House of Ventimiglia

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The Ventimiglia are a noble Italian family that once held fiefdoms in Liguria, France, Spain and Southern Italy.

Coat of Arms of Ventimiglia di Geraci.

Origin[edit]

Arms of Lascaris at the Ventimiglia palace, Nice, France

The Ventimiglia family originated from Cono/Corrado count of Ventimiglia (10th-11th century), son of count Cono, likely Count palatine of Vienne, Isère (an Alemannian-Franconian Conradines). Enrico II de Ventimiglia, count del Maro (Albenga) husbanding around the 1250 Isabella/Elisabetta, countess of Geraci (Sicily), establish a new branch in Sicily swabian Kingdom.

Configuration of the kingdom of Sicily in 1154. Nearly all of the Sicilian towns and villages in the Province of Messina, island of Sicily, ruled and protected by the Ventimiglia family were or are located near the sea, some 80 km East of Palermo

The counts of Geraci derive by the union of Serlone II d'Hauteville, a godson and relative of Ruggero Gran Count of Sicily, and his wife Lady Isabella. This marital union gave origin to the ancestors of Ventimiglia line, the possibles successors of Serlon were: Eliusa, Rinaldo di Bernaville, Rocca di Bernaville, Ruggero I de Creon count of Ischia and Geraci, Guerrera de Creon countess, Ruggero II count of Ischia and Geraci, Aldoino count, Isabella who married Count Enrico II of Ventimiglia son of count Filippo I of Ventimiglia and del Maro. The French branch uses de Vintimille and the Spanish branch uses de Veintimilla, Vintemilla or Veintimiglia (branch of Màlaga).[1]

Lascaris di Ventimiglia

Another branch, the Lascaris (di Ventimiglia) Conti di Tenda, is descended in female line from the Laskaris of the Empire of Nicaea through the marriage in 1261 of Guglielmo Pietro I, Conte di Ventimiglia, Signore de Tenda (d. 1282) with Eudokia Laskarina (1248–1311), daughter of Emperor Theodore II Laskaris and wife Princess Elena of Bulgaria.[2]

Eudokia was born in Nicaea about 1248, the fourth daughter of Theodoros II Doukas Laskaris, emperor of Byzantium, and Elena of Bulgaria. She grew up as a princess at the court of Nicaea, where Costanza 'Anna' von Hohenstaufen, widow of Eudokia's grandfather Ioannes III Doukas, emperor in Nicaea, also lived. After the Palaiologan usurpation of the imperial throne, both ladies fled, travelling from Constantinople to Tende and Sicily, and years later both sought protection at the kingdom of Aragón under King Jaime I 'the Conqueror'.

Soon after the re-conquest of Constantinople in 1261, Michael VIII Palaiologos, until then regent and co-emperor for the infant Ioannes IV Laskaris, had himself declared sole emperor, solidifying his position by having Ioannes IV blinded and imprisoned. Ioannes' three sisters, Eudokia among them, were hurriedly married off to foreigners, so that their descendants could not lay claim to the imperial succession.

The young Eudokia was married in Constantinople in July 1261 to Guglielmo Pietro de Tenda, count of Ventimiglia et Tende, son of Guglielmo III. Tende was a Ligurian region then at the service of Genoa, allies of Michael VIII. This marriage originated the powerful house Lascaris de Vintimille, which stood until the 19th century. Eudokia and Guglielmo Pietro had several children of whom Giovanni I and Lascara/Lucretia would have progeny.

Eudokia fled from Liguria to Aragón with her children. Some sources say the cause was her husband's death, others that she had been rejected by him. Living at Xàtiva, Saragossa and Castella, Eudokia travelled on diplomatic missions for Jaime II 'the Just', king of Aragón, who succeeded his brother Alfonso III in 1291. In 1296 she founded a convent of the Order of Poor Ladies and the sanctuary of Mare de Déu de la Serra at Montblanc, which she entered by the end of 1306. She also donated an Italian image of the Virgin to the convent. The image can still be seen there. She died in Saragossa in 1311, and her remains rest at the Dominican monastery there.

Members of the family include[edit]

Ventimiglia family:Castle of Castelbuono, Coordinates: 37°56′N 14°06′, near the ruined Byzantine town of Ypsigro, near Palermo, Sicily, Italy, with Arab-Norman and Swabian features: the cube shape recalls Arabic architecture; the square towers, although incorporated into those of the façade, reflect Norman architectural style, as also the battlements; and the round tower recalls aspects of Swabian architecture
Benedictine monk Maurolico, as his father, and also as was later on Genius of Science Isaac Newton in England, was the head of the Messina mint and for a time was in charge of maintaining the fortifications of the city on behalf of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. He tutored the two sons of Charles' viceroy of Sicily, 1547 - 1557, Juan de Vega, and had the patronage of many rich and powerful men. He also corresponded with scholars such as Clavius and Federico Commandino. Between 1548 and 1550, Maurolico stayed at the castle of Pollina in Sicily as a guest of the marquis Giovanni II Ventimiglia, and utilized the castle tower in order to carry out astronomical observations. Maurolico's astronomical observations include a sighting of the supernova that appeared in Cassiopeia in 1572. Tycho Brahe published details of his observations in 1574; the supernova is now known as Tycho's Supernova. In 1569, he was appointed professor at the University of Messina
Stately "Osterio Magno", at Cefalù, chief town of sicilian dominion of Ventimiglia lineage. Built in the 13th century by count Enrico II Ventimiglia, general vicarious of Manfred, King of Sicily.
  • An impoverished branch of this noble house immigrated to the United States.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Some titles held by the lineage Ventimiglia: (second-born of Prince of Castelbuono)
  2. ^ The History of the Col de Tenda, W.A.B. Coolidge, The English Historical Review, Vol. XXXI, ed. Reginald Lane Poole, (Longmans, Green and Co., 1916), 202.
  3. ^ Maria Antonietta Russo, Giovanni I Ventimiglia: un uomo al servizio della monarchia, "Archivio Storico Siciliano", s. 4., 34-35 (2008-2009), p. 43-93.

Lord of Isnello

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