Agnes of Antioch

Agnes of Antioch (1154 – c. 1184) was a Queen of Hungary from 1172 until 1184 as the first wife of Béla III.

Agnes of Antioch
Queen consort of Hungary[1][2]
Tenure4 March 1172 – c. 1184
Coronation13 January 1173
Bornc. 1154
Diedc. 1184
SpouseBéla III, King of Hungary
IssueEmeric, King of Hungary
Byzantine Empress Margaret
Andrew II, King of Hungary
Constance, Queen of Bohemia
HouseHouse of Châtillon
House of Árpád
FatherRaynald of Châtillon
MotherConstance, Princess of Antioch
ReligionRoman Catholic

The accidental discovery of her intact tomb during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 has provided an opportunity for patriotic demonstrations. She was the only 12th-century Hungarian queen whose remains were studied by scientists, and her appearance was reconstructed.


She was the daughter of Raynald of Châtillon,[3] and Constance, Princess of Antioch.[4]

The exact date of her birth is uncertain. It is assumed that she was born soon after the secret marriage of her parents, which took place before May 1153. The most common belief in historiography was that Agnes was born in 1154.[5] At the baptism she probably received the name of Agnes.[6]

In Constantinople. Marriage

Her father was captured by the Muslims in November 1160 and was confined in Aleppo for the next fifteen years. Princess Constance died ca. 1163/67, and around 1170 Agnes went to Constantinople, where her older half-sister Maria had been living as the wife of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus.[7] On the Emperor's request, Agnes was married to Caesar Alexios (born prince Béla of Hungary), who had been engaged to the Emperor's daughter, Maria Comnena until the birth of Manuel's son, Alexios in 1166. The wedding date of Agnes and Alexios is unknown; is believed that may have occurred about 1168[8] and no later than 1172.[9] In historiography, there are two precises dated for the wedding: September 1169[10] and March 1171.[11]

She received the name Anna in the imperial court. In the Hungarians documents she always appeared with her new name,[12] probably because Agnes was rare at that time.

Queen of Hungary

The new couple went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem where they made a donation for the Knights Hospitaller. In the summer, after the death of King Stephen III of Hungary (4 March 1172), her husband ascended the throne as King Béla III, and they moved to Hungary. Anna was crowned queen alongside her husband at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Stephen in Székesfehérvár on 13 January 1173.[13]

The spread of French cultural patterns in the Kingdom of Hungary is attributed to Anna/Agnes.[14]

The Queen's activities were also connected with the presence in Hungary of the first Cistercian monks, who came from Burgundy. Anna could keep in touch with Burgundian Cistercians through ancestral linkages. The first Cistercian monastery in Hungary, founded in 1182, was in fact closely associated with three Cistercian abbeys located near Pontigny and the surrounding estates belonged to the Donzy family, from which Anna descended.[15]


During her marriage, Anna gave birth to at least six[16] children:

Anna was the ancestress of all subsequent Kings of Hungary, as well as the Hungarian princesses, and by marriage of the Piast Duchesses St. Kinga and Bl. Jolenta of Poland. In addition, from her descended the Kings of Bohemia from the Přemyslid, Luxembourg, Habsburg, Jagiellon and Vasa families.[18]


Anna's death date was not recorded in any contemporary source, but it is assumed that she died in the year 1184,[19] although it is possible she died a little earlier than that.[20]


Anna was buried at Cathedral Basilica of Saint Stephen in Székesfehérvár. Her remains were confidently identified by archeologists during late 19th century excavations at the ruined cathedral of Székesfehérvár. Her remains were afterwards reinterred at the Mathias Church in Budapest, with those of her husband.


