Ettore Fieramosca

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Ettore Fieramosca in La disfida di Barletta

Ettore Fieramosca or Ferramosca (Capua, 1476 – Valladolid, 20 January 1515) was an Italian condottiero and nobleman during the Italian Wars. His father was Rainaldo, baron of Rocca d'Evandro, and it is thought that his mother was a noble woman from the Gaetani family.


Ettore served as a page to Ferdinand I of Naples and later became a condottiero for Ferdinand II. As such he fought against Charles VIII of France in 1493, during the French invasion of Italy. He continued to serve Frederick IV against the kings of France and Spain, but after Frederick's defeat in 1501, he turned to serve Prospero Colonna against France for Spain in the Battle of Cerignola. In 1503 he led thirteen Italian knights to victory over thirteen French in the Challenge of Barletta (Disfida di Barletta). Later he served Ferdinand the Catholic, king of Spain, who made him count of Miglionico. Because he was stripped of some of his fief, he fought once more against Spain and France under the Republic of Venice and Fabrizio Colonna. In 1512 he fought at the Battle of Ravenna. Reconciled with Ferdinand, he died in Spain in 1515.


During the Risorgimento and the rise of Fascism, he was presented as a national hero and became the subject of national celebrations. Massimo D'Azeglio wrote an 1833 novel Ettore Fieramosca, in an effort to boost Italian patriotism. In 1909 and again in 1915 he was the main subject of two Italian silent films, both named Ettore Fieramosca. In 1938, during the Fascist era, Alessandro Blasetti directed a sound film Ettore Fieramosca. Two warships, the protected cruiser Ettore Fieramosca and the submarine Ettore Fieramosca, were named after him.

Family Tree[edit]

Ettore's original surname was Ferramosca, inherited through his paternal line from his great-grandfather Russo Ferramosca.[1] b. before 1405. As the result of his defeat of the French at the Challenge of Barletta, the people referred to him as Fieramosca (Fiera=Proud), a term which became associated with the family. His family tree is shown on the right.

family tree
Ettore Ferramosca family tree