Ippolita Maria Sforza, duchessa de Calabria

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About Ippolita Maria Sforza, duchessa de Calabria

Ippolita Maria Sforza

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ippolita Maria Sforza (18 April 1446- 20 August 1484), Duchess of Calabria, was a member of the powerful Italian condottieri Sforza family which ruled the Duchy of Milan from 1450 until 1535. She was the first wife of Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, who later reigned as King Alfonso II of Naples.[1]

Family and early years

Ippolita was born in Cremona on 18 April 1446, the eldest daughter of Francesco I Sforza, Duke of Milan (23 July 1401- 6 March 1466) and Bianca Maria Visconti, Duchess of Milan (31 March 1425- 28 October 1468). She had six brothers and one younger sister. Her siblings included Galeazzo Maria Sforza, Duke of Milan, who married Bona of Savoy, Filippo Maria Sforza, Count of Corsica, Ludovico Sforza Il Moro, Duke of Milan, who married Beatrice d'Este, Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, Sforza Maria, Duke of Bari, Ottavio Sforza, Count of Lugano, and Elisabetta Sforza (10 June 1456- 1 September 1472), who married William VIII Paleologo, Margrave of Montferrat, by whom she had two daughters, Bianca Maria and Giovanna. From her father's first marriage to Polissena Ruffo, Ippolita had an older half-sister Polyxene Sforza, who had died as a baby in 1420. Ippolita had many illegitimate half-siblings from her father's numerous romantic liaisons. One of her nieces was Caterina Sforza, Countess of Forli, the illegitimate daughter of her brother Galeazzo Maria by his mistress Lucrezia Landriani. Another niece was Bianca Maria Sforza, Empress of the Holy Roman Empire, who was the legitimate child of Galeazzo Maria by his wife, Bona of Savoy. Her paternal grandparents were Muzio Attendolo Sforza, a renowned condottiero, and Lucia di Torsano. Her maternal grandparents were Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan and Agnese del Maino, daughter of Ambrogio del Maino, a Milanese nobleman and ducal questore.

Ippolita was a very intelligent and cultured young woman. She was tutored by the Greek scholar and grammarian Constantine Lascaris, who taught her philosophy and Greek. She composed many letters. These have been published in Italy in a single volume entitled, The Letters of Ippolita Maria Sforza, and edited by Serena Castaldo. Previously, in 1893, in Bologna, F. Gabotto published a collection of Ippolita's letters which she had written in Naples from 1475 to 1482.[3]

Marriage and children

On 10 October 1465, in Milan, Ippolita, aged nineteen, married Alfonso, Duke of Calabria (4 November 1448- 18 December 1495), the eldest son of King Ferdinand I of Naples and Isabella di Chiaramonte, Duchess of Calabria. He would later reign briefly as King Alfonso II of Naples. Ippolita was never crowned Queen consort as her death occurred ten years before Alfonso attained the Neopolitan throne. The marriage of Alfonso and Ippolita was politically advantageous as it created a powerful alliance between the Kingdom of Naples and the Duchy of Milan, which was one of the most important of the 15th century Italian city-states. Ippolita was Alfonso's first wife. She was unhappy in her marriage as Alfonso openly kept a mistress.

Together, Alfonso and Ippolita had three children:

King Ferdinand II of Naples (26 August 1469- October 1496), married Joan of Naples

Isabella of Naples, Duchess of Bari (2 October 1470- 11 February 1524), married her first cousin Gian Galeazzo Sforza, Duke of Milan, by whom she had issue, including Bona Sforza (13 February 1495- 7 November 1558) Queen consort of King Sigismund I of Poland, who in her turn had six children.

Piero of Rossano, Prince of Rossano (31 March 1472- 17 February 1491), Lieutenant General of Apulia, died of an infection following leg surgery.[4]

Ippolita Maria Sforza died at Naples on 20 August 1484 at the age of thirty-eight. Her husband subsequently married his mistress of long-standing, Truzia Gazzela, by whom he already had two illegitimate children, born during his marriage to Ippolita.

[edit]Ippolita Maria Sforza in art

There are many portraits of Ippolita in existence, which depict her in various stages of her life; as a baby, in her girlhood, and throughout her marriage up until her death in 1484. The portraits show her to have been pretty, with fine, chiseled features, a round face, high forehead, long wavy blonde hair, and prominent blue eyes.[5] Italian Renaissance artist, Piero della Francesca, sculpted a bust of Ippolita.


^ Charles Cawley, Medieval Lands, Dukes of Milan

^ Maike Vogt-Luerssen

^ Nadia Covini, Princesses and Ladies of Power at the Sforza Court, 2006, retrieved on 3 December 2008

^ Charles Cawley, Medieval Lands, Sicily/Naples, Counts and Kings

^ www.Kleio.org/en/history/famtree/sforza/1050aa.html, by Maike Vogt-Luerssen

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Ippolita Maria Sforza, duchessa de Calabria's Timeline

April 18, 1446
Cremona, Lombardia, Italia (Italy)
August 26, 1469
Naples, Naples, Campania, Italy
October 2, 1470
Naples - dtr of Alfonso II and Ippolita Sforza
March 31, 1472
August 20, 1484
Age 38
Naples, Campania, Italy