Androni'cus Ii. Palaeo'logus or Androni'cus Ii. or Androni'cus the Elder or the Elder Androni'cus
), emperor of CONSTANTINOPLE, the eldest son of the emperor Michael Palaeologus, was born A. D. 1260.
At the age of fifteen he was associated with his father in the government, and he ascended the throne in 1283. Michael had consented to a union between the Greek and Latin churches on the second general council at Lyon, but Andronicus was opposed to this measure, and was at length excommunicated by pope Clement V. in 1307. During this the Greek armies were beaten by Osman, the founder of the Turkish empire, who gradually conquered all the Byzantine possessions in Asia.
In this extremity Andronicus engaged the army and the fleet of the Catalans, a numerous band of warlike adventurers, to assist him against the Turks. Roger de Flor, or de Floria, the son of a German noble at the court of the emperor Frederic II., the commander of these adventurers, accordingly went to Constantinople with a numerous fleet and an army of 8000 men.
The emperor appointed him admiral of the empire, and conferred upon him the title of Caesar.
This famous captain defeated the Turks in several engagements, but his troops ravaged the country of their allies with as much rapacity as that of their common enemies, and in order to get rid of them, the emperor caused Roger to be assassinated at Adrianople.
But the Catalans now turned their arms against the Greeks, and after having devastated Thrace and Macedonia, they retired to the Peloponnesus, where they conquered several districts in which they maintained themselves.
Michael, the son of Andronicus, was associated with his father in the throne. Michael had two sons, Andronicus and Manuel. Both loved the same woman without knowing that they were rivals, and by an unhappy mistake Manuel was slain by the hand of his brother. Their father, Michael, died of grief, and the emperor, exasperated against his grandson, showed some intention to exclude him from the throne. Thus a dreadful civil war, or rather three wars, arose between the emperor and his grandson, which lasted from 1321 till 1328, when at last the emperor was obliged to abdicate in favour of the latter. Andronicus the elder retired to a convent at Drama in Thessaly, where he lived as monk under the name of Antonius.
He died in 1332, and his body was buried in Constantinople. (Pachymeres, Andronicus Palaeologus ;
Nicephorus Gregoras, lib. vi.--x.; Cantacuzenus, 1.1, &c.)