Louis II of Anjou

Jump to navigation Jump to search
Louis II
15th-century unknown painters - Louis II of Anjou - WGA23561.jpg
Portrait of Louis II by unknown artist, c. 1456–1465
King of Naples
Coronation1 November 1389
Duke of Anjou
Reign20 September 1384 – 29 April 1417
PredecessorLouis I
SuccessorLouis III
Born5 October 1377[citation needed]
Toulouse[citation needed]
Died29 April 1417 (aged 39)
Château d'Angers, Anjou
SpouseYolande of Aragon (m. 1400)
IssueLouis III, Duke of Anjou
René, King of Naples
Charles, Count of Maine
Marie, Queen of France
Yolande, Duchess of Brabant
HouseHouse of Valois-Anjou
FatherLouis I of Anjou
MotherMarie of Blois

Louis II (5 October 1377 – 29 April 1417) was King of Naples from 1389 until 1399, and Duke of Anjou from 1384 until 1417. He was a member of the House of Valois-Anjou.

Early life[edit]

Louis was the elder of the two sons of Louis I of Anjou and Marie of Blois.[1] Louis I was a younger son of King John II of France who granted Anjou and Maine to him as hereditary appanage in 1360.[2] The childless Queen Joanna I of Naples adopted Louis I as her son and heir in 1380,[2] because she needed French support against her rival, Charles of Durazzo.[3] The rulers of Naples had acknowledged the popes' suzerainty since 1130, but two rival popes were competing for the supreme authority after the Western Schism of 1378.[4] Joanna's subjects regarded Urban VI as the lawful pope, but she preferred Urban's opponent, Clement VII.[5] In retaliation, Pope Urban confirmed Charles' claim to her realms and crowned him king of Naples (formally, king of Sicily) in Rome in June 1381.[3] Charles of Durazzo invaded southern Italy, but Louis I could not leave France to protect his adoptive mother, because his brother, King Charles V of France had recently died.[3] Charles of Durazzo captured Queen Joanna and occupied Naples in September.[6]

Louis I was determined to seize her inheritance, which included the counties of Provence and Forcalquier and a claim to the Kingdom of Jerusalem in addition to Naples.[2][3][7] The earliest plans about Louis' marriage were related to his father's search for allies against Charles of Durazzo.[7] In November 1381, Louis I was planning to forge an alliance with Aragon through the marriage of Louis and Louis' younger brother, Charles, with King Peter IV of Aragon's granddaughters, Joanna and Yolande.[7] The plan was soon set aside, because Louis I realized that an alliance with a powerful Italian ruler could serve his purposes.[8] After in early 1382 he decided to launch a military campaign against Charles of Durazzo, he started negotiations with Bernabò Visconti, Lord of Milan.[8][9] Bernabò agreed to hire troops to fight against Charles of Durazzo and engaged his daughter, Lucia, to Louis on 13 March 1382.[8]

Louis I had meanwhile come to Avignon where (Anti)pope Clement VII crowned him king.[9][10] He took possession of Provence and Forcalquier, allowing his mercenaries to freely loot the two counties.[10] His military campaign decided Queen Joanna's fate, because Charles of Durazzo ordered her jailers to smother her in July.[9] Louis I crossed the borders of the Kingdom of Naples in September, but Charles of Durazzo avoid to give a pitched battle.[9][11] Louis I's most mercenaries deserted by the end of 1382, forcing him to offer to abandon his claim to Naples in return for Provence, but Charles of Durazzo rejected his offer.[9][11] The seven-year-old Louis, who was staying in Anjou, sent a ring to Lucia Visconti to Milan in token of their engagement on 6 May 1384.[12] He was styled as Duke of Calabria in the letter.[12]

Louis I died in Bari on 20 September 1384.[13] In his last will, he asked Clement VII to support his son to seize the Kingdom of Naples.[14] He appointed Enguerrand VII of Coucy to administer the occupied parts of the kingdom as viceroy, stipulating that his widow could only remove Coucy with the consent of his brothers, John, Duke of Berry and Philip II, Duke of Burgundy, and their nephew, King Charles VI of France.[14]



Louis was only seven when his father died.[15] The widowed Marie of Blois tried to persuade Louis' two uncles, Philip II of Burgundy and John of Berry, to continue the military campaign against Naples.[16] Bernabò Visconti supported her efforts, but both dukes refused to spend more money on the unsuccesful enterprise.[16] The Duke of Burgundy clearly stated that "all these little ventures" should be forgotten.[16] Bernabò Visconti was killed on 6 May 1385, which put an end to negotations about the marriage of his daughter and Louis.[12]

Most towns and noblemen supported Charles of Durazzo in Provence and Forcelquier.[17] They entered into a formal alliance against Louis and his mother in Aix-en-Provence.[17] Marie of Blois who was determined to restore their rule in the two wealthy counties hurried to Marseille.[17] Louis accompanied his mother and they jointly received the swear of fealty of the three highest-ranking magistrates of the town on 24 August 1385.[17] In return, they ceremoniusly pledged that they would always observe the burghers' liberties.[17] Marie of Blois entered into negotiations with the members of the League of Aix and persuaded them one by one to accept Louis' rule during the following two years.[18]

Charles of Durazzo fell victim to a plot while staying in Hungary in February 1386.[19] His ten-year-old son, Ladislaus, succeeded him under the guardianship of his mother, Margaret of Durazzo.[20] Marie of Blois started negotiations about Louis' marriage with Ladislaus' sister, Joanna, but Louis flatly refused to marry the daughter of his father's principal enemy in May 1387.[21]

Charles VI of France who had recently reached the age of majority knighted Louis and his brother, Charles, at Saint-Denis Abbey in Paris in May 1389.[22] The celebrations which lasted for a week were "carefully stage-managed propaganda for the royal house, deliberately contrived to show its fortunes in the hands of a younger generation".[23]

Louis was recognized as Count of Provence in 1387. He founded a university in Aix-en-Provence in 1409.

