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The decline of a provincial military aristocracy: Siena, 1560-1740.

The problem of `decadence' after the fifteenth century has long haunted the historiography of twentieth-century Italy. How were historians to evaluate the consequences of the Italian wars, the peninsula's loss of `liberty', and its retreat from what the French call la grande histoire of kings and battles? Until the fundamental shift away from political and institutional history under the influence of Annales historians in the 1960s towards an economic and cultural history with a completely different set of questions, it is interesting how much unity of vision there was. Historians continually recast Guicciardini's sense of decline in the light of modern ideologies. Benedetto Croce, Piero Pieri and Giorgio Spini, to name three of the most influential twentieth-century historians of the `old school', identified a spiritual crisis, a weakening of the nation's moral fibre before the onslaught of foreign armies.(1) Pieri argued that the invasion of Italy in 1494 exposed not so much an Italian military archaism as a spiritual insufficiency. For him, what was lacking was that sentiment of social solidarity among individuals acting as citizens, as subjects, or as Italians. Political failure thus underlaid military failure. A compelling popular interpretation in this vein is Luigi Barzini's: the quick success of the first French invasion proved that the states of Italy were incapable of forming a united front against a foreign aggressor; by inference, all were ripe for conquest. Like many commentators, intellectuals or not, he suggests that Italians reinvested in the arts and culture whatever they lost in martial vigour after the battle of Fornovo in 1495. It became part of the `national character' to concede military superiority to foreigners.(2) Philistine Piedmont's success in fashioning an effective military force in its Alpine cul-de-sac did not contradict this thesis: quite the contrary. If Italians elsewhere acquired any military proficiency or achieved high rank in European armies, it was by their individual talents. Such success was not held to be typical of the Italian aristocracy.

The appeal of this argument is that it explains so much with grace and economy. It is easy to object to details of it. Croce himself devoted several pages to the Neapolitan warrior tradition in the service of Spain in the sixteenth century and objected to its neglect by historians inspired by Risorgimento ideals.(3) A more ambitious rewriting of the history of Italian military valour and achievements was attempted shortly afterwards, in lavish encyclopaedias compiled by soldiers.(4) Fascist ideology was eager to show the martial vigour of the race and rehabilitating a forgotten military tradition was a substantial part of this project. These projects, to which no university historians seem to have contributed, sank quickly into obscurity after the defeat of the Italian army in the Second World War.(5)

It is possible, however, even from the Fascist encyclopaedias themselves, to point to a sudden drop in Italian military activity in the second half of the seventeenth century, a development that seemed to escape the propagandists. If there was in fact a demilitarization of Italian society, no one has ever really studied it. A partial exception has been the work of AngelAntonio Spagnoletti, which is not concerned with demilitarization itself as a process, but rather with the political consequences of this redeployment of aristocratic energies in the framework of the `territorial states'. He succinctly describes the period after 1560 as a pace guerreggiata, in which the Italian aristocracy played an international role in political and military events, generally in the support of the Habsburg monarchy.(6) With the exhaustion of Spanish resources at the close of the Thirty Years War, warrior nobles began to return home and seek their fortunes by serving their princes, who alone could help them defend their status in a time of agricultural depression. The chivalric values that had nourished the desire for military glory were on the decline and crusading zeal was waning. The real contraction in the numbers of nobles, through a decline in marriage, eased their integration into the territorial state. To support this argument, Spagnoletti relies exclusively on admission lists of Italian nobles to the Order of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, otherwise known as the Knights of Malta. He does not examine the cadres of those armies in which Italian nobles were serving, nor does he discuss the contradiction between a north European aristocracy that was increasingly serving in its princes' expanding armies and the utter originality of the Italian development.

The implications of the level of aristocratic militarization in Italy over the long duration appear to me to be several. First, the Habsburg monarchy attracted more than just the Milanese and Neapolitans, legitimate subjects of the king of Spain. Although we need to establish the geographical distribution of the military aristocracy with more precision, the enlistment of Emilians, Tuscans, Ligurians and so many others into Spanish and Austrian armies underlined the real prestige and hidden strength of the House of Austria.(7) Beyond the propensity of Italian principalities to adapt their foreign policies to the strategic aims of the Catholic king or the emperor, urban nobilities were eager to project their warrior traditions and ambitions onto a theatre of vast proportions. The stature and legitimacy of the Habsburgs were clear in comparison with those of the Italian princes, whose recent dynasties had, like the Venetian republic, swallowed up flourishing city-states and deprived a numerous nobility of effective political power. What precluded a glorious military career for the most talented and ambitious warriors was the modest dimensions of most of these states and their limited territorial ambitions. Everyone, however, admitted that a noble in search of honours, distinctions and a good name could serve a prince other than his `natural' liege lord. Those Italian nobles who chose such avenues were cast as `adventurers' in search of renown and they set out to forge clientele links beyond the confines of their cities. For Spagnoletti, this process weakened the bonds between nobles and their princes and, by extension, undermined the cohesiveness of the Italian states. Compatriots applauded their achievements all the same.

Secondly, a closer study of military commitment and subsequent demilitarization also puts the Counter-Reformation into clearer perspective. Old and new research on the spirit animating the Spanish army emphasizes how important it was to appeal to the religious zeal of officers and soldiers alike: soldiers, spurred on by monks, marching behind religious banners, fought for the triumph of the faith and the honour of the king.(8) The same could be said of the Italians. Almost all of them fought in wars justified by the Counter-Reformation ideology of the crusade, and any disreputable or egotistical motivations could be conveniently camouflaged by an appeal to a higher cause. Both Italian historians and local chroniclers usually designated the Habsburg forces as the Catholic army, fighting heretics and rebels in Flanders and diabolical Turks in Hungary.(9) This phenomenon discredits the nationalist and secular tradition in Italian historiography that sees in the period of Catholic ascendancy a spiritual crisis and a lack of political courage and altruism.(10)

Finally, the persistent military enthusiasm of the Italian aristocracy helps us define that class and understand the other ideology that motivated it. Quite apart from high-minded appeals to princely service or defence of religion, tradition and public opinion sanctioned military careers as the most appropriate calling for aristocrats, because it gave them a theatre in which to display their bravura and natural generosity, whatever the pretext of the war. Despite their commitment to the good fight, many warrior nobles were what Spagnoletti calls pendolari, passing from the service of one state to another as career opportunities presented themselves. If material rewards proved elusive, glory was a good second best. Military functions that cast them as leaders were held to be especially appropriate for men of noble birth.(11) Conversely, their withdrawal from European armies signifies a profound redefinition of aristocracy in the `classical' age of Louis XIV and the late Counter-Reformation era.

The engagement on, and disengagement from, the various battlefields in Europe and the Mediterranean by the Italian aristocracy provides a valuable point of entry into a realm of political, social and cultural history. What I would like to do here, beyond verifying the accuracy of Spagnoletti's theory in a single case, is to examine this military careerism and the process of sudden demilitarization in more detail. I have chosen the city of Siena, more or less at random, from the onset of the pax Hispanica to the early decades of the eighteenth century. The difficulty of this investigation is to find sources that do more than celebrate specific individuals, chosen on grounds that were either arbitrary or unashamedly subjective. It is not enough to `prove' by examples that demilitarization occurred, for examples do not constitute proofs. What follows is an attempt to demonstrate and measure, even if only generally, the alleged process of demilitarization by juxtaposing different sources with their specific biases and then `triangulate' the apparent conclusions of each.


First contact with the study of Italian cities and their elites in the seventeenth century can be conveniently channelled through local catalogues of noble families. This enthusiasm for nobility was common enough for contemporary Italian and familiarity with the names and achievements of the leading houses of a city was general knowledge. These houses were de facto institutions, much grander than the individuals comprising them, and their accomplishments were a patrimony that was enhanced with each generation. Recording their triumphs was a recognized li genre, practised by every city's humanists, academicians and scholars. The catalogues, or `compendia', they compiled were a way of remembering and celebrating these achievements; they were held to reflect the `qualities' of the city, as much as the families and the individuals who resided there. In a way, these catalogues define nobility better than any other document, for they left no distinguished family uncelebrated. Aristocrats might have interpreted a compiler's negligence as a calculated affront, for such compendia, even when in manuscript, passed from hand to hand and were read diligently by circles of academicians, avid promoters of the city's reputation.(12)

Because there was such concern for comprehensive coverage, we can chart, from one generation to the next, the entry of scions of these families into every theatre of activity that bore the stamp of nobility: the royal and grand-ducal courts, the magistracy, the church, the most prestigious municipal offices and the arts and sciences. Besides official functions and dignities, the compendia record special accomplishments, talents and the `virtuosity' of these people, inasmuch as they conformed to models of what nobles could practise without derogation. Artists, musicians, writers and even comics figure prominently in these works. Their talents rescued them from obscurity or anonymity, at least for their fellow citizens. A handful of women -- poetesses or ladies-in-waiting -- also grace this parade of names and dates with a seemingly endless procession of aristocratic merits.

Of the several compendia compiled at the junction of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the most accessible and complete is that of the canon Antonio Sestigiani, dating from 1695.(13) He carefully and tastefully deployed the achievements of hundreds of families (in alphabetical order), but more significantly, separated the families constituting the elite of the old republic (pre-1555) from the minor or more recent families that had been `aggregated' to this stock.(14) The Sestigiani compilation falls short of an ideal document, though, because its dates often lack precision. Rather than supply consistently an individual's vital statistics, it suggests a rough period of activity. It was essentially concerned with recording special achievements. Undistinguished Knights of Malta and Santo Stefano, and nobles filling lower echelons of the church and the bench, were routinely ignored.(15)

In 1700, the aristocracy of this erstwhile banking city of 16,000 people still cultivated chivalric and military pastimes. The independent republic, as late as the 1550s, mobilized both the citizens and the subject towns in the famous struggle against Spanish, imperial and Florentine armies.(16) Later, as a dependency of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the Stato nuovo remained technically neutral in all of the struggles between Christian states and was at war only with the distant Ottoman Empire and its Barbary coast allies. Sienese nobles were in no way compelled by dynastic loyalty, formal alliance or even a lengthy communal tradition to offer their swords to the king of Spain, the Holy Roman Emperor or the Republic of Venice. Yet the sheer number of individuals doing so is impressive. Sestigiani duly inscribed the dates of their activities, the highest ranks achieved, and sometimes even evoked their accomplishments in a few lines. From the end of the Italian wars to the last years of the following century, he notes more than 430.(17) This military engagement on their part was at first sight purely gratuitous. To use contemporary language, it sprang from their natural generosity and their desire to earn glory and reputation in a worthy cause. It went far beyond the formal attainment of military rank or martial posturing for a local audience.

A closer reading of the Compendio suggests that the military activity of the Sienese nobility, which was considerable at the end of the sixteenth century, and still notable in the late 1640s, suddenly entered a period of contraction that cannot be attributed either to the diminishing intensity of European wars or to a sudden decline in numbers of nobles. In my view and following Spagnoletti, this development, which occurred precisely when armies in northern Europe were becoming permanent and expanding the possibilities of employment for social elites, was part of a broader trend affecting most of the Italian aristocracy, with the notable exception of Piedmont.

In Sestigiani's first group are 143 patrician families of medieval origin whose deeds continue to embellish the city after the fall of the Republic, grosso modo after 1560. Most of these houses plotted strategies of social advancement, placing an emphasis on one or another sector of activity. Larger families with many branches did not need to specialize in one vocation for they could provide every field with promising candidates. This is the case of casa Piccolomini, with its fifteen branches, the Pannocchieschi d'Elci with six branches, and the Tolomei with eight. But smaller families chose their fields more narrowly. The Bichi, Chigi or Cennini, among others, were well placed in the church hierarchy. They could count cardinal and even a pope, whose patronage furthered their families' ecclesiastical careers for generations. Such powerful patrons eased family members into bishoprics, prestigious local canonries or the Roman bureaucracy. Other minor families, like the Checconi, furnished generations of magistrates to cities throughout central and northern Italy.

