Theodore Svetoslav of Bulgaria
Theodore Svetoslav ruled as emperor of Bulgaria from 1300 to 1322. The date of his birth is unknown, he was a wise and capable ruler who brought stability and relative prosperity to the Bulgarian Empire after two decades of constant Mongol intervention in the internal issues of the Empire. Theodore Svetoslav's reign began with the return of Southern Bessarabia to Bulgaria and a few years he managed to defeat the Byzantines and retake most of northern Thrace occupied by them during the crisis. After 1307 he led a peaceful policy towards all neighbours, which resulted in expanded trade and economy. Apart from his external and economic successes, Theodore Svetoslav dealt with the separatists among the nobility including his uncle, he persecuted the traitors who he thought were responsible for the Mongol interference and the Patriarch, Joachim III, was executed. Theodore Svetoslav was the son of George Terter I by Maria. Soon after the accession of Ivan Asen III in 1279 his father divorced his mother in order to marry the sister of the new emperor.
Maria and Theodore Svetoslav were sent to the Byzantine Empire as hostages, settled in Nicaea. The accession of George Terter I to the throne in 1280 did not alter matters, but in 1281 Theodore Svetoslav was betrothed to a daughter of the sebastokratōr John I Doukas of Thessaly, as part of a diplomatic alliance; the young bride-to-be never met her intended husband. In 1284 George Terter I concluded a new treaty with Andronikos II Palaiologos, retrieved his first wife, while Theodore Svetoslav at first remained a hostage; the same treaty required the breaking off of the alliance with Thessaly and Theodore Svetoslav's intended bride was sent to Byzantium. It was only in 1285 that the Patriarch of Bulgaria Joakim III arrived in Constantinople and arranged for the release of Theodore Svetoslav, now supposed to marry a daughter of the high court official John Synadenos. We have no information. In Bulgaria Theodore Svetoslav was associated as co-emperor by his father, who issued coins representing them side by side.
After devastating Mongol raids, George Terter I dispatched his son as hostage to Nogai Khan, the effective leader of the Mongol Golden Horde in about 1289. In connection with the same events, Theodore Svetoslav's unnamed sister married Nogai's son Chaka. During part of his exile, Theodore Svetoslav became impoverished and sought to improve his fortunes by marrying the rich Euphrosyne, the god-daughter of Nogai's wife Euphrosyne Palaiologina, herself an illegitimate daughter of Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos. Theodore Svetoslav left obscurity in 1298 or 1299, when he accompanied his brother-in-law Chaka in an invasion of Bulgaria; the regency for Ivan II fled Tărnovo in 1299, Theodore Svetoslav helped convince the Bulgarian nobility to accept Chaka as ruler. However, the armies of the khan of the Golden Horde Toqta entered Bulgaria in pursuit of his enemy Chaka, Theodore Svetoslav promptly organized a plot, deposing Chaka and having him strangled in prison in 1300. Theodore Svetoslav now became emperor of Bulgaria and sent Chaka's severed head as a present to Toqta, who withdrew his armies from the country.
The reign of Theodore Svetoslav is connected with the internal stabilization and pacification of the country, the end of Mongol overlordship, the reassertion of effective central control over outlying provinces, the recovery of portions of Thrace lost to the Byzantine Empire since the wars against Ivaylo of Bulgaria. Theodore Svetoslav pursued a ruthless course of action, punishing all who stood in his way, including his former benefactor, Patriarch Joachim III, accused of treason and executed. In the face of the new emperor's brutality, some noble factions sought to replace him with other claimants to the throne, backed by Andronikos II. A new claimant appeared in the person of the sebastokratōr Radoslav Voïsil or Vojsil, from Sredna Gora, a brother of the former emperor Smilets, defeated, captured by Theodore Svetoslav's uncle, the despotēs Aldimir, at Krăn in about 1301. Another pretender was the former emperor Michael Asen II, who unsuccessfully tried to advance into Bulgaria with a Byzantine army in about 1302.
