Robert Sewell   This page was set up by Robert Sewell in March 2006 to show our descent from the Emperors of the Byzantine Empire.  Robert Sewell graduated from McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) in 1967 with a B.Sc. degree in chemistry.  After a year of studies at the University of Toronto's College of Education, he taught high school science in Collingwood, Ontario for a year and then taught chemistry, physics and general science in Hamilton, Ontario for twenty-nine years.  Robert Sewell retired from teaching in June 1998.

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Norman F. Cantor (ed.) The Encyclopædia of the Middle Ages, New York, 1999
Fredrick L. Weis and Walter L. Sheppard:  Ancestral Roots, Baltimore, 1999
Barnes and Judson:  History Atlas of Europe, Macmillan Inc., New York, 1998
Barnes and Judson:  History Atlas of Asia, Macmillan Inc., New York, 1998
Berhard Grun, The Timetables of History, New York, 1991
George Andrews Moriarty: The Plantagenet Ancestry of King Edward III and Queen Philippa,
Mormon Pioneer Genealogical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1985.
David C. Douglas: William the Conqueror, University of California, 1964.
The Book of History (18 Volumes), London, 1914
Periodical Historical Atlas of Europe
Melissa Snell, Mediaeval History Guide,
Women in World History

The Empire of Byzantium

    Byzantium was the name of the ancient Greek port at the Hellespont leading into the Black Sea. In 330 A.D., the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great began transforming it into Constantinople; and it became the capital of the eastern, Greek speaking part of the Roman Empire. Constantine is thought to have chosen Byzantium as the new eastern capital partly because he felt it was best to have a capital closer to the crucial frontiers with Mespotamia and the Balkans, partly because it was on a peninsula and hence relatively easy to defend, and partly because he had converted to Christianity. Many of the old families of Rome continued to worship classical pagan gods.

    During the fifth century A.D., the western or Latin speaking part of the Roman Empire was gradually overrun by Germanic peoples; but Constantinople remained the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire until it finally fell to the Muslims in 1453. The name "Byzantium" stuck, and the eastern empire was known as the Byzantine Empire.

"And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
  To the holy city of Byzantium."
William Butler Yeats:  Sailing to Byzantium

    As was the case with ancient Rome, the Byzantine Empire was ruled by an authoritarian politcal system headed up by an emperor. A dynasty gained control of the throne and ruled by hereditary succession until it was overthrown. Of course, the emperor claimed to have been appointed by God.

    By the year 900 A.D. the Byzantine Empire consisted of most of modern Turkey and Greece as well as parts of what is now the Crimea, Albania and Italy:

Byzantine Empire about 900 A.D.
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Generation One
Eudocia Ingerina
Born circa 840
Died 882/3

    Eudocia was a mistress (a sort of secondary wife) of Michael III, Emperor of Byzantium 842 - 867. She married Michael's successor, Basil I, Emperor of Byzantium 867 - 886.

    Michael III, son of the Emperor Theophilus, was only thirteen years of age when he acceded to the throne in 842. A regency was undertaken by his mother Theodora, his uncle Burdas who was said to be a strong and unscrupulous character, and the Magister Manuel. However, symptoms of madness appeared in the young emperor as he displayed a passion for low company, extravagance, drunkeness and unrestrained lust. Eventually, Michael's ex-groom and friend Basil gained control and became a joint emperor. Basil then put Michael III to death and assumed the role of sole emperor as Basil I.

    Basil was descended from an Armenian family of military colonists. His mother was called Pankalo and was said to be of Slavic ancestry. Basil founded the "Macedonian Dynasty" which lasted for two hundred years.

    Eudocia, mistress of Michael III and wife of Basil I, had a son. It is uncertain whether Michael or Basil was the father of:

References  Weis, Ancestral: 141A-15   The Book of History, Vol. VII, pg. 2942 - 2948

Generation Two
Leo VI "the Wise", Emperor of Byzantium
Born on September 1, 866
Died on May 12, 912
Emperor of Byzantium 886 - 912

    Leo "the Wise" renewed and revived the learning and laws from the past including the Code of Justinian - a codification of Roman Law - dating from the time of Justinian the Great who had ruled the Byzantine Empire over three hundred years earlier, from 527 to 565. Leo also displayed a keen interest in Theology.

    Leo had the following children:

References  Weis, Ancestral: 141A-16   The Book of History, Vol. VII, pg. 2948 - 2951

Generation Three
Anna of Byzantium
Born circa 886 - 888
Died circa 914

    Anna married circa 900 to Louis "the Blind" (circa 883 - 928), King of Provence and Italy. Louis "the Blind" was a great grandson of Lothaire I, King of Italy and Emperor of the West who was in turn a grandson of Charlemagne. Click HERE for this descent.

