The Journey of Charles I, King of Hungary, from Visegrád to Naples (1333): Its Political Implications and Artistic Consequences
Hungarian Historical Review: 2, no. 2 (2013): 341–362
The aim of this article is to reconstruct the journey of Charles I, King of Hungary (1310– 1342), from Visegrád to Naples in the year 1333. Through an analysis of documents written in the Angevin Chancellery in Naples from 1331 to 1333 (all physically lost, but accessible through transcripts published during the 1800s both in Naples and in Budapest), papal letters of the same period, and some major medieval and modern narrative sources, I try to understand the reasons that brought Charles I to Naples and to clarify the strong political implications, even long-term ones, that the journey had for the history not only of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Sicily but of the Kingdom of Hungary as well. Looking closely at an Angevin document from 1333, never contextualized in the historical moment it was issued, I will formulate new hypotheses concerning the artistic consequences the journey had on the funerary politics of Robert of Anjou, King of Sicily (1309–1343), and on the commissioning of monumental tombs intended to solemnly guard the remains of prominent members of the Angevin dynasty in the cathedral of Naples.
Before getting to the heart of the debate, we need to recreate a quick historical premise. Charles I had been crowned king of Hungary on August 27, 1310 in the Church of the Virgin at Székesfehérvár (Albareale/Stuhlweissenburg), in a ceremony during which he was invested with the so called “Holy Crown,” a diadem believed to have belonged to Saint Stephen and held as the highest guarantee of legitimacy of the Hungarian monarchy.