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Peter of Courtenay

Peter of Courtenay (d. 1219) was emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople) from 1216-1217.

He was a son of Peter of Courtenay (d. 1183), a younger son of Louis VI of France. His mother was Elizabeth of Courtenay.

Peter first married Agnes of Nevers, via whom he obtained the 3 counties of Nevers, Auxerre, and Tonerre. He took for his second wife, Yolanda (d. 1219), a sister of Baldwin and Henry of Flanders, who were afterwards the first and second emperors of the Latin Empire of Constantinople. Peter accompanied his cousin, King Philip Augustus, on the crusade of 1190, fought against the Albigenses, and was present at the Battle of Bouvines in 1214.

When his brother-in-law, the emperor Henry, died without sons in 1216, Peter was chosen as his successor, and with a small army set out from France to take possession of his throne. Consecrated emperor at Rome, in a church outside the walls, by Pope Honorius III on April 9, 1217, he borrowed some ships from the Venetians, promising in return to conquer Durazzo for them; but he failed in this enterprise, and sought to make his way to Constantinople by land. On the journey he was seized by the despot of Epirus, Theodore Angelus, and, after an imprisonment of two years, died, probably by foul means. Peter thus never governed his empire, which, however, was ruled for a time by his wife, Yolanda, who had succeeded in reaching Constantinople. Two of his sons, Robert and Baldwin, in turn held the throne of the Latin Empire.

By his first wife Agnes of Nevers he had one child, Maud (d. 1254), countess of Nevers, Auxerre and Tonerre. For his children by his second wife Yolanda, see her article.

Preceded by:
Henry of Flanders
Latin Empire Followed by:

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica. Please update as needed.