Nerio I Acciaioli

Nerio I Acciaioli

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Nerio I Acciaioli was as Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 aristocrat from Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 who rose to power in Frankish Greece during the last decades of the fourteenth century, eventually becoming Duke of Athens.

Nerio was the son of Jacopo Acciaioli and Bartolommea Ricasoli, and younger brother of Donato and elder brother of Giovanni. When his relative Niccolò Acciaioli
Niccolò Acciaioli
Niccolò Acciaioli was an Italian noble, a member of the Florentine banking family of the Acciaioli. He was the grand seneschal of the Kingdom of Naples and count of Melfi, Malta, and Gozo in the mid-fourteenth century. He was the son of Acciaiolo, a wealthy Florentine merchant...

, grand seneschal of Naples, who owned lands and castles in Achaea
Achaea
Achaea is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of West Greece. It is situated in the northwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. The capital is Patras. The population exceeds 300,000 since 2001.-Geography:...

 and Corinth
Corinth
Corinth is a city and former municipality in Corinthia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Corinth, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit...

 and had created Donato his vicar in Greece, died (1371), his son and successor, Angelo Acciaioli
Angelo Acciaioli
Angelo Acciaioli II or Angelo Acciaioli junior was an Italian Catholic cardinal.- Biography :Born in Florence, Angelo was elected bishop of Rapallo in 1375, but in 1383 he was transferred to the see of Florence where he had been preceded by a previous family member many years before, Angelo...

, replaced Donato with Nerio in Greece. He participated in the crusader Council of Thebes in October 1373, but all its planning came to naught. In 1374, when the Catalan vicar general of Athens, Matteo de Peralta, died, Nerio swooped down on Megara
Megara
Megara is an ancient city in Attica, Greece. It lies in the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth opposite the island of Salamis, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens. Megara was one of the four districts of Attica, embodied in the four mythic sons of King...

 and took it. It was the first action of his long career of conquest and aggrandisement. Subsequent to his capture of Megara, Nerio was involved in almost constant warfare with the Catalans who ruled in Athens.

In 1378, Nerio was enlisted along with the Navarrese Company
Navarrese Company
The Navarrese Company was a company of mercenaries, mostly from Navarre and Gascony, which fought in Greece during the late 14th century and early 15th century, in the twilight of Frankish power in the dwindling remnant of the Latin Empire...

 by the Hospitaller Grand Master Juan Fernández de Heredia
Juan Fernández de Heredia
Juan Fernández de Heredia was the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller from 24 September 1377 to his death. His tenure was occupied by the "affair of Achaea." He was also a great patron of the translation and composition of historiographical works in the Aragonese language and a counsellor to...

 for his war with Arta
Arta, Greece
Arta is a city with a rich history in northwestern Greece, capital of the peripheral unit of Arta, which is part of Epirus region. The city was known in ancient times as Ambracia . Arta is famous for its old bridge located over the Arachthos River, situated west of downtown...

 in the Despotate of Epiros. Nerio, in turn, enlisted the Navarrese of Juan de Urtubia
Juan de Urtubia
Juan de Urtubia was a Navarrese royal squire who led first a contingent of fifty men-at-arms on an expedition...

, who left the rest of the Company with about a hundred soldier
Soldier
A soldier is a member of the land component of national armed forces; whereas a soldier hired for service in a foreign army would be termed a mercenary...

s and crossed the Corinthian Gulf. In 1379, Juan de Urtubia captured Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

.

On 7 July 1385, Nerio took up the title dominus Choranti et Ducaminis: "lord of Corinth and the Duchy of Athens." In the winter that year, he successfully fought the Ottomans. In 1386, he had annexed the lower city of Athens. He acquired the Acropolis
Acropolis
Acropolis means "high city" in Greek, literally city on the extremity and is usually translated into English as Citadel . For purposes of defense, early people naturally chose elevated ground to build a new settlement, frequently a hill with precipitous sides...

 by conquest on 2 May 1388, though a plague forced him to return with his family to Thebes shortly after.

In 29 December 1391, Nerio signed a treaty with Amadeo, Prince of Achaea
Amadeo, Prince of Achaea
Amadeus or Amedeo of Savoy was the son of James of Piedmont and his third wife Marguerite de Beaujeu. By James' will of 16 May 1366, he was declared his firstborn and heir. In 1367, he succeeded his father in his titles of Lord of Piedmont and Prince of Achaea...

, against the Navarrese. Nerio was created Duke of Athens by Ladislaus of Naples on 11 January 1394. He held this title for nine months before his death.

Sources

  • Setton, Kenneth M. (general editor) A History of the Crusades: Volume III — The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries. Harry W. Hazard, editor. University of Wisconsin Press: Madison, 1975.
  • Setton, Kenneth M. Catalan Domination of Athens 1311–1380. Revised edition. Variorum: London, 1975.