who
served thcir sentences at the oars tvorc similar
costumes; this was totally inadequate Li)r thc rigours
of life in an open war-galley and many cliccl from
exposure. The weapons that this man hits seized
include a long-hafted halbard, ;I dagger from
Croatia, and a peculiar form of heavy matchlock
pistol with a revolving triple barrel. (Mai n sources:
'Galley sla\se', in Vecellio's Co.sfrrmr Book; Vcnctian
halberd, early I 7th C., Armoury ot' Doxc's l':il:lcc,
Venice. )
G3: l hnetian knight, c. 1600
Most armours that survive in muscumc lack thcir
original lining. This was often cstcndcd to form a
decorative fi-inge around certain pieccs, as shown
here. This wealthy aristocrat has a helmct of the
closc helm form. His sword is vcry heavy compared
to tlir rapicr ol'his opponent. Iron shields wcrc a
relatively late dcvrlopmcnt; although designed to
withstand pistol and musket balls, thcy werc
probably morc drcorativr than effective. (Mai n
source: full armour, hlilane\e or Brescian r.1570.
Mus. Civico Marzoli. Brcscia.
H: Thr drnth c!J Tommn\o Alorosini, 1647
H I : Tommnco i 210t o~~nz, c.1647
By the mid- r 7th ccntury thc great agc of armour
had endrd. A few full armours were worn by heavy
cavalry and by commanding off cers for prestige. At
sea thcy would have bccn virtually suicidal, so here
rven T'ommaso Morosini has been given a
particularly linc form of half armour with a
matching lobster-tail hclinet. The broad nasal
\bows even morc clearly the oriental inspiration of
all such lirlmct\. 'I'his particular suit of armour had
two altcrnativc types of protection for the hips and
groin; thC version worn here was ibr combat on foot,
whcrcas the other was to bc worn on horseback.
Note that Morosini ir armed with a basket-hilted
rapicr and a fine wheellock pistol. (Mai n source:
mid-17th C. Rrescian half armour, hlus. Civico
Marzoli, Rrescia.)
H2: Cbn~l i nn nrquebzc.rirr, ear!v 17th centrcr_)!
'The brrastplate ofthis ordinary soldier has the same
dent or 'proofing mark' as the fine armour of
Tommaso Morosini. Though decorated, his breast
and back platcs, morion hrlmrt and iron ncck-
protrcting gorgct worn I~cneath thr 1,reastplatc arc
of much infirior quality. Thc man's sword is a
Balkan .vrinzlo?~n while his arquebus has a C;crman
lock I ~ut was assrmblcd at Brescia, in Venetian
tcrritory. (Mai n sources: 'Vcnetian infantryman',
in Vecrllio's (;o.slzlmr Book: I talian infantry armour,
early 17th C., Armoury of the Palace of the
Knights, Malta; sciavona sword, Vcnctian early
I 7th C: . , ilrmoury of the Doge's Palace, Venice.)
'Apotheosis of Admiral Lorenzo Marcello', victor of a naval
battle in the Dardanelles in 1656 in which he himself died. Mid-
17th century engraving. (Mus. Civ. Correr, Venice)
3: 'Scn,b/~oli' ~ a l l ~ y z~ol ~rnt ~er, enrlv 17th rvntliry
Unarmoured rxccpt for a small iron secrctc hclmct
worn bencath his typical Balkan frathcrcd cap, this
volunteer is clcarly fi-om one of' Vcnicc's Halkan
tcrritorics, pro1)al)ly northern Ilalmatia. ?'hc
decorative ha~i ds across his tunic had the same
origin as the later decorations worn by hussar light
cavalry. Apart from a simple daggcr captured li-om
thc Ottomans, lie is armrtl with :i str;lrigr, all-iron
combined war-axe and wheellock muskct. [bl ai n
sources: 'Scappoli' in Vcccllio's ( Book; axe-
gun, early I 7th C., Armoury of'thc, Dogc's I'alacc,
Venice. i
Continued from back cover 57 The Zulu War
160 Nap's Guard lnfantry (2)
44 Nap's German Allies (I )
43 Nap's German Allies (2)
90 Nap's German All~es (3)
106 Nap's German All~es (4)
122 Nap's German Allies (5)
199 Nap's Special~st Troops
