Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Isabella of Ibelin

Isabella of Ibelin
Lady of Beirut & Queen of Cyprus (d.1282)

Isabella was the eldest daughter of John II of Ibelin, Lord of Beirut (dc.1273) and Alice de la Roche of Athens. She had been previously married as a child to the child-King of Cyprus, Hugh II. The marraige was not consummated.

Following the death of her husband Hugh (Dec. 1267), Hugh III of Cyprus hoped to use her as an eligible heiress to attract some distinguished King to the East. Although a virgin-widow, her virginity of short duration, and she became notorious for her lack of chastity. Isabella undertook a brief liaison with Julian of Sidon.

A papal bull was issued urging her to marry. As an act of defiance, Isabella gave herself and her lordship to an Englishman Hamo L'Estrange (or the Foreigner), a companion of Prince Edward of England (1272). On Hamo's death (1273), she put herself and her fief under the protection of Bairbars.

Hugh of Cyprus tried to carry her off. Isabella returned to Beirut, but this time with a Mameluke guard installed to protect her. On the death of Bairbars, Hugh resumed control of the fief. Isabella married twice more (3. Nicholas L'Aleman, and 4. William Barlais) before her death (1282). Beirut the passed to her sister Eschiva, wife of Humphrey of Montfort (d.1283).

~~~ Melisende (first pub: 1988 - Women of History)

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