Alexius I, emperor A.D. 1081-1118 One of the most successful Byzantine emperors
Alexios I Komnenos, Latinized as Alexius I Comnenus, was Byzantine emperor from 1081 to 1118, and although he was not the founder of the Komnenian dynasty, it was during his reign that the Komnenos family came to full power.
The title 'Nobilissimus' was given to senior army commanders, the future emperor Alexios I Komnenos being the first to be thus honoured. Inheriting a collapsing empire and faced with constant warfare during his reign against both the Seljuq Turks in Asia Minor and the Normans in the western Balkans, Alexios was able to halt the Byzantine decline and begin the military, financial, and territorial recovery known as the Komnenian restoration.
His appeals to Western Europe for help against the Turks were also the catalyst that triggered the Crusades.
Alexius I took the throne by force and spent nearly forty years fighting enemies on all fronts. He inherited a tragic state of affairs and quickly forged an alliance with the Venetians to oppose the Normans, who had designs on the Byzantine state. Alexius foiled a siege of Constantinople in 1090 by the Pechenegs, after which his men, joined by Cuman mercenaries, retaliated and virtually destroyed that barbarian nation in a single battle in 1091. Later, Alexius was aided by Western mercenaries of the First Crusade against the Seljuk Turks in Asia Minor, after which independent Crusader states were established in Jerusalem, Tripoli, Antioch and Edessa. When Alexius died, the crown passed to his eldest son, John II, who inherited much of his father’s skills in statecraft and warfare.