Joanna I of Naples
|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (August 2012)|
|Spouse||Andrew, Duke of Calabria
Louis, Prince of Taranto
James IV of Majorca
Otto, Duke of Brunswick-Grubenhagen
|Charles Martel, Duke of Calabria
Catherine of Naples
Frances of Naples
|House||House of Anjou|
|Father||Charles, Duke of Calabria|
|Mother||Marie of Valois|
|Died||27 July 1382 (aged 56)
Early family and political life
Born on an unrecorded date in the first half of 1326,:17 Joanna was the eldest surviving child of Charles, Duke of Calabria (eldest son of King Robert of Naples), and Marie of Valois (a sister of King Philip VI of France). The Duke of Calabria died before his youngest child, Maria, was born. His death made Joanna, the elder of his two surviving children, first in line to the throne; she received homage as such on 4 November 1330. She was proclaimed Duchess of Calabria in 1333 and Princess of Salerno on 26 June 1344.
At the age of eight (1334), she was betrothed to her six-year-old second cousin Prince Andrew (Hungarian: Endre) of the Hungarian branch of the House of Anjou, the son of Charles I of Hungary and younger brother of Louis I. Through his father he had a claim to Naples, which could be argued to be superior to that of Robert and consequently also to that of Joanna.
When King Robert died in 1343, in his last will and testament, he formally bequeathed his kingdom to Joanna, and made no mention of Andrew, even as a consort, and tried to exclude him from rule. In the event of Joanna's death without children, the crown would fall to her younger sister Maria and not to him.
With the approval of Pope Clement VI, Joanna was crowned as sole monarch of Naples in August 1344. Fearing for his life, Andrew wrote to his mother Elizabeth that he would soon flee the kingdom. She intervened, and made a state visit; before she returned to Hungary, she bribed Pope Clement to revert his decision and permit the coronation of Andrew. She also gave a ring to Andrew, which was supposed to protect him from death by blade or poison, and returned with a false sense of security to Hungary.
Joanna lost an important ally when her stepgrandmother, Sancha of Majorca, withdrew into a monastery, but kept resisting more papal interference in the kingdom. Due to her letters to the pope, he agreed that though Andrew would be crowned, only her coronation would be 'Blessed by God'.:108–110
When Joanna fell ill in the summer of 1344, Andrew caused great controversy when he released the Pipini brothers. They had been locked up by Robert the Wise after having been convicted for murder, rape, pillage, treason and several other offenses. Their possessions had been given to other nobles, which now became increasingly hostile to Andrew.
Murder of her husband and its aftermath
Hearing of the Pope's reversal, a group of noble conspirators (the involvement of Queen Joanna remaining unproved) determined to forestall Andrew's coronation. During a hunting trip at Aversa in 1345, Andrew left his room in the middle of the night and was set upon by the conspirators. A treacherous servant barred the door behind him; and with Joanna in her own bedroom, a terrible struggle ensued, Andrew defending himself furiously and shrieking for aid. He was finally overpowered, strangled with a cord, and flung from a window with a rope tied to his genitals. Isolde, Andrew's Hungarian nurse, heard his cries, and with her own screams chased the murderers off. She took the Prince's corpse to the church of the monks, and remained with it until next morning in mourning. When the Hungarian knights arrived she told them everything in their mother tongue so no one else would learn about the truth, and soon they left Naples informing everything to the Hungarian King.
She informed the papacy, as well as other states in Europe of the murder, expressing her disgust in the letters, but Joanna's circle of friends were thought to be most suspect. On December 25, she gave birth to a son. When she made public her plans to marry one of her Taranto cousins and not Andrew's younger brother Stephen, the Hungarians openly accused her of the murder.
Louis of Taranto was a seasoned warrior, who understood Neapolitan politics for having been raised at the court of Catherine of Valois, Joanna's aunt. After Joanna stated her intention to marry him, his brother Robert banded together with his cousin and erstwhile rival Charles of Durazzo against them.:151 Some of Joanna's courtiers and servants were tortured and later executed including her Sicilian governess Philippa the Catanian and the latter's family. Louis was successful in driving his brother's forces back, but just as he reached Naples, it became known that the Hungarians planned to invade. Joanna made a pact with the Kingdom of Sicily, preventing them from invading at the same time and married Louis.:108–110
Her reign was marked by violent political struggles among the members of the Angevin house. The assassination of Andrew brought about the enmity of King Louis I of Hungary and his invasion of Naples. Robert of Taranto and Charles of Durazzo deserted them, when the size of the Hungarian army became known. Joanna was forced for a period to flee to Avignon and to pay for her return to her kingdom by selling her rights over that city to Pope Clement; after several reverses of fortune, both Joanna and Louis agreed to the papal request for a truce. The matter was to be solved by a new trial over Andrew's assassination, to be held in Avignon. Joanna was acquitted of all charges, and she could return.
Her second husband, Louis of Taranto, was crowned as co-king in 1353, the only one of her husbands to whom she willingly accorded that status. In 1373, her cousin and former brother-in-law Philip II of Taranto resigned to her his rights to the Principality of Achaea, as did her third husband, James, before his death in 1375.
