Castruccio Castracani Degli Antelminelli
CASTRUCCIO CASTRACANI DEGLI ANTELMINELLI (1281-1328), duke of Lucca, was by birth a Lucchese, and by descent and training a Ghibelline. Being exiled at an early age with his parents and others of their faction by the Guelphs, then in the ascendant, and orphaned at nineteen, he served as a condottiere under Philip IV. of France in Flanders, later with the Visconti in Lombardy, and in 1313 under the Ghibelline chief, Uguccione della Faggiuola, lord of Pisa, in central Italy. He assisted Uguccione in many enterprises, including the capture of Lucca (1314) and the victory over the Florentines at Montecatini (1315). An insurrection of the Lucchese having led to the expulsion of Uguccione and his party, Castruccio regained his freedom and his position, and the Ghibelline triumph was presently assured. Elected lord of Lucca in 1316, he warred incessantly against the Florentines, and was at first the faithful adviser and stanch supporter of Frederick of Austria, who made him imperial vicar of Lucca in 1320. After the battle of Mühlbach he went over to the emperor Louis the Bavarian, whom he served for many years. In 1325 he defeated the Florentines at Altopascio, and was appointed by the emperor duke of Lucca, Pistoja, Volterra and Luni, and two years later he captured Pisa, of which he was made imperial vicar. But, subsequently, his relations with Louis seem to have grown less friendly and he was afterwards excommunicated by the papal legate in the interests of the Guelphs. At his death in 1328 the fortunes of his young children were wrecked in the Guelphic triumph.
Niccolò Machiavelli's Life of Castruccio is a mere romance; it was translated into French, with notes, by Dreux de Radier in 1753. See Niccolò Negrini, Vita di Castruccio (Modena, 1496); Winkler's Castruccio, Herzog von Lucca (Berlin, 1897); also Gino Capponi's Storia di Firenze, and G. Sforza, Castruccio Castracani degli Antelminelli in Lunigiana (Modena, 1891); S. de Sismondi, Histoire des républiques italiennes (Brussels, 1838).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)