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Battle of Marignano or Melegnano, 13-14 September 1515

Battle of Marignano or Melegnano, 13-14 September 1515


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Battle of Marignano or Melegnano, 13-14 September 1515

The battle of Marignano or Melegnano (13-14 September 1515) was a French victory that restored their rule of the Duchy of Milan after a brief period of Swiss dominance, and that was probably the high point of Francis I's career in Italy (Francis I's First Invasion of Italy).

The French had first seized Milan in 1499, expelling Ludovico Sforza. He attempted to retake his duchy in 1500 but was defeated and captured, going into exile in France. The French then held Milan until 1512, when it fell to the Swiss, who installed Massimiliano Sforza as duke. The French attempted to retake Milan in 1513, but suffered a heavy defeat at Novara (6 June 1513) and were forced back across the Alps.

At the start of 1515 Francis I came to the French throne. One of his first aims was the regain control of Milan. He arranged an alliance with Venice, and with Henry VIII of England, although still faced a potentially powerful coalition of the Italian powers, including the Pope, the Emperor Maximilian, Ferdinand II of Spain, Florence, the Swiss and Milan.

Francis was unable to recruit Swiss troops, as they would be his first opponents in Italy. Instead he was able to recruit a number of German troops. He also had a contingent of troops from the Franco-Spanish border led by Pedro Navarra, a Spanish engineer who had changed sides after the Spanish refused to pay his ransom in the aftermath of the battle of Ravenna (11 April 1512). The army also included Charles IV, duke of Alencon, First Prince of the Blood and Francis's brother in law, Admiral Bonnivet, who would go on to suffer defeat in Italy in 1524. In all Francis probably invaded Italy with around 30,000 men.

The Swiss had been expecting a French invasion, and had rushed reinforcements into Milan. These troops were now guarding the more usual mountain passes, and so in August Navarra led the French over the Argentière Pass, a route that was rarely used by invading armies and that was unguarded. A second French force advanced along the Maritime Alps towards Genoa.

Soon after crossing the Alps the main French force defeated and captured a force of Italian cavalry under Prospero Colonna. Caught out by the unexpected appearance of the French, the Swiss retreated south-east from Ivrea to Vercelli, south-west of Novara. The French were able to advance towards Milan, but Swiss reinforcements were on their way.

By the start of September the Swiss had troops at Domo d'Ossola, Varese and Monza, north of Milan. The French entered into negotiations with the Swiss and on 9 September came to terms with part of the Swiss force. Around 10,000 Swiss troops are said to have left, leaving 15,000 to face the French.

On 9 September the French were at Binasco, just to the south of Milan. Their Venetian allies were some way to the south-east, near Cremona. The nearest Swiss allies at Piacenza, between the French and the Venetians, but Ramon de Cardona, commander of the Spanish force and Lorenzo de' Medici, the Papal commander didn't trust each other, and failed to block the Venetians.

On 10 September the Swiss moved to Milan, the French to Marignano or Melegnano, south-east of Milan, while the Venetians had slipped past the Spanish and Papal forces and weren't far to the east, at Lodi.

The French began work on a fortified camp spread out along the road from Marignano to Milan, from where Francis sent out a message asking the Venetians to join him.

The Swiss camp was divided into a peace camp and a war camp, with the war camp led by the Forest Cantons. Their leaders decided to trigger a battle that would unite the Swiss forces, and the morning of 13 September the Swiss army began to move towards the French.

The Battle

The battle began in the middle of the afternoon of 13 September. The Swiss caught the French artillery by surprise, and managed to defeat the French vanguard and inflict heavy losses on the Landsknechts. They also defeated a Frecnh cavalry attack.

The Swiss then fought their way towards the main French body in its camp. They fought their way across the entrenchments, but were stopped by a counterattack led by Francis I, with Bayard fighting alongside him. This was followed by a five-hour fight at the edge of the French camp. This fighting ended at about 10pm by mutual consent the two sides prepared to renew the battle on 14 September.

14 September

The Swiss started the day with another heavy attack. This time the French artillery was able to fire properly, inflicting heavy casualties. The Swiss managed to reach the French lines, and another melee began. They also repulsed attacks by the French cavalry, and began to threaten the French rearguard. One Swiss contingent was sent even further to the rear in an attempt to destroy a bridge behind the French.

