Andronikos II Palaiologos

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Andronikos II Palaiologos (Greek: Ανδρόνικος Β' Παλαιολόγος) (25 March 1259, Nicaea – 13 February 1332, Constantinople) — also Andronicus II Palaeologus — reigned as Byzantine emperor from 1282 to 1328. He was the eldest surviving son of Michael VIII Palaiologos and Theodora Doukaina Vatatzina, grandniece of John III Doukas Vatatzes. On 8 November 1273, Andronikos II married Anne of Hungary (1260–1281), daughter of the king Stephen V of Hungary.

Contents

Life

Andronikos II Palaiologos was acclaimed co-emperor in 1261, after his father Michael VIII recovered Constantinople from the Latin Empire, but he was crowned only in 1272. Sole emperor from 1282, Andronikos II immediately repudiated his father's unpopular Church union with the Papacy (which he had been forced to support while his father was still alive), but was unable to resolve the related schism within the Orthodox clergy until 1310. Andronikos II was also plagued by economic difficulties and during his reign the value of the Byzantine hyperpyron depreciated precipitously while the state treasury accumulated less than one seventh the revenue (in nominal coins) that it had done previously. Seeking to increase revenue and reduce expenses, Andronikos II raised taxes and reduced tax exemptions, and dismantled the Byzantine fleet (80 ships) in 1285, thereby making the Empire increasingly dependent on the rival republics of Venice and Genoa. In 1291, he hired 50–60 Genoese ships. Later, in 1320, he tried to resurrect the navy by constructing 20 galleys, but failed.

Andronikos II Palaiologos sought to resolve some of the problems facing the Byzantine Empire through diplomacy. After the death of his first wife Anne of Hungary, he married Yolanda (renamed Irene) of Montferrat, putting an end to the Montferrat claim to the Kingdom of Thessalonica. Andronikos II also attempted to marry off his son and co-emperor Michael IX Palaiologos to the Latin Empress Catherine I of Courtenay, thus seeking to eliminate Western agitation for a restoration of the Latin Empire. Another marriage alliance attempted to resolve the potential conflict with Serbia in Macedonia, as Andronikos II married off his five-year old daughter Simonis to King Stefan Milutin in 1298.

In spite of the resolution of problems in Europe, Andronikos II was faced with the collapse of the Byzantine frontier in Asia Minor. After the failure of the co-emperor Michael IX to stem the Turkish advance in Asia Minor in 1302 and the disastrous Battle of Bapheus, the Byzantine government hired the Catalan Company of Almogavars (adventurers from Aragon and Catalonia) led by Roger de Flor to clear Byzantine Asia Minor of the enemy. In spite of some successes, the Catalans were unable to secure lasting gains. They quarreled with Michael IX, and eventually turned on their Byzantine employers after the murder of Roger de Flor in 1305, devastating Thrace, Macedonia, and Thessaly on their road to Latin Greece. There they conquered the Duchy of Athens and Thebes. The Turks continued to penetrate the Byzantine possessions, and Prusa fell in 1326. By the end of Andronikos II's reign, much of Bithynia was in the hands of the Ottoman Turks of Osman I and his son and heir Orhan. Also, Karesi conquered Mysia region with Paleokastron after 1296, Germiyan conquered Simav in 1328, Saruhan captured Magnesia in 1313 and Aydınoğlu captured Symirna in 1310.

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