Prince Henri De Vigo Paleologo 111
These Arms were painted by John Bainbridge, Herald to the College of Arms under the supervision of Terence McCarthy Bluemantle Pursiuvant
THE IMPERIAL HOUSE DE VIGO ALERAMICO LASCARIS PALEOLOGO
Short historical and judicial notes by Dr. Giuseppe Antonio Pensavalle de Cristofaro Cassation Counsellor
This publication, written in 1965 by Dr. Giuseppe Antonio Pensavalle de Cristofaro, member of the Italian Forum, Cassation Counsellor, eminent heraldic, U.C.C.I. President (Union of the International Christian Chivalry) and Director of the magazine “ADUNATA”, has already been translated in different languages and distributed all over the world.
Today we would like to reprint it to pay homage to the memory of Dr. Pensavalle de Cristofaro and in honour of our late Grand Chancellor Marquise Primo Paolo Cassarino della Torre, to both of whom the Imperial House and our Orders are in debt, amongst others, to the great victories obtained in Italy by means of the two Judiciary Judgements that recognized and solemnly confirmed the rights of the Imperial and Royal House de Vigo Aleramico Paleologo.
Almost thirty years have passed and logically the activities of the Imperial House and its dependent Institutions (Academy, Chivalrous Orders etc.) have further developed in almost the entire world, achieving new successes and new recognitions.Some stupid, clouded, so-called journalists have made futile attacks, especially in the seventies, but these have been defeated and the authors were given what they deserved, amongst the scorn and general ridicule. .
Some stupid, clouded, so-called journalists have made futile attacks, especially in the seventies, but these have been defeated and the authors were given what they deserved, amongst the scorn and general ridicule. .
One day, Prince Enrico III said “our enemies are our best allies” and in fact where again anonymous accusations, like in Floridia and Syracuse judgements, that enabled us to obtain full recognition by other Courts of Justice.
This happened once again in France where a vulgar publication appeared in 1986 by a certain Chairoff, that later ended up in prison for other convictions, in which an attack was made on different personalities including Prince Enrico III who, naturally, immediately assigned his lawyer, Maitre Christopher Moustacakis, to charge the author and editor (who in the meantime had gone bankrupt) in Court.
As the readers can find out by the attached judgement that we are reproducing, this silly attack has enabled Prince Enrico III to obtain another new and resounding victory, in the international sphere and in a country, like France were the legislation is very strict on such matters.
Therefore this is an historical Judgement since in this century the French Supreme Court of Cassation has recognized only 3 Royal Princes that is on the 9 January 1963 his Royal Highness Prince Mircea Carol Hohenzollern, as legitimate son of King Carol of Romania, on the 21 December 1988 H.R.H. Prince Alfonso de Bourbon, Duke of Anjou, Cousin of His Majesty the King of Spain, as suitor to the French Throne and now, on the 9 October 1990 (Supreme Cassation Court) and on the 16 April 1991 (Court of Appeal of Nimes ,designated by the same Supreme Court), His Imperial and Royal Highness Prince Enrico III de Vigo Aleramico Paleologo to whom it was also recognized, apart from the imperial descendant, the right to confer honours, that is the “fons honorum”!
In Hoc Signo Vinces!
29 November 1992
THE SOVEREIGN HOUSE DE VIGO ALERAMICO PALEOLOGO
First of all we would like to say that we are not expecting to narrate in a few pages the entire history of this illustrious Family that during the centuries has influenced with its deeds and its power the destiny of the majority of humanity through its Kingdoms and Empires and by elevating its glorious emblems on the highest peaks of immortal glory.
Some historians, poets and novelists have proclaimed and sung the brave achievements of this Dynasty, of these legendary heroes in whose veins flows the mixed blood lines of the most noble and famous reigning Houses of the West and of the East from the Flavi to the Aleramici of Savoia, from the Borgogna to the Navarra, from the Bourbon to the Hohenstaufen, from the Aragona to the Gloucester, from the Visconti to the Sforza, from the Lascaris to the Paleologi. .
On the contrary, the reason behind this humble historical research is to quickly show the events and alliances through which the three family branches of the Aleramici, Paleologo and Vigo united themselves and actually created a single Imperial and Royal Dynasty, namely the de Vigo Aleramico Paleologo, legitimate and recognised pretenders to the Constantinople Empire, that is Byzantium, the New Rome or the Eastern Holy Roman Empire and to the Jerusalem and Thessaly Royal Thrones.
First of all we will point out that even though it is relatively easy to follow the events in respect of this Dynasty till the end of the XVI Century, research shows that it is more difficult to follow events after this date since these so-called historians in order to obey imparted orders or to please their new Masters, who had taken ownership of the fertile Monferrato lands, tried to give the impression that the Dynasty had become completely extinct, in view that too many princes, who were very powerful, had an interest to cast a shadow of oblivion…
On the other hand the same legitimate descendants of this Family, deprived of all their wealth and without the possibility to oppose themselves through the strength of arms, to those who were usurping their rights, had to practically disappear, emigrate, and hide their origins, avoid the persecutions, the traps, the daggers of hired killers and the poisons that were the order of the day in those times…
Throughout the centuries, all this contributed to the belief that the lineage of the Monferrato Marquise was extinct and this belief also influenced the historians of the following centuries, who instead of conducting new researches and delve deeper into facts, limited themselves due to laziness or ignorance to reproduce what their predecessors had written or had made believe. Unfortunately this “negligence”, to say the least, is not new and it can even be found in the majority of those that compile an Encyclopaedia since they only paraphrase what others, before them, have already written. . .
Nevertheless the Vigo, of whom we will show the noble origins further on, preciously kept all their valuable documents in Liguria, in Lombardy, in Spain, in Sicily, in the Americas and even in the Barbados Islands, where even today one can find their Tomb, the ancient documents including the parchments that proved how one of their progenitors, Gianbattista de Vigo, Gentleman in the Monferrato Court, boasted direct lineage from the first Aleramo, founder of the Dynasty, who had married the daughter of the late Marquise Guglielmo, brother of the King of that time Bonifacio, who had established in the nuptial contract that in the eventuality of the extinction, predictable at the time, of the Aleramidi Paleologo, the Title and name would have continued in the lineage of the de Vigo House, where the blood lines of the three Dynasties converged.
