The Book of the Hirelings of the Republic of Florence
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The Book of the Hirelings of the Republic of Florence

  • Author: The Republic of Florence
  • Place of Composition: Florence
  • Date of Composition: 1369
  • Source of Text: Ercole Ricotti, Storia delle Compagnie di Ventura in Italia (Guiseppe Pomba e C. Editori: Torino, 1847) Vol. 1-2 pp. 315-329 Nota VIII.A. Codice degli Stipendarii della Repubblica di Firenze (Anno 1369) (Google Books link)
  • Source of Translation: n/a
  • Conditions of Use: If you quote my transcription, please credit Sean Manning. I have copyright to any translation which I post; please ask permission before quoting it in an academic or commercial venue.

Most Anglophones learned about this text through Terry Jones’ book Chaucer’s Knight: A Portrait of a Medieval Mercenary. It is also cited in books on the English contractors in Italy in the time of John Hawkwood, and even in books on English armour. It seems to me that quite a few people would find something of interest if they read the whole text.

The rule is written in straightforward notarial Latin with code-switching into Italian. While I have not translated it, it should not be difficult for anyone with two years or so of Latin and some knowledge of a Romance language and access to an Italian dictionary.

Italian pancerone/panzerone is the equivalent of English “haubergeon, shirt of mail” not “paunce, armour for the belly.” Italian writers translated the brevis lorica in Justin’s story of Artaxerxes killing Artabanus as corto pancerone, and 14th century painters show that the artists understood the story as involving a shirt of mail.

I. Imprimis quod omnes et singuli comstabiles equestres comunis Florentiae tam conducti quam conducendi ad stipendium d. comunis teneantur et debeant toto tempore quo starent ad servitium et stipendium comunis Florentiae esse armati et muniti de et cum infrascriptis armis offensibilibus e deffensibilib. videlicet.I. First, that each and every mounted constable of the commune of Florence, both hired or hiring at the wage of the aforesaid commune, should hold and ought to be armed and equipped, for the whole time in which they stand at the service and wage of the commune of Florence, with the offensive and defensive arms written below, namely:
II. Imprimis gamberuoli et cosciali, mussacchini e bracciali, gorgiera e maniche e gossetti de maglia, corazza, barbuta e guanti di ferro, spata, cultello, lancea e argia

Et eorum equi debeant habere bardas aut gropperiam de ferro vel de maglia.

II. First greaves and cuisses, musekins and bracciali, gorgiera and sleeves and gussets of mail, cuirass, barbuta and gauntlets of iron, sword, dagger, lance and targe.

And their horses ought to have bards or cruppers of iron or of mail.

III. Item quod omnes et singuli ipsorum talium comestabilium caporales toto tempore suprascr. teneantur et debeant esse armati et muniti de et cum similib. armis ut eorum comistabiles armati esse debeant ut dictum est.y
IV. Item quod in casu, quod ipsi conistabiles et eor. caporales vel aliquis eorum reperirentur armati de omnibus armis al inghilese, tunc et eo casu sint excusati et admictantur ac si armati essent suprad. armis, dum tamen habeant ipsi comistabiles et eor. caporales descriptas bardas dicto modo et forma fulcitas.y
V. Item quod omnes et sing. equitatores ipsorum conestabilium et caporalium teneant et debeant esse armati et muniti toto tempore supradicto cum et de istis armis, videlicet:

Gamberuoli, cosciali, bracciali, braccialetti, e maniche di maglia e gozzetti, gorgieretti, gorgiera, barbuta, corazza, guanti di ferro, spada e cultello.

VI. Item dicti equitatores possint, eisq. liceat loco coraciae habere et retinere panceronem; ita tamen quod in qualibet bandiera XVI equitatores non possint habere ultra tres pancerias.y
VII. Item quod omnes et sing. Anglici teneantur et debeant esse armati et muniti toto tempore suprascripto cum et de infrascr. armis: videlicet anglicus caporalis cum

Gamberuoli, cosciali, pancerone, pecteria e anima di ferro, bracciali, braccialetti, guanti di ferro, barbuta, spata, cultello e lancia.

