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Old September 13th, 2012, 08:30 PM   #1

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Agnes Capet


I'd be interested in hearing from people who have resources or links about Agnes, later Anna, Capet, the youngest daughter of Louis VII. She was sent to Byzantium to be married to the heir, Alexios, when she was about 7; married him and was widowed at about age 12 when he was assassinated by his cousin, Andronikos I; and then married to Andronikos immediately in an apparent attempt to legitimize his coup.

She was then widowed again when Andronikos was overthrown, and remained in Byzantium, largely withdrawing or vanishing from public life. She apparently had a relationship with Theodore Branas, but was not married to him when the Fourth Crusade overran Constantinople in 1204. They married at the urging of Emperor Peter, although she was largely hostile to the European contingent and showed no interest in joining them or being sent "home" to France. She and Branas had at least one daughter.

I'd love any more information anyone has about her life.
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Old September 14th, 2012, 12:47 PM   #2

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French Princess, Byzantine Empress:
She was left out of most historical accounts and had the misfortune of ending up on the losing end twice over. But she was one of the few women in history to be made an Empress by marriage twice. The historical traces are rare.
Also known Empress Anna of Byzantium

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Old September 14th, 2012, 12:53 PM   #3

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Originally Posted by MinoanGoddess View Post
French Princess, Byzantine Empress:
She was left out of most historical accounts and had the misfortune of ending up on the losing end twice over. But she was one of the few women in history to be made an Empress by marriage twice. The historical traces are rare.
Also known Empress Anna of Byzantium
I think she's an interesting historical figure from the standpoint that she is the least known of Louis' daughters; his disappointments at having the first four, and the marriages they made, are reasonably well known to students of the era, but once he had Philip Dieudonne - little Agnes was all kinds of an afterthought. Louis had always shipped his daughters off young, so it is not surprising that Agnes/Anna was sent off to Constantinople at age 7. I imagine her alleged response when interviewed by the Latin conquerors of Constantinople, some of whom were her distant kin, was not surprising in light of the fact that she was left to fend for herself at a very young age and her royal family and kingdom never did anything for her again.

I imagine she had contact with her older half-sister, Marguerite, who married King Bela III of Hungary as her second marriage, once she came east. However, it was most likely rare and may have been confined to letters.
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Old September 24th, 2012, 04:58 PM   #4
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Growing up in Constantinople since she was 7, she probably thought of herself as Byzantine, and likely spoke Greek as a first language by then. Going to France would have been like going to a foreign country.
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Old September 25th, 2012, 07:21 AM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart Dale View Post
Growing up in Constantinople since she was 7, she probably thought of herself as Byzantine, and likely spoke Greek as a first language by then. Going to France would have been like going to a foreign country.
According to William of Tyre Agnes was eight on her arrival at Constantinople 1179, and there is no other source for Agnes' year of birth.
A ceremony took place in the Trullos Hall, in the Great Palace, on 2 March 1180 and Agnes was officially renamed Anna.
There is also mention that she was baptised and changed religion. It is very likely that her first language was Greek. Still sources are fragmentary and so much was lost.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 02:14 PM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowLeopardess View Post
I'd be interested in hearing from people who have resources or links about Agnes, later Anna, Capet, the youngest daughter of Louis VII. She was sent to Byzantium to be married to the heir, Alexios, when she was about 7; married him and was widowed at about age 12 when he was assassinated by his cousin, Andronikos I; and then married to Andronikos immediately in an apparent attempt to legitimize his coup.

She was then widowed again when Andronikos was overthrown, and remained in Byzantium, largely withdrawing or vanishing from public life. She apparently had a relationship with Theodore Branas, but was not married to him when the Fourth Crusade overran Constantinople in 1204. They married at the urging of Emperor Peter, although she was largely hostile to the European contingent and showed no interest in joining them or being sent "home" to France. She and Branas had at least one daughter.

I'd love any more information anyone has about her life.
I try to translate a notice about her, from a french book Nouvelle Histoire Généalogique de l'Auguste Maison de France:

Agnès, born in 1171. Pope Alexander III has projected an alliance between France and Sicily in the years 1165-1167, this agreement was strengthened in 1179 by an agreement of marriage. Aged eight, she received her marriage name Anne. Widowed twice, she lived secluded in the palace of Boukoleon, issued by Baldwin, Count of Flanders. She died after 1240.
She married first at Constantinople March 2, 1180, Alexis Comnenus (strangled Sept. 24, 1183); she married second in 1184, Andronicus Comnenus (killed by the crowd September 19, 1185); she married third in 1204 to Theodore Branas, Caesar, Duke of Adrianople and Didymotique.
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