Ferdinand I of Naples
- Ferdinand I of Naples should not be confused with Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, a latter king of Naples.
|Reign||27 June 1458 – 1494|
|Coronation||16 August 1458
|Spouse||Isabella, Princess of Taranto
Joanna of Aragon
|Alfonso II, King of Naples
Eleanor, Duchess of Bari and Ferrara
Frederick IV, King of Naples
Beatrice, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia
Joanna, Queen of Naples
Ferdinand, Duke of Montalto
|House||House of Trastámara|
|Father||Alfonso V of Aragon|
2 June 1423|
|Died||25 January 1494
In order to arrange a good future for Ferdinand, King Alfonso had him married in 1444 to a feudal heiress, Isabella of Taranto, who besides being the elder daughter of Tristan di Chiaramonte (Tristan de Clermont-Lodeve), Count of Copertino, and Catherine of Baux Orsini, was the niece and heiress presumptive of childless prince Giovanni Antonio del Balzo Orsini of Taranto. She was a granddaughter of Mary of Enghien, who had been queen consort of Naples between 1406 and 1414.
Ferdinand's wife was the heiress presumptive of remarkable feudal possessions in Southern Italy.
He used the title King of Naples and Jerusalem (Ferdinand I of Naples). In accordance with his father's will, Ferdinand succeeded Alfonso on the throne of Naples in 1458, when he was 35 years old, but Pope Calixtus III declared the line of Aragon extinct and the kingdom a fief of the church. Calixtus died before he could make good his claim (August 1458), and the new Pope Pius II recognized Ferdinand's titles. John of Anjou, in an attempt to profit from the discontent of the Neapolitan barons, decided to try to regain the throne of his ancestors that had been lost by his father René. He therefore invaded Naples.
Ferdinand was severely defeated by the Angevins and the rebels at the battle of Sarno in July 1460, but with the help of Alessandro Sforza and of the Albanian chief, Skanderbeg, who came to the aid of the prince whose father had aided him, he triumphed over his enemies, and by 1464 had re-established his authority in the kingdom. In that situation the intervention of the people of Cava de' Tirreni, a city close to Sarno, was fundamental: in fact Cavesi, led by the captains Giosuè and Marino Longo, armed themselves with breathless haste at best, with forks, other improvised items and weapons, and attacked Angevins who, astonished by the event and unable to assess the entity of the attack, were forced to pull back, giving the possibility to King Ferdinand of Aragon to create an escape route to Naples. In 1478 he allied himself with Pope Sixtus IV against Lorenzo de 'Medici, but the latter journeyed alone to Naples where he succeeded in negotiating an honourable peace with Ferdinand.
The original intent of making Taranto as his and his heirs' main principality was not any longer current, but still it was a strengthening of Ferrante's resources and position that his wife in 1463 succeeded her uncle Giovanni Antonio del Balzo Orsini as possessor of the rich Taranto, Lecce and other fiefs in Apulia. Isabella became also the holder of Brienne rights to the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
After Isabella's death in 1465, Ferrante married secondly Joanna of Aragon, his own first cousin, in 1476.
In 1480, forces of the Ottoman Empire under orders of Mehmed II captured Otranto, and massacred the majority of the inhabitants, but in the following year it was retaken by Ferdinand's son Alphonso, duke of Calabria. In 1482, abandoning his traditional position of paladin of the Papal States, he fought alongside Ferrara and Milan against the alliance of Sixtus IV and the Republic of Venice (see War of Ferrara).
Ferdinand's oppressive government led in 1485 to an attempt at revolt on the part of the nobles, led by Francesca Coppola and Antonello Sanseverino of Salerno and supported by Pope Innocent VIII; the rising having been crushed, many of the nobles, notwithstanding Ferdinand's promise of a general amnesty, were afterwards treacherously murdered at his express command.
In December 1491 Ferdinand was visited by a group of pilgrims on their return from the Holy Land. This group was led by William I, Landgrave of Hesse.
