Guernieri - Encyclopedia




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GUERNIERI, or WERNER, a celebrated mercenary captain who lived about the middle of the 14th century. He was a member of the family of the dukes of Urslingen, and probably a descendant of the dukes of Spoleto. From 1340 to 1343 he was in the service of the citizens of Pisa, but afterwards he collected a troop of adventurers which he called the Great Company,. and with which he plundered Tuscany and Lombardy. He then entered the service of Louis I. the Great, king of Hungary and Poland, whom he assisted to obtain possession of Naples; but when dismissed from this service his ravages became more terrible than ever, culminating in the dreadful sack of Anagni in 1358, shortly after which Guernieri disappeared from history. He is said to have worn a breastplate with the inscription,. "The enemy of God, of pity and of mercy."

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