A leading official in the administration of the kingdom of Jerusalem established by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and king of Sicily, after his crusade (1227-1229).
A descendant of a Norman aristocratic family, with lands in Capua, Rapara, and Salerno, Richard was appointed marshal of Sicily in 1224. In April 1228 he led the advance party of the imperial crusading contingent, and he acted as one of the leaders of the crusading army as a whole. On his return to Sicily he oversaw a campaign against the heretics in Naples (1231), before returning to Outremer as bailli (regent) of the kingdom of Jerusalem (1232-1240). He led the imperial forces that in 1231 clashed with the supporters of John of Ibelin in Cyprus, laying the foundations for a conflict that lasted throughout his time in office, and that ultimately spelled the end of Staufen rule in Outremer and Cyprus in 1242-1243.
Although Richard defeated John of Ibelin in the Holy Land in 1232, he was unable to establish control over Cyprus. From 1233 onward, Frederick II sought to gain the backing of Pope Gregory IX in securing a peaceful settlement with the Ibelins, but these efforts too failed by 1235. These failures left the regime of Richard Filangieri fundamentally weakened, and he was ordered back to Sicily in 1240. There he was imprisoned, though he was allowed to leave Sicily for Toulouse in 1244. After the emperor’s death, Richard appeared again as governor of the city of Naples (1251); he died at some point before 1263 in Sicily.
-Bjorn K. U. Weiler
Riley-Smith, Jonathan, The Feudal Nobility and the Kingdom of Jerusalem 1174-1277 (London: Macmillan, 1973).
Sturner, Wolfgang, Friedrich II, 2 vols. (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1994-2000).