, Alexios Iii Angelos

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Alexios III Angelos
b: ABT 1153
d: 1211
Alexios III Angelos (Greek: ??????? G'' ???e???) (c. 1153–1211) wasByzantine Emperor from 1195 to 1203. A member of the extended Imperialfamily, Alexios came to throne after deposing his brother in 1195. Themost significant event of his reign was the attack of the Fourth Crusadeon Constantinople in 1203, on behalf of Alexios IV Angelos. Alexios IIItook over the defence of the city, which he mismanaged, then fled thecity at night with one of his three daughters. From Adrianople, and thenMosynopolis, he unsuccessfully attempted to rally his supporters, only toend up a captive of Marquis Boniface of Montferrat. He was ransomed, sentto Asia Minor where he plotted against his son-in-law Theodore Laskaris,but was eventually arrested and spent his last days confined to theMonastery of Hyakinthos in Nicaea, where he died.

Alexios III Angelos was the second son of Andronikos Doukas Angelos andEuphrosyne Kastamonitissa. Andronikos was himself a son of TheodoraKomnene Angelina, the youngest daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos andIrene Doukaina. Thus Alexios Angelos was a member of the extendedimperial family. Together with his father and brothers, Alexios hadconspired against Emperor Andronikos I Komnenos (c. 1183), and thus hespent several years in exile in Muslim courts, including that of Saladin.

His younger brother Isaac was threatened with execution under orders ofAndronikos I, their first-cousin once-removed, on September 11, 1185.Isaac made a desperate attack on the imperial agents and killed theirleader Stephen Hagiochristophorites. He then took refuge in the church ofHagia Sophia and from there appealed to the populace. His actionsprovoked a riot, which resulted in the deposition of Andronikos I and theproclamation of Isaac as Emperor. Alexios was now closer to the imperialthrone than ever before.

By 1190 Alexios had returned to the court of his younger brother, fromwhom he received the elevated title of sebastokrator. In 1195, whileIsaac II was away hunting in Thrace, Alexios was acclaimed as emperor bythe troops with the covert support of Alexios'' wife Euphrosyne DoukainaKamatera. Alexios captured Isaac at Stagira in Macedonia, put out hiseyes, and thenceforth kept him a close prisoner, despite havingpreviously been redeemed by Alexios from captivity at Antioch andshowered with honours.

To compensate for this crime and to solidify his position as emperor,Alexios had to scatter money so lavishly as to empty his treasury, and toallow such licence to the officers of the army as to leave the Empirepractically defenceless. These actions inevitably led to the financialruin of the state. At Christmas 1196, Holy Roman Emperor Henry VIattempted to force Alexios to pay him a tribute of 5,000 pounds (laternegotiated down to 1,600 pounds) of gold or face invasion. Alexiosgathered the money by plundering imperial tombs at the church of the HolyApostles and taxing the people heavily, though Henry''s death in September1197 meant the gold was never dispatched. The able and forceful empressEuphrosyne tried in vain to sustain his credit and his court; Vatatzes,the favourite instrument in her attempts at reform, was assassinated bythe emperor''s orders.

In the east the Empire was overrun by the Seljuk Turks; from the north,the Kingdom of Hungary and the rebellious Bulgarians and Vlachs descendedunchecked to ravage the Balkan provinces of the Empire, sometimespenetrating as far as Greece, while Alexios squandered the publictreasure on his palaces and gardens and attempted to deal with the crisisthrough diplomatic means. The Emperor''s attempts to bolster the empire''sdefences by special concessions to pronoiars (notables) in the frontierzone backfired, as the latter increased their regional autonomy.Byzantine authority survived, but in a much weakened state.

Soon Alexios was threatened by a new and more formidable danger. In 1202,soldiers assembled at Venice to launch the Fourth Crusade. Alexios IVAngelos, the son of the deposed Isaac II, had recently escaped fromConstantinople and now appealed for support to the crusaders, promisingto end the schism of East and West, to pay for their transport, and toprovide military support if they would help him depose his uncle andascend to his father''s throne.

