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Alexios I Komnenos

( Byzantine Emperor)

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Biography Alexios I Komnenos
Alexios I Komnenos - Byzantine emperor in 1081 - 1118 he. Genus. app. 1057 g. + 15avg. 1118

Alex came from a wealthy and distinguished family Comneni. His father, he was brought to the emperor's nephew Isaac, 1, and through the mother was associated with an influential family Dalassena. Childhood and adolescence, it had to at the time of crisis and decline of empire: mutinies and coups followed one another, . enemies on all sides pressed the Romans, . inflicting a crushing defeat, . so there were many brave people an opportunity to show and prove,
. According to all historians, the glory of a successful military leader came to Alexei surprisingly early. Even without waiting for an adult, he begged his mother to let him go along with his elder brother to the war and showed examples of such prowess that is more likely to talk about yourself all (Bryennios: 1, 6). It so happened that his eldest brother, Isaac Comnenus, appointed in 1073, Mr.. Senior stratц¬ges in the campaign against the Turks, was defeated and captured. The enemy rushed to the camp of Romans, but Alex had gathered around him the remaining soldiers and successfully fought off a day from them. At night the soldiers fled, leaving behind his young commander. Alex then with great difficulty and with many adventures reached the capital. This was the first and only time in his life when he participated in the campaign as a junior strategos, is subordinate to the senior commander. Soon he returned and led the war as Stratig-autocrat.

The situation in Asia, then it was very difficult. The Turks captured the greater part of the land. At the same time revolted franc channels, driving a squad of mercenaries. Emperor Michael VII declared Alexei stratopedarhom and instructed him in 1074, Mr.. oppose channels. Trebizond sailed without first obtaining from the emperor no money, no military support, or enough troops. Therefore, he has long avoided a decisive battle, exhausting the enemy's swift raids and ambushes. Then he entered into negotiations with the Turkish emir Tutahom, having had it for a large sum of money to capture channels. Turk his request and gave him a rebel. (Alexei cost then great effort to collect the promised money.) To deprive francs any hope of returning their commander, he pretended to be blind channels. Since then the rebels have lost hope of success and Comnenus surrendered all their strength (Bryennios: 2, 3 - 6,19-24).

In 1077, Mr.. seized the throne Nicephorus III Votaniat. Against him, gathering all the Macedonian and Thracian troops, moved Nicephorus Bryennios. Votaniat elevated to the rank of Domestic Alexei western scholium and instructed him to war with rebels. Despite the high rank, Alexei was very little of his troops: he had a detachment of Norman mercenaries, and a phalanx of 'immortals'. Any hope he had to hold the auxiliary units Turks. In early 1078, Mr.. two armies met near the city Kalovariya in Thrace. The battle started badly for Alexis: rebels struck at the 'immortal' and forced them to retreat. At the same time the Allied Nikiforou Pechenegs to flight of the Turks. But the victors were in no hurry to pursue the imperial troops, and it is possible to Alexei snatch victory. He again gathered his troops. Just at this time came another detachment of the Turks, sent Votaniatom. Ascending the hill, the Turks saw that the soldiers Bryennios occur in complete disarray, violating order. One unit left the Turks in ambush, and two others attacked the rebel. After a short battle, they pretended to retreat, lured the enemy into an ambush, and thus gained a complete victory. Sam Bryennios captured.

. Alex barely managed to inform the capital of his success, . I received orders to move against another rebel - Duque Dirrahiya Nikifora Vasilachi, . which is attached to itself all the Illyrian and Bulgarian troops, . took Thessalonica and proclaimed himself emperor,
. Had lagged far behind the enemy strength of his army, Alex resorted to the following trick: the night he quietly withdrew its soldiers from the camp, leaving the tents and burning fires. The rebels stormed the camp, scattered without any order, and rushed him to rob. Then Komnenos suddenly attacked them and easily won. Vasilachi captured. Alex returned to the capital and was elevated to the rank Sevast.

In 1079, Mr.. p Asian mutinied Nicephorus Melissino. In the next 'few years because of his betrayal of the Turks captured all aziyskimi, Phrygian and Galata cities. Finally, they took Nicaea and reached the shores of the Bosphorus (Bryennios: 4, 1-2, 4-5, 7-12, 14, 16, 19, 22-23, 26, 28, 31).

