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Duke

1466

March 8

on Thursday

Francesco I Sforza dies in Milan, leaving the throne to his first-born son, Galeazzo Maria Sforza.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Milan was at 6:08 AM and sunset was at 6:14 PM.

1472

May 6

on Monday

6 years, 2 months, 1 day later

The Bishop of Volterra came as ambassador, but settled nothing. And on the 7th two mortars were loaded to go there. And on the 10th the Count of Urbino went there with men-at-arms; and by the 19th he took all their castles; and on the 24th he took many prisoners and captured their bastion. And on the 1st June their ambassadors arrived here to demand terms, and almost came to agreement, but everything was upset when they returned there. And so far two mortars had been used. And on the 8th June, the attacking party beheaded one of the Bartolini; and on the 9th they used another mortar.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.
Sunrise in Volterra was at 5:52 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.

1476

3 years, 8 months later

Galeazzo Maria Sforza is assassinated, leaving his throne to his seven-year old son, Gian Galeazo Sforza.

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Astronomical Events

Agents

Gian Galeazo Sforza (1469-1494), aged 7: duke

1476

December 26

on Tuesday

12 months later

We heard that the Duke of Milan(1) had been stabbed and killed by one of his citizens called Giovanni Andrea,(2) who was moved to commit the crime by certain unjust acts of the duke. He was put to death by the populace, out of zeal for the common good. There were several conspirators; and the first who reached the duke was this Giovanni Andrea, who feigned to offer him a letter with one hand whilst he stabbed him with the other. It happened as with Scevola the Roman, when they took life for life. Such men are rarely found. And I believe that they carry out their crimes by divine permission. This was on the day of Santo Stefano, in church, during the mass. And when they tried to flee, they could not, because the crowd of people, and mostly the women who hindered them by spreading out their gowns(3) in such a way that the barons of the duke, and chiefly a certain Ghezzo who stood next to him, caught and slew the said Giovanni Andrea. And three others were taken and hung. Some people said that these three who were caught were quartered by four horses.

(1) Galeazzo Sforza. (Trans.)

(2) Lampugnano.

(3) The women used to sit on the floor during these long ceremonies. (Trans.)

Attachments
Woodcut depicting the assassination of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan
Portrait of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan
Giovanni Andrea, the assassin of the Duke of Milan, as depicted in Assassin's Creed

Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.

1478

February 18

on Monday

1 year, 1 month, 24 days later

George, Duke of Clarence, convicted of treason against his older brother Edward IV of England, is privately executed in the Tower of London.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.

Source: Primary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1478

1478

July 10

on Wednesday

4 months, 22 days later

Another ambassador came from the King of France; he was going to the Pope, and was lodged in the house of Giovanni Tornabuoni.

And at this time the horsemen of the Duke of Milan came by the Pisan road, and passed near Poggibonizi, and the troops of the king continued to approach.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Poggibonsi was at 6:00 AM and sunset was at 6:07 PM.

Agents

Pope Sixtus IV (1414-1484), aged 64: pope
Gian Galeazo Sforza (1469-1494), aged 9: duke

Source: Primary

Luca Landucci; "A Florentine Diary"; p. 21

1479

5 months, 25 days later

Ludovico Sforza is empowered as the Duke of Bari.

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Astronomical Events

Agents

Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 27: duke

1479

January 17

on Friday

16 days later

A certain hermit came here to preach and threatened many ills. He had been at Volterra, serving at a leper hospital. He was a lad of twenty-four, barefoot, with a wallet on his back; and he declared that St. John and the Angel Raphael had appeared to him. And one morning he went up on to the ringhierra of the Signori to preach, but the "Eight" sent him away. And each day some incident happened.

And at this time, a son of the Duke of Milan,(1) who was confined within certain boundaries in the territory of Pisa, fled from there, and went to Genoa to the Signor Roberto,(2) and joined him.

(1) This was Ludovico Sforza, called Il Moro, uncle to the reigning duke, and at that moment exiled.

(2) Roberto da Sanseverino.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.
Sunrise in Genoa was at 6:07 AM and sunset was at 6:14 PM.
Sunrise in Pisa was at 6:07 AM and sunset was at 6:14 PM.
Sunrise in Volterra was at 6:07 AM and sunset was at 6:14 PM.

1479

April 18

on Friday

3 months, 1 day later

The plague had increased to such an extent that I went away to my villa at Dicomano with all my family; leaving my apprentices to attend to the shop.

