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Alfonso V of Aragon
Alfonso V of Aragon (also Alfonso I of Naples) (1396 – June 27, 1458), surnamed the Magnanimous, was the King of Aragon and Naples and count of Barcelona from 1416 to 1458. He was a son of Ferdinand I of Aragon (also called Ferdinand of Antequera), and is one of the most conspicuous figures of the early Renaissance.
He represented the old line of the counts of Barcelona only through women, and was on his father's side descended from the House of Trastamara, a noble family of Castile. By hereditary right he was king of Sicily. He disputed the island of Sardinia with Genoa and conquered the kingdom of Naples. He fought and triumphed amid the exuberant development of individuality which accompanied the revival of learning and the birth of the modern world.
When he was a prisoner in the hands of Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan, in 1435, Alfonso persuaded his ferocious and crafty captor to let him go by making it plain that it was the interest of Milan not to prevent the victory of the Aragonese party in Naples.
Like a true prince of the Renaissance he favoured men of letters whom he trusted to preserve his reputation to posterity. His devotion to the classics was exceptional even in that time. For example, Alfonso halted his army in pious respect before the birthplace of a Latin writer, carried Livy or Caesar on his campaigns with him, and his panegyrist Panormita did not think it an incredible lie to say that the king was cured of an illness when a few pages of Quintus Curtius Rufus' history of Alexander the Great were read to him. However, the classics had not refined his taste, for he was amused by setting iternant scholars, who swarmed to his court, to abuse one another in the indescribably filthy Latin scolding matches which were then the fashion.
Alfonso founded nothing, and, after his conquest of Naples in 1441, ruled by his mercenary soldiers and no less mercenary men of letters. His Spanish possessions were ruled for him by his brother Juan. He left his conquest of Naples to his bastard son Ferdinand; his inherited lands, Sicily and Sardinia, going to his brother Juan, who survived him.
Alfonso was the object of diplomatic contacts from the empire of Ethiopia. In 1428, he received a letter from Yeshaq of Ethiopia , borne by two dignitaries, which proposed an alliance against the Moslems and would be sealed by a dual marriage, that would require the Infante Don Pedro to bring a group of artisans to Ethiopia, where he would marry Yashq's daughter. It is not clear how or if Alfonso responded to this letter, although in a letter sent to Yeshaq's successor Zara Yakob in 1450, Alfonso wrote that he would be happy to send artisans to Ethiopia, if their safe arrival could be guaranteed for on a previous occasion a party of 13 of his subjects travelling to Ethiopia had all perished. 1
See list of Monarchs of Naples and Sicily.
- O. G. S. Crawford (editor), Ethiopian Itineraries, circa 1400 - 1524 (Cambridge: the Hakluyt Society, 1958), pp. 12f.
| Preceded by:|
|King of Aragon|| Succeeded by:|
|Count of Barcelona|
|King of Valencia|
|King of Sicily|
|Rene I||King of Naples||Ferdinand I|
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