. ***

. In these circumstances, when the imperial power waned, and the very existence of powers Romans seemed to come to an end, the brothers decided to revolutionize Comnena
. The reason, according to Anna Comnenus, were the intrigues of the emperor freedmen Borila and Herman, who had under Nicephorus III enormous influence on public affairs. They saw that the location Votaniata to Komnina growing every day, and therefore continually invent ways to discredit and destroy them. After much deliberation the brothers came to the conclusion that the danger is close, and because they have only one hope for salvation - the revolt. Just at this time, Alexis was assigned to the war against the Turks seized Cyzicus. Using this pretext, he began to pull troops from everywhere. When all was ready, Comnena in February 1081, Mr.. fled the capital in the Thracian village Shizy near Afiry, and there encamped. Comneni immediately supported by many noble birth and commanders. It remained to decide which of the two brothers will, the supreme authority. Isaac was older, but Alexei was much more supporters. His name gave the success of the entire enterprise, so Isaac himself dressed in purple sandal foot brother, and with the approval of all troops Alexei was proclaimed emperor.

Now was to capture the capital. It seemed an easy task Comnenus. So Alex decided to flattery and promises to win over anyone from the city guards and use them to capture Constantinople. He sent a man to the leader of the German mercenaries, who, after long negotiations agreed to skip the rebels inside the fortifications. At night, April 1 Komnina soldiers entered the capital through the open gate of the Germans Harisiyskie. Devotee from all sides Nicephorus first proposed Alexis to be his co-regent, but then had to abdicate, and give all the power in the hands of the new emperor (Komnina: 2, 4, 6-7,9-10). ***

Taking over the management Romei-sky state, Alexei immediately plunged into the thick of affairs. He saw that the empire is in its death throes: the eastern lands were devastating raids of the Turks. No better case in the west, where the leader of the Sicilian Norman Duke Robert Guiscard heavily armed and prepared to cross into Dirrahy. Pechenigi for many years held sway in the north of the Danube lands. We had a whole series of heavy wars, however, when the emperor proceeded to gather the troops, he found. In the capital of not more than three hundred soldiers. And to recruit mercenaries and allies to call from other countries, the treasury had no money.

Alex turned primarily to Eastern Affairs. He announced the recruitment, . planted on the court lightly soldiers and ordered them at night to swim along the coast of Asia, . secretly landing in those cases, . when the number of Turks is little more than their own, . attack them, . and then immediately return to,
. The soldiers did it in a few days, and the barbarians gradually began to retreat from coastal areas in the interior of the country. Learning of this, the emperor ordered them sent troops to capture towns and estates that were formerly occupied by the Turks, and from them to attack Turkish troops. Soon the barbarians retreated even further, and romeyskaya cavalry boldly pursued the enemy, making day and night raids on their lands. Thus, the position of the barbarians had deteriorated and had been damped spark power Romeyskoy Powers began to flare up again. Trebizond drove away the Turks not only from the Bosporus and the coastal areas, and he drove them out of Bithynia, from the suburbs of Nicomedia and forced the sultan solicit the World. Alex gladly accepted these requests, because to him from all sides there were reports of the unstoppable onslaught of Robert. That is why the spring of 1081, Mr.. he made peace with the Turks.

Then in August, Alex spoke out against the Normans. Concentrate entirely on military affairs, he instructed the mother to dispose of the rest. He is generally extremely fond of his mother and in no way depart from her will (Komnina: 3, 1,6-7, 9, II). Since his strength is not accounted for even a small proportion of troops

Robert, Alex called for assistance, the union Turks. He summoned as Venetian fleet, promising them money and trade benefits. In October, not far from the battle Dirrahiya. Initially, success was on the side of the Romans. Varangian detachment Nambita become closely warriors Robert and drove them into the sea. However, he was moving too fast and far ahead of the rest of the system. Wife of Robert Haiti stopped running, and again led them to attack. Varangians, tired of harassment, were massacred. After that, Robert thrown in a heavy cavalry. Romans broke and fled. In this battle there fell a lot of famous soldiers and relatives of the emperor. Alex himself was surrounded by enemies and fought his way through them with great difficulty (Komnina: 4; 2,6-7). In early 1082, Mr.. Normans surrendered Dirrahy.

