Alice of Antioch

Map of Antioch c. 1135. Image Credit: WikiCommons

By Gabby Storey

Alice of Antioch was born in 1110 to Baldwin II, king of Jerusalem, and Morphia of Melitene. Alice had three sisters and was closely tied to the ruling families of the neighbouring crusader states.

After Antioch’s defeat at the Battle of Ager Sanguinis in 1119, Baldwin became regent for Antioch. In 1126 Bohemund II, son of Bohemond I, arrived in Antioch to claim his inheritance of the principality, and married Alice shortly thereafter.

It is plausible the marriage negotiations were part of the arrangement prior to Bohemond’s arrival. Alice and Bohemond had a daughter, Constance, in 1128. Bohemond was killed in battle in 1130, at which point Alice fought with Baldwin to have control of the regency of Antioch.

Though they reconciled, Alice was expelled by Baldwin and maintained control only over her dower grants, Latakia and Jabala. When Baldwin died in 1131, Alice again sought the regency but was opposed by the Antiochene nobility and her brother-in-law Fulk, king of Jerusalem.

Fulk placed the regency of Antioch under the control of Renaud Masoir. Alice remained in Latakia where she grew her power base and exercised control of the area. However, Alice was not quelled by these curbs on her ambitions and again sought the regency in 1135 when negotiating for a husband for Constance.

However, the nobility and Fulk had already chosen Raymond of Poitiers as a husband for Constance. Alice was humiliated and left Antioch, and thereafter disappears from the historical record.

Recommended Reading

Alan V. Murray, “Constance, Princess of Antioch (1130-1164): Ancestry, Marriages and Family,” Anglo-Norman Studies 38 (2016): 81-96

Andrew Buck, The Principality of Antioch and its Frontiers in the Twelfth Century (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2017)

Andrew Buck, “Women in the Principality of Antioch: Power, Status, and Social Agency,” Haskins Society Journal 31 (2020): 95–132

Natasha Hodgson, Women, Crusading and the Holy Land in Historical Narrative (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2007)

Taef El-Azhari, Queens, Eunuchs and Concubines in Islamic History, 661–1257 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019)

Thomas Asbridge, “Alice of Antioch: A Case Study of Female Power in the Twelfth Century,” in The Experience of Crusading: Defining the Crusader Kingdoms, eds. Peter Edbury and Jonathan Phillips, 29-47 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)

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