Bertha-Irene of Sulzbach (d. 1161)

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Bertha-Irene of Sulzbach (d. 1161)

Byzantine queen. Name variations: Bertha of Sulzbach; Irene of Sulzbach. Born Bertha of Sulzbach; birth date unknown; died in 1161; daughter of Berengar II, count of Sulzbach; sister ofGertrude of Sulzbach (d. 1146); sister-in-law of Conrad III (1093–1152), Holy Roman emperor (r. 1138–1152); became first wife of Manuel I Comnenus, emperor of Byzantium (r. 1143–1180), in 1146; children: two daughters.

Bertha-Irene of Sulzbach was the daughter of the count of Sulzbach, and sister-in-law of the Holy Roman emperor Conrad III, who arranged her betrothal to Manuel Comnenus, emperor of Byzantium. The marriage was celebrated at Constantinople in 1146. The new empress, who changed her christened name of Bertha to Irene, a name more familiar to the Greeks, became a devoted wife, and by the simplicity of her manner contrasted favorably with most Byzantine queens of the age. Manuel, however, cared little for his first wife, who gave him two daughters, and he had numerous affairs. After Bertha-Irene's death in 1161, he married Marie of Antioch (fl. 1180–1183), who mothered his only legitimate son Alexius II Comnenus (1168?–1183), emperor of Byzantium.

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Bertha-Irene of Sulzbach (d. 1161)

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