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Encyclopedia > Andronikos I Komnenos
Billon trachy (a cup-shaped coin) of Andronikos I Komnenos (1183-1185)
Billon trachy (a cup-shaped coin) of Andronikos I Komnenos (1183-1185)

Andronikos I Komnenos or Andronicus I Comnenus (Greek: Ανδρόνικος Α’ Κομνηνός, Andronikos I Komnēnos) (c. 1118September 12, 1185) was a Byzantine emperor (r. 1183-1185), son of prince Isaac Komnenos. His paternal grandparents were Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and Eirene Doukaina. Under Andronicus I, Constantinople's population was about 300,000 people. Byzantine billon trachy (a cup-shaped coin) of Andronicus 1183-1185 AD File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Events Knights Templar founded Baldwin of Le Bourg succeeds his cousin Baldwin I as king of Jerusalem John II Comnenus succeeds Alexius I as Byzantine emperor Gelasius II succeeds Paschal II as pope Births November 28 - Manuel I Comnenus, Byzantine Emperor (died 1180) Andronicus I Comnenus, Byzantine Emperor (died 1185... is the 255th day of the year (256th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events April 25 - Genpei War - Naval battle of Dan-no-ura leads to Minamoto victory in Japan Templars settle in London and begin the building of New Temple Church End of the Heian Period and beginning of the Kamakura period in Japan. ... This is a list of Byzantine Emperors. ... Isaakios Comnenus (after 16 January 1093 – after 1152) was the third son of Alexius I Comnenus and Irene Ducaena. ... Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus Alexius I (1048–August 15, 1118), Byzantine emperor (1081–1118), was the third son of John Comnenus, the nephew of Isaac I Comnenus (emperor 1057–1059). ... Irene Ducaena (1066 – February 19, 1133) was the wife of Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus, and the mother of the emperor John II Comnenus and the historian Anna Comnena. ...



Early years

Andronikos Komnenos was born early in the twelfth 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'. (11th century - 12th century - 13th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 12th century was that century which lasted from 1101 to 1200. ...

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. The Seljuk coat of arms was a double headed eagle The Seljuk Turks (also Seldjuk, Seldjuq, Seljuq; in modern Turkish Selçuklular; in Persian سلجوقيان Saljūqiyān; in Arabic سلجوق Saljūq, or السلاجقة al-Salājiqa) were a major branch of the Oghuz Turks and a dynasty that ruled parts of... This article is about the city before the Fall of Constantinople (1453). ... Manuel I Comnenus (Greek: Μανουήλ Α ο Κομνηνός; November 28, 1118 – September 24, 1180), was a Byzantine Emperor of the 12th century who reigned over a crucial turning point in the history of Byzantium and the Mediterranean. ...

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. Cilicia as Roman province, 120 AD In Antiquity, Cilicia (Κιλικία) was the name of a region, now known as Çukurova, and often a political unit, on the southeastern coast of Asia Minor (modern Turkey), north of Cyprus. ... Mopsuestia is an ancient city of Cilicia. ... This article is about the city before the Fall of Constantinople (1453). ...

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, he reached the court of Prince Yaroslav of Galicia (Ruthenia). While under the protection of the 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. For other uses, see Galicia. ... Ruthenia is a name applied to parts of Eastern Europe which were populated by Eastern Slavic peoples, as well as to various states that existed in this territory in the past. ... Semlin may either be: Zemun, a town in Serbia whose English name is 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. Béla III of Hungary (Hungarian , Slovak: Belo III), born in 1148, was King of Kingdom of Hungary circa 1172-1196. ... Cilicia as Roman province, 120 AD In Antiquity, Cilicia (Κιλικία) was the name of a region, now known as Çukurova, and often a political unit, on the southeastern coast of Asia Minor (modern Turkey), north of Cyprus. ...

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. Raymond of Poitiers (c. ... The Principality of Antioch in the context of the other states of the Near East in 1135 AD. The Principality of Antioch, including parts of modern-day Turkey and Syria, was one of the crusader states created during the First Crusade. ... Maria of Antioch (1145-1182) was the daughter of Constance of Antioch and her first husband Raymond of Poitiers. ...

