Military Conscription in pre-Unification Italy

As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
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Military Conscription in pre-Unification Italy

Postby Tullius » 07 May 2005, 03:11

Can anyone tell me about military conscription in pre-Unification Italy? Did it exist in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies or in the Papal States? Or did these countries depend entirely on recruitment? I know that all Italian males born after Unification were liable to two years active military service.

My great-grandfather served in the Papal Army and was at the Porta Pia (1870). I would like to know if he was conscripted or if his service was voluntary.

All help would be greatly appreciated.

Mille grazie in anticipo,


Alan Tullio
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Re: Military Conscription in pre-Unification Italy

Postby ricbru » 07 May 2005, 12:33

Alan,
if you know where your ancestor was born and the date of birth, you can request military records to Distretto Militare or State Archive.
I hope it helps, bye ricbru
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Re: Military Conscription in pre-Unification Italy

Postby Tullius » 09 May 2005, 16:49

Grazie, Ricbu,

My great-grandfather, Martino Luigi Tullio, was born in Vallecorsa, in what is now Frosinone Province, in 1848.

Would the Distretto Militare or the State Archive have the military records of the Papal States, in which my ancestor lived?

How would I contact these two Italian government agencies? Is there an e-mail address or must I send a letter? I'm sure that there is a fee for these services, is there not?
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Re: Military Conscription in pre-Unification Italy

Postby suanj » 09 May 2005, 19:17

Tullius wrote:Grazie, Ricbu,

My great-grandfather, Martino Luigi Tullio, was born in Vallecorsa, in what is now Frosinone Province, in 1848.

Would the Distretto Militare or the State Archive have the military records of the Papal States, in which my ancestor lived?

How would I contact these two Italian government agencies? Is there an e-mail address or must I send a letter? I'm sure that there is a fee for these services, is there not?

hi: In Archivio di Stato di Frosinone are Liste di leva for men born from 1875 to 1930, please see:
Distretto militare di frosinone 1875-1930 Regg.330 + bb. 341(fogli matr.) +liste di leva (1923-1930) regg. 388 http://www.cassino2000.com/cdsc/studi/archivio/n04/n04p04.html
regards, suanj
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Re: Military Conscription in pre-Unification Italy

Postby Tullius » 09 Jun 2005, 22:32

I have discovered that conscription, la leva obbligatoria, was not practiced in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, except under extreme circumstances. The Kingdom depended instead on recruitment.

When the French invaded the Kingdom in 1799, Queen Maria Carolina considered conscription but decided against it, fearing that conscripts would desert at the first opportunity.

The French, while they held Naples under the so-called Parthenopean Republic, attempted to conscript all able-bodied men, age 15 through 50.
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Re: Military Conscription in pre-Unification Italy

Postby suanj » 10 Jun 2005, 11:06

Tullius wrote:I have discovered that conscription, la leva obbligatoria, was not practiced in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, except under extreme circumstances. The Kingdom depended instead on recruitment.

When the French invaded the Kingdom in 1799, Queen Maria Carolina considered conscription but decided against it, fearing that conscripts would desert at the first opportunity.

The French, while they held Naples under the so-called Parthenopean Republic, attempted to conscript all able-bodied men, age 15 through 50.



In 1560, in practical, all the Italian States (comprised those under foreign dominion) had adopted some shape of obligatory recruitment and mobilitation. But in XVII century, many Italian States, like that Sabaudo, were forced, from political-strategic changes, to resort newly to permanent and mercenaries professional armies.
The American revolution (1775-1783) introduced the concept of not professional army of conscripts for State defense.

In the Reign of the Two Sicilie the conscription was established to Naples, while the Sicily remained some free.

It was not succeeded to adopt it in the Papal State and had insufficient relief in the Granducato of Tuscany and in Ducati of Parma and Modena, but the obligatory conscription supplied approximately 10% of Italians in the forces in the Austrian Lombardic-Veneto .

In 1854 the Lamarmora law was set up according to the French model of "quality army", maintained to the 70-75% of the war staffs: of greater cost and therefore necessarily of smaller dimensions, but of ready employment, constituted from firm staff with quinquennial.

The first time of "Liste di Leva" was in 1863; and in 1871 was the Distretti Militari;
by http://www.esercito.difesa.it/root/stor ... 2_napo.asp
here are some names of soldiers in Breccia di Porta Pia http://digilander.libero.it/fiammecremisi/roma.htm
sure in Breccia di Porta Pia, participated also 60.000 soldiers of Cadorna general, that was in Roma the 20 sep 1870 ...
many documents of Papal State are in Archivio di Stato di Roma http://www.maas.ccr.it/PDF/Roma.pdf


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