The crusaders, whose objective had been Egypt, were persuaded to settheir course for Constantinople, arriving there in June 1203, proclaimingAlexios IV as Emperor, and inviting the populace of the capital to deposehis uncle. Alexios III took no effective measures to resist, and hisattempts to bribe the crusaders failed. His son-in-law, TheodoreLaskaris, who was the only one to attempt anything significant, wasdefeated at Scutari, and the siege of Constantinople began. Unfortunatelyfor the city, misgovernment by Alexios III had left the Byzantine navywith only 20 worm-eaten hulks by the time the crusaders arrived.

In July, the crusaders, led by the aged Doge Enrico Dandolo, scaled thewalls and took control of a major section of the city. In the ensuingfighting, the crusaders set the city on fire, ultimately leaving 20,000people homeless. On 17 July Alexios III finally took action and led 17divisions from the St. Romanus Gate, vastly outnumbering the crusaders.His courage failed, however, and the Byzantine army returned to the citywithout a fight. His courtiers demanded action, and Alexios III promisedto fight. Instead, that night (July 17/18), Alexios III hid in thepalace, and finally, with one of his daughters, Eirene, and such treasure(1,000 pounds of gold) as he could collect, got into a boat and escapedto Debeltos in Thrace, leaving his wife and his other daughters behind.Isaac II, drawn from his prison and robed once more in the imperialpurple, received his son, Alexios IV, in state.

Alexios III attempted to organize resistance to the new regime fromAdrianople and then Mosynopolis, where he was joined by the later usurperAlexios V Doukas Mourtzouphlos in April 1204, after the definitive fallof Constantinople to the crusaders and the establishment of the LatinEmpire. At first Alexios III received Alexios V well, even allowing himto marry his daughter Eudokia Angelina. Later Alexios V was blinded anddeserted by his father-in-law, who fled from the crusaders into Thessaly.Here Alexios III eventually surrendered, with Euphrosyne, to MarquisBoniface of Montferrat, who was establishing himself as ruler of theKingdom of Thessalonica.

Alexios III attempted to escape Boniface''s "protection" in 1205, seekingshelter with Michael I Komnenos Doukas, the ruler of Epirus. Captured byBoniface, Alexios and his retinue were sent to Montferrat before beingbrought back to Thessalonica in c. 1209. At that point the deposedemperor was ransomed by Michael I, who sent him to Asia Minor, whereAlexios'' son-in-law Theodore Laskaris - now emperor of Nicaea - washolding his own against the Latins. Here Alexios conspired against hisson-in-law after the latter refused to recognize Alexios'' authority,receiving the support of Kaykhusraw I, the sultan of Rûm. In the Battleof Antioch on the Meander in 1211, the sultan was defeated and killed,and Alexios was captured by Theodore Laskaris. Alexios was then confinedto a monastery at Nicaea,[1] where he died later in 1211.

By his marriage to Euphrosyne Doukaina Kamatera, Alexios had threedaughters:
Eirene Angelina, who married (1) Andronikos Kontostephanos, and (2)Alexios Palaiologos, by whom she was the grandmother of Emperor MichaelVIII Palaiologos.
Anna Angelina, who married (1) the sebastokrator Isaac Komnenos,great-nephew of emperor Manuel I Komnenos, and (2) Theodore Laskaris,emperor of Nicaea.
Eudokia Angelina, who married (1) King Stefan I Prvovencani of Serbia,then (2) Emperor Alexios V Doukas, and (3) Leo Sgouros, ruler of Corinth.
  • ABT 1153 - Birth -
  • 1211 - Death -
  • 1195 - Reign - Emperor ; The Byzanteen Empire
Alexios III Angelos
ABT 1153 - 1211
Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Andronikos Dukas Angelos
Marriageto Euphrosyne Kastamonitissa
FatherConstantine Angelos
MotherTheodora Komnene Angelina
PARENT (F) Euphrosyne Kastamonitissa
Marriageto Andronikos Dukas Angelos
MAlexios III Angelos
BirthABT 1153
Marriageto Euphrosyne Doukaina Kamatera
MIsaac II Angelos
Marriageto Herina
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
Descendancy Chart