The Chivalric Life of Buonaccorso Pitti (1354–1432)
Chivalry remained a powerful thread in the cultural fabric of Florence well past the mid-fourteenth century. Indeed, many of the chivalric lineages examined in this study remained, into the next century, as constitutive elements of the Florentine chivalric cultural community. Men from this cultural community continued to engage in chivalric violence and to cultivate the profession of arms. These were still seen as central tenets of chivalric identity. Despite this continuity, the social, political, and cultural terrain of early Renaissance Florence was significantly more difficult for them to navigate in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries. The seeds planted in the mid-thirteenth century, most notably the emergence of a civic ideology largely antithetical to chivalry and the establishment of the judicial and police power of a communal government that increasingly asserted itself over unruly and violent citizens, were by the middle decades of the fourteenth century in full bloom.1 While it is clear that these developments did not lead to the destruction of the Florentine chivalric elite in toto, Christiane Klapisch-Zuber’s seminal study of the Florentine magnates during the second half of the fourteenth and first half of the fifteenth centuries confirms that some chivalric lineages fell into political and economic decline on the margins of society or in exile.2 Others abandoned their chivalric past in order to facilitate a return to civic society, a process of reintegration that involved changing not only traditional behavior and outlook, but also the surname of the lineage and its coat of arms.3 Further research is required, however, to gain a more complete understanding of how the remaining chivalric lineages navigated their new reality.4
The chivalric cultural community during the early Renaissance was reinforced by the addition of individuals and lineages from the popolo grasso, which was not a new phenomenon. While some of these new chivalric practitioners embraced wholeheartedly the typical behavior and mentalité of their cultural community, others seem to have adopted a more sober approach to the new reality outlined above. Accordingly, members of the latter group modified their use of chivalric violence while at home, especially the practices of honor and social violence, something most knights and men-at-arms from traditional chivalric lineages did not do. The motivation behind this more deliberate use of chivalric violence was assuredly the desire to avoid challenging the Florentine government’s authority or threatening public order, behavior that might see them cut off from the reins of political power and imperil their economic prosperity. This was, after all, the fate of so many magnates and chivalric lineages. This modification did not extend, however, to the profession of arms. Indeed, war remained a constitutive pillar of chivalric identity into the fifteenth century, in large part because military service was still treated as an acceptable, if not outright praiseworthy, occupation for elite men.
This epilogue will focus on a well-documented exemplar of this new model of chivalric practitioner, Buonaccorso di Neri Pitti (1354–1432), who left for posterity a ricordanza, a history detailing both personal and public events during the period 1374–1429.5 Buonaccorso belonged to a prominent banking and mercantile lineage with a long history of political participation and officeholding, but his ricordanza suggests that rather than fully embracing the lifestyle typical of his peers among the plutocratic elite, he straddled the line between the chivalric and civic-mercantile cultural worlds during his lifetime.6 In fact, the profits he accrued from his activities in the civic-mercantile world almost certainly paid for his strikingly expensive endeavors in the chivalric world, especially his eager and continuous cultivation of the profession of arms.7 In keeping with the modified behavior of this new model of chivalric practitioner, Buonaccorso seems to have avoided engaging in honor violence when such violence could be constituted as a challenge to the authority of the Florentine government. When he was in exile or abroad, however, his behavior and mentalité were far more typically chivalric, especially when he resided in more traditional chivalric spaces, like the royal and noble courts of France.
