At this time Bianca's uncle, Ludovico Sforza, was invested with the duchy of Milan in return for the substantial dowry which his niece brought to the king.
In his school the great condottieri Braccio da Montone and Sforza Attendolo were formed; and henceforth the battles of Italy were fought by Italian generals commanding native troops.
In the hands of able captains, like Francesco Sforza or Piccinino, these mercenary troops became moving despotisms, draining the country of its wealth, and always eager to fasten and found tyrannies upon the provinces they had been summoned to defend.
Son of Attendolo Sforza, this Francesco received the hand of Filippos natural daughter, Bianca, as a reward for past service and a pledge of future support.
Francesco Sforza was the only condottiero among many aspiring to be tyrants who planted themselves firmly on a throne of firstrate importance.
Thus the limitation of the Milanese duchy under Filippo Maria Visconti, and its consolidation under Francesco Sforza, were equally effectual in preparing the balance of power to which Italian politics now tended.
Instead of opposing Francesco Sforza in Milan, he lent him his prestige and influence, foreseeing that the dynastic future of his own family and the pacification of Italy might be secured by a balance of power in which Florence should rank on equal terms with Milan and Naples.
Their career of conquest, and their new policy of forming Italian alliances and entering into the management of Italian affairs were confirmed by the long dogeship of Francesco Foscari (1423-1457), who must rank with Alfonso, Cosimo de Medici, Francesco Sforza and Nicholas V., as a joint-founder of confederated Italy.
Of Naples (1464), the murder of Galeazzo Maria Sforza at Milan (1476) and the plot of the Pazzi to destroy the Medici (1478).
1515 Francis I., having now succeeded to the throne of France, regained the Milanese, and broke the power of the Swiss, who held it for Massimiliano Sforza, the titular duke.
He there received the imperial crown, and summoned the Italian princes for a settlement of all disputed claims. Francesco Sforza, the last and childless heir of the ducal house, was left in Milan till his death, which happened in 1535.
Cesare made Cesena his headquarters, and with an army consisting of 300 French lances, 4000 Gascons and Swiss, besides Italian troops, he attacked Imola, which surrendered at once, and then besieged Forll, held by Caterina Sforza, the widow of Girolamo Riario.
Pandolfo Malatesta of Rimini and Giovanni Sforza of Pesaro fled, and those cities opened their gates to Cesare.
In the 1 4 th and 5th centuries it was under the government of the Ordelaffi; and in 1500 was taken by Caesar Borgia, despite a determined resistance by Caterina Sforza, widow of Girolamo Riario.
The three likely candidates for the Holy See were Cardinals Borgia, Ascanio Sforza and Giuliano della Rovere; at no previous or subsequent election were such immense sums of money spent on bribery, and Borgia by his great wealth succeeded in buying the largest number of votes, including that of Sforza, and to his intense joy he was elected on the Loth of August 1492, assuming the name of Alexander VI.
This brought the latter into conflict with Alexander, who determined to revenge himself by making an alliance with the king's enemies, especially the Sforza family, lords of Milan.
Lucrezia had been married to the Spaniard Don Gasparo de Procida, but on her father's elevation to the papacy the union was annulled, and in 1493 she was married to Giovanni Sforza, lord of Pesaro, the ceremony being celebrated at the Vatican with unparalleled magnificence.
At Milan Lodovico Sforza (il Moro) ruled, nominally as regent for the youthful duke Gian Galeazzo, but really with a view to making himself master of the state.
Alexander appealed to Ascanio Sforza for help, and even to the sultan.
He had annulled Lucrezia's marriage with Sforza in 1497, and, unable to arrange a union between Cesare and the daughter of Frederick, king of Naples (who had succeeded Ferdinand II.
Alexander hoped that Louis's help would be more profitable to his house than that of Charles had been and, in spite of the remonstrances of Spain and of the Sforza, he allied himself with France in January 1499 and was joined by Venice.
By the autumn Louis was in Italy and expelled Lodovico Sforza from the Milanese.
But the expulsion of the French from Milan and the return of Lodovico Sforza interrupted his conquests, and he returned to Rome early in 1500.
Fortunately the new Giolitti and Vesnie Cabinets showed equal moderation and skill in restraining the hotheads on both sides, and the new Foreign Minister, Count Sforza, was assisted by a personal knowledge of Serbian and Balkan problems all too rare among western statesmen.
The new pope came to Florence in 1419 as he had not yet regained Rome, which was held by Francesco Sforza for Queen Joanna II.
