In the first seven years of the Eighteenth century, the death without heirs of Charles II of Spain and the War of the Spanish Succession caused two dynastic changes in the Kingdom of Naples. In order to obtain the support of the Neapolitan aristocracy and to be acknowledged as the legitimate sovereign, both Philip of Bourbon and Charles of Austria granted many feudal lords the dignity of "Grandee of Spain", a coveted distinction of the Spanish aristocratic élite. This essay reconstructs number and recipients of such concessions between 1700 and 1710, underlining their strong increase compared to the previous decade. The author also investigates the role played by the ambition to receive the grandeeship in the political choices of the aristocrats, and points out the changes produced by the new and uncertain dynastic context both in the patronage networks able to influence the royal concessions, and in the identitary models which inspired the dialogue between the "new" royal courts and the aristocratic élite.
Keywords: War of the Spanish Succession; Grandees of Spain; aristocracy; patronage; honor; service.