Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos

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Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos

Also Known As: "Porphyrogennetos ("born in the purple")", "Called Megas (Greek: o Μέγας translated as "the Great") by the Greeks", "Manolis I"
Birthplace: Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
Death: September 24, 1180 (61)
Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
Immediate Family:

Son of John II the Good, Eastern Roman Emperor and Saint Irene of Hungary
Husband of Bertha von Sulzbach, Byzantine Empress and "Xena" Mira de Poitiers, Princess of d'Antioch
Fiancé of Melisende of Tripoli
Partner of Maria Taronitissa and other lovers
Ex-partner of Theodora Batatzaina
Father of sebastokrator Alexios Komnenos; Alexios Komnenos, pinkernes; NN Daughter Komnenos; .... Tornikes; Maria Komnena and 2 others
Brother of Princess Maria Komnene; Andronikos Komnenos, Sebastokratōr; Anna Komnene; Isaakios Komnenos, Sebastokrator; Alexios Komnenos, Co-Emperor of the Byzantine Empire and 3 others

Occupation: Byzantine Emperor, Kejsare i Byzan 1143-80, император на Византия (1143-1180), BYZANTINE EMPEROR
Managed by: Bernard Raimond Assaf
Last Updated:

About Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos

Manuel I Komnenos (Greek: Μανουήλ Α' Κομνηνός; 28 November 1118 – 24 September 1180), Latinized Comnenus, also called Porphyrogennetos ("born in the purple"), was a Byzantine emperor of the 12th century who reigned over a crucial turning point in the history of Byzantium and the Mediterranean. His reign saw the last flowering of the Komnenian restoration, during which the Byzantine Empire had seen a resurgence of its military and economic power, and had enjoyed a cultural revival.

Eager to restore his empire to its past glories as the superpower of the Mediterranean world, Manuel pursued an energetic and ambitious foreign policy. In the process he made alliances with Pope Adrian IV and the resurgent West. He invaded the Norman Kingdom of Sicily, although unsuccessfully, being the last Eastern Roman emperor to attempt reconquests in the western Mediterranean. The passage of the potentially dangerous Second Crusade through his empire was adroitly managed. Manuel established a Byzantine protectorate over the Crusader states of Outremer. Facing Muslim advances in the Holy Land, he made common cause with the Kingdom of Jerusalem and participated in a combined invasion of Fatimid Egypt. Manuel reshaped the political maps of the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean, placing the kingdoms of Hungary and Outremer under Byzantine hegemony and campaigning aggressively against his neighbours both in the west and in the east.

However, towards the end of his reign Manuel's achievements in the east were compromised by a serious defeat at Myriokephalon, which in large part resulted from his arrogance in attacking a well-defended Seljuk position. Although the Byzantines recovered and Manuel concluded an advantageous peace with Sultan Kilij Arslan II, Myriokephalon proved to be the final, unsuccessful effort by the empire to recover the interior of Anatolia from the Turks.

Called ho Megas (ὁ Μέγας, translated as "the Great") by the Greeks, Manuel is known to have inspired intense loyalty in those who served him. He also appears as the hero of a history written by his secretary, John Kinnamos, in which every virtue is attributed to him. Manuel, who was influenced by his contact with western Crusaders, enjoyed the reputation of "the most blessed emperor of Constantinople" in parts of the Latin world as well.[1] Modern historians, however, have been less enthusiastic about him. Some of them assert that the great power he wielded was not his own personal achievement, but that of the dynasty he represented; they also argue that, since Byzantine imperial power declined catastrophically after Manuel's death, it is only natural to look for the causes of this decline in his reign.[2]

  1. Accession to the throne
  2. Second Crusade and Raynald of Châtillon
  3. Italian campaign
  4. Balkan frontier
  5. Relations with Russia
  6. Invasion of Egypt
  7. Kilij Arslan II and the Seljuk Turks
  8. Doctrinal controversies (1156–1180)
  9. Chivalric narrations
  10. Family
  11. ...

The Komnenos family

Manuel Komnenos, +1020, in 978 defended Nicaea against Skloros; m.two women whose names are unknown and had issue:

  • A1-A2
  • A3. Ioannes Komnenos, *1015, +1067; 1042 Anna Dalassene, dau.of Alexios Charon, Prefect of Italy
    • B3. ALEXIOS I Komnenos, Emperor of Byzantium (1081-1118), *1048/57, +15.8.1118; 1m: ca 1075 Argyropulina N (+ca 1077); 2m: ca 1078 Eirene Dukaina (*1066 +1123/36)
      • C1. IOANNES II Komnenos Dukas, Emperor of Byzantium (1118-43), *1087, +8.4.1143; m.1104/5 Piroska=St.Eirene of Hungary (+13.8.1134)
        • D4. MANUEL I Komnenos, Emperor of Byzantium (1143-80), *1118, +24.9.1180; 1m: 1146 Bertha=Eirene von Sulzbach (+1159/60); 2m: 1161 Maria de Poitiers (*1145 +27.8.1182)
          • E1. [1m.] Maria Komnene, *1152, +of poisoning 1182; she had been engaged to King Bela III of Hungary and to King William II of Sicily, but Byzantine politics kept those matches from being consummated; m.1180 Rainer de Montferrat (*1163 +1182)
          • E2. [1m.] Anna Komnene, *1154, +1158
          • E3. [2m.] ALEXIOS II Komnenos, Emperor of Byzantium (1180-83), *14.9.1169, +of strangulation IX.1183; m.1180 Agnes of France (*1171 +1240), dau.of King Louis VII of France
          • E4. [illegitimate] Alexios Komnenos, +after 1188, blinded by Andronikos I 1184; m.1183 Eirene Komnene, illegitimate dau.of Andronikos I
        • D5. Maria Komnene, *1106, +1144/51; m.Ioannes Dalassenos Rogerios
        • D6. Anna Komnene, *1110; 1125 Stephanos Kontestephanos (+1149)
        • D7. Theodora Komnene, *1116; m.Manuel Anemas (+1146/47)
        • D8. Eudokia Komnene, *1119; m.Theodoros Batatzes (+1176)
view all 15

Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos's Timeline

November 28, 1118
Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
Byzantium (Constantinople), Istanbul, Turkey
Constantinople Constantinople, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
September 10, 1169
Constantinople, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
September 24, 1180
Age 61
Constantinople, Byzantine Empire