Books, People, and Military Thought

Machiavelli’s Art of War and the Fortune of the Militia in Sixteenth-Century Florence and Europe


Author: Andrea Guidi
How did the evolution of new gunpowder weapons change the nature, structure and composition of the Florentine militias during the first decades of the sixteenth century? Through an examination of little-known and unpublished sources, this book provides a comparative exploration of two Florentine republican experiments with a peasant militia: one promoted and created by Niccolò Machiavelli (1506–12) and a later one (1527–30). Using this comparison as the basis for a new reading of Machiavelli’s Art of War (which drew on the author's experience with the militia), the book then investigates the relationship between the circulation and reception of Machiavelli’s influential work, changing conceptions of militia, and the formation of new cultures of warfare in Europe in the sixteenth century.

Prices from (excl. VAT):

Add to Cart
Andrea Guidi, Ph.D. (Florence, 2008), is Assegnista at the Università dell’Insubria and Associate Member of the SFB 1015 Muße, Freiburg. Co-editor of both Machiavelli’s diplomatic and private correspondence, his archive-based monograph and articles on Machiavelli and the history of archives use long-overlooked documents.

List of Figures

 1  Why New Research on Florentine Militias and on the Art of War?
 2 Overview
 3 Acknowledgements

Part 1: “Il modo dello armare presente”: Machiavelli and the Ordinanza of 1527-30

Introduction to Part 1:History and Historiography
 1  History
 2  Historiography
1 “Il modo dello armare presente” (“Fanterie d’oggi”), Section 1   Hand Firearms in Machiavelli, and in the 1528-30 Ordinanza
 1  Hand Firearms at the Time of Machiavelli
1.1 Individual Firearms in the Documents of Machiavelli’s Time
 2  Hand Firearms at the Time of the 1527-30 Ordinanza
 3  Conclusions
2 “Il modo dello armare presente” (“Fanterie d’oggi”), Section 2   Comparisons and Relationships between Machiavelli’s 1506 Militia and the Ordinanza of 1528-30
 1 A Shared Background
1.1 The Need for New, Large, Permanent Armies
 2 Differences
2.1 The Separation between the City and the Country Battalions
2.2 The Role of the New Militia Battalions in the Structure of the Florentine Army
2.3 Different Infantry Battle Techniques
3 “Il modo dello armare presente” (“Fanterie d’oggi”), Section 3   The Role of the Peasants: Innovations within the Machiavellian Militia
 1  The Administration of Justice
 2  Benefiting and Rewarding
  3 Conclusions
4 “Il modo dello armare presente” (“Fanterie d’oggi”), Section 4   Infantry Battle Techniques and Infantry Tactics in Machiavelli’s Militia of 1506 and in 1521 Art of War
 1  Ravenna as a Turning Point: From the Swiss Model in the 1506 Militia to the ‘Third Order’ of Infantry in the Prince, Up to the Roman Archetype in the Art of War
 2  Conclusions

Part 2: The Reception of Machiavelli’s Art of War and the Fortune of the Militia Concept in Europe

Introduction to Part 2: A Brief Introduction to the Fortune of Machiavelli in the Sixteenth Century
 1  Machiavelli and Machiavellism
 2  Historiography on the Art of War and This Book
5 The Circulation of Machiavelli’s Art of War in Early-Modern Europe, and Its Influence on Cultures of Warfare and on Experiments with Organizing Militias
 1 France
1.1 The First French Translation of the Arte della guerra and the Publication of French Military Treatises Inspired by Machiavelli
1.2 A Lost Latin Translation?
 2  Basle, Switzerland and the German-Speaking World
 2.1 Appendix: a Little-Known (Anonymous) Huguenot French Theorist of Military Doctrine in Basle
 3  The Creation of Infantry Legions in Sixteenth-Century France
  4 Spanish Provinces: The Uses and the Misuses of Machiavelli by European Sovereigns
 5  The Long-Standing Influence of the Art of War. Training and Discipline in the Late Sixteenth Century. The War in the Flanders and the Militia in England
6 Fortune, Misfortune, and the Decline of the Machiavellian Heroic Model of Military Glory in Early-Modern Europe
  1 Collective Virtue: ‘Heroic’ Visions of the Infantry as ‘Warrior’: Contacts and Exchange of Ideas in Europe
  2 Individual Virtue: The Machiavellian Concept of ‘Heroism’ and Its Transformations in Subsequent Military Thinking
  3 The Declining Fortune of Machiavelli’s Concepts of Glory and Heroism
7 Conclusions
 1  The Relationship between the Art of War, the New Standing Armies, the Wider Power Structures of European States, and the Connected Cultures of Warfare
 3  Political Engagement and Civic Activism

 1 Introduction: Some Notes on the Military Documentary Production of the Time, and on the Available Documentation
 1.1 Practical and Administrative Records: Production, Preservation and Availability
 1.2 The Records of the Nove di Ordinanza e Milizia   from 1527 to 1530: Loss, Preservation and New Discoveries
1.3 Short Summary of the Sources Effectively Used in This Appendix
 2 Documents


Index of Names
Machiavelli scholars, students, readers and researchers interested in the Italian Renaissance or in early-modern cultural and military history. Scholars working on the circulation of books and ideas in sixteenth-century Europe or on the intersection of military and intellectual history. Keywords: early modern armies, infantry battle, ordinanza, ordnance, ordonnance, guns, tactics, Ravenna (battle of Ravenna), Burgkmair, Weiss Kunig, woodcut, Du Bellay, Renaissance, Rinascimento, storia militare, Florentine, Firenze, Florence.