Discussion:
"Eudoxia" of Montpellier - part 4/2 - title as "empress" and parentage
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Peter Stewart
2020-03-09 04:07:48 UTC
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Konstantinos Barzos in his genealogy of the Komnenoi placed Eudokia
doubtfully as the youngest daughter of Manuel I's elder brother the
sebastokrator Isaakios. This is accepted in the Oxford Dictionary of
Byzantium, but there are several problems with it: Isaakios is said to
have married twice, having three daughters by his first wife (Theodora)
and two by his second (Eirene Diplosynadene). However, the elder
daughter by the second wife was married to King Balduin III of Jerusalem
in 1158 (and, true to family form, later became a lover of her father's
cousin Andronikos I). In order to account for the large gap in age from
this daughter to the next, if this was Eudokia, Barzos suggested that
Isaakios was held in custody for many years before returning to his wife
and fathering a last child. Isaakios had been involved in a violent
scuffle, trying to decapitate another Komnenos in front of Emperor
Manuel, who was wounded in the hand when he intervened - but
unfortunately for the theory, Isaakios is never heard of again after
this incident, which occurred in 1154. Also, since Manuel was willing
and able after this to marry off the elder daughter of the second
marriage to a king of Jerusalem, he is hardly likely to have squandered
another niece with such an exalted brother-in-law on a relatively
insignificant count of Provence much less a substitute who was only
seigneur of Montpellier.

Barzos was sharply critical of Szabolcs de Vajay, complaining that he
had changed his mind between their correspondence about Eudokia and
publishing his study on her (which of course he had every right if not
reason to do), and suggesting that he had gone astray because he could
not understand Greek (which would never have slowed down Vajay, who
couldn't read Latin with much comprehension either).

Vajay set two criteria for identifying Eudokia's father: he had to hold
(or at least expect to be given) the title sebastokrator, and his wife
had to be named Maria in order to account for this name having been
given to Eudokia's daughter. The second criterion is just as specious as
the first: Vajay asserted that as an only child (assuming they knew
already at her brother that this was the case) Marie must have been
given the name of her maternal granmother by Byzantine custom (assuming
that Eudokia had the say in this matter). But this is imagining the
possible to be the actual, since Guillem VIII had a sister named Maria
and could perfectly well have chosen to name his first daughter after
her or whomever her name had come from - though of course it can't be
ruled out that Eudokia's mother may have had this name too.

The candidates settled on by Vajay for her parents were Manuel's nephew
Alexios (second son of his brother Andronikos) and his wife Maria
Doukaina. This Alexios had become protostrator in succession to Alexios
Axouchos from 1167, and perhaps vacated that post to become
protovestiarios in 1176 - the identity of his suoposed successor as
protostrator, a namesake, is uncertain. He was titled protosebastos but
not sebastokrator, although Vajay held that he was in line for this
honour. He became the lover of Manuel I's widow Maria of Antioch and
took charge of her regency council until he was murdered (of course) as
a prisoner in 1183. He is certainly one of the family members who can be
considered as possibly Eudokia's father, but there is no indication that
he had any daughter. He had a son named Andronikos who was killed by a
fall from his horse, and no other offspring legitimate or otherwise that
can be ascribed to him with evidence. He has been conjetured as the
father of a Eudokia who married twice in Italy, first ca April 1170 (as
his second wife) to Oddone Frangipane (died ca 1175) by whom she had a
son, and secondly in 1178 to Guelfo di Paganello (da Porcaría). There is
no particular strength to this conjectural relationship.

Apart from attributing a daughter to him for whose existence we have not
even a hint in the sources, there is also nothing about his birth or
career that would give rise to the legend that Eudokia of Montpellier
had some kind of claim to the Byzantine imperial throne. For both of
these reasons, though with nothing firmer to go on, I think that
Alexious Axouchos and his wife Maria Komnene are stronger candidates,
and probably the strongest overall, to be identified as the mysterious
parents. I will explain this in my next posting on the subject.

Peter Stewart
Peter Stewart
2020-03-09 04:16:51 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
Vajay set two criteria for identifying Eudokia's father: he had to hold
(or at least expect to be given) the title sebastokrator, and his wife
had to be named Maria in order to account for this name having been
given to Eudokia's daughter. The second criterion is just as specious as
the first: Vajay asserted that as an only child (assuming they knew
already at her brother that this was the case)
Some wicked imp took over my fingers and made me type "already knew at
her brother..." when I meant "already knew at her birth ...".

Peter Stewart
Peter Stewart
2020-03-09 07:05:59 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
Konstantinos Barzos in his genealogy of the Komnenoi placed Eudokia
doubtfully as the youngest daughter of Manuel I's elder brother the
sebastokrator Isaakios. This is accepted in the Oxford Dictionary of
Byzantium
It is worth noting that this is accepted also by Ernest Marcos Hierro in
*La dama de Bizanci: un enigma en la nissaga de Jaume I* (2013), which
is the most substantial study since those by Barzos and Vajay published
in 1984 and 1982 respectively.

Peter Stewart
Peter Stewart
2020-03-09 07:47:25 UTC
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Post by Peter Stewart
Konstantinos Barzos in his genealogy of the Komnenoi placed Eudokia
doubtfully as the youngest daughter of Manuel I's elder brother the
sebastokrator Isaakios. This is accepted in the Oxford Dictionary of
Byzantium, but there are several problems with it: Isaakios is said to
have married twice, having three daughters by his first wife (Theodora)
and two by his second (Eirene Diplosynadene). However, the elder
daughter by the second wife was married to King Balduin III of Jerusalem
in 1158 (and, true to family form, later became a lover of her father's
cousin Andronikos I). In order to account for the large gap in age from
this daughter to the next, if this was Eudokia, Barzos suggested that
Isaakios was held in custody for many years before returning to his wife
and fathering a last child. Isaakios had been involved in a violent
scuffle, trying to decapitate another Komnenos in front of Emperor
Manuel, who was wounded in the hand when he intervened
My attention was failing here - I should have mentioned that the
Komnenos whose head Isaakios tried to hack off was none other than
Andronikos I, later emperor and lover of Isaakios' daughter Theodora.

This was a family you wouldn't want to meet down a dark alley, but in
12th-century Constantinople you very probably would.

Peter Stewart

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