Charles I of Anjou, king of Sicily

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Charles I of Anjou, king of Sicily

Italian: Carlo I d'Angiò, re di Sicilia, Spanish: Carlos I de Anjou, rey de Sicilia, French: Charles I d'Anjou, roi de Sicile et Naples, Albanian: Karli I Anzhu, themelues i mbretërisë së Arbërisë
Also Known As: "Károly I."
Birthplace: Paris, Paris, Ile-de-France, France
Death: January 07, 1285 (58)
Foggia Castle, Foggia, Foggia, Italy
Place of Burial: Napoli, Campania, Italy
Immediate Family:

Son of Louis VIII le Lion, roi de France and Blanche de Castille, reine consort de France
Husband of Beatrice di Provenza, regina consorte di Sicilia and Marguerite de Bourgogne, comtesse de Tonnerre
Ex-partner of Giacoma di Pietrafesa and Lauduna
Father of Sobucia; Charles; Louis d'Angio, prince of Sicily; Blanche d'Anjou; Beatrice, principessa de Sicily and 5 others
Brother of Blanche Capet, (mort jeune); Agnès Capet; Philippe de France; Jean Capet, de France; Louis IX the Saint, King of France and 7 others

Occupation: Roi de Naples & de Sicile, Comte de Provence & Forcalquier, Comte d'Anjou & Maine, Roi d'Albania, Roi de Jerusalem & Achaea, Prince of Achaia & Andravida 1278-1285, Reign 1266-1285
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Charles I of Anjou, king of Sicily

Charles I (21 March 1226 – 7 January 1285), commonly called Charles of Anjou, was the King of Sicily by conquest from 1266, though he had received it as a papal grant in 1262 and was expelled from the island in the aftermath of the Sicilian Vespers of 1282. Thereafter, he continued to claim the island, though his power was restricted to the peninsular possessions of the kingdom, with his capital at Naples (and for this he is usually titled King of Naples after 1282, as are his successors). Charles was the youngest son of Louis VIII of France and Blanche of Castile, and hence younger brother of Louis IX of France and Alfonso II of Toulouse. He conquered the Kingdom of Sicily from the Hohenstaufen and began to acquire lands in the eastern Mediterranean. However, the War of the Sicilian Vespers forced him to abandon his plans to reassemble the Latin Empire.

By marriage to Beatrice, heiress of Raymond Berengar IV of Provence, he was Count of Provence and Forcalquier from 1246.

 From : HISTOIRE de la Martre (83840-France)

Au X° siècle, un seigneur « HUGO » fait établir sur le sommet d’une colline culminant à 1068m une construction dénommée « le Castellas de Pétra Longa » dotée d’une église dédiée à Notre-Dame. L’origine du nom pourrait venir de la présence de quelque mégalithe. Il fait don d’une partie de ses terres à l’abbaye Saint-Honorat de lérins.

Au XII° siècle, la seigneurie est en apanage à la puissance famille des Castellanes-Salernes qui la conservera jusqu’au XVII° siècle. Le 11 Avril 1248 Charles I Comte de Provence l’érigeait en fief en faveur de Raymond Geoffroy de Castellane[]. Pendant les guerres de religion, le village fut entièrement dévasté. Le site du Castellas fut abandonné et, Vincent-Anne de Forbin, nouveau seigneur du lieu par son mariage avec Aymare de Castellane en 1613 décida de reconstruire le nouveau village et le château dans la plaine.

Le château fut détruit par un incendie, et depuis porte le nom de Châteaurima ce qui signifie en Provençal Château brûlé. Le 13 juin1674, Marie Charlotte de Forbin épouse François-Charles de Vintimille, comte du Luc, et lui apporte sa dot de la Martre. En 1755, elle devient propriété d’Augustin de Pélicot, originaire de Grasse, secrétaire du roi depuis 1754, qui fut le dernier seigneur du lieu avant la révolution. La famille a résidé à Châteaurima jusqu’au décès de l’avocat A PELICOT en 1879, il fut l’un des principaux insurgés du Var de 1852.

In 1247, his brother Louis IX made him Count of Anjou and Maine, as appanages of the French crown. By conquest and self-proclamation, he became King of Albania in 1272 and by purchase King of Jerusalem in 1277. By the testament of William II of Villehardouin, he inherited the Principality of Achaea in 1278.

Charles was born in 1226, shortly before the death of his father, King Louis VIII. Like his immediate older brother, Philippe Dagobert (who died in 1232 aged 10) he did not receive a county as appanage, as had his older brothers. Shortly after the death of Philippe Dagobert, his other brother, John Tristan, Count of Anjou and Maine, also died. Charles became the next in line to received the Counties, but was formally invested only in 1247. The affection of his mother Blanche seems largely to have been bestowed upon his brother Louis; and Louis tended to favour his other younger brothers, Robert of Artois and Alphonse of Toulouse. The self-reliance this engendered in Charles may account for the drive and ambition he showed in his later life.

