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History of a family: the Cantelmos

This family descended from Everard, youngest son of Duncan king of Scotland, the ancestor of the Stuard royal family. The name Cantelmo, from one of their fiefdoms, was then used instead of their original Stuard name. The descendency was recognized by Charles II of England in 1683 and by king Charles of Spain in a document of 1688.
In Abruzzo the Cantelmos came with Giacomo in 1284, who was appointed by king Charles II Anjou as Giustiziere of Abruzzo Citra. They had many fiefdoms in Abruzzo and Molise among which Acciano, Acquaviva delle Croci, Alfedena, Arpino, Bomba, Cagnano, Campo di Giove, Casalbordino, Forcapalena, Montorio Pacentro, Pentima, Prezza, Rivisondoli, Rocchetta, Vittorito, and also some feifdoms in France, Trilly, Luc, Lunel. The family was always renowned for the great courage and military valiance of his members.

Great names were Restaino Cantelmo, a Captain of the Kingdom in 1301; Simone Cantelmo, Giustiziere of Terra di Lavoro and Molise in 1320; Antonio Cantelmo who in the War of L'Aquila sided with Fortebraccio da Montone; Andrea, who was a captain in Flanders and Catalonia in 1645; Giuseppe, the first Duke of Popoli, who sided with Charles V and helped defeat the French in Southern Italy. His valiancy in battle earned him great recognition. He refused to follow his uncle, Pope Paolo IV, for loyalty to his king.

In 1607 the Cantelmo family was accepted in the Order of the Knights of Malta. Giuseppe, Prince of Pettorano and Duke of Popoli, was the last member of the hereditary line; he died in 1749 leaving two daughters: the first born married into the Tocco family, the princes of Acaia and Montemiletto, who from then changed their surname to Tocco Cantelmo Stuard. The second- born daughter married into the Carafa family, the princes of Roccella, whose second-born from then on added to their surname that of Cantelmo Stuard.

Monuments in honor of the Cantelmo are in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, Sant'Agostino and Piedigrotta, Naples ; in Mantua there is a former monastery called Cantelma; the Chiesa del Gesù, Pettorano ; in the churches of San Francesco and Santa Maria del Carmine, Popoli. Always in Popoli the Cantelmo Palace and the Castle, and the Taverna Ducale, built in the mid 14th century by Giovanni Cantelmo.

The military prowess of the family was also praised by Ludovico Ariosto in the 36th Canto of the Orlando Furioso:

"Salvossi il Ferruffin, restò il Cantelmo.
"Che cor, duca di Sora, che consiglio
"fu allora il tuo, che trar vedesti l'elmo
"fra mille spade al generoso figlio,
"e menar preso a nave, e sopra un schelmo
"troncargli il capo? Ben mi maraviglio
"che darti morte lo spettacol solo
"non poté, quanto il ferro a tuo figliuolo.
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