At about 8am Alviano arrived in the Swiss rear at the head of part of his cavalry. The Swiss sent a force to block his advance, but then at about mid-day began a skilful fighting retreat. Both sides had suffered very heavy losses during the fighting, and so the French pursuit wasn't conducted with any great vigour.

Aftermath

Losses for any battle of this period were always uncertain. At Marignano the Swiss probably lost around 6,000 dead, while the French lost 5,000. The main result of the battle was that the Swiss lost their enthusiasm for the war. Two days after the battle the unpaid Swiss troops began to retreat home. Massimiliano Sforza, the Swiss-supported Duke of Milan, surrendered the castles of Milan and Cremona, and went into a comfortable captivity in France.

The battle also triggered the collapse of the anti-French alliance that had been created at the start of the War of the Holy League in 1510. The Pope came to terms with Louis in December 1515 and made peace.

In March 1516 five Swiss cantons and the Emperor Maximilian launched another invasion of Milan, but this was easily defeated. In November 1516 the Swiss League made an everlasting peace with Francis, a rare example of a truly long-lived treaty that remained in place to the French Revolution. The war with Spain ended after Ferdinand II of Aragon died and was succeeded by the young Charles I (later the Emperor Charles V). He made peace with Francis at the Treaty of Noyon (13 August 1516), and with all of his allies gone Maximilian followed at the Treaty of Brussels of 4 December 1516.

Francis recognised the significance of the victory at the time. After the battle he was knighted by the famous French commander
Pierre Terrail, seigneur of Bayard.


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"The battle of Marignano or Melegnano (13-14 September 1515) was a French victory that restored their rule of the Duchy of Milan after a brief period of Swiss dominance, and that was probably the high point of Francis I's career in Italy (Francis I's First Invasion of Italy).

The French had first seized Milan in 1499, expelling Ludovico Sforza. He attempted to retake his duchy in 1500 but was defeated and captured, going into exile in France. The French then held Milan until 1512, when it fell to the Swiss, who installed Massimiliano Sforza as duke. The French attempted to retake Milan in 1513, but suffered a heavy defeat at Novara (6 June 1513) and were forced back across the Alps.

At the start of 1515 Francis I came to the French throne. One of his first aims was the regain control of Milan. He arranged an alliance with Venice, and with Henry VIII of England, although still faced a potentially powerful coalition of the Italian powers, including the Pope, the Emperor Maximilian, Ferdinand II of Spain, Florence, the Swiss and Milan&hellip"
From here
link

Anyone has wargame this battle?

>Anyone has wargame this battle?

Olicana has posted five threads on his refight of this battle during the last weeks, with photos that make the most serene of us green with envy.


Contents

The campaign of Marignano followed years of Swiss successes, during which French fortunes in Northern Italy had suffered greatly. The Swiss had taken control of Milan (for France the gateway to Italy) after their victory at the Battle of Novara (1513), and returned to its ducal throne Massimiliano — son of Lodovico il Moro, the last duke of the House of Sforza to rule independent Milan, as their puppet. [ citation needed ]

The prologue to the battle was a remarkable Alpine passage, in which Francis hauled pieces of artillery (72 huge cannons [3] ) over new-made roads over the Col d'Argentière, a previously unknown route. This was, at the time, considered one of the foremost military exploits of the age and the equal of Hannibal's crossing of the Alps. At Villafranca the French, led by Jacques de la Palice, [4] surprised and captured the Papal commander, Prospero Colonna, in a daring cavalry raid deep behind the allied lines (the Chevalier Bayard providing the impetus and expertise). Colonna and his staff aside, the French seized a great deal of booty on the raid, including 600 horses.

The capture of Colonna, along with the startling appearance of the French army on the plains of Piedmont, stunned the allies. The Pope and the Swiss both sought terms with Francis, while the Spanish allies en route from Naples halted to await developments. The main Swiss army retreated to Milan, while a large faction, tired of the war and eager to return home with the booty of years of successful campaigning, urged terms with the French.

