Andronikos III Palaiologos
Andronikos III Palaiologos, Latinized as Andronicus III Palaeologus was Byzantine emperor from 1328 to 1341, after being rival emperor since 1321. Andronikos III was the son of Michael IX Palaiologos
Michael IX Palaiologos
Michael IX Palaiologos or Palaeologus , , reigned as Byzantine co-emperor with full imperial style 1294/1295–1320...

 and Rita of Armenia
Rita of Armenia
Rita of Armenia was a daughter of King Levon II of Armenia and Queen Keran. She was the wife of Byzantine co-emperor Michael IX Palaiologos, making her a junior empress-consort of the Byzantine Empire. In 1317, she became the only empress upon the death of the senior empress, Irene of Montferrat...

 (renamed Maria). His maternal grandparents were King Levon II of Armenia and Queen Keran of Armenia
Queen Keran of Armenia
Keran was the wife of Leo II of Armenia. She was the daughter of Prince Hethum of Lampron. Born Anna, she was called Kir Anna beginning in 1270. This name was later shortened to Keran, or Guerane....



Andronikos was born in Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...


In 1320, Andronikos accidentally murdered his brother Manuel, whereupon their father died of grief. The murder, and the general dissolute behaviour of Andronikos and his coterie, mostly the young scions of the Empire's great aristocratic clans, resulted in a deep rift in the relations between him and his grandfather, Andronikos II Palaiologos
Andronikos II Palaiologos
Andronikos II Palaiologos , Latinized as Andronicus II Palaeologus, was Byzantine emperor from 1282 to 1328. He was the eldest surviving son of Michael VIII Palaiologos and Theodora Doukaina Vatatzina, grandniece of John III Doukas Vatatzes...

. The elder Andronikos disowned his grandson, whereupon Andronikos III fled the capital and rallied his supporters around him in Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

. From there he waged an intermittent civil war
Byzantine civil war of 1321–1328
The Byzantine civil war of 1321–1328 was a series of conflicts fought in the 1320s between the Byzantine emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos and his grandson Andronikos III Palaiologos over control of the Byzantine Empire.-Prelude to the civil war:...

 against his grandfather, which first secured him recognition of his post as co-emperor, and ultimately led to the deposition of Andronikos II in 1328.

Effective administrative authority during the reign of Andronikos III was wielded by his megas domestikos John Kantakouzenos, while the emperor enjoyed himself hunting or waging war. An alliance
Treaty of Chernomen
The Treaty of Chernomen was a treaty between the Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire signed on 13 May 1327 by Michael Shishman and Andronikos III Palaiologos...

 with his brother-in-law Michael Asen III of Bulgaria
Michael Shishman of Bulgaria
Michael Asen III ), ruled as emperor 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 Second Bulgarian Empire, the Shishman dynasty...

 against Stefan Uroš III Dečanski of Serbia
Raška (state)
Principality of Serbia or Serbian Principality was an early medieval state of the Serbs ruled by the Vlastimirović dynasty, that existed from ca 768 to 969 in Southeastern Europe. It was established through an unification of several provincial chiefs under the supreme rule of a certain Višeslav,...

 failed to secure any gains, as the Serbians defeated the Bulgarians before the latter could join with the Byzantines in the Battle of Velbazhd (modern Kyustendil
Kyustendil is a town in the far west of Bulgaria, the capital of Kyustendil Province, with a population of 44 416 . Kyustendil is situated in the southern part of the Kyustendil Valley, 90 km southwest of Sofia...

) in 1330. Andronikos III's attempt to make up for this setback by annexing Bulgarian Thrace failed in 1332, when he was defeated by the new Bulgarian emperor Ivan Alexander
Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria
Ivan Alexander , also known as John Alexander, ruled as Emperor of Bulgaria from 1331 to 1371, during the Second Bulgarian Empire. The date of his birth is unknown. He died on February 17, 1371. The long reign of Ivan Alexander is considered a transitional period in Bulgarian medieval history...

 at Rousokastron
Battle of Rusokastro
The Battle of Rusokastro occurred on July 18, 1332 near the village of Rusokastro, Bulgaria between the armies of the Bulgarian and Byzantine Empires. The result was a Bulgarian victory.-Origins of the conflict:...