Whilst further on we will briefly talk about the Aleramidi Paleologo, we would like to point out that the first Monferrato Marquises were the descendents of Aleramo and reigned till 1306, when Giovanni passed away and an assembly of Nobles offered the succession to his sister, Violante or Jolanda, called Irene by the Greeks, who had married the Emperor Andronico Paleologo.
However Violante empowered her second son, Teodoro, who therefore was an Aleramide from his mother’s side and a Paleologo from his father’s side, thus beginning what we will refer to as the second Dynasty, designating the de Vigo Aleramico Paleologo as the third.
With the death of Giangiorgio, in 1533, this second Dynasty became extinct and since he did not have any testament or direct heirs, the nuptial contract, already mentioned, stipulated in 1487, should have automatically and immediately come into force, in favour of Giovanni Battista de Vigo and his descendents that therefore had to assume, due to their blood rights, the Title and the Name of the Aleramidi Paleologi.
Unfortunately, especially in those times, the saying “there is no reason that holds against power” was usually correct, and owing to powerful international political reasons, including the support of Carlo V, it was possible to Federico II of Mantova to take the wealthy Monferrato lands with the justification of his marriage with Margherita, nephew of the late Giangiorgio, which naturally, did not give him any legal rights since there was no nuptial contract or will in his favour, contrary to what had been stipulated for the de Vigo in 1487;
Therefore the Marchesato was taken over by the Gonzaga greed who auctioned titles and land, selling all to merchants from Liguria, Lombardy and Piedmont, so that in 1600 there were 265 feudal families compared to only 80 in the XIV century!
Only the extinction of the Montova Dukes, in 1708, ensued that the political circumstances at the time permitted the de Vigo to openly reclaim their rights and obtain recognition from various kingdoms, that would have enabled their descendents to occupy once again their rightful place and, even if deprived of their domain, exercise their dynastic prerogatives, recognised by international laws to the Sovereigns even in Exile and to their descendents, that is the “jus majestatis” and the “jus honorum”. They are “fons honorum” and consequently they can validly confer noble and chivalry Titles.
Such recognitions were also in respect of the right of the Grand Magistry of the various Dynastic Orders and the noble legacy that included amongst others, the Thessaly kingdom i.e. not only Athens but all of Greece and which constituted the dowry of the beautiful Maria, daughter of Emanuel Comneno, who in 1179, married Rainiero del Monferrato. At this stage we would like to point out that all the de Vigo family branches, spread around the world, were the object of attention and honours like, for example, in Genoa where they received the title of Patrizi which was recognised in the Italian Kingdom as similar to the one of Marquise), in Spain by being greeted at the Court, and in Sicily where they became Pairs in that kingdom.
With the extinction of all the other family branches of the Paleologo Imperial House of
Constantinople, Emperors of the Greeks and of the Romans, the right to that ancient Throne belongs today to the de Vigo Aleramico Paleologo that reunite and continue the royal and imperial marchional Dynasties of the Aleramici and of the Paleologi and are, therefore, the legitimate Emperors of Constantinople, Kings of Thessaly and Kings of Jerusalem.
THE de VIGO
The limited space that we have imposed on ourselves does not allow us to dedicate to this Family the numerous pages that would be required to list the abundant documentation and the deeds that confers on them real immortal glory.
As it is proved by an historical and heraldic study published in Turin after the last war, by the Italian Centre of Historical and Heraldry Research, led by the famous Dr. R.C. Cuala, the origins of the de Vigo are lost in the night of time and can be identified with the legends, creating the myth.
Whilst for some scholars the origins of the Vigo surname (or de Vigo, and even Vico and De Vigho as used indistinctively by Family Members in the course of time) can be traced back to far away ages and bring to mind a sovereignty over the Vigo city in Galicia (Spain) other illustrious authors, like Muratore in “De cognonimum origine”, Civini and others confirm that this is only a deformation of the name “Ludwig” made up of the root “Wig” meaning fighting and from “Hlod” meaning illustrious.
The same Giovanni de Vigo (principal medic to Pope Giulio II) sometimes used to sign as “Vico”, as shown in his books, and even “de Vigo” as shown on the monument that the city of Rapallo (Italy) has erected in his honour.
In the birth certificate of Prince Giuseppe Nicola, kept in the Archives of the Abbey and Basilica of San Siro, in Genoa, one can ascertain that his father used to sign as “De Vigho”.
As it is read, in addition to family traditions, from the documents that were studied in 1942 by the Naples Archive Angiovino, a certain Vigo, related with Emperor Nerone’s Family, had married the daughter of Ludovico, brother of Aleramo, and sister or daughter of King Ugo, thus giving birth to another family branch that later moved to Piedmont.
It is therefore very clear that this is a family amongst the most ancient in history, more than one thousand years old and its links to the Nerone Family was amply documented by General Vigo of Gallidoro (the family branch that transferred itself from Genoa to Sicily), when he was admitted into the S.M.O.M. (Sovereign Military Order of Malta).
The Historian Count Francesco Cristofari, Knight of Malta, in his book “Memorie storiche dei Signori de Vigo e dei Tiranni di Viterbo”, published in Rome in 1888 and that can be found in the Italian National Library, deals amply with these Families and in its 330 pages mentions rulings and statements by many world renowned historians, giving an important, vast documentation originating in part even from the Vatican (including the Secret Vatican Archives) hailing the deeds of this illustrious and ancient Family, its great power and the high ranking positions occupied during the centuries.