21 1 Nap's Overseas Army
227 Nap's Sea Sold~ers
88 Nap's Italian Troops
176 Austr~an Army ( I): lnfantry
181 Austr~an Army (2): Cavalry
223 Austrian Spec~allst Troops
152 Pruss~an L~ne lnfantry
149 Pruss~an Light lnfantry
192 Pruss~an Reserve & Irregulars
162 Prussian Cavalry 1792- 1807
172 Pruss~an Cavalry 1 807- 15
185 Russ~an Army (I): lnfantry
189 Russtan Army (2): Cavalry
84 Wellington's Generals
114 Well~ngton's Infantry (I )
119 Wellingon's lnfantry (2)
253 Wellington's H~ghlanders
126 Wellington's Light Cavalry
I30 Wellington's Heavy Cavalry
204 Wellington's Specialist Troops
167 Brunswick Troops 1809- 15
98 Dutch-Belgian Troops
206 Hanoverian Army 1792- 1 8 16
226 The' American War 1812- 14
96 Artillery Equ~pments
77 Flags of the Nap Wars (I )
78 Flags of the Nap Wars (2)
l I 5 Flags of the Nap Wars (3)
232 Bol~var and San Martin
173 Alamo & Texan War 1 835-6
56 Mexican-American War 1846-8
272 The Mexcan Adventure 186 1-67
63 American-lnd~an Wars 860.90
170 American Civil War Armies:
(I ): Confederate
177 (2): Un~on
179 (3): Staff. S~ecialists.
~ar i t i me '
I90 (4): State Troops, ,
207 (5): Volunteer Mll~t~a
37 Army of Northern Virginia
38 Armv of the Potomac
252 ~lags'of the American Civil War:
ains lndtans
Rebellion 185 1-66
iy of the
on Campaign:
nea, 1854-56
i Afrca
n Afr~ca
ampalgns 1860-70
DS In the
r -
y 1857-59
91 Bengal Cavalry Reg~ments
92 Indian lnfantry Reg~ments
233 French Army 1870-7 1 (1 )
237 French Army 1870-7 1 (2)
277 The Russo-Turk~sh War 1877
59 Sudan Campal ns 188 1-98
230 US Army 1898- 1920
95 The Boxer Rebellion
80 The German Army 19 14- 1 8
81 The Br~t~sh Army i 9 14- 18
245 British Territorial Ud s 1 9 14- 1 8
269 The Onoman Armv 1914- 18
208 Lawrence and the Arab Revolts
182 Brit~sh Battle Insienia:
1 12 Brit~sh 6attledre;s 1937-6 1
120 Allled Commanders of WW2
225 The Royal Air Force
70 US ~ r m ~ 194 1-45
2 16 The Red Army 1 94 1-45
246 The Romanian Armv
120 he SA 1 92 1 -45
24 The Panzer Div~s~ons
266 The Alleeme~ne-SS
34 The ~2f f en- ss
229 Luftwaffe F~eld Divis~ons
124 German Commandt-rs of WW2
21 3 German MP Units
139 German Airborne Troops
13 1 Germany's E Front All~es
103 Germany s Span~sh Volunteers
147 Wehrmacht Fore~gn Volunteers
254 Wehrmacht Auxllhary Forces
238 Allied Fore~gn Volunteers
142 Part~san Warfare 194 1 -45
169 Res~stance Warfare 1940-45
270 Flags of the Third Reich
274 (2) Waffen-SS
278 (3) Party & Police Units
132 Malayan Campa~gn 1948-60
174 The Korean War 1950-53
116 The Special Alr Serv~ce
156 The Royal Marines 1956-84
133 Banle for the Falklands
( I ): Land Forces
134 (2j: Naval Forces
135 (3): Air Forces
250 Argentine Forces In the Falklands
127 Israeli Armv 1948-73
128 Arab ~r ml k s (I): 1948-73
194 Arab Arm~es (2): 1973-88
165 Armies In Lebanon 1982-84
104 Vietnam War Arm~es 1962-75
143 Vietnam War Armies (2)
209 War in Cambodia 1970-75
2 17 War in Laos 1960-75
183 Modern Afr~can Wars:
( I ): Rhodesia 1965-80
202 (2): Angola & Mozamb~que
242 (3): South-West Afr~ca
159 Grenada 1983
178 Russia's War In Afghan~stan
22 1 Central Amer~can Wars
65 The Royal Navy
107 Brlt~sh lnfantry Equipts. ( I )
108 Br~tish lnfantw EOUID& (2)
, - 7 r - ,-,
138 Br~t~sh Cavalw Eau~ots
72 The ~ort hwgst F'rdntier
214 US lnfantry Equ~pts.
205 US Army Combat Equipts.
234 German Combat Equipts.
157 Flak jackets
123 Australian Army I 899- 1975
164 Canadian Army at War
16 1 Span~sh Foreign Legion
197 Royal Canadian Mounted Police
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and artillery. Each 48-page book contains eight pages of full-colour artwork including a detailed cutaway
of the vehicle's interior.
