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Bertha-Irene of Sulzbach, first wife of Manuel I Comnenus

Lynda Garland
University of New England, Australia

Andrew Stone
University of Western Australia

Background to the marriage

From the time of the Norman conquest in 1071 of Bari, the last Byzantine possession in Italy, and Robert Guiscard's invasions of Greece in the 1080s, the Normans had been a constant threat to the Byzantine empire. As a result, the foreign policy of both John II (1118-1143) and Manuel I Comnenus (1143-1180) was motivated by the desire to ally themselves with Germany in order to neutralise the threat of the Normans, an alliance which was pursued until the Byzantine defeat at Brindisi in 1156,[[1]] when it was terminated by Frederick I Barbarossa for having outlived its usefulness.  In the circumstances, John II (1118-1143) considered that a marriage alliance with Germany would be prudent, and he fixed on his youngest son Manuel as the most suitable candidate for such an alliance, perhaps because of his Latin sympathies:[[2]] earlier John had considered marrying Manuel to Constance, the only daughter of the prince of Antioch. She was, however, quickly married to Raymond of Poitiers in 1136 to avoid Antioch coming under Byzantine control.

Marriage negotiations between Byzantium and Germany were begun in 1140 when John II Comnenus approached Conrad III of Germany (1138-1152) for an alliance against Roger II of Sicily (1101-1154) and suggested that a suitable princess be found for his youngest son.[[3]]  John had no particular bride in mind, and Bertha is first specifically mentioned in a letter of Conrad's to John, dated 12 February 1142, in which Conrad offers a marriage to a sister of his own wife, Gertrude.[[4]] Conrad was clearly not so taken with the idea of an alliance as John, and takes the opportunity to stress his own importance and rank, describing himself as 'Dei gratia Romanorum imperator augustus' while John is simply addressed as 'the emperor of Constantinople'. John's reply of April of the same year makes clear that it is he who is in fact 'Iohannes in Christo Deo fidelis rex porphirogenitus, sublimis, fortis, augustus, Cominos et imperator Romanorum'.[[5]] The match was agreed upon and Bertha was dispatched to Constantinople later in 1142, arriving on 2 August to marry Manuel, who was still at this point sevastocrator and the youngest of four brothers; Bertha's dowry was to be Apulia and Calabria.[[6]]   Johnseems to have planned to create an appanage for Manuel and Bertha-Irene out of Coele Syria, Cilicia and Cyprus, before the death of his two eldest sons necessitated a change of plan.

Such a marriage between East and West was not unknown: the German emperor Otto II had been granted Theophano, niece of John I Tzimisces (969-976), as his bride, and Romanus II, son and heir of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, had been married when young to Bertha (Eudocia), the illegitimate daughter of Hugo of Provence, king of Italy (927-947).[[7]] After her death in 949 another alliance was negotiated with Hedwig of Bavaria, niece of Otto the Great, though this did not in fact take place and Hedwig, despite having learnt Greek, married Burchard II of Swabia in 954. It was, however, unusual for a foreign alliance to be sought by the East -- it was the West which highly prized Byzantine princesses -- and Liudprand records the great displeasure felt in Germany when a marriage alliance was refused by Nicephorus II Phocas (963-969).[[8]] Maria of Alania (wife of Michael VII Ducas and Nicephorus III Botaniates) had been the first foreign-born empress for several centuries, but the situation changed with the Comneni, and John II took as his wife Piroshka of Hungary and set the fashion for foreign marriages with his four sons, importing, it appears, a number of princesses as imperial brides.[[9]]

The situation changed with the death of John's two eldest sons, Alexius and Andronicus late in 1142, while John was to die himself in a hunting accident in Cilicia on 5 April 1143. Before his death, he passed over the elder of his two surviving sons, Isaac, in favour of Manuel, the younger, and ensured that Manuel was acclaimed emperor by the army. The marriage alliance with Bertha may not now have seemed grand enough for a ruling emperor, and did not in fact take place until January 1146, though its importance was correspondingly increased in the West. Manuel negotiated with Conrad for an improved dowry, and in a communication in 1145 to Manuel, now addressed as 'porphirogenito Comiano illustri et glorioso regi Graecorum', Conrad urges on Manuel, now 'his most beloved of friends', to take as his wife Bertha, titled Conrad's most beloved daughter ('dilectissimam filiam nostram'), the sister of his most noble wife. To demonstrate his enthusiasm for the marriage, Conrad offered to furnish not just 500 soldiers but some 2,000 or 3,000 if needed.[[10]] Finally late in 1145 an embassy under the direction of the eloquent Embrico, Bishop of Würzburg, sealed the match and, after the intervening Second Crusade, it was finally agreed at the Treaty of Thessalonica of 1148 that the empress' dowry should consist of southern Italy.[[11]] To strengthen the alliance it was also agreed in 1148 that Manuel's niece Theodora, daughter of his late brother Andronicus, be married to Conrad's half-brother, Heinrich Jasomirgott, later Duke of Austria.[[12]]

Conrad was not, at the time of the marriage negotiations, considering personal involvement in the Second Crusade: it was not until December 1145 that Pope Eugenius issued his papal bull 'Quantum praedecessores' addressed to Louis VII, and not until Christmas 1146 that Conrad himself, at the urging of St Bernard of Clairvaux, took the cross at Speyer. Nevertheless news of the fall of Edessa to Zengi sent to the pope by Melisende of Jerusalem may have fanned interest in the East and been a factor in making the marriage appear even more relevant.