It was necessary to create a new army. Alex began to call allies everywhere, and the mother and brother instructed to get money. The latter, having found no other way out, sent to the melting of the imperial mint all had their gold and silver objects. Since this was not enough, Isaac picked up from the temples of the precious church plate and, despite the strong opposition of the priests, too, told her to put melted. Thus collected the necessary funds. Alexei himself hard to train new recruits. Meanwhile, Robert was distracted by the war in Italy. He left Illyria, by leaving a son Boemunda.V May 1082, Mr.. Alexei suffered from his defeat at Yanino and fall of that year was defeated for the third time. In the spring of 1083, Mr.. Normans conquered Epirus and laid siege to Larissa. Alex autumn with a new army came to the rescue of the besieged. Knowing from experience as skilled in battle the Normans, he decided this time to act by cunning. Some of the troops he ordered to join the battle with the enemies, then turn back and pretend that. Recede rapidly. He himself, along with the most valiant warriors hid in ambush. At dawn Bohemond attacked the phalanx of Romeo and began to persistently pursue the fleeing. Seeing that he went a considerable distance, the Emperor sat on his horse, ordered the same thing to his men and rode to the camp of the Normans. Once inside, there, he interrupted and captured many more prey. Then he sent the cavalry in pursuit of Bohemond. Without entering into a melee battle, skillful hands broke the arrows of knights and horses, thus causing great damage to cavalry. Bohemond had to lift the siege of Larissa, and Alexei winner returned to Constantinople (Komnina: 5, 1 - 2. 4-5-7). In the autumn of that year, rushed to the Romans taken by the Normans Kastoria became hard to besiege it, and forced the Normans to request free passage to the sea. Many of the columns shifted to the service to Alexei. Bohemond had no choice but to sail to Italy with the news of the defeat.

In autumn 1084, Mr.. Robert gathered the fleet and the second time landed in Illyria. The war unfolded on land and at sea. First, Robert won a victory near the island of Corfu on the combined fleet of Romans and the Venetians, but then near the Butrint defeated. In the summer of 1085, Mr.. he fell ill with fever and died, and Alex Dirrahiem easily mastered and victory completed a difficult war.

However, the enemy's invasion, according to Anna Comnenus, like ocean waves followed one another. No sooner had Alex reflect Normans, as news came that a lot Pechenegs crossed the Danube and defeated the West Domestic Bakuriani (Komnina: 6, 1, 5-6, 14). In the summer of 1087, Mr.. Alexei opposed to nomads Andrianopolyu, and from there went to Silistria. Not far from this city took place the decisive battle, which lasted from morning till evening. By the end of the day could come to the rescue of its 36 000 Pechenegs. Romans, unable to resist such a numerous enemy, turned back. In the unimaginable chaos, when some fled and others pursued the barbarians surrounded the Emperor, but he struggled through their system, hitting many enemies. Pechenigi, however, failed to take advantage of their victory: they were attacked Polovtsy and had to ask the emperor of the world. The world was given, but hardly Polovtsians away from their limits, Pechenegs resumed the war and took Filippol. After the first defeat of the emperor avoided open battle, the war dragged on. Romans ambushed, attacked the enemy at every opportunity and did not allow him to capture fortresses. But under the pressure of nomadic military action gradually moved from Bulgaria to Andrianopolyu, and in spring 1090, Mr.. Pechenegs rushed to Hariopolyu. At the same time to resume the war with the Turks who have mastered at this time many coastal cities in Asia. Ring of enemies tightened around the capital, and had to strain every nerve to break his. Near Rusiya Alex joined the battle with pechenegs, but they again routed his army. Alex did not lose his presence of mind, backed by collecting the runaway soldiers, the next day. Again joined the battle and this time won. But she only briefly detained Invasion. The Emperor went to the Tsurulu, Pechenegs walked behind him and besieged him in the fortress. Not having enough forces to fight in the open with so many of the barbarians, he invented sleluyuschuyu trick: taking away the inhabitants of their city vehicles, ordered them removed from the wheel and attach those indentations in the walls. Romeo he told the first to start the fight, but then parted and the false lure Pechenegs retreat to the walls. His plan was successfully executed and as soon as the enemy approached the walls, the emperor ordered to cut the rope and let them wheel. Due to slope of terrain wheels with force crashed into the enemy system. Romans from both sides attacked the mingling Pechenegs overthrew them and inflicted a severe defeat. Nomads retreated to Bulgarofigu, and Alexei triumphantly returned to the capital (Komnina: 7; 2-3,6-7,9-11).

