Agnes of Courtenay (1136–1186)

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Agnes of Courtenay (1136–1186)

Syrian-Frank royal who held sway in the Frankish principality of Jerusalem. Born in 1136; died in 1186; daughter of Joscelin II and Beatrice ; sister of Joscelin III and Sibylla; first wife of Amalric I, king of Jerusalem (r. 1162–1174); married Hugh of Ramleh also known as Hugh of Ibelin (died 1169); married Reginald also known as Reynald of Sidon, lord of Sidon; children: (first marriage) Baldwin IV, king of Jerusalem (r. 1174–1183) and Sibylla (1160–1190). Amalric's second wife was Maria Comnena .

Agnes of Courtenay was a dynamic politician who greatly influenced events in the Frankish principality of Jerusalem. She was born a princess in Edessa when the Holy Land was controlled by the Christian knights who had remained to build their fortunes after the successful First Crusade. Married as a young girl to a crusader knight who died soon after the wedding, Agnes moved to Jerusalem in 1149 at age 13. There, in 1157, she was married again, this time to Prince Amalric of Jerusalem. The prince and princess had one son, Baldwin, and a daughter Sibylla ; however, their marriage was annulled on grounds of consanguinity soon after Amalric assumed the throne in 1163.

Beatrice (fl. c. 1100s)

Countess of Edessa . Married Joscelin II, count of Edessa; children: Joscelin III; Sibylla; Agnes of Courtenay (1136–1186).

Undaunted, Agnes married twice more, first to Hugh of Ramleh, then to Reynald of Sidon upon Hugh's death in 1169. Upon Reynald's death, Agnes began to regain power as the mother of Baldwin IV, who had succeeded to his father's throne despite his parents' annulment. Agnes became a major participant in the politics of the royal court, arranging, among other accomplishments, her daughter's marriages and securing the loyalty of Jerusalem's nobles and churchmen to her son. When Baldwin's leprosy incapacitated him, she became ruler of Jerusalem in practice if not in name. Finally, Agnes arranged the coronation of her grandson as Baldwin V before her son's death in 1185, thus ensuring a peaceful succession. She died the following year at age 50.

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Agnes of Courtenay (1136–1186)

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