2nd Edition

The Italian Wars 1494-1559
War, State and Society in Early Modern Europe

ISBN 9781138739048
Published October 24, 2018 by Routledge
424 Pages

USD $52.95

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Book Description

The Italian Wars 1494–1559 outlines the major impact that these wars had, not just on the history of Italy, but on the history of Europe as a whole. It provides the first detailed account of the entire course of the wars, covering all the campaigns and placing the military conflicts in their political, diplomatic, social and economic contexts.

Throughout the book, new developments in military tactics, the composition of armies, the balance between infantry and cavalry, and the use of firearms are described and analysed. How Italians of all sectors of society reacted to the wars and the inevitable political and social change that they brought about is also examined, offering a view of the wars from a variety of perspectives.

Fully updated and containing a range of maps as well as a brand-new chapter on propaganda and images of war, this second edition of The Italian Wars 1494–1559 is essential reading for all students of Renaissance and military history.

Table of Contents


1. The genesis of the wars and the first French expedition

Charles VIII and his inheritance

French interests in Italy

King Ferrante of Naples and the other Italian powers

Preparations for the Italian enterprise

The final months

The reactions of the Italian powers

The march to Naples

The French in Naples

The French retreat and the Battle of Fornovo

The French loss of Naples

2. Milan and Naples overwhelmed, 1496-1503

Maximilian’s expedition to Italy, 1496

The Pisan War, 1495-9

Preparations for the French invasion of Milan

The French conquest of Milan, 1499-1500

France as an Italian power

The conquest of Naples

The Spanish expulsion of the French from Naples

3. The conflict widens

Florence and Pisa

Ferdinand in Naples

Louis in Italy, 1507

The genesis of the League of Cambrai

The beginning of the War of the League of Cambrai

The Battle of Agnadello and its consequences

The Venetian rally

The campaign against Venice in 1510

Julius II and the French

The campaign in the Veneto in 1511

The Holy League

The Battle of Ravenna

The expulsion of the French from Italy

4. New orders struggling to be born, 1512-1519

The restoration of the Medici to Florence

The settlement in Milan

The Venetians stand apart

The French invasion of Milan, 1513

War in the Veneto

Diplomatic conflict over Lombardy

The advent of Francis I and the conquest of Milan, 1515

The invasion of Milan by Maximilian and the Swiss, 1516

Final stages of the war against Venice, 1515-16

The quest for a Medici principate

The Imperial election

5. The contest for supremacy in Italy, 1520-1529

The expulsion of the French, 1521-2

The claims of the Empire

The French return to Milan, 1523-4

Francis I’s second expedition to Italy, 1524-5

The Battle of Pavia

The aftermath of the Battle of Pavia

The Imperial takeover of the Duchy of Milan

The League of Cognac

The Sack of Rome

The war in Lombardy, 1527-8

The invasion of Naples, 1528

The last campaign in Lombardy, 1528-9

The Treaties of Barcelona and Cambrai

6. Testing the boundaries, 1529-47

Charles V and Clement VII in Bologna, 1529-30

The siege of Florence, 1529-30

The second Congress of Bologna, 1532-3

Francis I’s designs on Italy

The devolution of Milan

The French invasion of Savoy and Piedmont, 1536

Charles V’s journey through Italy, 1535-6

Charles V and Francis I again at war in Italy, 1536-7

Truce and peace

The renewal of the war in Piedmont, 1542-4

The Peace of Crépy, 1544

The promotion of Spanish interests in Italy

7. The French challenge, 1547-1559

The War of Parma and Mirandola, 1551-2

The war in north-west Italy, 1551-2

Charles V at bay

The War of Siena, 1552-5

The transfer of power in Italy from Charles to Philip

War from the sea


The war in north-west Italy, 1552-6

The alliance between France and the papacy

Alba’s invasion of the Papal States, 1556

The expedition of the duc de Guise, 1557

The final phase of the wars

The Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis

8. The transformation of war

Weapons and the balance of arms

The impact of gunpowder weapons

Fortifications and siegecraft

Permanence and professionalism

Training and skills

Tactics and strategy


The war at sea

The experience of war

9. The resources of war

Recruitment and mobilization

The ordinances: muster and control




Naval resources

The costs of war

10. Propaganda and images of war

French Italy

Imperial Italy

The papacy at war

The woes of Italy

11. The legacies of the wars

Economic consequences

A new state system

An oppressed nation?

The transformation of military society

Italy in the Spanish Empire


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Christine Shaw is Associate Member of the Faculty of History at the University of Oxford. She has published extensively on the political and military society of Renaissance Italy and her previous books include Julius II: The Warrior Pope (1993), Italy and the European Powers: The Impact of War (as editor, 2006) and Barons and Castellans: The Military Nobility of Renaissance Italy (2015).

The late Michael Mallett was Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Warwick and a distinguished historian of fifteenth- and sixteenth century Italy. His books included Mercenaries and their Masters: Warfare in Renaissance Italy (1974), and (with J.R.Hale) The Military Organization of a Renaissance State: Venice c.1400 to 1617 (1984).


"This revised edition of the 2012 collaboration between Dr. Shaw (Oxford) and the late Prof. Mallett (Warwick) is a masterful overview of the protracted conflict between France and Spain for control of Italy that came to involve virtually every major European power, including the Ottoman Empire, with everyone demonstrating a remarkable flexibility in their loyalties and alliances. In a clear, highly readable account, the authors managed to integrate in an almost seamless fashion complex matters of dynastic ambition, personalities, diplomatic interactions, strategic maneuvering, war finance, and military operations, including some good battle pieces."
NYMAS Review