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invade Thrace, and Robert Guiscard, duke of Apulia, with a mighty host of Norman knights, had crossed the Adriatic and laid siege to Durazzo, the ancient Dyrrachium. In this critical position Alexis evinced extraordinary activity. He concluded peace with the Seljuks, ceding Asia to them; he made an alliance with Venice and Henry IV., emperor of Germany ; and he sold the sacred vessels of the churches to pay his troops. His straggle with the Normans was long and bloody, but famine, diseases, civil troubles, and a powerful diversion of Henry IV., compelled the Normans to leave Epeirus in 1084. During this time the Seljuks had recommenced hostilities, and threatened to block up Constantinople with a fleet constructed by Greek captives. In this extremity Alexis implored the assistance of the European princes.
The conquest of Jerusalem by the Seljuks, the interruption of the pious pilgrimages to the holy grave, and the vexations which the Christians in -the East had to endure from the infidels, had produced an extraordinary excitement among the nations in Europe. .The idea of rescuing the town of our Saviour became popular ; the pope and the princes shewed themselves favourable to such an expedition, and they resolved upon it after the ambassadors of Alexis had related to them at Piacenza in'1095 the hopeless state of the Christians in Asia. The first Crusaders appeared in Constantinople in 1096. They were commanded by Peter the Hermit and Walter the Pennyless, and were rather a band of vagabonds than an army. Alexis hastened to send them over to Asia, where they were massacred by the Turl^s. Soon after them came a powerful army, commanded by Godfrey of Bouillon, and their continued stay in the neighbourhood of Constantinople gave occasion to serious differences between the Latins and the Greeks. However Alexis, by the alternate use of threats and persuasions, not only succeeded in getting rid of the dangerous foreigners by carrying them over to Asia, but also managed the pride of Godfrey of Bouillon and his turbulent barons with so much dexterity, that they consented to take the oath of vassalage for those provinces which they might conquer in Asia, and promised to restore to the emperor the Byzantine territories, which had been taken by the Seljuks. In his turn he promised to assist them in their enterprise with a strong army, but the dangerous state of the empire prevented him from keeping his word. However, in proportion as the Crusaders, in 1097, advanced into Asia, Alexis followed them with a chosen body, and thus gradually reunited with his empire Nicaea, Chios, Rhodes, Smyrna, Ephesus, Sardes, and finally all Asia Minor. The descendants of Bohemond, prince of Antioch, did homage to Alexis, to whom they restored Tarsus and Malmistra. During the latter years of his reign, Alexis was occupied with consolidating the domestic peace of his empire, which was then often disturbed by religious troubles; He died in 111 8, at the age of seventy, and his successor was his son John, generally called Calo-Joannes.
Alexis was the author of a work entitled XoyapiK-fj, which was published in the 4th volume of the Analecta Graeca, Par. 1688, and also from a later manuscript by Gronovius at the end of his work De Sestertiis, Lugd. Bat. 1691. Respecting the ecclesiastical edicts of Alexius, several of which are extant, see Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vii. p. 729. ,
The life of Alexis has been careful!}*-, though very partially, described by his daughter, Anna Comnena, in her Aleocias., which is the principal source concerning this emperor. (Comp. Glycas, p. 4; AlbertusAquensis,ii. 9-19; Wilhelmus Tyrensis, ii. 5, 23 ; comp. S. F. Wilken, " Rerum ab Alexio I., Joanne, Manuele et Alexio II. Comnenis gesta-rum libri quatuor," Heidelberg, 1811.) [ W. P.]
ALEXIS or ALE'XIUS II. COMNE'NUS (vAAe£:s or 'AAe£ios Ko^vr\v6s\ emperor of Con stantinople, the son of the emperor Manuel Com- nenus, was born in 1167? according to Nicetas. In 1179, he married Agnes or Anna, the daughter of king Louis VII. of France, and succeeded his father in 1180, under the guardianship of his mo ther Maria, the daughter of Raymond, prince of Antioch. They both became victims of the ambi tion of Andronicus Comnenus, who first compelled the young emperor to sign the death of his mother, and then put Alexis to death in 1183 ; whereupon he succeeded him on the throne. (Nicetas, Alexis Manuel. Comn.fil.; comp. Ducange, Familiae By- zantinae, p. 188.) [W. P.]
ALEXIS or ALE'XIUS III. A'NGELUS ("AAegis or 'AAegios ^776X05), the brother of the emperor Isaac II. Angelus, whom he deposed and j blinded in 1195. Being a descendant of Alexis I. Comnenus by Theodora, the youngest daughter of the latter, he assumed the family-name of his great ancestor, and is therefore commonly called Alexis Angelus-Comnenus. In 1197 and 1198, he carried on war with Persia and the Seljuks of Koniah, but his armies were defeated. Being base, rapacious, and cruel, he incurred the hatred and contempt of his subjects, and prepared his ruin. He lost the crown through his nephew, Alexis, the son of Isaac II. Angelus, who, having escaped from Constantinople, succeeded in per suading the Crusaders assembled in Venice to make an expedition against the usurper. Amount ing to 20,000 men, and commanded by Dandolo, doge of Venice, they attacked Constantinople in the month of July, 1203; but before they had taken this city, Alexis III. abandoned his palace and fled to Italy, carry ing with him 10,000 pounds of gold. After his flight, Constantinople was oc cupied by the Crusaders, who recognised as em perors the blinded Isaac and his son Alexis. [alexis IV.] He afterwards returned to Greece, and treacherously blinded the emperor Alexis V. Murzuphlus, who after his deposition in 1204, had fled to Alexis III., whose daughter he had married. Meanwhile, Theodore Lascaris succeeded in making himself independent at Nicaea, but was involved in a war with Ghayath-ed-din, sultan of Koniah. In 1210, Alexis III. fled to this sultan, and persuaded him to support his claims to the throne of Byzantium, and to declare war against Theodore Lascaris. The war proved fatal for the sultan, who was killed in the battle of Antioch, and Alexis III. was made prisoner. Theodore Lascaris had married Anna Angela-Com- nena, the second daughter of Alexis III., but this circumstance 'did not prevent him from confining his father-in-law to a monastery at Nicaea. (1210.) There Alexis III. died some years after at an advanced age ; the exact year of his birth is not known. (Nicetas, Alexis Angelus^ Isaaciits Angelus^ iii. 8, &c.; Isaacius et Aleoc. fil. c. 1; Villehardouin, De la Conqueste de ConstantinoUe, Paris, 1838, c. 51, 56, &c.) [W. P.]