However, later in the Renaissance the condottieri line of battle still deployed the grand armoured knight and medieval weapons and tactics after most European powers had begun employing professional standing armies of pikemen and musketeers —this helped to contribute to their eventual decline and destruction.
In 1347, Cola di Rienzo (Tribune and effective dictator of the city) had Werner von Urslingen executed in Rome, and Konrad von Landau assumed command of the Great Company.
This company was defeated and destroyed by Luchino Visconti of Milan (another condottiero and uncle of Lodrisio) in April 1339. George" was formed under the leadership of Alberico da Barbiano, also an Italian and the Count of Conio, who later taught military science to condottieri such as Braccio da Montone and Giacomuzzo Attendolo Sforza, who also served in the company.
Once aware of their military power monopoly in Italy, the condottieri bands became notorious for their capriciousness, and soon dictated terms to their ostensible employers.
Werner’s company differed from other mercenary companies because its code of military justice imposed discipline and an equal division of the contract’s income.
The Ventura Company increased in number until becoming the fearsome “Great Company” of some 3,000 barbute (each barbuta comprised a knight and a sergeant).
As most were educated men acquainted with Roman military-science manuals (e.g.The first mercenary company with an Italian condottiero as its chief was the "Company of St.George" formed in 1339 and led by Lodrisio Visconti.George) under Ambrogio Visconti; Niccolò da Montefeltro’s Compagnia del Cappelletto (Little Hat Company); and the Compagnia della Rosa (Company of the Rose), commanded by Giovanni da Buscareto and Bartolomeo Gonzaga.From the fifteenth century hence, most condottieri were landless Italian nobles who had chosen the profession of arms as livelihood; the most famous of such mercenary captains was the son of Caterina Sforza, Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, from Forlì, known as The Last Condottiere; his son was Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany; besides noblemen, princes also fought as condottieri, given the sizable income to their estates, notably Sigismondo Malatesta, Lord of Rimini, and Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino; despite war-time inflation, soldier’s pay was high: The condottieri company commanders selected the soldiers to enlist; the condotta was a consolidated contract, and, when the ferma (service period) elapsed, the company entered an aspetto (wait) period, wherein, the contracting city-state considered its renewal.
From the eleventh to the thirteenth century, European soldiers led by professional officers fought against the Muslims in the Crusades (1095–1291).