Modern historians have noted that Buonaccorso was different from his peers, but the typical explanation offered for these differences points to the powerful influence of nearby royal and noble courts, most notably in France, Hungary, and Naples. For example, Gene Brucker concludes that Buonaccorso was unique in his wholesale adoption of “the mores and values of the French aristocracy,” among whom he spent considerable time.8 In other words, Buonaccorso was simply an intrepid merchant with a strong liking for the lifestyle of foreign nobles. A close reexamination of Buonaccorso’s mentality and actions, which is possible thanks to the survival of his ricordanza, strongly suggests that if he felt at home in the royal and noble courts of early Renaissance France, it is because he already shared many of the same values and attitudes as French chivalric practitioners. As this book has made clear by now, chivalry exercised a powerful influence on elite warriors on both sides of the Alps, although Florentine and Italian knights and men-at-arms developed their own chivalric ideas and did not simply import a foreign chivalric culture. As a result, Buonaccorso occupied a complicated space in the social and cultural terrain of early Renaissance Florence: on the one hand he was exceptional among the civic (plutocratic) elite who ruled the city, while on the other he was representative of one model of chivalric practitioner found in the city during his lifetime.9
Chivalry and Honor Violence
Given the new reality of Florentine public authority in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, members of the chivalric elite who wished to remain in the good graces of the Florentine government no longer had as much latitude to engage in acts of honor violence without risking fines, imprisonment, exile, or even execution.10 This is not to say that the Florentine elite, both chivalric and civic, never resorted to violence when their honor was in question. As discussed in chapter 1, the scholarship of Andrea Zorzi and others (see chapter 2) makes clear that the Florentine elite engaged in feuding and vendettas, but this type of violence was strongly distinguished in both law and popular perception from the destruction and disproportionality of chivalric honor violence. Vendettas and feuding were regulated by the Florentine government and characterized by proportionality and the goal of ending, rather than intensifying, conflict. They were also often treated as a last resort by members of the popolo grasso (and other popolani) who preferred to utilize more pacific means of concluding conflicts—such as notarized peace concords, public law courts, and political retribution—that offered the opportunity to attack one’s enemies and advantageously end conflicts without the risks inherent in violent conflicts and with minimal damage to the economic prosperity and political unity of the larger ruling group or the fragile social fabric of the city. As Barna Valorini explained to his father Valorino in 1392, “Today vendettas are fought in the palace [of the Signoria] and not with knives.”11
Buonaccorso’s ricordanza strongly supports the suggestion that while members of the chivalric elite continued to practice honor violence, some did so much more readily while in exile or abroad. Buonaccorso’s first recorded use, or in this case threatened use, of violence in defense of his honor occurred in April 1380, when he was in exile in Pisa. While in that Tuscan city, Buonaccorso came into conflict with a fellow Florentine, Matteo del’ Ricco dei Corbizzi, who was infamous for insulting exiles to their faces. Matteo’s insult constituted an attack on Buonaccorso’s personal honor, necessitating a response from the dishonored party, but Buonaccorso, arguably in a demonstration of admirable restraint, responded in kind.12 This response, however, concluded with a promise that future verbal attacks would be met with violence: “if he continued to say anything that touched upon [i.e., offended] my honor, I would demonstrate to him my displeasure through force.”13 Therefore, while Buonaccorso seems initially to demonstrate far more restraint in the face of Matteo’s braggadocio than one might expect given the example provided by many historical and literary knights in chapter 1 above, Buonaccorso’s threat to utilize violence against Matteo confirms that the more dominant chivalric response was not lost upon the author: the proper and praiseworthy response required violence.
Only a few days later, Buonaccorso nearly made good on his threat when he once again ran into Matteo del Ricco dei Corbizzi in the streets of Pisa. When Matteo threatened to attack Buonaccorso’s relatives back in Florence, Buonaccorso responded with actual if modest violence, grabbing and shaking him.14 Further violence on Buonaccorso’s part was ultimately preempted, however, by the actions of his friend Niccolò, son of Betto dei Bardi, who “gave [Matteo del Ricco] a blow on the head which knocked him flat at [their] feet,” a blow that eventually killed Matteo.15 Niccolò was himself a member of the powerful Florentine Bardi lineage and thus would not have been immune to the dictates of honor. Moreover, the murder of Matteo and the cyclical nature of chivalric honor violence ensured that the tension between the Pitti and Corbizzi would continue to build over the years, leading to further violence in the future. In 1391, however, Buonaccorso Pitti and Niccolò di Betto dei Bardi agreed to a thirty-year peace with the deceased man’s kin.16 The length of the peace agreement strongly suggests that contemporaries realized that the dictates of honor violence passed from generation to generation within a lineage, while the decision to make peace rather than employ further violence was likely the result of both external pressure placed on the parties, as well as Buonaccorso’s desire to reintegrate into the ruling elite after many years in exile and living abroad.17
As a decidedly chivalric activity, honor violence was at odds with the dominant civic ethos cultivated by the ruling elite in Florence and posed a challenge to the public authority of the communal government.18 Thus, the decision to employ honor violence would have made it much more difficult, if not impossible, for Buonaccorso to hold government offices. Even chivalric practitioners who demonstrated a penchant for honor violence might be forced, or even choose, to employ more pacific means of concluding a conflict within the confines of Florence. Such a choice, for example engaging in mercantile activities, did not preclude Buonaccorso from self-identifying and being recognized as a member of the chivalric elite.
