Archive for 'Type of Place'

Henry Ward Beecher Describes Litchfield

henry-ward-beecher

In an 1856 article entitles “Litchfield Revisited,” Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, describes a return visit to the town where he grew up. Many of the things he described are still there:

The morning after our arrival in Litchfield we sallied forth alone. The day was high and wide, full of stillness and serenely radiant. As we carried our present life up the North Street, we met at every step our boyhood life coming down. There were the old trees, but looking not so large as to our young eyes. The stately road had, however, been bereaved of the buttonball trees, which had been crippled by disease. But the old elms retained a habit peculiar to Litchfield. There seemed to be a current of wind which at times passes high up in the air over the town, and which moves the tops of the trees, while on the ground there is no movement of wind. How vividly did that sound from above bring back early days, when for hours we lay upon the windless grass and watched the top leaves flutter, and marked how still were the under leaves of the same tree!

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The Kingdom of Naples, Part 13: Ferdinand II (1495-1496)

Ferdinand IIFerdinand II of Naples when he was Duke of Calabria
(Source: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

King Alfonso II of Naples had fled his kingdom in the face of the French invasion. His son, Ferdinand II, would regain the kingdom, but died soon after. As described by Clara Erskine Clement:

Ferdinand II. returned to Naples, and with the aid of the great Spanish captain, Gonsalvo da Cordova, had regained nearly all that his father had lost, when, in October, 1496, he was borne from Somma to Castel Capuano, sick unto death. In the “Cronaca di Notar Giacomo,” this account is given:

“On the following Thursday, the Most Reverend Lord Archbishop, Alexander Carafa, led two solemn processions, one of which went towards the Nunziata, bearing the head and blood of the glorious martyr St. Januarius, followed by a numberless troop of women with burning wax torches. As the procession reached the castle, the queen mother appeared under the portal and threw herself on the ground, upon which the Archbishop uttered three prayers: the first to the Madonna, the second for the sick King, and the third to St. Januarius. Then they all exclaimed ‘Misericordia’ so loudly and tumultuously that the Archbishop could hardly finish the prayer amid the lamentations of the people. On the following Friday, at the seventh hour, another procession was about to march to Santa Maria la Nuova: then came the intelligence that God had taken the Lord King to himself. Cujus anima requiescat in pace.” › Continue reading…

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The Kingdom of Naples, Part 12: Alfonso II (1494-1495)

Alfonso IIAlfonso, Duke of Calabria, later Alfonso II, King of Naples
(Source Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

When Ferdinand I, King of Naples, died, the French King, Charles VIII, was preparing to invade. As Clara Erskine Clement describes the ensuing conflict:

Had Ferdinand lived, he would have avoided war with France, if possible; but Alfonso [II], who was as much hated as his father had been, was of a proud and determined character, and prepared to defend himself against his enemy. He made an alliance with Pope Alexander, and together they proposed friendship to the Sultan Bajazet, and advised him to attack the French, warning him of the plan that Charles VIII. had made against Constantinople. The Sultan considered the threatened danger as too distant to demand immediate attention, and declined the alliance with the Holy Father and the King of Naples. › Continue reading…

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The Kingdom of Naples, Part 11: Ferdinand I (1458-1494)

Ferrante_I_of_NaplesFerrante/Ferdinand I of Naples, Source: Wikimedia

Alfonso V of Aragon and I of Sicily and Naples left Aragon and Sicily to his legitimate heir, John, and Naples to his illegitimate son, Ferdinand (also written as Ferrante). Clara Erskine Clement describes the place where Ferdinand was declared Alfonso’s heir in Naples: › Continue reading…

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The Kingdom of Naples, Part 10: Alfonso I (1442-1458)

Medalla_de_Alfonso_V_de_AragónSilver medal of Alfonso V (1449) by Pisanello. Source: Luis García / Wikimedia / Creative Commons

As described in my previous post, King Alfonso V of Aragon eventually defeated King René of Naples in 1442. He then ruled until his death in 1458 as Alfonso I of Naples. He was also Alfonso I of Sicily, meaning that he ruled over both parts of the former Norman kingdom of Sicily. At his death, he was succeeded in Aragon and Sicily by his son John II and in Naples by his illegitimate son Ferdinand. He thus began the Aragonese dynasty of Naples. › Continue reading…

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The Kingdom of Naples, Part 8: Joanna II (1414-1435)

Giovanna_IIJoanna II of Naples (Source: Wikimedia)

King Ladislaus of Naples was succeed by his sister, Joanna II. The Queen still has a scandalous reputation. Author Clara Erskine Clement, in her book Naples, the City of Parthenope and its Environs (1894), writes that her private life “was far from reputable; she was guilty of infidelity in all her relations, as a woman and as a queen. But her second husband, Jacques de Bourbon, treated her so cruelly as to arouse great sympathy in her behalf, and her subjects drove him out of the kingdom.” She describes the struggles of Joanna II’s reign, which were dominated by the question of who would succeed the childless queen: › Continue reading…

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The Kingdom of Naples, Part 7: Ladislaus (1386-1414)

Ladislaus_King_of_NaplesLadislaus, King of Naples

Charles III was succeeded as king of Naples by his son, Ladislaus, who was named in honor of the Saint Ladislaus I, King of Hungary. Ladislaus was challenged for many years by a rival king, Louis II, son of Louis I who had been husband and co-ruler with Joanna I. › Continue reading…

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