The «fatti d’arme» in the Kingdom of Napoles (1495-1504): «disordini» or «battaglie»?
When we read a narration of the two French campaigns in the Mezzogiorno (1494-1495 and 1500-1504) written by the main French or Tuscan sources (namely, Commynes, d’Auton, Machiavelli, and Guicciardini), we are struck by the fact that the continuous changes in the strategic situation are not due to real pitched battles. In fact, neither the storming of Naples in February 1495, nor the loss of Naples the year after are consequences of great battles. Even the lost of the Regno by Louis XII troops after the defeat of Garigliano, did not depend on a one- or two- days battle as Fornovo, Novara, Marignano, Ravenna, Pavia, but it was the consequence of a guerrilla warfare of position and movement with struggles in series that the same day urged the enemy to withdraw into Gaeta. Therefore these two campaigns give the impression to be rather a succession of skirmish, sacks, struggles, forays, where attacks against civilians mixed up with battles between soldiers. In this context the control of the territory was particularly important and provided the capacity of both putting troops in specific positions and breaking camp to react to the adversary movements. Therefore the battle exit was widely decided ahead of the battle and in this game Consalvo da Cordova was more effective than French captains. In this perspective, the paper points out which aspect of these battles belonged to a new strategy (namely, infantry, cavalry, celerity and prudence, "war government", offensive and defensive, as in the case of Prospero and Fabrizio Colonna narrated by Guicciardini and Machiavelli) and what was a legacy from the art of war or from the singular capacity of an exceptional Captain.