Maria Angelina Doukaina Palaiologina - Life

Life

Maria was the daughter of self-proclaimed Emperor Simeon Uroš, the half-brother of Emperor Stephen Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia (Nemanjić dynasty), and Thomais Orsini. Her maternal grandfather was John Orsini of Epirus. In 1366, Maria married Thomas Preljubović, who was appointed governor of Epirus in Ioannina by her father. Popular with her subjects, she was apparently mistreated by her husband and connived in his murder on December 23, 1384.

The population of Ioannina acclaimed Maria as ruler. She used the title of basilissa, female form of basileus. She summoned her brother John Uroš Doukas Palaiologos (now monk under the name Joasaph) to advise her in the affairs of state. John Uroš suggested that Maria marry Esau de' Buondelmonti, one of the Latin noblemen captured by Thomas in 1379. There is an allegation, that Maria was already enamored of the captive before the murder of her husband, and that this affair had resulted in the assassination of Thomas.

Maria married Esau in February 1385, and survived for a further decade, dying on December 28, 1394. The Chronicle of Ioannina, so hostile towards Thomas, describes Maria in very flattering terms; the Byzantine historian Laonikos Chalkokondyles suggest that she was an unfaithful wife of questionable morality. Both accounts may be biased. Maria does not appear to have had surviving children from either marriage.

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