Bertha's family

It is not clear what Bertha's age was at the time of her engagement and marriage. She was one of the six children and five daughters of Berenger II of Sulzbach, who was married first to Adelheid of Lechsgemünd (d. 1112) and then to Adelheid of Diessen (d. 1126). Gertrude, born c. 1110, appears to have been the eldest of the family and she married Conrad III in 1135, while Berenger's only son Gebhard was born c. 1114. Bertha was apparently Berenger's second child, which would put her birth between 1111 and 1113: of her younger sisters Adelheid, Liudgard and Mathilde, Liudgard was married in 1139. It would not be surprising therefore if Bertha was several years older than Manuel, who was born on 28 November 1118, and more than 30 years of age at the time of their marriage in 1146, unusually old for an imperial bride, for they were generally married at the age of thirteen or fourteen years. Irene Ducaena was apparently twelve years of age when she married Alexius (I) Comnenus, and it was customary for foreign brides to be brought to Constantinople at a very young age to enable them to be educated in Greek and the intricacies of court ceremonial. This may have been a factor in the delay in the marriage, as Bertha's lack of acquaintance with Byzantine protocol and inability to communicate in Greek would have been a matter of grave concern at court.

The wedding

The wedding only took place in January 1146 (nearly three years after Manuel's accession in April 1143), following the arrival in Constantinople of the embassy led by Embrico, bishop of Würzburg.[[13]] The patriarch Michael II Curcuras presided over Bertha's marriage and coronation and at her baptism and marriage in the Orthodox church Bertha took the name Irene, no doubt in honour of her predecessors Irene Ducaena (wife of Alexius I Comnenus), and Piroshka-Irene of Hungary, her new husband's mother, who had married John II Comnenus in 1104. The alliance was celebrated in the ceremonial verse of the court poet Prodromus, who, in a stereotypical poem to celebrate Bertha's arrival, commanded New Rome now to rejoice at its headship over Old Rome through this union of Bertha and Manuel; he mentions her family and western origins, specifically including 'the distinguished Conrad', and describes Bertha as the best of women and of outstanding beauty, congratulating her on her good fortune in being brought like a vine by the emperor to be transplanted into such a glorious and luxurious setting in the imperial gardens. Prodromus' verses, not surprisingly, dwell far more upon the rank and nobility of Manuel than on Bertha and her lineage. Elsewhere, in a poem by an anonymous author celebrating a dedication of a golden tablet by the empress, Bertha's marriage to Manuel is similarly described as the union of Old and New Rome, and her birth, including her descent from 'Julius Caesar', is suitably lauded.[[14]] Kazhdan notes that by the twelfth century the Byzantines considered the Latin West as a unified entity, and Choniates considers Bertha, though he knows her to be a German, as a Latin by race.[[15]] Cinnamus, a eulogist in all to do with Manuel and his reign, simply describes her descent by the phrase 'a girl related to kings'.[[16]]

Bertha-Irene's character

When Bertha arrived in Constantinople in 1142, she was greeted, as was customary, by the ladies of the imperial family. Among them was the Russian-born sevastocratorissa who was the wife of Alexius, John's eldest son, clad in dark purple with gold embroidery. In the absence of John's wife Piroshka who had died, probably in 1134, this princess no doubt headed the formal welcoming committee. Owing to the sombre colour of her dress, Bertha inquired who the nun in the party was who was speaking magnificently, an enquiry which the Byzantines interpreted as boding ill for the marriage, especially as Alexius was to die within the year.[[17]] That the remark is recorded may be evidence of a perception that Bertha's normal approach to the sophistication and intricacies of Byzantine court life could be blunt and even tactless.