At this time Count Carlo came to Florence, and was appointed a Capitano, and two separate camps were formed, he going into the Perugian territory and defeating the papal troops, which departed utterly routed. And after this the ducal forces(1) could have been broken up; but through the fault of our Capitano, the Duke of Ferrara, and through the dissensions amongst the citizens, no action was taken, or else the enemy would certainly have been conquered. The Duke of Calabria pitched his camp before Colle. People continually deceive us, and we cannot be victorious, as God punishes us for our sins.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.
Sunrise in Perugia was at 5:55 AM and sunset was at 6:02 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:55 AM and sunset was at 6:02 PM.
Sunrise in Dicomano was at 5:55 AM and sunset was at 6:02 PM.
Sunrise in Colle di Buggiano was at 5:55 AM and sunset was at 6:02 PM.

1479

November 15

on Saturday

7 months, 1 day later

The Duke of Calabria took Colle di Valdelsa. He had besieged it for about seven months before he was able to take it; the mortars had been fired against it 1024 times, so that the greater part of the walls was destroyed. And now the enemy went into quarters.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.

1479

December 23

on Tuesday

1 month, 8 days later

Bernardo Bandini de' Baroncegli was captured at Constantinople, the Grand Turk having given him up. He had fled from Florence when Giuliano de' Medici was murdered, believing that his life would be safe at Constantinople.

News arrived that the Duke of Calabria had taken possession of Siena, but it was not true. However, to all intents and purposes, he was master of the place, for the Sienese were helpless, having left him come in with all his troops, and he did what he chose.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Constantinople was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:03 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:03 PM.
Sunrise in Siena was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:03 PM.

1480

9 days later

Letter to the Duke of Milan

Having, most illustrious lord, seen and considered the experiments of all those who pose as masters in the art of inventing instruments of war, and finding that their inventions differ in no way from those in common use, I am emboldened, without prejudice to anyone, to solicit an appointment of acquainting your Excellency with certain of my secrets.

  1. I can construct bridges which are very light and strong and very portable, with which to pursue and defeat the enemy; and others more solid, which resist fire or assault, yet are easily removed and placed in position; and I can also burn and destroy those of the enemy.

  2. In case of a siege I can cut off water from the trenches and make pontoons and scaling ladders and other similar contrivances.

  3. If by reason of the elevation or the strength of its position a place cannot be bombarded, I can demolish every fortress if its foundations have not been set on stone.

  4. I can also make a kind of cannon which is light and easy of transport, with which to hurl small stones like hail, and of which the smoke causes great terror to the enemy, so that they suffer heavy loss and confusion.

  5. I can noiselessly construct to any prescribed point subterranean passages either straight or winding, passing if necessary underneath trenches or a river.

  6. I can make armoured wagons carrying artillery, which shall break through the most serried ranks of the enemy, and so open a safe passage for his infantry.

  7. If occasion should arise, I can construct cannon and mortars and light ordnance in shape both ornamental and useful and different from those in common use.

  8. When it is impossible to use cannon I can supply in their stead catapults, mangonels, trabocchi, and other instruments of admirable efficiency not in general use—I short, as the occasion requires I can supply infinite means of attack and defense.

  9. And if the fight should take place upon the sea I can construct many engines most suitable either for attack or defense and ships which can resist the fire of the heaviest cannon, and powders or weapons.

  10. In time of peace, I believe that I can give you as complete satisfaction as anyone else in the construction of buildings both public and private, and in conducting water from one place to another.

I can further execute sculpture in marble, bronze or clay, also in painting I can do as much as anyone else, whoever he may be.

Moreover, I would undertake the commission of the bronze horse, which shall endue with immortal glory and eternal honour the auspicious memory of your father and of the illustrious house of Sforza.—

And if any of the aforesaid things should seem to anyone impossible or impracticable, I offer myself as ready to make trial of them in your park or in whatever place shall please your Excellency, to whom I commend myself with all possible humility.

Leonardo Da Vinci

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Astronomical Events

Agents

Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 28: duke

1480

April 28

on Wednesday

3 months, 28 days later

Messer Piero Vespucci(1) was liberated from prison, and left Florence, and went to the Duke of Calabria at Siena and stopped there.

At this time it was noised abroad that the Pope had made a league with the Venetians, the Sienese, and the Duke of Urbino.(2) It was not true.

(1) The Duke of Calabria, and his father King Ferdinand, had made urgent solicitations in favour of Vespucci.

(2) Federigo di Montefeltro.

Attachments
Portrait of Federico da Montefeltro, by Piero della Francesca

Astronomical Events

The moon was waning gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.
Sunrise in Siena was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.

