For a long
time following Ferdinand III's creation
in 1296 of an independent Kingdom of Sicily separate from the mainland
territory surrounding Naples, the crown of Sicily descended in a Spanish
line while the crown of Naples descended through the hands of their
ancient enemies, the descendants of Charles II of Anjou.
remarkable Renaissance individual, Alphonso V, King of Aragon--called
"the Magnanimous"--finally united the old enemies. Alphonso
first gained the throne of Sicily by inheritance. Later, Queen Joanna
II of Naples--whose four husbands and myriad lovers would scarcely
seem to have left her time for governance--solicited Alphonso's aid
in fending off a variety of claimants to her throne. As recompense
she promised to make Alphonso her heir to the crown of Naples. Alphonso
launched a military campaign that by 1422 restored Joanna to Naples.
Joanna was a fickle ally, however, and she soon found a new favorite
whom she preferred to be her heir. Following Joanna's death in 1435
Alphonso returned to enforce his claim by force of arms. In 1443 Pope
Eugene IV acknowledged Alphonso's conquest of Naples and his seat
upon its throne.
a man of letters himself and an early leader of the renaissance in
classical studies. He carried the works of classical writers with
him on his military campaigns and once halted his army in mid-march
to honor the birthplace of a Latin writer.
Alphonso's death, the reunited territory of Sicily and Naples descended
through successive generations as a possession of the Spanish monarch.