By Guido Alfani (auth.)
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Extra info for Calamities and the Economy in Renaissance Italy: The Grand Tour of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse
The soldiers, laden with spoil, scattered and returned home without having made even a small part of the long journey towards the Peninsula (de Monluc, 1592, vol. 1: 129). Generally, a victorious army, which was given permission War 29 to carry out a sack, risked losing through desertion at least the same number of men as the army that they had defeated (Harari, 2004: 53–4). The long-term consequences of war: the case of Ivrea I will come back shortly to the problems of financing a military campaign.
The type and severity of the crisis determined the harshness of the expulsion order, the categories involved and the number of people who bore the brunt. I will come back to the expulsions in times of famine and plague, which are in effect a kind of ‘demographic panacea’ for the crises of the Ancien Régime, so much so that the useless mouths were the principal victims in the sequence of calamitous events that took place during the Italian Wars and also afterwards. The sack of the cities The privations endured during the sieges and the risk of being expelled and of losing their lives on account of the demands imposed in defending a city were not the only causes of suffering for the urban population.
The prolonging of the conflict jeopardized the finances of all the powers that took part, and spoils and plunder became almost a physiological need for an army that intended to remain operational. Extortion, settlements and ransom became everyday matters; sacks multiplied and often had to be promised to the troops to induce them to fight; the pillage of the encampment and the baggage trains of the defeated enemy always the ambition of armies,48 became ever more crucial in motivating soldiers. In fact, the systematic pillaging of the territories that they passed through swelled the booty of the armies, and the riches accumulated were a temptation to the adversaries.
Calamities and the Economy in Renaissance Italy: The Grand Tour of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Guido Alfani (auth.)