Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-p6h7k Total loading time: 0.355 Render date: 2022-05-27T04:31:53.188Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

7 - Supplying the Army, 1498: The Florentine Campaign in the Pisan Countryside

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 June 2021

Get access

Summary

This article analyzes the equipping of an army in late medieval Italy: an expensive, problematic, and daily process that involved statesmen, soldiers, and artisans. The context is Renaissance Tuscany during the transition from the traditional warfare of the Italian peninsula to a strategy radically influenced by the appearance of new French cannons. The connections between practices of war and methods of production are the focus. Other subjects discussed include the collection of money, the market for raw materials, technological developments, and the effectiveness of the transalpine ordnance. Using data gathered from the Florentine State Archive, supplemented by numerous chronicles, the article demonstrates that innovations in artillery led to significant changes in the supply chain of munitions, and in the conduct of sieges.

In spite of a generic awareness of their impact on operational choices, the supply of munitions has not sparked much interest among scholars of Renaissance Italy. Much remains to be studied about the manufacture of or the commerce in weapons in the fifteenth-century Peninsula, or about military–technological innovations, or about the construction of new arsenals. Historians have focused more on the theoretical studies of eminent engineers, and on the formation of their humanistic culture, than on the actual practices of smiths and gunmakers. Gilded parade armors have often drawn the attention of art experts, but the state's orders of thousands of cuirasses have been completely neglected by economic historians. The extensive, lively market for the indispensable ingredients of gunpowder, especially saltpeter, has been regarded with the same indifference as the introduction of new shapes and new materials in the fabrication of ordnance. Sporadic publications on the management and production of firearms cannot fill all the blanks in the field, and cannot be compared to the complete analyses offered by the international literature. Mines and furnaces, at least, have been studied by archaeologists and specialists in medieval craftsmanship.

This neglect of the technological and economic aspects of warfare is perhaps not surprising, considering that it is only recently that the military historiography of the fifteenth-century Peninsula has evolved from badly outdated paradigms. Niccolò Machiavelli's juxtaposition of unreliable mercenary companies and dependable citizen armies has finally been overcome by a gradual reevaluation of the military establishments of kingdoms, duchies, and republics. Several contributions have highlighted the importance of permanent military offices in the organization of armies, the repercussions of war on tax systems, and the formation of regional states.

Type
Chapter
Information
Journal of Medieval Military History
Volume XVII
, pp. 201 - 236
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2019

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×