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Andronikos I Komnenos (b. 1118, d. 12 Sep 1185)Andronikos I Komnenos was born 1118, and died 12 Sep 1185.He married Theodora Komnene, daughter of Isaac Komnenos and Eirene Synadene.
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Andronikos I Komnenos
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Billon trachy (a cup-shaped coin) of Andronikos I Komnenos (1183-1185)Andronikos I Komnenos or Andronicus I Comnenus (Greek: ??d??????? ?’ ??µ?????, Andronikos I Komnenos) (c. 1118 - September 12, 1185) was a Byzantine emperor (r. 1183-1185), son of prince Isaac Komnenos and Kata of Georgia. His paternal grandparents were Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and Eirene Doukaina. His maternal grandparents were King David IV of Georgia and Rusudan of Armenia.
Andronikos Komnenos was born early in the 12th century, around 1118. He was endowed by nature with the most remarkable gifts both of mind and body: he was handsome and eloquent, but licentious; and, at the same time, active, hardy, courageous, a great general and an able politician.
Andronikos' early years were spent in alternate pleasure and military service. In 1141 he was taken captive by the Seljuk Turks and remained in their hands for a year. On being ransomed he went to Constantinople, where was held the court of his cousin, the Emperor Manuel I Komnenos, with whom he was a great favourite. Here the charms of his niece, the princess Eudoxia, attracted him. She became his mistress, while her sister Theodora stood in a similar relation to the emperor Manuel I.
In 1152, accompanied by Eudoxia, he set out for an important command in Cilicia. Failing in his principal enterprise, an attack upon Mopsuestia, he returned, but was again appointed to the command of a province. This second post he seems also to have left after a short interval, for he appeared again in Constantinople, and narrowly escaped death at the hands of the brothers of Eudoxia.
About this time (1153) a conspiracy against the emperor, in which Andronikos participated, was discovered and he was thrown into prison. There he remained for about twelve years, during which time he made repeated but unsuccessful attempts to escape.
At last, in 1165, he was successful in escaping. After passing through many dangers, reached the court of Yaroslav II, grand prince of Ruthenia, at Kiev. While under the protection of the grand prince, Andronicus brought about an alliance between him and the emperor Manuel I, and so restored himself to the emperor's favour. With a Russian army he joined Manuel in the invasion of Hungary and assisted at the siege of Semlin.
After a successful campaign Manuel I and Andronikos returned together to Constantinople (1168); but a year later, Andronikos refused to take the oath of allegiance to the future king Béla III of Hungary, whom Manuel desired to become his successor. He was removed from court, but received the province of Cilicia.
Being still under the displeasure of the emperor, Andronikos fled to the court of Raymond, prince of Antioch. While residing here he captivated and seduced the beautiful daughter of the prince, Philippa, sister of the empress Maria. The anger of the emperor was again roused by this dishonour, and Andronikos was compelled to flee.
He took refuge with King Amalric I of Jerusalem, whose favour he gained, and who invested him with the Lordship of Beirut. In Jerusalem he saw Theodora Komnene, the beautiful widow of the late King Baldwin III and niece of the emperor Manuel. Although Andronikos was at that time fifty-six years old, age had not diminished his charms, and Theodora became the next victim of his artful seduction.
To avoid the vengeance of the Emperor, she fled with Andronikos to the court of Nur al-Din, the Sultan of Damascus; but not deeming themselves safe there, they continued their perilous journey through Persia and Turkestan, round the Caspian Sea and across the Caucasus, until at length they settled in the ancestral lands of the Komnenoi at Oinaion, on the shores of the Black Sea, between Trebizond and Sinope.
While Andronikos was on one of his incursions, his castle was surprised by the governor of Trebizond, and Theodora and her two children were captured and sent to Constantinople. To obtain their release Andronikos in early 1180 made abject submission to the Emperor and, appearing in chains before him, implored pardon. This he obtained, and was allowed to retire with Theodora into banishment at Oinaion.
