Gian Giacomo Trivulzio il Magno ( 1518)
The patrician family of Trivulzio, well-established in Milan since the 11th century, played an important role in the history of Lombardy, often as opponents of the Visconti or Sforza.
Count of Mesocco, Margrave of Vigevano and Marshal of France.
Gian Giacomo (*1442) visited the military school together with Galeazzo Maria Sforza. He grew estranged from the Sforza family, in particular from Galeozzo's son Ludovico Sforza, Il Moro, and left Milan in 1483 to enter Gian Giacomo's service in Naples. He became commander of the army when Naples had to surrender to King Charles VIII of France. However, Charles VIII was so impressed with his opponent that he engaged him for an annual pay of 10,000 ducats. Trivulzio accompanied the French retirement out of Italy and fought on their side in the battle of Fornovo (1495).
In 1499, Gian Giacomo Trivulzio commanded the troops of Charles's successor Louis XII of France when they set off to conquer Milan. Alessandria and Milan surrendered without a fight. However, in February 1500 Ludovico Moro returned to Milan with a mercenary army to the cheers of the population. The decisive military confrontation between the two armies took place at Novara in April of that year, when the French army led by Trivulzio was ready to attack Ludovico Moro's troops. However, as both armies consisted largely of Swiss mercenaries who did not wish to fight each other, Il Moro's Swiss soldiers moved back into the city. Trivulzio offered them free passage, except for their commander Ludovico Sforza, il Moro, who was hiding among them. He was discovered by the "Treason of Novara" and came into French captivity for the rest of his life.
Plaquette in bronce
1499 from Cristoforo Foppa Caradosso. 46x46mm.
Armand I,110-11; Kress 192; Hill 65; Börner 248.
Obv.: IO·IACOBVS TRIVVIS·MAR·VIG·FRA·MARESCALVS· - laureated bust left.
arms im the angles [pales (Trivulzio), wheel of the sun, buckets (Sforza), snake (Sforza)]
Rev.: 1499 / EXPVGNATA ALE / XANDRIA : DELETO / EXERCITV : LVDOVI / CVM·SF·MLI DVC / EXPELLIT·REVER / SVM·APVD NOVA / RIAM STERNIT / CAPIT
"1499, conquered Alexandria, annihilated army, Ludovico Sforza Duke of Milan expelled, returned and defeated at Novara and captured"
The martial sounding text obscures that Trivulzio's victory was achieved mainly tactically.
Cast bronze medal
(1499-1518) Ø 43 mm, 33 g. Hill Corpus 706a; Pollard (2007) 224.
Specimem from Coin Cabinet, Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, exposed in Bode-Museum, room 216.
⎊MARESchalus [TR, MA ligated].
Bust of Gian Giacomo Trivulzio in antique armor with laurel wreath to the right.
Rev.: ⎊NEC ⎊CEDIT ⎊VMBRA ⎊SOLI ⎊ "The shadow does not give way to the sun"
Draped bust of Gian Giacomo Trivulzio with hat to the right.
Do not mix up the unbloody "Treason of Novara 1500" with the "Battle of Novara 1513".
A: engraving around 1500-49 [13x9cm], in the Musei di Palazzo Ducale, Urbania
B: painting 1552/56 [59x43cm] from Dell'Altissimo Cristofano, Uffizi Gallery, Florence - a detail
C: graphic in a book 1814 [15x12cm] from Raffaello Morghen (1758-1833), Rhaetian Museum Chur
D: painting in oil 1519 [63x99cm] from Bernardino de' Conti, now in private ownership.
The plaquette's image is likely to have preceded the paintings and graphics.
In 1499, Gian Giacomo Trivulzio became "Margrave of Vigevano" and was bestowed with the honorary title of "Marshal of France". He served three successive French kings in their armies in Italy: With Louis XII, he fought against Venice in the Battle of Agnadello
(1509) and in the Battle of Novara
(1513, when Milan was lost to the French). Under King Francis I
, he served in the Battle of Marignano
(1515, when Milan was recovered).
Trivulzio bought the dominion Misox (Mesocco) in 1480, now in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. He procured the right of coinage from Emperor Frederick III and probably minted in the nearby town of Roveredo. His coins bear mainly his coat of arms and the image of St. George.
Trivulzio successfully defended Milan from the assault of Emperor Maximilian
in 1516. Yet shortly after, he fell out of grace with King Francis I of France, who held him under suspicion because of his Swiss possessions in enemy territory. The king would not even receive the aged commander, who had traveld over the Alps in a litter to vindicate himself in 1518. Trivulzio died in Chartres (France) a few days later.