Biography of Isaac II el Ángel. Emperador de Bizancio (ca. 1155-1204)

Byzantine Emperor born about 1155 and died in 1204. He/She was the first representative of Ángel dynasty. During his nine-year reign exceeded the numerous complications that arose, but despite his ability as a ruler, to his death, the Empire was more weakened, due mainly to the problems in the Balkans.

Son of Andronikos the Ángel, occupied the throne of Byzantium September 12, 1185, when a revolution destronase to Alexios I Komnenos, last of the Comneno emperors. They were the hardness of the Government of Alejo and the fear of the Normans, who had recently conquered Thessalonica, the causes that amounted to the Ángel to the imperial throne. The same year of the coronation of Isaac, their leader, Alejo Dranas, Norman Guillermo II defeated and put to flight the Norman army headed towards Constantinople. After expelling the Normans in the Balkans, there erupted an insurrection against the Empire, led by the valaco-bulgaros brothers Pedro and Asen. The basileo sent his generals against the brothers, but finally got in person ahead of the troops during the campaigns of the two following years, in order to prevent rebellions within the army. Internal problems forced Isaac to sign peace with Pedro and Asen in the autumn of 1188 and Bulgarians were declared independent. To ensure peace with the Normans, Isaac was allied with the King of Sicily, Tancredo di Lecce, and her daughter Irene married Roger, firstborn of Tancredo.

Isaac II signed a pact with the German Emperor Federico I Barbarossa, which pledged to collaborate with him on the cross and to supply German troops on their way to Constantinople. However, aware that Redbeard had also agreed with the sultan of Iconium, enemy of Byzantium, in turn established an alliance with Saladin against the sultan of Iconium and hindered the expedition of the Germans as much as possible. Isaac II inept in negotiations led to the Germans to apoderasen of Adrianople and Philippopolis and arrived to March on Constantinople in early 1190. But unable to take Constantinople, the two emperors signed peace and the Crusaders crossed the Dardanelles.

Meanwhile, is aggravating the problem in the Balkans. Isaac II organized annual expeditions between 1191 and 1194, which were defeated in all occasions. 1194 was especially disastrous and in 1195 the basileo went in person to the war. In April, when Isaac was encamped at Kypsella, South of Thrace, was a conspiracy within the Royal family, headed by Alejo, brother of the emperor. This stood at the head of an insurrection by the army, assumed the throne (Alejo III the Ángel) and ordered to capture Isaac, who plucked out his eyes and kept captive in Constantinople.

His reign was fraught with conspiracies and rebellions. To diminish the power of the nobility, he/she avoided giving important administrative positions to members of the leading families, who assigned a purely military function. Isaac, therefore, relied on the bureaucracy created by him in Constantinople. The Emperor showed special attention to administrative, military and diplomatic affairs.

In 1203 Isaac II was restored to the throne, thanks to the efforts of his son, Alejo IV, who reigned together with his father and with the support of the Christians of the crusade IV. A year later he/she was killed in prison, after the success of a conspiracy of Butler's Palace, Alejo Ducas Murzuflo, who reigned as Alexios V.


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