Charles I (Naples)
Charles I of Anjou ( French Charles d'Anjou , Italian Carlo d'Angiò ; * March 1227 , † January 7, 1285 in Foggia ) was King of Sicily since 1266 . From 1282 onwards, his territory was limited to the mainland part of the kingdom , but the title remained unchanged. He is the progenitor of the older house of Anjou , a branch of the French ruling Capetian dynasty .
Origin and youth
Karl was the youngest son of the French King Louis VIII the Lion († 1226) and his wife Blanka of Castile . His date of birth is unknown and is still the subject of research to this day. King Ludwig VIII named five living sons in his will written in June 1225, whereby according to a chronicle from Tournai when he died in November 1226, in addition to Ludwig (IX), Robert, Alfons, Johann and Philipp-Dagobert there was a sixth son named Stephan has been added. Based on this information, it is assumed that Charles must have been born after this, perhaps not until the first months of 1227. However, this is countered by the fact that his birth is not mentioned in the chronicles, which is nothing unusual in medieval historiography, as well as the events that immediately followed the death of Louis VIII and the assumption of government by his widow. Blanka of Castile not only had the funeral of her husband and the coronation of the eldest son Louis IX. organize, but also put down an uprising of the feudal nobility against their rule. She had to make arduous journeys, from Montpensier , to Saint-Denis and Paris , from there to Reims and finally to stay in Curçay in January 1227 . A risky business for a heavily pregnant woman in the 13th century. A late story by a traveling singer from Rheims reports that Queen Blanka defended herself in this context against the allegation of the affair with the papal legate Romano Bonaventura by undressing in front of the court society in order to refute the rumor of a supposed pregnancy. The truthfulness of this amusement tale is classified as low, but it can be based on a general knowledge that the Queen-Regent was not pregnant after the death of Louis VIII.
As an alternative, an identification of Charles with the sixth king's son Stephan is also being considered. His year of birth 1225 is known. Stephan was probably only born after the filing of his father's will (June 1225), as a sixth son is not mentioned in it. With the death of Louis VIII. In 1226 it disappears from the traditions. Charles, on the other hand, first appeared in history together with his brothers in 1239 when they received the crown of thorns that had arrived from Constantinople . Stephan was probably destined for a spiritual career, while the four older brothers were earmarked by will for secular tasks, in that they were given the monarchy for Ludwig with the appointment to important fiefdoms. In addition to Philipp-Dagobert, Johann died in 1232, which necessitated a new personal regulation in the will. As a “replacement” for Johann's inheritance decrees, Stephan could have moved up. On this occasion, perhaps on the occasion of his confirmation , he could adopt a new name in order to shed his previous spiritual life in favor of the secular.
It is remarkable that Karl was the first legitimately born Capetian prince to bear the name of the emperor Charlemagne . Only Peter Karlotus , son of Philip II August , had carried it before him , and that only in the diminutive . Under Louis VIII, the Capetian kingdom had dynastic and ideological ties to the Carolingian dynasty , which from then on also manifested itself in the naming.
In 1245 Charles led an army to Provence on behalf of his brother in order to secure it against French influence against Aragon after the death of Count Raimund Berengar V. The count's eldest daughter, Margarete , was with King Ludwig IX. married, but this was not considered the heir to the county, but her youngest sister Beatrix , who was still unmarried . In order to bind Provence more tightly to France, Karl was immediately married to Beatrix in Aix , which brought him rule over this country, but also a lifelong rivalry with Margaret, who did not agree with her sister's inheritance. De jure was the County of Provence as part of the ancient kingdom of Burgundy to the Holy Roman Emperor lehnspflichtig , but Charles ignored this by he took his brother fealty. At this point in time, Emperor Friedrich II was unable to protect the rights of the empire in Provence.
On a court day in Melun , August 1246, Charles was given by his brother Ludwig IX. Knighted and enfeoffed with the counties of Anjou and Maine according to her father's will . These fiefs previously belonged to the Plantagenet dynasty , but in 1204 King Philip II of August declared their possessions forfeit. But the then head of the Plantagenets, King Heinrich III. of England , still made a claim to it and only gave it up in the Treaty of Paris (1259) .
