Part 1

The House of Anjou





Royal Arms

House of Anjou

Alternating Dynasties


Back to Sicily



In Roman times the provinces of Apulia & Calabria and Lucania were a part of Italia suburbarica

After the fall of the Roman Empire southern Italy became a part of the Empire of the Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great. In 552 it was captured by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian who made it a part of the Prefectureof Italy (552-569) whcih soon declined into the exarchate of Ravenna. Byzantine domination was challenged for a long time by the Lombards (569-759) who annexed the area of Cosenza to their Duchy of Benevento but had to cede their position to the Franks. From then to the Norman conquest of the 11th century, the south of the peninsula was constantly plunged into wars between The Byzantine Empire, the Frankish kingdom of Italy, and the Islamic Caliphate. The latter established several Islamic states in southern Italy, such as the Emirate of Sicily and Emirate of Bari. Amalfi, an independent republic from the 7th century until 1075, and to a lesser extent Gaeta, Molfetta, and Trani, rivalled other Italian maritime republics in their domestic prosperity and maritime importance.

In 873, the Byzantines retook Bari from the Saracens. Along with the already-existing theme of Calabria, the region of Apulia, around Bari, a new theme was formed, that of Longobardia. In ca. 965, a new theme, that of Lucania, was established, and the stratēgos (military governor) of Bari was raised to the title of katepanō of Italy, usually with the rank of patrikios. The title of katepanō meant "the uppermost" in the Greek language. From 970 until 1071 there have ben some 33 catepans

The Catepanate of Italy, comprised mainland Italy south of a line drawn from Monte Gargano to the Gulf of Salerno. Amalfi and Naples, although north of that line, maintained allegiance to Constantinople through the catepan. The Italian region of Capitanata derives its name from the Catepanate.


Some Norman adventurers, on pilgrimage to Monte Sant'Angelo sul Gargano, lent their swords in 1017 to the Lombard cities of Apulia against the Byzantines. From 1016 to 1030 the Normans were pure mercenaries, serving either Byzantines or Lombards, and then Sergius IV of Naples, by installing the leader Ranulf Drengot in the fortress of Aversa in 1030, gave them their first pied-à-terre and they began an organized conquest of the land. In 1030 there arrived William and Drogo, the two eldest sons

of Tancred of Hauteville, a petty noble of Coutances in Normandy. The two joined in the organized attempt to wrest Apulia from the Byzantines, who by 1040 had lost most of that province. Bari was captured by the Normans in April 1071, and the Byzantines finally ousted from southern Italy. They returned briefly to besiege Bari in 1156.

Dukes of Apulia

Robert Guiscard


Roger Borsa




In 1128 the former catepanate, now under Norman rule, was united with the island of Sicily and was elevated to a kingdom in 1130.

This kingdom lasted until 1282  when it was split up into two parts: The kingdom of Sicily in the south of the mainland and usually called the Kingdom of Naples or the Kingdom of Sicily Naples, and the Kingdom of Sicly on the island which was also named the Kingdom of Sicily but, for the matter of convenience is called the Kingdom of Sicily Trinacria after the roman name of the island. 




About the regalia of the Roman governors of Apulia & Calabria and of Campania we are informed by the Notitia Dignitatum.



The insignia of the Corrector Apuliæ & Calabriæ as in the Notitia Dignitatum.


A Book of Mandates inscribed with the words: IFL VELE. CORR. IUSSU .DD. PROVINCIA APULIA ET CALABRIA. on a table covered with a blue cloth and


On the left a theca, symbol of judicial power.

The city is supposed to be Bardum (Bari).


The insignia of the Consularis Campania as in the Notitia Dignitatum.


A Book of Mandates without inscription on a Table covered with a blue cloth.


Personification of Campania with red shield and vexillum



As the Longobard kingdom to which the mainland and the island belonged for a long time, were strongly influenced by the Roman Empire it is probable that the eagles were maintained for certain offices but nothing is known sofar about it. However we may suppose that the Byzantine empire reintroduced the heraldic system consisting of an eagle, a griffin, and a lion for the three most important offcials. [1]

Of the exarchs of Ravenna  many tombs have been preserved showing christograms supported by peacocks, which are the emblems of a prefect, the christogram symbolizing his military authority. In other instances the tombs are decorated with a crux immissa (consisting of a latin cross and the greek letter P) which is the emblem of a bishop or archbishop.


The emblem of the catepans, who were of a lower rank,  however seems to have been an eagle, depending of their title of patrikios.In the 11th century this eagle seems to have been multicoloured as is demonstrated by this detail of a 11c. enamel, with some probability portraying one of the last catepans of Italy.