But he could not afford a moment's rest. Not even vymyvshis in the bath and brushing the dust of war, he began to gather recruits and prepare them for defense table-Qi, the winter of 1091, Mr.. Pechenegs approached Hirovakham. Alexei himself went to this castle and locked the door with a small garrison. Once remarked that a large group of nomads went in search of provisions, he tried to persuade the soldiers to attack the remaining. At first they refused, but the Emperor was able to convince them. Romans made a sortie, some killed, others captured. Then Alex ordered his soldiers to dress in costumes of enemies killed, and raise their flags and began to wait for those who went to raid. When they returned, and without fear approached the camp, Romans suddenly hit them and killed many.

However, no lesion could not restrain the boundless audacity invaders. Countless them dispersed throughout the West. Now and then here they occupied towns and villages pillaged by most walls of the capital. Spring Alex approached Enos. Soon came the news of the approach of a huge army Pecheneg. When she came to the city, the Emperor embraced despair and fear - so great was the strength of enemies, and so insignificant in comparison with the forces Romans. But four days later on the other hand were 40 000 Polovtsy. Alex called his Polovtsian khans, presented them with rich gifts and offered to fight together with Pechenegs. They agreed, and 29 April held a decisive battle. At a given signal and Romans Polovtsians suddenly hit the enemy system and met in melee. Brutally massacre. By evening most of the Pechenegs, including women and children, were slaughtered. According to Anna Comnenus, something extraordinary happened: in one day was wiped out an entire people, for many years, bringing terror to all its neighbors. Many enemies were taken prisoner, but because their number far exceeded the number of Romans, the latter attacked a strong fear, and at night most of the captives had been killed. This was done against the will of the emperor, and he then strongly indignant at their soldiers for this cruelty (Komnina: 8, 1-6).

Reflecting Pecheneg threat Trebizond has governed in a more relaxed atmosphere. The country is slowly emerging from the crisis. In subsequent years, Alexey much energy and attention gave rehabilitation of cities, handicrafts and strengthening the army. Because the old guard femnoe completely outdated, the emperor made an emphasis on teams of mercenaries, as well as militia proniarov (like the knights of Western Europe, they were given plots of land on terms of military service). Thus he created a large and capable army. Soon he had to experience it in many battles (Dashkov: 'Alex Comnenus'). In late 1096, Mr.. Constantinople, began to arrive in the first detachments of the Knights, the Crusaders. Alex took them and each took an oath of allegiance. He hoped that with the Crusaders he could wrest from the Turks in Asia possession of the empire. However, the vast accumulation of knights near the capital made him constantly to be alert. Several times between Romeo and the Crusaders broke fierce battle. New end Alexei safely ferried all the newcomers to the Asian coast (Komnina: 10; 8-9). In June 1097, Mr.. combined force of Romans and the Crusaders took Nicaea. In accordance with the contract, this city was handed over to Alexei. Then, too, were captured Sardis, Smyrna, Ephesus, Philadelphia and the entire southern shore of the Black Sea. During all this time, relations with the Crusaders remained hostile. When the knights after the capture of Antioch was besieged in it by the Turkish army, and, suffering great hardship, begged the Emperor for help, he has not had any support they. In 1104, Mr.. Romans attacked Laodicea, occupied by their old enemy Norman Duke Bohemond, son of Robert Guiscard (Komnina: II; 2, 5-6, II). Unable to resist the forces of Asia Alexis, Bohemond sailed to Italy, scored the troops there and in October 1107, Mr.. landed in Illyria. Dirrahy was again besieged by the Normans (Komnina: 12; 9). In the spring he arrived in Alex Illyria, to oversee military operations. Now Bohemond on itself to experience increased strength romeyskogo States. All his army was besieged in the camp and blocked from the sea fleet. Supplies and fodder were transported with great difficulty. Having suffered several defeats Duke in September 1108, Mr.. was forced to conclude peace with the emperor. Bohemond acknowledged vassal of the emperor himself and his nephew Tancred, who owned Antioch (Komnina: 13, 8, 12). In recent years, Alex fought a lot with the Turks, tried unsuccessfully to regain his capital. In 1113, Mr.. Romans, led by the emperor defeated the enemy army near Nicaea (Trebizond: 14, 2, 5). In 1116, Mr.. Alex ravaged neighborhood of the new capital of the sultan - Icons. On the way back without success, the Turks attacked on the march romeyskoe army, but did not achieve any success. Sultan had to make peace. Eighteen months after this last victory Alexei suffered a severe heart disease, from which he died (Komnina: 15; 5-6, II).


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