Future incidents confirm that Buonaccorso still saw violence as the primary means to defend his honor, especially when abroad. In 1396, the author attempted to use violence to defend his personal honor, this time against a high-ranking French nobleman: Robert de Bethune, the Viscount of Meaux. Buonaccorso writes in his ricordanza that one day he accompanied Louis, the Duke of Orleans, to the house of a royal equerry where, after winning a sizeable sum of money in games of dice, the viscount became enraged and began to insult Buonaccorso’s masculinity.19 Such insults clearly constituted an attack on Buonaccorso’s honor, necessitating a response.20 When the viscount attempted to strike Buonaccorso, he leaped aside and cried out, “I am not one to let myself be struck when I am armed,” grabbing the sword he wore at his side. The viscount, a man with a volatile sense of honor in his own right, threatened in turn to kill Buonaccorso.21 It is clear from the initial exchange between the two men that both saw violence not only as legitimate, but also as the primary means of defending honor.
For a second time, Buonaccorso’s apparent intention to use violence to assert and defend his honor was prevented by the intervention of a third party, this time his patron, the Duke of Orleans, who sent the Florentine away in an attempt to prevent Buonaccorso from killing the viscount, who was quite drunk.22 This did not, however, end the conflict. In fact, as Buonaccorso made his way to the duke’s lodgings, the viscount’s bastard son tried to murder him with a knife. Buonaccorso chased the assailant away with a drawn sword, making clear not only to his readers but also to all those who witnessed the altercation that the man remained alive only because he was a bastard, and thus bereft of honor, making him unworthy to fight the Florentine.23 Buonaccorso’s suggestion that this restraint won him honor and praise from royal courtiers who witnessed or later learned of the incident provides further insight into the chivalric mentality: “My behavior was wisely reported by the courtiers who had witnessed it and was greatly commended, for the bastard was only eighteen and a weakling whom I might easily have injured.”24 Moreover if we consider the economics of chivalric honor, it seems likely that Buonaccorso’s decision to exercise restraint when confronting the viscount’s bastard son likely stemmed from his belief that in some circumstances he would actually lose honor if he killed or wounded a man beneath his dignity. Consequently, Buonaccorso’s restraint, as in the earlier example, challenged neither his chivalric identity nor his belief that violence was the primary and praiseworthy response to any threat to personal and familial honor.
Buonaccorso’s recollection of the events makes it clear that he considered the conflict with the viscount to be a matter of honor, thus justifying the threat or use of violence. Perhaps more importantly, the Duke of Orleans also recognized this to be the case. The duke even tried to stop the conflict between Buonaccorso and the viscount before they initiated a cycle of violence that might have far-reaching consequences.25 Buonaccorso does not elaborate on the duke’s motivation for stopping the violence, but it seems likely that he was seeking both to protect Buonaccorso from one of the great French nobles of royal blood, as well as to protect the honor of the viscount, who was ostensibly too drunk to defend it himself. Thus, while the duke acknowledged Buonaccorso’s right to defend his honor through violence, validating in the process his claim to chivalric identity, the duke sought to use his superior rank in the chivalric and secular hierarchies to end the dispute before blows were exchanged. Buonaccorso’s acquiescence earned him honor, while the viscount’s intransigence, at least in the mind of the duke, brought him dishonor.26
Perhaps most illuminating of all is the reaction of Charles VI, the king of France, who was made aware of the conflict between Buonaccorso and the viscount by the Duke of Orleans. After hearing the details of the altercation, the king, according to Buonaccorso, responded: “The Viscount acted and spoke wrongly and Buonaccorso could not, without loss of honor, do less than answer him.”27 It is crucial to recognize that the king of France believed that the viscount was in the wrong and that Buonaccorso had every right to defend his honor through the threat of violence. Not only was this an honorable course of action, but also if Buonaccorso had not responded in this way, the king suggests that the Florentine would have dishonored himself. This same sentiment is echoed by the Duke of Orleans who, despite his earlier desire to prevent bloodshed, justified Buonaccorso’s actions by forcibly responding to the viscount’s later protests, saying, “You had first spoken to him in such a way in my presence that if he had remained silent I would have considered him worthy of contempt!”28 In other words, if Buonaccorso had not responded to the viscount’s provocations in a manner befitting a chivalric practitioner, he would have been dishonored and his identity brought into question in the minds of the French lords. This confirms that the Florentine and French chivalric elite both held similar attitudes about the relationship between honor and violence.
