Constanza di Sicilia, Principessa di Sicilia

Is your surname di Sicilia?

Research the di Sicilia family

Constanza di Sicilia, Principessa di Sicilia's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Share

Related Projects

Constanza di Sicilia, Principessa di Sicilia

Nicknames: "Constance de Hauteville", "of Sicily"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Sicily, Italy
Death: Died in Palermo, Sicily, Italia
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Ruggero II, Re di Sicilia and Béatrix de Rethel, Queen Consort of Sicily
Wife of Heinrich VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother of Friedrich II von Hohenstaufen, Kaiser des Heiligen Römischen Reiches; Margaretha von Hohenstaufen and Constanza von Hohenstauffen
Half sister of Roger III, Duke of Apulia; William I, King of Sicily; Marina (illegitimate daughter of Roger II of Sicily); Roger Tancred II, of Sicily; Margherita de Hauteville and 5 others

Occupation: Arvtagare till Sicilien
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Constanza di Sicilia, Principessa di Sicilia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constance_of_sicily

--------------------

Constance (1154 – 27 November 1198) was the heiress of the Norman kings of Sicily and the wife of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor. She was Queen of Sicily in 1194-1198, jointly with her husband from 1194 to 1197, and with her infant son Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, in 1198.

Contents [hide]

1 Biography

2 Crowning of Frederick II

3 Primary sources

4 Secondary sources


[edit] Biography

Constance was the posthumous daughter of Roger II of Sicily by his third wife Beatrice of Rethel.

Constance was not betrothed until she was thirty, which is unusual for a princess whose marriage was an important dynastic bargaining chip. This later gave rise to stories that she had become a nun and required papal dispensation to forsake her vows and marry, or that she was impossibly ugly. Neither of these is consistent with the evidence.

The death of her younger nephew Henry of Capua in 1172 made Constance heiress presumptive to the Sicilian crown, after her elder nephew King William II, who did not marry until 1177, and whose marriage remained childless. Abulafia (1988) points out that William did not foresee the union of German and Sicilian crowns as a serious eventuality; his purpose was to consolidate an alliance, with an erstwhile enemy of Norman power in Italy.

But it is unclear why he delayed so in finding a husband for his aunt. Nevertheless, in 1184 Constance was betrothed to Henry (the future Emperor Henry VI), and they were married two years later, on 27 January 1186.

The papacy, also an enemy of the emperors, would not want to see the kingdom of southern Italy (then one of the richest in Europe) in German hands, but Henry pressed Pope Celestine III to baptize and crown his son: the Pope put him off.

Nor would the kingdom's Norman nobles welcome a Hohenstaufen king. William made his nobles and the important men of his court promise to recognize Constance's succession if he died without direct heirs. But after his unexpected death in 1189, his cousin (and Constance's nephew) Tancred seized the throne. Tancred was illegitimate, but he had the support of most of the great men of the kingdom.

Constance's father-in-law died in 1190, and the following year Henry and Constance were crowned Emperor and Empress. Constance then accompanied her husband at the head of a substantial imperial army to forcefully take the throne from Tancred. The northern towns of the kingdom opened their gates to Henry, including the earliest Norman strongholds Capua and Aversa. Salerno, Roger II's mainland capital, sent word ahead that Henry was welcome, and invited Constance to stay in her father's old palace to escape the summer heat. Naples was the first time that Henry met resistance on the whole campaign, holding well into the southern summer, by which time much of the army had succumbed to malaria and disease and the imperial army was forced to withdraw from the kingdom altogether. Constance remained in Salerno with a small garrison, as a sign that Henry would soon return.

Once Henry had withdrawn with the bulk of the imperial army, the towns that had supposedly fallen to the Empire immediately declared their allegiance to Tancred, for the most part now fearing his retribution. The populace of Salerno saw an opportunity to win some favour with Tancred, and delivered Constance to him in Messina, an important prize given that Henry had every intention of returning. However, Tancred was willing to give up his negotiation advantage, that is, the Empress, in return for Pope Celestine III legitimising him as King of Sicily. In turn, the Pope was hoping that by securing Constance's safe passage back to Rome, Henry would be better disposed towards the papacy and he was still hoping to keep the Empire and the Kingdom from uniting. However, imperial soldiers were able to intervene before Constance made it to Rome, and they returned her safely across the Alps, ensuring that in the end, both the papacy and the kingdom failed to score any real advantage in having the Empress in their custody.

