Catherine of Bulgaria

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SuccessorEudokia Makrembolitissa
Parent(s)Ivan Vladislav of Bulgaria
Maria (wife of Ivan Vladislav)
RelativesMaria of Bulgaria

Catherine of Bulgaria (Bulgar: Екатерина, Ekaterina; died after 1059) was Empress-consort to Byzantine emperor Isaac I Komnenos[1] and co-regent of Constantine X for a period after the abdication of her spouse in 1059. She was a daughter of Ivan Vladislav of Bulgaria and his wife Maria, and thus a sister of Presian II of Bulgaria and Alusian of Bulgaria. Catherine was also a paternal aunt of Maria of Bulgaria.


Catherine was a daughter of Ivan Vladislav (reigned 1015–18), the last Tsar of Bulgaria.[2] After he became emperor, Isaac raised her to Augusta.[3] Isaac became Byzantine Emperor in 1057. She served as his consort for two years before Isaac was seized with an illness. He came to believe it was mortal and the matter of his succession was set at the court.

Isaac abdicated the throne on November 22, 1059. He retired to the Stoudios Monastery and spent the remainder of his life, until his death in late 1060 or 1061, as a monk.[2][4] Following her husband's abdication, she appears to have co-reigned for a while with Constantine X, but eventually she too retired to the Myrelaion monastery under the monastic name of Xene.[5]


Catherine had at least two children with Isaac:[6]

  • Manuel Komnenos (ca. 1030 – 1042/57), probably the "son of Komnenos" recorded as having been engaged to the daughter of the protospatharios Helios. He died sometime between 1042 and 1057.[7]
  • Maria Komnene (born ca. 1034), her beauty is remarked upon by Psellos, but she remained unmarried, and retired with her mother to the Myrelaion.[8]


  1. ^ Edward N. Luttwak (2009). The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire. p. 142. "Isaac I Komnenos (1057–1059) married Catherine of Bulgaria, a daughter of the long-dead tsar Ivan Vladislav...” Harvard University Press.
  2. ^ a b ODB, "Isaac I Komnenos" (C. M. Brand, A. Cutler), pp. 1011–1012.
  3. ^ Varzos 1984, p. 44.
  4. ^ Varzos 1984, pp. 42–43.
  5. ^ Varzos 1984, pp. 46–47.
  6. ^ Varzos 1984, p. 47.
  7. ^ Varzos 1984, p. 58.
  8. ^ Varzos 1984, pp. 58–59.


  • Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504652-8.
  • Sewter, Edgar Robert Ashton, ed. (1953). The Chronographia of Michael Psellus. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.
  • Varzos, Konstantinos (1984). Archived copy Η Γενεαλογία των Κομνηνών [The Genealogy of the Komnenoi] (PDF) (in Greek). A. Thessaloniki: Centre for Byzantine Studies, University of Thessaloniki. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-02-03. Retrieved 2015-03-10.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]

Catherine of Bulgaria
Born: 11th century Died: after 1059
Royal titles
Preceded by
Byzantine Empress consort
Succeeded by
Eudokia Makrembolitissa