Andronikos I of Trebizond
Andronikos I Gidos or Andronicus I Gidus, was an Emperor of Trebizond. He is the only ruler of Trebizond, not a blood relative of the founder of that state, Alexios I Megas Komnenos. George Finlay suggests he may be the same Andronikos, a general of Theodore I Laskaris. During his reign, Trebizond withstood a siege of the city by the Seljuk Turks, supported the Shah of Khwarizm in the latter's unsuccessful battle with the Seljuks; the Gidos family appears in Byzantine history at the turn of the 12th/13th century. The etymology of the surname is uncertain, but one view considers it to be from the Greek word for "goat", another speculative view suggests that the etymology of the surname may be of Latin origin, is the hellenized form of the Italian name Guido; this in turn led some scholars to theorize that there may be a connection with the Gidos family and Guy/Guido, a son of the Norman conqueror of southern Italy, Robert Guiscard, who defected to the Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos centuries earlier, entered his service and married into the imperial family.
Byzantine sources do not treat the family as having a foreign origin and it has not been possible to demonstrate any connection with the son of Robert Guiscard or a Latin origin. W. Hecht casts doubt on a Latin origin of the family. Apart from the megas domestikos Alexios Gidos, who lived in the 12th century, the only other prominent individual bearing the surname Gidos is an Andronikos Gidos, a general of the Nicaean emperor Theodore I Laskaris, who defeated the Latin allies of David Komnenos in 1206. Finlay first suggested that the general should be identified with the Trapezuntine emperor, a suggestion adopted by many Byzantine historians, in the words of Anthony Bryer, "for want of any other candidate". Bryer continues, "The name Gidos is sufficiently rare to make the proposal plausible, indeed one wonders whether it was on the way to becoming an epithet in itself," provides a number of examples of "Gidos" being used in the Pontic region as a synonym for "guardian."On the death of the Emperor Alexios, control of the empire passed over Alexios' oldest son, John in favor of Andronikos.
The steps that led to Andronikos' ascension have not been recorded. Finlay assumes that "the hereditary principle" of succession had not become common practice for the Empire of Trebizond at this point. Although William Miller assumes that John was not old enough to assume the throne, one primary source attests that more than one son was, old enough to do so: during the siege of Sinope, according to Ibn Bibi, when Kaykaus I told the city that unless they surrendered he would kill Alexios, his prisoner, the inhabitants replied that "he has grown sons in Trebizond who are capable of governing. We will elect one of them as our ruler and will not surrender the country to the Turks." Miller describes Andronikos Gidos as "a shrewd man of great experience in warfare". His experience at war served the new-born polity well in facing a serious attack on the capital in 1224. Andronikos married a daughter of Alexios I of Trebizond and Theodora Axuchina, whose first name is unknown. Komnene is the female form of "Komnenos," her family name.
Her siblings included John I of Manuel I of Trebizond. The Seljuk Turks occupied Sudak in the Crimea and constructed a fortress there between 1220 and 1222. In 1223 the Seljuk governor of Sinope sent ships to attack the coast of Trapezuntine Crimea in an effort to divert trade into his port. A ship carrying the annual tribute of Perateia, with the archon of the province and a number of notables from Cherson on board, was driven by a storm into Sinope's harbour. In violation of a treaty agreed to by the Turks and the Empire of Trebizond in 1220, the city's governor, seized the vessel with its cargo and crew and sent a fleet to plunder Perateia. In response, Andronikos dispatched it against Sinope, his men plundered up to the walls of the "mart" and killed or captured the crews of the ships lying in the harbour. They rescued the captive archon, his ship and his money, as well as all the plunder carried off from Cherson. Upon learning of this attack, Sultan Melik marched on Trebizond. In response to the sultan's threat, Andronikos summoned all his troops and fortified the passes leading to the city.
