Theodora Kalusine Komnena, Queen of Jersualem

Theodora Kalusine Komnena, Queen of Jersualem was born about 1145 to Isaac Komnenas and Eirene Synadene. When she was about twelve she was married off to Baldwin III to strengthen ties to the Byzantine Empire and to help support him against Nur al-Din, the Sultan of Syria. She was presented the city of Acre as a dowery and was to be given to her if Baldwin died without children which is what happened. His death left her a teenage widow, rich and beautiful. Such a situation is ripe for scandal and of course it occurred. Her father’s cousin, Andronikos, Lord of Beirut came to town. He was a married man but that hadn’t stopped him before carrying on an affair with Phillipa (sister to Prince Bohemed II of Antioch and sister in law to Emperor Manuel who himself was a maternal uncle to Theodora). He and Theodora ran off to Damasus under the protection of Nur al-Din. None of her family was happy with the situation, nor were her in-laws. Adultery, incest and elopement by a member of royalty were all crimes and a straight ticket to the lands of excommunication. While she was gone with her elict romance her lands in Acre reverted to her brother in law King Almeric who managed to keep the peace that Theodora’s marriage was to have created by marrying another Byzantine Princess.

Theodora and Andronikos had two children together while on the lam, Alexios and Eirene but she and the children were eventually captured and turned over to Manuel as a way to force Andronikos out of hiding. In 1180 he did and subnitted to Manuel. In 1183 Andronikos overthrew Manuel’s son and became Emperor of Constantiople but there are no records as to whether or not Theodora joined him there. However they were at least still in contact when Eirene was married to one of Manuel’s illegitimate sons and later when Theordora’s nephew Isaac needed ransomed. Unfortunately, he was not greatful and later took control of Cyprus. Andronikos did not have a happy ending, he became paranoid as he aged and the populace turned against him.