Maria Komnene, Queen of Jerusalem

Maria Komnene or Comnena (Greek: Μαρία Κομνηνή, c. 1154 – 1208/1217) was the second wife of King Amalric I of Jerusalem and mother of Queen Isabella I of Jerusalem.

Maria Komnene
Queen consort of Jerusalem
Tenure29 August 1167 – 1174
Bornc. 1154
Died1208/1217 (aged 53–63)
SpouseAmalric I of Jerusalem
Balian of Ibelin
IssueIsabella I of Jerusalem
Helvis of Ibelin
John of Ibelin, the Old Lord of Beirut
Margaret of Tiberias
Philip of Ibelin
HouseComnenid dynasty
FatherJohn Doukas Komnenos
MotherMaria Taronitissa

She was the daughter of John Doukas Komnenos, sometime Byzantine dux in Cyprus, and Maria Taronitissa. Her sister Theodora married Prince Bohemund III of Antioch, and her brother Alexios was briefly, in 1185, a pretender to the throne of the Byzantine Empire.


Marriage of Maria Komnene and Amalric I.

After the annulment of his first marriage to Agnes of Courtenay, Amalric was anxious to forge an alliance with Byzantium and emperor Manuel I Komnenos, so in 1164/65 he sent ambassadors to Constantinople to ask the hand of an imperial princess but received no answer until August 1167, when they landed at Tyre with Maria Komnene, who was the emperor's grandniece and had had bestowed upon her a rich dowry.[1]

The marriage of Amalric and Maria was celebrated with much fanfare at Tyre, on 29 August 1167. They had two children:

On his deathbed, in 1174, Amalric left Nablus to Maria, who became dowager queen upon his death.[1]

In 1177, Maria married secondly with Balian of Ibelin,[3] who commanded the defense of Jerusalem against Saladin in 1187. She bore him at least four children:

Maria and Balian supported Conrad of Montferrat (uncle of the late King Baldwin V) in his struggle for the crown against Guy of Lusignan. They arranged for Maria's daughter by Amalric, Isabella, to have her first marriage annulled so that she could marry Conrad, giving him a stronger claim to the throne. In this, Maria and Balian gained the enmity of Richard I of England and his chroniclers. The anonymous author of the Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi wrote of them:

Steeped in Greek filth from the cradle, she had a husband whose morals matched her own: he was cruel, she was godless; he was fickle, she was pliable; he was faithless, she was fraudulent.

As the grandmother of Alice of Champagne (Isabella's daughter by her third husband, Henry II of Champagne), Maria conducted the marriage negotiations with Cyprus in 1208 – Alice was to marry Hugh I of Cyprus. Blanche of Navarre, Regent and Countess of Champagne, widow of Alice's paternal uncle, provided the dowry for Alice. This is the last time Maria is mentioned, and she was certainly dead by 1217.


  1. ^ a b Runciman 1999, p. 370, 377.
  2. ^ Runciman 1999, p. 404, 443.
  3. ^ a b Ambroise 2003, p. 149.


  • Chronique d'Ernoul et de Bernard le Trésorier, edited by M. L. de Mas Latrie. La Société de l'Histoire de France, 1871.
  • La Continuation de Guillaume de Tyr (1184-1192), edited by Margaret Ruth Morgan. L'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 1982.
  • Ambroise (2003). Barber, Malcolm (ed.). The History of the Holy War. Translated by Ailes, Marianne. Boydell Press.
  • Chronicle of the Third Crusade, a Translation of Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi, translated by Helen J. Nicholson. Ashgate, 1997.
  • Peter W. Edbury, The Conquest of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade: Sources in Translation. Ashgate, 1996.
  • Edbury, Peter W. John of Ibelin and the Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1997
  • Payne, Robert. The Dream and the Tomb, 1984
  • Runciman, Steven (1999). A History of the Crusades. Vol. II. Cambridge University Press. |volume= has extra text (help)
Royal titles
Title last held by
Agnes of Courtenay
Queen consort of Jerusalem
Title next held by
Elisabeth of Bavaria