Luc OREŠKOVIĆ. Les Frangipani. Un exemple de la réputation des lignages au XVIIe siècle en Europe. Cahiers Croates. Hors-serie 1, 2003. Izdanje: Almae matris croaticae alumni (A.M.C.A.). Chief ed.: Vlatko Marić. Mali oktav, p. 151, 33 pic., 1 genealogical shcema, 7 diagrams, describing tables of the coats of arms on p. 7 ; ISSN missing
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The Frangipane were divided into three families. One of them blossomed in Rome, in Lazio and the Kingdom of Naples, the second in Croatia and the third in Friuli. Still, one cannot but discuss them as a unity, as their relations were always close and they considered themselves as kin, due to common origins, which remained undoubted through centuries, almost to our days. The very first notice to appear in documents known to us dates back to A.D. 1014, mentioning a certain “Leo qui vocatur Fragapane”, who acted as witness in an act preserved in the archives of the Farfa Abbey. Which means that the family already existed in the preceding century. Various annalists, historiographers and scholars have tried to prove that the family descended from the “Gens Anicia”. In which sense a genealogy was compiled by Onofrio Panvinio (*1529 +1568) in the sixteenth century, whereas Pietro Fedele made the Frangipane derive from the “de Imperatore”. We find the family in Rome and its vicinity from 1014 to 1654, the year in which Mario, Roman baron and the first Marquess of Nemi died in his palace erected in front of the Palazzo Venezia. Roman barons were a powerful Roman aristocratic class, who dictated laws in the City before the popes were invested with their temporal power. The count of Krk (Veglia) was in 1118 Doimo and from him derived the dynasty which grew with much magnificence in Croatia, in order to end with the death of Francis Christopher on 30 April 1671. In 1112 began the Friulan house with Federico di Caporiacco, a family still flourishing. From the start we must declare that Doimo and his offspring called themselves for a certain period only “Counts of Krk (Veglia)” and later on also of “Senj (Segna), Modruš (Modrusia) and Trsat (Tersatto)”, while the descendants of Federico in Friuli were called “of Caporiacco” or only “of Castello” and were known by this name in the Middle Ages. It was only much later, in the fifteenth century that both the Counts of Krk and the Lords of Castello officially used the second name Frangipane and for a brief period they used it while keeping the preceding name as predicates. In the Middle Ages it was usual to use the name of the possession or possessions, a habit still alive, particularly in some parts of Italy. The family left its imprint in Rome, Terracina, Marino, Cisterna, Taranto, Ortanto, Astura, Nettuno, Ninfa, Sezze, Grumo, Tolfa, Nemi and other places in Lazio and the Kingdom of Naples. It dominated Rome in the 11th and 12th centuries and owned major monuments, such as Circus Maximus, the Collosseum, the Arch of Titus, the Turris Cartularia, the Tomb of Caecilia Metella, which were turned into fortresses. They lived in the Caesars’ Palace on the Palatine and much later they built a magnificent palace at “San Marco”, where the last issue of the family died. They were divided into three branches: “da Chartularia”, “da Septizonio” (“da Settesoli”) and “da Gradellis”. The family produced two saints: St. Ottone (b. ?1040 - d.1127), the patron of Ariano Irpino, and Giacoma dei Settesoli (b.?1190 – d.?1239), the wife of Graziano Frangipane and a friend of St. Francis of Assisi. Giovanna Frangipane (b.1624 – d.1700), wife to Ferdinando Orsini, Duke of Gravina, gave birth to Pierfrancesco, the later Pope Benedict XIII. She founded a Dominican convent in Gravina, where she lived in clausure and died in an odour of sanctity. The Croatian Frangipane (de Frangipanibus, also Frankapan, Frankopan, Frangepan etc.) were in fact the Counts of Krk (or Veglia), the largest Adriatic island. The role this family played in Croatian history, political, economical and cultural, is of enormous importance. All the three families followed a careful matrimonial policy which earned them precious and mighty links with feudal, principal, royal and even imperial houses. The Frangipane of Rome became related to the Orsini, the Colonna, the Comneni, the Roman and Byzantine emperors, and through the Strozzi and the Medici to the Valois. The Frangipane of Friuli, besides marrying into the best feudal houses also became related to the da Camino and the Chigi, who already boasted of he pontificate of Alexander VII. Mikula (Nicholas) IV. the Great, or Pious (+26 June 1432), “the noble ban”, left alone in the possession of huge lands and the mightiest lord in the entire kingdom, was married thrice – his second wife was Dorothea of Gara, his third wife most probably Bianca Sforza, who returned to Milan after his death. He was the first Count of Krk to claim the Roman Frangipani as his ancestors. According to surviving documents Nicholas assumed the name de Frangipanibus for the first time on 8th August 1422 and John on 12th March 1423. In 1430 Mikula travelled to Rome, where Pope Martin V issued a document confirming his Roman origin, deriving from the real Frangipani, also bestowing upon the family a new coat of arms: two lions (or) rampant, breaking a loaf of bread between them. The original coat of arms consisted of a shield partitioned per fess, the top of argent, with a golden star, bottom of gules. The Roman Frangipane, already in their decline, also