Charles I of Anjou

Charles I of Anjou
   King of Naples and Sicily (qq.v.), the so-called Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and brother of French king Louis IX, claimant to the Byzantine throne. Encouraged by Pope (q.v.) Clement IV to intervene in Italy for the purpose of destroying German control over the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Charles did so in 1266 by defeating Manfred (q.v.). The next year he was planning a Crusade, approved by Pope Clement IV, to conquer Byzantium (q.v.) and reunite the churches. After the death of Louis IX, who had disapproved of the project, Charles pressed ahead, capturing Dyrrachion (q.v.) and sending troops to the Peloponnesos (q.v.) to fight alongside William II Villehardouin (q.v.), Latin prince of Achaia (q.v.). However, when Michael VIII agreed to a union of the churches (q.v.) at the Council of Lyons in 1274 (q.v.) Charles was thwarted. Nevertheless, the election in 1281 of Pope Martin IV, a Frenchman and ardent supporter of Charles of Anjou, allowed Charles to renew his plans to attack Byzantium. These plans were spoiled in 1282 when the revolt of the Sicilian Vespers (q.v.), and intervention of Peter III of Aragon (q.v.), ejected the French from Sicily, ending the greatest threat to Byzantium in the second half of the 13th century. Charles died three years later in 1285.

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