The New International Encyclopædia/Charles of Anjou

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

CHARLES OF ANJOU, äN′zhōō, Count of Provence and King of Naples and Sicily (1226-85). He was the seventh son of Louis VIII. of France, and wedded Beatrice, heiress of Provence. In 1248 he went on a crusade in company with his brother, Louis IX., suffered captivity in Egypt with him, and returned to Provence in 1250. Exceedingly ambitious, he sought everywhere for opportunities to increase his possessions. For aid rendered Margaret of Flanders (q.v.), he was promised the Province of Hainaut; but Louis interfered and Charles was compelled to relinquish Hainaut for a large sum of money. In 1262 Pope Urban IV. invited Charles to assume the crown of the Two Sicilies, and to assist in the overthrow of the bastard Manfred, the Ghibelline King. In 1263 Charles was made Senator of Rome, and in 1266 was crowned King of the Two Sicilies. A crusade was preached against Manfred, who was overwhelmed and slain in the battle of Benevento. In 1268 the young Conradin, the legitimate heir, was defeated at Tagliacozzo, captured, and executed; a like fate was dealt out to many Italian nobles; estates were confiscated to reward the French mercenaries, and Charles established himself firmly in power. In 1270 Charles participated in the disastrous crusade of his brother, Louis IX., and later (1282), when he was preparing for another expedition, news was brought of the rebellion afterwards known as the Sicilian Vespers (q.v.). Charles at once sent his fleet against Messina, refusing all offers of capitulation; but the city held out until assistance came from Don Pedro of Aragon, and Charles's fleet was burned. In 1285 the King died at Poggio. Charles of Anjou was one of the most powerful rulers of his time in Christendom. He was all-powerful in the councils of France; ruled over Anjou, Provence, and the Two Sicilies; was Senator of Rome, Imperial Vicar of Tuscany, Governor of Bologna, and lord of several other cities; he had also bought the rights to the kingdom of Jerusalem. Consult: Sternfeld, Karl von Anjou (Berlin, 1888), which treats of Charles's career up to 1265; Archivio storico Italiano, 3d series, Vols. XXII.-XXVI. (Florence, 1875-77); id., 4th series, Vols. I.-VII. (Florence, 1878-81).