From the year 951 after Christ to the 1436 the Vigo Family, gave, by heredity rights, 22 Prefects in Rome and as it is known at that time the Prefect was even the Imperial Authority’s Representative that means of the Roman Emperor himself, who even if physically non-existent was still juridically present. On the Seal of one of these de Vigo, preserved in the Viterbo Municipal Archive, one can read the following inscription; “Petrus Dei Gratia Alme Urbis Prefectus Cesare absente, Sommi Pontificis Doctor”.
In addition to the Historians Cipriano Manente, Giocomo Pananti, Francesco M. Capolupi (see his work “Dei Potentissimi Marchesi Vigo, Prefetti di Roma”), Giovanni Villani (History) Francesco Sansovino (“Origini delle Famiglie d’Italia”), Corretini , Zazzera (“Nobilta d’Italia”) Bussi, Felice Cantalori (“De Prefecto Urbis”), Luigi Serafini, the great Spreti and the world renowned Ceare Cantu, dozens and dozens of Authors have dedicated their works to this Family.
In the year 71 after Christ, it was a Vigo, related to Nerone, the defamed Emperor now rehabilitated by modern Historians, that founded the city of Orvieto, and amongst the cities, domains and castles of this very wealthy Family the history points to Viterbo (where the family branch that transferred itself to the East originated and assumed as its surname the Latin name of this city “Vetus Verbum” translating it in Greek which is Paleo-logos) the Lake of Cimino; also known as Vico Lake, Civitavecchia etc. etc.; in all 28 !
The Historian Gaetano Corretini, mentioned above, who worked on this Family’s history defines it as “sublime” and textually writes “amongst the Viterbo warrior Families, in addition to the Paleologi Emperors of the East, the Vigo are also worthy of honourable mention…”
The de Vigo occupied one of the four Marchesati founded, together with 30 Dukedoms, by the Lombards in Italy.
The position of Prefects of Rome, given to them hereditarily by the Roman People and’ by the Holy Popes, was occupied by them for 400 years and this is enough to demonstrate the respect and prestige that was enjoyed by the Vigo.
In 1159 Agnolo Vigo became an ally of Federico Barbarossa (see page 641 of the magazine “Il Patriziato” and in page 62 of the already mentioned Manente). In 1193 the Pope who made war against Enrico VI, husband of Costanza Normanna, declared war to Vigo and launched against him a powerful Army (see “Il Patriziato” at page 642 and the Bussi at page 103).
This would be enough to prove that the Vigo practically were a real and proper State!
In 1207 Emperor Federico Barbarossa came to Italy with his troops and won against the Guelfi, thus helping the Vigo (“Il Patriziato” page 633 and Manente page 104).
Pietro de Vigo allied himself with Carlo d’ Anjou, against Manfredi, for the conquest of Naples.
In 1352 the Prefect of Rome Giovanni de Vigo attacked the city of Bolsena and sent his own Ambassador to negotiate with the Pope the borders of the respective territories. (see Cristofori at page 208. the parchments no 510 – 349 of the Viterbo Municipal Archive and the Cod. Ottob. Vatican fo1.165-1 0).
A certain Francesco de Vigo, presumably belonging to this Family since a family branch moved to Spain, was a famous Historian and in 1639 became State Counsellor and Head of the Royal Chancellery of Aragona and of Sardinia, enjoying the friendship of Filipo IV and his Family. In 1751 the Title of “Grand of Spain of 1st Class” was bestowed to the Vigo who became Princes of Cariati and of Tarsia whilst, maybe in remembrance of the family branch from Liguria-Piedmont, it was granted to them the Marchesato of Altavilla Casale Monferrato .(Piedmont,Italy )
We will never get tired of saying how sorry we are that we have to be so concise and not be able to mention all the members of this glorious Family that distinguished themselves for their skills and their deeds, but we would like to take leave to mention Giovanni Maria, romantic adventurer, in the noble sense of the word, who after having valiantly fought in Spain and in America where he had moved from his native Mondovi (Piedmont) became a Hero of the American Independence War, fighting and financially helping general Rogers Clark in setting free from the English; the Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and part of Minesota. The city of Vincennes (Indiana) where he lived ,erected a Monument in his honour and one can also find his Tomb, whilst in 1832 the Vigo County was created. He was a friend of Washington, who he had officially met in 1789 at Carlisle, Pennsylvania and received the rank of United States Colonel. He is one of the greatest and most famous Heroes of American History, comparable to Lafayette, and even today his descendents proudly carry the hereditary title of “Sons of the American Revolution”.
This Family also had its Saints, warriors, wise people, jurists, philosophers, humanists and scholars of rare manuscripts. The Vigo have always loved beauty in every form, and in the times when travelling was a real and proper adventure they did not hesitate to go in the most inaccessible places to satisfy their taste for ancient things, archaeological excavations, famous places in History, monuments, libraries and museums, and even artists’ studios of whom they were sometimes the anonymous sponsors.
In 1703 Severino was famous as prelate of the Genoa Annunziata Church, and knew to perfection in addition to Latin and Greek also Russian, Spanish, French, English, German and even other languages or dialects from the East.
DYNASTIC TESTAMENT OF THE PRINCE GIOVANNI ANTONIO LASCARIS PALEOLOGO IN FAVOUR OF HIS COUSIN PRINCE GEROLAMO DE VIGO ALERAMICO LASCARIS PALEO LOGO
6 August 1874
WE, Giovanni Antonio Lascaris of the Ales Comneno Paleologo, Prince of Byzantium, Custodian in the West of the Grand Magistry of the Aureata Angelic Constantinian Militia of Saint George.
