True Name: Ανδρόνικος Β' Παλαιολόγος
Parents: Michael VIII, Byzantine Emperor, and Theodora Doukaina Vatatzina
Date of Birth: 25 March 1259
Royal House: Palaiologos
Spouse: Anna, daughter of King Stephen V of Hungary, then Yolande, daughter of Marquess William VII of Montferrat
Reign: 1272 – 1328
Predecessor: Michael VIII
Summary: Andronikos was crowned co-emperor of Constantinople at the age of two after his father, Michael VIII, recovered the empire from the Latin Crusaders who had sacked and conquered it eighty years earlier. He was born in Nicaea where the family was established prior to the reconquest. His reign, beginning in 1282, was a troubled one from the start. Problems with the Catholic and Orthodox church from the occupation made him unpopular with both. Meanwhile. the empire was broke and in debt, having only a seventh the revenue of the pre-conquest state. Andronikos raised taxes and dissolved the Byzantine navy, making the state increasingly dependent on the maritime Venetian and Genoan republics. Later attempts to rebuild the navy failed.
As a diplomat, Andronikos did everything right yet still got little in return. He married Yolande, heiress of Montferrat, in an effort to consolidate the claims of her family on the Kingdom of Thessalonica, a state formed during the Latin occupation. Furthermore, he attempted to marry his son and co-emperor, Michael IX, to the Latin Empire heiress, Catherine of Courtenay, thereby ending the Latin claim on the Byzantine throne, but the marriage attempt fell through. But no amount of diplomacy could stop the swell of Islamic fervor in Asia Minor. Andronikos purchased the help of the Catalan Company, a group of Hispanic mercenaries, but they failed to retake Asia Minor and eventually turned on the Byzantine Empire and sacked northern Greece before fleeing to the southern Latin states. The Ottoman Empire was on the rise, being led by its namesake, Osman I, as it slowly took over modern-day Turkey. Other nomadic Turkic groups were also moving into Byzantine possessions in the Near East. In the Balkans, beside the raids of the Catalan Company, Bulgaria was asserting its independence and it was only resolved by another marriage alliance. Michael's IX son, Andronikos, began a civil war for the throne and allied with the Bulgarians who were led by his brother-in-law. In 1328, Andronikos entered Constantinople and deposed his grandfather, forcing him to live out his remaining four years as a monk.
Date of Death: 13 February 1332
Successor: Andronikos III
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