Though the parties reached an agreement that gave Milan back to the French, the arrival of fresh and bellicose troops from the Swiss cantons annulled the agreement, as the newly arrived men had no desire to return home empty-handed and refused to abide by the treaty. Discord swept through the Swiss forces till Matthäus Schiner, cardinal of Sion and an arch-enemy of King Francis, inspired the Swiss with a fiery harangue on September 13, reminding them of what a smaller Swiss army had achieved against as powerful a French army at the Battle of Novara. Schiner pointed out the enormous profits of victory, appealed to national pride, and urged the Swiss to immediate battle. The effect was prodigious. [ citation needed ] The suddenly enthusiastic Swiss sprang to arms, issuing forth from Milan in disciplined but frenzied columns.


King François I of France: the Battle of Marignano of 1515

King François I of France ascended to the throne of his kingdom on the 1st of January 1515 after the death of Louis XII of France, his 1st cousin once removed. At the age of only 20, François was young, strong, handsome, cultured, courageous, vainglorious, and somewhat arrogant. He had been educated under the supervision of his intelligent and formidable mother – Louise de Savoy, who had become his father’s widow at the age of 19. Louise had hired for her beloved son Italian tutors who had cultivated in him a culture of chivalry and a romance of war, for better or for worse. Under Louis XII, François had received a seat on the Royal Council.

The painting ‘King Francois I orders his troops to stop pursuing the Swiss”, a Romantic 19th century work by Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard (kept in Galerie des Batailles, Palace of Versailles) Portrait of Valentina Visconti, Duchess d’Orléans, by Alexandre-Marie Colin, 1836

The new monarch was a direct descendant of Valentina Visconti, wife of the tragically murdered Louis d’Orléans in 1407. Therefore, he was extremely eager to press his claim to the Duchy of Milan despite the collapse of the French power in the region under Charles VIII and Louis XII. During his diplomatic preparations for the invasion, François ensured that there would be no invasion to France from the north by signing a treaty with Charles of Burgundy (later Emperor Charles V) in late March 1515, in which Charles consented to marry Renée of France, whose dowry would not include the Duchy of Milan). However, Charles was a man who could easily renege on his word if it suited his purposes, but François did not know it at the time. The treaty with Henry VIII was also renewed in April 1515, just as the alliance with the Venetians was despite their previous betrayal of Louis XII, their initial ally, during the War of the League of Cambrai of 1494-1559. A secret agreement was signed in late April with the Doge of Genoa, Ottaviano Campofregoso, who was threatened by the Swiss.

More than 20,000 landsknechts (German-speaking mercenaries) were employed by the French Crown, including the Black Bands – a group of Italian mercenaries formed and commanded by the famous condotierro Giovanni de’ Medici, also known as Giovanni delle Bande Nere. Giovanni’s men consisted primarily of arquebusiers and were considered the fiercest Italian force available. 10 thousand French infantry were placed under the command of Pedro Navarro, Count of Oliveto, whom François released from his captivity (Perdo had been taken prisoner after the Battle of Ravenna in 1512). The cavalry amounted to 5,000 men-at-arms, and there was a substantial artillery train as well. Among the principal French commanders was Charles de Bourbon, Constable of France, who would later ironically betray his sovereign by allying with the future Emperor Charles V because of his desire to partition France and create his own Bourbon kingdom.

François was full of enthusiasm to lead his armies himself. Not to allow the French to subjugate Milan, Massimiliano Sforza, Duke of Milan from the Sforza family, secured the support of the Pope, King Ferdinand of Aragon, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian, and the Swiss – they formed a league in July 1515. Pope Leo X (born Giovanni di Lorenzo de’ Medici) at first hesitated, but resolved to ally with them, although Leo was more concerned about retaining his control in Parma and Piacenza. The Swiss and the Milanese planned to engage the French troops immediately after François had crossed the Alps, so they went to Piedmont. Such movements were possible because the Duchy of Savoy was viewed as a neutral territory, despite being ruled by François’ uncle, his mother’s younger brother.

