Charles the Short or Charles of Durazzo (1345 – 24 February 1386) was King of Naples and titular King of Jerusalem from 1382 to 1386 as Charles III, and King of Hungary from 1385 to 1386 as Charles II. In 1382 Charles created the order of Argonauts of Saint Nicholas. In 1383 he succeeded to the Principality of Achaea on the death of James of Baux.
Succession in Naples
He was the son of Louis of Durazzo and Margherita of Sanseverino. As the great-grandchild of King Charles II of Naples, he was a second cousin to Queen Joan I (both agnatically) and also adopted by her as a child, since he was the only male of the senior Angevin line of Sicily. Joan I was infatuated with him throughout her life. However, much to her displeasure, her romantic interest in him was never requited. In 1369 he married Margherita of Durazzo, the daughter of Joan's younger sister Marie, and his own first cousin.
The conflict between Joan and Pope Urban VI caused the Pope (as feudal overlord of the kingdom) to declare her dethroned in 1381 and give the kingdom to Charles. He marched on the Kingdom of Naples with a Hungarian army, defeated the King Consort Otto, Duke of Brunswick-Grubenhagen at San Germano, seized the city and besieged her in the Castel dell'Ovo. After Otto's failed attempt to relieve her, Charles captured her and had her imprisoned at San Fele. Soon afterwards, when reached by news that her adopted heir, Louis I of Anjou, was setting an expedition to conquer back Naples, Charles had the Queen strangled in prison in 1382. Then he succeeded to the crown.
War for Naples
Louis's expedition counted to some 40,000 troops, including those of Amadeus VI of Savoy, and had the financial support of Antipope Clement VII and Bernabò Visconti of Milan. Charles, who counted on the mercenary companies under John Hawkwood and Bartolomeo d'Alviano, for a total of some 14,000 men, was able to divert the French from Naples to other regions of the kingdom and to harass them with guerrilla tactics. Amadeus fell ill and died in Molise on 1 March 1383, and his troops abandoned the field. Louis asked for help to his king in France, who sent him an army under Enguerrand VII, Lord of Coucy. The latter was able to conquer Arezzo and then invade the Kingdom of Naples, but midway was reached by the news that Louis had suddenly died at Bisceglie on 20 September 1384.
In the meantime relationships with Urban VI got strained, as he suspected that Charles was plotting against him. In January 1385 he had six cardinals arrested, and one, under torture, revealed Charles' conjure. He thus excommunicated Charles, his wife and raised an interdict over the Kingdom of Naples. The King replied sending Alberico da Barbiano to besiege the pope in Nocera. After six months of siege, Urban was freed by two Neapolitan barons who had sided with Louis of Anjou, Raimondello Orsini and Tommaso di Sanseverino.
Succession in Hungary
While Urban took refuge in Genoa, Charles left the Kingdom to move to Hungary. Here, on the death of Louis I of Hungary, he had claimed the Hungarian throne as the senior Angevin male, and ousted Louis' daughter Mary of Hungary in December, 1385. However, Elisabeth of Bosnia, widow of Louis and mother of Mary, arranged to have Charles assassinated at Visegrád on 24 February 1386. He was buried in Belgrade. His son Ladislas succeeded him in Naples, while the regents of Mary of Hungary reinstated her as Queen of Hungary.
Charles III and Margherita of Durazzo had three children:
- Maria of Durazzo (1369 - 1371).
- Joan II of Naples (23 June 1373 – 2 February 1435).
- Ladislas of Naples (11 February 1377 – 6 August 1414).
- "Papa Urbano VI e il Regno di Napoli", at Cronologia della Storia d'Italia
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Charles III of Naples. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|