Robert of Naples


Robert of Naples

Robert of Anjou, known as Robert the Wise ( _it. Roberto il Saggio, 1277 – 20 January, 1343) was King of Naples from 1309 to 1343. He was also Duke of Calabria (1296–1309), titular King of Jerusalem, and Count of Provence and Forcalquier (1309–43).

Biography

He was the third but eldest surviving son of King Charles II of Naples "the Lame" and Maria of Hungary.

During the Sicilian Vespers, Robert was the hostage of Peter III of Aragon. After the death of his elder brother, Charles Martel, he became heir to the crown of Sicily; to obtain it, he married James II of Aragon's daughter Yolanda, in exchange for James's renouncing of Sicily. However, the Sicilian barons refused him and elected James' brother, Frederick III. The war continued, and with the Peace of Caltabellotta (1302) Robert and the Angevin dynasty lost Sicily forever, their rule limited to the south of peninsular Italy.

He intervened in the war of factions in Florence, assuming the seigniory of that city, but had to abandon it due to Pope Clement V's opposition. He was made King of Naples and Sicily in 1309, after the death of his father Charles II, his reign being blessed by Clement V who made him papal vicar in Romagna. While Robert's nephew Charles Robert of Anjou could have succeeded just as rightfully, being the son of Charles Martel, he was preoccupied with obtaining the Hungarian crown (which he accomplished in 1310) and did not press his claim to the throne of Naples. Robert was the heir in proximity of blood.

The leader of the Guelph party in Italy, Robert opposed the sojourn of Emperor Henry VII in Italy (1311–13) and his occupation of Rome in 1312. After Henry's death, the war continued against the Ghibelline leaders in northern Italy, Matteo Visconti and Cangrande della Scala. Already ruler of wide possessions in Piedmont, Robert's power increased further when in 1317 the pope named him Senator of Rome, and when he became Lord of Genoa (1318) and Brescia (1319).

In 1328 he fought another emperor, Louis IV of Bavaria, and in 1330 forced John of Bohemia to quit northern Italy. Robert's hegemony in Italy was diminished only by the constant menace of Aragonese Sicily.

When the succession to the margraviate of Saluzzo was disputed between Manfred V and his nephew Thomas II in 1336, Robert intervened on behalf of Manfred, for Thomas had married into the Ghibelline Visconti family. Robert advanced on Saluzzo and besieged it. He succeeded in taking it and sacking it, setting the city on fire and imprisoning Thomas, who had to pay a ransom. The whole dramatic incident is recorded by Silvio Pellico. However, when his viceroy Reforza d'Angoult was defeated in the Battle of Gamenario his power in Piedmont began to crumble.

Robert reigned until his death in 1343. Robert was succeeded by his 16-year-old granddaughter Joan I of Naples, his son Charles having predeceased him, who was already betrothed to 15-year-old Andrew of Hungary, son of Charles Robert. However, in his will, he recognized the rights of Andrew to Naples as son of Charles Robert and ordained that he be crowned king in his own right. This provision was to result in a fatal struggle between Joan and Andrew, and eventually led to the end of Angevin rule in Naples.

Legacy

King Robert was nicknamed "the peace-maker of Italy" due to the years of significant changes he made to Naples. Tradesmen from Italy and abroad erected superb buildings, monuments and statues that drastically changed King Robert's capital from a dirty seaport to a city of elegance and medieval splendor.

He was remembered by Petrarch and Boccaccio as an cultured man and a generous patron of the arts. The former asked to be examined by Robert before his being crowned as poet in the Capitol Hill in Rome (1341). [Kelly, Samantha, "The New Solomon: Robert of Naples (1309-1343) and Fourteenth-Century Kingship", page 2 [http://books.google.com/books?id=d_p7zdJ-hq4C&dq=%22robert+of+naples%22+petrarch+boccaccio+dionigi&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=lOT2fk3GUa&sig=ts1-m1Brkt4Lqs3L-96N0jmiDt4#PPA2,M1 Google Books] ] Petrarch's Latin epic "Africa" is dedicated to Robert, though it was not made available to readers until 1397, long after both Petrarch and Robert were dead.

Family

* First wife, Yolanda of Aragon, daughter of King Peter III of Aragon and Constantia of Sicily.
** Charles (1298–1328), Duke of Calabria (1309), Viceroy of Naples (1318), who was the father of Queen Joan I of Naples
** Louis (1301–10)
* Second wife, Sancha of Majorca, daughter of King James II of Majorca
* Unknown mistress
** Fiammetta, who married Andrea Thopia, Lord of Matija

Ancestry

Other sources

* Coat of arms of the House of Anjou-Sicily fr icon

References


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