In 1437 Florence and Venice were again at war with the Visconti, whose chief captain, Niccolo Piccinino, on entering Tuscany with many Florentine exiles in his train, was signally defeated at Anghiari by the Florentines under Francesco Sforza (1440); peace was made the following year.
Cosimo increased his own authority and that of the republic by aiding Francesco Sforza to become duke of Milan (1450), and he sided with him in the war against Venice (1452-1454).
The death of Sforza led to a war for the succession of Milan, and the Venetians, instigated by Florentine exiles, invaded Tuscany.
For Dante's connexion with Pisa, see Dante e i Pisani, by Giovanni Sforza (Pisa, 1873).
The potent duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, and other foes were labouring for the same end, and already in July 1495 a papal brief had courteously summoned Savonarola to Rome.
This silence proved fatal to his popularity with moderate men, gave new adherents to the Arrabbiati, and whetted the fury of the pope, Sforza and all potentates well disposed to the Medici faction.
Sforza was equally rejoiced by the news, and the only potentate who could.
In 1480, after a chequered history, the town came into the possession of Girolamo Riario, lord of Forli, as the dowry of his wife Caterina Sforza, and was incorporated with the States of the Church by Caesar Borgia in 1500.
It would be tedious to follow him through all his embassies to petty courts of Italy, the first of which took place in 1499, when he was sent to negotiate the continuance of a loan to Catherine Sforza, countess of Forli and Imola.
By the Angevines Potenza was made a domain of the San Severino family; in the beginning of the 15th century it was held by Francesco Sforza, and in 1435 it passed to the Guevara family; the Loffredi, who succeeded by marriage, continued in possession till the abolition of the great fiefs.
He and the constable Muzio Attendolo Sforza completely dominated her, and the turbulent barons wished to provide her with a husband who would be strong enough to break her favourites yet not make himself king.
But James at once declared himself king, had Alopo killed and Sforza imprisoned, and kept his wife in a state of semi-confinement; this led to a counteragitation on the part of the barons, who forced James to liberate Sforza, renounce his kingship, and eventually to quit the country.
The queen now sent Sforza to re-establish her authority in Rome, whence the Neapolitans had been expelled after the death of Ladislaus; Sforza entered the city and obliged the condottiere Braccio da Montone, who was defending it in the pope's name, to depart (1416).
But when Oddo Colonna was elected pope as Martin V., he allied himself with Joanna, who promised to give up Rome, while Sforza returned to Naples.
Hoping to re-establish his position and crush Caracciolo, Sforza favoured the pretensions of Louis III.
Joanna refused to adopt Louis owing to the influence of Caracciolo, who hated Sforza; she appealed for help instead to Alphonso of Aragon, promising to make him her heir.
War broke out between Joanna and the Aragonese on one side and Louis and Sforza, supported by the pope, on the other.
But dissensions broke out between the Aragonese and Catalans and the Neapolitans, and Alphonso had Caracciolo arrested; whereupon Joanna, fearing for her own safety, invoked the aid of Sforza, who with difficulty carried her off to Aversa.
Sforza was accidentally drowned, but when Alphonso returned to Spain, leaving only a.
(Wadowice, 1850); Adam Darowski, Bona Sforza (Pol.) (Rome, 1904).
Federigo much strengthened his position, first by his own marriage with Battista, one of the powerful Sforza family, and secondly by marrying his daughter to Giovanni della Rovere, the favourite nephew of Pope Sixtus IV., who in return conferred upon Federigo the title of duke.
On Barbara's death three years later without male offspring, Sigismund (in April 1518) gave his hand to Bona Sforza, a kinswoman of the emperor and granddaughter of the king of Aragon, who came to him with a dowry of 200,000 ducats and the promise of an inheritance from her mother of half a million more which she never got.
The first is the Palazzo Reale dating from 1772, but occupying the site of the earliest mansion of the Viscontis and the Sforza; its great hall is a handsome chamber with a gallery supported by caryatides.
Subsequently, towards the close of the 15th century, the refined court of Lodovico Sforza attracted such celebrated men as Bramante, the architect, Gauffino Franchino, the founder of one of the earliest musical academies, and Leonardo da Vinci, from whose school came Luini, Boltraffio, Gaudenzio Ferrari, Marco d'Oggiono, &c. Later, Pellegrino Tibaldi and Galeazzo Alessi of Genoa (the former a man of very wide activity) were the chief architects, and Leone Leoni of Arezzo the chief sculptor.
The Castel Sforzesco, or Castle of Milan, stands in the Parco Nuovo; it was built in 1450 by Francesco Sforza on the site of one erected by Galeazzo II.