The emperor inflicted considerable loss upon the advance guard of the sultan before withdrawing within the walls of the city, which were accounted impregnable although they did not yet extend to the sea. At this point the siege of the city began; the sultan made camp near the Monastery of Saint Eugenios, set fire to the suburbs outside the walls. A string of attacks and counterattacks followed over the next few days ended with an attempt to storm the walls by night; this last attack failed when a sudden thunderstorm, accompanied by torrential rain and hail and scattered the besiegers. Some rode over the cliffs in the dark into the ravines, others were caught by swollen torrents from the mountains. Melik was brought a prisoner to Trebizond. A pact was made between them that in the future the tie of vassalage, which had bound Trebizond to Iconium, should cease, that the Trapezuntines should no longer be obliged either to perform military service to the sultan or to send tribute or gifts. Melik is reported to have been so impressed by this moderation that he performed more than the treaty required by sending an annual present of Arab horses to Andron
Byzantine Empire under the Komnenos dynasty
The Eastern Roman Empire known as the Byzantine Empire or Byzantium in historiography, are terms conventionally used by historians to describe the Greek ethnic and speaking Roman Empire of the Middle Ages, centered on its capital of Constantinople. Having survived the fall of the Western Roman Empire during the 400s, the Eastern Roman Empire continued to function until its conquest by the Ottoman Turks in 1453. In the context of Byzantine history, the period from about 1081 to about 1185 is known as the Komnenian or Comnenian period, after the Komnenos dynasty. Together, the five Komnenian emperors ruled for 104 years, presiding over a sustained, though incomplete, restoration of the military, territorial and political position of the Byzantine Empire; as a human institution, Byzantium under the Komnenoi played a key role in the history of the Crusades in the Holy Land, while exerting enormous cultural and political influence in Europe, the Near East, the lands around the Mediterranean Sea.
The Komnenian emperors John and Manuel, exerted great influence over the Crusader states of Outremer, whilst Alexios I played a key role in the course of the First Crusade, which he helped bring about. Moreover, it was during the Komnenian period that contact between Byzantium and the'Latin' Christian West, including the Crusader states, was at its most crucial stage. Venetian and other Italian traders became resident in Constantinople and the empire in large numbers, their presence together with the numerous Latin mercenaries who were employed by Manuel in particular helped to spread Byzantine technology, art and culture throughout the Roman Catholic west. Above all, the cultural impact of Byzantine art on the west at this period was enormous and of long lasting significance; the Komnenoi made a significant contribution to the history of Asia Minor. By reconquering much of the region, the Komnenoi set back the advance of the Turks in Anatolia by more than two centuries. In the process, they planted the foundations of the Byzantine successor states of Nicaea and Trebizond.
Meanwhile, their extensive programme of fortifications has left an enduring mark upon the Anatolian landscape, which can still be appreciated today. The Komnenian era was born out of a period of great strife for the Byzantine Empire. Following a period of relative success and expansion under the Macedonian dynasty, Byzantium experienced several decades of stagnation and decline, which culminated in a vast deterioration in the military, territorial and political situation of the Byzantine Empire by the accession of Alexios I Komnenos in 1081; the problems the empire faced were caused by the growing influence and power of the aristocracy, which weakened the empire's military structure by undermining the theme system that trained and administered its armies. Beginning with the death of the successful soldier-emperor Basil II in 1025, a long series of weak rulers had disbanded the large armies, defending the eastern provinces from attack. In fact, most of the money was given away in the form of gifts to favourites of the emperor, extravagant court banquets, expensive luxuries for the imperial family.
Meanwhile, the remnants of the once-formidable armed forces were allowed to decay, to the point where they were no longer capable of functioning as an army. Elderly men with ill-maintained equipment mixed with new recruits who had never participated in a training exercise; the simultaneous arrival of aggressive new enemies – Turks in the east and Normans in the west – was another contributory factor. In 1040, the Normans landless mercenaries from northern parts of Europe in search of plunder, began attacking Byzantine strongholds in southern Italy. In order to deal with them, a mixed force of mercenaries and conscripts under the formidable George Maniakes was sent to Italy in 1042. Maniakes and his army conducted a brutally successful campaign, but before it could be concluded he was recalled to Constantinople. Angered by a series of outrages against his wife and property by one of his rivals, he was proclaimed emperor by his troops, led them across the Adriatic to victory against a loyalist army.
However, a mortal wound led to his death shortly afterwards. With opposition thus absent in the Balkans, the Normans were able to complete the expulsion of the Byzantines from Italy by 1071. Despite the seriousness of this loss, it was in Asia Minor that the empire's greatest disaster would take place; the Seljuk Turks, although concerned with defeating Egypt under the Fatimids conducted a series of damaging raids into Armenia and eastern Anatolia – the main recruiting ground for Byzantine armies. With imperial armies weakened by years of insufficient funding and civil warfare, Emperor Romanos Diogenes realised that a time of re-structuring and re-equipment was necessary, he attempted to lead a defensive campaign in the east until his forces had recovered enough to defeat the Seljuks. However, he suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of Alp Arslan at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. Romanos was captured, although the Sultan's peace terms were lenient, the battle in the long term resulted in the total loss of Byzantine Anatolia.