Henry was already preparing to invade Sicily a second time when Tancred died in 1194. Later that year he moved south, entered Palermo unopposed, deposed Tancred's young son William III, and had himself crowned instead.

While Henry moved quickly south with his army, Constance followed at a slower pace, for she was pregnant. On 26 December, the day after Henry's crowning at Palermo, she gave birth to a son, Frederick (the future Emperor and king of Sicily Frederick II) in the small town of Jesi, near Ancona.

Constance was 40, and she knew that many would question whether the child was really hers. Thus she had the baby in a pavilion tent in the market square of the town, and invited the town matrons to witness the birth. A few days later she returned to the town square and publicly breast-fed the infant.

[edit] Crowning of Frederick II


Constance's grave, in the Cathedral of Palermo.Henry died in 1197. The following year Constance had the three-year-old Frederick crowned King of Sicily, and in his name dissolved the ties her late husband had created between the government of Sicily and of the Empire. She adopted very different policies from those of her last consort. She surrounded herself with local advisors and excluded the ambitious Markward von Anweiler from a position of power and attempted to restrict him to his fief in Molise. She made no mention of any claims to the German kingship and empire when her son was anointed and crowned at Palermo, May 1198; Constance made warm overtures to the new pope Innocent III, abandoning the long-contended principle that the king was the apostolic legate, a central principle of Norman autonomy in the regno. Faced with the dangers that surrounded any child-king, Constance placed Frederick under the protection of Pope Innocent III. She expected him to be raised as a Sicilian, and to be nothing more than King of Sicily, without distracting claims to Germany or even to the title "King of the Romans" to which her brother-in-law Philip of Swabia was acclaimed by the Roman nobles. That he became much more than that could not be predicted when she died in late November 1198. In her will she made Innocent, who was the child's feudal suzerain, his guardian, a reminder to all of the inviolability of his inheritance.

In the Divine Comedy, Dante places Constance in Paradise (though he subscribed to the story that Constance had been a nun):

"This other radiance that shows itself

to you at my right hand, a brightness kindled

by all the light that fills our heaven-- she

has understood what I have said: she was

a sister, and from her head, too, by force,

the shadow of the sacred veil was taken.

But though she had been turned back to the world

against her will, against all honest practice,

the veil upon her heart was never loosed.

This is the splendor of the great Costanza,

who from the Swabians' second gust engendered

the one who was their third and final power."

—Paradiso, Canto III, lines 109-120, Mandelbaum translation

[edit] Primary sources

Giovanni Villani, Cronica, V.20, VI.16, VII.1

[edit] Secondary sources

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Constance of Sicily 

David Abulafia, Frederick II, a Medieval Emperor, 1988 (Oxford University press)

Walter Frölich, "The Marriage of Henry VI and Constance of Sicily: Prelude and Consequences", Anglo-Norman Studies XV, 1992

Donald Matthew, The Norman Kingdom of Sicily, ISBN 0-521-26911-3

John Julius Norwich, The Kingdom in the Sun, reprinted as part of his The Normans in Sicily, ISBN 0-14-015212-1

Costanza, sacred opera performance at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Bronx, NY on 26 October 2008. John Marino, distinguished composer conductor, arranger, pianist, coordinated the performance. The libretto was written by Florence Bocarius.

Mary Taylor Simeti Travels with a Medieval Queen, 2001, ISBN 978-0374278786

German royalty

Preceded by

Beatrice of Burgundy German Queen

1186 – 1196 Succeeded by

Irene Angelina

Empress of the Holy Roman Empire

1191 – 1197 Succeeded by

Beatrice of Hohenstaufen

Regnal titles

Preceded by

William III Queen of Sicily

1194 – 1198

With: Henry VI Succeeded by

Frederick II

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constance_of_Sicily"

Categories: Roman Catholic monarchs | 1154 births | 1198 deaths | Hohenstaufen Dynasty | Monarchs of Sicily | Queens regnant | Holy Roman Empresses | Italian queens consort | German queens consort | Burgundian queens consort | Medieval women | Burials at Palermo Cathedral | 12th-century female rulers

--------------------

Wikipedia:

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konstanze_von_Sizilien

Konstanze von Sizilien

aus Wikipedia, der freien Enzyklopädie

Wechseln zu: Navigation, Suche

Heinrich VI. und Konstanze von Sizilien (aus Liber ad honorem Augusti des Petrus de Ebulo, 1196)

Konstanze von Sizilien (* 1154; † 27. November 1198 in Palermo) war Königin von Sizilien aus eigenem Recht. Sie wurde posthum, als Tochter des Königs Roger II. von Sizilien und seiner dritten Ehefrau Beatrix von Rethel geboren, deutsche Kaiserin als Ehefrau des Kaisers Heinrich VI., und die Mutter des Kaisers Friedrich II..

