Historians don't agree on the
origins of the lineage, but Ferdinand Gregorovius and Tomassetti
affirm that this family has a germanic origin.
" The dinasty of the
Ceccano's Counts, established among the Volsci Mountains, ruled the
land for long years. The power and richness of the family were
recognized by the Church. Before the arrival of the Colonna's
family, during the kingdom of Henry IV, the anchestor
Gregorio already had the appellation of Count. The Germanic origin
can be verified through the names of various members of the family:
Guido, Landolfo, Beraldo, Rainaldo."
Gregorovius, "Storia della città di Roma nel Medioevo", vol.II,
Torino, Einaudi, 1973, pp. 1168-1169. Biblioteca Comunale di
Ceccano CCN 945.632 GRE 2; si veda anche G. Tomassetti, "Della
Campagna romana nel Medio Evo", in Archivio della Regia Società
romana di storia patria, VIII(1885), p. 435
Another celebrated historian, whose
name is don Michelangelo Sindici, affirms that the family comes
from the noble Petronio Ceccano, from which the town takes its
"Petronio Ceccano lived in the
7th century and he was a Consul and Count of the
Country. Ceccano takes its name from him."
Sindici, "Ceccano, L'Antica Fabrateria", Bologna, Atesa Editrice,
1984 (ristampa anastatica dell'edizione della tipografia Befani di
Roma del 1893), p.123 - Biblioteca Comunale di Ceccano CCN (FL)
In 1348 Annibaldo de Ceccano in his last will hardly affirmed
that Ceccano was the exclusive name of the family.
"de genere nostro de
Dykmans, "Le cardinal Annibal de Ceccano (vers 1282-1350) : étude
biographique et testament du 17 juin 1348", Bruxelles - Rome,
Academia Belgica, 1973, p. 288, linea 79 (Estratto da: Bulletin de
l'Institut historique Belge de Rome, Fasc. 43/1973, pp.
The shire of Ceccano's counts
The family acquired a large
dominion from the land between the Ernici and the Lepini mountains
to the Marittima county.
The dominion is pecified in the
last will of Count Giovanni, wrote in 1224.
The properties of the family were:
Ceccano, the castles of Arnara, Patrica, Cacume, Monte Acuto,
Patrica, Cacume, Monte Acuto, Giuliano, Santo Stefano, Pisterzo,
Carpineto, Montelanico, Maenza, Rocca d'Asprano, Prossedi, Alatri,
Frosinone, Torrice, Ceprano, Priverno, Sezze e Ninfa.
primis iure institutionis relinquimus Landulfo filio nostro castra
videlicet Ceccanum, Arnariam, Patricam, Cacumen, Montem acutum,
Iulianum, Sanctum Stephanum, Postertium, Carpinetum et totum quod
in castro Mecellanici habemus cum hominibus, servitiis, silvis,
viis, itineribus, montibus, pascuis, cultis et incultis et omnibus
pertinentiis et tenimentis ad predicta castra pertinentibus et ea
omnia que habemus in civitate Alatri, Castris scilicet Frusinone,
Turrice et Ceprano et eorum territoriis et tenimentis.
iure institutionis Berardo altero filio nostro, castra scilicet
Magentiam, Roccam, Aspranam et Stoxeum, cum hominibus, servitiis,
silvis, viis, itineribus, montibus, pascuis, aquis, cultis et
omnibus pertinentiis et tenimentis ad predicta castra pertinentibus
et omnia que habemus in Piperno, Setia, Nimpha et eorum territoriis
On the 19th of August 1264 Landolfo II, first son of
Giovanni, wrote his last will and the properties were divided among
domino Iohanni reliquit tertiam partem pro indiviso tam Ceccani
quam Carpineti et Arenarie, reliquit etiam eidem Patricam, Cacumen
et Postertium. Domino autem Anibaldo predicto reliquit aliam
tertiam partem pro indiviso tam Ceccani, tam Carpineti et Arenarie,
reliquit etiam sibi Fullanum, Montemacutum, Magentum, Roccam
Dompneburge, et Aspranam. Dominis vero Guillelmo, Riccardo et
Raynerio predictis reliquit communiter inter eos aliam tertiam
castrorum predictorum videlicet Ceccani, Carpineti et Arenarie quas
tertias ipsis domino Guillelmo, Riccardo et Raynerio reliquit
quantum ad usumfructum, in vitam eorum tantum...
reliquit Prossedum ad voluntatem et mandatum predicti dominus
cardinalis dividendum inter heredes suos masculos predictos […]
Item reliquit iam dicte domine Maccalone uxori sue Castrum Sancti
Stephani de Valle, quod obligatum tenet ipsa domina pro dotibus
The major members
In 1015 in the Chronica
Cassinese it was written that the Count Uberto and the Count
Amato gave the church of St. Peter of Iscleta, which was part
of Ceccano, to the Monkery of Montecassino.
oblata est in hoc monasterio ecclesia Sancti Petri ad Iscleta in
Campania territorio ciccanense cum maximis circa possessionibus ad
Hubberto et Amato comitibus Ciccani et Signiae
From the 12th
- 13th century, the name Counts de Ceccano
became very usual because of their political power, and thanks to
these informations, we can trace an arbor of the family.