    Anna and Louis had a son:

References  Weis, Ancestral: 141A-17, 141B, and 140-13, 14, 15. 

Generation Four
Charles Constantine, Count of Vienne
Born circa 900/1
Died circa January 962

    Charles married Teutberg (died circa 960) and they had a daughter:

References  Weis, Ancestral: 141A-18

Generation Five
Constance of Provence
Died circa 961 - 965

    Constance married circa 930 to Boso, Count of Provence at Arles 949, and at Avignon 935, died 965/67, son of Rotbaud I, a Burgundian, Seigneur d'Angel.  Constance and Boso had a son:

References  Weis, Ancestral: 141A-19   Moriarty, pg. 27

Generation Six
William I, Count of Provence
Born in 950
Died circa 993-994

    William married first to Arsenda de Comminges and secondly to Adelaide (or Blanche), a daughter of Fulk II, Count of Anjou.  William and Adelaide had the following children:

References  Weis, Ancestral: 141A-20   Moriarty,  pg. 28

Rotbaud, Count of Provence
Died April 22, 1015

    Rotbaud married Ermengarde and they had a daughter:

References    Moriarty,  pg. 28

Generation Seven
Constance of Provence
Born circa 986
Died on July 25, 1032

    Constance married Robert (II) Capet "the Pious", King of France. Please see Robert (II) Capet "the Pious" for the continuation of this line.

References    Weis, Ancestral, 141A-21, 141-21, 101-21   Moriarty, pg. 28

Emma of Provence

    Emma married circa 990 William III "Taillefer", Count of Toulouse (born circa 947; died in October 1037). Emma and William had a son:

References  Weis, Ancestral: 185-2   Moriarty, pg. 41, 42
Note: Weis states in Line 185-2 that Emma of Provence was a "gt. gr. dau. of Boso II, . . . and his wife, Constance of Provence" and gives as his reference "Moriarty 42, 46". However, on pages 27 and 28 Professor Moriarty shows Emma as a granddaughter of Boso II as shown here.

Generation Eight
Pons III, Count of Toulouse
Born circa 990
Died in 1060

    Pons III married Almode, a daughter of Bernard, Count of La Haute Marche and Périgord. Almode was murdered by her stepson Raimond of Barcelona in 1071.

    Pons and Almode had the following children:

References  Weis, Ancestral: 185-2   Moriarty, pg. 42

Generation Nine
William IV, Count of Toulouse and Duke of Norbonne
Born circa 1040
Died in 1093

    William married Emma of Mortain, a daughter of Robert, Count of Mortain and Earl of Cornwall. Robert of Mortain was a son of Herleva and Herluin, Vicomte of Contreville. Prior to marrying Herluin and while still in her teens, Herleva had been a girlfriend of Robert I, 6th Duke of Normandy; their son was William the Conqueror. Thus, Robert of Mortain was a half brother of William the Conqueror. Robert and his brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux and Earl of Kent appear to have been very close to their half brother William. Both Odo and Robert were most certainly present at the Battle of Hastings.

    William and Emma had a daughter:

References  Weis, Ancestral: 185-1, 185- 2   Moriarty, pg. 42   Douglas, Table 6

Generation Ten
Philippa (Matilda or Maud) of Toulouse
Born circa 1073
Died on November 28, 1117

    Philippa married William VII "the Troubadour" of Poitou (IX of Aquitaine). William was the first known troubadour, or lyric poet, employing the Romance vernacular called Provencal.

William "the Troubadour" was a great X3 grandson of Rolf the Ganger:
William (I) "Tête d' Etoupes", Count of Poitou (born circa 915, died April 3, 963) who married Gerloc or Adela of Normandy (born circa 917, died after January 14, 962), a daughter of Rolf the Ganger, 1st Duke of Normandy. William and Adela had a son:
  • William (II) "Fier de Bras", Count of Poitou (born circa 937, died February 3, 995) who married Emma (born circa 950, died after 1004), a daughter of Theovald (I), Count of Alois. William and Emma had a son:
    • William (III) "the Great", Count of Poitou and Duke of Aquitaine (born circa 990, died a monk on January 31, 1030) who married Agnes (born circa 995, died after November 9, 1068) a daughter of Otto William, Count of Burgundy. William and Agnes had a son:
      • Gui Geoffrey, called William (VI), Count of Poitou (born circa 1024, died on September 25, 1086) who married Hildegarde (died after 1104) a daughter of Robert (I) Duke of Burgundy, the first of the Burgundian Capets, a son of  Robert (II) "the Pious" Capet, King of France. William and Hildegarde had a son:
        • William VII "the Troubadour" of Poitou (IX of Aquitaine) who married Philippa of Toulouse.
References   Moriarty, pg. 24, 27, 35, 36, 40

    Philippa and William had the following children:

References  Weis, Ancestral: 185-3, 110-24    Moriarty, pg. 36, 42 

Generation Eleven
William VIII "the Pious" of Poitou (X of Aquitaine)
Born 1099
Died of food poisoning on April 9, 1137 in Galicia, Spain while on a pilgrimmage to Santiago De Compostela.

