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The Frangipani

The Frangipani (literally bread breakers) were a wealthy Roman family which influenced the papacy and the empire in the XI-XIII Centuries. Legends now dismissed claim they were descended from the Anicii, the patrician family of which Boethius was a scion. The earliest documents with Frangipani signatures suggest a more recent (early XI Century) origin. The name is said to have come in gratitude for the family's distribution of bread during a famine, and their coat of arms featured loaves of bread.

The family exerted influence in the papal elections of 1118, in which their candidate became Gelasius II; 1124, in which they supported Honorius II; and 1130, in which they preferred Innocent II to Anacletus. In the following century, the family supported Frederick II in his struggles with the papacy. The Roman branch of the family, who had once held considerable land in the city, declined in the XIII Century. The Neopolitan branch remained locally prominent until the XVIII Century.

Karen Rae Keck


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