On his release, Romanos found that his enemies had conspired against him to place their own candidate on the throne in his absence. After two defeats in battle against the rebels, Romanos surrendered and suffered a horrific death by torture; the new ruler, Michael Douka
Alexios Komnenos (co-emperor)
Alexios Komnenos, latinised as Alexius Comnenus, was the eldest son of the Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos and his wife Eirene of Hungary. He was born in February 1106 at Balabista in Macedonia, was made co-emperor with his father at 16 or 17 years of age and died on 2 August 1142 at Attalia, Pamphylia, he was an elder brother of the emperor Manuel I Komnenos, had a twin sister, Maria Komnene. Alexios was made co-emperor by his father in 1122, but died in 1142; this was the year before his father's death as the result of a hunting accident. The reign of John II is less well chronicled than those of his father, Alexios I, or successor, Manuel I, coverage of the life of his son Alexios is sparse. A panegyrical poem by Theodore Prodromos was addressed to John and his son on the occasion of the coronation of Alexios, it hailed both rulers as "kings born of kings and emperors, reformers of old customs and privileges, with whom the august throne and sceptre-bearing are a paternal acquisition, a matter of inheritance."His final illness is described: "...of the severest kind and of short duration, took the form of a rushing fever attacking the head as though it were an acropolis."
The location of Alexios' death, at Attalia, suggests that he was on campaign with his father, who had established this city as a base from which to pacify the inland areas around Lake Pousgousē. Alexios' younger brother Andronikos was charged with escorting the body back to Constantinople, while discharging this duty, he too was taken ill and died; the identity of his wife is uncertain. It is possible he was married twice, the first wife being Dobrodjeja Mstislavna of Kiev, a daughter of Mstislav I of Kiev, the second being Kata of Georgia, a daughter of David IV of Georgia. While both women are known to have married members of the Komnenoi family, several theories have been suggested as to the identities of their husband or husbands, his daughter Maria Komnene married the pansebastos Alexios Axuch. He was the son of John Axuch, the megas domestikos, a close friend of John II. Alexios Axuch served as Duke of protostrator; however he fell out of favor with Manuel I Komnenos in 1167. John Kinnamos and Niketas Choniates report that the accusations against him included practice of witchcraft.
He and an unnamed "Latin" wizard were accused of causing the pregnancy of Maria of Antioch, the Empress consort, to result in a miscarriage. They managed to do so by providing drugs to Maria. Alexios ended his life as a monk. Maria Komnene, "wife of Alexios the protostrator" was mentioned in a seal. According to the Dictionnaire historique et Généalogique des grandes familles de Grèce, d'Albanie et de Constantinople by Mihail-Dimitri Sturdza, this Maria was suffering from insanity by the end of her life, they were the parents of John Komnenos "the Fat", a short-lived rival emperor to Alexios III Angelos. Theodora Axuchina, wife of Alexios I of Trebizond, is considered a possible daughter of John the Fat. Choniates, Niketas. O City of Byzantium: Annals of Niketas Choniates. Transl. by H. Magoulias. Detroit. ISBN 0-8143-1764-2. Magdalino, Paul; the Empire of Manuel I Komnenos, 1143–1180. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-52653-1. Varzos, Konstantinos. Η Γενεαλογία των Κομνηνών. A. Thessaloniki: Centre for Byzantine Studies, University of Thessaloniki.