In the central enamel from this XI- XII c. icon, purchased in Rome and, according to the seller, coming from Southern Italy, is a crucifixion with four figures, the one on the right a bearded soldier with a norman shield blasoned with an eagle (or bird) within a broad border set with precious stones. His blue mantle is strewn with golden hearts. His head is covered with a white kerchief. [2]


The use of the eagle is confirmed, be it not directly by a catepan, by the “episcopal seat” of Canosa di Puglia cathedral, which shows two eagles guardant.


On the mainland there are some other 11th century testimonies that a eagle-griffin-lion heraldic system was used. These can be found on the façades of  churches and on some thrones.


Detail of an icon, 11-12th cent. South Italy.

State Hermitage St. Petersburg inv. ω 211


Eagles and griffins on the archepiscopal seat in Canosa di Puglia cathedral, end of 11th cent.

The square cross qualifies the seat as a seat of a civil official.


Bronze lion from South Italy. Late 11th, early12th century.

On his legs eagles and griffins[3]

Archepiscopal seat from Siponto (Apulia)

 2nd quarter of the 11th cent.


Lion on the façade of Carinola Cathedral (Campania), 1054 ca.






Kingdom of Sicily 1130 - 1282


Changing the Ruling House (1253-1266).


In 1253 the Sicilian crown was offered to Charles of Anjou who refused at first. In 1254 the Pope made a new offer to Henry III of England who accepted for his nine-year old son Edmund (Crouchback), r. Attempts to capture the kingdom from King Conrad IV and King Manfred were fruitless and in 1263 the offer was retired by the Pope. Edmund, when an Earl of Lancaster and Leicester used a very peculiar seal showing a lion tricorporate which is a lion with three bodies radiating from one head respecting. It is on his seal of 1273 with the legend   Sigillvm Edmvndi Filii. [4]  This lion tricorporate was perhaps inspired by the Sicilian triquetra and in that case it may have been adopted to the memory of te time he was a pretender of the Sicilian crown. On the other hand it can as well be inspired by the triskeles of  the King of Man which apeared in about the same time.


On 28 june 1265 Pope Clemens IV enfeoffed Charles of Anjou with the Kingdom all te same and the next year he could take possession of his kingdom.



Kingdom of Sicily-Naples 1265-1501




The Royal Arms




House of Anjou




Charles I 


Count/duke of Anjou 1246-1285

Count of Provence 1246-1285

Imperial Vicar of Tuscany

King of Sicily 1265/’68-1285

King of Albania 21.02.1272

King of Jeruzalem 18­.03.1277-1285

Prince of Achaia 1278-1285

King of Burgundy 1281-1285



Arms of Charles I according to Walford’s Roll.


Being the fifth son of King Louis VIII of France Charles bore at first a semy with fleurs de lys within a bordure of Castile (of his mother Blanche of Castile). After his elder brother Robert had died in 1250 and his mother in 1252, he changed these arms into: Azure strewn with fleurs de lys Or, a label Gules. These arms are documented for the first time in Bigot roll (1254) where it is mentioned as “Li quens d'Aion, l'escu d'azur a fleurs de lis d’or semees au lablel de geules. Baneres et Angevins” (the people from Anjou, the blue shield strewn with golden fleurs de lys and a red label. Banneret and Angevins). It is on the reverse of  his royal seal.

Seal of Charles I of Sicily

Obverse: Charles on his throne with lily-sceptre and globe L.:  X karolvs dei gracia sicilie rex.

Reverse: Arms: [Azure] 10 fleurs de lys [Or] and a label of three [Gules]. L.(continues  r°):   X DVCATVS APVLIE  PRINCIPAT CAPVE.


The same arms are documented by Wijnbergen Roll (n° 1260), the label of four, and Walford’s Roll: Le Roy de Sicilie, d'azure poudre a florets d'or un labell gules [5]





On 18 March 1277 Mary of Antioch sold her rights on the throne of Jeruzalem to Charles for 1000 pieces of gold and an annuity of £ 4000 tournois. [6] The same year coins were minted under his personal supervision showing the arms of Jeruzalem impaled with the arms of France dimidiated. The arms were crested with a crescent which was the Byzantine symbol of the state.

The reason why the label was omitted probably was that the impaling of the arms was enough to distinguish the arms from the royal arms of France. Later the label was often omitted in the impaled  arms but when not the label was always added.

The simple coat of arms is also at his feet on his tomb in St. Denis Cathedral, coming from the ancient church of the Jacobins.


