The History of Sicily

The Angevins

Upon the death of Frederick, his son Conrad (1228-1254), by Yolanda of Jerusalem, turned his attention to Germany, leaving his half-brother Manfred (1232-1266), one of Frederick’s eleven illegitimate children, in charge of the regno. But Conrad died only four years later, with Manfred assuming the regency for Conrad’s two-year old son, Conradin (1252-1268).

After ascending to the Papacy in 1254, Alexander IV (1184-1261) sent an army into southern Italy, but Manfred defeated it easily. Alexander died, to be succeeded by Urban IV (1195-1264), a Frenchman who convinced Charles of Anjou (1226-1285), the younger brother of King Louis IX, to attack the regno. In 1266, Charles defeated Manfred’s much smaller army at Benevento. Manfred was killed in the battle, and his wife and children were taken to prison, where they died (this was the first of many clear signs of the way Charles would treat the people of the regno for nearly 20 years).

Two years later, Conradin, now 16 years old, who had been raised in Germany was now the rightful king of Sicily. He raised an army, entered Rome to the cheers of the populace (the Pope, his declared enemy, was conveniently out of town), then led his troops against Charles. However, he was defeated at Tagliacozzo and later captured. Taken to Naples, he was tried for treason. The proceedings were a cruel sham, but Conradin was convicted and then beheaded in Naples’ main square. He had never set foot in Sicily. Thus, the line of Frederick II was extinguished.

After inflicting unspeakable harm on the people of Sicily and southern Italy, Charles died in Foggia.


Charles of Anjou