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In 1079 the Byzantine Emperor was defeated by the Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Manzikert and this led to some twenty years of near anarchy in the Empire. During this time various claimants to the Byzantine throne fought civil wars as the Turks began to conquer more and more territory in Asia Minor<ref> Angold, Michael The Byzantine Empire, 1025–1204 (London, Longman, 1997), p 56</ref>. The Empire became so weak that it seemed that the successor of the Roman state would soon collapse and be conquered by Seljuk Turks, Normans, and Bulgarians. However, beginning from the reign of Alexios I Comnenus there was a remarkable revival in the Byzantine Empire. When he inherited the Imperial diadem the Turks were, literally, almost at the gates of Byzantium and the Normans had invaded the Empire’s Balkan territories. Alexios I had managed to reconquer the coastline and west of Asia Minor and defended the Empire in its western possessions <ref>Angold, p 119</ref>. He had also inadvertently initiated the First Crusade when he sent ambassadors to Western Europe seeking military assistance. The Crusaders had established a series of Crusader states and these helped to improve the strategic situation for the Byzantines in the east <ref> Harris, Jonathan, Byzantium and the Crusades (London, Bloomsbury, 2014), p 113</ref>. Moreover, the Muslim states focused their attention on the Crusaders and tended to leave the Byzantines alone. Under Emperors John and Manuel, the Empire began to grow in strength and was the leading Christian power. However, there were continuing tensions between Orthodox and Latin Christianity after the schism in the Christian Church in 1054, while the Italian maritime Republics had begun to dominate the trade of the Byzantine territories <ref> Harris, p 203</ref>.
[[File: Andronicus Three.png|200px|thumb|left|Details from the death of Andronicus I]
==The life of Andronicus==
The future Andronicus I was a grandson of the Emperor Alexios I and a cousin of Emperor Manuel. He was a handsome and a charismatic figure and was a capable general. However, he led a scandalous life and was quite irresistible to women. Andronicus was a great favorite of the public in Byzantium despite his many affairs and the seduction of countless noblewomen, including his own niece <ref>Norwich, John Julius, A history of Byzantium (volume iii, London, Penguin, 1996), p 116</ref>. He was forced into exile several times to avoid the wrath of the husbands and the families of the women he seduced and jilted. While in exile in Jerusalem he seduced the widow of the king and was forced to flee to Georgia. He became involved in a plot against Manuel and when it was detected he was lucky to escape with his life and was sentenced to exile on the Black Coast. However, his fortunes changed with the death of his cousin Emperor Manuel. His French wife became regent to his son and heir Alexios II. Manuel had been seen as too close to the West and many in Byzantium hated the Latin Christians, whom they viewed as barbarians. Moreover, they suspected that Maria was going to run the Empire in the interests of the West and the Italian city-states such as Venice. Andronicus saw an opportunity and he raised a rebellion and claimed to be saving the Empire and the Orthodox faith. He was able to become co-Emperor and dominated the Imperial government. He forced Alexios II to sign the death warrant for his own mother, Empress Maria and Andronicus later had the child-Emperor murdered<ref> Norwich, p 228</ref>.

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