Nicholas of Ajello

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Nicholas of Ajello[1] (Italian: Nicolò d'Aiello) was the second son of the Sicilian chancellor Matthew of Ajello and the archbishop of Salerno from 1181, when he succeeded the historian Romuald Guarna. He was a trusted advisor in the Norman Kingdom of Sicily at the time of its fall to Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, (1194).

When Henry was marching to besiege Naples in 1191, Salerno sent a letter promising him its loyalty and the Archbishop Nicholas abandoned the faithless city for Naples, where he took control of the city's defences after Richard, Count of Acerra, was wounded. Together, he and the ammiratus ammiratorum Margaritus of Brindisi successfully defended the ancient city and forced Henry to lift the siege. Though it was of little effect in the long term. Henry was crowned on 25 December 1194 in Palermo, with not only Nicholas, but Richard, Margaritus, and Queen Sybilla present. Four days thence, they were all arrested on charges of conspiracy (probably trumped up) and shipped off to German prisons. There he remained for many years, despite the prayers and pleas of Pope Innocent III.


  1. ^ He was not a native of Ajello (Calabria), but Salerno. His elder brother, Richard, received the county of Ajello from King Tancred and the name has been applied to the entire family.