The Italian Wars of 1494-1559 had a major impact on the whole of Renaissance Europe. In this important text, Michael Mallett and Christine Shaw place the conflict within the political and economic context of the wars. Emphasising the gap between aims and strategies of the political masters and what their commanders and troops could actually accomplish on the ground, they analyse developments in military tactics and the tactical use of firearms and examine how Italians of all sectors of society reacted to the wars and the inevitable political and social change that they brought about. The history of Renaissance Italy is currently being radically rethought by historians. This book is a major contribution to this re-evaluation, and will be essential reading for all students of Renaissance and military history.