Choniates and Cinnamus both avoid giving a detailed physical description of Bertha, emphasising that she was primarily concerned with her inner beauty and the condition of her soul, and commenting on her more solid virtues -- propriety, piety, prudence and philanthropy.[[18]] Basil of Ochrid, who composed Bertha's funeral eulogy, also comments on her humility, modesty, philanthropy and piety and supplies us with an image of the empress abasing herself before the deacons on the occasion of the Eucharist.[[19]] According to Choniates it is clear that her neglect of her appearance and her refusal to use make-up set her aside from other empresses and imperial women. She scorned the use of 'face powder, eye liner, and eye-shadow underneath the eye, and rouge instead of nature's flush, and, ascribing such aids to silly women, she was adorned by the virtues to which she was devoted.'[[20]] This is supported by Basil of Ochrid, who states that women in general were thought to have too great a predilection for bedecking themselves in unsuitable finery to enhance their charms, and confirms the historians' account of Bertha's disinterest in adornments and of her inner virtue which far outweighed her external magnificence.[[21]] Choniates continues by adding that 'she had the natural [ie, racial] trait of being unbending and opinionated. Consequently, the emperor was not very attentive to her....'.[[22]] Westerners were unpopular in Byzantium, especially during the reigns of Manuel and Andronicus I Comnenus, [[23]] and obviously her racial background as a German entitled her to the criticism of inflexibility and arrogance. Significantly, in his funeral oration for her, Basil of Ochrid specifically states that Bertha did not possess the arrogance and superciliousness typical of westerners, especially Germans -- a pointer to a general distrust of western empresses and dislike of westerners in general: obviously even as empress Bertha still appeared German and was thought by Choniates to retain typically 'German' pride, which Basil is at pains to deny or remove.[[24]]

The picture jointly presented by John Cinnamus, Nicetas Choniates and Basil of Ochrid suggests that the empress was not particularly beautiful, was very pious, and spurned cosmetics and other signs of imperial magnificence. Consequently Manuel soon began to be openly unfaithful to her. Bertha of course retained all the honours of court life, but found herself set aside in favour of numerous mistresses. In addition, it seems probable that she was not considered to be properly fulfilling her role as empress, who was expected to act alongside the emperor as the focal point of imperial ceremonial, and was a vital pivot for ceremonies involving the women of the court.[[25]]

Bertha and Manuel

Not unnaturally the funeral oration, written by Basil of Ochrid, presents the marriage in the most flattering and eulogistic of terms, and describes the imperial couple as united in mutual affection and commitment, with Manuel, and indeed the entire empire, being totally inconsolable at the loss of such a lady.[[26]] Moreover, after Manuel's recovery from an illness, Bertha made a dedication of a golden dove to the Theotokos (Mother of God), while in the accompanying poem the poet Prodromus lauds her as 'Queen of all New Rome' and portrays her as asking for the holy martyrs as Manuel's fellow-warriors.[[27]] Despite such conventional depictions of a royal marriage, however, physical beauty was considered an essential quality in empresses,[[28]] and Bertha's lack of interest in her appearance and, possibly, her mature age, in reality led to her being neglected by her new husband: 'Consequently, the emperor was not very attentive to her, but she shared in the honors, bodyguard, and remaining imperial splendours; in matters of the bed, however, she was wronged'.[[29]] She seems to have withdrawn from the glare of the court and devoted herself to good works and the upbringing of her daughter Maria, the heir to the throne, who was probably born in March 1152.[[30]]

Manuel had a number of mistresses, even at the end of his life,[[31]] and to make the situation even more difficult for the new empress Manuel's chief mistress was the haughty and extravagant Theodora, Manuel's own niece, who was so arrogant in her position that she was accused by Choniates of disdainful conceit, of insisting that the palace be swept clean before she would even enter it, and of having her own court (a rival one to that of the empress) and a retinue as resplendent as that of Bertha.[[32]] Theodora is reported actually to have tried to stab a rival of whom she was jealous, and her illegitimate son, Alexius, was appointed Caesar and sevastocrator. This son, and 'the others who followed', accounted for incredibly large sums of money.[[33]] According to Choniates, there was a great resemblance between Alexius and his father in both physique and character, which implies that his parentage was widely known.[[34]]    In view of the fact that passions could obviously ride high at court, it is perhaps significant that an anonymous poet invoked the help of the prophet Daniel against enemies of the empress, for Bertha must have had her detractors and critics, even within the imperial family, and her position was not secure.[[35]]

Manuel enjoyed jousting on the western model,[[36]] and is said by Cinnamus to have engaged in a show of gratuitous heroics in 1146 in a campaign against Iconium, shortly after his wedding, to impress his new bride.[[37]]  Bertha may have been pleased to support his heroic image as a new 'Digenis Acrites', the hero of Byzantine epic-romance, as Manuel is titled by at least one court-poet,[[38]] for Cinnamus describes her as publicly supporting her husband's heroic and chivalrous image 'in full senate':[[39]]

'Therefore, the lady from among the Germans who had married him, once said in full senate that she drew her descent from a great and warlike race but out of all of them she had never heard of any who boasted so many feats in a single year.'

