Francesco I Sforza

08 Mar 2021  Mon

Francesco, I Sforza was an Italian condottiero who founded the Sforza dynasty in the duchy of Milan, ruling as its (fourth) duke from 1450 until his death. He played a crucial role in 15th-century Italian politics.

Francesco Sforza was born in San Miniato, Tuscany, one of the seven illegitimate sons of the condottiero Muzio Sforza and Lucia da Torsano. He was the brother of Alessandro, whom he often fought alongside.

Sforza was the first European ruler to follow a foreign policy based on the concept of the balance of power, and the first native Italian ruler to conduct extensive diplomacy outside the peninsula to counter the power of threatening states such as France. Sforza's policies succeeded in keeping foreign powers from dominating Italian politics for the rest of the century.

Here is a coin issued under his reign depicted bust in armour to the right on its obverse face. The reverse of a coin portrays Francesco in armour riding to the right, the upraised sword in his right hand; both the rider and the horse wear badges showing a broom with banderole and the Visconti snake.

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