Manuel Komnenos was the fourth son of John II Komnenos and Piroska of Hungary , so it seemed very unlikely that he would succeed his father. After John died on 8 April , his son, Manuel, was acclaimed emperor by the armies. Swiftly, he dispatched the megas domestikos John Axouch ahead of him, with orders to arrest his most dangerous potential rival, his brother Isaac, who was living in the Great Palace with instant access to the imperial treasure and regalia. He quickly secured the loyalty of the city, and when Manuel entered the capital in August , he was crowned by the new Patriarch , Michael Kourkouas.

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Manuel Komnenos was the fourth son of John II Komnenos and Piroska of Hungary , so it seemed very unlikely that he would succeed his father. After John died on 8 April , his son, Manuel, was acclaimed emperor by the armies. Swiftly, he dispatched the megas domestikos John Axouch ahead of him, with orders to arrest his most dangerous potential rival, his brother Isaac, who was living in the Great Palace with instant access to the imperial treasure and regalia. He quickly secured the loyalty of the city, and when Manuel entered the capital in August , he was crowned by the new Patriarch , Michael Kourkouas.

A few days later, with nothing more to fear as his position as emperor was now secure, Manuel ordered the release of Isaac. In the time of his predecessor Justinian I — , parts of the former Western Roman Empire had been recovered including Italy, Africa and part of Spain. However, the empire had diminished greatly following this, the most obvious change had occurred in the 7th century: the soldiers of Islam had taken Egypt , Palestine and much of Syria away from the empire irrevocably.

They had then swept on westwards into what in the time of Constantine had been the western provinces of the Roman Empire , in North Africa and Spain. In the centuries since, the emperors had ruled over a realm that largely consisted of Asia Minor in the east, and the Balkans in the west. Yet the empire that Manuel inherited was a polity facing formidable challenges.

At the end of the 11th century, the Normans of Sicily had removed Italy from the control of the Byzantine Emperor. The Seljuk Turks had done the same with central Anatolia. And in the Levant , a new force had appeared — the Crusader states — which presented the Byzantine Empire with new challenges. Now, more than at any time during the preceding centuries, the task facing the emperor was daunting indeed.

However, later that year the crusader County of Edessa was engulfed by the tide of a resurgent Islamic jihad under Imad ad-Din Zengi. Raymond realized that immediate help from the west was out of the question. With his eastern flank now dangerously exposed to this new threat, there seemed little option but for him to prepare for a humiliating visit to Constantinople. Swallowing his pride, he made the journey north to ask for the protection of the Emperor.

After submitting to Manuel, he was promised the support that he had requested, and his allegiance to Byzantium was secured. However, Manuel was prevented from capitalizing on his conquests by events in the Balkans that urgently required his presence.

Byzantine troops followed the Crusaders, attempting to police their behaviour, and further troops were assembled in Constantinople, ready to defend the capital against any acts of aggression. This cautious approach was well advised, but still the numerous incidents of covert and open hostility between the Franks and the Greeks on their line of march, for which it seems both sides were to blame, precipitated conflict between Manuel and his guests.

Manuel took the precaution — which his grandfather had not taken — of making repairs to the city walls , and he pressed the two kings for guarantees concerning the security of his territories. The Byzantines defeated the Germans and, in Byzantine eyes, this reverse caused Conrad to agree to have his army speedily ferried across to Damalis on the Asian shore of the Bosphoros. By Manuel had seen the wisdom of securing an alliance with Conrad, whose sister-in-law Bertha of Sulzbach he had earlier married; he actually persuaded the German king to renew their alliance against Roger II of Sicily.

Manuel answers that he is willing to receive the French army and to support it, but he complains about receiving the letter from an envoy of the King of France and not from an ambassador sent by the Pope. Thus enriched with enough booty to make Antioch wealthy for years, the invaders boarded their ships and set sail for home. In the winter of —59, he marched to Cilicia at the head of a huge army; the speed of his advance Manuel had hurried on ahead of the main army with cavalry was such that he managed to surprise the Armenian Thoros of Cilicia , who had participated in the attack on Cyprus.

Raynald knew that he had no hope of defeating the emperor, and in addition knew that he could not expect any aid from king Baldwin III of Jerusalem. Thus isolated and abandoned by his allies, Raynald decided that abject submission was his only hope.

He appeared before the Emperor, dressed in a sack with a rope tied around his neck, and begged for forgiveness. Manuel at first ignored the prostrate Raynald, chatting with his courtiers; William of Tyre commented that this ignominious scene continued for so long that all present were "disgusted" by it.

