The military historiography of the Restoration age has been studied in its basic trends, but the stress has generally been laid on individual authors or on the interpretation of definite historical periods, such as the Middle Ages or the Napoleonic decades. In some cases (Benedetto Croce) historians have been grouped on the basis of their methodological or ideological choices ("scientific historiography", "institutional history" or "national sentiment"). The Storia delle Compagnie di ventura in Italia by Ercole Ricotti does not fit easily in such schemes. His reconstruction crosses the line between Middle Ages and early modern Italy and even touches upon the Napoleonic period and the Restoration itself. Croce deals with Ricotti’s work in the chapter about Institutional history, but the latter’s ability to blend military with political and social history makes of his work on the mercenary troops in Italy the highest achievement of Italian Restoration historiography. It must be added that although Ricotti adopts a nationalist ideology, he does so in a "bourgeois" spirit and is in any case hostile to the Piedmontese aristocracy; among other things, he shows himself to be a firm supporter of constitutionalism, in the wake of French liberal historiography.
Keywords: Historiography, military, Restoration, mercenary troops