|Intro||King of Naples|
|Birth||2 June 1423 (Valencia)|
|Death||25 January 1494 (Genoa)|
Ferdinand I of Naples should not be confused with Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, a later king of Naples.
Ferdinand I (2 June 1423 – 25 January 1494), also called Ferrante, was the King of Naples from 1458 to 1494. He was the son of Alfonso V of Aragon and his mistress, Giraldona Carlino.
His mother was Gueraldona Carlino. In order to arrange a good future for Ferdinand, King Alfonso had him married in 1444 to a feudal heiress, Isabella of Clermont, who besides being the elder daughter of Tristan di Chiaramonte (Tristan de Clermont-Lodeve), Count of Copertino, and Catherine of Baux Orsini, was the niece and heiress presumptive of childless prince Giovanni Antonio del Balzo Orsini of Taranto. She was a granddaughter of Mary of Enghien, who had been queen consort of Naples between 1406 and 1414. Ferdinand's wife was the heiress presumptive of remarkable feudal possessions in Southern Italy.
He used the title Ferdinand I, King of Naples and Jerusalem. In accordance with his father's will, Ferdinand succeeded Alfonso on the throne of Naples in 1458, when he was 35 years old. Pope Calixtus III, however, declared the line of Aragon extinct and the kingdom a fief of the church. Calixtus died before he could make good his claim (August 1458), and the new Pope Pius II within the year publicly recognized Ferdinand's titles.
In 1459, Ferdinand's rule was threatened by a long revolt of the barons. Among the leaders of revolt were Giovanni Antonio Orsini, prince of Taranto and uncle of Ferdinand's wife. The rebels joined to offer the crown to John of Anjou, a son of the former king René. With the help of the Genoese, John brought a fleet and landed, slowly taking some towns including Nocera. On July 7, 1460, Ferdinand was defeated by John in the plain beside the mouth of the Sarno River south of Mount Vesuvius. Ferdinand was nearly captured and escaped with a guard of only twenty men. The pope and the duke of Milan sent reinforcements under the count of Urbino Federico da Montefeltro and condottiero Alessandro Sforza, but these arrived after the defeat and were themselves crushed by John's ally Piccinino at San Fabriano.
Despite subsequently receiving the surrender of most of the strongholds in Campania, John did not immediately march on Naples and Ferdinand and his wife Isabella were able to hold it and slowly regain their position. Isabella appears to have been responsible for dissuading Orsini from supporting John and Genoa removed their assistance. The papacy, Milan, and the Albanian chief Skanderbeg—who came to the aid of the prince whose father had aided him—provided forces which decisively defeated John's land forces at Troia on August 18, 1462. His fleet was finally demolished by the combined forces of Ferdinand and King Juan II of Aragon off Ischia in July 1465. By 1464, Ferdinand had re-established his authority in the kingdom, although some antipathy by the barons remained.
In 1478 he allied himself with Pope Sixtus IV against Lorenzo de' Medici, but the latter journeyed alone to Naples where he succeeded in negotiating an honorable peace with Ferdinand.
The original intent of making Taranto as his and his heirs' main principality was not any longer current, but still it was a strengthening of Ferdinand's resources and position that his wife in 1463 succeeded her uncle Giovanni Antonio del Balzo Orsini as possessor of the rich Taranto, Lecce and other fiefs in Apulia. Isabella became also the holder of Brienne rights to the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Ferdinand's wife Isabella's had died in 1465, and by 1476, Ferdinand had remarried Joanna of Aragon, his first cousin.
In 1480, forces of the Ottoman Empire under orders of Mehmed II captured Otranto, and massacred the majority of the inhabitants, but in the following year it was retaken by Ferdinand's son Alphonso, duke of Calabria. In 1482, abandoning his traditional position of paladin of the Papal States, he fought alongside Ferrara and Milan against the alliance of Sixtus IV and the Republic of Venice (see War of Ferrara).
Ferdinand's oppressive government led in 1485 to a reinvigorated rebellion of the aristocracy, known as the Conspiracy of the Barons, which included Francesco Coppola and Antonello Sanseverino of Salerno and supported by Pope Innocent VIII. Coppola and Antonello Petrucci were arrested during a wedding at Castel Nuovo, and subsequently executed. Ultimately this uprising was crushed, many of the nobles, notwithstanding Ferdinand's signing of a general amnesty, were afterwards jailed and executed at his command.
In December 1491 Ferdinand was visited by a group of pilgrims on their return from the Holy Land. This group was led by William I, Landgrave of Hesse.