Arcerius Anglicus cum pancerone, o curazza, cappellino o cappello di ferro, guanti di ferro, archone, saette, spada e coltello.

VIII. Item quod omnes et singuli caporales Teutonici, Borgognoni aut Taliani, vel quicumque alterius loci (salvo quod Anglici conducti seu conducendi a lancie) teneantur et debeant esse et sint armati ut dictum est, cum similibus quibus esse debent caporales anglici. Et prout scilicet de caporalibus anglicis fit mentio.

Piacta vero ipsorum Teutonicorum, Borgognonum aut Ytalitorum (sic) vel alterius loci, salvo quod anglicus, teneatur et debeat esse armatus de et cum armis infrascriptis, videlicet:

Pancerone o corazza, cappellina o capello di ferro o barbuta, guanti di ferro, spada e coltello.

VIIII. Item quod omnes et singuli comstabiles et caporales Ungheri teneantur et debeant esse armati e muniti ut dictum est de et cum infrascriptis armis videlicet.

Pancerone cum anime overo corazza di ferro, guanti di ferro, cappellina di ferro, archo o lancia, spada o coltello, guanti di ferro. Caporales vero eorum cum pancerone, anima overo giacchio cum spada, coltello e guanti di ferro, cappellina overo cappelli di ferro, archo e sacete overo barbuta.

Equitatores vero ipsor. comestabilium Ungherorum com arcu, sagictis, spata, cultello e guanti di ferro.

X. Item quod omnes et singuli suprascripti stipendarii, excepto quod Anglici et Ungheri, qui inventi non essent cum dictis armis per conductores vel aliquem consignatorum communis Florentiae, quando de ipsis vel eorum armis facerent mostram vel consignationem, puniantur et condepnentur per offitiales defectuum stipendiarorum comunis Florent. et per camerarios camerae comunis Florentiae de eorum stipendiis et paghis retineantur infrascriptae quantitates pecuniae in infrascriptis poenis, videlicet

Per la corazza in … libr. duab. fl. parvor.
Per la barbuta in … libr. duab. f. p.
Per ogni altro pezzo d’arme in … libr. una f.p.

Anglici vero et eor. arcerii puniantur poenis infrascriptis, videlicet:
Per lo lancerone in … lib. duab. f.p.
Per l’anima ovvero pettiera … id.
Per la barbuta … id/
Per ciaschun altro pezzo d’arme in libr. una f.p.

Ungheri vero et eor. caporales et equitatores puniantur in infrascriptis poenis, vid.

Per lo pancierone in … lib. duab. f.p.
Per l’archo e saecete … id.
Per ciaschun altro pezzo d’arme in libr. una f.p.

XI. Item quod omnes et singuli stipendarii pedites teneantur et debeant esse armati cum illis armis offensibilibus et defensibilibus pro ut sicut videbitur et deputatum fuerit per offitiales conductae stipendiorum dicti communis praesentes et futuros, dummodo balesterius sit armatus et munitus corazina, cerveliera, cultello, balista et croccho et verretonibus et turchasso. Et quod comstabilis banderie sit armatus cerverliera sive bacinetto, corazina, braccialibus, sive maniches de maglia, spata, cultello, lancea et pavese. Et quod quilibet caporalis, qui habet ragazinum, sit armatus similiter, et eo modo pro ut dictum es de conestabili; et quilibet alius pedes de banderia sit armatus cerveliera, spata, cultello, pavese sive rotella, et lancea.y

… The other forty clauses deal with other terms of service but have less information on arms and armour so I will not post them here.

Edit 2024-03-10: block editor. António Conduto Oliveira, “The Elusive Musekin—Interpreting a Mysterious Piece of Medieval Armour,” Arms & Armour, Vol. 20 (2023) pp. 54-73 makes a case that fourteenth-century mussacchini protect the shoulders and upper arm like an English rerebrace or pauldron.

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