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“None of the principal states were armed with their own proper forces. Thus the arms of Italy were either in the hands of the lesser princes, or of men who possessed no state; for the minor princes did not adopt the practice of arms from any desire of glory, but for the acquisition of either property or safety. The others (those who possessed no state) being bred to arms from their infancy, were acquainted with no other art, and pursued war for emolument, or to confer honor upon themselves.” –Niccolò Machiavelli, History of Florence Book I, Chapter VII
It is 13th century Italy. Trade flourishes between the city-states and the Levant. Venice, Florence, and Genoa are bursting with wealth. However, each city-state is also plagued with a weak national army, leaving them defenseless against invasion from their envious neighbors. Enter the Condottiere.