Charles' wife Beatrice died on 23 September 1267, and he immediately sought a new marriage to Margaret, daughter of Bela IV of Hungary. However, Margaret wished to be a nun (and was later canonized); Charles instead married (on 18 November 1268), Margaret, Countess of Tonnerre (1250 – 4 September 1308, Tonnerre), the daughter of Eudes of Burgundy. However, he was able to make a marital alliance with the Hungarians: his son Charles, Prince of Salerno married Maria, daughter of crown prince Stephen, while Charles' daughter Elizabeth married Stephen's son Ladislas.

On his death, Charles left all of his domains to his son Charles, then a prisoner in Catalonia. For the time being, they were held by a joint regency between a papal legate and Robert II of Artois. Charles had spent his life striving to assemble a Mediterranean empire out of whatever land he could get through law or force of arms. He did so, it seems, with a clear conscience; he regarded himself as God's instrument to uphold the Papacy and punish the Hohenstaufen. He ruled justly, but with the rigidity and severity that might be expected in one of his convictions. Ultimately, his unbending austerity could not inspire the devotion needed to hold his conquests together.

Still, he was to leave a substantial legacy to his heirs. Henry II of Cyprus reclaimed the Kingdom of Jerusalem after his death, for the few short years left to it; but his possessions otherwise remained within the Angevin dynasty which he founded, or their descendants. Both the Angevins and their Aragonese rivals were to claim the title of "King of Sicily"; but the Angevins, confined to the mainland, would be known to history as "Kings of Naples". But the style of "King of Sicily" persisted; and when the two realms were reunited, it was under the style of "King of the Two Sicilies".

Charles of Anjou contributed to the early medieval revival of learning, often referred to as the "Latin" Renaissance, through his employment of several Jewish scholars at the University of Salerno and Naples, who were expert translators. The most famous of these, Moses of Palermo, he had tutored in Latin, to enable direct translations of ancient classical and Arab texts. These Jewish scholars translated dozens of philosophical and medical treatises into Latin, bringing the heritage of classical antiquity and the great contemporary Muslim culture to pre-Renaissance Europe. [3]

However, his wars resulted in an even more serious consequence than the partition of the Kingdom of Sicily. Pope Martin IV had hopelessly compromised the Papacy in his cause; and the botched secular "Crusades" against Sicily and (after Charles' death) Aragon greatly tarnished its spiritual power. The collapse of its moral authority and the rise of nationalism rang the death knell for Crusading, and would ultimately lead to the Avignon Papacy and the Western Schism. Charles was an able soldier and a good administrator; but his failure to understand the qualities of his diverse subjects, and his grasping, if pious, ambition, ultimately led him to failure.

In the Divine Comedy Dante sees Charles outside the gates of Purgatory "singing in accord" with his former rival Peter.

 Marriage and children

Charles was wedded to Beatrice of Provence on 31 January 1246, in Aix-en-Provence. Beatrice was the youngest daughter of Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence and Forcalquier, who had died on 19 August 1245 by his wife Beatrice of Savoy. As his elder three daughters had all married kings and received substantial dowries, Raymond settled his entire inheritance upon Beatrice, making Charles Count of Provence and Forcalquier. They had the following children:

  • Louis (1248, Nicosia)
  • Blanche (1250 – July 1269), married 1265 Count Robert III of Flanders
  • Beatrice of Sicily (1252–1275), married 15 October 1273 at Foggia to Philip of Courtenay, titular Emperor of Constantinople
  • Charles II of Naples (1254 – 1309)
  • Philip of Sicily (1256 – 1 January 1277), titular King of Thessalonica from 1274, married 28 May 1271 to Isabella of Villehardouin
  • Robert (1258–1265)
  • Elizabeth of Sicily (1261 – c. 1300), married bef. September 1272 to Ladislas IV of Hungary

After the death of Beatrice, he married Margaret of Burgundy in 1268. Their only daughter, Margaret, died in infancy.

The Angevin era defined the decline of Sicily, and particularly Palermo, as a center of political and economic power. While acknowledging that Sicily was a kingdom in its own right, Charles ruled from Naples, which previously had been a prosperous but politically less important city than Palermo, Bari or Salerno.

In Sicily, the changes were immediate. Thousands of French troops arrived, and taxes were increased. For the first time in centuries, Sicily was the "dominion" of a "foreign" ruler who saw no reason to visit the island. Worse, the Sicilians themselves were made to feel like subjects.

