Maria of Calabria

Maria of Calabria
Maria of Calabria
Countess of Alba
Duchess consort of Durazzo
Lady of Baux
Titular Latin Empress
Spouse Charles, Duke of Durazzo
Robert, Lord of Baux
Philip II, Prince of Taranto
Joanna, Duchess of Durazzo
Agnes, Latin Empress
Margaret, Queen of Hungary
Raymond III, Lord of Baux
Francis, Lord of Aubagne
Phanette of Baux
Ettienette, Lady of Roussillon and Annonya
seven others who died young
House Capetian House of Anjou
Father Charles, Duke of Calabria
Mother Maria of Valois
Born May 1329
Died 20 May 1366 (aged 36 or 37)
Religion Roman Catholic

Maria of Calabria (May 1329 – 20 May 1366) was the first Empress consort of Philip II of Taranto, titular Latin Emperor of Constantinople.



She was a posthumous daughter of Charles, Duke of Calabria by his second wife Marie of Valois. Maria was a younger sister of Joan I of Naples.

Their paternal grandparents were Robert of Naples and Yolanda of Aragon. Their maternal grandparents were Charles of Valois and his third wife Mahaut of Châtillon.

Yolanda was a daughter of Peter III of Aragon and Constance of Sicily. Mahaut was a daughter of Guy IV, Count of Saint-Pol and Marie of Brittany.

Marie was a daughter of John II, Duke of Brittany and Beatrice of England.

Countess of Alba

On 9 November 1328, Charles of Calabria died. Maria was born approximately six months following his death. She was born and raised at the court of her paternal grandfather in Naples.

On 20 January 1343, Robert of Naples died. By the provisions of his will Joan was to become ruler of Naples, while Maria was given the title of Countess of Alba and given vast inheritance.[1]

Maria had previously been intended as a potential bride for either Louis I of Hungary or John II of France. However both men had chosen different brides, respectively Margaret of Bohemia and Bonne of Bohemia. Shortly after the death of her grandfather, Maria was instead abducted by Agnes de Périgord, widow of John, Duke of Durazzo. Agnes arranged the marriage of Maria to her son, Charles, Duke of Durazzo. The marriage took place on 21 April 1343, the bride being almost fourteen-years-old and the groom twenty.[2] They had five children:

  • Louis (December 1343 – 14 January 1344)
  • Joanna (1344–1387), Duchess of Durazzo; married first in 1366 Louis of Navarre, Count of Beaumont (d. 1372), married second Robert IV of Artois, Count of Eu (d. 1387). No issue from either marriage.
  • Agnes (1345–1388, Naples), married first on 6 June 1363 Cansignorio della Scala, Lord of Verona (d. 1375), married second James of Baux (d. 1383). No issue from either marriage.
  • Clementia (1346–1363, Naples)
  • Margaret (28 July 1347 – 6 August 1412, Mela), married in February 1368 Charles III of Naples.

Charles and Maria headed a faction opposing Joan and her second husband Louis of Taranto. On 15 January 1348, Charles was named Lieutenant General and Governor of the Kingdom of Naples. Joan and Louis had fled in the face of an invasion by Louis I, Charles apparently seeing an opportunity to claim power in their absence. He was captured by Louis I only days later, near Aversa. On 23 January 1348, Charles was executed by decapitation in front of San Pietro a Maiella. His period of power had lasted less than a week.[3] Maria had become a nineteen-year-old widow.

Second marriage

With Charles dead, Maria fled Naples for Avignon. She sought refuge at the court of Pope Clement VI. In 1348, the Black Death reached the Italian Peninsula, forcing Louis I and the majority of his army to retreat back to the Kingdom of Hungary in hope of escaping the spreading epidemic. Maria returned to Naples and settled herself at the Chateau de l'Oeuf.[4]

She was then abducted again, her second captor being Hugh IV, Lord of Baux. He arranged the marriage of Maria to his son and heir Robert, Lord of Baux. The marriage took place in 1348. They had four children[5]:

  • Raymond III, Lord of Baux (d. 1372).
  • Francis of Baux, Lord of Aubagne (d. 1390).
  • Phanette of Baux. Married Ghiberto Terrici.
  • Ettienette of Baux. Married Aymar, Lord of Roussillon and Annonya.

Hugh IV was assassinated by Louis of Taranto in 1351. Robert succeeded him but was held captive in the Chateau de l'Oeuf. Maria reportedly ordered the assassination of her second husband in 1353, allowing her son to succeed as Lord of Baux. She reportedly witnessed the murder first hand.[6]

Third marriage

In April, 1355, Maria married her third husband Philip II of Taranto. He was a younger brother of Robert of Taranto, Latin Emperor and Louis of Taranto. Both the bride and the groom were twenty-six years-old. She was already twice-widowed and mother of nine children while this was his first marriage. They would have five children, all died young[7]:

  • Philip (1356).
  • Charles (1358).
  • Philip (1360).
  • a child, (1362).
  • a child, (1366).

His older brother Robert died childless in 1364. Philip was his legal heir and adopted the titles of Latin Emperor and Prince of Achaea, with Maria as his consort. However much of Achaea was still actually held by Marie of Bourbon, widow of Robert, who claimed the title for herself and her son Hugh of Lusignan. Maria died in 1366, while the civil war for Achaea was ongoing.


Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Marie of Bourbon
Latin Empress consort of Constantinople
Reason for succession failure:
Conquest by Empire of Nicaea in 1261
Succeeded by
Elisabeth of Slavonia

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