Manuel dispensed justice to the citizens and presided over games and tournaments for the crowd. In May, at the head of a united Christian army, he started on the road to Edessa, but he abandoned the campaign when he secured the release by Nur ad-Din , the ruler of Syria , of 6, Christian prisoners captured in various battles since the second Crusade.

On their way back, his troops were surprised in line of march by the Turks. Despite this, they won a complete victory, routing the enemy army from the field and inflicting heavy losses.

In the following year, Manuel drove the Turks out of Isauria. However, despite being distracted by a Cuman attack in the Balkans, in Manuel enlisted the alliance of Conrad III of Germany , and the help of the Venetians , who quickly defeated Roger with their powerful fleet. These developments encouraged Manuel to take advantage of the multiple instabilities on the Italian peninsula. William arrived with his army, including 2, knights, but was heavily defeated. The Papacy was never on good terms with the Normans, except when under duress by the threat of direct military action.

Having the "civilised" Byzantines on its southern border was infinitely preferable to the Papacy than having to constantly deal with the troublesome Normans of Sicily. It was in the interest of Pope Adrian IV to reach a deal if at all possible, since doing so would greatly increase his own influence over the entire Orthodox Christian population.

Manuel offered a large sum of money to the Pope for the provision of troops, with the request that the Pope grant the Byzantine emperor lordship of three maritime cities in return for assistance in expelling William from Sicily.

Manuel also promised to pay 5, pounds of gold to the Pope and the Curia. For as they had already pledged to the Sicilians many things not then desired by the emperor, they robbed the Romans of very great and noble achievements.

Byzantine commander Michael Palaiologos alienated allies with his attitude, stalling the campaign as Count Robert III of Loritello refused to speak to him. Although the two were reconciled, the campaign had lost some of its momentum: Michael was soon recalled to Constantinople, and his loss was a major blow to the campaign. The turning point was the Battle of Brindisi , where the Sicilians launched a major counterattack by both land and sea.

When this was refused, they deserted. Even the local barons started to melt away, and soon John Doukas was left hopelessly outnumbered. The arrival of Alexios Komnenos Bryennios with some ships failed to retrieve the Byzantine position. The defeat at Brindisi put an end to the restored Byzantine reign in Italy; in the Byzantine army left Italy and never returned again.

Although in Pope Hadrian had expressed his eagerness to prompt the reunion of the churches, [e] hopes for a lasting Papal-Byzantine alliance came up against insuperable problems. Pope Adrian IV and his successors demanded recognition of their religious authority over all Christians everywhere and sought superiority over the Byzantine Emperor; they were not at all willing to fall into a state of dependence from one emperor to the other.

Even if a pro-western Emperor such as Manuel agreed, the Greek citizens of the empire would have rejected outright any union of this sort, as they did almost three hundred years later when the Orthodox and Catholic churches were briefly united under the pope. In spite of his friendliness towards the Roman Church and his cordial relations with all the popes, Manuel was never honoured with the title of Augustus by the popes.

And although he twice sent embassies to Pope Alexander III in and offering to reunite the Greek and Latin churches, Alexander refused, under pretext of the troubles that would follow union. The city of Ancona became a Byzantine base in Italy, accepting the Emperor as sovereign. However, given the enormous quantities of gold which had been lavished on the project, it also demonstrated the limits of what money and diplomacy alone could achieve.

After , under the new conditions, the aims of the Byzantine policy changed. Manuel now decided to oppose the objective of the Hohenstaufen dynasty to directly annex Italy, which Frederick believed should acknowledge his power. When the war between Frederick I Barbarossa and the northern Italian communes started, Manuel actively supported the Lombard League with money subsidies, agents, and, occasionally, troops.

The Anconitans made a voluntary submission to Manuel, and the Byzantines maintained representatives in the city. According to Kinnamos, Cremona , Pavia , and a number of other " Ligurian " cities went over to Manuel; [43] his relations were also particularly favourable in regard to Genoa and Pisa , but not to Venice.

In March Manuel had suddenly broken with Venice, ordering all 20, Venetians on imperial territory to be arrested and their property confiscated. Due to an epidemic, and pursued by Byzantine ships, the fleet was forced to return without great success. Due to distraction from his neighbours on the Balkan frontier , Manuel was kept from his main objective, the subjugation of the Normans of Sicily.

Relations had been good with the Serbs and Hungarians since , so the Serb rebellion came as a shock. One side of the coin left image depicts Christ. The other side depicts Manuel right image. In the wars of — and — Manuel led his troops into Hungary and a spectacular raid deep into enemy territory yielded substantial war booty. In , Manuel sent 15, men under the command of Andronikos Kontostephanos against the Hungarians, [47] scoring a decisive victory at the Battle of Sirmium and enabling the Empire to conclude a very advantageous peace with the Hungarian Kingdom by which Syrmia , Bosnia , and Dalmatia were ceded.

