Andronikos III Palaiologos
|Andronikos III Palaiologos|
|Emperor of the Byzantine Empire|
Andronikos III Palaiologos, 14th century miniature.
Stuttgart, Württembergische Landesbibliothek
|Reign||1328 – 15 June 1341|
|Full name||Andronikos III Palaiologos
Greek: Ανδρόνικος Γ' Παλαιολόγος
|Born||25 March 1297|
|Birthplace||Constantinople, Byzantine Empire|
|Died||15 June 1341 (aged 44)|
|Place of death||Constantinople, Byzantine Empire|
|Predecessor||Andronikos II Palaiologos|
|Successor||John V Palaiologos|
|Consort to||Irene of Brunswick
Anna of Savoy
|Father||Michael IX Palaiologos|
|Mother||Rita of Armenia|
Andronikos III Palaiologos, Latinized as Andronicus III Palaeologus (Greek: Ανδρόνικος Γ' Παλαιολόγος, Andronikos III Paleologos; 25 March 1297 – 15 June 1341) was Byzantine emperor from 1328 to 1341, after being rival emperor since 1321. Andronikos III was the son of Michael IX Palaiologos and Rita of Armenia (renamed Maria). His maternal grandparents were King Levon II of Armenia and Queen Keran of Armenia.
Andronikos was born in Constantinople on his grandfather's 38th birthday.
In 1320, Andronikos accidentally caused the death of his brother Manuel, whereupon their father died of grief. The murder, and the general dissolute behaviour of Andronikos and his coterie, mostly the young scions of the Empire's great aristocratic clans, resulted in a deep rift in the relations between him and his grandfather, Andronikos II Palaiologos. The elder Andronikos disowned his grandson, whereupon Andronikos III fled the capital and rallied his supporters around him in Thrace. From there he waged an intermittent civil war against his grandfather, which first secured him recognition of his post as co-emperor, and ultimately led to the deposition of Andronikos II in 1328.
Effective administrative authority during the reign of Andronikos III was wielded by his megas domestikos John Kantakouzenos, while the Emperor enjoyed himself hunting or waging war. An alliance with his brother-in-law Michael Asen III of Bulgaria against Stefan Uroš III Dečanski of Serbia failed to secure any gains, as the Serbians defeated the Bulgarians before the latter could join with the Byzantines in the Battle of Velbazhd (modern Kyustendil) in 1330. Andronikos III's attempt to make up for this setback by annexing Bulgarian Thrace failed in 1332, when he was defeated by the new Bulgarian Emperor Ivan Alexander at Rousokastron. Peace with Bulgaria was secured through territorial concessions and a diplomatic marriage between the children of the two emperors.
The subsequent years witnessed the gradual extinction of Byzantine rule in Asia Minor, as Orhan of the Ottoman Turks, who had already defeated Andronikos III at Pelekanos in 1329, took Nicaea in 1331 and Nicomedia in 1337. After that, only Philadelpheia and a handful of ports remained under Byzantine control in Asia Minor. Earlier Andronikos III had effected the recovery of the islands of Lesbos and Chios from Martino Zaccaria in 1329 (although the island remained under Benedetto III Zaccaria until 1330) and of Phocaea in 1334 from the last Genoese governor Domenico Cattaneo. However, this did little to stem the Ottoman advance in Asia Minor.
Under Stefan Uroš IV Dušan, Serbia expanded into Byzantine territory in Macedonia, taking Ohrid, Prilep, Kastoria, Strumica, and Edessa in about 1334. The one-time governor of Thessalonica, Syrgiannes Palaeologos, had deserted to the side of the Serbians and aided their advance in to Macedonia. The Serbs, led by Syrgiannes, advanced as far as Thessalonica, but there Syrgiannes was betrayed and killed the by the Byzantine general Sphrantzes Palaiologos. This brought the Serbian army into disarray. In August of 1334 Stefan Dusan and Andronikos made peace, and the forces of Andronikos were allowed to retake control of those parts of Macedonia that Syrgiannes had captured.
