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Alexis Iii.

or ALE'XIUS III. A'NGELUS (Ἄλεξις or Ἀλέξιος Ἄγγελος), the brother of the emperor Isaac II. Angelus, whom he deposed and blinded in 1195. Being a descendant of Alexis I. Comnenus by Theodora, the youngest daughter of the latter, he assumed the family-name of his great ancestor, and is therefore commonly called Alexis Angelus-Comnenus. In 1197 and 1198, he carried on war with Persia and the Seljuks of Koniah, but his armies were defeated. Being base, rapacious, and cruel, he incurred the hatred and contempt of his subjects, and prepared his ruin. He lost the crown through his nephew, Alexis, the son of Isaac II. Angelus, who, having escaped from Constantinople, succeeded in persuading the Crusaders assembled in Venice to make an expedition against the usurper. Amounting to 20,000 men, and commanded by Dandolo, doge of Venice, they attacked Constantinople in the month of July, 1203; but before they had taken this city, Alexis III. abandoned his palace and fled to Italy, carrying with him 10,000 pounds of gold. After his flight, Constantinople was occupied by the Crusaders, who recognised as emperors the blinded Isaac and his son Alexis. [ALEXIS IV.] He afterwards returned to Greece, and treacherously blinded the emperor Alexis V. Murzuphlus, who after his deposition in 1204, had fled to Alexis III., whose daughter he had married. Meanwhile, Theodore Lascaris succeeded in making himself independent at Nicaea, but was involved in a war with Ghayáth-ed-dín, sultan of Koniah. In 1210, Alexis III. fled to this sultan, and persuaded him to support his claims to the throne of Byzantium, and to declare war against Theodore Lascaris. The war proved fatal for the sultan, who was killed in the battle of Antioch, and Alexis III. was made prisoner. Theodore Lascaris had married Anna Angela-Comnena, the second daughter of Alexis III., but this circumstance did not prevent him from confining his father-in-law to a monastery at Nicaea. (1210.) There Alexis III. died some years after at an advanced age; the exact year of his birth is not known. (Nicetas, Alexis Angelus, Isaacus Angelus, 3.8, &c.; Isaacius et Alex. fil. c. ] ; Villehlardouin, De la Conqueste de Constantinoble, Paris, 1838, c. 51, 56, &c.)


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