In line with the various acts of the Illustrious Senate of Rome and particularly to that of the Illustrious Congregation of Heraldry (Capitolina) dated eleven February one thousand eight hundred and sixty nine when our requested qualifications were recognised, similarly to the recognitions all arising since the most remote times and contemporary to Our Venerable Predecessors. Considering the blood links since immemorial times that have subsequently united and renovated the indissoluble bond between the two Dynasties, and since today Our beloved Cousin Prince don Gerolamo de Vigo Claudio Flavio Aleramico Doukas Lascaris Angelo Comneno Paleo logo of Byzantium already recognised, we wish that the prerogatives and the rights belonging to Us, should not be extinguished with Our Person due to the lack of opportunity provided by the Divine laws to which all mortals are subject in Our science and knowledge and in full possession of Our mental faculties, written liberally and without any conditions, that is spontaneously and aware of Our every single action and decision; by waiver variation and annul previous different arrangements, We have established and establish in an irrevocable manner and form without any recourse for further adjustments on Our behalf or on behalf of Our successors, that every single right connected with the past ,related to the present and connected to the future, whether it is of the nature of heraldry or of title, of surname or connected to the dynasty in relation to pretension and prerogative, everybody and nobody excluded, are and will be transmitted, and with the present We mean to transmit without any other formality and this in the best comprehensive manner without any limitations :without any reserve recognising this as the valid decision and this from the day of Our demise, as it pleases Our Lord to establish, in favour and in the name of the above mentioned and beloved Cousin who bears the same blood ties Prince don Gerolamo, and from him to all his hereditary descendents, be they males or females, as detailed and in particular by the Grand Magistry for the East and the West of the Aureata Angelic Constantinian Militia of Saint George in this manner so that it will be perpetuated in the centuries to come and will never cease to exist but will live and prosper gloriously, as explained and approved by Permits, Blessings, Diplomacy, Privileges, Patents and Others.
What has been declared above is confirmed to all its effects by the Canonical and Civil laws, Noble and Chivalrous as well as of the customs and culture of every place and time, Nation and Country.
This is Our will. read by Our order and signed by Our own hand in Turin in the day of our Lord the sixth August of the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy four.
Giovanni Antonio Lascaris dell’ Ales Comneno Paleologo, Prince of Byzantium
Giovanni Antonio Lascaris (Signed)
Marquees Maria Marchand Maillet Lascaris
Maria Marchand Maillet Lascaris (Signed)
With the consent and acceptance
Maria Marchand Maillet (Signed)
Testi fide facenti
Troja Domenico (Signed)
Pignolo Giovanni (Signed)
Of Antonio de Vigo we will remember the friendship that tied him to Queen Casimira of Poland who had a very high esteem and also conferred onto him the Title of Marquis of the Royal Throne of Poland. Nicola was a man with a high knowledge of culture, proud of his rich collection of coins and medals, owner of vast domains and one of the wealthiest men in his time.
His son, Prince Giuseppe, was known for his passion, for hunting, music and love for travelling, emulating in this his ancestor Luigi.
Prince Gerolamo, who lived in Genoa and in Rome, deserves a particular place in the history of this Family and particularly in respect of family branch of the firstborn, since exactly on the 2 December 1869 he was the one who requested and obtained from the Heraldic Congregation of the Roman Senate, under the Realm of Pope Pius IX (we must remember that in those times the Church was an effective kingdom that included a large part of Italy) the full recognition as Patrizio Romano and heir and descendent of the Paleologi Emperors of the East.
He requested this recognition, as Head of the Dynasty, since a few months before that is on the 11 February of the same year 1869, his Cousin had made himself known as Head of the Lascaris Dynasty. Anyway this did not cause friction for a long time between the two Houses and on the 6 August 1874, the mentioned Cousin, Prince Giovanni Antonio Angelo Flavio Comneno Lascaris Paleologo wrote from Turin a Dynastic Testament by which he confirmed, recognised and transferred to Prince Gerolamo de Vigo Claudio Flavio Aleramico Doukas Lascaris Angelo Comneno Paleologo all the rights of the Empire and of the Hereditary Great Magistry of the Constantinian Order of Saint George as already confirmed through the Decree of Emperor Carlo VI. We will clarify that now it has been historically and unquestionably ascertained the nullity of the transfer of the Order made on the 27 July 1697 to the naive and ambitious Duke Francesco Farnese of Parma by a false “Prince” Giovanni Andrea ,bogus descendent from the Family of the Angeli Flavi Lascaris Comneni. The” Order” or better the false copy of the Order came in possession through inheritance, of the Royal House of Borboni from Naples who transformed it into a very serious and respectable Order to which belong Church and Noble personalities.
It is useless to clarify that the authentic, historical Constantinian Imperial Order of Saint George belongs instead by full rights to the de Vigo Paleologo, recognised as Heirs of the Empire of Constantinople, Byzantium, the New Rome that is the Holy Roman Empire of the East, even by numerous judgements of the Magistrature.
In addition, to honour the Royal House of the Bourbons of Naples, we are glad to mention that an official publication, edited by their same Order, portrays the picture of Prince Giovanni Antonio Angelo Flavio Comneno Lascaris PALEOLOGO (Ancestor of the Cousin of the already mentioned Prince Gerolamo de Vigo Claudio Flavio Aleramico Doukas Lascaris Angelo Comneno PALEOLOGO) as GRAND MASTER in 1722 !
The mentioned Dynastic Testament naturally came into force on the day of the demise of the Prince Giovanni Antonio i.e. on the 10 September 1874 in the Municipality of San Benigno Canavese.(Italy)
It seems superfluous to state that even without this Testament; Prince Gerolamo already entirely enjoyed all the rights that he deserved as the descendant and Heir of the Paleologi, last Emperors of Constantinople.
His descendants, in the person of Head of the Dynasty, naturally retained as previous rulers, 10 jus imperi that is the right to command, 10 jus gladii that is the right to impose obedience, 10 jus majestatis that is the right to be honoured, respected and protected and 10 jus honorum that is the right to award honour and bestow noble and chivalry titles.
Amongst those that gave most lustrous to the Vigo House in this Century, we will remember the son of Prince Gerolamo that is Prince Enrico II on whom the Holy Pope bestowed the Chivalry Order of San Silvestro in recognition of his great merits in the charitable field and the activity done in the Committee for the Transportation of the Sick to Lourdes and the propaganda of the Faith. He was certainly a man of high moral nobility and his revered person was always there whenever there was a good deed to be done or a pain to be comforted.
