Fra' Moriale

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Giovanni Moriale d'Albarno, also known as Fra Moriale (French: Jean Montréal du Bar; 1303–August 1354)[1] was a French mercenary and condottiero.


Jean du Montreal d'Albarno was born at Le Bar-sur-Loup. He came from the aristocratic family "maison de Grasse" which was one of the oldest and wealthiest families in Provence. Le Bar-sur-Loup was previously known as Albarno.

He arrived in Italy around 1345, and, like his uncle, became a member of the military Order of Knights Hospitaller, better known now as the Knights of Malta. At that point he became known as "Moriale". He fought for Louis I of Hungary in the succession wars for the Kingdom of Naples.[1] In 1349 he joined Werner von Urslingen's Great Company. Later he was hired by the Papal States, but he abandoned them due to insufficient payment.

The King of Hungary made him his vicar and gave him the castle of Aversa. Along with Corrado Lupo, head of a company of 7000 men, he plundered the Benevento. With the war over the Kingdom of Naples succession ended, the unemployed mercenaries turned to robbery.[2] Moriale refounded the Great Company with German, Italian and Provençal mercenaries. Together with his kinsman, Bertrand de la Motte, he fought in Tuscany and Romagna with the aim of cutting out a state for himself.

Luigi di Taranto cited Moriale to the court of the Vicariate, where Moriale was condemned in absentia. In 1352, Joanna I of Naples sent Galeotto I Malatesta of Rimini, to besiege him in Aversa,[1] where Moriale had amassed a large treasure during years of pillages. Forced to surrender, he was allowed to escape alive in exchange for all his wealth. He then took service for a time with John of Viterbo and Orvieto, before forming another "Companie of adventurers".[2]

In an attempt to rescue his brothers and fellow condottieri, Annebald and Breton, who had got entangled in quarrels at Rome, he was arrested with them by order of the Tribune Cola di Rienzo and condemned to death. He was beheaded in the Capitol Hill square on 29 August 1354, and buried in the nearby Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli.

Outrage at the execution helped lead to Cola's later downfall.



  • Bartoli, Daniele (1668). Il torto e il diritto del non si può. Rome/Varese. 
  • Ricotti, Ercole (1929). Storia delle compagnie di ventura in Italia. Athena.