Manuel intended the youth to marry his daughter, Maria , and to make him his heir, thus securing the union of Hungary with the Empire. However, two unforeseen dynastic events drastically altered the situation.

Before leaving Constantinople, he swore a solemn oath to Manuel that he would always "keep in mind the interests of the emperor and of the Romans". This polarised the Russian princes into pro- and anti-Byzantine camps. Galicia was situated on the northern and northeastern borders of Hungary and, therefore, was of great strategic importance in the Byzantine-Hungarian conflicts.

Manuel pardoned Andronikos and persuaded him to return to Constantinople in A mission to Kiev, then ruled by Prince Rostislav , resulted in a favourable treaty and a pledge to supply the Empire with auxiliary troops; Yaroslav of Galicia was also persuaded to renounce his Hungarian connections and return fully into the imperial fold.

As late as the princes of Galicia were providing invaluable services against the enemies of the Empire, at that time the Cumans. One army crossed the Walachian Plain and entered Hungary through the Transylvanian Alps Southern Carpathians , while the other army made a wide circuit to Galicia and, with Galician aid, crossed the Carpathian Mountains. Since the Hungarians had most of their forces concentrated on the Sirmium and Belgrade frontier, they were caught off guard by the Byzantine invasion; this resulted in the Hungarian province of Transylvania being thoroughly ravaged by the Byzantine armies.

Control of Egypt was a decades-old dream of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, and king Amalric I of Jerusalem needed all the military and financial support he could get for his policy of military intervention in Egypt.

In the autumn of Manuel sent a joint expedition with Amalric to Egypt: a Byzantine army and a naval force of 20 large warships , galleys , and 60 transports , under the command of the megas doux Andronikos Kontostephanos, joined forces with Amalric at Ascalon.

This focus on the bigger picture of the eastern Mediterranean and even further afield thus led Manuel to intervene in Egypt: it was believed that in the context of the wider struggle between the crusader states and the Islamic powers of the east, control of Egypt would be the deciding factor.

It had become clear that the ailing Fatimid Caliphate of Egypt held the key to the fate of the crusader states. If Egypt came out of its isolation and joined forces with the Muslims under Nur ad-Din, the crusader cause was in trouble. Egypt was a rich province, and in the days of the Roman Empire it had supplied much of the grain for Constantinople before it was lost to the Arabs in the 7th century. The revenues that the Empire could have expected to gain from the conquest of Egypt would have been considerable, even if these would have to be shared with the Crusaders.

The joined forces of Manuel and Amalric laid siege to Damietta on 27 October , but the siege was unsuccessful due to the failure of the Crusaders and the Byzantines to co-operate fully. On the other hand, William of Tyre remarked that the Greeks were not entirely blameless. According to the agreement, certain frontier regions, including the city of Sivas , should be handed over to Manuel in return for some quantity of cash, while it also obliged the Seljuk Sultan Kilij Arslan II to recognize his overlordship.

When the Seljuk sultan refused to cede some of the territory he had taken from the Danishmends to the Byzantines, as he was obliged to do as part of his treaty obligations, Manuel decided that it was time to deal with the Turks once and for all. Just outside the entrance to the pass at Myriokephalon, Manuel was met by Turkish ambassadors, who offered peace on generous terms.

The younger and more aggressive members of the court urged Manuel to attack, however, and he took their advice and continued his advance. On 17 September Manuel was checked by Seljuk Sultan Kilij Arslan II at the Battle of Myriokephalon in highlands near the Tzibritze pass , in which his army was ambushed while marching through the narrow mountain pass.

According to Byzantine sources, Manuel lost his nerve both during and after the battle, fluctuating between extremes of self-delusion and self-abasement; [72] according to William of Tyre, he was never the same again. The terms by which Kilij Arslan II allowed Manuel and his army to leave were that he should remove his forts and armies on the frontier at Dorylaeum and Sublaeum.


Princeton University Library Catalog

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Deeds Of John And Manuel Comnenus

His introduction briefly goes over the reign of John Komnenos, a rather neglected ruler between the more well-detailed reigns of Alexios and Manuel. As such, the vast majority of this work is on the reign of Manuel. He is extremely favourable towards Manuel, and this work is panegyrical. As a historian, his description of the Italian campaign raises a lot of questions. He records a highly-detailed and crisp account of it, and the rest of his work pales beside it.



Manuel — I Comnenus, — Emperor of the East, — approximately This single location in Western Australia: You do not currently have access to this article. Comments and reviews What are comments? Available to subscribing institutions. Lists What are lists? Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. Set up a giveaway.


Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus


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