One of the most important
resource is called Annales Ceccanenses, in which we can
find a chronicle of the family until 1217. The author of the
chronicle is unknown, but according to Pertz, it seems to be
Benedetto, the notary of the Count Giovanni.
The Counts de Ceccano used to
cover prestigious ecclesiastic charges, as the cardinals Gregorio,
Giordano and Stefano.
The cardinals Giordano and Stefano de
Giordano was nominated
Cardinal in 1188 by Pope Clemente II because of his loyalty. He
encouraged the rebuilding of the church of Santa Maria a
Fiume, which was blessed by himself in 1196.
Cardinal Stefano was monk and later prelate of Fossanova, and he
was nominated camerarius of the Pope Innocenzo III.
In the biography of St.Dominic the
name of the Cardinal Stefano appeared in the episode of the
miracle. It seems that St. Dominic resuscitated Napoleone de
Ceccano, the nephew of Stefano, who fell from his horse. In
the St. Dominic and St. Sixtus Church, in Rome, there is
a fresco of the miracle in which we can see the Cardinal Stefano.
He founded in Siena the St. Galgano's Abbey and a chapel
dedicated to the Virgin of the Rotonda, which is located next to
it. In this chapel there is an image of the Cardinal with a
STEPHANO DE CECCANO EX MONACHO
CISTERCIENSI S.R.E. CARDINALI PIISSIMO.
He died in Rome in 1227 and his
grave is in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore.
De probatis sanctorum historiis
(7 voll., 1576-81).
Giovanni de Ceccano
Giovanni was the son of Landolfo
and Egidia, whose name, according to the Annales
Ceccanenses, is linked to the pilgrimage of Santiango de
In the 12th
century Giovanni and his family ruled an extensive and
massive territory: he was an influential and strong personality,
capable of taking under control the Church, the Empire and his
In 1990 he became knight
("gladio militia accinctus est" Ann.Ceccan., p. 288).
In 1201 he sweared royalty to Pope Innoncenzo III and he repayed
him with the city of Sezze.
When Pope Innocenzo III went to
Anagni, Giovanni received him with 50 knights who leaded him to the
castle of Giuliano: here the count organized an expensive feast for
the Pope, certified in the Annales Ceccanenses.
ascensionis Domini Innocentius papa III. egressus Roma venit
Anagniam; 16. Kal. Iulii egressus Anagniam invenit domnum Iohannem
de Ceccano cum 50 militibus pulcherrime praeparatis ad Alatrum ad
conducendum et ludendum coram domno papa usque ad fontem castri
Iuliani, ubi inventus est clerus totius terrae domni Iohannis de
Ceccano, paratus ad processionem usque intro castrum Iuliani. Ante
ianuam ecclesiae domnus Albertus Ferentinus episcopus cum clericis
de Ceccano honorifice paratis et indutis vestibus ecclesiasticis,
recepit domnum papam, cantando responsorium: Tua est potentia.
Finita apostolica benedictione, unusquisque rediit ad propria
hospitia, clerici de Ceccano redierunt ad papilionem; extra castrum
honorifice praeparatus fuerat eis cibus. Ministri domni papae et
cardinalium et aliorum clericorum et laycorum receperunt cibaria
honorifice et abundanter pro suo velle in platea, in pane et vino
et porcis, in vaccis. in castratis in haedis, in porcellis, in
gallinis, in anseribus, in pipere, in cinnamono, in sophrana, in
cera, in hordeo et in herba. Post nonam usque in hora coenae cum
suis militibus domnus Iohannes de Ceccano in praesentia domni papae
iocavit burbudando. Feria tertia alio die domnus papa ivit
Pipernum, et cornedit ibi et dormivit; et domnus Iohannes de
Ceccano cum toto comitatu suo similiter Pipernum ivit...
In 1216 Giovanni followed and defeated Ruggiero de L'Aquila, the
count of Fondi, because he had destroyed the country of Ceccano.
Giovanni restrained Roberto de L'Aquila, the uncle of Ruggiero, and
he extended his revenge to Tommaso, count of Supino and ally of
Ruggiero. He burned his castle of Morolo, he killed more than 400
citizens and he imprisoned his wife Mabilia. Tommaso payed an
eminent price and he became his vassal by giving in hostage his son
Kalendas Iunii tempore domni Innocentii III. papae venit comes
Rogerius de Aquila cum exercitu suo in territorio Ceccano,
devastavit segetes Sanctae Mariae Fluminis, et incendit ei unam
molam et duas molas Sancti Clementis; et sic rediendo hospitatus
est in territorio Castri. Alio die coepit reverti Fundum, et domnus
Iohannes de Ceccano insecutus est eum, invenit eum in territorio
castri Vallisersae, praevaluit super eum; fugatus est comes, et
domnus Iohannes cepit de exercitu suo Robertum de Aquila patruum
comitis cum 70 militibus electis et aliis hominibus...
