2020-03-07 01:06:54 UTC
This old subject has not come up for a while, but I think there is more
to be said on it and wonder if there is still enough interest here to
sustain a discussion. At any rate, comments are sought and I will be
happy to give my source/s for any point that is questioned.
It may be worth breaking it down into phases of her life in so far as
this is recorded, starting with when she was born and the name she was
The birth range usually ascribed is ca 1160/64. This seems to me about
right though perhaps needing to be extended at the earlier end.
She was married to Guillem VIII of Montpellier by or in the spring of
1179, having been sent from Constantinople intended to marry Raimond
Berenger III of Provence who was probably born in 1158.
Her relative Emperor Manuel I did not have an endless supply of nubile
females in his family, and there is no particular reason to assume that
this one was born-to-order for marriage with a man born in 1158: she may
have been younger than him by up to six years or so, or possibly older
if there was some cause preventing her prior marriage at home.
Raimond Berenger's elder brother Alfonso II of Aragon had sent an
ambassador to Constantinople in the late months of 1176, and if a
marriage was negotiated then (as seems plausible) then first it cannot
have been at any stage for himself (since he had married in January
1174), and secondly the delay of around two years before the bride-to-be
was sent west suggests that she may have been too young for a wedding
before this was meant to take place in 1178/79. If so she was probably
born closer to 1164 than to 1160, but the indication for this is so hazy
that any date of birth from ca 1155 onward should not be ruled out.
As for her name, we know this only from two archivists' records of a
lost charter of her daughter dated 1207: one of these is in Latin, the
other (from the 17th century) in French, and the form of her name is
Konstantinos Barzos took the German historian Winfried Hecht to task for
using the form Eudoxia, on the basis that the Komnenoi did not use this
name and that on the other hand Eudokia was one of their five most
frequent female names. The conclusion that she was named Eudkoia may
well be correct, but the reasoning given was both sloppy and circular:
Barzon did not first prove that she was born in the Komnenos family, and
even assuming she was neglected to prove that she was not named Eudoxia
in order to establish that this name was never used in the family.
The two names were distinct, Eudoxia derived from the meaning good
repute/honour and Eudokia from the meaning satisfaction/approval. In the
5th century Emperor Valentinian III had a daughter named Eudokia by his
wife named Licinia Eudoxia, but by the 12th century Eudoxia was
practically obsolete as a name in the Byzantine aristocracy. For
instance, *Prosopographie der mittelbyzantinischen Zeit (641-867)* has
19 entries for women named Eudokia with none at all for Eudoxia.
However, this does not prove that it was never used, and it is possible
that it could have been introduced into any family by the custom of
naming after maternal grandparents: a wife whose mother happened to have
been named Eudoxia could have transmitted this name to a daughter,
whether she was a Komnene by birth or not.
It is safe enough to presume that the late-12th century dame of
Montpellier was named Eudokia, but by no means certain.