Sibylla di Aquino, of Acerra

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Sibylla di Aquino, of Acerra

Italian: Sibilla d'Altavilla (d'Aquino), di Acerra
Also Known As: "Sibilla di Medania"
Birthplace: Acerra, Metropolitan City of Naples, Campania, Italy
Death: 1205 (51-52)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Count Rainaldo d'Aquino and Cecilia di Medania
Wife of Tancred Hauteville of Lecce, king of Sicily
Mother of Roger III de Hauteville, of Sicily; Elvira Albinia of Sicily; William III de Hauteville, last norman king of Sicily; Valdrada of Sicily; Constance of Sicily and 1 other
Sister of Aimone d'Aquino, count of Acerra and Richard d'Aquino, count of Acerra

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About Sibylla di Aquino, of Acerra


Sibylla of Acerra (1153 – 1205) was the wife and queen consort of Tancred, Count of Lecce and King of Sicily (reigned 1189–1194). She was the regent in 1194 for her son William III of Sicily. She was the sister of Count Richard of Acerra.

It was Sibylla who, as regent, when the Emperor Henry VI crossed the Straits of Messina in Autumn 1194, negotiated an agreement whereby the young William III, now whisked off to safety, should retain the county of Lecce. Henry had been claiming the Sicilian kingdom in right of his wife since Tancred's accession.

Sibylla attended the consequent coronation of Henry in the Cathedral of Palermo. Days after the coronation, Sibylla, along with her erstwhile supporters Nicholas of Ajello, Archbishop of Salerno, and Margaritus of Brindisi, was arrested and imprisoned in Germany with her son and daughter. She managed to escape to France while Pope Innocent III petitioned Henry for her release.

Sibylla's children with Tancred were:

Roger, duke of Apulia and king of Sicily

William, duke of Apulia and king of Sicily

Maria (also called Albinia), countess of Lecce after the death of his brother; married firstly Walter III of Brienne, secondly Giacomo Sanseverino, Count of Tricario, and thirdly Tigrini Guidi, Count of Modigliano (or Count Palatine in Tuscany?)

Constance, married Pietro Ziani, later Doge of Venice


Valdrada, married Giacomo Tello, Venetian noblemen


Norwich, John Julius. The Kingdom in the Sun 1130-1194. Longman: London, 1970.

Matthew, Donald. The Norman Kingdom of Sicily. Cambridge University Press: 1992.


b) [SIBILLA ([before 1165]-after 1195). Sibilla´s sibling relationship with Riccardo d’Aquino Conte di Acerra is confirmed by Benedict of Peterborough who records "Ricardus comes de Cerne, frater uxoris regis Tancredi"[398]. The Ryccardus de Sancti Germano Chronica name "Ryccardo Acerrarum comitis cuius soror erat sua [=Tancredi] coniux"[399]. While these sources confirm that Sibilla was Riccardo´s sister, no primary source has been found which confirms that they shared both parents. Sibilla is often referred to in secondary sources as “Sibilla di Medania” (for example Europäische Stammtafeln, which names her father “Ruggiero di Medania”[400]). No primary source has yet been identified which names Sibilla as “di Medania”. The earliest identified secondary source reference to “Sibilla di Medania” is Francesco Capecelatro´s 1640 history of Naples[401]. The book includes no primary source citation nor any reference to the origin of the name. The exact wording of Capecelatro´s passage has been copied by numerous subsequent works ever since[402]. The suspicion is that Sibilla was never referred to as “di Medania” during her lifetime and that the reference represents an unreliable reflection of history. The reference to Medania links with “Cecilia di Medania” being the wife of Rinaldo [I] d’Aquino and Sibilla´s mother, but the argument becomes circular if (as suggested above) there is no primary source evidence for the existence of Cecilia di Medania. What is clear is that Sibilla must have been considerably younger than her brother Riccardo: the date of her marriage suggests her birth in [1160/65], by which time Riccardo must already have been adult (he had one grandchild when he died in 1196). The Thomas Tusci Gesta Imperatorum et Pontificum names "Tancredus [rex Siciliæ] uxorem Sybiliam"[403]. After her husband's death, Sibilla acted as regent for her son King Guillaume III. Emperor Heinrich VI promised her and her son the county of Lecce and principality of Taranto in return for their surrender. However, an alleged conspiracy was discovered shortly after Heinrich's coronation as king of Sicily 25 Dec 1194. According to William of Tyre (continuator), King Tancred's widow and her three daughters sought refuge first with the Pope and subsequently with the king of France[404]. The Annales Argentinenses record that Emperor Heinrich imprisoned "Sibillam reginam Sicilie, uxorem Tancredi" and her daughters at the monastery of Hohenburg [in Alsace] in 1195[405].

m (before [1180]%29 TANCREDO Conte di Lecce, illegitimate son of ROGER of Sicily Duke of Apulia & his mistress Bianca di Lecce ([Lecce 1138]-Palermo 20 Feb 1194). He was unlawfully elected as TANCRED King of Sicily in 1190, crowned at Palermo and recognised as king by the Pope in 1192.]

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