Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Alice of Jerusalem

Princess of Antioch

Alice was the second daughter of King Baldwin II of Jerusalem (d.1131) and Queen Morphia (dp.1129), thus half Armenian through mother. She was the sister of Melisende, Hodierna and Joveta. She married Bohemond of Antioch (1126). After the death of her husband (1130), she assumed the regency of Antioch for her 2yo daughter Constance.

Alice was very ambitious, and wished to rule as reigning sovereign not regent. To achieve this end, she would do homage to Aleppo if it guaranteed possession of Antioch.

Her father King Baldwin II, however, removed her from the regency and banished her to Lattakieh, assuming the regency himself. Guardianship of her daughter was given to Joscelin of Edessa. Alice ultimately submitted to her father in rather bad grace shortly before his death (1131). Above all, she opposed the overlordship of King Fulk (her sister Melisende's husband) - and in this she had support of Pons of Tripoli, Joscelin II of Edessa, and William and Garenton of Zerdana. King Fulk headed north whilst she remained at Lattakieh - her dower lands. She then sent an embassy to Constantinople, offering her daughter Constance in marriage to the son of Emperor (1135).

The following year Alice returned to Antioch (1136). However, greater matters were afoot. It seemed that there were many noble lords who preferred not to have Alice as regent and were eager for her daughter Constance to be married and for her husband to assume power in Antioch. To achieve this end, secret plans were made for her daughter's marriage - plans Alice herself was ignorant of. The chosen groom was Raymond of Poitiers, uncle of Eleanor of Aquitaine. In order for the secret plan to be successful, Raymond paid court to Alice feigning interest in marriaging her (c.1136) - she was barely 30. Then, suddenly and secretly Raymond married the very young Constance and assumed power in Antioch.

There was nothing Alice could do, and she was forced to return to Lattakieh, where she died a short time after.



~~~ Melisende (first pub: 1998 Women of History)

1 comment:

Mike Barrow said...

Alice of Antioch was, as Alice, very young when they died, how did they die?