Archive for 'Gothic'

The Kingdom of Naples, Part 5: Joanna I (1343-1382)

Joanna of NaplesQueen Joanna I of Naples (Source: Wikimedia, Public Domain in the U.S.)

Queen Joanna of Naples (born 1326) is a notable figure as a reigning queen of the Middle Ages. She is the subject of a recent biography by Nancy Goldstone, The Lady Queen: The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem, and Sicily. This biography is a sympathetic portrait of a woman who was constantly challenged by the intrigues of many rivals, including popes and her own husbands, but who managed to survive these storms until she was eventually murdered in 1382. Accused of murdering her first husband, Joanna was tried before a papal court and won acquittal after arguing her case in Latin. She was 22 years old at the time. › Continue reading…


The Kingdom of Naples, Part 4: Robert (1309-1343)

St. Louis of Toulouse Crowning Robert of AnjouSt. Louis of Toulouse Crowning Robert of Anjou, painted by Simone Martini, c. 1317, now in the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte

Robert the Wise was King of Naples from 1309 to 1343. His older brother, Louis, had renounced the throne when he entered the Franciscan Order in 1295. He became Bishop of Toulouse and was later canonized as St Louis of Toulouse. Quoting yet again from Naples, the City of Parthenope and its Environs (1894), by Clara Erskine Clement:

In 1309 Robert, Duke of Calabria, the third son of Charles II., known as Robert the Wise, became King of Naples. He was ambitious of wearing the imperial crown of Italy; but in 1327 King Louis of Bavaria succeeded in obtaining this honor, and vowed vengeance upon Robert. The Romans at first received Louis gladly, but when, in 1329, they saw the fleet of Naples at the mouth of the Tiber, another sentiment prevailed among them, and the Emperor was forced to retreat to the North of Italy. Long years of serious disturbances succeeded these events. Robert the Wise was now too old to lead the Guelfs to victory, as he had formerly done, and the Ghibelline power was vastly increased. When John of Bohemia became their leader, Florence appealed to Robert for aid; but he merely sent them Walter of Brienne, Duke of Athens, who did them harm rather than good; and in 1343 King Robert ended his reign in the midst of bitter contentions between Guelf and Ghibelline, and the spirit of freedom and that of tyranny which these terms represented.

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The Kingdom of Naples, Part 3: Charles II (1285-1309)

Porto Mercantile

Charles II, the second king of Naples (without Sicily), succeeded his father, Charles I, in 1285. Clara Erskine Clement describes in her 1894 book, Naples, the City of Parthenope and its Environs:

Charles II. of Anjou was a worthy successor of his father in the conception and execution of public works. He constructed the original Molo Grande and the Porto Mercantile, or Porto Grande, in 1302; he continued the building of the cathedral, and erected S. Domenico Maggiore, still one of the finest churches in Naples, and founded the less important S. Pietro Martire.

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The Kingdom of Naples, Part 2: Charles I (1266-1285)

Charles ISource: Bob and Nella’s World

Having defeated Manfred, the last Hohenstaufen king of Sicily, in 1266, Charles of Anjou, the brother of King Louis IX of France, was crowned king of Sicily. In 1282, Charles lost the control of the island of Sicily itself but retained the kingdom’s territory on the southern part of the Italian Peninsula. This resulted in there being two kingdoms of Sicily, one on Sicily and the other on the peninsula. Both would be called the Kingdom of Sicily, but Charles’s remaining territory is more commonly known today as the Kingdom of Naples, after its major city. › Continue reading…


Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Fourteen: Adieu to Scotland


Before Harriet Beecher Stowe left Scotland she had the opportunity to visit the studio of the painter Sir George Harvey (1806-1876) and saw two of his works there: “The Covenanters’ Communion” and “Quitting the Manse.” › Continue reading…


Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Thirteen: Hawthornden Castle

HawthorndenHawthornden Castle (Source)

Hawthornden Castle is situated on the north bank of the River North Esk in Midlothian. It consists of a ruined 15th-century castle with an attached house built in 1638 by the poet Sir William Drummond of Hawthornden. Part of the castle is now made available by its current owners as a private retreat for writers. Harriet Beecher Stowe visited Hawthornden on April 27, 1853. › Continue reading…


Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Eleven: Melrose Abbey

Melrose_AbbeyMelrose Abbey Wikimedia: Globaltraveller / Creative Commons

If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright,
Go visit it by the pale moon-light;
For the gay beams of lightsome day
Gild, but to flout, the ruins gray.
When the broken arches are black in night,
And each shafted oriel glimmers white;
When the cold light’s uncertain shower
Streams on the ruined central tower;

When buttress and buttress, alternately,
Seem framed of ebon and ivory;
When silver edges the imagery,
And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;
When distant Tweed is heard to rave,
And the owlet to hoot o’er the dead man’s grave,
Then go—but go alone the while—
Then view St David’s ruined pile;
And, home returning, soothly swear,
Was never scene so sad and fair!

–Sir Walter Scott, “The Lay of the Last Minstrel,” Canto II

On the same day (April 26, 1853) that Harriet Beecher Stowe visited Abbotsford and Dryburgh Abbey, she visited the ruins of Melrose Abbey. › Continue reading…

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