3. Kal. Augusti
die sabbati castrum Moroli per fortiam domni Iohannis de Ceccano
captum est et combustum. Captus est ibi Oddo Novellus de Columna
cum undecim suis militibus, et soror eius Mabilia cum quadam filia
sua ducti sunt in captionem apud Ceccanum. Peccatis exigentibus de
castro Moroli 424 capita tam virorum quam mulierum, tam senum quam
parvulolum combusta sunt. Omnes autem reliqui milites et layci
redacti sunt sub potestate et fidelitate domni Iohannis de Ceccano
sacramento. Domnus Thomas de Supino dolens et tristans dereliquit
Campaniam comitis Rogerii de Aquila. et dedit domno Iohanni de
Ceccano 1000 libras proveniensium et fecit se fidelem cum
sacramento in sempiternum domno Iohanni de Ceccano, et dedit ei
filium suum obsidem ad fidelitatem et veritatem conservandam.
Domnus Iohannes de Ceccano primo loco reddidit domno Thomae uxorem
suam cum filia; domnum Oddonem de Columna cum suis militibus dedit
in potestate domni Iohannis cardinalis de Columna.
Giovanni gave a lot of presents to
the church of Santa Maria a
Fiume, among them the most important was the chart of
sermone ecce domnus Iohannes de Ceccano, qui graviter infirmabatur
in domo sua, advenit sanus intus in ecclesiam; quod videntes omnes
homines, pro maximo miraculo recipientes, et quasi per mediam horam
stupendo cum ingenti voce gratiarum laudaverunt et benedixerunt
Dominum, qui vivit et regnat in coelis.
He probably died between 1224
and 1227, because Pope Gregory IX, in the 16th of April
1227, wrote a memorial for his departure: "bonae memoriae
Iohannes de Ceccano".
Annibaldo IV de Ceccano
Surely one of the most important
members of the family, Annibaldo dominated the scene of the Church
in the 14th century. Son of Bernardino II and Perna
Caetani Stefaneschi, he was a famous theologian in Paris and he was
also an esteemed professor of the Sorbona.
He was a friend of Francesco
Petrarca and Giotto, to whom he committed some works for the church of Santa Maria a
In 1326 he became Archbishop of Naples and in 1332 diocesan of
Tuscolo. He was an important patron: in 1340 he ordered Simone
Martini to decorate the Cathedral of Notre-Dame-des-Doms in
Avignon. He was also a good diplomat: it's significant to mention
an important intervention during the Hundred Years' War, in which
he was able to achieve a brief truce between the Kingdom of England
and the Kingdom of France.
In 1350 Annibaldo Pope Clemente VI
gave him the opportunity to open the Jubilee and to get all the
privileges of the case.
Annibaldo had a revelant position
in the dispute of Cola Di Rienzo, a man who intended to restore the
Republic in Rome, a city divided between the Church and the Crown.
The 16th of July 1350 Annibaldo was poisoned and buried
in the Church of Saint Peter in Rome. He was cairned with his uncle
Jacopo Stefaneschi, in fact in the planimetry of St.Peter, made by
Alfarano, the grave of Annibaldo IV is the number 87.
In Avignon there is a palace
dedicated to Annibaldo, la Livrée Ceccano, in which we can find one
of the most important library of France. Annibaldo's last will,
written in 1348, is now kept in the department of Vaucluse
(Avignon, Arch. Dép. Vaucluse, H, Célestins de Gentilly,
He devolved part of his fortune to
the church of Santa Maria a Fiume and that of St. John the
Baptiste. Starting from June 2003, in the heart of Ceccano and
in the castle, an interesting event is presented, encouraged by the
students of the high school "Martino Filetico": more than 400
actors recall the historical meet between Annibaldo IV and his
brother Tommaso II, which happened in 1350.
The Annales Ceccanenses,
also called "Chronicon Fossae Novae", described very
carefully, the chronicle of 150 years of the history of Ceccano.
The original manuscript disappeared after 1600 and his author
Nowadays the Annales
Ceccanenses survived in two exclusive copies only: the number
I.14 located in the Biblioteca Vallicelliana in Rome and the
number II.D.17 situated in the Biblioteca Brancacciana in
Naples. The main content of the manuscript is linked to the monkery
of Fossanova, in fact for the first time the name of "de Ceccano"
appeared in 1187, when Giordano, a member of the family, was
nominated prelate of Fossanova.
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