Swiss mercenaries and German Landsknechts fighting for glory, fame, and money at Marignano (1515)

This was a mistake of the Swiss and the Milanese. François sent some of his infantry ahead, but the bulk of his armies crossed the Alps through more complicated routes further to the west. More soldiers sailed from Marseilles to Genoa, where they joined the Genoese forces and captured several towns by surprise. The French divisions, which were led by Jacques de La Palice and Pierre Terrail, Seigneur de Bayard, captured Prospero Colonna and most of his men, horses, and weapons. At the time, Colonna commanded the forces of Pope Leo in north-western Italy, while also being in service to the Duke of Milan as his captain. The Milanese were deprived of their important military man.

The Swiss retreated to the Duchy of Milan the French divisions commanded by Odet de Foix, Seigneur de Lautrec, followed htem. Gian Giacomo Trivulzio (an Italian nobleman and condotierro) led his division, accompanied by the infantry under Pedro Navarro, to besiege Novara. As the Swiss had already abandoned the city, the French quickly took it, and François made his entrée into Novara on the 30th of August. Many Swiss and Milanese did not want to fight with the formidable French army: some of them offered that Duke Massimiliano Sforza needed to be given some lands and a wife in France, while the Swiss wanted a total of 1 million écus as a compensation for not fighting. Yet, François understood that it was a ruse and ordered the French army to advance towards Milan. Very soon, the papal troops and the Spanish army went to meet with the French, remaining at a distance.

Bartolomeo d’Alviano (a Venetian condotierro and captain) insisted that the Venetians must prove their fealty to their French ally and fight. D’Alviano led his forces to the town of Lodi, located within a day’s march of the French camp at Marignano (Melegnano). On the 13th of September, in late afternoon, the Swiss attacked the French, who were ready and waited for them. According to contemporaries, the French were surprised to see many of the Swiss and Milanese soldiers without proper armor and chainmail. The Milanese and Swiss had virtually no cavalry with them.

King François divided his army into 3 battle groups. The vanguard, which included most of the French artillery, 9,000 landsknechts, and French arquebusiers and archers, were backed by several hundred men-at-arms under Charles de Bourbon, the monarch’s cousin and Constable of France. The Swiss attacked the vanguard first, and despite their military advantage, the French struggled to gain the upper hand in the brutal fighting that continued until the shadows of night mantled the village of Marignano. Both sides slept right on the field. François fell asleep on a gun carriage after he had dispatched his page to d’Alviano, requesting that he bring the Venetian army.

Depiction of the Battle of Marignano attributed to the Maître à la Ratière

As the fingers of dawn curled across the sky, the sound of French trumpeters roused the soldiers. Once more, François placed his soldiers into 3 battle groups: Charles de Bourbon led the right wing Charles de Valois, Duke d’Alençon (the king’s brother-in-law and his cousin) was responsible for the left wing the monarch himself commanded the centre. The Swiss now had artillery that they had confiscated from the French on the previous day, and their generals sent 7-8 thousand men to the Valois left and right wings. Soon d’Alviano arrived, and all the groups of the French were involved into the bloody fighting that lasted for hours. The Swiss, despite their many disadvantages, resisted courageously, but the ferocious charges of the cavalry led by François himself tipped the balance in his favor. The Swiss reluctantly withdrew to the city of Milan.

Massimiliano Sforza, Duke of Milan

The French emerged triumphant from the Battle of Marignano, much thanks to the help of the Venetians. According to some estimates, about 16,500 corpses of the fallen were interred in mass graves, most of them Swiss. Some French nobles were seriously wounded, including Louis II de la Trémoille and Claude de Lorraine, Duke de Guise, who received 22 wounds, but he recovered. The younger brother of Constable Charles de Bourbon – François, Duke de Châtellerault – was killed. King François himself had been struck by pike-thrusts thrice, and only his armor protected him from a serious injury. Gian Giacomo Trivulzio called Marignano the ‘battle of giants’.

François did pursue the Swiss, for he desired to lure their infantry into his service. Having left the wounded in Milan, the Swiss went home, leaving Duke Massimiliano Sforza alone. A chagrined Massimiliano sent his envoys to the King of France. The city capitulated, while Sforza was deposed and exiled to France. François made his splendid entrée into Milan on the 11th of October, escorted by his household troops, arquebusiers, and landsknechts. François rode under a canopy of cloth of gold, dressed in his fanciful armor and carrying ‘the golden royal baton, with a hand on top’. The king was greeted by his uncle – Duke Charles de Savoy – and William IX, Marquis of Montferrat.

