Alexios Axouch was the son of John Axouch, the leading general of the Byzantine army under Emperor John II Komnenos (r. 1118–1143). Alexios himself married Maria Komnene, the daughter of John II's eldest son and co-emperor Alexios. With the rank of protostrator, the second-in-command of the Byzantine army, Alexios participated in several military campaigns during the middle reign of Emperor Manuel I Komnenos (r. 1143–1180). He took part in Manuel's failed campaign in Southern Italy in 1158, was governor of Cilicia in 1165 and possibly also participated in the war with Hungary in 1166.
In circa 1167, however, he fell out of favour with Manuel after being charged with conspiring against him and having previously been criticized for a peculiar act of lèse majesté: he had decorated one of his palaces in Constantinople with magnificent pictures of the campaigns and victories of Kilij Arslan II (r. 1156–1192), the Seljuk Sultan of Iconium, and not, as was customary, with the exploits of Manuel himself. Among other things, Alexios was accused of "dabbling in sorcery" and conspiring with a Latin "wizard" to drug the Empress Maria of Antioch to prevent her from giving birth to an heir. The historian John Kinnamos maintained that the charges of conspiracy were genuine, but Niketas Choniates believed that Axouch had been set up by the insecure Manuel. Whatever the truth, Alexios was found guilty and confined to a monastery for the rest of his days.
- Kazhdan, Alexander Petrovich, ed. (1991). Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. New York, New York and Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.
- Magdalino, Paul (2002) . The Empire of Manuel I Komnenos, 1143–1180. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-52653-1.