In the year 1495, Charles VIII was the youthful King of France, the most powerful state in medieval Europe. A dreamer who saw himself as the saviour of Christian Europe, he believed he could roll back the ever-spreading tide of Ottoman Turkish conquest. As a base for his crusade he was determined to seize southern Italy. In a lightning campaign he used France's modern army to sweep through Italy, his mobile field artillery train smashing into dust the tall towers of Italy's medieval castles. The Italian states rallied and at Fornovo their alliance, the League of Venice, fought Charles' army to a standstill.