War, entrepreneurship, and politics

Authored by: Suzanne Sutherland

The Routledge History of the Renaissance

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138898851
eBook ISBN: 9781315226217
Adobe ISBN: 9781351849463


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On 25 February 1634, the commander-in-chief of the imperial army, Albrecht Wallenstein, was assassinated with the approval of the Austrian Habsburg emperor, Ferdinand II (r. 1619–37). This notorious murder was organized by a group of Italian commanders, including Matthias Gallas, Rudolfo Colloredo, and Wallenstein’s trusted subordinate, Ottavio Piccolomini (1599–1656). These men made their careers in Central Europe during the Thirty Years War (1618–48), but had emerged from the Italian condottiere tradition with its origins in the Renaissance. The assassination allowed Piccolomini and Gallas to move to the very top of the Austrian military hierarchy, an Italian coup that permitted them to promote their friends and followers more effectively. 1 Although he was not involved in the plot, Raimondo Montecuccoli (1609–80), a nobleman from Modena, would rely on Piccolomini, Gallas, and other Italians to propel his career in imperial service. He eventually became commander-in-chief of the Austrian army, President of the Imperial War Council, and a respected military theorist. 2

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