M y narrative until now has dwelt prim arily upon the colonels and generals, the most visible stars in the constellation of Italian officers. Before going further, it is time to go beyond the biographical inform ation and make some generalizations about the social group in our narrative. W ho were they? W here did they come from? W here did they choose to fight, and when? T he answers to these questions should reveal some fundam ental traits o f Italian and European politics o f the era. T hree Fascist biographical encyclopedias help elucidate those problem s. T he works were probably designed to be com plem entary in a rough sort o f way. N ot only did their com pilers form at the entries identically but, am ong m ore than 4,100 entries, they duplicate no m ore than a few score. They make the same basic assumptions as to the identity o f ‘Italians’ in the seventeenth century: the entries include a few Savoyards w ho m oved in court circles in T urin and some C roatian notables living in the Italian-speaking cities along the eastern Adriatic; they integrate the V enetian families established in Crete for generations; and they count Corsicans as Italians w ithout hesitation. The compilers also tend to see 1700 as their cut-off point, although m any M aggiorotti engineers belong to the eighteenth century7, and a handful o f Argegni’s cases extend into the period after the Spanish succession.