Moreover, this example highlights the fact that the king of France not only recognized the personal honor of a member of the Florentine chivalric elite, but also acknowledged his right to defend that honor through violence, even against a high-ranking French nobleman of royal blood. The king, through the intercession of the Duke of Berry, later made peace between Buonaccorso and the viscount, with the former inviting the latter to dine with him as well as with the dukes of Orleans and Bourbon at the Florentine’s house in Paris.29 This incident and the reaction of the king and great lords of the French realm suggest not simply that Florentine knights and men-at-arms claimed chivalric identity, but that this claim was also recognized by the pan-European chivalric elite, even if such recognition was given only begrudgingly by some foreign knights and nobles, or won at the point of a sword.30
Buonaccorso’s ricordanza includes no further incidents of honor violence after 1396. This date seems to coincide with the start of a period characterized by Buonaccorso’s greater integration into the political machinery of the Florentine commune that would have been compromised if he had continued to engage in chivalric honor violence. In fact, during the remainder of his life he seems to have utilized more peaceful means of pursuing matters of honor and resolving conflicts, those that he had formerly eschewed while in exile or abroad. Despite this change, however, the incidents of honor violence discussed above strongly suggest that such an important element of chivalric ideology was central to Buonaccorso’s identity for much of his life.
Buonaccorso’s attitudes regarding honor and violence are strongly reminiscent of those of his Florentine predecessors, despite the fact that he belonged to a civic (plutocratic) elite lineage. His decision to stop practicing honor violence within the city did not signal the abandonment or a betrayal of his chivalric identity, but rather a certain shrewdness that was typical of chivalric practitioners in early Renaissance Florence. Buonaccorso could emphasize certain aspects of the chivalric lifestyle while downplaying others based on circumstances and environment without threatening his chivalric identity. In Buonaccorso’s case, his attitude toward honor violence necessarily changed once he became fully integrated into the political elite of Florence. One aspect of Buonaccorso’s chivalric lifestyle that never changed, however, was his cultivation of the profession of arms.
Chivalry and the Profession of Arms
As discussed previously, the life of arms was central to chivalric identity in late medieval Florence. Buonaccorso’s ricordanza confirms that this was also the case during the early Renaissance, as he eagerly and consistently cultivated the profession of arms, often at great personal expense. Like many of his fellow Tuscans who spent considerable time in exile, his military experience was not limited to serving in the Florentine army but also included campaigns against Florence and significant service on battlefields far from home, particularly in France. Indeed, Buonaccorso’s last recorded participation in a campaign came in 1419 when, at the age of sixty-five, he served in a French army that fought several battles in Flanders.31
One of Buonaccorso’s first entries (1381) describes how, at the age of twenty-seven, he learned while in exile of the intention of Charles of Durazzo, the Angevin king of Hungary, to march south into Italy in order to make good on his claim to the kingdom of Naples.32 Buonaccorso saw this as an opportunity to secure restoration to his patria and also as a chance to go to war. He recalls in his ricordanza how he “bought five excellent horses and a quantity of arms” and also lent money to his friend, Niccolò, so that he could arm himself and buy a pair of horses.33 Although Buonaccorso campaigned with the king in the Romagna and Tuscany and spent upwards of 1,500 gold florins, in the end he failed to secure restoration because the impecunious Charles made a deal with the ruling faction to leave them in peace in exchange for much-needed funds.34 While restoration was undoubtedly an important factor in Buonaccorso’s decision to join the campaign, the author writes that his premature exit was the result of poverty, rather than his failure to secure his return to Florence. This observation suggests that if conditions had allowed, he would have continued to serve Charles, even after the promise of restoration had come to naught.35
Buonaccorso continued, over the next several years, to seek opportunities to utilize his military skills both against the ruling faction in Florence as well as in other theaters of war. In November 1382, Buonaccorso was present with Charles VI, the king of France, at the Battle of Roosebeke that was fought against the Flemings, although he does not go into detail about the extent of his involvement.36 A year later (1383) when Buonaccorso heard that the English had landed in France (the so-called Despenser’s Crusade)37 under the leadership of Henry le Despenser, bishop of Norwich, he expressed great desire to participate in the French king’s campaign to drive them out: “being eager to partake once more in such great doings, I pooled resource with a man from Lucca and a Sienese. When we had equipped ourselves at our own expense with arms and with thirty-six horsemen, we enrolled in the army under the flag and captaincy of the Duke of Burgundy who commanded 20,000 horse.”38
The next day, Buonaccorso and the French took to the field to find the enemy, who had fled toward Dunkirk.39 They succeeded in finding and engaging with the English, most likely the rearguard force of English and Flemish who were under the command of Sir Robert Knolles, but they were eventually forced to withdraw “with great loss and little honor.” The author writes that “the English defended themselves boldly, firing arrows at our [the French] troops which wrought havoc among them and wounded many.” Even more striking is the insight we gain into Buonaccorso’s personal experience during the battle: the author expresses great regret at the loss of so many of his own men, admitting that “in truth [he] was hardly able to look for [his men] but lay exhausted in a ditch until daybreak.”40 Buonaccorso’s description of this battle suggests that he not only served in person but also took on the role of a banneret, leading his own men into battle.