. Peace with Bulgaria was secured through territorial concessions and a diplomatic marriage between the children of the two emperors.

The subsequent years witnessed the gradual extinction of Byzantine rule in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, as Orhan
Orhan I
Orhan I or Orhan Bey was the second bey of the nascent Ottoman Empire from 1326 to 1359...

 of the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

, who had already defeated Andronikos III at Pelekanos in 1329, took Nicaea
İznik is a city in Turkey which is primarily known as the site of the First and Second Councils of Nicaea, the first and seventh Ecumenical councils in the early history of the Church, the Nicene Creed, and as the capital city of the Empire of Nicaea...

 in 1331 and Nicomedia
Nicomedia was an ancient city in what is now Turkey, founded in 712/11 BC as a Megarian colony and was originally known as Astacus . After being destroyed by Lysimachus, it was rebuilt by Nicomedes I of Bithynia in 264 BC under the name of Nicomedia, and has ever since been one of the most...

 in 1337. After that, only Philadelpheia
Alaşehir, in Antiquity and the Middle Ages known as Philadelphia , i.e. " brotherly love" is a town and district of Manisa Province in the Aegean region of Turkey. It is situated in the valley of the Kuzuçay , at the foot of the Bozdağ...

 and a handful of ports remained under Byzantine control in Asia Minor. Earlier Andronikos III had effected the recovery of the islands of Lesbos
Lesbos Island
Lesbos is a Greek island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea. It has an area of with 320 kilometres of coastline, making it the third largest Greek island. It is separated from Turkey by the narrow Mytilini Strait....

 and Chios
Chios is the fifth largest of the Greek islands, situated in the Aegean Sea, seven kilometres off the Asia Minor coast. The island is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. The island is noted for its strong merchant shipping community, its unique mastic gum and its medieval villages...

 from Martino Zaccaria
Martino Zaccaria
Martino Zaccaria was the lord of Phocea and Chios from 1314 to 1330. He co-reigned with his brother Benedetto III after the death of their father Paleologo....

 in 1329 (although the island remained under Benedetto III Zaccaria
Benedetto III Zaccaria
Benedetto III Zaccaria was the Lord of Chios and Phocaea, as well as other Aegean islands from 1314.Benedetto III was the son of Benedetto II Zaccaria, and succeeded him in Chios and other lands in the Aegean Sea together with his brother Martino. In 1318 the latter forced him to retire, in...

 until 1330) and of Phocaea
Phocaea, or Phokaia, was an ancient Ionian Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia. Greek colonists from Phocaea founded the colony of Massalia in 600 BC, Emporion in 575 BC and Elea in 540 BC.-Geography:Phocaea was the northernmost...

 in 1334 from the last Genoese governor Domenico Cattaneo. However, this did little to stem the Ottoman advance in Asia Minor.

Under Stefan Uroš IV Dušan, Serbia expanded into Byzantine territory in Macedonia
Macedonia (region)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, as...

, taking Ohrid
Ohrid is a city on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid in the Republic of Macedonia. It has about 42,000 inhabitants, making it the seventh largest city in the country. The city is the seat of Ohrid Municipality. Ohrid is notable for having once had 365 churches, one for each day of the year and has...

, Prilep
Prilep is the fourth largest city in the Republic of Macedonia. It has a population of 66,246 citizens. Prilep is known as "the city under Marko's Towers" because of its proximity to the towers of Prince Marko.-Name:...

, Kastoria
Kastoria is a city in northern Greece in the periphery of West Macedonia. It is the capital of Kastoria peripheral unit. It is situated on a promontory on the western shore of Lake Orestiada, in a valley surrounded by limestone mountains...