While Sestigiani was not especially concerned with military accomplishments, a substantial majority of the older families in his compilation had at least one member who had filled an official military function since 1560: 99 families out of 143. The nonmilitary families were almost all of the minor nobility: their most distinguished offspring were ecclesiastics, medical doctors and magistrates, or professionals, writers, intellectuals and occasionally artists. Of the 55 newer families, on the other hand, only 11 could boast of a warrior in their family tree, and only one, casa Squarci, had more than one. The difference is even more striking if one compares the frequency of military careers per family in the old and the new patriciate.(18) Among the descendants of the medieval aristocracy, there were 459 military careers indicated in the Compendio, an average of 3.2 per family whatever their background, and 4.6 per family among those with any military history. Among the newer families, there were only 0.2 military vocations per family, and even the `warlike' houses almost never generated more than one soldier. The strategies governing military careers were consistent from one generation to the next: 8 Bichi, along with 7 men from the house of Ciai and 6 Accarigi, appear as Knights of Malta. Sestigiani fisted fully 25 military careers for the house of Piccolomini, but it counted fifteen branches. The Counts Pannocchieschi d'Elci contributed 18 military careers from their six branches, and the Tolomei 8 from as many branches. But smaller houses tended to reinforce success -- the Petrucci had 23 military careers for eight branches, the Placidi 15 for two branches, the Saracini and the Marsili 11 each, although this last house had just two branches. These were old and honourable families that identified themselves wholly with the military ethos by pushing sons and nephews along that path. The document implies that some of this frequency may have been due to the emulation of elders by young relatives, rather than the relentless prodding of sons by their father, especially if a member of the family had reached a high position and could make use of his patronage prerogatives. Emulation is likely to have been the principal motivation when we find several brothers or cousins serving in armies simultaneously, like the 4 Parigini in Spanish armies in Italy and Flanders in the 1620s and 1630s, and the 3 brothers Buoninsegni serving the king of Spain in Flanders around the same period.

Sestigiani's compilation is a defective source by its celebratory nature. It remains an elaborate list of names and dignities, reducing individuals to archetypes. Any disturbing fact not compatible with the glory of the family or of the city is conspicuously absent. Another compendium, more widely known because it was published, was compiled by the monk Isidoro Ugurgieri Azzolini, a `consultore' of the papal Inquisition and former professor at the University of Pisa. His mammoth, two-volume Pompe Sanesi appeared in 1649.(19) His intention, like that of Sestigiani after him, was to honour every noble family in the city by recalling the achievements of their conspicuous members. Passed in review were those Sienese who were popes, cardinals, archbishops, bishops, important prelates, or monks and nuns who reached high dignities in their orders; also included were inquisitors, theologians and preachers, composers, musicians, painters and architects, magistrates, medical doctors, important officials and politicians, poets, actors, academicians, historians, inventors and mathematicians! These were fields of activity where nobles could display the `virtu' of their persons and add lustre and renown to their houses, refurbishing that `quality' that was the hallmark of noble blood.

Ugurgieri's work appeared too soon to illustrate any process of demilitarization, so military celebrities constitute the largest single chapter of his book -- over a hundred pages and 95 heroes for the ninety years after 1560. The entries range from a long panegyric to a simple catalogue citation. Ugurgieri possessed the remarkable gift of finding felicitous ways of disguising his opprobrium with flattery, so there is, under the flowery prose of baroque sensitivity, a biting edge to many of these portraits that give them a scent of truth or realism, inasmuch as any of this literature might be true to life. While evoking the martial `spirit' of the warriors he cites, he alludes to their motivations as well as their destinies, and these were not always honourable. Many of them, as youngsters had sought travel and adventure, but even more had courted patrons and contacts abroad. This fact of life returns as a leitmotif throughout the pages. In lieu of the favour of powerful ministers, fathers might appoint sons to their positions, younger brothers might tag along, and uncles might open avenues of opportunity for their nephews.

Not surprisingly, because there were so many of them, most of the young men cited were not very successful. Many of these adventurers are described as poor gentlemen seeking their fortunes and a stage on which to display their intrepidity. Few of them were probably poor in an absolute sense, though Oscar Di Simplicio has noted how many Sienese nobles were close to the edge of decheance.(20) The cost of a horse, weapons and travel to a theatre of operations was an obstacle to the poorest among them.(21) For cadets with few expectations of inheritance, however, this expenditure may have been a sound investment. By pledging their swords in some foreign cause, they might acquire `grande reputazione' and a chance to escape a life of want and penury. The fact that most of them advanced little by little, by dint of immense effort, underscores their lack of connections. Tired of waiting for promotion, many gave up and came home to watch over some unthreatened fortress in Tuscany. A rich gentleman had an advantage, as he could raise and equip his own company, offer it to a warlord in exchange for the right to command it, and then hope to be recompensed with promotion.(22) Count Imperiale Pannocchieschi d'Elci offered his company of Sienese infantry to Philip II of Spain for the conquest of Portugal in 1580. Despite his promising nature, described as bellicosissimo, he reverted to Tuscan service not long afterwards, where his name and connections earned him the command of a Florentine citadel.(23) A descendant of his, Andrea Lodovico, suffered years of hardship and captivity in Flanders and Germany in the 1630s, without any compensation from the King of Spain, before returning to Siena to head the family consortium.

In other instances, some youthful `indiscretion' sparked a sudden desire to join a foreign army. Ugurgieri's terminology is not always transparent, but it is easy to surmise that at least seven of these careers, representing about a tenth of those not affiliated with the crusading orders, were launched by homicides committed at home.(24) Armies of foreign princes were refuges from justice, good places to spend some time while relatives worked towards obtaining pardons. Judging from the incidence of homicide among young nobles in Siena in the late sixteenth century and the culture of ticklish honour and vendetta that thrived there, soldiering may not have been unduly dangerous by comparison.(25)

Perhaps Ugurgieri, as an assistant to the Inquisition, feared nobody. His mordant narrative of the background and events behind many careers applies even to the most illustrious households. His assessment of the Piccolomini, the most celebrated house of all, shows that even they could be scorched by his warm `flattery'. Nevertheless, in any evocation of military glory, particularly relating to the dynastic traditions of military careerism, they had to rank high above all others. As such, they illustrate just how high a talented officer might climb. Silvio Piccolomini became a fixture at the Florentine court after serving in Flanders under the duke of Parma, in Transylvania to aid Sigismund Bathory and, finally, in the galleys of Santo Stefano. Two of his sons chose military careers, and one of them, Ottavio, rose to become duke of Amalfi, baron of Nachod in Bohemia, grandee of Spain, governor general of the Low Countries, commander-in-chief of the Austrian imperial army, and member of the select Imperial Council of State. As he penetrated the sanctuary of Austrian and Spanish command, he opened the door to his Sienese relations and other Tuscan friends and acquaintances. Some of them, including his nephews Evandro and Silvio Piccolomini, were under intense pressure to measure up to their illustrious forbears and became victims of the Thirty Years War.(26)

The risks of military service only rarely paid off in monetary terms or in the form of promotion to a colonelcy that unlocked all the potential profits accruing to military enterprises.(27) The most tangible reward that many noblemen reaped was inclusion in Ugugieri's compendium, with their names immortalized in print, followed by the epithet `valoroso'. A sizeable number were contemporaries of the writer, so he knew them personally and was aware of their fates. A typical pattern emerges: service as a youth in the armies of Spain or Austria, or occasionally Venice or France, culminating in promotion to the rank of captain, and only rarely higher. During the brief Barberini War against the pope (1643-44), Grand Duke Ferdinand II called many of these nobles home to take up commissions in the hastily assembled Tuscan forces. Even Ottavio Piccolomini condescended to pass in review the Grand Duke's army at Cortona, trained and equipped in the latest German fashion. Most of these old soldiers and veterans of Flanders and Germany then retired to their family estates around Siena. Many retained some military function or dignity as captains of the duchy's ragtag militia bands, good for policing country fairs or scouring the mountains in pursuit of bandits. The most fortunate were appointed commanders of the fortresses and castles scattered across the principality, in charge of a handful of ne'er-do-wells who comprised the grand-ducal armed forces.

Both Sestigiani's compendium and Ugurgieri's catalogue are celebratory and selective. They offer up models worthy of emulation. Their spirit is very different from the dry lists of members admitted to the two maritime crusading orders. First in seniority was the Order of St John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitallers, displaced to Rhodes at the end of the Crusades and then based on the island of Malta after 1530. Technically, these knights were monks who swore poverty, obedience and chastity, but since all of them were noble, they were allowed a lifestyle more in keeping with the dignity of their families. From the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, the focus of their activity was service on the galleys of the Order, attacking the shipping of Moslem states and raiding the coasts of `Turkish' territories. Their regulation stint on the galleys completed, many chose to continue to serve on corsair ships licensed by the Order in search of plunder. After several years on the galleys, the Grand Master awarded them the administration over property belonging to the Order, the commenda, an assignment elsewhere in some military or diplomatic capacity, or allowed them to retire to their family's palazzo.(28)

About a third of the Knights of Malta were Italians (they were outnumbered only by the French). We have a complete list of the Italians, excluding Sardinians and Corsicans, compiled and published by Fra Bartolomeo dal Pozzo in 1689.(29) Of 3,144 Italian knights accepted into the order between 1560 and 1689 for whom we know only names and cities of origin, 165 were Sienese, or slightly more than 5 per cent. The bonds between the Sienese patriciate and the Order of Malta appear to have been especially close. Spagnoletti's study of enlistment in the orders of Malta and Santo Stefano from 1601 to 1718 indicates that about 35 per cent of all the Tuscan Knights of Jerusalem were Sienese, although the population of the Sienese territory was only about one-seventh of the Grand Duchy. The ratio of Knights of Malta to Knights of Santo Stefano was in the order of about one in seven for the whole of Tuscany, but of only one in three for Siena.(30)

For the Italians taken as a whole, the frequency of their enrolment hints that the road to Malta was a response to two urges: the desire of a young noble, generally a younger son, to seek adventure at sea; and a corresponding desire by his family to find him honourable employment to compensate for his exclusion from inheritance. The former stemmed from the appeal of the Crusade and a chance at some saintly plunder. If concern for employment of younger sons had been the sole consideration governing the number of recruits, the chronology of enlistment would have been steady, or evolved only gradually, as the various territorial states offered bureaucratic alternatives." A closer inspection of the list of knights reveals that the excitement generated by the Order's feats of arms resulted in clusters of new recruits every few years. The Sienese recruitment differs only marginally from the general picture, which is one of gradual decline from the late sixteenth century onwards. After 1700, there was barely one Sienese entry per decade. Sienese enlistment peaked during the 1580s when 23 young men joined the Order, followed in the 1590s, with 21 entries. There were years when several Sienese joined simultaneously, as in 1592 when 6 entered, or 4 each in 1572, 1587, 1626 and 1630. The lean decade was the 1680s, with only 6 entries. The Sienese serving with the Order were sometimes fortunate and achieved high office. One of them, MarcAntonio Zondadari, became Grand Master and Sovereign of the Order for two brief years (1720-2) at the end of his life. Tommaso Accarigi reached the rank of squadron commander, while a number of others commanded individual galleys. Giovanni Bichi was appointed commander of the papal flotilla sent to aid the Venetian fleet in the Dardanelles in 1657 by his cousin, Pope Alexander VII Chigi. The Order was also a reservoir of trained captains and commanders into which Catholic states tapped at will. Some fortunate or well-connected knights received a commenda from which they derived a decent income, while others probably rejoined their families. In 1640, of 37 Knights of Malta living in Siena, only 10 held a commenda.(32) In general, however, the knights figured prominently in processional and ceremonial contexts, as well as in the criminal archives.

