03 August, 2014

Other European Rulers (2)

A continuation of this post, taking a look at rulers in Europe and a little farther afield in Edward II's era.  Today, I'm writing about Davit VIII, king of Georgia; Haakon V, king of Norway; Alexios II, emperor of Trebizond; Sancho, king of Majorca.

Davit VIII, king of Georgia (born 1273/1278; succeeded 1293; died 1311)

Edward II sent Davit a letter in May 1313, asking him to protect a friar passing through Davit's kingdom.  Unfortunately, Davit had died two years previously, sometime in 1311 (I've been unable to find the exact date).  This gives you a good idea of the speed and urgency with which news travelled from Georgia to England 700 years ago.

Davit came from the Bagrationi dynasty which ruled Georgia for many centuries.  His father was Demetre or Demetrius II 'the Self-Sacrificing' - what a great name! - and his mother, name unknown, was a daughter of Manuel I, emperor of Trebizond (for more info, see below).  Demetre was beheaded by the Mongols in 1289, but despite this, Davit married a Mongol woman: Oljath, daughter of Abaqa Khan (see also below).  Oljath was a great-niece of Kublai Khan and a great-great-granddaughter of Genghis Khan.  Davit's only child, however, was born to his second wife, a Georgian noblewoman of the Surameli family.  When he died in 1311, he was succeeded by his son, still only a child, the aptly-named Giorgi VI the Little.  Giorgi died in 1313 and was succeeded by his uncle, Davit's brother Giorgi the Brilliant.

Haakon V, king of Norway (born c. 1270; succeeded 15 July 1299; died 8 May 1319)

Another king to whom Edward II unknowingly sent a letter after his death, though in this case barely a month.  Haakon would have been Edward's uncle-in-law if Margaret the 'Maid of Norway', the young queen of Scotland, had lived long enough to marry Edward.  Haakon was a younger son of Magnus VI of Norway and Ingeborg, daughter of Eric IV of Denmark.  His elder brother Erik II, known as the 'Priesthater', succeeded their father in 1280, and in 1281, still only thirteen, married twenty-year-old Margaret of Scotland, eldest child of Alexander III and his first queen Margaret of England, Edward I's sister.  Erik and Margaret's daughter Margaret (born 1283), Alexander III's only surviving heir, was proclaimed queen of Scotland and betrothed to her slightly younger cousin Edward of Caernarfon in 1289, but died suddenly aged seven in the autumn of 1290.  Her father King Erik II married secondly Isabel, one of the sisters of the Robert Bruce who became king of Scotland in 1306.  With Isabel Bruce, Erik had a daughter, Ingeborg - half-sister of Margaret 'the Maid of Norway' - who married Valdemar Magnusson of Sweden, duke of Finland.  Erik died in July 1299 at the beginning of his thirties, and as his daughter could not inherit the throne, he was succeeded by his brother, Haakon V.

Not long before his accession, Haakon married a German lady: Eufemia of Rügen, daughter of Günther, count of Arnstein in Bavaria and granddaughter of Witzlaw II, prince of Rügen.  Eufemia's maternal grandmother Agnes was the daughter of Otto I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, nephew of Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor (grandson of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine).  Haakon and Eufemia had one child, Ingeborg, the same name as her first cousin, the daughter of Erik II and Isabel Bruce.  Confusingly, the two cousins Ingeborg married brothers: Ingeborg daughter of Haakon married Erik Magnusson of Sweden, brother of Duke Valdemar, above.  Haakon V died on 8 May 1319, probably in his late forties; Edward II, unaware of this, sent him letters on 2 and 12 June regarding debts Haakon owed to several English merchants.  Haakon was succeeded by his toddler grandson Magnus VII, born in 1316 as the son of Ingeborg and Erik Magnusson.  Magnus also succeeded his uncle Birger, the eldest brother of Valdemar and Erik Magnusson, as Magnus IV, king of Sweden, in 1321.

