Isaac II Angelos

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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.

His father Andronikos Dukas Angelos, a military leader in Asia Minor (c. 1122 – aft. 1185), married bef. 1155 Euphrosyne Kastamonitissa (c. 1125 – aft. 1195). Andronikos Dukas Angelos was the son of Konstantinos Angelos, Admiral of Sicily (c. 1085 – aft. July 1166, son of Manolis Angelos from Philadelphia) and Theodora Komnene (b. January 15, 1096/1097) who was the youngest daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and Eirene Doukaina, by her marriage c. 1120 to Thus Isaac was a member of the extended imperial clan.


Rising by revolt

During the brief reign of Andronikos I Komnenos, Isaac was involved (alongside his father and brothers) in the revolt of Nicaea and Prousa. Atypically, the Emperor did not punish him for this disloyalty, and Isaac remained at Constantinople.

On September 11, 1185, during Andronikos' absence from the capital, the latter's lieutenant Stephanos Hagiochristophorites moved to arrest Isaac. Isaac killed Hagiochristophorites and took refuge in the church of Hagia Sophia. Andronikos, in some ways a capable ruler, was hated for his cruelty and his efforts to keep the aristocracy obedient. Isaac appealed to the populace, and a tumult arose which spread rapidly over the whole city. When Andronikos arrived he found that during his absence he had lost popular support, and that Isaac had been proclaimed emperor. Andronikos attempted to flee by boat but was apprehended. Isaac handed him over to the people of the City, and he was killed on September 12, 1185.

First reign

Isaac II Angelos strengthened his position as emperor with dynastic marriages in 1185 and 1186. His niece, Eudokia Angelina, was married to Stefan, son of Stefan Nemanja of Serbia. Isaac's sister, Theodora, was married to the Italian marquis Conrad of Montferrat. In January 1186 Isaac himself married Margaret of Hungary (renamed Maria), daughter of king Béla III. Hungary was one of the empire's largest and most powerful neighbours, and Margaret also had the benefit of high aristocratic descent, being related to the royal families of Kiev, the Holy Roman Empire, Italy, Provence, and earlier Byzantine dynasties.

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