, Strumica
Strumica is the largest city in eastern Macedonia, near the Novo Selo-Petrich border crossing with Bulgaria. About 100,000 people live in the region surrounding the city. The city is named after the Strumica River which runs through it...

, and Edessa
Edessa, Greece
Edessa , is a city in northern Greece and the capital of the Pella regional unit, in the Central Macedonia region of Greece. It was also the capital of the defunct province of the same name.-Name:...

 in about 1334. The one-time governor of Thessalonica, Syrgiannes Palaeologos
Syrgiannes Palaeologos
Syrgiannes Palaiologos Philanthropenos was a Byzantine aristocrat and general of mixed Cuman and Greek descent, who was involved in the civil war between Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos and his grandson Andronikos III...

, had deserted to the side of the Serbians and aided their advance in to Macedonia. The Serbs, led by Syrgiannes, advanced as far as Thessalonica, but there Syrgiannes was betrayed and killed the by the Byzantine general Sphrantzes Palaiologos. This brought the Serbian army into disarray. In August of 1334 Stefan Dusan and Andronikos made peace, and the forces of Andronikos were allowed to retake control of those parts of Macedonia that Syrgiannes had captured.

Despite these troubles Andronikos III secured the extension of Byzantine control over Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

 in 1333 and Epirus
The name Epirus, from the Greek "Ήπειρος" meaning continent may refer to:-Geographical:* Epirus - a historical and geographical region of the southwestern Balkans, straddling modern Greece and Albania...

 in 1337, by taking advantage of succession crises in these principalities.

Andronikos III reorganized the Byzantine navy
Byzantine navy
The Byzantine navy was the naval force of the East Roman or Byzantine Empire. Like the empire it served, it was a direct continuation from its imperial Roman predecessor, but played a far greater role in the defense and survival of the state then its earlier iterations...

 (consisted of 10 ships by 1332) and reformed the judicial system
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 by forming a panel of four universal judges whom he designated "Universal Justices of the Romans". In retrospect his reign may be said to end before the situation of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 became untenable. In spite of several not insignificant reverses at the hands of Bulgarians, Serbians, and Ottomans, the emperor had provided the empire with active leadership, had cooperated with able administrators, and had come closer than any of his predecessors in re-establishing Byzantine control over the Greek peninsula.

The Muslim traveller Ibn Battuta
Ibn Battuta
Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta , or simply Ibn Battuta, also known as Shams ad–Din , was a Muslim Moroccan Berber explorer, known for his extensive travels published in the Rihla...

, who visited Constantinople towards the end of 1332, mentions in his memoirs having met Andronikos III. This is not attested in Byzantine sources.

Nicaea, until 1261 the capital of the Empire, was under siege by Ottoman Turks. In the summer of 1329, Andronikos III launched a relief attempt which culminated in a defeat at the Battle of Pelekanon on June 10,[15] and in 1331, the city fell. Not wishing to see Nicomedia or the other few remaining forts in Asia Minor suffer the same fate, Andronikos III sought to pay off the Ottomans with tribute — the Ottomans did not stop at this and seized Nicomedia as well in 1337.

Andronikos III died at Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, aged 44, in 1341. Within a few months, the right to exercise the regency over his infant son, John V Palaiologos
John V Palaiologos
John V Palaiologos was a Byzantine emperor, who succeeded his father in 1341, at age nine.-Biography:...

, and the position of Andronikos' all-powerful chief minister and friend John Kantakouzenos led to the outbreak of a destructive seven-year civil war.


Andronikos III was first married, in 1318, with Irene of Brunswick, daughter of Henry I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Henry I, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Henry , Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, called the Admirable , was the first ruler of the Principality of Grubenhagen....

; she died in 1324. They had an unnamed son, who died shortly after birth in 1321.

