or ALE'XIUS V. DUCAS (Ἀλεξις
or Ἀλέξιος Δούκα
), surnamed "MURZUPHLUS," on account of the close junction of his shaggy eyebrows, was crowned emperor of Constantinople on the 8th of February, 1204, after having been present at the murder of Alexis IV., who was put to death by his order. His earlier life is almost unknown. Nicetas, however, states, that he had always been rapacious and voluptuous; on the other hand, he was a man of great courage and energy. Immediately after he had usurped the throne, the Crusaders, who were still assembled under the walls of Constantinople, laid siege to this city. Alexis V. disdained to conclude peace with them on dishonourable conditions, and prepared for resistance, in which he was vigorously assisted by Theodore Lascaris. However, courage suddenly abandoned him, and he fled to the deposed emperor Alexis III., whose daughter Eudoxia Angela-Comnena he had just married. Constantinople was taken by storm by the Crusaders (12th of April, 1204), who, after having committed those horrors, of which Nicetas, an eye-witness, gives such an emphatical description, chose Baldwin, count of Flanders, emperor of Constantinople, but leaving him only the fourth part of the empire.
After being deprived of sight by his father-in-law, Alexis V. fled to the Morea, but was arrested and carried to Constantinople, where the Crusaders put him to death by casting him from the top of the Theodosian column. (1204.) (Nicetas, Murzuphlus; Isaacius Angelus et Alex. fil.
c. 4, 5; Gesta Francorum,
c. 94; Villehardouin, Ibid.
c. 51, 56, 60, &c. 98, 106, 113-115, 127, &c.)