Theodore Svetoslav exchanged thirteen high-ranking Byzantine officers captured on Radoslav's defeat for his father George Terter I, whom he settled in a life of luxury in an unidentified city. As a consequence of his victories, Theodore Svetoslav felt secure enough to move on to the offensive by 1303 and captured the fortresses of northeastern Thrace, including Mesembria, Anchialos and Agathopolis in 1304; the Byzantine counterattack failed at the battle of Skafida near Poros, where the Co-emperor Michael IX Palaiologos was turned to flight. The war continued, with Michael IX and Theodore Svetoslav taking turns pillaging each other's lands. In the following 1305 Theodore Svetoslav's uncle Aldimir appears to have entered into negotiations with the Byzantines, Theodore Svetoslav annexed his uncle's lands. In 1306 Theodore Svetoslav gained the services of the rebellious Alan mercenaries to the Byzantines, whom he settled in Bulgaria, made unsuccessful overtures to the mercenaries of the Catalan Company, who had rebelled against their Byzantine employers.
The war ended with a peace treaty in 1307, cemented with a marriage between the widowed Theodore Svetoslav and Theodora, a daughter of the Co-emperor Michael IX Palaiologos. Until the end of his life Theodore Svetoslav remained at peace with his neighbors, his reassertion of central control over outl
Andrew II of Hungary
Andrew II known as Andrew of Jerusalem, was King of Hungary and Croatia between 1205 and 1235. He ruled the Principality of Halych from 1188 until 1189/1190, again between 1208/1209 and 1210, he was the younger son of Béla III of Hungary, who entrusted him with the administration of the newly conquered Principality of Halych in 1188. Andrew's rule was unpopular, the boyars expelled him. Béla III willed money to Andrew, obliging him to lead a crusade to the Holy Land. Instead, Andrew forced his elder brother, King Emeric of Hungary, to cede Croatia and Dalmatia as an appanage to him in 1197; the following year, Andrew occupied Hum. Despite the fact that Andrew did not stop conspiring against Emeric, the dying king made Andrew guardian of his son, Ladislaus III, in 1204. After the premature death of Ladislaus, Andrew ascended the throne in 1205. According to historian László Kontler, "t was amidst the socio-political turmoil during reign that the relations, institutional framework and social categories that arose under Stephen I, started to disintegrate in the higher echelons of society" in Hungary.
Andrew introduced a new grants policy, the so-called "new institutions", giving away money and royal estates to his partisans despite the loss of royal revenues. He was the first Hungarian monarch to adopt the title of "King of Halych and Lodomeria", he waged at least a dozen wars to seize the two Rus' principalities, but the local boyars and neighboring princes prevented him from conquering the principalities. He participated in the Fifth Crusade to the Holy Land in 1217 -- 1218; when the servientes regis, or "royal servants", rose up, Andrew was forced to issue the Golden Bull of 1222, confirming their privileges. This led to the rise of the nobility in the Kingdom of Hungary, his Diploma Andreanum of 1224 listed the liberties of the Transylvanian Saxon community. The employment of Jews and Muslims to administer the royal revenues led him into conflict with the Holy See and the Hungarian prelates. Andrew pledged to respect the privileges of the clergymen and to dismiss his non-Christian officials in 1233, but he never fulfilled the latter promise.
Andrew's first wife, Gertrude of Merania, was murdered in 1213 because her blatant favoritism towards her German kinsmen and courtiers stirred up discontent among the native lords. The veneration of their daughter, Elizabeth of Hungary, was confirmed by the Holy See during Andrew's lifetime. After Andrew's death, his sons, Béla and Coloman, accused his third wife, Beatrice d'Este, of adultery and never considered her son, Stephen, to be a legitimate son of Andrew. Andrew was the second son of Béla's first wife, Agnes of Antioch; the year of Andrew's birth is not known, but modern historians agree that he was born around 1177. Andrew was first mentioned in connection to his father's invasion of the Principality of Halych in 1188; that year, Béla III invaded Halych upon the request of its former prince, Vladimir II Yaroslavich, expelled by his subjects. Béla forced Roman Mstislavich, to flee. After conquering Halych, he granted it to Andrew. Béla captured Vladimir Yaroslavich and imprisoned him in Hungary.