  1. "Bela III | biography - king of Hungary |". Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  2. Busk, W. (1855). Mediæval popes, emperors, kings, and crusaders: or, Germany, Italy and Palestine, from A. D. 1125 to 1268. Hookham & sons. p. 157. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  3. Bernard Hamilton, The Leper King and His Heirs: Baldwin IV and the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, (Cambridge University Press, 2000), 104-105.
  4. Guida Myrl Jackson-Laufer, Women Rulers Throughout the Ages: An Illustrated Guide, (ABC-CLIO, 1999), 104.
  5. M. Wertner: Az Árpádok családi története, Nagy-Becskerek 1892, p. 359; History of Hungary, ed. E. Pamlenyi, London 1975, p. 60, 608; J. Louda, M. MacLagan: Lines of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe, ed. II, London 1999, table 89.
  6. Chronicler Alberic of Trois-Fontaines named Agnes one of the three daughters born from Constance and Raynald who was also the wife of the King of Hungary Béla (Chronica Albrici Monachi Trium Fontium [in:] Monumenta Germaniae Historica, XXIII, Hannover 1874, pp. 849–850). By contrast, in a fragmentary manuscript preserved from Lignages d'Outre-Mer and stored in the Vatican Library (Vaticanus Latinus 7806, Il parentado de Beimonte principe 9, fol. 172), are mentioned only two daughters from Constance and Raynald, who are named Joanna and Maria.
  7. S. Runciman: A History of the Crusades, t. II, Harmandsworth 1978, p. 365.
  8. W. Dworzaczek: Genealogia, Warsaw 1959, table 84.
  9. V. ö. Városy: Antiochiai Anna királyné, "Századok. A Magyar Történelmi Társulat Közlönye", 1886, p. 866.
  10. P. Gautier: Les lettres de Grégoire, higoumène d'Oxia, "Revue des études byzantines", 31–32, 1973, p. 206: After the birth of the heir to Byzantine throne, the Emperor broke off the engagement between his daughter Maria and Caesar Alexios (later Bela III) and as a compensation he was married with the sister of Empress Maria of Antioch.
  11. L. Garland, A. Stone: Maria Porphyrogenita, daughter of Manuel I Comnenus [in:] De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and Their Families 2006 [retrieved 30 March 2015]: Agnes was visiting Constantinople with her brother Bohemond III of Antioch when she was engaged.
  12. M. Wertner: Az Árpádok családi története, Nagybecskerek 1892, p. 358.
  13. A magyar királyok koronázótemploma in: Archived September 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine [retrieved 30 March 2015].
  14. G. Lukács: La Hongrie et la civilisation, Paris 1929, p. 361; A. Echols, M. Williams: An annotated index of medieval women, New York-Oxford 1992, p. 53; G. Moravcsik: Byzantium and the Magyars, Budapest–Amsterdam 1970, p. 129; G. Klaniczay: The chaste prince and the athleta patriae [in:] G. Klaniczay: Holy Rulers and Blessed Princesses. Dynastic Cults in Medieval Central Europe, Budapest 2002, p. 184. In many publications emphasizes, however, that Béla III followed the Western European model after his life at the Byzantine court of Manuel I.
  15. M. M. de Cevins: Les implantations cisterciennes en Hongrie médiévale [in:] Unanimité et diversité cisterciennes, ed. Nicole Bouter, Saint-Étienne 2000, pp. 458–459; F. L. Hervay, Ciszterciek [in:] G. Kristo (ed.): Korai magyar térténeti lexikon, Budapest 1994, p. 473, 479-480.
  16. Ildikó Hankó: Királyaink tömegsírban, 2004, attributed a seventh child to Anna, an unnamed daughter. K. Éry, A.Marcsik, J. Nemeskéri, F. Szalai: Embertani vizsgálatok III. Béla és Antiochiai Anna földi maradványán [in:] 150 éve történt? III. Béla és Antiochiai Anna sírjának fellelése, Székesfehérvár 1999, p. 11.
  17. W. Dworzaczek, Genealogia, Warsaw 1959, table 84.
  18. D. Piwowarczyk: Słynni rycerze Europy. Rycerze Chrystusa, Warsaw 2007, p. 309.
  19. W. Dworzaczek: Genealogia, Warszawa 1959, table 84; A. Echols, M. Williams: An annotated index of medieval women, New York-Oxford 1992, p. 53.
  20. M. Wertner: Az Árpádok családi története, Nagy-Becskerek 1892, p. 356; Ildikó Hankó: Királyaink tömegsírban, 2004 - year 1183.


  • Korai Magyar Történeti Lexikon (9-14. század), főszerkesztő: Kristó Gyula, szerkesztők: Engel Pál és Makk Ferenc (Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1994)
Royal titles
Preceded by
Maria Komnene
Queen consort of Hungary
1172 – c. 1184
Succeeded by
Margaret of France
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