Eirene of Montferrat

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Yolande Eirene de Montferrat

Italian: Violante degli Aleramici, "Jolanda di Monferrato" "Irene di Bisanzio"
Also Known As: "Виоланта ди Монферато", "Yolande di Montferrat", "Eirene di Montferrat", "Yolanda di Montferrat Paleologo"
Birthplace: Saloniki, Makedhonia, Greece
Death: circa 1317 (34-52)
Dramas Nomos, Macedonia, Greece
Place of Burial: Constantinople, Turkey
Immediate Family:

Daughter of William VII, marquess of Montferrat and Beatriz de Castilla, marchesa del Monferrato
Wife of Andronicus II, byzantine emperor
Mother of Teodoro I Palaiologos, marchese del Monferrato; Simonida Nemanjić; Demetrios Palaiologos and Ioannes Palaiologos
Sister of Son; John I degli Aleramici, marquess of Montferrat and Alessina de Montferrat
Half sister of Margherita del Monferrato, signora di Valencia

Managed by: Noah Tutak
Last Updated:

About Eirene of Montferrat


Yolande of Montferrat (1274 – 1317 in Constantinople) (also known as Violante, then Empress Eirene) was the second Empress-Consort of Andronikos II Palaiologos, the ruler of Constantinople and the entire Byzantine Empire, and heiress of the Margraviate of Montferrat.

Born in Casale, she was daughter of William VII, Marquess of Montferrat and his second wife Beatrice of Castile. Her maternal grandparents were King Alfonso X of Castile and his wife Violante of Aragon. Yolande (variation of Violante) was named after her grandmother.

In 1284, Andronikos II, a widower by his first marriage, married Yolanda (who was renamed Eirene as Empress). With her, Eirene brought the Montferrat rights to the kingdom of Thessalonica, a dominion that, despite having been conquered half-a-century before Eirene's birth by the Byzantine state of Epirus, was still claimed by its short-lived (1204-1224) Montferrat royal dynasty.

It was later proven that the Italian Montferrat had no living male heirs of the Aleramici dynasty, and Eirene's sons were entitled to inherit it upon the 1305 death of Eirene's brother John I, Marquess of Montferrat.

The marriage produced the following children:

  • John Palaiologos (c. 1286–1308), despotes
  • Theodore I, Marquis of Montferrat (1291–1338)
  • Demetrios Palaiologos (d. after 1343), despotēs. Father of Irene Palaiologina.
  • Simonis Palaiologina (1294–after 1336), who married King Stefan Milutin of Serbia

Eirene's stepson, Michael IX Palaiologos was intended to succeed her husband as emperor, but ultimately it was Michael's son Andronikos III Palaiologos who became the successor instead of Michael. This was largely due to the work Eirene did to ensure some power and property to her own offspring.

Eirene left Constantinople in 1303 and settled in Thessaloniki. She set her own court in the city and controlled her own finances and foreign policy until her death fourteen years later. Nicephorus Gregoras portrayed her as an ambitious and arrogant leader in his historical writings.


d) YOLANDA di Monferrato ([1273/74]-Drama, near Thessaloniki[246] 1317, bur Constantinople Pantokrator convent). The Chronica Jacobi de Aquis, dated to 1334, records that the two daughters of "Marchio Guliermus" and his wife "Beatricem filiam regis Anfoxi de Hispania" married "aliam…Violant…Andronico imperatori Græcorum"[247]. The Alberti Milioli Notarii Regini Liber de Temporibus records the marriage in 1284 of "Gulielmus marchio Montis-ferrati…filiam suam" and "filio Palialogi defuncti qui in Constantinopolitane urbe habet dominium", specifying that her dowry was "regnum Thesalonice"[248]. Her marriage was arranged by her maternal grandfather, Alfonso X "el Sabio" King of Castile[249]. She adopted the name EIRENE in Byzantium. Georgius Phrantzes records that "Irene, e Lombardia oriunda atque filia sororis regis Hispaniæ et nepti marchionis Montisferratensis…qui Thessalonicam…et Thessalorum rex fuit" was the second wife of "imperator Andronicus"[250]. Pachymeres records the second marriage of Emperor Andronikos II and "Irenen, e dynastis…quos marcesios sive marchioness appellant…neptem regis Hispaniæ"[251]. Her dowry consisted of the Monferrato family's titular right to Thessaloniki[252], which had been titular only since Demetrio di Monferrato King of Thessaloniki had been deposed in 1224 by Theodoros Angelos Lord of Epirus who subsequently declared himself emperor of Thessaloniki. She was crowned Empress after the birth of her first son in 1286[253]. She is portrayed as arrogant and ambitious by the contemporary historian Nikephoros Gregoras, and proposed a division of the territory of the Empire to give her sons hereditary appanages[254]. She left her husband in 1303 and took up residence in Thessaloniki, where she conducted herself as Empress in her own right, controlled her own finances and foreign policy, and witnessed documents as Augusta or Despoina[255]. She inherited Monferrato after the death of her brother in 1305 and, after attempting to install her oldest son Ioannes as Marchese di Monferrato, arranged for her second son to succeed in 1306[256]. She mounted a campaign of open vilification of her husband, and encouraged close relations with her son-in-law Milutin King of Serbia whom she persuaded to name her son Demetrios as his successor although the latter declined the opportunity[257].

m ([1284], separated 1303) as his second wife, Emperor ANDRONIKOS II, son of Emperor MIKHAEL VIII & his wife Theodora Dukaina Komnene Palaiologina Batatzaina (25 Mar 1259-12/13 Feb 1332).

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Eirene of Montferrat's Timeline

Saloniki, Makedhonia, Greece
Constantinople, Istanbul, Turkey
Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
(Constantinople), Byzantium, Istanbul, Turkey
Age 43
Dramas Nomos, Macedonia, Greece
Of, Saloniki, Makedhonia, Greeze
Montferrat - aka Irene
Pantokrator Cloister, Constantinople, Turkey