The Storming of Marseille in 1423: Pellegrino, Facio, Panormitaand the Encomiastic Historiography
In November 1423, Alfonso the Magnanimous, coming back from Naples, attacked Marseille. The city was sacked during three days and almost completely destroyed by fire. There was a precious spoil, especially because of the relics of St. Louis of Anjou, brother of King Robert and first saint of the Anjou dynasty. Was the attack planned or caused by occasional circumstances? What did the theft of sacred relics represent? I will try to answer all these questions, through a careful and detailed study of all the available sources: Latin and Catalan, pro-Aragonese and pro-Anjou, narrative and documentary. This analysis aims at reconstructing in detail the phases of the battle, outlining the emergence and rapid evolution of the historiography of the Alfonsine age. This literary genre was radically transformed and innovated in a propagandistic and celebrative direction. The works of Pellegrino, Facio, and Panormita represented the unification of Italian and Iberian traditions, and offered, at the same time, the occasion for a new careful theorization destined to have a long and deep influence.