Crusade to Egypt and reign of France
On August 25, 1248, Charles broke with Louis IX. in Aigues-Mortes on the Sixth Crusade to Egypt. He took part in the siege of Damiette and in December 1249 defended the crusaders' camp in front of al-Mansura . On February 8, 1250, Charles's brother Robert von Artois fell in an unprepared attack on the city ; In the ensuing battle on February 11, it was not least Charles's leadership qualities that made the victory of the Crusaders possible. But the siege of al-Mansura had to be given up due to the army, which was weakened by disease. On the march back to Damiette, Karl and Ludwig IX came across. on April 8, 1250 at Fariskur in the captivity of the Mamluks .
After the early release from captivity, Charles returned to France with his brother Alfons of Poitiers , while Louis IX. himself remained in the Holy Land , and took a seat on his mother's Regency Council. Together with Alfons, he moved to Provence, where the local nobility and the cities, under the leadership of Barral des Baux, had revolted against his rule. By June 1251, the brothers succeeded in suppressing the revolt. Charles took control of Marseilles while Avignon fell to Alfons. Charles tried to combine his position in the government of France with personal interests when Countess Margaret II of Flanders turned to him in 1253 . Their sons from their second marriage (Avesnes) fought for several years against the sons from their first marriage (Dampierre) in the Flemish War of Succession for their mother's rich inheritance. This now promised Karl the county of Hainaut in return for his support against the Avesnes brothers. Charles began a successful campaign in which he conquered the city of Mons and besieged Valenciennes , whereupon the Avesnes entered into an alliance with the Roman-German King William of Holland . But before it came to an armed conflict with this, King Ludwig IX returned. retired from the Holy Land, entered Ghent in 1255 and forced an end to the fighting. In 1256 all parties had to accept the royal arbitration ruling already made in 1246 regarding the succession in Flanders, which did not take Charles into account. Later, however, the Countess bought the promise of Hainaut from Karl for a lot of money.
Then Charles moved to Provence , where he consolidated his rule by persuading the Prince of Orange to pay homage in August 1257 . In the following period he expanded the territory of Provence until 1259 at the expense of the Count of Savoy .
Fight against the Hohenstaufen
In the following years a new field of activity opened up for Karl in southern Italy. The Pope found himself in a power struggle against the Hohenstaufen dynasty and sought support from the royal houses of Europe. After the English Prince Edmund had refused his support in 1254, the Pope turned to Charles of Anjou for the first time, but he also refused. The rejection came under pressure from King Louis IX, who still regarded the Hohenstaufen as legitimate kings of Sicily and considered action against them to be morally questionable.
The attitude of Louis IX. changed in 1258 after Manfred usurped the throne in Palermo against the rights of his own nephew Conradin and did not recognize the pope's feudal sovereignty in Sicily. In addition, Pope Urban IV was able to convince the French king in 1261 that any future crusade could only have a chance of success if Sicily was ruled by a well-meaning king. After Louis IX. had failed with a last diplomatic attempt to move Manfred to an alliance with the Pope against Byzantium and the Muslims, he gave Karl his consent in 1263 for a campaign to Italy, which was to take on the character of a crusade. The king also supported his brother financially by collecting a tax especially for him.
In August 1263, Charles was elected Senator of Rome , and after he had moved into the city, he was enfeoffed by Pope Clement IV on August 28, 1265 with the Kingdom of Naples-Sicily . The coronation in St. Peter's Church in Rome by several cardinals followed on January 6, 1266 , whereupon Charles and his army turned against Manfred. He found and killed him in the battle of Benevento . This victory helped Charles establish his rule over the Kingdom of Sicily. He moved into Naples on March 7th. He set up a centralized and efficient administration and relied largely on French officials, who exerted extreme tax pressure on the population. His young kingship was to shake again when the coming of age Konradin turned against him with an army in 1268, whereupon the first revolts against Charles arose in Sicily, which were supported by a Pisan fleet. At the same time, the pope was driven out of Rome by a popular revolt, where the Ghibellines took power under Charles' former ally Henry of Castile , to whom he had transferred the office of senator after Benevento. Nevertheless, Charles stuck to his alliance with the Pope, from whom he was awarded the Imperial Vicariate for Italy in Viterbo in April 1268 . At the same time he had Konradin excommunicated . On June 25th, Conradin defeated an army of Charles at Ponte di Valle and entered Rome on July 24th. Together with Henry of Castile, he moved on to the territory of Charles to unite with the rebellious Saracens of Lucera , which Charles was able to prevent. On August 23, he put Conradin in the battle of Tagliacozzo and achieved a crushing victory over him, as a result of which Charles was able to move into Rome, took over the office of senator and made the return of the Pope possible.
