Battle of Benevento

Battle of Benevento
BeneventoVillani.jpg
Battle of Benevento, from Giovanni Villani's Nuova Cronica
Date26 February 1266
Location
near Benevento, present-day Italy
ResultGuelph victory
Belligerents

Guelphs

Arms of Jean dAnjou.svg Angevins
Mercenaries

Ghibellines

Arms of Swabia-Sicily.svg Kingdom of Sicily
German and Italian mercenaries
Commanders and leaders
Arms of Jean dAnjou.svg Charles of AnjouArms of Swabia-Sicily.svg Manfred of Sicily 
Strength
4,600 cavalry
Unknown number of infantry
3,600 heavy cavalry
300 light cavalry
10,000 archers
Casualties and losses
Unknownmore than 2,500 cavalry killed
Unknown infantry

The Battle of Benevento was fought on 26 February 1266 near Benevento, in present-day Southern Italy. It was waged between the troops of Charles of Anjou and Manfred of Sicily. Manfred's defeat and death resulted in the capture of the Kingdom of Sicily by Charles, effectively ending the rule of the Hohenstaufen in the Italian Peninsula.

Background

The Papacy had long been in conflict with the imperial house of Hohenstaufen over their rule in Italy. At the time of the battle, the Hohenstaufen ruler of the Kingdom of Sicily (which included Sicily and southern Italy) was Manfred, illegitimate son of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. While the rightful heir to the kingdom was (Frederick's legitimate grandson Conradin) young and safely across the Alps in Bavaria. Manfred, taking advantage of a false rumor of Conradin's death, had usurped the throne in 1258. Pope Urban IV determined to take the Kingdom from him, and in 1263, concluded a secret treaty with Charles of Anjou, promising him the Sicilian throne instead.