Andronikos III reorganized the Byzantine navy (consisted of 10 ships by 1332) and reformed the judicial system by forming a panel of four universal judges whom he designated "Universal Justices of the Romans". In retrospect his reign may be said to end before the situation of the Byzantine Empire became untenable. In spite of several not insignificant reverses at the hands of Bulgarians, Serbians, and Ottomans, the Emperor had provided the Empire with active leadership, had cooperated with able administrators, and had come closer than any of his predecessors in re-establishing Byzantine control over the Greek peninsula.
The Muslim traveller Ibn Battuta, who visited Constantinople towards the end of 1332, mentions in his memoirs having met Andronikos III. This is not attested in Byzantine sources.
Nicaea, until 1261 the capital of the Empire, was under siege by Ottoman Turks. In the summer of 1329, Andronikos III launched a relief attempt which culminated in a defeat at the Battle of Pelekanon on 10 June and in 1331, the city fell. Not wishing to see Nicomedia or the other few remaining forts in Asia Minor suffer the same fate, Andronikos III sought to pay off the Ottomans with tribute — the Ottomans did not stop at this and seized Nicomedia as well in 1337.
Andronikos III died at Constantinople, aged 44, in 1341. Within a few months, the right to exercise the regency over his infant son, John V Palaiologos, and the position of Andronikos' all-powerful chief minister and friend John Kantakouzenos led to the outbreak of a destructive seven-year civil war.
Andronikos III married as his second wife, in 1326, with Anna of Savoy. She was a daughter of Count Amadeus V, Count of Savoy and his second wife Maria of Brabant. They had several children, including:
- John V Palaiologos
- Michael Palaiologos, despotes
- Maria (renamed Eirene), who married Emperor Michael Asen IV of Bulgaria
- Eirene Palaiologos (renamed Maria), who married Francesco I of Lesbos
According to Nicephorus Gregoras, Andronikos also had an illegitimate daughter, Irene Palaiologina of Trebizond. She married Basil of Trebizond and took over the throne of the Empire of Trebizond from 1340 to 1341. The Dictionnaire historique et Généalogique des grandes familles de Grèce, d'Albanie et de Constantinople (1983) by Mihail-Dimitri Sturdza adds a second illegitimate daughter of Andronikos, converting to Islam under the name Bayalun. She was reportedly one of several wives of Uzbeg Khan of the Golden Horde. This daughter is not included in the older Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten (1978) by Detlev Schwennicke and her existence may reflect Sturdza's own theories.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (August 2012)|
|Ancestors of Andronikos III Palaiologos|
Under Andronikos the Byzantine Empire came closest to regaining a position of power in the Balkan Peninsula since the Fourth Crusade. Although an energetic campaigner, the empire during this period was just too weak to defeat its enemies in Anatolia, Bulgaria and Serbia. His loss of the empire's few remaining territories in Anatolia made the Ottoman Turks posed to expand into Europe as did its lack of strength following his reign to prevent the formation of the Serbian Empire. Yet none of this was due to a lack of leadership on Andronikos' part and his reign could be said to end before the Byzantine Empire's position became untenable due to the ensuing civil war which consumed the empire's remaining resources on Andronikos's death.
- Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium: The Decline and Fall (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996) p. 283-284
- Norwich. Byzantium: The Decline and Fall p. 284
- Cawley, Charles, Profile of Irene, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, retrieved August 2012,[better source needed]
- Mihail-Dimitri Sturdza, Dictionnaire historique et Généalogique des grandes familles de Grèce, d'Albanie et de Constantinople (1983), page 373
- Cawley, Charles, Profile of Bayalun, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, retrieved August 2012,[better source needed]
- Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.
- Bosch, Ursula Victoria (1965), Kaiser Andronikos III. Palaiologos. Versuch einer Darstellung der byzantinischen Geschichte in den Jahren 1321–1341 (in German), Adolf M. Hakkert
- John V.A. Fine Jr., The Late Medieval Balkans, Ann Arbor, 1987.
Andronikos III Palaiologos
Palaiologos dynastyBorn: 25 March 1297 Died: 15 June 1341
Andronikos II Palaiologos
with Andronikos II Palaiologos (1272–1328)
John V Palaiologos