In the years following 1268, Sicily was almost entirely Latinized. Except for a few monasteries in the Nebrodi region, the Christians were Catholic, and with Charles' help a later pope, Gregory X, attempted to subjugate the Eastern (Orthodox) Church of Constantinople. The new regime openly resented the Arabs of Lucera (in Puglia) and Sicily. Mosques were gradually abandoned; many were converted to churches. Jews were tolerated, though their communities became fewer outside the major cities.

The Sicilian language had emerged as a Latin tongue, albeit with many Greek and Arabic words. In name, the Sicilian nobility had Norman, Swabian and Lombard roots. Truth be told, most Sicilian nobles had Arab or Byzantine ancestors, too. From the beginning, the nobility viewed the Angevin French in a negative light, initially as something of a nuisance and then as a repressive instrument of royal power. Charles of Anjou was anything but an enlightened ruler. His son, Charles "the Lame" of Salerno, was viewed by all, including his father, as weak and incompetent.

Around Sicily a number of structures remain from the rather brief Angevin period. Palermo's Church of Saint Francis of Assisi (the portal is shown here), begun in 1255, exemplifies the "Italianate Gothic" style --Italian but not particularly Gothic.

The expansionist policies of Charles were not limited to Italy. Apart from influence in northern Italy, he claimed the crown of Jerusalem borne by Frederick II. After Louis IX died on crusade in Tunisia in 1270, his son, Philip (who ruled France as Philip III), fell under the influence of Charles.

By 1282, Charles ruled Sicily and southern Italy, Jerusalem, Albania, Provence, Anjou, Maine and part of Tunisia. He was preparing an invasion of Constantinople which would have finally brought the Byzantine world --and particularly its Church-- under Latin control. The new pope, Martin IV, a Frenchman, openly encouraged this. Charles was, without doubt, the most powerful European monarch.

Two decades earlier, Manfred Hohenstaufen, an illegitimate son of Frederick II (but presumed heir to the thrones of Sicily and Germany) killed by Charles' Angevin forces at the Battle of Benevento in 1266, had betrothed his daughter, Constance, to Peter of Aragon. On this tenuous basis, a number of Sicilian nobles exiled from Charles' Kingdom since the 1260s sought the alliance of Peter I of Aragon, whose realm based at Barcelona included Catalonia and other prosperous regions of northeastern Spain. Based on the Sicilians' requests, but also on various other political issues, Peter soon began preparations for a war against Charles.

Clearly, the rivalry between Guelphs (supporters of the Papacy and now the Angevins) and Ghibellines (supporters of the Holy Roman Emperor and Swabians) had not abated, but what followed was completely unexpected.

On Easter Monday, 30 March, 1282, a popular revolt broke out, leading to the deaths of thousands of French, including numerous civilians. The uprising, later called the "Sicilian Vespers," spread across the island in a matter of days. The "War of the Vespers" was the first feudal revolt of this kind. Its efficiency and ruthlessness frightened monarchs far beyond Naples and Rome. Almost simultaneously, the French castellans and garrisons of Sicily's fortified cities were isolated and killed, in Palermo, Caccamo, Vicari, Caltanissetta, Girgenti (Agrigento), Caltanissetta, Milazzo, Castrogiovanni (Enna), Taormina, Catania... In September, Peter was formally nominated King of Sicily by the island's nobles. That, however, was not the end of the war.

In a series of battles at sea and skirmishes on land, the Angevin forces were defeated by Aragonese-Sicilian ones. In one of the war's comical episodes, Charles and the younger Peter were to meet for a duel to decide the fate of Sicily, each accompanied by a hundred fighting knights. This was to take place in June 1283 at Bordeaux, capital of the neutral French territories of Edward, King of England. Each king agreed to appear with his suite but it was tacitly understood that each would arrive at a different time. Then each sovereign claimed that the other was a coward. In another incident, King Charles' incompetent son, Charles of Salerno, was taken prisoner at a sea battle in June 1284 and held in the citadel of Cefalù.

When Charles died in January of 1285, Angevin power in Sicily had essentially vanished. The new king of Naples, Charles "the Lame," was still a prisoner, and Pope Martin at first refused to recognise him as the late monarch's heir. In the event, Martin himself died a few months after King Charles. In a gesture of alliance with his Angevin cousins, Philip III of France, attacked Aragon, his army soon defeated as much by malaria as by arms. Philip died in October 1285. Peter of Aragon died a month later.

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Charles I of Anjou, king of Sicily's Timeline

March 21, 1226
Paris, Paris, Ile-de-France, France
Age 19
Naples, Campania, Italy
- 1254
Age 21
Napoli, Napoli, Italy
January 1, 1254
Napoli, Campania, Italy
Napoli, Napoli, Italy
Of, Sicile