1480

May 7

on Friday

9 days later

Ten Sesti and one Decima were voted; and a Sgravo (decrease) of 3 thousand florins was made and an Aggravo (increase) of a thousand florins.(1)

At this time the Duke of Calabria was sent a sum of 30 thousand florins, on several occasions. It may be imagined what need there was for these taxes of Sesti and Decime. We Florentines have the wise custom of giving money in payment to everyone who does us an injury, and who destroys and pillages our territory. And this is not a solitary instance; it will always be the same; anyone who wants money from the Florentines has only to do them an injury.

(1) A Sgravo means that some taxes were lowered or remitted; whilst on others there was an increase (Aggravo). See note to 13th June, 1478. (Trans.)

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.

1480

June 3

on Thursday

27 days later

Messer Piero Vespucci was permitted to return to Florence, and was restituted in all his rights, according to the wish of the duke.(1)

At this time the price of grain fell to 15 soldi the bushel, and the like low prices.

(1) He, however, preferred leaving Tuscany, and went to offer his services to the Sforza in Milan, and was appointed Ducal Councillor by Ludovico il Moro. Sent to exercise his authority at the city of Alessandria, he met with a tragic end, being killed in 1485 in a popular rising.

Attachments
Portrait of Ludovico Sforza

Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.
Sunrise in Tuscany was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.
Sunrise in Milan was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.

1480

June 20

on Sunday

17 days later

The Duke of Calabria confined within limits 18 knights and citizens of Siena. He also kept his soldiers in the city, so that he was master of the situation. And the Sienese did not consider it at all just that he should act in this way, but he chose to do so. He had the idea of acting in the same way with regard to us; but please God, by a great miracle, it happened that on the 6th August the Turkish army came to Otranto and began to besiege it; so it was necessary to leave our neighbourhood, at the king's command, and return to defend the kingdom. The Turks were encamped in three places, being at Rodi (Rhodes), and with the Hungarians, besides at Otranto.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Siena was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:04 PM.
Sunrise in Rhodes was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:04 PM.

1480

December 5

on Sunday

5 months, 18 days later

The Cardinal of Mantua(1) passed through Florence, on his way from Mantua to Rome.

(1) Francesco Gonzaga.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing crescent that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:48 AM and sunset was at 5:55 PM.
Sunrise in Mantua was at 5:48 AM and sunset was at 5:55 PM.
Sunrise in Rome was at 5:48 AM and sunset was at 5:55 PM.

1481

27 days later

After a bitter struggle for the duchy of Milan with the child-regent Gian Galeazzo Sforza's mother, Bona of Savoy, followed, the boy's uncle, Ludovico Sforza, emerges as victor and seizes control of the government of Milan.

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Astronomical Events

Agents

Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 29: duke
Gian Galeazo Sforza (1469-1494), aged 12: duke

1481

Draft of a letter from Leonardo da Vinci to Ludovico Sforza:

Your Gracious Highness! I have sufficiently seen and tested the productions of all who are considered masters of the art of inventing war-machines. And since the working and function of these instruments is no different from that of the machines in common use, I shall endeavour -- approaching no one else -- to make myself clear to Your Excellency and reveal my secrets. I shall put them at your disposal whenever you desire and hope for good results from the things which I shall now briefly describe ...

First: I have a means of making very light bridges which can be very easily transported ... And I have others which are proof against fire and are thus indestructible in battle, easy to take down and put up again, and I also know of a means to get fire to the bridges of the enemy and destroy them. Secondly: In besieging a place I know how to cut off the water in the dikes, also how to construct many drawbridges and other apparatus necessary for such an undertaking. Thirdly: If during a siege the engines cannot be effectively used on account of the height or strength of the town wall, I have a means to destroy every tower or fortification ... Fourthly: I know of a kind of siege-engine which is very light and easy to move and which can be used hurl fire-bombs. Their smoke will terrify, confuse and severely injure the enemy. Fifthly: I know how to construct subterranean caves and winding passages which can be made without any noise ... Sixthly: I can make sound, indestructible armoured vehicles. If these reach the enemy with their cannons, they can compel the largest forces to retreat and afterwards the infantry can follow them in safety and without any let or hindrance. Seventhly: I can make, if necessary, bombards, mortars and other field-guns ... Eighthly: Where cannons cannot be used I shall construct stone-throwing machines, catapults, slings and other instruments, amazing and hitherto completely unknown ... Ninthly: If this should be necessary, I know of apparatus for use at sea for attack and defence, such as ships which can withstand the force of the strongest opponents and produce dust and smoke. In time of peace I believe I can achieve something in architecture, as well as another, both in building public and private buildings and in channelling water from one place to another. Further, I work as a sculptor in marble, bronze and clay and can paint as well as others with whom I may be compared. I could also add my labours to the bronze horse which is to contribute to the undying fame and eternal memory of your father and the renowned house of Sforza ...