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. Amalric I (also Amaury or Aimery) (1136 – July 11, 1174) was King of Jerusalem 1162–1174, and Count of Jaffa and Ascalon before his accession. ... The Principality of Galilee was one of the four major seigneuries of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, according to 13th-century commentator John of Ibelin. ... Theodora Comnena (born c. ... Baldwin III (1130-1162) was king of Jerusalem from 1143-1162. ...

To avoid the vengeance of the Emperor, she fled with Andronikos to the court of Nūr al-Dīn, 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. al-Malik al-Adil Nur ad-Din Abu al-Qasim Mahmud Ibn Imad ad-Din Zangi (1118 – May 15, 1174), also known as Nur ed-Din, Nur al-Din, etc. ... This is a list of rulers of Damascus from ancient times to the present. ... Anthem SorÅ«d-e MellÄ«-e Īrān Â² Capital (and largest city) Tehran Official languages Persian Demonym Iranian Government Islamic Republic  -  Supreme Leader  -  President Unification  -  Unified by Cyrus the Great 559 BCE   -  Parthian (Arsacid) dynastic empire (first reunification) 248 BCE-224 CE   -  Sassanid dynastic empire 224–651 CE   -  Safavid dynasty... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the worlds largest lake or a full-fledged sea. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Caucasus Mountains. ... Ãœnye is a town and a district of Ordu Province of Turkey. ... For other uses, see Black Sea (disambiguation). ... Trabzon, formerly known as Trebizond, is a city on the Black Sea coast of north-eastern Turkey. ... Sinope was an ancient city on the Black Sea, in the region of Galatia, modern-day Sinop, Turkey. ...

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, besought 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 10 year old son Alexios II Komnenos, who was under the guardianship of his mother and acting Regent Empress Maria. Her Latin origins and culture however led to creeping resentment from her Greek subjects (who felt insulted enough by the late Manuel's Western tastes, let alone being ruled by his Western wife), building up to an explosion of rioting that almost became a full civil war. This gave Andronikos the opportunity to seize the crown for himself, leaving his retirement in 1182 and marching to Constantinople with an army that (according to non-Byzantine sources) included Muslim contingents.[1] His arrival was soon followed by a massacre of the Latin inhabitants of the city, which was focused on the Venetian merchants who virtually controlled the economy of the city. The massacre resulted in the deaths of 80,000 "Latins". 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 (forcing a signature from the child Emperor Alexius to put his mother to death), by Pterygeonites and the hetaireiarches Constantine Tripsychos. Alexios II was compelled to acknowledge Andronikos as colleague in the empire and was then quickly put to death in turn; the killing was carried out by Tripsychos, Theodore Dadibrenos and Stephen Hagiochristophorites.[2] Alexius II Comnenus (1167-1183), Byzantine emperor (1180-1183), was the son of emperor Manuel I Comnenus and Maria, daughter of Raymund, prince of Antioch, and was born at Constantinople on September 10, 1167. ... For other uses, see Venice (disambiguation). ... Maria Komnene or Comnena (Greek: Μαρία Κομνηνή, Maria Komnēnē), (1152–1182) was the eldest daughter of the Emperor Manuel I Komnenos by his first wife, Bertha of Sulzbach. ... Renier of Montferrat (1162–1183) was the fifth son of William III of Montferrat. ... European illustration of a Eunuch (1749) Chief Eunuch of Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II at the Imperial Palace, 1912. ... Painting of Emperor Basil II, exemplifying the Imperial Crown handed down by Angels. ... Stephen Hagiochristophorites (in Greek, Stephanos Hagiochristophorites; d. ...

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. Agnes of France (1171 - after 1207) was a daughter of Louis VII of France by his third wife Adèle of Champagne. ... Louis VII the Younger (French: Louis VII le Jeune) (1120 – September 18, 1180) was King of France from 1137 to 1180. ... Adèle de Champagne (c. ...

