transemacabre: (Rose Red)
Back in Constantinople, calamity followed rebellion followed scandal. As Choniates tells us, the empress Euphrosyne became obsessed with fortune-telling and in her "mad delusions and excessive zeal" she had many statues beheaded and had the snout of a bronze boar that stood in the Hippodrome cut off. She even tried to have the back of the famous statue of Herakles lashed for some obscure occultish purpose.
Read more... )
transemacabre: (Rose Red)
As 1198 rolled around, the marriage of Alexios III's daughter Eudokia was crumbling into sad ruins. She had been married to Stefan Nemanjić, the heir of the kingdom of Serbia, for several years, and had given him several young children. Eudokia was fed up with her husband, and accused him of being drunk from morning until night and fucking anything that would hold still long enough. Stefan Nemanjić fired back by calling her a jizz-hungry cockslut, stripped her of her royal robes, and threw her out of the castle in her undergarments. Eudokia managed to take refuge at the court of her brother-in-law, Vukan, who was sympathetic to her and sent her back safely to Constantinople and the arms of her family.

Read more... )
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By spring 1195, things had come to a breaking point. Constantinople was wracked with revolt after revolt as pretenders strove to clamber over the bodies of most of their relatives to seize the imperial throne. Bulgars, Vlakhs, Kumans, and Serbs all rampaged across the borders, headbutting and pantsing anyone in their way. The German army had carved a bloody, burning path through the empire. Isaakios II, for his part, was absolutely certain that he had been ordained emperor by God Almighty, and he hung on the every word of his priest and astrologer, Dositheos, who purported to fortell the future by means of consulting "demons who inspire dreams, the shapes of future events and certain apparitions from Solomonic books". Dositheos was despised, even moreso after Isaakios II tried to make him patriarch 1.

Read more... )
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By 1189, things personally seemed to be looking up for Isaakios II. His brother Alexios had returned home from his long exile in Syria, his wife Margit of Hungary was growing into a beauty, and he had a nine-year-old son and heir, Alexakos, and two healthy daughters. But beneath the surface, all was rotten. In a few short years, Isaakios II would lose everything -- his throne, his family, and even his life.

Read more... )
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Alexios Vranas, a wizened military veteran "short in stature", but gifted with intelligence and cunning, as Niketas Choniates tells us, had commandeered the army Isaakios II had sent him to fight the rebellious Vlakhs and Bulgars. He now marched on Constantinople, determined to liberate Constantinople from Isaakios II and liberate Isaakios II from his life.

Read more... )
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The downfall of Andronikos I was the death knell for the Komnenoi dynasty, which had so successfully extinguished itself; now the Angeloi, their 'poor relations', saw their star ascend.

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LET'S DO THE TIME WARP AGAAAAIN

ITS JUST A JUMP TO THE LEFT

The year is 1185, the place: Constantinople. So our sordid tale contines with Andronikos I Komnenos as master of the Byzantine Empire, dawdling his child-bride on his knee, and in his off hours making steady progress on thinning out the hordes of younger Komnenoi.

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An all-new season of As The Komnenoi World Turns finds Andronikos Komnenos now in firm control of the city of Constantinople, as guardian and regent of the young emperor Alexios II. With the wily Andronikos now the de facto authority in the empire, the boy-emperor's reign is looking to be brief indeed...

Read more... )
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Last episode, Emperor Manuel died, leaving a power vacuum in Constantinople that his big bad cousin, Andronikos Komnenos, is eager to fill.

oh shit son )
transemacabre: (Default)
1169 was a year of highs and lows for Manuel. His attempted conquest of Egypt fell apart when the Greek army was unable to cooperate with the Latins from the army of Jerusalem 1, but his wife Maria of Antioch was finally pregnant. The Porphyra chamber was prepared for the imperial birth, drapped with silks and decorated with symbols meant to ward off the Evil Eye, then blessed by the patriarch. Manuel himself sat by her bedside as Empress Maria was in labor, although Choniates tells us he "gave most of his attentions to the man who was watching the stars and gaping at the heavens."

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Now I'd like to pause and explain the AIMA prophecy.

Manuel was mad about prophecies and astrology and all manner of woo-woo; he was a very superstitious man and he saw signs and portents in everything. The time he didn't spend in bed with his niece or dodging assassins was spent holding crystals and trying to contact his 'spirit animal'. The AIMA prophecy, ascribed to someone called 'Leo the Wise', who really should've been called 'Leo the Jackass' for the amount of bloodshed and tragedy he'd cause, went thusly: the initial letter of the name of each Byzantine emperor would spell the word aima (Greek for blood), a sequence destined to repeat over and over. So far the sequence had gone as follows:

A: Alexios I
I: Ioannes II
M: Manuel

So they needed another A to fulfil the prophecy and start the sequence over again. Now Manuel had many sleepless nights over this, because he and Bertha had failed to produce a son. Despite years of enjoying the finest vaginas the Byzantine empire had to offer, Manuel was without an heir. Undaunted, he resolved to name every potential heir with an A name to make sure the prophecy would come to pass, one way or another. When his niece Theodora gave birth to a son, Manuel named him Alexios. When he betrothed his daughter Maria Porphyrogenita to Prince Béla of Hungary, Manuel had Béla renamed Alexios too, just in case.

Read more... )
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I'm a history geek. A lot of people HATE history. They were force-fed history lessons that were little more than a recounting of dates and places with little to no context, and as soon as they escape school, they dump every bit of it from their brainspace.

This is a tragedy. History is the biggest, bawdiest soap opera possible, replete with doomed love affairs, betrayals, scheming, adultery, lies, insanity, illegitimate offspring, and murder. If you can watch those terrible reality TV shows and keep track of who's in love with who and who's backstabbing who this week, you can understand history. I PROMISE YOU. It's all that kind of thing, except more awesome because the true story is always way fucking crazier than anything you can make up.

So, if I may, I'd like to take my flisters and any interested passersby on a strange journey back in time to the twlight of the Komnenoi dynasty of Constantinople, followed by the onslaught of the Fourth Crusade. This is one of the strangest and wildest periods in all of medieval history, possibly in world history. And I'm gonna tell it to you in as fast-paced and silly a manner possible.

As The Komnenoi World Turns )

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