While the circumstances of Bertha's address to the senate are not entirely clear, the episode implies that she was present and publicly supported the emperor on official occasions, including presumably the reception of foreign envoys, and did not merely preside over the empress' alternative court. Furthermore, she appears to have played a prominent role in government in Manuel's frequent absences. It was to her that Andronicus Comnenus' conspiracy to assassinate Manuel was reported in 1154, while she was the one in authority told of the supposed escape from prison of Andronicus in 1158, and the measures to defend the city and imperial decrees calling for an all-out search may have been directed by her.[[40]] According to the continuation of Otto's Gesta Friderici by Rahewin, Bertha was also the person informed about the conspiracy of the canicleius (emperor's private secretary) Theodore Styppiotes against Manuel in 1159; she swiftly reported this to Manuel in Cilicia who had Styppiotes blinded and his tongue pierced.[[41]] Her command of wealth suited to her rank is shown not merely by the philanthropy with which she is credited by all sources, but also by her magnificent gifts to members of her family, such as Conrad's son, Frederick duke of Swabia, her own nephew, in 1157.[[42]]

She was an important mediator between Manuel and Conrad during Conrad's visits to Constantinople during the course of the Second Crusade (1146-48), for relations between Germans and Byzantines were not always friendly, especially prior to the Germans' arrival, and Conrad certainly corresponded with her: the letters are recorded by Wibald of Stavelot, regent during the Second Crusade and Frederick I's ambassador to Manuel.[[43]] Odo of Deuil dwells in depth on the arrogance of both Manuel and Conrad and contrasts their haughty demeanour, in their stubborn refusal to lose face and meet the other on his own ground, with the majestic humility of the French king Louis, his patron.[[44]] But amicable relations between Conrad and Manuel were maintained: Manuel, and of course Bertha, helped Conrad to recuperate after his return to Constantinople following the disastrous defeat at Dorylaeum, and he was entertained in the winter of 1147/48 with all kinds of amusements, including receptions, horse-races, and other spectacles.[[45]] Conrad returned to Palestine furnished with Byzantine funds and transport, and Conrad and Manuel were to meet again at Thessalonica late in 1148,[[46]] when a final agreement was made over Bertha's dowry and the two leaders sealed a treaty against Roger II of Sicily, who had taken advantage of Byzantium's preoccupation with the crusade to annex Corcyra and attack Corinth.[[47]]

Bertha also played an important part in the reception of the leader of the French crusade contingent, Louis VII of France, who was accompanied by his queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor seems to have been deliberately cut out of Odo of Deuil's narrative as a result of her divorce from Louis VII and remarriage to Henry II Plantagenet, and because of the scandalous behaviour in which she supposedly indulged with her uncle, Raymond of Poitiers, during her stay in Antioch; William of Tyre too is critical of her behaviour as 'one of those silly women'. Nevertheless from one reference in Odo's account which has not been erased, we hear of Eleanor receiving frequent letters from the Empress Bertha, which implies that she took a very active role in communicating with and entertaining the western monarchs.[[48]]

Bertha-Irene's children

Manuel felt suspicious of his brother Isaac's association with the patriarch Cosmas in 1147. This man had detractors, despite his piety and humility, and in the end his enemies secured his expulsion from the patriarchal throne. Cosmas, upon this, was said to have cursed the empress Bertha-Irene's womb. It was believed that this was why Bertha was to bear only two daughters, Maria Porphyrogenita, who was born in 1152,[[49]]  and Anna who died at the age of four years, apparently before Bertha's own decease.[[50]] Needless to say, since there was no male heir from Bertha, the question of Maria's marriage was of great importance to Manuel, and was not decided upon until well after Bertha's death.

Bertha's intellectual pursuits

An intellectual, or at least one who wished to be considered so, Bertha was interested in Greek culture and liked to appear an enthusiastic patron of demotic literature. She commissioned works such as John Tzetzes' Allegories of the Iliad (he had also dedicated his Chiliades to her), a summary of the Iliad in simple Greek verse to enable her to become acquainted with the work of Homer. She even seems to have suggested the verse form to the poet, though without giving precise instructions for the content. Tzetzes addressed the work to her as 'the most powerful and "Homeric" lady Irene of Germany' and describes her as the moon, wishing to illumine Homer.[[51]] The work was incomplete on her death because of disagreements over Tzetzes' rates of pay. She had promised him four gold coins a folio, but Tzetzes felt he was not suitably recompensed by the empress' steward Megalonas for his hard work as he had filled the folios with especially small hand-writing; after a violent dispute Tzetzes was refused payment and he stopped work.[[52]]

In this patronage of literature, Bertha may well have been following the example of her sister-in-law, Irene the sevastocratorissa, widow of Manuel's brother Andronicus, who was patron of numerous court poets.[[53]] It is also possible that she might have been inspired by her contact with Eleanor of Aquitaine who was herself a noted patron of romances and chronicles in verse, although it may have been Eleanor who was possibly inspired by her contact with Constantinople and the East to introduce greater refinement into the courts of Western Europe in imitation of Byzantine cultural sophistication.

