Battle of Benevento


Battle of Benevento

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Benevento
partof=Guelphs and Ghibellines


caption=Battle of Benevento, from "Cronica" by Villani
date=February 26, 1266
place=near Benevento, present-day Italy
result=Guelph victory
combatant1=Guelphs (Angevin French and mercenaries)
combatant2=Ghibellines(Kingdom of Sicily, German and Italian mercenaries)
commander1=Charles of Anjou
commander2=Manfred of SicilyKIA
strength1=4,600 cavalry, unknown number of infantry
strength2=3,600 heavy cavalry, 300 light cavalry, 10,000 archers
casualties1=Unknown
casualties2= more than 2,500 cavalry killed; infantry unknown|

The Battle of Benevento was fought near Benevento, in present-day Southern Italy, on February 26, 1266, between the troops of Charles of Anjou and Manfred of Sicily. Manfred's defeat and death resulted in the capture of the Kingdom of Sicily by Charles.

Background

The Papacy had long been in conflict with the Imperial house of Hohenstaufen over their rule in Italy. At the time of the battle, the Hohenstaufen ruler in the Kingdom of Sicily (which included Sicily and southern Italy) was Manfred, illegitimate son of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. While the rightful heir to the kingdom was Frederick's legitimate grandson Conradin, he was young and safely across the Alps in Bavaria. Taking advantage of a false rumor of Conradin's death, Manfred had usurped the throne in 1258. Pope Urban IV determined to wrench the Kingdom from him, and in 1263, concluded a secret treaty with Charles of Anjou, giving him the Sicilian throne.

Prelude

Charles reached Rome in 1265, but was temporarily halted by financial embarrassments. Manfred, however, did not take the field against him until January 1266, when Charles' main army had crossed the Alps. Alarmed by desertions among his followers and fearing further treachery, Manfred sought to bring Charles to battle as swiftly as possible. Charles attempted to turn Manfred's position at Capua by a perilous crossing of the Apennines which wrecked his supply line; but Manfred had intelligence of his move and lay in a strong position across the River Calore, crossed only by one bridge.

Charles had divided his cavalry into three "battles". The infantry and the first battle, consisting of 900 Provençals were at the front, commanded by Hugh of Mirepoix and Philip of Montfort, Lord of Castres; behind them the second battle, 400 Italians and 1,000 men of Languedoc and central France, Charles commanding in person; behind them, the third battle of about 700, the men of Flanders under Gilles II de Trasignies, Constable of France, and Robert III of Flanders.

Manfred had adopted similar dispositions. His Saracen archers were in the fore. Behind them was the first battle, 1,200 German mercenaries armed in coats-of-plates (a novelty at the time), commanded by his cousin Giordano d'Anglano and Galvano of Anglona. The second battle consisted of the Italian mercenaries, about 1,000, and 300 Saracen light horse, commanded by his uncle Galvano Lancia. The third battle, numbering 1,400, were the feudatories of the Kingdom, under Manfred's personal command.

Battle

The battle began in the morning, when Manfred advanced his Saracens (archers and a few light cavalry) across the bridge to skirmish. They drove off Charles' infantry, but were put to flight by his first battle. Rashly (whether on their own initiative or by Manfred's order is not known), Manfred's first battle crossed the bridge and counter-charged. At first, the German mercenaries seemed unstoppable; all blows rebounded from their armor plates, and Charles was forced to commit his second battle. The Germans continued to advance, but then the French discovered that the new plate armor did not protect the armpits when the arm was lifted to strike. The Germans were swiftly broken.

The tide of battle now rapidly turned against Manfred. His troops were forced to defile across the single bridge over the Calore to reach the field. By the time his second battle had crossed the bridge, Charles had ordered his third battle to charge them on both flanks and they were swiftly destroyed. Upon the defeat of the Italians, most of the nobles in Manfred's third battle deserted him, leaving only the king and a few faithful followers. After exchanging the royal surcoat with his friend Tebaldo Annibaldi, Manfred and his followers charged into the fray and were slain.

Aftermath

The destruction of Manfred's army marked the collapse of Hohenstaufen rule in Italy. The remainder of the Kingdom of Sicily was conquered almost without resistance. Settled in his new kingdom, Charles could await the coming of Conradin, the last hope of the Hohenstaufen, in 1268, and meet him at the Battle of Tagliacozzo.

References

*
*


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Benevento — Bénévent redirects here. For other uses, see Bénévent (disambiguation). Benevento   Comune   Comune di Benevento …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Tagliacozzo — Infobox Military Conflict caption= conflict=Battle of Tagliacozzo partof= date=August 23, 1268 place=Tagliacozzo, L Aquila province, present day Italy result=Anjou victory combatant1=Anjou (Guelph) combatant2=Hohenstaufen (Ghibelline)… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Beneventum — The Battle of Beneventum may refer to one of two battles:*The Battle of Beneventum (275 BC), an inconclusive battle fought between Pyrrhus of Epirus and Manius Curius Dentatus during the Pyrrhic War. *The Battle of Beneventum (214 BC), a battle… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Civitate — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Civitate partof= caption=Battle plan of the Battle of Civitale. Red: Normans. Blue: Papal coalition. date=18 June 1053 place=Civitella del Fortore (near Foggia), Italy result=Norman victory… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Stilo — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Stilo caption= partof=The Middle Ages date=July 14, 982 place=Capo Colonna, near Crotone, Italy result=Saracen victory combatant1=Holy Roman Empire Lombards of Southern Italy combatant2=Kalbid Saracens …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Nocera — The Battle of Nocera or Scafati was the first major battle of Roger II of Sicily and one of two of his major defeats (the other being the Battle of Rignano) at the hands of Count Ranulf of Alife. BackgroundIn 1132, the disaffected Ranulf had… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Beneventum (275 BC) — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Beneventum partof=the Pyrrhic War date=275 BC place=Beneventum (modern Benevento), Campania, Italy result=Inconclusive, claimed by some to be a narrow Roman victory combatant1=Roman Republic combatant2 …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Beneventum (214 BC) — Infobox Military Conflict conflict = Battle of Beneventum partof = the Second Punic War caption = date = 214 BC place = Beneventum; modern Benevento result = Roman victory combatant1 = Roman Republic combatant2 = Carthage commander1 = Tiberius… …   Wikipedia

  • Benevento — /ben euh ven toh/; It. /be ne ven taw/, n. a city in N Campania, in S Italy: monumental arch erected by Trajan. 62,131. * * * ▪ Italy Latin  Beneventum,         city and archiepiscopal see, Campania regione, southern Italy. The city lies on a… …   Universalium

  • Battle of Monte Porzio — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Monte Porzio partof= caption= date=29 May 1167 place=Between the hill of Monte Porzio Catone and the walls of the city of Tusculum, the field of Prataporci , modern Lazio result=Imperial victory… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.