More numerous still were the Knights of the Order of Santo Stefano, founded by Grand Duke Cosimo I in 1562. Between 1562 and 1699 the prince accepted fully 350 Sienese into the Order, alongside 19 others from nearby subject towns. When Bruno Casini recently compiled a complete list of Sienese entries from the archives of the Order, it appeared that about one knight of Santo Stefano in ten came from the city or its contado.(33) Membership lists frequently also show the candidate's age at time of entry, and sometimes the date of his funeral. Cosimo had patterned the organization after the Knights of St John, but it differed in that the families of aspiring knights set up commenda that were exempt from both state and church taxes out of their own patrimonies. These knights could marry, and their `habit' could be transmitted from father to son. For a nobility with ever fewer economic alternatives, this was a way of establishing whole branches, rather than individual sons. Moreover, the Grand Duke was less punctilious about quarters of nobility and was inclined to overlook defects in genealogy if the candidate's family supplemented the transfer of property to the Order. Still, the great majority boasted unimpeachable nobility.(34)

The entry of new recruits did not bear much relation to the intensity of warlike operations. Although the Grand Duke required each knight to perform several `caravans' at sea, he granted many dispensations. Unlike the Order of Malta, where the number of galleys gradually increased from the sixteenth to seventeenth centuries, the number of galleys of Santo Stefano and the scope of their operations fluctuated considerably before ceasing entirely in the eighteenth century. One decade of peak activity after 1610 saw only 6 new Sienese entries, as opposed to an average above 20. Initially, the Grand Duke's galleys were subsidized by the king of Spain and the Pope, and were at their disposal. When in the 1580s, Grand Duke Francesco I redeployed Tuscan resources away from galley fleets and military ventures, new entries into the Order continued unabated." The years of intense raiding activity from 1590 to 1612 saw only moderate recruitment, with 24 and 22 new entries, respectively. The sovereign almost doubled the pace of recruitment in the 1620s and 1630s, just as he curtailed military operations. About 10 per cent of the new knights after 1640 were older men who were unlikely to fulfil their obligations to sail. From the 1640s especially, the organization lost something of its martial vigour, with about 20 knights embarking on the galleys every year, as compared to 80-100 at the turn of the century.(36) In that decade, 9 of the 28 newcomers were over forty; one was a sexagenarian, and another, Arpitano Pini, was eighty. They had assumed the status of Knights of Santo Stefano because there was no one else available to keep the patrimony in the family, and the Grand Duke had conceded the `habit' as a personal favour.(37) Whether or not they served at sea, these older knights were likely to drift back to Siena to sport their crosses in the streets and, unlike most nobles, bear swords in public and on ceremonial occasions, as befitting their status.(38) There were 72 of them living in Siena in 1640, of whom 7 held a commenda. Once their obligations to serve were completed, however, it might be difficult to get them to volunteer for additional campaigns.(39)


Here I want to invert the angle of perspective; instead of considering what pushed youths to seek military careers far from home, it might be useful to see what was pulling them, and why they chose one path over another. Distinguishing an active warrior from someone who never fired a shot in anger is slightly arbitrary. So is deciding, on the basis of laconic entries, between those who were career soldiers and those for whom a military campaign or two was a rite of passage. Of the more than 600 Sienese military nobles who appear in the aforementioned compilations, there are only 212 for whom I have more information than names and dates of enlistment. But the methodological problem does not end here, as many of these individuals passed from the service of one prince to another, sometimes three or four times in the course of their careers. By collapsing all of my sources together, however, it is possible to suggest a broad curve of military activity from the 1560s to the early eighteenth century.

If one can describe the primary motive for service as a mercenary one, it would presumably be untempered by ideological commitment. In a purely mercenary career one could expect to see these nobles cross the confessional divide. The Dutch in particular employed mercenaries on some scale and had a reputation for paying them. The first feature of Sienese military vocations -- all 600 or more -- is that they were exclusively Catholic, or in service compatible with the military and strategic aims of the Counter- Reformation. Those who joined the religious orders of Malta and Santo Stefano were Catholics by definition: probably a clear majority of the Sienese. Half of the Sienese casualties, as detected from all sources, belong to this war against the infidel in the Mediterranean. The Knights of Santo Stefano lost 9 galleys outright to Moslem galleys or to an angry sea, in the fifteen years after 1560, and 6 more before 1600. Of the 8 Tuscan galleys, 4 were broken on the shore or captured in 1568, with the loss of `moltissimi cavalieri'. Many others died at Lepanto in 1571, where Tuscan ships were in the thick of the crush and where their losses were double the Christian average. Nor does this account for the loss of gentlemen-adventurers who would have been packed tightly onto the decks of these ships, some of whom must have been Sienese.

Of the Sienese Knights of Malta, at least 26 were either killed in battle, died of sickness on campaign, or were captured and enslaved. This figure of 15 per cent of the total is a bare minimum. At least 10 Knights of Santo Stefano perished in similar situations. The 1680s were dangerous for both orders, as the knights served as auxiliaries to the Venetian forces engaged in Dalmatia and the Morea (Peloponnesis), fighting both at sea and in the siege trenches before the Turkish fortresses. Even aside from the great battles, those few `caravans' that each knight had to undergo were fraught with danger. Enslavement or death in prison was a risk. Another was peril from the sea.(40) At least 2 Sienese knights went down with their galleys in storms or through navigational mishaps. Moreover, even on the most uneventful cruises there was always frightful crowding and exposure to the elements for weeks on end. Fevers and epidemics killed chained oarsmen and knights indiscriminately." More than half of the military nobles for whom I have information sought their fame on solid ground. We can observe the changing patterns of their activity from the fall of the Republic until the War of the Spanish Succession after 1700. Some Knights of Malta or Santo Stefano received dispensations to divert their talents to war in central Europe. Among the first notable volunteers and adventurers were those who refused to reconcile themselves with the end of Sienese liberty and followed their erstwhile allies to France. Others served in papal contingents sent there by the crusading Pope Pius V.(42) They fought the French wars of religion on the Catholic side: like Angelo Callocci, killed storming the Huguenot town of Chatellerault in Poitou in 1569; or Aldello Placidi, whom Ugurgieri lauds as the assassin of the Admiral Coligny in 1572. Thereafter, France only episodically attracted some Sienese, like Camillo Mattioli, an engineer who left Spanish service because his promotion had been blocked. A handful chose French service in the Thirty Years War, mostly in the regiment owned by Cardinal Mazarin and commanded by the Roman colonel, Bufalini. Only one of the forty-odd Sienese killed in battle died in French service after the wars of religion.

For every servant of the French king, several others laid their swords at the feet of the king of Spain, el Rey Catolico. It might be supposed that they did this out of some feudal obligation since the Grand Duke held Siena as a fief from Spain; yet, on at least two occasions, in 1594 and in 1646, the Grand Dukes were on the verge of war with Spain without being apprehensive that their Sienese subjects would desert them.(43) More generally, Spanish service was preferred by Italian nobles almost everywhere, even in territories like Friuli and Latium without the remotest political ties to the crown of Castile. Spanish exertion in Flanders, the Mediterranean and the Indies required immense energies from all of Catholic Europe, and the Sienese occupied a noteworthy place. The careers of the Spannocchi brothers were perhaps typical of the Spanish desire to call upon Italian technical expertise: Tiburzio was one of the foremost fortress designers in the Habsburg dominions, entrusted with projects from Puglia to Portugal; his brother Mario was a military engineer attached to the great armada in 1588, from which he never returned.(44)

The battlefield most often encountered in these biographies is Flanders, a term applied generically to the Low Countries. The revolt against the Spanish crown after 1566 made that region the focal point of religious and political tensions in Europe. Operations there gradually degenerated into a confusing succession of sieges and skirmishes that immobilized the largest army in European history to that time.(45) After 1578, command of the army of Flanders fell to Alessandro Farnese, duke of Parma. He actively promoted and protected the Italian contingents, who were prized for their technical skills, and who he considered the most versatile and dependable corps in the army after the Spanish infantry. At times, this `Spanish' army reached levels of 75,000 or 80,000 men, of which 10-20 per cent consisted of Italians. After 1604 and up until 1629, command of this army fell to the Genoese financier, Ambrogio Spinola, who recruited Italians extensively and surrounded himself with gentlemen from the Peninsula

The Thirty Years War in Germany and its extension into the Low Countries, France, Italy and Spain attracted scores of Sienese nobles into the service of the House of Austria, consuming the youth, energies and ambitions of a generation.(46) It was easy for them to pass from Spanish to Austrian service and back again in search of advancement, and both Spain and Austria employed each other's regiments and command periodically. The most illustrious participant after Ottavio Piccolomini was Tommaso Cerboni, from the subject town of Castel del Piano. Over twenty years of loyal service he rose to command not one but two imperial regiments simultaneously, under the Italian marshal, Collalto. Wounded grievously first at Krimpen in 1627, he was killed (perhaps by his own troops) while forcing Venetian positions near Mantua in 1629. Both Piccolomini and Cerboni belonged to the `first generation' of commanders who fought in the war from the outset. The young Medici prince, Mattias, governor of Siena, and his brother Francesco provided further impetus, joining the imperial army in 1631 with an entire regiment of Tuscans. Numerous noble adventurers rushed forward in their wake to save Vienna from the Swedish advance. Tuscans were present in the decisive battles between the Imperials and the Swedes from the disaster of Breitenfeld in 1631 to the triumph at Nordlingen in 1634. Most of the Sienese officers served at junior levels for the whole time, with only the best-connected rising above the rank of captain.

In 1642 Grand Duke Ferdinand II joined an affiance of north Italian states intent upon chastising Pope Urban VIII Barberini for his arbitrary annexation and confiscation of the Farnese fief of Castro in northern Latium. The brief conflict that followed, known as the Castro or Barbarini War, was the last in which Italian coalitions confronted each other. It was also the last war where the belligerents had to assemble their armies more or less from scratch, a task made more difficult by the engagement of Italian troops and officers in Catholic armies elsewhere. All these states sought to recall experienced officers, preferably their respective subjects, from the battlefields of central Europe- They also rented mercenary soldiers wherever they could. Tuscany assembled about 10,000 infantrymen, both mercenaries and Militia, using the officers formerly in Habsburg armies to command them. Only one Sienese in my records joined papal service to fight against the Grand Duke, as compared with twenty-nine in Tuscan service. While there were several short but intense sieges in Umbria, and a couple of set-piece battles deploying 6,000-7,000 men per side, the campaign of 1643 in Umbria was not dangerous for the officers. Without being a `phoney war' of Macchiavellian intrigue, only one Sienese nobleman was a casualty: Giovanni Maria Buoninsegni, who was captured by the Pontificals on the shore of Lake Trasimene. For many officers, veterans of Germany and Flanders, the Castro War was their final campaign. When it became apparent that a rapid victory was unlikely for either side, the belligerents signed a peace accord early in 1644, before launching a new season of hostilities.(47) A few Sienese found steady employment in Venetian service until the end of the Cretan wars in 1669. They were both posted in garrisons and employed in the more dangerous service against the Ottoman's in the Adriatic and the Aegean.(48)They often took the places of captains who left the service of the republic to fight in Germany. Finally, a handful of nobles explored other avenues of patronage in some of the smaller Italian states, such as Piedmont, Mantua and Mirandola; however, they were not sufficiently numerous to leave any discernible pattern.

Armed conflict was ubiquitous in Europe in the 1640s. The decade was the high-water mark of fighting for the Sienese patriciate. Individuals continued to serve in central Europe, but the numbers were clearly declining after 1645; only one Sienese was recorded as a casualty, Ippolito Agostini, who died on campaign in northern France in 1652. Even fewer were likely to fight for Spain in the decades after 1640,(49) as Madrid suffered almost continual defeat at the hands of the French and the Portuguese, and as its financial resources vanished.(50) Those Italian still taking that path were henceforth primarily subjects of the king. What followed was a collapse of military activity by Sienese patricians, partly camouflaged for Siena by the election of a local patriot, Fabio Chigi, as Pope Alexander VII in 1655. He liberally dispensed patronage in his native city and, in one flagrant case of nepotism, appointed his brother Mario generalissimo of the papal army despite his complete lack of military experience. Predictably, the Sienese moved into lucrative military posts in Rome. The pope's cousin, cavaliere Giovanni Bichi, took command of a papal squadron of five galleys along with some support ships and went to aid the Venetian fleet against the Turks in 1657, which culminated in a naval victory in the Dardanelles. Bichi's closest collaborators in that campaign and in subsequent years appear to have been his Sienese and Umbrian relatives and friends. Several papal galley commanders were Sienese too.(51) Most of the other appointees served in the palace guard or else in the hapless garrison of Avignon which was reinforced and then evacuated in 1663, after Louis XIV picked a quarrel with the pope. Georg Lutz, who has studied the papal army at the beginning of the succeeding pope's mandate, supplies the names of 56 Italian officers serving in 1667, or about two-thirds of the total. By tracking the origins of these individuals, it appears that at least 13 were Sienese, comprising by far the largest contingent.(52) The manna of Roman patronage ended suddenly, however, with the pontiff's death in 1667.