What were the geopolitical outcomes of Marignano? The Spanish and papal troops did not support the ejected Massimiliano Sforza, and the Spanish generals led their soldiers to Naples. François reached an agreement with the Swiss in late November 1515. Pope Leo sought to make peace with the monarch of France and promised to defend France’s possession of the Duchy of Milan. But could Leo’s promises be trusted? After meeting with the Pope in Bologna and reorganizing the government of Milan, François left Charles de Bourbon as his lieutenant-general in the duchy and departed in January 1516. François returned to France in all his glory, warmly welcomed by his family and the whole population of France as a conqueror. Unfortunately, history proved that it was quite a short-lived victory, and Milan would be lost in several years. Young Charles von Habsburg, who would be elected Holy Roman Emperor, would prove to be François’ most ferocious enemy and quite a military competent leader throughout the rest of the king’s life.


Results

French side

“I have vanquished those whom only Caesar vanquished” was printed on the medal King Francis ordered struck to commemorate the victory. [4] Considering the battle his most cherished triumph, Francis requested that he himself be knighted on the battlefield, in the ancient style, by the hand of none other than the Chevalier Bayard. Marshal Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, veteran of every war for the previous 40 years, praised Marignano as the “battle of giants” and stated that compared to it, all previous battles in his lifetime had been “child’s sport”.

Marignano established the superiority of French cast bronze artillery and gendarme cavalry over the heretofore invincible phalanx tactics of the Swiss infantry. French success at Marignano, however, eventually galvanized opposition in the divided peninsula and turned the European balance of power against Francis I. In the meantime, however, Francis gained the city, and more importantly, the Castello Sforzesco within it, the strategic key to control of Lombardy. There Massimiliano Sforza and his Swiss mercenaries and the cardinal-bishop of Sion retreated, only submitting when French sappers had placed mines under the foundations. The French regained Milan, and Massimiliano went into luxurious exile with a French purse of 30,000 ducats. [5]

Swiss side

The retreating Swiss army retained control of their upper-Lombardy provinces of Bellinzona and adjacent valleys, leaving a rearguard to preside over them.

The battle ended once and for all Swiss aspirations in Milan, and the Swiss Confederacy never again went to war against France or Milan. In fact, the Confederacy never went to war again at all after 1525, and (apart from the conquest of Vaud by the canton of Berne acting on its own in 1536) there never was any Swiss military offensive against an external enemy again. Swiss historiography has tended to attribute this to the "lesson learned" at Marignano, but at least as effective was the division created by the Swiss Reformation in the 1520s, dividing the Confederacy into two factions which would be occupied with internal hostilities throughout the period of the European Wars of Religion, as well as a number of painful defeats of Swiss mercenary regiments in the decade between 1515 and 1525 (at Bicocca, Sesia and Pavia).

Eternal Peace

After lengthy negotiations, an "Eternal Peace" between the Swiss cantons and Francis in both his roles as king of France and duke of Milan was signed in Fribourg on 29 November 1516. Both parties agreed not to ally themselves with opponents of the other party in any future military conflict, and to seek diplomatic or judicial resolution of all future conflicts. Switzerland renounced all claim to Milan, while France paid 700,000 gold crowns to compensate the Swiss for their Dijon and Milanese campaigns. France offered another 300,000 crowns if the Swiss were willing to yield their transmontane territories, but this offer was declined. Only the Ossola valley was passed back to Milan, while the other transmontane bailiwicks of the Swiss Confederacy remain part of Switzerland to this day, since 1803 as the canton Ticino. The treaty furthermore granted trade privileges to the Swiss, both in Milan and in Lyon. [6]

The "Eternal Peace" with France was indeed kept for the remainder of the lifetime of the Kingdom of France, and was broken only after the French Revolution, with the French invasion of Switzerland in 1798. It opens a period of close ties between the Swiss Confederacy with France over the next three centuries (while at the same time Switzerland moved away from its association with the Holy Roman Empire). A next step of rapprochemant to France was the service pact (Soldbündnis) with France, concluded in 1521, which made Swiss mercenary regiments a regular part of the French armed forces. This arrangement also outlasted three centuries, with four Swiss regiments participating in Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, foreign military service of Swiss citizens being finally outlawed in 1848 with the formation of Switzerland as a federal state.

