Andronikos III Palaiologos

Andronikos III Palaiologos or Andronicus III Palaeologus (Greek: Ανδρόνικος Γ' Παλαιολόγος, "Andronikos III Paleologos"; _hy. Անդրանիկ Գ Պաղեւողոկ, "Antranig Kim Baghevoghog"; March 25, 1297, ConstantinopleJune 15, 1341, Constantinople) reigned as Byzantine emperor 1328–1341, after being rival emperor since 1321. Andronikos III was the son of Michael IX Palaiologos and Princess Rita of Armenia (renamed Maria). His maternal grandparents were King Levon II of Armenia and Queen Keran of Armenia.

Life

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 Velbăžd (Kyustendil) in 1330. Andronikos III's attempt to make up for this setback by annexing Bulgarian Thrace failed in 1331, 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 Phocaea and the islands of Lesbos and Chios from Benedetto Zaccaria in 1329, but 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 Voden 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. Although Andronicus sent Sphrantzes to capture Syrgiannes, and Sphrantzes instead killed Syrgiannes, Syrgiannes had helped the advance of the Serbian forces. [Norwich, John Kulius. "Byzantium: The Decline and Fall" (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996) p. 283-284] In August of 1334 Stefan Dusan and Andronicus made peace, and the forces of Andronicus was allowed to retake control of those parts of Macedonia that Syrgiannes had been directly responsible for capturing. [Norwich. "Byzantium: THe Decline and Fall" p. 284]

Despite these troubles Andronikos III secured the extension of Byzantine control over Thessaly in 1333 and Epirus in 1337, by taking advantage of succession crises in these principalities.

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.

Andronikos III died aged 44 in 1341, and was succeeded by his son, John V Palaiologos.

Family

Andronikos III was first married, in 1318, with Adelheid of Brunswick, daughter of Henry I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg; she died in 1324. They had an unnamed son, who died shortly after birth in 1321.

Andronikos III married as his second wife, in 1326, with Anna of Savoy. She was a daughter of Count Amadeus V 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 (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. [ [http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/BYZANTIUM%2012611453.htm#EirenePdied1341 Profile of Irene in "Medieval Lands" by Charles Cawley] ] 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 several wives of Uzbeg Khan of the Golden Horde. [Mihail-Dimitri Sturdza, "Dictionnaire historique et Généalogique des grandes familles de Grèce, d'Albanie et de Constantinople" (1983), page 373] 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. [ [http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/BYZANTIUM%2012611453.htm#PalaiologinaMUzbekKhan Profile of Bayalun in "Medieval Lands" by Charles Cawley] ]

References

* "Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium", Oxford University Press, 1991.
* John V.A. Fine Jr., "The Late Medieval Balkans", Ann Arbor, 1987.

s-ttl|title=Byzantine Emperor|years=1321–1341
regent1=Andronikos II Palaiologos|years1=1272–1328


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