Inhaltsverzeichnis

[Anzeigen]

   * 1 Leben
   * 2 Rezeption
   * 3 Einzelnachweise
   * 4 Literatur
   * 5 Weblinks

Leben [Bearbeiten]

Konstanze war bereits unübliche 30 Jahre alt, als sie verlobt wurde. Dies gab später zu Gerüchten Anlass, sie habe, da sie Nonne gewesen sei, päpstlichen Dispens benötigt, aber auch, dass sie äußerst hässlich gewesen sei. Keine dieser Geschichten kann den Beweis für ihre Richtigkeit antreten.

Der Tod der männlichen Angehörigen ihrer Familie machte Konstanze zur Erbin des Königreichs. Ihr Vater war bereits vor ihrer Geburt gestorben, von seinen fünf Söhnen war nur noch der jüngste am Leben: Wilhelm I. selbst starb 1166 und hinterließ auch nur einen minderjährigen Sohn, Wilhelm II., der erst spät heiratete und kinderlos blieb.

Es ist nicht klar, warum Wilhelm so lange wartete, um einen Ehemann für seine Tante zu finden. Auch ist nicht eindeutig, warum er am Ende Heinrich auswählte, den Sohn und Erben des Kaisers Friedrich Barbarossa, da die sizilianischen und deutschen Herrscher lange Zeit verfeindet waren – und der Papst, ebenso ein Gegner der Kaiser, konnte es nicht befürworten, das große Königreich im Süden in deutscher Hand zu sehen. Und die Adligen des Reiches würden diese Lösung sicher auch nicht befürworten.

Dennoch wurde Konstanze 1184 mit Heinrich verlobt und am 27. Januar 1186 in Mailand mit ihm verheiratet. Wilhelm ließ den Adel und die wichtigen übrigen Männer seines Hofes versprechen, Konstanzes Nachfolge anzuerkennen, falls er ohne direkte Erben sterben sollte. Nach seinem unerwarteten Tod 1189 bemächtigte sich dann sein Vetter Tankred von Lecce des Throns – Tankred war unehelich, hatte aber die Unterstützung der meisten wichtigen Männer des Königreichs.

Konstanzes Schwiegervater starb 1190, im Folgejahr (15. April) wurden Heinrich und Konstanze zu Kaiser und Kaiserin gekrönt. Unmittelbar danach ging Heinrich daran, den durch Tankreds Usurpation bedrohten doppelt, nämlich reichsrechtlich und erbrechtlich, begründeten Anspruch auf das sizilische Regnum einzulösen. Der Konflikt mit Heinrich dem Löwen und der Tod seines Vaters hatten das Unternehmen verzögert. Während dieses ersten, aufgrund einer bei der Belagerung von Neapel ausgebrochenen Seuche gescheiterten Versuchs Heinrichs zur Invasion Siziliens geriet Konstanze durch einen Aufstand in Salerno in die Gefangenschaft Tankreds, der sie allerdings auf Intervention Papst Coelestins III. freiließ und in die Obhut des Papstes überstellte. Auf dem Weg nach Rom entkam sie und kehrte an Heinrichs Hof zurück. Nach dem überraschenden Tod Tankreds (Februar 1194) und der Aussöhnung mit Heinrich dem Löwen (März 1194) gelang Heinrich mithilfe des gewaltigen Lösegeldes für die Freilassung des seit 1192 gefangengehaltenen Richard Löwenherz (Februar 1194) die Eroberung des sizilischen Königreiches schließlich doch noch. Im selben Jahr noch zog er nach Süden, bemächtigte sich der Witwe und Kinder des Normannen, setzte Tankreds jungen Sohn Wilhelm III. ab und sich selbst auf den Thron. Am Weihnachtstag 1194 wurde er zum König des sizilischen Regnum gekrönt.