In 1386, Charles of Durazzo's son, the underage Ladislaus, was expelled from Naples soon after his father died. Louis II was crowned King of Naples by the Avignonese antipope Clement VII on 1 November 1389 and took possession of Naples the following year.[24] He was ousted in turn by his rival in 1399.[24]

In 1409, Louis liberated Rome from Ladislaus' occupation; in 1410, as an ally of the antipope John XXIII he attacked Ladislaus and defeated him at Roccasecca (1411).[25] Eventually Louis lost his Neapolitan support and had to retire. His claim to Naples passed to his son, Louis III.[25]

He married his first cousin once removed Yolande of Aragon (1384–1443) in Arles in 1400,[24] giving him a possibility of inheriting the throne of Aragon through her right. Her father, King John I of Aragon had died in 1396, and her uncle king Martin I of Aragon died in 1410.

His son, Louis, was initially betrothed to Catherine of Burgundy, a daughter of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy.[26] However, after the Duke of Burgundy instigated a mob attack on the Dauphin of France, Louis and his wife joined the Armagnac Faction.[26] The betrothal to Catherine was repudiated, which caused the enmity of the Duke of Burgundy.[26]

He was not present at the Battle of Agincourt, because he had a bladder infection. After the battle, he fled from Paris to join his wife and children at Angers.

Louis II died at his chateau of Angers, the county town of Anjou; he is buried there.


Louis and Yolande had five surviving children:


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kekewich 2008, p. xiv.
  2. ^ a b c Kekewich 2008, p. 12.
  3. ^ a b c d Abulafia 2014, p. 168.
  4. ^ Peyronnet 2016, p. 32.
  5. ^ Abulafia 2014, pp. 167–168.
  6. ^ Sumption 2009, pp. 439–440.
  7. ^ a b c Rohr 2016, p. 14.
  8. ^ a b c Rohr 2016, pp. 14–15.
  9. ^ a b c d e Sumption 2009, p. 440.
  10. ^ a b Tuchman 1978, p. 399.
  11. ^ a b Tuchman 1978, p. 401.
  12. ^ a b c Rohr 2016, p. 15.
  13. ^ Sumption 2009, p. 534.
  14. ^ a b Tuchman 1978, p. 408.
  15. ^ Peyronnet 2016, p. 34.
  16. ^ a b c Sumption 2009, p. 535.
  17. ^ a b c d e Kekewich 2008, p. 50.
  18. ^ Kekewich 2008, pp. 50–55.
  19. ^ Abulafia 2014, pp. 168–169.
  20. ^ Ryder 2016, p. 56.
  21. ^ Rohr 2016, pp. 17, 206.
  22. ^ Sumption 2009, pp. 666, 668–669.
  23. ^ Sumption 2009, p. 669.
  24. ^ a b c Kekewich 2008, p. 51.
  25. ^ a b Kekewich 2008, p. 52.
  26. ^ a b c Laidlaw 2000, p. 40.


  • Abulafia, David (2014). The Western Mediterranean Kingdoms 1200–1500: The Struggle for Dominion. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-13814594-8.
  • Kekewich, Margaret L. (2008). The Good King: René of Anjou and Fifteenth Century Europe. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-8820-X.
  • Laidlaw, James (2000). "Alain Chartier and the Arts of Crisis Management, 1417–1429". In Allmand, Christopher (ed.). War, Government and Power in Late Medieval France. Liverpool University Press. pp. 37–53. ISBN 0-85323-705-0.
  • Peyronnet, Georges (2016). "The distant origins of the Italian wars: political relations between France and Italy in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries". In Abulafia, David (ed.). The French Descent into Renaissance Italy, 1494–95: Antecedents and Effects. Routledge. pp. 30–53. ISBN 9780860785507.
  • Rohr, Zita Eva (2016). Yolanda of Aragon (1381–1442), Family and Power: The Reverse of the Tapestry. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-137-49912-7.
  • Ryder, Alan (2016). "The Angevin bid for Naples, 1380–1480". In Abulafia, David (ed.). The French Descent into Renaissance Italy, 1494–95: Antecedents and Effects. Routledge. pp. 55–69. ISBN 9780860785507.
  • Sumption, Jonathan (2009). The Hundred Years War, Volume III: Divided Houses. Faber and Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-24012-8.
  • Tuchman, Barbara W. (1978). A Distant Mirror: the Calamitous 14th Century. Random House. ISBN 0-345-34957-1.
Louis II of Anjou
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Naples
1389 – 1399
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Louis I
Duke of Anjou
Count of Maine,
Piedmont and Provence

1384 – 1417
Succeeded by
Louis III
King of Naples
1384 – 1417