Manfred măn´frəd, Ger. män´frāt [key], c.1232–1266, king of Sicily (1258–66), the last Hohenstaufen on that throne. An illegitimate son of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, Manfred was regent in Sicily for his brother Conrad IV . Conrad died in 1254, and Manfred seized the regency for Conrad's young son, Conradin . However, Pope Innocent IV and his successors, Alexander IV and Urban IV , were determined to stamp out the Hohenstaufen. Papal forces invaded Sicily, and Manfred was forced to restore (1254) the kingdom to the papacy, retaining only the duchy of Taranto in fief from the pope. Soon Manfred rebelled, reconquered S Italy and Sicily, assumed leadership of the antipapal forces throughout Italy, and had himself crowned (1258) at Palermo. Urban IV reacted by investing Charles of Anjou with Sicily as Charles I . Invading Italy, Charles defeated Manfred at Benevento (1266). Manfred died in the battle, and Conradin was later captured and executed. After the Sicilian Vespers (1282), Manfred's son-in-law, Peter III of Aragón, was chosen king of Sicily and began a new dynasty.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Italian History: Biographies