John Hawkwood

Sir John Hawkwood (c. 1323–1394) was an English soldier who served as a mercenary leader or condottiero in Italy. As his name was difficult to pronounce for non-English-speaking contemporaries, there are many variations of it in the historical record. He often referred to himself as "Haukevvod" and in Italy he was known as "Giovanni Acuto", meaning literally "John Sharp" (or "John the Astute") referring to his "cleverness or cunning".[1] His name was Latinised as Johannes Acutus ("John Sharp").[2] Other recorded forms are "Aucgunctur", "Haughd", "Hauvod", "Hankelvode", "Augudh", "Auchevud", "Haukevvod", "Haukwode" and "Haucod".[3] His exploits made him a man shrouded in myth in both England and Italy. Much of his enduring fame results from the surviving large and prominent fresco portrait of him in the Duomo, Florence, made in 1436 by Paolo Uccello, seen every year by 4½ million[4] tourists.

1436 fresco depicting Sir John Hawkwood by Paolo Uccello, Duomo, Florence. With Renaissance grotto-esque candelabra decorated frame added by Lorenzo di Credi in 1524. The Latin inscription reads: Ioannes Acutus eques brittanicus dux aetatis suae cautissimus et rei militaris peritissimus habitus est ("John Hawkwood, British knight, most prudent leader of his age and most expert in the art of war").
Engraving based on fresco of John Hawkwood
Arms of Hawkwood: Argent, on a chevron sable three escallops of the field, as seen on his fresco in the Duomo, Florence