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Astronomical Events

Source: Primary

Leonardo da Vinci; 'Letters of the Great Artists', p. 34-8

1482

1 year later

Leonardo da Vinci moves to Milan to work in the service of the city's duke, Ludovico Sforza. He gains the title of "painter and engineer" of the duke.

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Astronomical Events

1482

March 4

on Saturday

2 months, 2 days later

The authorities considered that this new tax of the Scala was not a suitable one for the city; therefore they had recourse to the Sesto again, and doubled it, with advantage, as it seemed to those who understood the business. But certainly some people were already in sorry plight were completely ruined by the Sesto.

At this time the Venetians declared war upon the Duke of Ferrara, and we much feared lest we should be drawn into it.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.

1482

April 28

on Friday

1 month, 25 days later

The Duke of Urbino came to Florence, lodging in the house of Giovanni Tornabuoni, and he was received with honour. And on the 29th he left for Milan, to take up his post as Capitano generale, stopping at Ferrara where Signor Roberto was. There they besieged a fort called Ficheruolo till the 1st June.(1)

And in these days the Duke of Calabria on the other hand was besieging Ostia, near Rome; and on the 10th June it was said that he had taken it, but this was not true. He sacked Corneto,(2) however. The Sienese now recalled some of their exiles.

(1) This is not correct; see note to 2nd July.

(2) These are all facts relating to the war which had lately broken out between the Venetians and the Pope on the one hand, and the Florentines, Milan, and Naples on the other. Federigo, Duke of Urbino, was Capitano generale, and Commander of the League against Venice, and Roberto di Sanseverino was in the service of the latter.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Milan was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.
Sunrise in Ostia was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.
Sunrise in Corneto was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.
Sunrise in Ferrara was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.
Sunrise in Venice was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.
Sunrise in Naples was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 6:00 PM.

1482

July 2

on Sunday

2 months, 5 days later

We took Ficheruolo.(1)

(1) The text appears to say that the Florentines or the League besieged and took this place; but it really was exactly the contrary. Ficheruolo belonged to the Duke of Ferrara, with whom the Florentines were allied, and now fell into the hands of the Venetians.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.
Sunrise in Ficheruolo was at 5:59 AM and sunset was at 6:06 PM.

1482

July 25

on Tuesday

23 days later

We heard that the papal troops had defeated the Duke of Calabria, and had taken 300 men-at-arms and 19 leaders; and it was a fact.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.

1482

September 10

on Sunday

1 month, 17 days later

The Count of Urbino died at Bologna.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.
Sunrise in Bologna was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.

1482

September 14

on Thursday

4 days later

Roberto il Magnifico(1) died at Rome; he who had been so famous for his victory over the Duke of Calabria near Rome, when he took 300 men-at-arms. These two great captains died with a few days of each other, just when they imagined that they were at the height of their glory. What errors are made by the world! Men incur so many perils in order to slay and kill others, and to obtain a short-lived fame on this earth, not considering what it means to kill a man, and how soon they themselves will have to die and render an account.

(1) Roberto Malatesta, a captain sent by the Venetians to aid the Pope.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.
Sunrise in Rome was at 5:52 AM and sunset was at 5:58 PM.

1483

January 5

on Friday

3 months, 23 days later

The Duke of Calabria came to Florence, leaving again on the 8th for Ferrara, and taking 800 horsemen with him; amongst his force were many Turks(1). He was received with great honour.

(1) Taken into his pay after the recapture of Otranto.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.
Sunrise in Ferrara was at 6:02 AM and sunset was at 6:10 PM.
Sunrise in Florence was at 6:02 AM and sunset was at 6:10 PM.
Sunrise in Otranto was at 6:02 AM and sunset was at 6:10 PM.

1483

February 6

on Tuesday

1 month, 2 days later

Some of the Turks whom the duke was sending back, passed through. As 400 of them had deserted to the Venetians, he thought it best to send back the remainder; and we raised a Christian brigade for him here in Florence.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 6:11 AM and sunset was at 6:18 PM.

1483

April 7

on Saturday

2 months later

The Sienese beheaded three of their citizens, one being Antonio Belandi, and another one of the knights made by the Duke of Calabria. Thus, in the opposition of parties, are treated those ambitious men who are not contented with the state of life to which God has called them.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.

