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Title: Mary of Antioch
Contributor(s): Garland, Lynda (author); Stone, Andrew (author)
Publication Date: 2006
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Abstract: At the death of his first wife, Bertha of Sulzbach in 1158, Manuel I Comnenus was left with one surviving daughter, Maria 'Porphyrogenita' who was as yet unmarried. The need for a male heir to the throne was of paramount importance and Manuel decided to use this as an opportunity to cement his alliance with the Frankish kingdom of Jerusalem and its dependent principalities. Whereas the emperor Manuel I Comnenus' grandfather Alexius I and his father John II had attempted to solve the question of Latin Crusader Principalities in Syria and Palestine through absorption, whether by treaty or by conquest, Manuel's policy differed from theirs in his acceptance of the independence of the principalities as a fait accompli. So come Eastertide (12 April) 1159 Manuel made a triumphal procession through Antioch, waited on by the prince of Antioch and followed by the king of Jerusalem, who were doubtless pleased to have a powerful Christian suzerain in the region. At Antioch, Choniates tells us, Manuel took part in a tournament with blunted lances, in which the men of Reynald of Chatillon, prince of Antioch, were outmatched and Manuel excelled himself by unhorsing two knights with one blow. About this time, Manuel conceived his idea of a marriage alliance with one of the principalities. Marguerite-Constance of Antioch, the daughter of Raymond of Poitiers and Constance of Antioch (who had married Reynald of Chatillon after Raymond's death), was one of the two main contenders for the position of Manuel's new bride, the other being Melisende, sister of Raymond III of Tripoli. After negotiations for an alliance with Tripoli had fallen through (Antioch being the better alliance), Manuel had Marguerite-Constance escorted to Constantinople by an entourage led by Alexius Comnenus, the Grand 'Dux' (son of Anna Comnena), a certain Nicephorus Bryennius, and the eparch Andronicus Camaterus. The marriage took place in St Sophia on Christmas Day 1161 (we unfortunately have no rhetorical texts commemorating the event). The princess had been born in the 1140s and so was probably in her mid-teens; she now took the name Maria.
Publication Type: Entry In Reference Work
Source of Publication: DIR: De Imperatoribus Romanis ("On The Rulers of Rome") - An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families
Publisher: Academic Computer Services of Salve Regina University
Field of Research (FOR): 210306 Classical Greek and Roman History
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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