Bertha-Irene's death

Bertha died suddenly of a fever at Loggoi outside Constantinople in 1158, and was buried in the church of the Pantocrator, built by John II, where Manuel too was to be buried at his death in 1180.[[54]] Despite his unfaithfulness during the marriage, Manuel lamented bitterly at her death, 'looking upon her demise as if a limb had been torn from his body, and his lamentation was like the roar of a lion'; Basil of Ochrid reports that even the Turks paid homage to the deceased empress.[[55]] Manuel was of course concerned to remarry as soon as possible, if for no other reason than the immediate necessity of having a son and heir. An embassy was sent to the crusader states to enquire about a new bride, and after negotiations for an alliance with Melisende of Tripoli had failed, Manuel married Mary of Antioch, one of the daughters of Raymond of Poitiers and Constance of Antioch, in St Sophia on Christmas Day 1161. In 1165/66 he fixed the succession on his daughter Maria and her fianceé Béla of Hungary in default of a legitimate male heir.[[56]]

Despite her twelve years as empress of Byzantium, Bertha leaves very little impression in the sources, compared, for example, with her successor Mary of Antioch. While Bertha attempted in her overt display of Orthodox piety and patronage of court poets to live up to the stereotype expected of empress, clearly she was unable to maintain the traditional 'glittering image' of resplendent magnificence: as such she was a disappointment at court. However, her life was not without influence. She played a significant role in improving relations between Conrad and Manuel and thus facilitating the critically important alliance between Byzantium and Germany, as well as in encouraging further alliances between the German royal house and Byzantine princesses;[[57]] furthermore, it is hard to believe that she did not play some part in the upbringing and attitudes of her daughter Maria Porphyrogenita, who also failed to adapt completely to the role considered suitable for imperial women, and ended up involving herself in a civil war against her step-mother Mary and Mary's government. What Bertha was, however, unable to do was to improve the perception of westerners in Byzantium, and this was to lead eventually to a massacre under Andronicus I Comnenus and the rapid deterioration of East-West relations.

Primary sources

Basil of Ochrid, 'Laudatio Irenae Augustae,' ed. V.E. Regel & N.I. Novosadskij, Fontes Rerum Byzantinarum. Rhetorum Saeculi XII Orationes Politicae, I (1-2) (St. Petersburg, 1892; repr. Leipzig, 1982), pp. 311-30.

Nicetas Choniates, Historia, ed. J.-L. van Dieten, 2 vols., Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae 11 (Berlin and New York, 1975); trans. as O City of Byzantium, Annals of Niketas Choniates, by H.J. Magoulias (Detroit: Wayne State University Press,1984).

John Cinnamus, Epitome, ed. A. Meineke, Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae (Bonn, 1836); trans. as Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus, by C.M. Brand (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976).

'Codex Marcianus 524,' ed. Sp. Lambros, Neos Hellenomnemon, 8 (1911), 3-192.

Liudprand of Cremona, Antapodosis, ed. J. Becker (Hanover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 1908).

Odo of Deuil, De Profectione Ludovici VII in Orientem, ed. & tr. V.G. Berry (New York: Norton, 1948).

Otto of Freising, Ottonis et Rahewini gesta Friderici I. Imperatoris, ed. G. Waitz and B. von Simson, third edition (Hannover: Hahn, 1912); also ed. F.J. Schmale and trans. A. Schmidt, Die Taten Friedrichs (Darmstadt, 1974); trans. as The Deeds of Frederick Barbarossa, by C.C. Mierow and R. Emery (New York, 1953).

Otto of Freising, Ottonis episcopi frisingensis Chronica, sive, Historica de duabus civitatibus, ed. A. Hofmeister (Hannover: Hahn, 1912); trans. as The Two Cities, by C.C. Mierow (New York, 1928).

Theodore Prodromus, Theodoros Prodromos. Historische Gedichte, ed. W. Hörandner (Vienna: Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1974).

'Ptochoprodromus', Poèmes Prodromiques en grec vulgaire, ed. D.C. Hesseling and H. Pernot (Amsterdam; Johannes Müller, 1910).

Rahewin, Gesta Friderici (see Otto of Freising).

K.N. Sathas (ed.), Bibliotheca graeca medii aevi, vol. 7 (Venice & Paris: Gregoriades, 1894.

John Tzetzes, Ioannes Tzetzes Epistulae, ed. P.A.M. Leone (Leipzig: Teubner, 1972).

William, Archbishop of Tyre, 'Historia rerum in partibus transmarinis gestarum,' in Recueil des historiens des croisades. Historiens occidentaux, I.1 & 2 (Paris, 1844), trans. as A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea, by E.A. Babcock & A.C. Krey, 2 vols. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1943).

