If ever there was an exemplification of Plato's 'Philosopher King', it would be Marcus Aurelius. Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. The nuclei of the companies which condottieri contracted to provide were normally kept permanently in being and augmented for specific contracts and campaigns by recruitment of additional rank and file.

Federico da Montefeltro had European reputations in the mid-fourteen hundreds, and in the Wars of Italy many of the most successful leaders of the French and Spanish armies in Italy were Italian condottieri.
Born in 121, he became a Roman Emperor in 161, and his reign lasted until his death in 180. An ardent Stoic, he is best remembered today as the author of the Meditations, a collection of 'spiritual exercises' that were written for himself between 170 and 180. The condottiere, therefore, was invariably a man of substance possessing estates and permanent income which enabled him to maintain his principal followers between contracts and recruit rapidly from amongst his own tenants and dependants.
Fortunately for us, this work was preserved for posterity, and it can be read profitably today by anyone looking for a source of spiritual guidance.

These socio-economic conditions were of more importance than military reputation in dictating the size of the contract which a condottiere could obtain, and hence his prestige and reputation. Many of the leading condottieri were either independent princes like the Gonzaga lords of Mantua or the Este lords of Ferrara, or were members of extensive landowning families like the Orsini or Dal Verme.

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