Actors recreating the legendary ‘Challenge of Barletta’.
(Photo courtesy of www.DisfidadiBarletta.net)
“Whoever would not die to preserve his honor would be infamous.” – Blaise Pascal: Pensées, III, 1670.
• Each side would have 13 knights
• The contest would be to the death!
The call was put out by the Italians for men to come forward to defend the honor of their people. Thirteen men readily stepped forward.
• Ludovico Abenevole – called “Animal” due to his ferocity in battle. Like Fieramosca, he hailed from Capua. The historian Cesare Caracciola described him as a “knight of highest merit”.
• Mariano Abignente – born in Sarno, Campania. Documents attest both to his noble origins and his ties to the Neapolitan Royal Family.
• Guglielmo Albamonte – born in Palermo, Sicily. He moved to Capua after the Challenge. He was captain of the cavalry at the Battle of Ravenna.
• Giovanni Brancaleone – his real name was Giovanni Bracalone. Born in Genazzano, outside the city of Rome.
• Giovanni Capoccio – both the cities of Rome and Spinazzola in Puglia claim him as their own. Tradition has it that he was the “strongest Italian champion after Fieramosca”.
• Marco Corollario – born in Naples. Sadly, the only thing known for sure about him is he had a daughter named Cassandra.
• Bartolomeo Fanfulla – a veteran of the siege of Pisa and the Battle of Bibbiana. Born in Lodi, Lombardia.
• Ettore Giovenale – born in Rome. Like the rest of his companions, a veteran of the Italian Wars.
• Ettore de’Pazzis (aka Miale) – though some believe him to have Tuscan origins, most modern historians state he most certainly came from Troia in Puglia. This fact is confirmed by his family’s coat of arms.
• Pietro Riczio – aka Riccio. Born in the city of Parma, Emilia-Romagna. In documents that have survived, he was dubbed “a valiant man”, which leads some historians to surmise he had earlier distinguished himself in combat.
• Romanello from Forli – according to the historian Pietro Gasparino, Romanello was the nobleman Martino Schiacca. Like Riczio, he hailed from Emilia-Romagna.
• Francesco Salamone – born in the town of Sutera, Sicily. At the time of the Challenge, he was in the service of Inigo Lopez.
Thirteen Italian knights, with seven, possibly eight, being Southerners, stepped forward to defend the honor of their respective peoples from the stain of the French insult.