Encouraged by Ludovico Sforza of Milan, in 1493 King Charles VIII of France was preparing to invade Italy for the conquest of Naples and starting the Italian Wars, and Ferdinand realized that this was a greater danger than any he had yet faced. With almost prophetic instinct he warned the Italian princes of the calamities in store for them, but his negotiations with Pope Alexander VI and Ludovico Sforza failed.
He died on 25 January 1494, worn out with anxiety; he was succeeded by his son, Alphonse, Duke of Calabria, who was soon deposed by the invasion of King Charles which his father had so feared. The cause of his death was determined, in 2006, to have been colorectal cancer (mucinous adenocarcinoma type with mutation in the KRas gene), by examination of his mummy. His remains show levels of carbon 13 and nitrogen 15 consistent with historical reports of considerable consumption of meat.
According to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, "Ferdinand was gifted with great courage and real political ability, but his method of government was vicious and disastrous. His financial administration was based on oppressive and dishonest monopolies, and he was mercilessly severe and utterly treacherous towards his enemies."
As further testimony to the latter, Jacob Burckhardt described his recreational activities as follows: "Besides hunting, which he practiced regardless of all rights of property, his pleasures were of two kinds: he liked to have his opponents near him, either alive in well-guarded prisons, or dead and embalmed, dressed in the costume which they wore in their lifetime." Fearing no one, he would take great pleasure in conducting his guests on a tour of his prized "museum of mummies".
Marriages and children
Ferdinand married twice.
- First to Isabel de Claremont in 1444. Isabel was daughter to Tristan, Count di Copertino and Caterina Orsini. She died in 1465. They had six children:
- Alphonso II of Naples (4 November 1448 – 18 December 1495).
- Eleanor of Naples (22 June 1450 – 11 October 1493). She was consort to Ercole I d'Este, Duke of Ferrara and mother to Isabella d'Este and Beatrice d'Este. The later daughter was consort to Ludovico Sforza.
- Frederick IV of Naples (19 April 1452 – 9 November 1504).
- John of Naples (25 June 1456 – 17 October 1485). Later Archbishop of Taranto, then Cardinal, and Archbishop of Esztergom (1480–1485) until his death.
- Beatrice of Naples (14 September/16 November 1457 – 23 September 1508). She was Queen consort to Matthias Corvinus of Hungary and later to Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary.
- Francis of Naples, Duke of Sant Angelo (16 December 1461 – 26 October 1486).
- Second to Joanna of Aragon (1454 – 9 January 1517). She was born to John II of Aragon and Juana Enríquez, his second wife. She was a full sister of King Ferdinand II of Aragon (died 1516) and a half sister of the unfortunate Prince Charles of Viana (1421–1461), John II's son by his first marriage. Joanna and Ferdinand I were married on 14 September 1476. They had two children:
Ferdinand also had a number of illegitimate children:
- By his mistress Diana Guardato:
- Ferdinando d' Aragona y Guardato, 1st Duke of Montalto, who married 1st, Anna Sanseverino, 2nd, Castellana de Cardona
- Maria d'Aragona. Later consort to Antonio Todeschini Piccolomini, Duke of Amalfi, a nephew of Pope Pius II and brother of Pope Pius III.
- Giovanna d' Aragona. Later consort to Leonardo della Rovere, Duke of Arce and Sora, a nephew of Pope Sixtus IV and brother of Pope Julius II.
- By his mistress Giovanna Caracciola:
- Ferdinand d'Aragona, Count of Arsena.
- Arrigo d'Aragona, Marquess of Gerace.
- Cesare d'Aragona, Marquess of Santa Agata.
- Leonor d'Aragona.
- Lucrezia d'Aragona, daughter of either Giovanna Caracciola or Eulalia Ravignano, was consort to Onorato III, Prince of Altamura.
Ferdinand I of NaplesBorn: 2 June 1423 Died: 25 January 1494
|King of Naples