List of exiled and pretending Byzantine Empresses

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For the uncontested Empresses of the Eastern Roman Empire, see, List of Roman and Byzantine Empresses.
For the consorts of the Latin emperors, see, List of Latin Empresses.

The Empress of the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire (in exile) was the consort of one of the four Byzantine Greek successor states of the Byzantine Emperors, following the Fourth Crusade in 1204 and the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, to the abolishment of those states. As all male spouses of the former Byzantine Empire had to be monarchs also, there was never a Byzantine Emperor consort. They are the successors of Margaret of Hungary or Eudokia Angelina, the last true Byzantine Empresses. None of women's husband held the title of Byzantine Emperor rightfully in the eyes of history, except the Nicaean emperors who became the only Greek ruler to be restored to Constantinople in 1261 and the Morean despotes who were the direct heirs of the last emperor, Constantine XI.

The spouses of the pretenders of these states and the Byzantine Empire are included. These states were Nicaea, who should have been known as the Empress consort of Nicaea (Greek: βασίλισσα τῆς Νίκαιας); Trebizond, who should have been known as the Empress consort of Trebizond (Greek: βασίλισσα τῆς Τραπεζοῦντος); Epirus, who should have been known as the Despoina in Epirus (1215–1479); Morea, who should have been known as the Despoina in Morea (1308–1460).

Empress of the Byzantine Empire (in exile)[edit]

Empress of Nicaea[edit]

Laskarid dynasty
(1204-1261)
Picture Name Father Birth Marriage Became Empress Ceased to be Empress Death Spouse
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Anna Angelina Alexios III
(Angeloi)
c. 1176 1199 or early 1200 1204 death of brother-in-law
1205 husband proclaimed as emperor
1212 Theodore I
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Philippa of Armenia Ruben III of Armenia
(Rubenid)
1183 24 November 1214 1216 before 1219
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Marie de Courtenay Peter, Latin Emperor
(Courtenay)
c. 1204 1219 November 1221 September 1228
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Irene Lascarina
(Ειρήνη Λασκαρίνα)
Theodore I
(Laskaris)
 ? 1212 December 1221 1239 John III
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Anna of Hohenstaufen Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
(Hohenstaufen)
1230 1244 3 November 1254 April 1307
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Elena Asenina of Bulgaria Ivan II of Bulgaria
(Asen)
 ? 1235 4 November 1254 husband proclaimed as emperor
1255 husband crowned as emperor
1 January 1259 as co-empress
18 August 1258  ? Theodore II
Palaiologan dynasty
(1259–1261)
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Theodora Doukaina Vatatzaina Ioannes Doukas Vatatzes
(Doukai)
c. 1240 1253 1 January 1259 as co-empress
18 August 1258 as sole-empress consort
25 July 1261 4 March 1303 Michael VIII
Picture Name Father Birth Marriage Became Empress Ceased to be Empress Death Spouse

Empress of Trebizond[edit]

The consorts of rulers of Trebizond, like their counterparts in the other two Byzantine successor states, the Empire of Nicaea and the Despotate of Epirus, initially claimed the traditional Byzantine title of Empress consort the Romans. However, after reaching an agreement with the restored Byzantine Empire in 1282, the official title of the consorts of Trebizond was changed to Empress consort of the entire East, of the Iberians and the Perateia and remained such until the Empire's end in 1461. The state is sometimes called the Komnenian or Megalokomnenian empire from its ruling dynasty. Trebizond had three reigning empresses, Theodora of Trebizond (1284–1285), Irene Palaiologina (1340–1341), and Anna of Trebizond (1341–1342).