Encouraged by Ludovico Sforza of Milan, in 1493 King Charles VIII of France was preparing to invade Italy for the conquest of Naples and starting the Italian Wars, and Ferdinand realized that this was a greater danger than any he had yet faced. With almost prophetic instinct he warned the Italian princes of the calamities in store for them, but his negotiations with Pope Alexander VI and Ludovico Sforza failed.
He died on 25 January 1494, worn out with anxiety; he was succeeded by his son, Alphonse, Duke of Calabria, who was soon deposed by the invasion of King Charles which his father had so feared. The cause of his death was determined, in 2006, to have been colorectal cancer (mucinous adenocarcinoma type with mutation in the KRas gene), by examination of his mummy. His remains show levels of carbon 13 and nitrogen 15 consistent with historical reports of considerable consumption of meat.
According to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, "Ferdinand was gifted with great courage and real political ability, but his method of government was vicious and disastrous. His financial administration was based on oppressive and dishonest monopolies, and he was mercilessly severe and utterly treacherous towards his enemies."
Ferdinand had many enemies, especially considering his kingdom's importance to other rulers, and he was ruthless in response to any perceived slight. He even fiercely plotted against Pope Alexander VI, after he realized that the pontiff could not secure his position.
As further testimony to the latter, Jacob Burckhardt described his recreational activities as follows: "Besides hunting, which he practiced regardless of all rights of property, his pleasures were of two kinds: he liked to have his opponents near him, either alive in well-guarded prisons, or dead and embalmed, dressed in the costume which they wore in their lifetime." Fearing no one, he would take great pleasure in conducting his guests on a tour of his prized "museum of mummies".
|Ancestors of Ferdinand I of Naples|
Marriages and children
Ferdinand married twice.
- First to Isabella of Clermont in 1444. Isabel was daughter to Tristan de Clermont, Count di Copertino and Caterina Orsini. She died in 1465. They had six children:
- Alfonso II of Naples (4 November 1448 – 18 December 1495).
- Eleanor of Naples (22 June 1450 – 11 October 1493). She was consort to Ercole I d'Este, Duke of Ferrara and mother to Isabella d'Este and Beatrice d'Este.
- Frederick IV of Naples (19 April 1452 – 9 November 1504).
- John of Naples (25 June 1456 – 17 October 1485). Later Archbishop of Taranto, then Cardinal, and Archbishop of Esztergom (1480–1485) until his death.
- Beatrice of Naples (14 September/16 November 1457 – 23 September 1508). She was Queen consort to Matthias Corvinus of Hungary and later to Vladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary.
- Francis of Naples, Duke of Sant Angelo (16 December 1461 – 26 October 1486).
- Second to Joanna of Aragon (1454 – 9 January 1517). She was born to John II of Aragon and Juana Enríquez, his second wife. She was a full sister of King Ferdinand II of Aragon (died 1516) and a half sister of the unfortunate Prince Charles of Viana (1421–1461), John II's son by his first marriage. Joanna and Ferdinand I were married on 14 September 1476. They had two children:
- Joanna of Naples (1478 –married 1496 - 27 August 1518). Queen consort to Ferdinand II of Naples (1469–1496), who, as the son of Ferdinand I's son Alfonso II of Naples (1458 - king 1494 - 1495 in Messina), was also her half-nephew. No issue.
- Charles of Naples (1480–1486).
Ferdinand also had a number of illegitimate children:
- By his mistress Diana Guardato, a member of the aristocratic Patriacian family of the Kingdom of Naples:
- Ferdinando d' Aragona y Guardato, 1st Duke of Montalto, who married 1st, Anna Sanseverino, 2nd, Castellana de Cardona
- Maria d'Aragona, who married Antonio Todeschini Piccolomini, Duke of Amalfi, a nephew of Pope Pius II and brother of Pope Pius III.
- Giovanna d' Aragona, who married Leonardo della Rovere, Duke of Arce and Sora, a nephew of Pope Sixtus IV and brother of Pope Julius II.
- By his mistress Eulalia Ravignano:
- Maria d'Aragona, who married Gian Giordano Orsini.
- By his mistress Giovanna Caracciolo:
- Ferdinand d'Aragona, Count of Arsena.
- Arrigo d'Aragona, Marquess of Gerace.
- Cesare d'Aragona, Marquess of Santa Agata.
- Leonor d'Aragona.
- Alonso, bastard of Aragona (1460–1510), who married Charla of Lusignan (1468 – in prison in Padua, 1480) daughter of King James II of Cyprus.
- Lucrezia d'Aragona, daughter of either Giovanna Caracciola or Eulalia Ravignano, was consort to Onorato III, Prince of Altamura.