Giovanni Antonio Del Balzo Orsini

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Peter Paul Rubens's copy of The Battle of Anghiari by Leonardo da Vinci. Allegedly the 2 knights at right are Ludovico Trevisan and Giovanni Orsini.

Giovanni Antonio (Giannantonio) Del Balzo Orsini (1386 or 1393 – 15 November 1463) was Prince of Taranto, Duke of Bari, Count of Lecce, Acerra, Soleto and Conversano, as well as Count of Matera (1433–63) and of Ugento (1453–63).

He was the son of Raimondo Del Balzo Orsini, Prince of Taranto, and Mary of Enghien, an heiress of the Brienne main branch.

Prince Gianantonio acted as the Grand Constable of the Kingdom of Naples.

Succession of niece and death[edit]

Damaged image of his wife Anna Colonna (?) in her Book of Hours

In 1419, Giannantonio married Anna Colonna, daughter of lord Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna. Quite early, it was evident that he would be succeeded by the children of his siblings. Giannantonio's niece, Isabella of Clermont, was the heiress presumptive of large feudal possessions in Southern Italy. In 1444 by royal mandate, she was married to Ferdinand I of Naples, the illegitimate son of King Alfonso V of Aragon. In 1458, King Alfonso made Ferdinand King of the territories of Southern Italy that had been conquered from the Angevin kings in the previous decades. As such, Ferdinand used the title King of Naples and Jerusalem, and Isabella became Queen Consort.

Giovanni Antonio died a rebel in 1463 without legitimate issue; he was strangled in Altamura and King Ferdinand confiscated most of his lands. Isabella died soon afterwards in 1465. Her heir was her eldest son, the future Alfonso II of Naples, who, like his father, used the title King of Naples and Jerusalem during his reign (1494–95).

He died at Altamura.

Illegitimate children[edit]

  1. Caterina, Countess of Conversano, Signora di Casamassima e Turi. Married Giuliantonio Acquaviva d’Aragona, 7th Duke of Atri, 1456.
  2. Maria Conquesta (died after 1487), Countess of Ugento, Signora di Nardò e Castro from 1463. Married Angilberto Del Balzo, Count of Tricase and 1st Duke of Nardo circa 1463.
  3. Margherita, married Antonio Centelles, Count of Catanzaro and Justiciar of Calabria.
  4. Francesca, married Jacopo Sanseverino, Count of Saponara.
  5. Bertoldo (died after 1488), Baron of Salice. Some issue. Count of Lecce 1463-64.
  6. Another illegitimate daughter (name unknown), married Giacomo di Sanseverino, Count of Mileto. Apparently that marriage did not produce any surviving children.

Preceded by
James II, Count of La Marche
Prince of Taranto
Succeeded by
Isabella of Clermont
Preceded by
Mary of Enghien
Count of Lecce
Annexed to Kingdom of Naples