Secondary sources

M. Angold, The Byzantine Empire, 1025-1204: a political history, 2nd ed. (London and New York: Longman, 1997).

________.  Church and Society in Byzantium under the Comneni (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

C.M. Brand, Byzantium Confronts the West, 1180-1204 (Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968).

A. Bryer, 'Cultural Relations between East and West in the 12th century,' in D. Baker (ed.), Relations between East and West in the Middle Ages (Edinburgh, 1973), 77-94.

Ferdinand Chalandon, Jean II Comnène (1118-1143) et Manuel I Comnène (1143-1180) (Paris: Picard, 1912; repr. New York: Burt Franklin, 1971).

F. Dölger, Regesten der Kaiserkunden des oströmischen Reiches, vol. 1.2 (Munich & Berlin: Oldenbourg, 1925).

J. Irmscher, 'Bertha von Sulzbach, Gemahlin Manuels I,' Byzantinische Forschungen 22 (1996), 279-290.

R.-J. Lilie, Byzanz und die Kreuzfahrerstaaten (1096-1204) (Munich, 1981).

R.-J. Lilie, 'Manuel I. Komnenos und Friedrich I. Barbarossa. Die deutsche und byzantinische Italienpolitik während der zweiten Hälfe des 12. Jahrhunderts in der neueren Literatur,' Jahrbuch des Österrichischen Byzantinistik 42 (1992), 157-70.

P. Magdalino, The Empire of Manuel I Komnenos, 1143-1180 (Cambridge; Cambridge University Press, 1993).

J. P. Niedekorn, 'Die Mitgift der Kaiserin Irene. Anmerkungen zur byzantinischen Politik Konig Konrads III.,' Römische Historische Mitteilungen 28 (1986), 125-39.

K. Varzos, He Genealogia ton Komnenon, 2 vols. (Thessalonica: Kentron Byzantinon erevnon, 1984).

H. Vollrath, 'Konrad III. and Byzanz,' Archiv für Kulturgeschichte 59 (1977), 321-65.

[[1]]Choniates, Historia, ed. van Dieten, 94-5.

[[2]]Choniates, Historia, 204-5. For William of Tyre's favourable picture of the pro-Latin Manuel as 'a great-souled man of incomparable energy', see History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea, 22.10 (trans. Babcock and Krey, 2.461).

[[3]]Otto von Freising, Gesta Friderici, 1.23; idem, Chronica, 7.28; F. Dölger, Regesten der Kaiserkunden des oströmischen Reiches, vol. 1.2 (Munich & Berlin, 1925), no. 1320. Otto, bishop of Freising, was half-brother of Conrad III and took part in the Second Crusade.

[[4]]Otto von Freising, Gesta Friderici,1.25 ('per coniugium sororis dilectissimae coniugis nostrae').

[[5]]Otto von Freising,Gesta Friderici, 1.25; Cinnamus, Epitome 2.19, ed. Meineke, 87; Dölger, Regesten, no. 1322.

[[6]]J.P. Niederkorn, 'Die Mitgift der Kaiserin Irene. Anmerkungen zur byzantinischen Politik Konig Konrads III.,' Römische Historische Mitteilungen, 28 (1986), 125-39.

[[7]]Liudprand of Cremona, Antapodosis, ed. J. Becker (Hanover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 1908), 5.14, 20.

[[8]]Liudprand of Cremona, Relatio de Legatione Constantinopolitana, ed. & tr. B. Scott (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1993).

[[9]]A. Kazhdan, 'Rus'-Byzantine Princely Marriages in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries,' Harvard Ukrainian Studies, 12-13 (1988/89), 419-20, 422-3; P. Magdalino, The Empire of Manuel I Komnenos 1143-1180 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 206-7; E.M. & M.J. Jeffreys, 'Who was Eirene the Sevastokratorissa?' Byzantion 64 (1994), 40-68; K. Varzos, He Genealogia ton Komnenon, 2 vols (Thessalonica, 1984), 1.339-476.

[[10]]Otto von Freising, Gesta Friderici, 1.25, Chronica, 7.28; Dölger, Regesten, no.1338.

[[11]]Niederkorn, 'Die Mitgift der Kaiserin Irene,' 125-39.

[[12]]Cinnamus, Epitome, 5.12, 6.4, ed. Meineke, 236, 261.

[[13]]Otto of Freising, Gesta Friderici, 1.23, p. 363; Choniates, Historia, 72-3; Cinnamus, Epitome 2.4, ed. Meineke, 36.

