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Dirck Volkertsz. Coornhert: The capture of Francis I at the battle of Pavia (1555-1556)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
An engraving by the Dutch artist Dirck Volkertsz. Coornhert (1522-1590), after a design by the Dutch artist Maarten van Heemskerck (1498-1574). Depicted is a pivotal moment during the battle of Pavia, 24 February 1525: the capture of king Francis I of France. The battle of Pavia was a part of the so-called Italian wars (1494-1559) which involved most of the city-states of Italy, France, England, Scotland, Spain, The Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire. The Italian wars started when the duchy of Milan asked France for military aid against the kingdom of Naples. In 1494, a French army invaded Italy and quickly crushed Neapolitan resistance, occupied Naples and proclaimed the French king Charles VII as king of Naples. The ambition of Charles VII was not satisfied with Naples, and he subsequently laid claim to Milan itself. Seeing the danger the French posed, Milan and other Italian city-states joined together and called in another Major Eur…

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