Three years later, in September 1386, Buonaccorso once again geared up for war, this time making plans to join the proposed French invasion of England that was set to leave from Flanders under the leadership of the king of France.41 In order to participate in this great undertaking, Buonaccorso and a few of his colleagues equipped themselves and hired a ship in the French fleet at their own not-inconsiderable expense.42 This is, once again, a clear sign of Buonaccorso’s intent to participate in the life of arms, a decidedly chivalric undertaking and attitude. After extensive preparations, the proposed invasion was finally called off due to poor weather in the English Channel.43 Although Buonaccorso was disappointed by the failure of the campaign, his eagerness to participate suggests a continued desire to cultivate the profession of arms alongside some of the great nobles of early Renaissance Europe.
Particularly illuminating in this regard are the events of August 1400, when Buonaccorso records that he was traveling in the company of King Rupert of the Palatinate, the emperor-elect, who was in Italy to campaign against the Visconti of Milan.44 Buonaccorso writes in his ricordanza that the emperor-elect desired to send him to Florence as a special envoy in order to secure certain funds that had been promised by the Florentine government. Despite his intention to do the emperor-elect’s bidding, Buonaccorso’s response reveals a strikingly chivalric sentiment, for he claims to have told Rupert, “a more glorious memory would survive me and more honor [would] reflect on my family if I were to die bearing arms in [your] service than if I were to be killed as an agent on my way to pick up funds.”45 This is important because Buonaccorso clearly demonstrates a decidedly chivalric impulse to assert and increase his honor through the profession of arms that he found to be far superior to the safer, but certainly less praiseworthy, task assigned to him by Rupert. In the end, he was forced to acquiesce at the emperor-elect’s insistence, but Buonaccorso writes with great pride that Rupert ennobled him and gave him the right to bear the golden lion from his own coat of arms in recompense for going to Florence as his agent and thus giving up the opportunity to win glory and honor on the battlefield.46
The poem that Buonaccorso composed to celebrate the occasion, which he recorded in his ricordanza, underscores the importance of this moment to the author:
Buonaccorso clearly intimates that both he and his descendants will bear this new coat of arms on battlefields in Italy and abroad, suggesting a connection to the profession of arms that was central to his personal and familial identity. Moreover, their participation in the life of arms must be done with bravery and vigor, as befitted proper noblemen.
Despite Buonaccorso’s extensive military service during the 1380s and 1390s, it was not until the first decade of the fifteenth century that he records an entry relating to military service on behalf of his native Florence. In 1402, Buonaccorso offered to initiate and command a military campaign aimed at preventing Paolo Guinigi, lord of Lucca (1400–1430), from attacking Florence.48 When his offer was ostensibly met with some hesitation and resistance, Buonaccorso’s response was typically chivalric:
if the Commune [of Florence] preferred not to assume overt responsibility for this enterprise, they could let me proceed by myself. [They need only] discreetly convey enough money to me to raise 50 cavalry and 200 foot-soldiers and archers, and I would declare war and offer shelter to rebels and deserters from the other side. Should the Commune wish to dissociate themselves more completely from my undertaking, I was willing to let them banish me and imprison my wife and children.49
While Buonaccorso’s offer can rightly be interpreted as a desire to serve the Florentine commune militarily, it also highlights the sense of autonomy that was deeply entrenched in chivalric mentality, as well as a desire to win honor and praise through military enterprise.