The Sicilians on the island rebelled in 1282 against the feudal rule of Charles at the famous Sicilian Vespers. Initially they tried to establish a civil government but when a request to the Pope was rejected the Sicilians adressed themselves to Pedro III of Aragon who had a claim on the kingdom through his wife Constance, a daughter of King Manfred. When Pedro III (I in Sicily) accessed the throne in Palermo the kingdom was actually divided because nor Pedro nor Charles could take possession of the entire kingdom. This division in a Sicily-Trinacria and a Sicily-Naples was later formalized by several treaties.

As the arms of Charles were his personal arms and had nothing to do with the kingdom itself, the division of the kingdom had no effect on it.



Charles II


Prince of Salerno 1268/’71

King 1289-1309



Charles I was succeeded by his son Charles II who could, because he was imprisoned at the time, be crowned only after he was released  in 1288. He was crowned in Rieti Cathedral on 29 May 1289.

Charles II was the ancestor of four dynasties which have played a role in the history of Naples. They are the Houses of Anjou-Hungary, Anjou-Naples, Anjou-Tarente and Anjou-Durazzo. Because Charles II  ceded the county of Anjou to his son-in-law Charles of Valois, he also became the ancestor of the Third House of Anjou which would play also a role in the history of Sicily.

Coins of 1 Salut d’Or minted under his rule show the impaled arms of his father.







Charles II was succeeded by his son Robert who is the ancestor of the short line of the House of Anjou-Naples. The arms of Robert were the simple arms of the fleurs de lys and a label, the label moved to the upper rim of the shield. These arms are on his seal:


Reverse of the seal of Robert, 1317


Obverse: The king on his throne with crown, sceptre and orb. L.: X ROBERT[US] DEI GR[ATI]A REX I[E]R[USA]L[EM]  SICIL[IE] DUCAT[US]  APU[LIE] P[RINCIPAT[US] CAPUE

Reverse: Arms, strewn with fleurs de lys a label of four in chief. L.: X PROUI[N]CIE FORCALQUERII AC PEDIMONTIS COMES. [7]


Arms of Gubbio, of the church and of Robert of Anjou

Above the entrance of the Palazzo dei Consoli in Gubbio (1332-’36).


Nevertheless there is also an impaled version of his arms above the entrance of the Duomo in Altamura (rebuild after 1316), the fleurs de lys - no label - in the first and the cross in the second this time.



Joanna I


Queen of Naples 1343-1381

¥ Adrew duke of Calabria 1333

¥ Louis prince of Taranto 1346

¥ James III king of Majorca 1363

¥ Otto of Brunswick 1376



Met de dood van Robert in 1343 beginnen in Sicilië-Napels de opvolgingsproblemen. Zijn zoon Karel was voortijdig overleden en daarom werd hij opgevolgd door zijn kleindochter Johanna. Deze was getrouwd met haar achterneef, Andreas van Hongarije. In 1345 werd Andreas vermoord en een jaar later trouwde Johanna met Lodewijk van Tarente, een broer van de vermoedelijke moordenaar van Andreas. In 1348 werd het echtpaar uit Napels verdreven door Lodewijk de Grote van Hongarije (de broer van Andreas) maar ze konden vier jaar later weer terugkeren (1352).



House of Anjou-Durazzo






Charles III


King of Naples 1381-‘83

King of Hungary 31.12.1385-24.02.1386



Omdat Johanna ook na haar huwelijken met Jacob van Majorca in 1363 en Otto van Brunswijk in 1376 kinderloos bleef, adopteerde zij een verre neef, Lodewijk van Anjou-Valois als erfgenaam. In 1378 koos zij na het kerkelijke schisma de kant van de tegenpaus Clemens VII. Door Urbanus VI werd zij daarop van haar leen vervallen verklaard en in haar plaats werd Karel van Anjou-Durazzo tot koning benoemd. Ondanks de tegenstand van Lodewijk van Anjou-Valois die door Johanna te hulp werd geroepen, bezette Karel in 1381 Napels en liet zich daar tot Koning Karel III kronen. Het volgende jaar liet hij Johanna terechtstellen.


His arms from the time of the rule of Joanna are in the Armorial de Gelre.[8] They are:



Arms: Azure, strewn with fleurs de lys Or, and a bordure compony Gules and Argent.


As a king of Naples he impaled these arms with the arms of Jeruzalem.  This can be seen on a picture of the siege of Naples in 1381 where Queen Joanna and her husband Otto of Brunswick-Grubenhagen were captured and imprisoned. On the picture are the banners of of his allies Hungary and the Holy See, which both had send armies to help Charles, and the banner of Charles himself. Also there is the banner of his adversary Otto of Brunswick.


