(1 syl.), in Christian art, is an attribute of St. Matthew and
St. Thomas, the apostles; also of St. Longinus, St. George, St.
Adalbert, St. Oswin, St. Barbara, St. Michael, St. Dometrius, and
had a lance of gold that with enchanted force dismounted everyone
it touched. (Orlando Furioso, bk. ix.)
One who acts on his own judgment, and not from party motives. The
reference is to the Free Companies of the Middle Ages, called in Italy condottieri, and in France Compagnies Grandes, which were
free to act as they liked, and were not servants of the Crown or of any
other potentate. It must be confessed, however, that they were willing
to sell themselves to any master and any cause, good or bad.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894