received their Croatian relative with full honours. Besides the Cetin line, descending from Ivan VI. the Elder (1416 – 1436), also prospered that of Ozalj, descending from Stephen (d.1480), of Slunj, descending from Doimo (d.1487) and of Tržac, descending from Bartholomew (d.1478). Of the four branches of the Croatian Frangipane the Cetin branch first became extinct in 1543, the Slunj branch followed in 1572 and the Ozalj one in 1577. In 1671 the Frangipani family died out in a most tragic manner. The young Marquess Franjo Krsto (Francis Cristopher), who belonged to the branch of Tržac (or Brinje), the last representative of the Croatian Frangipane, a poet and highly educated man, was beheaded together with his brother in law, the Croatian viceroy (ban) Count Peter of Zrin in Wienerneustadt on 30 April 1671 for high treason. In a letter appealing to Emperor Leopold’s clemency Fran Krsto wrote the following words: “Sie betrachten, Allergnädigster Kaiser mich armseligen und noch einzig Uebrigen meiner Familie, welche seit unzählbaren Jahren Eurem hochlöblichen Erzhaus und der ganzen Christenheit mit unfehlbaren Treue und Aufopferung allzeit gedient hat..." Francis Christopher’s wife Julia de Naro, by whom he had no children, when she heard of his imprisonment, fled first to Venice, accompanied by Orfeo Frangipane, a member of the Friulan family, then to Rome, where she entered the convent of St. Theresa, where she died. In Friuli the house was one of the most powerful families during the period of the Patriarchate of Aquileia. Occasionally they knew how to influence the policy of other vassals and of the Counts of Gorizia. At first they developped this role among the free vassals and then among the serving ones. From the twelfth century onwards the family had owned the demesnes of Castello or Castel Porpetto and that of Tarcento. The descendance of the Croatian and Friulan branches from the Roman one, considered as certain almost until the end of the 19th century, was also contested by Giuseppe Vassilich. This author decisively renounced the Roman descendance of both the Counts of Krk and Lords of Castello, still admitting kinship among the two. This thesis was also followed by Enrico del Torso. The Lords of Castello and Tarcento in Friuli began to assume the name of Frangipane in the 15th century (“ex nobilissima Francapanum familia” can be read in the diploma of Giacomo di Castello, issued in Padua in 1487). Numerous surviving documents bear witness of the intensive contacts between the three families: contacts of courtesy, political contacts and contacts in connection with estates. In the same manner, regarding the Frangipane of Friuli, Francis Christopher Frankapan (*1643 +1671) of Croatia, declared himself a relative of theirs. In his letters he always signed himself as “servant and relative”. His relations with Pietro Urbano Frangipane (*1615 +1679) were so close that he offered to Pietro Urbano’s son Orfeo (*1642 +1681) friendly hospitality, which grew into their constant companionship. As a consequence of Francis Christopher’s role in the known plot against the Empire and his subsequent capture, Orfeo, on whose head a prize of a 100.000 talers was placed, because he was considered an accomplice, went to France, enlisting in the Crillon regiment, where he stayed until his death. His death was announced to the family by his commander Marquess Crillon, in a letter deploring the loss of Orfeo, who, according to his words, died in a pious way, bequeathing all his goods to the poor. Mario Frangipane, the last of the Roman family, died in Rome on 19 January 1654. By the force of his testament, dating from 1638, he left all his possessions to the Croatian Frangipane, and in case of their extinction, to those of Friuli. Thus the inheritance passed to Francis Christopher, and on his death to the Frangipane of Friuli in the person of Cornelio (b.1651 – d.1687), and from him it has been passed on in the family down to our times. On the death of Mario, the title of Marquess of Nemi passed to Francis Christopher, also as part of the legacy. After his death, this title was transferred to the Frangipane of Friuli, until 1781, when the demesne of Nemi was lost. Only the title of marquess remained without the original attribute of the possession. Even today the title of marquess, as well as that of count, which was accorded by the Emperor, belongs to the Frangipane of Friuli, the last of the families. Many of these facts can be found in the book “Les Frangipani” by Luc Orešković, published in Paris in 2003. In addition, the author tried to prove that there was a fourth «Frankopan» family, called the «Princes of Doimi de Frankopan» (in fact they wish to be called the «Princes Doimi de Frankopan Šubić Zrinski», which is a totally new combination of names of several Croatian aristocratic families). According to L. Orešković, they ought to have descended from Nicholas Frankopan, who is only mentioned in a hagiography, describing the stay of the Holy House of Nazareth at Trsat nr. Rijeka in Croatia in 1290, before being taken by the angels to Loreto in Italy. The autor of “Les Frangipani” even alters the names of several members of the Doimi family posthumously into «Doimi de Frankopan», althogh only «Doimi» can be read on the reproduced documents. In reality the Doimi di Delupis family was granted nobility (knighthood and nothing more) by Emperor Franz Joseph I. on two occasions: in 1855 and 1865.
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