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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).

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References in periodicals archive ?
(66) Donnina's other daughters Elisabetta and Riccarda married the condottiere Lando and Bertrand de la Sale respectively.
The military title of "condottiere" is actually derived from the "condotta" or contract for raising and leading troops.
Dosso Dossi's Condottiere at the Fogg Museum of Art at Harvard shows a warrior, menacingly armed yet dreamy of aspect, sporting a large, flashy red hat.
Having sneaked on Andrea Doria's ship, a stowaway, Nino is eventually exposed and his only chance of survival is that of convincing the condottiere of his good intentions, and this in only two minutes.
The most famous condottiere John Hawkwood who employed the new war tactics of Edward III died in Florence and was buried in the Duomo.
But, it was the time of condottiere, too, and the first name the history withheld was described as a "condottiere letters."
Ludovico's return to Milan in September 1479 revitalized the plans for the bronze, as did the deliberations of the Venetian Senate in July 1479 on the erection of a comparable statue in honor of the condottiere Bartolommeo Colleoni of Bergamo, for which Verrocchio, Leonardo's teacher, was subsequently invited to submit a model.
1435-88), with his equestrian statue of the condottiere Bartolomeo Colleoni in the Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, fully met the challenge (Fig.
He is in fact, a nobleman: the "principe de Varese" and descendent of a well-known Venetian condottiere.
Mr X gives a good insight, too, into the seemingly ubiquitous 21st century phenomenon, the PMC, from the early condottiere through the era of "Mad Mike" Hoare and Bob Denard to present-day Iraq.