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Sforza

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Sforza

House of Sforza
Country Italy
Ancestral house House of Visconti (through Bianca Maria Visconti)
Titles

Founder Muzio Attendolo
Final sovereign
Milan:
Francesco II (1535)
Pesaro:
Galeazzo (1519)
Founding 1447
Deposition
Milan:
1500: Italian Wars
Pesaro:
1519: Death of Galeazzo
Two Sicilies:
1624
Cadet branches

Illegitimate

  • House of Sforza-Pesaro (extinct in 1519)
  • House of Sforza-Cotignola (extinct in 1624)
  • House of Sforza-Cesarini

Sforza was a ruling family of Renaissance Italy, based in Milan. They acquired the dukedom and Duchy of Milan from the previously ruling Visconti family in the mid-15th century, and lost it to the Spanish Habsburgs about a century later.

History


Rising from rural nobility, the Sforzas became condottieri and used this military position to become rulers in Milan. The family governed by force, ruse, and power politics, similar to the Medici in Florence. Under their rule the city-state flourished and expanded.

Muzio Attendolo (1369–1424), called Sforza (from sforzare, to exert or force), founded the dynasty. A condottiero from Romagna, he served the Angevin kings of Naples and became the most successful dynast of the condottieri.

His son Francesco I Sforza ruled Milan for the first half of the Renaissance era, acquiring the title of Duke of Milan from the extinct Visconti family in 1447.

The family also held the seigniory of Pesaro, starting from Muzio Attendolo's second son, Alessandro (1409–1473). The Sforza held Pesaro until 1519, with the death of Galeazzo.

Muzio's third son, Bosio (1411–1476), founded the branch of Santa Fiora, who held the title of count of Cotignola; the Sforza ruled the small county of Santa Fiora in southern Tuscany until 1624. Members of this family also held important ecclesiastical and political position in the Papal States, and moved to Rome in 1674 taking the name Sforza Cesarini.

The Sforza would later join with the Borgia Family, through the arranged marriage of Lucrezia Borgia to Giovanni (the illegitimate son of Costanzo I of Pesaro).[1]

Ludovico Sforza (known as Ludovico il Moro, famous for taking Leonardo da Vinci into his service) was defeated in 1500 by the French army of Louis XII of France - see Italian Wars.

After Imperial German troops drove out the French, Maximilian Sforza, son of Ludovico, became Duke of Milan (1512-1515) until the French returned under Francis I of France and imprisoned him.

Sforza rulers of Duchy of Milan


Sforza rulers of Pesaro and Gradara

Sforza family tree

Notable members

Name Portrait Relationship to the House of Sforza
Muzio Attendolo Founder of the House of Sforza
Francesco Sforza 100px Son of Muzio Attendolo, first Sforza ruler of Milan
Bianca Maria Visconti 100px Wife of Francesco I Sforza
Galeazzo Maria Sforza 100px Son of Francesco I Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan
Gian Galeazzo Sforza 100px Son of Galeazzo Maria Sforza
Bona Sforza, Queen of Poland Daughter of Gian Galeazzo Sforza
Bianca Maria Sforza Daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza and
Holy Roman Empress, as the wife of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Anna Sforza Daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza and wife of Alfonso I d'Este
Her successor would be the infamous Lucrezia Borgia
Caterina Sforza 100px Illegitimate daughter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan
Ludovico Sforza 100px Son of Francesco I Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan
Beatrice d'Este 100px Wife of Ludovico Sforza
Maximilian Sforza Son of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan
Francesco II Sforza Son of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan
Giovanni Paolo I Sforza Illegitimate son of Ludovico Sforza, first Marquess of Caravaggio

In popular culture

See also

References

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