zondag, mei 14, 2006

Battle of Pavia

The Battle of Pavia was a continuation of the Italian Wars which began in 1494. Renaissance Italy was divided into several rival states, hostage to European powers, principally France and Spain. Swiss mercenaries held the balance between two great civilizations, that of the south and that of the north. (A relic of this historic position is the continuation of the Pope's Swiss guard down to this day.)

Francis I, King of France, in alliance with the Venetians, had achieved a hard-fought victory over the Swiss cantons at the Battle of Marignano, near Milan, on Sept. 13-14, 1515. This fiercely-fought battle excited all Europe, was referred to as the "Battle of Giants," and represented the first serious check suffered by Swiss arms, due largely to combined arms tactics by the French and their used of large numbers of relatively modern cannon, although the Swiss were only moved to retreat when the Venetian army arrived on their rear on the second day of the battle.

In 1525, Pope Clement VII became alarmed at the control of Naples and Lombardy by Emperor Charles V. So the Pope formed an alliance with the victor at Marignano, Francis I, who returned over the Alps with a new army of 26,000 French, Italian, Swiss, and German soldiers. The campaign began brilliantly with the capture of Milan and Francis' triumphal entry. Marching on to Pavia (20 miles south of Milan), Francis dawdled in laying siege to the city. The Habsburg Emperor retaliated by sending a 23,000-man Habsburg army under Fernando Francisco de Avalos, Marchese di Pescara, to support the 6,000-man garrison in lifting the siege.

from wikipedia....

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