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"Gonsalvo de Cordoba: Why isn't more done with him" Topic

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Gorgrat13 Jun 2021 8:28 a.m. PST

This fascinating and brilliant general revolutionized warfare, actually improved his performance as time went on (many great generals, such as Napoleon, stuck with the tried and true long after their enemies had gradually learned to beat them), did not try to make himself king (not talking about ruler of a minor city state, but to seize the Spanish throne when it had a divided monarchy in a precarious porition) and made Spain the preeminent military power in Europe for the next 200+ years.

So why no movies or miniseries?

Granted, our history and heroes still have a considerable English speaking bias, but, again, there is no shortage of stuff out there about Rommel or Napoleon?

In addition to the fact that he obviously needs an agent/publicist, I'd love to discuss the man's achievements and character. Just the fact that he was willing, at the end of a brilliant career to go quietly into relative obscurity was, in my opinion, sufficient to make him rival Washington at least.

Gorgrat13 Jun 2021 8:39 a.m. PST

And of course, let's not forget that he was a huge aficionado of 6mm World War 2 gaming.

Sorry. I'm new here, and hit the wrong button. How do you remove a cross post?

emckinney13 Jun 2021 8:53 a.m. PST

Press the exclamation point button by the time of the message and ask the editors to remove the cross-post. Yes, it's officially for complaints about violations of rules, but it's the simplest way to designate a specific post.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP13 Jun 2021 8:56 a.m. PST

I agree, Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba did amazing things, and was responsible for the introduction of massed arquebusses as a battle tactic, which, with his training made the Spanish army able to beat even the French army!. If for nothing else (EG the capture of Grenada) he really deserves the epithet 'El Gran Capitán.'

John the OFM13 Jun 2021 9:38 a.m. PST

I think Spanish speaking countries bear the responsibility to produce movies and miniseries regarding that chap. grin

Poles will produce movies about "The Deluge". Russians will do Alexander Nevsky.

Gorgrat13 Jun 2021 10:44 a.m. PST

Maybe. But Cordoba's collection of Patton's entire Third Army in 6mm should warrant a mention in the American media.

But I'm with Herkybird. Why aren't the Italian Wars every bit as significant as Julius Caesar's conquests?

John the OFM13 Jun 2021 5:56 p.m. PST

Why do British movies etc love Julius Caesar and Marc Antony?
Your friend need a Shakespeare. Unfortunately in Shakespeare, all Italians and Spanish are malevolent.

Gorgrat13 Jun 2021 8:33 p.m. PST

Seems like ushering in the age of masses gunpowder-armed infantry formations ought to have been enough. But, who am I to say?

John the OFM13 Jun 2021 9:13 p.m. PST

What you or I think would make a good movie is far beyond our pay scale. Wise Men in Hollywood >cough cough< make these big money decisions.

I remember a thread here years ago about what event in history would make a "good movie". Someone said "Stones River!"

My suggestion for you is to win a billion dollars in the Lottery and hire a real Hollywood lawyer you can trust. (!) Then you can hire Pedro Pascal (You might as well go for a star with drawing power.)

Gorgrat13 Jun 2021 9:37 p.m. PST

On it.

FELDGRAU14 Jun 2021 3:03 a.m. PST

Gorgrat, you are absolutely right. I do not know the reason of this oblivion. As I said before, Gonsalvo is the responsible of the first victory using massed fire from hand guns, of the effective use of light cavalry, and the first victory over the until then,invencible Swiss pikemen. Unforgivable, for example the not inclusion of a single chapter dedicated to Gonzalo´s army in the recent series of books about the Italian Wars published by Helion.

GurKhan14 Jun 2021 8:24 a.m. PST

"But I'm with Herkybird. Why aren't the Italian Wars every bit as significant as Julius Caesar's conquests?"

Because they aren't?

Caesar's conquests brought Gaul (France, Belgium and more) into the Roman Empire for five hundred years, and changed the language that they speak to this very day.

Not to denigrate de Cordoba, but looking at the period as a whole, what consequence of the Italian Wars is as significant as that?

Gorgrat14 Jun 2021 9:02 a.m. PST

As a couple of our brothers have stated, the whole fighting with handguns thing maybe? All else I listed would be equally repetitive, but again, as with Washington, just staying his hand from power when so many (such as Julius) would have grabbed it…</p><p>But, if my argument didn't convince the first time, its repetition is equally unlikely to do so.</p><p>I'll just say what George III is supposed to have said when he found out that Washington would not make himself king, and had resigned his commission. "If that is true, then he is the greatest man alive."</p><p>There have been a lot of brilliant generals, but when that quality is combined with nobility, I think its worth a nod.

Gorgrat14 Jun 2021 9:04 a.m. PST

Also, as Feldgrau points out, for someone to actually beat the Swiss on the field was no mean feat, and would certainly make good cinema.