Outside the crusading orders, the subsequent military service of Sienese nobles seems intermittent and sporadic, confined generally to the service of the Austrian Habsburgs. No longer did groups of gentlemen-adventurers leave together, or raise companies to offer to warlords.(53) Young nobles left Siena individually and contacted the important Italian lobby in Vienna, hoping to pull strings to obtain junior positions in some German regiment.(54) This was the experience of Enea Silvio Piccolomini. We have a collection of his letters addressed to his father from the time of his departure for Germany in February 1660 until well into his career in 1681.(55) This correspondence provides an excellent vantage point from which to view an officer's career in the early days of the standing army. Enea Silvio's father established him in an apartment in the imperial capital, with a page, two valets and a groom for his horses, while the youngster sought audiences with the emperor, empress, the archduke and important ministers on the credentials of his famous ancestors. He was visibly impressed by the crowd of ambassadors and princes with which he was in continual contact. Horsemanship and dancing were parts of his apprenticeship to the courtly society of Vienna, as well as prerequisites to a career in the army. A breakthrough came when he established his distant kinship with the minister Count Rabatta. Enea Silvio's situation, like that of other young German and Italian officers, was precarious. When the emperor dissolved some of his regiments in October 1660, he narrowly escaped complete unemployment and was happy to be a simple comet in his patron's cavalry regiment. Two of his Sienese comrades, identified only as Ventura and Mignanelli, were left without employment. Unbeknownst to his parents, Mignanelli left for Spanish service in Portugal in 1661.(56)

Judging from his letters, Enea Silvio was inspired by the Piccolomini family tradition and did his best to live up to it. He scribbled an ode to the military prowess of his house in the service of the church and debated with his father over the latter's intention to marry his sister into a family of recent nobility. Service in Germany and Hungary required him to adapt and compromise some of his principles. We see him trying to attend mass while posted in regions that were Protestant. His soldiers were all Lutherans and this was a real source of annoyance for him, as someone whose ancestors included two Renaissance popes. There were also other risks and perils, such as losing heavily at cards. Since his pay could not match the expenditures required of his rank and pedigree, he displayed a curious ambivalence towards money. Once he bragged to his father about the quality of his horses and his riding gear, as compared to that of other officers, but this was only as a preamble to a request for money to help him pay his debts.

After a gap of thirteen years, the letters from 1675 show Enea Silvio as a lieutenant-colonel on campaign. He describes some desperate and bloody engagements he fought against the French in the Rhineland under Montecuccoli. Apart from the stirring relation of his battles, most of his correspondence recounts his tireless plodding upwards in the military hierarchy and the manner in which he upheld his status In one letter, he boasted about the tent he bought, `il piu superbo e magnifico dell' Armata', lined with a floral fabric in many colours to delight and rest his eyes; it came with an alcove, curtains, a bed, chairs, camp table and all the trimmings. He was keen to let his father know that his connections included the most distinguished Italian in imperial service. All of this painstaking progress seemed likely to collapse in the spring of 1676, when his court patron, the empress, lay dying. His grandmother and his sisters had been ladies-in-waiting to her. She was his best `capital' at court and he bitterly bemoaned her death, worrying that it would leave him without friends in Vienna. He complained that he would have to compete for the valuable colonelcies with princes, generals and great lords, who could `work the court' every winter, while he lacked the funds. Fearing imminent neglect and abandonment, he lamented that others were outstripping him in promotion: he should, instead, have become a hermit. He must have been vindicated and promoted shortly afterwards, for in January 1677 he describes himself as being feted by the emperor and all the ministers in Vienna -- appearing to have as many friends at court as if he had never left it. The last letter from November 1681 shows him negotiating through the Dowager Empress Leonora for the positions of pages for his nephews; for him, they represented two more Piccolomini and Sienese in Germany.

Enea Silvio was lucky and rose nearly to the top, to the rank of lieutenant-general. In his last campaign in 1689 he led an autonomous army to conquer Kossovo, Bosnia and Macedonia, but he contracted the plague in Skopje and died at the moment of his apotheosis. I do not know how many Sienese there were in imperial service simultaneously, but there were others. Gigli cites a Claudio Tolomei, who began his career as a volunteer under the Emperor Leopold, and rose to be lieutenant-colonel of the Neuburg infantry regiment at the siege of Landau in 1704.(57) Fausto Ciampoli Bardi was not as fortunate. He was a cheerful but threadbare cavalry lieutenant killed in a skirmish against the French along the Rhine in 1676; his possessions, as we learn in a letter relating his death from his commanding officer to his family, barely paid for a few masses.(58)

Austrian service attracted still other adventurers after the great siege of Vienna in 1683, though only two figure in the Sestigiani compendio. Why did the Sienese maintain this attachment to imperial service when the army in expansion and ascendancy was that of Louis XIV? There is no obvious answer in the sources. Austrian service entailed fighting the Turks in Hungary in the most hallowed crusading tradition. These wars were enthusiastically promoted from the pulpit by the Sienese clergy.(59) There also may have been a residual affinity among northern Italians for the emperor as their suzerain prince.(60) Beyond the dynastic bonds forged between the Viennese branch of the House of Austria and the Grand Duchy following Cosimo II's marriage to a Habsburg princess, Emperor Leopold I replaced the vacuum of Spanish power in northern Italy with a reinforced German presence, with the help of his Italian servants. Whatever the reasons for entering imperial service, and they were probably plural, once the Italian presence there was solid, newcomers could join with relative ease.(61) An example of service over generations would be the Amerighi: MarcAntonio fought in Germany in the later stages of the Thirty Years War and was promoted to the rank of captain in the infantry under Raimondo Montecuccoli; his son, Count Paolo, served at the siege of Buda in 1686 and sent back an account to his father in Siena, who had it printed; his brother, Stanislao, was a Knight of Malta, but he had spent his youth as a page to Emperor Leopold I and then had fought in the imperial army.(62) Despite their long commitment to the dynasty, the family's bonds to their native city were durable. Count Paolo Amerighi donated a Turkish banner, which he captured at the battle of Eszek in 1685, to the Sienese shrine of the Madonna di Provenzano.(63) The Italian branch of the Piccolomini also continued to send candidates beyond the Alps. Two were captains in the imperial army when they perished in Hungary in 1716.(64)

This propensity to seek employment in Vienna might easily lead to an over-estimation of the place of Italians in imperial service. Because the ratio of officers-to-ranks was one of the lowest in Europe, the number of available positions was very limited. In addition, the expansion of the imperial army at the end of the seventeenth century increased the German element, so that Italian officers comprised less than 10 per cent of the total in 1699.(65) Despite the limited room in imperial service, it appears to have been preferable to a French career. To begin with, French policy was objectively pro-Turkish and occasionally deliberately anti-papal. Whatever prestige Louis XIV had accumulated under Mazarin's tutelage, he squandered in a policy of aggressive expansion.(66) Secondly, while Louis XIV appreciated the talent and devotion of foreign officers and troops, most of these were Swiss and German mercenaries, supplemented by appreciable numbers of Irish and English Catholics. In wartime their numbers were impressive, constituting at least theoretically some 50,000 individuals in 1711; and in peacetime, 20,000, or between 10 and 15 per cent of the French army. Of these foreign troops, however, Italians comprised only a very modest number, and a goodly portion of those were Piedmontese. Their modest place may have been the result of Louis XIV's personal disinclination to employ Italians even when willing candidates presented themselves, or he may have feared the political consequences of attracting Italian nobles intent upon destabilizing or overthrowing the existing order in the peninsula.(67) Upon demobilization in 1716, there were only about 1,500 Italians of all ranks in the French army, of whom about one-fifth were Toscans.(68)

Quantitative manipulation and representation of the information extracted from the literary sources reviewed above is a tricky exercise, yet it is worthwhile for lack of a better alternative. We can obtain a more precise sense of the Sienese commitment to Habsburg service by breaking down the careers of the 212 Sienese military nobles for whom we have definite information into segments or units of service. For example, Ottavio Piccolomini served first the king of Spain in Piedmont for one unit, then the emperor in Germany for a second, the king of Spain again for a third and, finally, the emperor for a fourth (Figure 1). While assigning this service to a particular decade is sometimes arbitrary, I am unlikely to be off the mark by many years. What I am seeking is a flow or a trend of activity, indicating the peaks and troughs of military commitment for the entire social group. The resulting graph is artificially low for the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the dates of greatest activity for the galleys of Malta and of Santo Stefano. The first perceptible wave from 1590 to 1610 corresponds to the last years of the war in Flanders, the imperial campaigns against the Turks in Hungary and the raiding of the Mediterranean flotillas. After a more peaceful interlude from 1610 to 1619, there followed a recrudescence of hostilities, placing the apex of activity, containing over a third of all career segments, between 1620 and 1649. This wave corresponds not only to the Thirty Years War in Germany and the Spanish contests against France and Holland, but also to the Castro War in Italy and the first stage of the Cretan War between Venice and the Ottoman Empire. After that, the activity plunges, with few new military vocations in the two decades after 1665. Until the end of the century, the Sienese nobles pursuing military careers were engaged only in two theatres, Hungary and the Aegean. It is worth stressing that despite the decline in numbers of Sienese officers, this was not a peaceful period in European history. The wars of Louis XIV in Flanders, along the Rhine and in northern Italy mobilized unprecedented numbers of troops and officers, several times the size of the largest armies ever assembled during the Thirty Years War. Sienese military aristocrats, though, seem to have lost interest, despite potential increase in the demand for their services.


The chart of casualties recorded between 1560 and 1720 (Figure 2) roughly reproduces this chronology of decline. Of a total of 63 Sienese nobles who died on campaign, or who were wounded or captured, 25 instances occurred between 1560 and 1617, mostly in the Mediterranean and in Hungary. The subsequent forty years saw 26 victims, mostly in Germany, Flanders and in the Venetian maritime empire. Only 12 appear in the sixty years after 1660, with 6 of those perishing in the Morean campaigns against the Turks in the late 1680s. This somewhat sketchy evidence suggests a fitful abandonment of military careers. The data is treacherous, however, and needs to be established on a firmer foundation, especially since we know that the absolute number of all Sienese nobles was dropping relentlessly over the same period. What appears to be a process of demilitarization may only be a reflection of the demographic decline of the Sienese nobility.



Having reviewed the most important literary sources, it is time to turn the problem on its head again to try to overcome the structural biases in the data. Two sources allow us to `triangulate' the material from the Compendio with more indirect evidence. To begin with we can study the backgrounds of those families aggregated to the nobility after 1560. We know from Sestigiani that the level of military engagement in the older families was markedly higher than that of the newer ones. Fortunately, the application files contained in the archives of the Concisctoro permit this kind of verification.(69) The request for admission to the nobility led to an inquest by Sienese magistrates into a family's wealth, background, activities and kin, although with varying degrees of thoroughness. At least 187 families requested entrance into the Sienese nobility between 1558 and 1727, with the greatest frequency of applications coming in the late sixteenth century. It is not, however, always clear if these requests were approved. After 1650, the substantial majority of new applications came from families that were already noble in other towns, but wanted to establish themselves in Siena. Finally, a handful of Sienese nobles requested readmission to full citizenship, despite having repudiated their fathers' estates because of debts accruing to it.

Only 34 of the aggregation files refer to military service. Of the 13 families not yet noble, all but 2 of these occur before 1632, and 9 before 1600. The two exceptions are Giambattista Pericciuoli from Boccheggiano in the Maremma in 1711, who was a militia lieutenant, and Giuseppe Ariosti of Grosseto, who claimed distant descent from the Renaissance poet Ariosto and was a captain of German infantry in imperial service in 1720. Of the earlier references, it is not always clear that military service implied officer status. Dr Domenico Cerretelli from Scrofiano wanted the patricians investigating his background in 1614 to know that two of his cousins were cavalrymen in the militia, while in 1588, Lattanzio Cerchi vaguely cited his brother Lorenzo as soldato di molto onore; similarly, Pietro Gabbrielli from Sarteano just mentioned in passing that some of his relatives were in the army. Because details were not forthcoming, these military references must not have been central to their petitions: more important to their dossiers was the mention of their wealth, land and farms, possession of a conspicuous house in their town of origin, and an intention to buy or build a palazzo in Siena. Most important of all were their marriages into families of unimpeachable nobility. In 1632, Marc' Antonio Cerboni from Castel del Piano stressed that his son married a Piccolomini and that they held a fief in the Holy Roman Empire, without stating explicitly that his brother was the late Colonel Tommaso Cerboni. After 1635, the new nobles having any military connections at all were Knights of Santo Stefano from other towns, with some exceptions. Of the latter, there was cavaliere Ferdinando, Ballati Nerli, a soldier, courtier and diplomat in Florence and Mantova, whose descendants requested admission in 1691; and Mambrino Citerni from Piombino, a pacific colonel of militia whose father-in-law was a Spanish general commanding the imperial troops in the fortress there in 1720.(70) Paradoxically, the proportion of families evoking their military backgrounds actually increased slightly over time, but the great majority of these were noble branches of houses in other cities with military traditions.