Konradin was captured on the run and handed over to Karl. In order to finally eliminate the threat of the Hohenstaufen against his rule, he had a trial against Konradin opened. As expected, the verdict ended with a guilty verdict. The last Hohenstaufen was beheaded on October 29, 1268 in Naples. The majority of contemporaries saw this act as a monstrous crime, "a transgression of the barriers that the peoples had been drawn for centuries by law and custom" (according to the Konradin biographer Ferdinand Geldner).
World empire plans
Charles was now King of Sicily, and this opened up far-reaching opportunities for him to establish a great Mediterranean empire. The opposition between the Latins and Greeks in the ancient Byzantine area gave him the opportunity to do so. Ever since the Latin Emperor of Constantinople , Baldwin II of Courtenay , was expelled by the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos in 1261 , he was looking for a strong ally to regain his lost empire. Emperor Michael VIII, in turn, had expanded his position by skillfully navigating the conflict between the Staufers and the Pope, so that no united front could emerge against him. This changed with the reign of Charles of Anjou, who was on the best of terms with the Pope. With his mediation, Charles concluded a treaty with Baldwin II in Viterbo on May 27, 1267, which included the reconquest of Constantinople. Karl was also given sovereignty over Morea , Epirus and Corfu , which he immediately occupied, and promised a third of all conquests. Furthermore, he won over the princes of the Balkans like Konstantin Tich for his anti-Pyzantine alliance. The Pope died the following year, and for the next three years Karl prevented the election of a new head of the church so as not to jeopardize his plans. In 1270 he sent the first troops to the Peloponnese .
But in this situation the crusade plan of his older brother Louis IX thwarted . of France in June 1270 his goals, since he could not refuse them. But Karl knew how to let his brother go against the Sultan of Tunis , who allegedly would convert to Christianity under this threat. In fact, the Sultan had once been a vassal of Sicily, but after the demise of King Manfred had been able to strip away that vassal. Karl therefore endeavored to renew this. When he arrived at the camp outside Tunis on August 25, his brother was already dying. After his death, Karl tried to take command of the crusader army, but was able to defeat his nephew Philip III. not enforce. For this he reached a peace treaty with the sultan, who paid him a heavy tribute, and with his nephew he obtained the surrender of the bowels of Louis IX, who even then had the reputation of a saint. He had the entrails buried in Monreale . In the meantime, Prince Eduard Plantagenet had also arrived near Tunis with an English cruise fleet and urged the French crusaders to continue the crusade in Palestine . During the crossing, Charles's fleet got caught in a storm and many of his ships sank, which served as an excuse to return to Sicily.
Participation in the crusade, however, thwarted Charles's attack on Byzantium, and even after that he was not given any more opportunity for the time being, since in 1271 a pope was elected with Gregory X. who maintained a distant relationship with Charles. In 1272 Charles could only take Durazzo . He called these conquests Regnum Albaniae - Kingdom of Albania, in order to be able to claim supremacy over the local Albanian princes with the royal title he had acquired himself. The Albanian coast should serve as a starting point for further conquests in Romania . In order to tie the Pope more closely to his camp again, Karl sponsored the election of his nephew Philip III in 1273. of France to the Roman-German king. Gregor recognized the danger of an impending Angevin embrace and instead lent his support to Count Rudolf von Habsburg , who also prevailed in the election.
Charles's plans suffered another setback when Michael VIII completed the union of the Eastern Church with the papacy on July 6, 1274 at the Council of Lyons . The Byzantine emperor did this against the will of his own clergy, but was able to break the alliance between the Pope and Charles of Anjou. As a result, Charles lost several bases in the Balkans to Byzantium such as Berat and Butrinto . Another threat arose from the King of Aragon , who saw himself as the heir of the Hohenstaufen. To counter this danger, Charles played his dominant influence on his nephew Philip III. from France and achieved in the Treaty of Orléans 1275 the inclusion of Navarre in a common front against Aragon.