Administration and her court
Joanna immersed herself fully in the running of her kingdom, and enjoyed every aspect of government. Although she was a fair and judicious ruler, no law or edict, however minor, was ever carried out without her personal approval and seal.:343-344 According to Joanna's biographer Nancy Goldstone, shortly after her coronation, the Queen continued the Angevin tradition of constructing churches and other public edifices including hospitals, employing the use of celebrated artisans.:256-258 She also invited the writer Petrarch to reside at her court as a means of maintaining the high level of culture for which the Angevin rulers in Naples were responsible for establishing.:260 Unusual for the period, Joanna took a modern approach to public health care, ordering that the poor were to receive medical treatment free of charge.:258 The medical profession expanded in Naples and additionally had a higher number of licensed female practitioners than any other kingdom in Europe.:258-260
Joanna's reign was also marked by her support and protection of local businesses, the creation of new industry, and her refusal to debase the currency. Crime was greatly reduced and she was an ardent promoter of peace within her vast realm of which she expanded to briefly include Sicily and Piedmont.:380
Despite Joanna's deep spirituality and friendships with Catherine of Siena and Saint Bridget of Sweden, her court was notable for its extravagance with her collection of exotic animals and servants of various origins including Turkish, Saracen, and African.:324-325
The contemporary writer Giovanni Boccaccio has left us with the following description of Queen Joanna in his On Famous Women: "Joanna, queen of Sicily and Jerusalem, is more renowned than other woman of her time for lineage, power, and character".:6 An unknown 14th-century poet paid homage to her in this poem:
Neither fat nor thin, her face an oval of harmonious art,
Well-favored with all of the divine virtues,
A gentle, gracious soul, generous and light of heart".
Extant images reveal her to have been blonde-haired and fair-skinned.
Troubles with the Papacy
Joanna supported the Avignon Papacy during the Western Schism and allied herself with France, adopting Louis I of Anjou, a younger son of John II of France as her heir. France and antipope Clement VII counted on Naples to give them a foothold in Italy, if it came to resolving the schism by force. In retaliation, in April 1380, Pope Urban VI declared her a heretic and her kingdom, a papal fief, to be forfeit and bestowed it upon Charles of Durazzo, her niece's husband and heir. She reacted by switching the inheritance to Louis I of Naples, brother of King Charles V of France. This move, however, favoured Charles of Durazzo, as Louis was forced to remain in France after his brother's death. Charles was recognized King of Naples by Urban VI on 1 June 1381 and, with Hungarian support, advanced on Naples, where Joanna had entrusted her new husband Otto (whom she had married in 1376) with the few troops she could muster. After Otto's defeat at Anagni, and bypassing the Neapolitan defences at Aversa, Charles entered Naples on 26 July and besieged Joanna in the Castel dell'Ovo. In late August, Otto again attempted to free his wife but was crushed and made prisoner. She was forced to surrender, and was imprisoned in the fortress of San Fele, (near Muro Lucano).
Preoccupied by the coronation of Louis at the hands of Antipope Clement VII, and by Louis' military power, Charles had Joanna killed on 27 July 1382 at the age of 56;:374 she was smothered with pillows, in revenge for the method of assassination inflicted upon Duke Andrew. Her body was brought to Naples where for several days it was put on display to the public; afterwards it was tossed into a deep well on the grounds of Santa Chiara Church.:376 The Neapolitan kingdom was left to decades of recurring wars of succession. Louis of Anjou was able to retain the mainland counties of Provence and Forcalquier. James of Baux, the nephew of Philip II of Taranto, claimed the Principality of Achaea after her deposition in 1381.
In total, Joanna had three children from her first two marriages:
From her first marriage to Andrew, Duke of Calabria, Joanna had one son:
From her second marriage to Louis, Prince of Taranto, Joanna had two daughters:
Joanna's final two marriages were childless.
Role in literature
- Alexandre Dumas, père wrote a romance, Joan of Naples, part of his eight-volume series Celebrated Crimes (1839–40).
- A fictionalised account of her life can also be found in the novel Queen of the Night by Alan Savage.
- László Passuth wrote a novel Napolyi Johanna (Joanna of Naples, 1968) about her life.
|Ancestors of Joanna I of Naples|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Joanna I of Naples.|
- Boccaccio, Giovanni (1970). Zaccaria, Vittorio, ed. De mulieribus claris. I classici Mondadori (in Italian). Volume 10 of Tutte le opere di Giovanni Boccaccio (2nd ed.). Milan: Mondadori. Biography # 106. OCLC 797065138.
- Boccaccio, Giovanni (2003). Famous women. Brown, Virgina, trans. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674003477. OCLC 606534850 and 45418951.
- Boccaccio, Giovanni (2011). On famous women. Guarino, Guido A., trans. (2nd ed.). New York: Italica Press. ISBN 9781599102658. OCLC 781678421.
- Casteen, Elizabeth (2011-06-03). "Sex and Politics in Naples: The Regnant Queenship of Johanna I". Journal of The Historical Society (Malden, MA, USA: Blackwell Publishing) 11 (2): 183–210. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5923.2011.00329.x. ISSN 1529-921X. OCLC 729296907. Retrieved 2013-06-01. (subscription required)
- A. Dumas, Joan of Naples: e-text
- (French) Coat of arms of the House of Anjou-Sicily
- (French) House of Anjou-Sicily
|Queen of Naples
with Louis I (1352-1362)
|Countess of Provence
|Princess of Achaea