Ladislas the Magnanimous (14 July 1376 or 11 February 1377 – 6 August 1414) was King of Naples and titular King of Jerusalem and Sicily, titular Count of Provence and Forcalquier (1386 – 1414), and titular King of Hungary and Dalmatia (1390 – 1414). He was the last male of the senior Angevin line.

He became a skilled political and military leader, protector and controller of the Papacy of Innocent VII. He profited from disorder throughout Italy to greatly expand his kingdom and his power, appropriating much of the Papal States to his own use.


Early years

Ladislas was born in Naples, the son of Charles III and Margherita of Durazzo.

He became the King of Naples from the age of nine (1386) under his mother's regency. Through the 1390s he was constantly opposed by Antipope John XXIII as well as by Louis II of Anjou, then head of the junior Angevin line, who contested the throne.

Louis successfully seized Naples from him in 1390, and Ladislas was forced to spend several years in the fortress of Gaeta. He had however the favour of Pope Boniface IX, as well as that of much of Neapolitan population, unwillingfull to support the John XXIII. Several powerful barons of the Kingdom decided to support him, and in 1399, while Louis was fighting against the count of Lecce, Ladislas was able to re-enter in Naples. The Angevine then decided to return to Provence.

Ladislas was also the prince of Taranto from 1406, having taken Mary, Dowager Princess of Taranto and Countess of Lecce (1367–9 May 1446) as his third wife and barred her son from the principality. Ladislas first attempted to subjugate those fiefs by a war and besieging the lady, but did not succeed in capturing her castle. Therefore, he changed tactics: after negotiations, he succeeded in compelling her to marry him.

Conquest of central Italy

Ladislas endeavored to consolidate the royal power at the expense of the baronial, and brought about the murder of several members of the Sanseverino family for frustrating his ends. In 1405 he went to Rome, where he helped the new Pope Innocent VIII to gain approval from the Roman population. In exchange, he was made rector of the Roman countryside and seaside. However, a revolt forced Innocent to flee and two powerful Roman baron families, the Colonna and the Savelli]], called Ladislas in; his attempt to obtain the seigniory of the city was however unsuccessful. He tried again in 1408, at the head of 12,000 cavalry and 12,000 infantry[1]; after a short siege, he captured the city by bribing the Papal commander, Paolo Orsini; later also Perugia fell into his hands.

From 1390 Ladislas was also claimant to the throne of Hungary and Dalmatia. His claim to the Crown of Hungary was opposed by Hungarian King Sigismund of Luxemburg, while he sold his rights to the kingdom of Dalmatia to the Venetian Republic for 100,000 ducats in 1409. In the same year he invaded Tuscany, capturing Cortona and the Elba Island from Gherardo Appiani. The Florentine condottiero Braccio da Montone defeated his army, and Ladislas was forced to retreat. However, he had not abandoned his aims to northern Italy, also taking advantage of the presence of Pope Gregory XII in Gaeta.

Fearing his aims, the Republics of Siena and Florence and the powerful cardinal Baldassarre Cossa allied against him. Antipope Alexander V excommunicated him, calling Louis II of Anjou to Italy to conquer Naples; the count of Provence arrived in Italy in late july 1409 with 1,500 cavalry and was invested of the Neapolitan crown. The league's troops, under Muzio Attendolo, Braccio da Montone and other condottieri, invaded the Papal lands under Ladislas control and moved to Rome; Orsini, left by Ladislas to protect the city, switched to them with 2,000 men. However the allied were able to capture only the quarter of Trastevere. Cossa and Louis abandoned the siege to their condottieri, and moved to northern Italy and Provence in search of further support.

In 1410 Ladislas took advantage of an anti-French revolt in Genoa to gain the support of that city. Rome fell on 2 January, but the allied did not score any other notable result. On 8 May Louis' fleet, carrying new troops from Provence, was intercepted and partly destroyed off the Tuscan coast. In the meantime, Alexander had died, being replaced by Cossa himself as John XXIII. However, the slow pace of the allied army had the Florentines and the Sienese accept a peace with Ladislas, which he bought renouncing to some of his Tuscan conquests. Louis continued the struggle, and crushed a Neapolitan army at Roccasecca on 19 May. He proved unable to exploit to success, however, and soon returned to Rome and Provence, where he died six years later. John XXIII remained alone against Ladislas, who bought the troops of Muzio Attendolo, while most of the Papal barons rebelled. A peace was signed on 14 June 1412, by which the Pope paid 100,000 florins, invested Ladislas of the Neapolitan crown and named him as gonfaloniere; the King promised in turn to abandon the cause of Gregory XII.

Last campaigns and death

In 1413 Ladislas marched again northwards, conquering and sacking Rome, as well as most of the Papal States. As its homeland was clearly the next objective of the King, Florence prevented him by signing a treaty of peace.

Having fell ill[2], Ladislas was forced to return to Naples, where he died on 6 August 1414. Rumours that he had been poisoned remain unproven. He is buried in the church of San Giovanni a Carbonara, where a monument was built over his tomb. He was succeeded by his sister Joan II of Naples, the last member of the senior Angevin line in Italy.

Significantly, when John XXIII preached the crusade against Ladislas, Jan Hus opposed the sale of indulgences to finance it in Bohemia, which led to Hus's death and subsequently the Hussite movement.

Marriages and children

Ladislas married three times:

  • First to Costanza de Clermont in 1390. She was a daughter of Manfredo de Clermont, Conte di Motica. They were divorced in 1392.
  • Second to Marie de Lusignan (1381 in Genoa – 4 September 1404 in Naples and buried there) on 12 February 1403 in Naples. She was a daughter of James I of Cyprus. She died on 4 September 1404.
  • Third to Marie d'Enghien, Contessa di Lecce (1367 or 1370 – 9 May 1446), daughter of Jean d'Enghien, Conte di Castro, in 1406. She survived him by thirty-two years.

There were no children from any of his marriages. However Ladislas had at least two illegitimate children:

  • Rinaldo of Durazzo, Titular "Prince of Capua", buried in Foggia. Married and had children of his own:
    • Francesco of Durazzo. Married and had a son:
      • Rinaldo di Durazzo (1469 – 1 September 1494 and buried in Foggia), married to Camilla Tomacelli, without issue
    • Caterina of Durazzo
    • Camilla of Durazzo
    • Ippolita of Durazzo
  • Maria of Durazzo. Considered to have died young.



  1. "Da Papa Bonifacio IX a Papa Martino V", Cronologia d'Italia[1]
  2. "Da Papa Bonifacio IX a Papa Martino V", Cronologia d'Italia [2]

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Ladislas of Naples. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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