1483

June 21

on Thursday

2 months, 15 days later

In a tabernacle in Orto Sa' Michele there was placed the figure of San Tommaso beside Jesus, and the Jesus in bronze, which is the most beautiful thing imaginable, and the finest head of the Saviour that has as yet been made; it is by Andrea del Verrocchio.

At this time the Duke of Calabria and Signor Roberto left Ferrara and went into Lombardy, where much damage was being down on all sides, and Signor Gostanzo was poisoned there.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.
Sunrise in Ferrara was at 5:56 AM and sunset was at 6:04 PM.

1483

August 5

on Sunday

1 month, 15 days later

The exiled Sienese came against their city, as far as the fortress of Sitorno, but were unable to do anything. The citizens took many prisoners from the fortress and carried them into Siena.

In these days the Florentines destroyed a fortress in the upper valley of the Arno, called Monte Domenici, because it had rebelled.

During this August of 1483, the Duke of Calabria captured many fortresses in Lombardy from the Venetians,(1) and crushed the Venetian troops in such a manner that they could not hold out any longer. This occurred because the Church had excommunicated all those who gave aid to the Venetians, which prevented them having soldies from beyond the Alps. And the fleet of the King of Naples came into the port of Ancona, and that of the Venetians set out to find it. But on the 5th September, the king's fleet sailed away without waiting for their opponents. Great things had been expected if they had encountered each other.

(1) From the 12th December, 1482, the Pope had made peace with the League, and then associated himself with it in the war against Venice.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.
Sunrise in Siena was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.
Sunrise in Arno was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.
Sunrise in Monte Domenici was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.
Sunrise in Ancona was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.

1485

December 1

on Tuesday

2 years, 3 months, 29 days later

At Rome they burnt the houses of the Orsini at Monte Giordano, and there was great excitement. The Duke of Calabria went to the help of the Orsini, because they were at war with the Pope; and the consequence was war in Rome.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Rome was at 5:46 AM and sunset was at 5:53 PM.

1485

December 11

on Friday

10 days later

There came a certain hot wind from the south, as if it were July, and all the walls of the houses dripped inside, all over Florence, even in the living-rooms, although they had been quite dry.

And in these days of February and March, soldiers were continually being hired, to send to the Duke (of Calabria), who was fighting against the papal forces; so that everyone in Florence who had taken part against the Church was excommunicated. All intelligent people wondered that anyone should go against the Church, especially as it had nothing to do with us. However, this mistaken conduct was the result of our sins and of our not fearing God.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing crescent that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:50 AM and sunset was at 5:58 PM.

1486

July 10

on Saturday

7 months, 1 day later

The Duke of Calabria was pressing the papal forces hard, and we were contributing to the cost of all this.

On this same day happened the death of Antonio, son of Guido, a singer who made improvisations, an extremely clever man. I mention him because he surpassed everyone else in this art.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the first quarter that night.

1487

May 10

on Tuesday

10 months, 4 days later

We heard that the Duke of Calabria had had an encounter with Signor Roberto, and had a great battle, many men being slain. The duke had the advantage.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning gibbous that night.

1488

May 1

on Tuesday

11 months, 27 days later

We heard that the Duke of Milan had entered Forli, and had had several men put to death.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Forli was at 5:53 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.

1488

Late

1 month, 1 day later

Leonardo da Vinci begins working on the apparatus for the festival celebrating the marriage of Gian Galeazo Sforza to Isabella of Aragon.

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Astronomical Events

1489

7 months, 4 days later

Leonardo da Vinci receives the Sforza commission from Ludovico Sforza, to cast the largest equestrian statue ever, in honour of Ludovico's father.

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Astronomical Events

1489

January 15

on Tuesday

14 days later

The daughter(1) of the Duke of Calabria passed through Florence, on her way to wed the Duke of Milan,(2) with a large escort of horsemen, and many Signori and matrons and damsels in her train; a very great and noble company. A magnificent escort was sent to meet her, at incalculable cost.

(1) Isabella d'Aragona. (2) Giangalleazzo Sforza.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.

