Capetian House of Anjou

House of Anjou

Arms of the Capetian House of Anjou
Country France, Kingdom of Sicily, Kingdom of Naples, Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen, Kingdom of Poland, Latin Empire, Principality of Achaea, Despotate of Epirus, Kingdom of Albania
Parent house House of Capet
Founded 1246
Founder Charles I of Naples
Final ruler Joanna II of Naples
Dissolution 1435
Cadet branches
  • House of Anjou-Hungary
  • House of Anjou-Taranto
  • House of Anjou-Durazzo

The Capetian House of Anjou, also known as the House of Anjou-Sicily and House of Anjou-Naples, was a royal house and cadet branch of the direct French House of Capet. It is one of three separate royal houses referred to as Angevin, meaning "from Anjou" in France. Founded by Charles I of Naples, a son of Louis VIII of France, the Capetian king first ruled the Kingdom of Sicily during the 13th century. Later the War of the Sicilian Vespers forced him out of the island of Sicily, leaving him with just the southern half of the Italian Peninsula — the Kingdom of Naples. The house and its various branches would go on to influence much of the history of Southern and Central Europe during the Middle Ages, until becoming defunct in 1435.

Historically, the House ruled Naples and Sicily, parts of Greece, Hungary (and Croatia), and Poland.

Rise of Charles I and his sons

The seated Charles I of Sicily is crowned by Pope Clement IV.

A younger son of House of Capet king Louis VIII of France the Lion, Charles was first given a noble title by his brother Louis IX of France who succeeded to the French throne in 1226. Charles was named Count of Anjou and Maine; the feudal County of Anjou was a western vassal state of the Kingdom of France, which the Capetians had wrested from the House of Plantagenet only a few decades earlier. Charles married the heiress of the County of Provence named Beatrice of Provence, she was a member of the House of Barcelona; this meant Charles' holdings were growing as Count of Provence. After fighting in the Seventh Crusade, Charles was offered by Pope Clement IV the Kingdom of Sicily — which at the time included not only the island of Sicily but also the southern half of the Italian Peninsula. The reason for Charles being offered the kingdom was because of a conflict between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire, the latter of whom were represented by the ruling House of Hohenstaufen.

It was at the Battle of Benevento that the Guelph Capetians gained the Sicilian kingdom from the Ghibelline Swabians, this was cemented after victory at Tagliacozzo. In keeping with the political landscape of the period, Charles is described by scholars as shrewd, energetic and highly ambitious. He signed the Treaty of Viterbo in 1267 with Baldwin II of Courtenay and William II of Villehardouin,[1] the political alliance gave many of the rights of the Latin Empire to Charles and a marriage alliance for his daughter Beatrice of Sicily.[2] The Byzantines had taken back the city of Constantinople in 1261 and this was a plan to take it back from Michael VIII Palaiologos.[2] It also recognised Charles' possession of Corfu and cities in the Balkans such as Durazzo, as well as giving him suzerainty over the Principality of Achaea and sovereignty of the Aegean islands aside from those already held by the Republic of Venice.[3][4] For a while Charles was preoccupied helping his French brother in the unsuccessful Eighth Crusade on Tunis. After this he once again focused on Constantinople, but his fleet was wrecked in a freak storm off the coast of Trapani.[5] With the elevation of Pope Gregory X, there was a truce between Charles and Michael in the form of the Council of Lyons, as Christians focused on improving ecumenical relations, with hopes of regaining the Kingdom of Jerusalem back from the Muslims.[5]

Artistic depiction of the Sicilian Vespers.

Charles had fully solidified his rule over Durazzo by 1272, creating a small Kingdom of Albania for himself, out of previously Despotate of Epirus territory; he was well received by local chiefs.[6]

A map of the lands ruled by Louis

Charles was driven out of Sicily in 1282, but his successors ruled Naples until 1435.

Charles II and division of the inheritance

This House of Anjou included the branches of Anjou-Hungary, which ruled Hungary (13081385, 13861395) and Poland (13701399), Anjou-Taranto, which ruled the remnants of the Latin Empire (13131374) and Anjou-Durazzo, which ruled Naples (13821435) and Hungary (13851386).

The line became extinct in the male line with the death of King Ladislaus of Naples in 1414, and totally extinct with the death of his sister Joanna II in 1435.

