Robert Of Naples - Encyclopedia

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ROBERT (1275-1343), king of Naples, was the son of Charles II., duke of Anjou and king of Naples, and in his youth took part in several expeditions to Sicily with the object of wresting the island from Frederick III. of Aragon. But his efforts, like those of his father and grandfather, proved fruitless, and the Angevins were compelled at last to agree to the peace of Caltabellotta (1302). On the death of Charles in 1309 Robert succeeded to the throne, although his nephew Caroberto (Carlo Roberto), son of his elder brother Charles Martel, who had died before his father, had a prior claim. He was crowned by Pope Clement V. at Avignon, and on the descent into Italy of the emperor Henry VII. was appointed papal vicar in Romagna to resist the imperialists; thenceforth he became the recognized leader of the Guelphs or papal faction in Italy and took part in all the wars against the Ghibellines. On various occasions he obtained for himself or his sons the suzerainty over Rome, Florence, and other cities, and was regarded as the most powerful Italian prince of his day. Pope John XXII. created him papal vicar in Italy against the emperor Louis the Bavarian. In 1320 Robert summoned his kinsman Philip V. of France to Italy, and he waged war against Sicily once more from 1325 to 1341, but failed to drive out the Aragonese. He died in 1343, just as he was about to lead another expedition to the island. Robert was a man of learning, devoted to literature, and a generous patron of literary men: he befriended the poet Petrarch, who admired the king so greatly as to express the wish to see him lord of all Italy; while Boccaccio celebrated the virtues and charms of Robert's natural daughter Maria, under the name of Fiammetta. Dante was perhaps too severe on Robert, whom he described as a re da sermone (word king), and contemporary critics accused him of covetousness, a fault partly excused by his pressing need of money to pay the expenses of his perpetual wars. In spite of his power and influence, his position as a leader of the Guelphs was greatly shaken during the latter years of his reign, while at home he was never able completely to subjugate his rebellious barons.

See G. Villani, Cronache; M. Murena, Vita di Roberto d'Angib, re di Napoli (Naples, 1770); and Archivio storico Siciliano (1884, viii. 511 seq.).

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