1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Peter of Courtenay

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PETER OF COURTENAY (d. 1219), emperor of Romania (or Constantinople), was a son of Peter of Courtenay (d. 1183), and a grandson of the French king, Louis VI. Having, by a first marriage, obtained the counties of Nevers and Auxerre, he took for his second wife, Yolande (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 the 9th of April 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, Yolande, who had succeeded in reaching Constantinople. Two of his sons, Robert and Baldwin, became in turn emperors of Constantinople.