King of Jerusalem
Since his ambitions in the direction of Byzantium were temporarily paralyzed, Charles became more interested in the Holy Land. There he had excellent relationships, not with the Christian barons, but with the Mamluks in Egypt. As early as 1272 he had negotiated a treaty between the English Prince Eduard Plantagenet and Sultan Baibars I , which brought the Christians a ten-year peace. Now he strove for the crown of Jerusalem and was supported not only by the Pope, but also by his arch opponent Michael VIII. Palaiologos. He hoped that a distraction from Charlemagne would provide additional relief.
In March 1277, through the intermediary of the Pope, Charles bought her more than thin claims to the crown of Jerusalem for 1,000 livre in gold and an annual pension of 4,000 livre from the princely daughter Maria of Antioch . The Barons Outremers recognized neither Maria nor Karl and declared themselves King Hugo III. of Cyprus as the legal heirs of the Staufers. In the Knights Templar, however, Charles found a powerful ally, who with Hugo III. there was a dispute over the possession of the castles of Sidon and Arsuf . In addition, the Grand Master of the Templars, Guillaume de Beaujeu , was a relative of Charles. In 1277 Charles appointed his follower Roger of San Severino to be his Bailli in Jerusalem and sent him to Acre , the capital of the kingdom. With the help of the Templars and the Venetians , Roger was able to move into Acre. The rightful Bailli, Balian of Ibelin , surrendered the city's citadel without a fight in view of the overwhelming power and withdrew to Cyprus.
This enabled Charles to establish his rule in Acre, which was recognized a little later by Prince Bohemund VII , the great-great-nephew of Mary of Antioch. Militarily his rule was secured by a French regiment, which once his brother Louis IX. left there and which was still maintained by the French crown. He achieved a coexistence with the Mamluks, as they could be sure that Karl would not allow a crusade against them. The Lords of Tire and Beirut, however, stayed on the side of the King of Cyprus, who upheld his claim.
New offensive against Byzantium
The death of Pope Gregory X at the beginning of 1276 enabled Charles to resume his anti-Byzantine policy by strengthening his influence on the papacy in the short pontificate that followed. Only Nicholas III. tried to oppose him; he withdrew Karl's vicariate and senatorial office. After his death in 1280, Martin IV was elected a leader who was entirely dependent on the French party, that is, Charles of Anjou.
Before that, Charles had been able to strengthen his position against Byzantium after the Prince of Achaia had died in 1278 and his principality was now passed to Charles in accordance with the Treaty of Viterbo. In the same year, the Prince of Epirus recognized Karl as his overlord, and the rulers of the Balkans continued to maintain their alliance with him. Under Charles's influence, Martin IV unilaterally terminated the ecclesiastical union with Byzantium in his first year in office in 1281 and thus took the last hurdle for an attack against Byzantium. On July 3, 1281 Venice joined the Angevin alliance in Orvieto in the hope of regaining its old trading bases in Constantinople from a victory against Byzantium.
Thereupon Charles sent a first army to Albania, but it failed with a siege of Berat and was destroyed by a Byzantine relief army. Nevertheless, in the spring of 1282, Charles assembled a force of over 400 ships and 27,000 men and prepared for the main blow against Byzantium. His allies in the Balkans also deployed their armies.
The Sicilian Vespers
In this crucial situation, on March 30, 1282, a popular revolt against the French officials broke out in Palermo and Corleone , which quickly spread to other cities in Sicily . Charles only took the uprising seriously when, on August 30, 1282, the Aragonese King Peter III. landed at Trapani and was proclaimed king.
The Sicilian Vespers , as which this uprising went down in history, would prove to be an event of far-reaching political consequences for the entire Mediterranean region around Italy, Greece, Spain, France and the Holy Land. Even in the run-up to the uprising, the Sicilians' growing dissatisfaction with the French was fueled and financially supported by the Byzantine emperor, who saw it as the only way to avoid the threat posed by Charles of Anjou. The revolt in the King of Aragon had another sponsor, who was married to a daughter of King Manfred and therefore had a claim to the Sicilian crown as heir of the Hohenstaufen.
