Andronicus II Palaeologus
- Andronicus II Palaeologus
died Feb. 13, 1332, Constantinople
Byzantine emperor (1282–1328).
The son of Michael VIII Palaeologus
, he was an intellectual and theologian rather than a soldier and statesman, and during his reign the Byzantine Empire
declined to the status of a minor state. Ottoman Turks controlled Anatolia by 1300, and Serbs dominated the Balkans. By siding with Genoa in the war between Genoa and Venice, Andronicus provoked an attack by the Venetian navy. Despite the rising political disorder, he promoted Byzantine art and the independence of the Eastern Orthodox church. Deposed by his grandson Andronicus III Palaeologus
, he entered a monastery.
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▪ Byzantine emperor
also spelled Andronikos II Palaiologos
born c. 1260, Constantinople, Byzantine Empire [now Istanbul, Turkey]
died February 13, 1332, Constantinople
Byzantine emperor who was the son of Michael VIII Palaeologus. During Andronicus's reign (1282–1328) the Byzantine Empire declined to the status of a minor state, confined by the Ottoman Turks in Anatolia and the Serbs in the Balkans.
An intellectual and theologian rather than a statesman or soldier, Andronicus weakened Byzantium by reducing its land forces to a few thousand cavalry and infantry and eliminating the navy altogether, relying solely on a Genoese mercenary fleet. His lack of military initiative enabled the Ottoman Turks to gain control of nearly all of Anatolia by 1300, and his employment of Catalan mercenaries in 1304 ended disastrously, because the Catalans proved more inclined to pillage Byzantine cities than to fight the Turks. In the war between the Italian city-states of Venice and Genoa, Andronicus unwisely took sides, favouring Genoa, and suffered the wrath of the greatly superior Venetian navy.
Internally, Andronicus's reign was marked by a steady disintegration of centralized authority and increasing economic difficulties, although he did sponsor a revival of Byzantine art and culture and championed the independence of the Eastern Orthodox church. During his reign the great monastery complex at Mount Athos in Greece enjoyed its golden age.
In 1328 Andronicus, after quarreling with his grandson—who would become Andronicus III (Andronicus III Palaeologus
)—and excluding him from the succession, was deposed by him and entered a monastery.
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