Andronikos III married as his second wife, in 1326, with Anna of Savoy
Anna of Savoy
Anna of Savoy, born Giovanna, was a Byzantine Empress consort, as the second wife of Andronikos III Palaiologos.-Family:She was a daughter of Amadeus V, Count of Savoy and his second wife Maria of Brabant. Her maternal grandparents were John I, Duke of Brabant and Margaret of Flanders...

. She was a daughter of Count Amadeus V, Count of Savoy
Amadeus V, Count of Savoy
Amadeus V , surnamed the Great for his wisdom and success as a ruler, was the Count of Savoy from 1285 to 1323. He established Chambéry as his seat...

 and his second wife Maria of Brabant. They had several children, including:
  • John V Palaiologos
    John V Palaiologos
    John V Palaiologos was a Byzantine emperor, who succeeded his father in 1341, at age nine.-Biography:...

  • Michael Palaiologos, despotes
    Despot , was a senior Byzantine court title that was bestowed on the sons or sons-in-law of reigning emperors, and initially denoted the heir-apparent...

  • Maria (renamed Eirene), who married Emperor Michael Asen IV of Bulgaria
  • Eirene Palaiologos (renamed Maria), who married Francesco I of Lesbos
    Francesco I of Lesbos
    Francesco I Gattilusio, Lord of Lesbos was the first member of the Gattilusio family to rule the Aegean Island of Lesbos.-Freebooter:...

According to Nicephorus Gregoras
Nicephorus Gregoras
Nikephoros Gregoras, latinized as Nicephorus Gregoras , Byzantine astronomer, historian, man of learning and religious controversialist, was born at Heraclea Pontica....

, Andronikos also had an illegitimate daughter, Irene Palaiologina of Trebizond. She married Basil of Trebizond
Basil of Trebizond
Basil Megas Komnenos was Emperor of Trebizond from August 1332 to his death in 1340. Basil was a younger son of Emperor Alexios II of Trebizond and his wife Djiadjak Jaqeli...

 and took over the throne of the Empire of Trebizond
Empire of Trebizond
The Empire of Trebizond, founded in April 1204, was one of three Byzantine successor states of the Byzantine Empire. However, the creation of the Empire of Trebizond was not directly related to the capture of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, rather it had broken away from the Byzantine Empire...

 from 1340 to 1341. The Dictionnaire historique et Généalogique des grandes familles de Grèce, d'Albanie et de Constantinople (1983) by Mihail-Dimitri Sturdza adds a second illegitimate daughter of Andronikos, converting to Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 under the name Bayalun. She was reportedly one of several wives of Uzbeg Khan
Uzbeg Khan
Sultan Mohammed Öz-Beg, better known as Uzbeg or Ozbeg , was the longest-reigning khan of the Golden Horde, under whose rule the state reached its zenith...

 of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

. This daughter is not included in the older Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten (1978) by Detlev Schwennicke and her existence may reflect Sturdza's own theories.



Under Andronikos the Byzantine Empire came closest to regaining a position of power in the Balkan Peninsula since the Fourth Crusade. Although an energetic campaigner, the empire during this period was just too weak to defeat its enemies in Anatolia, Bulgaria and Serbia. His loss of the empire's few remaining territories in Anatolia made the Ottoman Turks posed to expand into Europe as did its lack of strength following his reign to prevent the formation of the Serbian Empire. Yet none of this was due to a lack of leadership on Andronikos' part and his reign could be said to end before the Byzantine Empire's position became untenable due to the ensuing civil war
Byzantine civil war of 1341–1347
The Byzantine civil war of 1341–1347 was a conflict between supporters of designated regent John VI Kantakouzenos and guardians acting for John V Palaiologos, Emperor Andronikos III's nine-year-old son, in the persons of the Empress-dowager Anna of Savoy, the Patriarch of Constantinople John XIV...

which consumed the empire's remaining resources on Andronikos's death.
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