OCLC 834784634. Pp. 339–348
Isaac I Komnenos
Isaac I Komnenos or Comnenus was Byzantine Emperor from 1057 to 1059, the first reigning member of the Komnenian dynasty. The son of the general Manuel Erotikos Komnenos, he was orphaned at an early age, was raised under the care of Emperor Basil II, he made his name as a successful military commander, serving as commander-in-chief of the eastern armies between c. 1042 and 1054. In 1057 he became the head of a conspiracy of the dissatisfied eastern generals against the newly crowned Michael VI Bringas. Proclaimed emperor by his followers on 8 June 1057, he rallied sufficient military forces to defeat the loyalist army at the Battle of Hades. While Isaac was willing to accept a compromise solution by being appointed Michael's heir, a powerful faction in Constantinople, led by the ambitious Patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Keroularios, pressured Michael to abdicate. After Michael abdicated on 30 August 1057, Isaac was crowned emperor in the Hagia Sophia on 1 September; as emperor, he rewarded his supporters, but embarked on a series of fiscal measures designed to shore up revenue and eliminate the excesses allowed to flourish under his predecessors.
His aim was to fill the treasury and restore the Byzantine army's effectiveness to preserve the empire. The reduction of salaries, harsh tax measures and confiscation of Church properties aroused much opposition from Keroularios, who had come to think of himself as a king-maker. In November 1058, Keroularios was arrested and exiled, died before a synod to depose him could be convened; the eastern frontier held firm during his reign, Hungarian raids were resolved by a treaty in 1059, while the restive Pechenegs were subdued by Isaac in person in summer 1059. Shortly after, Isaac fell ill, on the advice and pressure of Michael Psellos, he abdicated his throne in favour of Constantine X Doukas, retiring to the Stoudion monastery where he died in 1060. Isaac was the son of Manuel Erotikos Komnenos, who served as strategos autokrator of the East under Emperor Basil II and defended Nicaea against the rebel Bardas Skleros in 978, his mother's name was Maria. Manuel's native language was Greek and modern scholarship considers the family to have been of Greek origin.
It is said. Isaac was born c. 1007. As Maria had died early, on his deathbed in 1020, Isaac's father commended his two surviving sons Isaac and John to the care of Emperor Basil II. According to Nikephoros Bryennios the Younger, the two children were raised with the outmost solicitude: they were raised at the Stoudion monastery with the best tutors, while care was taken to teach them how to hunt and military exercises; as soon as they came of age and his brother joined the imperial bodyguard, the Hetaireia. At a young age as early as 1025, Isaac married Catherine of Bulgaria, a daughter of Ivan Vladislav, the last Tsar of the First Bulgarian Empire. From c. 1042 he held the post of stratopedarches of the East—likely denoting that he was domestikos ton scholon, commander-in-chief, of the eastern field army, but this title is not explicitly attested—and the ranks of magistros and vestes. He was dismissed by Empress Theodora in 1054, replaced by her eunuch confidant, the proedros Theodore; when Michael VI Bringas came to the throne in 1056, Isaac was chosen to lead a deputation of eastern generals to the new emperor.
Michael VI engaged in mass promotions of individuals—in the eyes of the contemporary courtier Michael Psellos, to an excessive degree—and the military sought to partake in the emperor's bounty. This was not a trivial matter: the debasement of the Byzantine currency under Constantine IX Monomachos had affected military pay—not coincidentally presided over by none other than Michael Bringas, military logothete—and while civil officials were compensated by being raised to higher dignities, the army was not; this exacerbated the simmering dislike of the military aristocracy for the "regime of eunuchs and civilian politicians" that had dominated the empire during the last decades of the Macedonian dynasty. At Easter 1057, the traditional time when the emperor paid title holders their stipends, the delegation presented itself before the emperor. Along with Isaac, the delegation included the magistros Katakalon Kekaumenos, who had just been dismissed as doux of Antioch; as the historian Anthony Kaldellis comments, this was a formidable assemblage, as the families represented in it, all of them descended from military men promoted by the warrior-emperor Basil II, would define "the future of the empire for the next thirty years, indeed for the next century and more".
Psellos himself was an eyewitness at the reception of the generals' delegation, claims that the emperor began abusing them at once. John Skylitzes, who wrote in the century, reports that the emperor treated the generals courteously, but agrees that he refused outright to consider the honours they claimed for themselves, notably the promotion of Isaac and Kekaumenos to the rank
Isaac Komnenos of Cyprus
Isaac Komnenos or Comnenus, ruled Cyprus from 1184 to 1191, before Richard the Lionheart, King of England conquered the island during the Third Crusade. At the death of Byzantine emperor John II Komnenos in 1143, the throne passed not to his third and oldest living son, Isaac Komnenos, but his youngest son, Manuel I Komnenos, who claimed the throne. Isaac served amiably as sebastokrator, his first wife Theodora Kamaterina bore him a daughter, Irene Komnene, other children. Irene Komnene married an unnamed Doukas Kamateros and gave birth to Isaac Komnenos, a minor member of the Komnenos family, c. 1155. Byzantine historian Niketas Choniates provides most of the following account of his life. Isaac was the son of an unnamed member of the noble Byzantine family, Doukas Kamateros and Eirene Komnene, daughter of Isaac Komnenos. Isaac Komnenos married an Armenian princess on Cyprus. Emperor Manuel I Komnenos made Isaac governor of Isauria and the town of Tarsus, where he started a war against the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, soldiers of which captured him.