Während Heinrich schnell nach Süden zog, folgte ihm Konstanze aufgrund ihrer Schwangerschaft langsamer. Am 26. Dezember, einen Tag nach Heinrichs Krönung in Palermo, kam sie in der Kleinstadt Jesi bei Ancona mit dem späteren Kaiser Friedrich II. nieder.

Konstanze war 40 Jahre alt und nach neunjähriger Ehe immer noch kinderlos. Gegner der Staufer streuten daher alsbald Zweifel an der Rechtmäßigkeit der Geburt aus, die in den späteren Quellen mit immer phantastischeren Einzelheiten ausgeschmückt wurden. So soll nach Albert von Stade mit medizinischen Mitteln eine Scheinschwangerschaft herbeigeführt worden und dann ein seinen Eltern geraubter Säugling untergeschoben worden sein. Friedrichs wahrer Vater sei nach unterschiedlichen Angaben Arzt, Müller oder Falkner gewesen. Nach Ricordano Malispini habe Konstanze in Erwartung solcher Zweifel Friedrich in einem Zelt auf dem Marktplatz des Ortes zur Welt gebracht, mit den Frauen des Ortes als Zeuginnen. Einige Tage später sei sie auf den Marktplatz zurückgekehrt, um das Kind öffentlich zu stillen. Keine dieser Legendenbildungen hält jedoch moderner Quellenkritik stand. Bedeutung haben sie nur als Quellen für die antistaufische Propaganda, wie umgekehrt die enkomiastischen Darstellungen, mit denen Petrus de Ebulo und der anonyme Verfasser der Gesta Heinrici VI auf die Geburt des Thronfolgers reagieren, die staufische Herrschaftsrepräsentation dokumentieren.[1] Konstanze übergab auf Anweisung Heinrichs ihren Sohn der Gemahlin Konrads von Urslingen, Herzog von Spoleto, zur Erziehung, an dessen Hof in Foligno dieser seine ersten Lebensjahre verbrachte.[2] Sie selbst zog nach Süditalien, denn sie war als Regentin des sizilischen Regnum vorgesehen. Nach Aufdeckung und Zerschlagung einer Adelsverschwörung, in die Tankreds Witwe und ihr Sohn Wilhelm III. verwickelt waren, wurde auf dem Hoftag zu Bari (Ostern 1195) die Regierung des Regnum neu geordnet. Konstanze wurde hier oder wenig später in Palermo zur Königin gekrönt und mit der Regentschaft beauftragt, bei deren Wahrnehmung sie von Walter Pagliara, dem Bischof von Troia, als Kanzler und dem genannten Konrad von Urslingen als Vicarius, beide bewährte Parteigänger Heinrichs, sowie einem Kreis von Vertrauten, zu denen die Erzbischöfe von Palermo und Capua zählten, unterstützt wurde. Sie konnte sich weiterhin auf den normannischen Verwaltungsapparat stützen. Entschieden trat sie den Versuchen Papst Coelestins III. entgegen, gestützt auf den Lehnsvertrag mit Tankred von 1192 in die Verhältnisse des sizilischen Regnum eigenmächtig einzugreifen. Wie Heinrich betonte auch sie die enge Zusammengehörigkeit Siziliens und des Reiches.