[[14]]Theodore Prodromus, Theodoros Prodromos. Historische Gedichte, ed. W. Horandner (Vienna: Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1974), 320-1 (no. XX), and, for Bertha's name in acclamations coupled with that of Manuel, and her prayer of thanksgiving to the Theotokos on Manuel's behalf, see ibid., 364, 367 and 369-71 (nos. XXXI a, XXXII c, XXXIII b and c, and XXXIV); cf. 'Codex Marcianus 524,' ed. Sp. Lambros, Neos Hellenomnemon, 8 (1911), 152 (no. 233), lines 6-10, on a golden tablet dedicated by her; her goodwill is also implored in a poem to an icon of the Theotokos by Nicolaus Mesopotamites, ibid., 185 (no. 366).

[[15]]Choniates, Historia, 53-4; A. Kazhdan, 'Latins and Franks in Byzantium: Perception and Reality from the Eleventh to the Twelfth Century' in The Crusades from the Perspective of Byzantium and the Muslim World, ed. A.E. Laiou and R.P. Mottahedeh (Washington; Dumbarton Oaks, 2001), 86-7.

[[16]]Cinnamus Epitome, 2.4, ed. Meineke, 36.

[[17]]Cinnamus, Epitome, 2.4, ed. Meineke, 36.

[[18]]Cinnamus,Epitome, 2.4, 5.1, ed. Meineke, 36, 202.

[[19]]Choniates, Historia, 54; Basil of Ochrid, 'Laudatio Irenae Augustae,' ed. V.E. Regel & N.I. Novosadskij, Fontes Rerum Byzantinarum. Rhetorum Saeculi XII Orationes Politicae, I (1-2) (St. Petersburg, 1892; repr. Leipzig, 1982), XX, 322-3.

[[20]]Choniates, Historia, 53-4 (trans. Harry J. Magoulias, O City of Byzantium. Annals of Niketas Choniates(Detroit, 1984), 32).

[[21]]Basil of Ochrid, 'Laudatio Irenae Augustae,' 311-30, esp. 316-25.

[[22]]Choniates, Historia, 53-4 (trans. Magoulias, O City of Byzantium, 32).

[[23]]William of Tyre, A History of Deeeds Done Beyond the Sea, 2.10, 20; 22.10-12; cf. Robert of Clari, La conquête de Constantinople, ed. P. Lauer (Paris, 1924), 18, for Manuel's unpopularity with his subjects because of his Francophile policies; D. M. Nicol, 'The Byzantine View of Western Europe,' Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies, 8 (1967), 327-331 and 338f; Catherine Asdracha, 'L'image de l'homme occidental à Byzance: le témoignage de Kinnamos et de Choniatès,' Byzantinoslavica, 44 (1983), 31-40.

[[24]]Choniates, Historia, 53-4; Basil of Ochrid, 'Laudatio Irenae Augustae,' 324.

[[25]]See esp. A.P. Kazhdan & M. McCormick, 'The Social World of the Byzantine Court,' in Byzantine Court Culture from 829 to 1204, ed. H. Maguire (Washington DC: Dumbarton Oaks, 1997),167-97.

[[26]]Basil of Ochrid, 'Laudatio Irenae Augustae,' 314-16.

[[27]]Prodromus, ed. Horandner, XXXIV, p. 349.

[[28]]L. Garland, 'The Eye of the Beholder: Byzantine Imperial Women and their Public Image from Zoe Porphyrogenita to Euphrosyne Kamaterissa Doukaina (1028-1203). Part I,' Byzantion, 64 (1994), 19-39, 261-313.

[[29]]Choniates, Historia, 54 (trans. Magoulias, O City of Byzantium, 32).

[[30]]Choniates, Historia, 170--1 (trans. Magoulias, O City of Byzantium, 97); Cinnamus, Epitome, 3.11; William of Tyre, A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea, 22.4: William himself was present at the festivities. For the date of Maria's birth, see Magdalino, The Empire of Manuel Komnenos, 198, 243 (1152).

[[31]]Choniates, Historia, 220; for Manuel's many affairs, see esp. Choniates 54 and 204. Varzos 1.446, 473-6 discusses the identity of two women mentioned but unnamed by Choniates; see also L. Garland, 'How Different, How Very Different from the Home Life of Our Own Dear Queen: Sexual Morality at the Late Byzantine Court, with Especial Reference to the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries,' Byzantine Studies / Études Byzantines, new series 1-2, (1995-1996), 1-62, esp. 39-42.

[[32]]Choniates, Historia, 204. This Theodora is generally taken to be the daughter of Manuel's youngest sister Eudocia and Theodore Vatatzes (Varzos, Genealogia, 1.446), but Choniates clearly calls her Manuel's brother's daughter (Historia, 104).

[[33]]Choniates, Historia, 204, 231, 269 and 309; and Charles Diehl, La société byzantine à l' époque des Comnènes(Paris: Librairie J. Gamber, 1929), 34. For the penitent letter written on her behalf by Glykas, many years after the assassination, see Ferdinand Chalandon, Jean II Comnène (1118-1143) et Manuel I Comnène (1143-1180) (Paris: Picard, 1912; repr. New York: Burt Franklin, 1971), 205-6 and 213; K. Krumbacher, 'Michael Glykas,' Sitzungsberichte der philossphich-philolologische und historische Klasse der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (1894), 152.

