Helena Angelina Doukaina

Not to be confused with the queen-consort of Serbia, Helena Doukaina Angelina.
Helena Angelina Doukaina
Queen consort of Sicily
Born c. 1242
Died 1271 (aged 2829)
Spouse Manfred of Sicily
Issue Beatrice, Marchioness of Saluzzo
Frederick of Sicily
Henry of Sicily
Enzio of Sicily
Flordelis of Sicily
House Komnenos Doukas dynasty
Father Michael II Komnenos Doukas
Mother Theodora Petraliphaina

Helena Angelina Doukaina (c. 1242 – 1271) was Queen of Sicily as the second wife of King Manfred. Queen Helena was the daughter of Michael II Komnenos Doukas, Despot of Epirus, and Theodora Petraliphaina. Her marriage was an expression of the alliance of her father and the ruler of Sicily against the growing power of the Empire of Nicaea.[1]


Queen Helena's dowry

She was married to Manfred of Sicily 2 June 1259, after the death of his first wife Beatrice of Savoy in 1257 and his own rise to the throne on 10 August 1258. D. J. Geanakoplos notes that this marriage was surprising, considering Manfred's father Frederick had been in an alliance with John Vatatzes, the late ruler of the Empire of Nicaea, but "one must consider that conquest of the Byzantine Empire had been a traditional Norman aim for almost a century, and that Manfred was now in a strong enough position in Italy to discard his father's alliance and to look to those who could assist him in his ambitions for Balkan domination."[2] Few details of how this marriage was arranged have come down to us. "It would be of interest," Geanakoplos observes, "to know who took the initiative to promote the marriage alliance; whether Manfred's marriage preceded that of William of Achaia to Anna, another daughter of Michael II; and, most important, whether Manfred's Epirot possessions were secured from Michael II actually as a result of conquest or as a dowry."[3]

Manfred had captured Dyrrachium and its surrounding area within the following two years. Michael II still had a territorial claim at the city but at the time was preparing to besiege Thessalonica. Helena's dowry included all rights to Dyrrhachium and its surrounding area along with the island of Corfu. Corfu was the only clear territorial gain for Manfred.[1]


Manfred was killed at the Battle of Benevento on 26 February 1266 while fighting against his rival and successor Charles I of Sicily. Charles captured Helena and imprisoned her. She lived five years later in captivity into the castle of Nocera Inferiore where she died in 1271.


Helena and Manfred had five children:


  1. 1 2 Donald M. Nicol, The last centuries of Byzantium, 1261-1453, second edition (Cambridge: University Press, 1993), p. 28
  2. Geanakoplos, "Greco-Latin Relations on the Eve of the Byzantine Restoration: The Battle of Pelagonia-1259", Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 7 (1953), p. 104
  3. Geanakoplos, "Greco-Latin Relations", p. 105
Preceded by
Elisabeth of Bavaria
Queen consort of Sicily
2 June 1259 – 26 February 1266
Succeeded by
Beatrice of Provence
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