Megalokomnenid dynasty
(1204-1461)
Picture Name Father Birth Marriage Became Empress Ceased to be Empress Death Spouse
Theodora Axuchina John Komnenos Axouchos[1]
(Axouchoi)
 ?  ? around April 1204 1 February 1222  ? Alexios I
Komnene Alexios I
(Komnenoi)
 ? c. 1222? 1 February 1222 1235  ? Andronikos I
Mother of Ioannikes  ?  ?  ? 1235 1238  ? John I
Anna Xylaloe  ?  ? 1235 1238 1240s Manuel I
Rusudan of Georgia David VI of Georgia or David VII of Georgia
(Bagratids)
 ? 1240s 1250s or early 1260s
Irene Syrikaina  ?  ? 1250s or early 1260s March 1263  ?
Eudokia Palaiologina
(Ευδοκία Παλαιολογίνα)
Michael VIII Palaiologos
(Palaiologoi)
c. 1265 1282 16 August 1297[2] 1302 John II
Jiajak Jaqeli[3] Beka I Jaqeli
(Jaqeli)
 ? c. 1300 3 May 1330  ? Alexios II
Irene Palaiologina
(Ειρήνη Παλαιολογίνα)
Andronikos III Palaiologos
(Palaiologoi)
c. 1315 1335 1339 after 1341 Basilios
Irene
(Ειρήνη η μεγάλη Κομνηνή)
 ?  ? 1339 [4] 6 April 1340 after 1382
Acropolitissa Constantine Acropolites
(Acropolites)
 ? 1297-1341 30 July 1341 1st reign[5]
3 May 1344 2nd reign
13 December 1349  ? Michael
Chrysobull of Alexius III of Trebizond.jpg Theodora Kantakouzene Nikephoros Kantakouzenos c. 1340 28 September 1351 20 March 1390  ? Alexios III
Eudokia of Georgia David IX of Georgia
(Bagratids)
 ? 6 September 1377 20 March 1390 2 May 1395 Manuel III
Anna Philanthropene Manuel Angelos Philanthropenos  ? c. 1395 5 March 1417  ?
Theodora Kantakouzene Theodore Palaiologos Kantakouzenos
(Kantakouzenoi)
c. 1382 1395 1395 as co-empress consort
5 March 1417 as sole-empress consort
12 November 1426 Alexios IV
Maria Gattilusio
as Co-Empress of Trebizond
Dorino of Lesbos
(Gattilusi)
 ?  ?  ? October 1429  ? Alexander, Co-Emperor
Unnamed Georgian princess Alexander I of Georgia
(Bagratids)
c. 1415 c. 1426 before 28 October 1429 1438 John IV
Unnamed Turkish lady Dawlat Berdi  ?  ?  ? before April 22, 1459  ?
Maria of Gothia[6] Alexios of Theodoro
(Gabras)
 ?  ?  ?  ?  ?/before 1447 David
Helena Kantakouzene  ?
(Kantakouzenoi)
 ?  ? before 22 April 1459 15 August 1461 1463
Picture Name Father Birth Marriage Became Empress Ceased to be Empress Death Spouse

Despoinas and consorts in Epirus[edit]

Angelos-Komnenos-Doukas dynasty
(1205-1318)
Picture Name Father Birth Marriage Became consort Ceased to be consort Death Spouse
Unknown an Epirote magnate
(Melissenos)
 ?  ?  ?  ?  ? Michael I
Unknown an Epirote
(Melissenos)
 ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
Maria Petraliphaina  ?
(Petraliphas)
 ? c. 1216 c. 1216 as Despoina and Byzantine empress in exile
1224 as Empress in Thessalonica
1230  ? Theodore
Theodora Petraliphaina John Petraliphas
(Petraliphas)
1225 about 1231 1268  ? Michael II
Maria Doukaina Laskarina Theodore II Laskaris
(Laskaris)
 ? 1256 as Despoina within the Nicaean empire,