The well known Historian from Genoa Giovanni Monleone to who we have to attribute the monumental masterpiece proving the Italian nationality of Cristofaro Colombo, writes about him in his book “Confessioni sul valico” (Pagana edition, Genoa, with foreword from the notable journalist and writer Umberto V. Cavasso) and defines him as; “an intensely Christian soul who was the first to have the idea to erect as protection for Genoa, the great Cross that dominates Mount Fasce”.
His children Luigi, Francesco, Giuseppe and Cesare were certainly worthy of him, with the latter becoming the Head of the Dynasty, and passed most of his life on the sea, thus emulating many of his ancestors, and notwithstanding his love for fraternity and the peace amongst the people, he never detracted himself from his duties as an Officer participating, with great bravery, to the conquest of Tripolitania against the Turks, to the pacification of the African territories, to the first world war, to the war of Abissinia, to the anticommunist campaign in Spain and to the entire second (and hopefully last!) world war.
He continued to fight, after the truce in 1943, leading his men in the difficult defence of Corfu’ (Greece) and after receiving the honour of the arms he was made prisoner and deported to Germany where he suffered the terrible atrocities of the concentration camps.
There he contracted the terrible illness that would take him to his death shortly after his repatriation, a death that he faced with Christian resignation, without ever complaining and with the same courage of which he had already given evidence, without pretension, in all simplicity, during all his life, as he did during the terrible earthquake in Messina, in December 1908, where he saved women and children and obtained a magnificent Mention of Bravery.
His son, Prince Enrico III, current Head of the Dynasty, has bravely served his country, obtaining the nomination to Honourable Officer of the Army. Scholar in economics, politics and literature, dedicates most of his time to charitable and cultural activities that are sponsored by his House and also founded the “Premio Paleologo” known as “Paleologo Award” which is given every year, during the International Congress of the Keratorefractive Society in the United States, to the best researcher in the field of ophthalmology. One of the first to receive this Award was the famous Prof. Fjodorow, to whom we owe the use of the laser to eliminate short-sightedness. It is also substantial the help that he and his Dynastic Orders give to the American Society against cancer, Red Cross (he is one of the very few persons to have been bestowed with the highest decoration by thiat Institution; the Medal of the Founder Henri Dunant!), the Institute of Sant’ Antonio (Padova) the Good Works of the Orthodox Church, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Community Chest Fund in Malta, the Little Sisters of the Poor, Malta, and hundreds of other Orphanages, Hospitals, and Institutes to whom donations for help were made in many ways, including Ambulances for the transport of the sick (for example in 1966 to the Hospital Evangelico Bethesda in the city of Duisburg, in Germany).
He has also founded the Academy for Scientific and Artistic Research, the International University that was located in Tangiers (Morocco) until the Kingdom of Morocco proc1amed its Independence, the Crossed Legion for first aid in case of natural calamities, the Order of the Little Knights of the World for education and assistance to the childhood, the Gold Cross to help in medical health and so on. His work is recognised and appreciated in the entire world and consequently many Nations, in addition to the Orthodox Church, have bestowed on him high decorations whilst the city of Athens has given him the Golden Medal. Many USA States have nominated him Honorary Governor, Secretary of State and Honorary Colonel in addition to Honorary Citizen of many cities.
His efforts towards World peace have made him obtain amongst others the “Peace Prize” and the Award “Pace e Giustizia”. Every year he sponsors, in varies cities around the world, the famous Imperial Byzantine Ball whose income is devolved to philanthropic, charitable and cultural activities
The succession is assured by the large number of nephews and great-nephews from amongst which the Crown Council will chose the Heir unless Prince Enrico 1110 designates the Heir himself. In the meantime, Prince Enrico III has decided by His Decree dated June 5, 1999 that after his death it will be his Spouse Princess Fran90ise who will act as” Grand Master” and the Presumed Heir will submit any decision to Her approval..
In direct line (in addition to the numerous others who have indirect lines) we find Their Imperial Highnesses the Princes Giorgio and Mario and also the grand-nephew H.I.H Prince Gianluca ,son of Giorgio born after the printing of this book.
The Presumed Heir is the Cousin, H.I.H Enrico IV de Vigo Paleologo, son of the late Prince Giuseppe who was a man of great virtue, courageous pioneer of aviation, who had an acute business acumen whilst at the same time was a great lover of history and genealogy. It is thanks to Prince Giuseppe that many important and maybe essential researches in this field have permitted to recover discarded documents that seemed lost for ever. Without this research many points would have remained in the dark or at least not documented, therefore rendering more difficult the work of those that, like the King of Arms of the Imperial House, have to answer to the numerous and continuous requests for details, dates and episodes concerning the Byzantine history.
In fact whilst due to lack of space we have limited ourselves to briefly illustrate the relationships between the Dynasties of the Vigo, of the Aleramici and of the Paleologo as far as the Monferrato is particularly concerned, we must not forget that the Vigo were at the origin of the Dynasty of the Paleologo and that it was them that after transferring themselves to the East adopted the name of the city of their origin, Viterbo that is, as we explained before, Vetus- Verbum translated in Greek as Paleo-logos!
Then there are the marriages between the Vigo that became Paleologo with members of other imperial Families like the Romano I Lakapenos of Byzantium, Basilio II Macedone of Byzantium, Isacco I of Byzantium, the niece of Costantino XI and of Tomaso, the Nemanya and the Brankovitch of Serbia, the Lascaris of the Laix-Ales etc. etc. All these bonds have already been explained and documented in other volumes by illustrious scholars that have reproduced the relative genealogical trees and supplied an enormous amount of details whilst we, I would like to repeat, have limited ourselves to the family alliances with Monferrato.
However it is clear and it is useless to emphasise, that the rights of the de Vigo Aleramico Paleologo to the Byzantine Crown do not only derive from their blood alliance with the Aleramici and that on the contrary they can boast of a line of descent that is even more direct and ties them in a conclusive way to the Imperial Dynasty of which they are not only the descendants but the Heirs!