After Béla's withdrawal from Halych, Roman Mstislavich returned with the assistance of Rurik Rostislavich, Prince of Belgorod Kievsky. They tried to expel Andrew and his Hungarian retinue, but the Hungarians routed the united forces of Mstislavich and Rostislavich. A group of local boyars offered the throne to Rostislav Ivanovich, a distant cousin of the imprisoned Vladimir Yaroslavich. Béla III sent reinforcements to Halych. Andrew's reign remained unpopular in Halych, because the Hungarian soldiers insulted local women and did not respect Orthodox churches; the local boyars allied with their former prince, Vladimir Yaroslavich, who had escaped from captivity and returned to Halych. Duke Casimir II of Poland supported Vladimir Yaroslavich, they expelled Andrew and his retinue from the principality in August 1189 or 1190. Andrew returned to Hungary after his defeat, he did not receive a separate duchy from his father. On his deathbed, Béla III, who had pledged to lead a crusade to the Holy Land, ordered Andrew to fulfill his vow.
Andrew's father died on 23 April 1196, Andrew's older brother, succeeded him. Andrew used the funds that he inherited from his father to recruit supporters among the Hungarian lords, he formed an alliance with Leopold VI, Duke of Austria, they plotted against Emeric. Their united troops routed the royal army at Mački, Slavonia, in December 1197. Under duress, King Emeric gave Dalmatia to Andrew as an appanage. In practice, Andrew administered Dalmatia as an independent monarch, he granted land and confirmed privileges. He cooperated with the Frankopans, Babonići, other local lords; the Canons Regular of the Holy Sepulchre settled in the province during his rule. Taking advantage of Miroslav of Hum's death, Andrew invaded Hum and occupied at least the land between the Cetina and Neretva rivers, he styled himself, "By the grace of God, Duke of Zadar and of all Dalmatia and Hum" in his charters. Pope Innocent III urged Andrew to lead a crusade the Holy Land, but Andrew hatched a new conspiracy against Emeric with the help of John, Abbot of Pannonhalma, Bishop of Vác, many other prelates and lords.
The Pope threatened him with excommunication if he failed to fulfill his father's vow, but Andrew did not yield. The conspiracy was uncovered on 10 March 1199, when King Emeric seize
Theodora Palaiologina (Byzantine empress)
Theodora Doukaina Komnene Palaiologina known as Theodora Palaiologina, was the Empress consort of the Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos. Theodora Vatatzaina was a daughter of his wife Eudokia Angelina, her paternal grandfather was sebastokrator Isaac Doukas Vatatzes, the older brother of the Nicaean emperor John III Doukas Vatatzes. Theodora's maternal grandfather was protostrator John Komnenos Angelos, her grandmother's name is not known. Acropolites mentions, her mother died in the early 1250s. Leaving Theodora to be raised by her great-uncle John III, said to have "loved her like a daughter". In 1253, John III arranged the marriage of Theodora to Michael Palaiologos, rising in distinction due to a combination of familial connections and military abilities. John III died on 3 November 1254, he was succeeded by his only son Theodore II Laskaris, who died four years leaving his only son John IV Laskaris, a youth of seven. Michael maneuvered his way into first becoming regent of John IV advancing step by step to despotes making him next in order to Emperor.