His short reign was characterized by strong and harsh measures. He resolved to suppress many abuses, but above all things, to check feudalism and limit the power of the nobles, who were rivals for his throne. 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 who had grown corrupt under the opulent and mercurial rule of Manuel I. However, as Andronikos' rule went on, the Emperor became increasingly paranoid and violent - in September 1185, Andronikos ordered the execution of all prisoners, exiles and their families for collusion with the invaders - and the Byzantine Empire descended into a terror state. The aristocrats in turn were infuriated against him. There were several revolts, the stories of chaos leading to an invasion by King William of the Norman Sicilians. William (with a fleet of 200 ships) landed in Epirus with a strong force (80,000 men including 5,000 knights), and marched as far as Thessalonica, which he took and pillaged ruthlessly (7,000 Greeks died). Andronicus hastily assembled five different armies to stop the Sicilian army from reaching Constantinople, but none of these five smaller armies would stand against the Sicilian forces and retreated to the outlying hills. The invaders were finally driven out in 1186 by his successor, Isaac Angelos. Roland pledges his fealty to Charlemagne; from a manuscript of a chanson de geste. ... For the eldest son of Andronikos I Komnenos and father of Alexios I of Trebizond, see Manuel Komnenos (born 1145). ... William II (1153 – November 11, 1189 Palermo), called the Good, was king of Sicily and Naples from 1166 to 1189. ... The Despotate of Epirus was one of the medieval Greek successor states of the Byzantine Empire, founded in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. ... The White Tower The Arch of Galerius Map showing the Thessaloníki prefecture Thessaloníki (Θεσσαλονίκη) is the second-largest city of Greece and is the principal city and the capital of the Greek region of Macedonia. ... Isaac II Angelus (or Isaakios Angelos) (September 1156-1204), was the Byzantine emperor from 1185-1195, and again 1203-1204. ...


A medieval depiction of the death of Andronikos. Original in the Bibliothèque Nationale, France.
A medieval depiction of the death of Andronikos. Original in the Bibliothèque Nationale, France.

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. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... is the 254th day of the year (255th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events April 25 - Genpei War - Naval battle of Dan-no-ura leads to Minamoto victory in Japan Templars settle in London and begin the building of New Temple Church End of the Heian Period and beginning of the Kamakura period in Japan. ... Isaac II Angelus (or Isaakios Angelos) (September 1156-1204), was the Byzantine emperor from 1185-1195, and again 1203-1204. ... Hagia Sophia The patriarchal basilica Hagia Sophia (Greek: ; Holy Wisdom), now known as the Ayasofya Museum, was the culmination of early Christian architecture. ...

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 (note that by some, Andronikos not only survived, but also managed to escape to the then self-proclaimed Kingdom of Cyprus). 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. The Hippodrome today, with the Walled Obelisk in the foreground Obelisk of Thutmosis III The base of the Obelisk of Thutmosis III showing Theodosius the Great as he offers a laurel wreath to the victor from the Kathisma (emperors box) at the Hippodrome The Delphi Tripod known as the... is the 255th day of the year (256th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak  Thrace (Bulgarian: , Greek: , Attic Greek: ThrāíkÄ“ or ThrēíkÄ“, Latin: , Turkish: ) is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. ...

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). Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus The Comnenus or Komnenos family was an important dynasty in the history of the Byzantine Empire. ... Alexios I Megas Komnenos or Alexius I Comnenus (Greek: Αλέξιος Α΄ Μέγας Κομνηνός, Alexios I Megas Komnēnos), (c. ... David Komnenos (c. ... The Empire of Trebizond and other states carved from the Byzantine Empire, as they were in 1265 (William R. Shepherd, Historical Atlas, 1911) The Empire of Trebizond (Greek: Βασίλειον τῆς Τραπεζούντας) was a Byzantine Greek successor state of the Byzantine Empire founded in 1204 as a result of the capture of Constantinople by... [Neilhughandafriendlypeasant. ...