The other avenue that I have followed relies on the formal structure of a single type of document, the testament, of which I have compiled two samples about a century apart. Testaments, like other notarial instruments, were private contracts with public intent. In practice they were public documents with restricted circulations, conserved and copied to buttress legal claims, and displayed on occasion of debate over some legacy. Because of their semi-public nature, and partly because of the touchy sense of decorum and status typical of the time, notaries were extremely punctilious in recording proper tides, ranks and dignities. This held true not only for the living, but for the deceased as well, for at least two generations. This rigour is not specific to nobles. Soldiers, magistrates, medical doctors, ecclesiastics, patricians, merchants and artisans were all systematically announced with the appropriate appellations. The principal danger in evaluating attribution stems from the gradual inflation of titles towards the end of the sixteenth and throughout the seventeenth century. The Magnifici -- once mostly nobles in the sixteenth century -- came to designate mere merchants, while the Molto Eccellente were university graduates but not always aristocrats. The attribution of `nobile' or `patriziato' was fairly systematic, however, and removes any doubt arising from the inflation of honours, especially as the names can be cross-checked from lists of families that were frequently kept up-to-date.(71)

The sample covers two periods, from 1585 to 1597 with 176 testaments, and from 1675 to 1723 with 162, drawn from about a dozen notaries in each period. One could object that the second period, much more extended than the first, is not strictly comparable. This is true, but the decline in absolute numbers of nobles and the happenstance associated with the clienteles of specific notaries makes it necessary to augment the sample by increasing the chronological span, though most of the documents date from 1690 to 1720. I deliberately aimed to study noble testaments in particular, so two-thirds of the documents derive from members of that group. I selected about a third of my testaments from the upper reaches of the artisanate, the clergy and the mercantile strata as a means of cross-checking and verifying the absence of military vocations among the middling sort. There were perhaps only three or four Sienese soldiers from the rank and file cited in all these documents.

The will, by its nature, joins the living, the dead and the unborn. It constitutes a nexus that allows a glimpse of dead ancestors, as well as plans for the transmission of property to those not yet conceived. It is this `snapshot' feature that makes it so interesting, especially if the nobility is in the foreground. Each testament brings into view two or three generations of the living and their immediate ancestors or dead collaterals, all with their ranks and status, if not their ages, spelled out clearly. It is important to include the deceased of the previous generation in the sample for two reasons. First, death was not so partial to old age and could intervene at any time. Secondly, it enlarges the sample by extending or projecting backwards the information that is present in the documents. Moreover, the wills themselves stipulated the transfer of property to kin, especially those living in Siena. Many heirs were children, so that the proportion of individuals without a stated profession is quite high. There is also some imprecision in fixing military nobles, although such status remained part of these men's social identity until death. The difficulty stems from the practice of indicating rank only by the generic cavaliere or capitano, the latter designating any military person not formally a knight of one of the two crusading orders. In addition, the most successful military nobles would not normally have been haunting the streets of Siena. Those living there appear to have retired. Most of the others who are mentioned in wills as potential heirs are there due to their relationship to the testator, although they did not normally reside in the city.

With these remarks and caveats, let us look at the two sets of nobles grouped in their respective socio-professional categories. Despite the brevity of the first period, no less than 618 different male Sienese nobles or near-nobles spring from the testaments, 440 of whom were alive at the moment of record, in a city whose population numbered some 20,000 in the late sixteenth century.(72) The image of the central Italian city, teeming with populous casati of turbulent young aristocrats rings true here. Of this group, 59 (42 of whom were alive) had some military attribution, or 10 per cent of the whole, including the children; 46 others (33 of whom were alive) were qualified as professionals, that is as magistrates, medical doctors or university professors, or 7.5 per cent of the whole; finally, a paltry 16 ecclesiastics accounted for 3.6 per cent. That left some 514 male Sienese nobles with unspecified activities, or 79 per cent of the living. A great many of these were children, many of whom would never reach adulthood. There is a clear echo of the military proclivities of these nobles in the details of the testaments themselves, as captains bequeath horses and weapons to their younger kin(73) and fathers plan to establish commenda for sons in the Order of Santo Stefano or arrange passages to Malta. The circumstantial evidence revealed in this sample suggests that war was much more present in Sienese society at the time of Grand Duke Ferdinando I than a century later, although military service was the vocation of only a minority of male nobles.

The second sample, despite a comparable number of testaments, presents less than half as many nobles: 295, of whom only 208 were still alive. Of these, 32 were military nobles, of whom 23 were living, or 11 per cent of the whole. The professionals comprised a smaller number, 26, of whom 18 were alive, or 9 per cent. The ecclesiastics surged ahead to 58 individuals, of whom 50 were alive, for 24 per cent, while the unspecified remainder numbered 179, of whom 117 were living, or over half the sample, at 56 per cent. This much higher proportion of nobles with some stated activity further implies that there were fewer children. Apparently, the proportion of nobles professing military status remained stable or increased slightly over time, although in absolute numbers they declined drastically. This stability or progression is something of an illusion and stems from the fact that most of them were Knights of Santo Stefano, whose membership in the order bore no relation to any military reality (Figure 3). After the campaigns of 1684-8 and a brief adventure in 1716, the chance of their having much military experience was remote. A comparison of the number of living capitani in the first period reveals that there were 11, or 2.5 per cent of all male nobles; in the second period, there were but 3, or 1.4 per cent. From a minor activity of the patriciate, military careerism became strictly marginal.(74)


The social dimension of arms as a whole, in Siena and elsewhere in Italy, contracted even more than our sources imply. There are probably two compelling reasons for this development, which I can divide between those considerations that drew Italians into the European struggles, and those that permitted or inhibited their participation. After the late seventeenth century, none of the four armies that traditionally employed the Sienese aristocracy retained much place for them. The French army has already been discussed. The king of Spain relied increasingly upon the contribution of his Italian subjects to fill the limited number of positions available before 1700. The Bourbon monarch Philip V and his French advisors then recast the army in the civil war, but Italian still held important positions in it during the first decades of the eighteenth century.(75) Even before mid-century, however, the Spanish monarchs had enticed the Castilian aristocracy back into the officer corps, leaving almost no room for foreigners.(76) Venice maintained but a modest standing army after its great exertions against the Turks in the Aegean. After 1718, the Republic remained steadfastly neutral and its army, composed primarily of Italian, ceased to require much reinforcement.(77) By contrast, the imperial army expanded uninterruptedly from 1680 until after 1760, but as it grew it lost much of its cosmopolitan character. Italy was compelled to contribute money to it, but neither its manpower nor its manufactures contributed to its strength. While only a statistical breakdown of the officer corps for the eighteenth century will reveal the total number of Italian officers, their marginality is revealed by the increasingly German aspect that body acquired.(78) With the decline of a strong Italian lobby in each of those armies, positions for newcomers were more difficult to obtain. Like Enea Silvio Piccolomini, few had the financial resources necessary to `work the court'.

The ongoing crisis of the Italian economy in the seventeenth century probably inhibited the departure of young men for adventure abroad. If the Piccolomini letters are at all representative, war was a rich man's sport, best suited to the oldest and richest families. Certainly the economic crisis provoked the demographic decline of the aristocracy. The peninsula's decline commenced soon after 1610, first with the sharp deterioration in traditional manufactures and then through the long agricultural depression after the plague of 1630.(79) Fathers intent upon consolidating stagnant or contracting family fortunes into a single branch used testamentary provisions for entail or fedecommesso to put marriage beyond the reach of most of their children.(80) As a result, most of our military nobles were probably bachelors, or married so late in life that they were unlikely to perpetuate their lineage. The testament of Imperiale Cinuzzi, drawn up when he was about to depart for Transylvania with Silvio Piccolomini, `ad bellum contra Turcos', is eloquent here. In his instructions to take care of his `friend', Johanna de Edan, from the County of Namur in Flanders, who was pregnant with his child, he exhorted his brothers to let her live in the family palazzo, `fere quasi si esset uxor'.(81) This process of aristocratic implosion has been noted elsewhere, notably in Venice, Milan, Verona, Genoa and Florence.(82) In Siena, the number of nobles declined from a high point around 1580 to the mid-eighteenth century. This trend was far from offset by new aggregations, which lagged behind and even slowed in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries as more families were extinguished. The momentum of decline in the aristocracy falls behind that of demilitarization, with numbers dropping only gradually during the reign of Louis XIV. George Baker estimates that there were 264 families in 757 branches in 1630; 223 in 528 branches in 1640; 182 in 380 branches in 1701; 177 in 250 branches in 1723. The real collapse followed soon after, with 139 families in 250 branches in 1743 and 107 families in 170 branches in 1764. Numbers of adult males declined by an even greater proportion: there were 1,680 riseduti (eligible councilmen) in 1498, but only 900 in 1577, around 700 in 1600, 500 in 1650, and less than 400 in 1680. Surprisingly, the older families, the ones pursuing military careers most regularly, were more resistant, with only about 10 per cent of them disappearing over the period. Ironically, the rate of extinction for new families admitted between 1560 and 1764 was more like 92 per cent.(83) The demographic weight of nobles in Sienese life shifted correspondingly. If we take the place of nobles in urban society, the coefficient of four per branch after 1630, gives about 3,000 individuals, or about 20 per cent of the urban population.(84) In 1723 that same coefficient yields 1,000 individuals, or below 7 per cent of the city's approximately 16,000 inhabitants.

These figures are admittedly rough approximations, but it seems difficult to reject the general conclusions they suggest. It was unlikely that there was a transferral from Habsburg service to regular employment in the Grand Duke's army. The regular troops dispersed in garrisons numbered only about 3,500 men in 1700, and this included many invalids.(85) The glimpse we have of the grand-ducal army in 1699 in the garrisons of the Sienese state show a virtually complete absence of Sienese officers and men in the fortresses.(86) A petition from a Sienese patrician, Bernardino Cacciaguerra, written sometime in the 1730s, beseeched the governor to appoint him to be a soldier in a fortress, as he had no other means of support.(87) And the militia? Theoretically, its numbers would have remained constant over the period. The Grand Duke drew upon soldiers of the bande in his expeditions against North Africa and the Levant around 1590-1615, then again in expeditionary forces dispatched to Lombardy in 1614 and 1625, and finally in the Castro War. Thereafter, these militia units existed on paper, but there is little indication they were ever employed. Tuscan contingents sent to aid the Venetians in the Aegean after 1685 counted, as did the Venetian forces themselves, a sizeable German component.(88) The Grand Duchy became so demilitarized that in 1734 patricians saw the arrival of the Spanish army as an exciting break in the monotony of provincial life and vied for the prestige of lodging the officers. After 1737 and the extinction of the Medici dynasty, the Habsburgs even dismantled the fortresses of the state and so deprived the citadel of its military potential, leaving only a handful of tiny guns on the ramparts for firing salutes.(89)

Where did our nobles invest their energies, if no longer in Europe's wars or in their prince's little garrisons? The brief answer is that they moved into those functions that provided them with steady incomes, however modest. One direction was the local administration, studied by Baker for Siena. At least 150 administrative positions in the magistracies of the old republic survived under the grand-ducal regime, all reserved for the time and talents of the Sienese patriciate. If the number of nobles declined by half or more, and the number of posts remained the same, the number of inactive nobles was correspondingly reduced. In fact, according to R. Burr Litchfield, the functionaries in seventeenth-century Tuscany were increasingly numerous. Patricians abandoned the elective magistracies and invaded the permanent positions of the new bureaucracy, accumulating posts and salaries.(90) Moreover, the age of entry into administrative posts dropped by six or seven years on average, precisely those years that young men had previously served in armies or on galleys. Probably many more were similarly absorbed into the grand-ducal administration and the court of Florence. There, Litchfield finds a high degree of father-son replication in the administration, not unlike family traditions in European armies.(91)

The most astonishing development, however, was the entry of Sienese nobles into the church. Sam Cohn, in a recent book, noted how the fervour of the Counter-Reformation was slow to take hold in the nobility, in spite of their domination of the commanding levels of the institution.(92) The calculations of Oscar di Simplicio show that the period of greatest noble interest in vocations in the secular clergy was between 1650 and 1724, when the number of ordinations was double that of the first quarter of the seventeenth century.(93) They were particularly numerous among the tonsured clerics who never became fully-fledged priests.(94) Nobles of the Counter-Reformation multiplied clerical benefices and family foundations, and often reserved nominations for the priests of the family. There were new canonicates, like the Madonna di Provenzano, besides the cathedral chapter. Older, less austere monasteries like the Benedictines were being flanked by the new Counter-Reformation orders like the Jesuits and the Capuchins. They all attracted members of the aristocracy. The noble ecclesiastics who appear in the wills include seven friars, three Benedictines, a Cardinal and four bishops or archbishops, five canons, and seven abate or clerics with minor orders. The expansion of the Italian church made it easier to establish younger sons with a modicum of comfort and, unless they were subjected to a strict monastic rule, they might even continue to live in the family palazzo.(95)

The Sienese military adventurers and officers gradually disappeared from European battlefields as a consequence of this complex of changes. They did not vanish altogether, but their military function was abandoned first, and increasingly so after the late seventeenth century. Their families continued to marry into each other., and the eighteenth-century Sienese in Habsburg and even Bourbon service still bore the arms of the Piccolomini, Marescotti and Petrucci. Patrician sons continued to learn the knightly arts and sciences of horsemanship, fencing and military mathematics, in Siena as everywhere in northern Italy, for a few decades after military careers had become rare, but then the world of symbols and representations always lags behind practice.(96) After 1750, however, even the imagination demilitarized.