never in Epirus

1258 Nikephoros I
Anna Kantakouzene  ?
(Palaiologos or Kantakouzenos)
 ? 1264 1268 1297?  ?
Anna Palaiologina Michael IX Palaiologos
(Palaiologos)
 ? 1307 or 1313 1318 1320 or 1321 Thomas I
Orsini dynasty
(1318–1359)
Anna Palaiologina Michael IX Palaiologos
(Palaiologos)
 ? 1318
2nd time
1320 or 1321 Nicholas
Anna Palaiologina Angelina Andronikos Palaiologos Angelos[7]
(Palaiologos or Komnenos Doukas)
 ? after 1324 1335  ? John
Maria Kantakouzene John VI Kantakouzenos
(Kantakouzenos)
- after 1339 1347 as Despoina within the Byzantine empire
1355 as Despoina in Epirus
1356/1359 after 1359 Nikephoros II
Nemanjić and Buondelmonti dynasties
(1359-1411)
Thomais Orsini John
(Orsini)
 ? after 1348 1359 1366  ? Simeon
Maria Angelina Doukaina Palaiologina[8]
(Μαρία Αγγελίνα Δούκαινα Παλαιολογίνα)
Simeon
(Nemanjić)
 ? 1359–1360 1366 23 December 1384 28 December 1394 Thomas II
February 1385 28 December 1394 Esau
Irene Bova Shpata John Bova Shpata  ? January 1396  ?  ?
Eudokia Balšić  ?
(Balšić)
 ?  ? 6 February 1411 after 1411
Tocco dynasty
(1411–1479)
Francesca Acciaioli Nerio I Acciaioli
(Acciaioli)
 ?  ? 1411? 1429?  ? Carlo I Tocco
Ramondina of Ventimiglia  ?  ?  ? 1429? 1448?  ? Carlo II Tocco
Milica of Serbia Lazar Branković
(Branković)
 ? 1 May 1463 1464 Leonardo III Tocco
Francesca Marzano Mariano Marzano, Prince of Rossano
(Marzano)
 ? 1477 1479?  ?
Picture Name Father Birth Marriage Became consort Ceased to be consort Death Spouse

Despoinas and Consorts in Morea[edit]

Kantakouzenoi dynasty
(1347–1383)
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Maria de Lusignan Constantine II, King of Armenia
(Lusignan)
c. or after 1333 c. 1347 25 October 1349 10 April 1380 1382-1387 Manuel Kantakouzenos
Palaiologan dynasty
(1383–1460)
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Bartolomea Acciaioli Nerio I Acciaioli
(Acciaioli)
 ?  ? 1383? 1407?  ? Theodore I Palaiologos
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Cleofa Malatesta Malatesta I, Count of Pesaro
(Malatesta)
 ? 21 January 1421 or sometime in 1422 1433 Theodore II Palaiologos
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Theodora Tocco Leonardo II Tocco
(Tocco)
 ? 1 July 1428 c. 1428 as Despoina in Morea November 1429 Constantine XI Palaiologos
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Caterina Gattilusio Dorino of Lesbos
(Gattilusio)
 ? 27 July 1441 as Despoina in Morea July/August 1442
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Theodora Asanina Paul Asanes
(Asanes)
 ? before 1443 before 1443 as a Despoina in Morea
29 May 1453 as Byzantine co-empress consort[9]
1460[9]  ? Demetrios Palaiologos
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Caterina Zaccaria Centurione II Zaccaria
(Zaccaria)
around 1392 January 1430 before 1432 as a Despoina in Morea
29 May 1453 as Byzantine co-empress consort
1460 16 August 1462 Thomas Palaiologos
Picture Name Father Birth Marriage Became Consort Ceased to be Consort Death Spouse

Empress of the Byzantine Empire (in pretence)[edit]

The Byzantine Empire fell in 1453. Three pretenders from the dynasty followed. The last Palaiologan pretender, Andreas Palaiologos, sold his right to the imperial succession to Charles VIII of France, but he also willed the imperial titles to Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castille, and so in a since either the French Spanish queens have been the titular Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire since the 15th century. Another Palaiologan, Manuel Palaiologos, sold his right of succession to Ottoman Sultan Bayazid II (the Ottoman sultans already claim to be the Kaizer-i Rum or Roman Emperor); but since there is no such thing as a sultaness, there are no Ottoman consorts. Not counting the Ottoman, the two successors of the Palaiologans were all Catholic instead of Orthodox.