The final step came at the beginning of 1259 when John were crowned as co-emperors. There is no clear indication that Theodora was crowned empress at this time, but Alice-Mary Talbot notes the historian George Pachymeres contrasts the imperial couple with the young John who wore less impressive regalia. On 25 July 1261, Alexios Strategopoulos captured Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, shattered by the Fourth Crusade. Michael took advantage of the success of his general and entered the city on 15 August 1261 and was soon followed by Theodora and their children. In September Michael was crowned Emperor a second time in the cathedral of Hagia Sophia. About the time of this achievement, Theodora confronted a crisis in her marriage. According to Pachymeres, Michael became enamored of Anna-Constance of Hohenstaufen, married to John Vatatzes before his death; when Theodora learned of this, she turned to Patriarch Arsenios Autoreianos for help. The Patriarch pressured him to abandon his plans.
Michael yielded and allow Anna to leave for home in December 1261. There is little evidence for Theodora's political role in the reign of her husband, she took an interest in the marriages of her two daughters Irene. She intervened to gain clemency for courtiers who fell into disfavor; the evidence of her activities concern her support of monastic communities. A number of documents survive from the archives of the Patmos and Lembiotissa monasteries from the years 1259 to 1281 attesting to her active involvement; when Michael pursued a policy of church union at the Second Council of Lyons in 1274, there is evidence showing Theodora sympathized with the anti-unionists. When she failed to persuade Michael to change his mind, she supported the policy out of loyalty to Michael for she was forced to publicly recant in 1283. At some point after Michael's death in 1282, Theodora undertook the restoration of Lips monastery, founded in the 10th century, added a convent. In reconstructing the convent she added a second church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist.
Talbot explains one motivation for her interest in the convent of Lips was to provide a place for her daughters and granddaughters to retire in their old age, per the current custom. Another was to provide a resting place for her family, having seen how Michael had been denied Christian burial. Talbot explains, "Theodora, as dowager empress and matriarch of the family, no doubt was determined to make provision for proper burial for herself and her descendants."Lastly, Theodora played a role in supporting scholarship and promoting the production of manuscripts. For example, soon after the recovery of Constantinople, she commissioned the monk Arsenios to translate into Greek a work on geometry by the Persian philosopher al-Zanati; the tract is preserved in Naples manuscript, with a note that provides information about Theodora's patronage. Theodora died after a short illness on 4 March 1304, her son the Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos prepared a magnificent funeral, she was laid to rest in the church of John the Baptist at Lips convent, where she had prepared her tomb some years earlier.
The funeral oration was delivered by Theodore Metochites. Theodora and Michael VIII had seven children: Manuel Palaiologos Irene Palaiologina, who married emperor Ivan Asen III of Bulgaria Andronikos II Palaiologos Anna Palaiologina, who married Demetrios/Michael Komnenos Doukas, third son of Michael II of Epirus Constantine Palaiologos, who married Eirene Raoulaina his second cousin Theodora Palaiologina, who married King David VI of Georgia Eudokia Palaiologina, who married Emperor John II of Trebizond Theodore Palaiologos Talbot, Alice-Mary. "Empress Theodora Palaiologina, Wife of Michael VIII". Dumbarton Oaks Papers. 46: 295–303. JSTOR 1291662. Trapp, Erich. Prosopographisches Lexikon der Palaiologenzeit (i
Michael Shishman of Bulgaria
Michael Asen III, ruled as tsar of Bulgaria from 1323 to 1330. The exact year of his birth is unknown but it was between 1280 and 1292, he was the founder of the last ruling dynasty of the Shishman dynasty. After he was crowned, Michael used the name Asen to emphasize his connection with the Asen dynasty, the first one to rule over the Second Empire. An energetic and ambitious ruler, Michael Shishman led an aggressive but opportunistic and inconsistent foreign policy against the Byzantine Empire and the Kingdom of Serbia, which ended in the disastrous battle of Velbazhd which claimed his own life, he was the last medieval Bulgarian ruler who aimed at military and political hegemony of the Bulgarian Empire over the Balkans and the last one who attempted to seize Constantinople. He was succeeded by his son Ivan Stephen and by his nephew Ivan Alexander, who reversed his policy by forming an alliance with Serbia. Born between 1280 and 1292 Michael Shishman was the son of the despot Shishman of Vidin by an unnamed daughter of the sebastokrator Peter and Anna, herself daughter of Ivan Asen II and Irene Komnene of Epirus.