Heinrich starb unvermutet 1197, und Konstanze musste nun ohne den Rückhalt ihres kaiserlichen Gemahls auskommen. Sie widmete sich energisch der Herrschaftssicherung für sich und ihren Sohn in dem schwierigen Umfeld, wo jetzt die Staufergegner und der Papst wieder die Oberhand zu gewinnen drohten. In realistischer Einschätzung der Machtverhältnisse gedachte sie, sich zunächst auf die Sicherung des sizilischen Regnum und die Verteidigung ihrer Unabhängigkeit in der ererbten Herrschaft zu beschränken. Sie ließ daher den dreijährigen Friedrich aus dem Herzogtum Spoleto nach Sizilien bringen, setzte ihn zunächst als Mitregenten ein und ließ ihn am 17. Mai 1198 in Palermo zum König von Sizilien krönen. Die Knoten, die Heinrich VI. zwischen der Regierung Siziliens und des Reiches geknüpft hatte, löste sie im Namen seines Sohnes auf. Auch verzichtete sie auf seinen Anspruch auf die deutsche Krone und stellte ihn unter den Schutz des Papstes Innozenz III.. Um ihre Position zu stärken, verbannte sie die unpopulären landesfremden Parteigänger Heinrichs wie Walter Pagliara, Markward von Annweiler und Konrad von Urslingen, zumal diese jetzt eigene Machinteressen zu verfolgen schienen, aus dem Regnum. Markward wurde schließlich sogar geächtet. Ihren Sohn ließ sie als Sizilianer erziehen und erstrebte für ihn vorrangig die Position als König von Sizilien, ohne allerdings ihren eigenen Kaisertitel aufzugeben. Auch auf seinen Titel als rex Romanorum verzichtete sie erst mit dessen Krönung in Palermo unter dem Eindruck der Wahl Philipps von Schwaben, als es darum ging, eine Spaltung des staufischen Anhangs zu vermeiden. In klarer Erkenntnis der Tatsache, dass sie nunmehr weit stärker als bisher darauf angewiesen sei, sich mit dem Papsttum zu arrangieren, nahm Konstanze nach dem Tode ihres Mannes unverzüglich Verhandlungen mit dem Heiligen Stuhl auf. Diese zogen sich allerdings hin und kamen erst nach dem Tode Coelestins III. unter dessen Nachfolger Innozenz III. zum Abschluss. Die Unterzeichnung des Vertrags, in dem sie sich weitgehende Zugeständnisse hatte abringen lassen müssen, die den Königen fast jeden Einfluss auf die Kirche und die Besetzung kirchlicher Ämter im Regnum entzogen, erlebte Konstanze indes nicht mehr. Am 27. November 1198 starb sie überraschend im Alter von 44 Jahren. Sie wurde wie ihr Mann im Dom von Palermo beigesetzt. Die Regentschaft für ihren unmündigen Sohn, der damit Vollwaise geworden war und einer unsicheren Zukunft entgegensah, übernahm Papst Innozenz III., entschlossen, die sich bietende Gelegenheit zur Durchsetzung der Interessen des Papsttums nicht ungenutzt verstreichen zulassen.

Rezeption [Bearbeiten]

Dante versetzt Konstanze in seiner Göttlichen Komödie ins Paradies (womit er die Geschichte, sie sei eine Nonne gewesen, unterstützte):

   E quest’altro splendor che ti si mostra
   da la mia destra parte e che s’accende
   di tutto il lume de la spera nostra,
   ciò ch’io dico di me, di sé intende;
   sorella fu, e così le fu tolta
   di capo l’ombra de le sacre bende.
   Ma poi che pur al mondo fu rivolta
   contra suo grado e contra buona usanza,
   non fu dal vel del cor già mai disciolta.
   Quest’è la luce de la gran Costanza
   che del secondo vento di Soave
   generò ’l terzo e l’ultima possanza.

   Der andre Glanz, der mir zur Rechten dich
   So freudig hell bestrahlt, denn er entzündet
   In unsrer Sphäre ganzem Schimmer sich,
   Versteht von sich, was ich von mir verkündet.
   Denn man entriß, wie meinem, ihrem Haupt
   Den Schleier, der der Nonnen Stirn umwindet.
   Doch, ob man Rückkehr ihr zur Welt erlaubt,
   Blieb doch ihr Herz bekrönt mit jenem Kranze,
   Den ihrer Stirn verruchte Tat geraubt.
   Sie ist das Licht der trefflichen Konstanze,
   Die mit dem zweiten Sturm aus Schwabenland
   Den dritten zeugt’, umstrahlt vom letzten Glanze.
   * Siehe: Dantes Göttliche Komödie im Projekt Gutenberg

Einzelnachweise [Bearbeiten]

  1. ↑ Dazu ausführlich mit Verzeichnung der zahlreichen Quellen Wolfgang Stürner: Friedrich II. (s. unten: Literatur) S. , Anm. 2; S. 43–49
  2. ↑ ebd. S. 49–51; Kölzer / Stähli (siehe unten: Literatur) S. 206f. mit Illustration

Literatur [Bearbeiten]

