Maria of Calabria

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Maria of Calabria
Countess of Alba
Duchess consort of Durazzo
Lady consort of Baux, Countess consort of Avellino
Princess consort of Taranto and Achaea, Titular Latin Empress
Maestro durazzesco (seguace dei f.lli bertini), sepolcro di maria di durazzo (m. 1366), 05.JPG
Tomb in Santa Chiara, in Naples
Spouse Charles, Duke of Durazzo
m. 1343 – wid. 1348
Robert, Lord of Baux and Count of Avellino
m. 1350 - wid. 1353
Philip II, Prince of Taranto and Achaea, titular Latin Emperor
m. 1355 – her death
Issue Joanna, Duchess of Durazzo
Agnes, Lady of Verona and Latin Empress
Margaret, Queen of Naples and Hungary
House Capetian House of Anjou
Father Charles, Duke of Calabria
Mother Maria of Valois
Born May 1329
Died 20 May 1366 (aged 37)
Burial Santa Chiara Basilica
Religion Roman Catholic

Maria of Calabria (May 1329 – 20 May 1366) was a Neapolitan princess of the Capetian House of Anjou whose descendants inherited the crown of Naples following the death of her older sister, Queen Joanna I.

Life[edit]

Early Years[edit]

Maria was the fifth and posthumous child of Charles, Duke of Calabria (eldest son of King Robert the Wise of Naples), and Marie of Valois (a sister of King Philip VI of France). She was born approximately six months following her father's death, on 9 November 1328.[1] At the time of her birth, from her older three sisters and one brother, only Joanna, born in March 1328, was alive. Two years later, on 23 October 1331, Marie of Valois also died during a pilgrimage to Bari,[2] leaving Maria and her older sister (now heiress of the throne of Naples) orphans. Both were raised at the court of their paternal grandfather, King Robert, in Naples.

By a bull dated on 30 June 1332, Pope John XXII officially decreed that Maria and her older sister would be married to the sons of the King of Hungary, Charles I Robert: Joanna was betrothed with Andrew, while Maria was destined to his older brother and heir of the Hungarian throne, Louis; however, this engagement was conditioned that if Joanna died before her marriage could be consummated, then Maria would marry Andrew.[3] In this way, King Robert wanted to reconcile his bloodline with the descendants of his older brother, deprived from the crown of Naples in his favor.

The king died on 20 January 1343. By the provisions of his will, her elder sister Joanna was to become ruler of Naples, while Maria was not only given the County of Alba and a vast inheritance[4] but also was confirmed her betrothal with Prince Louis of Hungary,[5] or in the case that this union never happened, the king instructed that she then could marry John, Duke of Normandy, heir of the French throne (although he was already married since 1332).

First marriage[edit]

Shortly after the death of her grandfather, however, Maria was abducted by Agnes de Périgord, widow of John, Duke of Durazzo. Agnes arranged the marriage of Maria to her son, Charles, Duke of Durazzo. The marriage took place on 21 April 1343, the bride being almost fourteen years old and the groom twenty.[4] They had five children:

Charles and Maria headed a faction opposing Queen Joanna and her second husband, Louis of Taranto. On 15 January 1348, Charles was named Lieutenant General and Governor of the Kingdom of Naples. The King and Queen had fled in the face of an invasion by the King of Hungary, Charles apparently seeing an opportunity to claim power in their absence. He was captured by the Hungarians only days later, near Aversa. On 23 January 1348, Charles was decapitated in front of San Pietro a Maiella. His period of power had lasted less than a week.[4] Maria had become a nineteen-year-old widow.

Second marriage[edit]

With Charles dead, Maria fled Naples for Avignon. She sought refuge at the court of Pope Clement VI. In 1348, the Black Death reached the Italian Peninsula, forcing the King of Hungary and the majority of his army to retreat back to their homeland in hope of escaping the spreading epidemic. Maria returned to Naples and settled at the Castel dell'Ovo.

According to the Chronicle of Parthénope, the Neapolitan princes whom King Louis of Hungary had imprisoned during his first campaign in Southern Italy proposed him to marry Maria, his previous bride. During the siege of Aversa in the summer of 1350, Louis met her envoy in the nearby Trentola-Ducenta and the terms of their marriage were accepted. However, before the marriage could take place, she was abducted again, this time by Hugh IV, Lord of Baux and Count of Avellino, who forced Maria to marry with his eldest son and heir, Robert.[3] They had no children.[6]

Hugh IV was murdered on the orders of Maria's brother-in-law Louis of Taranto, in 1351. Two years later (1353), Maria was finally rescued by King Louis of Hungary, but her husband Robert was captured and imprisoned by Louis of Taranto at Castel dell'Ovo, where he was killed by her orders. She reportedly witnessed the murder first hand.[7]

Third marriage[edit]

Shortly after her second husband's death, Maria was again imprisoned, this time by Louis of Taranto, and was released only after her marriage, in April 1355, to Philip II of Taranto, Louis' younger brother. They had five children, all of whom died young:[8][9]

  • Philip of Taranto (born and died 1356)
  • Charles of Taranto (born and died 1358)
  • Philip of Taranto (born and died 1360)
  • Stillborn son (1362)
  • Stillborn son (1366).

Maria died in 1366, aged 37, probably from childbirth complications. She was buried at Santa Chiara Basilica, Naples.

Ancestry[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Émile-G. Léonard: Histoire de Jeanne Ire, reine de Naples, comtesse de Provence (1343-1382) : La jeunesse de la reine Jeanne, t. I, Paris et Monaco, Auguste Picard, coll. « Mémoires et documents historiques », 1932, 730 p., p. 110.
  2. ^ Émile-G. Léonard: Histoire de Jeanne Ire, reine de Naples, comtesse de Provence (1343-1382) : La jeunesse de la reine Jeanne, t. I, Paris et Monaco, Auguste Picard, coll. « Mémoires et documents historiques », 1932, 730 p., p. 142
  3. ^ a b Nancy Goldstone: Joanna: The Notorious Queen Of Naples, Jerusalem And Sicily [retrieved 7 January 2015].
  4. ^ a b c Cawley, Charles, Profile of Maria, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, retrieved August 2012 ,[better source needed]
  5. ^ Francesca Steele: The Beautiful Queen: Joanna I of Naples, retrieved 7 January 2015
  6. ^ Although in some sources it appears that this marriage produced four children – Raymond III, Francis, Phanette and Ettienette of Baux – they were Robert's siblings and not his children. The marriage of Raymond III with Jeanne de Montfort in 1358 supported from a chronological point this view. Source: Genealogy of the Family del Balzo (de Baux) at. genmarenostrum.com [retrieved 8 January 2015].
  7. ^ Mihail-Dimitri Sturdza, Dictionnaire historique et Généalogique des grandes familles de Grèce, d'Albanie et de Constantinople (1983), p. 504.
  8. ^ Cawley, Charles, Profile of Philip, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, retrieved August 2012 ,[better source needed]
  9. ^ Genealogy of the House of Anjou at. genmarenostrum.com [retrieved 8 January 2015].
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Marie of Bourbon
— TITULAR —
Latin Empress consort of Constantinople
1364–1366
Reason for succession failure:
Conquest by Empire of Nicaea in 1261
Succeeded by
Elisabeth of Slavonia