The counts ''de Ceccano''

 

The origins

 

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."

da F. 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 name.

"Petronio Ceccano lived in the 7th century and he was a Consul and Count of the Country. Ceccano takes its name from him."

da M. 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) 945.622 SIN

 
In 1348 Annibaldo de Ceccano in his last will hardly affirmed that  Ceccano was the exclusive name of the family.

 "de genere nostro de Ceccano"

da M. 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. 146-344)

 

 

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.

  In 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.

Item relinquimus 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 et tenimentis.

 
On the 19th of August 1264 Landolfo II, first son of Giovanni, wrote his last will and the properties were divided among his sons:

 

 Cui 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...

 Item 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 suis... 

 

 

 

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.

…hoc tempore 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 Ceccano



 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 legend:

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 Compostela.

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 properties.

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.

 

Celebrato festo 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 Roberto.

 

1216. 10. 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 immunity.

Nondum finito 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 Fiume.
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, n.6).

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

 

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 remains unknown.

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.

 

 

                       (For more informations please visit the Italian website)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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