Alexios II Megas Komnenos, emperor of Trebizond (born 1282; succeeded 1297; died 3 May 1330)

The empire of Trebizond was a successor state of the Byzantine empire between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, and was located on the shores of the Black Sea in modern-day Turkey.  It bordered the Mongol Ilkhanate mentioned in my previous post, and was one of three states thrown up in the aftermath of the capture of Constantinople in 1204, the others being the empire of Nicaea and the despotate of Epirus.  (Edward II's second cousin Philip of Taranto, king of Albania, was one of the despots of Epirus.)  Edward wrote to the Emperor Alexios II in 1313 asking him to protect the same far-travelling friar on whose behalf he also wrote to Davit VIII of Georgia, the difference being on this occasion that Alexios was actually still alive.

Alexios II Megas Komnenos's mother Eudokia Palaiologina was the sister of the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos from my previous post.  Maria Palaiologina, sister of Eudokia and Andronikus, and Alexios II's aunt, married Abaqa Khan, one of the predecessors of Oljeitu (also from my previous post, and see above) as ruler of the Ilkhanate; Abaqa was Oljeitu's great-uncle and the nephew of Kublai Khan.  Another of Alexios's maternal aunts was the empress of Bulgaria, and he was a cousin of Davit VIII of Georgia, above.  His father was John II Megas Komnenos, emperor of Trebizond, and his grandfather was the Emperor Manuel I.  Alexios married a Georgian woman with the excellent name of Jiajak or Djiadjak or Jigda Jaqeli, half-sister of Davit VIII, and they had at least six children, including Andronikus III and Basil, emperors of Trebizond.  Andronikus III had two other brothers murdered.

Sancho, king of Majorca (born 1274; succeeded 29 May 1311; died 4 September 1324)

Edward II wrote to Sancho in early June 1323 on behalf of some sun-worshipping English tourists who had had too much to drink on their package holiday and robbed some of Sancho's subjects on the beach.  (OK, I made up all of that sentence except for 'Edward II wrote to Sancho in early June 1323 on behalf of some English people' and 'robbed some of Sancho's subjects'. They really did do that and Edward really did send Sancho a letter.)  Sancho was the son of Jaime or James II, king of Majorca, and Esclaramunda, daughter of Roger IV, count of Foix (a vassal of the kings of England).  Jaime II of Majorca was the second son of Jaime I of Aragon and Violante of Hungary, and brother of Pedro III of Aragon.  This makes Sancho of Majorca the first cousin of Jaime II of Aragon from my last post.  He married Maria of Anjou-Naples, one of the many sisters of Philip of Taranto, king of Albania and despot of Epirus, which meant that he was related by marriage to absolutely anybody who was anybody in the European royalty of the early fourteenth century.  Sancho's sister Sancha married Maria of Anjou-Naples and Philip of Taranto's brother Robert the Wise, king of Naples and titular king of Jerusalem, and was the grandmother of the famous and much-married Queen Joan (or Joanna) I of Naples.  Sancho died childless and was succeeded by his brother Fernando's son Jaime III.


Gabriele Campbell said...

One can be glad there were no marriage connections with Trebizon and Georgia, or this geneaological mess would be even worse. :-) I remember the Scoto-Norwegian-German mixup from some of my blogposts.

Kathryn Warner said...

It's one big huge genealogical mess...love it! :-)

Anerje said...

Communication sounds unbelievable - in 2 years no-one thought to let Edward know Davit was dead! I'm thinking - did they send messengers to announce events at European courts? Or maybe they thought Edward was not interested? Amazing info!

Jerry Bennett said...

Kathryn, many thanks for two quite fascinating posts. I've spent hours online trying to find more information, particularly on Oljeitu and his changing religions. I suppose if you were a Mongol Khan you could get away with that sort of thing, but it's hard to believe that any modern day leader could survive that today.

The sheer complexity of inter-family ties within the European ruling families never fails to amaze me. I know its slightly off your main subject of Edward, but it makes for really good background "colour" to his reign. Great stuff.