The Conquest of Naples by Charles of Durazzo (detail)

Master of Charles of Durazzo. Coll.  Metropolitan Museum of Art n° 07.120.1


The banners are:

1. For Naples: Per pale, the first strewn with fleurs de lys within a bordure company Gules and Argent for Anjou-Durazzo; the second Argent strewn with square crosses a cross moline Or for Jeruzalem. And a streamer Azure, fleurs de lys Or.

2. For the Holy See: Gules, two crosses in saltire Azure connected with a cord Or. And a streamer Azure eight-pointed stars Or.

3. For Hungary: Per pale, the first barry Argent and Gules for Arpad; the second Azure, strewn with fleurs de lys Or for Anjou. And a streamer Azure, fleurs de lys Or.

4. For Brunswick: Gules, two lions passant Or. And a streamer Azure eight-pointed stars Or.


In the lower right hand corner is a portrait of Charles.



House of Anjou-Valois





Louis I





In 1383 Charles III was chased away from Naples by Louis I of Anjou Valois. Louis, however died the next year and Charles could return without resistance.


Initially the arms of Louis  were


Arms: Azure, strewn with fleurs de lys Or, a bordure Gules.


These arms are on his seal dated 19 May1374 with the legend CONTRASI­GILLUM LUDOVICI REGIS FRANCORUM FILII DUCIS A... COMITIS CENOMANIE. [9]


When appointed successor of Joanne I he could impale his arms with Jeruzalem. This he seems to have done on these arms in the Armorial de Gelre:

Arms: 1|2: 1. Jeruzalem; 2. Anjou with a label of three Gules.

Crest: On a helmet lambrequined Azure strewn with fleurs de lys a crown and a three-dimensional fleur de lys plumed Gules.

L.: Aenyouwen. [10]


These arms seem to have been corrected by erasing parts of the bordure and the label, resulting in a parti of Anjou-Naples and Anjou-Valois. This may have been done when he effectively was a king of Naples (1383-’84).






House of Anjou-Durazzo





Charles III

King of Naples 1383-1386

King of Hungary 31.12.1385-24.02.1386



Charles III departed for Hungary in 1385 to be a successor of Louis the Great as a co-regent of Mary, the daughter of Louis. A few month later however he was taken prisoner and murdered by order of Queen Mary.

His arms used when a pretender of the crown of Hungary combined the arms of the Arpad family for Hungary and the arms of France and Jeruzalem, thus uniting the arms of Anjou-Naples and Anjou-Hungary.


Photo H.d.V.

Arms of Charles III (II of Hungary) on a façade of a house in the Mezzocannone in Naples.


The arms are:

Arms: tierced per pale of Arpad, France and Jeruzalem

Crest: On a helmet lambrequined [Azure] strewn with fleurs de lys [Or], a crown supported by two angels descending from the clouds and an elephants head issuant.


The field strewn with eight-pointed stars. The arms are a quasi-achievement  the crown supported by two angels meaning: crowned by the grace of God  (in fact: by the grace of Pope Urban VI).


His achievement showed his crowned arms supported by two angels.


The Achievement of  Charles III on the Cappella Sta Margherita in Tropea (V.V)








Charles III was succeeded by his eleven years old son Ladislas who, under the regency of his mother Margaret, was unable to preserve his heritage. In 1387 he lost Hungary to Sigismund of Luxemburg who had married Queen Mary in that year. In 1390 he lost Naples to the son of Louis I, Louis II and before the end of the century Durazzo to Venice.

His achievement

The arms of Margaret were those of Anjou-Durazzo with a red label of three. It is on the tomb of  Margaret in the Basilica di Santa Chiara in Naples. It was made in 1412 by the sculptor Baboccio da Piperno by order of Ladislas.


Photo H.d.V.

Arms on the tomb of Margaret of Anjou-Durazzo,

In the Basilica di Santa Chiara in Naples, 1412



House of Anjou-Valois





Louis II





The arms of Louis II were the same as those of his father. They are in the Armorial de Gelre, corrected in the same way as before and with the legend: Die coninc vā cecile.   [11]



The Royal arms of Louis II

In a french manuscript.


In 1399 the plague broke out in Naples and Louis II ran away from the city. The same year Ladislas entered the city and was restored..



House of Anjou-Durazzo








Ladislas bore several arms during his lifetime. When entering Naples in 1399 he flew a banner quarterly of Jeruzalem and France.


Ladislas enters Naples after its occupation by Louis II (1390-’99).

