Maria Komnene, Queen of Jerusalem

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Maria Komnene, Queen consort of Jerusalem

Also Known As: "Porphyrogenita", "Marie", "Komnene", "Komnenos"
Birthplace: Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
Death: 1217 (58-67)
Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
Immediate Family:

Daughter of John Doukas Komnenos and Maria Taronitissa
Wife of Amalric of Anjou, king of Jerusalem and Balian, lord of Ibelin
Mother of Stillborn Daughter; Isabella I Blois, queen of Jerusalem & Cyprus; John of Ibelin, the Old lord of Beirut; Philippe d'Ibelin, régent de Chypre; Helvis d'Ibelin, dame de Tyr and 1 other
Sister of Eirene of Komnenos; Theodora Komnèna, of Lathoumena and Alexios Komnenos
Half sister of Alexios Komnenos, pinkernes

Occupation: Reine, de Jérusalem
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Maria Komnene, Queen of Jerusalem

Maria Komnene or Comnena (Greek: Μαρία Κομνηνή, Maria Komnēnē), (c. 1154 – 1208/1217), was the second wife of King Amalric I of Jerusalem and mother of Queen Isabella of Jerusalem. She was the daughter of John Komnenos, sometime Byzantine dux in Cyprus, and Maria Taronitissa, a descendant of the ancient Armenian kings. Her sister Theodora married Prince Bohemund III of Antioch, and her brother Alexios was briefly, in 1185, a pretender to the throne of the Byzantine Empire. Marriage of Maria and Amalric

After the annulment of his first marriage to Agnes of Courtenay, Amalric was anxious to forge an alliance with Byzantium and asked the emperor Manuel I Komnenos for a bride from the imperial family. Maria was the emperor's grandniece and he bestowed upon her a rich dowry. The marriage of Amalric and Maria was celebrated with much fanfare at Tyre, on 29 August 1167.

Maria bore him a daughter, Isabella, in 1172, and a stillborn child in 1173. On his deathbed, in 1174, Amalric left Nablus to Maria, who became dowager queen upon his death.

In 1177, Maria married Balian of Ibelin, who commanded the defense of Jerusalem against Saladin in 1187. She bore him at least four children:

   Helvis of Ibelin, who married (1) Reginald of Sidon (widower of Agnes of Courtenay), and (2) Guy of Montfort
   John of Ibelin, Lord of Beirut and constable of Jerusalem, who married Helvis of Nephin, then Melisende of Arsur
   Margaret, who married (1) Hugh of Tiberias (stepson of Raymond III of Tripoli), and (2) Walter of Caesarea
   Philip of Ibelin, bailli (regent) of Cyprus, who married Alice of Montbéliard.

Maria and Balian supported Conrad of Montferrat (uncle of the late King Baldwin V) in his struggle for the crown against Guy of Lusignan. They arranged for Maria's daughter by Amalric, Isabella, to have her first marriage annulled so that she could marry Conrad, giving him a stronger claim to the throne. In this, Maria and Balian gained the enmity of Richard I of England and his chroniclers. The anonymous author of the Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi wrote of them:

   Steeped in Greek filth from the cradle, she had a husband whose morals matched her own: he was cruel, she was godless; he was fickle, she was pliable; he was faithless, she was fraudulent.

As the grandmother of Alice of Champagne (Isabella's daughter by her third husband, Henry II of Champagne), Maria conducted the marriage negotiations with Cyprus in 1208 – Alice was to marry Hugh I of Cyprus. Blanche of Navarre, Regent and Countess of Champagne, widow of Alice's paternal uncle, provided the dowry for Alice. This is the last time Maria is mentioned, and she was certainly dead by 1217.

  • b) IOANNES Doukas Komnenos ([1128]-killed in battle Myriokephalon shortly after 17 Sep 1176). ... m ([1146]%29 --- Taronitissa, daughter of [IOANNES] Taronites [III] & his wife --- ([1125/30]-after 1176). ... Ioannes Doukas Komnenos & his wife had two children:
    • i) MARIA Komnene (1154-before Oct 1217). She is named with her father by William of Tyre when he records her marriage with King Amaury[308]. Caffaro records that "rex Amarricus" married secondly after separating from his first wife "Maria neptis imperatoris Manuelis, filiam Iohannis protosauasto…nepos imperatoris Manuelis ex fratre suo" and that they had "filiam unam…Ysabella"[309]. Amaury King of Jerusalem sent ambassadors to Constantinople in [1164/65] to ask the emperor for the hand of an imperial princess but received no answer until they landed at Tyre with Maria Komnene in Aug 1167. Ioannes Kinnamos records the marriage of "una filiarum protosebasti" and the brother of Baudouin III King of Jerusalem[310]. She was given Nablus as her dower[311]. The Lignages d'Outremer name "la reyne Marie…niece de l'empereur Manuel" as wife of "Belleem de Ybelin"[312]. The Chronicle of Alberic de Trois-Fontaines records that "relictam regis Almarici…que fuit de Grecia" married "Bethuliani de Guibelin"[313]. "Hugo…rex Cipri" confirmed the grant to the church of Nicosia by "Philippus de Ybellino" for the soul of "domine Marie regine, matris sue" by charter dated Oct 1217[314]. m firstly (Tyre 29 Aug 1167) as his second wife, AMAURY I King of Jerusalem, son of FOULQUES King of Jerusalem Comte d'Anjou & his second wife Mélisende Queen of Jerusalem (1136-11 Jul 1174). m secondly ([1177]%29 BALIAN of Ibelin, son of BALIAN of Ibelin Lord of Rama & his wife Helvis of Rama ([1142/43]-[1193/94]). Lord of Nablus, by right of his wife. Lord of Rama and Mirabel.
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