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Piero Strozzi as Marshal of France.

Piero (or Pietro) Strozzi (c. 1510 – 21 June 1558) was an Italian military leader. He was a member of the rich Florentine family of the Strozzi.


Piero Strozzi was the son of Filippo Strozzi the Younger and Clarice de' Medici.

Although in 1539 he married another Medici, Laudomia di Pierfrancesco, he was a fierce opponent of the main line of that family. He fought in the army led by his father and other Florentine exile from France to oust the Medici from Florence, but, after their defeat at the Battle of Montemurlo, Piero fled to France at the court of Catherine de' Medici.

He was in French service during the Italian War of 1542. Having raised an army of Italian mercenaries, he was confronted by the Spanish-Imperial forces at the Battle of Serravalle, where he was defeated. In 1548 he was in Scotland supporting Mary of Guise of behalf of Henry II of France, during the war of the Rough Wooing. There he designed fortifications against the English at Leith and Haddington. As he was shot in the thigh by an arquebus at Haddington, Strozzi supervised the works at Leith from a chair carried by four workmen.[1] Strozzi also designed works at Dunbar Castle with the assistance of Migiliorino Ubaldini.[2]

In 1551 he successfully defended Mirandola against the papal troops. He was named marshal of France in 1554.

Later he fought in the defence of the Republic of Siena against Cosimo de' Medici, leading a French army. He obtained a pyrrhic victory at Pontedera on 11 June 1554, but his army could not receive help from the ships of his brother Leone (who had been killed by an arquebus shot near Castiglione della Pescaia) and he was forced to retreat to Pistoia. On 2 August his defeat at the Battle of Marciano meant the end of the Senese independence.

In 1556 he was appointed as superintendent of the Papal army and lord of Épernay. In 1557 the participated in the siege of Thionville, near Calais. He died there the following year.

He is generally credited as the inventor of the dragoon military speciality (arquebusiers à cheval or horse arquibusiers).[3]

His son Filippo was also a military commander, as was his brother Leone Strozzi, a Knight of Malta, known as the Prior of Capua.

Citations and notes[]

  1. Calendar State Papers Scotland, vol. i, (1898), 158: Michaud & Poujoulat, Nouvelle Collection des memoirs pour server a l’histoire de France. 6. 1839. p. 3. 
  2. Merriman, Marcus, The Rough Wooings, Tuckwell (2000), 327-330.
  3. p.102, Fortescue


  • Fortescue, John William, A History of the British Army, volume I, chapter 2, Macmillan, 1899

Recommended reading[]

  • Oman, Charles. A History of the Art of War in the Sixteenth Century. London: Methuen & Co., 1937.

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