The First and Second Italian Wars 1494 – 1504

Like most things in Italian history, this is complicated.  What is really interesting and drew me in was the thought that these wars signal the change from medieval warfare to renaissance warfare, with the sword giving way to gunpowder as the deciding factor in these wars.

The book covers the period of the French invasion of Italy in 1494, the invasion of the Spanish into the mix, death of kings, reinvasion and French support of the Borgia family.

This is a good read and flows well, it is hard to keep up with all the events and I had to stop and go back a few times. The book is like a more complex version of Game of Thrones. And this isn’t the authors fault.

The book concludes with 7 appendices which are essays on different elements including the writers of the time, money and banking as well as the development of firearms and military tactics.

The fifth appendix jumped out at me, as it talks about the new military units of the period that changed combat for good.  One of the major components of this was the Swiss square.  The driving force and success of the square was its simplicity.  Mass formations of pikemen that had one job.  To defeat or kill anything in front of them.  No complicated strategies.

This is really interesting read and sheds the light of how combat changed in such a short period of time due to the availability of large sums of money, political and religious will, as well as advances in technology.

You can buy the book here from Pen and Sword books 

Please note I was not paid to write this review but was sent a review copy of the book. All comments are my own, and the publishers have not amended the review in any way.