Branching out

Kingdom of Albania

The Kingdom of Albania, or Regnum Albaniae, was established by Charles of Anjou in the Albanian territory he conquered from the Despotate of Epirus in 1271. He took the title of "King of Albania" in February 1272. The kingdom extended from the region of Durrës (then known as Dyrrhachium) south along the coast to Butrint. A major attempt to advance further in direction of Constantinople, failed at the Siege of Berat (1280–1281). A Byzantine counteroffensive soon ensued, which drove the Angevins out of the interior by 1281. The Sicilian Vespers further weakened the position of Charles, and the Kingdom was soon reduced by the Epirotes to a small area around Durrës. The Angevins held out here, however, until 1368, when the city was captured by Karl Thopia. In 1392 Karl Thopia's son surrendered the city and his domains to the Republic of Venice.


Designation and details

Title Held Designation and details
Count of Anjou12461299Awarded to Charles I by his brother. Remained under direct control of the Capetian House of Anjou until passing to another Capetian branch the House of Valois by marriage.
Count of Maine12461309Awarded to Charles I by his brother. Remained under direct control of the Capetian House of Anjou until passing to another Capetian branch the House of Valois-Anjou by creation of John II of France.
Count of Provence12461382Inherited by marriage between Charles I and Beatrice of Provence who held the county. Issueless Joanna I of Naples left the county to Louis I of Anjou of the House of Valois-Anjou.
King of Sicily12661282Won the kingdom through conquest.

List of monarchs

Kingdom of Sicily

Portrait Name From Until Relationship with predecessor
Charles I of Sicily6 January 12664 September 1282no direct relation to Manfred of Sicily, won the kingdom through right of conquest.

Kingdom of Naples

Portrait Name Branch From Until Relationship with predecessor
Charles I of NaplesAnjou-Sicily4 September 12827 January 1285the southern half of the Italian Peninsula was part of the Kingdom of Sicily before the Sicilian Vespers forced Charles out of the island.
Charles II of Naples
(Charles the Lame)
Anjou-Sicily7 January 12855 May 1309son of Charles I of Naples.
Robert of Naples
(Robert the Wise)
Anjou-Naples5 May 130920 January 1343son of Charles II of Naples.
Joanna I of NaplesAnjou-Naples20 January 134312 May 1382granddaughter of Robert of Naples. Daughter of Charles, Duke of Calabria
Charles III of Naples
(Charles the Short)
Anjou-Durazzo12 May 138224 February 1386second cousin of Joanna I of Naples, whom he had murdered. Son of Louis of Durazzo.
Ladislaus of NaplesAnjou-Durazzo24 February 13866 August 1414son of Charles III of Naples.
Joanna II of NaplesAnjou-Durazzo6 August 14142 February 1435sister of Ladislaus of Naples, daughter of Charles III of Naples.

Kingdom of Hungary

Portrait Name Branch From Until Relationship with predecessor
Charles Robert I of HungaryAnjou-HungarySpring 130116 July 1342great-grandnephew (first-cousin thrice removed) of Andrew III of Hungary, the last Árpád agnate.
Louis I of Hungary
(Louis the Great)
Anjou-Hungary16 July 134210 September 1382son of Charles I of Hungary.
Mary of HungaryAnjou-Hungary10 September 1382December 1385daughter of Louis I of Hungary.
Charles II of Hungary
(Charles the Short of Naples)
Anjou(-Durazzo)December 138524 February 1386second-cousin once removed of Mary of Hungary; great-grandson of Charles II of Naples.
Usurped the throne from her.
Mary of Hungary
Anjou-Hungary24 February 138617 May 1395second-cousin once removed of Charles II of Hungary;
great-great granddaughter of Charles II of Naples.

Kingdom of Poland

Portrait Name Branch From Until Relationship with predecessor
Louis of Poland
(Louis the Great of Hungary)
Anjou-Hungary17 November 137010 September 1382nephew of Casimir III of Poland, the last Piast agnate.
Jadwiga of PolandAnjou-Hungary16 October 138417 July 1399daughter of Louis of Poland.


Wikimedia Commons has media related to House of Anjou.
  1. Abulafia, 148. "He reached an agreement with the dispossessed Latin Emperor Baldwin, his son and heir Philip of Courtenay and William of Villehardouin ... The resultant treaties ... signed in the papal palace at Viterbo in May 1267, would have made Charles of Anjou the effective controller of a restored Latin emperor ..."
  2. 1 2 Hazzard, The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, 35.
  3. Abulafia, 533. "The principality of Morea and its dependencies should be transferred to [Charles of Anjou] ... granted to Charles suzerainty over the islands of the Aegean, Corfu and all Latin possession in Epiros."
  4. Abulafia, 793. "[Charles of Anjou] took charge of Durazzo ..."
  5. 1 2 Hazzard, The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, 37.
  6. Van Antwerp Fine, The Late Medieval Balkans, 184.


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