Maria Paleologina (fl. 1278–1279)

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Maria Paleologina (fl. 1278–1279)

Tsarina of Bulgaria . Name variations: Maria Palaeologina. Flourished around 1278 and 1279; daughter of Eulogia Paleologina; niece of Michael VIII Paleologus, emperor of Byzantium (r. 1261–1282); became second wife of Constantine Tich, tsar of Bulgaria (r. 1257–1277), around 1271; married Ivajlo, tsar of Bulgaria (r. 1278–1279), around 1277.

Following the death of his first wife Irene Lascaris , Tsar Constantine Tich of Bulgaria married Maria Paleologina, daughter of Eulogia Paleologina and niece of Michael VIII Paleologus, emperor of Byzantium. Tensions between Bulgaria and Byzantium seemed to ease, until Michael refused to surrender the seaports of Anchialus and Mesembria, the promised dowry, and war broke out in 1272. When the Bulgarians invaded Byzantium, however, they were turned back by the Tartars, allies of Michael.

When Michael demanded that the Byzantine church unite with Rome, a storm swept the nation and beyond. Eulogia, Michael's favorite sister, opposed the union, and teamed up with her daughter Maria, now the tsarina of Bulgaria, turning the Bulgarian court, writes George Ostrogorsky, "into a nest of anti-imperial intrigue." When Constantine Tich was murdered in 1277, Maria married Ivajlo who was proclaimed tsar in 1278. In 1279, he was deposed, and the Byzantines placed Ivan Asen III on the throne of Bulgaria.


Ostrogorsky, George. History of the Byzantine State. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1969.

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