Other

Marignano was also the first battle in history in which the fife was used (in this case, by the Swiss infantry to relay commands throughout the army). Shortly after the battle, Francis met with Pope Leo X in Bologna to discuss the return of Milan to France – a meeting at which Leonardo da Vinci was present. There, Francis persuaded Leonardo to accompany him back to France, and granted him the Clos Lucé manor.

Also present at the battle was Huldrych Zwingli, who since 1506 had been church patron at Glarus. In Glarus, there was political controversy on which side the young men seeking employment as mercenaries should take service, the side of France or that of the Holy Roman Empire and the Papal States. The aim was to prevent that men of Glarus took service on both sides of the war, which would result in the unhappy constellation of "brothers fighting brothers" on the battlefield, as had been the case at Novara in 1500. Zwingli had supported the Pope before Marignano, and even after the battle, he opposed the peace with France and continued to support the side of the Papal States. Since public opinion in Glarus had shifted towards a clearly pro-French stance after the peace of 1516, Zwingli was forced to abandon his position in Glarus. He took employment at Einsiedeln, and from 1519 in Zürich. Based on his experience in the Italian War, Zwingli became an outspoken opponent of mercenary service, arguing with Erasmus of Rotterdam that "war is sweet only to those who have not experienced it" (dulce bellum inexpertis). He also blamed the warmongery on the part of cardinal Schiner for the disaster at Marignano and began to preach against the "red caps" (rote hüetlin, i.e. the high clergy), the first signs of his radicalization that would culminate in the Swiss Reformation during the decade following Marignano.


The campaign of Marignano followed years of Swiss successes, during which French fortunes in Northern Italy had suffered greatly. The Swiss had taken control of Milan (for France the gateway to Italy) after their victory at the Battle of Novara (1513), and returned to its ducal throne Massimiliano — son of Lodovico il Moro, the last duke of the House of Sforza to rule independent Milan, as their puppet.

The prologue to the battle was a remarkable Alpine passage, in which Francis hauled pieces of artillery (including 40 or 70 huge cannons) over new-made roads over the Col d'Argentière, a previously unknown route. This was, at the time, considered one of the foremost military exploits of the age and the equal of Hannibal's crossing of the Alps. At Villafranca the French, led by Jacques de la Palice, [3] surprised and captured the Papal commander, Prospero Colonna, in a daring cavalry raid deep behind the allied lines (the Chevalier Bayard providing the impetus and expertise). Colonna and his staff aside, the French seized a great deal of booty on the raid, including 600 horses.

The capture of Colonna, along with the startling appearance of the French army on the plains of Piedmont, stunned the allies. The Pope and the Swiss both sought terms with Francis, while the Spanish allies en route from Naples halted to await developments. The main Swiss army retreated to Milan, while a large faction, tired of the war and eager to return home with the booty of years of successful campaigning, urged terms with the French.

Though the parties reached an agreement that gave Milan back to the French, the arrival of fresh and bellicose troops from the Swiss cantons annulled the agreement, as the newly arrived men had no desire to return home empty-handed and refused to abide by the treaty. Discord swept through the Swiss forces till Matthäus Schiner, cardinal of Sion and an arch-enemy of King Francis, inspired the Swiss with a fiery harangue on September 13, reminding them of what a smaller Swiss army had achieved against as powerful a French army at the Battle of Novara. Schiner pointed out the enormous profits of victory, appealed to national pride, and urged the Swiss to immediate battle. The effect was prodigious. The suddenly enthusiastic Swiss sprang to arms, issuing forth from Milan in disciplined but frenzied columns.


Marignano, Battle of

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It's very easy to get quality ebooks )

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Just select your click then download button, and complete an offer to start downloading the ebook. If there is a survey it only takes 5 minutes, try any survey which works for you.


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Comments:

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  2. Akigul

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  4. Wardell

    In my opinion, you were deceived like a child.

  5. Patli

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