Buonaccorso’s proposed campaign never came to fruition, but he did take part in the Florentine campaign against the Pisans in May 1403.50 More specifically, he played an active part in the Florentine attack on Livorno in that year, leading fourteen mounted men-at-arms, ten of whom he personally funded, although this enterprise too ended in defeat.51 Buonaccorso describes the attack in his ricordanza, recalling the large number of skilled archers in the city and lamenting that even though the Florentines gave battle, “after a number of our men had been killed by crossbow bolts and artillery, [we] gave up and returned to Florence with little honor.”52 Despite the ignominious end to this military enterprise, the Livorno campaign represents an important step in Buonaccorso’s cultivation of the profession of arms, because for the first time recorded in his ricordanza, he used his prowess and bravery in the service of Florence.
Although Buonaccorso would continue to hold positions with military responsibilities in the Florentine territorial state throughout the remainder of his life, these events are not recounted with the same detail as those described above. This does not, of course, mean that war was no longer central to his identity. Quite to the contrary, despite enduring many failures and spending considerable sums of money over his long career, he went on campaign in France one last time in 1419 at the tender age of sixty-five. Thus, his continued cultivation of the profession of arms and participation in military campaigns both in Italy and abroad reinforces the assertion that chivalric practitioners like Buonaccorso saw war as central to their identities. Buonaccorso Pitti was not simply a merchant or a professional gambler, although he did participate in activities related to both; he was first and foremost an elite warrior who cared deeply about his martial reputation and honor.
The life of Buonaccorso di Neri Pitti represents an important case study of the continuity of chivalric ideas and action in late fourteenth- and early fifteenth-century Florence and Italy. Buonaccorso crafted for himself a chivalric identity centered on the profession of arms and the defense of personal honor through violence, which was very similar to that of many of his predecessors. Unlike previous generations of chivalric practitioners, however, he demonstrated a shrewdness about when and where to practice honor violence, a form of chivalric action that was treated by the Florentine government as an assertion of autonomy and a threat to public order. Indeed, Buonaccorso engaged in this type of violence only during the considerable time he spent in exile and abroad, especially in the noble and royal courts of France, where the violent defense and assertion of honor were not only acceptable but expected. What did not change from previous generations was his vigorous and joyful cultivation of the profession of arms.
The chivalric nature of Buonaccorso’s identity and lifestyle is all the more important because he was a member of the prominent Pitti lineage that had held high offices in the Florentine government for more than a century and had made a considerable fortune through mercantile and banking enterprises. Although Buonaccorso engaged in trade and eventually settled in Florence to take up politics and establish himself as a cloth merchant, such mercantile activities did not define his identity, but rather served to support his chivalric lifestyle. As such, rather than following in the footsteps of many chivalric practitioners of earlier generations by moving between cultural communities during his lifetime, Buonaccorso represents a model of chivalric practitioner new to early Renaissance Florence, that of the strenuous warrior who made careful and controlled use of violence to assert and defend his honor. In this way, he straddled the line between two cultural worlds, the chivalric and the civic-mercantile.
As this book has shown, chivalric ideology exercised a powerful influence among a sizeable segment of the lay elite in late medieval Florence from the late twelfth through the early fifteenth century. This group formed a cultural community defined not by social appellations like the dignity of knighthood or legally recognized titles of nobility, but by adherence to a chivalric lifestyle centered on prowess (violence), honor, autonomy, and the profession of arms. Although the cultural community’s membership fluctuated over time, there was striking continuity among the core lineages, like the Adimari, Buondelmonti, Cavalcanti, Donati, Gianfigliazzi, Lamberti, Nerli, Pigli, Tornaquinci, and Visdomini (della Tosa-Tosinghi), among others.
This continuity was made possible in the face of dramatic political, social, economic, and cultural changes in Florence and its contado by chivalry’s practical and flexible nature. As a result, it is likely that Buonaccorso Pitti would have found much to agree upon with and admire about previous generations of chivalric practitioners, men like Buondelmonte dei Buondelmonti (d. 1215), Tegghiaio Aldobrandi degli Adimari (d. 1266), Corso Donati (d. 1308), Simone della Tosa (d. 1340–45), and Benghi dei Buondelmonti (d. 1381). For all of these men were chivalric warriors who believed that violence was a licit and praiseworthy means of defending and asserting their personal and collective honor and that the profession of arms was inherently honorable and ennobling. In other words, they were devotees of Mars, the god of war, under whose sign Florence was founded and in whose shadow Florentine chivalry was forged.