King of Naples
Biographical Information
Name(s) Ferdinand d'Aragona
Age 70
Sex m
Status elite
Culture Italian
Date(s) 1423-1494
Site St Domenico Maggiore church in Naples
Current Location
Catalog #

Ferdinand I, King of Naples from 1458 to 1494. He was the illegitimate son of Alfonso V of Aragon and Giraldona Carlino. He married in 1444 to Isabella of Taranto. Ferdinand succeeded Alfonso to the throne of Naples in 1458, when he was 35 years old. After Isabella's death in 1465, he married his first cousin, Joanna of Aragon in 1476, Ferdinand's oppressive government led to an attempt at revolt in 1485. In 1493 Ferdinand warned the Italian princes of the danger posed by the French, but died the following year.

One historian described him: "Besides hunting, which he practiced regardless of all rights of property... he liked to have his opponents near him, either alive in well-guarded prisons, or dead and embalmed, dressed in the costume which they wore in their lifetime." He would conduct his guests on a tour of his prized "museum of mummies".


Though embalmed in accordance with practices of the age, the micro climate of the crypt was as much, if not more responsible for the preservation of his body.


Found in a vault under the St Domenico Maggiore church in Naples with 30 other Italian Renaissance mummies, who died in the 15th and 16th centuries. Studies were conducted from 1984 to 1987 by a team of the Institute of Pathology of Pisa University.


Data clearly demonstrated that he was affected by a cancer of the digestive tract, most probably a colon adenocarcinoma (Marchetti et al. 1996). This is the first time an oncogene mutation has been evidenced in an ancient tumor.

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