As Emperor Manuel died in 1180 nobody cared about the fate of Isaac, whose long imprisonment failed to improve his general disposition. On account of his Armenian royal wife, he endured not too harsh terms of captivity, his aunt Theodora Komnene, queen consort of Jerusalem, during an affair with the new Byzantine emperor Andronikos I Komnenos, convinced the Emperor to contribute to his ransom. Constantine Makrodoukas, a loyal supporter of the emperor and uncle of Isaac, Andronikos Doukas, a relative, childhood friend and debaucher, both contributed to his ransom; these two relatives stood surety for the fealty of Isaac Komnenos to the Byzantine emperor. The Knights Templar, whom Niketas Choniates labels "the Phreri," strangely enough contributed as well; the Armenians in 1185 released Isaac tired of the imperial service. He sailed to Cyprus, he presented falsified imperial letters that ordered the local administration to obey him in everything and established himself as ruler of the island. Because Isaac Komnenos failed to return to imperial service, Byzantine emperor Andronikos I Komnenos ordered Constantine Makrodoukas and Andronikos Doukas arrested for treason, although Constantine had heretofore loyally supported the emperor.
The courtier Stephen Hagiochristophorites conducted a water-oracle that gave the letter I as the initial of the succeeding emperor, so Byzantine emperor Andronikos I feared an attempt of Isaac to usurp the throne. When court officials led the prisoners from prison to face the charges, Hagiochristophorites started to stone them and forced others to join him. Stones impaled both prisoners at the front of the palace of Mangana on 30 May 1185. Another oracle gave the date of the start of the rule of the next Byzantine emperor, a time much too near for Isaac to make the crossing from Cyprus, which relieved Byzantine emperor Andronikos I. Meanwhile, Isaac took many other Romans into his service, he created an independent patriarch of Cyprus, who crowned him as emperor in 1185. After a popular uprising at Constantinople led to the death of the Byzantine emperor on 12 September 1185, Isaac II Angelos succeeded to the Byzantine throne, he raised a fleet of 70 ships to take back Cyprus. The fleet was under the command of John Kontostephanos and Alexios Komnenos, a nephew once removed of the emperor.
Andronikos I Komnenos ordered. The fleet landed in Cyprus, but after the troops left the ships, Margaritus of Brindisi, a pirate in the service of King William II of Sicily the Good captured the ships. Isaac or more Margaritus won a victory over the Byzantine troops and captured the captains, whom he took to Sicily, while the rest of the sailors on Cyprus tried their best to survive and to fend off the enemy. "Only much did they return home, if they had not perished altogether." From the time of his coronation, Isaac started to plunder Cyprus, raping women, defiling virgins, imposing overly cruel punishments for crimes, stealing the possessions of the citizens. "Cypriots of high esteem, comparable to Job in riches now were seen begging in the streets and hungry, if they were not put to the sword by this irascible tyrant." Furthermore, he despicably ordered the foot of Basil Pentakenos, his old teacher and amputated. Niketas Choniates not partial to Isaac, describes him as an irascible and violent man, "boiling with anger like a kettle on the fire."