Griefbringer14 Jun 2021 11:08 a.m. PST

Seems like ushering in the age of masses gunpowder-armed infantry formations ought to have been enough. But, who am I to say?

It may have been a significant achievement organisational-wise, but such work does not easily provide drama expected by major playwrights.

Maybe. But Cordoba's collection of Patton's entire Third Army in 6mm should warrant a mention in the American media.

My understanding is that American media is not really interested in small scales, such as 6 mm or 10 mm. He should have gone at least for 54 mm to get any attention.

Gorgrat14 Jun 2021 11:16 a.m. PST

…He should have gone at least for 55mm…

I see.

Swords at dawn.🤺

John the OFM14 Jun 2021 1:02 p.m. PST

Back during the 1st Gulf War (Operation Determined Flexibility), CNN had a very nice sand table with 1/300 tanks and stuff. "Expert" Jim Dunnigan of SPI fame provided "expert" commentary.
Note this is the same "expert" who commented when the PLO failed to shoot down an El Al airliner that perhaps the notorious battery life problem for the remote had occurred. He advised the PLO to check their batteries. Better luck next time, I guess.

So, yes. The media is OK with 6mm.

FELDGRAU15 Jun 2021 2:31 a.m. PST

Of course, there is not sense in comparing the Italian Wars with the Roman conquests, these are events absolutely different. But looking to the trascendence of Gonzalo de Cordoba¨s campaings in the context of the Italian wars and the Renaissance, the importance is enormous and very forgotten. The victory of Gonzalo over the French supossed the incorporation of a whole kingdom, Naples, to the Spanish crown, where it stayed during 200 years, despite the numerous intents of the French of conquest the kingdom again. None of the great battles of the Italian wars, Agnadello, Bicoca, Ravena, Pavia, Ceresoles, etc, however interesting they were, caused a so important political effect as the anexation of a whole state as the campaings of Gonzalo. Only this aspect itself is worth of a increased attention.

Gorgrat15 Jun 2021 11:15 a.m. PST


As to Caesar, I agree to comparison is inept, butimeantin relation to the idea that only Spanish speakers would spend time on him. Why so? Many great
generals, such as Caesar have seen serious attention while not having a direct effect on the English speaking world, at least, not for quite some time.

Puster Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Jun 2021 2:27 p.m. PST


Not much available else upon his life in english. This one is from 1962…

Bill N15 Jun 2021 6:30 p.m. PST

Maybe you should consider yourself lucky that Hollywood hasn't gotten its hands on that story. I am fairly certain that it would bare only a passing resemblance to El Gran Capitán

Gorgrat16 Jun 2021 3:38 p.m. PST

Bill N

Sadly, you are almost certainly right.

Gorgrat16 Jun 2021 3:50 p.m. PST

Thank you for that, Puster! I will certainly download it!

Gonsalvo16 Jun 2021 6:55 p.m. PST

I am of course a huge fan of "El Gran Capitan" myself, both for his military virtues and his exemplary character. There is definitely a great movie to be made there!

The inscription on his tomb in the convent of San Jeronimo reads

Qui propria virtute Magni Duces nomen Proprium sibi fecit. Ossa, perpetuae tandem Luci restituenda, Huic interea tumulo, Credita sunt; Gloria minime consepulta

The best I could come up using a Latin translator and some common sense with was:

"It is He who has made for himself by his own power the name of The Great Captain. His bones lie interred here together, the light yet to be restored; Glory was not, however, buried."

I finally found an actual translation:

‘The bones of Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, who with his bravery earned the title of Great Captain, lie here in this tomb until eventually they return to the everlasting light. His glory was by no means buried with him'.

Wow! Says a lot in just a few words, even with the French destruction of the actual Mausoleum (a most ignoble act)!

Gonsalvo16 Jun 2021 7:11 p.m. PST

As mentioned in the other link, there is also:

The Grand Captain: Gonzalo De Cordoba [Gerald de Gaury]

I was able to obtain a copy on interlibrary loan, published 1966.

And that's about it in English.

Puster Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Jun 2021 5:17 a.m. PST

I am quite sure that is more and more recent on him in Spanish.
Perhaps Helion or the Zeughausverlag (or someone similar) would invest into a translation?

Swampster19 Jun 2021 12:41 p.m. PST

" did not try to make himself king (not talking about ruler of a minor city state, but to seize the Spanish throne when it had a divided monarchy in a precarious porition) "

It was probably the least precarious position since the end of the Visigothic kingdom :)
Ferdinand had a great deal of control of the dual monarchy, even after the death of Isabella. It didn't all go his way but gains that were made reflected more on him than on his generals, however effective they had been.

Successful generals didn't have much of a track record of bringing their army home and using it to kick out an otherwise pretty popular king. Even more so if they had no claim to the throne.

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