Maria Angelina Doukaina Palaiologina


Maria Angelina of Epirus
Maria Paleolog.JPG
Thomas and Maria Paleologina
Basilissa of Epirus
PredecessorThomas Preljubović
SuccessorEsau de' Buondelmonti
Died28 December 1394
Ioannina, Despotate of Epirus
SpouseThomas Preljubović
Esau de' Buondelmonti
FatherSimeon Uroš
MotherThomais Orsini
ReligionEastern Orthodox Christian

Maria Angelina Doukaina Palaiologina or Marija Angelina Nemanjić or Anna Maria Angelina Doukaina Palaiologina (Greek: Μαρία Αγγελίνα Δούκαινα Παλαιολογίνα, Serbian Cyrillic: Марија Ангелина Немањић; 1349 – 28 December 1394) was the self-proclaimed basilissa (Empress, queen) of Epirus from 1384–85, succeeding the rule of her murdered husband Thomas Preljubović. Maria and her husband were a famed couple as patrons of the arts during Tomo's rule of Ioannina from 1366 to 1384.[1] She is even portrayed in the icons.[2]


Maria was the daughter of the Serbian Emperor of Thessaly, Simeon Uroš, the half-brother of Emperor Stephen Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia (Nemanjić dynasty), and Thomais Orsini. Her maternal grandfather was John Orsini of Epirus. In 1361, Maria, then only 12 years old, married Thomas Preljubović, who was appointed the governor (despot) of Epirus in Ioannina by her father in 1366. Popular with her subjects, she was allegedly mistreated by her husband and supposedly connived in his murder on 23 December 1384.

The population of Ioannina acclaimed Maria as ruler. She used the title of basilissa, female form of basileus.[3] She summoned her brother John Uroš Doukas Palaiologos (who became a monk in Meteora monastery by the name of Joasaph)[4] to advise her in the affairs of state, though he didn't stay long.

John Uroš suggested that Maria marry Esau de' Buondelmonti, one of the Latin noblemen captured by Thomas in 1379. It has been alleged[5] that Maria was already enamored of the captive before the murder of her husband, and that this affair had resulted in the assassination of Thomas.[5] Of course, all of this is pure conjecture.

Maria married Esau ("who sought recognition from Byzantium") in February 1385. Maria survived for a further decade, dying on 28 December 1394. She was 55.

Upon Esau's assumption of power, John Uroš left for Meteora where he was tonsured and took the name of Joasaph. He died in 1422.[4][6]

The Chronicle of Ioannina, so hostile towards Thomas Preljubović, describes Maria in very flattering terms; the Byzantine historian Laonikos Chalkokondyles, however, describes her she was an unfaithful wife of questionable morality. Both accounts may be biased. Maria does not appear to have had surviving children from either marriage.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261–1557). 2004. ISBN 978-1-58839-113-1.
  2. ^ "Byzantion: Revue Internationale des Études Byzantines". 2002.
  3. ^ "Historical Studies". 1968.
  4. ^ a b "Saint Joasaph of Meteora". April 20, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Fine, John V. A.; Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994). The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest. ISBN 0-472-08260-4.
  6. ^ Panou, Eirini (2018-05-11). The Cult of St Anna in Byzantium. ISBN 978-1-317-03678-4.
  • Fine, John Van Antwerp (1994), The Late Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Late Twelfth Century to the Ottoman Conquest, University of Michigan Press, ISBN 978-0-472-08260-5
  • Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991), Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6
  • Miller, William (1908), The Latins in the Levant, a History of Frankish Greece (1204–1566), New York: E.P. Dutton and Company
  • Nicol, Donald MacGillivray (2010), The Despotate of Epiros 1267–1479: A Contribution to the History of Greece in the Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-13089-9
  • Soulis, George Christos (1984), The Serbs and Byzantium during the reign of Tsar Stephen Dušan (1331–1355) and his successors, Dumbarton Oaks, ISBN 0-88402-137-8
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Thomas Preljubović
Ruler of Epirus
December 23, 1384 – February 1385
Succeeded by
Esau de' Buondelmonti