Helena Angelina Doukaina

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Helena Angelina Doukaina
Queen consort of Sicily
Spouse Manfred of Sicily
Issue Beatrice, Marchioness of Saluzzo
Frederick of Sicily
Henry of Sicily
Enzio of Sicily
Flordelis of Sicily
House Komnenos Doukas dynasty (by birth)
House of Hohenstaufen (by marriage)
Father Michael II Komnenos Doukas
Mother Theodora Petraliphaina
Born c. 1242
Died 1271 (aged 28–29)

Helena Angelina Doukaina (c. 1242 – 1271) was the second wife but only Queen consort of Manfred of Sicily, Regent of the Kingdom of Sicily. Her marriage to Manfred was an expression of the alliance of her father Michael II Komnenos Doukas, Ruler of Epirus and the ruler of Sicily against the growing power of the Empire of Nicaea.[1]

Biography[edit]

Helena was a daughter of Michael II and his wife, Theodora Petraliphaina. Her father was often called Michael Angelos in narrative sources. She was a sister of Nikephoros I Komnenos Doukas and a paternal half-sister of John I Doukas, Ruler of Thessaly.

She was married to Manfred of Sicily 2 June 1259, after the death of his first wife Beatrice of Savoy in 1257 and his own rise to the throne on 10 August 1258. D. J. Geanakoplos notes that this marriage was surprising, considering Manfred's father Frederick had been in an alliance with John Vatatzes, the late ruler of the Empire of Nicaea, but "one must consider that conquest of the Byzantine Empire had been a traditional Norman aim for almost a century, and that Manfred was now in a strong enough position in Italy to discard his father's alliance and to look to those who could assist him in his ambitions for Balkan domination."[2] Few details of how this marriage was arranged have come down to us. "It would be of interest," Geanakoplos observes, "to know who took the initiative to promote the marriage alliance; whether Manfred's marriage preceded that of William of Achaia to Anna, another daughter of Michael II; and, most important, whether Manfred's Epirot possessions were secured from Michael II actually as a result of conquest or as a dowry."[3]

Manfred had captured Dyrrachium and its surrounding area within the following two years. Michael II still had a territorial claim at the city but at the time was preparing to besiege Thessalonica. Helena's dowry included all rights to Dyrrhachium and its surrounding area along with the island of Corfu. Corfu being the only clear territorial gain for Manfred.[1]

When Manfred was killed at the Battle of Benevento on 26 February 1266 while fighting against his rival and successor Charles I of Sicily. Charles captured Helena and imprisoned her. She lived five years later in captivity into the castle of Nocera Inferiore where she died in 1271.

Marriage and children[edit]

Helena and Manfred had five children:

  • Beatrice of Sicily (c. 1258 – before 1307); imprisoned in Castel dell'Ovo until released, later married, firstly, Rainer Gherardesca, and secondly Manfred IV of Saluzzo.
  • Frederick of Sicily (c. 1259 – last mentioned alive in 1312), blinded and imprisoned in Castel del Monte.
  • Henry of Sicily (May 1262 – 31 October 1318), blinded and imprisoned in Castel del Monte.
  • Enzio of Sicily (c. 1261 – c. 1301), blinded and imprisoned in Castel del Monte.
  • Flordelis of Sicily (c. 1266 – last mentioned alive in 1297), imprisoned in Castel dell'Ovo until released.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Donald M. Nicol, The last centuries of Byzantium, 1261-1453, second edition (Cambridge: University Press, 1993), p. 28
  2. ^ Geanakoplos, "Greco-Latin Relations on the Eve of the Byzantine Restoration: The Battle of Pelagonia-1259", Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 7 (1953), p. 104
  3. ^ Geanakoplos, "Greco-Latin Relations", p. 105
  • The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.
  • John V.A. Fine Jr., The Late Medieval Balkans, Ann Arbor, 1987.
  • D.I. Polemis, The Doukai, London, 1968.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Elisabeth of Bavaria
Queen consort of Sicily
10 August 1258 – 26 February 1266
Succeeded by
Beatrice of Provence