He was a distant cousin of his predecessors on the Bulgarian throne, Theodore Svetoslav and George Terter II. After the peace between his father and Stefan Milutin in 1292, Michael Shishman was engaged to Milutin's daughter Anna Neda and they married in 1298 or 1299. Since the middle of the 13th century, the area of Vidin had been autonomous under ineffective Bulgarian overlordship, was ruled successively by Yakov Svetoslav and Michael Shishman. Shishman and his son received the high courtly title of despotēs from their cousin Theodore Svetoslav and the latter was referred to in a contemporary Venetian source as a Despot of Bulgaria and Lord of Vidin. With the death of the Serbian king Stefan Milutin, Michael Shishman was able to follow a more active policy in the Bulgarian capital Tarnovo, he soon became a leading noble in the internal affairs of the country and, on the childless death of young George Terter II in 1323, Michael Shishman was elected emperor of Bulgaria by the nobility. According to some historians he was chosen because he was a descendant of the Asen dynasty and interpret his ascencion to the throne not as the beginning of a new dynasty but rather as a continuation of the House of Asen.
His half-brother, succeeded him as despot of Vidin. The sudden death of George Terter II had been followed by a brief period of confusion and uncertainty, exploited by the Byzantine emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos; the Byzantines overran northeastern Thrace and captured a number of important cities including Yambol, Ktenia, Anchialus and Agatopol. At the same time, a Byzantine-sponsored pretender, brother of the former Bulgarian emperor Smilets, ensconced himself in Krăn, controlling the valleys between the Balkan mountains and Sredna Gora from Sliven to Kopsis. At this point the newly elected Michael Shishman marched south against Andronikos III, while another Byzantine army led by Andronikos III himself was besieging Philippopolis. Defended by a Bulgarian garrison led by Ivan the Russian, the siege was a failure despite the Byzantines use of a 100-soldier, five-story siege tower. While the Byzantine army was engaged at Philipopolis, Michael Shishman led his troops to north-eastern Thrace and retook the lost cities thus forcing the Byzantines to pull back.
Although Michael Shishman forced Andronikos III to retreat, the Byzantines managed to take the Philippopolis while the Bulgarians were changing garrisons. Despite the loss, Michael Shishman was able to expel Voysil and recover Bulgarian control over northern and northeastern Thrace in 1324, taken by the Byzantines in the previous year during the interregnum. Again in 1324, the Bulgarian emperor invaded Byzantium advancing as far as Trajanopolis and Vira in the lower course of the Maritsa river. Andronikos III was unable to engage the Bulgarian army, he offered Michael Shishman a duel to solve the conflict. The Bulgarian emperor answered with the words cited by John Kantakouzenos: The Byzantine emperor was said to have been infuriated with the answer and the fact that he was outsmarted. However, Michael III, informed of the conflict between Andronikos III and Andronikos II hinted him that he could help Andronikos III against his grandfather in case of war and returned to Bulgaria promising that soon he would begin negotiations.
On a council held in Constantinople on the relations with Bulgaria it was decided that the two countries should begin negotiations despite the calls for punishing the Bulgarians for the invasion. Michael Shishman divorced his wife Anna Neda and married Theodora Palaiologina, the 35-year-old widow of emperor Theodore Svetoslav; the exact reasons for that act are unclear. Many historians suggest that the deterioration of the Bulgarian-Serbian relations was rooted in the Serbian penetration in Macedonia; the marriage cemented the peace treaty with the Byzantine Empire but the need for an ally against the Serbs made Michael Shishman prone to make concessions. It was decided; the agreement was signed in the autumn of 1324 and Michael Shishman spent the next several years at peace with his neighbors. In 1327 Michael Shishman became involved in the renewed civil war in the Byzantine Empire, taking the side of his brother-in-law Andronikos III, while his grandfather and rival Andronikos II obtained the support of