    William married in 1121 Eleanor de Châtellárault, daughter of Almeric (Aimery) I, Viscount of Châtellárault. Eleanor was a great granddaughter of Aimery IV, Viscount of Thouars who was most certainly present at the Battle of Hastings.

The descent of Eleanor from Aimery IV can be summarised as follows:
Aimery IV, Viscount of Thouars, died in 1093, who was present at the Battle of Hastings, married Aurengarde de Mauleon and they had a daughter:
  • Eleanor de Thouars who married in 1075 Boso II, Viscount de Châtellárault and they had a son:
    • Aimery I, Viscount de Châtellárault, who died on November 7, 1151 as a monk at Notre Dame de Noyers, married in 1109 to Dangerose, a daughter of Bartholomew de l'Isle Bouchard and his wife Gerberga. Dangerose was later a mistress of William VII of Poitou (IX of Aquitaine), father of William VIII "the Pious" of Poitou (X of Aquitaine). Thus, Dangerose was her daughter's father in law's mistress. (This certainly gets confusing!) Aimery I and Dangerose had a daughter:
      • Eleanor de Châtellárault who married William VIII "the Pious" of Poitou (X of Aquitaine) as shown above.
References  Weis, Ancestral: Line 183   Moriarty, pg. 45, 46

    William VIII "the Pious" of Poitou (X of Aquitaine) and his wife Eleanor de Châtellárault had a daughter:

References  Weis, Ancestral: 110-25    Moriarty, pg. 36

Generation TwelveEleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Born circa 1123
Died on either March 31 or April 1, 1204

    Eleanor was perhaps the most powerful and influential person of her time. As heiress to her father's vast estates of Aquitaine and Poitou, she ruled a domain larger than that of the King of France.  Just after her father's death in April 1137, she married (on July 25, 1137) the son of Louis VI "the Fat" Capet who promptly died on August 1, 1137 leaving the teenaged Louis VII "the Young" Capet (age 17) and Eleanor of Aquitaine (age 15) as King and Queen of France.

    Louis "the Young" and Eleanor went together on the Second Crusade in the late 1140's. It was very unusual for a lady to go on a crusade, but that didn't stop Eleanor. She is rumoured to have engaged in assorted "affairs" with other men including her Uncle Raymond while on the Crusade. The Second Crusade is remembered historically as being a flop, but apparently Eleanor had a jolly time anyway.

    Around this time, Eleanor and Louis had two daughters:

    After the events of the Second Crusade, Louis "the Young" was reputed to have become an old sourpuss. Undoubtedly, Eleanor's conduct during the Crusade didn't help much in this regard. Louis arranged to have the marriage annulled in early 1152. He got custody of the children; but Eleanor kept her vast estates. Louis was apparently disappointed with this settlement as he continued to use the title "Duke of Aquitaine" for a year or so.
English Possessions 1200
English Possessions
circa 1200 A.D.

     Aquitaine is approximately that portion of France shown on this map as "Thouars - Poitou".

     Eleanor of Aquitaine was officially a vassel of the King of France, but this didn't mean much. The part of the "Kingdom of the Franks" controlled by England was larger than the part controlled by the King of France. The combined possessions of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her husband King Henry II Curtmantle (shown here in yellow) were over twice the area controlled by the French. 

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for more great maps

(For more about Aquitaine, visit About: Medieval History)

    Eleanor didn't waste any time in lining up a new husband. On May 18, 1152, she married Henry Curtmantle who had just turned 20 and was to become King Henry II of England two years later. Eleanor was 30 and had a "bad reputation"; but Henry thought he was onto a good thing, so he married Eleanor anyway. The relationship was a bit rough at times. This was due largely to Henry's assorted affairs with other women; the details of which may be perused by clicking HERE.  However, they had eight children including King Richard "the Lionhearted" and King John.

For the continuation of this line, see The Angevin Kings of England.

    During the reign of her son Richard "the Lionhearted", Eleanor played a significant role in holding England together while Richard was crusading. When Richard was captured, Eleanor helped raise the ransom to secure his release. Later, when John was king, Eleanor helped defend his interests as well.

References  Weis, Ancestral: 110-26, 101-24 & 25    Moriarty, pg. 36
For more about Eleanor of Aquitaine, please visit:
About Mediaeval History
Women in World History
Eleanor at Wikipedia

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