About Theodore Branas, Byzantine General
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Theodore Branas or Vranas (Greek: Θεόδωρος Βρανᾶς, Theodōros Branas) was a general under the Byzantine Empire and afterwards under the Latin Empire of Constantinople. He is called Li Vernas by western chroniclers of the Fourth Crusade, including Geoffroi de Villehardouin.
Theodore was the son of general Alexios Branas and of Anna Komnene Vatatzina. He was probably born in Adrianople, where his family held hereditary lands. In 1193, according to the chronicler Alberic of Trois-Fontaines, Theodore became the lover of the dowager empress Anna, then aged 22; they did not marry because in marrying a commoner she would have lost her dowry. She was the daughter of King Louis VII of France by his third wife Adèle of Champagne, and the sister of Philip II of France; she had originally come to Constantinople to be betrothed to Alexios II Komnenos, but Alexios was murdered by his co-emperor and regent Andronikos I Komnenos in 1183. She was then married to Andronikos, and was widowed on his violent death in 1185.
Theodore and Anna married, on the urging of the Latin Emperor Baldwin I of Constantinople, immediately after the establishment of the Latin Empire in summer 1204. They had at least one daughter, who married Narjot de Toucy. For several years after 1204 Theodore, and presumably Anna, were of invaluable assistance to the Empire. Theodore was one of the few notable Greeks to offer it his immediate support. He acted as an ambassador to Henry of Flanders when the Greeks of Adrianople and Demotica wished to break their alliance from Kaloyan of Bulgaria and seek the protection of their cities by the Latins.
Theodore was Lord of Adrianople and Apros (known to the Latins as Naples or Napoli). The last record of him is in 1219, when, like his son-in-law Narjot de Toucy, he briefly governed Constantinople.
Source / Forrás:
4. ALEXIOS Branas, son of --- (-1186). Pansébastos, sébastos. ... Alexios Branas & his wife had two children:
- a) EVDOKIA Komnene Branaina. ...
- b) THEODOROS Branas. The primary source which confirms his parentage has not yet been identified. Niketas Choniates names "Branas Theodorus, Georgius Palaeologus, Raul Constantinus, Cantacuzenus Michael et alii complures improbi et leves homini, imperatori sanguine iuncti…" as those involved in the conspiracy to depose Emperor Isaakios II in 1195. The precise relationships ("imperatori sanguine iuncti") between the conspirators and the emperor have not yet been traced. Leader of the Greeks at Philippopolis, he opposed Kalojan Tsar of Bulgaria in 1205. The people of the city agreed to submit to Henri, regent of the Latin Empire of Constantinople, for protection. In turn, Henri arranged for Venice (which had claims over Adrianople) to appoint Theodoros Branas as Lord of Adrianople and Didymoteichon. He is referred to as cæsar and Komnenos in the grant. He was besieged once more at Adrianople by the Bulgarian Tsar in 1206. m (1204) as her third husband, ANNA [Agnès] de France, widow firstly of Emperor ALEXIOS II and secondly of Emperor ANDRONIKOS I, daughter of LOUIS VII King of France & his third wife Alix de Champagne ([1171/72]-[1220 or after 1240]). Her third marriage is deduced from Villehardouin naming "Theodore Branas, a Greek who was married to the king of France's sister" when recording that Apros was restored to him in 1205. The Chronicle of Alberic de Trois-Fontaines records that in 1193 "Livernas…prenominatus" lived with "sororem regis Francorum, imperatricem illam, quam habere debuit Alexius Manuelis filius" without marrying her, and in a later passage in 1205 that "Livernas", who had lived with "sororem regis Francorum, imperatricem…absque legalibus nuptiis", married her and married their daughter to "Nargaldo de Torceio, Guidonis de Dampetra consobrino". Robert de Clari records in Sep 1203 that "le sereur le roi de Franche" was alive and married to "li Vernas". The text also provides a clue to Alberic’s reference to "Livernas", indicating that it was the old French definite article combined with a corruption of the name "Branas". No primary source has yet been identified which records when Agnes died. According to Sommerard, she died in 1220, after the marriage of her daughter. Kerrebrouck states that she died in 1240. Neither of these authors cites the primary sources on which they base their statements. Theodoros Branas & his wife had one child:
- i) --- Branaina (-before 1239). The Chronicle of Alberic de Trois-Fontaines refers to the daughter of "sororem regis Francorum imperatricem" marrying "Nargaldo de Toceio, Guidonis de Dampetro consobrinus", in a later passage recording that she was "filia Livernes et sororis regis Francie". m as his first husband, NARJOT [III] de Toucy Seigneur de Bazarne, son of NARJOT [II] Seigneur de Toucy & his wife Agnès de Dampierre-sur-l'Aube (-1241). Regent of the Latin Empire of Constantinople 1228-1231 and 1238-1239.