   * Theo Kölzer: Art. Konstanze I. In: Lexikon des Mittelalters, Bd. 5, 1991, Sp. 1406f.
   * Theo Kölzer: Urkunden und Kanzlei der Kaiserin Konstanze, Königin von Sizilien (1195–1198). Böhlau. Köln Wien 1983.
   * Theo Kölzer: Die sizilische Kanzlei von Kaiserin Konstanze bis König Manfred (1195–1266). In: Deutsches Archiv 40, 1984, S. 532–561.
   * Theo Kölzer: Die Urkunden der Kaiserin Konstanze (Constantiae Imperatricis diplomata) (MGH Diplomata. Die Urkunden der deutschen Könige und Kaiser 11, 3). Hahn’sche Buchhandlung, Hannover 1990 (online bei den dmgh)
   * Theo Kölzer, Marlis Stähli (Hrsg.), Gereon Becht-Jördens (Textrevision und Übersetzung): Petrus de Ebulo. Liber Ad honorem Augusti sive de rebus Siculis. Codex 120 II der Burgerbibliothek Bern. Eine Bilderchronik der Stauferzeit. Jan Thorbecke, Sigmaringen 1994, S. 37–39; S. 93–99; S. 113–135; S. 149–167; S. 205–209 (wichtige Quelle mit zahlreichen Abbildungen Konstanzes).
   * Uwe A. Oster,Die Frauen Kaiser Friedrichs II., Piper Verlag, München 2008.
   * Wolfgang Stürner: Friedrich II. Teil I Die Königsherrschaft in Sizilien und Deutschland 1194–1220. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1992, S. 34–57; S. 80–86 (ausführliche Quellenangaben).

Weblinks [Bearbeiten]

   * Konstanze von Sizilien. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL).
   * genealogie-mittelalter.de

Vorgänger

Wilhelm II.

Königin von Sizilien

1194–1198 Nachfolger

Friedrich -------------------- Constance of Sicily

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Constance of Sicily (1154 – November 27, 1198) was the heiress of the Norman kings of Sicily and the wife of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor. She was Queen of Sicily 1194-1198, jointly with her husband from 1194-1197, and with her infant son Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor in 1198.

Biography

Constance was the posthumous daughter of Roger II of Sicily by his third wife Beatrix of Rethel.

Constance was not betrothed until she was thirty, which is unusual for a princess whose marriage was an important dynastic bargaining chip. This later gave rise to stories that she had become a nun and required papal dispensation to forsake her vows and marry, or that she was impossibly ugly. Neither of these is consistent with the evidence.

The death of her younger nephew Henry of Capua in 1172 made Constance heiress presumptive to the Sicilian crown, after her elder nephew King William II, who did not marry until 1177, and whose marriage remained childless. Abulafia (1988) points out that William did not foresee the union of German and Sicilian crowns as a serious eventuality; his purpose was to consolidate an alliance, with an erstwhile enemy of Norman power in Italy.

But it is unclear why he delayed so in finding a husband for his aunt. Nevertheless, in 1184 Constance was betrothed to Henry (the future Emperor Henry VI), and they were married two years later, on January 27, 1186.

The papacy, also an enemy of the emperors, would not want to see the great kingdom to the south of Rome in German hands, but Henry pressed Pope Celestine III to baptize and crown his son: the Pope put him off.

Nor would the kingdom's Norman nobles welcome a Hohenstaufen king. William made his nobles and the important men of his court promise to recognize Constance's succession if he died without direct heirs. But after his unexpected death in 1189, his cousin (and Constance's nephew) Tancred seized the throne. Tancred was illegitimate, but he had the support of most of the great men of the kingdom.

Constance's father-in-law died in 1190, and the following year Henry and Constance were crowned Emperor and Empress. Constance then accompanied her husband at the head of a substantial imperial army to forcefully take the throne from Tancred. The northern towns of the kingdom opened their gates to Henry, including the earliest Norman strongholds Capua and Aversa. Salerno, Roger II's mainland capital, sent word ahead that Henry was welcome, and invited Constance to stay in her father's old palace to escape the summer heat. Naples was the first time that Henry met resistance on the whole campaign, holding well into the southern summer, by which time much of the army had succumbed to malaria and disease and the imperial army was forced to withdraw from the kingdom altogether. Constance remained in Salerno with a small garrison, as a sign that Henry would soon return.