Byzantine emperor Andronikos I Komnenos bore responsibility for greater cruelties. A seeming league with William II of Sicily, a powerful thorn in the side of the Byzantine Empire, helped Isaac to hold the island for the duration of his reign, he was closely connected to Saladin, sultan of Egypt and Syria. King Richard the Lionheart and others embarked on the Third Crusade in 1189. Early in 1191, Berengaria of Navarre and Joan of England, the fiancée and sister of King Richard, travelled together and were shipwrecked on Cyprus. In retaliation, King Richard conquered the island while on his way to Tyre; the English took Isaac prisoner near Cape Apostolos Andreas on the Karpass Peninsula, the northernmost tip of the island. According to tradition, as Richard had promised not to put him into irons, he kept Isaac prisoner in chains of silver; the English transferred Isaac to the Knights Hospitaller, who kept him imprisoned in Margat n
Hagia Sophia is the former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Built in 537 AD at the beginning of the Middle Ages, it was famous in particular for its massive dome, it was an engineering marvel of its time. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture"; the Hagia Sophia construction consists of masonry. The structure is composed of mortar joints that are 1.5 times the width of the bricks. The mortar joints are composed of a combination of sand and minute ceramic pieces displaced evenly throughout the mortar joints; this combination of sand and ceramic pieces could be considered to be the equivalent of modern concrete at the time. From the date of its construction's completion in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted by the Fourth Crusaders to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire.
The building was converted into an Ottoman mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935, it remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. The current building was constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the prior one having been destroyed by rioters in the Nika Revolt, it was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Anthemius of Tralles. The church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Trinity, its patronal feast taking place on 25 December, the commemoration of the birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ. Although sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia, sophia being the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom, its full name in Greek is Ναός της Αγίας του Θεού Σοφίας, Naos tēs Hagias tou Theou Sophias, "Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God".
The church contained a large collection of relics and featured, among other things, a 15-metre silver iconostasis. The focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years, the building witnessed the excommunication of Patriarch Michael I Cerularius communicated by Humbert of Silva Candida, the papal envoy of Pope Leo IX in 1054, an act, considered the start of the East–West Schism. In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed the Conqueror, who ordered this main church of Orthodox Christianity converted into a mosque. Although some parts of the city of Constantinople were falling into disrepair, the cathedral was maintained with an amount of money set aside for this purpose; the Christian cathedral made a strong impression on the new Ottoman rulers and they decided to convert it into a mosque. The bells, altar and other relics were destroyed and the mosaics depicting Jesus, his Mother Mary, Christian saints, angels were destroyed or plastered over.
Islamic features – such as the mihrab and four minarets – were added. It remained a mosque until 1931, it was re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey. Hagia Sophia was, as of 2014, the second-most visited museum in Turkey, attracting 3.3 million visitors annually. According to data released by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, Hagia Sophia was Turkey's most visited tourist attraction in 2015. From its initial conversion until the construction of the nearby Sultan Ahmed Mosque in 1616, it was the principal mosque of Istanbul; the Byzantine architecture of the Hagia Sophia served as inspiration for many other Ottoman mosques, such as the aforementioned mosque, the Şehzade Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque, the Rüstem Pasha Mosque and the Kılıç Ali Pasha Complex. On 24 March 2019, the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the Hagia Sophia is to be reverted to a mosque; the first church on the site was known as the Μεγάλη Ἐκκλησία, or in Latin Magna Ecclesia, because of its larger dimensions in comparison to the contemporary churches in the City.
Inaugurated on 15 February 360 by the Arian bishop Eudoxius of Antioch, it was built next to the area where the imperial palace was being developed. The nearby Hagia Eirene church was completed earlier and served as cathedral until the Great Church was completed. Both churches acted together as the principal churches of the Byzantine Empire. Writing in 440, Socrates of Constantinople claimed that the church was built by Constantius II, working on it in 346. A tradition, not older than the 7th or 8th century, reports that the edifice was built by Constantine the Great. Zonaras reconciles the two opinions, writing that Constantius had repaired the edifice consecrated by Eusebius of Nicomedia, after it had collapsed. Since Eusebius was bishop of Constantinople from 339 to 341, Constantine died in 337, it seems possible that the first church was erected by the latter; the edifice was built as a traditional Latin colonnaded basilica with a wooden roof. It was preceded by an atrium, it was claimed to be one of the world's most outstanding monuments at the time.
