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Irene Palaiologina of Thessalonica
Irena
Biographical information
Born

August 16th 1422
Thessalonica, Byzantine Empire

Died

July 26th 1453 (aged 30)
Misinli, Ottoman Empire

Political information
Affiliations

Assassins
Byzantine Empire

Real-world information

Irene Palaiologina of Thessalonica, later known as Irene Notaras (1422 - 1453) was a Byzantine princess and an honorary member of the Assassin Order.

HistoryEdit

Early lifeEdit

Born on August 16th 1422 to Andronikos Palaiologos, the Despot of Thessalonica and the son of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II (as well as the brother of the future Emperors John VIII and Constantine XI) in Thessalonica, Irene's first years were tempestuous, as the Ottomans blockaded Thessalonica while they besieged Constantinople in 1422 and 1423, and her sickly father was eventually forced to give up Thessalonica to the Republic of Venice in 1423 as he was increasingly unable to defend it himself.

While her father retired into life as a monk and eventually died in 1429, Irene was left in the care of the rest of her father's family, and was adopted by her uncle, Constantine, who would later become Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos.

Constantine truly cherished Irene and treated her as if she were his own daughter, and she had a mostly content childhood.

MarriageEdit

In 1440, Constantine's brother, Emperor John VIII married Irene to Loukas Notaras, the new Megas Doux, with whom she fell in love. She gave birth to a son, Constantine, the following year.

She would later, however, discover her husband's ties to the Assassin Order, and though initially reacting with fear, as he explained the purpose and motives of the order to her, she warmed to the concept, eventually becoming an honorary member of the order, as she did not believe she could kill in the name of an ideology, but she believed that the Assassins' ideals could potentially save the Empire.

In 1449, Irene's sister-in-law and stepdaughters from Loukas' previous marriage left Constantinople to seek safety in Venice. Despite encouragement from Loukas to take their son and do the same, Irene refused.

Ottoman InvasionEdit

Eventually, in 1453, the Ottomans attacked Constantinople, and though Irene and her son found safety in the Hagia Sophia with many more of the citizenry, her thoughts were never far from her husband and her surrogate father, both of whom were out fighting.

When the city fell on May 29th, Sultan Mehmet himself entered the Hagia Sophia, and the refugees present were imprisoned, including Irene and Constantine.

Ottoman Imprisonment and deathEdit

In prison, she and Constantine were soon joined by Loukas, who informed her of her uncle Constantine XI's death in battle.

In the coming days, the three were ultimately freed, after Loukas surrendered most of his family's fortune to the Ottomans. However, due to Templar influence in the Ottoman court, on June 3rd, an attempt was made to arrest Irene and her family once more. The family tried to escape the city that night, planning to flee down the old Via Egnatia towards Thessalonica to rejoin the Assassins who had relocated to the Despotate of Morea.

However, they were pursued by Ottoman guards, and Loukas and Irene were arrested before reaching Silivri on June 4th. Their son Constantine, however, managed to evade capture by hiding in a nearby ditch. Upon arrest, Irene and Loukas were separated for the last time. Seeing no use for her, the Ottoman Templars sold Irene into slavery, and she died on the way to Edirne a month later.

LegacyEdit

Years later, in 1457, Constantine, now an Assassin in training, returned to Constantinople to find out what happened to his parents. He quickly discovered that the Templars had tortured his father in an attempt to find Constantine. When Loukas did not break, they simply executed him. Eventually, he also learned of his mother's fate.

TriviaEdit

  • Irene means "peace", referencing Irene's pacifistic membership of the Assassin Order
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