chapter  13
15 Pages

Euphrosyne Doukaina (1195-1203)

Euphrosyne was descended from the Caesar John Doukas, brother of Constantine X Doukas and grandfather of the empress Irene Doukaina, probably through Irene's brother Michael whose daughter Irene married the logothete Gregory Kamateros. 1 Significantly Euphrosyne herself used the name Euphrosyne Doukaina, stressing her imperial connections rather than her descent from the bureaucratic Kamateroi. 2 Euphrosyne's father, Andronikos Doukas Kamateros, had been the eparch of Constantinople and megas droungarios (the judge who headed the court of the velum). He held the rank of pansebastos and as a skilled theologian was one of the ministers close to Manuel I Komnenos, assisting in carrying out ecclesiastical policy: one of his duties was the editing of the transcripts of Manuel's theological debates with papal and Armenian emissaries. In 1161 he had been one of the embassy sent to escort Maria of Antioch to Constantinople to marry Manue1. 3 Choniates, who shows some bias against the Kamateroi for reasons which will become obvious, gives a lively picture of Andronikos's brother John Kamateros, Euphrosyne's uncle, who was logothete tou dromou under Manuel I and the emperor Manuel's drinking companion. He describes him as 'of all men the most gluttonous and the hardest drinker': apparently, though this need not be taken literally, Kamateros had a passion for green beans, consuming whole fields, raw when possible, and carrying off what he could not eat.4

Euphrosyne's brother John also served as eparch and was imprisoned for opposing Alexios the protosebastos in 1181; after Andronikos Komnenos's assassination he may have been made logothete tou dromou by Isaac Ie A second brother, Basil Kamateros Doukas, who was logothete tou dromou under Manuel, was blinded for rebelling against Andronikos Komnenos, but returned to office under Alexios III and Euphrosyne, perhaps as the logothete tou genikou.6 Two of the Kamateroi were patriarchs under the Angeloi brothers: Basil II Kamateros between 1183 and 1186 and John X Kamateros, Euphrosyne's second cousin, from 1198 to 1206, while John Kamateros, the epi tou kanikleiou (keeper of the imperial inkstand), became archbishop of Bulgaria.7 Euphrosyne's brother-in-law, Michael Stryphnos, married to her sister Theodora, became megas dux in charge of the fleet. s Clearly Euphrosyne's family deserves the title of 'the most powerful bureaucratic dynasty of the late twelfth century' ,9 a position to which she herself certainly contributed. While the identity of the first wife of Isaac Angelos is unknown, it is perhaps significant that Isaac's and Alexios's mother, Euphrosyne Kastamonitissa, also came from a family of bureaucrats, and that bureaucrats prospered under the Angeloi brothers. 10