(1) B. Croce, Storia del regno di Napoli (Rome, 1974; first pubd 1943), 85; P. Pieri, Il rinascimento e la crisi militare italiana (Turin, 1952), 341; G. Spini, Storia dell'etd moderna, 3 vols. (Turin, 1965; first pubd 1960), i, 1515-1598, 117-21.

(2) L. Barzini, The Italians (New York, 1983; first pubd 1964), esp. 276-98. Barzini's work is particularly useful in this regard, for it popularizes ideas common in Italian historiography during the first half of the century, before Italian historians converted to social history.

(3) Croce, Storia del regno di Napoli, 98-104.

(4) A. Valori, Condottieri e generali del seicento: enciclopedia biografica e bibliografica italiana (Rome, 1946); see also C. Argegni, Enciclopedia biografica italiana, xix Condottieri e tribuni (Rome, 1936); complementary to these is the biographical dictionary of military engineers by L. Maggiorotti, L 'opera del genio italiano all'estero, 3 vols. (Rome, 1933-9).

(5) I have fruitlessly combed the major history periodicals of the fascist period looking for traces of the three most important encyclopaedia compilers, C. Argegni, A. Valori and L. Maggiorotti, or the other officers who published similar material, V. Varanini and V. Mariani. `Establishment' historians working for and through the Archivio storico italiano, the Rivista storica italiana, the Nuova rivista storica and several important regional journals from the 1920s to the late 1940s make no mention of them. This is true not only of the pages consecrated to reviews of books and articles, but also for those of books received. Furthermore, a contemporary historiographical essay makes no mention of the encyclopaedia projects: P.-F. Palumbo, `Formazione e sviluppo degli studi di storia moderna in Italia', Archivio storico italiano, xcix (1941).

(6) A. Spagnoletti, Stato, aristocrazie e ordine di Malta nell'Italia moderna (Rome) 1988), 27, and passim.

(7) I attempt just such an examination of the `recruitment basin' for the officers of each army in my book, The Twilight of a Military Tradition: Italian Aristocrats and European Conflicts (1560-1800) (London, forthcoming 1997).

(8) Confessional historiography is now out of fashion, but some older studies emphasize the great conflict of religious mores. The Protestant historian, Edward Belleroche, recounts the siege of Ostend (1601-4) with a wealth of such flourishes. He emphasizes how Pope Clement VIII sent money and military advisers to speed up the operations, and how his grants of indulgences to the besiegers were celebrated by gorgeous processions and religious ceremonies around the ramparts of the Calvinist-held city: E. Belleroche, `The Siege of Ostend: or the New Troy (1601-1604)', Proc. Huguenot Soc. London, iii (1889), esp. 459. More specifically focused on the Spanish army is the book by R. Puddu, Il soldato gentiluomo: autoritratto d'una societa guerriera: la Spagna del Cinquecento (Bologna, 1992). The author deploys a wealth of literary sources that extol the honour and the piety of the Spanish infantryman. Similar conclusions, based on administrative correspondence, are advanced by R. Quatrefages, `Un Professionnel militaire: l'infante du tercio', in L`Homme de guerre au [XV.sup.e] siecle (Saint-Etienne, 1992).

(9) On this point, see L. Van der Essen, `Croisade contre les heretiques ou guerre contre des rebelles? La psychologie des soldats et des officiers espagnols de l'armee de Flandre au [XVI.sup.e] siecle', Revue d'histoire ecclesiastique, li (1956). Many of Van der Essen's `Spanish' examples refer to Italian . The characterization of the imperial army as `Catholic' by contemporary Italians holds true in Siena until well into the eighteenth century: see, for example, the manuscript chronicle of a pious notary, Girolamo Macchi, `Libro di memorie segreto di lettera fatta da me, Girolamo Macchi (1662-1724)': Biblioteca Comunale degli Intronati di Siena (hereafter BCIS), A XI 22-3.

(10) There is no modern study of the role of ideologies for the Italian military aristocracy, although Claudio Donati has published a good overview of the ideas about nobility emerging after the fifteenth century: C Donati, `L'evoluzione della coscienza nobiliare', in C. Mozzarelli and P. Schiera (eds.), Parriziati e aristocrazie nobiliari: ceti dominanti e organizzazione del potere nell'Italia centro-settentrionale dal XVI al XVIII secolo: seminario di Trento, 1977 (Trento, 1978). Donati's most import work to date, L'idea di nobilta in Italia (secoli XIV-XVIII) (Rome, 1988), devotes a few pages to the transformation of the Florentine elite into a court nobility, due to promptings from the Grand Dukes (215-19). He also explores how conditions for the entry of Italians into the Order of Malta were modelled on the noble criteria of good ancestry and distance from commerce after 1599: ibid., 249, and passim A good overview for the contemporary French world is that by Jean Chagniot, `Ethique et pratique de la `profession des armes' chez les officiers francais au [17.sup.e] siecle', in Guerre et pouvoir en Europe au [17.sup.e] siecle (Paris, 1991), esp. 85-90. For Spain, see Puddu, Il soldato gentiluomo.

(11) Spagnoletti, Stato, aristocrazie e ordine di Malta, 49.

(12) Several of these are extant in manuscript and published form for late seventeenth-and early eighteenth-century Siena. Whoever the scribe, such projects were collective in the sense that eligible families submitted copies of documents and basic information on the history of their houses to supplement what was already `famous' or included in an earlier roster. One of the earliest I have seen was written c. 1590 by an adopted Sienese humanist, Celso Cittadini. Those dating from the early eighteenth century were compiled by Uberto Benvoglienti, Girolamo Gigli and Giovanni Antonio Pecci; there was perhaps another by the abate Cralgano Bichi.

(13) Antonio Sestigiani, Compendio istorico degli sanesi nobili (Siena, 1695): BCIS, B V 25. Girolamo Gigli eulogizes Sestigiani in his Diano sanese, as one so keen to study the `secoli barbari' in Siena that he transcribed some eighty thousand medieval documents during his long life. Gigli acknowledges borrowing much of his own material from Sestigiani's Compendio: Girolamo Gigli, Diario sanese, 2 vols. (Lucca, 1723), ii, 315.

(14) Each family's entry began with the attribution of their `Monte' or faction in municipal government, the date of their first appearance in the city's assembly, and occasionally their town of origin. Even extinct families were so registered. Sestigiani merges all the different branches of the same house, however. His Compendio assuredly includes most of the noble houses of the city, for those whose members attained dignities and achievements after 1560 numbered 198 patronyms. A contemporary list of surviving houses published in 1699 by the academician Giovanni Battista Bartali indicates 193 surnames, comprising 383 branches, though Do distinction was made between older and newer families: G. B. Bartali, Diario sanese (Siena, 1697).

(15) Sestigiani, Compendio istorico degli sanesi nobili.

(16) The great siege of Siena has been related recently, with particular attention to fortifications and siegecraft, by S. Pepper and N. Adams, Firearms and Fortifications: Military Architecture and Siege Warfare in Sixteenth-Century Siena (Chicago, 1986).

(17) SeStigiani, Compendio istorico degli sanesi nobili. Sestigiani accounts for 363 Knights of Malta and Santo Stefano but this is not exhaustive, for a complete count of the Knights of Malta (1560-1689) and Knights of Santo Stefano (1562-1700) drawn from the archives of the orders gives 534, not including the various other `captains', for the period 1560-1700. He also counts as knights or soldiers the members of a company of noblemen-at-arms set up by Grand Duke Ferdinando I in 1591, though I have found but a single case of authentic military activity among the 95 names on the list. For a more detailed analysis of this group, see my article, `Glorifying War in a Peaceful City: Festive Representation of Combat in Baroque Siena (1590-1740)', in William Connell (ed.), Self and Culture in the Renaissance (Berkeley, forthcoming 1998).

(18) The point is made by Marino Berengo for Verona: M. Berengo, `Patriziato e nobilta: il caso Veronese', Rivista storica italiana, lxxxvii (1975).

(19) I. Ugurgieri Azzolini, Le pompe sanesi, overo relazione delli huomini e donne illustri di Siena e suo stato, 2 vols. (Pistoia, 1649). Specific information on military engineers can be derived from volume one (668-80), and the military nobility as a whole is treated in the chapter on Valenti guerrieri, in volume two.

(20) O. Di Simplicio, `Sulla "nobilta povera" a Siena nel Seicento', Bullettino senese di storia patria, lxxxix (1982).

(21) For syndics distributing scholarships to offspring of eligible noble families, a poor noble household was one with annual revenues less than 150 scudi: Oscar Di Simplicio, `La nobilta povera a Siena', Bullettino senese di storia patria, lxxxix (1982), 74. Consider then the cost of establishing young Giovanni Palmieri as a Knight of Malta in 1588, as related in his father's testament. Capitano Marcello Palmieri describes the young man as inclinatissimo to the crusading career. The trip to Malta to receive the `habit' cost 100 scudi, purchase of weapons and linen for his personal use another 150 scudi, and his final passage to Malta an additional 200 scudi. Assuming that additional expenses would be incurred, his father and uncles then established for him an annual revenue of 200 scudi. Consider too the predicament of Fra Fausto Bulgarini, a cadet with eight brothers and two sisters, who was excluded from his father's inheritance after his establishment. Fausto eventually prospered as a corsair in Malta: `Arrighi di Siena', 14, 23 Mar. 1588: Archivio di Stato di Siena (hereafter ASS), Notarile Post-Cosimiano Originali 46.

(22) Since ordinary soldiers were so poorly or so rarely paid, recruiting and equipping a unit was the most expensive part of raising and maintaining an army; thus, it is small wonder that many states, and the crown of Spain above an, were not too particular about who commanded many companies: F. Redlich, The German Military Enterpriser and his Work Force: A Study in European Economic and Social History (Wiesbaden, 1964). For the most exhaustive research on the Spanish army both in Spain and Flanders, see I. A. Thompson, War and Government in Habsburg Spain, 1560-1620 (London, 1976); G. Parker, The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road, 1567-1659: The Logistics of Spanish Victory and Defeat in the Low Countries Wars (Cambridge, 1972). Unfortunately, we lack comparable studies for the Spanish Habsburg units raised in Italy, except for Tommaso Astarita's unpublished tesi di laurea on the Neapolitan garrisons at the end of the seventeenth century: T. Astarita, `Aspetti dell' organizzazione militare del regno di Napoli alla fine del viceregno spagnuolo' (Tesi di laurea, Universita degli Studi di Napoli, Facolta di Lettere, 1982-3). My thanks to the author for allowing me to consult this work.

(23) Ugurgieri, Pompe sanesi, ii, 233.

(24) We must not forget those Knights of Malta and Santo Stefano who were defrocked, usually for having killed someone in a duel. Six of these are recorded in the list compiled by Bruno Casini, I cavalieri dello stato senese membri del sacro militare ordine di S. Stefano papa e martire (Pisa, 1993).

(25) Oscar Di Simplicio's important new book on the evolution of violent behaviour in Siena, and the inculcation of a high degree of `self-control' makes a convincing case for the success magistrates had in transforming the noble code of honour into a Christian code of ethics. His extensive research into the criminal archives of the Capitano di Giustizia bears witness to the suddenness of this shift in the first half of the seventeenth century: O. Di Simplicio, Peccato, penitenza, perdono: Siena, 1575-1800: la formazione della coscienza nell'Italia moderna (Milan, 1994), esp. ch. 1.