His banners quarterly of Jeruzalem and France. Ladislas is depicted in the center of this detail. [12]


Later his arms were: Tierced per pale of Arpad, France and Jeruzalem.


Arms impaled on a quartarolo of Ladislas


Arms quarterly as on his banner


Arms tierced on his funeral monument



On his funeral monument in the San Giovanni a Carbonara in Naples, erected by order of his sister Joanna in 1414, a complete heraldic repertory of his arms is displayed.[13]



a. his arms tierced of Jeruzalem, France and Arpad.

b. his achievement, the arms supported by two hovering angels



c. his armorial bearings crested with an ostrichs’ head issuant.


An ostrich’s head was introduced as the crest of the Anjou kings of Hungary by king Charles Robert (1308-‘42).




The ostrich was known in Western-Europe from ancient times. The Physiologus from the 12th century writes::


Dizze tier heizzit struz in kriechiskun heizit iz afida

Physiologus zellet daz iz uogil si unte niene fliege

Sine fuzze sint gitan also der olbenten daz walhe heizit camelum


Conrad von Megenberg (ca. 1350) adds:


“Der strauz hât federn gevar als ain habich oder ain valk aber er ist traeg ze fliegen. er izt eisen und verdäut daz, wan er ist gar haizer nâtûr. er hazzet diu pfärd von nâtûr und laidigt si wô er mag.”


For that reason an ostrich usually is depicted with a horse-shoe in its beak. [14]





Joanna II




The crowned arms of Joanna above the entrance of the San Giovanni a Carbonara in Naples


Ladislas died without issue and for that reason he was succeeded by his sister Joanna. Like her namesake fifty years earlier and her brother she remained childless. To provide for a sucessor she adopted Alfonso V of Aragon and somewhat later Louis III, the son of Louis II as her heir.

Louis III died in 1434 and this was the reason why she appointed Alphonse V again as her heir. Nevertheless she was succeeded after her death in 1435 by the brother and heir of Louis III, René of Anjou. The disagreement about the will of Joanna is the reason of a quarrel between France and Spain about the succession in the kingdom lasting for almost a century.



Part 2

Aragon and Habsburg



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© Hubert de Vries 2012-11-22


[1] Zacos, G. & A. Verglery: Byzantine Lead Seals. Vol. One, Part One Nos. 1-1095. Imperial Seals: Vth to XVth centuries Non-imperial seals: VIth to IXth centuries. Basel 1972. Chapter IV: Representations of Eagles.

[2] Banck, A.: Византийское Искуство /Byzantine Art. Leningrad/Moscow 1966. n° 186.

[3] Coll. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

[4]  A lion tricorporate. In: Dennys, R.: The Heraldic Imagination. London 1975 p. 138: Coll Arms ms. Vinc. 88, fol. 96 (afbeelding van het contrazegel uit 1273).

[5]  Brault, G.J. Eight XIIIth century Rolls of Arms. London, 1973. Walfords roll, n° C8.  And Wijnbergen n° 1261: Le.Roy de sezile. D’azur semé de fleurs de lis d’or, au lambel (4) de gueules

[6] Mary of Antioch, daughter of Bohemund IV of Antioch (r.1201-’33). Not to be confounded with a daughter of Frederick of Antioch (*1240 ca - †1275 ca) of the same name, who was a granddaughter of  Emperor Frederik II.

[7]  Golden  bull  from 1317 (ASVat., A.A. Arm. i-xviii,499). A picture of it in Galbreath, D.L.: Papal Heraldry, London, 1972, p. 4

[8]  Armorial de Gelre. Ms. 15652-56, K.B. Brussel. N° 737

[9]  Douët d'Arcq n°  341.

[10]  Armorial de Gelre fol. 46 (France) n° 310

[11]  Armorial de Gelre. Brussel K.B. Ms 15652-56 fol. 67v°.

9. Giovanni Sercambi (†1424): Cronaca. State Archives of Lucca, Ms. 107, fol. 298r°. Beginning of the 15th century.


[14] The crest with the ostrich’s head on a coin of Charles Robert (1308-’42): Bárczay, O.: Magyarország Czimere. In: Turul, 1897, 51 ábra. This beast is called struis (ostrich) and afida in greek. The Physiologus tells that this bird cannot fly, his legs look like those of a camel. And: The ostrich has feathers like those of a hawk or a falcon but he flies very slowly. He eats iron and digests it because he has an ardent character. He dislikes horses by nature and harrasses them whenever he can.  Cited from: Seyler, G.: Geschichte der Heraldik. Nürnberg, 1890, p. 157.