Notes for King Jean de Brienne: John of Brienne (c. 1170 – 27 March 1237) was a French nobleman who became John I King of Jerusalem by marriage, and was later invited to become John I Latin Emperor of Constantinople.
He was the second son of Erard II, count of Brienne, in Champagne, and of Agnes de Montfaucon. Destined originally for the Church, he had preferred to become a knight, and in forty years of tournaments and fights he had won himself a considerable reputation, when in 1208 envoys came from the Holy Land to ask Philip Augustus, king of France, to select one of his barons as husband to the heiress and ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Philip selected John of Brienne, and promised to support him in his new dignity. In 1210, John married the heiress (Mary) Maria (daughter of Isabella and Conrad of Montferrat), assuming the title of king in right of his wife. In 1211, after some desultory operations, he concluded a five years' truce with Malik-el-Adil; in 1212 he lost his wife, who left him a daughter, Yolande (also known as Isabella); soon afterwards he married the princess Stephanie, daughter of Leo II of Armenia.
During the Fifth Crusade (1218–1221) he was a prominent figure. The legate Pelagius of Albano, however, claimed the command; and insisting on the advance from Damietta, in spite of John's warnings, he refused to accept the favourable terms of the sultan, as the king advised, until it was too late. After the failure of the crusade, King John came to the West to obtain help for his kingdom. In 1223 he met Pope Honorius III and the emperor Frederick II at Ferentino, where, in order that he might be connected more closely with the Holy Land, Frederick was betrothed to John's daughter Isabella, now heiress of the kingdom. After the meeting at Ferentino, John went to France and England, finding little consolation; and thence he travelled to Santiago de Compostela, where King Alfonso IX of Leon offered him the hand of one of his daughters and the promise of his kingdom. John passed over Alfonso's eldest daughter and heiress in favor of a younger daughter, Berenguela of Leon. After a visit to Germany he returned to Rome (1225). Here he received a demand from Frederick II (who had now married Isabella) that he should abandon his title and dignity of king, which, so Frederick claimed, had passed to himself along with the heiress of the kingdom. John, though fifty or fifty-five years of age, was still vigorous enough to revenge himself on Frederick, by commanding the papal troops which attacked southern Italy during the emperor's absence on the Sixth Crusade (1228–1229).
In 1229, John was invited by the barons of the Latin Empire of Constantinople to become emperor-regent, on condition that Baldwin of Courtenay should marry his second daughter and succeed him. For nine years he ruled in Constantinople, and in 1235, with a few troops, he repelled a great siege of the city by John III Doukas Vatatzes, emperor of Nicaea, and Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria, killing around 10,000 of the enemy single-handedly at the age of eighty.
After this last feat of arms, which has perhaps been exaggerated by the Latin chroniclers, who compare him to Hector, Roland and the Maccabees, John died in the habit of a Franciscan friar. An aged paladin, somewhat uxorious and always penniless, he was a typical knight errant, whose wanderings led him all over Europe, and planted him successively on the thrones of Jerusalem and Constantinople.
Marriages and issue John of Brienne married three times. By his first wife, Marie of Montferrat, he had one child, Yolande, later Queen of Jerusalem. He had also one child by his second wife, Stephanie of Armenia, a son named as successor in Armenia, but died in childhood. By his third wife, Berenguela of Leon, he had four children:
Marie of Brienne (1225–1275), who married Emperor Baldwin II of Constantinople. Alphonso of Brienne (c. 1228–1270), who married Marie d'Issoudon, countess of Eu, and became count of Eu in right of his wife, and was also Great Chamberlain of France. Jean (John) de Brienne (c. 1230–1296), who in 1258 became Grand Butler of France. Married as his first wife, Jeanne, daughter of Geoffrey VI, Viscount of Chateaudun, and as his second wife, Marie de Coucy, widow of King Alexander II of Scotland. Had one daughter, Blanche by his first marriage. Louis of Acre (c. 1235–1263), who married Agnes of Beaumont and became Viscount of Beaumont in her right. His children included Henry de Beaumont, Earl of Buchan, an ancestor of England's Royal House of Lancaster.
------------------ One of the most heroic and valiant of kings of the Fifth Crusade. JOHN OF BRIENNE, French JEAN DE BRIENNE (b. c. 1148--d. March 1237, Constantinople), count of Brienne who became titular king of Jerusalem (1210-29) and Latin emperor of Constantinople (1231-37). A penniless younger son of the French count Erard II of Brienne and Agnes of Montbéliard, John passed most of his life as a minor noble until befriended by King Philip II Augustus of France, who arranged for him to marry Mary (Marie) of Montferrat, queen of the crusader state of Jerusalem, in 1210. John reached the Palestinian town of Acre on Sept. 13, 1210, married Mary the following day, and was crowned at Tyre on October 3. Mary died in 1212, and John was named regent for their infant daughter, Yolande de Brienne, who inherited the crown as Isabella II. In 1214 John married Princess Stephanie of Armenia, daughter of the Armenian king Leo II, and later had a son by her.
As regent, John arranged a five-year truce with al-Malik al-'Adil, sultan of Egypt and Syria, in July 1212, and during the truce he persuaded Pope Innocent III to launch the Fifth Crusade in support of his daughter's kingdom. In 1218 he joined the crusading force from the West in an expedition against the Egyptian port of Damietta. After quarrelling with the crusade leader, the cardinal legate Pelagius, John left Egypt in February 1220, returning in July 1221 to witness the humiliating defeat of the crusaders and the abandonment of the siege of Damietta.
Stephanie died in 1219; John then married Berengaria, daughter of Ferdinand III of Castile, and in 1225 gave his daughter Isabella in marriage to the Holy Roman emperor Frederick II, trying to retain his rights as regent of the kingdom of Jerusalem. Immediately following the marriage, however, Frederick began to contest these rights.
In 1228 John was invited to Constantinople to be regent and co-emperor with the young Baldwin II and arranged a match between Baldwin and his four-year-old daughter by Berengaria. Crowned in 1231, John helped fend off attacks by the Bulgarian tsar Ivan Asen II and the Nicaean emperor John III Vatatzes, but shortly before his death he was forced to appeal to the West for help.
More About King Jean de Brienne: Occupation: 1228, Co-Emperor of Romania with Baldwin II.
More About King Jean de Brienne and Maria de Montferrat: Marriage: 14 Sep 1210, Acre, Palastine.
Children of King Jean de Brienne and Princess Berenguela de Leon are: