Study the rise of condottieri warfare in Italy. What political and economic factors led to the employment of condottieri? Describe their tactical organization, weapons and tactics.
Although Italy was not immune to the mercenary-phenomenon that was spreading fast throughout Western Europe, the for-hire professional soldier did not consume the Italian armies until approximately 1320-30. Italy was absorbed with the current Renaissance, and therefore the majority of its attention dealt with the heightened appreciation of its culture and overall well-being of both citizen and state. However, at the same time as the appreciation of civilization as a whole grew, so too did the power of the 'city-states' that in the end decentralized any form if an imperial central authority responsible for overall Italy. Instead, the small states that developed from strong cities began intra-state conflicts, where the more powerful state would eventually dominate the lesser and add to its individual power within the 'kingdom' of Italy.
On the surface, this really had little impact on the overall makeup of the armies of the states; however, an Italy in disarray proved a very tempting target of opportunity for nearby nation states, like Aragon and France, that wished to exploit the dissension among the Italians in order to gain profit and land, as well as strengthen their own nation's prestige on the continent.
It was this political turmoil combined with the threat of internal conflict with the greater threat of external subjugation that led to the employment of the professional soldiers--known in Italy as the condottieri, as they were hired under contract, or a condotta. Although there was definite reason for the Italians to raise armies and for the leaders of the city-states to lead these armies, either on the offense or the defense, against rival states, it was the powerful movement of...