Andronikos I Komnenos was married twice and had numerous mistresses. By his first wife, whose name is not known, he had three children:

By his mistress Theodora Komnene, Andronikos I had the following issue: Manuel Komnenos (born 1145) was the eldest son of Andronikos Komnenos (who was Byzantine Emperor 1183-1185) by his first wife, whose name is not recorded. ... Rusudan was the younger daughter of King Giorgi III of Georgia and of his wife, Burdukhan (Gurandukht), daughter of Khuddan, King of Ossetia. ... Alexios I Megas Komnenos or Alexius I Comnenus (Greek: Αλέξιος Α΄ Μέγας Κομνηνός, Alexios I Megas Komnēnos), (c. ... David Komnenos (c. ... Theodora Komnene or Comnena (Greek: Θεοδώρα Κομνηνή, Theodōra Komnēnē) (born c. ...

The Andronikashvili coat of arms The Andronikashvili (Georgian: ) sometimes known as Endronikashvili (ენდრონიკაშვილები) was a princely family in Georgia which claimed their descent from the Byzantine Comnenid dynasty and played a prominent role in political, military and religious life of Georgia. ... For the eldest son of Andronikos I Komnenos and father of Alexios I of Trebizond, see Manuel Komnenos (born 1145). ... Isaac II Angelos or Angelus (Greek: Ισαάκιος Β’ Άγγελος, Isaakios II Angelos) (September 1156 – January 1204) was Byzantine emperor from 1185 to 1195, and again from 1203 to 1204. ... Emperor Alexios IV Alexios IV Angelos or Alexius IV Angelus (Greek: Αλέξιος Δ Άγγελος) (c. ... Irene Angelina (1177/1181 - 1208) was the daughter of the Byzantine emperor Isaac II Angelos by his first wife Herina. ... Roger III (1175-1194) was the son and heir of Tancred of Sicily. ... Philip of Swabia depicted in a medieval manuscript (about 1200) Philip of Swabia (1177-1208), German king and duke of Swabia, the rival of the emperor Otto IV, was the fifth and youngest son of the emperor Frederick I and Beatrix, daughter of Renaud III, count of Burgundy, and consequently...

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 (b. 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 Andronikos. Year 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1980 Gregorian calendar). ...

Andronicus was also portrayed in the novel Baudolino by Umberto Eco, with much detail being given to his grisly end. Baudolino is a 2000 novel by Umberto Eco about a young man named Baudolinos adventures in the known and mythical Christian world of the 12th century. ... Umberto Eco (born January 5, 1932) is an Italian medievalist, semiotician, philosopher and novelist, best known for his novel The Name of the Rose (Il nome della rosa) and his many essays. ...


  1. ^ 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).
  2. ^ Niketas Choniates, Histories pp. 260-274 van Dieten.
  3. ^ Kelsey Jackson Williams (2006), A Genealogy of the Grand Komnenoi of Trebizond. Foundations - the Journal of the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy – Vol. 2, No. 3.

Ibn Jubayr (1145-1217) (Arabic: ) was an Arab-Spanish geographer, traveler, and poet. ... William of Tyre (c. ... Walter Map (fl. ... De Nugis Curialium is the major surviving work of the twelfth century Latin author Walter Map. ... Nicetas Choniates, sometimes called Acominatus, was an historian like his brother Michael whom he accompanied from their birthplace Chonae to Constantinople. ...


  • The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.
  • K. Varzos, Ē genealogia tōn Komnēnōn (Thessalonica, 1984) vol. 1 pp. 493-638.
  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition article "Andronicus I. (Comnenus)", a publication now in the public domain.

Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium (often abbreviated to ODB) is a three volume book by the Oxford University Press. ... Encyclopædia Britannica, the eleventh edition The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911) is perhaps the most famous edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...

External links

Andronikos I Komnenos
Komnenid dynasty
Born: 1118 Died: 12 September 1185
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Alexios II Komnenos
Byzantine Emperor
Succeeded by
Isaac II Angelos



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