The two other claimants are both Orthodox. The first one is the former Queens of Greece because the Greek monarchy mainly created in 1832 to be the successor of the Byzantine Greek monarchy that was replaced by the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Their husband descend from five former imperial dynasties of the Empire. The former Empresses of Russia is one of the strongest claimant, mainly because of their claim as the Third Rome and their Orthodox faith. The Russian tsar or emperors were not a Palaiologan successor but they claim so from the marriage of Ivan the Great to Zoe Palaiologina; although the Palaiologian bloodline of Zoe died out along with the main Rurikid line in the 17th century

Neither the Empresses of Russia, the Queens of France, the Queens of Spain, or the Queens of the Hellenes claimed any sort of Byzantine titles, and only the current Queen of Spain is even an official queen. There are two Russian pretenders, three French pretenders, and one Greek pretender. One of them Maria Vladimirovna could claim as empress regnant; or as empress consort, co-ruling with her husband as emperor.

Spouses of Byzantine Pretenders
(1453–1502)
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Theodora Asanina Paul Asanes
(Asanes)
 ? before 1443 29 May 1453 as co-empress consort[9] 1460[9]  ? Demetrios Palaiologos
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Caterina Zaccaria Centurione II Zaccaria
(Zaccaria)
around 1392 January 1430 before 1432 as a Despoina in Morea
29 May 1453 as Byzantine co-empress consort
16 August 1462 Thomas Palaiologos
A Roman prostitute ? Andreas Palaiologos
Disputed and unclaimed
The Queens of France (1494 to present)
The Queens of Spain (1502 to present)
The Grand Princesses, Tsaritsa and Empresses of Russia (1472 to present)
The Queens of Greece (1832 to present)
Picture Name Father Birth Marriage Became Empress Ceased to be Empress Death Spouse

Trebizond[edit]

Spouses of Trapezuntine Pretenders
(1461–1463)
Picture Name Father Birth Marriage Became Empress Ceased to be Empress Death Spouse
Helena Kantakouzene  ?  ?  ? 15 August 1461 1 November 1463 1463[10] David
None?
Picture Name Father Birth Marriage Became Empress Ceased to be Empress Death Spouse

Epirus[edit]

Spouses of Epirote Pretenders
(1479–1499)
Picture Name Father Birth Marriage Became Consort Ceased to be Consort Death Spouse
Francesca Marzano Mariano Marzano, Prince of Rossano
(Marzano)
 ? 1477 1479 1499?  ? Leonardo III Tocco
None
Picture Name Father Birth Marriage Became Consort Ceased to be Consort Death Spouse

Morea[edit]

Spouses of Morean Pretenders
(1460–1502)
Picture Name Father Birth Marriage Became Consort Ceased to be Consort Death Spouse
Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle.svg Caterina Zaccaria Centurione II Zaccaria
(Zaccaria)
around 1392 January 1430 1460 after fall of Morea[9] 16 August 1462 Thomas Palaiologos
A Roman prostitute ? Andreas Palaiologos
Disputed and unclaimed
The Queens of France (1494 to present)
The Queens of Spain (1502 to present)
The Grand Princesses, Tsaritsa and Empresses of Russia (1472 to present)
The Queens of Greece (1832 to present)
Picture Name Father Birth Marriage Became Consort Ceased to be Consort Death Spouse

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ probable
  2. ^ there was slight interruption of her husband's reign in 1284
  3. ^ Alexios II may have had a second wife, Jidga Khatun, but this is highly disputed
  4. ^ marriage recognize by local clergy, although not the Patriarch of Constantinople
  5. ^ one-day reign
  6. ^ probably never empress
  7. ^ Granddaughter of Demetrios Komnenos Doukas, son of Michael II
  8. ^ reigned briefly as Basilissa of Epirus or Empress of Epirus
  9. ^ a b c d e It isn't known if she died before this date
  10. ^ days after burying her husband and family