The Patriarch of Constantinople John
Andronikos I Komnenos
Andronikos I Komnenos Latinized as Andronicus I Comnenus, was Byzantine Emperor from 1183 to 1185. He was the son of Isaac Komnenos and the grandson of the emperor Alexios I. Andronikos Komnenos was born around 1118, he was handsome and eloquent, hardy, courageous, a great general and an able politician, but licentious. His early years were spent alternately in military service. In 1141 he remained in their hands for a year. On being ransomed, he went to Constantinople, where he was held at the court of his first cousin, the Emperor Manuel I Komnenos, to whom he was a great favourite. Here the charms of his niece, attracted him and she became his mistress. In 1152, accompanied by Eudoxia, he set out for an important command in Cilicia. Failing in his principal enterprise, an attack upon Mopsuestia, he returned but was again appointed to the command of a province; this second post he seems to have left after a short interval, for he appeared again in Constantinople and narrowly escaped death at the hands of the brothers of Eudoxia.
About 1153, a conspiracy against the Emperor in which Andronikos participated was discovered, he was thrown in prison. After repeated unsuccessful attempts, he escaped in 1165. After passing through many dangers, including captivity in Vlach territory, he reached Kiev, where his cousin Yaroslav Osmomysl of Galicia held court. While under the protection of Yaroslav, Andronikos formed an alliance with the Emperor Manuel I, with a Galician army he joined Manuel in the invasion of Hungary, assisting at the siege of Semlin; the campaign was successful, Andronikos returned to Constantinople with Manuel I in 1168. Andronikos received the province of Cilicia. Still under the displeasure of the Emperor, Andronikos fled to the court of Raymond, Prince of Antioch. While residing here he captivated and seduced the beautiful daughter of the Prince, sister of the Empress Maria; the Emperor was again angered by this dishonour, Andronikos was compelled to flee. He took refuge with King Amalric I of Jerusalem, whose favour he gained, who invested him with the Lordship of Beirut.
In Jerusalem he saw Theodora Komnene, the beautiful widow of King Baldwin III and niece of the Emperor Manuel. Although Andronikos was at that time fifty-six years old, age had not diminished his charms, Theodora became the next victim of his artful seduction. To avoid the vengeance of the Emperor, she fled with Andronikos to the court of Nur ad-Din, the Sultan of Damascus. Feeling unsafe there, they continued their perilous journey through the Anatolia, they were well received by King George III of Georgia, whose anonymous sister had been the first wife of Andronikos. Andronikos was granted estates in the east of Georgia. In 1173 or 1174, he accompanied the Georgian army on an expedition to Shirvan up to the Caspian shores, where George recaptured the fortress of Shabaran from the invaders from Darband for his cousin, the Shirvanshah Akhsitan I. Andronikos and Theodora settled in the ancestral lands of the Komnenoi at Oinaion, on the shores of the Black Sea, between Trebizond and Sinope. While Andronikos was on one of his incursions into Trebizond, his castle was surprised by the governor of that province, Theodora and her two children were captured and sent to Constantinople.
To obtain their release Andronikos in early 1180 made abject submission to the Emperor and, appearing in chains before him, besought pardon. This he obtained, he was allowed to retire with Theodora into banishment at Oinaion. In 1180 the Emperor Manuel died and was succeeded by his ten-year-old son Alexios II, under the guardianship of his mother, Empress Maria, her Latin origins and culture led to creeping resentment from her Greek subjects. They had felt insulted by the Western tastes of Manuel, being ruled by his Western wife built tensions to an explosion of rioting that became a full civil war; this gave Andronikos the opportunity to seize the crown for himself, leaving his retirement in 1182 and marching to Constantinople with an army that included Muslim contingents. The defection of the commander of the Byzantine navy, megas doux Andronikos Kontostephanos, the general Andronikos Angelos, played a key role in allowing the rebellious forces to enter Constantinople; the arrival of Andronikos Komnenos was soon followed by a massacre of the city's Latin inhabitants, who controlled its economy, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Westerners.
He was believed to have arranged the poisoning of Alexios II's elder sister Maria the Porphyrogenita and her husband Renier of Montferrat, although Maria herself had encouraged him to intervene. Soon afterwards Andronikos had the Empress Maria imprisoned and killed — forcing a signature from the child Emperor Alexios to put his mother to death — by Pterygeonites and the hetaireiarches Constantine Tripsychos. Alexios II was compelled to acknowledge Andronikos as colleague in the empire in front of the crowd on the terrace of the Church of Christ of the Chalkè and was quickly put to death in turn. In 1183, sixty-five year old Andronikos married twelve-year-old Agnes of France, daughter of King Louis VII of France and his third wife Adèle of Champagne — Agnes had been betrothed to Alexios II. By November 1183, Andronikos ha