In this post and at least one other to follow, I'm taking a look at some of the men who ruled in Europe and further afield at the time of Edward II. Today, Jaime II, king of Aragon; Andronikos II Palaiologos or Palaeologus, emperor of Byzantium; Oljeitu, ruler of the Ilkhanate; Henri de Lusignan, king of Cyprus.
- Jaime II, king of Aragon (born 10 April 1267; acceded 18 June 1291; died 5 November 1327)
Second son of Pedro III of Aragon and Constanza of Sicily, who was the eldest child of Manfred, king of Sicily (the illegitimate son of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and his nobly-born Italian mistress Bianca Lancia). Jaime was also the great-grandson of Andras or Andrew II of Hungary. Jaime's elder brother Alfonso III (born November 1265) succeeded their father as king of Aragon in 1285, but, although betrothed for many years to Edward of Caernarfon's eldest sister Eleanor, died suddenly in June 1291 before their marriage could take place, and Jaime thus succeeded to the throne at the age of twenty-four. Alfonso and Jaime's sister Elisabeth (1271-1336) married King Diniz of Portugal and is a saint of the Catholic Church. Jaime and Edward II were third cousins via common descent from Thomas, count of Savoy and Beatrice of Geneva (maternal grandparents of Edward's grandmother Eleanor of Provence), and Jaime was a first cousin once removed of Edward's queen Isabella: Isabella's paternal grandmother Isabel of Aragon, queen of France, was the sister of Jaime's father Pedro III.
Jaime was married firstly, a few months after his succession in December 1291, to Isabel of Castile, the eldest child of Sancho IV, king of Castile (grandson of Fernando III and thus Edward of Caernarfon's first cousin). She was only eight at the time. In April 1295 Isabel's father died suddenly, her nine-year-old brother became Fernando IV, and Castile was plunged into civil war and chaos, no longer a useful ally. Jaime had the marriage annulled, and married instead Blanche of Anjou-Naples, Edward of Caernarfon's second cousin, one of the many children of Charles, king of Naples and Marie of Hungary. With Blanche, Jaime had his successor Alfonso IV, whose son the future Pedro IV was betrothed to Edward II's daughter Joan of the Tower in 1325, and nine other children. Alfonso IV was their second son; their eldest Jaime renounced his right to the throne and became a monk in 1319, shortly after marrying Alfonso XI of Castile's sister Leonor. Jaime II at various proposed his daughter Maria as a bride for Edward II's half-brother Thomas of Brotherton, earl of Norfolk, and his youngest daughter Violante (born 1310) as a bride for Edward's son the future Edward III, but neither of these proposals worked out. When negotiating with Aragon in 1325 about the marriage of Pedro and Joan, Edward II communicated with Alfonso, Jaime II's son and Pedro IV's father, on the rather brutal grounds that Jaime was "old and decrepit and it is not certain that he is not dead." Edward also communicated at other times with Jaime's fourth son Pedro, count of Ribagorza. Jaime's third son Juan was archbishop of Tarragona and patriarch of Alexandria. One of his daughters, Isabel, was betrothed to Oshin, king of Armenia, but married Frederick, duke of Austria, and his daughter Violante, proposed as a bride for the future Edward III, married her cousin Philip, despot of Romania.
Queen Blanche died in October 1310, and Jaime married twice more: his third wife, in 1315, was Marie de Lusignan, daughter of Hugh III, king of Cyprus and sister of Henri, king of Cyprus (below), with whom he had no children, and finally to the Spanish noblewoman Elisenda de Moncada, with whom he also had no children. Marie de Lusignan was already in her forties at the time of the wedding, and had never previously been married. Jaime, known as el Justo or the Just, died in early November 1327, aged sixty, just a few weeks after the supposed death of Edward II. His son Alfonso IV was then in his late twenties.
