Siege of Capua, July 1501

The siege of Capua (July 1501) was part of the French invasion of Naples in the summer of 1501 (Second Italian War). In November 1500 Louis XII of France and Ferdinand II of Aragon agreed the Treaty of Granada, in which they agreed to split Naples between them. Louis XII had already invaded and conquered the duchy of Milan (1499-1500) and so was able to muster his army in Lombardy. By May 1501 he had 6,000 cavalry, 4,000 Swiss infantry and 6,000 French infantry ready to invade, with the command split between Bernard Stuart, Seigneur d'Aubigny, Cesare Borgia and Francesco di San Severino, Count of Caiazoo.

At first Frederick IV of Naples expected to receive aid from his relative Ferdinand II of Aragon, who had previously supported Ferdinand II of Naples against Charles VIII of France (First Italian War). He only realised that he had been betrayed in June, when the Pope issued a bull depriving him of his kingdom and splitting it between France and Spain.

Frederick placed a strong garrison in Capua, under the command of Fabrizio Colonna, a member of a famous Roman family of mercenaries. Just as in 1494 the French brought an impressive artillery train with them, and their guns soon battered a breach in the walls. Colonna entered into surrender negotiations, but while these were going on the French got into the town and sacked it. Most of the garrison was killed, although Colonna escaped, and chose to join the Spanish.

After taking Capua the French moved south to Naples. Frederick abandoned the city on 2 August and retreated to the island Ischia, before accepting a French offer of refuge. The French entered Naples on 4 August and quickly occupied the rest of their share of the kingdom. A precarious peace followed, but the treaty of Granada had left too many areas unallocated. Tensions soon rose and open warfare between the allies broke out in July 1502.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (5 September 2014), Siege of Capua, July 1501 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/siege_capua_1501.html

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