All this is clear, ascertained, accepted, documented, unquestionable and even confirmed in our time by judiciary decisions but because there is nothing that has to be proven it seems opportune to remember the personalities nearest to us Italians to which this publication is particularly dedicated.
Good blood is true and we have the proof in evoking so many illustrious names, not only noble by birth but for their personal virtues and for having demonstrated that the aristocracy has a mission that it can and must continue to carry on for the good of humanity, defending it from the attacks of materialism and atheism, promoting non only ecumenism but the union of all those that independently of their religion, believe in God, Our Lord and Creator!
This is the task that the de Vigo Family, independently from its bonds with the Aleramici and the Paleologo, must do and will do to be worthy of its own Ancestors that were undoubtedly amongst the major protagonists of the History of Rome and of the World
The great Poet Carducci sang the vineyards and the Castles of Monferrato and only his magical pen could illustrate the marvellous beauty of this land privileged, fertile, whose name is “Mons Ferax”, because it is rich in everything that a favoured nature can give with both hands on these green fields, on these hills well known for their precious wines and for their aristocratic sparkling wine.
Land of the bold and valiant warriors, of true fighters, of generous hearts, of gentlemen, of noble Dames and of hard-working farmers and workers who could proudly say “Cme nui i a ce nanc la rassa ; viva i Munfra !”
There had to flourish a dynasty amongst the most famous in History; the Aleramidi of Monferrato.
In accordance with the ancient chronicles, in 934 after Christ a German noble of salica origin, Aleramo, accompanied with his spouse and 10 year old son, Ludwig, was on a holy pilgrimage on his way to Rome when he had to interrupt his journey in Sezze (Acqui) due to the birth of another son to which he gave his own name that is Aleramo.
Therefore they established themselves in the region, where they had family and friends, and the two brothers Ludwig and Aleramo dedicated themselves to the only activity that was allowed to them at that time, that is to the arms, distinguishing themselves in a very short time as able and bold fighters;
Whilst Ludwig married one of the daughters or sister of King Ugo, thus beginning the family branch that was of the Vigo of the Piedmont-Liguria, his brother junior, Aleramo, fell in love with Adelaide, daughter of the Emperor Ottone, with whom he eloped and later married and finally obtained a pardon from the Emperor who during the siege of Brescia, with Diploma from Ravenna dated the 23 March 967 nominated him Marquis of the lands of Orbe, the Po, the Provenza and the sea. For the demonstrated bravery the same Emperor allowed him to mark his Shield with the red band which means bravery.
However King Ugo and Lotario had already allowed Ludwig and Aleramo, with Diplomas dated in Pavia 25/7/933 and 6/2/940 the Title of Count whilst in 950 Berengario II had bestowed to both brothers the Title of Marquis.
Aleramo was already Count of Troyes (Champagne) because as narrated by dr. Agostino Redoglia, from Grazzano (Italy), in a very interesting publication, near the end of the IX Century when the Dynasty of Carlo Magno was on the verge of extinction, an Aledramo or Aleramo, having already this Title of Count, was at the side of Carlo the Grosso, first King and then Emperor, in the defence of Pavia against the Normans.
Aleramo married in a second marriage Gilberga, daughter of Berengario II, who also made him Count of Savona and of Acqui and the ancient documents reveal to us that together with his wife Gilberga and his sons Ottone and Anselmo he founded the Benedictin Abbey of Grazzano Monferrato (now Grazzano Badoglio) where his tomb can be found even today with the famous inscription “Montisferrati Aledramis Marchio primus hic jaeet et merito nunc super astra viget” !
As narrated by Moriondo in his “Monumenti d’Acqui”, Aleramo had three children, Ottone, Guglielmo and Anselmo. Ottone died in 991, Guglielmo was his successor and then, in 1020 the succession was of Enrico 10 that married the Marquees Adelaide of Susa in 1040.
In 1045 we find Ottone II, brother and successor of Enrico I , who married the daughter of the Marquise of Ravenna.
Through Guglielmo III we arrive to Rainier and to Guglielmo IV the Old that married the daughter of the Emperor Corrado and had five sons; Guglielmo, Corrado, Bonifacio, Federico and Rainiero.
Four of these, all worthy, became Kings but died very young, far from their Homeland, in that land in the East where they had sought and found new glory for their names.
In 1147 Guglielmo IV the Old participated to the second Crusade accompanied with his sons and one of them, Guglielmo Long Sword, who had become Count of Giaffa, gave so much proof of his courage that Baldovino lV; King of Jerusalem, gave him in marriage his sister Sibilla and this marriage gave birth to Baldovino V who was anointed King of Jerusalem and to whom was due as descendant from Goffredo of Buglione the Title of “Duke and Protector of the Holy Sepulchre”, Title that was inherited by the Marquis of Monferrato.
On the death of Guglielmo Long Sword, his wife, Sibilla, re-married with a modest noble, Guy de Lusignan, who remained widowed and lost all rights to the Throne.
This right was automatically passed to Sibilla’s sister, Elisabetta who took this as dowry to Corrado of Monferrato, her spouse, who not only by this marriage but also for his courage and for his great reputation that he enjoyed was proclaimed King of Jerusalem by all the other Kings and Nobles that participated to the Crusade and this notwithstanding the hostility of Richard the Lion Heart.
Apart from having become King, Corrado had also become the Prince of Tiro, of Sidonia and of Beyrouth and had obtained from Saladino the liberation of his father Guglielmo IV who had been made prisoner in the battle of Hattin. Corrado was betrayed and killed by the hired killers of the famous Old Man of the Mountain, who was paid it seems by Richard the Lion Heart (look the “Storie delle Crociate” of Lamb). It was the 20 April 1192, that is the 12 Rebia for the Muslims, and he was only 46 years old.
