Anna of Hohenstaufen
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She married John III Doukas Vatatzes Emperor of Nicaea as part of an alliance between her father and husband. The marriage is recorded by the chronicles of both George Acropolites and George Pachymeres. "The Lascarids of Nicaea: the Story of an Empire in Exile" (1912–1913) by Alice Gardner considers the alliance a result of their common hostility to the papacy.
The marriage occurred in 1244. Constance took the name Anna following her marriage. At her arrival she was accompanied by a governess, Marchesa della Fricca. According to George Acropolites the governess became the mistress of John III and "rival in love" of Anna.
In time the Marchesa came to have considerable influence at court. Nicephorus Blemmydes called her "rival empress". However Blemmydes' negative criticism resulted in an attempt at his life by followers of her. Blemmydes survived and Marchesa lost the favor of John III who proceeded to dismiss her from court. Blemmydes' account was later included in his autobiography.
Constance remained empress until the death of her husband on 3 November 1254. Her stepson Theodore II Laskaris succeeded to the throne. By that time Frederick II had also died. Pachymeres records her staying in Nicaea through the reigns of both Theodore II (1254–1258) and her step-grandson John IV Laskaris (1259–1261). Alice Gardner suggested that she was still politically useful as a hostage against the remaining members of the House of Hohenstaufen, particularly her brother Manfred of Sicily.
John IV was underage through his brief reign. His regent and co-ruler was Michael VIII Palaiologos. According to Pachymeres, Michael fell in love with Anna and attempted to marry her. But the widowed Empress rejected him. However Michael was married to Theodora Doukaina Vatatzina since 1253. Whether the account of Pachymeres suggests plans for divorce and remarriage or Michael wanted Anna as his mistress is unclear.
On 25 July 1261, Alexios Strategopoulos captured Constantinople, capital of the Latin Empire. This victory for Nicaea allowed Michael to both move his court to the newly annexed city and depose his young co-ruler John IV. Anna was no longer part of the reigning dynasty. She was allowed to leave the new court for the Kingdom of Sicily in 1263.
Again known as Constance, she joined the court of her brother Manfred. On 25 February 1266, Manfred was killed at the Battle of Benevento. He was succeeded by his victorious enemy Charles of Anjou. Constance fled the Sicilian court for that of James I of Aragon, joining her niece, Constance of Sicily, who was a daughter of Manfred of Sicily and queen consort of Peter III of Aragon.
- This article incorporates information from
- Listing of John III and his wives in "Medieval lands" by Charles Cawley. The project "involves extracting and analysing detailed information from primary sources, including contemporary chronicles, cartularies, necrologies and testaments."
Anna of HohenstaufenBorn: 1230 Died: 1307
|Empress consort of Nicaea
Elena of Bulgaria