1489

June 15

on Saturday

5 months, 1 day later

A letter from Andrea Mantegna to Francesco Gonzaga:

I commend myself cordially. The fame and glory of the most illustrious House of Gonzaga are filling all Italy, and especially this city of Rome, with the rumour of the honours shown to and by Your Excellency, wherein I delight and take pride how all here are perpetually crying aloud: Gonzaga, Gonzaga. The Turk, the Turk! Marco, Marco! It is my hope, indeed my assurance, that Your Excellency will not prove unworthy of the many most learned Lords of that most illustrious House. And may God grant me to live until I see that which my heart longs for. I am now well pleased, and meseems this is worthy beginning to what I trust will have good continuance and an excellent conclusion. With such feeble powers as I have, I seek here, being your Excellency's servant, to do you honour with all my poor skill. And for love of Your Excellency I am well regarded by His Holiness the Pope and by all the Palace. True it is that I am given only the return of what I lay out, having never received even the slenderest reward; but I would fain ask nothing, being minded only to serve Your Lordship. Therefore I beg that you will not forget your Andrea Mantegna, that he may not lose his wages that he has received these many years from your most illustrious House, for matters cannot go well if I have nothing either here nor there. Therefore, my most illustrious Lord, I urgently commend this matter to you. Of my conduct here and my zeal, Your Excellency is, I believe, informed. It is a great undertaking for one man alone who desires the highest honour in Rome, where be so many learned and worthy men. But as with them that ride a race, the first wins the prize, so I must have it in the end, if it please God. Meanwhile I commend myself to Your Excellency.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.

1489

July 22

on Monday

1 month, 7 days later

Impatient with Leonardo's delays in completing the clay model for the The Horse, Ludovico Sforza writes to Pietro Alemanni, the Florentine Ambassador to Milan, asking him to find "a master capable of doing the work."

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.

1489

Late

Leonardo da Vinci works on an allegorical representation called 'Paradise', commissioned by Lodovico Sforza.

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1490

January 13

on Monday

7 months, 16 days later

'Paradise' is performed in the court of Ludovico Sforza in Milan.

Attachments
Performance of 'Paradiso' at the court of Ludovico Sforza
An angel in the celestial sphere of the 'Paradise'
The court applauds rapturously the performance of "Paradiso" staged by Leonardo da Vinci
Scene from the "Paradise"
Apollo and his chariot emerge from the heavens in 'Paradiso'
The three Graces dance before the celestial sphere in "Paradiso"
The Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, admiring the spectacle of 'Paradiso'

Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Milan was at 6:06 AM and sunset was at 6:13 PM.

1491

11 months, 23 days later

Leonardo da Vinci assists in the preparations for the tournament held in honour of Ludovico Sforza's marriage to Beatrice d'Este. For this he devised an invasion by a company of dancing and singing Scythians or Tartars, costumed as savages and led by a rider mounted on a big horse and wearing a cloak covered with golden scales and painted with peacock's eyes. ('Leonardo da Vinci', p. 61)

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1492

January

1 year later

Ludovico Sforza and Beatrice d'Este marry.

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Agents

Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 40: duke

1494

2 years, 1 day later

Gian Galeazo Sforza dies under suspicious conditions, in Milan, and the throne falls to his uncle, Ludovico Sforza.

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Astronomical Events

Agents

Gian Galeazo Sforza (1469-1494), aged 25: duke
Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 42: duke

1494

August 5

on Sunday

7 months, 6 days later

Piero de' Medici went to meet the Duke of Calabria, in the neighbourhood of Arezzo, to visit him, as one visits a great gentleman, a lord. The French ambassadors who were in Florence, having asked for their safe-conduct, and not receiving it at once, when they knew of this journey of Piero's began to suspect us of not being friendly to their king; at least this was said in the city, and it was said that the king threatened the Florentines. It was difficult to persuade them that we were faithful friends, and that their suspicions were without foundation. All this, however, I only heard by report.

In these days the fleet of the King of France arrived at Genoa, and there was much talk of an encounter.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing crescent that night.
Sunrise in Arezzo was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.
Sunrise in Genoa was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.

1494

October 22

on Monday

2 months, 18 days later

Ludovico Sforza assumes the ducal title and receives the ducal crown from the Milanese nobles.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.

Agents

Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 42: duke

1494

October 23

on Tuesday

1 day later

We heard that the Duke of Calabria was dead, having died a natural death at Naples, possibly from despondency. It was extraordinary that father and son should have died within such a short interval, just when their country was in so much danger. Truly the fullness of time had come, and the hand of God struck. These things make us lay aside our pride, and take refuge in faith, when we consider that it will be the same for us all. Messer Francesco (Ah, you Frenchmen!), what is the use of subjugating other countries? May God pardon us our sins!

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Naples was at 5:41 AM and sunset was at 5:47 PM.

1494

December 4

on Tuesday

1 month, 12 days later

Entry from "A Florentine Diary" by Luca Landucci:

An embassy from the Duke of Milan came to Florence.(1)

(1) To congratulate the Florentines upon their recovered liberty.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the first quarter that night.
Sunrise in Florence was at 5:47 AM and sunset was at 5:54 PM.

