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(kōndōt-tyā`rā) [Ital.,=leader], leader of mercenary soldiers in Italy in the 14th and 15th cent., when wars were almost incessant there. The condottieri hired and paid the bands who fought under them. They dealt directly with the cities or states that requested their services and were responsible solely to them. They fought for the highest bidder, passing easily from one lord to another; this game proved dangerous and even fatal to more than one. Some condottieri had small states of their own, either inherited or acquired. The most famous were the Attendolos (founders of the SforzaSforza
, Italian family that ruled the duchy of Milan from 1450 to 1535. Rising from peasant origins, the Sforzas became condottieri and used this military position to become rulers in Milan. The family governed by force, ruse, and power politics.
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 family), ColleoniColleoni, Bartolomeo
, 1400–1475, Italian soldier of fortune. A condottiere, Colleoni fought in the wars between Venice and Milan, often changing sides and distrusted by both.
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, CarmagnolaCarmagnola, Francesco Bussone da
, c.1380?–1432, Italian condottiere. He fought for Filippo Maria Visconti, duke of Milan, in his wars against Florence and Venice but later fell out with Visconti and entered the service of Venice.
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, and Sir John de HawkwoodHawkwood, Sir John de,
d. 1394, English soldier. He fought in the French wars of Edward III and was knighted, although it is not known when or where. With his "white company" of mercenaries, he entered (1362) Italy and became a condottiere.
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See studies by J. J. Deiss (1966) and G. Trease (1971).

References in periodicals archive ?
The condottiere faced a principal-agent problem of his own of course: how to raise, manage, and keep his soldiers who, while securing their livelihood, could be expected to flock more readily to such leaders as would keep them out of harm's way.
2) Le Condottiere is the title of an unpublished novel by Georges Perec mentioned in W or The Memory of Childhood (108-9).
Condottiere 1300-1500: Infamous medieval mercenaries.
Rene's army included recruits from Alsace and Switzerland as well as, unbeknownst to Charles, his own perfidious Italian condottiere, Campobasso.
In England the monasteries were plundered and their wealth seized by the crown--and used for war--or distributed among the secular nobility, mostly soldiers, and epitomized by the condottiere Earl of Pembroke who drove out the pious nuns of Wilton at the point of his sword, shouting: "Out, out, ye whores
Those once profitably idealistic Trades Union leaders have become hardboiled economic condottiere, with amongst the largest income taxes in the USA, bulletproof cars, tommy-gun guards, and entry into the "progressive" salons of Hollywood actresses and NYC surrealiste millionairesses.
90) The same artist also received another, less public commission to celebrate the union of the great condottiere with the ducal house: sometime between 1441 and 1450, Bembo painted a deck of playing cards inscribed with the emblems of both families and known today as the Visconti-Sforza tarots--the earliest extant deck to correspond card for card with the modern tarots.
Giovanni Santi was court-painter to Frederigo da Montefeltro, condottiere Duke of Urbino, a one-eyed warrior-scholar whose broken-nosed profile was depicted by Piero della Francesca; the duke whom Justus van Ghent portrayed as reading a book whilst clad in armour.
He was a condottiere, a contract soldier, who hired out this very skilful army (mainly to the Pope) to make his little state much richer than its natural resources could have allowed.
Caferro estimates that between 1342 and 1399 the city endured at least thirty-seven raids, which usually ended in the payment of huge bribes, like the thirty thousand florins extorted by the English condottiere Sir John Hawkwood in 1375, a sum that exceeded the government's total annual revenues.
In the condottiere world of lawyering, his victory in a case that looked like a dog greatly increased his market value.
To remedy this, church officials in Florence have embarked on an ambitious plan to recruit and deploy volunteer guides to take visitors through the cathedral, ``explaining why there is an Annunciation here, a condottiere there,'' Verdon said.