(26) Ugurgieri, Pompe sanesi, ii, 205. At least 7 of the 27 Piccolomini who served in various armies perished on campaigns in the seventeenth century, and several more were victims of the wars early in the following century. The best modern study of Ottavio Piccolomini is by T. M. Barker, `Ottavio Piccolomini (1599-1659): A Fair Historical Judgement?', in his Army, Aristocracy, Monarchy: Essays on War, Society and Government in Austria, 1618-1780 (Albany, 1982).

(27) The term `military enterpriser' is that of business historian Fritz Redlich, whose imposing work on the individuals who found the soldiers and the means to fight the wars in Germany helped launch the study of the `economics' of armies. See, above all, his The German Military Enterpriser and his Work Force, 13th-17th Centuries, 2 vols. (Wiesbaden, 1964). The means by which colonels made fortunes in the late seventeenth-century imperial army is also discussed by T. M. Barker, Double Eagle and Crescent: Vienna's Second Turkish Siege and its Historical Setting (Albany, 1968).

(28) The knights were nevertheless required to perform charitable service in the hospital of the Order at Malta. Caterina Scappi, otherwise called la Senese, established a special hospital for incurably ill women there and left her property and a modest revenue for it by her will in 1644. Two eminent Sienese knights, Ottavio Bandinelli and Giulio Cesare Accarigi, were her executors. See the chronicle of the Order by Fra Bartolomeo Dal Pozzo, Historia della sacra religione militare di S. Giovanni gerosolimitano, detta di Malta, 2 vols. (Venice, 1703-15).

(29) Fra Bartolomeo Dal Pozzo, Ruolo generale de' cavalieri gierosolimitani della veneranda lingua Italiana (Messina, 1689). While the roster begins with the foundation of the Order in 1136 and 1174, it may not be complete in the early years. There were only 8 names indicated for the thirteenth century, 160 for the fourteenth, 816 for the fifteenth, and 870 for the first sixty years of the sixteenth century. I include only those knights who were accepted into the Order from the year 1560.

(30) Spagnoletti, Stato, aristocrazie e ordine di Malta, 77.

(31) The knights may have fallen victim to their concern for noble exclusiveness. Claudio Donati points to the increasingly stringent regulations governing the entry of Italians into the Order. After 1599, the two decisive criteria for admission were the complete cessation of manual or undignified trades by the candidate's family for at least two generations, and the formal existence of a noble class, in the candidate's native city, to which the candidate's family belonged. Special dispensation was made for admitting sons of nobles engaged in commerce, but only for the cities of Genoa, Lucca, Florence and Siena. The Italian requirements were comparatively lax, for in 1612 the Order required proof of two hundred years of noble ancestry: Donati, L'idea di nobilta in Italia, 249.

(32) `Relazione dello stato nel quale si ritrova la citti di Siena e suo dominio' (1640): BCIS, A IV 20. This census summary contains a list of all the religious orders in the city and the number of clerics belonging to each. The knights figure among them.

(33) For the Knights of Santo Stefano, see Casini, I cavalieri dello stato senese; S. Burgalassi, `La "Religione" di Santo Stefano P.E.M.: saggio di sociologia religiosa', in Le impresi e i simboli: contributi alla storia del sacro ordine militare di San Stefano P.M., secoli 16-19 (Pisa, 1989), esp. table, 154. The list of all the Knights of Santo Stefano from its origins until the Risorgimento is also comprehensive: G. Guarnieri, L'ordine di Santo Stefano, 4 vols. (Pisa, 1966), esp. iv. For the comparison of the Knights of Malta with those of Santo Stefano, see Spagnoletti, Stato, aristocrazie e ordine di Malta, esp. tables, 77-9.

(34) For a more detailed examination of this trait, see F. Angiolini, `La nobilta "imperfetta": cavalieri e commende di S. Stefano nella Toscana moderna', in M. A. Visceglia (ed.), Signori, patrizi, cavalieri nell'etd moderna (Bari, 1992).

(35) C. Manfroni, La marina militare del granducato mediceo 1 vol. in 2 pts (Rome, 1895), pt 1, 138, and passim. Manfroni's century-old history of the fleet is still quite valuable, unblinkered by regional chauvinism and solidly based on the archives of the Order. See also `Libro delle memorie di Pandolfo Buoninsegni, figlio di dottore Anibale' (1575-1616): BCIS, A VI 38. Pandolfo Buoninsegni took the habit upon the death of his father in 1583, but if his journal serves as a guide, sole naval experience was a leisurely cruise along the Ligurian coast immediately after his entry. His career was then apparently marred by a homicide in 1585, although he was not defrocked for it. Later in life, in 1615, the Grand Duke appointed him an officer in the Militia.

(36) Manfroni, La marina militare, pt 2, 117.

(37) Casini, I cavalieri dello stato senese.

(37) The law permitted nobles to carry swords officially only after 1737, although they were tolerated by 1700 according to the archives of the Capitano di Giustizia `Partecipazioni' (1704-7): ASS, Capitano di Giustizia 684. This is rendered explic in a case of 3 March 1704, where the Capitano di Giustizia reminded the governor that not all nobles had the right to wear swords: `Docci [the accused] pretends to have the right to bear a sword as podest' of Roccastrada, being in Siena on a trip with permission from the Signore Auditore Generale for about two months. He maintains that he cannot be convicted of a weapons violation, as a noble for whom sporting a sword is customary, at least for his kind of nobleman. However, the decree prohibits anyone from carrying a sword. According to the established custom they have such latitude, and it would follow that all magistrates, lawyers, academicians, nobles and similar people would, by common sense, have the right to bear arms, the decree notwithstanding. In fact this is not true, and if they wish bear arms they have to ask permission ... The new decree of 21 March 1702 prohibits all persons from bearing arms, except for knights and other persons who have such privileges'. (All translations, unless otherwise specified, are my own.)

(39) The governor gave the Sienese knights a `pep talk' in March 1595 to try and get them to volunteer for service against the Turks in Hungary, under Tuscan direction: `I explained to them that it is a knight's duty to serve his Order spontaneously, especially as they are subjects (of the Grand Duke), and that they should note how the Sienese Knights of Malta and those of other nations, when they are called upon and are needed, are all prepared to go, . . . and finally they should consider that the Florentine knights are proud to serve as volunteers, and be commanded. I said many other similar things to them to induce those who were weakly disposed, and to firm the resolve of those who were already so inclined. Nevertheless, of the fifteen knights to whom I made the above-mentioned speech, there wasn't one who showed any desire to sail, either for reasons of age or infirmity, or for their own private business, except for cavaliere Filippo Tolomei and cavaliere Bruto, in the manner which I will relate to Your Lordship. Nor was there any greater inclination among the other knights who were absent.... for almost all of them made some excuse': `Lettere del Governo di Siena a Firenze (1594--1603)', 20 Mar. 1594: ASS, Governatore, 470. Poor cavaliere Bruto Del Golia's enthusiasm was rewarded, for he died in Hungary that year.

(40) Fra Giorgio de Vecchi perished when his galley capsized in the treacherous currents off Capri in 1646, while Fra Fausto Bulgarini drowned when his corsair ship ran aground in a storm off Cembalo in 1606: Ugurgieri, Pompe sanesi, ii, 275, 229.

(41) The history of the Order of Malta by Bartolomeo dal Pozzo gives the names of most of the knights who were casualties after the 1580s, though without much concern for exhaustive detail. Many of my examples are drawn from the pages of this work: Dal Pozzo, Historia della sacra religione militare di S. Giovanni. Dal Pozzo records battle casualties for the most part. For deaths of knights by disease under more peaceful circumstances it is necessary to look elsewhere. For examples from the house of Elci, see `Compendio, delle attioni di quelli della famiglia dei Pannocchieschi d'Elci' (c.1700), 530, 569: BCIS, B V 24. Diseases claimed their share of knights on board ships, including Fra Francesco Pannocchieschi d'Elci who died of fever near Messina in 1606, and whose death is poignantly recorded in family archives; and similarly, the Knight of Santo Stefano, Alduele del Conte Orazio d'Elci, who died off the coast of Spain in 1633 at the age of twenty-five.

(42) I have not found detailed studies relating to these individuals. A general, but still fleeting, view of their participation is found in the venerable work by J. W. Thompson, The Wars of Religion in France (New York, 1910), esp. 157 (1562), 329 (1567) and 383-7 (1569).

(43) The Grand Dukes were occasionally concerned about the drain of military manpower that deprived them of the means to wage their naval war on Islam. The governor wrote to the militia commander of Chiusi to this effect in 1595: `His Highness does not want any soldier taking money or committing himself to go to war without permission, and reminds them of the severe punishment reserved for those who secretly go raising men or money, or who promise as above ... And if there are any who disobey this order, they should be immediately arrested ... if anyone wants to go to war, they can very well show their desire to serve His Highness on the galleys, on board which, besides being well-treated, they won't lack the occasion to give a good account of their bravery': `Lettere del Governo di Siena al Capitano della Banda di Chiusi', 15 Mar. 1594/5: ASS, Governatore 469. This is the only such indication I have found that grand-ducal policy might have influenced the number of departures.

(44) Ugurgieri, Pompe sanesi, i, 668. For the most recent treatment of Tiburzio Spannocchi, see A. Mazzamuto, `Tiburzio Spannocchi, architetto di Filippo II e la sua Descripcion de las marinas de todo el reino de Sicilia', Bulletino senese & storia patria, xciii (1986).

(45) The military history of the revolt in Flanders is best treated in several important works by G. Parker, esp. The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road (Cambridge, 1972); The Dutch Revolt (Harmondsworth, 1977); Spain and the Netherlands, 1559-1659 (London, 1979). The classic work by L. Van der Essen Alexandre Fanese prince de Parme, gouverneur-general des Pays-Bas (1545-1592), 5 vols. (Brussels, 1935), based on archives in Spain, Naples and Brussels, is still very useful. See also L. Van der Essen, Les Italiens en Flandre au XVP et au XVIF siecles (Brussels, 1926).

(46) Of the 63 Sienese killed wounded or captured between 1560 and 1716, for whom I have information, 14 were victims of this war.

(47) The Castro War awaits a modern historian. The most recent overviews of the conflict are those of Yves-Marie Berce, `Rome et l'Italie an [17.sup.e] siecle: les dernieres chances temporelles de l'etat ecclesiastique, 1641-1649, in Etudes reunies en I'honneur du doyen G. Livet (Strasburg, 1986); see also Yves-Marie Berce, `Urbain VIII s'en va-t-en guerre', Historama (Nov. 1988).

(48) The Venetian Republic's ability to attract career soldiers from much of western Europe is well documented in the numerous books and articles by J. R. Hale. See, in particular, J. R. Hale and M. E. Mallett, The Military Organization of a Renaissance State: Venice to 1619 (Cambridge, 1984). The Republic's ability to attract such men on short notice is especially well illustrated by J. R. Hale, `From Peacetime Establishment to Fighting Machine: The Venetian Army and the War of Cyprus and Lepanto', in II Mediterraneo nella seconda meto del `500 alla luce di Lepanto (Florence, 1974). Also useful is E. Concina, Le trionfanti et invitissime armate venete: le milizie della Serenissima del XVI al XVIII secolo (Venice, 1972). The chronicle of Venice's later wars with the Turks has spawned a Considerable literature. Nowhere, unfortunately, have I encountered a detailed examination of the origin of the Republic's officers.

(49) Sienese nobles did not entirely abandon Spanish service, for Gigli identifies three fighting for Charles II and Philip V. One of them, Francesco Piccolomini, became governor of Saragossa under Philip V: Gigli, Diario sanese, i, 457.

(50) Long a neglected area of historiography, the extended Spanish crisis of the seventeenth century has benefited from recent study. A good rapid overview would be A. Dominguez Ortiz, `La Crise interieure de la monarchie des Habsbourgs espagnols sous Charles II', in The Peace of Nijmegen, 1676-1678/79: la Paix de Nimegue (Amsterdam, 1980). R. A. Stradling has revised the standard accounts of the reign of Philip IV, in his Philip IV and the Government of Spain (Cambridge, 1988). See also the fine general history of Spain during the reign of Charles II by H. Kamen, Spain in the Later Seventeenth Century 1665-1700 (London, 1980). On the end of the crisis in the civil war, see H Kamen, `Espana en la Europa de Luis XIV', in Molas Ribalta (ed.), La transicion del siglo XVII al XVIII (Historia de Espana Menendez-Pidal, xxviii , Madrid, 1993).

