Home >> Encyclopedia-britannica-volume-01-a-anno >> Almendralejo to Altwasser >> Alphonso V

Alphonso V


ALPHONSO V. of Aragon (1416-1458), surnamed the Magnani mous, who represented the old line of the counts of Barcelona only through women, and was, on his father's side, descended from the Castilian house of Transtamara, is one of the most conspicuous figures of the early Renaissance. No man of his time had a larger share of the quality called by the Italians of the day "virtue." By hereditary right king of Sicily, by the will of Joanna II. and his own sword king 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 a prisoner in the hands of Filipo Maria Visconti, duke of Milan, in Alphonso 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. He 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 by having a few pages of Quintus Curtius read to him. The classics had not refined his taste, for he was amused by setting the wandering scholars, who swarmed to his court, to abuse one another in the indescribably filthy Latin scold ing matches which were then the fashion. Alphonso founded noth ing, and after his conquest of Naples in 1442 ruled by his mer cenary soldiers, and no less mercenary men of letters. His Spanish possessions were ruled for him by his brother John. He left his conquest of Naples to his bastard son Ferdinand, his inherited lands, Sicily and Sardinia, going to his brother John.

naples, king and renaissance