Agents

Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 42: duke
Luca Landucci (1436-1516), aged 58: apothecary; diarist

Source: Primary

Landucci, Luca, trans. Alice de Rosen Jervis, J.M. Dent & Sons, 1927. "A Florentine Diary", p. 74

1495

28 days later

Ludovico Sforza defeats the French at the Battle of Fornovo.

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Agents

Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 43: duke

1495

January 2

on Wednesday

1 day later

2nd January (Friday). Two ambassadors were sent to Milan, Messer Luca Corsini and Giovanni Cavalcanti. They went in fine array. (1)

(1) To congratulate Ludovico Sforza, called Il Moro, on his becoming Duke of Milan.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the first quarter that night.
Sunrise in Milan was at 6:01 AM and sunset was at 6:08 PM.

1495

April 2

on Tuesday

3 months later

2nd April. It was said that a league had been made between the Venetians, the Duke of Milan, the Emperor, the Pope, the King of Spain, and the Genoese; and we should be given till the end of April to decide whether we would join it.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the first quarter that night.

1497

June 29

on Tuesday

2 years, 2 months, 29 days later

From a sheet of instructions that Lodovico Sforza gave to his secretary:

Item, to urge Leonardo the Florentine to finish the work that he has begun at the refectory of the Grazie, so that he may start with the other wall in the same refectory; and have him sign a contract obliging him to finish the work within the stipulated time.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a new moon that night.

1499

1 year, 6 months, 6 days later

With the duke Ludovico Sforza's fall from power, Leonardo da Vinci flees Milan for Venice, with his assistant Giocomo Salai and friend, the mathematician Luca Pacioli.

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Agents

Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 47: duke
Luca Pacioli (1445-1517), aged 54: mathematician
Giocomo Salai (1480-1524), aged 19: painter

1500

February

1 year, 1 month, 1 day later

Ludovico Sforza re-enters Milan with an army of mercenaries.

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Astronomical Events

Agents

Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 48: duke

1500

April

1 month, 29 days later

Ludovico Sforza is handed over to the French.

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Astronomical Events

Agents

Ludovico Sforza (1452-1508), aged 48: duke

1502

1 year, 9 months, 5 days later

An anecdote from Luca Pacioli's De viribus quantitatis relates an incident with Leonardo da Vinci in his capacity as military engineer on campaign with Cesare Borgia.

One day Cesare Valentino, Duke of Romagna and present Lord of Piombino, found himself and his army at a river which was 24 paces wide, and could find no bridge, nor any material to make one except for a stack of wood all cut to a length of 16 paces. And from this wood, using neither iron nor rope nor any other construction, his noble engineer made a bridge sufficiently strong for the army to pass over.

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Source: Primary

Charles Nicholl; Nicholl, Charles. "Leonardo da Vinci. Flights of the Mind." E-book, p. 602.

1502

In Cesena, Leonardo da Vinci begins work as senior military architect and general engineer for Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI.

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Astronomical Events

1502

Leonardo da Vinci creates a map of Cesare Borgia's stronghold, a town plan of Imola in order to win his patronage.

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1502

Leonardo da Vinci gifts to his pupil Salai a precious garment given to him by Cesare Borgia.

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Agents

Cesare Borgia (1475-1507), aged 27: condottiero; cardinal; duke
Giocomo Salai (1480-1524), aged 22: painter

Source: Primary

Pedretti, Carlo. "Leonardo: A Study in Chronology and Style", p.142.

1502

June 26

on Thursday

5 months, 26 days later

Extract from a dispatch of Machiavelli to the Signoria of Florence concerning Cesare Borgia:

This Duke is so enterprising that nothing is too great to be discounted by him. For the sake of glory and the enlarging of his dominions, he deprives himself of rest, yielding to no fatigue, no danger. He arrives in one place before anyone knows he has left the other, he gains the good will of his soldiers, he attracts to him the best men in Italy, and he has constant good luck. For all these reasons he is victorious and formidable.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.

Agents

Cesare Borgia (1475-1507), aged 27: condottiero; cardinal; duke
Machiavelli (1469-1527), aged 33: historian

Source: Primary

Machiavelli; "Leonardo da Vinci. The Flights of the Mind"; E-book, p. 595.

