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1 Barons and Castellans in the Mid-Fifteenth Century

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Chapter Summary

The middle of the fifteenth century is a good vantage point to make an introductory survey of the role of barons and lords of castles in different regions of Renaissance Italy, their place in political society and their military resources. The barons and castellans of each region of Italy in the mid-fifteenth century, moulded by their homeland's distinct political and physical geography, had their own particular characteristics. The Lunigiana, the region of the Apennines where Liguria, Lombardy and Tuscany met, was home to the Malaspina, the quintessential clan of impoverished lords of castles. The single most powerful Neapolitan baron of the mid-fifteenth century was Giovanni Antonio Orsini, principe di Taranto, whose vast estates dominated the south-east of the kingdom and stretched towards the city of Naples, giving him more wealth, fortresses and men at his command than some independent princes of northern and central Italy.

Keywords: castellans; Italy; Lunigiana; mid-fifteenth century; Neapolitan baron



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