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Database: Bartolomeo d'Alviano

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Date of Birth: 1455.
Profession: Condottiero.

Born in the town of Alviano in Central Italy, Bartolomeo grew up to be a clever and resourceful soldier. After spending several years in Venice, he joined the Orsini family in 1496 to fight against Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia), who was attempting to seize Orsini territory.

The Pope's men had the upper hand, narrowing Bartolomeo's resources down to three fortresses, but Bartolomeo continued to hold out. Smelling victory, Cesare Borgia, the Pope's son, cut off his supplies. Then, when all looked lost, Carlo Orsini rode over the hill with his army, joining Bartolomeo to defeat the Pope's men and even wounding Cesare in the face.

In 1503, Bartolomeo was hired by Ferdinand II of Spain to help the Spanish army defeat the French and seize the Kingdom of Naples. The following year, he defeated Maximilian I, the Holy Roman Emperor, taking Trieste and Gorizia. Impressed, Venice elected him to the office of Governor General.

Everything was coming up roses for Bartolomeo, until the disastrous Battle of Agnadello in 1509, when he disobeyed orders to avoid combat and directly attacked the French army.

The battle was lost, Bartolomeo was captured and wounded by the French, and the Venetians lost Lombardy, a province it had taken them "eight hundred years exertion to conquer".

Furious, Venice refused to help Bartolomeo despite his claim that the French commander had stolen "a priceless Venetian artefact" which he was attempting to rescue.

Bartolomeo was kept in French prison until 1513. But, the French, as we all know, are very forgiving. He was sprung from jail to fight for them, managing to defeat the Swiss with only 300 men in 1515.

Later the same year, once restored to his former glory as General of the Venetian Army, he was killed besieging Brescia.

Venice welcomed his body home with a grand ceremony and buried him in the church of Santo Stefano.

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