(51) A. Guglielmotti, Storia della marina pontificia, viii, A Candia ed alla Morea, stona dal 1644 al 1699 (Rome, 1889), 162.

(52) G. Lutz, `L'esercito pontificio nel 1677: camera apostolica, bilancio, militare dello stato della Chiesa e nepotismo nel primo evo moderno', in Miscellanea in onore di Monsignor Martino Giusti, Prefetto dell' Archivio Segreto Vaticano, 2 vols. (Vatican City, 1978), ii. Despite the title, the study refers to the Year 1667.

(53) The last company raised in Siena by a patrician was recruited by Fra Lorenzo de Vecchi in 1645 for service on Malta, which was thought to be threatened by a Turkish invasion: Ugurgieri, Pompe sanesi, ii, 270. Dal Pozzo's chronicle of the Knights of Malta confirm this, noting the presence of several Sienese knights commanding Maltese militia companies and others raising companies in Tuscany for service on the island: Dal Pozzo, Historia della sacra religione militare di S. Geovanie, ii, 98-110.

(54) This was the case for other Italians too. See John Stoye's splendid new book on the Bolognese aristocrat Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli, who offered his services to the Emperor in 1682. Marsigli's high-placed compatriots were not all welcoming, though. J. Stoye, Marsigli's Europe, 1680-1730: The Life and Times of Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli, Soldier and Virtuoso (New Haven, 1994), 32.

(55) `Lettere del C. Enea Silvio Piccolomini, Tenente maresciallo': ASS, Archivi particolari, Piccolomini Consorteria 25 (1660-1681).

(56) Is Mignanelli the Giulio d'Orazio cited by Ugurgieri, who left as a youngster to join the Spanish forces in northern France and was a survivor of Rocroi in 1643? He was then made captain of infantry under Colonel Giulio Antonio Frangipani at an unspecified date. He would have been around forty years old in 1660. Ugurgieri, Pompe sanesi, ii, 269, and passim.

(57) Gigli, Diario sanese, ii, 11, and passim.

(58) Federico Veterani to Michele Maria Ciampoli Bardi', Siena, I Oct. 1676: BCIS, Autografi Porri 9/18.

(59) Local chronicles note that any victory over the Turks was accompanied by liturgical celebrations. Some texts have survived. See, for example, the oration of Fra Buonaventura Colombini, a Dominican of a noble military family, Il trionfo della Fede: rappresentato per l'acquisto di Buda (Siena, 1687). The sermon considers the capture of Buda as a triumph of the church and of Pope Innocent XI, and proceeds to depict the Turks as Lucifer's demons. The Jesuit-directed, noble academy in Siena, the Collegio Tolomei, staged an elaborate depiction of the liberation of Hungary, in song, dance, drill manoeuvres and swordplay, when commemorating the death of an alumnus who fell on the battlefield: Le lune Tolomee in festa (Siena, 1685).

(60) Frances Yates wrote of the revival of the imperial myth under Charles V, actively promoted by the court's propaganda in a multitude of symbolic ways: F. Yates, Astraea: The Imperial Theme in the Sixteenth Century (London, 1975), 1-25. Symbolic exhortation gave way to a muscular policy of imperial ascendancy in Italy after 1690, when Leopold's army was stationed in northern Italy for years. The best overview of the ebb and flow of imperial power in Italy after the Middle Ages is still the work by Salvatore Pugliese, Le prime strette dell'Austria in Italia (Milan and Rome, 1932).

(61) Italians frequently encountered hostility from their German counterparts, or at least maintained that an anti-Italian court faction stood in their way. Stoye notes that when Marsigli was promoted colonel in 1693 with two other Italian officers, the event caused `a great stir' in Vienna: Stoye, Marsigli's Europe, 119.

(62) Sestigiani, `Compendio istorico degli sanesi nobili'.

(63) Argegni, Enciclopedia biografica italiana, xix, 10.

(64) BCIS, A IX 4-8; G. A. Pecci, Giornale sanese, 5 vols. (1715-68), ii, 65. This service persisted throughout much of the eighteenth century. Another Piccolomini was captain of a cavalry squadron when he was killed near Mantua while fighting French and Spanish forces in 1734.

(65) The expansion of the imperial army and the details of its cost to the treasury are analysed by J. Berenger, Finances et absolutisme autrichien dans la seconde moitie du [XVII.sup.e] siecle, 2 vols. (Paris, 1975), i, esp. 365-6, on the low ratio of officers to other ranks. In his thesis, J. Nouzille provides a table giving the ethnic origin of the different officers in the imperial army in 1695. From it, one can estimate the total number of Italian officers at about 170. Even adding cadets and others not holding commissions, the total would not exceed a couple of hundred individuals. J. Nouzille, `Le Prince Eugene de Savoie et les problemes des confins militaires; autrichiens, 1699-1739' (These, l'Universite de Strasbourg, 1979), 185.

(66) J. Meuvret, `Louis XIV et l'Italie', [XVII.sup.e] siecle (1960).

(67) Emile Laloy raises this point in his substantial history of the Messina uprising supported by France, 1674-8. Some Italian nobles offered their service to the French king should he profit from Spain's weakness to march on Milan, but Louis hardly ever hired them. Moreover, Louis refused to employ those few Italian troops he possessed in Sicily, nor did he employ Italian adventurers there. E. Laloy, La Revolte de Messine, l'expedition de Sicile et la politique francaise en Italie (1674-1678), 3 vols. (Paris, 1929), esp. i, 360; ii, 291; iii, 523.

(68) A. Corvisier, L'Armee francaise de la fin du [XVII.sup.e] siecle au ministere de Choiseul: le soldat, 2 vols. (Paris, 1964), i, 2593 548. Gigli indicates a lone Sienese serving the king of France, his own nephew cavaliere Annibale Agazzari, lieutenant in the French army until 1708. He then made a great leap to the rank of major when he enlisted with the Marsigli's papal army that had been raised to halt Austrian incursions into Romagna: Gigli, Diario sanese, i, 261.

(69) `Aggregazione alla Civilta, 1558-1728': ASS, Concistoro 2661-4.

(70) The Sienese scholar Uberto Benvoglienti was one of the magistrates examining Citerni's application; he left a transcription of his report in his papers: `Informazione del Consiglio di Balia sopra le prerogative e qualita', 22 Aug. 1722: BCIS, C IV 4.

(71) The gradual inflation of titles in the sixteenth century has been charted by Danilo Marrara in his work on the institutional Mite of Medicean Siena: D. Marrara, Riseduti e nobilta: profilo storico-istituzionale di un' oligarchia toscana nei secoli XVI-XVIII (Pisa, 1976), 98, and passim.

(72) On the population of Siena and its social structure in the late sixteenth century, see M. Barbagli, Sotto lo sum tetto: mutamenti della famiglia in Italia dal XV al [XX.sup.e] secolo (Bologna, 1984), esp. 152-62.

(73) Testament of Capitano Sigismondo Tolomei', 17 Aug. 1595: ASS, Notarile Post-Cosimiano Originali 46, Arrighi di Siena. Capitano Sigismondo Tolomei Left his horse to Capitano Catanio Tolomei and his armour and arquebus to Asdrubale Sermini. The latter appears as one of the Grand Duke's gendarmes in 1591, but I have found no trace of an authentic military career for him.

(74) All such proportions we relative, of course. Andre Corvisier estimates that about one adult male noble in three had a military function in France during the Thirty Years War, and about one in four at the end of the eighteenth century: A. Corvisier, `La Noblesse militaire: aspects militaires de la noblesse francaise du [XV.sup.e] et [XVIII.sup.e] siecles: etat des questions', Histoire sociale / Social Hist., xi (19178), esp. 352.

(75.) H. Kamen, The War of Succession in Spain, 1700-1715 (London, 1969), 55, 117.

(76) F. Andujar Castillo, Los militares en la Espana del siglo XVIII: un estudio social (Granada, 1991), 159, 315.

(77.) Concina, Le trionfanti et invittissime armate venete. See also the work by Paleologo Oriundi, who provides over sixty colonels' names in the eighteenth century, none of whom appears to be Sienese: F. Paleologo Oriundi, I Corsi nella fanteria italiana della Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia (Venice, 1912), 12, and passim.

(78) D. McKay, Prince Eugene of Savoy (London, 1977), 214. See also the table of regiments available for the imperial campaign of 1734 against France and Spain: G. Quazza, Il problema italiano e l'equilibrio europeo, 1720-1738 (Turin, 1965), 415.

(79) The gradual decline of the Tuscan economy is surveyed by R. Mazzei, `Continuita e crisi nella Toscana di Ferdinando II (1621-1670)', Archivio storico italiano, cxlv (1987).

(80) Oscar Di Simplicio observes the concentration of property-holding in ever fewer families after the late sixteenth century, at the expense of nobles and commoners alike. Providing a dowry was the nightmare of every father, as the restriction of noble marriages pushed dowries to stratospheric levels. O. Di Simplicio, `La nobilta povera a Siena'; see also O. Di Simplicio and S. Cohn, `Alcuni aspetti della politica matrimoniale della nobilta senese, 1560-1700 circa', Annali della Facolta di Scienze Politiche de l'Universita di Perugia, xvi (1979-80).

(81) Testament, 10 July 1595: ASS, Notarile Post-Cosimiano Originali 46, Arrighi di Siena.

(82) The earliest of these studies is by J. C. Davis, The Decline of the Venetian Nobility as a Ruling Class, (Baltimore, 1962); see also R. Burr Litchfield, `Demographic Characteristics of Florentine Patrician Families: Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries', Jl Econ. Hist., xxix (1969); D. Zannetti, `The Patriziato of Milan from the Domination of Spain to the Unification of Italy', Social Hist., vi (1977); C. Bitossi, Il governo dei magnifici: patriziato e politica a Genova fra Cinque e Seicento (Genoa, 1990), 198; for Verona, see Berengo, `Patriziato e nobilta'; G. Baker, `Nobilta' in declino: il casi di Siena sotto i Medici e gli Asburgo-Lorena', Rivista storica italiana, lxxxiv (1972).

(83) Baker, `Nobilta' in declino'.

(84) This coefficient is conjectural, based on the shrinkage of extended families even in the aristocracy as successoral practices shifted from partible to impartible inheritance and age at first marriage increased for males to their mid-thirties. For an overview of the evolution of these families over the longue duree, see Barbagli, Sotto lo stesso, tetto, esp. 196-201.

(85) H. Acton, The Last Medici (London, 1980), 272. While we lack any detailed study of the Tuscan garrison troops in the seventeenth century, excellent studies exist for two contemporary armies of similar type: Lutz, `L'esercito pontificio nel 1677'; M. Zannoni and M. Fiorentino, L'esercito farnesiano del 1694 al 1731 (Parma, 1981).

(86) `Presidi dello stato senese', 31 July 1699': BCIS, C V 28. The policy of posting Sienese officers outside the Stato nuovo may have still been in force at the end of the seventeenth century, although I have not located a specific reference to it in the archives.

(87) `Affari diversi relativi alle truppe spagnuole (1733-1746), n.d.': ASS, Governatore 1164.

(88) G. Guarnieri, I cavalieri di Santo Stefano, nella storia della marina italiana (1562-1859) (Pisa, 1960), 270.

(89) BCIS, A IX 4-8; `In the month of July [1739) thirty-seven cannon and three mortars of various calibres were transported to Siena from the fortresses of Radicofani, Pitigliano and Sorano, which were abandoned and emptied of soldiers ... and the fortress of Siena must henceforth remain disarmed and serve only to house a few invalids. The ordnance was sold for the value of the iron, and the weapons and the uniforms of the soldiers ... and everything that served for war was either carried away, or sold, and nothing remains but eight of the smallest cannon for saluting, while all the others were transported to other places': Pecci, Giornale sanese, ii, 146.

(90) R. Burr Litchfield, The Emergence of a Bureaucracy: The Florentine Patricians, 1530-1790 (Princeton, 1986), 134.

(91) Ibid., 185.

(92) S. Cohn, Death and Property in Siena, 1205-1800: Strategies for the Afterlife (Baltimore, 1988), 191.

(93) Di Simplicio, Peccato, penitenza, perdono, esp. table, 83.

(94) Ibid., 84-5.

(95) Ibid.

(96) G. P. Brizzi, La formazione della classe dirigente nel Sei-Settecento: seminaria nobilium nell'Italia centro-settentrionale (Bologna, 1976), 246-8, for the passage on the apprenticeship of knightly and military arts.
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