1502

August 18

on Monday

1 month, 23 days later

Passport drawn up in Pavia granting Leonardo da Vinci free access to the dominions of Cesare Borgia as his chief military architect:

Cesare Borgia of France, by the grace of God Duke of Romagna and Valence, Prince of the Adriatic, Lord of Piombino etc., also Gonfalonier and Captain General of the Holy Roman Church: to all our lieutenants, castellans, captains, condottieri, officials, soldiers and subjects to whom this notice is presented. We order and command that the bearer thereof, our most excellent and well-beloved architect and general engineer Leonardo Vinci, who by our commission is to survey the places and fortresses of our states, should be provided with all such assistance as the occasion demands and his judgement deems fit.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was a full moon that night.
Sunrise in Pavia was at 5:59 AM and sunset was at 6:06 PM.

1502

December 26

on Friday

4 months, 10 days later

Cesare Borgia kills Ramiro D'Orco; this incident is referenced in Machiavelli's The Prince.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.

Agents

Machiavelli (1469-1527), aged 33: historian
Cesare Borgia (1475-1507), aged 27: condottiero; cardinal; duke

Source: Primary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1502

1502

December 26

on Friday

Extract from a dispatch of Machiavelli to the Signoria of Florence while in the service of Cesare Borgia:

This morning Messer Rimino was found lying in the piazza cut into two pieces; he still lies there, so that everyone has had an opportunity to see him ... The reason for his death is not yet clear, except that such was the pleasure of the Prince, who shows is that he can make and unmake men according to their deserts.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.

1502

December 31

on Wednesday

5 days later

Cesare Borgia (son of Pope Alexander VI) occupies Urbino, where he imprisons two potentially treacherous allies, Vitellozzo and Oliveretto; he executes them the next morning.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing crescent that night.
Sunrise in Urbino was at 6:00 AM and sunset was at 6:07 PM.

Agents

Cesare Borgia (1475-1507), aged 27: condottiero; cardinal; duke

Source: Primary

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1502

1513

September 23

on Tuesday

10 years, 8 months, 29 days later

A landslide occurred in the Alps near Bellinzona which is described by Leandro Alberti in 1550:

In the past years an earthquake caused a large part of a mountain to collapse, in such a way that the Bregno valley came to be obstructed; and as the river came to be dammed up, it produced a large and dark lake with great damage to the inhabitants of the valley, many of whom were drowned and their houses submerged. And so it stayed for quite some time, until the fallen earth made gradually soft by the infiltrations of the water and being no longer sufficiently strong to retain the immense pressure of it, suddenly burst open to the fury of the swollen waters. And since the former river bed, which was joined to the Ticino, was no longer adequate to contain it, the water flooded all the neighbouring regions, overthrowing in part even that strong wall which Lodovico Sforza had built near Bellinzona.

It is suggested by Carlo Pedretti that Leonardo da Vinci describes this event in the Codex Atlanticus around 1513:

... for in our own times a similar thing has been seen, that is, a mountain falling seven miles across a valley and closing it up and turning it into a lake.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the last quarter that night.
Sunrise in Bellinzona was at 5:49 AM and sunset was at 5:55 PM.
Sunrise in Ticino was at 5:49 AM and sunset was at 5:55 PM.
Sunrise in Bregno was at 5:49 AM and sunset was at 5:55 PM.

1537

July

23 years, 9 months, 17 days later

Hieronimo Staccoli wrote to the Duke of Camerino about a silver salt-cellar which Michelangelo had designed at his request.

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Astronomical Events

Source: Primary

Symonds, John Addington: "The Life of Michelangelo Buonarroti", Modern Library (New York), p.328

1567

May 4

on Thursday

29 years, 10 months, 14 days later

Giambologna writes to Francesco I de' Medici to ask if his colleague Vincenzo Danti could select a block for his Florence Triumphant Over Pisa when he visits the marble quarries at Seravezza.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waning crescent that night.
Sunrise in Seravezza was at 5:52 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.

1569

May 24

on Saturday

2 years, 21 days later

Giambologna writes to Francesco I de' Medici: "today we brought the marble for your Excellency's Florence to the sea shore: passing through Seravezza the populace was greatly excited, chanted "Palle, palle", and paraded to the sound of bells, arquebuses, trombones and bagpipes..."

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Astronomical Events

The moon was in the first quarter that night.
Sunrise in Seravezza was at 5:52 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.

1569

May 27

on Tuesday

3 days later

An official reports to Prince Francesco I de' Medici that the block for Giambologna's Florence Triumphant Over Pisa is on board ship and on its way down the coast to Pisa.

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Astronomical Events

The moon was waxing gibbous that night.
Sunrise in Pisa was at 5:52 AM and sunset was at 5:59 PM.

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