In the meantime, in 1183, Rainier had died leaving to his brother Bonifacio the Throne of Thessaly. Bonifacio, Head of the 4 Crusade proclaimed by Pope Innocenzo III, conquered Constantinople, in 1204, and married the Byzantine Empress, Margherita of Hungary, laying then siege to Salonicco and enlarging his kingdom with the addition of Larissa, all of Thessaly, the Macedonia, Corinto, the Pireo of Athens that gave it in fief to the loyal La Roche.
Bonifacio died in 1207 courageously fighting at Satelia and left his Reign to his son Demetrius who died in 1227.
Demetrius left in his testament the Kingdom to the Emperor Federico II who gave it back to Bonifacio, son of Guglielmo lV.
With the death of Bonifacio, husband to Margherita of Savoy, in 1254 Guglielmo VII the Great rose to the Throne and conquered Vercelli, Ivrea and he was Captain and Lord of Pavia, Novara, Asti, Alba, Alessandria, Tortona, Turin, Como and Cremona.( all italian towns)
In 1257 he married Isabella, daughter of the Count Riccardo of Gloucester and in 1271 he married in second marriage, Beatrice, daughter of Alfonso X the Saggio of Castilia, who nominated him Imperial Vicar in Italy.
He was made prisoner in Alessandria (Italy) and was killed on the 13 February 1292 and is buried, with others from his Dynasty, in the Abbey of Lucedio, the Monferrato Pantheon.
His son, Giovanni, succeeded him but he died in January 1305, without leaving any heirs. He was only 28 years old.
Thus the first Dynasty of the Marquise of Monferrato, Kings of Thessaly and of Jerusalem became extinct.
THE PALEOLOGI OF MONFERRATO
With the dead of Giovanni, an Assembly of Nobles offered the succession to his sister, Yolanda known as Irene by the Greeks who in 1240 had married the Constantinople Emperor Andronico Paleologo.
Irene passed the Marchesato to her younger son Teodoro who therefore was an Aleramico-Paleologo and also from him derived the right of the de Vigo Aleramico Paleologo to the Byzantine Throne in addition to other bonds.
Teodoro married Argentina Spinola and had two sons; Giovanni and Violante, who later married Aymone of Savoy and died in Turin on the 21 April 1338.
Giovanni was the cousin of Prince Ottone of Brunswisk who died in 1372 after having married Elisabetta of Aragona, sister of Giacomo, last King of the Balearic.
Secondotto succeeded him and in 1377 he married Violante, sister of Gian Galeazzo Visconti.
Her brother Giovanni reigned till the 20 August 1381 and his other Brother Teodoro II succeeded him and in 1394 took in marriage Giovanna, daughter of Roberto, Duke of Bar, and in 1403 married Margherita, daughter of Prince Luigi of Acaja. .Giovanna died in 1464 barely in her senses and rests in the Alba Convent.
Sofia, the daughter from the first wedding with Teodoro II, got married in 1406 with the Constantinople Emperor Giovanni Paleologo.
On the 20 September 1414 the Emperor Sigismondo conceded to Teodoro II, who was also Captain of Genoa, the hereditary Title of Imperial Vicar in Italy.
The son of Teodoro II, Giangiacomo, reigned from 1410 to 1445, and had from Giovanna of Savoy, daughter of Amedeo VII known as Green Count, 6 children, 4 male and 2 female, one of which, Amedea, got married in 1437 to Jean de Lusignan, King of Cyprus.
Giovanni IV, who reigned till the 19 January 1464, married Margherita of Savoy but did not have any heirs. It was he who introduced to the Court the more severe custom to admit only nobles.
Guglielmo succeeded his brother who notwithstanding his three marriages did not have any male children.
From his first wife, Maria, daughter of Gastone, Prince of Navarra and Count of Foix, who wed in October 1465, he did not have any heirs whilst from the second marriage with Elisabeth Maria Sforza, sister of the Duke of Milan; he had a daughter who married Carlo I of Savoy
In 1474 the marriage with Bernarda of the Counts of Pontievre was celebrated and from this wedding was born Maria Elena Bernarda who in 1487, four years after the death of her father and during the reign of her uncle Bonifacio married ,when she was only 14 years old, Giovanni Battista de Vigo.
Bonifacio V, brother of Guglielmo VIII had a lot of affection for his niece whom he considered as his own daughter since she reminded him of Elena, sister of Bernarda of Pontievre, who he had married on the 13 September 1483.
He had only one son, Seipione, killed by the Marquise of Saluzzo, and in his great grief he could only find comfort near his favoured niece.
Only for state reasons he married Maria, daughter of Stefano, Despot (that is King) of Serbia, from whom he had two sons: Guglielmo and Bonifacio.
However he still felt that even this second Dynasty would soon become extinct and for this reason he had inserted a clause, in the marriage contract of Maria Elena Bernarda with Giovanni Battista de Vigo, which stated that the Title and name would be automatically transmitted to the decedents of this wedding if there would be no direct descendents.
In fact Guglielmo IX succeeded him at 7 years of age, married in his first wedding Anna, daughter of the Duke of Alenon and then Maria, Daughter of Gastone IV: Count of Foix, but died at 30 years of age without any heirs.
Even Bonifacio VI died without having any sons and therefore his paternal uncle, Giovanni Giorgio, who was the Abbot of Lucedio, take an important decision to leave the priestly vows and married on the 28 May 1533, Giulia, daughter of the last King of Naples, from the Family of Aragona.
However he died only one year after and as Bonifacio V had prophesied, with his dead the second Dynasty of the Marquise Aleramidi Paleologi, Kings of Thessaly and Kings of Jerusalem became extinct.
It was during this time as we have mentioned above that Federico II Gonzaga took over the fertile lands of the Monferrato, usurping the rights of those whose blood linage and destiny has predestined them to initiate what was defined as the third Dynasty.
To avoid to be accused of inciting revolts against the Gonzaga, who might have hired killers to kill them, the de Vigo Aleramidi Paleologo had to take the sad road to exile waiting for the day in which it would be possible for them to make their rights triumph.