[[34]]Choniates, Historia, 425-6; Varzos, Genealogia, no. 156.

[[35]]Codex Marcianus 524,' 43.

[[36]]Choniates, Historia, 108-10.

[[37]]Cinnamus, Epitome, 2.7, ed. Meineke, 47: 'for to the Latin who has just taken a wife, not to appear noble brings no common disgrace' (trans. Brand Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus, 44).

[[38]] Poèmes prodromiques en grec vulgaire, ed. D.C. Hesseling and H. Pernot (Amsterdam, 1910), poem 3, 164, 400y.

[[39]]Cinnamus, Epitome, 3.5, ed. Meineke, 99-100 (trans. Brand, Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus, 81).

[[40]]Cinnamus, Epitome, 3.18, ed. Meineke, 129; Choniates, Historia, 107.

[[41]]Rahewin, Gesta Friderici, 3.54; cf. Choniates, Historia, 111-15, who records Styppiotes' downfall as a plot engineered by the logothete of the dromos, John Camaterus.

[[42]]Rahewin, Gesta Friderici, 3.6: in the Gesta she is known as 'Herena' (Irene).

[[43]]Cinnamus, Epitome, 2.13-15, ed. Meineke, 70-7; Choniates, Historia, 61-7; Wibald of Stavelot, ed. P. Jaffe, Bibliotheca rerum germanicarum, I (Berlin, 1864; repr. Aalen, 1964), Letters, 243, 245; Chalandon, Jean II Comnène (1118-1143) et Manuel I Comnène (1143-1180), 211, 326.

[[44]]Odo of Deuil. De Profectione Ludovici VII in Orientem, ed. & tr. V.G. Berry (New York: Norton, 1948), 48 and 108.

[[45]]Cinnamus, Epitome, 2.19, ed. Meineke, 86.

[[46]]Cinnamus, Epitome, 2.19, ed. Meineke, 87.

[[47]]Choniates, Historia, 72-6.

[[48]]Odo of Deuil, De Profectione Ludovici VII, 56: 'Interdum imperatrix reginae scribebat ...'; William of Tyre, 16.27: '... quae una erat de fatuis mulieribus'. Choniates, Historia, 60 is presumably referrring to Eleanor and her entourage when he speaks of women in masculine garb outside Constantinople, who rode 'unashamedly' astride, including one known popularly as 'Goldfoot'.

[[49]]Cinnamus, Epitome, 3.11, ed. Meineke, 118.

[[50]]Cinnamus, Epitome, 5.1, ed. Meineke, 202; William of Tyre's account of Manuel's letter to Baldwin III on Bertha's death makes mention of one surviving daughter (18.30).

[[51]]P. Matranga, Anecdota Graeca, I (2) (Rome, 1850; repr. Hildesheim/ New York, 1971), 1-223, esp. 43; E.M. Jeffreys, 'The Comnenian Background to the romans d'antiquité,' Byzantion, 50 (1980), 472-3; M.J. Jeffreys, 'The Nature and Origins of the Political Verse,' Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 28 (1974), 151.

[[52]]P.A.M. Leone, Ioannes Tzetzes Epistulae (Leipzig, 1972), 79-84 (no. 57). She died between bks. XV and XVI, and Constantine Kotertzes came forward as a new sponsor.

[[53]] See E.M. Jeffreys, 'The Sevastokratorissa Eirene as Literary Patroness: the Monk Iakovos,' Jahrbuch des Österrichischen Byzantinistik, 32.3 (1982), 63-71; E.M. & M.J.Jeffreys, 'Who was Eirene the Sevastokratorissa?' Byzantion 64 (1994), 40-68.

[[54]]Choniates, Historia,115; Cinnamus, Epitome, 5.1, ed. Meineke, 202; Synopsis Chronike, ed. K.N. Sathas, Bibliotheca graeca medii aevi, vol. 7 (Venice & Paris: Gregoriades, 1894),248.

[[55]]Choniates, Historia,115 (trans. Magoulias, O City of Byzantium, 65); Basil of Ochrid, 'Laudatio Irenae Augustae,' 320-1.

[[56]]Choniates, Historia, 137; at William of Tyre, 18.30, Manuel reports Bertha's death by letter to Baldwin III: 'felicis et inclytae in domino recordationis Irene, sacri imperii nostri consors, diem vitae clausit extremum, electis spiritibus socianda, unica nobis filia communis imperii heredi relicta.'

[[57]]Cinnamus, Epitome, 5.12, 6.4, ed. Meineke, 236, 261 (Conrad's brother Heinrich); Wibald of Stavelot, Letter 243 (Conrad's son).

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