On the battle of Anghiari.

Florentines Neri di Gino Capponi Bernardetto de’ Medici Niccolò da Pisa Conte Francesco Micheletto, Pietro Gian Paolo Guelfo Orsino, Messer Rinaldo degli Albizzi

Begin with the address of Niccolo Piccinino to the soldiers and the banished Florentines among whom are Messer Rinaldo degli Albizzi and other Florentines. Then let it be shown how he first mounted on horseback in armour; and the whole army came after him—40 squadrons of cavalry, and 2000 foot soldiers went with him. Very early in the morning the Patriarch went up a hill to reconnoitre the country, that is the hills, fields and the valley watered by a river; and from thence he beheld Niccolo Picinino coming from Borgo San Sepolcro with his people, and with a great dust; and perceiving them he returned to the camp of his own people and addressed them. Having spoken he prayed to God with clasped hands, when there appeared a cloud in which Saint Peter appeared and spoke to the Patriarch.—500 cavalry were sent forward by the Patriarch to hinder or check the rush of the enemy. In the foremost troop Francesco the son of Niccolo Piccinino [24] was the first to attack the bridge which was held by the Patriarch and the Florentines. Beyond the bridge to his left he sent forward some infantry to engage ours, who drove them back, among whom was their captain Micheletto [29] whose lot it was to be that day at the head of the army. Here, at this bridge there is a severe struggle; our men conquer and the enemy is repulsed. Here Guido and Astorre, his brother, the Lord of Faenza with a great number of men, re-formed and renewed the fight, and rushed upon the Florentines with such force that they recovered the bridge and pushed forward as far as the tents. But Simonetto advanced with 600 horse, and fell upon the enemy and drove them back once more from the place, and recaptured the bridge; and behind him came more men with 2000 horse soldiers. And thus for a long time they fought with varying fortune. But then the Patriarch, in order to divert the enemy, sent forward Niccolo da Pisa [44] and Napoleone Orsino, a beardless lad, followed by a great multitude of men, and then was done another great feat of arms. At the same time Niccolo Piccinino urged forward the remnant of his men, who once more made ours give way; and if it had not been that the Patriarch set himself at their head and, by his words and deeds controlled the captains, our soldiers would have taken to flight. The Patriarch had some artillery placed on the hill and with these he dispersed the enemy’s infantry; and the disorder was so complete that Niccolo began to call back his son and all his men, and they took to flight towards Borgo. And then began a great slaughter of men; none escaped but the foremost of those who had fled or who hid themselves. The battle continued until sunset, when the Patriarch gave his mind to recalling his men and burying the dead, and afterwards a trophy was erected.

[Footnote: 669. This passage does not seem to me to be in Leonardo’s hand, though it has hitherto been generally accepted as genuine. Not only is the writing unlike his, but the spelling also is quite different. I would suggest that this passage is a description of the events of the battle drawn up for the Painter by order of the Signoria, perhaps by some historian commissioned by them, to serve as a scheme or programme of the work. The whole tenor of the style seems to me to argue in favour of this theory; and besides, it would be in no way surprising that such a document should have been preserved among Leonardo’s autographs.]

Taken from The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci edited by Jean Paul Richter, 1880.

Notebooks of Leonoardo da Vinci
X: Studies and Sketches for Pictures and Decorations.
On Madonna pictures.
Bernardo di Bandino’s Portrait.
Notes on the Last Supper.
On the battle of Anghiari.
Allegorical representations referring to the duke of Milan.
Allegorical representations.
Arrangement of a picture.
List of drawings.
Mottoes and Emblems.
. . .