Once Henry had withdrawn with the bulk of the imperial army, the towns that had supposedly fallen to the Empire immediately declared their allegiance to Tancred, for the most part now fearing his retribution. The populace of Salerno saw an opportunity to win some favour with Tancred, and delivered Constance to him in Messina, an important prize given that Henry had every intention of returning. However, Tancred was willing to give up his negotiation advantage, that is, the Empress, in return for Pope Celestine III legitimising him as King of Sicily. In turn, the Pope was hoping that by securing Constance's safe passage back to Rome, Henry would be better disposed towards the papacy and he was still hoping to keep the Empire and the Kingdom from uniting. However, imperial soldiers were able to intervene before Constance made it to Rome, and they returned her safely across the Alps, ensuring that in the end, both the papacy and the kingdom failed to score any real advantage in having the Empress in their custody.

Henry was already preparing to invade Sicily a second time when Tancred died in 1194. Later that year he moved south, entered Palermo unopposed, deposed Tancred's young son William III, and had himself crowned instead.

While Henry moved quickly south with his army, Constance followed at a slower pace, for she was pregnant. On December 26, the day after Henry's crowning at Palermo, she gave birth to a son, Frederick (the future Emperor and king of Sicily Frederick II) in the small town of Jesi, near Ancona.

Constance was 40, and she knew that many would question whether the child was really hers. Thus she had the baby in a pavilion tent in the market square of the town, and invited the town matrons to witness the birth. A few days later she returned to the town square and publicly breast-fed the infant.

Crowning of Frederick II

Henry died in 1197. The following year Constance had the three-year-old Frederick crowned King of Sicily, and in his name dissolved the ties her late husband had created between the government of Sicily and of the Empire. She adopted very different policies from those of her last consort. She surrounded herself with local advisors and excluded the ambitious Markward von Anweiler from a position of power and attempted to restrict him to his fief in Molise. She made no mention of any claims to the German kingship and empire when her son was anointed and crowned at Palermo, May 1198; Constance made warm overtures to the new pope Innocent III, abandoning the long-contended principle that the king was the apostolic legate, a central principle of Norman autonomy in the regno. Faced with the dangers that surrounded any child-king, Constance placed Frederick under the protection of Pope Innocent III. She expected him to be raised as a Sicilian, and to be nothing more than King of Sicily, without distracting claims to Germany or even to the title "King of the Romans" to which her brother-in-law Philip of Swabia was acclaimed by the Roman nobles. That he became much more than that could not be predicted when she died in late November 1198. In her will she made Innocent, who was the child's feudal suzerain, his guardian, a reminder to all of the inviolability of his inheritance.

In the Divine Comedy, Dante places Constance in Paradise (though he subscribed to the story that Constance had been a nun):

"This other radiance that shows itself

to you at my right hand, a brightness kindled

by all the light that fills our heaven-- she

has understood what I have said: she was

a sister, and from her head, too, by force,

the shadow of the sacred veil was taken.

But though she had been turned back to the world

against her will, against all honest practice,

the veil upon her heart was never loosed.

This is the splendor of the great Costanza,

who from the Swabians' second gust engendered

the one who was their third and final power."

—Paradiso, Canto III, lines 109-120, Mandelbaum translation

Primary Sources

Giovanni Villani, Cronica, V.20, VI.16, VII.1

-------------------- ID: I165988

Name: Constanza de Hauteville , Princess HRE

Sex: F

Birth: 2 NOV 1154 in Of, Sicily

Death: 27 NOV 1198

Father: II Ruggero , King of Sicily b: ABT 1097 in Of, Toledo, Espania

Mother: Elvira Alfonez , Princess Castile and Leon b: ABT 1104

Marriage 1 Heinrich von Hohenstaufen , King of Germany b: NOV 1165 in Nijmegen, Neth.

Children

Margaretha von Hohenstaufen , Princess b: 1195
view all 13

Constanza di Sicilia, Principessa di Sicilia's Timeline

1154
November 2, 1154
Sicily, Italy
1186
January 27, 1186
Age 31
Schwaben,,Bayern,Germany
1194
December 26, 1194
Age 40
Jesi, Ancona, Papal States
1195
1195
Age 40
Hohenstaufen, Donaukreis, Wuerttemberg, Germany
1195
Age 40
Valencia, Valencia (Región), Spain
1198
November 27, 1198
Age 44
Palermo, Sicily, Italia
1934
July 23, 1934
Age 44
LOGAN
July 23, 1934
Age 44
LOGAN
1935
July 3, 1935
Age 44
July 3, 1935
Age 44