Andronikos I Komnenos

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Andronikos I Komnenos (or Andronicus I Comnenus) (Greek: Ανδρόνικος Α’ Κομνηνός, Andronikos I Komninos) (c. 1118 – September 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.

Contents

Biography

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.[1]

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 and she became his mistress.

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.

Exile

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, Andronikos 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.

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