Andronikos II Palaiologos or Palaeologus, emperor of Byzantium (the Eastern Roman Empire) (born 25 March 1259; succeeded as sole emperor 11 December 1282; died 13 February 1332)
Andronikus was the son of the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologus and Theodora Doukaina Vatatzaina, great-niece of the emperor John Doukas Vatatzes. Michael VIII was the first of the Palaiologan Byzantine emperors, who ruled until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Andronikus married firstly, in 1273, Anna of Hungary, great-granddaughter of Andras II and thus Jaime II of Aragon's second cousin. Anna was the daughter of King Istvan or Stephen V of Hungary and Elizabeth the Cuman, who converted to Christianity prior to her marriage (Elizabeth was the great-great-grandmother of Edward III's queen Philippa of Hainault). From his marriage to Anna, Andronikus was the brother-in-law of two kings of Serbia and of Charles of Anjou, king of Naples, whose daughter Blanche married Jaime II of Aragon. Andronikus and Anna were the parents of Michael IX Palaiologos, co-emperor with his father until his death in 1320 and father of the emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos and of Theodora, empress of Bulgaria. Empress Anna died at the beginning of the 1280s, barely into her twenties, and some years later Andronikus married his second wife Yolande of Montferrat. Yolande was a close cousin of Edward II, being the daughter of Beatriz of Castile and William VII, marquess of Montferrat and titular king of Thessalonika, who had previously been married to Isabella, sister of Gilbert 'the Red' de Clare, earl of Gloucester. Yolande took the name Eirene on marriage. Edward II wrote to Andronikus and Eirene in 1313 asking them to use their influence to help release the English knight Sir Giles Argentein, a prisoner in Thessalonika (it worked). Andronikus died in February 1332 in his early seventies, and was succeeded by his namesake grandson.
Oljeitu, ruler of the Ilkhanate ('king of the Tartars') (born 1278/1280; succeeded May 1304; died 16 December 1316)
The Mongol Empire, the second largest empire the world has ever seen (after the British empire, and not smaller by much) was divided into four parts, and Oljeitu ruled the Ilkhanate, the division covering much of modern-day Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Turkey. Oljeitu was baptised as a Christian but later converted to Buddhism, then to Sunni Islam, then to Shia Islam, and chose as his alternative name Muhammad Khodabandeh. He was the great-grandson of Hulagu Khan, founder of the Ilkhanate and brother of Kublai Khan ("In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree..."), and great-great-great-grandson of Genghis Khan. After he succeeded his brother Ghazan in 1304, Oljeitu reached out to the western powers, the pope, Philip IV of France and Edward I of England, when he wrote offering an alliance between themselves and the Mongols against the Mamluks of Egypt. Edward II sent him a very tactless letter in 1307 declaring that he was glad to hear of Oljeitu's intention to destroy the 'abominable sect of Muhammad'. Unfortunately, neither Edward nor any of his advisors knew that Oljeitu was Muslim. [Peter Jackson, The Mongols and the West, p. 177.] Edward wrote again to Oljeitu in 1313 asking him to protect a friar travelling to his lands to preach to the 'infidels', as he called them. Oljeitu died in Soltaniyeh in modern-day Iran in 1316, and was succeeded by his son Abu Said, then only eleven.
Henri de Lusignan, king of Cyprus and titular king of Jerusalem (born June 1270/1271; succeeded 20 May 1285; died 31 March 1324)
A distant cousin of Edward II, Henri was the third son of Hugues or Hugh de Lusignan, king of Cyprus, and succeeded his childless brother Jean or John in 1285. Henri's mother was Isabelle Ibelin, great-granddaughter of the famous Balian Ibelin; her grandfather, Balian's son John, was the half-brother of Isabella, queen of Jerusalem. Henri's sister Marie married Jaime II of Aragon, above, as his third wife; three other sisters, Marguerite, Helvis and Isabelle, married kings of Armenia. Henri married the much younger Constanza of Sicily in 1317 but died childless, and his successor was his brother Guy's son Hugh IV. He was descended from Raymond of Poitiers, prince of Antioch, uncle of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and from Eleanor's grandson Henri, count of Champagne (d. 1197) and his wife Isabella, queen of Jerusalem. Somewhat confusingly, Henri's great-great-grandfather Amaury, king of Cyprus (d. 1205) was also married to Queen Isabella. Henri's father Hugh took the name Lusignan from his mother, and they were only fairly distantly related to the Lusignan counts of La Marche.