Braccio da Montone (1368-1424)
Braccio was born on 1 July
1368 at Montone, some 25 miles North of Perugia. He was the son son of Oddo
Fortebraccio and Giacoma Montemelini, who were also the lords of the Montone
castle. From his first wife, Elisabetta Ermanni, he had three daughters, after
her death in 1419, he married his second wife Niccolina Varano, who gave him
a son in 1421, Carlo, moreover he had a son out of wedlock, by name Oddo.
One of his first commitments was in Romagna, where he became famous; being at the head of 150 knights. He also fought in the Marche and conquered Ancona, Fani, Cagli and other cities. His fame reached king Ladislaw of Naples, who asked him to fight for Naples in the war against Florence and the Pope; Braccio accepted and fought around Todi and Perugia, where he was joined by King Ladislaw for a final battle. Braccio became protector of Perugia. Later he entered the service of Florence. During this time, the situation in Italy was chaotic, three Popes were competing for the Holy See and two kings for the Kingdom of Naples.
On the death of King Ladislaw, the protector of Perugia, Braccio granted Bologna its freedom for the sum of 180,000 gold ducats, and with quick marches reached Umbria. In 1416 Braccio defeated condottiere Carlo Malatesta conquering Perugia.
Meanwhile in Costanza Martino V was elected to the Papal Seat, and he prepared an army to enter Rome; Braccio asked the new Pope the lordship on Umbria.
Martino replied to him sending the army of Guidantonio di Montefeltro, and calling from the South Muzio Attendolo Sforza. Braccio defeated in 1419 Guido from Montefeltro, and blocked Sforza. On 14 march a treaty was signed with the Pope, and Braccio came back to Perugia hoping in a period of peace.
Some time later the Pope excommunicated Giovanna, Queen of Naples, appointing as heir to the crown Louis III Anjou, while Giovanna appointed as her heir king Alfonso of Aragon, and called to fight for her Braccio da Montone, who again found on the other side Sforza, who was at the head of the Anjou army. There was not an open battle, though Braccio's army moved all over Abruzzo. Queen Giovanna II gave him lordship on Teramo, and soon after Braccio started his 13-year-long siege of Aquila. Meanwhile on 3 February 1424 Braccio was appointed "Gran Connestabile" of the Kingdom and received the fiefdoms of Capua and Foggia. The Queen of Naples abandoned the Aragonese and passed to the side of the Angevins under Louis, while Braccio remained loyal to Alfonso of Aragon.
The final clash between the two contenders was just below the walls of Aquila, which still resisted the siege, near the hamlet today called Bazzano. During the march towards the Abruzzese capital, condottiere Muzio Attendolo Sforza drowned in the waters of the Pescara river, near Popoli.
On 2 June the battle was fought among the most celebrated condottieri of the time; Braccio, mortally wounded in the neck, was made prisoner and transported to Aquila, where he died three days later, on June 5, 1424.