Eirene Kantakouzene

Eirene Kantakouzene (Serbian: Jerina Branković, c. 1400 – May 2/May 3, 1457 at Rudnik) was the daughter of Theodore Kantakouzenos and Euphrosyne Palaiologina.

Family

Eirene and her relations are named in "Dell'Imperadori Constantinopolitani", a manuscript held in the Vatican Library. The document is also known as the "Massarelli manuscript" because it was found in the papers of Angelo Massarelli (1510 - 1566). [ [http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Soc/soc.genealogy.medieval/2008-03/msg00384.html Tony Hoskins, "Anglocentric medieval genealogy"] ] Masarelli is better known as the general secretary of the Council of Trent, who recorded the daily occurings of the council. [ [http://asv.vatican.va/en/arch/council.htm "The Archives: the past & the present", section "The Council of Trent"] ]

Her parents were Theodore Kantakouzenos and Euphrosyne Palaiologina. The Massarelli manuscript names her brothers in order of birth as Demetrios, Manuel, George, Andronikos and Thomas. Andronikos in noted as father to a younger Theodore Kantakouzenos. This Theodore married Maria Notaraina, a daughter of Loukas Notaras and his wife Palaiologina. Theodore was executed along with his father-in-law by orders of Mehmed II of the Ottoman Empire in 1453. Thomas is given as a son-in-law of a Holy Roman Emperor but the manuscript does not clarify which one. He is noted as dying in 1463. [ [http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/BYZANTIUM%2012611453.htm#TheodorosKantadied1410B Profile of Theodore Kantakouzenos and his children in "Medieval Lands" by Charles Cawley] ]

Theodora is given as the youngest daughter of her parents. Her older sisters are given as Theodora Kantakouzene and Maria Kantakouzene. Maria was married to Alexios IV of Trebizond. Theodore Spandounes, a 16th century historian, names another sister of Eirene as Helena Kantakouzene. He calls her wife of David of Trebizond, a son of Theodora. The marriage of an aunt to a nephew was within the prohibited degree of kinship as defined by the Eastern Orthodox Church. Spandounes was possibly confused on which Emperor of Trebizond was brother-in-law to Eirene. [ [http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/BYZANTIUM%2012611453.htm#TheodorosKantadied1410B Profile of Theodore Kantakouzenos and his children in "Medieval Lands" by Charles Cawley] ]

The manuscript is silent on which member of the Kantakouzenoi was the paternal grandfather of Theodora. Byzantine naming conventions named the eldest grandson of a couple by the name of a grandparent. Since in this case the eldest was named Demetrios, the paternal grandfather was likely also named Demetrios Kantakouzenos. Demetrios I Kantakouzenos has been suggested. [ [http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/BYZANTIUM%2012611453.htm#TheodorosKantadied1410B Profile of Theodore Kantakouzenos and his children in "Medieval Lands" by Charles Cawley] ] Later genealogies have depicted Demetrios I as the father of Eirene, ignoring the Massarelli manuscript. [ [http://genealogy.euweb.cz/byzant/byzant5.html Kantakuzenos family] ]

Demetrios was in turn a son of Matthew Kantakouzenos and Irene Palaiologina. [ [http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/BYZANTIUM%2012611453.htm#MatthaiosKantadied1383 Profile of Matthew in "Medieval Lands" by Charles Cawley] ] Matthew was a son of Byzantine Emperor of John VI Kantakouzenos and Irene Asanina. [ [http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/BYZANTIUM%2012611453.htm#IoannesVIdied1383B Profile of John VI in "Medieval Lands" by Charles Cawley] ]

Marriage and children

Eirene married Đurađ Branković, Prince of Serbia on December 26, 1414. They had at least six children [ [http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/SERBIA.htm#DjuradjVukovicdied1456 Profile of Đurađ in "Medieval Lands" by Charles Cawley] ] :

*Todor Branković (d. before 1429). Not mentioned in the Masarelli manuscrpipt, probably died early
*Grgur (Gregory) Branković (c. 1415 - October 16, 1459 – October 17, 1459). Mentioned first in the Masarelli manuscript. Father of Vuk Grgurević.
*Mara Branković (c. 1416 - September 14, 1487). Mentioned second in the Masarelli manuscript. Married Murad II of the Ottoman Empire.
*Stefan Branković (c. 1417 - 1476). Mentioned third in the Masarelli manuscript. Blinded in 1441. Claimed the throne of Serbia following the death of his younger brother Lazar.
*Catherine Cantacuzena (c. 1418 - 1490). Married Ulrich II of Celje. Mentioned fourth in the Masarelli manuscript.
*Lazar Branković (c. 1421/27 - January 20, 1458 – June 20, 1458). Mentioned fifth and last in the Masarelli manuscript.

References

* [http://genealogy.euweb.cz/byzant/byzant5.html Kantakuzenos family]
* [http://genealogy.euweb.cz/balkan/balkan16.html The Brankovici]


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