Biography of el Joven. Emperador de Bizancio Alejo IV (ca. 1175-1204)

Emperor of Byzantium born about 1175 and died February 5, 1204 in Constantinople. Known as Alejo, the younger, it got the participation of the Crusaders to restore his father to the throne, being the same associated in 1202. He/She was overthrown by a popular revolution in 1203.

Belonging to the dynasty of the Ángel, Alejo IV was the son of Isaac II. When his father was dethroned by Alexios III in 1195, Alexios was imprisoned. It was released to assist in the campaign of Alejo III against the rebel Manuel Camitzes, who had joined the Bulgarians. Alejo the Ángel managed to escape the basileo field and reached Ancona, where he/she hoped to find support to restore his father, who had been blinded by order of the emperor. He/She had an interview with Pope Innocent III, in which no agreement is not reached and then decided to go see her sister Irene, married to Felipe of Swabia. During his trip to the North met with a group of Crusaders who flocked to the point of meeting set in Venice. It seems that it was at that moment when it arose in the mind of Alejo the idea of using the crusade for their own profit.

The cross began to gather in Venice in the Easter of 1202. The Venetians had given to these your help in return for a high amount, which remained pending to pay 34,000 frames. Since the Court of Felipe of Swabia (and with the personal recommendation of the Duke) Alejo sent a Messenger to Boniface of Montferrat, the crusade leader, promising a number of advantages to the Crusaders, in the event that help him restore his father on the imperial throne. Alejo pledges the following included: the Byzantines would pay the sum owed to the Venetians; They also funded the campaign against Egypt, by supporting the cost of maintenance of 10,000 soldiers for a year; There would be a permanent garrison in the Holy Land of 500 soldiers; Finally, he/she promised the recognition of religious superiority of the see of Rome. The conditions were accepted for various reasons, although ultimately the final decision depended on the Doge of Venice, whose ships without any expedition was impossible. Henry Dandolo agreed and the Messenger returned to Germany. Pope Innocent III, who saw the opportunity to extend their power over the Church of the East, gave his blessing to the Fourth Crusade, with the condition that will not attack any Christian country; in the mind of the Crusaders was not very clear if the schismatic of Byzantium could be called Christians.

At the end of April of 1203 Alexios arrived from Germany to Corfu, where hoped you to Boniface of Montferrat and Enrique Dandolo, who signed a solemn Alliance. On May 24 they embarked to the East and a month later the ships sunk in Constantinople. Alejo the Ángel hoped a big popular welcome and to do so sailed against the walls of Constantinople in the nave of the Doge, but instead was insulted. The Crusaders understood that they would have to fight and soon the East Rome was under the rule of the Venetians. Alexios III fled from the city, while the Venetians were camped under the walls; While they knew him, Isaac II was taken from prison and spare on the throne. The next morning, messengers arrived at the field of the Venetians to announce that the objective which the crusade had come to Constantinople had been reached peacefully. However, the Crusaders not had signed no treaty with Isaac II, but with his son, so, that these treaties are to meet, they pressured the basileo to recognize his son as co-Emperor and agreed to this; Alexios IV entered Constantinople and was crowned the 1 August 1203.

But the constantinopolitanos, who had chosen to restore the blind Isaac II (while, according to the Byzantine tradition, the blindness was disabling a man to be Emperor) to accept the terms offered by Alejo IV Latinos, refused to help him and the Royal Treasury could not afford in any way compromised by Alejo high amounts. He/She tried to raise money by introducing new taxes, but that made him even more unpopular was his attempt to get the clergy to accept the submission to Rome, which was labeled traitor. Alexios IV was harshly criticized when he/she tried to impose the doctrine of the filioque (according to which the Holy Spirit proceeds from the father and the son) and the communion under both species. Meanwhile, the Crusaders, tired of waiting, were given to the sacking of the city and a popular revolution to dethrone Alejo, began to take shape. On the one hand, in January 1204, a crowd came in Hagia Sophia and proclaimed himself emperor to a young nobleman, named Nicolás Canabus; on the other hand, a larger conspiracy was developed by the protovestiarius, Alejo Ducas Murzuflos, who took over the Palace and arrested Canabus. Alexios IV was locked up in prison and died strangled, few days before his own father died. Alejo Ducas ascended the throne as Alexios V.

Bibliography

CABRERA, E. history of Byzantium. Barcelona, 1998.

LEMERLE, P. history of Byzantium. Barcelona, 1956.

LILIE, Byzantium R.J.: History of the Roman Empire from the East, 327-1453. Madrid, 2001.

JMMT