Faced with the serious threat posed by Peter of Aragon, Charles traveled to France in early 1283. There both rulers arranged a judicial duel in Bordeaux for June 1, 1283 with one hundred knights on both sides in order to prevent a lengthy war against each other. The duel was forbidden, however, at the objection of the Pope, since the induction of a divine judgment did not correspond to canon law. Nevertheless, in June 1283, Charles, as well as the French king and the French knighthood, came to Bordeaux. Ultimately, however, Anjou and Aragón refrained from conducting the duel and blamed each other for delays in dates. In July of the same year, Charles's fleet was destroyed near Malta , whereupon the Aragonese raided the coast of mainland Italy and sealed off the port of Naples. Karl exercised his influence on his nephew, King Philip III, and moved him to a crusade against Aragon . Pope Martin IV had given his blessing on such a crusade by excommunicating Peter and declaring all of his property forfeit. Meanwhile, Charles's son of the same name, whom he had left behind as regent, suffered a heavy defeat against the Aragonese fleet in the Bay of Naples on June 5, 1284 and was captured. Karl returned to Naples only three days later and was henceforth occupied with the defense of his mainland property around Calabria and Apulia . In this situation he died on January 7, 1285 in Foggia .
The Sicilian Vespers brought down Charles's plans to establish a great empire. His descendants were only able to assert themselves in southern Italy with their main residence in Naples, but played only a subordinate role in European politics and got bogged down in bloody intrigues among one another. The rule in Acre was also lost in 1286 after the Angevin governor had handed the city's citadel over to King Henry II of Cyprus . The claim to the Kingdom of Jerusalem was only preserved under Karl's descendants in their titulature. For the Byzantine Empire, the end of Charles meant another respite for the next one hundred and fifty years until it was conquered by the Ottomans . The loss of Sicily to Aragon also marked the beginning of Catalan dominance in the western Mediterranean, southern Italy and Greece.
After his death, Karl received a separate burial : his body was buried in the Cathedral of San Gennaro in Naples , while his entrails were buried in a tomb in the Cathedral of Foggia . The shape of the Neapolitan tomb is not documented. In 1596 it was completely destroyed and replaced by an epitaph made by Domenico Fontana , which can still be seen today on the entrance wall of the cathedral.
In 1326, Clementine of Hungary , Queen of France, donated a heart tomb to her great-grandfather Karl in Saint-Jacques in Paris . The specially made reclining figure, which shows a young Karl with his heart in his left hand, was transferred to the Abbey of Saint-Denis in 1820 .
Charles of Anjou was one of the most controversial figures in Europe's medieval history. In general, the image of the papal executioner of the Staufer sticks to him to this day, who in his excessive ambition and boundless striving for power did not shrink from any violence. From Dante he was even with the death of the famous polymath Thomas Aquinas associated. But not all medieval chroniclers delivered a negative image of him; Salimbene , for example, judged Karl in his chronicle : "He was an excellent general and took from the French the abuse they had taken on themselves under St. Louis in the Orient."
There is no dispute that Karl's dominant influence on politics is. It was he who filled the power vacuum in Italy after the fall of the Hohenstaufen dynasty and made the French king as well as the pope instruments of his interests. This policy particularly discredited the moral authority of the papacy, in whose name Charles led two crusades against Christian powers and thus prepared his way into the " Babylonian exile ". As a result of the imperialless period, Karl became the most powerful ruler of his time, which, according to Kienast , made him the "uncrowned emperor of the West". In Dante's divine comedy , Karl sits at the gates of purgatory and sings in chord with his rival Peter of Aragon.
