2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
Erasmo di Narno (Gattamelata)
A condottiere (a soldier of fortune) who served the popes and the republic of Venice, Erasmo was born c. 1370 and served in the wars over Lombardy. He was known for his honesty and is said to have been unusually loyal for a mercenary. Before he entered papal service, he had been captured at Aquilea and escaped through closed mountain passes. Martin V employed him to put down a rebellion in Bologna, and Eugene IV permitted him to leave papal service and fight for Venice. The Venetians were then at war with the Milanese, who were under the command of Niccolò Piccinino, a former comrade. In 1441, Erasmo and his ally, Francesco Sforza (later Duke of Milan), captured Verona, lost it, and recaptured it. After the last battle, Gattamelata suffered two strokes, and although he retained his title, captain general, he never fought again. He retired to Padua, where he died two years later. His memory is preserved in an equestrian statue by Donatello, which was the first grand-scale bronze statue since antiquity.
Karen Rae Keck
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