Concise, authoritative accounts of decisive encounters in military history. Each 96-page book contains
more than 90 illustrations including maps, orders of battle and colour plates, plus a series of
three-dimensional battle maps that mark the critical stages of the campaign.
218 Anc~ent Chlnese Arm~es
109 Anc~ent Middle East
137 The Scythians 700-300 B.C.
69 Greek & Persian Wars 500-323 B.C.
148 Army of Alexander the Great
12 1 Carthagmian Wars
46 Roman Army:
( I ) Caesar-Trajan
93 (2) Hadrian-Constantine
(I ): Germanics & Dac~ans
158 (2): Gallic & Br~tish Celts
I75 (3): Parthians & Sassanids
180 (4j: Spaln 2 18 B.C.- 19 B.C.
243 (5): The Desert Frontier
Romano-B zantine Armies 4th-9th C
Arthur & Anglo-Saxon Wars
Arm~es of the Muslim Conquest
Armies of Islam. 7th- I I th C
The Age of Charlemagne
Byzantine Armies 886- 1 1 18
Saxon. Viking & Norman
French Medieval Armies 1000- 1300
Arm~es of the Crusades
Saladln & the Saracens
155 Knl hts of Chr~st
200 El !~d & Reconqulsta 1050- 1492
105 The Mongols
222 The Age of Tamerlane
Medieval Chlnese Armies
Medreval European Armies
Scots & Welsh Wars
The SWISS 1300- 1 500
Italian Armies 1300- 1500
German Armies 1300- 1500
Hun a & E Europe
1 d- g68 '
The Mamluks 1250- 1517
Ottoman Turks 1 300- 1774
I Venetian Emplre 1200- 1670
Armies of Crecy and Poit~ers
8 Medieval Burgundy 1 364- 1477
Armies of A Incourt
Wars of thesoses
I Medieval Heraldry
8 The Irish Wars 1485- 1603
Henry Vlll's Army
i The Landsknechts
The Conquistadores
Mughul India 1 504- 176 1
8 Gustavus Adolphus ( I ): lnfantry
: Gustavus Adolphus (2): Cavalry
I Engllsh CIVII War Arm~es
I New Model Army 1645-60
Louis XIV's Army
' The British Army 1660- 1704
' Marlborough's Arm
I Samurai Armies 1 5l 0- 16 1 5
I Polish Armies 1569- 1696 (1)
188 Pol~sh Arm~es 1569- I696 (2)
26 1 18th Century H~ghlanders
260 Peter the Great's Army (I): lnfantry
264 Peter the Great's Army (2): Cavalry
118 Jacobite Rebell~ons
236 Frederick the Great ( I )
240 Freder~ck the Great (2)
248 Freder~ck the Great (3)
271 Austrian Army 1740-80 (1)
276 Austrian Army 1740-80 (2)
48 Wolfe's Army
228 American Woodland lnd~ans
39 Brit. Armv in N. Amerlca
244 French 1n' ~mer. War Ind.
273 General Wash~ngton's Army
( 1 ): 1 775- 1778
257 Napoleon's Campa~gns In Italy
79 Napoleon's E ptian Campaign
87 Napoleon's Xrshals
64 Nap's Cu~rass~ers & Carabln~ers
55 Nap's Dragoons & Lancers
68 Nap's Llne Chasseurs
76 Nap's Hussars
83 Nap's Guard Cavalry
141 Nap's Llne lnfantry
146 Nap's Llght lnfantry
153 Nap's Guard Infantry (I )
Title list continued on inside back cover
Please note that for space reasons obbrevrated Avac annotations en fran~air sur Ies
titles ore grven above; when ordermg, please quote lanchas .n couleurr.
the title number, e.g. 'MAA 109' for 'Ancrent k i t Aufzekhnungen auf Deutsch Ober den
Armres of the Middle East', etc. Farbtafaln.
I S B N 0- 85045- 899- 4
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