Louis VII the Younger
Adele of Champagne
Baldwin V of Hainaut
Margaret I of Flanders
Sancho III. of Castile
Blanka of Navarre
Heinrich II. Plantagenet
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Philip II August
Isabelle of Hainaut
Alfonso VIII of Castile
Louis VIII the Lion
Blanka of Castile
Charles I of Anjou
The following children came from the first marriage (since 1246) with Beatrix von der Provence († 1267):
- Ludwig (* / † 1248 in Nicosia )
- Blanche (around 1250 - January 10, 1269)
- ⚭ 1266 with Count Robert III. of Flanders (* 1249; † 1322)
Beatrix (* around 1252; † 1275)
- ⚭ 1273 with Philipp von Courtenay († 1283), titular emperor of Constantinople
Charles II the Lame (* 1254 - 6 May 1309 in Naples), King of Naples
- ⚭ 1270 with Mary of Hungary
Philipp (* 1256; † January 1, 1277 in Bari )
- ⚭ May 28, 1271 with Isabelle de Villehardouin (* 1263; † January 23, 1312)
- Robert (* around 1258; † 1265)
Isabella (* 1261; † 1304)
- ⚭ 1272 with King Ladislaus IV of Hungary (* 1262; † 1290)
- Margarethe († after 1276 at a young age)
coat of arms
- Jean Dunbabin: The French in the Kingdom of Sicily, 1266-1305 . Cambridge 2011.
- Jean Dunbabin: Charles I of Anjou. Power, Kingship and State-Making in Thirteenth-Century Europe . London / New York 1998.
- Peter Herd : Charles I of Anjou . Stuttgart u. a. 1979.
- Peter Herd: Carlo I d'Angiò. In: Alberto M. Ghisalberti (Ed.): Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (DBI). Volume 20: Carducci-Carusi. Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, Rome 1977, pp. 199-226.
- Peter Herd: Charles I of Anjou . In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages (LexMA). Volume 5, Artemis & Winkler, Munich / Zurich 1991, ISBN 3-7608-8905-0 , Sp. 983-985.
- Tanja Michalsky : Memoria and representation: the tombs of the royal house of Anjou in Italy . Göttingen 2000 (publications of the Max Planck Institute for History, 157), ISBN 3-525-35473-8
- On the testament of Louis VIII see Layettes du Trésor des Chartes Vol. 2, ed. by Alexandre Teulet (Paris, 1866), no. 1710, p. 54. For the names of the princes see Chronicon Turonense , ed. by Léopold Delisle in: Recueil des Historiens des Gaules et de la France, Vol. XVIII (1878), p. 317
- On the year of Prince Stephen's birth see: Chronicon Turonense , ed. by Léopold Delisle in: Recueil des Historiens des Gaules et de la France, Vol. XVIII (1878), p. 313
- Guillaume de Nangis , Gesta Sancti Ludovici , ed. by M. Daunou in: Recueil des Historiens des Gaules et de la France , Vol. XX (1840), p. 327
- On the death of Princes Johann and Philipp-Dagobert see Alberich von Trois-Fontaines , Chronica , in: Monumenta Germaniae Historica SS Vol. XXIII (1874), p. 930
- Guillaume de Nangis, Gesta Sancti Ludovici , ed. by M. Daunou in: Recueil des Historiens des Gaules et de la France, Vol. XX (1840), pp. 353-354
- Guillaume de Nangis, Gesta Sancti Ludovici , ed. by M. Daunou in: Recueil des Historiens des Gaules et de la France Vol. XX (1840), p. 354
- J. Loughlin: Pope Clement IV. (No longer available online.) In: The Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company, 1908, archived from the original on April 17, 2016 ; accessed on May 22, 2016 (English). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Guillaume de Nangis, Gesta Philippi Regis Franciæ , ed. in the Recueil des Historiens des Gaules et de la France, Vol. XX (1840), pp. 524-525; also Dunbabin, pp. 38-39
King of Sicily
Prince of Taranto
|Charles II the Lame|
|(Split off from the Kingdom of Sicily in 1282)||
King of Naples
|Charles II the Lame|
|Office newly created||
King of Albania
|Charles II the Lame|
|Hugo I of Lusignan||
King of Jerusalem (anti-king)
|Charles II the Lame|
|Wilhelm II of Villehardouin||
Prince of Achaia
|Charles II the Lame|
|French crown domain||
Earl of Anjou
Earl of Maine
|Charles II the Lame|
Count of Provence
(together with Beatrix)
|Charles II the Lame|
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Charles I of Anjou; Charles d'Anjou (French); Carlo d'Angiò (Italian)|
|SHORT DESCRIPTION||King of Sicily|
|DATE OF BIRTH||March 1227|
|DATE OF DEATH||January 7, 1285|
|Place of death||Foggia|