Challenge of Barletta
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The Challenge of Barletta (Italian: Disfida di Barletta) was a tournament fought in the countryside of Trani, near Barletta, southern Italy, on 13 February 1503, on the plains between Corato and Andria.
The tournament was provoked by a French knight Charles de la Motte who, after drinking too much of the local wine, made disparaging remarks about the Italians. It consisted in a mounted tourney between 13 Italians (the most famous being Ettore Fieramosca), who were part of the Spanish army based in Barletta, and 13 French knights who were based in Canosa di Puglia. The Italian knights won the battle, and the French had to pay ransom. Barletta has since acquired the appellation Città della Disfida (City of the Challenge) as a result.
Cause of the challenge
French troops made an incursion up to Canosa di Puglia, where they had a small fight with Spanish troops. A few French soldiers were made prisoners and were brought to Barletta. Among the French prisoners there was the nobleman Charles de Torgues, also known as Monsieur Guy de la Motte.
On January 15, 1503, the French prisoners were invited to take part to a banquet during which la Motte questioned the valor and courage of Italian soldiers, then allied with the Spaniards. A diatribe followed. In order to solve the question, the French waged a challenge according to specific rules set up by the French in order to show whether the Italians were up to the valor of French soldiers. The challenge consisted in a mounted tourney between 13 Italians (the most famous being Ettore Fieramosca), who were part of the Spanish army based in Barletta, and 13 French knights who were based in Canosa di Puglia. The number of 13 knights was set by the French la Motte, who believed that that would give to the Italians an opportunity to refuse the challenge because of the superstition associated with the number 13. The winners would receive as a bounty the weapons and the horses of the other army who had also to pay a ransom of 100 ducats for each knight. Moreover, each army had to provide two hostages as a collateral. Prospero Colonna e Fabrizio Colonna were put in charge of making the Italian "team". The captain of the Italians was Fieramosca.
For the two armies, the participants were as follows: Di seguito, i tredici partecipanti, i quattro giudici e i due ostaggi che presero parte alla disfida.
- The Italian Trade Commission "Rosso Barletta" ItalianMade.Com Accessed: December 29th, 2010
- Simonis, Damien; et al. (January 2004). Lonely Planet's Italy (6th ed.). Lonely Planet Publications. p. 659. ISBN 1-74104-303-4.
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