And that day arrived because the Divine Justice may seem slow but it does not betray those who keep with its Faith.
THE PALEOLOGI EMPERORS OF THE EAST
The history of this Imperial Byzantine Family is too well known and it is not necessary to narrate in this modest publication the marvellous achievements that have filled the dreams of our youth. This illustrious Family, the last that reigned over Constantinople, is already referred to in the XII Century but its origins go back by thousands of years.
We will remember Niceforo Paleologo (1078 – 1082), his son Giorgio who married Irene daughter of Andronico Dukas, Michele Paleologo who died in 1155 during the conquest of Bari and Giorgio who fell in 1199 during the siege of Crisimone by Alessio Angelo III.
We will not forget Niceforo Paleologo, Governor of Trapezio, Andronico Paleologo who married the older daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Teodoro Lascaris and we will not forget to mention Alessio Paleologo who married Irene, older daughter of Alessio Angelo III who was designated to succeed to the Emperor but died before the arrival of the Crusaders led by Bonifacio of Monferrato in 1204.
This glorious Family remained on the Throne of the greatest Empire of History from 1260 to 1453, with the Title of Emperor of the Greeks and of the Romans, giving 8 Emperors to Byzantium, and has awakened the vivid interest of illustrious historians who have filled thousands of pages whilst still today eminent scholars look incessantly for new elements and sometimes expose those like the already mentioned Duke Francesco Farnese of Parma and his vile servants as well as the still anonymous author of the book “La falsita avelata” edited in Parma in I 724 who tried, in vain, to make believe that the Prince Giovanni Antonio Lascaris Paleologo was an impostor and that the only real Constantinian Order was that bought by the Farnese…..
These intrigues, to define them mildly, are the order of the day even nowadays by “journalists” or “heraldists” paid by false pretenders who are after scandals to sell their articles but, as we have already said, the truth always triumphs, sooner or later, like it has triumphed, in the whole world, in the case of the de Vigo Aleramidi Paleologo and the present Head of the Dynasty, His Imperial Highness and Royal Prince Enrico III.
The Empire of the East ended (but who can predict the future ?) on the 29 May 1453 when the Emperor Costantino XI Paleologo fell as a hero whilst fighting against the fierce armies of Mahomet II but Byzantium is always alive in the heart of Humanity, and is a unique example of grandeur, magnificence, valour, culture and civilization.
It is thanks to Byzantium that the Roman laws, philosophy and Greek literature arrived to our times, an enormous valued inheritance without which we would feel even today spiritually poor.
After the arrival in Italy, Tomaso, brother of Constantine XI, was received with all the honours due to an Emperor by the Pope but he died on the 12 May 1465. His son Andrea, born in the same year of the fall of Constantinople did not have any heirs and wanted to surrender his rights to the Throne to Carlo VIII of France who should have helped him to conquer once again at least part of his Empire i.e. the Morea. But this surrender was not ratified and the Emperor Carlo v: in 1547 issued a Decree in which these rights were transferred to the Paleologi of the Monferrato.
Therefore the de Vigo Aleramico Paleologo are the only, legitimate, Heirs to the Throne, as recognised also by the Orthodox Church, and this Dynasty has with full rights also the Title of Princes of Constantinople, Princes and Dukes of Thessaly (Princes as heirs to the Kingdom of Thessaly and Dukes as successors of the Imperial family branch), Princes of Morea and of Mistra, Princes and Lords of Sirenzio, Princes of Acaja, of Laconia, of Selimbro, of Sam os, Lemnos, Patrasso and Chiarenza, Dukes of Tracia and Argolia, Marquise of Mantinea and Rion, Counts of Negro ponte and Coron, Lords of Barlad and of the Castle of Sant’ Andrea, in addition to the Titles deriving from the de Vigo Dynasty (Princes of Orvieto, Viterbo etc. etc. Patrizi of Genoa, Marquise etc.) and of the Monferrato (Princes of Tiro, Sidon and Bayreuth and Marquise of Monferrato, Imperial Vicars in Italy etc. etc.)
They are also, till this very day, the Dukes and Defenders of the Holy Sepulchre and the Kings of Thessaly and of Jerusalem.
THE DYNASTIC CHIVALRIC ORDERS OF THE IMPERIAL HOUSE DE VIGO ALERAMICO PALEOLOGO
Apart from the fact that these Orders are perfectly legal since they form part of the heraldic patrimony of an Imperial House who possesses the “fons honorum”, and develops philanthropic, cultural and social activities, local associations, that naturally have no lucrative objective, of these Orders have been constituted and registered in all the World.
In addition to the United States of America where the Orders are registered since the 9 March 1966 by the Department of State, at Albany, that is in the State of New York, with the benefit of reciprocity in Italy envisaged by the known Treaty between Italy and United States, the Orders and that is their Associations are registered in France (Journal Official de la Republique Francaise of the 13 October 1963), in Belgium (Moniteur BeIge of the 2 April 1964), in Germany (Vereinsregister, E.V of the Monaco di Baviera Tribunal dated 27 February 1964 and following adjustment dated 14 august 1984), in the Republic of Malta, in Morocco (Amalat di Tangiers, nO 3507 of the 15 March 1957), in Great Britain, in Greece, in Canada, in Colombia and in many other Countries were the laws do not prescribe any registration for the charitable Associations.
These registrations naturally include also our International Academy for the Scientific and Artistic Research, the International University, the Golden Cross, the Crossed Legion and the Order of the Little Knights of the World for education and childhood assistance. Our cultural Byzantine Embassy has instead been registered in France (Journal Officiel of 1st December 1982.)
We will add that in some States, like Germany, our Associations also enjoy tax exemption for the donations received and given, as explained above, to our charitable, cultural and social activities. Naturally our accounts are subjected to a rigid and logical control by the country’s competent Authorities.
We can with legitimate pride confirm that no other Dynastic Order, excluding of course the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, S.M.O.M., has so many international recognitions and such wonderful activities..
THE GRAND CHANCELLOR
29 November 1992