In 1180 the emperor Manuel died, and was succeeded by his young son Alexios II Komnenos, who was under the guardianship of the empress Maria. Her conduct excited popular indignation, and the consequent disorders, amounting almost to civil war, gave an opportunity to the ambition of Andronikos. He left his retirement in 1182, and marched on Constantinople with an army that (according to non-Byzantine sources) included Muslim contingents. His arrival was soon followed by a massacre of the Latin inhabitants, which was focused on the Venetian merchants who virtually controlled the economy of the city. He was believed to have arranged the poisoning of Alexios II's elder sister Maria the Porphyrogenita and her husband Renier of Montferrat, although Maria herself had encouraged him to intervene. The poisoner was said to be the eunuch Pterygeonites. Soon afterwards he had the empress Maria imprisoned and then killed, by Pterygeonites and the hetaireiarches Constantine Tripsychos. Alexios II was compelled to acknowledge Andronikos as colleague in the empire, but was then put to death; the killing was carried out by Tripsychos, Theodore Dadibrenos and Stephen Hagiochristophorites.
Andronikos, now (1183) sole emperor, married Agnes of France, a child twelve years of age, formerly betrothed to Alexios II. Agnes was a daughter of King Louis VII of France and his third wife Adèle of Champagne. By November 1183, Andronikos associated his younger legitimate son John Komnenos on the throne.
His short reign was characterized by strong and wise measures. He resolved to suppress many abuses, but, above all things, to check feudalism and limit the power of the nobles. The people, who felt the severity of his laws, at the same time acknowledged their justice, and found themselves protected from the rapacity of their superiors. The aristocrats, however, were infuriated against him. There were several revolts, leading to an invasion by King William II of Sicily. This monarch landed in Epirus with a strong force, and marched as far as Thessalonica, which he took and destroyed. The invaders were finally driven out in 1186.
Andronikos seems then to have resolved to exterminate the aristocracy, and his plans were nearly crowned with success. But on September 11, 1185, during his absence from the capital, Stephen Hagiochristophorites moved to arrest Isaac Angelos, whose loyalty was suspect. Isaac killed Hagiochristophorites and took refuge in the church of Hagia Sophia. He appealed to the populace, and a tumult arose which spread rapidly over the whole city.
When Andronikos arrived he found that his authority was overthrown: Isaac had been proclaimed emperor. The deposed Emperor attempted to escape in a boat with his wife Agnes and his mistress, but was captured. Isaac handed him over to the City mob and for three days he was exposed to their fury and resentment. His right hand was cut off, his teeth and hair were pulled out, one of his eyes was gouged out, and, among many other sufferings, boiling water was thrown in his face. At last, led to the Hippodrome of Constantinople, he was hung up by the feet between two pillars, and two Latin soldiers competed as to whose sword would penetrate his body more deeply. He died on September 12, 1185. At the news of the emperor's death, his son and co-emperor John was murdered by his own troops in Thrace.
Andronikos I was the last of the Komnenoi to rule Constantinople, although his grandsons Alexios and David founded the Empire of Trebizond in 1204. Their branch of the dynasty was known as the "Great Komnenoi" (Megaskomnenoi).
Andronikos I Komnenos was married twice and had numerous mistresses. By his first wife, whose name is not known, he had three children:
Manuel Komnenos (born 1145), who married Rusudan of Georgia and was the father of Emperor Alexios I and David Komnenos
John Komnenos (apparently born 1159 or 1160), who was co-emperor with his father from 1183 to 1185 and was killed in that year
By his mistress Theodora Komnene, Andronikos I had the following issue:
Eirene Komnene, who married Alexios Komnenos, a son of Emperor Manuel I Komnenos by Theodora Batatzina
Portrayal in Fiction
Andronicus is said to be a character in Michael Arnold's Against the Fall of Night (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975). He is among the main characters of the historical novel Agnes of France (1980) by Greek writer Kostas Kyriazis (1920 - ). The novel describes the events of the reigns of Manuel I, Alexios II and Andronikos I through the eyes of Agnes. The novel ends with the death of Andronicus.
Alexios II Byzantine Emperor
1183–1185 Succeeded by:
^ Ibn Jubayr p. 355 Broadhurst (Turks and Arabs); William of Tyre, Historia Transmarina 22.11 (innumeras Barbararum nationum secum trahens copias); Walter Map, De Nugis Curialium 2.18 (Turks).
^ Niketas Choniates, Histories pp. 260-274 van Dieten.
The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.
K. Varzos, E genealogia ton Komnenon (Thessalonica, 1984) vol. 1 pp. 493-638.
This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
Children of Andronikos I Komnenos and Theodora Komnene are:
- +Alexios I Komnenos, b. 1048, d. 15 Aug 1118.